A Wonderful
Pleasant and Profitable
Written By
Mris Sarah Wight,
To a Friend,
The joy is to be had in God
Great, Deep, Long, and Sore

Occasioned by the Death of her Brother,
the Troubles of her Mother; but especially
the workings of God in her own heart.

Published for the Use of the

Printed by James Coitrel, for Ri. Moone,
at the seven Stars in Pauls Church-yard.

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To the Right Honourable, The Lady Fleetwood.


I so esteem you, upon the account, especially of God, not this World, that passeth away; I am bold to present this little piece, not mine own, to your view, as suitable (in some sort) to your former, and present state; having drank (in a degree) as of the same Cup of inward sorrow and suffering, so likewise of joy and salvation, herein mentioned; it being the A3A2por- a2v portion of all, as faith the Head of all, Ye shall indeed drink of the Cup that I drink of. Your Ladisships Sympathy, together with your Dear and Noble Lord’s, with the afflicted of all sorts, as I have largely, and multitudes of others (I believe) found, and this Author (I suppose) in particular; hath occasioned this, presented for a looking-Glass of solace and delight, to your inward Man, by

Your Ladiships, humbly devoted to God on your behalf,



Some Apology to Mrs. Sarah Wight, Touching the printing of her Letter without her knowledge or consent.

Chosen of God (in affliction) and precious,

Having sundry times read over your Letter, and found in it what my heart longed after, and in God rejoyced greatly in; I judged with others, in the Light of him, the printing of it might be of exceeding use, especially now, to the many bewildernessed ones, to whom it might serve as a Witness, they having none left them (as to Man) in this cloudy and dark day, to lean upon, save only their dearly beloved Lord; and he neither not alwayes manifest, and yet manifest too, in a measure, in the true A3and a3v and alone Messiah in them, the Rock of Ages, and the onely Hope. This I have done without consulting you about it, it being judged by others, (your Friends) and by me also, it might have prevented the publishing it, through a temptation perhaps of modesty in you; but thus making you publick was (I know) divinely urged of God in many, as in order to his own immortal glory and praise, appearing in your most most low estate; so to the profit and consolation of many the likeminded, but especially the like afflicted, (in any degree) with you; among whom I leave you, and my self with you, bowing continually (as is most meet) at the feet of God most holy, Amen.

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A Wonderful Pleasant and Profitable Letter

Dear Sir,

Precious Christian friend, much beloved in the Lord of all love; in him I kindly salute you, wishing you and your dear Relation, with my self and all Saints, an heavenly increase of knowledge in the mystery of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: not doubting, but as ye have received some of the Spirit, so you enjoy daily fresh supplies, and at last shall be perfected in the Spirit; to the glory of God, who Bhath b1v 2 hath formed you to shew forth his noble praise.

Sir, in our winter-season of affliction, I finde it a Christians crown of rejoycing, to retire in the Spirit, to hear what God speaks: for none speaks or teaches like him; never man spake like Christ. In this retirement of spirit, or silent waitng upon God, we shall be able to see, and say with the Prophet David, that God is good of a truth, to his purified, sincere, singlehearted Israelites, in the midst of all troubles; under Pharaohs bondage, at the Red-sea, in the wilderness, in the firy furnace, doing them unexpected good: at all times, he is a present help to us, and an Ark or hiding- place for us, from all storms and tempests.

I finde, there is no condition so sad, but there is balm enough in Gilead, sutable comfort of supplies in Israels God, to revive and raise up a fainting spirit. The depths of misery,sery, b2r 3 sery, we finde, are never beyond his depthless depths of mercies. When the Lord is pleased to make bare his holy Arm for the deliverance of his people out of troubles, he first lays them very lowe, that his work may be more admirable: he many times, for this very end, strips us naked and bare, and deprives us of all helps and props belowe, that we may thereby learn to make the Lord alone our stay and trust; who stiles himself, A God that comforteth those that are cast down, poor helpless nothings: this is the very time a soul may expect great appearances and deliverances from God, when its help stands onely in the Name of the Lord.

That soul that findes a special presence of God with it in trouble, as the children in the firy furnace, hath ample cause to bless his Name. This gracious presence hath been much with us, in moderating the measure B2of b2v 4 of our cross, though not in taking it away; which I desire to wait the Lords time for, in praising him, who hath not hitherto suffered it to be above our strength. As he moderates the measure, so the time: its but a moment of affliction, and light, in comparison of the greatness and weightiness of the glory in eternity. O what cause have we to bless the Lord, who limits both measure and time, and is also present in mixing some comfortable Cordial, which sweetly allays the bitterness of our heavie crosses, and strengthens us to bear it patiently, in some measure! As the Lord is present in sanctifying a cross; so when he hath perfected his noble work in us, he will be a present and perfect deliverer of us. O what a comfort it is to know we dwell in the especial love of God under the cross, as those who are free from it! And though a Saint may be cast out of a happie state in the world, b3r 5 world, yet never, never out of their dear God’s favour. O what joy doth this administer to us, to know, That however it goeth with us, yet our Father will deal kindly with us, and continually accompany us with his presence; seasoning our hearts with grace, and mounting our spirits high, carrying them forth with pure respects to advance his glory.

The true-divine soul, you know, is never satisfied, till it’s as neer God as is attainable. Truly, the nearer we come to him, the more we are emptied of sin, and all selfishness. A Christian’s happiness lies in being emptied of all self, self refined, as well as gross self; and in being filled with a full God, and the glorious emptying, satisfying incomes of his free spirit. Certainly, that soul that denies it self most, seeks it self most: for the more it endeavours to advance the Lord in all, above all enjoyments, experiences, gifts, graces, relations, or any B3crea- b3v 6 creature, or creature-comforts; the more we exalt our condition in him. It’s sweet, and but meet, upon the revelation of any mercy, to yeeld our God all the praise, saying, Lord, as the benefit & comfort shall be mine; so shall all the praises and glory be thine: Not Unto me, nor unto any thing acted or done by me; but to thee be the whole glory of all, who art the author of every good and perfect gift we enjoy. It’s an excellent thing, to know, own, and love the Lord above all, even in the time of adversity. As prosperity should not lift up, so adversity should not daunt a Christian. When we finde our estate here, like a web woven with interminglings of wants and favours, crosses and blessings, standings and fallings, combats and victories, and the like, which hath and doth accompany a poor soul in its pilgrimage, as it did the Israelites of old in theirs; Every condition is beautiful in its season.

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Christianity hath its several Offices, at several seasons: it hath a forrowful, mourning, praying time; and its rejoycing, praising, triumphing time, when it’s warmed with the glorious sunshine of Gods favour, in which consists our eternal life and joy. The seasons, varieties, & changes in the outward world, lively represent the seasons, varieties and changes that are in the inward world of mankinde. I daily behold things here belowe, true according to Solomon’s description; living, and dying; coming into the world, and going out of it; planting, and plucking up; killing, and quickning; wounding, and healing; breaking down, and building up, weeping, & laughing; mourning, and rejoycing.

I know, you, and many of the precious sons and daughters of Sion, can experimentally witness the truth of this, not onely outwardly, but inwardly: they by an enlightned eye B4behold b4v 8 behold mutability written in every thing of the first man Adams state, even in the height of his first glory: which glory must and shall dayly, yea doth pass away; and will, till it shall cease to be what it is, mixed, and fading. When this glory shall be abolished, then will a more pure & lasting glory disclose it self: the decreasing of the one, makes clear way for the increasing of the other. The Lord suffers his poore creature for a season to take quite contrary ways, and to fetch contrary steps; to throw down all he builds up, and another while build up all he throws down: yea, its appointed to him to Run thorow so many degrees of death, as he hath gone degrees of life; and to run thorow so many passages in the dark world, as he hath done in the light world, one while to make himself an universall transgressor, and anon to justifie himself in all his transgression; shewing himself to be as he is in all he doth as a man; a fool, an b5r 9 an unwise one, in all he doth; in living, dying, planting, plucking up; in weeping and rejoycing: a fool, in making himself a sinner; a Saint, till God make him what he will have him to be; this or that, here and there, when and what he pleaseth: not what we will, but what he will, this our Potter may do with us; for we are the clay: he is our father, and we his children, at his dispose; more his then our own: we are his children, I say, though he may withdraw from us, and because of our weakness hide from us for a season the true colour & original of things, and those various workings by which he doth those things: the great Jehovah may put what paint he will upon things, and what Dy he pleaseth into us: and we with beholding the present colour subject to change, with the present eye, may be confident in what we see, both in judging it, and other things by it, not rightly knowing him that judges it, nor consideringing b5v 10 ing what various changes both the eye and colour are subject to undergo.

