When our Lord and Savior JESUS CHRIST had fed many with a few Loves [Loaves], he commanded his Disciples to gather up the Fragments, that nothing he lost, John. 6. 12. And when God was pleased to poure out of his Spirit upon some of his faithful Servants in our Generation, he had also some of his Handmaides, who gathered up the Crumes of that Spiritual Bread, which the Lord blessed and distributed among his Disciples: Of which Number this holy Matron was one. Now there are three Arguments whereby it may appear, that God would not have these Fragments (which she hath gathered into her Basket) to be lost, viz. First, Because, God made them (by his Blessing) food to her soul in the gathering, and receiving them into her own heart, and also to the soules of several young Virgins in her family, unto whom the Lord made some of these Crumes the bread of eternal Life. Secondly, because she had lost the manuscript (wherein these and many other of her Experiences were written) in a sea storme wherein she suffered Shipwrack, yet God, who preserved her life, did also preserve these Experiences in her heart, where it seemeth they were written, not with ink but by his holy Spirit. Thirdly, Because she being pressed in Spirit to Communicate them more publikely, the Spirit of the Lord did bring them again to her remembrance, and she hath been made willing to publish them as her Testimony and witness of the free grace, and fresh Anoyntings of the Lords Spirit, whom he hath promised to poure forth upon his servants, and Handmaides in the last dayes, Joel 2:28, 29, 31, 32. Now for as much as this little Book is presented to thee, Christian Reader, as a Basket full of fragments, be not offended with the broakenness of any matter, which thou mayest meet with in the Reading thereof: considering, that God, who hath made them a blessing to others, may bless them unto thee. Thou mayest take notice of three Things in this little Book, which I judge worthy of every Christians observation, to wit, first, Her extraordinary Teachings of God by his holy Spirit and Word, when she could not enjoy the ordinary means of his own appointments. This godly Woman (after God hath begun the good work of grace in her soul) would not loose any opportunity she could get either in publicke or private for her precious soul, but would often break thorrow some difficulties and endure some hardships to enjoy such opportunities; and this she did at that time, when many professors sleighted and neglected (O grievous Sin!) yea contemned the Ministry of the word. Now observe, That as she followed the Lord, and waited upon him in the use of the means of Grace, when she could enjoy it, so the Lord was pleased (of the exceeding Riches of his free Grace) not onely to do her soul good by his presence and power therein: But also (when she could not enjoy the outward meanes of grace) the Lord waited to be gracious unto her soul, and followed her with the inward teachings of his holy Spirit, and word, as she hath witnessed in many particulars in this her Book. And if thy experience, COURTEOUS READER, cannot seal unto the Testimony, that she gives of those Spiritual Teachings: Yea do not stumble at them, do not judge her, for she hath received an Unction from the holy One, and is taught of God. In the Reading of her Book, thou wilt meet with some suddain and unexpected Transition from one thing to another, (and thou mayest think it to be some what abruptly) yet Censure not too rashly, but rather consider, that even this also may, yea doth hold some proportion unto the course of Heaven and Heavenly communications. The Husbandman will not wonder to see showers and shinings, bright and dark clouds succeed each other, knowing that the Rain which comes from Heaven hath its seasons and its measure too. Will the Marriner marvel to see the seas swell and rage in a great storme, or admire the stillness and smoothness of the deep waters in a great calme. Or will any who lives upon the sea coast think the frequent Ebbing & flowing of the tyde a strange thing. Neither will any experienced Christian marvel at the suddain Ebbing and flowing of joyes, and sorrows in the hearts of Saints. The operations and Administrations of the Spirit are various, I. Cor 12: 4, 5, 6, 7. Sometimes the Spirit is poured out upon the soules of Believers (as floods upon the dry ground) And those spiritual showers and shinings do make a spring of Grace in the Wilderness of their hearts. Where of the Lord hath spoken by his Prophets. Isa. 51:3. and 44:3, 4. and 32:15, 16, 17. Jer. 31: v. 12. But at other times the glory of the Saints comforts, joyes, and light is so clouded, and eclipsed, that they are under great desertions, Isa. 54: vers. 7, 8, 11. Yea and may for some time walk in darkness and have no light, Isa. 50:10. Secondly, Another thing I judge worthy the Readers observation in this book, is this Christian womans Experience of the presence and power of God, accompanying her conscientious endeavours to do good unto the souls of others both in her own family especially, and also in some other families, where she sojourned sometime. I mention this not for her praise, who desires that God alone may have all the Glory of whatsoever he hath done for her or by her; (she needs no Epistles of Commendation from men) But seeing her Experiences are made so publicke, my hearts desire is, that Parents and Governours of families would follow her Example therein: Endeavouring (as she did) the Conversion and sanctification of them, whom God had committed to their charge, by Instructions, councel, and reproofe, which she administred, with so much love, wisdome, zeal, and tenderheartedness, that they proved by Gods blessing an effectual means of the conversion of many, some of whom are yet living witnesses of the truth hereof, and also of many other her Experiences related in this her Book. She was not onely a Governesse, but (as it were) a Prophetess in her family, for she prayed constantly with her children and Maidens, she also read the holy Scriptures daily unto them, and so spake from them, that many of them, who heard her (in her family duties) believed and turned to the Lord. She opened her mouth with wisdome, and in her tongue was the Law of kindness, as Solomon spake of the virtuous woman, Pro. 31:26, 27, 28, 29. She did so Chatechise the young children, and instruct the elder maidens, that they all learned to know, and many of them to do their duty to God and man. Thirdly, there is yet one thing more, which I would have thee, Courteous Reader, to ponder in thy heart, to wit, the gift of singing spiritual Songs and Hymnes, which she presents thee with some instances of in her Book, here and there occasionally touching, which Administration I am willing for thy edification to say; 1. That singing of Psalmes, Hymnes, and Spiritual Songs (bring an Ordinance of Gods worship) ought to be performed by a gift, and the assistance of the Spirit, as well as prayer. I. Cor. 14: 12, 15. What is it then? I will pray with the Spirit, &c. I will sing with the Spirit, &c. Now as to take a book and read a prayer out of it, or to say a prayer without the Book, is not to pray in the Spirit, so to read a Psalme in a Book, and sing it, or to sing the same Psalme without the Book is not to sing in the Spirit: if the singing of Psalmes be a part of Gods worship (as doubtless it is) then it ought to be performed by assistance of the spirit, for the true worshippers ought to worship God in spirit and truth, John. 4: 23, 24. 2. That Christians ought to sing Spiritual Songs and Hymnes, as well as Psalmes, unto the Lord; And that with grace in their hearts, Col. 3: 16. for the melody (which the Lord loveth) is in the heart, rather then in the voyce, Eph. 5:19. They who perform this part of Gods worship, whether they speak unto themselves in private, or unto others more publickly, ought to have the word of Christ, to dwell richly in them, yea and to be filled with the Spirit, as the Apostle testifieth, Ephes. 5: vers 17, 18, 19, 20 and Coloss 3: vers 16. I have known some other Godly and gracious Christians (besides this grave and holy Matron) who have this gift of Singing: and I my self have some experience of this kinde of Anoynting of the Spirit of praise, which will (I hope) ere long be poured forth upon the sons and daughters of Zion. And then they will praise Jehovah, singing to the Lord a new Song, and his praise in the Congregation of Saints, as is prophesied, Psal. 49: 1, 2, 5. and Psal. 51:11 and 52: 1, 8. &c. The holy Spirit can dictate the Matter, yea and words of praise and singing, as well as the matter and words of prayer: And why may not the Lord assist a poor gracious humble soul to sing in the Spirit, as well as to pray in the spirit: seeing there [is] nothing too hard for God, to do? It was by many (and is still by some) denyed, that there is any such thing as a Spiritual gift of prayer, save only that which is acquired. And yet the gracious experience of many Godly persons doth testify that there is such a gift of the Spirit, called a spirit of supplication, which is poured forth upon the Lords people. And although many nay most Godly Christians do not believe there is any such Spiritual gift of singing as I have here intimated, yet some few poor gracious humble souls have good Experience, that there is sometimes a measure of the holy Spirit poured upon them, whereby they are so filled with the Spirit, that they break forth into singing: Pray therefore that thou mayest sing, and praise the Lord, when the Redeemer of the Lord shall return and come with singing to Zion, Isa. 51: 11. And the Children of Zion be joyful in their King. Psal. 149: 1. Unto whom be glory and dominion for ever, AMEN. So prayeth he, who waiteth for his Kingdome and Coming.
Christian Womans Experiences of the Glorious Working of Gods Free Grace.
Had once hard thoughts of the people of God, yet being on a time perswaded to go to hear them, I went though not out of love to them, but to watch what I could observe; and being then over perswaded against them, and the Ministers Text (that then preacht) was Rom. 2: 4, 5, 6. or Dispisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee unto repentance; but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up to thy self wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous Judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds.
Verily at this opportunity the dread of God did much smite upon my heart, that I had so long sinned against his patience and goodness. He had this passage, that the sword of the Lord hung as in a twine thread, to cut of[f] all petty swearers; and I having been one that durst not swear great oathes, (but small ones I was addicted to) I thought it met with my particular condition: Then had I little acquaintance with any that feared the Lord; unless it were one family, and they were much afraid of me for a season, because I had been so vain.
Then I was cast upon the Lord alone, who did much support mee by his grace, blessed be his name; yet the very first night after he began to work upon my heart, I fell under this temptation, that I should not eat any more, but rather die, and then I should cease from sinning against the Lords goodness; I then cast away my prayer-book, for it did not reach my necessities, and I cried unto the Lord alone to teach mee to pray; Then did I endeavour to keep close to the best teaching ministery I could find; I was very ignorant, yet did search the Scriptures diligently: but found them very dark to mee, I dayly saw a more clear discovery of my sinful nature, and then began to be sorely perplexed with fears that I could not be a child of God, because I knew not how to get victory over my sin, and though I used all meanes I could, yet my corruptions would sometimes break forth, which made mee often times ready to dispare, and to cast of[f] all.
But one day amongst the rest the Lord made mee resolve, though he kild mee, yet I would trust in him; he made mee also desire of him that if he would not save mee, yet that he would not let mee go back again into sin (for the sence of God’s goodness was much upon my heart.)
Then in several Sermons God was pleased to speak peace to my poor soul, yet after through the violence of temptations, I often questioned my condition; sometimes I was tempted to murder my self, sometimes to starve my self; yet the Lord upheld mee, for I could not make my case known to any but God for the space of two years, all which season I was wonderfully kept by the power of God alone. In this time was I called by my friends into a darck corner of the land full of ignorance, yet I was sorely troubled, especially when I was overtaken with any sin, still I fell down before the Lord bewailing my sins; then did the Lord give mee much comfort from this place of Scripture. Jer. 31:20. Is Ephriam my dear son is he a pleasant child, for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord.
