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ing and being deceived. 2 Tim. ii. 16. And profane and vain bablings do increase unto more 'ungodlinefs. And to my fad experience I found, 2 Tim ü. 17. That their wor.d doth eat, as doth a canker, or gangrene, It is of an infectious and contagious nature. And therefor 'ris safest to shun, avoid them and fol. Tow 'the wise man's advice, Prov. ix. 6. To forsake the foolish and live ; Prov. xiv. 7. and depart from a foolish man when we perceive not in him the lips of knowlege; Prov. xix. 27. and cease from the instruc. tion that causes to err from the word of knowlege. .
5. This was of very dangerous consequence to me, and could not prove otherwise to one in my case. For, : 1. I was not rooted and grounded in the truth, Eph. iii. 17. Col. ii. 7. being neither notionally inîtructed in the grounds whereon the scripture is received, nor acquainted practically with its power, and so was naked of that armour of light, Rom. xiii. 11. that is necessary toward a conflict with such encmies. 2. The power of that enmity and darkne/s Col. i. 13. which incline the vain mind of man to reject and carp at the truths of God as Folishness, i Cor. ii. 14. still remained unsubdued ; and so I was Eph. iv. 14. as the children who are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. 3. The objections I found Itarted were many, struct at the foundations, i John ii. 9. were new and surprizing to one who was so unsettled, and were dress'd up by the Night and cunning cruftinefs of them who ly in-wait to deceive. Eph. iv. 14. 4 I was not acquaint with that watchfulness, vigilance, and humble fobriety, that was necessary to prevent Satan's gaining any advantage. 5; Hereon Saran finding. so fair an occasion, fipt it not; for he goes about 1 Pet. v. 8. seeking such seasons ; and finding things thus, he improved it to my great disquictment.
6. The adversary finding all things thus prepar’d, set on me furiously, and imploy'd many against me. 1. He wrought up the natural Atheism, darkness, and enmity of my heart, to vent itself against the truths of religion, in foolish enquiries, Is it yo? Psalm lxxiii, 11. How can these things be? Johor iii. 9. And what authority hast thou, since thou requirest such things? 2. He imploy'd some who had all advantages, Matth. xi. 28. and were the most likely to prevail, persons smooth, sober, and who opposed the rational arguments ; fuch sometimes the devil makes use of, who seem themselves not far from ibe kingdom of God, Mark xii. 34. like the Scribe who answered and question’d our Lord civilly, whose , Words are smoother than butter, while war is in their heart. Pfalm lv. 21. And these are usually more prevalent; for with their fair speeches they deceive the
hearts of the simple. Rom. xvi. 18. 3. He himself i acted sometimes the subtile serpent, putting and sug.
gesting subtile queries, Gen. jii. 1. Hath God said so?
And sometimes he threw in firey darts to inflame - and disorder me. Eph. vi. II, 12, 16. Thus I found
when I was alone, when I was in prayer and most serious, hellish oaths, and grievous blafphemous suggestions cast forcibly into my mind, which made me tremble. No wonder he should deal so with me, when he impudently suggested to him in whom he had nothing, John xiv. 30. such blafphemous pro
posals, as that of falling down to worship him. Matth. 5. iv. 9.
7. By all these ways he assaulted me, and I was grievously toss'd about all the truths of religion. 1. The being of God was again brought in question: The enemy said daily, Where is thy God? Psalm xlii. 3, 10. And the Atheisin of my heart said also, There is no God, and who is the Lord ? Pfalm xiv. 1, Exod. v. 2. I was assaulted about his providence, and all the diso. orders of the world were urged to my great distur,
The wand hard with ead, when
bance. Psalm lxxiii, 2----13. * As for me, my feet. • were almost gone : My steps had well nigh Nipt. "The ungodly prosper in the world, they increase "in riches, and therefor his people return hither, " Waters of a full cup are wrung out to them: And *
chey say, How doth God know? And is there • knowlege in the most High? 3. I was assaulted as to the truth of the word, and many ways troubled about it; when I read, when I thought about it, I was ply'd hard with grievous suggestions fometimes: The want of sufficient evidence was complain'd of; John vi. 30. What sign Shewest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? What dost thou work? At other times it was blam'd, one while, of obscurity, John X. 24. How long doft thou make us doubt? If i hou be the Christ teli us plainly. And anon another suggestion was clapt in against some passages as hard; this is a hurd saying who can hear it? John vi. 60. When this took not, it was accused in some places of plain Blasphemy. He hath spoken blasphemy,-Ye have heard his blasphemy. Mattha xxvi. 65. It was blam'd as contradictory to itself. John xii 34. We have heard out of the law, that Christ abideth for ever; and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lift up? Its promises were call'd in question, 2 Pet. iii. 4. Where is the promise of his coming? As were also its threats ; Ezek xii. 22. every vision faileth, Jer. xvii. 15. • Behold they say unto me, Where is the I word of the Lord? Let it come now.' This was I daily perplexed, in so much that it was a terror sometimes for fear of these suggestions to look into the Bible. 4. The mystery of the gospel was particu• larly set upon, and represented as Foolishness, 1 Cor. į. 22. as setting up new gods, Acts xvii. 18, and oft was I put to answer, John ii. 9. How can these. things be?!
