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walked with much ftrictness : But tho’I could not then discern where the blame lay, I have since been made to fee it. I. ' Being ignorant of the righteous
ness of God I still went about to establish a rightecousness of my own. Rom. X. 3. And tho' in words I renounced this, yet indeed I sought righteousness and peace, not in the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes, Rom. X. 4. but in my own covenants and engagements :. So that I really put them in Christ's room. 2. Whatever room I, in words, allowed Christ as to forgiveness for bygones, yet my peace and hope of it for the future, and fo my trust, was in the evenness of my own walk. I obtained not righteousness, because I fought it as it were by the works of the law, Rom ix. 32. This neglect of Christ, and shuffling my own covenants and obedience in his room, was evident; because whenever I was challenged for sin, instead of recourse to his blood, I ftill fought peace only in renewing my vows. 3. The consent I gave to the law, was not from the reconcilement of my heart, to its holiness, but meerly, in compliance with the constraint put upon me by my convictions. But in very deed Rom. viii. 7. the enmity against it still con. tinued. And I would not have made it my choice, if that had not forced me to it; so that I subjected not myself to it. 4. I engaged to live a new life with an old heart, not being yet made to fee, that unless the tree is made good the fruit cannot be good. Mat, xii. 33. 5thly, The eye was not single, Mat xix. 16, vi, 22, all I aimed at was self, to be cafed of convictions, and obtain peace from these racking disquitements I was under. I had not the least concern for the Lords glory, provided I were safe. 6. In a word, I engaged before the Lord had throughly engaged me. We may be willing in fome fort before the Lord hath made us truly willing, 1 John iv. 10. The first real kindness legins on his side ; and we are never engaged to love.
till the Lord's kindness do draw us. The force of a strait by convictions may overpower us into some pretensions of kindness ; thus it was with me. Wile sing I was to be saved from hell, and to have heaven, under the general notion of a good place; but not to be saved in God's way, on his terms and in order to these ends he proposes in the salvation of sinners. ; 10. This was not my only trouble at this time. Now I was engag'd in the study of Metaphysicks and natural Theology, accustomed to subtile notions, and rickled with them; whereupon Satan, in conjunction with the natural Atheisın of my heart, took occasion to cast me into racking disquietment about the great truths of religion, more especially the being of a God. Thus, in the justice of God, that wherein I delighted, I mean subtile and abstract notions, proy'd the occasion of much perplexing difficulty to me. For, 1. Some feming success in my studies, the first year I engag?d in the study of Philosophy fostered the natural conceit we all have of our own ability 10 know, and emboldned me to proceed further than was meet. So true is that of the word, i Cor. viii. I. Knowlege puffeth up. 2, Hereon the natural curiosity of my vain mind took a liberty to enquire without fear into things too high, and made me promise myself satisfaction about them, in and by my own enqui. ries; Job xi. 12. Vain men would be wise, though he is like the wild ass's colt. Thus he intrudes into those things which he hath not feen, Col. ii. 18. vainly puft up by his fleshly mind. 3: And hereon suffering a disappointment, and failing of success, the natural atheism, and enmity of my carnal mind, that rather inclines to reject the things of God than our own darkness, begun when puzzled to enquire, How can these things be? John iii. 9. Thus, Rom i. 2. profes: fing myself wise I became a fool. 4 Satan that waits all advantages finding me thus caught in the thick. et, plunged me deeper, by throwing in the Eph vi.
16. fiery darts of subtil arguings against the being of a God, whereby all was set on a fame, and I some. times cast into violent convulsions.
11. This exercise about the being of God was much more disquieting than that formerly mentioned'; Then, there was only an unsettledness of mind. proceeding from the felt want of evidence sufficient to quiet the mind, in that assurance of the truth that was necessary to embolden it without fear in all its Atraits to have recourse to, and take rest in God, Now, there were contrary disquieting arguments : Then I was only at that of the disciples, John xiv. 8.. Lord, mewus the Father, and it sufficeth us. But now I was disturbed with the working of the Ruler
of darkness, Eph. vi, 12. and high imaginations exaltTing themselves against God. 2 Cor. x, 5.
