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The sweet and soul-ravishing communion I had with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, was to me instead of meat, drink, and neep, and that the most pleasing and satisfactory that I ever enjoyed. The actings and sufferings of Christ in the assumed na ture for me were so realized, and the virtue and reconciling efficacy of the same fo sensibly set home on my wounded and bleeding soul by the spirit of adoption, that I thought I had the person of Christ clasped in my arms in the bed. Oh! the sweet intercourses which, by the operation of the Holy Ghoft, passed between precious Jesus and my languid soul. Then was I made to know experimentally what it was to sup with Christ, and be with me, Rev. iii. 20.
While I was waking I was entertained with strange variety of interlocution or difcourse which passed between Christ and me, which did explain and unfold to me wisdom's affertions : Wben thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it hall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it fall talk with thee. Prov. vi. 22. During this, I continued in such a melting frame that the very pillowbier under my head was as if dipped in a river, through the
great abundance of tears of inconceivable joy, which the sense and feeling of Christ's love constrained me to shed. When I found a necessity of turning in my bed, I could not turn without my dearly-beloved, and incomparably loving Jesus in my arms with me.
When I numbered and nept, I was soon visited with most joyful and ravishing dreams of God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, the glory of heaven, and the unutterable bliss and felicity of those souls who are reconciled to God by Christ. This was very frequent and common when seep came on mes after I had been sealed in believing.
And albeit, I never durft to heed or mind nocturnal dreams, yet they have sometimes had such a ftrange influence on me, that I have felt such delightful joy and comfort in my spirit, that sometimes I have been at a stand to think whether I had been asleep or awake.
It was a frequent practice with me for some considerable time, how long I cannot now remember, to arise in my bed when I awaked out of my fleep to bend my knees and lift up my eyes, hands, and heart to heaven, to laud, praise, and magnify Fa. ther, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the greatness and ftrangeness of my so unexpected and unlooked-for salvation : being but the night before, yea and every morning, ready to drop into final desperation of ever being saved. Oh! what a loss was I at in myself, not knowing how fufficiently to extol and bless God for what had now befallen me; I was even ready to quarrel with myself because of the narrowness and straightness of my soul which hindered that I could not take in more of God, and go out in more enlarged expressions of love and praises to him. For above fix months together I could neither lie down, nor arise ; go down, or come up stairs ; pass in or out from one place to another, but I strongly conceited that I perceived a guard of angels attending my person.
It cannot be expressed with what scorn and abhorrence I looked on the pride and gallantry of the family where I lived; their changeable suits of rich and glittering apparel, with their choice meats, and sweet music, with other delightful pastimes, I looked on and accounted them but as smoke and duft. The titles of worldly honour, wherein the rest of my relations did not a little glory, I accounted the same, but a mere empty vanity.
Oh, think I, that my poor relations could fee, taste, and feel what I do, how would they difrelish, and be ashamed and weary of these poor, perishing, sensual delights, wherein they place their delight and felicicy.
When at any time I heard them talk boastingly of the honour and credit of the family, I could not forbear expressing my contempt of the same; tella ing them, to their very face, that the blood of Jesus, not the blood of my progenitors according to the flesh, was that which made me noble and truly honourable: and that he or she, who were advanced to the highest degree of honour whereto an carthly king could possibly advance them, if they were not washed in the Lamb's blood, the higher their honour and greatness is, the greater and more
intolerable would be the doom and condemnation of such, when by death they go hence*.
Now I began to difrelish and discover what small esteem I had of the liturgy and ceremonies of the church, of which I had formerly been so extremely zealous.
Three things chiefly occasioned this :
First, The apprehension I had of the purity and holiness of God's nature, which require a worship suited to his own pure and spiritual being, according to that in John, iv. 24. God is a spirit; and they that worship bim, must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Secondly, I considered that no worship could pollibly find acceptance with God, but such a worthip as is stamped with God's own institution, which I was then apprehensive, and am now more fully convinced, the liturgy and ceremonies of the church are not, the same being devised by men, and imposed by human authority, without the least warrant from the word of God. Ifa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony we are to go, and if they Speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. God complains that such worshippers, Isa. xxix. 13; Draw near with their
# The reader may here see the difference between a pilgrim in this world, who has Christ in his pofseflion, and a carpal worldling, who holds nothing but Chrift's name in profession.
mouths, and with their lips do honour him, but bave removed their hearts far from bim; and their fear towards him is taught by the precept of men. Mat. xv. 8, 9.
Therefore in vain they worship bim, teaching for do&trines the commandments of men; as the blessed Redeemer says.
Thirdly, The sad experience I had of the unfuitableness of such a worship to an awakened, and a renewed soul, while I was in a natural state, ignorant of God, and the nature of my soul, and things truly spiritual. I was exceeding zealous in doing and performing that service which now I find is of little avail, either to a pleasing God, or profiting an awakened conscience: the Spirit of God having in effectual calling taught and convinced me that no worship or ordinance in religion can be food to nourish and satisfy a hungry soul, but such worship as is instituted by, and suited to please God; being done in faith.
God will be found savingly of none but those who seek him in the ways of his own institutions; as it is written, Prov. viii. 32. Now, therefore, bearken unto me, O ye children, for blessed are they that keep my ways. And again, 1 Pet. ii. 2. As new-born babes desire the fincere milk of the word, that
уе тау grow thereby. But this milk cannot be
got from the precepts of men.
Soon after this, the care and providence of Christ, my
chief shepherd, directed me to attend the ministry of Mr. Samuel Mather, with whom I after