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mind astray. I had three of these unexpected vifits; but they were transient, like those of a wayfaring man, who turns aside and tarries but a night. But I knew that they were earnests of more enduring and uninterrupted felicity. Soon after this my implacable enemy returned with double force; not to dispute me out of the reality of what I enjoyed, for I have felt more of that than ever he did, and know the sweetness of it better than he does; nor did he attempt to call in question my interest. He has dropt that for upwards of twenty years; nay, he has acknowledged it, and confessed it, when he hath wanted to tempt me to presumption. But, as all the doubts that his lies have raised in my mind could never move me from the foundation, so all his acknowledgments of the goodness of my state never added to my establishment. He can neither bless us at all, nor curse us at all. The work that he came to do was to ftir up hard thoughts, prejudices, and enmity, at the best of friends, because I was then deserted, and my mind suffered to be defiled with a foul-mouthed devil, a rebellious and most blasphemous Jacobin. This word flew into my mind, “ But I gave myself unto prayer.” I took the hint; and, for three or four days, shut myself up, for the space of four or five hours in a day, to attend upon that very thing. And never to be sure did that holy and blessed Spirit, that all-prevailing intercessor, that quint
essence of all meekness, simplicity, and purity, help my infirmities more. I was amazed at the fortitude, boldness, freedom, fervour, argument, and powerful pleadings, that he equipped and furnished me with. Well might the Ancient of Days say to his apostles, “ I will send you a Comforter, which the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” For years have I watched and attended to the secret and wonderful operations and influences of that benign and unchangeable friend of sinners, and have admired his quick, seasonable, and invariable counsel, cautions, and instructions, and have often called him by all the sweet names of heavenly Dove, sweet One, blessed Comforter, sure and faithful Witness, yea, and every sweet and pathetic name that my heart could indite, or my lips utter; and, while I have been heaping them upon his blessed head, he has kept my mind tranquil, and his pleasing operations have wonderfully proclaimed his approbation of my simple encomiums. Soon after this I fell ill, and have been laid by a fortnight, during which time he left me not, but favoured me more than usual; and one night I had the following dream. I dreamed that I was sitting at table with many of my friends. I do not remember any entertainment on the table. My mind was chiefly taken up at looking at my friends; and, among
thc the rest, there fat the Lord Jesus Christ in person; and I knew him immediately.; nor did he vanish out of my fight; and I found my mind inclined to put two questions to him. I said to him, Lord, there are but few in this world that know thee, and there is bread enough in our Father's house, and to spare; and, as there are but few that know thee, and as thou hast but a few to feed, how is it then, that thou giveft us so little? He smiled, but gave me no answer. But I thought that every one at the table were looking at him, waiting for his reply; which convinced me that my open question was the language of all their hearts. As I could not succced in this question, I put another, and the eyes of all at the table seemed to look at me. I said, When you begin your work on us, you spare no pains, nor let our fouls find rest, until you have weaned us from every thing under heaven; nor will you appear satisfied till you have brought us to love you with all our heart, and with all our soul ; and, when you have gained this, what can be the reason of your leaving us, provoking us, and trying us, in so dreadful a manner? The eyes of all the company, as soon as I had done with my question, were turned from me, and looked at him. · But all that I got was another pleasing smile; for my beloved gave me no answer. I cannot, at this time, describe to my dear sister how dead my soul is to this world, nor how dead this world is to me. Never
did I see so clearly as now the meaning of the former and latter rain, mentioned Hosea vi. 3, James v. 7. The former shower, at conversion, I understand, when the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, took place ; when righteousness, joy, peace, and praise, sprung up. This purged from guilt and filth, and a wonderful crop of the fruits of the Spirit succeeded. But the latter rain, at death, which is to root up and purge off the very inbeing of fin, must be a most stupendous work! The work of regeneration, and that of changing our vile bodies, and fashioning them like unto the glorious body of Christ, cannot be greater than this. But this is the thing that he hath spoken to us of; and then there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts. And I must tell thee that, at times, it is much on my mind, according to what I do now and then feel, that the latter rain is not far from me. “O then shall the fruit of the earth be excellent and comely, when he that laid the foundation of the earth shall plant the hea. vens !” Isa.li. 16. “ Then shall there be no more treading down, trouble, nor perplexity, in the valley of vision.” Ila. xxii. 5. In this confidence I subscribe myself Yours to serve in the kingdom
and patience of Christ,
In the Desert.
TO NOCTUA AURITA, in the Desert.
I CANNOT express how much I feel myself indebted to you for your foul-strengthening and foul-establishing epiftle; for such it is indeed to me; though one part of it caused me forrow of heart; and it will cause the same forrow to thousands after the Lord takes you from us. But you have borne the burden and heat of the day, and the Lord has appointed the period when you are to rest from your labours. But, o how few labourers there are in the vineyard, though the harvest is truly great! It rejoiced my heart to hear of those sweet visits the Lord has favoured you with. I know something of them, though but in a small measure. I have been favoured with but few of them of late. I seem to be called to sharp conflicts. It gave me great satisfaction to find you acknowledge I am led in the same path with yourself; by which I think you mean the path of tribulation. Indeed, my dear brother, I am led to see more and more that it is the only way to the kingdom. My present standing greatly differs from what it was some time