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even to live by faith. I knew there was a rest, whereof I knew little; only I thought it was an estate of constant joy and life, wherein the Spirit would evermore triumph against the flesh, and wherein all actings would be pure and cleanly. And thus, like the Jews and disciples, I dreamed of a heaven on earth, though not of an earthly kingdom. But that which was indeed my rest, to which he that believeth hath entered in, I never so much as dreamed of it: for I thought faith was some extraordinary rapture, and seeing of Christ with great fulgor and glory; this I thought to be faith, or the ground of it. But the Lord came in the "calm voice," and Christ grew "like a tender plant out of a dry ground," Luke xvii. 20; Zech. iv. 6. And, indeed, the foundation of this second temple was far less glorious in appearance than the first. Oh how was I mistaken! It was less in my thoughts, that such a dead, blind, carnal, sinful soul should be called to believe and depend most confidently on Christ, and that without any sign from heaven, but upon the bare warrant of his word in Scripture. The way and manner whereof, as I remember, I shall set down; which was the tenth and last step of my recovery.
§ 1. Finding, therefore, no rest in my exercise of self-resignation for the causes above and formerly expressed, I began to be very sorrowful and disconsolate, and, like Pharaoh's chariots, to drive on heavily. I continued waiting in the means; and one day, as I was reading in my ordinary, I read these words in Hag. ii. 17, "I smote you in all the labour of your hands, yet ye turned not to me, saith the Lord." I applied this spiritually; that is, thought I, God hath smitten me in all my labours, duties, resolutions, and vows, and for all this I turned not to God; but wherein am I not turned? Wherein shall I return? How so? Have I not left my sins, mourned, prayed, read, and meditated? What remains yet to be done? What duty or mean do I slight? What pains in my power have I withhold en? I therefore cast mine eyes upon all duties; and, while I was thus searching, some blessed motion was suggested to me, That I had all my lifetime slighted the duty of believing, and had not turned to God by faith; and, therefore, until this thou do, God will ever continue in smiting thee in all the labours of thy hand, for "without faith, it is impossible to please God." And it hath been the want of this, and this only, that hath blasted thee in all thine endeavours. Faith, quoth I, astonished, what is this? What, me believe, that am so wild, so unprepared, so dead, so little prizing of Christ! It cannot be; Lord, now keep from a delusion. Yes, Faith, of which so much is spoken in Scripture, of which thou knowest so little, that is the main grace, said the Spirit. These things made me some way apprehensive of the matter.
§ 2. I, therefore, in the second place, was made to consider the matter, and I found that faith had a great place in religion; and withal, looking to myself, I found that I had very little practised it, and was as great a stranger to it as these disciples, Acts xix. 1, 2, were to the knowledge of the Holy Ghost. I knew not what it was, nor had formerly exercised it, or distinctly and expressly heard of it, nay, knew not that it was my duty; for this ill principle remained with me, viz., I believed that none should believe but persons so and so qualified, and that the ground thereof was some sensible manifestation of glory, which until I could find, I thought I was to lie in my prison and mourn, John xvi. 9.
§ 3. The Lord did convince me fully that I should believe, and that it was the duty of every one. For, as I said before, I thought that only persons so and so qualified were bound to believe; but the merciful Lord himself did unloose this knot, by calling me to him, convincing me that it was my duty so to do ; and thereby the chains wherewith Satan had for a long time bound me, and kept me from the distinct exercise and life of faith, were broken. And that which is wonderful is,—I heard it an hundred times pressed in sermons to believe, and yet until that day was never persuaded it was my duty to believe, nor never minded that exercise at all. The grounds whereby I was then persuaded to believe, or that believing was my duty, yea, and that all were bound to believe, which was the first point, were these; 1st, That Scripture, 1 John iii. 23, "This is his commandment, that ye believe on the name of the Son of God." Then it is commanded, concluded I; and why is it not duty? Nay, is it not the great command? Dost thou question that prayer is thy duty? Truly it is thy duty, because commanded. Then faith, or receiving of Christ, being commanded likewise, it is thy duty as well as prayer. 2dly, Wicked unregenerate men are commanded to believe; and it is the great duty, more acceptable and well pleasing to God than any thou canst perform, John vi. 28, " What is the work of God, that we should work it?" The answer, verse 29th, was very contrary to their expectations and thoughts, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent;" this is the first, the great command, and a command tying graceless persons such as were the Jews. 3dly, That Scripture was brought to my mind, Rom. iv. 20, Abraham, "by believing, glorified God," compared with Num. xx. 12, "Because ye believed not, to sanctify my name before this people, therefore ye shall not bring this people into the land promised." Now, seeing believing glorifies God, thou art bound unto it; for every man is bound to glorify God. Who questions this? Now, believing glorifies God, in acknowledging his power, goodness, and rich grace. 4thly, The Spirit urged this argument, the wicked are punished for not believing, therefore it is their duty to believe. See Psal. lxxviii. 32, 33, "He consumed their days in vanity, because they believed not on him;" and so shall he do with thee if thou do not believe. 5thly, This was confirmed to me by the first Scripture, and by the language of some providences. What else could I call my continual disappointments, and fruitless labours, but a call to me to try what this might do? My days were consumed, and therefore by my stroke I might read my sin.
