To Philomela, in the King's Dale, or Elsewhere.
LONG looked-for is come at last: "They that sow shall reap." But I thought it was almost four months before the expected harvest came on. Banqueting times take up all the attention; and we know the memory is treacherous. The woman at the well forgot her pitcher; Peter talked he knew not what; and Paul forgot whether his body was in the company or out of it in ms flight to Paradise. And no wonder, when the new wine of the kingdom goes down so sweetly as to cause" the lips of those that are asleep to speak;" for persons that talk in their sleep are not always consistent. Glad am I to find that my sister continues in the fellowship of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ. She holds fellowship with the Father by a participation of his everlasting love; she has fellowship with Jesus, and walks with him in peace and equity; and has fellowship with the Spirit by the witness he bears with her spirit, and by the cry of Abba, Father; and by the comfort that he communicates, by the promises he applies, and by his kind help against her infirmities at the throne of grace. O happy, happy souls, who rule with God, and are faithful with the saints! How great the condescension of the Most High, who humbleth himself to visit such poor mortals, and to enwrap them in the rays and flames of infinite divinity; and with favour to compass them as with a shield; and to exalt them sensibly into the enjoyment of his omnipresence; where we" see the King in his beauty, and the land that is very far off!" In whose reconciling face the Father of all mercies for ever shines, as well pleased; and shines with approbation, complacency, and delight, as propitious, and as the fountain of all grace, mercy, and peace; while we look as through a glass darkly, and are changed into the same image; renewed in knowledge, and blessed with righteousness and true holiness; in which image the mind goes from glory to glory; from the glory of one perfection to the glorious discovery of another, till we see all his divine attributes meet, centre, and harmonize together, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to the glory of God in the salvation of souls This, this is the religion of Jesus, and God's mystery among the Gentries. Enthroned in our affections, he reigns unrivalled: and there he sways his righteous sceptre, and spreads the beams of immortal light. "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." All the poor sinner's thoughts are brought into sweet captivity; tranquillity and peace are the blessed fruits and effects of his glorious and undisturbed reign; while the poor from the dust, and the beggar from the dunghill, inherit the blessings of his throne, and the flourishing felicity of his mild government, and admire the order of it, the justice and equity of it, the execution of his laws, and the regard that he pays to truth in every branch of his administration. This, my sister, is the kingdom of God, and the empire of all-conquering grace, which banishes the infernal usurper from the heart, and divests him of his dark panoply, in which he trusted, and by which the objects of heaven's choice are long kept in slavery. Other lords have had dominion over us; but now, by thy power, will we make mention of thy name. In righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, stands the glorious reign of the King of kings, which rescues helpless souls from the triple reign of Satan, sin, and death. But how little is this religion known in our day! How few that preach the kingdom of God! and how few that are acquainted with that power in which this kingdom stands! And why should the Ancient of Days reveal and make these things known to us, who are as sheep that no man taketh up; as the off-scouring of the earth, whom none sought after or cared for? Shut up in the dark regions, and laid in irons; hated, as we thought, by both worlds, and condemned to perpetual drudgery; reprobated, as I once believed, from eternity; cursed from the womb, and doomed to destruction! But our thoughts were not God's thoughts. We were not to die till we had seen the Lord's Christ. The vision was to speak in us; and we were appointed to look at him whom we have pierced, and mourn, and melt in the soul-dissolving vision till the divine potter thought fit to mould and form us into another vessel, which shall contain the heavenly treasure, without bursting with pride, so as to break the bottle, and cause the wine to run out, and the bottle to perish. The bee, my sister, with wax on her wings, and honey in her bag, was thine own epistle. Perpetual heats and colds much impair my poor, frail tabernacle, and I feel it daily, especially in the winter season; and therefore I know it cannot stand long. The whole bulk of professors in general hate the power et godliness, and are taught to guard themselves against it, and all convictions from it; and I know that God will visit for these things. Our country hath long been the valley of vision. But the sun is going down, and the shadows of the evening are stretching out; the light is much hated, and stumbling upon the dark mountains must be expected. But may we, "who are of the day, watch and be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation! For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory." Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the most high and eternal God, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honour and glory, power and praise, might, majesty, and dominion, both now and for ever and ever, amen and amen, says
Thine affectionate brother in the best of all bonds, and in the sweetest of all ties,