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times, that I was aiming at the glory of God; whereas I never once truly intended it, but only own happiness. I saw, that as I had never done any thing for God, I had no claim on any thing from him, but perdition, on account of my hypocrisy and mockery. Oh how different did my duties now appear from what they used to do! I used to charge them with sin and imperfection ; but this was only on account of the wanderings and vain thoughts attendiug them, and not because I had no regard to God in them; for this I thought I had. But when I saw evidently that I had regard to nothing but self-interest, then they appeared a vile mockery of God, selfworship, and a continual course of lies; so that I now saw that something worse had attended my duties, than barely a few wanderings, &c.; for the whole was nothing but self-worship, and an horrid abuse of God.
I continued, as I remember, in this state of mind, from Friday morning till the Sabbath-evening following, (July 12, 1739,) when I was walking again in the same solitary place, where I was brought to see myself lost and helpless, as beforementioned. Here, in a mournful inelancholy state, I was attempting to pray; but found no heart to engage in that or any other duty; my former concern, esercise, and religious affections were now gone. I thought, the Spirit of God had quite left me; but still was not distressed: yet disconsolate, as if there was nothing in heaven or earth could make me happy, Having been thus endeavouring to pray--though as I thought, very stupid and senseless---for near half an hour, then, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, unspeakable glory seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul, I do not mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing; nor do I intend any imagination of a body of light, some where in the third heavens, or any thing of that nature; but it was a new inward apprehension or view that I had of God, such as I never had before, nor any thing wbich had the least resemblance of it. I stood still, wondered, and admired! I knew that I never had seen before any thing comparable to it for excellency and beauty ; it was widely different from all the conceptions that ever I had of God, or things divine. I had no particular apprehension of any one person in the Trinity either the Father, the Son, of the Holy Ghost; but it appeared to be divine glory. My soul rejoiced with joy unspeakable, to see such a God, such a glorious divine Being; and I was inwardly pleased and satisfied, that he should be God over all for ever and ever. My soul was so captivated and delights ed with the excellency, loveliness, greatness, and other perfections of God, that I was even swallowed up in him; at least to tbat degree, that I had no thought (as I remember) at first, about my own salvation, and scarce reflected there was such a creature as myself.
Thus God, I trust, brought me to a hearty disposition to eralt him, and set him on the throne, and principally and ultimately to aim at his honour and glory, as King of the universe. I continued in this state of inward joy, peace, and astonishment, till near dark, without any sensible abatement; and then began to think and examine what I had seen; and felt sweetly composed in my mind all the evening following. I felt myself in a new world, and every thing about me appeared with a different aspect from what it was wont to do. At this time, the way of salvation opened to me with such infinite wisdom, suitableness, and excellency, that I wondered I should ever think of
of salvation; was amazed, that I had not dropped my own contrivances, and complied with this lovely, blessed, and excellent way before. If I could have been saved by my own duties, or any
that I had formerly contrived, my whole soul would now bave refused it. I wondered, that all the world did not see and comply with this way of salvation, entirely by the righteousness of Christ.
The sweet relish of what I then felt, continued with me for several days, almost constantly, in a greater or less degree; I could not but sweetly rejoice in God, lying down and rising up. The next Lord's day I felt something of the same kind, though not so powerful as before. But not long after I was again involved in thick darkness, and under great distress; yet Dot of the same kind with my distress under convictions. I was guilty, afraid, and ashamed to come before God; was exceedingly pressed with a sense of guilt: but it was not long before I felt, I trust, true repentance and joy in God.—About the latter end of August, I again fell under great darkness; it seemed as if the presence of God was clean gone for ever ; though I was not so much distressed about my spiritual state, as I was at my being shut out from God's presence, as I then sensibly was. But it pleased the Lord to return graciously to me, not long after.
In the beginning of September I went to college *, and entered there; but with some degree of reluctancy, fearing lest I should not be able to lead a life of strict religion, in the midst of so many temptations. After this, in the vacancy, before I went to tarry at college, it pleased God to visit my soul with clearer manifestations of himself and his grace. I was spending some time in prayer, and self-examination, when the Lord by his grace so shined into my heart, that I enjoyed full assurance of his favour, for that time; and my soul was unspeakably refreshed with divine and heavenly enjoyments. At this time especially, as well as some others, sundry passages of God's word opened to my soul with divine clearness, power, and sweetness, so as to appear exceeding precious, and with elear and certain evidence of its being the word of God. I enjoyed considerable sweetness in religion all the winter folJowing
* Yale-college, in New-Haven,
In Jan. 1740, the measles spread much in college; and I having taken the distemper, went home to Haddam. But some days before I was taken sick, I seemed to be greatly deserted, and my soul mourned the absence of the Comforter exceedingly. It seemed to me, all comfort was for ever gone; 1 prayed and cried to God for help, yet found no present comfort or relief. But through divine goodness, a night or two before I was taken ill, while I was walking alone in a very retired place, and engaged in meditation and prayer, I enjoyed a sweet refreshing visit, as I trust, from above; so that my soul was raised far above the fears of death. Indeed I rather longed for death, than feared it. O how much more refreshing this one season was, than all the pleasures and delights that earth can afford! After a day or two I was taken with the measles, and was very ill indeed, so that I almost despaired of life; but had no distressing fears of death at all. How, ever, through divine goodness I soon recovered: yet, by reason of hard and close studies, and being much exposed on account of my freshmanship, I had hut little time for spiritual duties; my soul often mourned for want of more time and opportunity to be alone with God. In the spring and summer following, I had better advantages for retirement, and enjoyed more comfort in religion. Though indeed my ambition in my studies greatly wronged the activity and vigour of my spiritual life; yet this was usually the case with me, that "in the multitude of my thoughts within me, God's comforts principally delighted my soul;" these were my greatest consolations day by day.
