Grace, mercy, and peace be to you. Though not acquainted, yet at the desire of a Christian brother, I have thought good to write a line unto you, entreating you, in the Lord Jesus, under your trials to keep an ear open to Christ, who can speak for Himself, howbeit your visitations, and your own sense, should dream hard things of His love and favor. Our Lord never gets so kind a look at us, nor our love in such a degree, nor our faith in such a measure of steadfastness, as He gets out of the furnace of our tempting fears and sharp trials. I verily believe (and two sad proofs in me say no less), that if our Lord would grind our lusts into powder, the very ashes of our corruption would take life again, and live and hold us under so much bondage, that may humble us, and make us sad, till we be in that country where we need no physic at all. Oh, what violent means doth our Lord use to gain us to Him, as if indeed we were a prize worthy of His fighting for! And to be sure, if leading would do the turn, He would not use pulling of the hair, and drawing: but the best of us will bide a strong pull of our Lord's right arm ere we follow Him. Yet I say not this, as if our Lord measured afflictions by so many ounce weights, answerable to the grain- weights of our guiltiness. I know that He doth in many (and possibly in you) seek nothing so much as faith, that can endure summer and winter in their extremity. Oh, how precious to the Lord are faith and love, that when threshed, beaten, and chased away as it were by God Himself, doth yet look warm-like, love-like, kind-like, and life-like, home over to Christ, and would be in Him, ill and well as it may be.
Think it not much that your husband, or the nearest to you in the world, proves to have the bowels and mercy of the ostrich, hard, and rigorous, and cruel; for the Lord takes up such fallen ones as these (When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. Ps 27:10). I could not wish a sweeter life, or more satisfying expressions of kindness, till I be up at that Prince of kindness, than the Lord's saints find, when the Lord takes up man's refuse, and lodges this world's outlaws, whom no man seeks after. His breath is never so hot, His love never casts such a flame, as when this world, and those who should be the helpers of our joy, cast water on our coal. It is a sweet thing to see them cast out, and God taken in; and to see them throw us away as the refuse of men, and God take us up for His jewels and His treasure. Often He makes gold of dross, as once He made the cast away stone, "The stone rejected by the builders," the head of the corner. The princes of this world would not have our Lord Jesus as a pinning in the wall, or to have any place in the building; but the Lord made Him the master -stone of power and of place. God be thanked, that this world hath not power to cry us down so many pounds, as rulers cry down light gold, or light silver. We shall stand for as much as our master- coiner, Christ, whose coin, arms, and stamp we bear, will have us. Christ has no miscarrying balance. Thank your Lord, who chases your love through two kingdoms, and follows you, and it over sea, to have you for Himself, as He speaks (Hosea 3:3). For God lays up His saints, as the choice of all the world, for Himself, and this is like Christ and His love. Oh, what in Heaven, or out of Heaven is comparable to Christ's love? No, suppose that our Lord would manifest His art, and make 10,000 Heavens of good and glorious things, and of new joys, devised out of the deep of infinite wisdom, He could not make the like of Christ; for Christ is God, and God cannot be made. And therefore, let us hold with Christ, howbeit we may have our choice of a host of other lovers, as many as three heavens could contain.
Oh that He and we were together! Oh when Christ and you shall meet about the utmost march and borders of time, and the entry into eternity, you shall see Heaven in His face, at the first look, and salvation and glory sitting in His countenance, and between His eyes. Faint not; the miles to Heaven are but few and short. He is making a green bed (Song Of Solomon 1:16), for Himself, and you. There are many heads lying in Christ's bosom, but there is room for yours among the rest; and, therefore, go on, and let hope go before you. Sin not in your trials, and the victory is yours. Pray, wrestle, and believe, and you shall overcome and prevail with God, as Jacob did. No bits of clay, no temptations, which are of no longer life than an hour, will then be able to withstand you, when once you have prevailed with God.
Help me then with your prayers, that it would please the Lord to give me house-room again, to speak of His righteousness in the great congregation, if it may seem good in His sight.
Grace, grace be with you.
Yours in his sweet Lord Jesus,