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veloped in a cloud of dark despair. I thought now that it was in vain to strive any longer.

When I was thus about to abandon all hope, a thought quickly darted into my mind, once more to entreat God, of his infinite mercy, to give me one proof of his design concerning me. While I was going to the private spot, which, if it could speak, would witness to many hundreds of my groans, the vehement cry of my soul was,

“ Who can resolve the doubt,

That tears my anxious breast ?
Shall I be with the damn'd cast out,

Or number'd with the blest ? "

While I was upon my knees, pressed down with a load of distress, I felt a degree of power to utter my complaints, and to plead with God to grant me this one request, that, if it was his gracious design that I should go forward, and his kind intention to give me the blessing I sought for, he would, as soon as I rose from prayer, direct my eyes to some portion of Scripture particularly adapted to my case ; that my terrifying fears of perdition might either be heightened, or give place to a hope of mercy. This method, I believe, was equally daring and presumptuous; but He, who was more merciful than I could then believe, knew the cause of this rash and imprudent way of inquiry. I immediately went, in a doubtful manner, to execute this unwarrantable scheme. With a trembling heart I took up the New Testament, and opened it at a venture. My eyes were prepared, with the utmost eagerness, to meet the first words that should appear; which proved to be that remarkable passage, “ Remember Lot's wise.” Great was my amazement. No sooner did I see the words, than their full meaning was manifested to my understanding. God saw me lingering in the plain, on the fatal point of turning back, and in astonishing compassion discovered this fearful monument of his displeasure, which suggested this truth : “ Take warning by this example. She looked back, and was consumed. An imitation of her conduct must unavoidably pull down the provoked vengeance of the same God upon thy own soul. She had the engagement of God's faithfulness and power to bring her as safely as her husband to Zoar, had she gone forward as did he. Thou hast the same God to assure thee, in his word, that if thou go forward, seeking Him, he will be found of thee. He will enable thee to lay hold upon the hope set before thee. And take this as a token that God is mindful of thee, that he is about thy path, and none of thy sorrows or wants are hidden from him; and bis pleasure is, that thou proceed with all care and diligence, in full confidence of attaining all the desire of thy heart.”

I was almost overcome with a sense of God's condescending mercy ; and felt such a conviction of his tender regard, that my fears and dreadful apprehensions fled suddenly away. I now set forward most vigorously in the delightful hope of soon finding Him for whom my soul languished, That which most affected and distressed me was, the more diligent and


earnest I was in seeking the knowledge of God by the remission of my sins, the more distant it appeared from me, and the more difficult to be obtained. The desperate wickedness of my heart became more obvious and detestable, and the burden of it intolerable ; and I was unable to overcome the persuasion, that my condition was like that of Esau, who carefully sought with tears of bitterness his father's blessing, but shed bis tears, and uttered his vehement cries in vain. I feared, that all my tears, and groans, and prayers, would prove like his. But it was suggested, " Is there not some hidden idol in my heart, that I am unwil. ling to sacrifice, which holds me thus in miserable bondage ?” I found that there was in me sin enough to damn me; and I was convinced that there was nothing I would not part with to obtain the one thing needful. I saw that all sin must be hated and forsaken, self renounced, every idol sacrificed; that God would have all the heart, or none; and that if I retained any thing in myself to lean upon, God would not receive me, because it prevented an entire reliance upon the Redeemer.

