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know which to praise God most for, the strength he had given her to do so, or the pain she had felt all the night before ! “ For,” said she, “ if I had not had pain, I should have slept. But instead of that, I had such a Divine visit from my Lord, and such sweet intercourse with him, I would not have been without it for all the world.” This woman grows much in grace; she is to me a great con. solation, and a help in training up some of the lambs of the flock. She had been for some years in a mourning state, (though she still retained her faith,) but the first Sabbath my dear husband and I spoke in the kitchen, she was set at liberty while these words were sung :
“ The year of jubilee is come!
Return, ye ransom'd sinners, home !" January 5, 1785.- I have this day been looking over my many mercies, and my heart was melted into love! O what a prospect! Lord, speak again to my heart, « Thou shalt walk with me in white !” I cast my whole self on thy mercy ! So much I feel of it as makes me rest under thy shadow! Thy will shall be my choice! Some. times I think I am so surrounded with comforts, I shall not answer that character, “ These are they which came out of great tribulation." But I abandon myself to thy dear will, only let me glorify thee to the uttermost! Yea, with every power! It was a good time last night also while at the prayer meeting.
Yesterday I went with my dear husband to , but being taken ill, I was forced to return home. This is often the case with me. I am oft disappointed in what appears at first the will of God; but at this time it was far otherwise. I felt a pleasure in appearing mean and good for nothing. Yes, I will glory in my infirmity, that the will of God may be done in me!
July 2.-Much blessed to-day while my dear husband was prcaching the sermon to the club. I had a sweet sight how union with God could transform the soul into his own image.
July 26. This summer being dry, I have had much opportunity of going about. One day, at the Rough Park, I had a peculiar instance of the goodness of God. A son of Belial, a wicked. rude fellow, bound bimself and another
young man, whom he had drawn in, under a blasphemous oath, that they would be there by the time we began, in order to make a disturbance. Accordingly, about six o'clock, he was for setting off, when he was suddenly struck as with death. All about him really thought he was dying. He continued thus for some hours. O how easily can the Lord put his bridle into the jaws of those he would restrain! I gave it out to be there again that day fortnight, but in the meantime I walked to a distant place, rather beyond my strength ; however, we had a good time. On my return home, I felt very weary, and the thought passed my mind, My soul is too swift for my body; for it seemed as if it would fly to those places where there appeared a call. My earthly frame, how. ever, was too heavy to drag after it. That night I began to grow ill, and it terminated in a fever. My limbs swelled a good deal, and I was covered with red spots; but had not much pain. Now I had a fresh instance of the tender care and love of my blessed partner : sickness was made pleasant by his kind attention. When the day came for me to be at the Rough Park, he went himself, but was so penetrated with the thought of losing me, that he preached as it were my funeral sermon; and the dear people joined him in his feelings and prayer. During this illness many thoughts passed my mind, which I can scarce account. for. For a good while past my dear husband has joined with me in prayer in an uncommon manner. We are led to offer ourselves to do and suffer all the will of God. Something seems to tell me I must have more of the bit. ter cup; and these words are much with me : “ That I may stand in the evil day, and having done all-stand.” My prayer is, That the evil day may be before death, not at the last. But, Lord, thy will—thy whole will be done!
Certainly I have now scarce any cross. Thou hast made my cup to run over! Yea, thou hast made me to forget all my sorrows. It seems as if I had never suffered any thing! There is not a comfort I can wish for which I have not ;—but, Lord, I want more grace!
October 25.-When I wrote last, (July 26,) I was in. deed arrived at the summit of human felicity! My cup did indecd run over! I often said, Lord! how is this? "Am I indeed one of those of whom it is said, “These are
they who came out of great tribulation ?” My way is strewed with roses. I am ready to say, with Joseph, “ The Lord hath made me to forget all my afflictions, and all my father's house !"
But O ! how shall I write it! On the fourteenth of August, 1785, the dreadful moment came! The sun of my earthly joys for ever set, and the cloud arose which casts the sable on all my future life! At half past ten that Sabbath night, I closed the eyes of my beloved ! What a change! The whole creation wears a new face to me. The posture of my mind at this season I will not trust to my memory to describe. I will leave it in the rough manner I then set it down. Perhaps some one walking in the same dreary path may find a little comfort therefrom. To others it may be dry and insipid. “ The heart knoweth its own bitterness.”
On September 15, 1785, I wrote in my diary as follows: “I am truly a desolate woman, who hath no helper but thee." I remember a little before the translation of my dearest love, we were drawn out continually to ask for a greater measure of the Spirit-such a measure as was given at pentecost: or in other words, such a manifesta. tion of the loving nature of God, as should fulfil in us that promise, “ Ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost." This I asked and pleaded for, and that on any condition. My dear Mr. Fletcher used to say, “ That is right, Polly ; let us hold fast there, and leave all the rest to God, though he should be constrained to part us asunder to give the answer.”
