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the moment, induce fear. But these were but transient impressions, which I endeavoured to efface as fast as possible, in atoning for the evil, by increasing diligence in the path of what I thought good. And thus, by carrying on a commutation with God, I strove to make up what was remiss or offensive in one instance, by an over-attention in another.
—How long I should have gone on under a delusion so fatal I know not. But a circumstance occurred, which at once threw to the ground the whole edifice I had been building up for myself with so much labour, and levelled all my fancied goodness into the dust. I had been reading a chapter in St.Paul's second Epistle to Timothy, when those words arrested my attention so forcibly, that I could not help dwelling upon them: 'Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away*.' What if this should be my case, I thought with myself; and after all, I am taking up with the form, while destitute of the power of godliness? The very idea made me tremble } and the bare possibility of the thing itself induced me to bring the matter to an instant issue by examination. And the result terminated but to my confusion. That single appeal of the apostle, which I found I could not make, convinced me all was wrong. 'GOD is my witness, (says he,) whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son*.' 'Alas!' I cried out, 'I am no sfiiritual worshipper. I have the form indeed, but not the fiower of godliness. Mine is the shell, the carcase, the shadow only of piety.'
'Under this renewed conviction and distress of mind, I sat down pensive and melancholy. I considered now, that all hopes of salvation were over, and was in a state little short of despair. I knew not at this time, that these were the blessed effects of divine teaching; and that God, the Holy Spirit, was thus, one by one, removing all the props of self-confidence, and emptying the soul, in order to prepare it for receiving out of the fulness of the Saviour. Oh i-it is a gracious process of mercy. We must become poor, in order to be made rich; and the apostle's paradoxes must be literally verified; to be 'dying, that we may live; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; having nothing, and yet possessing all thingsf.'
Oh! ye mourning saints! be not astonished at your afflictions. Be they ever so heavy, or Roto. 19'"*' "*" f 2 Cor. vi. 9,10.''"
of ever so long continuance, there is a needs be for every one of them. Your God is faithful in sending the affliction; and your God will be equally faithful in carrying you through it. Settle this in your mind as an everlasting maxim; everyone of them shall terminate to your benefit. The Lord appoints it for the exercise of your faith. And if your faith gives glory to God, God will confirm and honour your faith. This is among the all things which must work together for good to them that love God.
In the frame of mind just described, I was seated pensive and melancholy, when a traveller approached me. 'You seem dejected, Sir,'(he cried, as he advanced towards me.) 'Yes, Sir, I am indeed (I replied;) I have discovered sin to be a heavy burden.'
'Sir, I ought to congratulate you, (the man answered,) on this discovery. The knowledge of our misery is the first step towards a cure. There is a striking analogy between the diseases of the mind and those of the body. The man in supposed health will reprobate the application of medicine. It will be grateful only to the sick. And our Lord says, that the ' whole need not a physician.' It is one of the sweetest and most affectionate recommendations of his character, that he came not to heal the healthy, but to cure the diseased. If you know your malady, depend upon it you are not far from obtaining relief. It hath been long my complaint, that ' in me dwelleth no good thing.' And though I have been some years in the school of self-knowledge, I have made but small proficiency in the science. A science indeed so general, which comprises the whole of man, is not easily acquired. The Ueepestinvestigations do not reach to the bottom. For we are told by an authority not to be questioned, that 'the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and that' none can know it,' but he ' who trieth the heart and searcheth the reins*.' For it is not this or that particular instance of sin only, but our whole nature which is virtually all ein; and not a member or faculty of the body, but what is tainted by it. Ask the most devout saint the earth ever produced, Can you restrain the mind from wandering in seasons of worship? Even if you close your eyes from all the objects around, * Jerem. xvii. 9, 10.
will not rude and impertinent thoughts rush into the mind, like unbidden and unwelcome visitors? Do you always find freedom for the affections to mount on the wings of faith and prayer, when you draw nigh the mercy seat? Alas! there is not a single sense but what is in confederacy to promote sin in the soul! Our eyes are continual purveyors of evil, and our ears inlets to bring home subjects of defilement. What a train of filthy and impure ideas will sometimes pass over the chastest breast, which no education can restrain, but which a man would blush to unbosom to his nearest friend!
And what makes this awful view of man's total depravity still more awful is, that there is no exemption from it, but it is universal. Corrupt nature is the same in all. This hand of mine is as capable of perpetrating any one act of sin, and the heart, which gives birth to the action of devising it, as that of the vilest wretch that ever lived. For the only distinction of character between man and man, is in what God's grace effects, not what man's merit deserves. You seem to be surprised; but such is the fact.'—* Look here, (he cried, taking a handful of seeds out of his pocket,) here are a number of seeds, all taken from one and