On a rainy summer afternoon in 1787, Rebecca Dickinson took out a blank stack of paper and set it on her desk. It was time to open a new chapter in her journal. Soon she would reach her forty-ninth birthday. Dipping her quill into a pot of ink, at the top of the page she wrote:

This day is the 22 of July 1787. Here alone in this house. There has been a thunderstorm here this afternoon, some hard thunder and rain. It is good to be where God’s voice is to be heard. There is no dread to me in that voice. Thunder never terrifies me but when it is very nigh and very loud. The Lord’s voice is in the city. How many would fly away from this house alone? But it is good to be here. The Lord knows his saints and guards the place where they dwell, and if they should perish in the storm their death would be precious in his sight. There is no storm, nor no trouble, can send my soul from God… . No bar, no bolts, can bar the soul from God for it is a spark of heavenly fire which came from God and will tend to the center as the fire flies toward the sun, so the soul of the spirit flies to God. O my father make me to have more of thy one likeness. Cure me of my spot and blemishes and make me one with my father who is in heaven. The sabbath is gone and the Monday is gone; Tuesday is come this day.