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to have some great affliction of body, and likewise to see myself lost, and then God would reveal his Son in me, and all would be well; and thus I attended your ministry for a long time, earnestly begging the Lord to apply his word with power. And when you held forth encouragement to seeking souls, I found myself very happy, believing that I was one; but, alas! I was still a stranger to the rebellion of my nature, nor could I believe that I was such an enemy to God as you declared we all were, until about the month of April last, when it pleased God to begin a deep work on my soul. At first I was seized with a dismal gloominess of mind all day long, and at night with fearfulness and trembling, insomuch that it was often three or four hours before I could get my eyes to sleep after I went to bed. The Lord began to make manifest the thoughts of my heart, and to set my secret sins in order before me.
I had not been long in this state before a man, who had formerly made a profession of religion for many years, came into the room where I was at work, and he was in madness and black despair, Seeing such an awful sight added not a little to my heavy affliction: the threatenings and curses in the Bible began to wound me deeply, and my sin to appear exceeding sinful. Having Mr. Ro. maine's Life of Faith by me at that time, I frequently read it; one part of which in particular cut me to the quick, where he mentions many characters who have no faith, and amongst the
rést he brings in the formal professor, with gospel notions in his head, but no grace in his heart; and says it is a dangerous state, and confirms it by this passage, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins;" from this I concluded I had been guilty of the great transgression.
One Monday evening, about that time, you was speaking of spiritual, and likewise of formal, prayer, and you said a person might take a form of prayer and read it by one who was given up to black despair, but it would be of no use; for, said you, there is a sin unto death, and no prayer will do for that. These words, a sin unto death, struck me with such horror that I went out of the chapel shaking like a leaf.
On the Thursday morning following, before I was up, I really thought I was in hell; all was black despair; I kept crying out, Is there no hope? Is there no hope? Something within answered as fast, No; no hope, no. How long I lay in that fit I cannot tell; but in the course of my
trouble I had four or five more such, but none so bad as the first. Indeed I believe that these were the snares of death and the pains of hell, and I then believed that I was reserved in blackness of darkness unto the judgment of the great day; and Satan suggested, that if ever I weut to hear you again, the sentence of condemnation would be so sealed home upon my conscience, that I should immediately go distracted. The next morning I called upon you, and you
told me, that I was in the strong hand of God, and mentioned many passages of scripture descriptive of my state, and said I should go deeper yet, and that the Lord would bring me out in his own time, which gave me some encouragement for the present; but I soon thought that you was deceived in me, for my load of guilt and bondage grew heavier than ever, and Satan began to buffet and accuse me in a cruel manner, and persuaded me that I had told you many lies, and that I could expect no blessing under your ministry, insomuch that I was ashamed to go into your chapel; and when I was there, I was in such terror, that I was forced to hold fast by the seats, lest I should be driven out distracted. My body, also, sometimes has been worked up into such strange feelings, as though it would burst. I have sometimes thought that I was dumb, and wished the sermon to be ended, that I might try whether I could speak or not. At other times my neck has appeared to be so stiff that I could not turn my head, and often I felt as though the use of my limbs was taken away. Indeed I feared I was entirely given up to the devil, for I could receive nothing from your mouth but condemnation; I saw myself to be one of the vilest wretches that ever crawled upon the earth, and, as I had sát under the gospel so long, I looked on myself fully
ripe for ruin and destruction, and sunk deeper and deeper in despair.
One sabbath morning I took a walk; and while I was walking and pondering over the sad state I was in, never expecting to be any better, I thought I would not go to bear you any more, but would wander about all the day; when these words came powerfully to my mind, “ If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him;" what to do I knew not, for I expected if I went to hear that I should only be made worse. However I was forced to go; and in your sermon you was speaking of the power that God displays in holding all things in existence, and of devils and damned souls being kept in their misery, while his incensed justice, flashing on them, stirred up the flames; I had such a view of their state that I was almost distracted; my throat was so hot through the terrors I felt that I set off directly you ended
your sermon to get some small beer to cool it, but expected soon to be where I should not be allowed a drop of water. My friends strove to comfort me; but I was desperate, and would not hear them. However, in the evening, I came to hear you again; and, after wrestling hard with God in prayer for his blessing, I heard you from these words in Romans, “The Spirit itself helpeth our infirmities,” &c. Here you spoke of the difference between one who was given up to the devil as Judas was, and one who was under convictions by the Spirit of God; and before the sermon was ended I lost all my load, and went away rejoicing in hope. O! what a change was this! But this lasted but a short time, for on Monday evening you cut me down again; Tuesday evening, at Monkwell street, I got a little comfort; but, on Wednesday evening, down I went again, for, indeed, the words have come with such amazing power from your mouth, as to make my heart sink like a stone. I got no more such comfort again for five or six months, but thought I was given up to hardness of heart; during which time my sleep was almost taken from me, so that I thought it pretty well if I could get one night's rest out of three; but sometimes I had not a minute's sleep for three nights and days together, which made my head so bad, that I thought I should have lost my rationality; and being by trade a journeyman shoemaker, it was hard for me to keep my seat, and for many months I did not do a day's work in a week, and for a whole fortnight none at all; but my good and gracious God would not suffer me to starve.
While I was in this state, one evening you preached from these words, '“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” O! what an evening was this to me! I thought the Lord had sent you to preach this discourse, that I might receive my sentence first from your mouth; and then I expected that my soul would soon be separated from my body, in order to receive the sen