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yet, to my shame be it spoken, I Ghost;) on Sept. the 20th, 1772, I sought to obtain admission into the was ordained a Deacon. ministry, in a church whose doc- For ever blessed be the God of trines are diametrically opposed to all long-suffering and mercy, who all the three; without once con- had patience with such a rebel and cerning myself about those barriers blasphemer; such an irreverent triwhich the wisdom of our forefathers fler with his Majesty; and such a has placed around her, purposely to presumptuous intruder into his saprevent the intrusion of such dan-cred ministry! I never think of this gerous heretics as I then was. daring wickedness without being While I was preparing for this filled with amazement that I am out solemn office, I lived as before in of hell; without admiring that graknown sin, and in utter neglect of cious God, who permitted such an prayer; my whole preparation con- atrocious sinner to live, yea, to sisting of nothing else than an attention to those studies which were more immediately requisite for reputably passing through the previous examination.

serve him, and with acceptance, I trust, to call him Father; and as his minister to speak in his name. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy Thus, with a heart full of pride name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and wickedness; my life polluted and forget not all his benefits: who with many unrepented unforsaken forgiveth all thine iniquities, and sins; without one cry for mercy, healeth all thy diseases; who reone prayer for direction or assist- deemeth thy life from destruction, ance, or a blessing upon what I was who crowneth thee with lovingabout to do; after having concealed kindness and tender mercies." May my real sentiments under the mask I love, and very humbly and deof general expressions; after having voutly serve that God, who hath subscribed articles directly contrary multiplied his mercies in abundantto what I believed; and after hav-ly pardoning my complicated proing blasphemously declared, in the vocations.

presence of God and of the congre- I had considerable difficulties to gation, in the most solemn manner, surmount in obtaining admission sealing it with the Lord's Supper, into the ministry, arising from my that I judged myself to be "inwardly peculiar circumstances; which likemoved by the Holy Ghost to take wise rendered my conduct the more that office upon me:" (not knowing inexcusable: and my views, as far or believing that there was a Holy as I can ascertain them, were these pose men to possess an ability, both natu- three :-A desire of a less laborious ral and moral, of becoming pious and holy, and more comfortable way of prowithout a new creation or regeneration of the heart by the Holy Spirit; and they con- curing a livelihood, than otherwise tend for the freedom of the will, not only as I had the prospect of :-the expecconstituting us voluntary agents, accountable for our conduct, but as it consists in tation of more leisure to employ in exemption from the bondage of innate carnal reading, of which I was inordinatesufficient resources for his recovery to holi-ly fond:-and a proud conceit of ness by his own exertions. The Arminians deny the doctrines of gratuitous personal my abilities, with a vain-glorious election to eternal life, and of the final per- imagination that I should some time severance of all true believers; and num- distinguish and advance myself in bers of them hold the doctrine of justification by works in part at least; and verge the literary world. These were my in some degree to the Pelagian system, in ruling motives in taking this bold respect to the first moving cause in the conversion of sinners. (5th Ed.) step: motives as opposite to those

so man

which should influence men to en-my own experience that they were ter this sacred office, as pride is unfavourable to morality, I conopposite to humility, ambition to cealed them in a great measure, contentment in a low estate, and a both for my credit's sake, and from willingness to be the least of all and a sort of desire I entertained (subthe servant of all; as opposite as servient to my main design), of suclove of self, of the world, of filthy cessfully inculcating the practice of lucre, and slothful ease, is to the the moral duties upon those to whom love of God, of souls, and of the I preached. My studies indeed lay laborious work of the ministry. To very little in divinity; but this little me therefore be the shame of this all opposed that part of my scheme heinous sin, and to God be all the which respected the punishment of glory of overruling it for good, I the wicked in the other world: and trust, both to unworthy me, and to therefore (being now removed to a his dear people, "the church which distance from those books whence I he hath purchased with his own had imbibed my sentiments, and blood." from the reasonings contained in My subsequent conduct was suit- them, by which I had learned to able to these motives. No sooner defend them,) 1 began gradually to was I fixed in a curacy, than with be shaken in my former confidence, close application I sat down to the and once more to be under some study of the learned languages, and apprehension of eternal misery. such other subjects as I considered Being also statedly employed, with most needful, in order to lay the the appearance of solemnity, in the foundation of my future advance- public worship of God, whilst I negment. And, O! that I were now lected and provoked him in secret, as diligent in serving God, as I was my conscience clamorously rethen in serving self and ambition! I proached me with base hypocrisy : spared no pains, I shunned, as much and I began to conclude that, if as I well could, all acquaintance eternal torments were reserved for and diversions, and retrenched from any sinners, I certainly should be my usual hours of sleep, that I might one of the number. Thus I was keep more closely to this business. again filled with anxious fears and As a minister, I attended just enough terrifying alarms: especially as I to the public duties of my station to was continually meditating upon support a decent character, which what might be the awful conseI deemed subservient to my main quence, should I be called hence by design; and, from the same princi- sudden death. Even my close apple, I aimed at morality in my out-plication to study could not soothe ward deportment, and affected seri- my conscience nor quiet my fears; ousness in my conversation. As to and, under the affected air of cheerthe rest, I still lived in the practice fulness, I was truly miserable. of what I knew to be sinful, and in the entire neglect of all sacred religion: if ever inclined to pray, conscious guilt stopped my mouth, and I seldom went further than "God be merciful unto me!"

