I received your letter, with its contents, and am much obliged to you for your remembrance of me. I am now proving my friends and my foes. The faith of Jesus is not the faith of many. Many believe in him, and this faith is fed by joy; and so long as joy lasts, so long faith is vigorous. But there is a time of trial, and then, if there is no root the joy dries up, and with it the faith too. But our faith must be nourished with the dew—the showers of heaven; and it is most in its element when most exercised and tried with every blast of the enemy, and every cross dispensation of God. This is the faith of Jesus, which through his power is kept by all saints; no one can see the union between the soul and Jesus Christ. He is our foundation, and that is laid under ground, though the top stone is as much upon it as the lowest. It is not the mortar or the cement that keeps the stones upon the foundation, though it joins the stones one to another; but it is the uprightness of the whole that keeps all steady; and the upright, and they alone, are such as love our Jesus Christ, and can alone stand fast in the Lord, being by love edified, or built up, in him. And you and I in these last times are in this way as close to him as the apostles in primitive ages; for all our weight resting upon him, we cleave as closely to him as they. Yet this is a sweet thing, properly known only to Him and us.
Again. He is the true Vine, and in him every branch that bears fruit must be rooted. This again is under-ground work; nobody can see how the topmost branches unite with the root, yet we are rooted as well as grounded in love. So the building grows up a holy temple, and the branches bear fruit and flourish. Time alone can make a full discovery without to others, and it will. Everyman's work shall be made manifest of what sort it is. But there is an inward witness, and it is the Spirit that beareth witness, and that Spirit is truth. Whatever he testifies within, God will maintain with honor without. But more than his own work he never will, he never can support; it must fall to the ground, be it ever so promising and ever so pleasing in our eyes. He will lodge a suspicion, a conviction in our hearts that all is not right, when his work is not in pureness and simplicity; and however from fear of harshness, if fighting against his work, or of uncharitableness, we may labor to check and stifle those suspicions and convictions, he will in his own time make clear work of it, and down shall come all that he has not built up.
Much now has for some years been growing up, maintained and nourished at no small expense; but it is to be feared, after all the pains and expectations, the harvest will become a heap in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow. These things lead to much searching of heart on our parts. Few there are that abide with me, and fewer, I apprehend, will yet be found. But all this only encourages me in my way; there is no hope of my being altered; I am daily growing more and more incurable, for "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."
Kind love to all who love me. I have a book coming out, but it will only be sold by the man who prints it.
Chicliester, February 8th, 1811.
W. J. BROOK.