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PRE FAC E.
Having seen and read most, if not all, the leto ters which have passed between you and my dear sister, it is my opinion that they would be of great use to many if they were made public. When I consider and reflect upon the light, support, and help, which I received when in my trouble from many of the Epistles of Faith, as well as from your other writings; and the many accounts I have since had of the usefulness of the Living Testimonies to many souls that were in distress, darkness, and bondage; it is my request, should it meet with your approbation, that you would publish them. I am fully persuaded that the matter they contain leads to the true and living way. The bulk of professors, in our day, as far as I am able to judge, are entire strangers to the path of regeneration. There are but a few who walk in the narrow path of life, and who experience the love of God therein; and fewer still who can cast up this way before others, and whose ministry
is that of the Spirit, and not of the letter. And, as I believe there are some, in many dark corners of the country, ready to perish for lack of knowledge, who are seeking the truth, but, for want of some one to guide them, they are kept in ignorance of it, who knows but that Providence may send these letters (as I am certain, from my own knowledge, he has many of your other writings) into their hands; which, under God, may give them light on their state. I think there are in these letters some things new and singular. I feel. a desire to see them in print. I have been acquainted with my friend now for some years. When I first knew her she stood very high in her confidence, such as it was; but, when the Almighty wounded me, and made me speak out of the abundance of my own heart, her confidence was soon sapped; and I believe she found her confidence had ever been in her own tabernacle; and, when it was rooted up, the king of terrors laid hold of her, as he will one day of many who, like her, think themselves now very secure and strong. But the firstborn of death will soon devour that sort of strength; and hunger-bitten they are already. I have been an eye-witness of her distress under the spirit of bondage, in which she continued two or three years; and likewise, as. you well know, of her happy enlargement, which she enjoyed for a long time. And I have narrowly watched her descent from the mount of transfiguration. She has been now for some time in the
furnace; and I believe in my heart she will endure the fire, and come forth as gold. At present she walks very steady, humble, meek, and lowly, and appears to quit herself like one that seeth him who is invisible. She is the first fruit of Achaia unto the Lord; at least she was the first that publicly returned to give glory to God; and she was a stranger; and cleansed she is I verily believe. And, as there are many professors now standing where she once stood, and others in darkness and distress through legal bondage, I am in hopes that making the letters public will be a means to awaken some of the former, and encourage the latter. That they may be a caution to some, strength and encouragement to others, stir up jealousy in many, and be blessed to comfort the weak and infant race, is, in this request, the view, and, when published, will be the earnest wish and prayer of
Your truly sincere lover and friend,
TO PHILOMELA, in the King's Dale.
BELOVED OF GOD,
May I not say, Hail! highly favoured, blessed art thou among women, when he that is mighty hath done so great things for thee, in remembrance of his mercy, as he promised to our forefathers in the faith, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever?
It is jubilee with thee; the days of the Son of man are come, days of good things. And would it not be commendable in thee to act the part of the poor lepers in the siege of Samaria ; that is, to inform the King's household of it? Dost thou well to feast at the banquet thyself, and to go and hide all the rest? If the Lord forms a person for himself, it is that he may shew forth his praise.
The poor woman with her issue obtained virtue from the Covenant Head privately, and was going to withdraw, iņ hope of escaping the cen