That which had a time to be born, planted and built up, hath a change, accompanied to it; it hath also a time to die, to be plucked up, and thrown down; like the glory of old Jerusalem or the old first world: and there is nothing so deaded, or troden under foot, plucked up, or rased out, but shall have a gladsome season, a time of quickening, glorifying, and planting, and writing in againe by the finger of God. All things are at first brought forth in weakness in the inward world, as well as in the outward world: saith the Wiseman, All things under the Sun are vanity, or to have a vain course a while: the Lord is perfect in every motion of his, both in the inward & outward world; whatever he doth shall be for ever; nothing can be added to it, or taken from it: but poor silly man, like the wild Asses colt, is weak and vain, the outward and inward man vain; yea, every motiontion b6r 11 tion of his, as he is onely man, comes to nothing, he may seem to be wonderous wise, to have notions of great weight, even of eternity upon him; & yet he cannot reach eternity as man; being but a vain empty nothing, the purposes he hath in him, are but poor low, shallow things: yet he hath his season to take his pleasure in his vain inventions: but when these seasons are blown over, he is the stripped of all, of inside and outside, as I have often been; and so made naked to divine purpose. One breath of the Almighty blasts all the creaturely perfection which we have been acquainted with; one appearance of love, dissolves the soul to nothing, as the Sun doth wax: some boast, I see, of their selfish seeming glory, Riches, honour, parts and abilities, and such like; which I poor empty nothing cannot do: yet I am not troubled at it, now I consider what a moth is in these garments, and how subject these treasures are to be corrupted,rupted b6v 12 rupted, and creature-fulness exhausted: one grain of that precious faith, and one dram of love which the Lord gives his hidden ones, is far beyond all other things, that we can act or do; it’s all of God, without our mixtures.

The Lord having shewn me some of his glory in this particular, I beseech him to shew me more; for it doth content me, and it will suffice my soul more then hid treasures; the sensible and full enjoyment of thy Spirit, will cause my soul to return satisfied to her rest, praising the God of all our mercies; not caring what others boast of, when thou art become the Crown of my glory, the top of all Royalties to me; my spirit now breaths out this language, & says, Holy God, let who will treasure up to themselves, yet will not I: that which some love and store up besides thy self, of their own excellency; I cannot but abhor, & cast away, as filthy raggs of no value: everyvery b7r 13 very thing that is in me, that springs up out of my dry ground, that springs not from the sap of thy Holy Spirit.

If I know my own heart, I would not glory in any thing below my Maker, and what is of him, and conveyed by his Spirit alone into me: it rejoyceth my soul much, to see the Lord at work, gathering all, as he hath given me as his own, and saving me for his own Name sake, and not for any worth, or worthyness in me, Justifying me, or any unworthyness condemning me: O how admirable it is for to find God thus freely and fully loving and saving his poor people, and owning all that is his, as he hath been and appeared in them; and causing all that hath been and sprung from us to pass away for evermore: My soul shouts forth with the true spiritualized Christian, this voice: Dear God, as I am a selfish corrupt creature, so let there be no profit of all my labor and travel; but thou who alone b7v 14 alone art the Author of every good and perfect gift we enjoy, do thou reap the travels of thy soul, for its high time for thee to enjoy thy own: for my part, I cannot but turne from all the fruitless works of my hands, all the motions and delights of my Spirit, in the inward world of my heart, and with as much irksomness and great tiredness of spirit, as ever Solomon did in the outward world: yet I know every thing is beautiful in its season, time and place, though nothing is lovely out of it: there is a beauty in living, when the spring of life is come: O how lovely is it! there is also a beauty in death, when that season is come: it’s as beautyful to see things in Winter, as to see them live in the Spring of Summer: there is nothing so deformed, but, when we look upon God in it, we see much beauty written in it; nor nothing so evil, but it hath good on it: there is nothing so bad, but it’s good in its own order, place and b8r 15 and season, and course; nor nothing so good, but it’s bad and uncomely out of its place, order, and season. There is a beauty in killing, healing, weeping; in Rejoycing, and triumphing: but this beauty shines not so glorious out of their seasons, as it doth in: There is the very nature and exellency of God in every thing that he doth; which makes it beautyful: for every thing that springs from him; savours and tastes of his life and perfection.

The outward and inward man hath but a poor, lowe, dark, shallow knowledge of the things of God, whatever they may pretend to have. There is no soul able of it self to reach these things; they are onely spiritually discerned, and known by the sight of the Spirit: it’s by this Spirit onely, that the soul comes to know, observe, and understand the ways and wonders of God in the deeps, and his various motions and operations in things which he doth. There is nothingthing b8v 16 thing seen in the Root by the sense of the creature, as it lies or springs from thence, or as it returns thither. Man, as man, you know, hath onely a brutish understanding of every thing; so of God: I had not (says one) the unstanding of a Beast, as of God himself, so of all his motions, thoughts, actions and intentions, in and about things, times, places and persons; seeing onely a present appearance of this or that, not knowing what it is, whence it came, what it means, or wither it tends. So he judges according to present outward appearance, and shews himself to be what he is, and what God will have him to be, A fool in himself, that the pride of his glory may be stained, and God alone exalted.

Though this be a dark obscure dispensation, yet because God will have it so with us, this is beautiful in its season: as darkness is proper for the natural night, so is spiritual darkness for c1r 17 for the spiritual night as proper for it: as light becomes the day, and as truth and substance is proper for it; so are shadows and lyes for the night: & while the night remains, it’s as sutable they should remain, as when the day dawns the shadows fly away: O how clearly doth herein the excellency of Christ, of Sion, the holy feed, appear! though they are not exempted from any varieties or changes in the inward or outward world running thorow them; yet they still sweetly remain the same: being one with the Father, they are as he is, like him, as Seth was like Adam: what ever their cloathes, their appearances be; yet their life and substance is still the same. For a season, the inward man I find, is so benighted, and bewildered, yea all his life so deaded, and his light so put out, and his glory darkened, that he is made to see and confess, that he knoweth nothing as ought to know, nor hath nothing to boast of, Cno c1v 18 no more then the outward man; and that it’s onely the spiritual man that shall grow up to perfection, and live and flourish, whether in the seed, or grown up.

For the coming of this full enjoyment of all blessedness & happiness, longeth my poor waiting soul, in a daily expectations, upon the God of all our mercies, who is coming to fulfill our desires, to compleat our glory: he comes not with a thought to tarry or go back; he comes swiftly with speed, leaping to meet his beloved waiting Jacobs, to revive their spirits with his loves, his wisdom, power, grace, goodness, yea, all his Riches of grace and glory; that they may sing sweetly, strongly, thorowly, fervent, and frequ ent, the new songs of Hosanna, Hallelujahs, blessing and glory, power and praise to our God for ever, who is the Authour of all our present good and the Omega of our perfect happiness in that heaven of heavens where c2r 19 where Just men made perfect take up Sanctuary and assured Rest for ever, solacing their souls with their Beloveds loves; the riches, honors, pleasures and soul-delights of eternity that are in the bosome of our dear and precious father: in the full fruition of this rest and glory, longeth my waiting soul to be, where time shall be no more; the time of sin, sorrow, paine, death, any weakness or imperfection: when that which is perfect is come, I know all this which is imperfect will be done away: yea then there will be no complaining or cause of complaining within or without, because all sin, and so all sorrow and fighting shall certainly be done away, as being momentary; & the pure language, the new melodious tune of Joy and gladness from the Spirit, shall be onely sung, heard, and known to be for ever in the Saints, to their Saviour, who is our choice, our chief, our only and dearly beloved One in C2all c2v 20 all, without, and above all in himself.

