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my conscience quiet, and silence its remonstrances; and also of the means, which the Lord employed to defeat this conspiracy, to give conscience its due ascendancy, and to incline my before unwilling heart to become obedient to its friendly admonitions ; with the effect thereof upon my religious views and conduct.
As to the effect of this publication, respecting my character and worldly interest, myself, and all that is dear to me, I would leave in his hands, who causeth all to work together for good to them, that love him, whom he hath called according to his purpose. And he hath so evinced his care over me, and goodness to me, in all the concerns of my past life, that it were shameful, if I did not most willingly cast all my care upon him for the future. But, reader, the effect of it respecting thee, I have much at heart; and have had, still have, and shall, I trust, continue to have it much in my prayers. If thou art a believing servant of God, I hope thou wilt see cause to bless God in me, and wilt be established and comforted thereby, according to the fervent desire of my soul, for all that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. If thou art one, whose experience answers in many things, to what is related in the former part of
this narrative, as face answers to face in the water, may the Lord, the Spirit, who convinceth of sin, alarm thy drowsy conscience, and bring thee under a serious concern for thy precious soul, and its eternal interests ; may he incline thine heart diligently to use the means here spoken of, as far as conscience evidences it to be thy duty ; and may he bless the means for enlightening thy mind with the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus; and for guiding thy wandering feet into the ways of peace. This, be assured, is my hearty prayer for thee; and with this prayer I commend this work unto the Lord, that, if it be his blessed will, he may en. ploy it, as an instrument for advancing his glory, and the salvation of souls.
THOMAS SCOTT. WESTON UNDERWOOD, Feb. 26, 1779.
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.
BOUT ten years have elapsed since the first publication of the ensuing narrative. In that space I have had much opportunity of reexamining the Scriptures, and of making observations both in the world, and in the professing church, as well as of getting a further meaSure of self-knowledge. But, I bless God, that upon a revisal of The Force of Truth, in order to a second edition, I see no cause to retract a single sentence, or to propose any matter differently than before. If any one should bestow the pains to compare this with the former edi. tion, he will indeed find several verbal alterations, in which brevity, perspicuity and precision alone have been consulted : but he will not meet with a single variation, which in any measure changes the meaning of the passage. Had I materially altered my sentiments, I would either have refused to concur in publishing a second edition, or have fairly avowed that alteration : but, on the contrary, I deem it incumbent upon me to declare, that I am more than ever established in the belief of all those doctrines, that I before proposed, as the leading truths of christianity.
FORCE OF TRUTH.
Giving an Account of the State of the Author's
Mind and Conscience, previous to, and at the Commencement of that Change, whereof he purposes to give the History.
NotWITHSTANDING, that I was not educated in what is commonly considered as ignorance of God and religion ; yet, until the sixteenth year of my age, I do not remember, that I ever was under any serious conviction of my being a sinner, in danger of wrath, or in need of mercy: nor did I ever, during this part of my life, that I recollect, offer one hearty prayer to God in secret. Being alienated from God through the ignorance, that was in me, I lived without him in the world ; and as utterly neglected to pay him any voluntary service, as if I had been an Atheist in principle.
But about my sixteenth year I began to see, that I was a sinner, a leper in every part, “there being no health in me;" out of many external indications of inward depravity, conscience discovered, and reproached me with one'; and I was, for the first time, disquieted with apprehensions of the wrath of an offended God. My attendance at the Lord's table, being expected about the same time, (though I was very ignorant of the meaning and end of that sacred ordinance,) this circumstance, united with the accusations of my conscience, brought an awe upon my spirits, and interrupted my before undisturbed course of sin.
Being, however, an utter stranger to the depravity and helplessness of fallen nature, I had no doubt, but I could amend my life whenever I pleased. Previous therefore to communicating, I set about an unwilling reformation; and procuring a form of prayer, I attempted to pay my secret ad: dresses to the Majesty of Heaven. In this