« PreviousContinue »
fore, to make my chain the lighter in hell, I am resolved against all known sin: and accordingly I fell to works again; perceiving in myself no other motive or inducement hereto but merely expecting and hoping that, by this means, my being in hell would be made more tolerable and easy than that of other reprobates. By this very thing it will easily be understood how near I was to final despair
in my own thoughts and apprehensions. But among all the combats and conflićts I met with in the time of my bondage, none more racked and tormented my spirit than those hideous and abominable thoughts which, by the devil, were like fiery and poisoned arrows, injećted into my mind; sometimes against the holy scriptures, as that they were not the word of God, but the cunning and politic inventions of men, devised and contrived by some to awe and keep others in subjećtion. This temptation caused no small anguish and perturbation in my mind, but did not continue long; for though sad and desperate I thought my case to be, I was enabled to consider what a mighty power went along with the scriptures, in discovering my most secret corruptions, and putting my conscience and spirit into such fear of what would ensue, in case I did not confess and forsake them. This very confideration, that the word which discovered to me my vain and sinful thoughts, and condemned the ill lise I had led, and that laid me under such captivating horror and fear, for the same
viz. man! Then, from the consideration of the trees and the buildings I began to exercise my thoughts about man, and other living creatures; thinking thus: And how came man and these other living creatures to have a being; surely, think I, they could neither form nor quicken themselves; and if so, then of necessity there must be some cause: of their being and living, which is higher and more excellent than they ; which can, thinks my reason, be no other but an infinitely glorious God. And this, said reason in me, might be evinced, not only by considering the particulars already mentioned, but by confidering the frame of the world, and the strange preservation of all things therein; and the wonderful government of the second causes wherewith the world abounds. These, and fundry others of the like arguments, proved so strong and nervous to convince me that of necessity there must be a God, that the temptation vanished. The devil, perceiving himself foiled in this attempt, sets furiously on me with blasphemous thoughts; representing God in such vile shapes, and hideous and base ideas to my mind, that, were I to undergo the utmost of misery that creatures are capable of inflićting, or I capable of suffering, I do humbly hope, in Christ's strength, I should unspeakably choose rather to be racked to death than but once to name them; so vile, hideous, and horrible were they proceeding, rather from the enraged
enraged and revengeful malice of the devil against the majesty of God, than from the corruption and pravity of nature. These things I do but glance or touch at, not from any delight I take in the remembrance of them, but rather for the relief of some poor tempted, despairing soul, who probably may be conflićting with the same fiery assaults; concluding within themselves, as I often did, that none belonging to God could 'ever be possessed with such black and dismal thoughts. "Oh, the ghastliness and fearful tremblings Oh, the sweats and weariness of my very life, which these satanical injections caused in me! A sure and convincing argument they were immediately from the devil, and none else; the sins flowing from the pravity of nature being commonly rather pleasing and delightful than amazing and terrifying to nature”.
* It is the constant pračice of that infernal accuser of the brethren, when once he has filled the awakened mind with hard, vile, and blasphemous thoughts against the ever-blessed God, his dear Son, the Spirit of all grace, the word of God, or his ways and worship, to father or charge all his base suggestions to the suffering captive, and accuse him of them as if they were his own crimes, that sprung from his heart, without his agency; whereas himself is the father of them all; they being so hateful to the soul, and opposed by the whole bent of the awakened mind, and resisted by every feeble effort that a finking finner in such circumstances can make. The distinction this Author makes between man's natural corruption and Satans fiery darts, is very beautiful and striking, and may be of use under God to some poor troubled and confused reader.
W.H. S. S.