Worthy Sir, because Honourable in the Lambs cloathing, having put pen to paper with an intent to salute you & your neer relation with a few broken fragments gathered up from my Masters table, I shall take leave, having a little freedom, to communicate a few more lines to you; hoping it will not be too burdensome to you. Sir, I cannot but Christian-like thank you for your Remembrances of us at all times; though I know you are in convent with that God, who will recompence sevenfold into your bosom, for all your labor of undeserved, unexpected love: your sympathizing, from a fellow-feeling of our affliction, and others, plainly demonstrate you to be a fellow-member of that mysticall body whereof Christ is the Head: O what a mercy is it to be heartily affected with the afflicted! to have the same mind which was in Christ c3r 21 Christ in us! to have the same love one to another, as Christ hath to us, in quality, though not in quantity! The love of the Lord in his people, is many times made out to them in an unexpected way, to wonderment, when they think least of it: as Hagar said, the Lord looked after her, when she looked not after him; so doth he to many of his people oftentimes, provide and protect them in a way and manner which they cannot but wonder and bless his Name. It’s a wonder to mee sometimes, to see how sensible one Christian is of anothers sufferings, because it’s so rare: but when I consider all that the Saints have but one God, one Father, one Faith, one Baptisme, one Love, one Spirit, who dwells in them all, and runs thorow them all, and conveys it self to all as it pleaseth, whether absent or present, afar off or neer at hand, known or unknown by face: Although the Saints are scattered abroad in this C3 wide c3v 22 wide, wilde world, and distinct in the flesh from one another; yet are they one in the Lord, and so love, sympathize, sorrow, and rejoyce together, as members in truth of Christs body: Christ was of a sympathizing suffering Spirit; and such hearts, qualities, and dispositions, he would that we should have: therefore he puts his Law of love and kindness into us: he takes our humane nature, and infuses his divine nature into us: Christ bears all our griefs, and carries our sorrows, and in all our afflictions is afflicted with us, and for us.

O how good it is, in our wilderness of trouble, to lean upon this our Beloved, who can bring us out of them all! we are very apt to stumble at the way and maner of Gods dispensations, when we have little cause for it, if we did but consider that he hath glorious ends in all he doth and suffers, for the exaltation of his Name and our sole comfort.

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Though the Lord may cross his people in the way of his providence, so that all things may fall alike to all in this World before men; yet not in his account hereafter: for he may give us to look unto him in his word of Promise, and there behold him by an enlightened eye, doing all things after the counsel of his own good will and pleasure, for his glory, and our everlasting comfort, beyond and above all outward sense and external hopes; as he did to Abraham, calling things that are not, as though they were: I am not so much a wonder, as an admirer, and a little writer of the wonders of God in the deep of affliction; to some of my fellow- sufferers, who have been bewildered in their spirits as I have been, though now through rich mercy in som measure refreshed with the crums of Canaans comfort, & drops of honey and milk, grace and love, that flows from our good spiritual land. Much of Gods fatherly Dealings, and Refreshings,C4fresh- c4v 24 freshings, I might relate unto you which my hungry, thirsty weary Restlesse soul hath known, seen, and felt, in the day of trouble, the hour of sad temptations, if I had freedom.

Sir, the sharp exercise which hath been upon my spirit, since that little unknown book was made, of Gods glorious Displayings of light and love upon a poor, dark, forlorn, nothing-creature in an unexpected time, I was not then capable of the publishing of it: if I had, I could not be free, fearing how it might be with me afterwards. Truly, since then, I have had a sharp Winter-season, mourning for the loss of all that comfort: I have been stripp’d so bare of seeming comfort since, that I cannot boast of that, nor of any comforts, but of the God of comforts; not of enjoyments, or experiences; not of any gifts or graces; but of the giver alone, and of my infirmities; and in that Power of Christ which hereby is made more manifest in c5r 25 in us: The Lord alone is the boast and glory of his people; in his Name we set up our Banners, and upon him alone shall our mind be fixed, and our soul- affections set, and not on things below: this is to have our hearts above, on things remaining; not shadowy, but substance; and our conversation in heaven, though we tabernacle in houses of clay in the world. When Christ is our only object, then, but not till then, will all below be our abject, in comparison of a full God, a naked Christ, a free Spirit. O that it might be all our aimes and ambitions, to take up our crosses and follow Christ fully; even thorow fire and water: for here our God hath promised to be with his people; and when we are purged and purified enough he will lead us out into a wealthy place, of peace and Joy.

O that we could walk in our Masters steps without stumbling, and do as he did, run our race with joy; knowing if c5v 26 if we run, we shall obtaine the Crown, which is not to be had on this side of the end of it: Surely this prize is worth the running, waiting, for, and longing after, till we enjoy it. Our suffering and Cross is but a little while, for a small moment; but our glory is for everlasting, our reigning for ever. Thrice-happy is that soul, whom God chuseth for his own in his furnace and chastens in his school: happy entering, happy in it, and for ever happy afterward. Blessedness and Happyness is annexed to Gods chastning: Blessed and happy is the man God correcteth, and teacheth new lessons thereby: therefore not to be despised: Our loving Father, even smiles, when we think he frowns upon us: when he seems to strike us, he stroaks us. He doth to us, sometimes, as he did to Adam, convey a precious promise, with a sad threatening; saying, The seed of the woman, &c. Mercies oftentimes come veiled to us; and a sentence c6r 27 sentence of death may pass upon our choicest mercies, as did upon Abraham, for the tryall of our graces; which would not shine so bright, if not fire-tryed, with Abrahams; whose faith, love, and holy obedience to God, after thus tryed, shined more eminent and glorious.

I find our sad visitation known to you, Sir, was not so much a Punishment, as some may call it; but rather a strict tryal, to try our faith, love, patience, and pure good-will to God; whether it be simply and entirely to him, without by-ends, as Satan would have accused Job to God, saying Doth Job love, or serve God for nothing? & also to try our strength, what we can do or suffer for God; and also to try our wisdom, how prudent & patient we could behave our selves like true Christians, in the loss of all outward enjoyments, though deare and precious to us; not onely in flesh but in Spirit.

O what an unspeakable mercy it is, to c6v 28 to finde and feel God enabling of us to hold out in these firy tryals! speaking well of the Name of our dear God, owning him in giving mercies to us, and not friends; and owning him to take them from us, and not enemies: the Lord gives & takes also. Truly the Lords tryall in these things, is a firy strict tryall: God tries our Faith and love, as he did Abrahams, by causing him to offer up his onely son Isaac the son of promise: Now I know, said God to him, in doing this, that thou lovest me: and thou shalt know it for in Blessing I will multiply Blessings upon thee and thy seed; This Ascending spark of love in Abraham, from God to God, did as I may say engage the Lord to descend showers of blessings upon him, and his feed. Our God in wisdom doth all things: he tries and proves us, to do us unexpected good in the latter end: he tries whether we can live in the practicall part of Christianity, what we can do and suffer- c7r 29 suffer in truth for Christ; whether we can be content to leave all for him; be content with Christ alone, without freinds, or the world, gifts, graces, qualities, and conditions, and such-like in one hand, and Christ in the the other; whether we can be content to resign up all to God, all outward, and inward, things; all Relations, Ordinances, Gifts, Graces, Desires, Hopes, all that can be named or desired of Heaven and Earth; that nothing of self may Remain; none of our wills, desires, ends, hopes, but all crossed and destroyed in us, which is contrary to the Lords will: the Creatures will being so contrary to Gods will in all things, it’s well to have it crossed, though it be in that which may be most for its seeming comfort. Surely they who are acquainted with the excellency of Gods hidden Divine will, would not have it crossed, but rather its own will in any thing, though it may seem hurtful to it; sure it’s thus.

