Fragments of Conversation with Sukey Harley, of Pulverbach
(GS March 1859)
"MINE is a life of faith. My dear Redeemer leaves me; then how I mourn and lament; I cannot rest till he return again. It is just with me, if he is absent: "I tire and faint, and mope and mourn, And am but barren still." The other day, O how lost I was, for he was gone. I knew not what to do; only I could not rest. I had been baking that day, and I had just put my bread into the oven, when it came on me so powerfully, "I must find my dear Lord again." I left alone cleaning my house awhile, and took my precious book, and sat down with that diligent seeking him in my heart; and it was not long before he came and broke in upon my soul, mid then we had such sweet communion. He was with me, and I with him. It is the life of my soul to have my blessed Saviour with me for a bit in the day. Then he goes from me, and I am left to my wicked heart and to Satan; and O the fighting that I have! But when my dear Redeemer pleases, he comes to me again. His presence drives the enemy away; and he fills my soul with love. This is the way; many times in a day I find these changes. As soon as I open my eyes in a morning, the fight begins, and I keep on at it all the day. When the Saviour is with me I feel as if I were afraid to stir, I am so afraid of his leaving me, or that I should disturb him like; and if I hear a footstep coming up my garden I am quite frightened till I see whether it be one of his own dear children coming to me; then I am satisfied." "One day I sat musing in the house a good while on the mercies I had received from my Father in heaven, how he had fed me and clothed me all my life long, and surrounded me with blessings, spiritual and temporal. But 0, whilst pondering over these things, how my wicked heart began to stir, my pride, my self-righteousness, my vain thoughts; I quite abhorred myself. I find my dear Father makes me to see and feel my wickedness. He sets my secret sins before me. I have felt this; he feeds me with judgment."
"For some time after the Lord called me at the first I was filled with only joy. I did not feel my sins as I do now. Then, after a while, what pride entered my heart, spiritual pride; just as the hymn says, so it was with me:
"The heart uplifts with God's own gifts,
But he sent me that hymn to instruct me; it was like his word to me. And now when I feel that cursed pride coming into my heart, O how I do cry to him to take it away! I am afraid of those flashy frames which I have known a good deal of in myself, and observed in others. O what work these made in my wicked, proud heart; but my dear Lord keeps me down now to see the danger of these things. I did not see it so once. I used to think these feelings were all of the Lord, and many times the devil and my wicked heart have deceived me. It seems to me as if my Saviour kept me more steadfast now, immoveable like, as the word says, and to look for his love to the end. He was the first with me; he began with these words, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock;" and he will be the last at the hour of death. But I was not ready to die when I was ill a few weeks ago. No, I was not ready. O my dear heavenly Father, I am not ready for death now! Thou art not with me, my dear Redeemer. O call me not away at this time! When my Redeemer is with me I am ready to die; then I want to be gone; then I say, "Now, my dear Saviour, I can come unto thee." He is my life, my hope, my joy, my all. When he is with me, I want nothing; when he is gone, I am destitute of all." "One day, as I was standing in my house, this word came to me: "The Lord hears and answers prayer." O how I felt these words! Answered my prayers! O that I could praise, and magnify, and bless his holy name for such mercies. Another day I was surprised with these words: "Thou shalt see greater things than these." I was filled with wonder and praise. From the first of my heavenly Father's calling me, I felt he had a peculiar people on this earth; but where they were to be found I could not tell. I longed to find them. I thought I should see they were taught as I was. I seemed to be seeking them up and down, and I went to hear all sorts; for a while I was deceived with some of them, but afterwards I was always perplexed in my soul, and could not see the real work in them. But O my heart is knit to God's own dear children, whom the Lord has shown me are his indeed."
"I was reading in Luther on the Lord's prayer. He says, "We are taught to say, our Father, because we should feel unity of heart with all the Lord's people." When I read this, I said, "Yes, my dear Father, I will say, our Father, for my heart is knit to thy dear children; but must say, my Father, too, for I know thou art my dear, and heavenly, and blessed Father, and hast brought me into the true light and knowledge of thy dear Son." Yes, before he called me I kept praying a good while that he would teach me another prayer besides the one my mother taught me (that was the Lord's Prayer); and he put those words into my heart, "O Lord, bring me into the true knowledge of thy dear Son;" and he did so."