Изображения страниц

"Nov. 6, 1778.-About the middle of last summer, I was affected in conversation with Woodbridge, and until the vacation, at intervals was anxious about the important concerns of eternity. At times I was buried in thought, and unable to communicate my feelings. In a great measure I lost my relish for vain company, and trifling conversation. The serious seemed more suitable to my circumstances. I desisted from such bodily exercises as my classmates engaged in, not because I deemed them unlawful, but through fear my mind would be diverted from the grand object of pursuit-lest ye let them. slip.'

One evening I was much affrighted at thunder, fearing every clap would be commissioned to strike such a wretch from the earth and send him to the fell regions of despair. Before this, I do not remember to have been ever fearful of that lively emblem of the voice of God.

Sometimes, to a small degree, I was conscious of my own vileness; and at other seasons I seemed to be full of prayer to God. One evening I laboured under delusion, but thanks to God, soon became convinced of it.


I have also almost wished to be brought low by sickness, that I might realize eternity, and see if that would not produce a reformation. Providentially I had opportunity to know what effect this would have but the ship's keel leaves no impression in the waves. As I was much alone last summer, I fancied that to be the period of renovation, or at least that I should be savingly changed in the time of vacation, when I should have no other concerns. But alas ! summer and vacation are past, and God only knows whether my heart is any better.

I am now happily settled for a time: 0 that it might be a good opportunity to my soul.

A few evenings since I was much pleased with the doctrine of free grace; for it is calculated to humble the creature, and give all glory to God the creator.

Nov. 7.-0 that God would discover to me my state and condition. I I pray that I may be preserved from delusions.

Nov. 8.-Alas! this must be reckoned with my mispent Sabbaths. My imagination has been upon the wing, and my heart, not to say my eyes, -Death will soon draw the curtain, and discover my folly. How dismal the prospect of launching into the open world, with no better guide than my own frailty.

Nov. 10. Methinks I sow the wind, and shall reap the whirlwind. Oh! giddy world! Oh! unthinking youth! Is not time too short, too precious, thus to be trafficked away for vanity? The gay, delicate, and smiling fair must be shrouded in the grave, and given a prey to worms.

Nov. 16-I follow after vanity, and fawn to folly. Amazing! that I am so besotted. Neither happiness, nor piety, nor profound science are to be obtained from without the cabinet is their favourite residence; and in the cabinet, my friends, I will court you. What would


my consternation should the King of Terrors approach me in my giddy rants? Amazing stupidity! and amazing benignity!

Dec. 29, 1778.-Some anxious care almost perpetually corrodes our breasts; but I am persuaded that friendship in purity affords the greatest temporal felicity. We may carry the idea further, into the world of spirits, and by placing our affections upon the supreme essence of excellence and source of eternal delights we shall find our highest good. My time passes agreeably and usefully, but too carelessly. Spend not a moment in vain.

Jan. 13, 1779.-Religion must be cultivated, and Heaven begun. in this life, or it will never be perfected in the future. Resolved to be more serious; to observe a greater decorum in all my deportment; to avoid mimickry; and to shun slander. To kill evil in the bud, let me strive to have a good heart. Let some hours go to solitude and devotion, which alas! has been too long neglected; in consequence of which I have found a cold heart, and love for holiness languishes in my breast.

Jan. 14.-I am weary with this labour of folly, and sickly sound of dull impertinence. Long enough have I been fraught with laughter, and wearied with unrefined, mixed company, in which one must sit as a mope or assume the uncouth air of a pedant. When I spend time in company, I expect to enjoy some pleasure or be of some profit; either diversion without labouring after it, amusement without pain, or utility without pedantry.

Jan. 17.-Thanks to God for any returns of his Spirit. Spread all thy sails, O my soul, to catch these gentle gales that blow from HeaIf rightly improved they may be strong enough to waft thee into the safe port of unutterable bliss.


Allure and delay the celestial dove, lest, being turned away grieved, it return no more.

Divine Immanuel, please to fulfil to thy lingering servant thy gracious promise of sending the Comforter. O delay not, lest I die.Who, without thine assistance, is sufficient to maintain a warfare against the combined force of the allurements of the world, our corrupt inclinations, and the legions of hell!

