[To Mr. Nunn.] The Grove, Pulverbach, 25 April 1844.
My dear Friend,
I cannot express with what weakness and fear I am among the people here. I find them most sincerely glad to see me, and am much surprised at the effect the word has had upon them since I first came among them. The very sharp exercises I am generally under, seem given me for my subject to set before them; and the manner in which the Lord comforts me under them gives the people encouragement. Sukey Harley said this morning that though it pleased God to convert her many years ago, yet she had not found spiritual food or instruction from any, either in church or chapel, nor ever heard the true Gospel preached, until the Lord sent me here. When I was speaking to the people last Sunday of the furnace of affliction, she said she felt such a desire to be holy and to be made fit for heaven, that she even prayed God to put her in that furnace, because I had said these things come not by infusion, but by sanctified afflictions. She then gave me the following account - "I heard you both times on Sunday with unspeakable comfort, but at night I got exalted. After I had come home, young C - came in and wished to sing a hymn. I joined; and we began to sing the 28th hymn in Hart; but when we had sung that verse
"Spiritual pride, that rampant beast,
he burst out crying, and said he was so sorrowful he could sing no more. And now I too" (said Sukey) "began to sink, and to feel the Lord was putting me into the furnace; and the next day I had violent pains in my body, and the Lord frowned upon me all the time; my pains became so agonizing that I thought I should not live one hour, and I could not pray. O the horror of that darkness! for the Lord hid his face. That verse in Rev. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth,' came like mountains down upon me. I felt the charge of being neither cold nor hot. Oh, how awful to think that the Lord had led me and counselled me ever since the morning of my conversion, and that now he should speak of spueing me out of his mouth. But the words, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent,' encouraged me to cry." I asked her if she had not found comfort, and she said, "O yes, blessed be his Holy Majesty! Glory, glory, be to his Holy Name! My blessed Redeemer has been with me all this morning, bringing scripture after scripture upon my heart; and that scripture also, ' As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.' I can say with David, ' It is good for me that I have been afflicted;' for I have learned more of the subtle power of the enemy in this fiery trial than I ever knew before; but blessed be my heavenly Father, and blessed be his Son, my Redeemer, he has helped me; and I know that it has been all in love; yes, ALL IN LOVE. O what a cunning adversary we have to do with, but in the Lord what boundless mercy; glory, glory, be to his Holy Name!"
My subject last night was "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." I could not help setting forth the difficulty of our being brought to such a feeling, "less than the least," but that the Lord never left his people until he had brought them to it; then I endeavoured to show that to souls thus humbled, is this grace given; and last of all, I attempted to speak of the unsearchable riches of this grace, even the love of Christ shed abroad in the heart, which alone can enable us in any measure "to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height " of the everlasting love of God. [Eph. iii. 8-19.]
Yours &c. J. B.