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like adamant-my affections were riveted to earth and the business of earth, and I could not be disengaged. The more I strove, the tighter it seemed to draw my chains. “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” was nearly every thing of prayer I could utter : and this short petition seemed as formal as the language of the proud Pharisee. I almost doubted my own sincerity, even while uttering it.
These thoughts at length struck me: Why do I not go, at once ta the Savior? What am I waiting for? Is he not ready?” Surely, my soul seemed to say, he must be. I was musing on this for some time. At last I concluded
At last I concluded my difficulties were not immovable, but that there was still a possibility of returning to God.
There was, about this period, another striking change of feeling. From a habit of regarding myself as the centre of the universe, the point on which all my efforts ought to turn, I began to regard God as the centre of the moral world. In fact this was a favorite idea or feeling, and one that perpetually recurred; and does to this day.
My condition, in one respect, was now wholly changed. I felt a strong and abiding belief that I should at length be able to yield to and obey Christ. The way seemed plain. It is true, I never felt as
if I had already attained; but rather as if I should, in the end, repent and exercise that faith, and have right feelings. I could not avoid the conclusion, that God had at length conducted me through the wilderness of error, and given me a sight of the promised land; and I believed, that in his own time I should enter it. For some months afterward,
friends seemed to have more charity for me than I had for myself. Some of them thought that I had already passed from death unto life. And in the end I adopted the same opinion.
An anecdote may be inserted here, for the benefit of those who undertake to give advice to new converts, especially of ministers. A friend who knew my state requested me a few days after the change of feeling occurred, to call on a distinguished minister in the neighborhood. I did so, and had a full and free conversation with him. On separating, the minister said something not unlike what follows; Well, sir, remember though I do not say you are a Christian, I advise you to go forward and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, &c. sion “I do not say you are a Christian,” was uttered in such a tone of voice that I took courage from it; and for some time indulged a degree of
hope that the circumstances and state of the case, as I now think, did not at all justify.
But although it should surprise the reader, I must here observe that the idea of uniting with any church hardly occurred for a considerable time; and when it did occur, I rejected it with disdain. So much was I disgusted with such narrow or sectarian measures, as I called them, that it was my intention to stand aloof from any church, or even any sect, as long as I lived. eight months having elapsed, however, I found my views somewhat changed. I found myself united to a church; and going on my way rejoicing, though not without trembling, lest after all I should, as Paul has expressed it, be a castaway.
Present state of the writer.—Appeal to parents.—To the
young.–To former disciples.-To associates.
Thus, have I finished my long narrative--my forty year's journey, as it were, in the wilderness. For though the period of my wandering falls a little short of forty years, yet it is sufficiently near that period for the purposes of comparison.
When from Pisgah's top, to which I had climbed to catch a glance at the promised Canaan, I first saw the fair fields which a feeble but kindling faith anticipated as mine; when by rapturous vision, if not Divine guidance, I saw the whole land spread before me from Dan, Naphtali and Gilead on the one hand, to Beersheba, the city of palmtrees, and the land of the Philistines on the other;when I contrasted the beauty of the prospect before me with the great and terrible wilderness through which God had led me by “ a way that I knew not;" how could I help rejoicing in Divine
Goodness, and believing that after such a painful series of wanderings I should know how to prize a better inheritance? What more natural than the conclusion that my estimate of the country into which God was bringing me would always be heightened by a recollection of the troubles through which I had passed, and my many gracious deliverances from peril?
And such was the conclusion I actually made. At first I was almost disposed to bless God that I had been so long placed in the school of error, because I had thereby become not only better disciplined and prepared for the defence of the truth, but also better qualified to enjoy it.
But, what a mistake! Not that I cannot, indeed, better sympathize with those of my erring fellow beings—and many such there are—who are treading the same or nearly the same path. Most undoubtedly I can. Each bitter has its sweet. But it costs too much.
But in regard to actual enjoyment; if I could speak with a voice that would reach every land which is Christian even in name, I would warn all my fellow men against the delusive and dangerous notion that if they do wander for a little while in error, it is not of much consequence, provided they are not cut off in it; since they shall enjoy