Bible Treasury Vol. N2 p. 174.
I duly received your kind and loving note. It was very welcome and very acceptable. And now I am proving my willingness, at least, to respond to your wish, though I am nothing of a letter-writer. But I have asked the Lord to give me a word for you, and He never fails. Still, so poor and weak am I, that though He may graciously give me a word, and present a sweet and profitable line of truth for me to pursue, I may spoil it in the detail.
The flesh ever seeks to intrude itself, and if allowed to get in and show what it can say and do, the fair work of the Spirit will be marred. Hence the need, my dear young sister, of constant watchfulness and prayer.
The blessed Jesus is our perfect example in this — watching and praying, when the deep, and dark shadow of Calvary was gathering thick around Him. He separated Himself from His disciples, that He might "offer up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared."
By watching He saw and anticipated all that was coming. By prayer He passed through it all before it came, in spirit with His Father. So when the deep trial actually came, He was perfectly prepared for it, having gone through it all beforehand in deep and blessed communion with His Father.
Hence the beautiful tranquillity of soul which He manifests in the presence of His enemies. With what sublime dignity He meets Judas, officers, men, chief priests, multitude, etc. In the calm fortitude of One who could truthfully say "Not my will, but thine be done," and who sought only the Father's glory, He could say, "Whom seek ye?" "I am He." Oh! what majesty and holy courage, combined with simple child-like dependence on His Father in heaven.
The deeper the trial, the thicker the darkness, the heavier the sufferings, He is just the more profoundly subject to His Father's will, and the more entirely cast on Him. The Father's glory, the children's salvation, He kept full in view; which led Him to look beyond the hour and power of darkness "to the cloudless morning" when the "countless multitude" of ransomed hearts will cluster around His blessed person, beating with perfect love and endless joy to His ever blessed name, in the bright and eternal effulgence of the Father's glory. "Praise the Lord, who died to save us; Praise His name for ever dear."
This, my dear child in the gospel, is your only safe and perfect example, looking to Jesus whether joy or sorrow lies before you. Before it actually comes, seek to go through it all in secret with the Lord, so that you may not be taken by surprise and thrown off your guard when called to enter upon the scene. If you have in spirit gone through the trial with the Lord in private, He will be with you and carry you through it in public to His glory; and that's all you have got to care about it.
Read first the scene in the garden as described by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then add John. When Christ was watching and praying, the disciples were sleeping. Ah! what a lesson. Sleepiness and self-confidence characterised the bold and loving Peter; perfect subjection to God, and simple dependence on Him, characterised the dependent "Son of man." But when the hour of conflict arrived, who stood in the fight alone? Those who had neither watched nor prayed were unprepared; therefore they all forsook Him and fled. Of the people there was none with Him. Ah! what a practical lesson we get here.
And now, my one-year-old, let me ask you, Have you learned (when you know, feel, or fear any trial or difficulty coming upon you) to go away by yourself and lay it all out before the Lord, and in true, sweet, and blessed fellowship with Him go over it all, round it all, through it all, thus honouring the Lord by watching and prayer, knowing that He will honour you, His dependent one, when the difficulty comes, or prevent it from coming altogether? Oh! how different would be our walk and testimony, our practical exhibition of Christ, were we thus to watch and pray. The blessed Lord Himself, my dear young Christian, effectually teach you by His own blessed Spirit; for I, in measure, feel ashamed to speak about things which I have realised so little. But the Lord is very patient, He has borne long with me. I know, and it is a great deal to know, that His precious blood cleanseth from all sin.
Two things make me very happy:
1. I am washed in the blood of Christ
2. I am made in Christ the righteousness of God.
Therefore I am fit to be in the holy presence of God without a veil, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.
I state this for you to try yourself on the same ground. Of course you are on precisely the same ground: so is every believer; but all don't know it, because of looking to themselves,
May you be kept, my dear child in the faith, living, walking, and acting in the holy presence of our God and Father, with a single eye and an undivided heart for the glory of His Son, your living Saviour, by the divine power of the Holy Ghost.
With very much love in Christ, I am faithfully yours in the immortal bonds of the ever blessed gospel.
London, 1st June, 1855.