[To Mr. Harrow.] Pulverbach, 4 June 1844.
My dear Friend,
Everything within and without combines to raise my fears, and I find nothing can counteract them but the especial comforting power and presence of the Lord. The more I see of the profession of the day, the more I stand in awe, and wonder at the patience and long-suffering of God towards men, and myself in particular. Every fresh discovery of my hidden corruptions makes me to stoop with amazement, and silences all murmuring and repining at the rod that is sent to correct me for my foolishness. I dare not say, "Why hast thou made me thus?" I can only say, "God be merciful to me a sinner." This prayer has often brought in help when none other appeared to be heard. I am sure there is a necessity for me to take the lowest room; let others do as they think fit. If, through the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, I get safe at last, I shall never have to mourn because of the many difficulties in the way which my sins have procured, but shall be wholly lost in the contemplation of that free and sovereign grace which has reached my heart.
This evening, being Wednesday, I spoke to the people from these words [Psalm xxxii. 6] - "For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him." My heart trembled at the importance of my place, as well as the message I had to deliver. I endeavoured to show what it was for which every one that possesses the true fear of God will pray - namely, the blessing which those are partakers of whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. I then endeavoured to show from my own feelings what it was for the bones to wax old through roaring for disquietude of soul, and what it was for the heavy hand of God to be upon a man, and how the Lord the Spirit instructed such an one to acknowledge his sin, and in this dreadful exercise to find the forgiveness that is here spoken of. FOR THIS every one that is godly will pray; and when "the floods of great waters " overtake us, past mercies will come to our minds, and though with very little hope at first, yet they furnish us with a plea, and we find the Lord himself condescends to be our hiding place, and then comes the song of deliverance. FOR THIS, my dear friend, we are encouraged to pray unto the Lord; and they that know his precious name, "merciful and gracious," "abundant in goodness," and "forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin," will put their trust in him. I told the people that I had often been brought very low, yet even in the lowest place I always felt a determination to call upon the Lord, let what would come of it; and here I have always found my profit, and the truth of the promise, "Your heart shall live that seek God." Then I endeavoured to show them the tender and kind exhortation and caution of the Lord, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule," confident and obstinate; but bear in mind that he who is tenderly led to receive instruction, "mercy shall compass him about" as with a shield.
I do not know when I have found such a sweet power upon my own heart when speaking. I was exceedingly comforted, and felt surely all this cannot be for nothing, and the few I overtook on the road going home seemed to have received it with much awe and godly fear. Afterwards, while thinking of what I had said, and of the spirit in which the things were spoken, the Lord came into my soul with such a heavenly calm as I do not often feel, and a sweet peace that passeth all understanding; and therefore I could not help telling you all about it. I perceive that the people grow much more serious, and cannot make light of the word; those who come to judge find that it comes so close upon them that they cannot face it; and those who seemed to halt between two opinions begin to acknowledge there is a something which the general professors know nothing about. A few, by the mercy of God, fall under the word, and are encouraged to hope, while others are much comforted and instructed. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
Yours &c. J. B.