Now in the place where I was were many Papists, and they much endeavoured to have mee of their judgment: But God kept mee in a thirsting frame of spirit after the preaching of the word, and often cast in my mind, that I should, Matt. 6:33. First seek the Kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all other things should be added.
Wee had in that place a bad Minister, but to God I made my supplication, and used what means I could to obtain a better, and God was pleased to answer my desires, and sent a better to that very place, who remained there the time that I stayed,. under whose honnest teachings I often met with sweet refreshing.
Then I was stirred up by my friends to change my condition, to be married to an husband; upon which I did earnestly begg of God that I might have one that did fear the Lord, that he might be a furtherance to me towards heaven, and indeed so he was. For I married with a man that was much in practical duties, yet some difference there was in our judgments, which often caused mee to cry to God, and to search the Scriptures, so much the more, using all means for a right understanding in the things and wayes of God, and it became helpful to mee. And in this time of my earnest seeking of God alone, he was pleased to discover to mee by dreames and visions of the night, the uggliness of sin in a far greater manner then ever I saw it before: and in dreams brought many Scriptures to mind that did answer some questions, and satisfy some doubts, that were in my heart: and so did cause darkness to become light before mee at that time: and this did the Lord do in the absence of other meanes, soon after I gained information where the word was powerfully preached: but it being something far from mee, I had some difficulty to get to it; yet it being (through grace) more to mee then my ordinary food: I keept close to opportunities of the word there preached; which in an especial manner God was pleased to make very useful unto mee. And I injoying often many sweet tasts of the presence of God in his ordinances, was carried out through all weathers to wait upon him; and this I can truely say from real experience that the worst wheather I went through the more of God, I met within his ordinances, I remember one very wet day, I had much comfort from these words; (let this incourage others,) Joh. 1:2, 3. Now are wee the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall bee: And afterwards while my meditations were something upon Hebrews 6: 5, 6. I was much stirred up to mind, how far an Hypocrite might go in Religion: And I began to consider, whether or no I had gone any further then such a one might go, for I saw plainly that a person might go very far, and yet be in a sad state, though they may be enlightened and tast of the heavenly gift, and be partakers of the holy Spirit, yea and tast of the good word, and also hear the best Preachers gladly, as Herod did John the Baptist, and as Agrippa did Paul, and yet be but almost a Christian.
Then I being at a Sermon, the words of the Text were: Marc. 6: vers 20. And he did many things: That Minister then shewed, that an Hypocrite or a reprobate might do many things: but yet a true child of God can do more; he named two things in which a child of God goeth beyond an Hypocrite.
First, that he doth as much desire to be holy as happy.
2. That he doth as earnestly set himself against all sin was some.
Then I was exceedingly taken up in my thoughts about this thing; but being carried out to seek the Lord earnestly, he was pleased to give in this answer; Thou stumblest so much at the stone of assurance that thou forgetest to build, then did God let me see that the foundation and topstone is Jesus Christ, and that I must cease from my own workes, take Christ upon his own termes, and then entred into some rest.
Oh, what a knotty piece was I to work upon! for until he put forth his mighty power I could not believe; and I found nothing stronger then free grace to stricke at the root of my sin.
Also on another snowy day I going many miles to hear, I was refreshed much from these words, 2. Cor. 12:9. My grace is sufficient for thee.
And on another day from these words: Luke 10:20. But rather rejoyce, because your names are written in heaven. And another time aboundance of comfort from that Scripture: I Cor. 2:9 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard neither, hath it entred into the heart of man, to conceive the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. It was a very sore day when I went to this opportunity and a very bitter Journey I had, but God made it exceeding sweet unto mee.
Also I had a very great fit of a feaver, by reason of the trouble of conscience I was under; and in the time of that great feaver, the Lord was pleased to set that Scripture upon my heart: Rev. 22:17. The Spirit and the bride said come, and let him that heareth say, come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him come, and take of the watters of Life freely: Which did administer so much comfort & refreshing to mee from a sence of the freeness of Gods grace, being set upon my heart, with so much power of the Spirit that I was (contrary to the Judgment of Physicians) soon raised to my health again. For indeed I had at that time been exceedingly troubled in my spirit about my sins, which I had been looking back upon; for I had made a Catalogue of them, and spread them before the Lord for pardon: But thinking them to be so many, that God would not pardon them; I did much desire I might die, and go out of the body, and not live any Longer in it, to encrease mine iniquities. And although at this time a good Minister did endeavor to comfort mee, yet I put comfort from mee, and said, it did not belong to mee till the God of all grace was pleased to give it in by the power of his Spirit, as before mentioned, and then after our good God had given mee a tast of the riches of his pardonning love and grace in Christ Jesus: I was also carried out to pitty others, and begge that God would let them also tast of the same; and a particular person was set upon my heart to begge of God for, and in a short time the Lord was pleased to answer my desire in working a work of grace in that soul.
Then I was called by providence into a dark family, where I had lived some time before; and I then finding much opposition against mee, was not willing to go thither again, but set my self to pray, not that I might be willing to submit to the will of God, but that I might not remove into that family, though had I then understood it, my call was clear enough, being earnestly desired there unto by my husband, and invited by the family, who now professed they could not be without mee, though (when I was there before) they did not affect mee well, being lofty, and could not bear such admonitions that sometime letting fall among them, but upon the importunity of my husband and this family; I then at length set my self to seek the Lord, that my heart might be made to submit to his will, what ever it were; and that if I did go, I might some way or other be useful to him in that place. Now that which made me so unwilling to go unto that family, was because of the opposition, that I had met with before in the wayes of God, and then a want of the means, both in preaching the word and fellowship with the Saints.
But upon my earnest seeking, to know the mind of God, and to be brought to submit unto it, my heart was soon made willing to go, which accordingly I did; and I had not been long there before, it pleased the Lord to worke upon one of the family (to my great comfort and refreshing) who was the one that I looked upon as unlike as any in the family.
Also the Lord was pleased by death to take away a child from mee, which was to my casting down, and for sometime I was under a cloud, and questioned whither I were a child of God? and whither my child were saved? In that time a good man laboured to comfort mee, telling mee before, the Lord gave mee a son, he gave mee his own son; Oh, said I, that I could see that! why said hee, if you will see that, take heed of a cursting law, and flandring devil, and an accusing conscience; all which the Lord hath delivered you from, and therefore now wait upon the Lord I am confident the Lord will appear in this thing.
And the Lord was pleased after seeking of him, to set it upon my heart, that that child was well with him, and that he had such another mercy for mee on earth, which he gave mee faith in, notwithstanding great oppositions against at that present: yet after some half a years waiting upon the Lord was I assured of it.
A fit of desertion.
After this the God of comfort was pleased to withdraw and leave mee in a deserted condition, which I found to be very sad, and I was very much perplexed in my spirit, but could not speak of it unto any: But going to hear a Sermon, the Minister was upon that Text: Lord forsake mee not utterly (that is to say) not overlong least the spirit should fail before thee: hee then shewed what desertion was; and why God doth sometime seem to leave his own people.
Because (said he) through some pride, they thought they could walk alone, and so neglected their watch, then God hide his face, that they might see their own insufficiency: and know that all their peace, strength, and comfort is in and from him: And this (through mercy) was a great help unto mee at that time.
Further, while I was under that ministry, God was pleased to convince me of the falsness of their Worship, which in that place then was used, and having an opportunity to go with others to go with others to the communion (as they call it) I could not kneell as the rest did, but sat down as if I had kneeled; and as I there sat, it came upon my heart to think thus (as if it had been spoken to mee) why dissemblest thou a worship before the Lord, hee that commands thee to kneel there, may as well command thee to kneel at an Altar, (although at that time there was nothing known of setting up of Altars) which thing I made known to the Minister, and did warn him that if Altars should be set up, that he would not for filthy lucre sake kneell at them himself, nor compel others so to do: but he told mee he could not believe any such thing should be: but if it should bee so he promised mee he would not conform to them. But in a short time after he found it too true, for Altars were reared up, and he poor man (contrary to his promise) did conform himself in that thing, and compelled others so to do: but the first time he did so, it pleased the Lord to smite him with a sore languishing disease, that he went out no more.
Soon after I was at the Christening of a child (as they call it) at which time God was pleased to convince mee of the evil and falseness of that piece of Worship also.
Then was there in the nation a publique fast proclaimed, and by mans invention there was a form of prayer made and appointed to be read in every assembly that fast-day, & this was a third conviction that I had about their formal outside way of worship; I had then an opportunity to come into one of those assemblies that fast-day while that prayer was reading, at which present this thought came strongly upon mee: Is this a worship in spirit and truth which thy soul (when it is upon the wing with God) cannot joyn with all; for I could not joyn with the words then read in that formost prayer.
Upon which I even melted in my spirit, and fell into shedding of tears, resolving to seperate from, and come no more to joyn in such a way of worship until I had very diligently searched into the true way of Gods worship, as it is written in his blessed word; and in order there unto I made use of all the best books I could get, that were then published to that purpose, and also called in the help of many Godly Ministers of several judgment: but when all this was done I was still unsatisfied in that behalf: and then did I cry unto the Lord to teach mee, and it was by the Lord set upon my heart, that I must not do any thing in the way of his worship but what I had ground for in his holy word; & that Gods Servants were alwayes to observe his pattern in all that they do to him, and that Scripture was much set upon my heart. Rev. 22. vers. 18, 19. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophesy of this book, if any man shall adde unto these things, God shall adde unto him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this Prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of life, and out of the holy Citty, and from the things which are written in this book: well still I was put upon it to continue seeking the Kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, and the promise that all other things should be added unto mee.
Then did I with some others seek the Lord by fasting and prayer, for councel what we should do, and whet[h]er we should go to injoy communion with the Lord, in the way of his pure worship, and the Lord was pleased in love to answer my desirs in a wonderful manner, for being then intangled with a house of which my Husband had a lease for some years; and upon that account was unwilling to remove, not knowing how to dispose of that house: But yet the Lord was pleased in a short time to make him wiling that I should remove if I could get of that lease, and some goods I had; which the Lord soon holp mee in, by sending one unexpectedly the very next day, after my Husband declared his willingness for my removal upon those conditions, who took of the lease of the house of our hands with those goods, and so I was made free; So forth with removed to a place where I did injoy the hearing of a good man preach, and had the sweet benefit of some private meetings, which was much refreshing unto mee: but yet two things I was very earnest with God for.
