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Can. But what was the cause of your carrying of it thus to the first workings of Gon’s blessed Spirit upon you?
HOPE. The causes were—1. I was ignorant that this was the work of GOD upon me. I never thought that by awakenings for sin GOD at first begins the conversion of a sinner. 2. Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was 10th to leave it. 3. I could not tell how to part with my old companions, their presence and actions were so desirable unto me. 4. The hours in which convictions were upon me were such troublesome and such heart-afl‘righting hours, that I could not bear, no not so much as, the remembrance of them upon my heart.
Cruz. Then, it seems, sometimes you got relief of your trouble? I
HOPE. Yes, verily, but it would come into my mind again, and then I would be as bad, nay worse than I was before.
CHR. Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?
HOPE. Many things: as, ifI did but meet a good man in the street; or if I have heard any read in the Bible; or‘if mine head did begin to ach; or if I were told that some of my neighbours were sick; or if I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or if I thought of dying myself ; or if I heard that sudden death happened to others—but especially when I thought of myself, that I must quickly come to judgement.
CHR. And could you at any time, with ease, get
off the guilt of sin, when by any of these ways it came upon you?
I HOPE. No, not I; for then they got faster hold of my conscience: and then, if I did but think of going back to sin, (though my mind was turned against it) it would be double torment to me.
CHR. And how did you do then?
Hora. I thought I must endeavour to mend my life; for else, thought I, I am sure to be damned.
CHR. And did you endeavour to amend ?
HOPE. Yes; and fled from not only my sins, but sinful company too, and betook me to religious duties, as praying, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbours, &c. These things did I, with many other, too much here to relate. ‘
-CHR. And did yOu think yourself well then?
HOPE. Yes, for a while ; but at the last my trouble came tumbling upon me again, and that over the neck of all my reformation.
CHR. How came that about, since you were now reformed P
HOP 1:. There were .several things brought it upon me; especially such sayings as these—“ All our righ— “ teousnesses are as filthy rags :”—-“ By the works of “ the law no man shall be justified:”-—“ When ye “ have done all these things, say, We are unprofita“ ble‘:” with many more such like. From whence I began to reason with myself thus :—if all my righteousnesses are filthy rags; if by the deeds of the law no man can be justified; and if, when we have done all,
' Isa. lxiv. 6- Luke xvii. 10. Gal. ii. 16.
we are unprofitable—then it is but a folly to think of heaven by the law. Ifurther thought thus--if a man runs a hundred pounds into the shopkeeper’s debt, and after that shall pay for all that he shall fetch— yet, if this Old debt stands still in the book uncrossed, for that the shopkeeper may sue him, and cast him into prison till he shall pay the debt.
CHR. Well, and how did you apply this to yourself?’
HOPE. Why, I thought with myself, I have by my sins run a great way into Gon’s book, and that my now reforming will not pay off that score; therefore I should think still, under all my present amendments, ‘ But how shall I be freed from that ‘ damnation that I brought myself in danger of by ' my former transgressions?
CHR. A very good application :—-but pray go on.
HOPE. Another thing that hath troubled me, even since my late amendments, is, that, if I look narrowly into the best of what Ido now, I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with the best of that I do: so that now I am forced to conclude that, notwithstanding my former fond conceits of myself and duties, I have committed sin enough in one duty to send me to hell, though my former life had been faultless.
CHR. And what did you do then? I
HOPE. DO! I could not tell what todo, till I broke my mind tO FAITHFUL; for he and Iwere well acquainted. And he told me that unless I could Obtain the righteousness of a man that never had sinned, neither my own, nor all the righteousness Of the world, could save me.
CHR. And did you think he spake true? ,
Hora. Had he told me so when Iwas pleased and satisfied with mine own amendment, I had called him fool for his pains; but now, since I. see mine own infirmity, and the sinwhich cleaves to my best performance, Ihave been forced to be of his opinion.
CHR. But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you, that there was such a man to be found, of whom it mightjustly be said that he never committed sin?
Hora. I must confess the words at first sounded strangely, but, after a little more talk and company with him, I had full conviction about it.
CHR. And did you ask him what man this was, and how you must be justified by him'?
HOPE. Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, that dwelleth on the right hand of the Most High : And thus, said he, you must be justified by him—. even by trusting to what he hath done by himself in the days of his flesh, and suffered when he did hang on the tree. I asked him further how that man’s righteousness could be of that efficacy to justify another before Gon? And he told me he was the mighty Gon, and did what he did, and died the death also, not for himself, but for me, to whom his doing and the worthiness of them should be imputed, if I believed on him.
Curt. And what did you do then?
Horn. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought he was not willing to save me.
3 Rom. iv. Col. i. Heb. x. 8P6. i.
CHR. And what said FAITHFUL to you then?
HOPE. He bid me go to him and sees ThenI said it was presumption. He“ said, NO, for I was invited to come ‘.——Then he gave me a book, ofjasus’s inditing, to encourage me the more freely to come: and he said, concerning that book, that every jot and tittle thereof stood firmer than heaven and earth‘. Then I asked him what I must do when I came? And he told me Imust intreat upon my knees’, with all my heart and soul, the Father to reveal him to me. Then I asked him further, how I must make my supplication to him? And he said, Go, and thou shalt find him upon a mercy-seat‘, where he sits, all the year long, to give pardon and forgiveness to them that come. I told him that I knew not what to say when I came. And he bid me say to this effect—“ GOD be merciful to me a sinner," and ‘ make me ‘ to know and believe in Jesus Cmusr: for I see, ‘ that if his righteousness had not been, or I have ‘ not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast ‘ away. Lord, I have heard that thou art a merciful ‘ GOD, and hast ordained that thy Son Jasvs Cmusr ‘ should be the Saviour of the world: and, moreover, ‘ that thou art willing to bestow him upon such a ‘ poor sinner as I am (and I am a sinner indeed): ‘ Lord, take therefore this opportunity, and magnify F thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through thy ‘ Son Jesus CHRIST. Amen.’
CHR. And did you do as you were bidden?
' Matt. xi. 2.8. 1 Matt. xxiv. 35. 3 Ps.xcv. 6. Jennix. 12,13. Danni. lo. 4 Ex. xxv. n. Lev. xvi. z. Heb. iv. :6.