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blessing had followed it. (if indeed any thing could properly be esteemed a blessing, which nourished my sinful body*, of which I still doubted); and as my Christian friend told me, that there was no end to these vain scruples, and that the religion of Christ was a religion of freedom and reason, I therefore began to think that it might also be lawful for me to resume the study of the various analogies between the visible and invisible worlds. I now believe that I was right, and that nothing made it hurtful to me but this, that I soon began again to doubt whether it was not sinful; and this doubt gave the devil every opportunity that
17* My reasonings on this subject were curious'; and being partly trye, were therefore more dangerous.", I said in my heart, I am born in sin, and by nature a child of wrath, and whatever I do naturally is therefore-sinful.. Above all, m
my natural body is a lump of sin and death ; whenever I gratify it beyond the absolute necessity of supporting life, I commit sin, although I hope I am converted, and whenever I deny and mortify, and crucify it, I please Godel 0 that it were lawful to kill this cursed, body at once, and enter into life! But no, that must not be, I am required to be a living sacrifice, and to become holy and meet for glory, in the course of a life of constant crucifixion, like our blessed Lord and Master! But how shall I hold out under such continual misery?“ O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me! from the body of this death? none can do it but God, " through Jesus Christ our Lord." Amen, so be it. I forgot , that we are to be “ temperate in all things.
Scripture, not only what I had formerly meditated for the good of the world, but much more; even of demonstrating not only the truths of natural religion, but also those of the everlasting Gospel, in the most geometrical manner *. Yet such an undertaking still appeared too high, too presumptuous for me; and I was still apprehensive that such an attempt might have dangerous consequences.
What those consequences might be I was not exactly aware; but at all events, I feared that many would continue to disbelieve after all that I could say; and therefore, that their condemnation must be so much the greater for rejecting such strong proofs. This fear, which I could not then surmount, made me resolve not to venture upon any thing of the kind; yet as it appeared to me that a narrative of my own conversion would be a proper medium line; that it might be of great service, in displaying the dangers of infidelity; and also tend highly to prove, in a practical manner, the divine truth of Christianity, in all its parts; so I concluded, that this at least was lawful and right, and my duty. 'is
* Here I confounded the great commandments of the law, as promulgated by our Lord, with the peculiar truths of His Gospel; but the first are only absolute truth, the latter are grace
This therefore I resolved to do, and therein employ my leisure time; which, as I lived wholly secluded from society, dreading it as much, and perhaps, even more than I dreaded myself, was great, and often hung heavy on
It nevertheless occurred to me subsequently, that it was my duty to confess my Saviour before men, and to endeavour to win lost sinners to Him, by a relation of the wonderful things that He had done for me. I therefore began to relax from the strictness of my solitude, and to dine abroad sometimes; always taking care to return thanks aloud before all the company, to their great surprise and amusement! It was no wonder; for neither they nor I had ever seen such a thing done before, at least since the period of my arrival in India.
After continuing this new practice for some time, together with a corresponding“ demea. nour" of general conversation; always ready to answer for myself, and give a reason of the hope that was in me; I found that I had not made any perceptible progress towards the conversion of a single individual. I only found that some pitied me and advised me to abandon these follies, or I should be lost and ruined; that others despised and laughed at me as a crazy weakminded creature; and that others thought me likely to be a more serious disturber of the
peace of society, in short,' a "proud, presumptuous, conceited enthusiast. Not a few had sagacity enough to see that I could not be shaken by their arguments, whose chief force lay in ridicule, which I did not feel. They, therefore, attacked me through the medium of the palate, with a show of hospitality; and I suffered considerably by this manœuvre, through a desire to avoid singularity and preciseness, before I perceived all the danger that I ran. The general conversation also was of a description most shocking to my lately-acquired sentiments, and often seemed to be levelled at
At last I resolved to withdraw myself again from society, since I could do no good in it, and endeavour to make up for this inability by my solitary occupations.
This indeed was infinitely more agreeable to me; for I never went into company without horror and dread, on account of the lewdness and impiety which continually shocked me; but at home I conversed with nature, and through the medium of the Scriptures with my Saviour, who poured wonderful comforts of faith, hope, and love into my grieved heart, by the grace of His Holy Spirit, which made the emptiness of worldly pleasures to appear like a dunghill to me. I desisted therefore from my vain attempts at conversion; and applied myself exclusively to the study of the Scriptures, the
instructive parables of God in nature, and the narrative of my own reformation.". Yet I found it difficult to do this, without making frequent use of analogy in the way of illustration; for as these natural parables would rush unbidden into my mind, with tempting solicitation, on such occasions; so I could not always overcome the desire. I felt, to assist my own weakness with their power.
At first, I was very reserved and cautious; but by degrees, I became more bold and free, ånd at last too much so for the state of my feeble mind, and little faith ; hence the saying of St. Paul was again verified to me, viz." He that “doubteth is damned (or condemned) if he eat*, " because he eateth not of faith; for whatsoever " is not of faith is sin." , I
was, therefore, suddenly assaulted with such floods of dreadful thoughts, as overwhelmed my reason in a moment. In short, the gülfs of .perdition seemed to openli béo fore me at every step, and I was almost drowned in the great metaphysical deep! Then I felt, and thought I understood something of the following texts: “When He raiseth up
37* Eating and drinking are emblems' of reading, hearing, and thinking. Therefore in Scripture men are said to eat and digest books. Also Solomon gives directions for eating