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apt to engage in talk with every one they meet with, almost to this end ; and when they are disappointed, are ready to wonder that their reasonings seem to make no more impression.
Many fall under such a mistake as to be ready to doubt of their good estate, because there was so much use made of their own reason in the conviction they have received ; they are afraid that they have no illumination above the natural force of their own faculties : And many make that an objection against the spirituality of their convictions, that it is so easy to see things as they now see them. They have often heard that conversion is a work of mighty power, manifesting to the soul, what no man nor angel can give, such a conviction of; but it seems to them that the things that they see arc so plain and easy, and rational that any body can see them: Apd if they are inquired of, why they never saw so before ; they say, it seems to them it was because they never thought of it. But very often these difficulties are soon removed by those of another nature ; for when God withdraws, they find themselves as it were blind again, they for the present lose their realizing sense of those things that looked so plain to them, and by all that they can do they cannot recover it, till God renews the influences of his spirit.
Persons after their conversion often speak of things of religion as seeming new to them ; that preaching is a new thing; that it seems to them they never heard preaching before ; that the Bible is a new book : They find there new chapters, new psalms, new histories, because they see them in a new light. Here was a remarkable instance of an aged woman of above seventy years that had spent most of her days under Mr. Stoddard's powerful ministry ; who, reading in the New Testament, concerning Christ's sufferings for sinners, seemed to be surprized and astonished at what she read, as at a thing that was real and very wonderful, but quite new to her, insomuch that at first, before she had time to turn her thoughts, she wondered within herself that she had never heard of it before ; but then immediately recollected herself, and thought that she had often heard of it, and read it, but VOL. III.
never until now saw it as a thing real; and then cast in her mind, how wonderful this was, that the Son of God should undergo such things for sinners, and how she had spent her time in ungratefully sinning against so good a God, and such a Saviour ; though she was a person, as to what was visible, of a very blameless and inoffensive life. And she was so overcome by those considerations, that her nature was ready to fail under them. Those that were about her, and knew not what was the matter, were surprized and thought she was a dying.
Many have spoke much of their hearts being drawn out in love to God and Christ, and their minds being wrapt up in de lightful contemplation of the glory and wonderful grace of God, and the excellency and dying love of Jesus Christ, and of their souls going forth in longing desires after God and Christ. Several of our young children have expressed much of this, and have manifested a willingness to leave father and mother, and all things in the world, to go to be with Christ. Some persons have had longing desires after Christ, which have risen to that degree, as to take away their natural strength. Some have been so overcome with a sense of the dying love of Christ, to such poor, wretched, and unworthy creatures, as to weaken the body. Several persons have had so great a sense of the glory of God, and excellency of Christ, that nature and life have seemed almost to sink under it ; and in all probability, if God had shewed them a little more of himself, it would have dissolved their frame. I have seen some and been in conversation with them in such frames, who have certainly been perfectly sober, and very remote from any thing like enthusiastic wildness ; and have talked, when able to speak of the glory of God's perfections, and the wonderfulness of his grace in Christ, and their own unworthiness, in such a manner that cannot be perfectly expressed after them. Their sense of their exceeding littleness and vileness, and their disposition to abase themselves before God, has appear. ed to be great in proportion to their light and joy.
Such persons amongst us as have been thus distinguished with the most extraordinary discoveries with God, have com
monly in no wise appeared with the assuming, and selfconceited, and selfsufficient airs of enthusiasts ; but exceedingly the contrary ; and are eminent for a spirit of meekness, modesty, selfdiffidence, and a low opinion of themselves : No persons seem to be so sensibly of their need of instruction, and so eager to receive it, as some of them ; nor so ready to think others better than themselves. Those that have been thought to be converted amongst us, have generally manifested a longing to lie low, and in the dust before God
withal complaining of their not being able to lie low enough.
