The Exceeding Greatness of the Power of God in the Soul of Sarah Wight - 3

The Exceeding Greatness of the Power of God in the Soul of Sarah Wight - 2

On April 25th, many Christians came to see her. Her face was covered with a cloth, because of the weakness of her eyes. In a humble manner, she spoke with a low voice, as to herself, saying, "How sweet it is to my thoughts that an infinite God should be a rock and a refuge to a finite creature; a sure rock and hiding-place from all storms and tempests whatsoever. When the man was wounded by thieves, and lay by the way, the priest and the Levite, passed by ; they passed by, and helped him not. Creature comforts fail, and then the good Samaritan helps. Christ saves when none else will or can, and when there is nothing in the creature to move him to it. The wounded man did not first desire the Samaritan's help. The deeper the wound is, the greater will be the honour to him that cures it. The Samaritan set him upon his own beast. He left him not to himself, to go whither he would, but took him to an inn. When none cared for him, and all human refuge failed, Christ helped and cared for him." Being told how far formerly she was from hopes of obtaining mercy, she said, "I thought that if all the world were saved, then I might be saved; but else, there was no hope for me. The salvation of Peter, Mary Magdalene, David, and Manasseh, was nothing to me; no, I thought that though Judas should be saved, yet should not I. If all their and Paul's persecuting the saints; if all their sins, and the sins of the thief on the cross, and of all that I could read or hear of were put together in one, they were not so bad as mine. Yet 1 obtained mercy; I who thought that my time of mercy was past, and that I was damned already. I many times said, 'There is no hope.' Now I may say that it was good for me that I was afflicted. I prize his mercies the more. All terrors could not humble me, but the sight of God's mercy did. I could never be fully humbled till then. It was not mine own fitting, or mine own humbling ; but Christ's fitting, and Christ's humbling. He comes to the soul with power, and causes it to believe. My tongue was not able to tell the misery which I was continually in before; and now my tongue is not able to tell what love and mercy have been shown -unto me. I would fain have been dissolved to be with Christ. It was a hard thing for me to be content to live here still; but it is easy for him to teach me to be willing to live or die; and he bath taught me. I was so desperate that I cared not what became of me. Oft was I at the very brink of death and hell, even at the very gates, which were opened for me; and then Christ fetched me out, and shut them. '0 that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!' Would that the hundred and seventh Psalm were oft read over! The goodness of God is unsearchable. How great is the excellency of his Majesty, that would yet look upon such a one as I! The week before I kept my bed, I was full of terrors; I rested neither day nor night; I thought that no death was bad enough for me; if all kinds of death were to have been put together in one, they would have been too good for me; and I walked continually as in fire and brimstone, for rebelling and murmuring against God and my parents. When God hides his face, who is able to bear it? and when he gives quietness, who can cause trouble? He hath spoken the words: Lo, thy sins are forgiven thee. I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, for mine own name's sake.' Jesus Christ is unchangeable, and therefore I was not consumed. I may say with admiration, 'Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him; or the son of man, that thou regardest him?' 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, which forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thine infirmities.' God is worth the waiting for. There is a blessing pronounced on such as wait for him: 'Blessed are they that wait for him.' I did not wait for him patiently; I was weary, and could wait no longer. But God is not weary; he faileth not, though he lets the creature go away for a time, for his own good, to humble him the more, and to show his own mercy the more. No one was ever as bad as I was; yet, through the goodness of God, I have obtained mercy. I wish that all may take heed of censuring the vilest creatures that are, seeing that the Lord hath done thus for me, the vilest creature; but rather pity them with tears of blood."
Many who had heard what the Lord had done for her, came to see her on the 2nd of May. Speaking to one of them, she said, "O magnify the Lord with me! for he daily compasseth me about with songs of deliverance. I could not endure, but that I see Him that is invisible; I could not see him, but that he first saw me, and gave me faith. Out of his side came forth water and blood: blood to justify from sin, and to purge away the guilt of sin; and water to wash away the filth and to sanctify us. Both are in Christ; and there they are to be had. He loved me, and washed me in his blood; he loved me before I was washed ; and because he loved me lie washed me. He was tempted as we are. What was he tempted for, but to succour tempted ones, such poor creatures as I ? He takes delight to succour such poor souls. It is our Father's good pleasure to give us a kingdom; he delights in giving us a kingdom; so that neither height nor depth, neither principalities nor powers, nor any other creature, shall separate from him the soul that is in union with him. He bath bound the soul to himself with cords of love, and there shall be no separation."

