|RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND JOURNAL -- OF -- MRS. JARENA LEE.|
In the year 1811, I changed my situation in life, having married Mr. Joseph Lee, pastor of a Society at Snow Hill, about six miles from the city of Philadelphia. It became necessary therefore for me to remove. This was a great trial at first, as I knew no person at Snow Hill, except my husband, and to leave my associates in the society, and especially those who composed the band of which I was one. None but those who have been in sweet fellowship with such as really love God, and have together drank bliss and happiness from the same fountain, can tell how dear such company is, and how hard it is to part from them.
At Snow Hill, as was feared, I never found that agreement and closeness in communion and fellowship, that I had in Philadelphia, among my young companions, nor ought I to have expected it. The manners and customs at this place were somewhat different, on which account I became discontented in the course of a year, and began to importune my husband to remove to the city. But this plan did not suit him, as he was the Pastor of the Society, he could not bring his mind to leave them. This afflicted me a little. But the Lord showed me in a dream what his will was concerning this matter.
I dreamed that as I was walking on the summit of a beautiful hill, that I saw near me a flock of
sheep, fair and white, as if but newly washed; when there came walking toward me a man of a
grave and dignified countenance, dressed entirely in white, as it were in a robe, and looking at me,
said emphatically, "Joseph Lee must take care of these sheep, or the wolf will come and devour
them." When I awoke I was convinced of my error, and immediately, with a glad heart, yielded to
the right spirit in the Lord. This also greatly strengthened my faith in his care over them, for fear
the wolf should by some means take any of them away. The following verse was beautifully suited
to our condition, as well as to all the little flocks of God scattered up and down this land:
"Us into Thy protection take,
And gather with Thine arm;
Unless the fold we first forsake,
The wolf can never harm."
After this, I fell into a state of general debility, and in an ill state of health, so much so, that I could not sit up; but a desire to warn sinners to flee the wrath to come, burned vehemently in my heart, when the Lord would send sinners into the house to see me. Such opportunities I embraced to press home on their consciences the things of eternity, and so effectual was the word of exhortation made through the Spirit, that I have seen them fall to the floor crying aloud for mercy.
From this sickness, I did not expect to recover, and there was but one thing which bound me to earth, and this was, that I had not as yet preached the gospel to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam's race, to the satisfaction of my mind. I wished to go from one end of the earth to the other, crying, Behold, behold the lamb! To this end I earnestly prayed the Lord to raise me up, if consistent with his will. He condescended to hear my prayer, and to give me a token in a dream, that in due time I should recover my health. The dream was as follows: I thought I saw the such rise in the morning, and ascend to an altitude of about half an hour high, and then become obscured by a dense black cloud, which continued to hide its rays for about one-third part of the day, and then it burst forth again with renewed splendor.
This dream I interpreted to signify my early life, my conversion to God, and this sickness, which was a great affliction, as it hindered me, and I feared would forever hinder me from preaching the gospel, was signified by the cloud; and the bursting forth of the sun, again, was the recovery of my health, and being permitted to preach.
I went to the throne of grace on this subject, where the Lord made this impressive reply in my heart, while on my knees: "Ye shall be restored to thy health again, and worship God in full purpose of heart."
This manifestation was so impressive, that I could but hide my face as if some one was grazing upon me; to think of the great goodness of the Almighty God to my poor soul and body. From that very time. I began to gain strength of body and mind, glory to God in the highest, until my health was fully recovered.
For six years from this time I continued to receive from above, such baptisms of the Spirit as mortality could scarcely bear. About that time I was called to suffer in my family, by death-- five, in the course of about six years, fell by his hand; my husband being one of the number, which was the greatest affliction of all.
I was now left alone in the world, with two infant children, one of the age of about two years, the other six months, with no other dependence than the promise of Him who hath said-- I will be the window's God, and a father to the fatherless. Accordingly, he raised me up friends, whose liberality comforted and solaced me in my state
"He helps the stranger in distress,
The window and the fatherless,
And grants the prisoner sweet release."
I can say even now, with the Psalmist, "Once I was young, but now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." I have ever been fed by his bounty, clothed by his mercy, comforted and healed when sick, succored when tempted, and every where upheld by his hand.