January 23d. A slay-ride now I have had, of thirty six miles, and have been favoured with the best of slaying, and with the best of gay company. What a toil after pleasure! happiness I have not found, and surely no profit. My devotion has been fulled to sleep; my mind has not been enlarged; and if I have had the honour of good company, worthless fellows have had the same.

Feb. 2, 1779.-I fear I am lulled to sleep in the cradle of carnal security; and am slumbering over my own damnation. May that infinitely kind being, who, I have reasons to think has begun a good work in me, carry it on to perfection: and though the Holy Spirit has been often grieved, may he return and complete his work.

Feb. 1779.-Ripton. Greatly has my stupidity increased, methinks, since I have been in this place. My breast has been seldom warmed with devotion: my thoughts have been little upon eternity. This evening a momentary ardour shot through my breast; but alas!

how transient. At times I well nigh faint, fearing that I shall never be any better, and that the Holy Spirit has deserted me. The world has gained such ascendency over me, that I fear I shall become more and more cold in religion until I am cold in the dust. I seem more hardened in sin, more callous to the admonitions of Pro vidence, and more formal in all duties which are not neglected. Secret prayer and self examination have been for a season almost wholly neglected. The vanities of the world have engrossed my thoughts, and the toys of life have been converted into objects of serious attention. I am now forming habits for life, and shall grow better or worse till its close. At this crisis, how great is my danger! Admonitions I have had repeatedly. The voice of Providence has been sufficiently loud to wake any one not dead in stupidity. Just as I made my appearence in this world, I was called back to the threshold of another. I was exposed to many hardships by the loss of my mother; lost my sight during four days by the meazles; had the small-pox in the natural way, and was brought very low by it; have frequently fallen from horses, and from a high elevation in a barn; and have been more than once in perils by water; but God has delivered me. What shall I render to the Lord for all his goodness towards me? O ungrateful, unthinking wretch!

I have been loudly admonished by the death of friends and relations; especially by that of Colt, who being dead yet speaketh. For a winter, our bussiness, our pleasures, our pursuits, our hearts were the same; but the same means which deprived him of life freed me from much anxiety. True, the tidings of his death struck me with somelforce, when I considered our intimacy and the few days which had intervened since I saw him, as I supposed, in a situation preferable to my own. Young, fresh and blooming, lately, he is now with the dead; his body has mouldered into dust, and his spirit is acquainted with the world of spirits. I may also mention the death of Swetland, with whom I was intimate; and with whom I watched frequently, and even in his last night, without taking the contagious distemper which hurried him away. Why were they taken, while I am left? Can I live and not praise God, and employ my spared life in his services?

The strivings of the blessed Spirit with me have been frequent ; perhaps more than common; and have followed me year after year, as if unwilling to give me up. But God says, and who can disannul it? My spirit shall not always strive with man ;' and He that being often reproved, hardeneth his heart, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. This, I have reason to fear, will be my case; but O, I hope his benign influences are not yet passedthat his sanctifying operation is not finished. Can it be, after all this, that I should still be unawakened from my lethargy, and not vigorous in pursuit of Heaven ?-Can the pomp and show of this vain world so absorb my attention, as to leave no room for those concerns of eternal moment? What is this drop of time, when compared with the ocean of eternity? What are the amusements of this world, to the unceasing raptures of Heaven? How seraphic the thought of being clad in immortal youth, and seated at the right

hand of God, where are pleasures for evermore; or of winging our flight with the celestial host from world to world, while ever in the presence of the incarnate Son of God! What unforeseen beauties in the works of creation will continually unfold to the ravished senses! If from terrestrial, finite, imperfect beings, we derive much happiness here, how sweet will be the society of the blessed, when impefections shall have an end, and we become universally worthy and pleasing Bold fancy faints in the conception, and imagination


March, 1779.

