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occurrence, studying always to be kept within bounds, and to be my own master.
9. I am taken up with observing of providences, especially in reference to myself, to see what God's ends may be in them, why they arc sent, and what is suitable duty; but, above all, to see God in them, in his wisdom, holiness, and love.
10. I am endeavouring to be profitable to others, and what my generation work is, and studying the right way of going about it.
11. I am helped to study and exercise thankfulness, the greatest help whereunto is the consideration that all favours are from God, and so many pledges of heaven, and bought with the blood of Christ.
12. I am studying to know the glory of heaven, to be drawing all my consolations from this, and to be making it my treasure.
13. lam studying to make Christ myall, even "wisdom, righteousness, sanctificatien, and redemption," and, in the want of all, to live in, and on, and from himself alone. These have been my exercises this while bygone, though beyond my intention.
Lastly, I learn dependence on God in outward straits, to recommend all things to him, to believe on him for deliverance, to be comforting myself from him, waiting for an outgate, and to be observing his hand in supporting under and delivering from manifold troubles; and to be from these experiences increasing in love and faith. And, indeed, I have found manifold experiences of late of outward deliverances, so that my life hath been a continual coming in and out of troubles, and every trouble seemed a remediless one till God freed me out of it.
Declaring my growth in grace as to some particulars.
Comparing my present condition with times past, notwithstanding of my complaints of unfruitfulness, yet I find these sensible growths in me :—
1. I am helped to improve time, opportunities, and occasions of doing and getting good better than formerly; so that those occasions that were spent in vain-talking, sloth, ease, and needless recreations, are now better improven to the glory of God, edifying of myself and others; and these occasions are likewise more prized.
2.I find more sobriety and temperance as to meat, drink, recreations, and company, and greater strength against and hatred to sin, and a more violent resisting of it.
3. I find I have much increased, not only in a notional knowledge, but in an experimental knowledge of some necessary points, which have had a powerful and blessed influence on my heart and conversation. I know more of God's nature and of Christ stamped on my heart, the covenant of grace and faith, patience, duty, and the nature of sanctification, the deceits of Satan, and wildness of my own heart, and my mistakes anent truths.
4. More diligence than formerly in prayer, meditation, and reading of the Scripture, more hearty and frequent in them; as likewise, making more conscience of doing good to others, and pitying them more. Much in extraordinary duties.
5. Faith discovered to act more vigorously than formerly, even against oppositions, being more purely grounded on the word in opposition to sense; the grounds more strong than formerly, giving greater ease, and security, and strength, and joy, than before; as likewise more constantly and more strengthened to duties, and against objections and discouragements, insomuch that these doubts, which before would have dung [driven] me off my feet, I am now helped through grace to withstand; nay, to believe more strongly, so as there is no objection but I can say something to it.
6. I find more love to the Lord Jesus than formerly, a greater estimation of him, greater mourning for his absence, desiring and longing after him with more ardent desires, and a greater love and loveliness discovered in him than before.
7. Patience more in exercise than before.
<S. More sober, grave, watchful, circumspect, and spiritual in my
conversation, which befoi'e was light, carnal, and unprofitable, aa it is in part yet.
9. More familiar knowledge of, and acquaintance with, God in Christ. Better acquaint with, and more kindly uptakings of him, and more love seen in his person and providences than before.
10. Sorer exercised with inward and outward trials than formerly, gathering from the proportion of my burdens, hardness of my lessons, and difficulty in the work, the increase of strength and wisdom.
11. Audience of prayer made out more distinctly than formerly.
12. I find my enmity to, contempt and fear of, the world increased.
13. More strength, wisdom, and success in going about civil business; and of late the Lord's hand turned upon me in taking off my burdens.
14. Under more serious and deeper apprehensions of the great things of the law, of sin, hell, heaven, eternity, than formerly; more wakened and serious.
15. I have left off several sins which before I was subject unto, as drinking of healths, playing at cards, haunting without conscience ungodly company, gluttony, vain frothy discourse, lightness, jesting, and neglect of duties.
