Manchester, 20 February 1835

I am glad to find that the Lord now and then affords you a few moments’ sweet intercourse with himself. This is one of the greatest blessings we can enjoy. The comforts of this life are great blessings; but to enjoy the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and our God, our Portion, and our eternal All, is a blessing indeed. O my dear friend, what an indescribable mercy it is for such poor sinners as we to be raised up to the sweet enjoyment of Christ! This is entering blessedly into the solemn truth contained in that portion of the Word of God: “The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.” (Is 51:14) You know, my dear friend, what it is to be in the pit, and to be there in bonds too; and, through matchless grace, you can truly say, “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Ps 40:2)

But you must not expect all fair weather, and always to walk in a smooth path. Had we no storms, we should not so highly prize the glorious Hiding-place; if we had no dark moments, we should not understand what it was for the Lord to make darkness light before us; and had we no rough places and crooked things in our path, we should be at a loss to know experimentally what it was for the Lord to make crooked things straight and rough places plain. But our Lord has promised to do all these things for us, and not forsake us. Sometimes we shall be beset without and within, and go mourning because of the oppression of our enemies; and their weapons will be like swords in our bones, as though they were determined to cut in pieces and destroy all our hope, and then laugh us to scorn, saying, “Where is now thy God?” Thus they treated David; but the Lord graciously propped up his hope, and enabled him to say, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God.” (Ps 42:11) I know well that “hope deferred maketh the heart sick;” but this is a blessed truth that, however long hope may be deferred, and however sick the child of God may be in consequence, true hope shall never be defeated; and, in the Lord’s own time, he will appear, and crown hope with divine confidence, for “hope maketh not ashamed.”



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