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happy, and ready to break my gun in pieces, resolving never to shoot or hunt any more. At last I said to my wife, “ I am determined to leave off this course of life, yet it is impossible if I stay here; therefore, if thou art free, I will go to Sir Rowland Wynn's, and see if I can get business there ; if not, I will go somewhere else at distance from home.” To this she gladly consented.
On Monday morning we parted in great love, praying one for the other. As I went from our town, I made use of Jacob's words, which he spake to the Lord as he went to Padan-aram; and the Lord blessed me in all my journey. I found work at Newark-on-Trent, and stayed about a month. All that time the hand of God was upon me, by convicting me of my former sins ; so that the sense of his wrath being justly kindled against me, made me cry to him for mercy, sometimes forty times in the day. Then I went to London, and got into business the day I arrived there. Here my concern for salvation increased for some time, and I continued to read and pray when I had done my work, refusing all company; and I believe, if I had had some one to shew me the way, I should have closed in with the Lord in a saving - manner.
But I looked at men for example, and fell from my seriousness. The workmen cursed and abused me, because I would not drink with them, and spend my money as they did. I
insults from them, without opening my mouth to speak to them again. But when they took my tools from me, and said if I would not drink with them, I -should not work while they were drinking ; that provoked me so, that I fought with several of them : then they let me alone; but that stified my concern for salvation, and I left off prayer and reading in a great measure. I stayed better than half a year, and had not one hour's sickness, nor did I want one day's work, all that time ; so that by my hand labour I cleared, besides maintaining myself, twelve pounds fifteen shillings. When I came home, I fell into
former course. I said to my wife, “ I cannot live here." So I set off for London again, ordering her to follow me in the waggon. We both
well there, and lived in a good way, (as the world calls it,) that is, in peace and plenty, and love to each other.
After some time,' I had a sore fit of illness ; then my conscience was alarmed, and I expected to die, and perish body and soul in hell. O the distress I was in, not thro' fear of death, so much as of the judgment that should follow! But the Lord rebuked the fever, and restored me to perfect health.
After residing some years in London, my wife had not her health, therefore we agreed that we should take our two children, and go into the country, and I would follow at a certain season ; which accordingly I'did: but I could not rest night or day; I said, “ I must go to London again." Several asked
me, Why I would go again, since I might live at home as well as any where in the world?” My answer was, “ I have something to learn that Į have not yet learned :” but I did not know that it was the great lesson of love to God and man. When I got there I fell to work presently, and all things prospered that I pursued. I then began to consider what I wanted to make me happy ; for I was yet a man in a barren wilderness, that could find no
I said to myself, “ What can I desire that I have not ; I enjoy as good health as any man can do; I have as agreeable a wife as I can wish for; I am clothed as well as I can desire ; I have, at present, more gold and -silver than I have need of; yet still I keep wandering from one part of the kingdom to another, seeking rest and cannot find it." Then I cried out, « Oh that I had been a scow or a sheep !" for I looked back to see how I had spent above thirty years ; and thought, rather than live thirty years more so, I would chuse strangling. But when I considered that, after such a troublesome life, I must give an account before God of the deeds done in the body, who knew all my thoughts, words, and actions, I cried out, ** O that I had never been born!" for I feared
my day of grace was over, because I had made so many resolutions, and broke them all! Yet I thought I would st out once more ; for I said, 6 Surely God never made man to be such a riddle to himself, and to leave him so; there
must be something in religion, that I am unacquainted with, to satisfy the empty mind of man, or he is in a worse state than the beasts that perish.” In all these troubles I had none to open my mind to; so I wandered up and down in the fields when I had done my work, meditating what course to take to save my soul.
I went from church to church, but found no ease. One minister at St. Paul's preached about man doing his duty to God and his neighbour, and when such came to lie upon a death-bed, what joy they would find in their own breast, by looking back on their well-spent life. But that sermon had like to have destroyed my soul; for I looked back, and could not see one day in all my life, wherein I had not left undone something which I ought to have done, and wherein I had not done many things wrong ; that I was so far from having a well-spent life to reflect upon, that I saw, if one day well spent would save my soul, I must be damned for ever. O what a stab was that sermon to my wounded soul! It made me wish my mo. ther's womb had been my grave.
