« PoprzedniaDalej »
• allur'd with the Arguments it uses to urge it; having been all along possess'd that it was my Duty, so I was more easily Inclin'd to it. At length by my Intense Reading of this Book, and being delighted with the Meditations, Soliloquies, and Passionate Parsages of it, my whole Thoughts were taken up with the Things of another World, and I grew cool to all the Delights of this. While these Thoughts were upon me, the Lord's-Day came welcome to me which I was prepar'd to Sanctify, according to the Directions of my Book, and former Instructions, which I had long before receiv'd with my Education ; but never found my self so willing to Practice them, as Then. On that Day my Thoughts were wholly ta"ken up with Religious Contemplations; so that when I went into my Chamber in the Evening, and there made a Recollection of my whole Life, according to the Schemes for Examination, which I had in the Practice of Piety and other Books, and being taken up. in an intense consideration of my Sins, and my Duty; of God, and Heaven, and Hell, &c. my Affections were rais’d to a pitch higher than Ordinary, and my Spirits more fix'd and compos'a. I then prostrated my self before God, and humbled my self for my Sins; being, as' I imagin’d, in such a pitch of Godly Sorrow, as wou'd answer the Characters of it, which my Book propos'd to me. Then taking up Resolutions of Amend. ment, and begging Strength of God, I rose
up from my knees, in a pleas'd Perswalion that the work of Repentance (which my Book told me I must begin with, and be very Solemn) was past. And that now, I might with comfort pass on, to the Methodical Practice of the Duties of Religion. So I chearfully lay down, and chearfully rose. I read the Bible, I Pray'd, making use of the Forms in the Practice of Piety and other Books that I had, and on Sunday Mornings more largely confessing my Sins, and exámining my self. Thus went I chearfully on, endeavouring to maintain my Ground, and persist in my Practice; Rejoycing much that the work of Conversion as I thought, was past with me, which the Books I then Read, and the Persons that Discours'd with me, had so much possess’d me with. Nevertheless under what Opinion or Notion sqever I
then did it, I do, as I have just cause, Bless © and Praise the God of Heaven; That he did
so early let me see, what was the Practice ¢ of Godliness; That I enjoy'd so great an encouragement after Holiness, as a tast of the Sweetness of įt. For this great and distinguishing Goodness of the Lord, my Soul
doth and ever will Praise his Holy Name ! • At this time Mr. Tenison my Master (of whose
Religious Care of me I shall always have a very grateful Remembrance) Discours’d with me about Receiving the Sacrament; I readily consentéd, not being a little Rejoiced at the Invitation, which seem'd to come as it were from God himself. So ! practis’d the
Directions - Directions which my Books gave me, and
endeavour'd to prepare my self according ' to my Light and Ability. My Notions of ' it were obscure, for the rooks I had read ' were so, and very Allegorical. Yet I hope
God will lay no Sinto my Charge, that might ' arise from thepce; since it was what I was
then capable of, from the Instructions I had.
These were the happy Beginnings of Mr. Bonnell's Piety: And what mighty Advances in Religion might not be hop'd from a Zeal so Early, and yet so strong ? How few, even in their Happiest Periods of Life, when their Reason is best Improv'd, and their Graces most Lively and Vigorous, can give a better Account of their Piety, than Mr. Bannell in the beginning of his Youth ?- How firm and lasting must the Building be, whose Foundation was so deeply laid ? And such his Piety prov'd, encreasing with his Reason and Years, . till all were compleated in a Happy Eternity.
At Fourteen Years of Age, being fit for the University, he was remov'd from Trym-School: But his Friends who were nicely Solicitous about his Education, chose to send him to a Private Philosophy-School in Oxfordshire ; believing bim there, more out of the way of Temptation; and resolving pot to expose him to the Infectious Dangers of a great City, and numerous Acquaintance. But how much Per. sons of the like Sentiments, are mistaken in their Opinions of these private Seminaries, may appear from Mr. Bonnell's Account of
that, which his Friends made choice of for him, and preferr'd to all our Famous Seats of Learning. I was sent (Says be to Oxfordshire to a Private House, for fear of being Corrupted at the University: Our Tutor was Mr. Cole, who had formerly been Principal of St. Mary-Hall in Oxford; He Read to us Aristotles-Philosophy, and Instructed us in " the Classics and Oratory: He Preach'd Twice every Sunday to his family and Us : Here I stay'd Two Years and a Half; but my Unhappiness was, that there was no Practice of receiving the Sacrament in that place, so that I could have no solemn Earnest, ' and serious Recollection of my self; neither were my Associates such, from whom I might learn any part of Godliness, but on the contrary all Debauchery; so that my Friends Care seem'd herein to be deluded, had I not been otherwise Principl'd before, and had some Tincture of my Trym Sentiments, still on my Mind : Our Tutor was 'too Remiss in matters of Morality and Re'ligion, tho' I cannot accuse himself of any
! thing that was III. At last he concludes, ! I cannot with comfort refle&t upon the time spent
in that place, And he has been often heard to say, when speaking of that Private School,
That in it were all the Dangers and Vices of the ! University without the Advantages.
From Oxfordshire he remov'd to Catherine Hall in Cambridge, having been Entered there, a Year before, by his friend and Kinsman Mr. Strype then of the same House. There his
Tutor was the Learned Doctor Calamny, who upon several Occasions express'd the Esteem he had for his Pupil, commending him to Mr. Strype and Others for his Learning, Gravity, and Manliness, both in Discourse and Behaviour ; but chiefly for his Constancy at Religious Duties, being hardly ever known to miss Prayers, all the time he continu'd at Cambridge, Here he enjoy'd all those Advantages the want of which he lamented so much before; the frequent returns of the Sacrament kept his Mind in a true Devout Frame, put him upon the strictest Re-searches into his past Life, and the most folemn and serious Resolutions of adhering to his Duty. Here also he had Friends and Companions, every way suited to his own Genius and manner of Life, such as were most remarkable for their Parts and Piety i The chief of which were Doctor Gouge, late Minister of St. Martyns in the Fields, London
; Doctor Blackall, Minister of St. Mary Aldermary, London ; and Mr James Calamy, his Tutor's Brother. Here he pursued all those Methods of Devotion he had begun before, and went on to farther degrees of Religious Strictness; particularly, here he first resolv’d upon keeping Fasting Days, which all his Life after he Religiously observ'd. This
(fay's be) is what all Books of Devotion ! Commend, and what I had known to be the ? Practice of several Religious Persons. Look‘ing upon it therefore as my Bounden Duty, ! I bethought my self what Day of the Week wou'd be molt Convenient, and without