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made me observe it with thankfulness, and blessed be the Lord that has made me observe his mercy in helping me to thankfulness : Thus I have gone on till the Lord has led me to a sense of his love, and restored comforts to my soul : They that will praise the Lord for little shall have more : Pfalm lxvii. 5, 6. Let the people praise thee, O God: let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yeild her increase, and God, even our own God shall blejs us.
Upon a further observation of this variety of cales wherewith I was exercised,, the Lord's management of them, and what I have felt in myfelf, I fee besides the fruits before-mentioned, many others; 1. The Lord hereby rebuked me for my fondness of enlarge ment and my thinking to live a life of sense, and trained me fomewhat up to a life of faith, the faith of ad. herance that cleaves to God as revealed in the word, and refuses to quit the word even when it finds not the Lord in it, in a sensible way that refreshes, which certainly is more strong than that which cleaves to it when it feels sensible refreshment and power to trust in God when hiding and threatning to Nay, Job xiii. 15. is to hope against hope. 2. He taught me not to judge of my state by my frames; beside many other lessons that now occur not.
C H A P. VI. Recounting my excrcise about the being of God, and
Sherwing the way of my outgate from this tempta. tion.
1. I Have before mentioned, and given fome ac
I count of my trials about the being of God. Being now to give an account of the relief, it will be proper to recapitulate briefly my whole exercise with respect unto this head, and set the temptation, and the relief together,
2. I have shewed above, that I was early, even as · foon almost, as I began to have any close concern a. bout religion, exercised with temptations, in reference to this great and fundamental truth. But at first I had no arguments urged against this truth, or injected into my mind. Only being made to fee, that this was the hinge whereon the whole of religion turns, all'hopes depend, and by which all practices were to be regu. late, I found myself at a loss for want of an evidence, sufficiently clear and strong, and convincing, which I thought necessary, with refpect to a truth, whereon so much weight was to be laid. In a word, I was at Pharaoh's pass, Exod, v. 2. Wha is the Lord that I should obey him, and let Israel go. Plainly, very great things are demanded of me, and I am call'd to hope for great things, and before I trust so far, I would be satisfied to know more of that God in whom I am to trust, as to so great things. · 3. But afterwards Satan attack'd me by subțile injections, as I have shewed before, took me at a disad· vantage, when I was estranged from God, and my head intent upon abstract subtilities, and while I fol. . lowed such vain speculations, intruding into things It. had not seen, he took his opportunity, and said daily, ' Where is thy God? Psalm xlii. 3, 10. And when he had got me down, he triumphed, where is now that mouth, with which thou didst all along reproach Atheists? Such are their arguments, try your strength with them, and fight them. Judg. ix. 38.
4. Hereon a sharp conflict began to be managed in my breast. On the one hand, Satan in conjunction with the natural Atheism of my heart, plied me hard with fiery darts, Eph. vi. 16. and fubtile sophistry, arguments sometimes astonishing, so far were they above my reach. On the other hand, I a poor apostatc creature fadly darkned, but yet retaining some remainders of light, which God has made inanifest in my conscience, Rom. i. 19, as in these of other nien,
and somewhat confirmed in those notions of God by education, the outward dispensation of the word, and it hiay be. by some common work of the fpiit, river. ing all the former, keeping alive these impressions, or, at leait restraining Satan and my corruptions from blotting them out. Against that formidable confedera. cy, I, such a one as I have now represented myself, made head, and appear'd.
