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before. My longings after God and holiness, were much increased. Pure and humble, holy and heavenly Christianity, appeared exceeding amiable to me. I felt a burning desire to be in every thing a complete Christian ; and conformed to the blessed image of Christ; and that I might live, in all things, according to the pure, sweet and blessed rules of the gospel. I had an eager thirsting after progress in these things; which put me upon pursuing and pressing after them. It was my continual strife day and night, and constant inquiry, how I should be more holy, and live more holily, and more becoming a child of God, and a disciple of Christ. I now sought an increase of grace and holiness, and a holy life, with much more earnestness, than ever I sought grace before I had it. I used to be continually examining myself, and studying and contriving for likely ways and means, how I should live holily, with far greater diligence and earnestness, than ever I pursued any thing in my life ; but yet with too great a dependence on my own strength ; which afterwards proved a great damage to me. My experience had not then taught me, as it has done since, my extreme feebleness and impotence, every manner of way ; and the bottomless depths of secrct corruption and deceit there was in my heart. However, I went on with my cager pursuit after more holiness, and conformity to Christ.
The heaven I desired was a heaven of holiness ; to be with God, and to spend my eternity in divine love, and holy communion with Christ. My mind was very much taken up with contemplations on heaven, and the enjoyments there; and living there in perfect holiness, humility and love : And it used at that time to appear a great part of the happiness of heaven, that there the saints could express their love to Christ. It appeared to me a great clog and burden, that what I felt within, I could not express as I desired. The inward ardor of my soul, seemed to be hindered and pent up, and could not freely flame out as it would. I used often to think, how in heaven this principle should freely and fully vent and express itself. Heaven appeared exceedingly delightful, as a world of love ; and that all happiness consisted in living in pure, humble, heavenly, divine love.
I remember the thoughts I used then to have of holiness ; and said sometimes to myself, “I do certainly know that I love holiness, such as the gospel prescribes." It appeared to me, that there was nothing in it but what was ravishingly lovely; the highest beauty and amiableness....a divine bcauty; far purer than any thing here upon earth ; and that every thing else was like mire and defilement, in comparison of it.
Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasani, charm. ing, serene, calm nature ; which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peacefulness and ravishment to the soul. In other words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with all manner of pleasant flowers ; all pleasant, delightful, and undisturbed ; enjoying a sweet calm, and the gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian, as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white flower as we see in the spring of the year ; low and humble on the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of the sun's glory ; rejoicing as it were in a calm rapture ; diffusing around a sweet fragrancy ; standing peacefully and lovingly, in the midst of other flowers round about ; all in like manner opening their bosoms, to drink in the light of the sun, There was no part of creature holiness, that I had so great a sense of its loveliness, as humility, brokenness of heart and poverty of spirit ; and there was nothing that I so earnestly longed for. My heart panted afier this, to lie low before God, as in the dust ; that I might be nothing, and that God might be all, that I might become as a litile child.
While at Newyork, I was sometimes much affected with reflections on my past lise, considering how late it was before I began to be truly religious ; and how wickedly I had lived till iheu ; and once so as to weep abundantly, and for a considerable time together.
On January 12, 1723. I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and wrote it down ; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future in no respect my own ; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed to take God for my whole portion and felici. ty ; looking on nothing else as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were ; and his law for the constant rule of my obedience; engaging to fight with all my might, against the world, the flesh and the devil, to the end of my life. But I have reason to be infinitely humbled, when I consider how much I have failed of answering my obligation.
I had then abundance of sweet religious conversation in the family where I lived, with Mr. John Smith and his pious mother. My heart was knit in affection to those in whom were appearances of true piety; and I could bear the thoughts of no other companions, but such as were holy, and the disciples of the blessed Jesus. I had great longings for the ad. vancement of Clirist's kingdom in the world ; and my secret prayer used to be, in great part, taken up in praying for it. If I heard the least hint of any thing that happened, in any part of the world, that appeared, in some respect or other, to have a favorable aspect on the interest of Christ's kingdom, my soul eagerly catched at it; and it would much animate and refresh me. I used to be eager to read public news letters, mainly for that end ; to see if I could not find some news favorable to the interest of religion in the world.
