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administer fome kind of relief to one in my condition. He, observing the ghaftliness of my looks, and taking notice that somewhat ailed me, alked me how I did; to which I could not reply. He pressing to know what the matcer was, I ac length, in a very abrupt and broken manner, told him, that I was full of the apprehensions and fears thąt I was a damned man, and that there was no hopes of mercy for such a one as I was.
The minifter, somewhat surprised at fo sudden and fo great a change fince but the day before, began to examine what great and heinous fins one of my age, and one in fo encouraging circumstances as I was in, could be guilty of, which should occasion such fad despair. He mentioned some texts of scripture, thereby hoping to have given some relief to my weary gasping foul; but all in vain ; God's time of healing being not yet come; and finding by my frequent coming to him for case and comfort to how little purpose he had laboured with me, he at length advised me to ride into the country to vifit my father and other relations, and by that means, as also by exercising myself with such exercise as I formerly delighted in, as, Mooting with the gun, and angling, to divert my melancholy thoughts. This I was glad to hear of, my own inclinations leading so strongly to it: in order to the effecting of which I addressed myself to my Lord's housekeeper, entreating her to acquaint my Lord, that, in regard of fome present
indisposition under which I laboured, and in order to my health, I had not only an inclination, but was advised to visit my father in the country ; in order whereto I thought it convenient to acquaint his Lordship therewith, to the end I might obtain not only his Lordship's free consent, but also the liberty of a horse, to perform my intended journey. The housekeeper no sooner delivered my request to my Lord, but my Lord commands her to call me up into his chamber. As soon as I received the command, I fell immediately into a great sweat and fore trembling; up I went, and being entered into the chamber, my Lord locks the chamber, door, and laying his hat on a cabinet, fits down in his chair, and with an earnest and piercing eye looks on a pretty while before he speaks, 1 all the while sweating and quaking. At length my Lord begins with James, what ails you? What is the matter? I hear you go privately to ministers; there is somewhat ails you. What is it?" I, perceiving by my Lord's discourse, that the minister of the parish had acquainted my Lord with my case, found myself far more uneasy than before. My sweat and tremblings of soul increasing upon me, my Lord continued querying me, “What ails you, James ? tell me what is the matter.” I was so overwhelmed in my spirit, that my speech was swallowed up, as faith Job vi. 3. But my Lord not letting me alone, but with earnest importunities pressing to know what I ailed, I at length, as a poor con
demned caitiff hanging by a twine thread over hell's mouth, roared out as if my bowels had burst out of my body, crying, with great and unutterable groans and tears, “My good Lord, dear my Lord, I am afraid I am an undone creature; I am a damned man; there is no mercy for me." My Lord, perceiving by my looks and speech that I was in good earnest effectually wounded, with tears in his eyes, and with the greatest concernedness for me, began to play the spiritual physician, asking me, with great earnestness, what gross and crying sins, as adultery, murder, and the like, could one of my years be guilty of, as to occasion my falling into despair of mercy. And, said my Lord, admit you were guilty of such, and greater abominations, what reason have you for despair ? You must know that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world not to lay a load on you, but take your load off you: quoting Matt. xi. 29. Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you reft.
With many other texts of scripture, and comfortable expressions, he laboured to relieve and ease my burthened and sinking soul, but all in vain, God's time of curing my deep and desperate wound being not come. As touching my purpose of going into the country, my Lord told me I might use my freedom, but that his judgment and advice was, that it were better for me to stay than to go into the country; and that, because of the great
disadvantage which by going would accrue to me in the studies. My Lord, having declared his judgment what had been best for me to do, I told his Lordship I was resolved to take his advice, whatever came of me, and accordingly I did.
My fore continually ran, day and night, and ceased not: yea, my soul refused to be comforted! according to the words of the Psalmist, in the like case, Psal. lxxvii. 2. In the day of my trouble 1 fought the Lord: my fore ran in the night, and ceased not : my soul refused to be comforted.
I seemed to follow and to ply my studies rather for fashion fake, and for fear my Lord and my father should suspect that I loved idleness, rather than any love I had thereto, or hopes that ever it would turn to any account for good to myself or others.
When at any time I looked into a book, instead of heeding or minding what was in the book, the
my gnawing guilty conscience was fixed on the many fins I had committed against God; infomuch, that all the sins of my youth were, in all their black and aggravating circumstances, laid and held before me as a looking-glass, to fhew me what a monstrous sinner I was: according to that of David, Psal. li. 3. For I acknowledge my transgreshons, and my fin is ever before me.
Endless were the toilings and rowlings of my weary soul, from one sad confusion and despairing thought to another. Innumerable were the sorry
prayers, such as they were, and other duties, which I daily performed, to keep and relieve my despairing soul, but all in vain : which caused me to conclude that I had been much' wanting in the trade of works; and that had I not been so, I might have been acquainted with peace and comfort before
To the trade of doing I again addressed myself; resolving not to omit or leave undone any thing, which I understood, by reading or hearing, to be matter of duty. Praying, understand by the Common Prayer Book, for I knew no better; reading, fasting, and attending the most lively preachers, as I thought ; frequenting facraments; giving alms to the poor of what money my Lord and other relations handed out to me.
That place in Dan. iv. 27. Break of tby fins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, was oft in my thoughts, according to which I gave away whatever I got : yea, so addicted to relieve the
poor and needy was I, that I would give away my very apparel when I had no money. And all this from a pharisaical and superstitious conceit, that by those acts of duty and service I should recompense God for those sins which, like a mill-stone on the back of a man, were sinking my soul into the gulph of desperation.
I did abound more and more in strict and circumspect walking according to do and live, the condition and tenure of the covenant of works, under which I was labouring for life. The more