A1r

The Nature, Certainty and Evidence 1 wordobscured
true Christianity.


In aomitted4 characters
Letter
from aomitted8 characters
Gentlewoman
In New-England,
To another her dear Friend, in
great Darkness, Doubt and Concern of a
Religious Nature.

omitted2 words
INTERNAL ERROR. Please report to wwp@neu.edu that regMe is unmatched.I Cor. I. 26—31.
N. B. Tho’ this Letter was wrote in great Privacy
from one Friend to another: yet on representing
that by allowing it to be Printed, it
wou’d probably reach to many others in the like
afflicted Case
, and by the Grace of God be very
helpful to them
; the Writer was at length prevailed
on to suffer it—provided her Name and
Place of abode remain concealed.

Boston:
Printed for and Sold by S. Kneeland, opposite
the Prison in Queen-Street. 17551755.

A1v 2 John Perrey his Book.

Copy of a Letter from a
Gentlewoman
in New-England to
another Gentlewoman her Friend, in
great Concern of Soul.

My very dear, dear Friend!

I have thought much on those few Lines you
began to write to me; and do not at all
wonder that you expect I should improve
every Opportunity to relieve you,—For surely
the strong Bonds of Friendship, with which we
have for some Years been bound to each other
(were there no Bonds of Grace at all) demand
this; and how much more when these are added?
And truly, my dear Friend, it has not been
owing to want of Tenderness, and Compassion
towards you, under your Distresses, that my
Tongue as well as Pen have oft been silent. No!
my Bowels earn’d, and I long’d to speak many
Times; but your Difficultys were such, that I
dare not open my Lips, leaft a subtil Adversary
should turn that against you, which I intended
for your Comfort, and sink your Spirits the lower,
as has sometimes you know been the Case.

And A2r 3

And Oh that God will now bless the poor weak
Endeavours of a worthless Worm to refresh you!
If so, it will rejoyce me much: But whether it
please Him to use a poor nothing Creature as an
Instrument or no; I am perswaded he will in his
own Time revive you, and I rejoyce and praise
him on your Behalf, by Grace: that he will turn
your Captivity; and that He will bruise Satan
under your Feet shortly, and make him gladly quit
the Field, and leave you to enjoy your God.
For blessed be God, Christ Jesus is stronger than
He and all his combin’d Legions; and he can’t
resist his Power, tho’ he has audaciously struck
at his Honour, and endeavour’d to impede his
blessed Work in your Soul. Do’s or has the
bold-daring Spirit presumed to insinuate that all
Religion, is vain, imaginary, and delusive? Do’s
he pretend that none can know they are right?
—Tell him from me, “He is a Liar”, and I am
bold to say, I have prov’d him so, He has told
me the same Tale: But blessed be God, I do
know that Religion is no imaginary Thing, but a
substantial Reality. I do know that there is a
God of boundless Perfections, Truth and Faithfulness;
that will not deceive, no nor forsake the
Soul that puts its Trust in him.

But now perhaps you’ll say, “Aye, but how do
I know this God is mine; and that I myself am
not deceived?”
I answer, by the Evidences of a
Work of Grace wrought in my Soul. And now
as God shall enable me, my dear Friend, I’ll tell
you truly what God has done for my Soul, and A2 what A2v 4
what I call Evidences of a Work of Grace. This
Question I could never fully verbally answer,
when with you, which makes me now attempt to
explain myself.

First, then, I do know that God has by his
Word and Spirit, convinced me of Sin, Original
and Actual; that I was by Nature a Child of
Wrath, an Heir of Hell, an Enemy to Him, and
his Ways, yea, Enmity itself; “Dead in Trespasses
and Sins”
; and that I was both utterly, unable, and
unwilling too, to help myself out of this miserable
State, being averse to the Gospel-Way of Salvation,
wrought out by Christ. I plainly see the
Cause of that Complaint, “Ye will not come to me,
that ye might have Life”
. God convinced me also
that “by the Deeds of the Law, no Flesh living
should be justified”
, and that He and his Throne
would be spotless forever tho’ He should cast me
off, and condemn me to the hottest Hell: Since
He ow’d me nothing nor was anyWay bound to
bestow his Grace upon me; and if he did, it
would be absolutely free and sovereign.—God
shew’d me I was utterly unworthy that he should
help me.

Nevertheless, tho’ I had thus destroyed myself,
yet in Him was my Help. Yea He discover’d to
me
, that “he had laid Help upon one who is
mighty to save to the uttermost all that come to God
by Him”
; even a glorious Christ the Great
Emanuel God-Man, even one Co-equal with
Himself, “the express Image of his Person”, “in whom
dwells, all the Fulness of the Godhead bodily”
; One A3r 5
One every Way compleat and suited to all my
wants; and that He was not only thus qualify’d
and sealed and sent by the Father, but that he
was absolutely willing as well as able to accomplish
the great Work; and would by no means
cast out any that come to him.

Well upon this Discovery of the amiable and
lovely Jesus, if I know that I have a Being, I
do know that God compell’d or sweetly constrained
me
to throw down the Weapons of my Rebellion
and to submit to Him as Prince and Saviour, and
consent to be saved by him in his own way, and
upon his own Terms; that he should be the Alpha
and the Omega, the Foundation and the
Topstone in my Salvation. Yea, God caus’d my
Heart to go out after Him
in strong and vehement
Desires
, and to choose Him in all his Offices, with
all his Benefits, to be “my Portion forever”. Yea
He appear’d to me to be in Himself the most lovely
and desirable Object
, the fairest of ten thousand
Fairs: and God enabled me to give myself, my
whole Soul and Body with all my Concerns for Time
and Eternity into his merciful and faithful Hands:
and had I a thousand precious Souls, I would
gladly venture them all with him; for I am perswaded
he will keep by his mighty Power what I
have committed to his Charge; nor shall all the
Hosts of Hell, ever be able to pluck me out of
his Hands.

But to proceed; upon this choice, and surrender
to Christ as Mediator, God the Father
manifested himself to me, as my reconciled God A3 and A3v 6
and Father; the blessed Spirit took up his abode
with me, afforded me his Influences and Assistance
daily; and God made with me an everlasting
Covenant
, never to be forgotten, “Even the
sure Mercies of David”
: and I solemnly gave myself
up
, all I have, am, or can do, both in Life and
Death, in Time and for Eternity, to God the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost
, to be his own,
in a Covenant Way, to be disposed of as shall most
consist with his Glory; and chose the glorious
Trinity for my Portion forever, in opposition
to all Others, even a God of infinite Perfections.
Oh happy Choice! oh happy I, that I liv’d to
see that Day wherein God betroth’d me to himself
in loving Kindness and tender Mercy!

Thus I was effectually called and made willing
in the Day of God’s Power to receive Him: and
“to as many as receiv’d Him to them gave He Power
to become the Sons of God, even to those that
believe on his Name”
.

And now the Foundation of my Hopes are laid
upon the Rock of Ages. And agreeable to those
covenant Engagements, a faithful God, has ever
since dealt with me. And surely I can say; whereas
I was born blind, now I can see; “old Things
are done away, all Things become new”
. Now
thro’ Grace I dare appeal to a Heart-searching God
and say: that none of his Commands are grievous;
I esteem them all holy, right, just, and good;
and long to yield a universal Obedience to them
all: yea God does excite in me strong and vehement
Desires
after an entire Conformity to his Law, as A4r 7
as tho’ my whole Salvation depended thereon
while at the same Time, he will not suffer me to
depend on any thing but Christ alone; notwithstanding
a strong Propensity to cleave to the
Covenant of Works; but enables me to “account
all Things as Loss and Dung and filthy Rags, in
point of Justification”
; nor would I for a Million
Worlds appear before God, in the best Performance
I ever did: No ’tis in that spotless Righteousness,
which Christ has wrought out, imputed
to me, and in that only I dare appear before
God. But he gives me to see a Beauty in
Holiness, which far exceeds the Lustre of all
created Things. Nor do I know what Desire
means, after any, or all the Enjoyments of Time
and Sense, compar’d with those ardent Longings,
and Pantings, which He at sometimes excites in
my Soul, after the Enjoyment of Himself; and
for sanctifying Grace.

And tho’ Grace is not always alike in Exercise;
(no I am sometimes dull and lifeless as to Exercise)
yet blessed be God it has been the habitual, and
settled Bent of my Soul for many Years; to
choose God, his Christ, and Grace for my Portion
in all Conditions, both adverse and prosperous.
Blessed be God, my Faith has not been
stagger’d. Sometimes He has bereav’d, cut off
the Streams of earthly Comforts, one after another;
and then caused me to justify him, and fly
to Him as my all. Sometimes He has hid his
Face, and caused me to mourn after Him, and
refuse all Comfort till He return’d. Sometimes A4 He A4v 8
He has permitted Satan to tempt and tyranize
over me for a Season; and many a precious
Jewel has he stolen from me by clouding my Evidences
and insinuating that all was Delusion and
Hypocrisy; and how many distressing gloomy
Days I have had God only knows: but Satan
could not keep them; for a faithful God would
not suffer me to be tempted above that I was able,
but made way for my escape.

Sometimes He has permitted the Remains of
indwelling Corruption to rally all its Force and
strive for Mastery; but at the same time stir’d
up an inveterate Hatred and an Abhorrance of it,
and myself for it, because ’tis the abominable
Thing which His Soul hates. And sometimes
Unbelief, has so far prevailed, that I have cry’ed
out “I shall one Day perish by the Hands of these
Enemies
, or I shall at least fall fouly to the Dishonor
of the dear Name by which I am called,
if not finally”
. But for more than Sixteen Years
has God preserv’d me from open scandalous
Sins. (Yea, blessed be God, thro’ restraining
Grace, all my Life long,) and from ever making
a League with Sin, since I have thro’ Grace
proclaim’d War with it: And by Grace assisting
I am determin’d never to lay down my Arms,
but to fight till I die, under the Banner of the
great Captain of my Salvation
: Yea, and Truth
and Veracity itself has said, “Sin shall not have
Dominion over you”
, and “my Grace shall be sufficient
for you”
. And here (my Dear,) my great Strength
lies: For “all the Promises are Yea and Amen in Christ A5r 9
Christ Jesus”
: And since my Lord is mine, all
is mine, and I shall come off more than a Conqueror
thro’ Him that has loved me and given himself
for me. Tho’ now I groan under a Body of Sin
and Death
; and may I never cease to mourn,
but daily look on Him whom I have pierc’d:
Oh it was Sin, my Sin, that pierc’d his sacred
Head and Side, that put all the bitter Ingredients
into the Cup, that extorted that heart-piercing
Cry from him, “‘My God my God, why hast thou
forsaken me’”
: And never does it appear more
odious, than when I am well satisfied it never
will prove my Ruin. God disposes me to choose
any Affliction, or all the Afflictions in this World
rather than Sin. I do esteem it the worst of Evils;
yea I had rather have all the Furies of Hell
let loose to perplex me, than to be given over to
the Tyranny of my own inbred Lusts, and Corruptions.
O thanks be to God, He has said, “‘I will
subdue your Iniquities’”
! Oh how sweet here to
consider Christ as my King, that will e’re long
set his Foot on the Necks of these Enemies! how
sweet to espouse his Cause! bring forth the
Traytors, and entreat him to slay every one that
says they will not have him to reign over them!
Oh that Christ would intirely possess his rightful
Throne in my Soul, wholly sway the Sceptre there,
fill every Room; that not a Lust, a Usurper,
might ever dare to lift up its venemous Head again!
O transporting Thought; one Everlasting
Day, this shall be the happy Case!

Again, God causes me to love his Image wherever A5v 10
wherever I see it; in Strangers, in Rich, in Poor,
in Bond or Free, of what Denomination soever.
Surely I do esteem the Saints, the excellent of the
Earth
, and they are my Delight. Again, God
enables me to love my Enemies, to forgive Injuries,
and earnesstly to pray that God would forgive
them also. But I must not innumerate more.

