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ALMOST twenty years have now Very many verbal corrections,with elapsed since the ensuing Narrative a few retrenchments and additions, was first published. During this will be found in this Edition. In time the Author has had abundant improvements of this kind, the Auopportunities of examining, over and thor has bestowed considerable over again, the principles which he pains: but, he has been scrupulousthen intended to inculcate. If, ly, and almost superstitiously, caretherefore, he had, on further reflec-ful to admit no alteration, which can tion, materially altered his senti- in the least degree change the meanments, he should have thought him- ing of any passage. self bound, by the strongest obliga- He feels thankful, that the leadtions, to retract what he had erro- ing desire of his heart, in publishing neously advanced. But he is thank- a work, which seems to relate alful that, on the contrary, he feels it most exclusively to himself and his incumbent on him to declare most own little concerns, has not been solemnly, as in the presence of God, wholly disappointed; but he would that every thing which he has since earnestly request the prayers of all, experienced, observed, heard, and who favour the doctrines here inculread, has concurred in establishing cated, for a more abundant and exhis most assured confidence, that the tensive blessing on this, and all his doctrines recommended in this pub- other feeble endeavours, to contend lication, are the grand and distin- earnestly " for the faith once deliguishing peculiarities of genuine vered to the saints." Christianity.


Chapel Street, Oct. 16, 1798.

need of mercy; nor did I ever, An Account of the State of the Au- during this part of my life, that I thor's Mind and Conscience in the God in secret. recollect, offer one hearty prayer to Being alienated

early Part of his Life, especially from God through the ignorance showing what his Sentiments and that was in me, I lived without him Conduct were, at the Beginning of in the world, and as utterly negthat Change of which he proposes lected to pay him any voluntary to give the History. service, as if I had been an Atheist in principle.

THOUGH I was not educated in what is commonly considered as igno- But about my sixteenth year I rance of God and religion, yet, till began to see that I was a sinner. I the sixteenth year of my age, I do was indeed a leper in every part, not remember that I ever was under there being "no health in me;" any serious conviction of being a but, out of many external indicasinner, in danger of wrath, or in tions of inward depravity, consci



ence discovered and reproached me pian change his skin, or the leopard with one especially; and I was, for his spots?" I was experimentally the first time, disquieted with ap- convinced that I was equally unable, prehensions of the wrath of an of- with the feeble barrier of resolutions fended God. My attendance at the and endeavours, to stem the torrent Lord's table was expected about the of my impetuous inclinations, when same time; and though I was very swelled by welcome, suitable, and ignorant of the meaning and end of powerful temptations: and being ig that sacred ordinance, yet this cir- norant that God had reserved this cumstance, uniting with the accusa- to himself as his own work, and had tions of my conscience, brought an engaged to do it for the poor sinner awe upon my spirits, and interrupt- who, feeling his own insufficiency, ed my before undisturbed course of is heartily desirous to have it done by him, I stifled my convictions as Being, however, an utter stranger well as I could, and put off my reto the depravity and helplessness of pentance to a more convenient season. fallen nature, I had no doubt that But, being of a reflecting turn, and I could amend my life whenever I much alone, my mind was almost pleased. Previously therefore to constantly employed. Aware of the communicating, I set about an un- uncertainty of life, I was disquieted willing reformation; and, procuring with continual apprehensions, that a form of prayer, I attempted to pay this more convenient season would my secret addresses to the Majesty never arrive; especially as, through of heaven. Having in this manner an unconfirmed state of health, I had silenced my conscience, I partook of many warnings and near prospects the ordinance: I held my resolu- of death and eternity. For a long tions also, and continued my devo- time I entertained no doubt that imtions, such as they were, for a short penitent sinners would be miserable time but they were a weariness for ever in hell: and at some seaand a task to me; and, temptations sons such amazing reflections upon soon returning, I relapsed; so that this awful subject forced themselves my prayer-book was thrown aside, into my mind, that I was overpowand no more thought of, till my con- ered by them, and my fears became

science was again alarmed by the intolerable. At such times my ex

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next warning given for the celebra- temporary cries for mercy were so tion of the Lord's Supper. Then wrestling and persevering, that I the same ground was gone over was scarcely able to give over; again, and with the same issue. My though at others I lived without goodness was like the morning prayer of any sort! Yet, in my dew that passeth away;" and, lov- darkest hours, though my consciing sin and disrelishing religious ence was awakened to discover more duties as much as ever, I returned, and more sinfulness in my whole beas "the sow that is washed, to her haviour, there remained a hope that I wallowing in the mire." should one day repent and turn unto With little variation, this was my God. If this hope was from myself, course of life for nine years: but in it was a horrid presumption; but that time I had such experience of the event makes me willing to acmy own weakness, and the superior knowledge a persuasion that it was force of temptation, that I secretly from the Lord: for had it not been concluded reformation in my case to for this hope, I would probably have be impracticable. "Can the Ethio- given way to temptations, which

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frequently assaulted me, to put an my mind so powerfully, that I was end to my own life, in proud dis- enabled to consider myself, notwithcontent with my lot in this world, standing a few little blemishes, as and mad despair about another. upon the whole a very worthy being. A hymn of Dr. Watts' (in his ad- At the same time, the mysteries of mirable little book for children) en- the gospel being explained away, or titled "The all-seeing God," at this brought down to the level of man's time fell in my way: I was much comprehension, by such proud and affected with it, and having com- corrupt, though specious, reasonmitted it to memory, was frequently ings; by acceding to these sentirepeating it, and thus continually ments, I was, in my own opinion, led to reflect on my guilt and dan- in point of understanding and disger. Parents may from this incon- cernment, exalted to a superiority siderable circumstance be reminded, above the generality of mankind; that it is of great importance to store and I pleased myself in looking their children's memories with use- down, with contempt, upon such as ful matter, instead of suffering them were weak enough to believe the to be furnished with such corrupt- orthodox doctrines. Thus I geneing trash as is commonly taught rally soothed my conscience: and them. They know not what use if at any time I was uneasy at the God may make of these early rudi apprehension that I did not thoments of instruction in future life. roughly deserve eternal happiness, At this period, though I was the and was not entirely fit for heaven; slave of sin, yet, my conscience not the same book afforded me a soft being pacified, and my principles pillow on which to lull myself to not greatly corrupted, there seemed sleep: it argued, and, I then thought, some hope concerning me; but at proved, that there were no eternal length Satan took a very effectual torments; and it insinuated that method of silencing my convictions, there were no torments except for that I might sleep securely in my notorious sinners, and that such as sins; and justly was I given over to should just fall short of heaven a strong delusion to believe a lie, would sink into their original nowhen I held the truth that I did thing. With this welcome scheme know in unrighteousness. I met I silenced all my fears, and told my with a Socinian comment on the accusing conscience, that if I fell Scriptures, and greedily drank the short of heaven, I should be annihipoison, because it quieted my fears lated, and never be sensible of my and flattered my abominable pride. loss. The whole system coincided exactly By experience I am well acwith my inclinations and the state quainted with Satan's intention, in of my mind. In reading this expo- employing so many of his servants sition, sin seemed to lose its native to invent and propagate those pesugliness, and to appear a very small tilential errors, whether in speculaand tolerable evil: man's imperfect tion or practice, that have in all obedience seemed to shine with an ages corrupted and enervated the excellency almost divine; and God pure and powerful doctrine of the appeared so entirely and necessa- gospel; for they lead to forgetfulrily merciful, that he could not make ness of God and security in sin, and any of his creatures miserable with- are deadly poison to every soul that out contradicting his natural pro- imbibes them, unless a miracle of pensity. These things influenced grace prevent. Such, on the one

hand, are all the superstitious doc-| ceded, and maintained them as long trines of popery: purgatory, pe- as I could; and I did it most asnances, absolutions, indulgencies, suredly, because they soothed my merits of good works, and the ac- conscience, freed me from the intoceptableness of will-worship and lerable fears of damnation, and enuncommanded observances; what abled me to think favourably of are these but engines of the devil to myself. For these reasons alone, I keep men quiet in their sins? Man, loved and chose this ground: I resolved to follow the dictates of fixed myself upon it, and there forhis depraved inclination, and not to tified myself by all the arguments bound his pursuits and enjoyments and reasonings I could meet with. by the limits of God's holy law, These things I wished to believe; catches at any thing to soften the and I had my wish: for at length horrible thought of eternal misery. I did most confidently believe them. This is the awakening reflection, Being taken captive in this snare of God's sword in the conscience, Satan, I should here have perished which it is Satan's business, by all with a lie in my right hand, had not his diabolical artifices, to endeavour the Lord whom I dishonoured, to sheath, blunt, or turn aside; snatched me as a brand from the knowing that while this alarming burning! apprehension is present to the soul, In this awful state of mind I athe can never maintain possession tempted to obtain admission into of it in peace. By such inventions Holy Orders! Wrapt up in the therefore as these, he takes care to proud notion of the dignity of hufurnish the sinner with that which man nature, I had lost sight of the he seeks, and to enable him to walk evil of sin, and thought little of my according to the course of this wick- own sinfulness; I was filled with a ed world, and the desires of depraved self-important opinion of my own nature, without being disturbed by worth, and the depth of my undersuch dreadful thoughts. The same, standing: and I had adopted a syson the other hand, is the tendency tem of religion accommodated to of all those speculations of reason- that foolish pride; having almost ing men, which set God's attributes wholly discarded mysteries from my at variance with each other; which creed, and regarding with sovereign represent the Supreme Governor as contempt those who believed them. so weakly merciful, that he regards As far as I understand such controneither the demands of his justice, versies, I was nearly a Socinian and the glory of his holiness, the vera- Pelagian, and wholly an Arminian* : city of his word, nor the peaceable order and subordination of the universe; which explain away all the mysteries of the gospel; and represent sin, that fruitful root of evil, that enemy of God, that favourite of Satan, as a very little thing, scarcely noticed by the Almighty, and which, contrary to the Scriptures and universal experience and observation, would persuade us that man is not a depraved creature.

To these latter sentiments I ac

* Possibly some readers may not fully understand the import of these terms: and for their benefit I would observe, that the Socinians consider Christ as a mere man, and his death merely as an example of pa tience, and a confirmation of his doctrine, and not as a real atonement satisfactory to divine justice for man's sins. They deny the Deity and personality of the Holy Spi rit, and do not admit that all Christians experience his renewing, sanctifying, and comforting influences; and they generally reject the doctrine of eternal punishments. The Pelagians deny original sin, and exof man. They do not allow the total deplain away the scriptural history of the fall pravity of human nature, but account for the wickedness of the world from bad ex

amples, habits, and education. They sup

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