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thoroughly deserve, and was not entirely fit for Heaven; the same book afforded me a soft pillow, on which to lull myself to sleep: it argued, and I thought proved, that there were no eternal torments: and insinuated, that there were no torments, except for notorious sinners; and that such, as should fall just short of Heaven, would sink into their original nothing. With this welcome scheme I silenced all my fears, and told my accusing conscience, that if I fell short of Heaven, I should be annihilated, and never be sensible of my loss.

By experience I am well acquainted with Satan's intention, in employing so many of his servants to invent those pestilent errors, whether in speculation or practice, that have in all ages corrupted and enervated the pure and powerful doctrine of the Gospel ; for they lead to forgetfulness of God, and security in sin, and are deadly poison to every soul, that imbibes them, unless a miracle of grace prevent.' Such on one hand are all the superstitious doctrines of popery; purgatory, penances, absolutions,


indulgences, merits of good works, and the acceptableness of will worship, and uncommanded observances. What are these, but engines of the Devil, to keep men quiet in their sins ? Man, resolved to follow the dictates of his depraved inclination, and not to bound his pursuits and enjoyments within the limits of God's holy law, catches at any thing to soften the horrible thought of eternal misery. This is the awakening reflection, God's sword in the conscience, which 'tis Satan's business, by all his diabolical artifice, to endeavour to sheath, blunt, or turn aside ; knowing, that whilst 'the alarming apprehension is present to the soul, he can never maintain his possession of it in peace. By such inventions, therefore, as these, he takes care to furnish the sinner with that, which he seeks for, and to enable him to walk according to the course of this wicked world, and the desires of depraved nature, without being disturbed by such dreadful thoughts. The same, on the other hand, is the tendency of all those speculations of reasoning men, which set God's attributes at variance with each other; which represent the Supreme Governour so weakly merciful, as neither to regard the demands of his justice, the glory of his holiness, the veracity of his word, nor the peaceable order and subordination of the universe ; which explain away all the mysteries of the Gospel, and represent sin, that fruitful root of evil, that enemy of God, that favourite of Satan, as a very little thing, scarce noticed by the Almighty ; and which, contrary to Scripture, and universal experience and observation, would persuade us, that mau is not a depraved creature.

These latter sentiments I acceded to, and maintained, as long as I could ; and I did it, most assuredly, because they soothed my conscience, freed me from the pressing fears of damnation, and enabled me to think favourably of myself. For these reasons alone I loved, and chose this ground ; I fixed myself upon it, and there I fortified myself with all the arguments and reasonings, I could meet with. These things I wished to believe ; and I had my wish; for at

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length, I did most confidently believe them. Being taken captive in this snare by Satan, I should here have perished, with a lie in my right hand, had not that Lord, whom I dishonoured, snatched me as a brand from the burning.

In this state of mind I attempted to obtain admission into holy orders. Wrapt up in the proud notion of the dignity of human nature, I had lost sight of the evil of sin, and thought little of my own sinfulness : I was filled with a self important opinion of my own worth, and the depth of my understanding: I had adopted a system of religion, accommodated to that foolish pride, having almost wholly discarded mysteries from my creed, and regarding with sovereign contempt those, who believed them. As far as I understood those controversies, I was nearly a Socinian, and a Pelagian, and wholly an Arminian': yet, to my shame be it spoken, I sought to obtain admission into the ministry, in a church, whose doctrines are diametrically opposed to all the three; without once concerning myself about those bar

riers, which the wisdom of our forefathers have placed about her, purposely to prevent the intrusion of such dangerous heretics, as I then was,

Whilst I was preparing for this solemn office, I lived, as before, in known sin, and in utter neglect of prayer: my whole preparation consisting of nothing else, but an attention to those studies, which were more immediately required, for my reputably passing through the previous examination.

And thus, after some difficulty, with a heart full of pride, and all manner of wickedness, my life being polluted with many unrepented, unforsaken sins, without one cry for mercy, one prayer for direction or assistance in, or a blessing upon what I was about to do; after having concealed my real sentiments under the mask of general expressions ; after having subscribed articles directly contrary to my then belief; and after having blasphemously declared, in the presence of God, and of the congregation, in the most solemn manner, sealing it with the Lord's supper, that I judged myself to be

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