16. I find a sensible mortification of pride, being more vile in mine own eyes, less seeking the applause of others in duties and words, more submissive to cross dispensations, less contending and striving with others, but bearing infirmities, and covering them, and more prizing of and thankfulness for meaner and small mercies.
17. More spiritual and evangelical in working than formerly, doing things now out of respect to his command, relying more on his strength, more confidence of being accepted, and more thankfulness for acceptance.
18. I am helped to see and observe more of God and his ways than formerly, and to gather more instruction therefrom.
19. And, as I think, my gifts are increased, at least as to speaking. Notwithstanding of late I find a decay in some things, especially in diligence, tenderness, and usefulness to others, being more worldly, and my wants and imperfections are so great even in these same particulars, that I daily mourn, fear, abhor, and humble myself under them; nay, my wants are so great, my spots so foul, my sius so many, as oftentimes with fear and sorrow of heart I say, Hath God ever loved me with the love of his chosen? doth the Spirit of Christ indeed dwell in me? shall I indeed go to heaven? and will Christ say, " Well done, good and faithful servant?"
Declaring the objective Grounds of my doubting my conversion and actual interest in Christ, with the special and general answers thereto.
Since the time I knew any thing of God until this day, the tempter has not ceased to make me continually raze the foundations. And I find that it has been his first and greatest drift to make me doubt of my conversion, by proponing of false marks, and making me to imagine grace to be another thing than indeed it was; and by inconsiderate reading of marks of sanctification given in good books, some of which I found afterwards not well cautioned, and by a confident asserting I was not converted. So that, for the space of three years after my real conversion, I not only doubted of my conversion, but believed that I was all the time rather in an unconverted state, but thought I was in the way, and had good hopes. But the Lord making the fruits of sanctification to appear, I began to think otherwise, and in process of time to think rather I was converted, and to settle that as a conclusion, which, though the devil cannot totally overturn, yet ceases he not to shake it, which by search I found out to be summed up in these twenty branches.
First Ground. Because there was not such a distinct, long, orderly, and deep work of preparation and humiliation at first conversion as I found described in practical books writing of the new birth.— Answer. There was a work of the Almighty power of Christ discovering sin and a natural condition as the greatest evils, which put me out to restless endeavours to come out of this; and I found the inability of myself and all duties to bring me out of this condition. And the Lord did by a marvellous light discover the Lord Jesus to me as the Saviour of sinners and their full happiness; and my heart immediately closed with him wholly and fully, which in its fruits hath continued to this day. 2do, That though the substantial of conversion be observed generally amongst all, yet do not all persons' cases agree as to the circumstantials of conversion, that is, as to the length, measure, and manner of the spirit of bondage, as is likewise clear from Scripture. 3tio, The question is not so much how Christ came in, as if he be in. If ye find the fruits of holiness, it is well, though ye know not how they were sown or grown; "The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation."
Second Ground. My ordinary, uneven, unsettled, unprofitable way of walking with the Lord, the ordinary strayings and departings of my heart from God; which unstableness in all my ways makes me fear double-mindedness, and to question whether my heart did ever find and see the exceeding evil of sin, seeing I so easily fall into it; and how this can consist with the love of God that ought to be in the heart.—Answer. Though I cannot deny these sins as to the matter, yet these considerations are suggested unto me as answer thereunto: 1. They are not the spots of the world, 2 Pet. ii. 20, they are as to their nature like the " spots of his children," they are unwatchfulness, shortcomings as to the heights of duty, idle words, fits of unbelief, carnality in the use of lawful comforts. 2. I bless God they are not the sins of the time; I have been through grace kept from bowing of the knee to Baal. If I die in this wilderness, it is for my own sin, and not that I have any part in the general conspiracy. 3. I find they interrupt not the Lord's kindness utterly, but find that in my worst his "visitations uphold my spirit." 4. Though the bush be burning, yet it