To Noctua Aurita, in the Desert.
I EMBRACE this opportunity of sending you a few lines to inform you a little how I go on. When I wrote to you last my soul was melted within me because of trouble; I was fainting in the day of adversity, for my soul was much discouraged because of the way. But the Lord, who comforteth those that are cast down, and who is ever a refuge for the poor and needy, has condescended to appear for me, to raise my hope and expectation, being once more brought to enjoy the presence of him who is all in all to my soul. And I think I do now know something of what the apostle calls rejoicing in hope; and this hope I find to be an anchor to my soul, for it does enter into that within the veil. The tempest with which I was tossed has ceased its raging, and a blessed calm is brought to my mind. I am sure Satan himself has felt it; he could not endure it; and unbelief was put to the blush, while faith laid fast hold of his word of promise which was spoken to my soul. How true are the words of the wise man when he says, "As cold water to a thirty soul, so is good news from a far country." How a word from God does melt and humble us, and bring us to his feet! And I am sure that nothing else will do it; though in seasons of desertion Satan is as busy with me as ever he can be with any poor soul. to stir up in me hard thoughts of my kind and gracious God and Redeemer. But I find that afterwards these things make deep furrows in my soul, when contrition of heart and godly sorrow operate under the influence of the blessed Spirit. I think I never did before see the distinction so clear between the old man and the new, or what Paul calls flesh and spirit, as I do now. This knowledge I have got in my last conflict, and by experience, which has been truly bitter to my soul; therefore I hope it will abide. My mind seems at present much impressed with a sense of the goodness and loving-kindness of the Lord to me. I believe be will not let me run away from him, because, when I am bent on going on in ways that are not good, he lays his rod on me to stop me. How oft has he called back my wandering feet! I may well say, Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all my days to this present moment; though Satan has often stirred up such rebellion in my heart that I have even called God's ministers liar, when they have prophesied good concerning me. But, notwithstanding this, the Lord has put in my heart some good thing, which will not find satisfaction in anything short of his blessed presence; and, as this is his sweet work, he will accept it. I was long looking for some good thing in myself to recommend me to his favour, instead of receiving all good from him. And, indeed, I find this, that when he withdraws from me, with respect to his sensible pre, once, and leaves me in the dark, so that I cannot see one step of the path, that then the old legal leaven in my tabernacle will work and ferment to set me to struggle and strive in my own strength. But when God has appeared for me after such a season, how has my folly been manifested, and I have called myself a thousand fools and have seen clearly that if, instead of striving and struggling, I had continued to have entreated the Lord to help and deliver me, I should have been brought out of my difficulties and darkness much sooner. I am sure, from my own experience, that if God was not to give us something to keep hope and expectation alive, they would soon give up the ghost in such seasons of darkness. But, blessed be his name, he will never forsake his own work. I was sorry to hear you was poorly with a cold. I shall be glad to hear you are better; and I need not say a Letter will be very acceptable. You, know that I am better in my poor tabernacle than when I wrote last; I think I do begin to see that this late affliction is among the all things that shall work together for my good. I know the Lord has taught me something by it, and supported me through it, and did keep me when Satan, that old serpent, and his accursed crew, did compass me about like bees, when I was in such a situation that I could neither cry nor call on my God for help. He did then go to the utmost length of his chain, and would, I have no doubt, if he had been permitted, have torn me to pieces, soul and body. What God is like unto our God? O that I could be assured that I should never more entertain one hard thought of him respecting any of his dispensations towards me! But I must conclude, which I do with wishing you prosperity both of soul and body, with much of his presence who is the health of both: and believe me to remain
Your affectionate friend and sister in the Lord,
The King's Dale