1. One that I might be filled with the clear witness, and full assurance of the eternal Spirit.
2. And the other, that I might injoy more full and close communion with God in all his blessed ordinances in both, which God was pleased to answer mee in some measure; as to the first he did let mee see that I had sinned against him, in that I again questioned that assurance which before he had given mee in; and then he brought (with most wonderful renewing power) those Scriptures, which many years before at several times under several ordinances were, set with much power and evidence upon my heart: But first God was pleased to shew mee that it was only unbelief that had caused mee (at the appearance of temptation and corruption) to question his love and doubt about his kindness, and so to conclude against my self: But the Lord did shew me that all this doubting was from my evil heart of unbelief, the fence of which one morning especially God did set upon my spirit to the breaking of my heart; so that for three dayes together I was greatly afflicted in my spirit: and continued crying unto God, as one that could not be any longer contented without the Light of his countenance with a renewing seal of his Love, long sought with sighes, prayer and tears, and in the third day morning he did send the comforther the Spirit, which with inward light, life, and power set upon my heart these following Scriptures: I John. 3:2. Now are wee the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what wee shall be.
But rather rejoyce, because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10: vers 10.
And who soever will, let him come and take of the watters of life freely. Revel. 22. 17.
And my grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor. 12:9.
Oh! I cannot utter the joy that then was in my heart by the mighty operation of the spirit: And then after that, this word came upon my spirit, and grieve not the holy Spirit, whereby thou art sealed unto the day of redemption; and then God did answer me, that there was sufficiency in his grace in Christ, to pardon all my sins past, present, and to come.
Then as to my other desire which was after more communion with God in his ordinances. After waiting, the Lord was pleased to set it upon my heart, to believe that my habitation should be removed, and that I should injoy my desire by (the time called) Easter, and so it was accordingly; and I through mercy, after I had gotten the renewings of the seal and clear witness of the Spirit, lived for about a quarter of a year as it were in Heaven upon earth, but then began a cloud again to araise, and I was under the buffetings of some sore temptations, God with drawing in a great measure (though not the witness of the Spirit yet the comforts of his Spirit which before I did injoy; and I conceive this might be the cause of it (which I wish all others may take heed of, for it cost mee deare) under that sweet soul refreshing communion I had with our heavenly Father, I gave way to some doubting and questionnings, whither there was not a delusion in the thing I then injoyed.
This temptation lasted some six dayes, and I had no peace, day nor night when I was awake, to think that I should grieve so good a God, and cause him to depart from mee.
And Satan not changing his weapons made mee think that there was something in mee that I did not so fully resist him, for when our dear Lord Jesus was tempted, he by his powerful resistance made him to change them.
So I lay mourning before the Lord, but could not set to praying for the violence of this temptation. Then my sleep departed, and I grew sick, & then God gave mee to mind that Abrahams work lay before mee, when he went to offer sacrifice he was to drive away the fowles. Gen. 15. This work the Lord directed mee to do by laying hold upon Jesus Christ, who prayed for mee, though I could not now pray for my self. Jo. 15: v. 17, 19. And so soon as my heart was brought to believe this, I was presently delivered, and in all this temptation the Lord hid not his face from mee, blessed be his name.
And then as the Lord carried mee over the Sea, where I did injoy further and fuller communion with himself in his ordinances, he gave mee another occasion for the exercise of faith and Patience.
For whilst I was upon that voyage, the vessel that I was in was pursued with enemies, and troubled with contrary winds, so that we were in great straits.
But God gave me to believe that he that delivered Paul out of his straits, would also deliver us out of ours, and so it was, blessed be his name; and so very safely I was carried unto that place that the Lord called mee unto.
But presently after I was there arrived the Lord was pleased to exercise me with several afflictions.
First by taking away a child by death, and then by laying upon my self such a distemper that my joynts and sinnews were by fits bound up, that I could not stirre them, nor take any rest while it lasted, my pain was so great, no Doctor could do mee any good (though several physicians consulted what to do for mee) But concluded there was no help but I must dye.
But when I heard that, I said, there is yet help in God, and it was set upon me to believe, that if I could but touch the hemm of the garment of Jesus Christ, that is believingly go to him, I should be healed, being also put in minde of that promise, that whosoever forsake any thing for his sake and the Gospels, Mat. 19:29 should receive an hundred fold; then I cryed, Lord give me to be healed of this distemper by thee se[e]ing thou art pleased to deny help by man.
And one day our Pastor called in to visit me, as he was going to the meeting, whom I did desire to pray for me, and to stirre up the bretheren to joyn with him, and I much incouraged him that they should pray in faith, believing for what they asked, telling him that by faith and prayer they would assuredly heal me, and verily according unto my faith it was done unto me, for ever blessed be God for J. Christ, for as they were praying in his name the distemper departed.
Next the Lord was pleased to lay his afflicting hand upon another of my children, then did I much desire that all afflictions might be sanctified rather then removed, and that by all I might be made more conformable unto Jesus Christ was I helped then to read and mind that place in Job, Job 34: 32. That which I see not teach thou mee; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.
Then our Pastor coming again to visit me, I asked him how we should know the mind of God in these many afflictions, he answered mee, that a man having an orchard or vineyard walkes therein, and among all the trees he makes choyce it may be of some one tree, whose standing is more pleasant and convenient then others; and that tree he chops, & hacks and makes an Arbour to sit in for his delight, and said hee, if God will do so by you, will you not there with be content? Oh! yes said I: if that be the good will of my heavenly father; and blessed be God I did find it so; for though I have sowed in tears, I have reaped in joy, and have found the times of greatest outward trouble, and affliction have been the onely times of greatest inward and spiritual joy and soul consolation, verily I cannot express with tongue nor pen the large experience I have had upon this account.
And this I have found, that when a pour soul is faithful and single hearted for God walking up to the light it hath received, this is the very way to injoy the presence of God and his blessing upon him, in what state and condition so ever he is in; for this I can declare from mine own experience that lose [loss] is the way to gain, trouble is the way to peace, sorrow is the way to joy, and death is the way to life; he that looseth his life for my sake, saith Jesus Christ, the same shall find it, through the valey of tears lieth the way to the mountain of joy; for whilst I set my self in good earnest to seek the Lord for instruction into the truth as it is in Jesus, I met with many difficulties; but yet our prayer hearing God was pleased to come in by degrees; having through his grace given me faith in his son (who was exalted as a Prince and a Savior to give me repentance) made mee also willing to be baptized for the remission of sins.
Now that which made me willing to obey the Lord, in this Ordinance was the Command of Jesus Christ in Mat. 28:19. and Act. 10:48. and the example of Christ and the practice of the Apostles, and primitive Saints, together with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost anexed thereunto: Acts 2: 38. And indeed this truth at last was so set upon my heart by the Lord, that though many difficulties lay in the way, yet the Lord carried me through them all: and after I had obeyed the Lord therein (in every faithfulness I must declare that I did injoy the incomes of God in a more plentiful manner then before: But Satan for some time laboured to hinder mee in obeying the Lord in this piece of service, with this temptation, that by this meanes a death (in all likelyhood and in an eye of reason) would fall upon my livelyhood, but God made it a furtherance to mee and to others also, so that many of us were at that time (after waiting on God by fasting and prayer) baptized together.
And after that the Lord was pleased to bless mee in my imployment that following year, with more then ordinary success, by which the Devil was proved a lyar.
But afterward I had some fears, that my imployment might be a snare unto me (as the world is to many) and that I should bee too earthly in it, for this Scripture did follow mee very much, (which I desire to give good heed unto) Oh! Earth, Earth, hear the word of the Lord. And often in prayer I did cry unto God, saying, speak Lord, for thy servant desires to hear; and was very desirous to know, what the Lord would have me to understand by this word; and when I had considered I found some thing in my imployment sinful, and a hinderance unto my spiritual injoyments, to convince mee of which, the Lord was pleased to with hold his blessing upon that imployment, which before I had found therein; to the convincing and converting of some to himself, so finding something in it contrary to his will, I was constreined to leave it of[f], and after much seeking of the Lord for councel, these Scriptures were much with mee, Math. 7:7. Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find: knocke, and it shall be opened unto you.
If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him. Math. 7:11.
And on my servants, and on my hand maidens will I pour out of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. Acts 2:18.
These promises did dwell with mee for a long season, so that I was much stirred up to pray to the Lord, that he would please to accomplish them upon mee, and pour out of his blessed Spirit upon me. And after long seeking (especially one day) being very earnest and importunate with the Lord, after which I went out to walk, and on a sudden I was indued with the gift of singing, in such a way and manner as I had not been acquainted with before; and immediately this following song came in (as fast as I could sing) as followeth: it was in the year 1655. in the Month of February.
Come home, come home, thy work is done.
My glory thou shalt see;
Let all the meek ones of the earth
Come home along with thee.
Cast of the world, it is too base
And low for thee to dwell;
I have redeem’d thee from the pit,
And lowest place of Hell.
Admire, admire my love to thee,
Which took thee from so low,
And set thee in high places free,
Where thou my love might’st know.
Wing thou aloft, and cast thy self
Into mine Arms of love;
Look up, look up, and thou shalt see
My glory is above.
Let not the wicked know thy joy:
But let my servants hear
What I have done for thee my love,
Since thou to mee drew’st near.
My servants walk in clouds and bogg’s,
They do not see my light:
The day draws near, and will appear,
That I will shine most bright.
I will appear in my glory, and be a perfect light.
Admire, admire, the thing that I will do,
All nations shall hear, and know
What I am doing now.
I will a habitation be
To them that fear my name;
They shall lie down in safety, and
Give glory to the same.
All they that in high places sit,
And takes their honours low,
Shall be made tremble, quake, and pine,
When they my Justice know.
Come hide, come hide, come hide with me,
Come hide thee in the Rock;
Come draw thy Comforts high from mee.
I my treasures unlock.
Also it was agreed upon by some of the Lords people, with whom I was then present, that we should appoint and keep a day of solemn seeking the Lord by fasting and prayer; that wee might know what was the duty Gods poor Children ought to be found in at that time: but after this was agreed upon, and the day appointed: I was before the time came removed about 30 miles from them, and so that thing went out of my minde: but God by his Spirit set me upon the framework, by five in the morning the same day, and about the middle of the day God brought to my remembrance that agreement, so we were at the same work at the same time, though far distant from another; and indeed the Lord was graciously present, pouring out much of the spirit of prayer and supplication; after which earnest seeking of God, was this following prophesye given in unto me.
