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or some other practical book: Unless when there was an intermission of my trouble; for near a year and a half I read very little, and this Nothful pofture laid' me open to temprations, and made corruptions grow Itronger: Prov. xxiv. 30, 31. ' I went by the field ' of the Nlothful, and by the vineyard of the man • void of understanding, and lo it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face there. of. And the stone-wall thereof was broken down."
16. Hereupon my corruption took vent several ways, I. In vain and nothful defires. Prov. xiii. 4. . I desired and had not.' 2. In foolish contrivances and searches, how to ease my smart. Pfalm lxxvii. 6:
I communed with my own heart upon my bed, and ' my spirit made diligent search,' but without a due eye to the Lord. 3. I spent my time in foolish com. plaints that dispirited me; I complained, and my fpirit was overwhelmed. Psalm lxxvii. 3. 4. I was sometimes at cursing the day of my birth, withing that I had never been born, or that I had died assoon as born : Job iii. 11. " Why died I not from the "womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I • came out of the belly?' 5. I wished often that I had been in other circumstances, and that I had been bred to the plough, or some such imployment, and that I Inight have in the desert a cottage, Jer, iii. 11. & place of way.faring men, where I might give myself to continual, grief. 6. My fpirit fometimes rofe in quarrellings against God: Psalm lxxvii. 3. I thought un God and was troubled. I said, Wherefor do I cry, and thou dost not hear me ? Job xxx, 20. And frequently I was not far from that, Wilt thou always be to me as a liar, and waters that fail? Jer. xv. 18.
17. After I had thus wearied myself, after the edge, and violence of the temptations above mentis oned, was by the formerly narrated considerations blunted and somewhat broke rather than removed, and I cased by fatan's depasure for a season, I inclin
ed to rest; and Yatan hereon finding matters prepared for an affult, he made fresh attempts in another, and no less disquieting manner: Matth vii. 12, 43, 44. " When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, "he walketh through dry places seeking rest and " finding none. Then he faith, I will return to my ' house from whence I came out; and when he com• Eth, he findeth ít empty, swept and garnished. Then ' goeth he and taketh with him feven other spirits, "more wicked than himself, and they enter in and ' dwell there : And the last state of that man is worfe
than the first, · The devil cannot be at rest, where he hath no mischief to do to men. The devil soleaveth none but he will be attempting to come unto them again, and he ordinarily succeedeth, where Christ hath not preporsessed the soul ; all other reformation proves but a sweeping and a garnishing, while the soul is empty of Christ It may be swept from the filth of flagitious fins, and garnished with the paint of religion, or some habits of moral virtue : But none of these will keep out the devil. Thus I found it to my cost. For, i Satan finding my soul, after all my sad tossings, empty of Christ, returned, 2: And my soul being like the vineyard of the Nuggard, Prov. xxiv. 31. by Noth, defenceless, without its stone wall, he easily found opportunity to fow tares, and while I slept, to cultivate the thorns and nettles, which naturally grow there. 3. It was no hard matter to persuade on so wearied, Gen. xlix. 15. 'that rest was good, and that there was
a lion in the way.' Prov. xxii. 1 3. And, 4. Having thus possession and quiet abode with his feven other 'Spirits,'my own corruptions, he quickly made my
last state worse than my first.' Psalm xxxviii. 19. My' enemies grow strong and lively; my corruptions began vigourously to exert themselves.
18. Hereon the Lord ininding his own work, brought the ministry of the word, the law in its spirit:
ual ual meaning nearer. And then, 1. Sin reviv'd and "I died ; Rom vii. 9, I found inore discernibly the stirrings of corruptions. viii. ibid. Yea, 2. Sin taking
occasion from the commandment,' and being fretted by the light let into my soul from the word, 'it
wrought in me all manner of concupisence.' Lufts of all forts, self, Noth, formality, etc. ifrove to maintain their own place. 3. Hereby I was plunged in a deeper guilt, Psalm xxxviji. 4.. mine iniquities went over my head. And, 4. Hereby my challenges were sharpned, and I found' no rest in my bones' ver. 3: for fins that I had done.
