My dear young Friend,—I hope, if the Lord's will, that ere this you have had a return of his gracious presence in your soul. It is he alone who can make the crooked straight, and turn our night to day. But, no matter how dark the night may be, when the Sun of righteousness is pleased to look upon the soul, sorrow is turned into joy, and mourning into praise. This made the psalmist pray: "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation." Adversity makes prosperity the sweeter; and so the paschal lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs. But, no matter how bitter the trial, or rugged the path, as soon as a poor sinner can realize the Lord Jesus in his soul, he feels that in him he has that which overcomes and goes beyond them all. And what a mercy it is that, beyond all the darkness and desertion through which we pass, at times, there is a sensible feeling kept alive in the soul that the Lord Jesus is all we want, need, or desire. When he has brought a poor sinner thus to lean upon him, to hunger and thirst after him, and to wait for his appearing, however he may exercise, he will never forsake nor cast him away.
"The soul that on Jesus has lean'd for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I will never, no, never, no, never forsake."
Read Jer. 32:36-44, and the whole of chap,33., and may the Lord shine upon it to the comfort of your soul, so that you may prove that he has not turned away from you, but put his fear in your heart, that you shall not depart from him.
I know it is a trying place to be in, where the preached word seems to be nothing to one, and often to feel in the soul as though there is no real concern; but even here we are often concerned because we are not concerned as we would be; as the poet says:
"Uneasy when I feel my load;
Uneasy when I feel it not;
Dissatisfied for want of God,
Though oft of Him I've not a thought."
What a mercy that "he knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust!" And he will never suffer the weakest lambs in all his flock to be tempted above what they are able to bear, but will surely, in his own time, which is the right time, make a way of escape, and bring them safely through. You may, and no doubt will, think it strange that you should come into such a trial; but the Lord in and by these things teaches us more of ourselves, to make us out of love with everything of our own, and thereby to know and prove more of his sweet grace and suitability, as our only Hope and Friend, on whom we can lean for salvation and comfort, or any real good whatever. The Lord help you to follow on after him. May he bless you with grace to be much at his dear feet, both in season and out of season; and you will surely in the end prove him faithful to his word: "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." The Lord continues to be very good to us in every way. I hope, at times, I can say, with a thankful heart, that he has led us by the right way. 0 for grace to love him more and serve him better.
Yours in the best Bonds,
Hastings, Jan. 12th, 1872. THOS. HULL.