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eternity near, the pleasures, honors, and riches of the world worthless, and the whole course of life I had pursued, extremely wicked and dangerous. For awhile the sovereignty of God appeared to me to be a capricious attribute, and my heart was full of those cavils and objections so common with the ungodly. I murmured against God. I refused to submit myself to his disposal, to yield obedience to his laws, or to trust in his Son for salvation. I labored to reform my life, and seemed to succeed. I labored to reform my heart, but all in vain. I repeated my efforts, and still failed of success.
“At length a change took place in my affections and views. I had new hopes and fears, new joys and sorrows, new attachments and aversions. O my God, what was that change? Did my heart then submit to thee, or was it delusion? Was that change only such as sinners may experience, and remain impenitent still; or was it a new creation? Two things, I think, are true concerning it.
“First. It is such a change as I have never experienced before or since. There was then an alteration in the state of my mind, of which I have never been conscious at any other time. But,
“Secondly.-It was not altogether such a change, as it appears to me the Bible describes. I sometimes find a difficulty in discovering in it any thing which answers exactly to being slain or crucified. I fear I was not entirely cut off, as by a sword, from all my self-righteous hopes, and carnal desires. I find a want of evidence, that the death-blow was struck.
“In some respects that change resembles regeneration, and in other respects it is unlike it. There seems in it something different from any of the operations of the unrenewed mind, and from all the modifications of sin. Still, considered as a genuine renovation of the heart, it appears to be attended with some great, if not radical defects. In short,
I am inclined to believe, that it is altogether unsafe for me to retain a hope that I am a Christian, unless I shall find very decisive evidence in considering the two other particulars proposed. If I there find, that what was apparently defective at first, has been improving since, my hope will be confirmed. The exercises, the nature of which I have now been examining, took place about eight years ago. I have had ample time for careful examination of the reasons of my hope, but would here record against myself, that I have criminally neglected the subject.
“August, 1816. II. What evidence of piety can ! obtain from my subsequent religious exercises? Here I propose to consider the several graces which constitute Christian character.
“First, I inquire respecting my LOVE to God.Look back, my soul, and review all thy religious exercises, then examine the present state of thy affections, and say, dost thou love God?-Are thy meditations of him sweet and delightful? Hast thou often, yea habitually, viewed him as present; and dost thou love to be in his presence? Dost thou rejoice in his greatness, and goodness, and holiness, and sovereignty? Is it thy delight, that he governs the Universe;—that thyself, thy concerns, and all other beings and interests are in his hands, and at his disposal, as the clay is in the hands of the potter? Is it thy happiness, that God has a perfect knowledge of thy character, as well as that of others? Wouldst thou, if it were possible, make any change in his attributes? Wouldst thou conceal any thing from Him? Is God the source of such happiness to thee, that thou couldst be satisfied in the enjoyment of him, were there no other being in existence! Does the consideration, that the Lord reigns, reconcile thee to thy lot, and thy trials, whatever they may be? Dost thou desire above all things else, that God may be honored,--that all intelligent beings may see his perfections,--that all his purposes may be ac
complished,--and that all things may be rendered subservient to the display of his glory? Dost thou feel a cordial interest in the advancement of his cause and kingdom; such as the true patriot feels in the cause of his country? Dost thou love him for his own perfections? Dost thou love him for the favors he bestows upon thee; and receive these favors as his unmerited gifts, bestowed on one most unworthy?-Dost thou long to be like him,—to love what he loves,-to hate what he hates,-to be happy in what pleases him,-and to be grieved with what offends him?—[ charge thee, my soul, by thine eternal interest, to put these questions to thyself; to weigh and answer them conscientiously, deliberately, impartially, seriously, prayerfully, and frequently.
“Sometimes I take great delight in contemplating the Divine character, law, and government. I long to be holy as God is holy, and to have others like him. The perfections exhibited in his works, and revealed in his word, are to me glorious and lovely.But still there are certain things, connected with God's government of the world, which have been exceedingly trying to me, and which at times give rise to feelings which I ought not to have. The world is full of sin and misery, which, had he seen fit, he could have prevented. When I have thought of this, I have murmured, queried, speculated. The fact is plain that God governs the world, and controls every event; and yet the world is full of sin and woe. I cannot discover the reasons why it is so; though I can see, that by this means God will have an opportunity to make manifest his abhorrence of sin, his justice, and his mercy. Had it not been so, there had been no displays of punitive jus» tice, no ransomed sinners, no bleeding Saviour, no songs of redeeming love in heaven. Still much darkness overspreads the subject. Restless curiosa ity starts many questions, to which no answer can be
found. Is my lieart, nevertheless, filled with love to this Supreme Governor, 'whose judgments are unsearchable, and whose ways are past finding out?'
"Once I was opposed to the sovereignty of God. But for more than eight years I have not been conscious of any such opposition; though at times, I think, I have had very clear views of this divine attribute. My mind has occasionally been perplexed with difficulties during this period, but has never, as before, felt unreconciled to the doctrine. I have had feelings in view of the subject directly the reverse of what I once had; and have rejoiced in view of divine sovereignty as heartily, as I once opposed it. I love to think of God as a holy, just, merciful, infinite Sovereign. When I see the world filled with sin and suffering, and am ready to sink at the melancholy spectacle, I find relief in reflecting, that the Lord reigns, that his dominion is over all. I would not take the sceptre out of his hands. "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad.' Rejoice O my soul. Call into exercise thy warmest affections, and be happy while lost in God, the fountain of excellence and bliss. Let thy love to him never grow cold, or weary, or inconstant.
“November. I inquire, secondly, respecting the NATURE OF MY REPENTANCE. My desire is to distinguish between the 'sorrow of the world,' and 'godly sorrow. The former I have often experienced; of the latter I cannot speak with so much confidence. Once I was blind to the evil of sin in general; and in particular to the number and aggravation of my own transgressions, I was alive without the law once,' -and except for some overt transgression, felt but little consciousness of guilt. But I have since realized, that sin is an evil and bitter thing; and that my own sins are exceedingly numerous and aggravated. I have felt at times, as if there was peculiar force and propriety in the expression,-plague of the heart. The leprosy lies
deep within.' I have felt that unbelief, obstinacy, vanity, and a host of sins both of heart and life, filled up my days, and made up my character. Many things, which once appeared lawful, and even laudable, appear now exceeding sinful and odious; and never more so, I think, than when all thought of punishment is out of mind. When I think of no one but myself, and of nothing but my past conduct and present state of heart, I abhor myself. When I think of my sins, as violations of God's reasonable and holy law, they appear inexcusable, and criminal beyond description. When I consider them as committed against God, they look like a compound of the most presumptuous rebellion, the most wanton ingratitude, the most wicked irreverence. When I dwell on their tendency, as it respects my fellowsinners, they seem to be unmixed malevolence.
"Sometimes I turn off my eyes from the more decent exterior, and take a view of my heart, looking down deep into its recesses, to canvass its motives, and watch its operations; and I feel a conviction, that I have been like a whited sepulchre full of all uncleanness. I can say that sin, especially my own, is to me indeed hateful. But there are some sins, of which I have often been guilty, that are attended with present gratification. Ilave I repented of these? Do they, the idea of punishment being out of mind, excite my abhorrence? Am I effectually weaned from them all? Alas!-the sinful propensities of my heart are not yet all slain.
But I hate them;-yes, I am sure, I hate them. But why? They disturb my peace, and expose my soul to ruin. Is this the reason I would look carefully and critically into this matter.
"Aft having looked at this question, as cautiously as I can, it does appear to me, that I can, by divine aid, slay my darling sins for the sake of my Saviour.
“Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die!