But these, my dear Friend, are what I call
Evidences of a Work of Grace: and for my part
I had rather be able to read them, than to hear a
Voice from Heaven telling me, I am a Child of
God. If you ask again, “if I can always, or of
myself read them to my Satisfaction?”
I answer,
without Christ I can do nothing; I am not sufficient
for one good Thought; all my sufficiency
is of God: But God has taught me to live
more by Faith, and less by Sense, than I us’d to
do; and therefore if he hide his Face, I do not
immediately raze Foundations as formerly, and
draw up hard Conclusions against myself: But
having treasur’d up the Experiences of many Years,
I repair to them in a dark and cloudy Day, and
find, thus, and thus, God has done for me, and
appear’d for my Help in Times past
: and this as an
Anchor holds me sure, and He will in his own
time return, and revive me; He has begun that
good Work in me, that he will carry on till the
Day of Jesus; He was the Author, and he will
be the Finisher of my Faith: And so he makes
me hang on the Faithfulness of a Covenant-God,
who will not deceive nor make any ashamed of
their Hope, that put their Trust in him.

And A6r 11

And now my dear, dear Friend, I have given
you the Reason of the Hope that is in me: And
judge you, are These all the Effects of Nature,
Gifts, Imagination
, or a common Work of the
Spirit? Will any or all of these latter thus determine
the Soul for God? Will they enamour
the Soul with his Beauty, because holy, just, faithful,
powerful, &c.; and make it even break with
Longings after a conformity to Him? Will they
cause it to cry out, “‘whom Have I in Heaven but
Thee’”
; and make it rejoice—because even the
brightest Seraph nor all the Angelick Hosts shall
never be able to divert it one Moment throughout
Eternity from God; but He shall be all in all,
the Heaven of Heaven itself? Will Nature abhor
and dread Hypocrisy, and always cause the
Soul when it has any Sense of divine Things to
tremble at the very Thoughts of it, and earnestly
to plead with God to search and try it, if there is
any Guile, or Reservation, or any false Way in
it? Yea will Nature lay the Soul open and cause
it to plead with God that his all-piercing Eye
may penetrate into the most secret Recesses?
Yea, and rejoice that it does so? Will Nature
welcome Death “the King of Terrors”, purely
because it will deliver the Soul from Sin and
usher it into the immediate Presence of God;
when no outward Difficulties make it desire
Death, but God in his Providence makes Things
comfortable and easy?—Again, will Nature
cause all things below to appear very Vanity, and
less than Nothing compared with Communion with God A6v 12
God, even here; and cause it to deprecate and
tremble at the Thought of any unsanctified Prosperity;
and absolutely to refuse, accepting of any
or all Creature Comforts
, as any Part of its Portion,
or in the room of one Degree of sanctifying
Grace
: May not the Soul in his Case say, “There
is none upon Earth I desire besides Thee”
—; Ordinances,
and Providences are all empty without
Thee; and I will not let thee go, I will not be
comforted except thou comfort me? Yea, tho’
Thou slay me, I will trust in Thee, by Grace assisting:
And leaving the Things that are behind,
I am determin’d to press after as great Discoveries
of Christ, and Degrees of Sanctification, as ’tis possible
for a mortal, finite Creature to attain in this
imperfect State; since Grace is absolutely free and
sovereign, and not bestow’d for any Worth or Worthiness
in the Object, but for Jesus his sake alone.

