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May 15. “I rode from Hartford to Hebron; was somewhat dejected on the road; appeared exceeding vile in my own eyes, saw much pride and stubbornness in my heart. Indeed I never saw such a week as this before; for I have been almost ready to die with the view of the wickedness of my heart. I could not have thought I had such a body of death in me. Oh that God would deliver my soul!”
The three neart days (which he spent at Hebron, Lebanon, and Norwich) he complains still of dulness and desertion, and expresses a sense of his vileness, and longing to hide himself in some cave or den of the earth ; but yet speaks of some intervals of comfort and soul-refreshment each day.
May 19. “ (At Millington) I was so amazingly deserted this morning, that I seemed to feel a sort of horror in my soul." Alas! when God withdraws, what is there that can afford any comfort to the soul s”
Through the eight days neart following, he expresses more calmness and comfort, and considerable life, fervency, and sweetness in religion.
May 28. “(At New-Haven) I think I scarce ever felt so calm in my life; I rejoiced in resignation, and giving myself up to God, to be wholly and entirely devoted to him for ever.”
On the three following days, there was, by the account he gives, a continuance of the same excellent frame of mind last expressed; but it seems not to be altogether to so great a degree.
June 1. “Had much of the presence of God in family prayer, and had some comfort in secret. I was greatly refreshed from the word of God this morning, which appeared exceedingly sweet to me; some things which appeared mysterious, were opened to me... Oh that the kingdom of the dear Saviour might come with power, and the healing waters of the sanctuary spread far and wide for the healing of the nations ! —Came to Ripton; but was very weak. However, being visited by a number of young people in the evening, I prayed with them.”
The remaining part of this week, he speaks of being much diverted and hindered in the business of religion, by great weakness of body, and necessary affairs, to which he had to attend : and complains of having but little power in religion; but observes, that God hereby showed him, that he was like a helpless infant cast out in the open field.
Lord's day, June 6. “I feel much deserted : but all this teaches me my nothingness and vileness more than ever.
June 7. “Felt still powerless in secret prayer. Afterwards I prayed and conversed with some little life. God feeds me with crumbs; blessed be his name for any thing. I felt a great desire that all God's people might know how mean and little and vile I am ; that they might see I am nothing, that so they may pray for me aright, and not have the least dependence upon me.
June 8. “I enjoyed one sweet and precious season this day; I never felt it so sweet to be nothing, and less than nothing, and to be accounted nothing.”
The three next days he complains of desertion, and want of fervency in religion; but yet his diary shows that every day his heart was engaged in religion, as his great, and, as it were only business.
June 12. “Spent much time in prayer this morning, and enjoyed much sweetness —Felt insatiable longings after God much of the day. I wondered how poor souls do to live, that have no God. #he world, with all its enjoyments, quite vanished. I see myself very helpless: but I have a blessed God to go to. I longed exceedingly to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, to behold his glory. O my weak weary soul longs to arrive at my Father's house !
Lord's day, June 13. “Felt somewhat calm and resigned in the public worship : at the sacrament saw myself very vile and worthless. Oh that I may always lie low in the dust. My soul seemed steadily to go forth after God, in longing desires to live upon him.
June 14. “Felt somewhat of the sweetness of communion with God, and the constraining force of his love ; how admirably it captivates the soul, and makes all the desires and affections to centre in God!—I set apart this day for secret .# and prayer, to intreat God to direct and bless me with regar to the great work which I have in view, of preaching the gospel —and that the Lord would return to me, and show me the light of his countenance. Had little life and power in the forenoon: near the middle of the afternoon, God enabled me to wrestle ardently in intercession for my absent friends: but just at night the Lord visited me marvellously in prayer. I think my soul never was in such an agony before. I felt no restraint; for the treasures of divine grace were opened to me. I wrestled for absent friends, for the ingathering of souls, for multitudes of poor souls, and for many that I thought were the children of God, personally, in many distant places. I was in such an agony from sun half an hour high, till near dark, that I was all over wet with sweat: but yet it seemed to me that I had wasted away the day, and had done nothing. O my dear Saviour did sweat blood for poor souls I longed for more compassion towards them. Felt still in a sweet frame, under a sense of divine love and grace; and went to bed in such a frame, with my heart set on God. June 15. “Had the most ardent longings after God, which I ever felt in my life. At noon, in my secret retirement, I could do nothing but tell my dear Lord, in a sweet calm, that he knew I desired nothing but himself, nothing but holiness; that he had given me these desires, and he only could give me the thing desired. I never seemed to be so unhinged from myself, and to be so wholly devoted to God. My heart was swallowed up in God most of the day. In the evening I had such a view of the soul being as it were enlarged, to contain more holiness, that it seemed ready to separate from my body. I then wrestled in an agony for divine blessings; had my heart drawn out in prayer for some Christian friends, beyond what I ever had before. I feel differently now from what I ever did under any enjoyments before ; more engaged to live to God for ever, and less pleased with my own frames. I am not satisfied with my frames, nor feel at all more easy after such strugglings than before ; for it seems far too little, if I could always be so. O how short do I fall of my duty in my sweetest moments l’’
In his diary for the two neart days, he expresses somewhat of the same frame, but in a far less degree.*
June 18. “Considering my great unfitness for the work of the ministry, my present deadness, and total inability to do any thing for the glory of God that way, feeling myself very helpless, and at a great loss what the Lord would have me to do ; I set apart this day for prayer to God, and spent most of the day in that duty, but amazingly deserted most of the day. Yet I found God graciously near, once in particular; while I was pleading for more compassion for immortal souls, my heart seemed to be opened at once, and I was enabled to cry with great ardency, for a few minutes. O I was distressed to think that I should offer such dead cold services to the living God! My soul seemed to breathe after holiness, a life of constant devotedness to God. But I am almost lost sometimes in the pursuit of this blessedness, and ready to sink, because I continually fall short, and miss of my desire. Oh that the Lord would help me to hold out, yet a little while, until the happy hour of deliverance comes
* Here end the thirty first pages of the third volume of his diary, which he speaks of in the beginning of this volume, (as observed before) as containing a Specimen of his ordinary manner of living, through the whole space of time, from the beginning of those two volumes that were destroyed.
