Letter XXXV

To Noctua Aurita, of the Desert.

I HAVE received your Letter, which came to me wet with the dew of heaven; and therefore I must call it Gideon's fleece, when it was taken out of the floor wet. I hope you will excuse my coming to you so soon; but really I could stay no longer. By your Letter my mind is entirely delivered from that darkness which has entangled me for these three months past respecting the coming in by the south gate, and going forth by the north, &c. I believe Satan never had before such a simple fool to deal with. I perceive he is the enemy that has done me all this mischief; but he is now discovered. I know it was he that applied that passage to my mind, and made me believe that it was left on record on purpose for me, and could be applicable to no one's case but mine. I can see now, as clear as I can see the sun at noon day, when he entered first, and the ends he had in view; and, by my relating to you the exercises I have passed under since I wrote you that Letter, I think you will see it too. You know he had then gained his point so far as to cut off all my expectations of being favoured with any more revivings, renewings or sensible manifestations of the Lord's love and favour towards me while in this world; and he brought the word of God to prove it, which was, that I was to go out by the north gate: therefore there was nothing but gloominess and darkness felt by me. This caused my hands to hang down, and my knees to wax feeble, and nothing was expected by me but more darkness and misery; and this did come to pass, for I got deeper and deeper. in distress and darkness. This confirmed me yet more that it was God himself that had laid that passage with such a weight on my mind. This strengthened my bands, and made them still tighter; and, after three or four weeks had passed, and I had received no answer from you to my Letter, he came to me thus, and insinuated that I was not on your heart and in your affections as formerly; and that God had taken me off, and that he would not suffer you to send me a word more, nor even to pray for me; and then set before me what a curse that soul must be under that was not on the heart of the servants of the Lord, because he says that whatsoever they bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; though I know I did never wholly credit this lie of his; but it was but one thing that kept me from it, and that was this, I thought God would not take me off the heart of one of his servants without taking me off the heart of the other; and with respect to that being the case with my dear pastor, the King's herald, Satan was not permitted to assault me with, for I had had proof enough of late that I was more on his heart than ever; and I had not a doubt on my mind but he did pray for me.

O, blessed be the Lord that he can go no further than he is permitted! Satan proceeded against me with great caution, lest he should be discovered. He was slow, but sure to deceive so far; but he had not got to the length of his chain yet. About a fortnight ago he came to me in a vision of the night. I dreamed I was in a barn-floor, and had got a halter about my neck to hang myself, but was prevented. However, soon after I found the halter round my neck the second time, in a hitch knot, fastened to a beam above my head, and myself standing some considerable height from the ground; and I was just stretching forth my hands to give myself a swing off the place, when instantly awoke, in such horror, and in such darkness, as it is impossible for me to describe, and with a conviction on my mind that the dream was a prediction of the awful end I should make, and that this was what was meant by going out by the north gate. Every thing was hid from my sight that God had done for my soul; the bed could not contain me long; and in this situation and conflict I was four days and nights. This surely must be what David meant when he said the pains of hell got hold of him; for sure I am that my feelings were similar to what the damned in hell feel. Here I let go my hold of the Bock, and so I lay exposed to all the shafts of Satan; and this was his hour, and the powers of darkness; for there was nothing to resist him, for I had not one piece of that armour that God has provided in exercise; and sure I am that, if my safety had depended on my hold of the Rock, I had sunk to rise no more. But the Rock held me, and followed me through this dark path. The third day I could write a few lines to his excellency, and he sent me a Letter; and God did give him a word for me which did in a measure abate the violence of the temptation. He told me it was Satan, and I was helped in a measure to believe it; and I felt a calmness in my mind, and these words afforded some consolation to me, namely, the conversation between John and the angel in the Revelation, where he says, "Who are these, and whence came they?" and the angel's reply, "These are they who are come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; therefore are they before the throne of God." I saw much in this word, therefore; by it I clearer than ever saw that there was no getting to heaven but through a rough path; and these words of James added something to the calm on my mind, "Blessed is he that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life." And I know that I had been made to endure this conflict, and also who had supported me through it. But Satan was not fully discovered till I received your Letter; and when I had read it twice, I said with David, "Though an host encamp against me, I will not fear; though war rise up against me, in this will I be confident, for God is with me of a truth." And sure I am that all that Satan has told me about not being on your heart as aforetime, is a lie. And the Lord has been-pleased to set his broad seal to the contents of your Letter, that my mind might be, if possible, more than fully satisfied that it came from him, and that you gave me the mind of the Spirit; for on reading the xlvith of Ezekiel after perusing your Letter, and after reading the 10th verse, which says, "And the prince in the midst of them when they go in shall go in, and when they go forth shall go forth;" to think Satan should hold me in such darkness so long quite astonished me, when that one verse is quite sufficient to prove all the interpretations that he had put on the verse before to be nothing but lies. After I had communicated the dream and the conflict to his Majesty's herald, I had concluded never to rehearse it again; but the light that accompanied your Letter to me made me alter my mind, for I thought you would see more of the work of Satan and his craft than I could. May the Lord bless you with the blessings of the upper and nether springs, and abundantly reward all your labours of love to my soul! This is, and ever will be, the prayer (when privileged with access to God) of

Your very sincere and affectionate sister in the bonds of the gospel,

The King' s Dale.


P.S. My partner unites with me in kind love We should be very glad to see you at our cottage this summer; and the poor Shunamite will be very glad to accommodate you with a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick.