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righteousness away, and now comes and offers himself to thee, beseeches thee to love him, looses all thy objections? Oh! slight not this great salvation. Slight any duty, but trample not on love; love for love is the least that can be given, Heb. ii. 3. 5thly, "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Pray, suffer, and do what thou wilt, all is abomination if not in faith; I care for nothing if this be wanting, saith the Lord, Heb. xi. 6. 6thly, The sorest punishments are abiding unbelief; and, therefore, if thou refuse this offer, all thy sins that ever thou didst, thy blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, &c., will be but as flea-bites to this, Acts xiii. 41. It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for thee. Better never have prayed, but lived a profane Atheist, than come this length and stick; God will go away shortly, and thou shalt wander and decay, and one to a hundred but thou sin that sin against the Holy Ghost, Heb. vi. 6, for never wast thou indeed enlightened till now; and now refuse, and let this heat cool, and thou mayest be hardened. 7thly, Consider, if Christ were now in thy chamber, and were bidding and entreating thee with tears in his eyes to receive him, and offering himself to thee, and saying to thee, O thou wretchedest of sinners, by all these sorrows I endured for thee, I adjure thee grieve me no more with thine unbelief, but receive me and my offers, and so glorify my grace. Wouldst thou not do it, and wonder at this love? Oh Christ doth it as really now, Rom. x. 8, "The word is near thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart." 8thly, Consider what thou shalt have by this. Thou shalt get life, light, rest, and consolation; and that which in vain thou hast been seeking by thy own righteousness, thou shalt by faith get, nay, be able to work impossible things; thy dead heart shall live, thy blind eyes shall see him, thy lame hands and feet shall leap and work, and by this way only shalt thou have peace. With these and the like arguments did the Lord court my soul to himself. § 6. The Lord did by suitable providences back the call of his word upon my spirit; for on a day of private humiliation it was my ordinary to read Heb. xi. and First Epistle of Peter, where so much is spoken of faith. The Lord likewise made Shepherd's "Sound Believer" useful to me, which till now I perceived I never understood; then all Scriptures concerning faith, and treatises speaking thereof, and meditations of it, were sweet, which now I began something to understand. I was now come as it were to a new world, and there was such a stir upon my spirit as I never found the like before. Fain would I believe, but, ah, I could not! I found a spirit of resistance, there was a blindness upon my eyes; I knew not what believing was, nor on whom. On the one hand, the Lord by his commands, motives, earnest and real invitations, promises, and answering objections, yea, and terrible threatenings in case of unbelief, hastening me and pushing me forward, and that speedily; for all doors were shut but this of faith. For I could neither pray nor do anything, in respect of the sinfulness of it without faith, and therefore this behoved to be my first work. On the other hand ignorance of Christ, and of the duty of believing, and fear of presumption, and believing on my own strength, did toss me like a ball; I knew not what to do, but like a weak child stuck in the birth. Oh, said I, how can I believe 1 "Lord, help my unbelief," and pity me, thou that hast been with me so wonderfully through the great and terrible wilderness, and brought me even to the borders of the good land; Oh help here! Sometimes I would think it were better I had never come this length. My greatest objection was, that I did not see the glory of Christ; and though I should believe, yet without this it would not be an effectual believing, and so would prove but a dead faith; and likewise, I knew not what faith was. Well, said the Lord, do but rely on Christ for life and affection with some confidence that he will help thee, and I seek no more. In this and to this I found some strength, and then I endeavoured it, and said, behold, I come to thee, Lord; do not thou cast me off. But the Lord said, come not only to see what Christ will do with thee, but likewise rest upon and believe from his goodness, that he will do all that thou standest in need of. Well, then, answered my heart, since it is so, I will take my hazard, and on thee I cast myself, come of it what will. And verily that which seemed in my most serious exercise to be the notion of faith by which I closed with Christ was, a certain kind of persuasion and rest in it, that I had, the Lord would do me good, and help me in all things. And the great thing that was pressed upon me was, not to doubt of Christ, especially his good-will; in which in some measure I rested.
