« AnteriorContinuar »
I possest a great degree of vivacity, and was extremely jocose, my company was very acceptable to the ungodly, and courted by persons much my superior, in family and fortune. This must have been very flattering to my vanity, and tickling to a depraved heart. It was a wonderful mercy, indeed, that I had not, like many others in like circumstances, been carried down the stream, and abandoned religion forever. But, blessed be the Lord, it was not many months before the snare was broken, and I was delivered. • From the time I returned from my visit to New Kent, I still boarded with Moon. But from some circumstances, I determined to stay there no longer, than till I should finish the year. This determination being made known, Mr. Cannon invited me to return to him to teach his little son, who, by this time, was old enough to be put to school. I gladly accepted the invitation, and again took up my residence at his house, where I continued for some years, at the rate of 15l. per annum, standing wages.
On my return to this family, I found my benefactress as much engaged in religion as before ; and her conversation and example
shis family in religimple soon revived, in me, my former desires and resolutions. About this time, also, a Presbyterian minister had obtained a settlement in the county of Cumberland, conti. guous to Albemarle, and preached, once in four weeks, within four miles of my lodgings. This afforded me better helps for religious improvement, than ever I had before. Nor did I neglect them. I con. stantly attended all the sermons, and frequently had the pleasure of the minister's company and conversation, at our house, and also at other houses in the settlement. He was not, indeed, the best of men, nor was he a good preacher-yet I gained considerable advantages by him, as, by his means, I was brought to an acquaintance with a number of very excellent books, written by men of the greatest eminence for learning and piety, such as Baxter, Watts, Doddrige, Young, &c. These I read with pleasure and profit. The preaching of the gospel had also some good effects on several in the neighbourhood; and increased the number of religious friends, which I consider as another advantage to me. With these I frequently conversed to our mutual edification. And as I neglected none of the public ordinances of religion and means of grace, and
my moral character was irreproachable, I was received and held as a Christian by all the professing people in the different coun. ties where I was known. I believe, indeed, I had true religion then, as far as it wentbut was subject to continual doubts, whether to draw the happy conclusion in my favor or not. At times I felt comfortable
but soon sunk in doubts and fears. The stake was of great value, and we can never make too sure of the prize--but a too hasty conclusion, or a decision not well founded, might be attended with fatal consequences. Such considerations prevent many pious souls from drawing a conclusion hastily for fear of a deception, in so weighty a case.
While in this state of suspence, I was assaulted with very uncommon trials; and a perplexing thought followed me, that my case was singular, and that no man in the world had such trials, oppositions and ene. mies to contend with, as I had. No book I read, no sermon I heard, seemed to touch my perplexing case; which might with some shew of reason, confirm me in the singula. rity of it, and cause me to fear there was no promise applicable to it. This state of trial, sorrow, trouble and perplexity, continued long and painful—perhaps for twelve
months. But still, I was naturally so vivacious, and had such command on my countenance, hardly any one suspected otherwise, but that I was happy all this while. I never spake to any man respect. ing it, except the minister, and then but partially. He told me he had been in the same situation, which afforded me some relief for the present, but it lasted not long. The Lord relieved me at last, I well remember the time and place, when and where, I was sitting, with a good book in my hand. In this I read a great many discouraging cases, described by the author, with the promises adapted to such cases. I paid great attention to every case and promise-and, perhaps, not without hope that God would be my friend. But not finding my case, I was still thinking it nameless, and altogether singular, and consequently, there could be no promise, in the bible, suitable to it. At last I cast my eye on Isaiah 62, 12- Thou shalt be called, sought out, a city not forsaken. These words appeared very applicable to a nameless case, and I was enabled to apply them as such, to the great comfort of my soul. I saw, and believed, that though my case were namcless, and hid from all the men upon earth, yet God knew it, and would scarch me out for good, and not forsake
me, or give me over into the hand of the enemy. I was blessed with faith to believe, not one promise only, but all the promises of the gospel with joy unspeakable and full of glory“I saw such a fullness in Christ, to save to the uttermost, that, had I ten thousand souls as wretched and guilty as mine was, I could venture all on his blood and righteousness without one doubt, or fear. The comforts I then felt, were beyond expression, and far superior to any thing I had ever known before that memo. rable hours
Eternal glories to the King,
Who brought ine safely through ;
And endless praise renew. Not that I suppose I never had true relis gion before this-I believe I had real reli. gion, or I could not havegone through so'many trials-buc such a bright manifestation of the redeemer's all-sufficiency and willingness to save, and such a divine confidence to rely on him, I never had till that moment-it was a little heaven upon earth -so sweet, so ravishing, so delightful. I uttered not a word, but silently rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For some time before this period, I be