19. Under this distress, I still as formerly, fought to other physicians, rather than to the Lord. For, I, Having now, by the knowlege of the truth, escaped • the pollutions of the world;' 2 Pet ii, 20. my exercise was much about the more secret actings of fin, and its working in the heart; and as to these, I some- . times used extenuations and excuses, taken from the strength of the temptations I lay under, and other confiderations of that fort; and sometimes this was done not without secret reflections on God. This was Adam's way ;' The woman whom thoù gavest sme to be with me, she gave me and I did eat. Gen. iii. 12. 2dly, Sometimes after my engagements and vows, and breaches of them, when I found conscienca disturb me, I begun to enquire whether the things were fin, and endeavoured to persuade myself, That some which were most disturbing were none, Prov. XX. 25. Thus, after vows I made enquiry,' 3. I. at last, when all these courses failed, again faid, I will not transgress, and made new vows and resolutions, accompanied with forrow for my former breaches, and folemnly bound inyself against my sins, those that predomined: Exod. x. 16, 17, Then Pharaob called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and said, I have finned against the Lord your God, and against you. Now therefor forgive I pray thee my fin only this once, &c.
4. I set apart time for fasting and prayer in secret, and November 23, 1697, On a time set apart for prayer I drew up a short account of my treacherous dealing with God from my youth up, and folemnly bound myself to God, to walk in his ways; and when my own heart told me, That I could not serve the Lord, I said, Nuy but I will ferve the Lord, Joshua. xxiv. 21.
20. But all these proved physicians of no value.' For I found, I. That they were not able to keep me Jonger, than till a temptation came in my way from sin. Whenever this appear'd, corruption, that had been so far from being really weakned by all those inventions, that it really grew in strength,broke down all that I had set in its way. Jer: ii. 20. Of old time I have broken my yoke, and burst my bands, and thou faidit, I will not transgress : When upon every green tree thou wanderest playing the harlot. 2. I found these vain ways I took to smother convictions, were not able to procure me peace, but really increased my inward disquietment, and wasted my fpirit : Psalm xxxii: 3. When I kept silence (that is when I sinfully endeavoured to suppress my guilt and trouble) my bunes waxed old through my roaring all day long. 3, The Lord in mercy gave me no rest in any of these inventions, but suffered me to weary myself in seeking my lovers, that I might at length betake myself to him, For so long as I followed these ways, Day and night his hand lay heavy upon me : My moisture was turned into the drought of summer. Pfalm xxxï 4.
21. Though hitherto I fail'd of a right issue, yet I was carried a great length in complaiance with convictions. I kept myself from open pollutions, I was careful in duties of worship, yea further, I was much in secret, I receiv'd the word with joy, I was oft chal. lenged for secret pride, unbelief and other heart spi. ritual evils, and as to the knowlege of them, was considerably enlightened. I falted, prayed, mourned
in secret. I resolved and struve against fin, even my peculiar fins that I loved best. Thus I had with others Rev iii. 1. a name to live, and took up a form of religion 2 Tim iii. 5.
22. Yet for all this, I was a stranger to its power, which the following evidences sufficiently manifeft;' for whatever lengths I went, yet, ist, I was a stranger to the glorious and blesled relief, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ : Not that I had not sone notions of this ; for I professed to embrace it. But really I was in the dark, as to its glorious efficacy, tendency and design. I was ignorant of the righteoulness of God, all the while, Rum. X. 3. 2dly, Still in all this the eye was not single Matth. vi. 22. It was only the saving of myself, without any eye to the Lord's glory I designed. Rom ix. 31. 3dly, It was still by some righteouliess of my own, in whole or part that I sought relief. No wonder peace was unstable, that stood upon so weak a foundation. 4thty, Though I was by the force of convictions, brought to part with my beloved sins, or consent to their destruction, yet it was neither without reluctancy, or without some secret reserve. It was like Pharaoh's consent in the like cafe when his servants persuaded him of the danger of his persisting in his sin, Exod. %. 3. Moses. and Aaron were brought back again to Pharaoh: And he said unto them, go serve the Lord your God. But who are they that mall.go? Sthly, My heart was ut. terly averse from Spirituality, sometimes through the force of convictions. I was indeed brought for some time to aim at getting my mind fix'd upon heavenly things, and kept on the thoughts of them : But my heart being yet carnal, I wearied:of this bent, and of this forcible religion. And it was intolerable to think of being always fpiritual : Rom. viii. 7. “The • carnal inind is enmity against God, is not subject to « the law of God, nor can it indeed be,'
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