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À thore Account of the Experience of Mě. JÁmés Bérekter, T WAS born December 20, 1770, at a place called Cowlitiah I Lane, in the parish of Crampton, Lançathire. God, as a tender parent, began to draw me by the Cords of Love at a very early period; I can remember being under serious impressions at three years of age : at this time I was often led to meditare upon, and in qoire after God; I wondered where, and how he lived. I often rambled into the fields, and looked upon the works of the Almighty that lay within my observation, with amazément. I had a great defre to know how he made the grass to grow, and the flowers, to be : fo variegated. My infant mind was frequently impressed with horror when I heard tell mentioned; but was. filled with great joy when I heard the pleasures and happiness of beaven described. My parenis were pharisees of the strictest seat, of the Church of England; they watched over mê with great exa&tness, and my convictions waxed stronger and stronger. ..
At ten years of age, fome fcriptures were opened to me in such a manner, that I could not read them without being much affected, and some times bursting into a flood of tears. One day wbile I was reading at fchool, the parable of the Housholder who had planted a vineyard and digged a wine-press in it, I thought I was þike one of thofe ungrateful Hufbandmen who had killed his son by nry sins; I attempted to shut the book, but my Master inffed upon my proceeding : In the attempt, I dropped down as though I bad been dead; I thought that I should go to hell for ny wickedness. Sin appeared to be exceeding fipful, and the secret inquiry of my heart was, “ What fhall I do to be saved ?". But I did not know what to do, nor where to go for inftru&ion or.comfort. As the word of God and religious books augmented my mifery, I hared them with a perfect hatred, I strove to get into all kinds of irreligious company, to divert my mind from serious impreflions, I grasped at every cmpty shadow that presented itfell, but alas was always disappointed.
Thas I continued to sin, and repent, till the year 1984, when it pleased God to bring me among the Methodists. One of my aunts who was in connection with the fociety, came io my father's on a visit, and had desired a preacher to call upon her, 'When I was acquainted with this circumftance, I went into the workshop to the servants and told them, in a satirical way, “ that a Methodili
parson was to come to our house." This being such a phæno. menon to me, I was determined to see him. But as soon as I came in his presence, I was convinced that his countenance was expressive of something different from other men; and it seemed as if a voice from heaven had said, “ this man has 'got what you want to constitute you happy.” I began to weep like a Magdalen at the feet of Jesus, saying, with Saul, “ Lord, what woulde ft thou have me to do!” I took up the Bible, killed and bathed it with my tears, resolving to break off my sins by repentance.
I began now to pray in secret five or six times a day, and to attend all the means of grace. Sometimes I was drawn by love, at others impelled by fear. I saw the flaming sword of justice suspended over my guilty head; the Law condemned, Conscience accused, Heaven appeared to frown, and Hell to be moved from beneath to meet me at my coming. Yet I could not help but love Jesus; yea, I thought if I was damned, I should love him, because he first loved me. I was received into society at Oldham by Mr. William Thompson. My class-leader gave me great encouragement, and often enforced the doctrine of Justification by faith. . I frequently walked into the fields to lament my sin and unbelief. When con. templating the works of God in the creation, I thought, every thing can praise God, but such an unworthy finner as me. The heavens manifeft his glory, the vegetables display his boundless wisdom and goodness, and all the animated world, from the highest to the lowest order, offer up their praises, and do the will of their almighly, all-wise Creator; but I, for whom the incarnate God has blushed in blood, cannot praise him! O! wreiched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?", i,
I continued thus. 10 weepand mourn before the Lord till the latter, end of the year 1786. One evening as I was going to a public prayer-meeting, being in a desponding Itate of mind, I cried out, " What shall I do? I know nothing, I feel nothing, I can do • nothing that is good; I am exhorted to believe, but to my "! apprehension, I can as soon pluck the fun from its. cenier. "! Surely I am a mark of God's vindi&tive; inflexible justice!” I had not walked many yards, before I was sruck with the greatest amazement: : All my darkness instantly turned into light, my grief into joy, and despair into a blessed hope full of immortality. The whole face of nature appeared to be changed, and seemed to proclaim the greatness of redeeming Love. But I did not enjoy thiş delightful sense of the divine presence many hours, before Satan, who seeks to devour the new born babes in Christ, assaulted me wiih many temptations, and suggested, that I was deceived ; that it was only an emotion of the animal spirits arising from some physical cause, or that he had transformed himself into an Angel of Light ; and that I had no scripture applied to my mind. As I was afraid of being deceived in a matter of such great importance, I cast away my confidence; I apprehended myself fariher from the kingdom of God than before. But the Lord bad compassion upon
: me, and appeared again to my fainting soul. He restored the witness of his spirit, and applied his precious promises, particularly Isaiah liv. 5, with such power to my mind, that all doubts and unbelieving fears were removed. I now supposed that my spiritual winter was past, and that I should enjoy an eternal summer under the kind influence of the beams of the sun of righteousness. I often sung with unspeakable pleasure,
My God is reconcild,
His pardoning voice I hear :
I can no longer fear :
And Father, Abba, Fatber, cry. I found the service of the Lord to be perfeet freedom and peace: my heart was enlarged after sinners, and I thought I could suffer any thing to bring them to Christ, The language of my soul was,
• Come all the world: come finner thou;
“ All the world would love him too." I remembered the words of our Lord to Peter, “ When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," and therefore I began to give a word of exhortation, when I had opportunity, which the Lord owned and blessed. Sometimes I was sorely harrassed by a subtle enemy; but the grace of God was sufficient for me, and I went on my way rejoicing in the God of my salvation.