8. The subtile enemy who had often follicited me to high thoughts of mylėlf, now when he found it for
his purpose, urged upon the mean thoughts of myfelf, and pressed to a bastard sort of humility : He often whispered me in the ear, 'Tis vain for you to expect to ride yourselves of these difficulties, when so many learned men, who have studied the point with so much care, and who were far more capable to discern the truth, cannot reach satisfaction, but have rejected them, John vii. 48, 49. · Have any of
the rulers or the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law, are cursed.'
9. By this I was brought into grievous perplexity, and many fad tossings. Psalm xlii: 3. My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually Jay unto me, Where is thy God? But still I tried wrong courses, 1. I attempted by my own reasonings to relieve myself. Pfalm lxxiii. 6. I thought to know this. 2. When this fail'd, I bought, I read books writteri about the truth of religion. Job viii. 8, 9, 8c. This indeed, had it been kept in its own place, was allowable and useful: Ecclef. xii. 1 2. But I expected more than I had reason to look for, and as I used it, this was only the fruit of unbelief, and a vain course running to Ashur, sending to Egypt, 3. I wish'd for vilions, voices or some extraordinary course: Luke xvi. 30. Nay, but if one rise from the dead they will believe. 4. When these faild, with the sluggard I kit down discouraged, Ecclef. iv. 5. The foal foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh. 5. I sometimes betook myselt to prayer; but herein I desiderated success, not seeking in the right way, nor to right ends. James.iv. 3. .
10. But all these ways fail'd me, Ecclef, vii. 23, 24. I took counsel in my foul, having forrow in my heart daily. I said, I will be wise but it was far from me. That which is far off and exceeding deep, who can find it out? 1. As to my own reasonings, they avail not against him who esteems iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. Pfalm lxxiii. 16. When I thought
to know it, it was two painful: It was labour in mine eyes. 2. As for books, besides they satisfied not as to these things they mention'd, many of my scruples were such as were overlook'd by them, so they prov'd physicians of no value. Job vi. 25. How • profitable are right words! But what doth your aro | ' guing reprove ? 3. As to extraordinary expectations, God justly rejected them. Luke xvi. 31. 'They « have Moses and the prophets, and if they will not
believe them, neither would they believe tho' one S should rise from the dead.' 4. My Noth still increased my trouble; that foolish poring fretted my spirit, flew me: Prov. xxi. 25. The desire of the • Nuggard killeth him, because his hands refuse to I work,
11. I had quite sunk under the weight of this trouble, and been swallowed up of sorrow, and landed in despair, if its force had not been somewhat abated by occasional considerations that were by the good hand of God, sometimes one way, sometimes another brought to my mind: 1. When the hellish conclusions at which all these temptations aimed, the renouncing of religion, rejecting the Scriptures, doc. were urged; it was oft leasonably suggested, John vi. 68. 'To whom shall we go? Thou hast
the words of eternal life. The Lord powerfully convinc'd, and kept the conviction strong on my mind, that at what time I parted with revelation, I behov'd to give up with all prospect of certainty or satisfaction about eternal life. What Deists told me of the demonstrations of a future happiness built only upon nature's light, had no weight with me, because I had tried those long ago, and found them to my apprehension inconcludent; and had they been con. cludent, I was never a whit the nearer satisfaction; to tell me of such a state without any account of its nature, or the terms whereon 'tis attainable, was all one as if nothing had been said about it: This creat.