I very frequently used to retire into a solitary place, on the banks of Hudson's river, at some distance from the city, for contemplation on divine things, and secret converse with God ; and had many sweet lours there. Sometimes Mr. Smith and I walked there together, to converse on the things of God; and our coversation used to turn much on the ad. vancement of Christ's kingdom in the world, and the glorious things that God would accomplish for his church in the latter days. I had then, and at other times the greatest delight in the holy scriptures, of any book whatsoever. Oftentimes in reading it, every word seemed to touch my heart. I felt a harmony between something in my heart, and those sweet and powerful words. I seemed often to see so much light exhibited by every sentence, and such a refreshing food communicated, that I could not get along in reading ; often dwelling long on one sentence, to see the wonders contained At Say.
in it; and yet almost every sentence seemed to be full of wonders.
I came away from Newyork in the month of April, 1723, and had a most bitter parting with Madam Smith and her son. My heart seemed to sink within me at leaving the family and city, where I had enjoyed so many sweet and pleasant days. I went from Newyork to Weathersfield, by water, and as I sailed away, I kept sight of the city as long as I could. However, that night, after this sorrowful parting, I was greatly. comforted in God at Westchester, where we went ashore to lodge ; and had a pleasant time of it all the voyage to Saybrook. It was sweet to me to think of meeting dear Christians in heaven, where we should never part more. brook we went ashore to lodge, on Saturday, and there kept the Sabbath ; where I had a sweet and refreshing season, walking alone in the fields.
After I came home to Windsor, I remained much in a like frame of mind, as when at Newyork ; only sometimes I felt my heart ready to sink with the thoughts of my friends at Newyork. My support was in contemplations on the hearenly state ; as I find in my Diary of May 1, 1723. comfort to think of that state, where there is fullness of joy ; where reigns heavenly, calm, and delightful love, without alloy; where there are continually the dearest expressions of this love ; where is the enjoyment of the persons loved, without ever parting; where those persons who appear so lovely in this world, will really be inexpressibly more lovely and full of love to us. And how sweetly will the mutual lovers join together to sing the praises of God and the Lamb! How will it fill us with joy to think, that this enjoyment, these sweet exercises will never cease, but will last to all eternity .....I continued much in the same frame, in the general, as when at Newyork, till I went to Newhaven as tutor to the college ; particularly once at Bolton, on a journey from Boston, while walking out alone in the fields. After I went to Newhaven I sunk in religion ; my mind being diverted from my eager pursuits after holiness, by some affairs that greatly perplexed and distracted my thoughts.
It was a
In September, 1725, I was taken ill at Newhaven, and fvhile endeavoring to go home to Windsor, was so ill at the North Village, that I could go no further ; where I lay sick for about a quarter of a year. In this sickness God was pleased to visit me again with the sweet influences of his Spirit. My mind was greatly engaged there in divine, pleasant contemplations, and longings of soul. I observed that those who watched with me, would often be looking out wishe fully for the morning ; which brought to my mind those words of the psalmist, and which my soul with delight made its own language, My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning, I say, more than they that watch for the morning; and when the light of day came in at the windows, it refreshed my soul from one morning to another. It seemed to be some image of the light of God's glóry.
I remember, about that time, I used greatly to long for the conversion of some that I was concerned with ; I could gladly honor them, and with delight be a servant to them, and lie at their feet, if they were but truly holy. But, some time after this, I was again greatly diverted in my mind with some temporal concerns that exceedingly took up my thoughts, greatly to the wounding of my soul ; and went on through various exercises, that it would be tedious to relato, which gave me much more experience of my own heart, than ever I had before.
Since I came to this town,* I have often' had sweet complacency in God, in views of his glorious' perfections and the excellency of Jesus Christ. God has appeared to me a glorious and lovely Being, chiefly on the account of his holiness. The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all his attributes. The doctrines of God's absoluto sovereignty, and free grace, in shewing mercy to whom he would skew mercy; and man's absolute dependence on the operations of God's Holy Spirit, have very often appeared 10 me as sweet and glorious doctrines. These doctrines have been much my delight. God's sovereignty has ever appeared