Amazing is the goodness of God, that such a vile mortal should not only have a being upon earth, but should be surrounded with so many conveniences, and under such distinguished privileges. From my conduct one would naturally conclude, that the favours I enjoy are the result rather of debt than of bounty; and that I am conscious of deserving them from the great Creator; otherwise I should manifest more gratitude. From my cradle to this time, I have been under the propitious smiles of a kind Providence, and amazing it is that the goodness of God should not lead me to repentance. External favours have not only been multiplied upon me, but the strivings of the everblessed Spirit have been reiterated within my breast; all which if I finally die impenitent I may with good reason conclude, will tend to sink my soul in the unfathomable abyss. In proportion to our opportunity, ought to be our improvement; and in proportion to our knowledge, will be our punishment. The heathen, who are guilty of gross idolatry; the papists, who grope under superstition, together with the unbelieving Jews, will rise up in judgment against me.

Must I at last lie down in despair ? Must I bid adieu to this world without any prospect of glorious immortality; with the dismal expectation of endless remorse? This life affords no happiness which our being's end and aim; must I, then, after living a short life of trouble and anxiety, enter upon a state of woe unutterable? O horror! horror! A cold dampness chills my blood, at the thought. O far better had I never been been brought into existence !

Poor mortal that I am, encompassed with sorrow, and without prospect of relief; I am wearing out a wretched existence, only to be clad in exquisite distress.

Oh my soul, knowest thou thy destiny? Here thou complainest of the vile body; but who can converse with endless groans? Could this miserable person sit in some dark corner of creation, and become a prey to tears, and be familiar with heart-rending sighs, that would be happiness compared to what I am soon about to feel. Could I in some hollow cavern of the earth, some dark vault, toil forever, that would be Paradise, that would be happiness, in comparison with what I dread. Could I sink into non-existence, then would death's grim face be changed. Were death and the grave my last end, all would be perfect peace and serenity: then would the king of terrors be unarmed with scorpions-He would execute his commission almost without pain: dying would be but taking our discharge from a


world of anxiety, in which we continually experience evils, or fear those we never feel. Oh my eyes, weep, weep, weep: the dismal day is approaching-the day that seals thy grief and woe, and consigns thee to endless excrutiating tortures. My friends look on my lifeless corse-behold a withered branch-my eyes are but closed to wake in tortures. Think no more of me, for I am wretched, past your recovery. You will see me no more until you join in the last, final, solemn sentence, which banishes me forever from the gates of bliss. May you be happy, but as for me, I never can. Will ye not in the long ages of eternity, sometimes think of wretched me who am groaning under chains of darkness? Once I was your delight; we held sweet converse together: hereafter ye will never think of me but with horror and detestation. But can there be such feelings in Heaven? If not, ye will cease to think of me forever. Whither shall I go? On what stay my heart? On the rock of ages? Oh! what have I to do with the rock of ages? There is no good thing in me. Alas! I faint, I sink under the apprehension. I am buried in carnal security, and it seems if any thing would have roused me this side the flames of hell, that I should have been awake before now. What awaits me but swift destruction from the Most High, and to be consumed by the breath of his nostrils! What awaits me but the just punishment of incensed Heaven! Oh! ye damned in hell, I shall soon be your companion, unless God Almighty work speedily, through the mediator.

March 11, 1779.-Yesterday I read some in the Alcoran, which by its imperfections seemed to give new beauties to the Bible.

The wisdom and benignity of God are conspicuous in making all conduct which is contrary to our duty incompatible with our felicity. Could we keep the divine precepts perfectly, I doubt not we should be completely happy.

The important question presses on my mind, What is it to be a good man?

April 2, 1779.-To-day I have been at church, it being Good Friday. My own eternal happiness rather than the glory of God is the object of my anxiety.

Saturday, N. H. April 3, 1779.

I am about bidding adieu to the world, I mean the gayer part of it. I have already drawn up a dissolution for one of my tenderest connexions, and believe that I shall be able to dissolve it, though nature may be a little reluctant. I am sensible it is a bold stroke to set up one's self in opposition to the current of the world, that rapid stream of life, down which the silken sons of pleasure are gently sailing, into the unfathomable abyss! Polite company is fraught with vanity, and vice is patronized by great and in other respects worthy characters. 'Tis all vanity. Such a life is only dreaming, living to no purpose. Old age will show us the vanity of such a course of conduct. All are shadows. There is no substance in them. “They live a life of ease and in a moment go down to the

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »