Weeping may endure for a night
It is with much pleasure that I read your last, and I was engage to give thanks and praise to the God of all grace for His making my poor letters of any use to your dear soul. Yes, Madam, your benighted soul shall be favored with the light of God's countenance, only wait for it in faith and patience. Your sins are forgiven you; wait awhile, and the Lord will tell you so. He who now in wise love hides His face, will shortly, to your unspeakable joy, break out upon you afresh with superior rays of His infinite and eternal kindness. "Weeping may endure for a night—but joy will comes in the morning. His anger endures for a moment—but in His favor is light." An immensity—an eternity of light remains for you in God's infinite favor—that all-comprehending source of all the various flows of your felicity for time's and eternity's forever! And give your Father leave to choose what channels He please to convey to your beloved soul His inexhaustible, immutable, and eternal kindness—for if for a while His love runs under-ground, out of your sight, it is but in order to its breaking up again, to your more joyful surprise, in a richer exuberance. And beware of thinking, when you do not see love in its flows; that love is not upon the flow towards you; for when love is most hid from your view, that hiding is one of love's flows. That is one of the appointed channels in which love swiftly and gloriously moves; indeed, it is ‘veiled love’—but love in a veil is the same love still. And "what you know not now—you shall know hereafter." When the veil is taken off from love's face, you shall see as great a glory in ‘hiding love’ as in its most smiling countenance—and that both alternately were ordered most wisely for God's highest glory and your greatest felicity.
Oh, could you now believe this and say thus, "Well, the Lord hides His face, but this, even this, is in boundless, endless love to me," how full would be your joy, how abundant your praise, if faith was thus in exercise! Whereas sense, when love veils, loses sight of love in all; it sees no love in the veil, and inclines the heart to fear that love's past shinings were not real, and thereby shuts the mouth of praise awfully, and sinks the soul into grief exceedingly. And were not faith upheld by an omnipotent arm to look and wait for God the Savior, when as such He hides His face from the house of Jacob, through depressions from sense it would fail quite. But, glory to omnipotent grace! faith is and shall be maintained in its principles, and in some degree of exercise, amid ten thousand contraries.
"Blessed (says our Lord) are those who have believed—and have not seen." Thomas saw, and believed; but believing without sight upon the promise-word of the faithful God has an eminency, a transcendency of blessedness in it. "His arm is not shortened, that it cannot save, nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear." "My soul, hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the light of His countenance," according to His promised grace. This exercise of ‘faith in the dark’ has a blessedness in it of transcendency. Little do you think how much glory this gives to God. Little do you think how much pleasure He takes when He thus hears your voice. And can you think, dear Madam, that this your faith is God shall be in vain? No! the Lord will say shortly, "You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse, with one of your eyes, with one chain of your neck." "O woman, great is your faith; be it unto you even as you will." And then you shall praise Him with joy. Meantime, though in sorrow, praise the God of promise by trusting in Him who will be the God of performance, and you will give Him double glory, which will be to your eternal joy.
I am glad, dear Madam, that the Lord made the burning bush a fit emblem of your case, and that you desire greenness and fruitfulness. Your desire after greenness and fruitfulness is from your having these, and it is a greater measure that you desire. And be not dismayed at your apparent lack of greenness and growth in grace. It is one thing to be green and fruitful—and another to discern that we are so. God, and other of His children, may see our greenness and fruitfulness, when for wise and gracious ends these may be hidden much from ourselves. Only let this be your chief care, to "glorify God in the fires," and fear not greenness and fruitfulness—to His praise and your bliss, amid fiery trials.
I am grieved, dear Madam, that your outward affairs are so much declined and perplexed—but if it was not best, it would not be thus. May you be enabled most humbly and earnestly to make a fresh solemn surrender of yourself, and all that you have, unto God, and say, "Lord, here I am—I give myself up to You—to be Yours entirely—I give up everything that You have given me into Your all-wise, all-gracious, and almighty hands. O Lord, the difficulties I am encompassed with are too great for my wisdom and strength to rid myself of—but You know no difficulty. I cast them all upon You. I am oppressed, O Lord, undertake for me. And, were everything else gone, give me grace to glorify You, and to count myself happy—fully, ineffably happy—in Your great Self as my earthly-portion and eternal all. I call nothing my own but You, my great God—do with me, and all things that concern me, just as You desire."
After this manner, dear Madam, resign all unto God, and there leave all, without anxious care for anything. Let a ‘prudent care’ for everything, as your duty in the use of all means, be your concern. But take no ‘anxious care’ for any events—for most surely, in this respect, "every man disquiets himself in vain." And if you thus resign all unto God, and put and leave everything in His hands, I do assure you that God will undertake for you. I, did I say? A poor assurance this. He, Himself therefore excites you to duty, and gives you His own assurance thus—"Call upon Me in the day of trouble—I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me."
As you had that promise, Madam, when you entered into that change of life, "My presence shall go with you—and I will give you rest," and yet you had not those measures of His comforting presence which your soul wished—learn hence to distinguish between God's gracious, supporting, and sanctifying presence—and His soul-filling, heart-rejoicing presence. The former you had, have, and shall have always; and the latter, when He sees it best. And remember, rest is in the promise—all that earthly-rest which your God of love sees best—and eternal rest, unto full and endless delight! And let this bear up your spirit while your troubles last—"Unto you who are troubled, rest with us." When the Lord Jesus shall make His glorious appearance, then we shall all rest together and forever!
I bear you on my heart before the God of all grace in your every case. To His love, power, and care—I commit you.