Sir, c7v 30

Sir, I shall acqauint you a little what a hard thing it was for me to submit to this will of God, though easie to him to make me quietly submit, and resign up all to him, in the departure of my dear brother. Though the dispensation was dark and dismall, yet I dare say from a full perswasion, after many doubts, that though it might seem in Judgment, yet God hath received him to everlasting mercy: for being weak, I finde he was suddenly overcome by the strong man, not willingly, but by constraint; meeting with many unnamed inward and outward fears and troubles. Certainly, what is not done in despite, willingly, against God, but the the violent hurrying of Temptation, through weakness, not willingly, shall never be layed to any poor tempted souls charge. The Lord doth not look so much to the weakness of his creature, and temptation, as to his own rich mercy and free love. Surely thus the God of love hath looked upon my dear departed Brother; for I had experienceperience c8r 31 perience of him in his life-time, that when he was himself, he served the Lord with many Tears, and Temptations oftentimes; and did endeavour to walk as exact as a Christian, to that light of knowledg God was pleased to measure out to him. Much I might say of this nature, had I oportunity, and thought it convenient: which causeth me to Believe the Lord hath not looked upon him to take advantage of his weakness, to destroy; but to save him, according to the multitude of his tender mercies; and being a God of love, patience and long Suffering, hath, I am now perswaded, though one while I was much troubled with doubts and eares, hath taken him from sin and sorrow, to bliss and blessedness: He was of a very weak Constitution of body. Truly, dear friend, the great loss of such a comfortable staff, such a hopefull son, and brother, the maner and unexpectedness of his going from us, hath been a sword in our bones, first pierced thorow our soul; which c8v 32 which hath cut us to the heart: First, from a serious consideration of Gods dishonour, by opening the mouths of the ungodly, to cause them to stumble at the way of God, saying What profit is it to serve God? and are these they that made the Lord their trust? and such-like things. And secondly, the Saints discouragement, besides our own great discomfort in the middle of our supposed comfort. I hope the effect of the sword I mention, will prove the Lords severing sword, to separate more between flesh and Spirit, Christ and the creature.

I find, all that God doth, is to try us whether we can love God as well in the way of his Judgments, as in the way of his mercies; love him in casting us down, as raising us up: in smiting as healing, in Winter as Summer, for all, in all changes and conditions, above all: many are the troubles of the holy seed of God; and truly d1r 33 truly did we not suffer something, the remaining part of Christs sufferings would be unfulfilled; which tryal and proof he endures in us: as he suffered in the patterne, so we in truth: O there is a necessity of our suffering something, if we would be feelingly sensible of what Christ hath suffered in the flesh for us, to crown us with glory in the Spirit, and be sympathizing with others in affliction, and really magnifying that free grace of God which ends in full glory; causing us always to extol the Lord, blessing him with a triumphant song of praise. I am sure the Saints have cause to bless the Lord at all times, even in the wilderness, because this is the place where God usually speaks comfortably to his people. Though he lead them this solitary way, yet it’s the right way; the way of the Lord is an unknown strange way, even in the whirlwind. O what a happyness is it to finde, afflictions come not out of the dust, but as we Dmay d1v 34 may say, they are the finger, the providence of God, for our good: he makes them antidotes to us, to expell poyson: the more we have of them Sanctified to us, the more pure, like Christ: we have no cause to say when we are under the rod, therefore not beloved of our Father, because so and so afflicted; but the rather loved of our Father, because chastened: hereby we are made more comformable to Christ, by being buried with him in the Baptisme of his sufferings: The Cup of affliction, which the sanctified ones drink of, is a Fathers Cup; which they cannot but drink, handed to them for their good from himself; whose ways are all mercy and truth, whose paths drop fatness, whose out-goings and in-comings are all sweet and precious to us. The poor creature in trouble, is very apt to cry out and say, Is this and this a pleasant way? is this a comfortable condition? and can God indeed bring good d2r 35 good out of such great evills? O it’s impossible.

Thus I have thought often: Can any good come out of sinfull Nazareth, out of my confusion, and darkness? O it’s impossible: with us it is, but not with God, who at first commanded light to shine out of darkness. O what cause have we to exalt Gods power and love in the firy furnace! to glorifie him in the fires, is most excellent: O they cannot but do it, when they see him keep them alive in the midst of that fire which consumes onely the dross, preserving the Gold pure for his Use: That enlightening hony which is in the top of our Gods Rod, doth enlighten us to behold this great and glorious fight, why the Bush burns, and is not consumed. O this honey out of the rock, Gods love-manifestations, will sweeten, and doth, all conditions and changes to us and all Christians. some are afflicted for the tryall of faith D2and d2v 36 and patience, that they may have their perfect work by exercise. Sometimes, that the handy-work of God may be made more manifest upon us, the Lord may take away our corn, Wine, Wool, and Oile which he giveth us, when we do not prize him above all; that hereby we may learn to love our giver more than gifts, and to know the worth and sweetness of them more by the want of them a while: We may be Deprived of any comforts, yet not of the God of comforts; and sadly cast down, yea seemingly foresaken, and overwhelmed with sorrows like unto David, and weary of life with Job, distracted as Heman, and yet belong to, and dearly beloved of God, as they were: therefore it’s good to take up this Holy Resolution, to wait on God in the way of his seeming Judgments, and in meditation of his loving-kindness, till he shall make hard things easy, and crooked things strait, rough places plain, and bring d3r 37 bring to light the hidden things of darkness, making darkness light before us. Said good Jacob, (who found it good to wait upon God) I have waited for thy Salvation; and I will wait: and David, In waiting I waited: and Job, All my appointed time will I wait till my change come. O how desirable a thing it is to see Christians have such patient, believing, submitting hearts to the Lords will: Though he kill me, yet will I trust in him: and, I am thine, save me: This is a sweet rolling on God in a day of trouble; and saying with Christ, The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? it’s a Cup, not a Sea; and a Fathers Cup, not an enemies; and a Fathers gift.

By considering these things, the Lord pleased to work comfort, renew his love to my soul when much troubled at my deare brothers death, by which I hope the Lord will gradually crucifie all that he would have crucified, D3and d3v 38 and blast of all creature-props and helps, that he alone may be our onely stay and blessedness. The neerer a soul comes to God its haven of happiness, the more it meets with sad storms and tempests: Which makes our port of glory more desired, and gladsome to us when we come unto it: The bitterness of misery sets off the sweetness of mercy, as the blackness of the night the glory of the day: I am sure my brothers afflictions here, were sharp before he went hence; which causeth me to beleive he is now for ever comforted: Some comfort came from this word to me; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thy eyes from tears, when my soul was in bitterness; for thy work shall be rewarded of the Lord, and thou shalt see him again with greater Joy: though thy desire was crossed here in some things, as Davids was and others; Yet ye shall rejoyce together in my Kingdom. I finde this was of God coming in power to the satisfying d4r 39 satisfying of my troubled soul in an agony of sorrow. I answered this voyce, Lord, it’s enough if thou make thy word good: thy will, thy unknown will, by any but thy self be done, O Father. And further it was said, That nothing should separate him and Christ, nor estrange his love from him.

