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me, a guilty rebel, and vile apoftate, as I hope and trust, that he might snatch me by his almighty power, his sovereign, irrefiftible grace, as a brand from the devouring burnings of his everlasting wrath. If he had entered into judgment with me, my abode, this day, would have been with the damned, buried in unceasing, endless woe; and not in the courts of the Lord, to declare his goodness to my foul.
Among other undeserved mercies, I was blessed with a hopefully pious lifter. She was sedulously anxious for my soul's salvation. Notwithstanding the lived in a family capacity, and had a tender and affectionate concern for a husband and some little children, all of which were regarded with tenderness and love ; yet, living near me, The often reminded me of a dying hour, and a future world, and the vast importance of a constant preparation for the grave. She saw me neglectful of religion, and wept for me. She saw me living and bringing up a family without religion, without any concern for my own soul, or the souls of my family. In the year 1791, she was visited with a sickness which put an end to her very valuable life. In Divine Providence, she went to see her friends at - , and never returned more to take the care of a family she very much loved. On her dying bed she still remembered her unhappy brother, and wrote as follows:
“M , Sept. 19, 1791. " DEAR BROTHER and Sister, “I cannot write you many words, and I write by ano. ther hand, for I am scarcely able to speak.-But I must fay as much as this; I heartily thank you for all your kindnesses. I thank my dear fister, for her kind care of my children. One thing, my dear brother, I must urge upon you as your dying sister, and that is, that you live not another day in the neglect of family prayer. I shall never see you again till the heavens are no more. May you be religious, and be happy. I beg of each of you forgiveness wherein I have done amiss. Farewell for ever.
“ S. F.”
I was 2as a covery to God law sa
When I received this letter, it affected me in fome measure; but my peace was not made with God, and I continued impenitent, and prayerless in my family, notwithstanding the affectionate testimony which my fifter expressed in her dying hour, in favour of religion. Had God called me at this time into the grave, this warning, this pressing importunity would have aggravated my condemnation and misery. Yet that God whom I had disregarded, and whose mercy I was constantly despising, kept me from falling into deserved misery.
About sixteen months ago, Dec. 1799, God saw fit, by his Holy Spirit, to make a discovery to me of my dreadful state and standing as a sinner, before God. He showed me that I was a sinner, and, indeed, in the hands of an angry God. His holy law came home with power to my soul. These solemn words of divine revelation were substantiated to me, “ Your words have been stout against me, faith the Lord.” Trembling apprehensions were now entertained. I was in the gall of bita terness and under the bonds of iniquity. I found that I had been fighting against a God of holiness all iny days. And although I had lived a decent, moral life, as I supposed, in a view of mankind, yet I had been governed altogether by selfishness. I found by fad experience, by a most painful experience and agony, and sometimes despair, that my heart was deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Often before this I had been convinced of my fad condition, and entertained a dreadful fear of punishment; now, I found out the true cause heart full of all iniquity and corruption-a heart streaming forth rebellion against the blessed God, and all his glorious attributes and perfections. The sense I now had of the dreadful plague, and impurity, the vileness, and abominable opposition of my heart to God and his religion, was such many times that I could not bear the
sight, but it caused me to shrink back from the view · with increasing pain and misery. When I contemplated
my past life, nothing but wickedness was discovered, When I looked within myself, mountains on mountains of guilt and transgression arose up to my affrighted view. When I looked forward into another world, there the horrors of the damned sounded in my ears. To crown my woe, I saw very plainly, that a holy, just, and sovereign God had me in his hands; that I was perfectly at his disposal. Oh! said I, if man could change my heart, and save ine, how happy should I be? But I am in the hands of God-He sees me—he marks my behaviour he is angry with me he will govern he will reign. If it is for his glory, he will damn my soul. He may do it, and still be gloriously juft. I saw, indeed, that God would deal with me, and by me," as he saw fit, in time and through eternity. My soul is in his hands. I longed to hide myself from him. Now I daily expected that I must go to hell, as the only proper place of one who had bid defiance to God's omnipotent power, and inconceivable mercy, so long. I saw no possible way to escape his wrath. When, for a moment, I indulged the presumptuous idea that God was merciful, I fhuddered to think