Surely This is a Work of Almighty Power and
Victorious Grace! May God have all the Glory!
But methinks I see you wondering that I attempt
to write in so positive a Strain; and with all,
your tender Heart misgives you, and you fear
least I am influenced by Self-confidence, Pride,
Ostentation, or vain Glory: and would to God,
I dare tell you that I had no Remains of these
odious Sins in me; but doubtless cleave they
will, to my best Performances as long as I live in
this World. However I trust thro’ Grace, That
is not the Motive which has constrain’d me thus
freely to communicate my Experiences to You.
No, but to vindicate the Honour and Glory of the great A7r 13 great God, whom Satan has dar’d to slander,
and reproach with his Lyes; to bear a Testimony
for God, that I know Him to be Truth and
Faithfulness in the Abstract, and far to exceed all
that ever I could ask or think; and again to declare,
that had I a Thousand precious Souls, I
would venture them all on his Truth and Veracity,
and cling to him: I will in Defiance of Satan and
all his combin’d Legions, so long as God holds
me by the Bonds of his Spirit. When God himself
rends my Hope from me I’ll let it go; but
not till then: And if ’tis the Hope of the Hypocrite,
may it go this Moment! And well may
I say so long as God holds me: For I know assuredly,
’tis by Grace, and Grace only I stand.
For so vile am I of myself, that should he withhold
it, I should wander from Him as far as Hell
itself, notwithstanding all He has done for me.
Whereof, then have I to boast? Oh blessed be
God, Boasting is forever excluded! Oh may the
Crown be set on Jesus his Head; while I lay my
Mouth in the Dust, and acknowledge I am an
unprofitable Servant, and utterly unworthy of all
the Mercy he has shew’d to me.

I intreat you not to conclude from what I have
wrote, that I have any desire to establish Assurance
as the Essence of saving Faith; or to set up
my Experiences as a Standard. No, no, far be
that from me. I know God by his Spirit works
variously with his Children. But as to the Essential
and Fundamental Parts, I trust you will find
them agreable to the Scripture. Try them by That A7v 14
That; “to the Law and to the Testimony”; if they
agree not with that, reject them immediately, as
false, delusive, imaginary, and have no light in
them. But if you find they are genuine Characters
of a saving Work wrought by almighty
Power in the Soul; Discern I pray thee whose
Signet, Braslets, and Staff are these. Can you
not lay Claim to them, and say, surely God has
done, thus and thus for me also? Or if you dare
not lay Claim; dare you deny, dare you say,
God has not convinced you of Sin, and your absolute
Need of a Saviour
? Has he not determin’d
you for Himself? Do you not Choose Him for
your Everlasting Portion? Do not for a World
say, you do not: I trust you dare not say so.
Well, if you ever have Chose God, for your
all
; renew your Choice, fly to him again, give
up yourself, and all your vast Concerns into his
Hands, thro’ the Mediator; and I doubt not
but you will derive Strength from the Head of all
gracious Influences. Oh say not, “you cannot”;
but try to stretch forth the wither’d Hand, and
it will be whole! Oh touch but the Hem of his
Garment, and all shall be well! Oh lay your impotent
needy Soul by the Pool, and I trust the
Angel of the Everlasting Covenant will e’er long
descend, and make you whole and restore to you
the Joys of his Salvation! And thus perhaps
you’ll see, tho’ now they are clouded that you
have the Evidences of Grace in you; that you
do hate Sin as Sin; that you do love Holiness for its
own sake, and God because an holy God; that you A8 15
you love his Law, and long perfectly to obey; that
you do prize Christ as a King, as well as Saviour;
that you, do love his Image in his Children;
that you do love your Enemies; and are wean’d
from this World, and all its trifling Enjoyments:
that you are reaching after greater Degrees of
sanctifying Grace.

I know you will forgive me, if I intrude on
your Patience in this long Epistle, and all my
Freedoms herein; since it proceeds from a Heart
full of tender Concern for You, and wanted vent.
Oh may God refresh you by it, and lift up the
Light of his Countenance upon you! And I
beg you, pray for me, that I enter not into Temptation:
For tho’ I have for sometime thro’ surprizing
Grace, walk’d up and down in the Light
of God’s Countenance; I am yet in my Enemy’s
Country; a Thousand Snares await me from
within and without; I have not yet put off the
Harness, and perhaps comparatively but girding
it on; and tho’ the House built upon the Rock
Christ Jesus fall not; yet I have no Expectation,
but that the Rain will descend, the Floods
come the Winds blow and beat upon it. Oh pray,
that I may glorify God, in every Condition, and
State of Life, and all is well.

This long Letter, my dear Friend, I commit
to your Care and Prudence, as the very Secrets
of my Soul, and as a Token of my sincere
Affection, and Esteem for you, as my very dear,
dear Friend: Which pray accept, with hearty
Regards to you, and all dear to you.————Pray
write to me as soon as you can——

Your’s Heartily

.