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Mercy Triumphant IN THE Converſion of Sinners UNTO GOD.

Being an Account of the Remarkable Experiences Of many Eminent Chriſtians in ſeve­ral Declarations made by them upon Solemn Occaſions. Diſplaying the exceeding Riches of the Free Grace and Love of God in ſup­porting them under violent Temptations, and the Troubles of their deſpairing Con­ſciences, and at length filling their Souls with Divine Conſolations.

Formerly publiſhed by divers faithful Miniſters of the Goſpel in and about London, and now revived for the comforting of poor doubt­ing Believers.

By W. D.

Come and hear all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my Soul,Pſal 66 1

LONDON, Printed for Nath. Crouch at the〈◊〉in the Poultrey, near Cheapſide. 1696.


I Am very ſenſible that Diſcourſes of Con­verſion in this Age are much ſlighted and derided by ſome kind of men that make high pretences to Learning and Knowledge, who tell us that this talk of Converſion is fitter for Pagans and Infidels to hear than Chriſtians and Proteſtants; But as ſome peo­ple ſpeak againſt Learning that have none them­ſelves, ſo ſuch Perſons may be thought to in­veigh againſt Converſion, and the Spirit of God, becauſe they never experienced the effects of ei­ther of them in themſelves; For certainly,

I. It is not the taking on us the Profeſsion of Chriſtianity that can ſave our Souls, or make us happy forever. If to ceaſe to be Jews or Pa­gans and to put on the Chriſtian Profeſsion were ſufficient, then the Chriſtians of Sardis and Laodicea, who had a name to live, would never have been condemned by our bleſſed Lord, and threatned to be ſpewed out, Rev. 3.1, 16. Are there not many thae name the name of Jeſus Chriſt, that yet depart not from Iniquity, and profeſs they know God, but in works deny him, and will God receive theſe for True Converts, becauſe they are turned to the Chriſtian Religi­on.

II. It is not being Baptized into the Chriſtian Faith, nor being Waſhed in the Laver of Rege­neration that can denominate a Man a real and ſincere Chriſtian. Many take the Preſs Money and wear the Livery of Chriſt, that yet never ſtand to their Colours nor follow their Leader; Ananias and Saphira, and Simon Magus were baptized as well as the reſt; How fondly then do many men miſtake, deceiving and being deceived, dreaming that the effectual Grace of God is neceſſarily joyned to the out­ward adminiſtration of Baptiſm, and that be­ing Converted and Regenerated already when Baptized, they need no more: But if this were ſo, then all that were baptized in their Infancy muſt neceſſarily be ſaved, becauſe the promiſe of Pardon and Salvation is made to Converſion and Regeneration, and we need look no further to ſee our Names written in Heaven, but to ſearch the Regiſter and ſee whether we were baptized, and the Certificate of our Baptiſm will be the faireſt evidence for Heaven, and we need only to cry God mercy and be abſolved by the Miniſter at our Death, and we ſhall inherit the Kingdom of God. But let me tell you from the li­ving God, that whatever benefits you receive by baptiſm, yet if when you come to years you be unholy, unclean, malicious, covetous, a ſcoffer, or the like, you cannot be ſaved except you be renewed again by repentance and a through and powerful change of your heart and life.

III. It is not Moral Righteouſneſs that will evidence us to be Chriſtians; we muſt exceed the Scribes and Phariſees; And though the bleſſed Apoſtle Paul before his Converſion ſays, that he was touching the Righteouſneſs of the Law blameleſs, Phil. 3. So that none could charge him with the leaſt immorality, and though the ſelf juſtifying Phariſee could ſay I am no Extortioner, Adulterer, Unjuſt, &c. Luke 18.11. yet this was not ſufficient; Thou muſt have ſomething more than all this to ſhew, or elſe God will not juſtifie thee. I condemn not Morality, but we are not to reſt there. Piety in­cludes Morality, as Chriſtianity doth Hu­manity, and Grace includes Reaſon, but we muſt not divide the two Tables.

IV. External Conformity to the Rules of Piety is not enough to make us true Chriſtians; Many have a Form of Godlineſs without the Power; they may pray long, faſt often, hear gladly, and be very forward in the ſervice of God, though coſtly and expenſive, and yet be ſtrangers to Chriſtianity, and the divine Life; It will not be enough for them to plead at the great Day of Account that thekept their Church, ſaid their Prayers, received the Sacrament conſtantly, gave Alms, or the like; For there is no outward ſervice but an Hypocrite may perform it, even to the giving all his goods to the poor and his body to be bur­ned, 1 Cor. 13.3.

V. A Seeming Conformity to the will of God, occaſioned either by the reſtraint of humane Laws, Education, Afflictions or the like, can never give us aſſurance of eternal hap­pineſs; 'Tis too common and eaſy, to miſtake E­ducation for the Grace of God, but if this were true, who was a better man than Jehoaſh, who while his Ʋncle lived was very forward in Gods ſervice, and calls upon him to repair the houſe of the Lord, 2 Kings 12.2, 7. yet there was nothing but good Education all this while, for when his good Tutor was taken out of the way, he appears to have been only chained up, and preſently falls to Idolatry; ſo in caſe of humane Laws, and Afflictions, though men may ſeem very conformable while they are reſtrained by them, yet that being removed many throw of all, and commit iniquity with groedineſs.

Having briefly declared what true Chriſti­anity is not, I ſhall in ſhort diſcover what it is; Converſion or true Religion conſiſts in the thro' change both of the heart and life, by the Spirit of God, through the merits and Inter­ceſſion of Jeſus Chriſt; Where this is in truth, it goes throughout all the powers, principles and practices of a man; His mind is changed, and the ſcales of his natural ignorance fall off, ſo that God and his glory weigh down all carnal and worldly Intereſts, and he is turned from darkneſs to light. He that thought formerly there was little hurt in ſin, now comes to ſee it to be the chief of evils; Heretofore he ſaw no form nor comelineſs in his holy Redeemer that he ſhould deſire him, but now he finds him to be the hid Treaſure, and the Pearl of price, for which he is willing to part with all, to purchaſe it. Now God is all to him, and he values his favour and the light of his countenance above all the good that he formerly inquired after, and ſet his heart upon. Let the world now preſent her ſelf in all the glory of her Kingdoms, yet his Soul will prefer a naked, a crucified, a per­ſecuted Chriſt before her, and he will cry out, The Lord is my portion ſaith my ſoul: Whom have I in Heaven but thee, and there is none upon Earth that I deſire beſides thee; God is the ſtrength of my heart and my por­tion for ever.

He had rather be gracious than great, and had rather be the holieſt man upon Earth, than the moſt learned the moſt famous or the moſt proſperous.

His Joys are changed, he now rejoyceth in the ways of Gods Teſtimonies more than in all Riches; He delights in the Law of the Lord, of which he formerly had little Savour; He hath no ſuch joy as in the thoughts of Chriſt and fruition of his company forever.

His cares and fears are altered, he was once careful about the things of this life, but now his great ſolicitude is how to ſecure his Soul, and e­verlaſting concerns; He uſed to fear nothing ſo much as the loſs of his Eſtate, Reputation, Friends, or Pleaſures. Nothing ſounded ſo terrible to him as pain, poverty or diſgrace; Now theſe are little to him in compariſon with the diſhonour and diſpleaſure of God; It pierces his heart to think of loſing Gods favour or of being parted from his bleſſed Saviour.

His love runs a new courſe and he (like the ancient Father) can ſcarce find words ſweet e­nough to expreſs his affections to his well beloved Jeſus,Let me ſee thee O Light of mine eyes; Come O thou joy of my Spirit. Let me behold thee O the gladneſs of my heart; Let me love thee O Light of my Soul; Appear unto me O my ahief delight, my ſweet Comforter; O my God, my Life, & the whole glory of my Soul, Let me find thee, O Deſire of my heart; Let me hold thee O Love of my Soul; Let me im­brace thee, and poſſeſs thee O heavenly Bride­groom.

His Sorrows have now a Vent by the veiw of his Sins the ſight of a Crucified Chriſt which did ſcarce move him before how much doth it affect his heart; His hatred boils, his anger burns agatnſt ſin, all the faculties and members of his Soul and Body that were formerly inſtruments of ſin are now become the holy Ʋtenſils of Chriſts living Temple.

That eye which was once wandring, wanton, haughty, and covetous, is now imployed (as Marys) weeping over his ſins, in beholding God in his works, in reading his word, in ſearching for Objects of Charity and Mercy, and ſeeking all opportunities to do him ſervsce.

That ear that was opened to Satan's call, and like a vitiated appetite, reliſhed nothing better than filthy or at leaſt ſrothy unprofitable diſcourſe and the laughter of Fools, is now boar­ed to hear the ſweet voice of Jeſus, and is open to his Teachings; it now ſays, Speak Lord, for thy Servant heareth, and waits for his word as the rain, which is ſweeter to him than the ho­ney and the honey comb, or his appointed food.

That head which was filled with carnal con­trivances and deſigns, is now imployed in mat­ters of greater concern, and ſtudies how it may perform the will of God; His thoughts are now more intent about his duty than his gain, and his principal buſineſs is how he may pleaſe God and avoid Sin.

His heart which was full of pollution and defilement, is now become an Altar of divine Incenſe, where the fire of Celeſtial Love is con­tinually burning, and from whence the dayly Sacrifice of Prayer and Praiſe, and the ſweet perfume of holy Deſires, Ejaculations and Soli­loquies are conſtantly aſcending.

His mouth is become a well ſpring of Life, his tongue is as choice Silver, & his lips feed many; Now the Salt of heavenly Grace hath ſeaſoned his ſpeech and purged out all its corruption; Hath cleanſed it from its former filthy tommunica­tion, flatery, boaſting, railing, lying, ſwearing, backbiting, which once iſſued out like flaſhes of infernal fire, from the Hell that was in his heart.