On the Tuesday before my love died, when those words were applied to my mind, “Where I am, there shall my servants be, that they may behold my glory," I felt such a power in them, as seemed in a great degree to take away the bitterness even of that dreadful cup. “ To behold my glory!” That thought would for moments swallow up all, and I seemed to lose myself in the desire of his glory being manifested. But that awful night! when I had hung over my dear husband for many hours, expecting every breath to be his last, and during which time he could not speak to, nor take any notice of me, a flood of unspeakable sor. row overspread my heart, and quite overwhelmed my spirit. I was scarcely in my senses ; and such a fear seized my
soul lest I should say or do any thing displeasing to the Lord, that I was torn as it were a thousand ways at once.
My fatigue had been great: I was barely recovered of my fever, and this stroke so tore my nerves, that it was an inlet to much temptation. In former parts of my life, I have felt deep sorrow; but such were now my feelings, that no words that I am able to think of can convey any adequate idea thereof. The next morning-O my God! what a cup didst thou put into my hand ! Not only my beloved husband, but it appeared to me my Saviour also, was torn from me! Clouds and darkness surrounded both soul and body! The sins even of my infancy came be. fore me, and assaulted me as thick as hail! I seemed to have no love, no faith, no light; and yet I could not doubt but I should see the smiling face of God in glory! Yea, that heaven would terminate all my sufferings! There did not seem one dart thrown at my final salvation. An unshaken belief that Christ would bring me through all, was my great support; and it seemed to me, that I must have been annihilated had I been moved from that anchor. No finite creature could have supported it. My agonized soul seemed to sweat blood ; and I felt the meaning of those words, “ The pains of hell gat hold upon me!” What, said I, is this the soul that but a few days ago delighted in the thought of “ His glory!” But now he hath entered into judgment with me! My soul was amazed, and in deep anguish ; and literally my life drew nigh to the grave!
When formerly I have read accounts like this, I have thought, These persons have a strong way of expressing themselves ; but, alas ! I solemnly declare, no expression appears to me strong enough for what I felt. That word passed my mind several times :
“Even to his Father did he look
In pain-his Father him forsook !" A host of foes seemed to surround me, and I was (as it appeared to me) given into their hands.* Those words came
* This whole account describes truly “the hour and the power of darkness. The blast of the terrible ones" was indeed " as a storm against the wall !" But this“ follower of Christ,” nevertheless, “walked not in darkness." She, like her Master, could say, "My God! my God!" when her “ soul was sorrowful even unto often to my mind, To know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.” Some. times I remembered that expression, “ My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me ?" I cast my mournful eyes toward the “ Man of sorrows" who spoke them, but there seemed no answer ; all was horror and darkness.
Many times a day I visited my lovely corpse, remembering, as I knelt beside him, how he used to say, “Ah ! my dear Polly, must I ever see thee laid out on this bed!" But, alas! he could no more speak to me-no more ex. press his tender sympathy! Now “I trod the winepress alone," and truly “ there was none with me.” The rest of the day I sat mostly alone in the next room, where my window presented to my view the grave digging, and the churchyard visited by numbers to look at the vault! Soon it occurred to my mind, that before we married some let. ters had passed between us on particular subjects, which he had often told me I had better burn; saying, “ Thou puttest it off; and if one of us should die, it will almost kill the other to do it then.” Yet, being loath to part with them, I had neglected to do it; but now being seized with a kind of palsy, and loss of memory, I thought, Perhaps in another day I may not be able to do it, and then I shall be unfaithful to my dear husband's command. The third day, therefore, I carried them to the fire. But 0! what did I feel at the sight! I could not even avoid seeing some of the tender expressions they contained, which were now as barbed arrows to my heart. Next day came on the funeral.
All this time my soul was as in the lion's den. The day after I heard that some reports were abroad concern. ing my dear husband's death-as if he had been delirious, and expired in great agonies. I believed I was called to write the truth; and casting myself on the Lord, to be guided by his hand as a mere machine, I took up my pen and wrote to Mr. Wesley the following letter. I wrote it at one sitting, intending to copy it afterward; but I had no more strength than just sufficed for the occasion. I sent it, therefore, as it was, to the press, and left it all to God. death.” Thus, " Ileaven its choicest gold by suffering tried." The saint sustained it but the woman felt: and she no more disguised her feelings than our Divine Master did.--ED.