« PrécédentContinuer »
strict and religious living. On I went, notwithstanding the many and great oppositions I found myself encompassed with, abounding and encreasing, rather than declining or abating, either in duties or ardent zeal in doing them. My proficiency in morality, and the advances I made in zeal for the church and the liturgy, and service thereof, were so conspicuous and manifeft, that I became the talk of almost all sorts of people, especially those who stood related to my family. Letters and persons, who paft to and fro, giving an account, in city and country, what a strange alteration and admirable change there appeared in their cousin J. Barry, and what a great and wonderful practiser of piety he was become. This was so noised abroad, that I could scarce look or speak, or pass in or out where people were, but I had somewhat or other brought into discourse concerning my forwardness and zeal in religion. And notwithstanding I was at that time but an hypocritical formalist, and a painted legalist, knowing nothing of Jesus Christ, and the covenant of grace, no not so much as in the notion, yet I was frequently troubled and exceedingly alhamed to hear mention made of my activity and zeal in serving and worshipping God; so far was I from either designing or desiring to make the world privy to my intention of going to heaven.
And that which speaks the thing the more strange is, to consider the circumstances of time
and place, neither of which afforded any thing that might contribute the least part of a motive, or an inducement, to put me on looking towards or so much as thinking of conversion, there being no preaching in those parts, the ordinary means by which convictions in order to faith and conversion are effected; nor yet the example 'or advice and counsel of any person, which might occasion in me such thoughts or workings of foul.
In this way I continued for about fix or seven years after my first awakenings, frequenting the church and its appointed service, and growing blind in pharifaical zeal for the moral law and divine-fervice book, until I had, in my own apprehension and conceit, arrived at a high pitch of confidence, that I was, beyond all dispute, really converted, and that consequently I should be saved, and go to heaven. Yea, I did frequently reckon and account with myself, that if but two in the world should go to heaven I should certainly be one of the two; and that because I was certainly converted, and had taken so much and great pains in doing good and funning evil. I had no fear or jealousy lodged in me about God's accepting my person, and his having regard to my numerous and zealous performances of duty, both private and public.
My extraordinary inclinations to the ministry, and that matchless zeal which appeared in me for the church; that love and veneration I had for its
liturgy, ceremonies, and clergy, especially its pres lacy, gave my father and other relations great hopes that I should be an honour to the family, and a man of no ordinary figure in the orb of the church,
Setting forth the manner in which the spirit of bondage seized me, in the very height of my confidence, of
being in a good and Jure state of salvation; what sad work it made with me, and what means I used for help and relief under its killing and finking weight.
When I was about twenty-one years of age, , in the very heat and height of my zeal in prosecuting that righteousness, consisting of that negative and positive obedience which the law morally enjoins and requires as the condition of life and salvation, it pleased God to send forth the spirit of bondage to seize me, to the end I might be instructed, and fully convinced, huw vain my confi. dence of being saved and going to heaven, in that self-pleasing way of legal righteousness, was. The manner of it was thus: being, on the day called D 2
Easter Monday, 'at my cathedral devotion, in the place called Christchurch, in Dublin ; a place I conftantly frequented to morning and evening service, and a place which I inore zealously loved and venerated than any place in the world besides ; for that I verily conceited in myself was as the very entrance into heaven itself; after the service was ended, one Dr. Golborn preached; his text was in Ephef. v. 14. Wherefore he faith, Awake thou that Jeepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give tbee light.
A good and choice text; but how well or ill handled I must acknowledge myself to have been, at that time, a very incompetent judge to say or determine. About the middle of the sermon, as near as I could guess, there was darted into my mind this fad and killing thought, viz. that I had the day before received the facrament unworthily, which sad thought was backed with that of 1 Cor. xi. 29.
For be that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not disceriing the Lord's body.
This sad and disinal thought, backed, as I said, with that scripture just now quoted, and not any word spoken by the preacher, was that which seized my mind, and let in the spirit of bondage
No sooner had I looked this Ipadeouos, or Forerunner, of the spirit of bondage in the face, comparing it with the place already mentioned, but I
concluded myself a loft and an undone man. My spirit was in such an amazing fright and overwhelming consternation, to think that I was most certainly damned to all intents and purposes, that indeed I verily thought all the people in the place were a swarm or a legion of devils, which God, in revengeful wrath, had sent from the bottomlesspit to guard and attend my guilty foul thither."
The apprehensions 1 had of being damned and sent to hell so racked and tormented my spirit that I found myself unable to stay till sermon was ended. Away I ran out of that place, to shun, as I then thought, those swarms of devils, which I strongly: conceived were to guard me to hell. As soon as I came to my Lord of Santry's, where I then lived, I entered my chamber with a sad and heavy heart, God knows; and to my knees I go, with an intent to pray, if so be there might be any scrap of hope of my escaping being eternally damned. But, alas! what tongue or pen can relate the pafs and condition I was then at: my reason, my conscience, and my very speech, were, as it were, plunged and drowned in the gulph of despair, fo that I could neither utter a word in prayer, nor yet consider: what I should do to relieve my bleeding foul in that fore distress. I durft not abide in my cham? ber, fearing to see and feel the devils actually to feize me.
To the minister of the parish I went, from whose hands I received the facrament but the day before, not knowing bút that he might