[To S. M. B.] Pulverbach, August 1844.
My dear S.,
I was very glad indeed to receive your letter, and much more so to see the conflict of your mind and your attention to the Word of the Lord. I sincerely recommend you to hold fast any hope you may attain by the Word of the Lord. The enemy will never rest till he upsets it, but be sure to hold it as long as you can; for you will always have this for your comfort, that though cheated for a time out of anything the Lord has given you, even so as to conclude it never came from him, yet every fresh visit from him is sure to revive the old ones, however suspected, and to throw a sweet light on the way in which he has led you and kept you, even when driven and tossed by the enemy into the utmost confusion. The secret power of the Spirit will preserve a corner in our hearts in the deepest of troubles and darkness, and even in the worst of times there will be a hankering after the Lord. This I believe is the fire which was never to go out in the temple; for the spark of spiritual life, however low, will not be let to go out. Were it not for this divine spark, in times of desertion I think I should utterly despair. It has pleased God through repeated changes to discover to us many things which before, lay hid; and these, together with our despairing feelings and fears, add energy to our prayers, and make us feel more keenly our need of the Saviour, and the value of his marvellous and unspeakable redemption.
What you say of your impatient spirit is the true effect of spiritual bondage, and if you were not sorely exercised with this I should fear that sin would entirely reign. The bondage is brought on by your feeling a desire to repent, and yet finding no real power; in which put the effect before the cause. You want to repent, and then to come to Christ. This is a place where thousands are held; but the Lord says, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I always feel betrayed (to my shame) to endeavour to mend myself, before I get courage to come to the Lord; but finding this way guarded with a flaming sword which turns every way, so that no life can be found in it, I am compelled to come to Jesus, who alone saves his people from their sins. And then I am not discouraged from prayer, but surprised at the condescension of the Lord in opening to me this new and living way. Indeed I continually feel that the Lord is "the strength of my life," for I am perfect weakness; and in all sickness and pain and disappointment and fears and dismay, this strength bears me up, and often makes me more than conqueror.
It is this strength which carries me through all my labours here, and teaches me to sit down quietly under good report and evil report; to be often accounted a deceiver, yet bearing the testimony in my conscience that I am true in Christ.
Yours &c. J. B.