His throat that was once an open Sepulchre, now ſends forth the ſweet breath of Prayer and holy Diſcourſe, and the man ſpeaks in another Tongue, even the language of Canaan, and is never ſo well pleaſed as when talking of God Chriſt, and the glorious things of another world His mouth bringeth forth Wiſdom, and his tongue is become the Silver Trumpet of his Makers Praiſe and Glory.

To conlude, his Converſation is in Heaven, and the New Man takes a new courſe, in his life and practice; when God hath given him the new heart, and writ his Law in his mind, he forthwith walks in his Statutes, and keeps his Judgments, and though ſin, like a weari­ſome and unwelcome gueſt God knows, dwells in him, yet it hath no more dominion over him; He hath his fruit unto holineſs, and though he hath many a fall, yet the Law and Life of Jeſus is his Rule, and he hath an unfeigned reſpect to all Gods Commandments, and keep­eth a good conſcience willing in all things to live honeſtly and without offence towards God and Men.

In ſuch a ſtate as this no doubt, were thoſe eminent Chriſtians who made the following ſolemn Declarations, of the gracious Experiences which they had of the exceeding love & favour of God to their Souls in ſupporting them under their doubts and difficulties, and afterwards con­firming their minds in the good ways of the Lord. They had found the Lord to be merciful and full of goodneſs, compaſſion and truth, and therefore thought that they ought with their mouths to ſhew forth his Praiſe, both to ſtir up thers to joyn with them therein, and likewiſe to incourage poor, diſtreſſed, diſconſolate Chriſtians to put their truſt in the Almighty, ſince if they perſevere ſincerely in ſeeking his face he will certainly at length diſcover himſelf unto them and fill their hearts with joy and gladneſs.

And it maybe reaſonably hoped that theſe heavenly Experiences will be very effectual and conducive thereunto, ſince they confiſt of ſuch variety of Tryals, Temptations and Exerciſes of Spirit, that we can ſcarce ſuppoſe but the moſt diſquieted deſpairing Soul may here meet with Caſes as dark and comfortleſs as his own, and and likewiſe find what a good end the Lord in his due time brought all the troubles of his af­flicted Children unto; And for this purpoſe no doubt they were firſt Collected and Publiſh­ed ſome years ſince by divers Faithful and Pi­ous Miniſters of the Goſpel, in and about Lon­don; and though they have omitted the Names of the Perſons becauſe no glorying ſhould appear therein, yet they were then known to be Chriſti­ans who had truly taſted & ſeen that the Lord was gracious; Now that the God of all Peace and Conſolation may give his bleſſing hereunto is the hearty and earneſt Prayer and deſire of him who is, A wellwiſher to the Souls of Men.

W. D.

Mercy Triumphant in the Con­verſion of Sinners to God. Diſcovered in the Remarkable and Gra­cious Experiences of ſeveral Eminent Chriſtians.

1. Experiences of Mr. J. R. Miniſter of the Goſpel.

BEfore I give an account of my own Expe­riences, I ſhall briefly diſcover the Duty, and uſefulneſs of communicating Chri­ſtian Experiences.

1. It is a Duty, becauſe it hath been the pra­ctice of the People of God in former Ages: When our bleſſed Saviour had cleanſed the Leper, Matth. 8.4. he bid him, Go, and ſhew it for a Teſtimony; and Matth. 28.7. the Angels by Mary Magdalen, Go quickly and tell the Diſciples that Chriſt whom they ſought was riſen; and verſe 10. Chriſt meet­ing with the two Marys, renews the Precept, Go tell my Brethren, &c. For now ye know it, and have ſeen me, and can aſſuredly ſay that I am riſen. And in Joel 1.3. Tell your Children, and let your Children tell their Children, and their Children another Generation. And this is obſerved by the Jews at this day out of Deut. 6.7. And to add more So­lemnity to the commemoration of God's Law, and their deliverance from Egypt, they write it down in a piece of Parchment, and then rolling it up ſu­perſcribe2 it, To the Lord, and faſten it to the Wall, or the Poſt of the Door on the right hand of the Entrance, and as often as they go in and out they touch, and kiſs it with great affection and devotion: This alſo is commanded, Pſal. 34.8. Come taſte and ſee that the Lord is good; and 1 Theſ. 5.11. Comfort your ſelves together, and edi­fie one another, even as alſo ye do. And what is more excellent for edification and conſolation, than to tell what God hath done for our Souls; whereby many who have met with the like, may be con­firmed and comforted. David in Pſal. 16, crys out, I will tell of all thy wondrous works; and Pſal. 66.19. Come and hear (ſays he) all ye that ſear the Lord, and I will declare what he hath done for my Soul; and verſe 19. Verily God hath heard me, and hath not turned away his mercy from me. And Pſal. 18.30. The way of God is perfect (ſaith David.) How know­eſt thou this, David? Oh! ſays he, I have tryed it; The Word of the Lord is tryed; I can tell it by ex­perience, and I know that he is a Buckler to all that truſt in him. And Pſal. 51. He promiſes, that as ſoon as his broken bones were healed, and the joy of his Salvation was reſtored to him, he would preſently preach it, and teach tranſgreſſors God's ways, and ſinners ſhould be converted unto him: He would give ſinners warning of ſin, and uncleanneſs, and tell them what it was to lie in helliſh horrours, to have a wounded Spirit, an accuſing Conſci­ence, and the Indignaton of an angry frowning God. Thus alſo the Apoſtle ſpeaks, 2 Cor. 5.11. Knowing the terrour of the Lord, we perſwade men: We tell them the ſad condition they are in, now we are delivered out of it, on purpoſe to per­ſwde them to believe in God, to get out of their carnal ſtate, and to taſt and ſee the mercy, grace, and love of God in Chriſt in the Goſpel, and as3 the Apoſtle Peter ſays, 1 Pet. 2.3. If ſo be ye have taſted how gracious the Lord is: O then you will ſay, It is good, it is ſweet, and will incourage others to come and be made partakers thereof.

2. As this is a Duty, and hath been the pra­ctice of Primitive Times, ſo it is very uſeful and neceſſary for ſeveral Reaſons. 1. It is a bearing the beſt outward Teſtimony to God and his Attri­butes that can be, when we can ſay by experience that God is gracious, loving, ſlow to anger, ready to forgive, that he is true and faithful, for we have tryed him, and therefore know it; and the want of this makes us ſo often queſtion his care, truth, mercy and love to us in times of Tryal. 2. It is neceſſary to communicate Experiences, thereby to diſcover thoſe that are ſound Chri­ſtians and ſincere Believers, as far as may be judged by outward appearance, converſation, and commu­nication. 3. It may be uſeful to prevent us from cenſuring, or having hard thoughts of thoſe who are under ſpiritual Agonies, Afflictions and Temp­tations; all which our bleſſed Redeemer himſelf ſuffered, that he might be able to ſuccour them that are tempted, Heb. 2.18. So that when we ſee poor Souls ſet on the wrack, and roaring under tor­ments, and crying out, Oh! they are damned, un­done, forſaken of God, &c. Yet we ought not to condemn them, for even then they may be the dear Children of God, and may paſs a wrong Sen­tence upon themſelves, ſo long as they lie in de­ſpair, and under the ſenſe of their own ruinous condition, till they find help and ſalvation in Je­ſus Chriſt; of which you may find divers Inſtances in the following Experiences. 4. By theſe Expe­riences we may learn how various the Lord is in his ways and workings; as the Apoſtle ſays, Heb. 1.1. God who at ſundry times, and in divers manners ſpake4 to the Fathers by the Prophets, &c. To ſome he comes in one way, like a Lion, and to ſome in another, like a Lamb; to ſome by ſickneſs, to others by croſſes and loſſes; to ſome by Sermons, and to others by Reading the Scriptures, Chriſtian Con­verſe and the like. Again, to ſome the Lord diſ­covers himſelf in an extraordinary way, as in Dream, Trance, Voice or Viſion; but neither theſe, nor the ordinary manifeſtations of God's Love are to be regarded, unleſs they are confirmed by the Scriptures, and the Promiſes therein; and unleſs they alſo make the perſon more holy, humble, and mean in his own Eyes, and more to admire the Free Grace of God to him a poor un­worthy ſinner; and the Lord knows what means is moſt proper, for that which will work upon one man, may have no operation upon another. 5. Ex­periences do oblige and allure Chriſtians exceed­ingly, to rely upon God, and to believe in him. For, as David ſays, Pſal. 22.1, 2. I cry, I roar night and day for deliverance; but what Argument doth he uſe? ſee verſe 4, 5. Our Fathers truſted in thee, they truſted, and thou didſt deliver them; they cryed unto thee, and were delivered; they truſted in thee, and were not confounded. Therefore deliver me too, for I truſt in thee. So Pſal. 31.24. Be of good cou­rage, and he ſhall ſtrengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord; even as he hath ſtrengthened my heart, and heard my voice and crys (as in the verſes before) ſo he will yours, O all ye Saints! Thus the Woman of Samaria, John 4.28, 29. ran into the City, and declared her Experiences of the Meſſiah that was come, and how he told her all things, &c. And obſerve how this weak means wrought upon many; for, verſe 29. it is ſaid, That many of the Samaritans believed in him, becauſe of the ſaying of the poor Woman. And thus Junius pro­feſſeth,5 that the very firſt thing which converted him him from Atheiſm, and made him believe in God, was a Conference with a poor Country-man near Florence in Italy.

