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But to return.—The season was come when my exercises were to be given me. And for the better opportunity of trial, all human aid was to be first withdrawn; that, like the pelican in the wilderness, being solitary, Jesus might be my sole resource. My faithful friend and companion, the Lord had removed out of my sight. He had sent the worm to destroy this highly-prized gourd. And now the storm began. -'
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I Have not, according to the usual mode of histories, brought my reader in the former part of my tale acquainted with an account of my connexions in the world. The reason hath been, that objects of an higher and more interesting nature claimed a priority of attention. It would not even now be at all important in the memoirs of a Pilgrim to Zion, to inquire ' to whom related, or by whom begotten.' But if he wishes to know, he may be told, that I have not been without the enjoyment of those sweet charities of life. The Lord hath given me many who are very near, and very dear, to my affection in the ties of nature. Even in the very moment while writing, I feel all the tender influences of the claim; and pause to lift an eye of humble supplication to the God of all grace, that he may give to ' every one of them grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.' Grace doth not destroy, it only heightens and refines our feelings.
Among the number there was one more intimately wrapped about my heart, whose influence in every thing but religion, I have ever found it to be both my interest and my happiness to feel: for whom there needs no other claim than nature's feelings to call forth every energy of the mind in the promotion of her welfare; and in grace, my earliest and latest prayers for her salvation will cease but with my breath.
Perhaps some reader, circumstanced in the same particularity of situation and of sentiment, may feel his mind drawn out in a similar affection. 'As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man*.' I sustained very much of conflicts and persecutions from the whole of my unawakened relations. But from her, in the sweet and almost irresistible claims in which her arguments were encircled, ten-fold more than all. 'You
• Proverbs xxrii. 19. . s. have made up your mind, I suppose,'said one of them to me, in a very pointed and half-angry manner, one day when the conversation had been serious, 'to forego all your future prospects in this world. Neither the profits nor pleasures of this life can be worth your attention. And as to the scorn and derision of mankind, no doubt you move in an atmosphere too high to be sensible of it.' 'I do very earnestly wish, (said another,) that you would reflect, before it be too late, on the folly and scandal of associating yourself with such low and ignorant persons as you have lately made your companions. A man of your education and ability to be seen with such! Have you no pride, no regard to your own character?' A third upbraided me with blasting all the hopes of my family; and that I should certainly bring myself to beggary. And a fourth very jocularly desired me first to be assured of the reality of what I professed to be looking forward to another world for, before I relinquished all the prospects and enjoyments of this.
But all these were trifling, compared to the solicitations, the remonstrances, the jealousies, displeasure, and a long train of other persuasions, with which that very near and tender friend before-mentioned armed herself to prevail upon me to relinquish my pursuit. And if no power but nature had been with me to resist her claim, very sure am I, that I must have yielded to entreaties coming from an advocate so endearing. 'If,' said she, in a moment of peculiar solemnity, after speaking of a dear friend to both, departed into the world of spirits, 'if those new sentiments of yours be really founded in truth, what is become of him whom we followed to the grave? It is impossible that so much sweetness and amiableness can be lost.'—The reader who knows what the conflicts of nature and grace mean; whose heart at times is like that of the Shulamite, in the contentions of two armies, will know somewhat of what I have felt in those seasons.' Adored Redeemer! I have not wanted, thou knowest, that evidence of being thy follower; in plucking out an eye, cutting off an arm, and taking up a cross ? —It was the legacy of my late companion, that I might know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings. And here was an answer to his prayer.
It was much about the same period, in which my friend was thus deeply exercised with the unceasing importunity and persecutions of my relations, that I received a more formidable assault from another quarter. While I was seeking consolation from retirement and reading in the intervals of more important engagements, a circumstance arose in consequence of the latter, which very much affected me.
I Found an author, whose writings were particularly directed to the subject of divine grace. The title first attracted my notice and invited me to the perusal. But the trial it afterwards proved to me, will be, I hope, thus far useful, to caution me against curiosity in future. 'It is a good thing, (the apostle saith,) that the heart be established with grace*.' But it is dangerous in the unexperienced and the unestablished, to be running about in quest of novelty. The leading doctrines of this writer's creed, founded on what hath been generally distinguished by the Jive fioints of the Dort Assembly, from being originally formed there, were to this purpose: That grace is equally free, and equally offered to all; the acceptance or refusal of it depended upon ourselves. And hence, that the improvement or mis-improvement rests upon the will of man. That the regeneration of the Holy • Heb. xiii. 9.