The Visions of the Night
As in the presence of God that openeth and no man shutteth, that shutteth and none openeth, at midnight, when deep sleep was upon me, suddenly my soul was, as I thought, hurried away to judgment. The books were opened, and the great Judge of quick and dead, he whose eyes are as a flame of fire, sat upon the throne, and seemed to regard me as if there was no other person present, yet there were thousands whom no man could number. Not a single thing moved; all was silence; and the greatest grandeur I ever saw was there. I stood trembling, expecting my doom would be, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;" and had the sentence been past, it would have been just. While in this terror I suddenly awoke; but I could not say, with the prophet of old, that my sleep was sweet unto me, for it was indeed very bitter. When I first awoke, I could not turn in bed, nor move a single joint of my body. At length I recovered strength, but the state of mind that I felt I cannot describe. It was the time of Jacob's trouble. I ventured, through great necessity, to call upon God for mercy, through Christ Jesus. I was something like the widow at the unjust judge's door. Mercy, mercy, was what I wanted, and I cried, "God be merciful to me!" I had no rest day nor night. I felt such soul trouble that my very comeliness was taken quite from me. I remained in this state for many weeks, crying to God that he would appear for me. My soul was as a weaned child. At times I thought eternal destruction would be my doom, and that for ever. My distress made me stoop like an old man, though I was quite young, somewhere about twenty-two. But "God is of one mind, and none can turn him, or say, What doest thou ?"
Paul says, that some men's sins go before them to judgment, and others follow after them. This is the way the burden went from my conscience. One day I seemed to have a greater burden than ever; I felt as if my body was ready to burst. I retired to a certain place near the river, laid my vile head in the dust, and pleaded earnestly for pardon through the merits of Christ Jesus. While in the very act of prayer I found all my sin and misery fall from my conscience, and, for the first time, Christ appeared precious to my poor soul. I then saw him as "the fairest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely;" but often since I have so lost the savour from my mind that I have questioned the reality of this deliverance. One thing I can say, in the sight of God, the great burden has not returned since to my conscience.
"Many days have passed since then,
I have now for many years been hearing that dear man of God, Mr.
W—. That which makes his ministry so dear to me is, that he takes so much
care of the little ones. I never heard him leave poor Little Faith in the
mire, except once, and then he soared up into such grand and dazzling glories
that he went quite over my head. But this is not often the case. Sometimes
while hearing the dear man, I have felt no more burden of sin than the angels
in heaven, his message has come with such power to my poor soul. That his
soul may be blessed with the dew from heaven, is my soul's desire and
prayer to God for him.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, bless your work of faith and labour of love.