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conversation upon me, and drew from me many things concerning my distress, which I did not think to speak of; but I had no sooner left her, than I was seized with such violent temptations as I never felt; it was to run down Tower-hill, right into the Thames, and drown myself. And I really thought that the devil ran away with me, for Iran against several people, and have no doubt but I knocked them down. I have viewed the spot many a time since where I stopt. I ran against a large post, and clung fast hold of it, as if any body had drove me, and believe I foamed at the mouth like a mad dog till I had vent. I then burst into tears, went up a little passage, and suppose I cried for a quarter of an hour, after which I found some composure of mind. I set off viewing my sad state, and washed my face at a pump, that my wife might not perceive I had been weeping; for at this time the devil set her on to persecute me, and sometimes we would quarrel, yea fight; but, notwithstanding I was in this state, there were seasons that I preached closely to her what I felt, read the Bible to her, and also the Prayer Book, though I did not believe she was so bad as I was, yet I never could get her to bend the knee to God; but, blessed be God for ever, he made use of me as an instrument to bring her on her knees not many months after, . when she found herself in as bad a pickle as I was; and then the devil did make a hand of us with a witness, for there is nobody but the Lord
knows the snares, gins, and traps he laid for us. Here I a long time laboured under the law, without having the least view of Jesus Christ. The Lord next led me to meditate what Jesus Christ was: my attention at chapel was to hear what was said about Jesus Christ; and where I could find his name in the Bible, I pondered it over, for it seemed something new to me: I was led, step by step, to see that he came to save sinners; then, thought I, I am a sinner, but then I am too bad. After much labour here I heard somebody speaking about a new birth; I could not make this out at all, thinking we must be so changed by the Holy Ghost as to be perfect in thought, word, and deed. However, one summer evening, I went into Moorfields, where a man had been preaching, and, finding two men arguing with each other, I drew near, like a condemned criminal, to hear what they had to say, and whether they touched my case. One of them observed, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” To which the other replied, the words run thus: “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and the truth is not in us.” Intimating that they had been sinners, but now freed from sin in the flesh; that they which had received the grace of God were perfectly holy. They loaded me pretty well, agreeable to the Lord's words: “They bind heavy burdens on men's shoulders, which are grievous to be borne.” Thought I, if it be possible for
men to arrive at a state of perfection, they certainly must be the people, and I am far enough from that. Well, I strove hard, prayed oftener, went to chapel oftener, read the Bible oftener, and thought, if this will not do I will give it up ; and I declare that I found enmity in my heart all the time I was at it; but shortly the Lord would frustrate the whole of it. I would fall into some sin, and then I came to my old conclusion, I shall be damned after all.
I often say what a peculiar blessing it is from God to be placed under a pastor that can point out the way to a poor entangled creature, but the Lord knows I never met with any that ever spoke to my feelings till he placed me under you; for if they did at any time touch upon it, they pulled it all to pieces before they had done. However, the Lord carried on his work, and, after this toiling and fretting, the blessed Spirit was pleased to open the e^es of my understanding to discern in some measure the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, and that he came to seek and to save sinners, and I felt myself one of the blackest cast; but then it was, "He that believes shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned." And I could not believe that Christ would save me; I could believe that he would damn me, this I could believe. The common cry among my associates was, Why do you not believe? Only believe, say they, and the work is done. Well, I strove to believe, and would with all my soul, if I could; and when I found I could not,
enmity began to work afresh. After the Lord had disciplined me here a little, I learnt that faith in Jesus Christ was the gift of God, and that he gave it to a people of his choice; that he had a people formed for himself. The bitterness that worked in my heart at this is beyond expression. Oh! said I, it ought not to be preached! But, blessed be God, it is now my sweetest morsel, when I can feel in my soul his great love from everlasting to me. I laboured here near four years, and then the Lord was pleased to enable me to see more and more of the suitableness of Jesus Christ; that God was holy and I unholy; that justice must have satisfaction on me the sinner, or on Jesus Christ the Surety. I could discern him coming down from heaven in love to his people, taking our nature into union with himself, and dying the just for the unjust, that sinners might, through his satisfaction, come near to God. My prayers were then altered, and my views quite different to what they were; there was a kind of going out after him^ It was no use to set me to work then; my cry was, Oh! that I knew him for myself! and there was such a desire stirred up in my soul, that, night and day, my language was, O! that he would but make known his love to me! such longing desires had I after him at that time. For, viewing myself on the brink of hell, I wanted a manifestation of him tome, that 1 might know whetherhe had loved me from everlasting; and being assured of this I could believe on him, and love him with all my heart and soul: nothing but this would do; after this I sought, and for this I prayed; indeed it was the whole tenor of my prayers. But the Lord appeared to delay his coming, I began to be reluctant, unbelief began to work again, and I came to my old conclusion, I believe it is only a delusion after all! I have had a little hope for some time, but I have been deceivingmyself; if he had ever loved me, he would letmeknowit. I cannot look at my well-spent life, for of sinners lam the blackest; I.know I deserve hell, and he would be just in sending me there . but know where I belong to I must, and shall never rest till I do know. These were my meditations. But, bless him for evermore, one morning as I was upon my knees at the bed-side, to describe what I felt I cannot; but, what with sweat and tears, and the agony I was in, I believe my hair stood upright on my head while I was praying : in that condition these words came to me, like a voice through my soul; "Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." I turned myself round, as if the Lord had been behind me, and said, Lord, what' my sins that are past? I am a sinner yet. And immediately these words were applied to my soul; "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." What I feltnone can express with the tongue; but, oh! the joy, love, and peace, that flowed into my soul! I could hardly believe I was the same person; I was full of nothing but praises and thanksgiving to Jesus, for I believed assuredly then that he loved me from everlasting, and bore