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him that I had been on the mount of transfiguration with Peter, and in the third heaven with Paul.
I heard him for some time occasionally on sabbath-day evenings. But he asserted such strange things respecting the first work of the Spirit's operation on a sinner's heart, when he came to convince him of sin, as was pointblank against my experience; therefore I thought I was a witness against him that he was wrong. His once asserting, that when the Spirit came to convict a sinner, and to convince him of unbelief, that such a soul could apply none of the promises of the gospel, this quite enraged me, and I declared I would never hear him preach another sermon. I therefore left his ministry for, I believe, two or three months; during which time I found a great deal of enmity work against him, and his ministry too. However, conscience was not altogether silent at this time; and I should at times have such thoughts as these, viz. Where does all this enmity spring from? It cannot be a fruit of the Spirit of God. However, these words of Paul used to set matters right at times : “ To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” That I had the faith which is of the operation of God's Spirit, I believed no one that knew me doubted; but feeling this enmity rise high at times made me a little uneasy, and I thought I would hear him again, as he might be got more moderate. I had
heard him but a few times before the Lord was pleased to strip me of all my supposed excellency. How true is that saying of the Psalmist, “When thou with thy rebukes correctest man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume like the moth.” And so I found it. And I soon found the faith that I had so much boasted of to be nothing but bold presumption. God sent the killing commandment home to my conscience, which stirred up all the nest of uncleanness that lay hid in my heart before, and I could only view an angry God in a fiery law; and a dreadful sight it was to me; it made me, like Moses, to fear and quake. Here was no access to God. The flaming sword seemed to turn every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. Instead of faith, hope, joy, and peace, I felt my carnal mind was nothing but enmity against God. My heart was as hard as an adamant; my will was pregnant with nothing but stubbornness, perverseness, and rebellion; and, as to my affections, I knew not where they were; but I knew they were not fixed on God, where they ought to be. Pray I could not. I had no faith; and God's word declares that whatever is not of faith is sin; and that the prayer of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. This made me almost distracted. Every sermon I heard from him cut and condemned me; and the more it did so, the more I was rivetted both to him and his preaching. I longed for the return of the sabbath, that I might be tried and searched. I was now determined to leave the place I was joined to as a member, and attend his ministry on sabbath mornings, as what I heard at the old place my soul could not endure; it was like singing songs to a heavy heart. How my soul loathed that daubing with untempered mortar! that peace which was spoken to my soul when God had spoken no peace! Blessed, for ever blessed be the Lord, who has delivered me from that empty profession, from that snare of the fowler. It was indeed sovereign mercy that delivered me from falling into that ditch, where the blind are leading the blind; and I was as blind as any one that is left behind, and perhaps far more presumptuous. Pardon this digression, dear sir, for Christ's love had just touched the handle of the lock, which made me thus wander. But to return. I went on so, I think, about a year, groaning under this heavy burden. I could not unbosom myself fully to any one. I sometimes accidentally fell into the herald's company at the G--; and, as I wished much to have some conversation with him, I pressed him to favour me with a visit; and he said he would, which raised my expectation of having an opportunity to open my mind to him. But I believe it was a year after his first invitation before he came, which I assure you tried me not a little. The first time he called I could not persuade him to get off his horse. This distressed me much, and I concluded that no one cared for my soul, and so gave up all thoughts of ever having an opportunity of speaking to him, unless I went to him on purpose; and that I feared would be deemed too great a freedom; and, besides, I was afraid that I should not be able to make him to understand me, nor be able to point my case out so bad as it really was; and, should that be the case, I should be deprived of receiving a faithful sentence from his mouth. I believe he read my condemnation in my face, which used to make me tremble from head to foot. When I saw him come down from the pulpit stairs I thought he looked at me as if he wished I would never enter the chapel more. I think it was about a month after this, one sabbath morning, he had been cutting and condemning me till I thought I was almost in the bottomless pit. I could no longer refrain, and therefore went to him into the vestry. He received me kindly, and gave me liberty to tell him all I wished; and, to my great surprise, he told me he really believed the Lord had begun a work on my soul, and that the Spirit of God was leading me to a sight and sense of my state by nature, and giving me to see that without Christ I could do nothing. What I felt at hearing this I cannot express; it was like life from the dead. I did not lose my burden, but I felt a gleam of hope from this consideration, that, if it was the Lord's work, I was not beyond the reach of mercy. I could, from this time, tell him my whole heart and soul without any reserve; and he was the only person to whom I could. And many words has he spoken to me in private which
have helped me with a little help when I have thought I was near upon the borders of despair. He once preached from these words in Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple; even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall surely come, saith the Lord of Hosts." Under this sermon I seemed to have a glimpse of the person of Christ. I could not tell what it was then. I think it had some effect in attracting my affections, for I lost my burden for several days; and, though it was not attended with any appropriating faith, yet it produced a joy in my soul which I had not felt before. I nursed this frame till I lost it, and my burden returned heavier than ever. Yet I cannot help thinking but that was the season that Christ knit my affections to himself; and it was the only season of real joy that I ever experienced till the Lord was pleased to break my fetters. As I before observed, my burden got heavier; and I found worldly cares got such hold of my mind that I was bowed down under them. My memory could retain nothing but what was against me. If I attempted to read but a chapter in the Bible, my thoughts were like the fool's eyes, wandering to the ends of the earth. If I attended the word preached, it was the same. And, though I was taught, by bitter experience, something of the importance of the truths I heard, vet, if I attempted to pray, though I knew I must