Till God appeared in this maner to me, Quieting my heart in some measure, I was much troubled touching his honour, to think how he would suffer by some, till he told me he knew what was most for his glory, far better then silly I. Truly I may say, How had it been unless the Lord had been on our side! wee had almost fainted, and dwelt in silence; had not Jehovah our Mighty God been seen in the mount wonderfully for out preservation and deliverance; for which I desire to Bless his Name for ever, who comforts me much from these words, bidding me look to Jesus the Authour and finisher of our D4Faith d4v 40 Faith, who for the Joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down on the Right hand of the Majesty on High. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he open’d not his mouth; learn of him, for he is meek and lowly, which makes him so unspeakable lovely. Patient was Christ when he suffered: he overcame by patience, as well as by power. As Christ was patient, so was his members; and so should they be like David in their suffering seasons: says David, I was dumbe, and opened not my mouth: and let the Righteous smite me, and it shall be an excellent Oil; it will be for my profit; his correction.

This is our loving friend, Christ, will not wound us, but heale us; when he smites us, he smiles upon us: for he even then refreshes us with his brook, and well-spring of life, in our waylesse wildernesse, under all our sorrows and smitings; and hereby God d5r 41 God makes us to lift up our heads with Joy and praise. O what cause have We to blesse the Lord under our crosses, for his supporting hand of love! truly, as great cause, as if he took them away from us. It’s a desirable thing to own God to be Just, when he shews mercy; and when he gives grace, to be still exalting the Riches of his glory. O the happyness, the heavenlyness of those spiritualized souls, whose wills are subdued to the Lords will in all things; so to acknowledge him Righteous in all he doth, and our selves vile! O what a blessed state are they in, who have no will to be guided by, but the Fathers will in all things; which easily learns them to deny and defie self fully, in all they do and say; and to esteem onely of God and the workings of his Spirit above all. O that we might be as Christ was, lovely in all conditions, by our Holy submission to our Father! Christ we know d5v 42 know learn’d obedience by the things which he suffered. O how lovely was he when he lay in a Manger, when he lay on the ground, and sweat Water and Blood; when he was scourged, and crowned with Thorns; when he hung on the Cross between two Theeves; when he lay in the grave! even now Christ appeared most lovely, by how much he abased himself thus low. O how desirable a thing it is to see goodness and greatness kiss each other in one noble person! O what a great condescention of love was this in such a great person as Christ, who is King of Kings! O that such a gloryous Majesty should so low condescend to such poor, weak unworthy worms, to teach sinners in his way, to doe as he hath done, to suffer patiently and willingly without the least gainsaying or resistance, such grevious things! Christ was as a sheep before the slaughter: David under afflictions was dumbe also, becausecause d6r 43 cause he saw the Lord did it, and not man, so Aaron. when he lost his sons suddenly, held his peace: And good old Eli said, It’s the Lord, let him do as he pleaseth. In this sweet spiritual frame was Job, when he said it was the Lord that took from him in the flesh, who could give him much more in the Spirit. All that they suffered, was not so much from an enemy as a Father, for their good; who seeing how apt the current of their affections was to run more to them then to him, their heart being not so fixed upon him as he would have them, but very apt to be divided, and to wander form him, like ours as we are creatures; therefore he sends afflictions as messengers to fetch them home to his Sheepfold.

Once this word came in Power to me when I was very sad: O soul, greive not, grieve not for thy Brother: precious in my sight is thy Brothers death, though grievous to thee and others: was not Christs sufferings d6v 44 sufferings much more terrible? and think not strange your firy tryalls; for what is befallen you, is common to all in this life: and the same afflictions are accompanied to your fellow-members in the world. Think of Samsons death, a good man, who died among the Philistins, and seemingly in anger to be revenged on them for his two eys. Consider these things, and lay them to heart; and sorrow no more as one without hope; but know, all things shall worke togeather for good, even this, unto ye: therefore be still, and know I am God, doing whatever I please, in heaven, and earth, and all places: his time was not in thy hands: A sparrow cannot fall to the ground, nor a hair off the head, without my knowledge. When these things was spoken to me, I was very restless in my spirit, even resolving to spend my few days in silent sorrow, not expecting any more Sun-shine days of joy: and suddenly the glory of the Lord broke forth thorow some thick darkness d7r 45 darkness, bidding me lift up my head; and the Lord was pleased to speak to me as sweet as ever; telling me he would wipe all teares from my eyes, and the rebuke or reproach of his people he would take from off all the earth: he had spoken it who would do it, Jehovah, a fulfiller of Promises: therefore let not thy troubled fearfull heart be disquieted or afraid: Peace, Peace be unto thee. I found Christ reasoned with me, as once he did with his disciples when they were sad; Why are ye troubled? and why do such fears and doubts arise in thy heart? am not I and my favour more to thee, then enjoyments or Relations, or any thing thou canst desire? though I chasten thee sharply, to draw thee neer me; yet my favour will I not take from you, nor alter my love: is not this, O soul, more then all, to give thee my self, Who am the Desire of Desires, the Beauty of all Blessedness, the top of all Royalties; even the fulness that filleth all in all, who hath made thee beautifull thorow my comlyness: though black in d7v 46 in thy self under the bondage of coruption, yet Lovely as Redeemed, Justified, and Sanctified? my soul was even melted within me, at the sweet and powerful manifestation of love, that I cryed out, None but a naked Christ: and who would not fell all, for this Precious Pearl, and willingly resigne up all even life it self, to Christ, who became poor, and despised in the worlds eye, that we through his poverty might be dignifed in the Spirit, and made rich in Faith, in grace, in humility, and goodness? this is to be heavenly rich in God, in love.

O who would not leave all, to follow Chrst for his treasures of wisdom and knowledg, and all good things which he gives to his close followers? This was one word which was spoken to me also: Lovest thou me more then these; more then Gold, Silver, Lands, Livings, any relations, Golden gifts and Graces, men or meanes? and love not the world, nor the things of it: love nothing, I say, equall d8r 47 equall or above me: for he or she that loves any thing more then me, is not worthy of me: set not thy affections on things below, on earthly, sensitive things; but on Heavenly things above, invisible glories. If riches encrease, set not thy heart upon them.

My Dear brother was such riches to me, that if I could have but enjoyed his life, and him spiritually restored to a comfortable state in this life, according to my earnest and constant souls desire, and the desire of many precious Saints; that our God might have been more glorifyed in his life on earth; O what riches, what a portion of great joy would this have been to my soul, none knows: but now seeing by this, uncertainty and emptyness in all things below the Lord, I am forced to Say, What is riches, or the encrease or sweet enjoyment of any creature-comforts, to the lifitng up of Gods lovely countenance upon us! I can say now more feelingly d8v 48 feelingly, Whom have I in Heaven or in Earth to glory in, or stay my self upon, but God alone, from whom flows all our fresh springs of comfort, joy, life, love, and sweetness? The Lord, I hope, by our late chastisements, will make us more holy, humble, thankfull and fruitfull in every good work of God; and cause the sword not onely to pierce into our souls, but even to divide and sever more between soul and body, flesh and spirit, Christ and the Creature; That nothing may remaine in us, but what loves, admirers, and blesses our God alone above all.

Sir, this is all my desire, to know more, and do, and patiently submit to the holy will of our Dear God in all things; and to have more single affections to him, and his naked glory.

