« AnteriorContinuar »
then, that abominable corruption, which is directly contrary to what I read respecting eminent Christians. How deceitful is my heart! I take up a strong resolution, but how soon does it weaken!
Thursday, Jan. 10, about noon. Reviving. It is a great dishonor to Christ, in whom I hope I have an interest, to be uneasy at my worldly state and condition ; when I see the prosperity of others, and that all things go easy with them; when the world is smooth to them, and they are happy in many respects and very prosperous, or are advanced to much honor, &c., to envy them, or be the least uneasy at it; or even to wish for the same prosperity, and that it would ever be so with me. Wherefore concluded, always to rejoice in every one's prosperity, and to expect for myself no happiness of that nature as long as I live; but reckon upon afflictions, and betake myself entirely to another happiness.
I think I find myself much more sprightly and healthy, both in body and mind, for my self-denial in eating, drinking, and sleeping. I think it would be advantageous every morning to consider my business and tempations; and what sins I shall be exposed to that day: and to make a resolution how to improve the day, and to avoid those sins. And so at the beginning of every week, month and year. I never knew before what was meant by not setting our hearts upon these things. It is, not to care about them, depend upon them, afflict ourselves much with fears of losing them, or please ourselves with expectation of obtaining them, or hope of their continuance. At night made the 41st Resolution.
Saturday, Jan. 12, in the morning. I have this day solemnly renewed my baptismal covenant and self-dedication, which I renewed when I was received into the communion of the church. I have been before God; 1 and have given myself, all that I am and have, to God, so that I am not in any respect my own: I can claim no right in myself, no right in this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither have I any right to this body, or any of its members: no right to this tongue, these hands, nor feet; no right to these senses, these eyes, these ears, this smell or taste. I have given myself clear away, and have not retained any thing as my own. I have been to God this morning, and told him that I gave myself wholly to him. I have given every power to him; so that for the future, I will challenge or claim no right in myself, in any respect. I have expressly promised him, and do now promise Almighty God, that by his grace I will not. I have this morning told him, that I did take him for my whole portion and felicity, looking on nothing else as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience; and would fight with all my might against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. And did believe in Jesus Christ, and receive him as a Prince and a Saviour ; and would adhere to the faith and obedience of the gospel, how hazardous and difficult soever the profession and practice of it may be. That I did receive the blessed Spirit as my teacher, sanctifier and only comforter ; and cherish all his motions to enlighten, purify, confirm, comfort, and assist me. This I have done. And I pray God, for the sake of Christ, to look upon it as a self-dedication; and to receive me now as entirely his own, and deal with me in all respects as such ; whether he afflicts me or prospers me, or whatever he pleases to do with me, who am his. Now, henceforth I am not to act in any respect as my own. I shall act as my own, if I ever make use of any of my powers to any thing that is not to
the glory of God, or do not make the glorifying of him my whole and entire business; if I murmur in the least at afflictions ; if I grieve at the prosperity of others; if I am any way uncharitable ; if I am angry because of injuries; if I revenge my own cause; if I do any thing purely to please myself, or avoid any thing for the sake of my ease, or omit any thing because it is great self-denial; if I trust to myself; if I take any of the praise of any good that I do, or rather God does by me; or if I am any way proud. This day made the 42d and 43d Resolutions.
Monday, Jan. 14. The dedication I made of myself to my God, on Saturday last, has been exceeding useful to me. I thought I had a more spiritual insight into the Scripture while reading the 8th chapter to the Romans, than ever in my life before. Great instances of mortification are deep wounds given to the body of sin, hard blows that make him stagger and reel; we thereby get firm ground and footing against him. While we live without great instances of mortification and self-denial, the old man keeps whereabouts he was; for he is sturdy and obstinate, and will not stir for small blows. After the greatest mortifications, I always find the greatest comfort. Supposing there was never but one complete Christian, in all respects, of a right stamp, having Christianity shining in its true lustre, at a time in the world ; resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, that should be in my time.
Tuesday, Jan. 15. It seemed yesterday, the day before, and Saturday, that I should always retain the same resolutions to the same height, but alas, how soon do I decay! O how weak, hów infirm, how unable to do any thing am I! What a poor, inconsistent, miserable wretch, without the assistance of God's Spirit! While I stand, I am ready to think I stand in my own strength; and am ready to triumph over my enemies, as if it were I myself that caused them to flee; when alas! I am but a poor infant, upheld by Jesus Christ; who holds me up, and gives me liberty to smile to see my enemies flee, when he drives them before me; and so I laugh as though I myself did it, when it is only Jesus Christ leads me along, and fights himself against my enemies. And now the Lord has a little left me, how weak do I find myself! O, let it teach me to depend less on myself, to be more humble, and to give more of the praise of my . ability to Jesus Christ. The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?