This was the state of mind when the change I am about to relate began to take place. How it commenced; in what manner, and by what steps it proceeded; and how it was completed, will be the subPerceiving, however, that my So-ject of the Second Part. I shall cinian principles were very disre- conclude this by observing, that putable, and being conscious from though staggered in my favourite


History of the Change which has

taken Place in the Author's Sentiments; with the Manner in which, and the Means by which it was at length effected.

sentiment before mentioned, and yet, scarcely any person can be though my views of the person of more proudly and violently prejuChrist were verging towards Arian- diced against both their persons ism; yet, in my other opinions I and principles, than I then was. was more confirmed than ever. What those opinions were, I have already briefly declared: and they A will occur again, and be more fully explained, as I proceed to relate the manner in which I was constrained to renounce them, one after another, and to accede to those that were directly contrary to them. In January, 1774, two of my paLet it suffice to say, that I was full rishioners, a man and his wife, lay of proud self-sufficiency, very posi- at the point of death. I had heard tive, and very obstinate; and, being of the circumstance, but, according situated in the neighbourhood of to my general custom, not being sent those whom the world calls Me- for, I took no notice of it; till one thodists*, I joined in the prevailing evening, the woman being now dead, sentiment; held them in sovereign and the man dying, I heard that my contempt; spoke of them with de- neighbour Mr. Newton had been rision; declaimed against them several times to visit them. Immefrom the pulpit, as persons full of diately my conscience reproached bigotry, enthusiasm, and spiritual me with being shamefully negligent, pride; laid heavy things to their in sitting at home within a few charge; and endeavoured to prove doors of dying persons, my general the doctrines which I supposed hearers, and never going to visit them to hold (for I had never read them. Directly it occurred to me, their books) to be dishonourable to that, whatever contempt I might God, and destructive to morality. have for Mr. N.'s doctrines, I must And, though in some companies I acknowledge his practice to be chose to conceal part of my senti- more consistent with the minisments, and in all affected to speak terial character, than my own. He as a friend to universal toleration; must have more zeal and love for souls than I had, or he would not have walked so far to visit, and supply my lack of care to those, who, as far as I was concerned, might have been left to perish in

* Methodist, as a stigma of reproach, was first applied to Mr. Wesley, Mr. Whitefield, and their followers: and to those who, pro fessing an attachment to our established Church, and disclaiming the name of Dissenters, were not conformists in point of

their sins.

parochial order, but had separate seasons, places, and assemblies for worship. The This reflection affected me so term has since been extended by many to all persons, whether clergy or laity, who much, that without delay, and very preach or profess the doctrines of the reformation, as expressed in the articles and earnestly, yea, with tears, I besought liturgy of our Church. For this fault they the Lord to forgive my past neglect: must all submit to bear the reproachful and I resolved thenceforth to be name, especially the ministers; nor will the most regular and peaceable compliance more attentive to this duty; which with the injunctions of the Rubric exempt them from it, if they avow the anthorized, resolution, though at first formed but in a great measure exploded, doctrines in ignorant dependance on my own to which they have subscribed. My ac quaintance hitherto has been solely with strength, I have, by divine grace, Methodists of the latter description, and been enabled hitherto to keep. I went immediately to visit the sur

I have them alone in view when I use the term.

