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ral any more doubt whether they be from God, than I doubt whether the sun shines when I see its light, and am warmed with its refreshing beams. I see the powerful effects of them continually among those to whom I preach; I experience the power of them daily in my own soul; and, while by meditating on, and “glorying in, the cross of Christ, I find the world “crucified unto me, and I unto the world;"_by preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, I see notoriously immoral persons, “taught by the saving grace " of God to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and " to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this
present world;” being examples to such as before they were a scandal to.
And now by this change, the consequences of which I so much dreaded, what have I lost even in respect of this present world? - Indeed I have lost some degree of favour, and I escape not pity, censure, scorn, and opposition : but the Lord is introducing me to a new and far more desirable acquaintance; even to that of those whom the Holy Ghost hath denominated the excellent of the earth; nay, the Lord the Spirit condescends to be my Comforter. In
general I enjoy an established peace of conscience, through the blood of sprinkling, and continual application to the heavenly Advocate; with a sweet content, and,
peace of God which passeth all understanding,” in “casting all my cares upon him who careth for "me:” and I am not left utterly without experience of that “joy which is unspeakable and full of glory.” These the world could not give me, were I in favour with it; of these it cannot deprive me by its frowns.
16 that peace
My desire henceforth, God knoweth, is to live to his glory, and by my whole conduct and conversation “ to adorn the doctrine of God my Saviour,” and “ to shew forth his praises who hath called me out of “ darkness into his marvellous light;" to be in some way or other useful to his believing people; and to invite poor sinners, who “are walking in a vain sha“dow, and disquieting themselves in vain,” to “taste " and see how gracious the Lord is, and how blessed
they are who put their trust in him_» "
• Now would I tell to sinners round,
cry, Behold the Way to God!'
Thus hath the Lord led me, a poor blind sinner, in a way that I knew not;-he hath made darkness light before me, crooked things straight, and hard things easy, and hath brought me to a place of which I little thought when I set out: and having done these things for me, I believe, yea, I am undoubtedly sure, he will never leave me nor forsake me. To him be the glory of his undeserved and long-resisted grace: to me be the shame, not only of all my other sins, but also of my proud and perverse opposition to his purposes of love towards me. But all this was permitted that my high spirit and stout heart being at length humbled and subdued, “I might remember, and be “ confounded, and never open my mouth any more, " because of my shame, now that the Lord is pacified "to me for all that I have done."
And now as in the presence of the heart-searching Judge, I have given, without one wilful misrepresen. tation, addition, or material omission, a history of the great things God hath done for my soul; or, if that suit not the reader's view of it, a history of that change which hath recently taken place in my religious sentiments and conduct, to the surprise of some, and perhaps the displeasure of others, among my former friends. The doctrines I have embraced are indeed charged with being destructive of moral practice, and tending to licentiousness: but though I know that my best “righteousness are as filthy rags;" yet I trust I may return thanks to God, that by his grace he hath so upheld me, since this change took place, that I have not been permitted to disgrace the cause in which I have embarked by any immoral conduct : “ My rejoicing,” in this respect, “is this, that in simplicity
, “and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but " by the grace of God I have my conversation in the “world.” I can confidently avow, that the belief of these doctrines hath a quite contrary effect upon me. I most earnestly desire, aim, endeavour, and pray to be enabled, to love God and keep his commandments " without partiality, and without hypocrisy;" and so to demean myself as “ by well doing to put to silence the “ignorance of foolish men.” That I fall so very far short in every thing, is not the effect of my new doctrines, but of my old depraved nature and deceitful heart.—“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and “ renew a right spirit within me !"
Observations on the preceding narrative. MY design in writing this account of myself, and my religious enquiries and change of sentiments, was this: I considered myself as a singular instance of a very unlikely person, in an uncommon manner, being led on from one thing to another, to embrace a system of doctrine which he once heartily despised. As I assuredly believe that this change hath been effected under the guidance and teaching of the holy Spirit : so I hoped that a circumstantial relation of it might be an encouragement and comfort to those who know and love the Lord, and from them levy a tribute of gratitude and praise to our gracious God: and that it also might be instrumental, by the convincing Spirit, to awaken others to a serious review of their religious sentiments; to put them upon the same earnest enquiry after the truth as it is in Jesus; and to influence them to the diligent use of the same blessed means, in which the Lord directed me to be found. I would therefore norv offer a few observations on the preceding narrative: and may the Lord guide both the writer and every reader of these pages to the saving knowledge of the truth, and into the ways of peace and righteousness!
I. It must be evident to every unprejudiced reader of this narrative, that at the time this change commenced, I was, humanly speaking, a most unlikely
person to embrace the system of doctrine above stated. - This will appear from the following considerations.
1. My religious opinions had been for many years directly contrary to it. Being always of a reflecting turn of mind, I entertained exceedingly high notions of the powers of human reason ; and I had, upon reasoning principles, embraced a system of religion, which both soothed my conscience, and flattered my self-conceit. After some trivial alterations, I seemed to myself, upon mature deliberation to have come to a settled determination; and had bestowed consider able pains in making myself acquainted with those arguments and interpretations of Scripture, by which that system is usually defended : and I had raked together many of those plausible objections and high charges, which are commonly brought by reasoning men against the doctrines and characters of the Calvi. nists. But I was in great measure a stranger to what the Calvinists could say for themselves; because I thought the matter too plain to bear an argument, and therefore did not count their answers worth reading. In short very few have been recovered from that abyss of error, (for so I must call it) into which I had been permitted to sink. Full of confidence in my cause, and in the arguments with which I was prepared to support it, I was eager to engage in controversy with the Calvinists, and entertained the most sanguine hopes of victory. In this confidence I frequently harangued against them from the pulpit, and spared not to charge upon them consequences both absurd and shocking. Yet after much, very much, anxious diligent enquiry, I have embraced, as the sacred truths