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to the great admiration both of myself and thofe godly souls who know my present circumstances, and God's dealing with me. I have been, for feveral years past, more than ordinarily importuned, both by godly divines and such zealous working chriftians as yourself, to publiish what now I have prefumed to dedicate to so dear and well-deserving a friend as you are well known to be, both to God's truth and such as, in any measure, bear the blessed image of his Son. The principal motive of their importuning me to publish this, was the strange influence the relation hereof from my own mouth had upon their own spirits, the effects whereof they were not able to hide ; the tears of joy gushing out furprisingly from their eyes, with both eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, wondering at, and adoring the wonders of God in my case; professing and declaring, that, in all their time, they had neither heard nor known fo much of the goodness and grace of God vouchsafed to a poor loft and undone finner, as was shewn and vouchfafed to unworthy me; which occasioned several of the godly Ministers, especially Mr. Noah Bryan, Mr. Timothy Taylor, Mr. Samuel Matber, and the dear Mr. Nathaniel Mather, all now with Christ, to profess, that they never heard of, or knew, any finner come so near to Paul, as touching God's method and way of working upon and dealing with him in, and after, his conversion, as I did; and therefore they unanimously agreed in judging,
that to publish the same was my duty; the which, they doubted not, would be greatly useful, and that both to faints and sinners on sundry accounts.. The sincere and upright-hearted Nathaniel Mather, late of Pinner's-Hall, hach several times chid me for my backwardness to so necessary and useful a work; and a little before his death he at me again about it, examining into the grounds of my backwardness herein. To whom I replied, Sir, there are two things which hitherto have kept me back from publishing this my experience, and how much of Satan there may be in it, I cannot determine.
The first is, The difficulty which attends my setting down in writing the working of the Spirit of adoption, in discovering and applying Christ unto me, the remembrance whereof doth so swallow me up and melt me, that I am not able to see paper for the tears of joy which obstruct my visive faculty. To which he replied, That it was pity any thing should hinder me in so good and useful a work.
The second is, The fear lodged within me of people's not crediting the relation I shall give hereof, in cafe it were printed; for, said I, the greatest part of the professors are so great strangers to the nature of true regeneration, especially when wrought in a finner in the way and method God took with me, that they will rather suspect and question the truth of what I relate, than praise God, or improve the same for their own good or spiri
tual advantage. To which reply was made, That Satan was always ready to obstruct any good work which hath the least tendency to God's praise or the good of fouls.
Since his departure, the fresh remembrance of the importunities of the worthies above named; to. gether with the repeated solicitations of several godly zealous chriftians yet living, have prevailed with me to beat my way through those difficulties which lay before me, leaving the issue of my present undertaking to the powerful providence of God, to make the same successful in what it is designed for; and begging most heartily your pardon for the method I have taken in acknowledging the great kindness and respect shewn by your religious and truly generous self, to the meanest and most unworthy of Christ's despised ambasadors; the which, I doubt not, you will find recorded in heaven by my Lord and Master, as an evident proof of your faith in, and unfeigned love to, him and his cause and interest here on earth. Let not, dear Sir, the disadvantages under which I lie, on account of the Nanderous reproaches heaped on me by malicious spirits, lessen your hope of the glorious recompence of reward, promifed by him that cannot lie, to all your works and labours of love expressed to me and others of God's children for the sake of Christ. He that will take notice of a cup of cold water given to a disciple, in the name of his difciple, will, I question not, record in heaven the
refreshing wine I have drank at your table more than once, and the silver and gold sent me, and given me by yourself, whereby both I and my diftreffed family have been kept from sinking into the dust.
And albeit, I should at the great day of judgment appear to be a caft-away from Christ, of which, through infinite grace, I am no more afraid than I am afraid that God can cease to be what he is ; yet your integrity and uprightness in what you have done to me, for Christ's sake, will be not only made known, but graciously and abundantly rewarded; and, if I mistake not, the design of Providence, which hath put me upon fixing my thoughts on yourself, as the fittest and most deserying person to whom to dedicate this small extract of the large experience I have had of God's incomprehensible goodness and infinite all-fufficiency in saving a lost finner. I look on this Dedication to be, as it were, a Ipodcopos, or fore-runner of Christ's openly acknowledging and rewarding those your acts of love and pity so secretly done to him in the person of me, the poorest and unworthiest of his representatives here on earth, according to Prov. xix. 17. Matt. vi. 4. XXV. 45. Heb. vi. 10.
The Searcher of hearts knows I am far from flattering you, in what I say of you in this Dedication. He who hath so abundantly bleft you with a comfortable estate here, and hath enriched your
brave and generous foul with such a stock of heavenly wisdom and saving grace, as keeps you from swelling with pride and conceit of what he hath made you---perfect his own blessed work began in you to the day of Christ. And that the same may be the portion of your virtuous and religious 'confort and your dear offspring, is the cordial with, and shall be the hearty prayer of, Dear and honoured Sir, Your dearly loving, and highly obliged Friend
and Servant, in the best and strongest of Bonds, (viz. Gospel Love,)