Saturday, Feb. 15. I do certainly know that I love holiness, such as the gospel requires. At night. I have been negligent for the month past in these three things: I have not been watchful enough over my appetite in eating and drinking; in rising too late ; and in not applying myself enough to the duty of secret prayer.
Sabbath day, Feb. 17, near sunset. Renewedly promised, that I will accept of God, for my whole portion; and that I will be contented, whatever else I am denied. I will not murmur, nor be grieved, whatever prosperity, upon any account, I see others enjoy, and I am denied.
Saturday, March 2. O, how much pleasanter is humility than pride! O, that God would fill me with exceeding great humility, and that he would evermore keep me from all pride! The pleasures of humility are really the most refined, inward and exquisite delights in the world. How hateful is a proud man! How hateful is a worm that lifts up itself with pride! What a foolish, silly, miserable, blind, deceived, poor worm am Î, when pride works!
Wednesday, March 6, near sunset. Felt the doctrines of election, free grace, and of our not being able to do any thing without the grace of God ;' and that holiness is entirely, throughout, the work of God's Spirit, with more pleasure than before.
Monday morning, April 1. I think it best not to allow myself to laugh at the follies and infirmities of others.
Saturday night, April 6. This week I found myself so far gone, that it seemed to me, that I should never recover more. Let God of his mercy return unto me, and no more leave me thus to sink and decay! I know, O Lord, that without thy help, I shall fall innumerable times, notwithstanding all my resolutions, how often soever repeated.
Saturday night, April 13. I could pray more heartily this night, for the forgiveness of my enemies, than ever before.
Wednesday, May 1, forenoon. Last night I came home, after my melancholy parting from New York. I have always, in every different state of life I have hitherto been in, thought the troubles and difficulties of that state to be greater than those of any other that I proposed to be in; and when I have altered with assurance of mending myself, I have still thought the same; yea, that the difficulties of that state, are greater than those of that I left last; Lord, grant that from hence I may learn to withdraw my thoughts, affections, desires and expectations, entirely from the world, and may fix them upon the heavenly state; where there is fulness of joy; where reigns heavenly, sweet, calm, and delightful love without alloy; where there are continually the dearest exgressions of this love ; where there is the enjoyment of the persons loved, without ever parting; where those persons, who appear so lovely in this world, will really be inexpressibly more lovely, and full of love to us. How sweetly will the mutual lovers join together to sing the praises of God and the Lamb! How will it fill us with joy to think, this enjoyment, these sweet exercises, will never come to an end, but will last to eternity. Remember, after journeys, removes, overturnings, and alterations in the state of my life, to consider, whether therein I have managed the best way possible, respecting my soul; and before such alterations, if foreseen, to resolve how to act.
Thursday, May 2. I think it a very good way to examine dreams every morning when I awake; what are the nature, circumstances, principles and ends of my imaginary actions and passions in them, to discern what are my chief inclinations, &c.
Saturday night, May 4. Although I have in some measure subdued a disposition to chide and fret, yet I find a certain inclination which is not agreeable to Christian sweetness of temper and conversation : too dogmatical, too much of egotism; a disposition to be telling of my own dislike and scorn; and freedom from those things that are innocent, or the common infirmities of man; and many such like things. O that God would help me to discern all the flaws and defects of my temper and conversation, and help me in the difficult work of amending them; and that he would fill me so full of Christianity, that the foundation of all these disagreeable irregularities may be destroyed, and the contrary beauties may follow.
Sabbath duy, May 5, in the morning. This day made the 47th Resolution.
Sabbath day, May 12. I think I feel glad from the hope that my eternity is to be spent in spiritual and holy joys, arising from the manifestation of God's love, and the exercise of holiness and a burning love to him.
Saturday night, May 18. I now plainly perceive what great obliga. tions I am under to love and honor my parents. I have great reason to believe, that their counsel and education have been of great use to me; notwithstanding, at the time, it seemed to do me so little good. I have good reason to hope that their prayers for me have been in many things very powerful and prevalent; that God has in many things taken me under his care and guidance, provision and direction, in answer to their prayers. I was never made so sensible of it as now.
Wednesday, May 22, in the morning. Memorandum. To take special care of these following things: evil speaking, fretting, eating, drinking, and sleeping, speaking simple verity, joining in prayer, slightness in secret prayer, listlessness and negligence, and thoughts that cherish sin.