Christian friend, I have written in these papers some poor stamerings, or what the Lord hath communicated to me e1r 49 me with comfort in weakness, through which I have written this to you, that you with me may bless the Lord for his precious loving kindness to his unworthy hand-maid. I cannot tell whether I may be troublesom to you, because so tedious at one time. When I begin to write to a Christian friend in this kind, I am always much enlarged; the more, because but flow of speech. In these few lines you may perceive a little, that many are the troubles of the Righteous, and also that the Righteous Lord supports sweetly under them all; and in his own best time graciously delivering them out of all. These troubles of ours may well be compared to waters, even a flood of waters, as David said, that hath wave upon wave: which though it be our Fathers pleasure, and our portion to wade thorow; yet this is our comfort, We shall not sink in them: they may piece our body, but cannot run Ethorow e1v 50 thorow our souls, to the destroying of our life which is hid with Christ in God, who is our Head, which shall never perish: and you know that member can never dear drowning, whose head is still above water: Whilst Peters Faith was anchored in Christ the Rock of his Salvation, the water to fence did so far give back, that they miraculously became a solid path to lead him to his Lord: so I hope our late, as well as former troubles will tend to lead us neerer to our desired haven of rest: for certainly, all the waters of affliction are to those whose faith is exercised in their God, but a short Compendious way to Communion and fellowship with the Father and the Son in the Spirit, which is best of all; better then life, as David said; who had, as we have, fresh troubles often, and fresh mercies; fresh Temptations, and fresh deliverances: what said good David, when he had deviated and e2r 51 and gone astray like a lost sheep: Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy Word. Here he sweetly acknowledges tribulations to be messengers sent from God, to lead him to the Shepherd of his soul: said he, Now have I kept thy word: now do I know by this thy sanctified visitation, of a truth, that I am thine: before, I was a lost sheep of the house of Israel. All our afflictions, inward and outward, in our selves or in the world, ՚twill appear to be onely but the corrections of an indulgent Father, for our profit, in the end; to make us rich in God, though poor in our selves. In the mean time, the good Lord endue us with Power from on High, whereby we may possess our souls with Patience, till the time of refreshing from on High shall Visit us; till he who changes times and seasons, changes hearts and conditions with us. Truly if the Poor Creature could change, or any ways E2help e2v 52 help it self, or have any velieserelief or help from any broken reed, or cisterne, besides the Lord the living Fountain: how would it do, as Israel of old did, run from God to them, adoring it self, and Idolizing the creature, men and means, more then admiring the Lord in them, above them? Truly our natures are too apt to this: for let the Lord but open a little of himself to us in any thing or way, we are Readyer to be taken with it then him; like some, who looke more at the Dish, then the Meate in it. How apt (let experience speake) are we to take up our rest in something below our rest, and not look up higher to the Fountain from whence all our fresh springs of comfort floweth? therefore our God seeing this not good for us, in wisdom and love dries up all Cisternes and Pools when it’s thus with us, that nothing we run to the creature for in need, may yeild us satisfactions, below himself; lest We should rob him of his glory, and give e3r 53 give it to something below himself, which is not worthy of our heartlove: and his jealousie is such, that he will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to any thing or Idol, but himself. To this end therefore he imbitters every thing in the world to us, to wean us from her shadowy delights; like loving mothers, who wean their children from the brest which is so sweet and dear to them: even thus (as I may say) doth God our loving Father with his beloved children, make every thing vile to them, that he alone may be the preciousness of his Saints, and all things nothing in comparison, that he alone may be their All in all, above all; their onely boast and glory.

Before this glorious discovery of love, I was like another creature, running like Israel of old, from Mountain to Hill, and Hill to Mountain; from men to meanes, from means to men: I was, like the Spouse, restless in E3my e3v 54 my spirit; which made me to send my spiritual sense all abroad to seckseek Christ, as I thought; but truely I found him not in any thing or place, save in denying me that soul-comfort which I sought for: all my seeking was like Maries at the Sepulchre, forsaking all things for him, as I thought; whom if I could but have found, in my way and time, I should have thought I had found enough; being led forth to seek The true God in an Ignorant way; being blinded with Ignorance; I asked every thing below him, sensitive things: I asked the Earth, the Sea, and the great Deeps, and the Windy Aire, with the Dwellers therein; also the Sun, Moon, and Stars, lesser and greater; knowing and unknowing creatures, and I found they all answered me with one voyce, We be not thy God; seek him, O seeker, above us: Thou art but deceived in us; we are onely by him made and upheld; he is Lord over us: this was without. Then e4r 55 Then I went home, and said to all that were about the doors of my flesh, Tell ye, my familiars, what ye know of God; O tell me somewhat of him whom my soul longeth after: and they cryed out also to me, We be not thy God; it’s he hath made us, not we our selves. Notwithstanding all these denyals, being soul-restless still, I asked further, even the whole world in general, if it were not my Saviour, and could deliver me from the bondage of corruption; and it answered me very powerfully, I am not, but I am by him: he whom thou seekest for in me, even he made me: above me must thou seek to him that made me, and ruleth all things, to new make thee.

Being, as you may perceive, Sir, a wandering bird, and soul-disquieted within me, I sought to every Idol which I made an Idol below the true God for soul-rest, peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost: but like E4Noahs e4v 56 Noahs dove, found this not in any thing to refresh my weary soul. Now I finde, that though every thing be beautiful in its season, place and station; yet in this respect it must deny it self, and be nothing, as it did to me; and acknowledg this is not to be had in any created glory on this side the Creator himself. Every thing spoke the same to me in this; We be not the Lord thou lookest for; but from him, and by him, for his glory. I have found the Apostles words true, that many times we may understand him by his visible works in the creation of the world.

In my former Creaturely seeking of the Lord, as I have a little mentioned, I found a vast emptyness in all things: but when God was pleased to shew me this, he turn’d me to himself, and then gave me rest and satisfaction in his love, which is better then life; whereby my hungry thirsty spirituall-starved soul was satisfied with e5r 57 with that fulness that fills empty nothings with good things. O it’s the sweet incomes of this Divine fulness that makes The dry land a Pool, and our thirsty lands springs of Water. O when the Lord shall thus appear to us, shewing us by his light the vileness and vanity of every thing which is Excellent within or without us; then indeed the soul crys out, What have I to do any more with Idols, to seek after Bethel, after any thing that will not profit; but the True, Living, Immortall God, who dwells in everlasting, unutterable, and unsearchable light and glory, without beginning or end? Truely when we seek the true God aright, we shall finde him to be a certain Light above all Lights, which no carnal eye can comprehend, and a certain Voyce which none in their creaturely state can conceive of and such a sweet perfume is Christ, which no nose of sense can attain unto: He is a certain Sweetness above all Sweetness; no perfumes,fumes e5v 58 fumes, Ointments, Spices, Milk, Honey, or Manna, is comparable to this sweetness, though ever so desirable; for this is incomparable, above and beyond all, for ravishing, pleasant, and satisfying: and such am imbraceing is Christ, our soul lover, which no sensitive feeling can take hold of; this pure light of life shineth where no place is to hold it; and the Voice of Christ soundeth free where no aire is to help it; and his sweet savour yeildeth sweetness and life where there is no feeding on creature-comforts; and Christs imbracing is such an imbracing, where no armes are ever pluck’d asunder.

Now when the poor soul hath thus found and enjoyed Christ in the inmost Holy Places of its new heart, whom it so earnestly sought for, and now entirely loveth; now it cries out, None, none but Christ: it now makes account of nothing in comparison of him, in whose favour consistssists e6r 59 sists its life: this is it a soul seeks when it seeks God; this is it we love and desire, Even a manifestation of that Jesus love who hath saved us from our sins, and is Emanuel, God with us, in all our troubles, sorrows, tryalls, and temptations: This blessed man Christ Jesus is our joy and Crown of rejoycing; which causeth us to break forth into songs of praises and Hallelujahs; glory for evermore to our God. Finding all things dead, and empty to me, when I sought Christ sorrowing as I have mentioned; I was afterwards comforted in some measure, being made willing to wait in silence, in which silence my soul with Hannah poured out my complaint to him, whom I know when all failes us, doth help us; being mighty to save, keep and deliver, even then: for the Lord never leaves his in trouble, but supports and delivers out in his appointed time. He that sets our faces to Zion, e6v 60 Zion, will undoubtedly bring us hither in his own time, to possess our prepared mansions of glory in his kingdom, to live there in praising him to all eternity; singing continually form our God to our God, whom we have been seeking, like the Spouse, abroad, When he was at home in the secret closet of the heart; to which when we return in peace, we here finde him in our souls by his Spirit, sitting as onely Lord and King in his Throne, ruling over all the Powers of darkness in us. O for ever happy are they whom God is thus nigh unto in all things; filling them with all joy in himself, through believing: O can any soul that hath or doth taste or enjoy but every so little of the Lord, say his consolations are small, but very great, and precious; full of life, love, Power, like himself; and full of vertue and streaming sweetness, like Jonathans hony, which revives the drooping spirits of sad hearts, in their dry barren e7r 61 barren, sad, solitary wilderness-condition? Though this is the Fathers will, to have us pass thorow this state in such harsh and difficult ways to the eye of sense and reason, which would much terrifie and perplex a carnal heart; yet our God hath such sweetness to mingle with them, which makes them very passable to his Beloved, whom he leads thorow: for the bondage of Egypt, he can make tolerable; and the wilderness, with all the intricacies thereof, he can make easie; who makes rough places a plain way for us to go thorow our Journeys end: Canaan also, with the high walls and strong enemies thereof, even the children of Anak, whose very sight struck terror; even these our God did and doth make Conquerable to his Christ, and anointed ones.

