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and the principles I possessed, through the restraining grace of God, I was kept from flagrant and outward sins, yet my heart was in love with sin. “ The imagination of my heart was evil, and that continually ;” it indeed proved to be “ deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” and my conduct was too often opposed to the better dictates of my judgment. I had ever possessed a sentimental love for religion, and a strong degree of attachment to the doctrines of the gospel, and an interest in hearing them enforced or discussed; but reading, reflection, and increasing knowledge conspired to teach me that there was a one thing needful,” of which I was not possessed,
As a serious concern on this subject appears to have been gradual and varying, I cannot say when or by what means it was first produced; but I trust I am an instance of the great advantage derived from living constantly under the means of grace, and have to bless God that the sacred truths of the gospel were so repeatedly and continually presented to me. Whilst under the impressions which they made, I was constantly making new endeavours, attended to secret prayer, aimed after good thoughts, and read pious books, and, for a while, thought I was become a Christian; and if this lasted for some considerable time, felt as though I were now secure and should never be moved; but though I knew the doctrine, I had not experimentally learnt my own weakness, nor been taught the vanity of building on a self-righteous
foundation, This I experienced again and again, even after sincere and earnest prayer to be taught aright, and after giving myself up to God, acknowledging my own insufficiency, and feeling comfort and some continuing satisfaction. But still, time after time, all passed away as the early dew; till, within these few years, it became a subject of repeated unhappiness. I viewed myself an unconverted sinner; saw, amidst all my resolutions and endeavours, I was making no advances; and sometimes felt as though would try no more, and if God meant to convert me, he would do it in his own way, and therefore might leave it.
Thus I continued for months: the Sabbath, the pious conversation of others, produced renewed desires, resolutions, and new prayers; again becoming fresh sources of grief;till, in October, 1813, one Sabbath evening, on retiring to rest, I seemed overcome with a sense of my weak and helpless state before God; was led in earnest prayer, and in deep humiliation of soul, to deplore my condition ; I felt myself as nothing, and cast myself entirely on the full, rich, and free grace of a Saviour; ardently longed for the communications of his love, and for holiness and complete conformity to his will. But for a considerable period after this, I felt a painful despondency, and feared that this would prove like my former emotions, but temporary, and that I should again become as careless as ever; but from this time, I trust, I had new impulses of purpose and desire, and it now became the subject of my eager and anxious inquiries. I heard the word of God as I had not heard before, and read experimental books with an ardour I was before a stranger to; anything that illustrated or described Christian experience, and the way in which a sinner was brought to God, was the object of my eager attention. But it was long before I enjoyed hope. I had distressing fears and doubts, my mind seemed to be ingenious in forming and applying objections to its own state, and a thousand perplexing thoughts harassed me respecting the nature of repentance, of faith, and the evidences of the work of grace on the heart; and a thousand foreboding thoughts as to my future standing, and being enabled to hold on to the end. But the promises sustained me; I was enabled, amidst all, to feel something like reliance on these words, "Ye shall know if ye follow on to know the Lord;” and, “ My grace shall be sufficient for thee." I felt a stay here, when I could draw comfort from no other considerations.
In mentioning some of the reasons which induce me to believe that I am a Christian, I pray I may not deceive myself in thinking that I perceive the evidences of an undoubted change, in my principles, motives, and affections, my heart and character,-and that I have a right to hope that I have passed from death unto life. My judgment is, I trust, not only led to know and acknowledge that I am a sinner, lost and ruined in the fall, justly exposed, with all mankind, to the wrath of a holy God, and liable to condemnation, and that Christ is
the only way of acceptance; but the Spirit of God has so enlightened my mind and influenced my heart, as to convince my conscience that I have sinned in thought, word, and deed,—to produce in my soul a painful sense of the vileness of my heart, of the evil of my transgressions against God, of the deep-rooted rebellion of my nature, in sinning against resolutions, privileges, and duties,—and to show me my state, as a condemned sinner, before a holy and righteous law.
Whilst finding that, even though grieved, and desiring to be pardoned and delivered from sin, I could not stand in my own strength, or free myself from the bonds that held me, I have been led to the cross of Christ, enabled to cast myself entirely into his hands, relying solely upon the rich and unmerited grace of an Almighty Saviour. I trust I can say, I find Jesus precious to my soul; have been enabled to rejoice in God, as my reconciled Father in Christ; to find a rich delight and satisfaction in relying upon the promises; and to depend upon the grace of God for all I need for pardon and sanctification. Thus my affections have been, at times, drawn out in lively exercise towards the Saviour. He, I trust, is the object on which they are most steadily fixed. This love influences my desires, motives, and conduct; leads me to hate sin, and earnestly to long to be delivered from its power. I find remaining corruption, and. the force of indwelling sin, to be a continual source of grief, the heaviest burden I have to bear; under it I am frequently constrained, with the
of acceptance; but
unsesence that I
cei my beart,
and the principles I possessed, through the restraining grace of God, I was kept from flagrant and outward sins, yet my heart was love with sin. “ The imaginati of my heart was evil, and that tinually;" it indeed proved “ deceitful above all thing desperately wicked,” and duct was too often oppos better dictates of my jur', had ever possessed love for religion, and gree of attachment t of the gospel, and hearing them enfor but reading, refile ing knowledge
ush me that there
í his needful,” of
God, my sessed.
id my soul As a seri
vigour, whilst ject appe
rames and feelings, by wh:
neaviness, doubt, and duced
uen assaulted by temptaof th
..d grieved by the wanderlivi
and coldness of my heart, of safer is my support, and though "always with equal delight, yet soul here returns unto my rest. I love the house and ordinances of God. Here I have often found his presence delightful; here has my burdened heart been relieved, and my waiting soul rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord. Often it has been, I trust, to me, Bethel and the house of mercy. I still desire to hear the word for instruction, for reproof, and for correction in right
1 ubath, and thouy cu lament at the close of
has been so little improved njoyed, yet, still I find it to be best day.