Shall light appear, and darkness done away:
Shall Sommers green be cloathed all in gray:
Shall a bright morning set in shadowes dark,
Oh! England, England, take heed thou dost not smart.
And after this prophesy was set upon my heart that notable promise: 2 Chro. 7:14. If my people, which are called by my name, turn from their wicked wayes, then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their Land.
Next morning, about four of the clock, being in my bed, I had this laid before mee, that God would afflict that nation with great afflictions: but I (not knowing what God would try the Nation with) did desire this of the Lord, that I might chuse with David rather to fall into the hands of God, then into the hands of merciless men: it was much upon my heart at that time; that the Lord would turn a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
Then the Lord was pleased to lay upon me a sore affliction, which I finding my self very unable to bear, did as it were repent mee that I in any measure had chosen my condition, and did not rather wholy submit to the will of God; but the Lord did mee good by it, and his strength was made perfect in my weakeness.
Then was it much set upon my heart to consider what then were the sins of the nation, for which there was cause of great humiliation; and indeed the consideration of these following evils was such set upon my heart.
1. That great sloathfulness, deadness, and unfruitfulness under the means of grace which we injoyed, for which the Lord threatened of old, Isa. 5: vers. 5,6. To lay his vinyard wast, to plucke up the hedge and breake downe the wall there of.
2. That great abounding sin of unbelief (notwithstanding the large experiences we had of Gods power for us, and love to us.) And this I saw did cause persons to seek themselves and the world. Unbelief cut them and us short of that rest that many (yea the most of us) promised to our selves, As this unbelief of old cut Israel short of rest, Heb. 3: 10, 11.
3. That idolatry which mee thought I saw abounding in the nation in a threefold sence.
1. First in respect of false wayes of worship, contrary to the rule of the Gospel and primitive exemple.
2. Secondly in respect also of resting upon duty, and so not resting upon Jesus Christ that Rock of ages; this also was one of poor Israels evils, crying out the Temple of Lord, &c. Jer. 7:4.
3. In respect of covetousness, this in Scripture is called Idolatry also; Oh! that too too earnest desire! that was in some after the Foulish vanities of this present evil world, and in others after the vain profits of the world, and in others also after the vain glory and preferment thereof: these things were much upon my heart, and this was that for which God was angry of old with his people, and smote them; and hid his face from them. Isa. 57:17.
4. Fourthly, That pride that I saw abounding in the lives of many, & I fear was in the hearts of others. Which appeared in their slighting the Councel of Gods Spirit: and their persisting to go on in seeking and setting up self, notwithstanding the hand of God against them.
These sins being very much set upon my heart, with a deep consideration of many Scriptures: some of them was very great and sore threatenings: and other some were most sweet and precious promises to such as repent and departe from all iniquity; one of which I remember was that very remarkable place, 2 Chron. 7: 14.
Then I looked upon it as my duty to make this known, that people might be warned to depart from sin, that so they might not partake of the great wrath and sore displeasure of God, which I much feared, was coming.
Then soon after I had an oppertunity to declare this to some that then were in high places, and in the very entring I had this added, which I also declared.
Didst thou not hear a voyce from on high,
Deny your selves (take up the crosse) or verily you shall die?
And this was approved on by some, and received as a very suitable and seasonable word; but pour soules, for not hearkening unto councel in departing from sin they were soon brought down, and laid low, yet there is mercy with the Lord that he may be feared, and he will manifest his love to all them that truly repent, and we may all make a good use of this experience; therefore let others harms become our warnings. Also about the year 1658, to the best of my remembrance [for having lost my book, in which I had set them down in order, I now wait onely upon the Lord, and as he by his Spirit helps mee, so I give an account of these belongings] it was given in with aboundance of power upon my spirit, these few words following.
Awake therefore to righteousness,
The Lord is near at hand:
And will afflict now very sore
By sea and like by land.
(This was again brought to mind in January 1662.)
And this seemes to agree with, and is a further addition to what was given mee before in the Year 1657, which is as followeth.
There is a time approaching near at hand,
That men shall be in fear by sea and land:
There is a time, there will be alteration;
And this same time doth hasten to this nation;
Let now my children hearken to my will,
And they shall see I will be with them still.
These with many more such things came upon my spirit, and then after seeking the Lord he was pleased to shew mee by degrees what was the work of the day (for I am a stranger and a Pilgrim, therefore I seek for a  Kingdom whose Buylder and Maker is God. I desire not to set up the Idol of covetousness, but to have it to be my meat and drink, to do the will of my Father, which is in heaven; and ’tis my onely desire to deny my self, and to honor him) seeking to know the present work of the day: some Scriptures with many waity considerations were set upon my heart, Hezekiahs prayers and tears, which were accepted of God, when his heart was broken; A broaken and a contrite heart is acceptable in the sight of God, and he will dwell with such. Isa. 57:15 rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn to the Lord; indeed when much of the form of Godliness appears, but the power is wanting, then it is a time to mourn, and in some it hath been so in all ages, therefore Gods Prophet was bid cry aloud, and spare not, Isa. 58: 1. When sin lies hi[d]den in the heart, nothing is accepted, Isai. 58:2. Yet you seek mee daily and desire to know my wayes as a nation that did righteousness; read and mind the whole Chap. Isa. 15:16. Cease to do evil, saith the Lord, and learn to do well, &c.
But unto the wicked, God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth seeing, thou hatest to be reformed? then it came upon my heart that the duty of the present time was for the people of God to be very much in these following things.
The work of the day.
1. First, to be watchful that the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches make us not to forget the coming of Christ, and the glory that shall be revealed.
2. Secondly, be moderate in all things, the Lord is at hand; be patient, and act much faith; be much in prayer, do good, lay up treasures in heaven; these be all very weighty things.
3. Be much in humiliation, seek not great things for your selves, in a day when God is pulling down.
God pronounceth woe to them that are at ease in Sion, that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; Amos 6. vers. 3,4,5,6. that lie upon beds of Ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall, and so fill themselves in feasting, delighting in Musick, and drinking wine in bowles, but are not grieved for the afflictions of Joseph.
And the same evil the Prophet Isaiah complaines of also in the 22 of Isa. vers. 5,9,12,13,14. In that day the Lord God of Hosts called to weeping and mourning, and to boldness, and girding with sackcloath, and behold joy and behold joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, &c. In what day was this, you may see in the 5 and 9 verses; it was a day of trouble, and treading down and perplexity: But see how the Lord takes notice of this their contrary marriage in the 14 verse: he chargeth it upon them, as such an iniquity, as he tells them, shall not be purged from them till they dye verse the 14.
It is said, when the Judgements of God are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants thereof shall learn righteousness.
But it is threatened, they shall have no peace who go on in the wayes of sin and wickedness, but all that would have peace, must come from sin unto Jesus Christ, and walk in the way of peace, by this way we hide in the rock, and enter into the secret chambers, where God had promised to keep us till his indignation be over past.
Then, being troubled in my spirit, the Lord was pleased to give in these following promises as special comforts against those great and publique calamities, which were coming.
I even, I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Isai. 34,25.
I also will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. Zeph. 3.12.
And they shall be mine, saith the Lord in the day that I make up my Jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachy 3:17.
And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones, and thou shall be like a wattered garden, and like the springs of watter whose watters faile not. Isa. 58:11.
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day; for the Egyptians, whom you have seen to day, you shall see them again no more for ever. Exod. 14:13.
The name of the Lord is a Strong Tower, the Righteous run into it, and is safe. Prov. 18:10.
They, that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as Eagles, they shall run and not be weary: and they shall walke and not faint. Isa. 40:31.
Also the Lord set it upon my heart, how the people of God ought to carry it in such a day of calamity; namely, that they ought to have upon their hearts a deep fence of sin, which is the cause of sorrow, as Lots righteous soul was grieved with the unclean conversation of the wicked; therefore God took care of him, and he was preserved when others were destroyed with the firy storme of God’s [printed word is marked out and in an unknown hand is written to the side] displeasure.
Also God is pleased to set a mark upon the fore-heads of them that mourn for the abomination of the times.
Also it has given me in to believe, that God would be a wall of fire about his people; with this promise: That all things shall work together for good, to them that love God, who are the called, according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28.
And the Lord said, All things were made for himself, and nothing shall be destroyed without mee.
And God appeared unto Abraham, saying, I am God alsufficient, &c. Gen 17:1.
Let my word be a light to thy feet, and a Lanthorn to my pathes, for I will keep them in perfect peace, whose mindes are stayed on mee, because they trust in mee.
And the Lord is the portion of his people.
And they are to him as the apple of his eye. Zech. 8:2, 8. And as a signe upon his right hand: And he to them is a strong tower, a buckler, and shield, a Captain, and leader of his people, and it is written: when ye see these things begin to come to passe, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth night. Luke 21:28.
If you had but so much faith as a grain of musterd seed, you should say unto this mountain, be removed, into the Sea; Christ reprove[d] Peter, for the smallness of his faith; All things are possible to them that believe.
Fear not them that can kill the body: but fear him that can destroy both body and soull in hell. Math. 10:28.
Fear not little flock, it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Luke 12:32.
See that you be not troubled, for these things must be; but the end is not yet, nation shall rise against nation, and Kingdom against Kingdom; and ye shall hear of warres and rumors of warres: but he that watcheth over Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth.
He that believeth on mee, as the Scriptures hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living watter; but this spake he of the spirit, that they, that believe on him, should receive: and is promised to be poured out in the latter dayes.
After these promises and instructions followed this song, in the year 1658.
Oh, now my soule! give glory to the Lord!
In his rich mercy he doth thee afoard;
He made the heavens, and ordered every light;
He takes the hearts up of his people [indecipherable word].
And I was on a Journey, this also was given in:
When that this green shall blosoms bear,
And birds shall pleasant sing;
Then shall there be a knell most sad,
In every place, heard ring.
Then did the Lord poure out upon me much of the spirit of prayer, and praising, with the knowledge of other things, which he is bringing to pass. In so much that I was much broaken before him, to see my own unworthyness, and his goodness, a sence of which I lay under for some season, not long after I had a great fit of sickness; and I was inquiring of God, what his mind should be in that affliction: he shewed mee, it was because I did not declare to the Church with whom I walked; those things he had make known unto mee.
But being troubled at my own insufficiency; and they being unacquainted with such things; and indeed my self did question at the first, whether it were the guilt of God or no? (the guilt of singing.) Then the Lord was pleased to set it upon my heart, that as those prophesyes were true, and should come to pass, so should I know that this was the true guilt of God, given in unto thee.
And it was so when the spring came on, then began that sickness of agues and feavours, that have continued ever since, little or much, and there followed two dry summers one after another, and also we had many light appearances; but they set in dark shadows, till Christ our light shall appear, and in great mercy take away and remove our dark and sad afflictions, and sorrows; well now, I was at last so moved in my spirit, that I could not tell how to keep in these things any longer, and therefore went to the Church to that end, but I then could not find him that I would have spoken of it unto, for him to declare unto the rest, so I returned, and did it not.
Then the Lord afflicted mee again, and then I besought him again, and he gave mee to mind that I was justly afflicted for neglecting, to make it known, then being raised up again, I did declare something, but not so fully as I should; and indeed would have done fearing, it would not be born, for which I was mourning before the Lord: and as I was mourning, I was put upon singing, as followeth:
Cease thou thy mourning, and see thou dost praise,
For thou shalt do my will in all my wayes:
Thy work shall be praises now for to sing.
Because thou hast chosen Christ to be thy King.
Lift up your heads redemption draweth near,
Do not at all possess thy heart with fear:
Lift up your heads, and look to heaven high;
For God will make his people glorify.
Draw water from the wells that are so deep:
You shall drink flaggons of my love, when others are asleep.
Then still sought I God what I might do to honnor God in my generation; and about three dayes after it was set upon my heart in the night, that I must writte my experiences; but then I thought, oh, how should I remember thirty years experiences! but then presently came in these promises.
Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help the; yea, I will up hold thee with the right-hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10.
Fear not, thou worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer the holy one of Israel. vers. 14. Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5.
Great things have I laid up for them that fear mee among the sons of men.
The next day I set my house in order, that I might go about this work that the Lord had called me unto, and until I went about it. this word followed mee; be instructed least my Spirit depart from thee; and as soon as I set upon my work, it left mee, and I found the Lord (according to his promise) mightyly assisting mee, in bringing things to my remembrance and I writ them down, and had some thoughts to put them in print; but yet through the corruptions of my heart, and the advice of a friend, I was not willing they should be published whilst I am living: my reason was, because I am a poor weak worthless worm, and have not the parts and gifts that some others have.
And because I am an old fruitless branch, my memory failes, and my understanding is so dull, that I am (and was at the best) a poor empty one, which I cannot but acknowledg with tears and brokenness of heart.
Oh, that the Lord should be so good to mee! and I can bring no more glory and honnour to him; but yet notwithstanding I must give glory to God, for that he hath been pleased to poure out of his Spirit upon mee, and since that, to fill my soul with very sweet choyce, and heavenly injoyments from himself.
The most large measure of the spirit of prophesy was upon mee at two particular times, the one in the year one thousand six hundred and fifty five.
And the other in the year 1658, but at many times God was pleased to give me much of the Spirit of prayer and praise.
Then by his hand of providence I was removed again out of England into Holland, and I brought the papers of my experiences with mee: which (the Ship being cast away) were lost, with the trunck in which they were: Then was it much set upon my heart, that God was displeased with mee, for not putting them in print, and then the guift of singing and praising was much ceased, and I was troubled; for the which I sought the Lord, and did begg’, that if he were offended at mee, for not printing, and leaving them behind mee, that he would pardon it unto mee; and that, if it were his good pleasure, I should write them again. I did pray, that he would let his Spirit come to inable me again in singing and prayer, as it was wont to do, and be my remembrancer to write again: and indeed it did so, not long after, in the night; both in son, and in prayer;
But then I having not time, was much hindered? yet notwithstanding (according to the time I had) I set my self to do it; and the Lord was pleased to assist me, in bringing again to my remembrance things of long standing.
Now before I departed from England, I was satisfied in my spirit, that I had a clear call from the Lord so to do; for indeed more then a year I had such a motion in my spirit, backed with many Scriptures for its furtherance.
Yet notwithstanding in this Voyage we met with some difficulty, for the ship I came over in was cast away; but in the time of the greatest trouble the Lord gave mee in these promises; that he would be with me in six troubles, and the seventh he would not forsake mee.
Call upon mee in the day of trouble, I will hear thee, and deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify mee.
With this sweet word also, thou shalt not die, but live, to see the mercy I will shew unto thee.
It was in the night, and after some time (the Ship being a ground, and in great danger, and so were all the persons in it) one asked mee, if I were not afraid? I answered, the God of heaven my Father hath brought mee hither, and if he may have more honour in drowning mee, then by preserving mee, his will be done.
Then, when the mast was cut down, and the Master with some others said, we are dead persons, and like to loose our lives, yet I had much hope in the Lord, because of his promise, and after that I (and some others in the Ship with mee) had committed to our selves unto God by prayer, I being in the Cabbon, laid me down to sleep: but I had not (it seems) lien half an hour, but they called us, and said, there was Land not far off, if wee would seek for help? which accordingly we did.
But it being but about the break of the day, we did wander over the sands, but could find no way out of the sea, as it were, compassing us about round; then we all returned to the Ship again, and some concluded we must go in an[d] perish there; so they went in again.
But we said, if we must perish, we would be still seeking to save our lives.
And as our God (to whom we had committed ourselves) guided us, we went another way on the sands, and as I was going (looking to God to be my Pilot) not knowing whether we went, for the sea was one both sides of us, and wee had but a small way on the sands to walk in; and I was begging of the Lord, to keep in the seas till we found out a place, not onely for our own escape, but that we might see deliverance for our friends in the Ship also, the Lord was pleased to set this upon my heart.
As thy deliverance is, so shall Englands be, when they are brought to greatest streights, then will deliverance be from God.
A hint of some night meditations and effects of prayer.
I being awake one night, and very full of trouble in my mind, because I was no more spiritual, for I had found my self very dead-hearted in prayer over night; for the which I was very sadly afflicted in spirit; and indeed then wanting place of retirement (to send up strong cries unto the Lord) did much deaden my spirit, for I found it was the practice of Jesus Christ, sometime to be in the wilderness, sometime in the mountain all night in prayer alone, and sometimes alone in the gardin; and I find prayer in secret much accepted with God, according to that word, Pray unto thy Father in secret, and he will reward thee openly: Math. 6:6. indeed so full of sorrow was I that I uttered no words, but sighed and groaned to the Lord.
Then this came in
Upon the fountain thou shalt live
Fresh streams of love I will thee give;
Thou shalt be made all times to see,
There is a fountain flowes in mee.
Then did I groan before the Lord, that he would give in some promise: the Lord cast in this that the grace of prayer was before the guift of prayer, and that this was the grace of prayer to give up our selves in faith to the guidance of the spirit, and so by faith to have communion with the Father and the Son, in the Spirit, for Christ told the Woman. John. 4: v. 21, 22, 23. Neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem shall men worship the Fatther but the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him; God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth: This Woman then could say, that Christ would teach all things; why should not we look for the teachings of the Spirit now, seeing Christ hath not onely been with us in the flesh, God and man, but had also promised us the pourings out of the Spirit, to teach us all things: and to bring all things to our remembrance. Then further I was mourning that I could not injoy the ordinances of God in their purity; and the Lord shewed mee that I must offer up my yue [ewe?]: And when Abraham went to do that, he left his servants below the hill; and consulted not with flesh and blood.
Also afterward I had such wonderful experience of communion with God, through the Spirit, as I am not able to utter it.
I awaking another night, was greatly complaining, that the flesh did so [indecipherable word] in the spirits work, that when I would do good, evil is present. Then did the spirit put me upon uttering many heavenly complaints in a way of singing, and after that, with the help of the Spirit, to pray with much enlargedness.
And after that there was by the same spirit, with very much power this word: Be silent before mee all flesh.
Oh! and then followed the wonderful speakings of God by his blessed Spirit to my poor soul, which I cannot utter as to the manner of them, but the nature of them was exceeding comforting to my self; and also filled me with great hopes to all the people of God.
And now hereby do I know, that it was the Spirit of God and of truth that did work at this time, because it did lay mee low, and flat before him, that is holy, and made mee see my own insufficiency, and his great all sufficiency, which did much humble mee, and broak, and melted mee exceedingly, then was this promise given in; That they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, and they shall mount up with wings as Eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.
And my heart was very much drawn out to wait upon God, in a way of believing, both for my self and people of God, having that word as it were whispered in my ear: if thou canst believe, all things are possible.
Another time I was considering, that though I had been a Professor many years, yet I thought! indeed I was but a babe in Christ, then that word came upon mee: Out of the mouthes of babes and sucklings though hast ordained praise.
And indeed I can incourage the most simple and weak, to wait on the Lord, for his grace is sufficient.
At this time I was taught by the spirit, that prayer was another thing then some take it to be; it is of a divine nature, and they onely, whom God helpeth, can pray, for it is not words that is alwayes needfull, for a soul may pray and utter no words, and have sweet communion with God by faith; yet words sometimes affect the heart, and I have sometimes found the voyce cannot be kept in, the heart may be so filled. Therefore I blame none, but desire to be tender of all, for God accepts that himself gives, outward performances is as the shell without the kernel; if the spirit act not, but what of his own spirit is in any duty that God doth accept. And we read of the poor woman in the Gospel, who met with some how greatly he commended her faith, and answered her desire, though her words were but few, onely, Lord help mee, &c.
And Hannahs prayer was heard, who did but move her lips: And although she was a woman of a sorrowful spirit before, yet she went away believing, and also rejoycing that God had heard her prayer.
So the desires of them that fear him shall be answered, and he will hear their cry.
Daniel, before he made his supplication, was answered, the groaning of the spirit before the Lord is a loud cry, the prayer of faith doth save the sick.
The Lord is a very present help in the time of need.
They that trust in him, shall not be disappointed.
Nay he takes pleasure in them that fear him, and that hopes in his mercy.
Therefore let them that call on the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.
Further, my heart being carried out long to wait for, and expect their teachings of the spirit more fully to be given mee: and therefore, if any thing comes in further, it is not of nor from my self, but the Spirit of Gods working in and upon a poor weak creature, though I be very unfit to publish any thing of this nature to the world, yet according to my measure I would with that poor woman do what I can with willingness and cheerfulness, for God loves a cheerful heart in his work, and the Apostle saith, if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted, according to that a man hath, and not according to what he hath not.
Yet I am much incouraged to believe that this work is of the Lord, for I have found the flesh exceeding opposet thereunto, and when I have neglected it, God hath withdrawn himself from mee, and when I set to it in good earnest, then God returns and let mee injoy sweet communion with himself: And the more, the Lord appeared at the first comings in of these things upon my soul, the more his love broake my heart, that I was wonderfully affected to behold the freeness of his grace to such a one.