There are many other benefits that ariſe from Chriſtians communicating their Experiences of the favour, love, and goodneſs of God towards them; ſome being informed, others confuted, others com­forted, and confirmed in the good ways of the Lord; ſo that it is to be wiſht, that this Chriſtian duty were more practiſed, whereby others might be incouraged to truſt in God, by hearing what he hath done for our Souls. I ſhall add no more, but proceed to give an account of the wonderful dealings of the Almighty with my unworthy ſelf.

TO give a formal Account of my Life would be tedious, though I may ſafely ſay, in every year ſinee I can remember; I have been inricht with ſo many and ſuch remarkable Experiences, as may make ſome rather admire than believe them: And firſt, when I was a School-Boy at Malden in Eſſex, I began to be rouzed by two Men, Mr. Will. Fenner, and Mr. Stephen Marſhall, about the tenth year of my Age; for before that, I was I know not what, though I was kept to read every day, was Cate­chiſed, with other good Orders: But then hearing Mr. Fenner full of Zeal, and ſeeing him thundering about, and beating the Pulpit, I was amazed, and thought he was mad, wondring what he meant: Now whilſt I was gazing upon him, I was ſuddenly ſtruck, and perceived it was we that were mad, which made him ſeem to be ſo: Oh! ſays he,You knotty, rugged, proud pieces of fleſh, you ſtony, rocky, flinty, hard hearts, what will you do when you are roaring in Hell among the damned, & c? This made me at firſt aſtoniſht, and run ſo often6 in my mind afterward, that I began to be troubled, ſcared, and affrighted, and for fear of going to Hell, I fell to praying, hearing Sermons, reading the Scriptures morning and evening, though I un­derſtood little, but only thought the bare reading ſufficient: I learnt to pray firſt out of Books, and got all the Graces, ſo called, by heart; and after Family-Prayers, I was every night afraid the Devil would carry me away to Hell, if I did not ſay my prayers, Our Father, &c. and I believe in God, &c. with the Ten Commandments and my little Cate­chiſm of Dr. Hall's, which I had learnt: And this I did duly every night before I durſt ſleep, which I thought a ſufficient defence to preſerve me from the Devil's tearing me in pieces before morning. Yet ſometimes when I was ſleepy, to make more haſte, I would ſay ſome of them in the Chimney-corner whilſt I was undreſſing me; thinking all was well enough, ſo it were but done: Yea, when I was extreamly ſurprized with fear of the Devil, being apt to fancy any thing to be him, I often ſaid all my Prayers and Commandments twice over, ſuſpecting I had not ſaid them well enough, or had for haſte left out ſome of them, and the like; and thus as the Apoſtle ſays, When I was a Child, I did childiſh things, and thought all this was very well; and oft-times I would get one of my Play-fellows to walk alone with me, and would tell him of Sin and Hell, and ſuch matters, for they ran al­ways in my mind, and I was in a deſperate fear.

At length going to hear Mr. Marſhall, whilſt I was nodding, and almoſt aſleep, his powerful voice awakened me, thundring in my Ears the dreadful danger of ſuch as were drowſie, and ſlept, and ſlumbred away their Salvation, which I thought was ſpoken directly to me, and had ſuch preva­lency upon me, that I ſtarted up with an aking heart, being much terrified at his words, which he ſtill purſued, and wounded me to the heart, when he told us;That when time was paſt, it could never be recalled again, and that there was no other way but to double our diligence, and redeem the time we had loſt by making more haſte, and taking more care and pains, or elſe we ſhould be uterly loſt and undone:This touched me ſufficiently, ſo that I could not forbear weep­ing extreamly: After Sermon I went home, and ſitting alone, I fell to crying and complaining that I had loſt my time, taking up a reſolution never to ſleep at Church again, and I think I have kept that ſolemn Covenant to this very day.

After this, I was not content with my former cuſtomary duties, for now I muſt double them, and do more than before; wherefore I reſolved to write down the Sermons I heard, as well as I could, but having little skill to write faſt or orderly, I ever obſerved the Doctrines, Reaſons and Heads of the Uſes, which I got by heart, repeating the morning Sermon at noon, and the evening Sermon at night, ſo that I could the readilier anſwer my Father when he examined me; and then I learnt out of a Book a prayer for morning, and another for evening: This courſe I continued for nine or ten years together, ſo that at length I attained to repeat to my ſelf the ſubſtance of ſome Sermons which I had heard ſeven or eight years before; and the Lord led me on in this orderly way (I know not how) without the advice or direction of any perſon upon Earth, whereby I hoped to work out my Salvation, and redeem my time. But this I muſt ſay, from this Form I learnt much of God and Goodneſs; and what I did at firſt for fear of Hell, at laſt I performed out of love to Heaven, yea out of love to God and Chriſt, as if it were withouteaven. I uſed this method ſome years after I came to the Univerſity of Cambridg whereby I was enabled to Recollect ſeveral Mens Sermons 10 years after they were Preached, and likewiſe with Gods aſſiſtance to Preach my ſelf, at 18. or 19. years of age, to the great wonder of many.

Thus you hear how formal I was, and I muſt needs confeſs it was more out of fear than love that I maintain'd this ſtrictneſs in the duties of Religion; But not long after I was further awakened by my own Father Mr. N. R. Miniſter in Eſſex who preaching upon the Good Samaritan, and ſhewing Chriſts Compaſſion to wounded Souls he in reproof of Sinners declared,That they were more guilty than the hardhearted Jews, that they Crucifie Chriſt afreſh, and have no Compaſſion on him now he is in Glory, but Spit on him and make him Suffer, and that his blood would riſe up in Judgment againſt them, for if Abels a meer mans did ſo, much more his, and if David prayed to be delivered from blood guiltineſs, how ought we to beg of God to be freed from being guilty of the precious blood of the Son of God and Savi­our of the World.This he Preached and preſſed ſo powerfully, that I was thrown into a trembling, as lying under the guilt of Chriſts blood, and was long perplext with the horror thereof.

One Remarkable Paſſage I muſt never forget which happened in my Youth, that being one time playing and running about my Father's houſe, with my other Companions, I know not upon what occa­on, I uttered vain words, crying, O Lord, which we were not ſuffered to do, whereupon my heart was inſtantly ſmitten and I was ſuddenly ſet a running by I know not what Power or Spirit, as if I had been poſſeſt, and could not poſſibly ſtay my ſelf till I was carried with much violence to a little gate way, where to my apprehenſion I perceived, as plainly as ere I ſaw any thing by the Sun-ſhine, a naked Sword glittering with a ſharp edge, which took up the whole ſpace of the Gate from one Poſt to the other with a broad blade moſt keen and cruel; at which ſad ſight, being almoſt diſtracted With fear, I ſhriekt out, yet had not the leaſt power to ſtop, but was forcibly carried toward it, ſo that the edge of the threatning blade meeting with my Body, it ſeemed to me impoſſible that I ſhould eſcape death, and I made no other account but to be quite off, and parted aſunder; but after­wards being hurried through with that irreſiſtible force, I had ſtrength to ſtay a little beyond it, and to contemplate the deſperate peril that I was in; I ſtood as one amazed, and ſcarce knew whether I were alive or dead, yea I could hardly believe my ſelf to be any thing but a dead man, or at leaſt mortally and deadly wounded, if not wofully and deplorably cut in twain: Oh! how I ſtood trem­bling and turmoiled in my thoughts, until after ſome time the Vital blood which was retired for the hearts defence, began to diſperſe and circulate in its former courſe, and then I lookt about, and turned to the gate way, but the appearance was paſ­ſed away, the Sword gone and vaniſht, whilſt I was left alone (the reſt running away) in a Labarynth of fears, griefs, and doubts, free from an wound with­out, but deeply and wofully wounded within, and never ſince to the praiſe of Gods grace as I know of, have I made ſuch vain and irreverent mention of the name of the Lord. But good God! what was thy will herein? Thou who art not tyed to means or order, beſt ordereſt and diſpoſeſt of all things for thine own deſign and glory! and ſo this was I am ſure, but what it was I know not; yet it left a laſt­ing impreſſion upon me, and, the Scar is ſtill to be be ſeen in my heart, though the wound be hea­led.

But alas! how long and lamentably did I lye afflicted, and in continual fears after this? Every Thunder and Lightning I lookt upon as fatal to me, and ſent to deſtroy me, and then I would fall to my prayers, and ſaying my Creed and Commandments, and to my Sermons as faſt as I could, that I might be found well doing at leaſt, if not as a Charm to pre­ſerve me, or a challeng to God by virtue of them to keep and defend me; And I remember it was a great comfort to me to conſider that others did not do as I did, but that they altogether flighted ho­lineſs, prayer, &c. and lived wickedly and carnal­ly, in drunkeneſs, diſobedience, Sabbath-breaking, and other ſins every day; this I was ſo far from grieving at and weeping over, that I, in my heart, rejoyced in it, as having more hopes, and fancying my ſelf to be in a better condition than they, and therefore ſhould have more favour from the hand of God; but all this while, (like an Iſraelite in Aegypt) I work't for life, and my Services were my Savi­ours, and I would often take occaſion to diſcourſe with my Brothers, Siſters, and School-fellows, a­bout Heaven and Hell, and what a hard thing it was to be ſaved.

Being at Malden in Eſſex ſome time after, I had a certain Dream which ſeemed afterward fulfied; It was about the time when the Spaniards and Hol­landers had a Sea fight in the Downs, which I hea­ring ſome talk of, it filled me with fears, and the following night I dreamed that I ſaw fire rained, or rather powred down round about, and looking where I was, I thought my ſelf to be without the Coach yard Gate of my Fathers houſe; I was much affrighted to ſee nothing but fire on every ſide of me, and looking upward and about me, praying earneſtly for Deliverance, none came nigh me by a good ſpace, though flaming in all places elſe, ſo that I could ſee none exempted; wherefore being afflicted for my Father and our Family, I fell on my knees, to ask mercy for them, and continued praying a long while before I could be heard; but at laſt, I thought I was bid to ariſe and look, and then the Fire ſeemed not to fall ſo faſt on my Fa­thers Houſe as before, but abated by little and lit­tle, till I awaked. Now though this Dream ſeiz­ed much upon my Spirits for the preſent; yet I accounted it only a fancy, till about ſix years after meeting with Dr. Draiton in the Iſle of Ely, and repeating it to him, he declared to me, that for ſeveral Reaſons which he gave, this muſt be more than a meer Dream or working of fancy, and that ſomething would happen which this did pre­ſignifie, inſtancing in ſome of the like kind which himſelf, his Wife, and others had met with, as warnings and predictions; and therefore he wiſh­ed me by no means to ſlight or contemn it, becauſe he was confident it did preſage ſome fiery and an­gry Diſpenſation upon our Family, and that my Father and the reſt, would fall under ſome trou­ble by the times or otherwiſe, and my ſelf ſhould be free, and at liberty to pray for them; and that by degrees, they ſhould be brought out, and the Fire abated; this interpretation which he gave more fully, was for the moſt part verified ſome years after.

But all this while I was labouring for Heaven, in an exceeding formal way, and did much covet to know the things of God, and therefore often wiſht that I were a Miniſter, ſuch a one as Mr. Fenner, Mr. Marſhall, Mr. Hooker, my Father, or ſome other Eminent Preacher, that ſo I might attain to their Knowledge, and then I thought I ſhould do12 more abundant Service for God (as if the Lord were beholding to me for my obedience) and ſhould the more eaſily and ſurely obtain Salvation; thus I poor Creature continued for ſeveral years together, keeping many faſt Days by my ſelf, Heard, Read, Sung Pſalms, Meditated, uſed Soliloquies, and prayed many times a day, and what not, and yet at laſt ſunk into the depth of deſpair, what by the often thoughts of Hell, in reading Drexelius upon Eternity, and then thinking of the Endleſs, Eaſe­leſs, and Remedileſs Torments of the Damned; what by frequent Frights as before; and what by my Father once preaching on the Parallel of the Fool in the Goſpel, Luke 10.20. Thou Fool, this Night will I take away thy Soul, then whoſe ſhall theſe things be that thou haſt provided. From whence he diſcovered the unaccountable folly of Men, to lay up the Trifles of this World, and forget Hea­ven. That Eternal Happineſs is not to be obtained upon a Down Bed, nor without much pains and care, ſince our Bleſſed Lord tells us, that ma­ny ſtrive hard to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and ſhall not be able, and that, Except our Righte­ouſneſs exceed the Righteouſneſs of the Scribes and Phariſees, we ſhall in no caſe enter into the King­dom of Heaven, Matth. 5.20. what with theſe and other things, I was almoſt thrown into the bot­tomleſs abyſs of Deſperation; I took the Bible to look theſe Scriptures, and read them over, and over again, but the more I read, the more I was filled with Horror, and roared for Grief, being ſunk ſo deep into the black gulf of Deſpair, that to my ſelf and others, I ſeemed paſt recovery; I Prayed, Faſted, Mourned, got into corners, yea many times, being aſhamed my caſe ſhould be openly known, I run into Barns, Stables, Out-Houſes, any where, pretending I had buſineſs, on13 purpoſe to Pray, Sigh, Weep, ſtriking my Breaſt, and curſing the hour that I was born; wiſhing that I were a Stone, any thing but what I was, for fear of Hell and the Devils, whom I thought I often ſaw in ſeveral ugly ſhapes and forms; ſome­times fancying them to have great rolling Eyes like Sawcers, with Sparkling Firebrands in one hand, and with the other reaching at me, to tear me away to Torments: Oh! the leaps that I have made, the frights that I have had, the fears that I was in, which continued off and on many years.

To theſe inward Tortures, I had the addition of many ſore outward Afflictions, which much height­ned my Sorrows, being often (doubtleſs I might deſerve it too to much) beaten, bruiſed, turned out of Doors, kickt about, and moſt ſeverely and unkindly uſed. At which times I ſhould be Tempt­ed to Murther my ſelf; and ſometimes to think I could not belong to God; for if I did, he would not endure to ſee me thus uſed and Afflicted, who did always fly to him, and prayed, and prayed, and prayed, but I had as good ſpeak to a poſt, for I was not Relieved; other times I ſhould read and weep, and (as my uſual manner was, in the time of my great Deſpair) would fall flat all along, with my face on the ground, and cry, and ſigh and weep, and call for help, but the Lord's time was not yet come to anſwer; I often wept half, and ſometimes a whole Night together, watering my Bed with my Tears, for fear of Hell and the Devil, becauſe of my Sins, and Rebellious Diſobedience; I always Slept with my Hands claſped together, that ſo if I ſhould dye, or that the Devils ſhould prey upon me, I might be found in a praying po­ſture, ſleeping as well as waking; and for five or ſix years together, I never durſt go to ſleep in any other manner.


But the greateſt blow I met with, was from the Scripture afore mentioned, Mattth. 5.20. Surely thought I, it is but in vain to ſtrive againſt the Stream, if I muſt exceed the Righteouſneſs of the Scribes and Phariſees; for I had often read of their ſtrictneſs in their Houſes, Synagogues, and Schools; that the moſt ordinary among them, repaired three or four times a day to their Devotions, namely in the Morning, at Sunriſing, at the fourth hour of the Day, in the Afternoon, and in the Even­ing, and ſo in a manner, were all day long in Devo­tion; beſides Laudatory Prayers and Thanks, noonly for all the Mercies they daily receive, but upon every extraordinary occaſion, and in every action; a prayer for every time they eat, they would not drink without a prayer; a prayer for every good ſmell; a prayer when they waſh, &c. a prayer upon every new thing they had, and what not? Inſomuch that ſome of their RabbieWrite, they uſed at leaſt an Hundred and eight Prayers or Benedictions every day; I had likewiſe read, how ſtrict they were on their Sabbaths, they would not gather wood, not kill a flie or flea, not dreſs any Proviſions, not make a Fire, not Write, nor cancel any Writing, not quench a Fire, not handle nor touch any Money, hammer, Tool, or other Inſtrument, not bear any weight or burden, not eat of any thing dreſſed, nor any Fruits ga­thered on that Day, not wear any thing that day, but juſt neceſſary Apparel, not ſpeak of Worldly matters, as Buying, Selling, Giving, Taking, nor make any Bargains; Nay, on the Friday before Sunſet, all Worldly things were laid aſide, and they began their Sabbath.

Now theſe and the like conſiderations, made me think it was in vain to ſeek to be ſaved, and to no more purpoſe than to beat the Wind, or Build15 in the Air; for if the Scriptures were true, I could never attain thereunto, ſince I judged it impoſſi­ble for me to exceed the Righteouſneſs of the Scribes and Phariſees; ſo that after ſerious delibe­rate Debates in my own Soul about my lamenta­ble condition, I lay under the ſevereſt ſenſe and ſentence of this Scripture, which at length height­ned and increaſed my diſpair to ſuch a degree that I could take no comfort; and I was ſo wretched, as to account the God of Mercy moſt cruel, in ex­acting impoſſibilities of Men, by requiring them to exceed ſuch Righteouſneſs, and to let ſo many be Damned, becauſe they could not go beyond it; Oh! ſuch hard thoughts had I of God; At length I was Tempted not to Pray, Read, Hear, or do any Duties at all; for I thought it impoſſible af­ter all to be Saved, and ſo would deny all; ſome­times I was Tempted to think there was no God, but that all things came by Nature; yea, ſo wicked was I, as to challenge God, if thare were a God, to give me ſome ſign, or certain proof thereof. In a word, my troubled Thoughts roſe to ſuch a height, that I did not only Deſpair, but began to be Diſtracted, and out of my Wits; ſometimes I thought Trees to be good and bad Angels, and looked upon Buſhes as Dens of Devils; I ſat up whole Nights in a little Turrit in the Orchard, Stu­dying, Singing, Whiſtling, Hollowing, and draw­ing Figures, or elſe walking in the Fields, or other Solitary places, talking to my ſelf, ſpeaking to Trees as to Men, or as to Angels, or God; and thinking the leaſt whiſtling of the Wind, or chir­ping of a Bird, or lowing of a Beaſt, to be ſome anſwer ſent to me: As theſe Diſtractions increaſed, I could not avoid the forcible Temptations of a Fu­rious Devil, making me ſometimes whet a Knife, take a Billet, or ſome other thing to Murther my14〈1 page duplicate〉15〈1 page duplicate〉14〈1 page duplicate〉15〈1 page duplicate〉16ſelf or others, or indeed all, for my thoughts I would have all to have gone my way; many ways I tryed to do miſchief, but was always prevented, till at laſt I was taken and bound hand and foot, and held faſt in my Bed, while the raging Fits were over; and then when I was tyred and pati­ent yet if let go, without a watchful Eye, the firſt thing I went about would be, without ſpeaking a word, to ſeek for a Knife, or to get to the Win­dow, to caſt my ſelf down Headlong; ſo that I was often ſtrangely and almoſt miraculouſly pre­ſerved even in the very Act and inſtant of time, when a few Minutes longer had been too late to ſave my Life.