After that I heard another sermon, wherein the preacher summed up all the Christian duties; but he said, man, since the fall, could not perfectly fulfil the will of his Maker ; but God required him to do all he could, and Christ would make out the rest: but if man did not do all he could, he must unavoidably perish; for he had no right to expect any interest in the merits of Christ, if he had not fulfilled his part, and done all that lay in his power. Then I thought, not only I, but every
soul must be damned : for I did not believe that any who had lived to years of maturity, had done all they could, and avoided all the evil they might. Therefore I concluded that none could be saved but little children. what deadly physic was that sort of doctrine to my poor sin-sick soul!
I thought I would try others ; and went to hear DisBenters of divers denominations, but to no purpose. I went to the Roman Catholics, but was soon surfeited with their way of worship. Then I went to the Quakers, and prayed that God would not suffer the blind to go out of the way,
but join me to the people that worshipped God in spirit and in truth : I cared not what they were called, nor what I suffered upon earth, so that my soul might be saved at last. I believe I heard them every Sunday for three months: what made me continue so long was, the expectation of some help by hearing them : for there was one, almost at my first going, that spoke something that nearly suited the state my soul was in ; but he shewed no remedy. I had now tried all but the Jews, and I thought it was to no purpose to go to them ; so I thought I would go to church, and read and pray, whether I perished or not.
But I was amazed, when I came to join in the morning prayer, to see that I had mocked my Maker all my days, by praying for things I did not expect or desire : then I thought none could be so ignorant as I had been, nor so base, to draw near to God with their lips, and their hearts so far from him.
In the spring Mr. WHITFIELD came into Moorfields, and I went to hear him; he was to me as a man that could play well on an instrument, for his preaching was pleasant to me, and I loved the man; so that if any one offered to disturb him, I was ready to fight for him.
But I did not understand him, though I might hear him twenty times, for ought I know. Yet I got some hope of mercy; so that I was encouraged to pray on, and spend my leisure hours in reading the scriptures. Sometimes as I was reading, I thought, If what I read was true, and if none are Christians but such as St. John and St. Paul describe to be God's people, I do not know any person that is a Christian either in town or country. I said, “ If things be so, I am no more a Christian than the devil ; and my hope of ever being one was very small. In this struggle I had but little sleep; if I slept four hours out of twenty four, I thought it a great deal : sometimes I started as if I was falling into some horrible place.
At other times I dreamed that I was fighting with Satan ; and when I awoke, I was sweating, and as fatigued as if I had really been fighting. Yet all this time I was as capable of working, both in understanding and strength, as ever I was in my life ; and this was an encouragement to me. In all this time I did not open my mind to
any person, either by word or letter ; but I was like a wari. dering bird, cast out of the nest, till Mr. John Wesley came to preach his first sermon in Moorfields. O that was a blessed morning to my
soul! As soon as he got upon the stand, he stroked back his hair, and turned his face towards where I stood, and I thought fixed his eyes on me. His countenance struck such an awful dread upon me, before I heard him speak, that it made my heart beat like the pendulum of a clock; and when he did speak, I thought his whole discourse was aimed at me. When he had done, I said, “ This man can tell the secrets of my heart : He hath not left me there,
for he hath shewed the remedy, even the blood of Jesus. Then was my soul filled with consolation, through hope that God, for Christ's sake, would save me; neither did I doubt in such a manner any more, till within twenty-four hours of the time when the Lord wrote a pardon on my heart. Though it was a little after Midsummer that I heard him, and it was three weeks after Michaelmas before I found the true peace of God; yet I continued to hear as often as I could, but not to neglect my work. I had many flashes of love under the word, when I was at private prayer, and at the table of the Lord; but they were short, and often some sore temptations followed.
Now all my acquaintance set upon me, to persuade me not to go too far in religion, lest it should unfit me for my business, and so bring poverty and distress on my family; and said, “ We wish you had never heard Mr. Wesley, for we are afraid it will be the ruin of you.” I told them, “ I had reason to bless God that ever he was born, for by hearing him I was made sensible that my business in this world is to get well out of it; and as for my trade, health, wisdom, and all things in the world, they are no blessings to me, any farther than as so many instruments to help me, by the grace
of God, to work out my salvation.” Then they said, they were very sorry for me, and should be glad to knock Mr. Wesley's brains out; for he would be the ruin of many families, if he was allowed to live, and go on as he did. Some of them said they would not hear him preach for 50L. But I told them, I had reason to bless God that