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I know not whether I have ever felt that overwhelming sense of sin, which some have experienced; but I still think, that for eight years past nothing has been so disagreeable, so odious to me, as sin. Lord, thou know est my heart. Is not sin my greatest burden, the object of my strong aversion, and settled detestation.
“December.-I inquire, thirdly, respecting the GENUINENESS OF MY FAITH. Am I a believer? Do the exercises of my mind, as they have been for some years past, afford evidence that I am a child of God; that mine is a living faith? Let me inquire respecting my faith in God-in Christ—in the Holy Ghost -in the promises and threatenings of the Bible. Do I believe there is a God? My understanding assents to the evidence of his existence. But with my heart and soul do I believe, that there is one Supreme Being who created, who upholds, and who governs all things? I think I am not deceived, when I answer, yes. Much of the time during the past eight years, I have had a very different sense of Divine existence, from what I formerly had. I now think of God, as a Being, of whose existence I feel as well assured, as of my own. I think of him, as the Governor of the Universe, and I realize a calm and secret confidence in his government. I never confided so implicitly in my best friend, as I sometimes am enabled to confide in God; he is my Supporter in trouble; my Light in darkness; my Guide in doubt; my Refuge in danger; my Benefactor; my All. In time of fear, perplexity, and trial, I fly to him, and trust in him to scatter the clouds, or to enable me to endure the storm. His Name is indeed a strong tower. I would run into it and be safe. This evening I feel a sweet peace in my soul, while I commit whatever respects my education, character, health, life, usefulness, and salvation, to the hands of God. I can place unbounded confidence in his government, and leave all to his disposal.
Jan. 5, 1817. This morning I would inquire respecting my faith in Christ. I have read what the Bible says of him, and what Christians have thought concerning him. I have examined the different views which individuals have had of Christ; and endeavored to ascertain what true faith in him is. And now by the light of revelation I would look into my heart, and see whether true faith can there be found. Have I felt my own need of a Saviour, -and in Jesus of Nazareth have I recognized the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world?' Have I had a lively perception of his divine fulness, and the efficacy of his blood; and received him as my Prophet, Priest, and King? My heart is deceitful, and I am afraid to trust it.—Divine Redeemer, search me and try me, and show me what I am.
see the precise state of my affections towards thee. Show me what are my real views of thy dignity and official character. Lord, thou knowest all things;dost thou not know, that I believe in thee, and rely entirely on thee for salvation? Have I any other Saviour-any other Hope?
"Evening.-My views of Christ to-day, though not enrapturing, have been comforting. And now I am beset with the temptation to give a favorable coloring to my feelings, such as facts will not justify. But what would this avail? I cannot deceive Omniscience. What if I should describe such views and feelings, as Edwards, or Pearce had? Would it make me feel, as they did? No--This temptation, however, shows me something of my heart, of its hypocrisy and wickedness. May I always take occasion from such unhallowed workings of my heart, to inspect critically its operations, and detect the wrong which lies there concealed.Yes, thou deceitful heart, when thou dost prompt me to listen to temptation, I will bring thee to light, and expose thy corruption;- I will watch and pray. With so much depravity how greatly do I
need a Saviour-just such a Saviour as IMMANUEL? O he is precious. Without his all-sufficient help I must perish. In him then let me trust.
And can he, will he receive such a wretch? ‘Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief.'
"Jan. 12. Have been to-day to the table of my Lord, and contemplated the memorials of his body and blood. This was a time for the exercise of faith. But I have had reason to complain of my dulness, especially my wandering thoughts; though at some precious moments my faith fixed on Jesus, as my Lord and my God.
"In the examination of myself, to which, for some months, I have been attending, I have been too negligent. It is now my heart's desire that the Holy Spirit may assist me, in being more thorough, more discriminating, more impartial. If my religious affections can be accounted for from the influence of sympathy, education, religious society, selfrighteousness, or hypocrisy, may I know it. I desire to discover the worst of myself. Blessed Spirit, enable me to watch carefully every emotion of my soul, and to classify its exercises according to their moral character.
“Jan. 15. What is my faith in the Holy Spirit? I have a firm belief in his personal existence and influence. Is this belief practical? This morning I have felt deeply the need of his influences. There is nothing I desire so much for myself and my friends, as the influences of the Holy Ghost. I am clearly convinced, that my sins will prevail, and my Iusts increase their strength in spite of all my efforts, unless the Holy Spirit purify and elevate my affections. I am persuaded that he can give me humility, repentance, benevolence, faith, love, and every grace. Blessed Agent in the work of salvation, it is thine to sanctify; 0 let thy purifying influences come into my soul, and make me holy,
“Jan. 19. Let me inquire to-day respecting my faith in the promises and threatenings of the Bible. I open the word of God and read the promises; promises to individuals and to the church, embracing temporal and spiritual blessings. How shall I determine, whether my views on this subject are those of a true believer? I know the views of a thoughtless sinner; and am conscious of the fact, that mine have been changed in respect to this subject. · But are my new views right? When my prospects are the darkest, and when Zion is covered with a cloud, do I find relief in recurring to what God has promised? I can distinctly recollect seasons, when, after such a view of myself, and of the state of the world, as tended to depress my spirits, some promise of God has come to my mind; my fears were removed, my hope supported, my soul relieved. Whatever God has said shall be, I can often view as fact: I think I can live upon
promises which are exceeding great and precious.
“The threatenings of Jehovah also demand implicit faith. He has threatened to punish his children, when they wander; to pour out his fury upon his enemies, and punish them with everlasting destruction. Do I habitually realize the truth and import of these threatenings? Though I sometimes have but a faint sense of Jehovah's wrath against sin; yet at other times I have a clear perception of the propriety of his executing his threatenings, as he has assured us he will do. I have occasionally experienced an emotion of complacency, mingled with dread, when contemplating the wrath of God, which is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness;' for he will thus honor his name, and fulfil his word, Let me then fear to sin, and turn speedily from all iniquity.
“February. If love to God, repentance, and faith, differ essentially from the exercises and affections which bave been described, as my own, I ain as yet
unable to discover the difference. From day to day I enjoy some delightful contemplations of Godmy meditations on his character and government are sweet. I have also humbling views of myself as a sinner; guilty every day and hour of some sinful thought, feeling, or action. I take great delight in resting on God, as the Governor of the world; on Christ, as my only Redeemer; on the Holy Spirit, as my Sanctifier. But though I find, upon a general examination of my religious experience, so much comfort and hope; yet, I discover so many defects, and so much danger of deception, that I would search still further, and inquire respecting the fruits of holiness.
“O omniscient Spirit, as I proceed, discover to me the genuine traits of Christian character, and the real state of my own heart. Help me to sit, as an impartial judge, on myself, and let me not mistake the character and tendency of my words and actions. Give me patience to pursue the investigation, and faithfully to weigh evidence as it rises. If I am deceived, may the discovery be made to me; and, if I am thine, may I be confirmed in my faith and hope. Amen.
"Dec. 1818. III. What external fruits of piety are exhibited in my life? Though true religion consists essentially in a right state of heart; yet, "the tree is known by its fruits; and, 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Professions and hopes are vain, is the life is not regulated by the word of God. Do I bring forth the fruits of righteousness? Though perhaps, the Christian never says a word, or performs an action, which the sinner may not say or do; yet there must, on the whole, be a very great difference between the life and conversation of a saint, and of a sinner. When I review my life, I find much reason for indulging fears and doubts. I serve myself. I am influenced by the example, the maxims, and the advice of the world.