I ſhould not be ſo long in this Hiſtory, but that I dare hide nothing wherein God hath appeared my God for his own Glory, in what I am now by Grace; and therefore as things Eminent are brought to Memory, I am bold to declare them, fot the Mag­nifying of the alone love, and Riches of God's Mercy in Jeſus Chriſt. I dare boldly ſay, few that ſaw me in thoſe headlong diſtempers, did think me at the beſt, fit for any place but Bedlam, or did believe I ſhould ever be reſtored to what I am, and this was alſo very ſtrangely. For as my diſtracted Fits abated, they then turned more to inward Malady and Malancholy, ſo that I continually cryed out, I am Damn'd, I am Damn'd, I am ſure I cannot be ſaved, it is impoſſible, Oh I have Hell, Hell Fire about me, the Devils are tearing me, and I thought I heard the Damned roaring and raving, and ſaw〈◊〉, was it were, Roaſt­ing and Frying inlaſting Torments, and my whole Soul was ſwallowed up with their How­lings, and Screechings. In this Deplorable condi­tion, I lay ſeveral days and nights, untill at length I was fully perſwaded and convinced, that there17 was a God, that this God was Righteous, and that he would hear my Prayers, if I continued calling upon him, and crying to him with Importunity without ceaſing; ſeeing the unjuſt Judge that we read of in Scripture, was prevailed upon by the Importunities of the poor Widdow;

Hereupon having gathered together thoſe ſcatter­ed Relicks of Reaſon that were left me, I took up a Reſolution, that I would continue in Prayer, and ſo I did, though by fits I was froward, and mute, and mild, and I know not how, ſometimes ſcarce eating a bit of Bread in five days together; after which I was in another form and frame of ſpirit, (though by turns, full of Diſtraction and Deſperate thoughts) I grew more Serious, and began to weigh things, as in a Ballance, and to Expoſtu­late with the Lord, and to Pray by fits moſt furi­ouſly, and now and then the Tears which were be­fore dryed up, began to Trickle and Rowl down my Face, like ſwollen drops of Blood:

Thus I continued three or four days, till one Af­ternoon coming into the Chamber, my Heart being as big and full as it could hold, I threw my ſelf flat on my face as uſually, ſtriking on the Boards, and crying to the Lord for Deliverance, and uſing ſuch extravagant Expreſſions as might diſcover that I was in Deſpair; then ſtanding up, I walked a turn or two ſaying, is there not a God? Is he Gracious? Are the Scriptures falſe? Canſt thou take delight to ſee a poor Soul thus ſet on the Rack, Sighing and Roaring in Torment? Riſe up and appear for thy ſelf, thou Great God, ſhew thy ſelf Gracious in one Act of Mercy, in deſ­pight of all the Devils in Hell;Then beating my Breaſt, and tearing my Hair, I threw my ſelf on the Bed, whilſt my Eyes were glazed and brim full with Tears; There I lay till a ſuddain ſleep18 ſeized upon me, and I dreamed of the ſame Scrip­ture that had been a killing Letter to me, which now through the Spirit of Chriſt quickned me, whereby I was made ſenſible that Chriſts Righte­ouſneſs being by Faith, made mine, did exceed the Righteouſneſs of the Scribes and Phariſees, and that except I, in and by the Righteouſneſs of Chriſt made mine, did excell their Righteouſneſs, I could not be Saved. When I awaked, I was ſo much changed, that I was amazed at my ſelf, at the ſuddenneſs of it; for I dreamt I was com­forted, and that my Heart was filled with Joy, and when I awaked, it was ſo indeed; I ſtarted up, and rebuked my ſelf ſaying, why am not I damned? VVhat's the matter? VVhy am I ſo filled with a fancy, and with a ſuddain hope of I know not what, nor whence; I then fell to pray, and whilſt I was praying, I ſaid, Lord is this true? Say Lord is it true? If it be ſo, diſcover it to me, confirm me in it; at length I was perſwa­ded that the Righteouſneſs of Chriſt was mine, that this Garment was provided for ſuch poor, naked, torn Creatures as I was; whereupon I took the Bible, and found ſeveral Scriptures which ſeemed to confirm the ſame to me, and I was fflled with Divine infuſions, and immediate Reſolutions agreeable to the will of God given out there; and then I began to breath upon it, and pauſe a little, and by degrees to revive and look up with ſome hope, till the Lord ſatisfied me by revealing to my Heart, that Chriſt's Righteouſneſs was my only Juſtification, and that therein I did exceed all Phariſaical Righteouſeſs whereby I had comforta­ble hopes of Salvation, in and through Jeſus Chriſt, from that very ſame Scripture, which did before condemn me.

After this I began plainly to perceive, why my my ſelf and ſo many others were ſo long and la­mentably loſt in Deſpair, that it was becauſe we ſought for Juſtification in a wrong place, and were therefore in the wrong way to Salvation; juſt as if a Man ſhould dig in his Garden for a Mine of Gold; no wonder that we loſe our labour at laſt, after Sweating, Tears, Prayers, Cares, Pains, Fears and all, ſeeing we look in a wrong place. Thus was it with me, all the while I was looking and poaring, and perplexing my ſelf for a Righteouſ­neſs of my own, and to ſeek in my ſelf to exceed the Scribes and Phariſees, Alas! I was loſt, undone, and could not find it, nor ſee any door of Hope ſet open for my Soul, till Chriſt in his Righteouſ­neſs was Revealed in me; and then I knew him to be a Saviour. Well, with this Joy I have continu­ed to this Hour, holding and keeping my ground againſt all Temptations, with great numbers of which I have been Aſſaulted ever ſince, and ſuch as have been ſcarce heard of. For after I had Solemnized, and Celebrated my New Life (begun in anothers Righteouſneſs, and another ſelf) by compoſing and ſinging of Pſalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and continual open-hearted returns of Prai­ſes to my ſelf, whilſt the Angels ſeemed to rejoyce with me; yet Satan my conſtant and unwearied Enemy, began now to muſter up afreſh more trou­bles againſt me, and to follow me with an Hoſt of Afflictions and Tryals, as Pharaoh followed Iſrael, with a purpoſe to deſtroy them, when once out of his Territories; but my God whom I unfeignedly ſerve from my Soul, did deliver me, does deliver me, and I truſt will deliver me, as the Apoſtle ſays, 1 Cor. 1.

For though Satan laid many Snares, and ſo beſet me about, that it ſeemed ſcarce poſſible I ſhould eſcape; yet the Lord ſet me at liberty from the20 Snares of the Fowler, though ſometimes ſo ſub­tilly planted, that I could not diſcern them; and what he could not do by Inſinuations and Subtilties, and with inward Motions and Temptations, he tryed to compaſs by Violence, in Tormenting me, and making me a miſerable Object of Affliction and Sorrow. For now my Friends became mine Ene­mies, and my preciſeneſs was an eyeſore to many. My near Relations caſt me off, and I was lookt upon as diſobedient, for keeping company with ſuch Godly Men, as were then called Puritans and Roundheads, and for Praying and holding Commu­nion with them, though commanded to the con­trary; at length I found ſo little love from ſome, and ſo much malice from others, that I was turn'd out of Doors, and was forc't to ſeek my Fortune, as they ſay, and to fly with my own Feathers, having not above three Shillings in my Pocket, to Travel up and down with in ſtrange Countries in the midſt of VVinter, ſo that I was often up to the knees in Snow, whilſt the very Iſicles hung on my Hair and Cheeks, which a ſhower of Tears would ſometimes thaw, falling abundantly from me in the open Fields and High-ways, where none but God was witneſs of them. I many times uſed to beg at poor Houſes and Cottages, that I might come in to warm and dry me, or for a draught of ſmall Beer, which would make ſome poor Souls fall a weeping to ſee me. After many dangers and troubles, I footed it as far as Cambridge, where I ſought from one Colledge to another, to be but a Sizer or poor Scholler, my little ſtock of Money being all gone; but the Servitors of Kings-Colledge, of which I was one before, being diſ­miſſed, I could get no place, and I had no Money and wanted Bread, inſomuch that I was forced for Life to try all things, and to eat Leather old quil,21 and pens, which I pickt up out of the duſt and dunghils, and roaſted in a few Coals, which were left in the Chamber where I was; yea, at length I tryed to eat Graſs, and did it, and my Drink was only fair water; nay, I grew to that height of Penury and Famine, that I tryed to eat my own Fingers, biting them till I could endure it no lon­ger; then tearing my Hair, and crying, I had re­courſe to Prayer, whereby my Paſſion would ſome­times be allayed for the preſent.

This continued ſo long, that I met with Temp­tations in this VVilderneſs, to try to turn Stones into Bread; the Devil often Tempted me to ſtudy Necromancy, Magick, Conjuration or the Black Art, as it is called, and to make a League with him, and then I ſhould never want, but have Bags of Gold and Silver, and be owned by my Friends, and Honoured of all Men, and return home with great Reſpect and Riches; yet the Lord would not ſuffer me to hearken to him, but to Reſiſt and tell him;Thou art a Lyar from the beginning, away thou Malicious Accuſer of the Brethren, Tempt me not, for thou didſt do thus to my Bleſſed Lord and Maſter Jeſus Chriſt; but he overcame thee, and ſo I truſt ſhall I by his Strength and Power;Then I Prayed and Read the Scriptures, and VVrit Holy Meditations, and Soul Soliloquies on the 88 Pſalm, with ſeveral other Divine Con­templations upon Dives and Lazarus, &c. all in Verſe, very Pathetical and Tragical, ſuitable to my condition under ſeveral Temptations; ſo that in ſtead of Aſtrological and Magical Studies, I bent my mind to Sacred Meditations, Soul comforting, Angelical and Evangelical Contemplations; yet I continued under ſtrong Temptations, but to the praiſe of God I ſpeak it, I think I was never a more growing Chriſtian, then after Satan had theſe Repulſes.


