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T. NOCTUA AURITA, in the Desert.
I received safe your very valuable epistle ; and I hope you will excuse my not acknowledging the receipt of it before this time. I assure you it has not been for want of inclination, but want of time. My hands have been fully employed in nursing, which hath been to me a sore trial. The Lord has visited my dear little boy with a disorder which we feared would prove fatal. And under this trial the Canaanites, which are left in the land to be as thorns in my side, made me feverely feel their power, affisted by Satan their ally, who appeared at their head, and who made luch an inroad upon me as greatly difquieted my spirits. The rebellion of my heart was stirred : up, and hard thoughts of God followed. I could not give up the child ; and Satan suggested fuch things to my mind concerning the eternal state of the boy, should he die under the curse of God's righteous law, as I believe I never shall let come out of the doors of my lips. But I assure you they were such as rent the caul of my heart'; and, though I could not give the child
up, yet I trembled at the thoughts of asking for his life. I was pressed beyond measure. I could only say to the Lord, “ Thou knowest my heart, what I am by nature; and that nothing but thefe rank weeds will ever be produced by me, unless thou art pleased, by the operations of thy Spirit, to work in me that submission and resignation to thy will which shall glorify thee.” The Lord appeared for the child, and hath restored him to us again. But submission and resignation were not found in my heart. His Excellency fent me your epistle, which you directed to be left with him, with the following direction on it: “ To her Majesty the Queen of the Beggars, value a thoufand pounds.” But, when I had read the contents, I was constrained to: enhance the value; for I found the price of it to be far above rubies. I thank you kindly for it. I thought of an old proverb, viz. “ To be fore-warned is to be forearmed.”
I think there can but little befall me in the path of tribulation but what you have shewed me already. You seem to intimate that you think I may be a stumbling-block to those whose joys do not rise so high as God is pleased to raise mine. Indeed, it is true that some envy me, and some are filled with jealousy. But envy and jealousy seem to me to be two different things. Where the latter is working, I believe it will be a means, under God, of bringing the same blessings into their
souls. These will not rejoice when I am brought low, but will be the first that will help me, by their prayers, that I may be raised up again. But where envy works, nothing would gratify these more than to see me down. But this is like to bring nothing into their own souls. To the former I feel my whole heart and soul going out; but to the latter I cannot find a union.'
Something in your letter quite surprised me, and that is, to think that, after you had been led in such a sweet path for ten months, and under such manifestations of divine love, you should again be brought into such darkness as to doubt of the work on your soul being real. Had you 'not related it as experienced by yourself, I should have staggered at it. But, if God has dealt so with you, I fear I shall not escape. But it is such an evil day as I would wish to put far from me. Should such a time ever come, I think I shall find your epistle to be of great use to me. But I should never have thought there was a probability of any thing like it befalling me. To be sure at present my mountain seems to stand strong; the place of my defence is the Munition of Rocks; and God is truly gracious to me; for I have not had one day of real darkness in my own soul since the time we all met at Gafson's Bower, where the Lord met me by the way, as he did the disciples in their journey to Emmaus. I saw his Excellency yesterday. We are reaping the fruits of his
labour. He came to us (aster his long'absence, as I called it) in the fulness of the blessings of the gospel of peace. I am glad to hear we are to have another printed sermon from you next week. I found your last much blessed to me. I shall be glad to hear that you are coming among us again; and I hope you will favour me with another epistle soon; for I feel myself disappointed if I do not hear from you once a week. I should be glad to know, in your next, if I am at liberty to thew your last epistle to our friends: they know I have had one. I believe his Excellency has told then). But I have given them to understand that they Thall not see it without your leave. The young stripling from the Bower declared yesterday that he would not let me be at peace till he had seen it. I was glad to hear, by my sister's letter, that you had not been afflicted so badly with cold and hoarseness this winter as you have been some winters past. May the Lord continue you in bodily health and much foul prosperity, is the fervent prayer of
Your affectionate sister in the
bonds of the gospel,
The King's Dale.
T. PHILOMELA, of the King's Dale.
The epistle of my sister is come safe, and now lies before me. It is, according to the prophet Habakkuk, a song of various things, sung in various tunes. Your days have been forrow, and your travail grief. Call this time of adversity Gad, for there is a troop behind; or call them the beginning of sorrows, for unbelief will often tell you that there will be no end of them. Satan is a skilful adversary. He can alter both his appearance and his influence. While I lay in the dark regions of the shadow of death, under the arrests of divine justice, and filled with fury and the rebukes of my God, he worked constantly upon the hardness of my heart, the carnal enmity of my mind, and on that soul-destroying fin of unbelief, in which I was shut up. He took oc. cafion to multiply his accusations by the fins which stood before mine eyes, the burden of guilt which I felt, and the wrath of the law which worked in me. And I knew that this was the devil, and the works of him. But, after my deliverance had been proclaimed, my calling made clear, and mine election sure, he came to me again,