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you may see how the goodness of God hath followed me all my days, I will endeavour to recollect those many comfortable places of scripture which have been of most excellent use to me, to comfort, support, and encourage me in many difficulties and troubles I have met with, some of which, I hope, will ever keep my spirits from sinking.
In my younger years, being seized on by a severe fit of illness, that comfortable place was a support to me, Heb. xiii. 5. Be content with such things as you have, for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. I was well satisfied with my present condition, though painful and sick enough, hoping that God would not leave me nor forsake me. Some time after, being in great fear and danger of some approaching evil, that encouraging place was brought to my mind, Isa. xli. 10. Fear thou not, for I am with thee : be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee ; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. This place vanished all my fears, and caused me to put my trust and confidence in the Almighty God, who never faileth those that rely on him.
Afterwards, when I came to part with children, though this affliction was very heavy, God was pleased to mitigate it by the consideration, that there was a name better than that of sons and daughters : and though God saw fit to deprive me of them, for wise reasons I doubt not, yet he was pleased to silence me under his hand, by the considerations of Heb. xii. 5, 6. My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him ; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. I have sometimes thought, that if I were assured of the love of my heavenly Father, I could then bear any affliction. Lord ! I beg I may be truly humbled, that I have deserved so many severe scourges ; and yet, Lord, I would be thankful that thou art pleased, though by the rod, to bring me home to thy blessed self !
When my dear husband hath met with many losses, and crosses, I have been apt to be desponding and cast down ; but God hath mercifully composed me by the consideration of Matt. vi. 25, 26, &c. There I see that God clothes the grass, and feeds the fowls, and hath bidden poor creatures not to be anxious for these outward things, assuring us, that our heavenly Father knoweth we have need of these things, and that he will graciously supply the wants of those that seek to him. Phil. iv. 6. He hath bidden me to be careful for nothing; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let my request be made known unto him : and God hath encouraged poor souls to cast their care on him, letting then know he careth for them. What should I go to for comfort, if I had not the Word of the eternal God to fly to ?
It would be endless to reckon up the thousand parts of those refreshing, comforting, and quickening places that are to be had in the Word of God, to comfort poor disconsolate souls in all conditions of life : and it ought to be took notice of, how God is pleased to suit them to our present conditions of life. I was once so perplexed with groundless fears of troubles, that I was for some time unfit for any thing ; but my good God was pleased to fix upon my mind, Psalm xxiii. 1. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. There was then no room left for any tormenting fears; but they all vanished away at the consideration of the happiness of those that have so careful a Shepherd. It is my earnest request, that God will own me as one of his flock, however he deal with me as to worldly matters.
I was not a little comforted and refreshed also by the last verse of that Psaim, which saith, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
I am sure goodness and mercy have followed me to this very day, therefore I will not distrust the merciful kindness of God to me to my life's end. But if I should be stripped of
earthly blessings, I beg I may have the liberty of God's house here, and the happiness of dwelling with him for ever hereafter. If I should with Lazarus be clothed with rags, and fed with crumbs, all my days; if my body should be full of sores; yet if God will own me, and approve me, and at death receive me to himself, I may with tolerable patience bear the inconveniencies of my pilgrimage-state, knowing that they will not
And that I may with the more confidence cast my poor fatherless children upon God, I will call to mind those places that did quiet me under the loss of my dear, and loving, and tender father, which were these ; that God was pleased to promise to be a Father to the fatherless; and that when father and mother forsake, then the Lord would take
God hath bidden poor creatures to cast their burden upon hiin, assuring them, that he takes care of them, and sustains them. And the forementioned place, Isa. xli. 10. is