Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects
I bless the Lord I am better. Before the affliction came on, the Lord gave me that word, "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior," which made me think an affliction was at hand; and indeed the Lord has been with me greatly in this affliction; has given me many precious words for my support and comfort; has exercised my various graces thereby, and given me sweet resignation to, and acquiescence with, His good pleasure; and caused me to have no will but His.
And as I was particularly drawn out in faith and confidence in God that He would help and deliver me in His own time and way, that word was brought, "O woman, great is your faith, be it unto you even as you will." Upon which my heart replied, "Lord, Your will be mine. Save and deliver me as to manner and time which shall be most for Your glory; and give me grace to endure affliction, while that is Your pleasure, unto Your honor."
Though I had not been without temptations from the enemy to think, when in extremity, my Lord took no notice of me; but blessed be God they did not get hold on me. I was enabled to resist Satan, steadfast in the faith of God's love in the stroke, and that He would do me good by it; and in His wisdom as to the time of deliverance from it, and meanwhile was helped to bless His name for it; so that the flame did not kindle upon me in walking through the fires, which made me think of the burning bush, unscorched. You will help me to praise the Lord, and to pray that henceforth I may be holiness to Himself more than ever.
Remember, dear Madam, that the promise is, "The righteous shall flourish as the palm-tree"; and naturalists observe that the palm-tree flourishes most when most oppressed. And this is certainly the case with the righteous. For what are trying providences but given opportunities for the exercise of our graces? Without them many of our graces would have little room for exercise. "They are not at present joyous (but grievous to our weak flesh); but to those who are exercised thereby they afterwards yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness." We are like heirs under age, put to the 'school of affliction' to be trained up and fitted there for the honor of a high throne.