Being led to think that the secret cause of my continued distress was in mysell, and being shocked with the danger of remaining ignorant of it, I begged of the Searcher of my heart, day after day, to teach me wbat I knew not concerning myself; to show me what occasioned the continuance of his hot displeasure ; seeing I must either know it, and give it up, or be for ever ruined by it. The Lord graciously heard my prayer; and I was repeatedly alarmed by new discoveries of those evils of which I had little or no conviction before. This increasing sense of the corruption of the heart increased the sorrows of my mind, as I beheld myself banished farther than ever from the happiness I sought. Every hope of being made a partaker of the riches of grace in Christ was nearly swallowed up in this view of my own wickedness. Yet I wanted, if God would enable me to bear the sight, to know the worst of myself, that I might be compelled, as it were, by the greatest necessity, to cry the more earnestly for grace to abound to me the chief of sinners. My best righteousness was as filthy rags; my wisdom was foolishness; my strength was as helpless infancy; my whole heart was sick, and all that was within me was poisoned by sin. That self-ignorance which forms the most fatal and delusive security to thousands, who are vainly seeking comfort in their sins, was rent away from me; so that, though I was, to my own conception, fully prepared for the vengeance of eternal fire, yet this proved the blessed means of my escape, by making me flee to the only help found in heaven or earth for a lost sinner, even to Jesus, the adorable Redeemer. Towards the end of this long and dark night of sora row, my beart went more intensely after Him whom I was impatient to enjoy. My importunities were breathed more fervently to heaven, for the long-expected blessing of forgiveness. I durst not, I could not rest, till could confidently proclaim,

“ My God is reconciled,
His pardoning voice I hear;

He owns me for his child;

I can no longer fear :
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And, Father, Abba, Father, cry.”

For this my heart panted. The heavenly prize sometimes appeared so near, that the hand of faith was able to reach forth to lay hold; but was suddenly checked by disappointment.

I continued sometimes oppressed by fear, at other times encouraged by hope, till the 11th of March, 1779, when the tide of my misery rose unusually high. My father was that day led particularly to speak of the necessity of faith, in order to my justification; he said it was unreasonable to expect the evidence, unless I believed. This seemed to me equally strange and impossible. I told him I could believe when I had received a clear sense of my forgiveness, by the Spirit removing the burden from my soul, and communicating the love of God. However, he maintained what he first asserted ; and though I could not see the subject in the same light, yet I was persuaded that he knew better than myself, and therefore resolved to reap what advantages I could from his instruction. Accordingly I exerted all the powers of my mind, in attempting to believe that I was accepted in the Beloved, and that consequently my iniquities were no longer remembered against me. But all my labours were fruitless. My faith brought me no consolation, but, on the contrary, more distress, as my conscience bore a forcible testimony against that which I was striving to believe. I was ashamed of my presumption before God, and scarce dared to look toward his throne. I thought that, as a dog, I should provoke the Lord, by thus presumptuously stretching forth my undeserving hand to seize the children's bread. My heart was sorely agitated and overwhelmed with distress all the after-part of that memorable day, on which I obtained deliverance, till about seven o'clock in the evening, when I left all company, and chose the opportunity which a dark night afforded me to retire to my old retreat, which screened me from the observation and interruption of man. I entered with profound reverence and self-abasement, and the contending passions of hope and despair : with the keen sensations of a self-convicted criminal, I fell prostrate before my Lord and Judge. I had not been many minutes on my knees before my whole soul was weighed down with horror. I saw myself gradually sinking into a dreadful pit; when there suddenly appeared to the eye of my mind the suffering Redeemer nailed to the accursed tree. Immediately the darkness and woe in which I was involved disappeared. It was impossible to restrain tears. I wept for joy. My soul was filled with grateful amazement at such an unexpected display of the kind compassion of my Saviour. I could now say, My Lord and my God! My Beloved is mine, and I am his.” Being justified by faith, I had peace with God through Jesus Christ my Lord. My house of mourning was now become the banqueting-house of God. How unspeakably delightful was the sure evidence of my redemption in the precious blood of the

Lamb! I wanted language to express my thankfulness for the peculiar sweetness of Gospel liberty. Happy as I was, and rejoicing in God my Saviour, it was suggested to my mind before sleep had closed my eyes, that I should find by the return of the morning, that my peace had deserted me, and left me to deplore my fearful loss. But as I slept in peace, in peace I awoke. And now I was delighted with the hope that my path would be paved with pleasure all the way to heaven ; that I had passed the greatest danger, and endured the roughest storm, that I had to meet with on my voyage to the eternal shore. But experience soon taught me a different lesson. I was called that day into the field of battle, which put to proof my utmost strength. Not being aware of the artifices of the devil, I suffered greatly. He told me that what I had received as an evidence of pardoo was a delusion; that though the delusion was calculated to make me happy at present, I should find it a dreadful deception in the next world ; and that I was indeed acting a most foolish part in feeding my mind with a delusive happiness in this world, when the miseries of the next were consequent upon it. Long and severe was the contest, and I left the field with the marks of the enemy upon me. I again entreated the Lord to lift upon me the light of his countenance, and suffer me not to be deceived. He did refresh my soul and enable me to persevere; though I was frequently beset with painful doubts and fears for a long time afterwards. Now the word of God was sweeter to my soul than honey, or the honey-comb. I longed for the ordinances, as the hungry appetite longs for food.