And verily the more watchful I was against sin and unto duty, the more of his divine presence was affoarded, which is so gloriously sweet to injoy, that the more I had, the more still I would have, and still longed for, not onely in the day, but in the night also, hearkening what God spake, and in the night his way to my soul hath been to come in with many sweet seasonable and powerful instructions, stirring me up to pray, teaching me how to pray, and what to pray for, both for my self and others (and also stirring mee up to praysing him) and I find that giving my self wholy to the disposing of God in prayer, is a very good thing: also this fear hath been upon mee sometimes, that I should offer unto God that which cost mee nothing, that is, to lay out the choisest, and most of the day about the world, and then bring the sleepy head to God for a sacrifice: I minding the spirituallity of true prayer, and my unfitness for it, I have found the councel of our Lord Jesus Christ very useful, where he saith, Watch and pray. Math. 26:41.
And the Apostle saith, Watch unto prayer. Pet. 1:4,7. yet I have found often, when I have been to pray unto God, my heart have been very dead, and I could not get it into so spiritual a forme as I would, yet durst not neglect the dayly waiting upon God in that duty: but even then made it my work to petition the Lord, to compose my spirit and quicken me by his grace and holy Spirit, that I might not offer the blind the halt, and lame in sacrifice unto God: And indeed then God hath so, come in upon my spirit, that I have had more communion with him self yea more then at some other time, when I have been apt to think my self more fit.
At other times when I have not found God coming in to help mee, I have gone a way and waited his time, for unless God enlarge our hearts, it is not good for us to enlarge in words, for God is in heaven and thou on the earth, therefore let thy words be few (thy words mark that) and bodily exercise profiteth nothing, my son give mee thy heart, saith God. Eccles. 5:2.
The poor man that said, God be merciful unto mee a Sinner, went away more accepted or rather Justified then the Pharisee in the time before the coming of Christ in the flesh, if Gods people could not bring a lamb for a sacrifice, if they brought but two pigeons, or, a little flower, if it were brought to the Priest, it was accepted, so if we come to him that Justifies the ungodly, and hath promised to do all our works in us, and for us beholding his alsufficiency, and submit to him, and be content with that he will give us, as well in spirituals as in temperals, the Lord will accept of us, onely believing we must flee unto the hornes of the Althar.
And I have found, when I have neglected prayer, my heart hath been very dead and full of unbelief: And again, I have found it no comfort to rest upon duties, for that is a dangerous evil to set up such an Idol in the heart; but here in lay my comfort, when I by faith could have communion with God, and coming near to him, could cast my burden upon him, and go away quiet in my mind, that Christ would do all for mee; and when I was willing, God should do what he pleased with mee, and my will was brought to his will; then have I had the mercy I have asked, and more also many times.
I have found retired places and watchings, the best opportunities and greatest advantages unto prayer.
Also I have had many temptations against prayer, but the best way to overcome them, is to mind the command of Jesus Christ, which is that we should watch unto prayer, and pray alwayes, keep close to the duty in the strength of Christ, and loose not the motions of the Spirit neither grieve the Spirit by sin, but watch against all appearances of evil, for I have found that the neglect of watchfulness against sin: and being overcome by it, doth greatly deaden the heart to duty; keep your eyes upon the promise by faith, look up unto Christ in prayer, and let all take heed of setting up prayer, or any other duty, above, or in the roome of Jesus Christ.
If God assist you to pray for a mercy, though he give it not in presently, yet hold on if your asking be according to his will, and your end the glory of God, and ye find enlargement from the Spirit of life, you may be sure he will
be answer you in that thing or else in some thing better for you in his own season.
My self sought the Lord 20 years, for one thing, before I had an answer, but at last being at prayer, after I had done, God gave mee in a most gracious answer, and set down the very time of deliverance, and did accordingly accomplish it at the very time; to him be the praise.
And many other things I have sought the Lord for, and he hath been pleased to grant my desire, especially when he hath made me earnest and importunate, and have assisted me to hold on, and given me a spirit of faith, to believe for the thing prayed for.
Another time I sought the Lord for a relation of mine, who was thought to be near unto death, and this was given in, call upon mee in the day of trouble, I will hear and deliver, and thou shalt glorify mee, and from that time that person amended, and life was continued.
Also I knew another young person that was, by the word preached, convinced of her sinful state, and set upon the performance of some duties: but not being acquainted with the wiles and temptations of Satan, afterward some deadness ceasing upon her spirit, began to neglect her duty; but one in the family perceiving of it, advised her to present her self before the Lord, and although shee found her self dead, yet to pray that she might pray, whose councel shee took, and shee continuing diligent, the Lord came in by the mighty witness of his spirit, fully satisfying her soul in a very short time.
Further: oh! let all that fear God be encouraged to continue in, and not neglect family duties, for I have found by good experience many wrought upon by instructions and prayer, when their lot have been cast into those families, where reading, praying, and Catechising, and such duties have been faithfully performed; O, many young ones have been brought home to God, by his blessing upon this meanes!
And amongst many more I remember one who was very strongly assalted with many temptationes to keep her from coming to, and closing with Jesus Christ, and this temptation was most upon her, that she was too young, and it would be time enough afterward, why should she expose her self to scorne and reproach by being called a Puritan, and so become a laughing stock to others: but the Lord was pleased to overcome her, and bring her to himself.
Another also who set her self against them in the family, that wished her soules good, and used all meanes to get out of that family, to which end also she raised some lyes, which very evil the Lord set upon her heart, and then she came to be convinced of her sad sinful state, and was also brought home to God through his rich grace in Jesus Christ.
And another who by this meanes was wrought upon that, was a young maid, a Ministers Daughter, and had been well instructed and educated from a child, whereby she was informed of the evils of scandalous sins and avoided them, and was also very constant in the performance of duties; and indeed so walked as none could see ought a mile in her conversation, yet notwithstanding the poor heart was ignorant of her self, and of Jesus Christ, but she being under a family Catechising, and instruction was (by the mighty power of the eternal Spirits working) convinced of original sin, and then she saw that (for all her formality) she was a sinner, and had need of a Savior, and so was brought home to close with Jesus Christ.
This also I have found, that a constant close seeking of God hath been crowned with his presence, for I my self was with some others desired to pray to the Lord for councel, and direction for them; but they would not tell mee in what it was that they sought direction, yet notwithstanding I did not know the thing, I set my self to seek God for them, and he was pleased to shew me what it was, (this was Anno 1657.) and I did pray God to let mee know his mind in that particular, and the Lord put it upon my heart to go and read, and the place of Scripture handed to mee, was quite against their work (at the time) which they had upon their heart to do, then I sought the Lord again, and the second answer was; go in and read; then I looked up to the Lord as I did before, and said, Lord, shew me where I shall read, and that Scripture also was flat against their work; and Just so I had a third answer also: And the next day as I was at my work my heart and meditations were above, and my secret desire still to God for the further teachings of his good Spirit, and these following lines (with much more) came in as a further answer from the Lord:
As for the work of Babylon,
It is a mighty work, and strong:
But yet my power shall it compleat,
For my wisdom is mighty great:
They must sit still, behold my power,
Which worketh for them hour by hour.
And now my dear Christian friends, into whose hand this my poor mite, shall come I desire you take notice of that great love and wonderful grace of God, which he hath been pleased to manifest in giving in such sweet returns of prayer, let him alone have the praise, and be ye all incouraged and stirred up to pray continually, and be very watchful, that if at any time God do move you to do anything, do it with all your might, according to the assistance the Lord gives you; for I have found it a great grieving of spirit to put it of[f] with delayes, through carnal reasonings of the flesh, which indeed would have hindreed mee in offering of these few experiences to the view of the world: but when God was pleased to give me a heart to it, and I set upon it with a resolution in his strength to go through it, not with standing all opposition: Oh! then, was the Lord pleased to come in again, and fill my soul with peace and joy unspeakable, and full of flory; which was to my great refreshment I being then in a strange Land (Holand) separated from Country, kindred, and fathers house; yea there, and then did our good God (according to what I had wont to have) give in to my spirit heavenly Allelujas, both night and day, with many sweet instructions from him felt (when it was with us as it were a time of famine of the word) our Teathers being removed into corners, and thrown into prisons (in the Year 1662.) O! how was I then stirred up by the teachings of that good Spirit, often to praising, and often to very earnest prayers (as for my self, so for his poor afflicted persecuted people) and then also I found my heart much enlarged to love, and to do good, and lay out my self for saints of all persuasions, yea and all others also as I had opportunity. And upon this ground because my dear Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, hath set mee a pattern to do good to all, and what talent soever we do receive, we must lay it out to his praise (if it be but one) and it shall be increased: this I have had experience of, be not backward to improve thy talent, because another may have more then thou, that springs from a root of pride and negligence is the way to loose what thou hast, but look up to God for a blessing upon the right use of what thou hast received, and if he seeth it good that thou mayest better honnor him more he will give in thee in his own way and time, for then shall ye know if ye follow on to know the Lord. Hose. 6. 3. It is also promised that they who be planted in the house of the Lord like a watered Gardin shall they grow and florish, and bring forth fruit in their old age: Psa. 92: 12, 13. Further, O! let all the beloved of the Lord take a special care of every Gospel ordinance and commandment of our Lord, to hold forth what light you have received, for there is non[e] of the ordinances of the Gospel to be slighted, for they hold out unto those choyce priviledges that were purchased for us with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, I have found great peace, and injoyed much of Gods presence in waiting upon him in the way of his appointments, and I have found the Lord (not leaving but) teaching of mee, when I out of conscience have forborn where they were not to be injoyed, according to the rule of the Gospel, and expose my self to any suffring to injoy them in the purity of them, and indeed God doth take special notice of them who they be, and where they dwell, Revel. 2:13. that in sore persecuting and suffering times hold fast his truths, and do not deny his name, Mal. 3:16, and hath promised that they who keep the word of his patience shall be keept in the hour of temptation.
And when he hath humbled us, he will shew us the pattern of his house, the goings out, and the comings in thereof, and the fashions, Lawes, and ordinances thereof, that we may do them. Ezek. 43:11.
And the time doth hasten that God will turn to the people a pure Language.
And all shall know the Lord from the Least to the greatest.
And he will lead the blinde in a way that they know not, he will make darkness become light, and crooked things streight, and bitter things sweet, and hard things easy; and this he will do, and not forsake us.
