Letter XXXI.

To Noctua Aurita, in the Desert.

I CANNOT express how much I feel myself indebted to you for your soul-strengthening and soul-establishing epistle; for such it is indeed to me; though one part of it caused me sorrow of heart and it will cause the same sorrow 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 back. I am not led in the expectation of much sensible enjoyment while in this wilderness; though I know that it is only the comfortable presence of the dear Redeemer which makes a heaven upon earth. But the inheritance is not to be enjoyed here, but only the earnest. I think you will not misunderstand me, but I know I am very blundering at conveying my ideas, in thinking I speak too slightly of those visits. But I am sure I was long seeking them as the only food I was to live on. But I see now that the just are to live by faith; and a daily cross is appointed for me. And I think that the Lord shelved me this some time before I was brought to submit to put my shoulders under the burden. But now I am convinced there is no growing in the divine life without trials. Never did I see, as I do now, the meaning of those words of Hezekiah, when he said, "By these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit; so wilt thou revive me, and cause me to live." I can see now that the sharpest trials I have been exercised with have proved the greatest blessing to my soul. I thought, when I was on the mount Tabor so many months, I was surely in a place of safety. But, oh, I am well convinced it was a slippery place. Indeed I have not a wish to be placed there again. And, when I have perused the Letters you sent me at that time, I am astonished they did not bring me down. But God had appointed the instrument that was to effect that. I may well say that it is owing to my having obtained help of God that I continue to this moment. I believe I shall never be finally left; he will put me in a thousand fires before he will suffer me to get from under his hand. I must tell you, that the subject of one part of your Letter was entirely new to me, which is the latter rain at death. I thank you kindly for it. I believe the hand of God is in it, as it hath taken, in a great measure, a burden off my mind, which has been a matter of great perplexity, and which I never did communicate to any one; and that is with respect to the temporal death of the body. You cannot conceive the distressing fears I have lived in on account of this thing; how I should be in the pains of death; and fearing the assaults of Satan; and lest I should be, at that time bereft of my senses, and so be left to dishonour God by speaking unadvisedly with my lips. And this has distressed my mind much. But those fears have not in the least abated since the sting of death has been taken away. Satan has, at times, been permitted to suggest to me, in times of desertion, that, if the work was genuine, those fears would not exist in my mind. But I cannot express what a sensible relief I felt when I read that part of your Letter. I hope it will not return again. I know it is very dishonouring to God. If you should find your mind at liberty to enlarge on the subject, I shall take it as a favour; for the subject is much on my mind. I hope the Lord is confirming your bodily health, that you may not' be confined from your labours. Mr. H___ much wishes he could write to you, but says he is so dead and stupid it is out of his power; but thanks you for your Letters, and shall be always glad to hear from you, begging an interest in your prayers. I remain

Your very affectionate friend and sister in the Lord Jesus,

The King's Dale.