Saturday, May 25, in the morning. As I was this morning reading the 17th Resolution, it was suggested to me, that if I was now to die, I should wish that I had prayed more that God would make me know my state, whether it be good or bad ; and that I had taken more pains to see, and narrowly search into this matter. Wherefore, Mem. For the future most nicely and diligently to look into our old divines concerning conversion. Made the 48th Resolution.
Friday, June 1, afternoon. I have abundant cause, O merciful Father, to love thee ardently, and greatly to bless and praise thee, that thou hast heard me in my earnest request, and hast so answered my prayer for mercy to keep from decay and sinking. O, graciously, of thy mere goodness, continue to pity my misery by reason of my sinfulness. O, my dear Redeemer, I commit myself, together with my prayer and thanksgiving, into thine hand.
Monday, July 1. Again confirmed by experience of the happy effects of strict temperance, with respect both to body and mind. Resolved for the future to observe rather more of meekness, moderation, and temper in disputes.
Thursday, July 18, near sunset. Resolved to endeavor to make sure of that sign the Apostle James gives of a perfect man, James iii. 2, If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
Monday, July 22. I see there is danger of my being drawn into transgression by a fear of seeming uncivil, and of offending friends. Watch against it.
Tuesday, July 23. When I find those groanings which cannot be uttered, that the apostle speaks of; and those soul breakings for the longing it hath, which the Psalmist speaks of, Ps. cxix. 20, let me humor and promote them to the utmost of my power, and be not weary of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires. I desire to count it all joy when I have occasion of great self-denial, because then I have a glorious opportunity of giving deadly wounds to the body of sin, and greatly confirming and establishing the new nature; to seek to mortify sin, and increase in holiness; these are the best opportunities (according to January 14) to improve afflictions of all kinds, as blessed opportunities of forcibly bearing on in my Christian course, notwithstanding that which is so very apt to discourage me, to damp the vigor of my mind, and to make me lifeless; also as opportunities of trusting and confiding in God, habitually, accord. ing to the 57th Resolution; and of rending my heart off from the world, and setting it upon heaven alone; to repent of, and bewail my sin, and abhor myself; and as a blessed opportunity to exercise patience, to trust in God, and divert my mind from the affliction, by fixing myself in religious exercises. Also, let me comfort myself, that it is the very nature of afflictions to make the heart better; and if I am made better by them, what need I be concerned, however grievous they seem for the present?
Friday, July 26. To be particularly careful to keep up an inviolable trust and reliance, ease, and entire rest in God, in all conditions, according to the 57th Resolution ; for this I have found to be wonderfully advantageous.
Monday, July 29. When I am concerned how I shall perform any thing to public acceptance, to be very careful that I do what is duty and prudence in the matter.
Wednesday, July 31. Never in the least to seek to hear sarcastical relations of others' faults. Never to give credit to any thing said against others, except there is very plain reason for it; nor to behave in any respect otherwise for it.
Wednesday, August 7. To esteem it an advantage that the duties of religion are difficult, and that many difficulties are sometimes to be gone through in the way of duty. Religion is the sweeter, and what is gained by labor is abundantly more precious; as a woman loves her child the better for having brought it forth with travail. And even as to Christ Jesus himself in his mediatorial glory, (including his victory and triumph, and the kingdom which he hath obtained,) how much more glorious, how much more excellent and precious, for his having wrought it out by such agonies !
Friday, August 9. One thing that may be a good help towards thinking profitably in time of vacation or leisure is, that when I light on a profitable thought, I can fix my mind in order to follow it, as far as possible to advantage.
Sabbath day, after meeting, August 11. Resolved always to do that which I shall wish I had done, when I see others do it. As for instance, sometimes I argue with myself, that such an act of good-nature, kindness, forbearance or forgiveness, &c., is not my duty, because it will have such and such consequences; yet, when I see others do it, then it appears amiáble to me, and I wish I had done it; and I see that none of these feared inconveniences do follow.
Tuesday, August 13. I find it would be very much to my advantage, to be thoroughly acquainted with the Scriptures. When I am reading doctrinal books, or books of controversy, I can proceed with abundantly more confidence; can see upon what foundation I stand.
Thursday, August 29. The objection my corruptions make against doing whatever my hand finds to do with my might is, that it is a constant mortification. Let this objection by no means ever prevail...
Monday, Sept. 2. There is much folly, when I am quite sure I am in the right, and others are positive in contradicting me, in entering into a vehement or long debate upon it.
Monday, Sept. 23. I observe that old men seldom have any advantage of new discoveries ; because these are beside a way of thinking they have been so long used to. Resolved, if ever I live to years, that I will be impartial to hear the reasons of all pretended discoveries, and receive them, if rational, how long soever I have been used to another way of thinking.