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studied eloquence; not with any intemperate vehemence, or indecent boldness. It was at the greatest distance from an appearance of ostentation, and from every thing that might loo as though he meant to recommend himself to those that were about him, or set himself off to their acceptance. It was free also from vain repetitions, without impertinent excursions, or needless multiplying of words. He expressed himself with the strictest propriety, with weight and pungency; and yet what his lips uttered seem to flow from the fulness of his heart, as deeply impressed with a great and solemn sense of our necessities, unworthiness, and dependence, and of God's infinite greatness, excellency, and sufficiency, rather than merely from a warm and fruitful brain, pouring out good expressions. I know not that I ever heard him so much as ask a blessing or return thanks at table, but there was something remarkable to be observed both in the matter and manner of the performance. In his prayers, he insisted much on the prosperity of Zion, the advancement of Christ's kingdom in the world, and the flourishing and propagation of religion among the Indians. And he generally made it one petition in his prayer, “that we might not outlive our usefulness.”
Lord's day, May 31. “[At Northampton.] I had little inward sweetness in religion, most of the week past; not realizing and beholding spiritually the glory of God, and the blessed Redeemer; from whence always arise my comforts and joys in religion, if I have any at all: and if I cannot so behold the excellencies and perfections of God, as to cause me to rejoice in him for what he is in himself, I have no solid foundation for joy. To rejoice, only because I apprehend I have an interest
in Christ, and shall be finally saved, is a poor mean business indeed.”
This week, he consulted Dr. Mather, at my house, concerning his illness; who plainly told him, that there were great evidences of his being in a confirmed consumption, and that he could give him no encouragement, that he should ever recover. But it seemed not to occasion the least discomposure in him, nor to make any manner of alteration as to the cheerfulness and serenity of his mind, or the freedom or pleasantness of his conversation.
Lord's day, June 7. “My attention was greatly engaged, and my soul so drawn forth, this day, by what I heard of the “exceeding preciousness of the saving grace of God's Spirit,' that it almost overcame my body, in my weak state. I saw that true grace is exceedingly precious indeed; that it is very rare; and that there is but a very small degree of it, even where the reality of it is to be found; at least I saw this to be my case.
“In the preceding week, I enjoyed some comfortable sea; sons of meditation. One morning, the cause of God appeared exceedingly precious to me. The Redeemer's kingdom is all that is valuable in the earth, and I could not but long for the promotion of it in the world. I saw, also, that this cause is God's, that he has an infinitely greater regard and concern for it, than 1 could possibly have ; that if I have any true love to this blessed interest it is only a drop derived from that ocean. Hence I was ready to ‘lift up my head with joy;' and conclude: • Well, if God's cause be so dear and precious to him, he will promote it.” Thus I did as it were, rest on God that he would surely promote that which was so agreeable to his own will; though the time when, must still be left to his sovereign pleasure.”
He was advised by physicians still to continue riding; as what would tend, above any other means, to prolong his life. He was at a loss, for some time, which way to bend his course next ; but finally determined to ride from hence to Boston; we having concluded that one of our family should go with him, and be helpful to him in his weak and low state.
June 9. “I set out on a journey from Northampton to Boston. Travelled slowly, and got some acquaintance with divers ministers on the road. “Having now continued to ride for some considerable time together, I felt myself much better than I had formerly done; and found, that in proportion to the prospect I had of being restored to a state of usefulness, so I desired the continuance of life; but death appeared inconceivably more desirable to me, than a useless life; yet, blessed be God, I found my heart, at times, fully resigned and reconciled to this greatest of afflictions, if God saw fit thus to deal with me. June 12. “I arrived in Boston this day, somewhat fatigued with my journey. Observed that there is no rest, but in God; fatigues of body, and anxieties of mind, attend us both in town and country ; no place is exempted. Lord's day, June 14. “I enjoyed some enlargement and sweetness in family prayer, as well as in secret exercises; God appeared excellent, his ways full of pleasure and peace, and all I wanted was a spirit of holy fervency, to live to him. June 17. “This and the two preceding days, I spent mainly in visiting the ministers of the town, and was treated with great respect by them. June 18. “I was taken exceedingly ill, and brought to the gates of death by the breaking of small ulcers in my lungs, as my physician supposed. In this extremely weak state, I continued for several weeks, and was frequently reduced so low, as to be utterly speechless, and not able so much as to whisper a word. Even after I had so far revived, as to walk about the house, and to step out of doors, I was exercised every day with a faint turn, which continued usually four or five hours: at which times, though I was not so utterly speechless, but that I could say Yes, or No, yet I could not converse at all, nor speak one sentence, without making stops for breath ; and divers times this season my friends gathered round my bed, to see me breathe my last, which they expected every moment, as I myself also did. “How I was, the first day or two of my illness with regard to the exercise of reason, I scarcely know. I believe I was somewhat shattered with the violence of the fever at times ; but the third day of my illness, and constantly afterwards, for four or five weeks together, I enjoyed as much serenity of mind, and clearness of thought, as perhaps I ever did in my life. I think that my mind never penetrated with so much ease and freedom into divine things, as at this time ; and I never felt so capable of demonstrating the truth of many important doctrines of the gos. pel, as now. As I saw clearly the truth of those great doctrines which are justly styled the doctrines of grace so I saw with no less clearness, that the essence of religion consisted in the soul's conformity to God, and acting above all selfish views, for his glory, longing to be for him to live to him, and please and honour him in all things; and this from a clear view of his infinite excellency and worthiness in himself, to be loved, adored, worshipped and served by all intelligent creatures. Thus I saw, that when a soul loves God with a supreme love, he therein acts like the blessed God himself who most justly loves himself in that manner. So when God's interest and his are become one, and he longs that God should be glorified, and rejoices to think that he is unchangeably possessed of the highest glory and blessedness herein also he acts in conformity to God. In like manner when the soul is fully resigned to, and rests satisfied and contents with the divine will, here it is also conformed to God. “I saw further, that as this divine temper, by which the soul exalts God, and treads self in the dust, is wrought in the soul by God's discovering his own glorious perfections in the face of Jesus Christ to it, by the special influences of the holy Spirit, so he cannot but have regard to it, as his own work; and as it is his image in the soul, he cannot but take delight in it. Then I saw again, that if God should slight and reject his own moral image, he must needs deny himself; which he cannot do. And thus I saw the stability and infallibility of this religion and that those who are truly possessed of it, have the most complete and satisfying evidence of their being interested in all the bene.
