« AnteriorContinuar »
People.’ I thanked him from my soul for opening . the eyes of my understanding to see it so clearly: my soul was so full I was obliged to leave my work. I went into the back yard, into my master's coal-house, and poured out my soul to the Lord in praises and thanksgiving for his gracious goodness; and, while I was praising him, these words came with power, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee.” I thought I should have dropt down; I cried out, * Lord, what me! the unworthiest of all wretches!" But the Lord, the Spirit, turned my mind in a moment to the Lord Jesus, who had atoned for all my sins. Here I was interrupted by somebody coming that way, so I left that place and betook me to another, shut myself up, and prayed the Lord to keep me, telling him of my weakness and helplessness; when these words came with power: “May my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if ever I forget thee.” Well, said I, then here is my vow to the Lord, ‘May my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if ever I forget to praise thy holy name.’ Which I afterwards asked the Lord a thousand pardons for, but it could not be recalled; for I knew it was him alone that must work in me to will and to do; but I often think of my
Now my wife had, at this time, got another shop, and sold greens, and she seemed to go on
prosperously; but I would have no hand in this, having had full enough of the other: so she had all the management of it herself, and was as bar- . ren in soul as she well could be.
Soon after this the Lord laid me on a sickbed; I lost the use of all my limbs, and, what was worse, I lost the best of friends, the Lord Jesus: I then murmurred and fretted till my old rebellion began to shew itself; for I can assuredly say this scripture was fulfilled in me at that time; “With the perverse man I will shew myself perverse.” I was in great bodily pain, and had medicines from several doctors, but all to no purpose, for I remained in this condition about a month or five weeks; and then the Lord eased me of my pain, and I seemed to be somewhat better, with which my old man was very much pleased; but, blessed be the Lord, he would not let me come out that way, for I can see it now; but in he throws me again, makes it hotter than it was before, humbled my hard heart under it, and made me willing to submit. Then my dear Redeemer came again, indulged me with swect manifestations of his everlasting love to me, making me willing to leave this sinful world: and, having thus humbled my flinty heart by his power, he healed my body, and set me on my legs again. Oh! what pains the Lord takes with such sinful wretches as we are. The Lord after this sent us out from that shop of dependance, and then my wife was not to escape. for he threw her into the same way, and kept her there till I had hardly a thing left in the house. The Lord's hand seemed to go against me in all I took in hand; I prayed and cried to the Lord, and often had communion with him, and many precious promises too I received. I would watch his hand, expecting deliverance; but no answer: yet I would catch at every thing that came in the way. Well, thought I, this is the Lord, this is his way: but no, not yet. And I worked hard at my business, but all would not do. The Lord kept me here, and my wife ill, expecting every time I came home not to find her alive, till I had hardly the necessaries of life. I thought this was hard trusting to God; but, bless him for ever, he hath since that shewed me what it is to trust in him, for all that I stand in need of My blessed Father was obliged to scourge me a great deal before he brought down my stubborn will to his for temporal necessaries: nay, he would not so much as let me keep my benefit-club on, that I belonged to, before he called me by his grace; I gave it up at last with much reluctance: but the Lord was determined I should have no dependance but on him. And a blessed life this living upon the Lord is! It keeps our fear in exercise, so that I fear to offend him that supplies all my wants. Bless him, I can tell when he hears me too; and I know when I offend, to my sorrow. I am not without my doubts, fears, and trials, in the way; for I carry about me a body of sin, which is the heaviest burden I have to carry: and, in reality, it is a heavy burden to all God's children that are brought to hate sin. I find it hard fighting against the world, sin, and Satan, when the Lord Jesus hides his face. I pass through much persecution from the world, for I labour among many enemies for my bread. I have many watching for my halting; many snares, traps, and gins, the devil lays for me; but out of them all the Lord hath delivered me, and I trust he will yet deliver. He hath made me quite sick of the world; I long to be with him; there is nothing here that can satisfy my soul, if the Lord Jesus is absent. You, as a pastor sent of God, are made a great blessing to my soul; for often, when I cannot pray for myself, I can for you, and shall come away somewhat satisfied that the Lord hath heard me. And may the Lord bless you, and keep you, and lift up the light of his countenance upon you for his own name's sake, through Jesus Christ, and for his dear children's sake, is the prayer of a poor sinful worm saved. Your wellwisher,
Tux simple narrative arrived safe, and in the perusal of it I found a medley of sweets in it, and a medley of feelings in my own soul which accompanied the reading of it. I wondered, I admired, I grieved, I wept, and at times laughed quite out; I said, in my heart, this vessel hath made many tacks, spent much time in sailing, and for ten years did not run one knot toward the desired haven, which is so commodious to winter in. However, we are glad to find that Jonah is got safe to land: you and I, my son, are subject to many epidemical disorders which require many bitter potions, and much physic. Stiff necks, and stony hearts; perverse wills, and obstinate minds; the leprosy in the blood, and the plague in the heart: these require much probing, and a deal of medicine, and all little enough to restore us to health and keep us alive. Thou hast got a large track to look back upon, plenty of room for reflection, and a vast compass of this world to explore; one continued scene of preservation, and