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wound; so as I put on a thorough resolution never to use any of these games and lottery, and this so effectually, that from that day to .this day I had never so much as an inclination to it, which before I could hardly forbear; which gave me great peace afterwards.
§ 2. Nor were the immediate effects of this, while at home, less blessed: For, (1.) I found a greater wisdom, strength, and activity to go about civil business, which I could master now. (2.) I had some experience of the Lord's kindness in some afflictions and trials I met with at the same time, in supporting my spirit under them, and delivering my soul out of them wonderfully by his own immediate power; which, if God had not done, any of them might do much to break me; these did not in the least dismay me. (3.) I found afflictions doing me good, and the rod was giving me instruction, and putting me to prayer in an extraordinary manner. My heart likewise was mortified to the world, and God was made sweet to me as my portion. (4.) I got some knowledge in the covenant of grace, the grounds of believing, the advantages thereof, and motives to it. With this my spirit was most exercised, and, being called to another country, I expressed much cheerfulness in my life and spiritual strength in the Lord, crying out against discouragements and unbelief, and pressing faith, and showing the grounds thereof; for I found the professors thereof to be altogether discouraged with unbelief and a spirit of bondage, for application of promises was counted presumption, and I cannot deny but I was some way useful to some of them. And their great unbelief and slavish spirit did make me think that ere long they would fall though they were eminent, and so it fell out. (5.) I began again to write diaries, and to walk more closely and circumspectly with God. (6.) Being very dead afterwards, I went under great indisposition to prayer at night, and I, through the Lord's providence, was put to meditate on the Lord's way of doing me good, and the communion I had with him at my first acquaintance. The Lord so blessed these thoughts that they strangely revived and stirred me up to a more vigorous following of God, which continued and increased for much of a quarter of a year, in which time I was fully growing. (7.) The Lord did put me now to meditate on more substantial truths than formerly, viz., the evil of sin, God's attributes, death, hell, and heaven, of indispositions, which did me much good. (8.) The buds of true sincerity and purity of ends and actions were now appearing; and I then began first to think that possibly I was converted. (9.) The Scriptures were exceeding sweet to me, and I began to see and feel more light, and power, and wisdom in them than ever before, especially the Epistle to the Romans, which did much stablish me in believing. Gifts increased, so was the outward conversation reformed. (10.) Several practical and speculative discourses which I did write, especially on afflictions, did me good; solitude, prayer, doing good to others, and strictness in walking, did me much good, so did my meditations on sin, on the attributes of God, on afflictions likewise.
§ 3. Although there was enmity set between me and my lusts, yet not being thoroughly mortified, and they getting leave, did make me unstable in my ways; so that, like the sluggard, "I roasted not what I took in hunting," and beginning to succeed in some affairs, and carrying business, and growing in some estimation with others, my heart, not well balanced, was lifted up, and I was projecting great things to myself, and dealing imperiously with some under my power. Likewise some of my carnal relations at the same time being men of account, coming out of the South, and having ado with them, I but too much sought to humour them, and to comply with their fashions and sinful customs of healthing, which did much untune me, and wear away some of the former impressions.
§ 4. From all which I observe and lear n these things: 1st, That faith is the life of a Christian and the main grace, Isa. lv. 3; Hab. ii. 4; Rom. i. 17; Heb. x. 38; Gal. ii. 20. 2dly, That faith. is wrought by the power of God, in which the soul is passive, though faith itself be an act of the soul; for I was overpowered in believing and drawn to God. 3dly, That faith hath a great influence on sanctification, so that one main reason of so little power against sin, so little holiness in life and conversation, is the want of the exercise of faith, and through a spirit of bondage, 1 Pet. i. 5; Mark ix. 19, 23; Heb. xi. 33. By faith righteousness is wrought, and all apostacy proceeds from a decay of faith. 4thly, Where Christ hath begun a good work, he will continue still to perfect it, Phil. i. 6. 5thly, Faith and every other grace is at first but very imperfect, Matth. xiii. 31—" like a grain of mustard-seed." 6thly, God doth not always deliver in that way and manner that is thought or designed by the poor soul itself, but in an unexpected and oftentimes contrary way. For I designed a fast to see if the Lord would break in with terror upon my soul, and that was the way by which I thought to return out of my backsliding, and, behold, the Lord helped, by pressing and helping to believe, 2 Kings v. 11; Prov. iii. 5; Isa. lv. 8. 7thly, Faith is the first grace in exercise, prior in time to any other, John vi. 29; Jer. xxxi. 19, "After I was turned, I smote upon my thigh." And he that would do any thing, let him fix his faith first, for " whatever is not done in faith is sin." 8thly, As faith and other graces have their flowings, so have they and will have their ebbings; they have their winters and summers, none must expect constant and uninterrupted growth; they have their witherings, that dependence and fresh application may be made to Christ, and that Christ for a renewed life may put a renewed obligation on the soul, Isa. xxxiii. 24; Psalm cii. 26; 1 Pet. i. 25. Let none expect constant health. It is said of the heavens, u Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed." 9thly, Days and times set apart extraordinarily, on some extraordinary occasions, are exceeding useful and profitable (if not needful) to the preservation of a Christian life; nor know I how folks can be Christians without it. There were occasional sacrifices as well as the daily burnt-offering, and days and times extraordinarily for extraordinary occasions. It is true, they are not stinted now under the Gospel, nor holy by precept as they were; but there is this moral in them that yet obliges, that extraordinary mercies or troubles should have proportional extraordinary worship and address to God. For my own part, I cannot express how needful, yea, how profitable and necessary these days have been—what others may do I know not. And I look on the neglect of extraordinary address to God as one main cause why there are so many decayed, and are but high-way Christians.