On the 3rd of May, some one saying to her, "Your enjoyments are more than those of many saints," she answered, " My sufferings have been more than the sufferings of many. Christ is faithful in all that he bath spoken: he saith, 'As our sufferings abound, so shall our consolations also.' Many saints have lived threescore years, and have not suffered so much as I. But the Lord was my shield on my right hand, and therefore no hurt could come unto me. Christ is in me the hope of glory. The God of peace shall tread Satan under our feet shortly; he shall do it ; he hath done it; I see it done. Though he was strong that possessed this house, a stronger than he hath dispossessed him and possessed it himself. It was too hard for men or angels. I am silent at the goodness of God. Had I the tongue of men or angels, I could not tell the terrors which I formerly experienced, nor my present enjoyments."

On May 4th, a person spoke of God's abundant goodness to her. She said, "Jesus Christ found me and loved me before I could love him. He came to me when I was in the most disconsolate state that ever soul was in, when I must either be delivered or destroyed. I could abide no longer, and then Christ came. Christ is my life; and my life is hid with Christ in God ; and when Christ shall appear, I shall appear with him in glory. How admirable is it that he should die for me, to give me life! He came to give faith to my faithless soul, and to soften my hard and unbelieving heart. He brought such as were aliens and enemies to be near himself. And is not this to be admired ? He first finds the soul, and then the spouse saith, have found Him whom my soul loveth.' He destroys self, righteous self and all selfs, that he alone may have the glory, leaving nothing for the creature to boast in. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned;' heal thou me, and I shall be healed; convert thou me, and I shall be converted. This my soul has found by experience." It being remarked that the Scriptures said, "Turn ye; why will ye die, O house of Israel?" she answered, "It is Christ that comes in the power of his word and turns them. The church, knowing her own inefficiency to turn, prayed, Turn thou me.' Behold, he comes leaping over the mountains and skipping over the hills; and he makes rough ways plain, and raises up valleys. It is as easy for him to pardon mountain sins, multitudes of sins, as one sin. He came to me, and pardoned me, though my sins were as the stars of heaven for multitude. He bath delivered me from the hard bondage wherein I was made to serve. He ap-
peared unto me in the dark and thick cloud; and one beam of the Sun of Righteousness dispelled it in a moment. What a sinful creature was I! I never read of any one that was in so desperate a condition as I was in. But Christ bath delivered me from all my fears ; not from one or two, but from all of them. I therefore desire the high and the low, the rich and the poor, to magnify the Lord with me, and to praise his name, on my behalf. All his works praise him, and his saints bless him, especially the work of the new creation in the soul. I could believe nothing before. I had no rest, either in hearing or reading. Then Christ made me rest in himself; and though I was weary and faint, he was neither weary nor faint. 'His wrath is but for a moment.' But 'of his mercy and goodness there is no end.' He bore and carried me, and, at last, delivered me. This Rock followed me, though I was not aware of it; the Sun of Righteousness arose with healing in his wings, and the Day- Star arose in my heart. It was a dark heart till he arose; and then he made it light."

