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a religious life or not; at length I gave up, and entered once more into solemn covenant, to serve God, and deny myself, according to the best of my understanding. Almost as soon as I had thus given up, and come to this good conclusion, in stepped the grand adversary, and blundered and dirtressed my mind exceedingly with the doctrine of predestination; powerfully insinuating, that a certain number were infallibly ordained to eternal salvation, the rest to inevitable deftruction; and that not all the religious exercises of my mind could possibly make any alteration in my final destination and allotment. If God had damned me from all eternity, I must be damned for ever; if he had chosen me to eternal salvation, I might set my heart at rest, and live juft such a life as would most gratify my natural inclinations ; for what advantage could there be in religion, and self-denial, if an eternal. unalterable decree secured my final end. I felt willing to hope I was a chosen vessel ; and for a short time these ideas so crouded into my mind, that I was even ready to conclude, a God all goodness had doomed the far greater part of mankind to never ending misery, without any provocation on their pait. I now view the doctrine of unconditional election to eternal life, and reprobation to eternal destruction, with abhorrence. I almost marvel, that under a cloud of darkness, my rational faculties could ever he so imposed upon, as to assent to fo erroneous a sentiment. I know of no doctrine in the world, that more shockingly reflects on the character of the Deity.
I did not indeed fo drink down this false doctrine as to relinquish my purpose of amendment all at once; I held out a few weeks; when, mournful to relate, the influence of young company, and my vehement desires for creaturely indulgence, through the tolerating influence of the aforesaid insinuations,
brake through all my most folemn engagements, threw down the walls and fortifications, and exposed me an easy prey to the grand enemy of my soul's falvation. Again I took my swing in vanity, amusements and diffipation. This, however, was but a short race. The Lord, in 'loving kindness, followed me with his judgments, inwardly revealed against fin. The prince of darkness also followed me, with temptation upon temptation to evil; and with various subtile insinuations, and dark notions, to rid me of all fear, restraint, or tenderness of conscience. At length, notwithstanding all I had felt of the power of God upon me, in reproof for fin, and invitation to holiness ; yea, though I had some true relish of divine good, the holy witness became so ftified, that I began to conclude there was no God; that all things came by chance, by nature, by the fortuitous jumble and concourse of atoms, without any designing cause, or intelligent arrangement; that it was idle, chimerical, and delusive, to think of serving or fearing a being who had po existence but in imagination. Here let it be well considered, what a powerful influence the admiffion of one false doctrine, and the violation of divine manifestation and conviction, has in paving the way for other false doctrines. Not much fooner had I received and cherished one of the grand falsehoods of the father of lies, the doctrine of irresistible neceffity, and predestination, than in the mists of darkness which spread over my mind, under the baleful influence thereof, I even dared to deny the eternal deity; and, horrible to the last degree to think of, I began to rejoice in the idea of unbounded, unrestrained licentiousness and carnality; and that I was unaccountable for
my conduct, not considering that, on my atheistical scheme, I was' unprotected, and had no more to hope than to fear; none to look up to for defence and succour ; but must be left a prey to violence, and all kinds of adversity attendant on this life.
Oh! the depravity of taste and inclination, as well as of understanding, which I was plunged into! I went on a few months after this, much in the same manner; my days I spent in vanity and rebellion ; my nights frequently in horror and distress! Many a night I scarce durft enter my chamber, or lay me down in bed.--I have the most unfhaken ground to believe it was the immediate power of God upon me, that thus terrified my guilty soul; and that in the most fatherly goodness, condescension, and mercy, in order to prevent my going on to endless perdition, to which I seemned to be swiftly posting. Day after day, and night after night, I was distressed !--the Lord setting my finis in order before me, and pleading with me to return unto him and live. At last I fled again to religious engagement for relief, betook myself to prayer, and cried to the Lord, in the bitterness of my spirit. Sometimes I begged and interceded for mercy,
and power to make a stand and overcome fin, with such vehemency as if my very heart would break !-Tears gushed from my eyes! My soul was overwhelmed with anguish! Oh! young man whoever thou art, that readest these lines, I warn thee, I beseech thee, shun such misery, by obedience; such unutterable anxiety, by cleaving to the Lord. Yet after all this, young company, musick, gaming, pleasure, again rallied their forces, and had such influence over my resolutions, as evidenced them written as in duft, though mingled with tears, with wormwood and gall, and I abandoned all again, to enjoy the pleasures of sin for season. But God, rich in mercy, and long-saffer-' ing kindness, still interrupted my career, disturbed my carnal satisfaction, and blasted all my joys. Once more a sense of just and holy indignation kindled up in my breast for transgression and grievous revolt. Awfulness took hold on me; amazement swallowed me up. I knew not which way
to turn. The wrath of an offended long-suffering God seemed closing upon me on every side. felt myself in thraldom, and almost without hope. I knew myself a prisoner, and yet I hugged my chains,
CHAP. CHAP. II.
His exercise continued, and particularly about using
the plain scripture language. Of Ifrael's wilderness travel, and the forerunner. Reference to the seafons and book of Job. On humility, and his entrance into the work of the ministry, and .confiderations thereon.
HUS I continued still in vanity and 1770.
folly, with intervals of deep distress and mourning, a short space longer, that is, until about nineteen years old, when I became more fully and clearly convinced, and that very much by the immediate operations, illuminations, and openings of divine light in my own mind, that this inward something, which had been thus long anid powerfully striving with me, disturbing my every false reft, confuting every false and finflattering imagination of flesh and blood, or of the grand adversary, and enjoining it upon me to give up all, and walk in the ways of virtue and true felf-denial, was the true and living spirit and power of the eternal God; the very fame that strove with the old world, influenced the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; and visits, strives with, and at seasons more or less influences, the hearts of all mankind. I now saw this the only principle of all true conversion and salvation; that so long as this was refifted and rejected, separation must infallibly re. main between God and the soul; but that, whenever this is received and in all things thoroughly submitted to, a thorough reconciliation takes place.
Some may think this doctrine robs Chrift of the honour of our redemption and reconciliation ; but I apprehend none can think so who understand the doctrine of salvation by Jerus. It was through the