A Letter To Mr Brown – January 9th, 1860
My dear Friend Mr. Brown,
I was glad to receive your kind and friendly letter, and to learn from it that you had safely arrived at Brighton, and were comfortably accommodated. To be released for a time from the strife of tongues is a sensible relief to the mind that is worn and jaded by struggling under a load of contention. It is to the mind almost like the pure breeze that blows over the wide expanse of the sea, and comes in a friendly guise to cool the heated brain, and brace the languid nerves. You need rest and quiet, and to get away from the depressing influence of Godmanchester air. You are almost like the poor weary London citizen who comes to Brighton, not only to inhale the sea air, and the buoyant atmosphere of its breezy downs, but also to get away from that load of care and business which is heavier than London air, and denser than London smoke.
I sincerely wish that the blessed Lord may enable you to leave in His hands all your trials, concerns, and cares; and if you could but calmly and quietly lay them at His feet it would be better for both your body and soul. I have no doubt that the anxiety, and agitation of your mind has had much to do with your illness. The Godmanchester air first depressed your body, and then your spirits; upon them thus weakened came your trials and troubles there, and all these acted upon your bodily and mental frame until they brought you down as low as you were before you left for Southport. I have no doubt that as your bodily frame gets strengthened and recruited, you will find your spirits and nerves strengthened in equal proportion; and as we are strangely constituted, if body and mind be in good measure invigorated, you will have more strength to bear up under your present load of trial. This view of things does not in the least interfere with or militate against that peculiar strength and blessed support which grace alone can give; and they are easily distinguished by a discerning mind; for whatever strength may be connected with returning health, deliverance from trial is as far off as ever unless the Lord specially blesses the soul with His manifested favour, and the consolations of His presence and Spirit. We have still the same need of prayer and watching for answers; the same patience, the same faith, the same hope and love. No one who knows anything of the blessing which makes rich can substitute for it any amount of natural comfort, mental confidence, or animal spirits. They are distinct things, but as we find by experience that temptations and afflictions act upon the mental and bodily frame in weakening and depressing it, so it is a favour when body and mind are strengthened to endure them.
If I am restored again to preach it will be to go again among a people who sympathize with me in my present affliction, and who will, I believe, generally hail my reappearance among them with pleasure and affection, and their chief trial at present is my being laid aside.
It is a mercy when our trials, of whatever nature they may be, lead us to cast our burdens on our only Burden-bearer. He is able in His own time and way to deliver and to support until deliverance comes. At Brighton you will have the comfort of Mr. Grace’s society and conversation. We desire our love to yourself and Mrs. B___, and also to Mr. and Mrs. Grace.
J. C. P.