« EelmineJätka »
Extract from the Life of Miss SUSANNA ANTHONY ;
containing an account of her entering into the full communion of the Church.
WENT to the Rev. Mr. Clap; and after discours
ing with him, gave up my name to be taken into his church. The day before this was to be completed, I was under some darkness and fears : And therefore was afraid lest God should hide his face from me, in the solemn transaction. And by this means Satan took the advantage to make me question whether. I had done right in what I had done. I knew the subtilty of Satan to perplex my soul, and make me fear all was wrong, when God did not afford light and evidence. I was now ready to conclude to send the minister word, that I should not go out the next day. But now, even now, was God pleased to speak to my soul by his spirit, in these words, “ I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye me in vain !” Here I was led to review my calls to these ordinances ; and was powerfully convinced they were from God. That it was God, and only he, who had bid me seek his face in these duties; and then the blessed spirit assured me, from the word of God, that he had not bid me seek his face here, in vain. I then determined to do my duty, and leave the event with God: If he saw best to own his own institutions, by affording his sensible presence and grace, well : but if he saw best to deny his sensible comfort, it was my duty to submit; but not to omit my duty by not going. Thus I cast my burden on God, pleading, if it was his will, that he would welcome me there, by the light of his countenance, and the joy of his salvation. But, above all, that I might approve myself to him in the devout, solemn, humble, and faithful discharge of my duty, though I felt not that joy which was sweet to my soul.
And thus, on October 24, 1742,* I was baptized, and taken into the church. My soul was, in a mnost sokemn manner, engaged to approve myself to God. And never had I more sensibly exercised faith, than now. While the covenant was read, I was enabled to give up my whole soul and body to God, taking him for my own, only covenant God. And, indeed, the whole time was taken up in the most solemn transactions between God and my soul, and in this so solemn engagement, sealed on both sides. I sealed to be the Lord's; and here God sealed to be mine, my Father, my Redeemer, and my Sanctifier ; my only, everlasting refuge and hope. 0, how happy did I now appear to be under these solemn vows, calling on saints and angels to witness the solemn transaction !
* The day before she was sixteen years old.
“ Here in thy courts I leave my vow,
And thy rich grace record ;
If I forsake the Lord.”
The 131st Psalm was sung in Dr. Watts' version. The title,“ divine protection;" which did then, and ever since, appear very precious to me; especially the two first and two last verses. The two last are these
• Should earth and hell with malice burn,
“i On thee foul spirits have no power,
My faith began evidently to increase under these means and ordinances. And for some weeks after this solemn transaction, I enjoyed more solid, steady peace in my soul, than ever I had done before: and was often melted down before God, to see those who had been educated in these principles, and had all outward helps to forward them in coming up to those sacred in
stitutions of Christ ; yet fearing to take the vows of God upon them : and I, who was called to engage with so many difficulties, compelled to come in to this marriage supper. It was truly affecting, and often caused me to cry out, Why me, Lord, why me? 0, blessed be God, that I was thus young brought to an open, public profession of him ; and had the seals of the covenant set on me! It was a day of the gladness of my heart. A day for ever to be remembered with joy. A day, in which God took me near himself: And I trust I shall ever find a solid satisfaction in what I then did. Nothing should have tempted me to have wished myself from under these bonds and seals.
However fully satisfied I was as to these things, yet I was sometimes exercised with great fears about my spiritual estate. And one day, the winter following, having been, for some days before, under great doubts, and my evidences very much clouded, so that I could not see any of the conditions of the promises wrought in my soul, I feared I had no interest in Christ, or the promises, and dare not plead them. But I determined to set upon pleading the absolute promises, seeing I dare not plead the conditional ones; and set apart some time for this purpose. I found great freedom and fervency in my soul on this occasion; and had my mouth filled with arguments taken from the freeness of grace; the sovereignty of God. For his own name's sake, he had promised to give a new heart and a new spirit: and why might not these promises be fulfilled in me? Why might not God glorify his absolutely free and sovereign grace in me? I acknowledged my unworthiness and yileness : but pleaded that this never hindered the curront of sovereign grace. Thus I continued most of the remaining part of the day, with a much greater variety of promises and scriptures, than I ever before or since had in my mind at one time. I am
I am very certain I never could collect so many texts at once, all so agreeable to my present concern, if I took the utmost pains for it.
And here I hung, and felt strength, though no sensible comfort.
The next day I proceeded in the same manner, and humbly resolved, if I perished, I would perish at the feet of sovereign mercy: And now. was God pleased, in the most distinct and clear manner, to manifest himself to me. There has always appeared to me something peculiar in this, beyond any thing I can remember before. I cannot but think I had a work of wrought in my soul before this. The actings of my soul towards God before this, appear to me to be as really true faith, as those since. Yet this seems the nearest like the soul's being first brought home to God, of any thing I ever had experienced, or could distinctly remember. But I am inclined to think that, as there were some things in this, the want of a distinct discovery of which before, had caused many doubts in my mind about my whole experience ; so now God graciously renewed or revived them in my soul, for the more settled confirmation and establishment of my hope, as it since has been. It was as follows:
I was, as before observed, brought to the feet of sovereign grace. I saw myself, as in myself, to be infinitely vile and wretched, utterly unable to help myself; most unworthy that God should help me ; and that it would be infinitely just, if God should cast me off forever : and I thought I must forever own it, though I were cast into hell. I cast myself at his feet, crying out, Lord save me, or I perish. I saw every refuge fail, and God an absolute sovereign. And here I had a powerful discovery of Christ made to my soul. He was now revealed as a complete, almighty Saviour altogether excellent and lovely in himself, and infinitely suitable for me. And not only so; but he whom the glorious God had appointed as Mediator ; and had declared himself well pleased with him. Now, O, now, I embraced him; I received him as my prophet, priest and king. As one through whom I might boldly come to God. Nor can I tell which my soul was most en gaged in admiring, the love of the Son, or the wisdom of the Father, in contriving this method of salvation. I saw it to be the safest and best way. My whole soul did acquiesce in it. O! I thought, if I had ten thousand souls, and each of them were of unspeakably greater worth than mine was, I could venture them all here. And since I had but one, and it was my all, I freely cast it here. : How .infinitely' reasonable did the terms of salvation appear! So that I freely justified God in the eternal damnation of those who would not submit to them.
O, it is utterly impossible to describe the views I then had. Words cannot come near it. All the powers of my soul were engaged and inflamed. It was the most rational discovery, and produced the most rational effects and acts, that ever my soul was able to perform. It appears so infinitely reasonable, that it is, I think impossible for a reasonable person, under such a disco very, not to chuse it. I longed for every one to see it just as I did: And subscribed to these words of the Psalmist ; " They who know thy name, will put their trust in thee.” But what shall I say? Language fails, and I must cease to attempt to express, and only reflect with unutterable wonder and love.
The views I then had, did powerfully raise my faith above any former acts of it. Í had before been chiefly revived by the evidences of a work of grace in my soul. But now I do not remember I had any thoughts of former experiences. The glory of God and the method of salvation through Christ, filled my soul with the most solid, substantial joy, wonder and love.