« PreviousContinue »
wards sat down in full communion, to my soul's great comfort and edification, in the knowledge of Christ.
Notice being taken in the family where I lived, that I discontinued going to the cathedral worship, the which I commonly attended with a more than ordinary zeal, sometimes three times and sometimes four times in the same day, and that I was not seen at the parish church on sabbath days, or at the facrament, as I used to do; the eyes of my observers were upon me to watch me what ways I took in religion. Innumerable were the taunts and scoffs caft on that way of worship which I had espoused and ciofed with, through all which I was carried with invincible courage : many and sharp were the combats wherewith I encountered from my own relations, especially the Lord of Santry, in whose family I then lived, and my father, his brother, who, by their authority over me, and the greatness of their learning and parts, between which and mine there was no more compare than between the fun and a little twinkling star, did frequently attack me to bring me back to the forsaken church of England, but all in vain.
One time, above all others, my Lord observing that I absented not only from public worship, but that of his family also, sent up his secretary, another brother's fon, to call me to prayer in the family at night. My cousin delivering my Lord's command, I replied, that I was under fome indisposition, and
honoured, and his glorious name so greatly profaned, my conscience would like a flame of fire fly in my face.
Q. The Lord then demanded of me, what I could object against the service performed in the family? A. To whom I replied, that the chief objection
it the person who performed the service.
Q. The Lord demanded what I had to object against the person who prayed in the family ?
A. To whom I replied, that I objected against him for two things : First, that he was a rotten Arminian, denying the doctrine of election and justification by the alone imputed righteousness of the Son of God, and that he also held falling from grace.
Secondly, For that he was in his life and converfation a notorious drunkard, and a common curser and swearer, &c.
Q. My Lord then demanded why I did not come to family prayer when his son James said prayers ? [Reader, thou must know, that when the chaplain would be drinking and rioting abroad, sometimes my Lord's son would be commanded to read one of the evening prayers at the end of some bibles.] • To this I answered, that his son was but a child, and did not understand what he read.
Q. Lord have mercy on me, said my Lord, who would you have pray in my family?
A. My Lord, said I, I humbly conceive no man living is fitter for a service of this nature than your Lordship, the great God having made your LordThip king and lord over your own family, and hath endued your Lordship with such incomparable gifts of knowledge and learning, and I hope of grace too.
Q. And pray, sir, said my Lord, how would you have me pray ?
A. My Lord, said I, I humbly conceive that you are to pray according to the present condition of the souls of your family.
Q. Pray, sir, said my Lord, how is it possible for me to know the inward thoughts and condition of my family's souls, so as to order my prayers accordingly?
A. My Lord, replied I, albeit your Lordship cannot possibly acquaint yourself with all the fecrets of your family, yet you may, by catechizing your family, and frequently examining them about the state of their souls and God's dealing with them, find matter enough to enlarge on in putting up prayers to God for them in the general, which is as much as the rule of duty directs or obliges to.
My Lord, finding that the truth I was called to vindicate, and the Spirit by which I spoke, to be too powerful for his great learning, let fall the difpute, which I am very sure was his wisdom, and
his best advantage fo to do, considering that none ever yet prospered who continued to fight against God*.
My Lord by this means found how I stood affected in religion, and accordingly communicated to my father his judgment and apprehensions of me. Immediately a consultation was held about me, to consider what methods were most proper to take, not only to prevent my farther advancing in that way of religion, which they accounted fanaticism, but also to bring me back to the church of England, whereon I had turned the back.
The result of their consultation, as soon afterwards appeared, issued in a fixed resolution to carry it towards me with all the urbanity and gentleness imaginable, my relations considering and knowing that my temper and spirit was to be drawn and won by fair and gentle means, not to be forced by violence.
According to the methods agreed on, I was at a strange and unusual rate treated by my father, my Lord, my grandmothers, my uncles and aunts, with the rest of my relations, in such ways of
* The reader may observe here, that when men have invented a religion, it must be supported, and men niuft bo drove into it by the same assumed carnal authority by which it was invented. They have no notion of the Spirit's sufficiency to lead people into all truth, therefore they will drive them into lies by violence, or starve them out of the truth by cruelty. W. H. S. S.