But I muſt not omit to declare, that I had one dreadful Temptation firſt, which was almoſt irre­coverable, had I not been prevented wonderfully, even as I was upon the Execution thereof. For finding my ſelf almoſt ſtarved to Death, my ſtrength near gone, my Eyes ſunk deep in my Head, and my Face wearing Deaths Colours, I was almoſt at my wits end. I confeſs when I felt a violent Paſſion or Fit coming upon me, I would fall to Prayer, Read­ing, or the like, whereby ſometimes they were paſt by, and I had much comfort; but yet I could not always avoid them; for now a terrible Temp­tation got ground of me, coming on audaciouſly, growing ſo ſtrong upon me, and following me ſo cloſe, that I could not eſcape it. I took up the Skin of my waſted Hand and Arms, with a reſo­lution to tear it off for anger, Satan having ſo beſotted me that I could ſee no way to evade Death; I had been beholden to all the Scholars that I found courteous, to bring me Scraps, Skins of ſalt Fiſh, or any other Victuals in their Handke­chers or Pockets, which kept me alive a while, till at laſt they all grew weary, and I was almoſt pined to Death, and aſhamed to beg publickly, and ut­terly blinded as to any way whereby to recover my ſelf out of this condition; wherefore after violent and never ceaſing Temptations, I drew my Knife, whetted it ſharp, opened my Doublet and Shirt, and in the midſt of the Room where I was alone, I kneeled down to Prayer, to ſurrender up my Soul into the Hands of God; my Knife lay by me ready, and I was prepared for the Act, when behold a Door which I thought bolted the Night before, yet was only ſhut too, was now opened by a Scholar, which with the Screeking of it made me ſtart up, and haſtily throw my Knife in the Chimney, being much aſhamed of what I was going to do; in comes23 the Scholar and tells me of a place in Huntington-Shie, to Teach Gentlemens Children, and how one of our Colledge was ſent to, and refuſed it:

By this means I was recovered out of this im­minent Danger, and after the Scholar was gone, did exceedingly reprove and check my ſelf for ſuffering this Temptation to grow ſo upon me for want of Faith, and was much afflicted at it, and the more becauſe this Mercy came in ſo ſeaſonably upon it; Oh that I could not wait upon God; at night after Prayer, I went as uſually, ſupperleſs to Bed, and then my Heart melted into abundance of Tears; firſt for the ſin that I was about to com­mit, and that I could not Believe, and Reſiſt the Devil, as I had done in God's ſtrength before; and then for the Love of God, and his Fatherly care appearing for me at that inſtant, when I took no care at all, but had Devoted my ſelf to Death, that at this very Moment he ſhould not only deli­ver me, but ſend me News full of Hopes; Oh! how did theſe things break my Heart, and work upon me moſt part of the night, untill with an Heart full, and Head full, and Eyes full and all, I fell into a deep ſleep; and was viſited with an extraordinary Token from on High, both in Dream and Viſion, which I imagine was afterward ac­compliſhed.

The Dream was this; that I was walking home to my Fathers Houſe, with a Staff in my Hand, and fearing I ſhould be out of the way, I lookt carefully for the path, which at firſt I could ſcarce diſcern, and began to look about and queſtion it, till at length I perceived the footſteps of ſome who had gone that way, hereupon I proceeded, and the farther I went, the plainer I found it to be a path, and that I was in the right way, ſince I could ſee no other; at which I rejoyced, and24 went on confidently, as if I feared no Evil nor Enemy, till I came to a Fine, Glorious, Beautiful, Houſe, and Building on the left hand of me, out of which iſſued forth a Bem that reached croſs the way I was to go in, ſo that I was at a little ſtand at the firſt; yet would not ſtoop under this Beam, but ſtept aſide, and ſo paſſed away, lay­ing my Hand thereon, as I ſtept by the ſide of it; when ſuddenly I thought the Houſe was all in a flame, at which I was ſomething troubled, paſ­ſing on the way, and wondring in my ſelf what this ſhould be, till I was overtaken by ſome rude Malicious Men, who accuſed me for ſetting this Houſe on Fire, and would not hear me ſpeak, but were violently halling me away to Priſon, with which being ſufficiently affrighted, and my ſteſh ſet a Trembling, I awaked, and was offended with my ſelf, for being ſo much concerned at a fooliſh Dream and Fancy; ſo it being yet dark, I laid me down and fell aſleep again, and waſt caſt into the ſame Dream again exactly; and at my Right Hand, I thought there was a Grave Ancient Man, full of white Hairs like Wool, and a long white Beard, who ſtood by me and ſaid,Chear up, fear not, for the Lord hath ſent me to comfort thee, and to tell thee that he hath choſen thee to Preach his Word, and the Goſpel of Chriſt, which is the Staff thou hadſt in thine Hand, and with this Staff, which is the Word of God, thou ſhalt walk home to thy Fathers Houſe in Heaven, where is fullneſs of Joy; but after a time, thou wilt be troubled with the different opinions and ways of Men, and ſeem at firſt to be at a loſs, yet the Lord will be thy Guide; Go on, and as thou goeſt forward, the way of the Lord will ſtill appear plainer before thine Eyes; the foot­ſteps thou ſaweſt are the Examples of the Saints25 that have gone before you, which will be a great help to you, and you ſhall walk chearfully on in the way which is clear to you, and ſhall ſee no other; but yet you muſt meet with the fair Houſe on the left Hand, that is, the Glory and Great ones of the World, who make a great and fair ſhew to Men, as if built High; but they muſt fall, and are only on the left Hand of you, whilſt you will Deſpiſe and Preach againſt them, and turn your Eye forward, to go in the way of God without turning about. By the Beam that came out of this Houſe, is meant the Pow­ers and Opinions of theſe, who when you ſhall croſs or ſtep aſide, or will not ſtoop under them, they are ſet on fire, and inflamed on a ſudden; but be not troubled, go forward, although they ſend after you, ſaying, you have brought this fire upon them, and though they falſly accuſe you, and ſeek to hawl you to Priſon for this fact, whereof you are altogether Innocent.At which I awaked again, it being about Day-break, won­dring with my ſelf what it ſhould mean, and ve­rily believing it to be more than ordinary, and being filled with confidence and comfort, I roſe up and writ it down preſently. Next day I went away to­wards Huntington-Shire, where I was accepted and entertained, and had a comfortable Maintenance for ſeveral years.

But after all theſe Deliverances, I Multiplyed abundantly in Gifts and Graces, either to Pray, Expound, Read, Sing Hymns, and Spiritual Songs with the Spirit, and Underſtanding; and as Iſrael, Exod. 1. the more he was Afflicted, he Multiplyed the more; ſo, Bleſſed be the Lord, I was the more filled with the Spirit, endued with ſtrength and grace, and refreſhed with Peace and Joy, the more I had ſuffered; ſo that all my troubles were26 through Grace, but as Joſephs ſtep, to Higher En­joyments; and finding the Lord ſo abundantly to endue me from above, and to Qualifie me for the Call that I had before in the Night for the Miniſtry, (which I little thought or imagined could have come to paſs, my Friends having often reſolved on the contrary) and all things ſo fairly concurring, I was much confirmed, that the Lord had deſigned me thereunto; and not long after I was by a Godly People earneſtly importuned, and at length grevail­ed with to Preach the Goſpel, and was ſoon known about the Country; ſo although I have ever ſince met with ſeveral Afflictions, Oppoſitions, and Troubles, yet many have given Teſtimony to the Word I have Preached in divers places, the Lord be praiſed, to the great refreſhing of my Soul, and toward the filling up of my Joy, when I ſhall give an account to their comfort at the Great Day of the Lord.

After this, I was ſent forth as a Paſtor and pub­lick Teacher by the Church, and I know my Mi­niſterial Commiſſion and Authority to be from God; and notwithſtanding the divers Temptations I ſtill meet with, finding my Heart full of Cor­ruption, and my Life a continual Warfare, yet I bleſs God (who hath delivered me in divers ways which I have not here declared, from the Frau­dulent Gins and Snares of the Devil, and who hath called me out of Darkneſs into Light) that his power is ſtronger in me than any that hath been againſt me; and I am the better provided againſt Satan, becauſe I now live by Faith in the Son of Go, above the Letter in the Life, above the Form in the Power, above ſelf in an higher ſelf, where I have my aboad, ſo that I am not I; but by the Grace of God it is, that I am what I am; I have Proviſion within, ſeeing Chriſt in me27 is the hope of Glory; and I do certainly expect Salvation in Chriſt Jeſus, my Head, my Lord, my Elder Brother, and the firſt Fruits of them that Riſe again. And although I meet with daily Try­als at Home and Abroad, within and without, yet I am all the time aſcending to Heaven, the ſame way that Chriſt my Redeemer went, Who hath, through the Vail, Conſecrated a New and living way for me into the Holy of Holies. I can comfortably Drink aftet my Saviour out of his own Cup; and in eating his Meat, and drinking his Drink, I can take Gall and Vinegar, as well as Milk and Honey, and I account the enjoyment of Chriſt, to be the enjoyment of all the Excellencies and Happineſs in Heaven and Earth; nesther do I doubt but I ſhall appear perfect in his Righteouſneſs, being pardo­ned by his Death, purged by his Blood, Sanctified by his Spirit, and Saved by his Power, and to be Glorified, as he is Glorified, and ſee him as he is; and whilſt I Live and Breath, I hope and Reſolve to live to him, and for him, as well as by him, and I ſhall not deſire to live one minute longer than it may be for his Honour, Glory, and Service, which I beſeech the Lord of Heaven to make me fit for, and faithful in, and to prepare my Soul for that Glory, which is to be Revealed. J. R.