About this time the work of God revived among the young people. Maoy began to set out for the kingdom, from the age of twelve to twenty years. Wben there were about three or four, we appointed to meet privately by ourselves for singing and prayer. In

In a few weeks there were near twenty young persons, who seemed in earnest for salvation. This stirred up some old professors to more activity and diligence. We then appointed a prayer-meeting on every Saturday evening at Mapplewell among a wicked people. While I was at prayer here, I believe the first night, the cry of the people was such as I know not that ever I was a witoess of before. I do not remember that there was one silent. I continued in prayer as long as my voice could be heard. When the voice of lamentation began to subside, I arose from my knees, and looking about, found that the cry of the people bad sounded so far as to bring almost all the inhabitants of the place together. Seeing them about the door and window, I beckoned them to come in. My mouth was immediately opened, and I endeavoured to explain to the astonished spectators the meaning of this strange scene. Ideas crowded into my mind as fast as I could deliver them. The people and myself appeared equally amazed ; as I had never spoken in public before ; nor should I at this time, had I not been led in a manner that could not be easily resisted. They then importuned me to preach at that place, which I consented to do that day fortnight in the evening; and, to make matters as agreeable and convenient

as they could, they furnished me with an old barn, and accommodated me with a kind of desk. A consciousness of my incapacity for such an important undertaking affected my mind; but having opened the Bible at the first chapter of Jeremiah, where God is expostulating with the Prophet, and encouraging him to lay aside his fears, and declare to the people of Israel their sins, under the assurance of divine help in all dangers and perils, my resolution gained strength, and my mind was relieved. When I came to the place where I was appointed to preach, I found the barn well filled with people : my heart began to faint; but as it was no time for conferring with the flesh, I entered the pulpit with as much courage as I could ; and after singing and prayer, I ventured to look upon my congregation, when, finding myself acquainted with most of their countenances, shame began to assault me again. I kept my eyes open till I had read my text, which was Ezekiel xxxiii. 11, “ Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel ?” I then closed my eyes, and kept all outward objects shut out, till I had finished my discourse. As God knew that I looked upon the fruit of my labour as the most encouraging proof of my commission from the Bishop of souls, he graciously favoured me, and strengthened me that night, with the conversion of a sinner. The sensible part of my hearers, no doubt, overlooked many defects on account of my youth and inexperience, being then but about nineteen years of age; and it was only about three months since I had received a sense of God's reconciling love. I now saw it indispensably necessary to wait daily upon God in earnest prayer, not only for the increase of his grace in my soul, but for a better understanding of the mystery of godliness, and the true spiritual import of his blessed word, which I was called to proclaim to others. The adversary began at this time to try his arts upon me more imperceptibly than usual; prompting me to think more highly of myself than I ought. Pride mixed itself with my outward exercises; and many of my simple and well-meaning hearers increased the evil by their undeserved praises. But the jealous God soon gave a suitable check to this ruinous aspiring. So conscious was I of something materially wrong, that I doubted whether I was sent of God to preach. One Tuesday morning, while musing on the inexpressible importance of such an undertaking, and my very great unfitness for the work, I sank into a state of disquietude and vexation. I groaned in spirit, labouring to be freed from the burden which hung upon my soul. I wept, and begged for rest ; but rest was far from me. Having to preach two or three times on the following Sunday, I prayed that I might be laid on a bed of affliction, if it was not the Lord's will that I should preach the Gospel; but affliction came not near me. I travelled that day many miles, and preached three times, and not without a blessing ; a multitude following me from place to place. At this time I went to several places where the Gospel had not been published. I was sent for to one lonely place, which with some difficulty I found. There never had been preaching in it before that day, nor has there been since. I

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