The power of God did wonderfully appear in upholding her full seventy-five days without one crumb of bread or meat, and with very little drink, she not being able to eat or drink more than she did; for when, by much urging, she yielded to take somewhat, she could not keep it, but presently cast it up. When an individual endeavoured to persuade her to take a cordial which was prescribed by two physicians, she said that she could not, as the very smell of it made her sick. Another urged her to take some sustenance. She said, "I would, if I could; but I cannot. It makes me sick to think of it. Jesus Christ feeds me." Being again urged, she said, "Pray you, urge me not. God gave me Christ, the food of my soul, when it was nigh starving. Christ is my bread of life. His flesh and his blood are indeed meat and drink. God bath wrought a miracle in delivering my soul; and if he hath appointed that I should live, he will give me strength to take in the one as well as the other." At another time, being pressed to eat, she said, "I cannot do it. I do not abstain out of wilfulness; for I would eat, if I could: nor have I any command or temptation upon my spirit against it; but it is because I cannot. When I have tried, I have been the worse for it. I cannot digest it ; and the smell of it hurts me."
Thus she continued until the 11th of June; at which time, this text came into her mind: " Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; and he commanded that something should be given her to eat." (Mark v. 41, 42, 43.) She had a full persuasion that so it should be with herself; and therefore, in the morning, she called for some food; of which she ate heartily and with joy, saying that Christ had sweetened it, and therefore she found as much savour, satisfaction, and delight in it as if she had possessed all the dainties in the world. After eating and refreshing herself, having blessed the Lord, she called for her clothes, though she had not been able to rise, or, long at a time, to hold up her head in the bed, since the 6th of April to the 11th of June (a period of sixty days). Her clothes being given to her, she put them on, arose, stood on her feet, and then sat down, joyful in the Lord, without receiving any hurt by so doing. These thoughts came into her mind, as from the Lord: "Thou hast fasted long enough; thou shalt fast no longer. It was but to make my power known to the sons of men, what I have done, and what I can do." And after this she arose daily, from June the 11th till the 25th, but remained weak.

On the night preceding June 25th, 1641, she was very ill, and so continued till about two o'clock in the morning; and then God brought to her remembrance these texts: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he, leaping up, stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God;" (Acts iii. 6, 8;) "Jesus said unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked." (John v. 8, 9.) She told these things to her mother; and she arose, opened her hair, and combed it herself, which she durst not suffer to be done for twenty-four weeks before, her head being very sore by reason of the bruises which she gave it against the walls in the time of her terrors. But now she dressed her hair, and neither fainted nor got cold thereby. She then got up and stood on her feet, and walked, praising the Lord, though she had not strength to stand for fourscore days before.

Many persons of all ranks, gentlemen, ladies, citizens, ministers, &c., who repaired to her, both in the time of her weakness and afterwards, were ear and eye-witnesses of these things; and they were attested by so many persons worthy of credit, that the truth of them cannot be questioned. A minister, who was frequently with her all this time, wrote down her speeches; and some others did the like in his absence; wherefore, he bath given a more full and large account of them in a book which he has called "The Exceeding Riches of Grace advanced," &c.
She was not, at the time of her recovery, full sixteen years old; yet many who heard of the dispensation of God towards her, and who were themselves in a despairing condition, resorted to her, and, by conference with her, received some support.

After her recovery, she related to a Christian friend what torments she had undergone, for a month together, before she was forced to keep her bed; how she walked in terror, day and night; what a hell she had in her conscience; and how she was tempted to believe that there was neither God nor devil, heaven nor hell, but what she felt in her own conscience; and, therefore, that if she were but out of this life, there would be an end of all her sufferings. And hence she thought to beat out her brains against the walls, till her head was all bloody and swollen. Sometimes she sought to cast herself down from high and steep places. She got knives and other things wherewithal to Kill herself, but was miraculously preserved, the Lord having a favour for her. Then she thought that if Christ should come into her, it would be as though he should go into a dunghill or into carrion. She was tempted to blaspheme God, and could scarcely refrain from so doing, especially on the last day of her soul's affliction, when she was so forcibly urged to blaspheme God and die, in order to be out of her torments, that she was no longer able to withstand the temptation, and was ready to utter forth her blasphemy; but her tongue was so smitten that she could not speak a word. She also said that she used to read above twenty chapters in the Bible every morning, thinking thereby to still her temptation, but was not one jot the better; and that she could remember nothing of what she read, but threatenings and judgments. They were laid before her; but all the promises were sealed up from her. "One day," said she, "I was tempted to throw my Bible into the fire; and I threw it from me; but it did not fall into the fire. For this act I was 'sorely tormented, Satan suggesting that I would have burned it. At another time, I said, or, at least, was ready to say, 'If the Lord will not save me, let him do what he will with me; let him damn me.' But, afterwards, I was greatly troubled that I should bid him damn me."