Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

Tro

which cost me ten pounds more. Thus much for universal charity. He being a bricklayer by trade, and a good workman at fixing coppers, gratės, &c. I got him work; but so strangely did he behave, that if any gentleman was pleased with his work, and offered him five or six shillings for his job, his conscience would not let him take it, he would return half of it back to them again; and, when he wanted money, he would come and beg a guinea of me, when I had been obliged to borrow all that I had given him before.

When he was at my house, he used to get up in the night, and pray so loud that you might have heard him out in the street; and when at dinner, if I filled his plate, he would eat a mouthful or two, and then, with an air of disdain, push the plate back to me, and throw back his head, and look with all the envy of a Turk. When he was at the chapel, as soon as I had entered the place, I used to hear him praying so loud that you might hear him all over the place; and when I entered the vestry, he would come after me bellowing like a bull for me to pray for him : and at the same time I used to go crying to God, till I was quite worn out with this abominable hypocrite

His daily practice was telling every body that came in his way what a profession he had made, and what a perilous state he was in; by which he staggered and threw down many that were weak in faith, hardened many hypocrites, and opened the mouths of many of the ungodly to reproach the good

WONI

ways of God: he tried to make every body as miserable as himself; and no wonder; for, if a devil gets any ease, it is when he can get such as Job to bear a part of his horrors. Soon after this he took it in his head to cast off all labour, and that he would work for his bread no more ; from which time we separated him from us, nor have I ever been pestered with him since. After which he mumped about wherever he could, gets into people's debt, and lives chiefly on those who he knows are enemies to me. When the branch is withered, the men of the world gather them into their company, as these did him; and they assist him as a man that has been greatly injured by Mr. Huntington, who forsook him in his trouble; but I forsook him in his laziness, for they that will not work neither shall they eat. Seven years was I puzzled to make out this wonderful man; all which time, like Manoah and his wife, I could only wonder and look on; and three years after this I was pestered with this devil; his smiting me so frequently brought a carnal fear of him upon my mind, insomuch that I often eyed him when in my pulpit, to see whe ther the cloud was upon his face, or the sunshine. if the former, I knew I should be smitten; if the latter, I knew I should escape with whole bones, In short, as Paul says, he seemed to me to have all knowledge, and he understood many mysteries, and pretended to such assurance of faith as would have moved mountains ; he tasted the good word of God; partook of the Holy Ghost, as Saul did; had a large share of spiritual gifts, and many tastes of the powers of the world to come; and yet is fallen away; and so fallen, as that he is not as yet renewed to repentance, nor is there the least sign of it; nor do I believe it is possible he ever should, seeing he has cursed the everlasting gospel.

I believe this man was raised up to teach me many wholesome lessons, and his fall established my judgment in many things. I never saw a professor that answered Paul's description in the epistle to the Hebrews, till this man was discovered. In him I saw that kind of knowledge that puffeth up, and the full assurance of Solumon's fool, who rages and is confident. In him I saw the one talent, and the use made of it, and which talent appeared to be taken from him and given to me; for, when my gift began to appear for public use, he seemed to be a mere idiot, a novice in the worst sense, and a mass of confusion. In him I saw the man that took the highest seat at the marriage-feast, and I saw him with shame take the lowest room. In him I saw the first and now the last, while the last is now first. In him I saw one promising liberty to others, while himself was the servant of corruption, never being purged from it: his house was deserted by the unclean spirit, emptied, swept, and garnished, and now repossessed stronger than ever. In him I saw the holy commandment which has been delivered to many, and which has since been cursed by him

and left. In him I saw wretched rebellion, presumption, a sinning wilfully, and a falling away; and, after three years labour in praying for him and sympathizing with him, I found and sensibly felt the impossibility of renewing such an one again to repentance: which God had impressed my mind with soon after he fell, if I had understood it; but God speaks once, yea twice, but man perceiveth it not.

The things in which this man's fall established me are these :

1. That those who run unsent of God, let their gifts, abilities, life, and walk, be whatever they may, shall never profit God's people at all. They may convert men to themselves, but they never shall convert a soul to God; it being impossible that such should communicate the Spirit, graces strength, or divine comfort, from the enjoyment of pardoning love, so as to say, with Paul, “I thank my God that you are all partakers of my grace;" they being sensual men, and destitute of all these things. Nor was this man of the least use, in this sense, to any soul living, either professor or profane; he stumbled many, but seasoned none, for there was no salt in him.

2. I was established in this truth; that, whatever speculative knowledge a man may have, if he have not an unctuous experience of the power of God on the heart, his knowledge and gifts will only puff him up with pride, till he fall into the condemnation of the devil. “ Pride goeth be

fore destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

3. That a seducer of the saints is the blackest character in this world, and the deepest sufferer in the next. Butler told me, with the sighs and groans of the damned, that he knew that the heresy he had propagated was not given up by many that had embraced it. The blood of the slain will be required at the watchman's hand.

4. That there is no such way to heaven as those professors have cast up who are destitute of a spiritual birth, which is termed a being drawn by love, and having the heart opened like the heart of Lydia. Mr. Butler was in this path; and, when he heard me enforcing a sense of sin, and a spirit wounded under it, he said, “He is got upon his own dunghill again; he thinks to bring them all his own way, but he never will. However, I know that my way is the path of the just; and they that die out of it will be damned, die when they may; for none but the sick need the physician, none are called to repentance but sinners, none are sons but them that are chastened, and those that never were lost never were saved.

5. That to stumble and take offence at an es, sential truth is a certain prelude to a fearful fall. He stumbled and took offence at the doctrine of the Trinity, and at them that preached it; he was too wise in his own conceit to submit to divine revelation, and to an humble “ acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father,

« AnteriorContinuar »