vivor: and the affecting sight of solved to make one more effort toqne person already dead, and an-wards amendment. In good earnest, other expiring, in the same cham- and not totally without seeking the ber, served more deeply to impress assistance of the Lord by prayer, I my serious convictions; so that now attempted to break the chains from that time I have constantly with which Satan had hitherto held visited the sick of my parishes as my soul in bondage; and it pleased far as I have had opportunity; and the Lord that I should obtain some have endeavoured, to the best of considerable advantages. Part of my knowledge, to perform that my grosser defilements I was enessential part of a parish-minister's abled to relinquish, and to enter duty. upon a form of devotion. Formal Some time after this, a friend re- enough indeed it was in some recommended to my perusal the con- spects; for I neither knew that clusion of Bishop Burnet's" History Mediator through whom, nor that of his own Time," especially that Spirit by whom, prayers are offered part which respects the clergy. It with acceptance unto the Father: had the intended effect: I was con- yet, though utterly in the dark as siderably instructed and impressed to the true and living Way to the by it; I was convinced that my en- throne of grace, I am persuaded trance into the ministry had been there were even then seasons when the result of very wrong motives, I was enabled to rise above a mere was preceded by a very unsuitable form, and to offer petitions so far preparation, and accompanied with spiritual, as to be accepted and anvery improper conduct. Some un-swered. easiness was also excited in my I was somewhat reformed in my mind concerning my neglect of the outward conduct: "but the renewimportant duties of that high calling: ing in the spirit of my mind," if and, though I was enslaved by sin, begun, was scarcely discernible. and too much engaged in other As my life was externally less wicked studies, and in love with this pre- and ungodly, my heart grew more sent world, to relinquish my flat- proud; the idol self was the object tering pursuit of reputation and of my adoration and obeisance; preferment, and change the course my worldly advancement was more of my life, studies, and employ- eagerly sought than ever; some flatments; yet, by intervals, I expe- tering prospects seemed to open, rienced desires and purposes, at and I resolved to improve my adsome future period, of devoting vantages to the uttermost. At the myself wholly to the work of the same time every thing tended to ministry, in the manner to which increase my good opinion of myself; he exhorts the clergy. I was treated with kindness and

All these things increased the friendship by persons, from whom clamorous remonstrances of my con- I had no reason to expect it; my science; and at this time I lived preaching was well received, my without any secret religion, because acquaintance seemed to be courted, without some reformation in my and my foolish heart verily believed conduct, as a man and a minister, that all this and much more was I did not dare to pray. My con- due to my superior worth: while victions would no longer be silenced conscience, which, by its mortifying or appeased; and they became so accusations, had been useful to preintolerably troublesome, that I re- serve some sense of unworthiness

in my mind, was now silenced, or person, and a laborious minister. seemed to authorize that pride But, on the other hand, I looked which it had checked before. And upon his religious sentiments as having the disadvantage of con- rank fanaticism; and entertained versing in general with persons a very contemptible opinion of his who either favoured my sentiments, abilities, natural and acquired. or who from good manners, or be- Once I had had the curiosity to hear cause they saw it would be in vain, him preach; and, not understanddid not contradict me; I concluded ing his sermon, I made a very great that my scheme of doctrine was the jest of it, where I could do it withexact standard of truth, and that out giving offence. I had also read by my superior abilities I was ca- one of his publications; but, for pable of confuting or convincing all the same reason, I thought the who were otherwise minded. In greater part of it whimsical, parathis view of the matter, I felt an doxical, and unintelligible. eager desire of entering into a religious controversy, especially with a Calvinist: for many resided in the neighbourhood, and I heard various reports concerning their


Concealing, therefore, the true motives of my conduct under the offer of friendship, and a professed desire to know the truth, (which, amidst all my self-sufficiency, and prejudice, I trust the Lord had It was at this time that my cor-even then given me); with the respondence with Mr. Newton com- greatest affectation of candour, and menced. Ata visitation, May, 1775, of a mind open to conviction, I we exchanged a few words on a wrote him a long letter; purposing controverted subject, in the room to draw from him such an avowal among the clergy, which I believe and explanation of his sentiments, drew many eyes upon us. At that as might introduce a controversial time he prudently declined the dis- discussion of our religious difcourse; but a day or two after he ferences. sent me a short note with a little The event by no means answered book for my perusal. This was the my expectation. He returned a very thing I wanted: and I gladly very friendly and long answer to embraced the opportunity which, my letter; in which he carefully according to my wishes, seemed avoided the mention of those docnow to offer; God knoweth, with trines which he knew would offend no inconsiderable expectations that me. He declared that he believed my arguments would prove irre- me to be one who feared God, and sistibly convincing, and that I should was under the teaching of his Holy have the honour of rescuing a well Spirit; that he gladly accepted my meaning person from his enthusiastical delusions.

offer of friendship, and was no ways inclined to dictate to me; but that, I had indeed by this time con- leaving me to the guidance of the ceived a very favourable opinion of Lord, he would be glad, as occahim, and a sort of respect for him; sion served, from time to time, to being acquainted with the character bear testimony to the truths of the he sustained even among some per- gospel, and to communicate his sensons, who expressed a disapproba- timents to me on any subject, with tion of his doctrines. They were all the confidence of friendship. forward to commend him as a be- In this manner our correspondnevolent, disinterested, inoffensive ence began; and it was continued,

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