I hope I love the word of God, find it has a preciousness, a value, which no other book has-see a rich beauty in the sacred page, and in all its parts,-precepts to direct and govern me, inform my judgment, and influence my heartpromises to animate and console, to awaken my gratitude and encourage
I love the people of God; they are my best friends-my kindred. Once I loved them as my earthly connexions, my associates, and as forming the circle in which I moved ; but now I feel a oneness of interest, a unity of spirit, a similarity of views, feelings, objects of pursuit, and desires attainment. I recognize the same joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, in my experience, as they describe in theirs. I esteem them as the excellent of the earth, those in whom my soul delights. I love their conversation and their employments. I trust I am a fellowtraveller with them, and am looking forward to the same home.
I love the Sabbath, because it is the day in which I enjoy most of this privilege, the day peculiarly blessed by the manifestations of my heaven.
this. It is because I feel a decided pre
ference and love to these subjectsfind my greatest happiness in medi
way of acceptance; but indd has so enlightened Cuenced my heart, inscience that I t, word, and qu'a painhrart,
my soul, .ige a “hope -shamed."
PRAYER. And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to
pray, and not to faint."-LUKE
y animate and
EAD!” It is the expressio
on heard of desire for his mercy,
ged in success. The great Teacher
No text encourages us to persevere prayer. He knew the character his Father, our dangers and and all the encouragement he gives us is worthy of our full and abiding confidence. He was sent by God to teach us our duty, to encourage us to seek his mercy, and to make a way for our access into his mer. cifúl presence. The parable before us is full of instruction and encouragement on the subject of prayer. The Saviour here teaches us the certain
of importunate prayer.
Now, what is importunate prayer? The importunate are not silenced by the first refusal. This is seen in the case of wrestling Jacob, the woman of Canaan, and the widow referred to in this parable. The beggar in great need comes to your door, and is importunate for relief. The criminal under sentence of death is importunate in his application to his sovereign for deliverance. The child is importunate in seeking some favour from his parent. And so must the suppliant be at the door of Divine mercy. He
ed them as sy
PRAYER is the application of the gratitude and a soul to God for any needful favour
to be granted to us. The Eternal st friends encourages his subjects to apply to de people of God is a great King, who requires and
his throne of grace for the rich and circle in which He is a great Giver, and he has my associate precious blessings he has to give. cel a onenesse vast blessings to bestow upon pray
ing souls. His glorious gospel intites the penitent, the afflicted, and
the tempted, to approach his throne, same jors 2014 and to present, with filial confi
dence, their petitions to him. All
his subjects are welcome to do this ; n my soul day in the name of his dear Son, they excellent of t and if their petitions are presented
will find in him a kind Father, who
spirit, gs, objects de of attainment
cars, in mrest ibe in theirs.
apostle, to cry out, Oh, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?”
This leads me to the throne of grace, in earnest supplication and prayer. Once I regarded it only as a duty, a requirement, with which I ought to comply; still I think it such, but now it is become my privilege also. Feeling my wants and miseries, my desires go out in this exercise, I can unbosom all my complaints to my heavenly Father, go to him for guidance, consolation, and support, believing that he careth for me, and pleading his promises, wrestle with him for fresh supplies from the fulness of his grace. In communion with God, my strength is renewed, and my soul inspired with fresh vigour, whilst going on my way, Zion-ward. Amidst various frames and feelings, in scenes of heaviness, doubt, and distress, when assaulted by temptations, and grieved by the wanderings and coldness of my heart, prayer is my support, and though not always with equal delight, yet my soul here returns unto my rest.
I love the house and ordinances of God. Here I have often found his presence delightful; here bas my burdened heart been relieved, and my waiting soul rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord. Often it has been, I trust, to me, Bethel and the house of mercy. I still desire to hear the word for instruction, for reproof, and for correction in righteousness.
I love the Sabbath, because it is the day in which I enjoy most of this privilege, the day peculiarly blessed by the manifestations of my heaven
ly Father's love; then I can withdraw from the world, and my thoughts and employments be more especially in the worship and service of God. It is the day of feasting to the soul, when my spiritual desires are most gratified, by gaining “this day the food of seven.” From week to week, I hail the return of the Sabbath, and though I have often to lament at the close of it, that it has been so little improved and enjoyed, yet, still I find it to be the best day.
I hope I love the word of God, find it has a preciousness, a value, which no other book has-see a rich beauty in the sacred page, and in all its parts,-precepts to direct and govern me, inform my judgment, and influence my heart, promises to animate and console, to awaken my gratitude and encourage
I love the people of God; they are my best friends—my kindred. Once I loved them as my earthly connexions, my associates, and as forming the circle in which I moved; but now I feel a oneness of interest, a unity of spirit, a similarity of views, feelings, objects of pursuit, and desires of attainment. I recognize the same joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, in my experience, as they describe in theirs. I esteem them as the excellent of the earth, those in whom my soul delights. I love their conversation and their employments. I trust I am a fellowtraveller with them, and am looking forward to the same home.
It is because I feel a decided preference and love to these subjectsfind my greatest happiness in medi