Wednesday, January 19

Lord's day, Jan. 19.

Discoursed to my people from Isa. lv. 7. - Towards night catechised in my ordinary method. And this appeared to be a powerful season of grace among us. Numbers were much affected. Convictions were powerfully revived; and divers of the Christians refreshed and strengthened; and one weary, heavy-laden soul, I have abundant reason to hope, brought to true rest and solid comfort in Christ, who afterwards gave me such an account of God's dealing with his soul, as was abundantly satisfying as well as refreshing to me.

He told me he had often heard me say, that persons must see and feel themselves utterly helpless and undone; that they must be emptied of a dependence upon themselves, and of all hope of saving themselves by their own doings, in order to their coming to Christ for salvation. And he had long been striving after this view of things; supposing this would be an excellent frame of mind, to be thus emptied of a dependence upon his own goodness; that God would have respect to this frame, would then be well pleased with him, and bestow eternal life upon him. - But when he came to feel himself in this helpless undone condition, he found it quite contrary to all his thoughts and expectations; so that it was not the same frame, nor indeed any thing like the frame, he had been seeking after. Instead of its being a good frame of mind, he now found nothing but badness in himself, and saw it was for ever impossible for him to make himself any better. He wondered, he said, that he had ever hoped to mend his own heart. He was amazed he had never before seen that it was utterly impossible for him, by all his contrivances and endeavours, to do any thing that way, since the matter now appeared to him in so clear a light. - Instead of imagining now, that God would be pleased with him for the sake of this frame of mind, and this view of his undone estate, he saw clearly, and felt, it would be just with God to send him to eternal misery; and that there was no goodness in what he then felt; for he could not help seeing that he was naked, sinful, and miserable, and there was nothing in such a sight to deserve God's love or pity.

He saw these things in a manner so clear and convincing, that it seemed to him, he said, he could convince every body of their utter inability ever to help themselves, and their unworthiness of any help from God. - In this frame of mind he came to public worship this evening, and while I was inviting sinners to come to Christ naked and empty, without any goodness of their own to recommend them to his acceptance; then he thought with himself, that he had often tried to come and give up his heart to Christ, and he used to hope, that some time or other he should be able to do so. But now he was convinced he could not, and it seemed utterly vain for him ever to try any more: and he could not, he said, find a heart to make any further attempt, because he saw it would signify nothing at all: nor did he now hope for a better opportunity, or more ability hereafter, as he had formerly done, because he saw, and was fully convinced, his own strength would for ever fail.

While he was musing in this manner, he saw, he said, with his heart (which is a common phrase among them) something that was unspeakably good and lovely, and what he had never seen before; and "this stole away his heart whether he would or no." He did not, he said, know what it was he saw. He did not say, "this is Jesus Christ;" but it was such glory and beauty as he never saw before. He did not now give away his heart so as he had formerly intended and attempted to do, but it went away of itself after that glory he then discovered. He used to try to make a bargain with Christ, to give up his heart to him, that he might have eternal life for it. But now he thought nothing about himself, or what would become of him hereafter; but was pleased, and his mind wholly taken up, with the unspeakable excellency of what he then beheld. - After some time he was wonderfully pleased with the way of salvation by Christ: so that it seemed unspeakably better to be saved altogether by the mere free grace of God in Christ, than to have any hand in saving himself. - And the consequence of this exercise is, that he appears to retain a sense and relish of divine things, and to maintain a life of seriousness and true religion.

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