Christ by his death hath made his people Conquerors over all enemies, and oppositions; by his death he hath e7v 62 hath brought to light life, strength joy, glory, and immortality: though he was, as we are oftentimes, put to death in the flesh; yet he was quickned in the spirit: it’s this Spirit alone that satisfies, quiets, and composeth a poor troubled soul, when none nor nothing can: and it’s this holy Spirits work to lead us out of one truth into another, out of one dispensation into a higher; and at last possess us of perfect rest and happiness: out of which rest I have been much bewildered and perpelxed in my spirit, from the sense of a dead lost condition, not knowing what to do, or which way to turn my self for comfort. About four years ago, I was very sick and weak; in which weakness the enemy took advantage to shew his power, and set upon me strongly, tempting and troubling me, by raising new feares and doubts in my heart; which cause me to conclude that all former discoveries of love which the Lord had e8r 63 had communicated to me, was but lying vanities, and delusions: this trouble was beyond all my former childish troubles; for my old life was not so much captivated, as my new one, my spirit: and truely this temptation lay with some confidence upon me, that I knew not what to say, or do: I thought sure the smoaking flax, that little spark of grace was now extinguished wholly: but I can through rich mercy say, Blessed and for ever praised by Jehovah, who hath so sweetly unbosomed himself, and unboweled his precious love to his unworthy hand-maid; telling me, that all my creaturely mutability should not, nor could not alter his unchangable love: for whom he loved once, he loved for ever, to the end, and in the end, endless, ever; out of sin into grace, and out of grace into glory: neither should any of the water which I had cast upon the smoaking flax, quench it, by disowning and doubting e8v 64 doubting of the realitie of my state and the truth of those precious appearances I had enjoyed from the Lord: this smoaking flax, was God beginning a good work in my soul, who would perfect it for his praise. O how strongly doth the renewings of the Lords love to us, engage our hearts to honour him all our days, in righteousness and holyness! who not withstanding all our unworthyness, and greatness of sins, sins after conversion, as well as before; sins often reapeated, as well as once onely committed; yet is our loving friend, who loveth us freely, faithfully and constant, even in the height of our unconstancy to him; as he was pleased to shew me, by not leaving me destitute of his mercy and his Truth, in my sad sorro ws.

By this firy contest, I finde, that what is of God shall and will stand, all windes and weather, against all the f1r 65 the many tempests and violent stormes of all principalities and powers of spirituall wickedness in High places; all this hath been in vain: for this fire, though a little while it did but Smoak; Yet it will Blaze, and that with fervent heat: it will never go out; it’s God Everlasting; it’s God beginning a good work in the soul, who will undoubtedly perfect it, it’s God in darkness, or glimmerings, who will be a Shining light to us, and fulness of Heavens Glory in us.

Precious friend, I finde, all that a poor soul can do against the smoaking flax, or Day-breaking of God, shall never prevail against it, for it overcomes all, and can be overcome of nothing. O that I could more praise and exalt the Lord for his unspeakable loving kindness to me; whose compassions fail not to his unworthy servant, though once and often she thought they had, under her Fspirits f1v 66 spirits captivity. Now I can through mercy say, That Jehovah the infinite and glorious being, shews wonders to the dead, and makes the desolate arise out of the grave of sin and silence, as Lazarus did, and praise him who preaches loving kindness to such; and puts an end to death and destruction, by his own life and salvation: I finde the Lord makes known his faithfulness and loving kindness in the land of forgetfulness, to souls that know not him, nor his wonders in the deeps; which causeth me to wait with joy for the further manifestations of the goodness and glory of God: Our God of love, whose communications of love are very precious to our soules, strongly engaging our hearts to praise him: O when, says my soul, shall we do this sufficiently! When we confess God to be his own praise. Some say of Parents, That their Children can never render to them their due: I f2r 67 I am sure we may say so of God! our Father, and Wisdom our Mother, which is Christ: for let a soul give never so much to God, it comes short of what is his due from us, for making us free, and joyfull in himself, from the bondage of corruption, by awaking and arising from under the black dark veils of Ignorance and Unbeleife; saving us from our enemies which are too strong for us; and so redeeming and gathering us to himselfe, who can no ways be happy out of him.

Now that we may be made thus happy, Christ is a Refiners fire to us, to burn and destroy all our dross, hay, and stubble; that we may be made a meet and fit habitation for God through the Spirit. O how should we be content with this purging fire, knowing it to be our Gods design of love, in sending his bosomSon to utterly abolish Mortality, and all that hath Death in it, and then F2cloath f2v 68 cloath us with life, glory, and Immortality, according to his will; that we may be fit Brides for the Marriage of the Lambe; appearing like those who are begotten of the Immortall feed, and so changed from glory to glory by love; Whose irradiant beames, and sweet shinings forth makes the Lion a Lambe, the vile precious, and ravening ones meek and lovely. These experienced souls, I finde, can more admire, then speak forth the exceeding riches of Gods grace and free love, and of his strange and mighty acts in renewmaking of us, by destroying the old creation in us, and transfiguring his new one in spirit. When this new life and glory, or new creation, is come down into us, or we taken up into it; then may a Christian be called A new Jerusalem, a heaven, and earth, wherein dwells righteousness, or the righteous Lord, who makes all things new, and glorious; by whose in-dwelling presence in our hearts, we f3r 69 we come to see what all the mists and fogs of darkness were, which hindred the Revelation of Christ in the Gospel, and his sweet discoveries of love from us; which was onely our proud, vile, vain, corrupt self; this is the obscuring veile; which veile for our comfort the Lord Jesus puts aside, as he said he would do, in the appointed time: this veile of darkness I finde also to be that vile woman which Solomon speaks of: her specious pretences to man in his lost condition, to bewitch us from the true knowledg of our dear God and his ways, and spirituall Worship: but he who is our wisdom and Power, our all, is stronger then all enemies, to save and keep us for ever from them. Christ is our over-topping Mountain, in and by whom God hath promised to destroy the veile of the covering of the flesh, sin, or self-righteousness, which is cast over all people: this our spirituall eyes F3shall f3v 70 shall see with joyfull heart, when Christ shall be established above all other Mountains in the souls of his people; above every high thought & proud vain imagination, which offers to exalt it self above God, where it ought not to be, in our hearts; till the Holy Child Jesus is born and brought forth thence, our beloved Isaac, heir of all things, with the Government of life and Peace upon his shoulder, to rule all, as only Lord and King, King of Salem, Prince of Peace; who hath, doth, and will bring all things in us into Obedience to his Holy Scepter; even our corrupt averse wills, to subject to his Holy Divine will in all things: this great work Christ accomplishes by degrees, when he takes up his abode in our hearts.

