A Letter To A Brother In Christ – April 18th, 1838
April 18th, 1838
My dear Brother,
I was glad to receive the kind letter which you and your better half sent me; and I wish you would write more upon spiritual things; but we find that our hearts cleave so close to the dust that we cannot enter with any life and power into heavenly subjects. It seems a great mercy that we do not deny them, for hope will spring up, in the midst of all our halting and hobbling, that we are among the ‘little children’; for the Lord does bless the small as well as the great.
I am often led to wonder how I ever have got on to this time, and particularly in the ministry; but all past mercies, favors, and encouragements do not make me believe, when I am in a dark state, that I shall continue. Last Friday evening the Lord seemed to be with me, and the friends here expressed themselves to have been favored in hearing. I find that nothing but true religion will satisfy me, although my mind seems inclined to everything else, and all manner of deadness and evil possess me, in such a way that I cannot trace the work of grace in my heart. I sometimes think that I shall never be lively in my soul without a hot furnace—which I dread. Nevertheless, anything seems better than carnality and sensuality. But it will ever be “uneasy when I feel my load, uneasy when I feel it not.”
I am afraid of having my heart “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” The world in such various ways is our enemy, that we have more to fear from smiles than frowns; for when the flesh prospers there will be but little watching, praying, seeking, crying, groaning, and talking about the sufferings of Jesus. It seems to me much harder work to continue than to begin; but the church in all ages has been worn down with harassments and perplexities, or the promises would never have been so numerous for the faint and weary. That religion which brings no difficulties will not lead to any cry for help—and if we could get along without God, we would not seek Him.
Free-will, self-sufficiency, and independence, are three strongholds in our hearts, and they only fall before the winds of adversity and soul-trials, which make us to know that Christ is a refuge from the storm and tempest which arise, again and again, in every quickened soul. I get exercised in such various ways. I am sometimes in such places, in which I wish to act right, and yet I do not know what to do. Things may be more smooth for me after a while, for I am sensible to sinking daily, and at times I seem not to have a grain of faith or strength, and could not trust God for anything. If the Bible is true, the only good investment is giving money to the poor. That is safe; it is money put out on the best security, as being lent to the Lord; and what a good thing it is to make a good use of money, while so many spend nearly all they have on their selfish desires, fancies, and lusts. I believe we all love the world more than we think; and “Spare yourself!” is written very deeply in our hearts. I think we love the poor children of God less than we think; for deeds, not words, come closest to the heart, and it is easier to preach than to practice.
The matter of the greatest importance is the spending and distributing of money. An ungodly man may have much, but he cannot consider the cause of the poor, if the Lord does not bless him with the mind to do so. So an ungodly man’s money is either spent on his lust, or brings him under a curse—”Woe be to him that is laden with thick clay.” What a dreadful thing it is to have the curse of a covetous heart! “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and sticks to one’s heart like the flesh to the skin, and if any one at all despises money, the devil and the world are in such a fight with him that they are ready to knock him on the head or throw him into the fire, and will abuse him for being a fool, or a madman!
Yours very sincerely and affectionately,