Of some after troubles and decays that befell me, and recoveries thereout, 1663.
§ 1. Being delivered now from all my fears, and my day clearing as to my spiritual condition and better hopes of temporal affairs, I was anew plunged in a sea of troubles when I did scarce dream of it. For falling out with some of my relations unadvisedly, and egged on by others, anent some civil matters, I pursued them at law, and spent more on it than the matter was worth, and that merely on the account of my credit and reputation. Where there wanted not diligence and success as to my part, but God put visible hinderances in the way, and I was led merely by my inclinations, and did not advise with the Lord. 2dly, At first, through want of occasions to pray, and manifold tentations, and want of good company, and much distracted with what I intended, and quartering in a changehouse, I fell in some considerable decay, and began to be remiss in my progress, and to grow dead, and dull, and untender, and the Lord's communications did dry up upon my soul, and now I began to forget former things; and this continued July and August. 3dly, I changed my quarters in town, being unsatisfied with my former, and the inconvenience thereof, and took up my chamber in a godly man's house, an outed minister, where, through his godly conversation,andsomemore pains taken in duties, and his godly spiritual sermons on the Sabbath-day, and my withdrawing from hearing curates, but especially through the Lord's pouring out of his Spirit, and drawing near to my soul, I began again to recover, and in process of time not only recovered what I lost but much more. The unregarded vineyard was now looked to again, and communion
with God set on foot, and my taste of spiritual truths returned again. Here I stayed till the middle of October. 4thly, One Sabbath-day especially, when alone, and at first perceiving nothing, and under great deadness, and upon the point of giving over, the Lord was pleased unexpectedly to draw near, and to concur so with my exercises, as that through the light of his Spirit I was made to see much of my good estate, and to behold the work of God in my soul, to discover the many mistakes I had that before kept me in darkness and bondage, through which I was so enlightened and strengthened that it was a recovery of health after sickness, and like the sun getting out from under the cloud; in the strength of which I went afterwards, and by this day's exercise did much advance in my journey. And the truths of the Lord then taught me were of special use ever afterwards to me. 5thly, I here likewise got some extraordinary visits from the Lord both in prayer and other exercises, especially in reading of the Scriptures. But it was pressed on my spirit, and I was followed with it, " That bonds and afflictions were abiding me," which accordingly fell out. 6thly, I succeeded as to my business for which I came South, having got the law with much pains and expenses against those who did compete with me, they not striving much against it, but going another way to work. 7thly, Here, likewise, taking but too great a liberty to converse with Quakers, I was, through some of their insinuations and reading of their books, tempted to join with them, and a great stir upon my spirit. But going to pray to God, and recommending my staggering spirit to him, the Lord made such a light to shine in my soul from his word, that did let me see the utter evil of their way, and how cross it was to God's will, the danger and inconsistency of it with salvation, so as I was made to look on them as the greatest enemies to Christ of any he had, and the effects of the wrath of God to punish such as had not received the truth in love. This was a week's exercise to me. The means were prayer, submission, seasonably suggested Scriptures, and some meditation on their way; but that which did most alienate me from them was, I saw them more zealous for spreading their opinion than drawing