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plexing cogitations and thoughts what it should be. Be sent to hell, think I; Lord! what's that? And be damned; bless me! think I, what's this to be damned ? Dear reader, believe me, I had read in scripture the words Hell, and Damned, with the term Converted; but no more did I understand the sense or the meaning of the one or the other of those three words than a beast, At length I began in my thoughts to fix on something what this strange thing should be, or mean; and the result caine to this: I did conceive and strongly apprehend that Hell and Damned were some ugly, frightful, and dangerous thing, to the which should I be brought I should be a fad and undone creature for ever! As to the other, viz. Converted, I did verily think it meant no more than the leaving off, or ceasing from those mad and youthful pranks of profaning the Sunday; as I then called the Lord's Day, with feveral other immoralities to which I had been exceedingly and wretchedly addicted: and in the stead or room of those vain and wretched practices, to fall upon a serious and sober living; both of which, I fully concluded, lay within the compass of my own free will and natural power to effect.
Accordingly I fell to work, deserting and throwing off both my wicked companions, and also my dearly beloved sports and sinful pastimes. To the Bible, and Practice of Piety, a book I dearly loved, I addressed myself with all imaginable devotion and seriousness. And being fully resolved on a thorough
work of conversion, that so I might shun and escape hell and being damned, I became very bookish, looking into almost every book, wherever I came, to try whether I could meet with any help which might forward me in my new trade of religion. Among other books wherewith I met, Mr. Baxter's Call to the Unconverted came into my hands; the which I did no sooner open, but its title-page invited my fancy to make choice of it for my chief companion : the which I also did, blessing myself in that book more than with any other wherewith I had met; the more and oftener I read it, the more was I enamoured with it; even to a preferring it before God's own sacred book. So suited was it to the purpose I had then engaged in, viz. to work out of inyfelf, and in my own strength, that great work of converfion. To my course of reading and praying, by those forms of prayer in the Common Prayer Book and Practice of Piety, I joined very strict and severe fasting: taking up a resolution that I would, in a moft solemn manner, observe two days in every week, viz. Wednesday and Friday, for my fasting days: the which I also did, even to such a degree of pharifaical severity, that I almost rendered my body unfit for any service. But converted I must be, and converted I was resolved to be, whatever it cost me; in order whereto I kept my religious doings of duty, both negatively and positively, with such a constant and zealous elaborateness, that I verily
believe it would be hard to find one among the Romißh monks who could in all respects match me, or outdo me, at the trade of serving God in that way I fell in with.
It can hardly be told, much less believed, how great zeal I had for God, and how restless my active and working spirit was to be with him in heaven; though I neither knew God according to truth, nor the way to him, no more than a poor Pagan who never heard of him. I had such low, gross, and carnal thoughts and apprehensions of the Deity, that I am very apt to conclude the very Heathen had far higher and more fublime conceptions of their fictitious gods than I had of that tremendous and inconceivably glorious God whom I so ignorantly worshipped. I was wonderfully zealous in all religious performances wherein I did at that time engage, both in private and also in publick. In my private duties I was marvellously retired and secret; being full of apprehensions how ill constructions would, by all sorts of people, be put upon my so severe and strict way of living; and for better accomplishment whereof I singled out a very convenient place, than which I thought no place better for my turn and purpose: it was in a little room on the top of the castle wherein my father lived. In that room I spent the most of my time, in fafting, praying, and reading my books; especially my darling and chief admired and beloved book, Mr, Baxter's Call to the Uncon
verted. When I found myself much wearied with reading, I would sometimes divert myself by walking on the top of the castle; during which diversion I did often hear the shouts and enticing calls of iny wicked companions, to bring me back again to my newly-forsaken sports and sinful pastime.
It was no small matter to encounter with the workings of nature, and the violent temptations of the devil, both joining together in suggesting and framing arguments to induce to a willing and ready compliance with those calls and invitations, to what I loved and liked, as dearly as the daily food I lived by. Oh! the strange workings which I found in myself during these combats. The un
I had loved and delighted in fo dearly, calling and inviting; the strong bent and inclination of the flesh drawing; and a fubtil and violent devil tempting, and persuading to return. What ! forsake thy dear companions, and thy fweet delightful sports and pleasures, at this rate? What! to game or sport no more for ever? Alas! poor wretch, what good wilt thou get by betaking thyself to this pensive, sad, and melancholly kind of life? Thou hast had experience of the sweetness and delightfulness of that way of living which thou art now forsaking. The many and fore miseries and troubles attending this new course of life which thou art fo fond of, and on which thou art so refolutely bent, do not yet appear in their black and formidable colours; there
fore be wife in time, go back to thy deserted companions, and freely embrace thy forsaken sports and pleasures before thou be too far gone in this fond and dangerous way thou art gotten into, or else thou wilt repent when it is too late. Besides these assaults from the devil, and the continual ebullitions of my stinking and vile nature, which did frequently surround me with new and fresh attacks to draw me back again, I met with new and unlooked for discouragements from my relations; who, taking notice of the great and strange change which evidently appeared in me, frequently assailed my weak and poor beginnings in piety and religion, with hard speeches and unbecoming language against that precise and severe course of life I had so lately embraced, telling me, with great asseverations, that I should most certainly bring myself to downright madness by reading the scriptures so much.
Note, reader, by the way, how great an antipathy there is in the devil, and in unregenerate sinners, to the sacred scriptures; a sure argument that they are the pure and infallible word of God. These things, accompanied with innumerable mocks, taunts, and jeers, which on all occasions were heaped on my name and practice, proved some occasion of startling and discouragement to me.
But the fixed apprehensions I had of being sent to hell to be damned, in case I became not and continued a convert, did abundantly outdo all the oppositions which lay, or met me, in my way of 6