June 19. “Felt much disordered ; my spirits were very low : but yet enjoyed some freedom and sweetness in the duties of religion. Blessed be God.
Lord's day, June 20. “Spent much time alone. My soul earnestly wished to be holy, and reached after God; but seemed not to obtain my desire. I hungered and thirsted; but was not refreshed and satisfied. My soul rested on God, as my only portion. Oh that I could grow in grace more abundantly every day !”
The next day he speaks of his having assistance in his studies, and power, fervency, and comfort in prayer.
June 22. “In the morning spent about two hours in prayer and meditation, with considerable delight. Towards night felt my soul go out in earnest desires after God, in secret retirement. In the evening, was sweetly composed and resigned to God's will ; was enabled to leave myself and all my concerns with him, and to have my whole dependence upon him. My secret retirement was very refreshing to my soul; it appeared such a happiness to have God for my portion, that I had rather be any other creature in this lower creation, than not come to the enjoyment of God. I had rather be a beast, than a man, without God, if I were to live here to eternity. Lord, endear thyself more to me !
In his diary for the neart seven days, he expresses a variety of exercises of mind. He speaks of great longings after God and holiness, and earnest desires for the conversion of others ; of fervency in prayer, power to wrestle with God, composure, comfort, and sweetness, from time to time ; but expresses a sense of the abomination of his heart, and bitterly complains of his barrenness, and the body of death ; and says, “he saw clearly that whatever he enjoyed, better than hell, was of free grace.”
He complains of falling much below the character of a child of God; and is sometimes very disconsolate and dejected.
June 30. “Spent this day alone in the woods, in fasting and prayer; underwent the most dreadful conflicts in my soul, which I ever felt, in some respects. I saw myself so vile, that I was ready to say, ‘ I shall now perish by the hand of Saul... I thought that I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost “afraid of the shaking of a leaf.” Spent almost the whole day in prayer, incessantly. I could not bear to think of Christians showing me any respect. I almost despaired of doing any service in the world: 1 could not feel any hope or comfort respecting the heathen, which used to afford me some refreshment in the darkest hours of this nature. I spent the day in bitterness of soul. Near night I felt a little better; and afterwards enjoyed some sweetness in secret prayer. July 1. “Had some enjoyment in prayer this morning; and far more than usual in secret prayer to-night, and desired nothing so ardently as that God should do with me just as he pleased. July 2. “Felt composed in secret prayer in the morning.— My desires ascended to God this day, as I was travelling : and was comfortable in the evening. Blessed be God for all my consolation. July 3. “My heart seemed again to sink. The disgrace I was laid under at College, seemed to damp me ; as it opens the mouths of opposers. I had no refuge, but in God. Blessed be his name, that I may go to him at all times, and find him a present help. Lord's day, July 4. “Had considerable assistance. In the evening I withdrew, and enjoyed a happy season in secret prayer. God was pleased to give me the exercise of faith, and thereby brought the invisible and eternal world near to my soul which appeared sweetly to me. I hoped that my weary pilgrimage in the world would be short; and that it would not be long before I was brought to my heavenly home and Father's house. I was resigned to God's will, to tarry his time, to do his work, and suffer his pleasure. I felt thankfulness to God for all my pressing desertions of late ; for I am persuaded that they have been made a means of making me more humble, and much more resigned. I felt pleased to be little, to be nothing, and to lie in the dust. I enjoyed life and consolation in pleading for the dear children of God, and the kingdom of Christ in the world: and my soul earnestly breathed after holiness, and the enjoyment of God. O come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”
By his diary for the remaining days of this week, it appears that he enjoyed considerable composure and tranquillity, and had sweetness and fervency of spirit in prayer, from day to day.
Lord's day, July 11. “Was deserted and exceedingly dejected in the morning. In the afternoon, had some life and assistance, and felt resigned. I saw myself to be exceeding vile.”
. On the two next days he expresses inward comfort, resignation, and strength in God.
July 14. “Felt a degree of humble resigned sweetness: spent a considerable time in secret, giving myself up wholl to the Lord. Heard Mr. Bellamy preach towards night; #. vo o part of the time: longed for nearer access to God.” OL, A. Q