§ 7. I was afterward more confirmed in this; for in this case I continued for fourteen days much after one way, still looking for some great thing, but found nothing. And then a new objection came in, which was this, though it was my duty to believe, yet, if I had really believed, there would something have followed; but Oh! I find nothing after my closing. Surely I have laid my pipes short of the fountain; I am as blind, as dead, as unholy as ever. I will to my prison again, till Christ himself come and redeem me with a strong hand; for it seems I have come forth without a warrant, and so I became discouraged, and did pull up the roots and razed the foundations again. But the Lord trysted me with a suitable word from Mr Shepherd to this objection, showing that a soul may come to Christ, and yet at first find nothing; and then, saith he, the same reason (viz., emptiness) that moved thee to come, the same should make thee stay with Christ; and it is usual with the Lord's people to get nothing at first, Hos. vi. 1, "Let us return unto the Lord, for he will heal us." Oh, say they, we got nothing, we find no healing or life. No, saith he, though the first day ye get nothing, nor yet the next, yet "after two days he will revive us, and the third day we will stand up in his sight." This cured the wound something; but the fresh apprehensions of presumption and catching hold on a lie, with the sense of unworthiness, and believing in my own strength, did, like a violent storm, raze all foundations, so as through pettishness, fear, unbelief, and impatience, I said, I will to my prison again, I will pluck up my anchor again; and therefore resolved I would make a doleful and heavy complaint to God. But, when I was going to my knees, ere ever I had spoken a word to the Lord, it was suggested to me thus: Dost thou think, seeing thou rejectest my Son, and wilt not trust in him, that ever thy peeping or sorrows will be accepted by me? Is not every thing that is not done in faith abomination? Thou mayest well think by prayer to offend God more, but never think that the Lord henceforth will do any thing for thee, seeing there is no faith; for God hears no prayers but in Christ. I saw by this a necessity of believing, and doing what I could. "Well, said I, O Lord, since it is so, that I must of necessity believe, against sense and reason, and as I can, I do lippen1 my soul to thee, and trust thou wilt save me from all my sins; and though this be counted presumption, yet I will trust in him. And was much strengthened herein from Job xiii. 15, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;" though all things seem to cry despair and die, and though for my presumption he should kill me, yet I will trust in him; and now, Lord, since I have sealed this bargain, and closed with thee, send strength, not for any thing in me, but because now I am thy servant, that I may honour thee my master.
§ 8. I had no sooner spoken these words, but the Lord revealed himself and his love, by the evidence of my sincerity in that petition, wherein I perceived, that, laying aside mine own cause, I sought grace to honour him; and by this seal of the Spirit I became assured with joy and peace. I am not selfish, said I, in seeking grace; I seek it for Christ's ends, to honour him; therefore I have been sincere, and helped to believe. Then were my eyes opened to see love in all dispensations. Oh this was a heart-ravishing consideration! The Lord, that followed me many a weary day, never rested till he had completed his work with me, and till he had engaged me to believe. Oh the love of Christ! If Christ had no power to help a poor sinner, but had love, he would even die over it, such is his love.
§ 9. I was thinking whether this was but a common work, or was it special saving grace? and I am induced to believe and to think it a saving sincere faith, by these grounds; 1st, It was a faith wrought by the Lord himself, though small and weak; it was a faith of the operation of God, Eph. i. 19, 20, and ii. 8; Col. ii. 12. It was not of my own making and devising; and I shall not think:
1 Venture, trust.
that a presumption which he warranted me to do, and which I did in obedience to his command, nor that a delusion which his Spirit wrought. 2dly, It was grounded on the word, not on sense; on the word of his command, Eph. ii. 20, and it is no presumption to believe what he commands. 3dly, It "purified the heart," and made me prize and desire grace, and made me desire that mainly for Christ's ends, to honour him, Eph. i. 13; Acts xv. 9; 1 John iii. 3. 4thly, It filled me with "joy and peace," Horn. v. 2, 3, 4; 1 Pet. i. 8, so as I was satisfied with my condition, and went about the fields singing songs. of triumph over Satan. Oh, said I, did I ever see this day, or expect to see it? 5thly, I was fitted and prepared for it; for it was after much humiliation, burdening, and wearying, Mat. xi. 28. 6thly, It strengthened me; for I cried out, what shall I now do for the Lord, who hath heard my sorrows and afflictions? This "joy of the Lord was my strength," Neh. viii. 10; Prov. xvii. 22. 7thly, It made the Lord Jesus precious; I was made to see a glory, an excellency, and loveliness in him. And it is a token of a sound faith that exalts Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 7. 8thly, I was made to resolve to pay my vows which I made in afflictions and straits, once when at the college under convictions, and another time in confirmation of this when in the wilderness, which was this— that if the Lord would deliver me out of that condition in which I was, and give me assurance of his love, and acquaint me in some measure with the ways of God and Christian exercises, especially faith and patience, that thereby I might better inform others, and that before I was twenty-five years of age, that then, if I were in the kingdom, I should serve him in the ministry. The Lord heard me, so as I thought I was bound. Then did I set myself wholly to serve the Lord. And in this frame I continued for a week, though not in that ecstacy of joy, yet in that peace and tranquillity of mind; my heart, being stayed by faith, was kept in perfect peace, which, through my dying, vanishing frame of spirit, it could never be.
§ 10. Yet notwithstanding, this faith had many cracks in it, and many defects, which encouraged Satan to make an assault, which he made thereafter. It had these imperfections; 1st, Less discoVOL. II. L