II. Experiences of R. W.

I will declare what the Lord hath done for me; Firſt in my Youth, my Father being a Godly Man in Dublin in Ireland, brought up his Children ve­ry Religiouſly; but for my part, though I were well Educated and Inſtructed, yet I was very Diſo­bedient, being young and Headſtrong, and refu­ſing to hearken to my Fathers Advice which he often gave me, but I regarded it not; which was afterward a veay great grief to me, for I could not endure to be curbed, nor kept in, but at length28 to avoid the continual Reproofs which〈◊〉juſtly gave me, for my ill courſes and company, I re­ſolved not to ſtay at home any longer, but to go into Flanders; accordingly I put out to Sea, but by Storms and contrary Winds, was driven back again; yet I could not ſee the Hand of God in this, but ſtill held on my purpoſe, and took the firſt opportunity to get away out of Ireland into En­gland, where my Friends uſed many Arguments to perſwade me to return home again. Whilſt I continued in England, I began to be convinced, by hearing ſeveral good Men, of the heinouſneſs of my ſins, and wicked diſobedience, and was thereupon ſadly afflicted and diſconſolate, ſo that I could have no quiet nor reſt.

In this time my Father hearing where I was, (not knowing before what was become of me, doubting I might be dead or drowned) writ a Letter to me, wherein I was admoniſhed to be­ware of ſuch as run headlong to Perdition, with many other good advices, he ſeeming like old Jacob, to rejoyce that his Son was yet alive, &c. All theſe things ſtruck me heavily to the Heart, ſo that I lay long under the fearful Sentence of my Iniquities and Diſobedience, and could receive no comfort nor ſatisfaction. I concealed this my in­ward Grief and Torment, till my Heart was ready to burſt, but at length acquainted my Friends therewith, who endeavoured to comfort me, and I had ſome quiet for a ſhort ſpace; but this laſted not, ſo that I ſoon fell again into my old malady and trouble as before, being ſo exceedingly di­ſturbed that I could by no means obtain any peace, till that Scripture came into my mind, Iſa. 50.10. He that ſitteth in Darkneſs, and ſeeth no light, ſhould truſt in the Name bf the Lord, and ſtay himſelf upon his God, this did much ſupport and in­courage29 me to depend upon God, whereby I had abundance of conſolation. Yet I was ſeldom free from many Temptations, Fears, and Doubts; and ſuch ſometimes as did much diſquiet me, untill once that I had a Divine Dream, which hath been very ſweet to my Soul ever ſince; for in my Dream I thought I was told, that God's love was free in Jeſus Chriſt, and beſtowed upon poor ſin­ners through his Merits, and that he put none by, neither turned any away that came to him in and through his Dear Son, and that I need not fear but I was one of them that ſhould be accepted and received to Mercy. This brought much Joy to my Heart, and the ſenſe of it remains to this very day. Afterward I went to New-England, and had much comfort from them, and from their Miniſters, and ſince my return, I have had great peace of Mind, and deſire to live in Union with Chriſt, and Com­munion with his Servants, as long as I am upon Earth; and I have grounded hopes of living with him when I dye, and with all his Saints, to enjoy his Bliſsfull preſence to Eternal Ages. R. W.

III. Experiences of Maj. A.M.

I was well Educated by my Parents, who were accounted Puritans, till about ſixteen years of Age, after which I was put an Apprentice to Lon­don, but ill company drew me away; and I took ill courſes, till I was about 24 years Old; then I came into Ireland in the beginning of the Rebelli­on 1641. and Travelling toward the North, paſſed through great Dangers, and many Deaths, as I may ſay, for there my Father was killed, my Wife wounded, and I my ſelf with much difficulty, eſcaped from the bloody Rebels; after this I was in the Fight at Drogheda, oa Tredah, when it was taken, and being laid in the Field of Battel among the Slain, I was given over for one of the Dead,30 but it pleaſed God that I recovered, and then went into England; I had not been there long, but I began to look about me, and to have ſome convictions of mind, and thereupon I was dili­gent to follow the means, and hear the VVord of God Preached by good Men, being ſenſible of my ſins, and former forgetfulneſs of God, or any thing that was good; I heard one Mr. Owen, with whom I was much affected, and convinced of my miſery in the want of Chriſt, and afterwards received great comfort, and aſſured hopes of Salvation from Mr. R. and now I do verily believe, I have Fellowſhip with the Father, and with his Son Je­ſus Chriſt, and find a wonderful change in my Soul, abhorring all ill company and courſes, and deſiring to walk in all well pleaſing toward God; and tho' I meet with many Temptations, yet I bleſs the Lord he carries me on in his good ways, ſo that I can now pray to him by the aſſiſtance of his Spi­rit, and have an earneſt love to his Word and Or­dinances; Bleſſed be God for his free grace in Chriſt Jeſus, who before I had any knowledge of hlm, ſpoke to my Heart by the means of an honeſt Man about thirteen years ago. After which I fol­lowed all the means I could meet with, and was wont to hear Mr. Cradock, and Mr. Symſon in Lon­don, the firſt of whom in a Sermon upon Iſaiah, Wee is me, I am an unclean Creature, &c. ſpoke ſo home to my condition, that I imagined his Diſ­courſe was directed to me particularly; This ſo wrought upon my Conſcience, that I was extream­ly afflicted for a time, and gave my ſelf much to Prayer, and at length I became in love with Truth, and true Chriſtians, and have found, and do yet find thoſe things true in me, which were ſpoken by Mr. N. of that oneneſs of Love and unity of the Spirit, which ought to be among all Gods Peo­ple;31 I have ſeen my ſad condition by Nature, and am ſenſible of the happy change that the grace of God hath made in me, and now Oh! how do I love the ways of God, and Holineſs, and Duties, and means of Grace, and the things of God which before I ſlighted, diſregarded, and loathed; and laſtly, I now deſire, and long after Jeſus Chriſt, and care not how ſoon I be taken out of this ſinful World, that I may live with him in Eternal Glory. A. M.

IV. Experiences of F. B.

MY Experiences of the Mercy and Love of God, are more than I can expreſs; the firſt main work upon my Spirit, was on a ſudden, upon an Alarm given to our Troop, while I was a Souldier, which had ſuch a convincing effect upon me, that I lay long under the Apprehenſion of Gods Wrath, and was much diſquieted; ſo that though I Prayed, and Prayed, yet I could take no comfort, and had no confidence in the Mercy of God, but Confuſion was before my Face. Afterward I came to Dublin, where I was impeached for breaking an Article of War, and was condemned to loſe my Life for the ſame; whilſt I was in Priſon, I had dreadful ap­prehenſions of Hell in my Soul, and could do no­thing but weep, and mourn, and pray, counting my Life to be loſt, and yet I was more troubled for the wrath of God, then the wrath of Man; But at length it pleaſed God to give me comfort, for one Night whilſt I was bemoaning my ſelf, and in much Deſpair, on a ſudden the room was all in a flame, and I thought my ſelf in the midſt of Lightning, and being terrified, I imagined I ſaw theſe words written againſt the Wall, Thy ſins are Pardoned, and thy Life is hid with Chriſt in God. This extraordinary Manifeſtation, much eaſed the Trouble and Sorrow wherein I was; but yet for32 want of Faith, this comfort did not long conti­nue with me; for after that, I thought, I ſaw the Lord with ſuch a wrathful countenance, that I durſt not look upon him; and the next news that I heard was, that I was ordered to be ſhot to Death; Oh! then I cannot expreſs the terrors that I was in; my woful miſery was ſuch, that neither Prayers, reading of the Scriptures, nor the pretious promiſes therein, could afford me any Relief, for I could not believe that I had any right to them, and therefore could not lay hold of them. In this dreadfull Diſtreſs I lay, a condem­ned Man both in Soul and Body, lamenting my wretched condition, when opening the Bible in Joel. 2.13. I ſaw it thus written. Turn ye to the Lord God, for he is Gracious and Merciful, ſlow to Anger, and of great Tenderneſs, and Repenteth him of the Evil. Hereupon I pondered a while, and ſaid, and is he ſuch a God? Well then he is my God; and with that I gave my ſelf up into his Hands, reſolving to relie upon him, let him do what he would with me; and on this Foundation I was Setled and ſatisfied. A while after, it pleaſed the Lord to deliver me out of the danger of Death, and to ſet me at liberty from Priſon; but not­withſtanding this great Mercy, yet I muſt confeſs that I afterward found ſuch oppoſition in my Heart againſt God, as I could not believe had been in me; I was grievouſly wounded for it, and could have no quiet, but went to Mr. W. and acquainted him with it, who told me that I had fallen from my firſt Works, and that I muſt Repent. This rent my Heart, and I had no Reſt; I returned from him and applyed to Prayer, keeping that courſe conti­nually, till by degrees I was recovered out of that diſconſolate condition, and I praiſe God I have ſince found his favour and kindneſs extended to­ward33 me, ſo that I am fully perſwaded he loves me, and will pardon my ſins in Jeſus Chriſt, on whoſe Merits I relie, in whoſe Righteouſneſs I reſt, and by whoſe Grace I am now ſet free to ſerve him here, and doubt not but to Reign with him hereafter. F. B.