5. In this conflict, I us'd various ways, ift. I some. times rejected' the suggestions, and refus'd them a hearing, IVhourt thou that repliest, or disputest against God? Rom. ix. 20. It shocks nature's light to say, Pfalm xiv. 1. There is no God. Even the fool care scarce fay it out. 2, Sometimes I prevented them as it were, and not only refused an hearing, but representing in my own soul how deep resentment such a provocation, such a motion deserved. If any man will plead against God, or for Baal, none shall intreat for him, but he should early be put to death. Judg. vi. 31. 3. When the impudent enemy would not thus be put off, 1 eNay'd to maintain the truth, and answer his ar. guments. But his instances were so many, and so fubtile, that I could not prevail this way, but the longer I ltood arguing the case, I was put to the greater loss. Rev. xii, 9. When he came in speaking terms, he is too hard for us, and no wonder he be so for us: He worsted our first parents in innocence. 4. When I found this, then I oft would wish for a discovery of God himself. ( that he would appear, and 0 that I knew where I might find him, Job xxiii. 2. when my wishes took no effect. 5. The devil hereon took ad. vantage to tell me, That he did not appear, and that furely, if there was a God, he would help one that was standing up for him in such a strait. Pfalm xxii. 8. In this cale, I sometimes hop'd that he would arile, and then mine enemies would be made to flee before him. Though the truth is, I could but give little reaSon for it. 6. Sunctimes I prayed. Şatan urged me
with the unreasonableness of praying, till I was once sure there was a God. And I confess I was sometimes hardly put to it, to defend the practice; yet I alway 'inclined to the affirmative, and thought, That if there was a God, as I durst not say, but I had reason to think there was, he could best fatisfie me as to his own being. 2 Kings xix. 10. 7. I was sometimes obliged to flee hini, and seek fanctuary in diversions.
6. Sometimes the Lord mercifully restrained him, į and he left me for a season. .
6. While this trial was lengthned out, the Lord gave frequently some checks to it, and to Satan. 1, By clear discoveries of the horrible tendency of the temptations, that they tended to destroy the foundations of all human happiness, Psalm lxxiii. 15. cast reproach upon all the best and wifest in the world, and account, and set up as the only happy and wise men, proud fools. Mal. iii. 15. If the foundations are destroyed, what had the righteous done? Psalm xi. 3. Then are the proud happy, and they that hate God, are exalted. 2. I was relieved by the consideration of the comfortable issue others had got, who had been in like manner exercised. Psalm xxii. 4, 5. Our fathers trusted in God, they trusted in God, and were helped, 3. God sometimes let me see some glimpses of his glory, even in the works of creation : The heavens declare his glory. Psalm xix. 1. 4. The Lord sometimes from the word relieved me by some beams of his glory. And I remember I was oftner than once helped by the Lord's suggesting with unusual power, the three children's answer to the king of Babylon, with the glorious issue ; 0 Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be jo, cur God whom we jerve, is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand. But if not; be it known. unto thee, 0 king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the go'den image which thou haft set up. Dan. iii, 16, 17. There was some.
thing indeed here, that I could not reach: But my heart was affected with the noble resolution, and encouraged to attempt weakly as I could, to write after their copy, and the issue was encouraging. 5. The devil in these temptations acted so visible a part, that I could not but discern that there was a devil : And when I saw him fo deeply engaged in this quarrel, I was strongly induced to think he was not come out against a straw, or to hunt a shadow. I. Sam. xxiv. 14. 6. When the Lord began to deal with me clolly ao bout sin, the edge of this temptation was much hlunto. ed. Satan could not easily prevail in persuading there was no God, while I found his arrows stick hard in me, and the poison of them drinking up my spirits. Job vi, 4.
7. But yet I was not fully relicved. Nothing but a discovery of God could give a full defeat to Saran. Zech. jii. 2.Wherefore the Lord at length pitied me; not in the way that I could have desired; for I would have had it then. But considering I was then an unhumbied enemy, God could not have appear'd otherwise than as an enemy, and I could not bave thus seen him and lived. Exod xxxiii. 20. Such an appearance would indeed have made me believe and tremble : James ii. 19. But this would have cast me into new trouble. Wherefor the Lord led me to right satisfaction another way: He discovered sin in the way above-mentioned, and by this discovery, as I have now hinted, diverted the violence of this temptation, and broke its force, as has been above hinted : For he says his rough wind in the day of his ealt wind. Ifa. xxvii. 8. And having thus humbled me, he gave me the above-mentioned discovery of himself in his glory in Christ Jesus.
8. That then' which brought me to a soul satisfying assent, and repelled all temptations against the be. ing of a God, was the above-mentioned view of him in his glory. 2 Cor. iv. 6. While God who com,