They very often speak much of their sense of the excellency of the way of salvation, by free and sovereign grace, through the righteousness of Christ alone ; and how it is with delight that they renounce their own righteousness, and rejoice in having no account made of it. Many have expressed themselves to this purpose, that it would lessen the satisfaction they hope for in heaven, to have it by their own righteousness, or in any other
than as bestowed by free grace, and for Christ's sake alone. They speak much of the inexpressibleness of what they experience, how their words fạil, so that they can in no wise declare it : And particularly speak with exceeding admiration of the superlative excellency of that pleasure and delight of soul which they sometimes enjoy ; how a little of it is sufficient to pay them for all the pains and trouble they have gone through in seeking salvation ; and how far it exceeds all earthly pleasures : And some express much of the sense which these spiritual views give them of the vanity of earthly enjoyments ; how mean and worthless all these things appear to them.
Many, while their minds have been filled with spiritual delights, have, as it were, forgot their food ; their bodily appetite has failed, while their minds have been entertained with meat to eat that others knew not of. The light and comfort which some of them enjoy, gives a new relish to their common blessings, and causes all things about them to appear as it were beautiful, sweet, and pleasant to them : All things abroad, the sun, moon and stars, the clouds and sky, the heav, ens and earth, appear as it were with a cast of divine glory and
sweetness upon them. The sweetest joy that these good people amongst us express, though it include in it a delightful sense of the safety of their own state, and that now they are out of danger of holl; yet frequently in times of their highest spiritual entertainment, this seems not to be the chief object of their fixed thought and meditation. The supreme attention of their minds is to the glorious excellencies of God and Christ, which they have in view ; not but that there is very often a ravishing sense of God's love accompanying a sense of his excellency, and they rejoice in a sense of the faithfulness of God's promises, as they respect the future eternal enjoyment of God.
The joy that many of them speak of is, that to which none is to be parallelled ; is that which they find when they are lowest in the dust, emptied most of themselves, and as it were annihilating themselves before God, when they are nothing, and God is all, are seeing their own unworthiness, depending not at all on themselves, but alone on Christ, and ascribing all glory to God: Then their souls are most in the enjoyment of satisfying rest ; excepting, that at such times, they apprehend themselves to be not sufficiently selfabased ; for then above all times do they long to be lower. Some speak much of the exquisite sweetness, and rest of soul that is to be found in the exercises of a spirit of resignation to God, and humble submission to his will. Many express earnest longings of soul to praise God; but at the same time complain they cannot praise him as they would do, and they want to have others help them in praising him: They want to have every one praise God, and are ready to call upon every thing to praise him. They express a longing desire to live to God's glory and to do something to his honor; but at the same time cry out of their insufficiency and barrenness, that they are poor impotent creatures, can do nothing of themselves and are utterly insufficient to glorify their Creator and Redeemer.
While God was so remarkably present amongst us by his spirit, there was no book so delighted in as the Bible ; especially the book of Psalms, the prophecy of Isaiah, and the New Testament. Some by reason of their esteem and
love to God's word, have at some times been greatly and wonderfully delighted and affected at the sight of a Bible ; and then also, there was no time so prized as the Lord's day, and no place in this world so desired as God's house. Our converts then remarkably appeared united in dear affection to one another, and many have expressed much of that spirit of love which they felt to all mankind ; and particularly to those that had been least friendly to them. Never, I believe, was so much done in confessing injuries, and making up differences as the last year. Persons after their own conversion, have commonly expressed an exceeding desire for the conversion of others : Some have thought that they should be willing to die for the conversion of any soul, though of one of the meanest of their fellow creatures, or of their worst enemies; and many have indeed been in great distress with desires and longings for it. This work of God had also a good effect to unite the people's affections much to their minister.
There are some persons that I have been acquainted with, but more especially two, that belong to other towns, that have been swallowed up exceedingly with a sense of the awful greatness and majesty of God; and both of them told me to this purpose, that if they in the time of it, had had the least fear that they were not at peace with this so great a God, they should instantly have died.
It is worthy to be remarked, that some persons by their conversion seem to be greatly helped as to their doctrinal notions of religion; it was particularly remarkable in one, who having been taken captive in his childhood, was trained up in Canada, in the Popish religion ; and some years since returned to this his native place, and was in a measure brought off from Popery, but seemed very awkward and dull of receiving any true and clear notion of the Protestant scheme, till he was converted ; and then he was remarkably altered in this respect.
There is a vast difference, as has been observed, in the degree, and also in the particular manner of persons experiences, both at and after conversion ; some have grace working more sensibly in one way, others in another. Some speak more