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zeal, fervour, and energy, in his sermons, not very common at that time.
In a conference with his lordship, he expressed to him, as he had done before to his relative, that he was satisfied with the living he, then held, and that he never intended to engage in a second charge. The moderation of Mr. Adam's desires respecting preferment is manifest from the circumstance, that the living then did not yield quite two hundred pounds per annum.
About six years after Mr. Adam's settlement at Wintringham, he married Susanna, the eldest daughter of the Rev. Mr. Coke, vicar of the neighbouring parish of Roxby, by whom he had one only daughter, who died in her infancy.
The moderation of Mr. Adam's views, as to temporal emoluments, his exemption from secular ambition, and his faithful attachment to his parish, might possibly lead some to suppose, that he was from the first a minister peculiarly devoted to the duties of his calling, and anxious for the conversion and salvation of men's souls. This was, however, far from being the case, for some years after he had become rector of the parish. He was very exact and regular in the discharge of the public duties of his office, and his sermons, as we have observed, were marked by more than ordinary zeal and fervour. On a review of this period, Mr. Adam, in conversation with a particular friend, passed this judgment upon himself: “ Though I made it a point of conscience to reside amongst my people, yet I lived in conformity, to the world, in all its unprofitable ways; and my doctrine was contrary to the cross of Christ : on which his biographer observes, that Mr. Adam, in saying that bis doctrine was contrary to the cross of Christ, meant, that he was not preaching Christ crucified, as the foundation of man's hope for pardon and justification before God, but man's righteousness, thus“ making the cross of Christ of none effect."
The judgment which Mr. Adam formed of himself as a clergyman at this period of his life may be further seen in his “ Private Thoughts," where he records the deep views he took of his depravity and blindness in preaching false doctrine ; and he traces the matter up to its true source, namely, selfishness; “ intrusion into the ministry for worldly ends, and absolute unfitness for it;- in great ignorance of Christ-great unconcern for the salvation of souls consequent sloth and remissness-squandering a large income in sensual pleasure ; and when I was awakened, doing what I did in self-dependence, and self-seeking. How awful !”
This conviction of the sin of entering upon the office of the ministry, without a call from God, Mr. Adam avowed to his parishioners. In his lectures the following passage occurs in his note on Luke xxiv. 49: “And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high ;' that is, until they were endued with the Holy Spirit, to enable them for their testimony. And till then they were not to enter upon their office. God be merciful to me a sinner !”
The exact time when it pleased God to give him a clearer insight into his own state, and the true
nature of the Christian ministry, has not been recorded; probably during some years his conscience was not satisfied on the subject of his own religious state,
About the year 1745, Mr. Adam ceased from preaching during several months.
“As one struck dumb he made a public pause.”
The cause of his silence was known to his friends : and the editor has often heard his own parents speak of the event, and of the period of anxiety which Mr. Adam passed on account of the doubts he entertained respecting his state, and the doctrines he had been preaching. His health was impaired, and his parishioners saw, with concern, their minister weeping and trembling during the public services on the sabbath-days.
“Reluctant to declare a Christ unknown,
Till faith and love had made him first his own."
The writings of the Mystics, particularly those of Mr. William Law, seem to have been first instru. mental in producing a change in the opinions of Mr. Adam on the subject of religion, and his own personal piety. In relation to the impression which they produced on his mind, Mr. Stillingfleet observes, “they are admirably calculated to awaken the conscience and beget in the mind of the reader a conviction of the futility of a nominal religion, and mere decency of conduct; and have in them such a strength of easy reasoning, level to every
* See an Elegy on the death of the Rev. T. Adam, by John Foster, one of his parishioners.
+ Mr. Forster's Elegy.
capacity, as almost irresistibly wins the reader's assent to the necessity of vital religion. I must beg leave to differ from those who would utterly discard them, and to assert, that we have not, perhaps, in the English language, a more masterly performance in its way, or a book better calculated to promote a concern about religion, than Mr. Law's Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life.'”
That Mr. Adam's mind was excited by the Mystics to a concern about religion, and that he was biassed by their opinions, seems to be confirmed by the circumstance, that about this time he became intimate with the Rev. Mr. Hartley * of Winwick, and Mr. Warnford of York, who had imbibed those sentiments.
Mr. Stillingfleet further remarks "Mr. Adam continued several years greatly harassed in his mind and conscience; and though he had become more earnest respecting both his own soul and those of his people, yet he was a stranger to the comfort which eventually follows the possession of real grace, and full of continual doubts and fears. He saw, indeed, the law to be holy and just and good, but found, after all his utmost care and endeavour to fulfil it, that he fell short of its demands, and was so sinful, that he was continually brought under its righteous condemnation.” Few
persons have gained a more complete knowledge of the spiritual character of the law of God, and the condemnation under which it brings every man, than Mr. Adam. Like the excellent clergy
* Mr. Hartley published a volume of serinons. See Rev. J. Harvey's Letters.
man, Mr. Samuel Walker of Truro, with whom he afterwards became acquainted, he considered this as the ground-work of all true Christianity or personal religion ; and he watched over those who professed religion, in order to see what use they made of God's law. Of this fact, his *“ Private Thoughts,” and his other writings, afford abundant and striking proof.
After his mind had for many years been settled respecting the faith and practice of a Christian man, he looked back upon this discipline, and frequently repeated to his friends what he, in his sententious way, called his body of divinity.
"O Adam, what hast thou done!
(For practice,) “ The heart,—the heart,—the heart!" He considered these three lines, as comprehending all the leading truths of Christianity.
The first contains the lost state of man by the fall.
The third, the necessity of a new heart by the power of regenerating grace, in order to any really good and holy devotion.
This body of divinity, short as it is, was not formed without much mental anxiety, and some years of painful study. The account which we have of the laborious process, is calculated to afford instruction to ministers in the present day.
It was not till the year 1748 that the mind of Mr. Adam gained any effectual relief. While he continued a disciple of Mr. Law, though he grew in