§ 4. The Lord having by these persuaded and convinced me that it was my duty to believe, and rolled this stone away from the sepulchre; he proceeded next to answer my manifold objections, which then did begin to swarm and keep me from believing. The main were, 1st, I cannot believe; and, therefore, why am I called to believe? It is the gift of God, and why should I hammer out a faith of my own bowels? This will not be accepted. It was answered, the Lord, by thus drawing and inviting thee, gives thee power to come, as it was when he called on dead Lazarus to live and come forth. And besides, thou canst not sanctify a Sabbath, nor pray; yet it is thy duty, and thou goest about it as thou canst. So do here. Yea, to the wearied and loadened, and called thus, it is not impossible. A 2d objection was, I fear I may presume. It was answered, to believe, in obedience to a command, is no presumption. When thou receivest Christ, and in this act believest on and restest in him for pardon, this being obedience cannot be presumption, for it is no presumption to obey God; to believe uncalled is presumption or unwarrantable. Objection 3d, I am not enough humbled, my heart is dead and hard, and I am altogether insensible of my condition; and, therefore, how can I be called to believe? for it is the "weary and heavy ladened" that are called to come. It was answered, it may be so, but this gives no right to come; it is the call and command of God, and gospel-offers, which give a right, and not any qualification. And besides, I read in Mr Gray at the same time, that those that are wearied and loadened are rather those that will come, than those that ought to come. Thou art miserable, and naked, and wild; all is true. But how can it be otherwise, when thou hast lived at such a distance with Christ who is the fountain of life? If thou wouldst believe, he would give thee what thou wantest; there is no other way of receiving life but by coming to him, John v. 40. Objection 4th, But I cannot prize Christ, nor am I prepared. It was answered, that as faith fetches all from him, so fetches it prizing of him too ; for if faith fetches all from Christ, then it brings nothing to Christ but deadness, blindness, and sinfulness. Come to him for grace to prize him; if thou once wouldst believe, then Christ would be precious to thee, 1 Pet. ii. 7. Emptiness is the best qualification; "The hungry he filleth with good things, but the rich he sendeth away empty." There is no more required than what makes thee be willing to accept him; if, therefore, thou be willing to accept Christ, thou prizest him sufficiently, and art sufficiently prepared. Objection 5th, Thou findest no glorious power drawing thee. It was answered, yet I find the Lord in his word really calling me, and this is as sufficient a ground to thee as though he came personally and visibly here and desired this of thee; and, therefore, do now what thou wouldst do then. His word is the "more sure word of prophecy," surer than the voice that came down from heaven. Objection 6th, But I find no good after I believe. It was answered, no more do saints at first, Hos. vi. 2, "After two days will he come and revive us." It is not by coming to him, but by "abiding in him," that fruit is brought forth. I confess, by the answering of these objections, and by other arguments, the Lord did sensibly and seasonably, and with a strong hand, convince me that it was my duty to believe. Oh will he take such a vile worm as I! Yes, he will; for thou art the fittest person in the world for him to glorify his grace on. The Lord did incessantly follow me with these thoughts, yea, I found a sensible power dealing with me.
§ 5. The Lord did not only draw me to conclude that believing was my duty, and answered my objections ; but by other arguments persuaded me to go about this duty of believing on and closing with Christ. The main motives were, 1st, Dost thou not see how earnest God is with thee? He commands, invites, threatens thee; hath at last opened thy blind eyes to let thee see thy duty, loosed all thy objections, and hath now this long time waited on thee. Oh I open at last, and yield to his importunity, Rev. iii. 20. 2dly, Know it, if thou wilt not answer, and quickly answer, God will away and leave thee, and there will be no more knocking, but all this work shall die, and thou shalt never be converted, Prov. i. 2-4— 33. 3dly, There is nothing more pleasing to God than believing. Behold how the angels are expecting and wishing in their hearts that now there may be a match made, Luke xv. 7, and ii. 13. This will please the Lord for all the ills that thou hast done him; nothing thou canst do can be so pleasing to him; for this is the end of all dispensations, and the great command. Now, make amends for all ye have done, John vi. 28. 4thly, Consider the duty itself; it is the giving of thy heart to Christ, and receiving of him, and believing in him. Hath he been at such pains, and taken thy rotten