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The very apprehension racks me at this distance; my conscience flies in my face; and I have this dismal prospect continually in view. I see, and daily lament my danger, and every vicious disposition helps to dress up the woful scheme. My secret imaginations sting me, my covetousness fetters me, pride accuses, envy gnaws and consumes me, lust inflames, intemperance shames me, detraction tortures, ambition supplants, violence and fraud upbraid, anger disorders, gentleness makes me secure, sloth overcomes, hypocrisy cheats me, flattery makes me effeminate, applause and favour vain, slander full of anguish.
These, my great, my only deliverer, these are the fierce nations that make war against me: these the acquaintance I have been bred up with; this the company I have too much delighted to frequent, and with whom I have contracted too great familiarity. Thus the objects of my love condemn me, and to my shane and dishonour. These are the friends I have trusted, the teachers I have learned of, the masters, or rather the tyrants, to whom I have lived in subjection; the counsellors by whom I have been governed, the companions with whom I have lived and acted.
Wo is me, my God, that I have thus long dwelt in Mesech, and had my habitation among the tents of Kedar. For sure, whatever reason David had, I have much greater to lament, that my soul hath long dwelt among them that are enemies unto peace. But thou, O Lord, art still my hope and stay. In thy sight, it is true, shall no flesh living be justified. I put not, therefore, any trust in the sons of men: for if thou, Lord, shouldest be extreme to mark what is done amiss, who among them
is there, that might abide it? And therefore, unless thou meet the sinner with thy mercy and pardon, for what hath been done amiss, there cannot be any righteous to be glorified, any qualified for the enjoyment of thy presence in glory.
Therefore, my God and my salvation, I come to thee, knowing that thy goodness leadeth to repent
How sweet are those words of thine to my throat! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth, that no man cometh to thee except the Father draw him, and that him who cometh to thee thou wilt in no wise cast out. Since, then, thou hast not only instructed me in, but even given me new life, by the knowledge of this truth, and thus again made me thy own creature; I do with all imaginable earnestness, with all the sincerity and zeal my heart is capable of, beseech thee, Almighty Father, together with thy most dearly beloved Son, and thee, O best beloved Son, with thy most holy Comforter, draw me, that I may run after thee, and be delighted with the odour of thy precious ointments.
The Misery of Unregenerate Man.
O LORD, the Word of God, the Word itself God, thou art light, and by thee the light was made; thou art the way, the truth, and the life, in whom is no darkness or error, no vanity or death. Without thee, I put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Without thee I am filled with confusion and mistake, ignorance and blindness. Say to my soul, let there be light, that I may discern the light, and avoid darkness; that I may see the way, and be delivered from my wanderings; that I may know the truth, and not be deceived by falsehood that I may attain the true life, and not be swallowed up in death. Thou art my Lord, and I will fear thee; my God, and I will praise thee; my Father, and I will love thee. Pity this desolate creature, who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death, and guide my feet into the way of peace, that I may go into the house of my God with the voice of joy and thanksgiving. For this is the way by which I must return from my errors, unto thee the true way, even the way of life.
I will therefore approach thee, O Father of heaven and earth, and lay before thee all my state, that in the frank confession of my misery I may obtain thy mercy. I was reduced to nothing, nay, to worse than nothing, and knew it not, because thou art the truth, and I was not with thee: I was wounded with my transgressions, and felt no
smart, because thou art the life, and I was not with thee. I was brought to nothing, because thou art the Word, by whom all things were made, and I was not with thee.
Now what it is to be without the Word, is easy to be understood from that description given of himself, I am the way, the truth and the life. He that is without these, is without the Word; and to be without him is evil, because it separates from the Author of all good. And I thank thee, O Lord, for so far enlightening me with the knowledge of thee, and of myself, as to make me sensible, that whensoever I forget that which is good, and corrupt myself with evil, I am transformed from what I was, lose my spiritual life and being, and am cut off from thee. Wretch that I was, not to consider this before! How low I fell, and how exactly that description of the heathen idols suited the condition of my soul ; for this too, during my separation from thee, hath ears and hears not, nose and smells not, eyes and sees not, mouth and speaks not, hands and acts not. In short, is nothing but an empty form, the lines and proportions of every part, without the use and sensation proper to any of them.
So true it is, that while I was without thee, I was not at all; but fell back into nothing; blind and deaf, and insensible to do good, having no inclination, no knowledge to avoid evil. Hence, had my enemies their will upon me; they stripped and wounded, they spoiled and slew me, because I departed from thee, my light and my defence. But, O God of my life, raise me, I pray thee, from this death. Look upon me in the day of my trouble, and save me from the hand of insulting adver
saries. Let them that hate me flee before thee, and let me live in thee, and by thee. They saw my misery, and had me in derision. They defiled thy holy temple with filth and sin, and brought me into ruin and desolation. They led me captive from one wickedness into another, and dragged me through mire and clay. I was a slave, and in love with my bondage; blind, and loved darkness rather than light; tied and bound, and fond of my chains; miserable, and knew it not. And all, because separated from that almighty Word, by which every creature subsists, and is preserved. O do thou from henceforth unite me to thyself; for, when I go
from thee, I perish; and can no other way be restored to being, but by that Power making a new creature, which at the first did make me out nothing. And, blessed be that power and mercy, which visited me when I offended, raised me up when I was fallen, taught me when I was ignorant, and gave sight to my eyes when I was blind.