In the latter end of the year 1787, and the beginning of 1788, I bad very strong impreslions to preach the gospel of the Redeemer; but I trembled at the thought, and treated these impressions as so many devices of the enemy. The affliction of mind which I had on this occasion, was much greater than any thing I had ever before experienced : I thought, were I to open my mind to any person, considering my youth and little experience, they would advise me to decline such an undertaking. The more I Atrove to relift the secret impulse, the stronger were my convictions. When I was pleading my cause with God, and laying my youth before him as an excuse, saying, " Ah, Lord God, behold I cannot speak, for I am but a child, Send by whom thou wilt, but send 'not me; I am ignorant, and know nothing as I ought: What can I say to promote thy glory?" The Lord was pleased to silence my .objec. tions, by the application of some scriptures, accompanied with so much of the divine presence, that I was for a moment a new çreature. When I walked out alone, it often seemed as if a congregation were before me, and being led out of myself by these vigionary ideas, I frequently exclaimed aloud, before I was aware,
" O! for a Trumpet's voice
oper.e. they rove wher
· Being under the influence of two powerful motives, the Love of Christ to the Church and the world, and the terrors of the Lord against sinners; I made a covenant with him, that if he would open a way for me, I would embrace the firft opportunity: At this time, a friend unknown to me, made an engagenlent for me to preach at a place called Flathead, in Halifax Circuit. I much objected to the engagement, till recollecting the vow which I had made unto the Lord. When I got to the place appointed, I never dreaded the terrors of hell more, than I did the fight of the hour in which I was to preach, but the Lord was better to me than all my fears.
By this time I was teduced to a very relaxed, and low habit of body; it was therefore thought proper I should go to Harrowgate waters in Yorkshire, were it pleased God to strengthen both body and mind. When I returned home I was appointed a local preacher and continued in this sphere of action, a subject of many temptations; (but grace much more abounded) with somě fruit of my poor labours, till the year 1791, when I was called into Coln Circuit. My new sphere of action brought new temptations and troubles. Though I was much blessed in preaching, yet I began to call every thing into question relative to my experience, and the Work of the ministry. I had great struggles of mind arising from three caufes: First, whether I was called to preach the gospel, and what evidence I could produce in favour of that call; for Satan told me I had none. Secondly, whether I fhould obey God or man, becaufe it did not meet with my Father's approbation. Thirdly, my inability for fo great a work; I saw that all I could say, came infinitely short of exploring the mystery of a juft, holy, and purę Law; the stupendous fyltem of redemption; the my iterious influe ence and operations of the Holy Spirit'; and all the heights and depths of grace. I had no rest either night or day; reafonings crowded in upon me, till I thought I could neither pray nor preach. Every thing I did or faid, in the discharge of my office, appeared to be fuperficial and a vain attempt: Life itself became & burden, and I wished rather to die than to live. I often resolved fo leave the Circuit; one day I was determined to put my resolu.. tion into practice, and went to the stable to take my horse, but was prevented by the door being locked:' I returned to my rooin, weary and heavy laden, and fell prostrate before the Lord, my eyes overflowing with tears, and blood gushing up at my mouth. - 01 how did I long for the fatal Iroke! My health being much impaired, it was judged expedient to consúlt Dr. Hamilion of Leeds, by whose prescriptions, through the bleffing of lieaven, and the tender' care of an affectionate people, amongIt'whoro I laboured, I got much better. Towards the latter end of the year my faith was ftrengthened, and I had an increase of the comforts of the Holy Spirit.
At the Conference in 1992, I was appointed for Leicester Circuit, to travel with Mr. Longley, who had been a Father to me
1; the formations of no reft eittit I coulcharge of miler
die ihalempt: Large of pra
in all my afli&tions the year before. The Lord revived his work in several places. The first time I preached at Leicesser, I had the pleasure of seeing one awakened and others much affected under the word. I spent the greatest part of the year at Coventry, where the Lord removed prejudice from the minds of many, and increafed the number of our little flock : He likewise favoured me with frequent manifestations of his love. I had a good oppoştu: nity for retirement, which contributed greatly to my peace; as I never found my foul more happy than when fecluded from the world, and engaged in contemplating those fubjeéis which are calculated to furnish the mind wiih useful knowledge.' :
· At the Conference in 1793; I was appointed for Nottingham, . I went with much diffidence, left I should not profit the people ;
but this was foon removed, by their hospitable spirit and brotherly love. I fpent this year with much profit to myself; and found that sufficient unto the day was the grace thereof. I felt a willing, nefs to suffer, as well as to reign with Christ. The facrament of the Lord's fupper was a bond of union to us, and an ordinance of peace and love .
At the Conference in 1794, I was appointed to labour in Glamorganshire. From the accounts which I had received of Wales, I expected this to be a year of trial, but blessed be his Name, who causeth all the occurrences of providence to work together for good to them that love him, I found his service to be perfect freedom. Though it has been a year of great labour yet we have had peace and prosperity in our borders: Indeed some dead branches were broken off from the living vine, but others were grafted in, after being convinced of fin and savingly born again of the spirit.
When I reflect upon the kindness of God to such an unworthy fioner. I think I cannot conclude my imperfe&t account in lạn: guage more consonant with my present views and experience, than that of the Apostle's, “ Having obtained help of God, I continue unto this day :". Unto whom, with the Lamb who hath washed me from my fins in his own blood, be ascribed glory, falvation, and dominion, for ever and exer. Amen.
· Two DISCOURSES on CHRISTIAN PERFECTION,
By Mr. MATHER.
DISCOURSE I. : Having thele promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of GOD, 2 Cor. vii. 1. THE persons here addressed, are the Believers at Corinth,
* These had already received the Grace of God; and although in time paits they had been uprighteous, yet now, they