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PART THE SIXTH.
Her religious experience at Madely.
liAST night I had a peculiar sense of that truth, "Thy Maker is thy Husband!" I saw great depth in that declaration. The thought of belonging only to Jesus was precious] These words were powerfully on my mi»d,—
u Be bold in Jesus to confide,
Thy husband's power and goodness prove,
In faith, and holiness, and love!"
1 saw and felt all things are possible to persevering faith: but in the midst of this exercise, my old temptation presented, Thou art not in joy !—And some say,— "No more holiness than joy."—It was as cold water cast on a fire! My feeble sore spirit trembled under the suggestion, and sorrow's waves around me rolled! I said, true, I have not joy! Again it came to my mind, others believe because an overflowing power constrains them so to do: but I believe, as it were, because I will believe.* Yet I thought, is not that the way of faith? Ought I not to hang on Jesus in the midst of the fire? What is "the abiding in the secret place of the Most High?" Is it not taking shelter in Jesus, and keeping fixed there whatever storms may surround? I cried to the Lord, and sometimes the faith of Abraham was set before me. These words of our Lord were also applied* "Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have
* So must they in the hour ©f temptation. Ed.
believed." But still the weight hung over my soul. At night I went to bed oppressed, yet struggling to maintain that faith which " Staggers not at the promise," but gives glory to God by believing.
I dreamed I was in a room with Sally, and saw a picture, or rather the groundwork for a picture, on which was only painted one small sheep lying down; the rest was all plain, I said to her, Sally, look on that picture, and what the Lord says, your dear master will draw it out for me to read! I then saw letter by letter come out, as if wrote (though without any hand or pen,) as follows: "She that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." I felt it a confirmation of my faith; and said, There is no better path than to repose the soul in God, and to go on in quiet resignation, whatever we may feel. As I was making that reflection, I heard, though yet asleep, my dear husband's voice, as if close to my face, speaking these words,—
Shout, all ye people of the sky f
The beginning I heard in my sleep, but as it wake& me, the rest was heard afterward; and I could have known his voice among a thousand. I saw from it, we never render to God his right till we abandon, by a perfect resignation, all our concerns, spiritual as well as temporal, into his hand, and learn to lie still before Him, in the posture of a little child, hanging each moment by faith on His mercy. I see how the art of Satan has hindered me. Indeed my present state is not joyous. I feel, keenly feel my loss! I am as a poor sheep alone on the mountains. I feel a sorrow no pen can describe. I am penetrated with fiery darts, and my health so broken, my nerves so weak;—with a variety of trying affairs3 which quite weigh me down. But this mornings the Lord showed me, I was not to set joy as the mark,* but a ready submission, and quiet resignation to His will. That I was to fix this on my mind, " Whoso trusteth in the Lord shall never be confounded." That I was to lie still as clay in his hand; that he in his wisdom and love might save me in the way that he knew. My only care should be, to embrace the cross with a ready will!
February 6, 1786. My soul is waiting on the Lord. I believe he will bring me into his unclouded presence! I do feel the truth of these words,
"They shall as their right His righteousness claim."
I also feel that,
u I shall as my right His purity claim." I do claim it, and feel a share therein. He keeps me; I know 4i He that abideth in Him sinneth not." My soul doth abide, looking by faith to Jesus; and I do not feel any sin; yet my sorrow and mourning is deep. I also feel sore temptation; not to any thing earthly of any kind No, I believe "the world is crucified to me," and I " unto the world!" It has no charms for me; but I am tempted with great terrors, which come over my mind in a moment, and my weak nerves, which have been affected even to a degree of palsy, help to let in the temptations. At times the Lord Jesus gives me such a view of his faithfulness and full power to save, that I seem to forget for a few moments all my sorrow 1 This is the case often; but then, the vision shuts again, and grievous temptations return. I want a full liberty, such as was given at the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I believe there is a degree of union which shuts out all sorrow,!—The soul having so entered into the element of love, as to be incapable of receiving any
* It is a real part of the "kingdom of God," (Rom. xvii. 14.) but not sensibly discerned while the believer is u sifted as wheat.'' Ed.
| No; our Lord was a man of sorrows. But all rebellious sorrow we may be saved from, Ed.
idea but what is consonant therewith, or in other words, a " dwelling in God,5' and possessing the fulness of that* promise, " I and my Father will come and make our abode with you."
February 16. I found to-day some refreshment in conversing with that dear old saint, Mary Matthews, one of my dear love's first children, who endured much persecution for the truth's sake many years since. She was called under the first sermon she heard him preach; and after feeling the spirit of bondage nearly two years, was very clearly set at liberty, and walked many years in faith and love. It was she who was so blessed the first Sabbath my dear husband introduced me into the kitchen among those who met there, and she has enjoyed a fuller liberty ever since.—She told me—That on the day after the preaching, in the last week, having undertaken to open the door in time for the morning service, she took the key of the room for that purpose, and believed the Lord would awake her in time. About two in the morning (instead of five) she was awaked with an extraordinary power of God. She thought, I must rise and pray. She came down and broke up the fire, and being in a little house all alone, she sat down to meditate, and give full scope to the Spirit. She took up her hymnbook, but could not read, for, said she, "All around me seemed God! It appeared to me as if the room was full of heavenly spirits. I laid the book down, and falling back in my chair, I remembered no more of any things outward, but thought I was at the threshold of a most beautiful place. I could just look in.—The first thing 1 saw was the Lord Jesus sitting on a throne! There was a beautiful crown over his head 1 It did not seem to bear with a weight, but as if it was suspended there, and as he turned his head, it turned with him. A glorious light appeared on one side,—and all around him was glory! I thought on that word of St. Paul,—Who dvvelleth in light unapproachable! Turning my eye a little, I saw close to my Saviour my dear minister, Mr. Fletcher! He looked con
tinually on the Lord Jesus with a sweet smile. But he had a very different appearance from what he had when in the body, and yet there was such an exact resemblance, that I could have known him among a thousand! Features and limbs just the same, but not of flesh. It was what I cannot describe, all light! I know not what to call it 1 I never saw any thing like it. It was, I thought, such a body as could go thousands of miles in a moment!* There were several passed who had the same appearance; and I seemed to have lost my old weak shaking body! I seemed to myself as if I could have gone to the world's end as light as air! I looked on him a long time, and observed every feature with its old likeness. He then turned his eyes on me, and held out his hand to me just as he used to do. After this, the whole disappeared, and I came to myself, and found it was just the time when f should open the preaching-house door."—I found her words a comfort to me.j Ah! my dear husband was a suffering member here; but he is now a bright star in glory.
I am amazed to see how the Almighty appears for me in outward things. Night and day I have a sense of safety. I feel as if the angels of the Lord encamped round about me! Though we are alone, I and the two girls in this house, sometimes only Sally and me, no long winter night seems to have any thing dreary to me! Indeed life and death are equal, the will of God is all! I feel also a quiet acquiescence in the will of God. His will shall be my choice! I have no other rest on earth. Yet I have not joy! But I will lie in his hands for this also.
Some thoughts have arisen in my mind on this subject. There has long been a question between two sorts of
* What a description! Far beyond her powers. Ed.
j How wonderful are the ways of God! Instead of that 44 joy unspeakable, and full of glory," which this demoted woman so earnestly desired, He took this way to comfort her! And what a mystery of love even in this, that he should give it to her, not directly, hut at second hand! Ed,