One day I remember in particular, (I think it was in June 1740), I walked to a considerable distance from the college, in
the fields alone at noon, and in prayer found such unspeakable sweetness and delight in God, that I thought, if I must continue still in this evil world, I wanted always to be there, to behold God's glory. My soul dearly loved all mankind, and longed exceedingly that they should enjoy what I enjoyed. It seemed to be a little resemblance of heaven. On Lord's day, July 6, being sacrament-day, I found some divine life and spiritual refreshment in that holy ordinance. When I came from the Lord's table, I wondered how my fellow-students could live as I was sensible most did.- Next Lord's day, July 13, I had some special sweetness in religion.-Again, Lord's day, July 20, my soul was in a sweet and precious frame.
Some time in August following, I became so weakly and disordered, by too close application to my studies, that I was advised by my tutor to go home, and disengage my mind from study, as much as I could; for I was grown so weak, that I began to spit blood. I took his advice, and endeavoured to lay aside my studies. But being brought very low, I looked death in the face more stedfastly, and the Loud was pleased to give me renewedly a sweet sense and relish of divine things; and particularly October 13, I found divine help and consolation in the precious duties of secret prayer and self-examination, and my soul took delight in the blessed God:--so likewise on the 17th of October.
Saturday, Oct, 18. in my morning devotions, my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness. I never before had felt so pungent and deep a sense of the odious nature of sin, as at this time. My soul was then unusually carried forth in love to God, and had a lively sense of God's love to me. And this love and hope, at that time, cast out fear. Both morning and evening I spent some time in self-examination, to find the truth of grace, as also my fitness to approach to God at his table the next day; and through infinite grace, found the holy Spirit influencing my soul with love to God, as a witness within myself.
Lord's day, Oct. 19. in the morning I felt my soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness. In the forenoon, while I was looking on the sacramental elements, and thinking that Jesus Christ would soon be “set forth crucified before me,” my soul was filled with light and love, so that I was almost in an ecstasy; my body was so weak, I could scarcely stand. I felt at the same time an exceeding tenderness and most fervent love towards all mankind; so that my soul and all the powers of it seemed, as it were, to melt into softness and sweetness.
But during the communion, there was some abatement of this life and fervour. This love and joy cast out fear; and my soul longed for perfect grace and glory. This frame continued till the evening, when my soul was sweetly spiritual in secret duties.
Monday, Oct. 20. I again found the assistance of the holy Spirit in secret duties, both morning and evening, and life and comfort in religion through the whole day.--Tuesday, Oct. 21. I had likewise experience of the goodness of God in “shedding abroad his love in my heart,” and giving me delight and consolation in religious duties; and all the remaining part of the week, my soul seemed to be taken up with divine things. I now so longed after God, and to be freed from sin, that wben I felt myself recovering, and thought I must return to college again, which had proved so hurtful to my spiritual interest the year past, I could not but be grieved, and I thought I had much rather have died; for it distressed me, to think of getting away from God. But before I went, I enjoyed several other sweet and precious seasons of communion with God, (particularly Oct. 30. and Nov. 4.) wherein my soul enjoyed unspeakable comfort.
I returned to college about Nov. 6. and, through the goodness of God, felt the power of religion almost daily, for the space of six weeks.-Nov. 28. In my evening devotion, I enjoyed precious discoveries of God, and was unspeakably refreshed with that passage, Heb. xii. 22—24. My soul longed to wing away for the paradise of God; I longed to be conformed to God in all things.-A day or two after, I enjoyed much of the light of God's countenance, most of the day; and my soul rested in God.
Tuesday, Dec. 9. I was in a comfortable frame of soul most of the day; but especially in evening devotions, when God was pleased wonderfully to assist and strengthen me; so that I thought nothing should ever move me from the love of God in Christ Jesus my Lord-O! one hour with God infinitely exceeds all the pleasures and delights of this lower world.
Some time towards the latter end of January 1741, I grew more cold and dull in religion, by means of my old temptation, viz, ambition in my studies.---But through divine goodness, a great and general awakening spread itself over the college, about the latter end of February, in which I was much quickened, and more abundantly engaged in religion.