fits of Christ's redemption, having their hearts conformed to him ; and that these, these only, are qualified for the employments and entertainments of God's kingdom of glory; as none but these have any relish for the business of heaven, which is to ascribe glory to God, and not to themselves; and that God (though I would speak it with great reverence of his name and perfection) cannot, without denying himself, finally cast such away. “The next thing I had then to do, was to inquire, whether this was my religion: and here God was pleased to help me to the most easy remembrance and critical review of what had passed in course of a religious nature, through several of the latter years of my life. Although I could discover much corruption attending my best duties, many selfish views and carnal ends, much spiritual pride and self-exaltation, and innumerable other evils which compassed me about; yet God was pleased, as I was reviewing, quickly to put this question out of doubt, by showing me, that I had, from time to time, acted above the utmost influence of mere self-love; that I had longed to please and glorify him, as my highest happiness, &c. This review was through grace attended with a present feeling of the same divine temper of mind. I felt now pleased, to think of the glory of God, and longed for heaven, as a state wherein I might glorify God perfectly, rather than a place of happiness for myself. This feeling of the love of God in my heart, which I trust the Spirit of God excited in me afresh, was sufficient to give me a full satisfaction, and make me long, as I had many times before done, to be with Christ. I did not now want any of the sudden suggestions, which many are so pleased with, ‘That Christ and his benefits are mine ; that God loves me,’ &c. in order to give me satisfaction about my state. No, my soul now abhorred those delusions of Satan, which are thought to be the immediate witness of the Spirit, while there is nothing but an empty suggestion of a certain fact, without any gracious discovery of the divine glory, or of the Spirit's work in their own hearts. I saw the awful delusion of this kind of confidence, as well as of the whole of that religion, from which they usually spring, or at least of which they are the attendants. The false religion of the late day, though a day of wondrous grace, the imaginations, and impressions made only on the animal affections— together with the sudden suggestions made to the mind by Satan, transformed into an angel of light, of certain facts not revealed in scripture—and many such like things, I fear have o: up the greater part of the religious appearance in many places. “These things I saw with great clearness, when I was thought to be dying. God gave me great concern for his church and interest in the world, at this time; not so much be. cause the late remarkable influence upon the minds of people was abated, as because that false religion—those hearts of imagination, and wild and selfish commotions of the animal affections—which attended the work of grace, had prevailed so far. This was that which my mind dwelt upon, almost day and night; and this, to me, was the darkest appearance, respecting religion, in the land; for it was this, chiefly, that had prejudiced the world against inward religion. And I saw the great misery of all was, that so few saw any manner of dif: ference between those exercises which are spiritual and holy, and those which have self-love only for their beginning, centre, and end.
“As God was pleased to afford me clearness of thought, and composure of mind, almost continually, for several weeks together, under my great weakness, so he enabled me, in some measure, to improve my time, as, I hope, to valuable purposes. I was enabled to write a number of important letters, to friends in remote places: and sometimes I wrote when I was speechless, i. e. unable to maintain conversation with any body; though perhaps I was able to speak a word or two so as to be heard.”
Among the letters written at this period, were the following. The reader will perceive that they were written by one, conscious that he was standing on the verge of the grave, and realizing, in no ordinary degree, the infinite importance of eternity.
To his brother Israel, at College: written in the time of his ea. treme illness in Boston, a few months before his death.
“Boston, June 30, 1747.
“My DEAR BRoTHER,
“It is on the verge of Eternity I now address you. I am heartily sorry that I have so little strength to write what I long so much to communicate to you. . But, let me tell you, my brother, Eternity is another thing than we ordinarily take it to be in a healthful state. O, how vast and boundless O, how fixed and unalterable ! O, of what infinite importance is it, that we be prepared for Eternity! I have been just a dying, now for more than a week; and all around me have thought me so. I have had clear views of Eternity; have seen the blessedness of the godly, in some measure ; and have longed to share their happy state ; as well as been comfortably satisfied, that through grace, I shall do so; but O, what anguish is