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cut no mean figure in the fame establishment of which his father was a prelate; but God came with an army of terrors, and, with a few arrows from his quiver, bent him to his bow, and made him a fon of confolation, to the chofen fraternity of Christ Jefus.
By the prejudices of education he was (as well as myself) a moft zealous bigot to the church of England; and, when his confcience was awakened, as he informs us, he tried her prelates, her cathedral walls, her liturgy, fervice book, ceremonies, and clergy, to the uttermoft; and concluded, with an honeft confeffion, that the whole of it was vanity, and, to a finner wounded of God, vexation of spirit.
He made full proof of thofe celebrated treatises, (which in the general meet with a more cordial reception than the Bible), viz. The Practice of Piety, by the advice of a bishop; he went through ftitch with The Whole Duty of Man, and made Baxter's Call to the Unconverted his bofom friend, and worked himfelf into fuch a converfion as that author describes. But, when God laid judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, the hail swept away these refuges of lies. Ifaiah xxviii, 17. The Practice of Piety left him in poffeffion of all his impiety; The Whole Duty of Man gave him up to stand or fall by his dead works; and Bax
ter's Call left him a stranger to the heavenly calling; and no wonder, for Baxter's Call and the calls of God widely differ.
I have read what is called the life and conver, fion of many, but very few of them went fo far, in what they call a work of grate, as this author went in a state of nature. They went not in their profeffion far enough to know whether there was any fuch thing as a spirit of bondage or no; much lefs to a faving converfion from bondage to liberty. But this author, when he was awakened, went fuch lengths in a reformation, and (as he thought) converfion also, and grew into such a confidence in it, that his excellency mounted to heaven, and his head touched the clouds. Job xx. 6. But when the commandment came, all confidence was rooted out of his tabernacle, and he was brought to the king of terrors. Job xviii. 14. As foon as the law came, not the letter only, but the whole of the law, the letter of it, the spirit of it, the bondage of it, the wrath of it, with the extensive demands of it, and the thundering curfe of it (for that is the law), then fin revived, and he saw and felt the neceffity of a -perfect conformity to the law.
Accordingly he made it his only rule of life, not in word, but in deed and in truth; he fafted, he prayed, he worshipped, he watched, he worked, he abstained from all appearance of evil, gave all
that he got to feed the poor, denied himself, and paid a strict attention to all the negative and pofitive parts of the law, to see what could be done by that rule; and, upon proof, found that it discovered his fin to fuch a dreadful degree, that the devil himself invaded him, the wrath of God purfued him, defpair funk him, the indignation of the Almighty drank up his fpirits, a violent inflammation feized his body, his eyes waxed dim, his taste and smelling failed him, his very hearing was affected, his bodily frame made crooked by the intolerable burden of his fins, and his ghaftly countenance frightful to behold, infomuch, that carnal perfons faid that evil spirits haunted him. This, he confeffed, was all that the law could do for him, and declares this to be the folly of those men who fet the letter against the fpirit of the law, which must never be divided, seeing truth declares, that the law genders to bondage; therefore let no man ftrip the letter of the law from its gendering spirit. Such men as this author understand the law, and handle it lawfully. But as to fuch who get into a pulpit, and tell people they "would as foon hear a perfon curfe and fwear as to hear them say, the law is not a rule of life," know not what they say, nor whereof they affirin. Befides, perfons who belie and ridicule poor penitent finners received to mercy, and advance a notion that they never can prove, fhew but very little figns of little figns of any regard paid to the rule they contend for. Oppofing the truth,
belieing and flandering the juft, and injuring them in their reputation, and in the work of the Lord, cannot be called loving one's neighbour as one's felf. Every body knows that those that hate the just shall be defolate; anger or hatred being in God's account murder; and we know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him; therefore, fuch perfons talking about the law, as their rule of life, is nothing but a noife, juft to blind the ignorant.
When the gentleman, at whose house the gospel is preached at Peckham, brought this tract to me, defiring I would print it, faying it was one after my own heart, I could not help crying out, while I perused it, with Naomi, faying, This is a near kinfinan of mine; it is one of my next kinfmen. Thou shalt be the Coalheaver's coufin; thou art a fellow ftudent, brought up at the fame college, under the same tutor, fitted in the fame furnace, and ordained by the fame bishop; thou shalt not lay among the pots, nor be a fpoil for the bats; thou shalt have the wings of a dove, covered with filver, and thy feathers with yellow gold, and fly about as in antient times, telling the daughters of Zion what God did in thy days, and in the old times before us.
In a word, we have in this narrative the repeated cries of a chofen veffel when in infancy, childhood, and youth, and the providence of God perpetually A 4 anfwering
answering them. Secondly, we have the pharifee of the pharifees, or what is called the true churchman. Thirdly, we have the true difciple of Mofes in all his performances; the fenfible finner in all the agonies of the damned; and the rich displays of divine grace without the use of means. Fourthly, the noble lord his uncle, the bishop his father, and all friends, difowning him, and for ever casting him off, for turning, as they termed it, a fanatic and a fchifmatic, and for becoming a diffenter of God's own making, and for worshipping God according to the fpirit he received, and the truth that God applied to his foul. And laftly, we have the happy man, the real convert, and the found chriftian, taking his final leave of parents, relations, and the world, and offering to die on a dunghill rather than defile his confcience, by returning to a religion that is taught by the precepts of men. If this be the work of the Lord, if this be real converfion, if this be the testimony of faith by which the deceased author yet speaketh, and if this good report be echoed from the blood of fprinkling, which in his confcience fpoke better things than that of Abel; then where are legions of our preachers got, who 'would deny their birth, parentage, and mimic an education, in order to bring in the fervice book, and obtain the vestment and dignity of an established divine? which this author was purged from, by near four years difcipline with the horrors of the damned.