how I had abused his rich mercy and grace, and how I had hereby rendered myself unspeakably vile, an heir of indignation and wrath. I abhorred God and all his truths; at the same time my mind was filled with the most excruciating pain and distress. I abhorred, most of all, the absolute, omnipotent sovereignty and dominion of God. I wished for a change in the divine character. A thousand worlds would I have given, could I have made God change in his eternal purposes concerning me, and save me. His law appeared too strict. I often complained that God would not hear my moanings, and selfish, depraved cries, and come to my immediate relief. Then I called his ways unjust and unequal. In every view I had of the character of God as a holy sovereign, pain filled my mind. At the same time, I knew that I was quarrelling with an almighty being, against whom I was sensible I could not prevail. I saw that God would glorify himscif, and maintain his own, eternal government, whatever became of me. I saw that Christ would reign, till he had put all his ene
mies under his feet. · I knew myself to be his bitter enemy. At a certain time, being filled with keen conviction and distress, I resorted to the bible to see whether I could find any peace, and I cast my pained eye on thefe heart-rending words, “ Because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, therefore the heart of the children of men is fully set in thein to do evil.” Here iny character was plainly described. My heart was filled with inquietude. I was wholly unwilling to be saved on the terms of gospel grace; and equally unwilling to be miserable. Frequently I endeavoured after ! change in my circumstances. I changed my place, but mny pain cleaved to me. No creature appeared so mise. rable as I was; I would have changed situations with any creature. To be a rational creature, bound to eternity; and to hear a righteous sentence from that Judge whichi my whole heart hated, was terrible beyond conception. I saw my condemnation written as with the pen of a diamond, on all the works of God. I wished for death a thousand tiines, yet dared not approach the grave, and meet an angry God. Every gospel sermon I heard (for I dared not neglect the means of instruction) spoke my condemnation, and the glory of that God with whom I was madly contending. One cir. cumstance, peculiarly calculated to feed my resentments, was this: God exercised his mercy and grace towards others around me, and I was left to mourn and weep. Why is it thus? said I. Is not God a respecter of perfons? Little did I think that God was under no obligation to save my soul; and that he might in strict justice leave me and all other rebels to perish in their fins. Still, when he displayed his special grace in the regeneration of others, I tried to raise insurmountable objections against his whole conduct. I tried to charge God with blame, since he had made me, and since I was absolutely dependant on him for just such a heart. · and wicked exercises as I had. When such horrid im
piety, (uch blasphemous thoughts, entered my mind, I felt convinced of my exceeding guilt and criminality.
Thus I went on, quarrelling with God and his holy law, for several months. Many times I concluded that God had from all eternity determined on my damnation, and that all the scenes through which I liad pafled were intended to ripen me for misery and deftruction. I was very senfible that the merciful means God was using with me would soon fit me for destruction. I entertained the most unworthy thoughts of God. I am amazed he did not leave me to wonder and perilh. After a course of conviction, amounting many times to almost perfect horror and black despair, God was pleased more immediately to show me that it was my hideous fins that separated between me and himself. On attending public worship, no sooner did I hear these solemn words read for contemplation, “ Behold, the Lord's band is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your fins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear;" than my mouth was closed. I felt like a creature perfectly condemned. A solemn sense of my being in the bands of God, asia sovereign being whose mercies I had abused, whose laws I had wickedly disregarded, whose gospel I had flighted, whose dear Son I had rejected, and whose favour and pardon I never had once heartily asked, or even desired, filled my inind with the deepest compunction. I stood like the convicted leper under the law. I dared not lift up my head. I felt that if God should damn my soul eternally, he would be very glorious in the fight of all good and holy beings. I saw that nothing but powerful Festraining grace, and infinite condescending goodness, had prevented my entrance into the grave and hell long ago. I wondered God had suffered with me so long. These words of St. Paul were substantiated to my mind; that is, “ What if God, willing to show bis wrath, and • make his power knowp, endured with much long-suffering the veisels of wrath fitted to destruction.” I wondered his vindictive wrath had not been displayed in my punishment long before this time. Truly, it is of the