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believe I am guilty. Blasphemy and sad reproach will hence redound to thy most holy and tremendous namę and gospel, which I value unspeakably more than my life, and all the world. The truly godly and religious, the only men of my delight, will, with fad hearts, often think how sadly they were mistaken in me; and to apprehend this storm would issue in any other than what I have already expressed, I could not imagine. The guiltless blushes which daily on this occasion appeared in m countenance, I concluded would be to all that saw me an argument of my guilt. The thoughts of the term approaching encreased the inward perturbation of my mind; and the blushings of my face, to think I must stand arraigned for felony before a judge, and all my other relations, who, but a few years before, had unanimously censured, condemned, and cast me out of their favours and affections, for being a fanatic, as they term true and gospel religion. Oh! how close this went! secretly wishing, but still with humble fubmission to God, that he would please either to break that horrid plot, before I came to be publicly arraigned as a malefactor, or else call me off by death, which I did unspeakably prefer before living to be a cause of reproach and blasphemy to the name and religion of the Most High God. As the term drew very near, and the various and restless toffings of my mind on that account encreased, God, infinitely wise, and ever faithful to his word, who best knows how to time
deliverance, and break those nets in which the enemies hope to catch the innocent, he, a very short space before the term, lets loose the reins to this wicked man's guilty conscience, which wrought sa violently with him, that all the strength of reason in him, yea, the hopes he inwardly cherished of seeing me brought to perpetual disgrace, if not cut off, were not able to restrain him from treading the footsteps of Judas. A rope he gets, out he goes to his own garden in the dusk of the evening, and having fastened the rope about his neck, just as he was drawing the end of the rope through the arm of a tree on which he designed to hang himself, his wife and his man happened to discover what he was about. On this the shout was up, and sạch a cry made, as did presently bring about him all the neighbours, who, overpowering him, prevented his intended design. But notwithstanding their cutting the rope, yet could they have no access to that guilty conscience of his, to assuage or allay the horrible and self-condemning agonies, which, like restless waves and billows, did distract and torment him. He being by force stretched on his bed, and with the same rope he attempted to hang himself being fast bound to the bed, he fell into raging and desperate fits, like to a demoniac, dashing his head with all his force against the bedstead, foaming at the mouth, uttering these words as fast, and with a strange vehemency, which frighted all the by-Standcrs, as he could, viz. “I drive away cows, I sell
cows! No, I drove away no cows, I sold no cows: Roger Eckersley and Captain Stopford will give under their hands that I am an honest man.” And so in raging madness expired his last breath, with these words in his dying mouth, “ I drove no cows away, I sold no cows;” which were the last words he spoke. The reader must know, that, before this plot designed against my life and reputation, the same poor wretch commenced a law-fuit against me, for which he had not the least appearance of reason, save what he and some others, as desperately wicked as himself, had contrived, and which was stoutly sworn, by an Irish Papist witness, for but one poor quart of ale, against me, at the assizes held in the county where he and I lived. God knows, I no more knew any thing of what he charged against me in his civil bill, than I knew of the three pounds fifteen shillings for which he designed to arraign me. But so it was, that, upon the evidence positively swearing, a decree was granted for seven pounds, which was the sum mentioned in his bill. The decree, contrary to promise, being on a sudden, while I was from home about business, executed, seven prime milch cows of my stock were taken away, and in half an hour's time appraised, and sold for seven pounds; though the cows, in the judgment of all that knew them, and who understood cattle, were really worth thirty pounds between brother and brother. And thus it pleased God, in the wonder-working providence of
his, to break these nets, which the devil, by his inftruments, laid, not only for my life, but also for my credit and reputation. I do not in the least doubt, but the great advantage which the devil propofed to himself, by putting those miscreants on work to bring my name and person into the blackest contempt, was to overthrow the efficacy. of my ministry, when I should be thereto called : for the devil knew very well how importunate godly minifters and others were with me to take on me that great work of the ministry; and fore guesses no doubt, he had, how greatly I should be employed in disturbing his kingdom, being in a great meafure made acquainted with his lion and foxlike devices, several years before I was prevailed with to adventure on so great and sacred a work.
Many more strange deliverances hath the providence of God wrought for me his poor unworthy creature, the which I am necessitated to omit, fearing my book should swell to too great a bulk. I heartily wish that both myself and others, who read what I have faithfully and impartially related of the wonders of Divine Providence towards me, might be fo rightly affected with what I have related, as to give God the glory and praise of his own works; and be, by reading these things, ftirred up and encouraged for ever to trust in that adorable Providence of Heaven, which never fail them who belong to Christ.
c H A P.
An Account of God's wonderful dealings with me
about the concerns of my Soul, fome years before the spirit of Bondage seized me.
When I was between fourteen and fifteen years of age, or thereabouts, as near as I can remember, the Lord was pleased to dart fome beginnings of conviction into my soul: which was after this manner: One Lord's Day, as I was in the height of vigour in profaning God's holy day with the rude and ignorant Papists, there was darted into my conscience, like an affrightning flash of lightning from above, this apprehension and thought, viz. That I must be either converted, or else sent to hell to be damned. This arrow being shot out of his bow who never mifleth the mark at which he shoots, took up its lodging within me: but what to make of it, or what the meaning of it should be, I was as far to seek as a beast; so ignorant and brutish was I, the Lord knows! But though I knew not from whence it came, or what its tendency would be, yet, being a messenger from God, it maintained its ground, stuck close by me, accompanied me wherever I went, putting me sometimes into a sweat, sometimes into inward shiver. ings of foul, sometimes into distracting and per3