"12. Though the Atheism and enmity of my heart " against God were still unremoved, and great, yet the B Lord suffered me not to yield, but made me dread 1 and recoil at the terrible conclusion aim'd at by those
arguings. For, 1. There remain'd so much of that hindi natural knowlege of a diety which God hath made
manifest even in the Heathens, that is in their consciences, Rom. i. 19 and there was so much of
strength added to it by the external evidence of this * truth by the works of creation and providence,as made
me recoil at the thoughts of that horrible conclusion of the Atheist, There is no God. 2. Being at the same time deeply affected with deep apprehensions of the shortness and uncertainty of a present life, I dreaded to admit the conclusion that I saw would shake the foundations of any hope of relief for the future from the other side of time. Psalm xi. 3. If the foundations be destroyed, what hath the righteous done?
13. In this strait, hetwixt light that would not admit of a flat denial of the being of a God, and Atheism enflamed and strengthned by Satan's fiery darts, I betook myself still to vain and selfish courses,
My disturbance was from reasonings, and I thought to relieve myself by my own reasonings. Nothing more did I foolishly think, can be requisite to estas blish my mind about this truth, and for ever to quiet my mind in a firm asent to it, than to obtain de. monstrative arguments for the being of a God: Thủs I thought by searching to find out God. Job xi. 7: And like the Psalmist, when shaken about the providence of God, Pralm lxxiii. 16. I thought to know it. That is by my own reasonings, I expected to ob. tain establishment in the truth, and an answer to the objections urged against it.
14. Wherefor I seriously set myself to the search of such arguments; and I found them; but found not that relief I expected: Psalm lxxiii. 16. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me. For, 1. The most straitning and forcible of those arguments proceeding upon the absurdity of the contrary conclusion with great evidence, would not allow of any thing to be said to the argument, and so extorte ed an assent: But not enlightning the mind with any satisfying notions and discoveries of the God, whom they obliged me to own as existent, my mind was not quieted. For in things of any practical inAnence, without some competent ineafure of light about the nature of things, the soul requiring satis. faction, not only as to their reality, but their meeto nefs to answer those practical uses whereabout 'tis concerned, cannot rest without some discoveries of this: John xiv. 5. Thomas Jaid unto him, Lord, we know not whether thou gseft; and how can we know the way? 2. These arguments forced indeed some assent in the time: But not dissolving contrary objections, whenever the light of them was removed, and contrary objections came in view again, I was intirely shaken, like him in Cicero, who read Plato's arguments for the immortality of the soul, and said, Ilhen. I read, I adjent, but I cannot tell how; but fo foore
as I lay down the book, all this affent is gone. It is faith alone that, as the word is, Heb. xi. 1. reproves contrary arguings, and plants in the soul an abiding light, that keeps the soul firm in its adherence to truth. Thus like the Philosophers of old; i Curii. 21. In the wisdom of God, by wisdom I knew not God.
15. Though I was thus entangled, rather than extricate by these selfish shifts, yet my vain mind till followed these courses. For, 1. What hitherto I had failed of, I expected I might find by some further progress in learning; and therefor I applied myself vigorously that way. But any little progress I made, made me still more sensible how far I was disappointed, and made me experience the truth of this, that he that increaleth knowlege, increaseth forrow. Eccl. i. 18. The further I proceeded I still found the more difficulties, and the less satisfaction. When this course could not avail, then I spent my weary hours in vain wishes for some extraordinary discoveries : Luke xvi. 30. Nay, but if one rise from the dead, they will believe. ;
16. Tho’I reached not the satisfaction I aimed at, yet I cannot lay but this exercise had some useful effects. 1. It let me sce, That I had need of some further evidence and establishment about the truths of Teligion, than hitherto I had either attained, or wist how to attain. Thus I had got some view of it before. Now I was more confirmed of it. 2. My mind being sometimes more quieted as to these truths in hearing of the word, than by all my arguments, I was inclina ed to hope this evidence I wanted, might come from the Lord. 3. I was beat somewhat from that touring opinion of my own knowlege and abilities to know, that my first seeming success in Philosophy gave me, and brought to an, useful diffidence of my inability to reach satisfaction, even about natural things, and solve objections, that lay against truths, which yet u. D 2