« IndietroContinua »
tence from a consuming fire, or an angry judge, which is no less. You appeared to be the worst enemy I had in this world, because I thought that your ministry was made a savour of death unto death to me; and I thought that every one that looked at me would be a witness against me. All the following night I had no rest, but expected to be cut off every moment; hell seemed to be open to receive me, the terror of
mind was 80 great, and the enmity of my heart was so: stirred up, that I was like a wild bull in a net, full of the fury and rebuke of God, Isaiah li. 20. And the anger of God was so reflected on me, that I thought I heard Satan rushing behind the wainscot in order to seize my soul. I generally had four such nights as this out of seven, insomuch that I would have given a world, if I had had it, for one hour's peace, before I sunk into endless misery; I sometimes tried to harden myself against it, but the more I strove, the worse I was; and, to add to my affliction, there was a great dog in a yard near to where I lodged, howling and jumping up in his chains all night long; this was having the law sent home indeed; and it was well for me that my friends were people that feared God, for if I had lived with some folks I should have been put into bedlam. My having so much terror brought my body so very low, that I felt continually as if I were dying; and I have got out of my bed five or six times in a night to make my escape from death, and have
run into my brother's room with whom I lodged, telling him and my sister that I knew I was dying, till I wore out the patience of all who were about me; I have often stood by their bed-side in all the horrors of the damned, telling them these were the happiest moments I should ever know. After going on some time in this manner, they advised me to come and see you again. After much persuasion I consented; but you, being very busy, could not see me: I therefore thought God had impressed it on your mind that I was a reprobate, and so you would not see me; and, though I generally heard you preach four or five sermons in a week, I was so swallowed up with despair that they were of no use to me. One day I heard you say, a man in black despair is a hell upon earth; indeed I thought you was right, for if ever there was a creature that carried hell about with him, I did; - my distress caused such a burning heat in my face, that I thought it was sone of the fire and brimstone already kindled within me: and so dreadful was my rebellion, that I told my friends I expected to make an awful end; and had such conceptions of the dreadful blasphemy there was in the bottomless pit, that made me cry to God, that when I got there he would not permit Satan to make me blaspheme, but wished to bear my punishment without murmuring. And as I had no hope of ever being saved, I began ta pray God to give me health and strength to get my bread; but could not pray in faith; for I
knew, as I was shut
up in unbelief, I should run worse into sin than ever I did.
One night I had such an awful view of the terrible majesty of God, that I felt as though I were lifted
in the bed, my head seemed swelled as big as a large corn measure, and I expected to be crushed every moment like a moth; at times I have felt as though my head was fastened down to the pillow. O! what an awful distance there is betwixt a holy God and fallen sinners before they are brought nigh by the precious blood of Christ! My friends advised me to come once more to see if I could have an opportunity of speaking to you; but I objected, saying you could be of no use to me, for I was given up to despair; at this time I could not pray, and for many days dared not approach God even upon my knees; if at any time I lisped out a petition, it was when my head was smothered up in the bed-clothes, and then I expected, as soon as it was out of my mouth, that the sword of justice would cut me down. After much persuasion I came to your house, but Mrs. Huntington told me I could not see you, nor indeed did I wish to see you; however I plucked up my courage, and asked her, whether the reason you would not see me the last time I came, was that
you had no hope of me? She seemed to be in a great agitation, and faintly answered, No: but I thought she said so lest she should distress
I asked further, Whether she ever knew one who had no hope, and who could not pray,
ever be delivered? She replied, It was a sad state; but told me I must look to the Lord, for there was no help to be had any where else. And, indeed, I could only look, sigh, and groan, I could not pray nor cry; my heart was so hard I could not shed a tear if it would have saved my soul.
. As I thought you had no hope of me, when I was at chapel I was forced to get where
could not see me, fearing you would call out to me, and tell me I had no business there, for I was a reprobate. Soon after this I thought I was seized with death, and began to talk to my sister about the state of her soul, telling her to see that she made her calling and election sure, to examine herself whether she was in the faith, &c. I told her I expected to be gone in a short time; that I was a son of perdition, a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction, and that I must go to my own place, whereunto I was appointed; I told her she would remember me as long as she lived, and no doubt it would give great distress to her, but wished her to be resigned to the will of God; saying, “He doth according to his own will in the armies of heaven, and amongst the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand,” &c. &c. I. took my
leave of her, telling her she would see me no more, but I would run to my brother's, who lived in the next street, thinking to die there. I began to talk to him after the same manner, expecting every minute to be my last; which made him cry mightily to God, in this time of
trouble, for me. I had not been there long before I grew better. This being Wednesday evening I went to chapel, but to no purpose, my thoughts were swallowed up with the fears of death and hell; for every time I went to chapel I heard nothing but my condemnation over and over. again; and thinking it was great presumption in me to dare to go, expecting to die while I was there, I resolved many times never to go again; . and indeed I was quite weary of my life, and wished I could end in annihilation.
One night I went into the city, but durst not go into the meeting; I often used to walk round about your chapel a long time before I could venture to go in, and often thought I would not have gone, had it not been for hurting the minds of my friends. At length, having no hope of being saved, I began to contrive which would be the best way to save my life. Satan's advice was to leave off hearing, and I should soon get better and stronger, and, when I could earn money enough to maintain myself, then to leave all my professing friends, and go into the country: so I strove to put all thoughts of futurity far from me; and, as I could not beat off the hopes my friends had of me, by telling them I knew I was given up to a fearful looking for of judgment, I began to laugh and jeer at them, and would laugh and talk about any thing but the state of my soul. Surely it is of the Lord's mercy I am not consumed. I had not been long in this desperate