Further let none be discouraged to do their duty, thought never so week, yet if thou beest acted by the Spirit of God, weak meanes often times becomes effectual to accomplish great things, for by experience also I know when some persons have been praying together, that one being senceable to the state of the other, and mourning over their sin before the Lord, God have made use of those very mournings and breathings, to convince the other of their sinful state, with the danger of it, and thereby have been caused to turn from sin unto the Lord, whose eyes never opened before.
One Maid who by this meanes was convinced, and said nothing at present, but after prayer retiring herself to her Bible, with a purpose to see what word of comfort she could find there, and it pleased God to hand to her that place, Rom. 8:13. For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live: which word God did make very powerful and effectual to help forward his work upon her soul.
All these speak forth the freeness of Gods rich grace, therefore who ever readeth and understandeth what is in this free workings of Gods good Spirit, let him alone have all the praise and glory; and the Lord inclined my heart every day more and more to praise him: for his unchangeable love in Jesus Christ, therefore let them that read this give God praise for his undeserved mercy; and let me have a share in your prayers, that I may be filled with a spirit of praise: for none have more cause then I to speak well of his great and holy name, and that I may honour God that little time that I have to live upon the earth, and that in all changes.
For if God sees affliction to be good for mee, I desire not to dispise his chastizements; for I have found more strength in a great affliction then in a little one, and my soul hath been filled with joy out of measure.
Therefore if we be brought to this, take joyfully the spoiling of our goods, knowing we have a better inheritance, and the giving up all to the will of God, who gave all to us, we shall have all given to us with advantage, oh! the fulness of him that filleth all in all, but I am nothing and can do nothing, no longer then he doth assist, therefore praise him for ever more.
And since I was taken from my incumbrances in the world, and had more time to spend in the wayes and work of God: waiting on him for more of himself, the Lord (according to his promise) hath revealed himself more abundantly, and I have found that a chearfull watchful diligent spirit in ones general and particular calling is a great help to prevent mispending time, for of idleness comes no good, therefore it hath been my practice, that if I can do no good, nor receive good, not to stay in that place long.
Oh! let us be wary how we spend our precious time, for it hat[h] a lock before, but none behind: I am of a fearful timerous spirit naturally, but I find it a great help to dash Babilons brats in the first rice.
I was about 14 years in the pangs of the new birth before I received the witness of the spirit, in which time I was exceeding troubled with my unbelieving heart through entertaining false fears: and indeed some thing of Jesus Christ was in mee all that while: Althoug[h] sometimes I could not with comfort behold him through that thick cloud of many Iniquities and I never found Satan more foyled, and my own corruptions more subdued, then when I by faith could look up unto Gods unchangeable love in Jesus Christ, though I be a poor changeable creature, and verily I have found great gain in true Godliness.
And now friends, give me leave to tell you these are mine experiences, and I fear it would be burthensome to you, if I should be larger, which I could be: but give me leave to tell you the conclusion of all what I endeavour after, which is to press after the mark of the high calling, to deny my self, and look up to him that is perfect, and who presents all his perfect without spot or wrinkle.
Not to him that worketh onely, but to him that believeth, for he is holy, I desire to observe all the Commands of Christ as my rule of life, but I am not hereby justified, but alone by a righteousness out of my self, therefore I say none but Christ, not by workes of righteousness that we do, but by faith are we saved, & that not of our selves it is the guift of God, for he that kindleth a fire and composeth himself about with the sparks thereof, he shall lie down in sorrow, Isa. 50:11. for a man may do much in outward performances, and yet not have a heart right with God: the foolish virgins had lamps of profession as well as the wise, but they had not oyle; so the young man in the Gospel said to Christ, he had observed all the Commandments from his youth, what lacked he yet, but to deny himself, and to part with what he had for Christ, to take up the cross and to follow him, which he could not do, except Christ had given him a righteous heart for all his outward seeming righteousness?
So the scribes and Pharisees blamed Christ for all his righteous actions, but could not see the Idol in their own hearts, for all their righteousness sprung not from a right root, nor was done by a right rule, nor to a right end.
1. First, they had not grace in their hearts.
2. Secondly, neither did they do what they did by the rule of the word of God, but by their own rule.
3. What they did was for their own glory to get them praise from men, and not to the glory of God, Amos 4:4, 5, 6. the which is an abomination to the Lord; this sacrifice God is weary of, it is as the offering of Swines blood, and the cutting of a Dogs neck before the Lord, this made Cains sacrifice to be unacceptable in the sight of God; mans righteousness is as monstruous cloathes, and filthy raggs, that comes not from a heart sanctified where Christ dwells; although it be garnished with never so much parts and guifts, the Lord looks upon the inward righteousness of the heart.
Parts and guifts may cease, but the least measure of true grace shall hold out to the end.
And what soever is parts and not grace, bear not these following Characters upon them, such have not the spirit, now the spirit is Truth, light, and love.
1. First, the spirit of truth joynes with the word of truth; if an Angel from heaven should bring any other doctrine, we are not to receive it, and them that believe and trust in the promise it leads into all truth, wait for the accomplishment of the promise of the spirit, to teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, which he hath promised shall remaine with us alwayes, John 14: 16.
This is a good antidote against error, this teaching for the most part, abides and formes the soul into itself.
The more of this truth and light comes in, the more a soul abhorres it self, sees it’s own emptiness, and Christs fulness.
The more of this light comes into the soul, the more it thirsteth after the light.
The more knowledg it hath of God, the more it loves God, which conformes it into his image, and the more it delights in God, and loves them most that have most of God in them, Ps. 16. all my delight is in the Saints, and them that are excellent in the earth.
The true spirit delights in all the commands of God, which shews true love to God, if you love me keep my Commandments; Jo. 14:15, 16. and I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.
It is a meek and a quiet spirit, it hates pride and lifting up; it sees enough in itself dayly to humble it; Its full of love to all that God loves, though differing from them; by this shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if you have love one to another. Joh. 13:35.
We know that we are passed from death to life; because we love the brethren. I. Joh. 3:14.
Now the reason why we should cherish this grace of love to God, his people, and all men are these.
First, because without love, which is charity, we are but as sounding brass or tinckeling Cymbals, all we do without this is nothing. 2 Cor 13.
Secondly, because Christ hath said, because Iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold in the last dayes. Mat. 24.12.
Thirdly, because it is one of Christs last and great Commandments. John 13: 34. I. of Joh. 2.7,8.
Fourthly, it renders us much like unto our Master Christ Jesus, Acts. 10:38. who went about doing good to all; let us labour to follow his example, shew pitty unto them, that God hath not yet shewed so much pitty to, as he hath done unto us; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that dispitefully use you. Mat. 5. 44:45.
These were Gods teachings to mee in the absence of faithful Teachers, when they were removed into corners; Which was a sore affliction to mee, but I look at what mercy God afoards mee in all afflictions, se[e]ing I am unworthy of the least mercy, for it were a righteous thing with God to cut us o[f]f, and I marvailed at his patience and long suffering with mee, and all others.
I find by experience that reading the Scripture before prayer many times quickeneth the heart to Christ.
And to meditate on Gods mercies to our soules and bodyes; and what great things Christ hath suffered to purchase these mercies for us: is a great help to stir up to that heavenly duty of praising and thankfulness: which is a maine duty I would stir up my self and others unto, because our hearts are apt to be very backward unto it; and secondly, because it is a duty to be done at all times. In all things give thankes, yea in afflictions: For God hath promised, all shall worke together for good to them that love God. Thirdly, to be filled with the Spirit of praises, make the soul to live in heaven while it is on earth: verily, we had need be stirred up to this duty; for he that offers praise glorifies God. Psal. 50. last verse.
And Jesus Christ complaines against the neglect of it, in that place where the ten Leppers were cle[a]nsed, and but one did returne thankes: saith Christ, was there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? O! a thankful frame doth compose the heart to great contentedness in every condition: it is of a divine nature: it stirres up the graces of God in the soul, as love and faith with hope in God and charity to others.
Therefore pray from the Spirit of God, to put the heart into a praising frame for there’s need of the exercise of much heavenly wisdome in the performance of this duty: for ’t is a spiritual work.
Another experience I have had that it is our duty, and very profitable to watch against all evil though[t]s: these often grieve the holy Spirit of God; as of old he complained, how long shall vain thoughts lodg within you, and God looking upon man, beholding what was in his heart, and seeing his thoughts to be evil onely, and continually and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at the heart; and God said, I will distroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, Gen 5:6. And then down comes the flood of Gods displeasure upon the old world, not for sinful actions only, but thoughts also: Therefore keep your hearts with all diligence, Prov. 4:23. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh: And in the multitudes of words is sin.
I would desire all to take heed of idle words: and mind well what ye speak, when and how; avoid all needless speeches: and put far away all vain foolish jesting; an evil, which my self has some times very prone too, and as too many do harm by, I endeavored to make my self and others merry: but alas, ’t is sinful mirth, and it will bring sadness here, or els[e] which is worse, end in sorrow hereafter: thus was I convinced of this evil being upon a joyrney, meeting one that was a stranger to mee, thinking to make him and my self laugh: spoake jestingly to him; but he presently fell a swearing and cursing, and railing; which when I heard, wounded me to the heart, that I by my folly should provoke the poor man so to sin against God, my mirth soon turned into mourning. And while I mourned before the Lord over this my great evil, which had produced such a sad effect, God was pleased to set this upon my heart. Cannot I make thee more merry with heavenly and spiritual joy, then thou canst make thy self with such foolish vain and sinful mirth. And the Lord hath since filled mee with that sweet refreshing joy: that is a thousand times better to mee then all sinful mirth.
Further, in reference to words, I would comment unto yow some Scripture rules: Lam. 1:26. compared with Math. 12:27. from whence we may observe, that when any person doth utter words that be vain, earthly, or froward, it doth plainly manifest that there is an earthly, vain, and froward heart; which is an abomination to the Lord, Prov. 11: 20. and in Lam 1: 19. The Apostle doth perswade Christians to be swift to hear, but slow to speak, and slow to wrath. And Jesus doth exhort his followers that their yea should be yea, and their nay nay; saying, that what soever is more is evil: And Lams 1:21. bids us lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness; that is to say, what ever is more then needful in words, apparel, and diet; yea, and in all things, and what ever profession any person may make, if they bridle not their tonge, they deceive themselves and their Religion is vain; hath God through his free grace, passed his distinguishing love upon a little Remnant: doubtless it is their duty then to distinguish themselves from others, in their words habit, and in their whole conversation so to walke as becometh the Gospel: Phil. 1:27. Surely if persons were awakened by the voice of God, that speaks lowd in the present afflictions, they would so do; now is not a time for any of Gods Children to continue their superfluities, when many do want necessaries: Let me intreat such to read, and mind what is written in Rom. 12:1,2. And 1 Pet. 2:11. If we could but be moderate in the use of all things: what good Stewards should we be of the manifold blessings of God; which he hath betrusted us with, and we must give an account of in the day of the Lord.
