Letter XX.

To Noctua Aurita, in the Desert.

I received safe your kind favour, and kindly do I thank you for the same; and glad I am to find you bear me on your mind. In compliance to your request, I take this opportunity of informing you of my spiritual welfare. I have not to inform you that I am in the banqueting-house: no; those sweet seasons are over; for my Beloved has withdrawn himself, and is gone, and has left me a silly dove without a heart, as you warned me of in a former Letter; and I am going mourning without the sun. He has hid himself with a cloud in his anger, and my soul is melted because of trouble. He has taken the bag of money with him, and there seems to be a famine in the land, and I am in want. As you observe, the bare remembrance of those past seasons wherein I lived under his shadow, is only an aggravation of my misery. I well know now, and that by bitter experience, the truth of your former predictions, much of them having been fulfilled during these two months past; and none but God himself could have supported me in the perilous path I am called to walk in. I have been brought so low as almost to cast away my confidence; though, in my joys, I have said, numbers of times, I was sure I should never be shaken with respect to my state. But this language is purged from me by very sharp strokes. Indeed, I have sometimes a little light given me, from the word, that the path I am brought into is the path of tribulation that leads to the kingdom; and a little light God has given me lately by a very particular dream. God still instructs me by dreams and visions of the night. Some part of it is now fulfilling, and some part remains to lie fulfilled; and much does God lead me to watch his hand, which is with me at this time. It would carry me far beyond the limits of a Letter to give you a particular account of God's dealing with me; and perhaps it is God's will that I should keep his dealings with me to myself. I am sure I have wished a thousand times lately I had never opened my mouth to any one about the work of God with me. I know it has involved me in many snares. However, nothing teaches like experience. I have been a little strengthened by those words in Job, xxvi. 2, 3, wherein he says of God, "How hast thou helped him that is without power? How savest thou the arm that hath no strength? How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hadst thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?" I am brought most sensibly to feel my want of help, power, strength, and wisdom; aha I never before so saw my need of Christ in his office as a counsellor: and it strengthened me a little that he is styled by the prophet the Wonderful Counsellor. I think never did a poor soul stand more in need of his help, in all his offices and characters, than I do at this present time. Those lines of Mr. Hart's are truly applicable to me:

Weaker than the bruised reed,
Help I every moment need.

I hope still to be favoured with an interest in your prayers, that I may be kept, guided, and directed in all spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, and preserved unto his heavenly kingdom; and may the best of spiritual blessings continually be vouchsafed to you, is the prayer of

Your truly affectionate sister in the bonds of the gospel,

The King's Dale.