Ah what a joy to the spirit, but what a sorrow to the flesh, is this indwelling preference in the hearts of his sanctified ones! it’s a sorrow to the flesh or old man in us, because it’s death; and f4r 71 and it’s very joyous to the new man or second creation, because the life and glory of it: the indwelling presence of Christ is a death to all that is evil in us, and a Quickning spirit to that which is good: the first work our King Jesus doth when he enters into our hearts; he shew us the falsness, foulness, Ignorance, and darkness and all manner of evil in them; and afterwards he shews us the reality and purity of his own native beauty, and Supernaturall Glory. When the Sun of righteousness arises in our dark hearts, we then immediately see the gross darkness in us; and are then able to discerne aright between darkness and light, good and evil, truth and Error, by the Spirit of God which searches all things, even the deeps of Gods Counsels, and the deeps of our hearts: shewing us the weakness and unworthyness of our selves, and also the Power, Glory, and Omnipotence of God above them, who can turn F4and f4v 72 and change them how and when he pleaseth, for his own glory and our sole comfort; and make us, of vile, precious and beautyful, through his comeliness. O what could God do more for his vineyard, his people, then he hath done? he hath invested them with his own glorious Image, and married them to Himself, or Son, which is all one, who is Heire of all things, King of Kings; and also dignified them with the graces of his Spirit, and cloathed them with the Glistering Spangles of his Holyness, the Angels Glory; and cull and chuse them from the common part of Gods earth, to be the chiefe or precious part of his earth: his choice Golden Mine, his peculiar treasure.

O may we not say, who have but seen, heard, or tasted ever so little a glimpse of this free rich grace, and precious love of God; what, O what shall we render unto the Lord for these unspeakable special mercies! for certainely f5r 73 certainly God looks for some returne of his own from us; he looks for some thing present from us, as we do present and future from him. He looks we should live answerable to our enjoyments and hopes. Says Peter, What manner of persons ought we professors to be in practice, in all holy conversation! O how excellent a thing is it to see all the Saints adorne the Gospell of Christ in walking, as well as talking! Noah is recorded for a walker with God: O to walk holy as Christ did, when he was upon earth in the days of his flesh, is excellent: we know his life was a life of Sanctity, an holy life; for, said he, Which of you convinceth me of sin? and he who had no sin nor guile found in his mouth: nay more, the Devil confest him the Holy one of God. O what a precious life was this holy life! as Christ walked holy, so humble: O that all Saints might walk in humility, as their Lord and Head did; who though f5v 74 though he were Lord and Heir of all, yet he washed his Disciples feet; and humbled himself to death, even the death of the cross. The humble soul looks likest Christ; humility is the veile of Christs Bride: O how beautifull doth she look in Christs eye, when this veile of Rebekkah is upon her! be ye cloathed with humility, faith God, to us. As this veile hides anothers faults, so its own graces, as Rebekkah did her beauty: true grace, you know, shines most irradiant thorugh the mask of humility. O what are all Christian duties, without heavenly humility! Incense smels most sweet when beaten small; then it sends forth its fragrant perfume. As Divine humility studies Gods goodness, so its own unworthiness: Better is that sin which thorowly humbles the soul, like David, then that duty which lifts up Pharisee-like. In this the grace of humility is precious; it gives all to God; as Joab when he had gotten the Victory, sent for King David f6r 75 David to carry away the Crown of it; so a believer, when he or she hath gotten Victory over some corruption or temptation, then they set the Crown upon Christs head, and say with David, By my God I have leaped over a Wall: and if they finde strength to go thorow duties, then they with Paul write Christ and free grace upon all: I laboured more abundantly then them all: yet not I, but the grace of God in me. To walk in love and amity, as Christ did, to the glory of God, is very desireable: he breathed forth nothing but love; he was full of this perfume; as his person was lovely, so was his disposition; he was composed all of love: he was so full of love within, that it broke forth without: his lips dropped honey, his hands Myrrhe, his sides blood, his heart Love: love! O how ought all Saints, who look for glorious things, to come to live in love, as Christ did upon earth! O that this sweet spice might send out its fragrant smell more f6v 76 more among Christians, that all things by them might be done in love! We know, saith John we who live in love and amity, That we are passed from death to life: surely none can love the Person of Christ really, but they will love his Picture, though very contemptible to the world. O how might the Saints highly honor God, if they were more united in love, and quite dispossessed of these two evil spirits, that of self-conceitedneses or vain glory, and uncharitableness! O why should this be? why should not we love as brethren? have we not all one Father? indeed that is a blessed strife, when the Saints contend for the faith; this consists in unity. O it’s good indeed, when simply out of love, the Saints shall be willing to suffer patiently for Christ, as he did, with a Lamb-like spirit: considering all our many and great sufferings are but one dram to his.

To think of Christs sufferings, and of f7r 77 of his faithfull ones, Davids, Jobs, Jeremiahs, Sions, and many others, that we are not alone in troubles, sorrows, and sufferings, hath administred much comfort to me, under all our sad changes. The Lord give us to submit, and subscribe more to our Gods will in all troubles, and changes, that we may swim in the laver of his Love: Glorifying Him in the fires.

Sir, having these scattered Meditations upon my spirit at present, I was moved to communicate them to you by way of writing, being deprived of another oportunity. I hope you will accept my poor mite out of my scanty store, into your full treasury, with love, as I have done yours formerly in your lines. I remember a saying of yours which stirred me up a little to this communicating: you said, As the rich ones of the World Visit one another, opening their treasures to each other; so much more should the Saints declareclare f7v 78 clare the goodness of God to each other. Fearing my many lines at present may weary you, and being somewhat weak in body through sharp exercises, I shall now leave you, with all Saints, in the Everlasting imbraces of our dear Lord Jesus, whose delight is to make his beloved the bosom of his rest, the bed of Spices; whose precious graces doth perfume all our tribulations: thorow which we enter into the Kingdom: and this love of the Lord also makes the world, and evil of it, a sweet savour of good, Peace, and rest to us in the end. The good Lord cause us more to indulge and honor the spirit of these graces above them, for the sweet incomes of them; this will demonstrate to the world, that we injoy more within, then we make sound of without; which my spirit covets after; and live not onely in the form, but in the Power of Godliness; and so cannot be led away with the Error of the wicked, or fall from our own stedfastness;ness f8r 79 ness; but grow in grace, and in the pure, perfect knowledge of our dear God alone. Now the God of love and peace be with ye, making ye perfect in every good work of faith and love; working in you, and all Saints, and us, that which is well pleasing in his sight, causing us all to walk as Angels among Men, as the Powers and glory of Heaven upon Earth, like the children of the day in practice, as burning and shining lights in this dark world. As the Saints believing heart, and undaunted spirit is their glory before God; so is their unspotted life, their holy walking, their Glory before men; for when they see their good work, they will glorifie their God. Sir, having no further freedom to write more to you now, I shall take leave, and rest, Remaining

Your engaged friend to love and serve you, as a member of Christ, an heire of Heaven, one f8v 80 and one anointed of the Father,

Sarah Wight,

I am unskilled in Apologies and excellent expressions; and if I were not, I had not whereof to glory of the excellecy of mans wisdom. Sir, my dear mother is still tossed with many tempests of temptations; but the Lord graciously supports her, and gives her a little hopes sometimes of a gracious Issue. The Lord cast her into your heart to beg patience for her, to wait silently for a fresh manifestation of the Lords love to her sad soul; that she may with joyfull lips set forth his praise: she sees so much evil in her, and no good, which makes her often doubt whether it will go g9r 81 go well with her in the end: and I tell her this is a token for good; for the more vile in our own eyes, the more precious in the sight of the Lord: this is a terrible sight to flesh and blood, To see our selves as we are, and God as he is. Sir, your kind acceptance of my former lines, encouraged me to present these to your view at your leysure in spare hours. Sir, I desire you to give my cordial respects to Mr. T. though unknown by face, with thanks for his Christian care and love to us in an unthought-of way: it’s not he, but the Lord in him and by him, who will not leave a cup of cold water unrewarded, to him, and you, and all his.