Prosperity hath made many to glory in the flesh; and exalt themselves, in, which vain glory some still do continue: although the great Eternal God hath and doth testify from heaven against it, but if it be not repented of, and departed from, God will turn it into shame, Hosea 4:7. As they were increased, so they sinned against me, therefore will I change their glory into shame; its now a trying time, and all persons by their conversations will discover what they are, and were ever the deeds and workes of the flesh appear, and are allowed, ’t is evident there is not the Spirit of God in them: And they who have not the Spirit of Christ are none of his: And ’t is not a talking of, but walking in the Spirit, will help against the fulfilling the lusts of the flesh, and manifest who are the true Children of God. Oh! that persons were wise, to consider their latter end, then surely they would not neglect the knowledg of those things that belong to their peace: but chuse that better part, that shall never be taken from them. Which would make them happy for ever.
Oh! that all would be persuaded to commune with their own hearts, and consider their own wayes: And to mind the dreadful Judgments of God, and his vials of wrath that shall be powred out against sin and sinners, surely they would see it is high time to departe from pride, vain glory, coveteousness, oppression, hypocrisy, mallice, and all sin: For verily, God is visiting for these things, and for persons still to continue therein, may it not be feared and fully expected, that God should increase his Judgments, and punish seaven times more: Leit. 26: 21, 24. They who departe not from sin God will departe from them: and how sad that is let soules consider: read Hosea 9:11, 12, 14.
Therefore who ever would not be eternally separated from God, let them in time seperate from all sin: And let poor soules take speciall heed they live not in all known evil, nor neglect any known duty, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof; for if ye live after the flesh ye shall die: But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the needs of the body, ye shall live, Rom. 8:13. let me propound but this on[e] question, and I wish all young and old, Rich and poor to mind it, whether or no it is not better to separate from sin, then that sin should seperate thee from God for ever.
Oh! what need is there, that all who love God and their own soules, should hate, abhorre, and depart from all sin, because ’t is that which God doth so hate, as he will punish it where ever he finds it. Yea, if David, a Man after Gods own heart do commit any sin, he must be reproved for it; and God will so frowne as it may cost many sighs, prayers, and tears, before God restore unto him the joy of his salvation, and though secretly committed, yet God will punish openly that others may hear and fear. 2 Sam 12:12.
Oh! how have I found by sad experience, that pride is a breeding sin, and spiritual pride is indeed the very worst, when persons come to have a little knowledg of the things of God, and have set a few steps in his wayes: Many be too prone, then to be puffed up with self conceite, and to judg all others to be in errors, who are not just of their perswasion; and so to judge censure, and condemne them for Heretikes: and to persecute them at least with the tongue, but though sometimes Paul did thus; he acknowledgeth it was from a Pharisaical spirit, which we had all need to take heed of: and judg not; and ye shall not be judged. Alas! our heavenly Father have many children, but there be babes and some stronge men: they are not all of an age, nor cannot all see alike, not acte alike; let all the beloved of God (cease smiting and) manifest true love [to] one another. And what ever their perswasion be all who are humble and holy, and do faithfully walke up to the light they have received, let them be beloved for the Fathers sake. Oh! that we may be filled with that grace of true Charity: for that is a special antidote against all pride, malice and any evil thoughts, and evil speakings, and prejudices, and offences one against another. 1 Cor. 13: 1, 4. &c. There we may read at large of the excellency of true charity. Oh! the more any one is filled with the good Spirit of God, the more shall they be enabled against all the works and fruits of the flesh; therefore I would counsel persons when they  awake, wait for the teachings of the Spirit, and for the accomplishment of that promise made to the last dayes. And what the Spirit teacheth do ye commit to the Spirits keeping: and they, with whom it is the day of Gods power are made willing both to hear the Spirits voyce, and obey it.
And I would have all to endeavor diligently for the injoyment of the Spirit, and hearken every one that hath an ear: what it speaks, for the teachings thereof are very glorious; it makes a soul live as it were in heaven while on earth. Surely when Daniels faith was made strong by the injoyment of this blessed Spirit of God, so as nothing could hinder him from the worship of God. Oh! what sweet communion did he injoy with God, and although thrown into the lions den, yet there wonderfully and comfortably preserved, I have found this, that we are too ready to dispise or slight the Spirit of God, when it appears in something beyond us, or out of our reach, but let us take heed of this evil also.
This good Spirit of God is that which will enable us to chuse to suffer rather then to sin, and in all our suffering it will wonderfully assist and uphold us, and carry through the forest firy tryals, and if we be thrown into sufferings for Christ sake, be sure he will make one with us to uphold us in the furnis; and we need not study how we shall be delivered from our enemies, for God will deal with them as he did with Daniel, and the three Children; for he will recompence the wickedness of the wicked upon their own heads; therefore fear not, but stand still and wait, and you shall see the salvation of God. And I do not think that these things be given in to me from the Lord for my owne sake only, but for your benefit, to whom it may come; and I hope I am so far from having high thoughts of my self, that the more I see of God, and injoy from God, so much the more cause I have to be humble; and if others find their hearts as bad as I have found mine, they will see cause enough to use all means with them; and when all is done; it must be faith in Jesus Christ must remove this mountain; faith will carry us out of our selves unto Christ and cause us to rest on him to do all our workes for us, and in us, do ye cherish a holy fear against sin, and a holy bouldness to come to God, and a holy confidence in him for what we come for, and let not the fear of man hinder from any duty God calls thee unto; to conclude, I only commend unto you that word in Micha 6:8. So shal[l] I leave this to the blessing of the Lord, and the consideration of the wise.
If these my Experiences sute not with thy condition, yet let it have a patient view of thee, and pass by what is of the flesh, Own what is of the Spirit, and Judg not, what thou shalt meet with of the truth: because thou art not yet acquainted in that way, for the secrets of God are sometime with pore weak ones that fears him, and what is come to pass I hope you will believe; if it was not out of obedience to God, it should not have com’d to your vew, neither would I have put my name to it, if I could have avoided it, for fear of the rash Judgment of some, Least it should be thought, I did it out of pride, or to own a prophetical spirit, which I know not, But I own a Prophetical voice of Christ, which if he pleases to speak, he can make mee to hear, yea to believe, this I have Experience of: And if these Crumes which I have gathered from my bountiful Lords table, you cannot find it savory to you, leave it to the hungry broaken hearted Christians, to whom ever[y] crumb of mercy is sweet, when it comes out of love from our blessed Saviour. And let not this be dispised, because it is the Spirits workings in the weaker vessel; for Christ did not reject the woman though weak, ignorant and sinful; and where he hath forgiven much, he maketh them love much, and follow him to the last, especially if they keep the word of his patience, holding fast to every truth of God, though it be in an evil time when truth is dispised.
Mary followed Christ to the last, and the Lord did so assist her with his Spirit, who shewed her strong affections to him, going early in the morning to the sepulchre, and Christ put his honour upon her, that she must bring the first glad tidings of the Gospel of the resurrection unto the Disciples.
And his appearance to her in that season, when she knew not where to seek him.
Christ herein shewed his great Love to sinners; for she being a poor ignorant woman, though full of affection, did as many of us do now a dayes, seek the living among the dead, but where Christ keeps up the affections of a soul to himself, he manifests more of the knowledg of himself; and Christ doth testify in John. 4. Then it was his meat and drink to do his fathers will, and that was to teach the poor the knowledg of his will. And when he made known himself to that poor woman, her affections where so enlarged that she goes and calls others ver. 34. thus Christ finished the work of his father, to take care of the weakest of his flock, that as the woman was first in the transgression, she might have first knowledg of the resurrection, the guift of the well of water, which springs up unto everlasting life: and this guift God is pleased to give it unto women as well as unto men.
And he doth require that they should honour him as well as men, for the free grace of God in Christ as well to the one as the other, and ’t is his free grace that I am what I am; and if this small mite be not accepted (by all,) I shall take it as an high honnor to suffer for well-doing; for though in my self I am low, and find the flesh would hinder, and my memory bad, yet I can through grace say, the Spirit hath been my remembrance, and in the simplicity of my heart I have done this, and out of obedience to my good God, which makes the Son of righteousness to shine on the weak and on the strong. And truely I have nothing to glory in, for I never did see my self so weak as now, and since I had communion night and day with God, I never was so much in self-loathing and abhorring as now; therefore praise the Lord with mee, for I am a poor sinful creature, and I desire that all that fear the Lord, to whom this shall come, would pray earnestly to God for me, that I may stand fast in this evil day, and may walk humbly, blamelesly, and very harmlessly towards all: so that I may honour him which hath honoured me, with his Son, to whom glory and praise for ever.
Now, to testify to all that I have received (from the Lord) that gift of singing as well as the gift of prayer, and any other, therefore I shall present to your view some of those Hymnes and Spiritual Songs: with an account how and when they were given in; and so shall leave it to the Spiritual to Judge.
As I was waiting on the Lord, in that Ordinance of the Lords Supper, this following short Hymne was immediately given in.
O now my soul go forth with praise,
For God excepteth thee alwayes;
Thy life is bound up now in mee,
My precious death hath set thee free.
2. This Testimony I thee give,
As this bread was broaken, so was I,
That thou in mee mightest never dye:
My blood doth justify the same,
That thou mayest praise my holy Name.
3. My covenant I have made with thee,
So that thou art now whole set free:
Sin nor Satan cannot thee charge,
Because my love hath thee inlarg’d,
So sure as I am plas’t above,
So sure art thou now of my love.
Your waiting shall be upon me, till your souls hath filled; and in the way of righteousness you shall be made to yeeld.
Another time I having been waiting on the Lord in breaking bread: And soon after was given in this following.
The Spring is come the dead is gone,
Sweet streams of love doth flow:
There is a Rock, that you must knock,
From whence these stream[s] do go.
2. The Banquets set, the King is come,
To entertain his Guest:
All that are weary of their sins,
He wants to give them rest.
3. Then come, and take your fill of love,
Here’s joy enough for all,
To see our King so richly clad,
And give so loud a call.
4. Here’s Wine without money or price:
Here’s milk to nourish babes:
You may come to this banquet now,
And feede of it most large.
5. Then comfort you your selves in him;
Tis sweet to see his love,
That they, that are redeemed by him,
May live so free above.