V. Experiences of H. M.

MY Father was a Gentleman of a fair Eſtate, had many Children, eleven Sons of us; he was High Sheriff, and when he dyed, all our Family were broken, diſperſed, and in confuſion. Two of us were brought up within five Miles of Gloceſter, but I was placed an Apprentice in London, and by this means my ſorrows and troubles began to be great, at firſt from the conſideration of this ſuddain change, which continued a while, but about the 17th year of my Age, my former grief was turned into another kind of Trouble, namely, Sorrow for my ſins; I was for three years together, wounded with the ſenſe of my ſins and corruptions, which were many, I followed Sermons, perſuing the means, was conſtant in Duties and Doing, looking for Hea­ven, that way. I was very preciſe in outward for­malities, cenſuring all for Reprobates that wore their Hair long, and not ſhort above their Ears, or that followed the common Modes and Faſhions of thoſe days. Thus I continued Diſtracted in my Thoughts, and wounded in my Conſcience, weeping often and bitterly, and Praying earneſtly; but yet had no comfort, till I heard that ſweet Saint now in Heaven Dr. Sibbs, by whoſe Means and Miniſtry, I was brought to Peace and Joy in my Spirit; his ſweet Soul-melting Sermons won my Heart, and Refreſhed me much, for by him I ſaw much of the goodneſs of God, and had good Hope and Confidence in Chriſt Jeſus, and could overlook the World, undervalue all Earthly things,34 and was not afraid of Afflictions, and though I was ſometimes under the Spirit of Bondage again unto fear, yet my Heart ſtill held firm, and my deſires were all Heaven-ward; I took delight to hear Funeral Sermons, but Dr. Sibbs chiefly, by whom I was effectually wrought upon, and Satiſ­fied with Comforts, which I hope will never leave me, till I come to Everlaſting Reſt. H. M.

VI. Experiences of Mr. T. H. Miniſter of the Goſpel.

I was but young when I firſt came under Con­victions of Soul; and my Heart being warmed by a zealous Miniſtry, which put me much upon Du­ty, I uſed to read the Scriptures every Night, and to Repeat Sermons often, and ſo I ſpent the firſt Scene of my Youth, till I was ſent by my Friends to London, where I lived a year or two; during that time, as often as I ſaw any Miniſter I could not but weep, and always wiſht that I might be one my ſelf, to be able to Preach too; after this I was ſent to one of the Univerſities in England, but be­ing wild with youthful company, was removed to the Colledge of Dublin, where I continued till the horrid Popiſh Rebellion broke out, in 1641. At which time I left it, and went to Liverpool in Lan­caſhire, where I Preached ſome years; yet all this while I was but formal, and as the young Man in the Goſpel ſaid, he had kept all theſe things from his Youth; ſo I was from from my youth Religi­ous, well given, loving the means, and following them, hearing Sermons, and ſeeking to ſerve God. But alas! I was yet all this while in Darkneſs, and did not know it; but afterwards I ſaw that I was blind and carnal: For I began to be in great Doubts and Troubles, and very much clouded in my Spi­rit, and was exceedingly tyed and bound up for a35 time, under the Senſe of my formal Holineſs and ſins, but the Lord was pleaſed to give me light. Once as I was walking ſadly alone upon the Moun­tains; it pleaſed the Lord ſo to influence me by his Spirit, which ſeemed to be immediately pour­ed out upon me, that my Soul was ſatisfied in Je­ſus Chriſt, and my Heart was filled with Heavenly Joy and Peace, and with moſt Raviſhing contempla­tions; which continued without a cloud for ſeve­ral weeks together, and gave me aſſured Hopes of the Love of God; and ever ſince I have lived in the Righteouſneſs of the Lord Jeſus Chriſt; and though I have met with many ſtorms and clouds, yet they have all paſſed away, and cannot hinder me from Salvation, ſo long as Chriſt who is my Lord and Saviour, is above them; and I doubt not but he will at laſt Tranſlate me from his Kingdom of Grace here, to his Kingdom of Glory here­after.

VII. Experiences of Capt. J. S.

WHen I was carnal & ignorant, I dId very much ſlight the Miniſters of Chriſt, eſpecially youlong Preachers, and could not abide that any ſhould make long Sermons; but at laſt I was taken by one Preached out of Hebrews 8.8. Behold the days come ſaith the Lord, that I will make a new Cove­nant with the Houſe of Iſrael, and with the Houſe of Judah. This New Covenant made in Chriſt, was applyed very home to my Soul, and touched me to the Heart, cauſing me to enquire into my condi­tion; hearing that the danger of being out of this Covenant, was as great as it was of old, to have been out of Noahs Ark; and I began to commune with my own Heart, and to enquire whether I were under this New Covenant or no; but alas I could find no Satisfaction, and lay long under great Affliction and Trouble, ſo that I knew not36 what to do, being under many Temptations; ſometimes I would hear, and was affected with the Ordinances, and at other times not; and ſo I continued a while, until I was comforted by reading theſe and ſome other ſuitable Promiſes, Hoſea 14.4. I will heal their Back ſlidings, and love them freely, for mine Anger is turned away from them, and Heb. 8.12. For I will be Merciful to their Ʋn­righteouſneſs, and their Sins and Iniquities will I re­member no more. And Rom. 5.6, 8. In due time Chriſt dyed for the Ʋngodly, while we were yet ſin­ners, &c. But yet I queſtioned whether he dyed for me or no; and it was anſwered, yes for me, for I was one of the number of ſinners, and un­godly that needed Chriſt; but being in fears, I went and told Mr. Bridges how I was, who indeed ſatisfied me very much for the time; Yet after this I fell into much Trouble, and had a Sentence of Death within me, and thought I was Damned, and utterly loſt for all this, ſtill wanting Faith, and reſting and relying upon my own actings and graces, till the Lord brought theſe ſayings of Paul to Corinth cloſe home to my Heart, Covet tne beſt things, and I tell you yet a more excelleat way. And I thought there was yet a better way than I had met with, for which I was troubled a great while; But at length I had ſome ſweet Diſcoveries of Je­ſus Chriſt, and then I perceived the moſt excellent way, which is nothing but Chriſt, and an intereſt in him; whereupon I grew to be full of courage and peace, loving Chriſt above all, and in all, who is now all in all to my Soul, and I queſtion not but he will be my Portion and Inheritance to all Eter­nity. T. H.

VIII. Experiences of J. C.

UPon a Lords Day at Night, I being earneſtly Praying to be confirmed in Faith, & in the right37 ways of God; After Prayer I went to ſleep, and about five in the Morning, I had the following Dream, and preſently upon my waking, I made haſt to write it down, leſt I ſhould forget any part thereof, it ſeeming very ſtrange to me, and I believing there was ſomething extraordinary there­in. My Dream was to this purpoſe.

I thought I was in the Company of Mr. R. the Miniſter, Coll. H. and my Lord C. and that we were all going together upon a fine green way, in which we Travelled a long time; and then Mr. R. turns back to us and ſaid;Brethren you may ſee what a great comfort it is to walk in the Paths of Righteouſneſs; for though we have Tra­velled ſo long, yet we are not at all weary, And Brethren, be aſſured that I will lead you to a place of great Joy and Comfort before it be long, if you will but follow me;Then I Dreamt we went a little further, till we came to a very long and ſpacious place, wherein there was a great Gate, and there Mr. R. made a Prayer, and as ſoon as he had concluded, the Gate was opened, and being entred, we went into a great Garden, where was a large pair of Stairs, and going up we ſaw a great many dead Mens Bones, which appeared to Mr. R. in full and perfect ſhapes of Men as ever any were, as I conceive, for at thoſe Bones he made a ſtand, and ſaid unto us;Look Brethren, and take good notice of the Handy-work of our Great God; For here you may ſee that they are in as perfect ſhapes, as they were in the lower World.We then proceeded further, and Mr. R. made another ſtand, and ſaid unto us: 'Bre­thren, now I ſhall ſee whether you are ſtrong in Faith or no; So we came to a place where we muſt needs go over, which appeared to be like a deep Pit, and a ſmall Pike ſeemed to be laid over,38 it, and Mr. R. ſaid;Come Brethren, our Jour­ney is in vain, unleſs we go over this Pike, for they that will ſee the Habitation of the Lord, muſt go through many Dangers, and I, by the Grace of God will be your Leader.He then went over with as much Safety and Eaſe, as if he had walked on the Earth; Next Coll. H. went over with much eaſe alſo, and after him my Lord C. It came next to my Turn, but ſeeing ſo dread­full a downfall, and the Pike to bend and ſhake ſo much, I was extreamly afraid, and durſt not ſet a foot upon it, whereupon Mr. R. cryed out to me, O Friend, Friend, you have walkt in the Paths of Ʋnrighteouſneſs! He then made a Prayer to Al­mighty God, that he would permit me to go over, and afterward bowed three or four times, and cryed out with a loud Voice:Oh thou Great God, how much am I bound unto thee, for thy Loves and Manifeſtations towards me;So ta­king me by the Hand, he bid me come over and not fear, and then I walked over with as much Safety as the reſt; we then went a little further, and came to a very fair Room, and I could not ſee any one in it, but I conceive that Mr. R. and the other two ſaw, and ſpake with God, for after they had done ſpeaking, they gave many Bows and Thanks; And then Mr. R. ſaid;Come we will ſing praiſes unto the Lord, for all his Pro­miſes and great Gifts to us;Hereupon I Dreamt, we began to ſing, and I heard a Multitude of Voi­ces, with rare Muſick; yet could ſee none but our ſelves. When Mr. R. had done giving God his Glory, in ſinging his Praiſes, he roſe up and Saluted us, ſaying,Well Brethren, I have but a ſhort time to ſtay here with you: and whilſt I have been amongſt you, I have endeavoured to bring you to the right way to Worſhip God,39 and for the time I continue with you, I ſhall by the help of God, make known unto you greater things then I have done yet, ſo I deſire you to follow my Counſel, and it ſhall be for your own profit and advantage.

Then I waked, or elſe might have known more; This Dream had ſuch an effect and influence upon me, that I could not reſt till I had declared it; and now I find my Heart ever ſince taken off from Sin, and the Luſts of the World, and have experi­enced ſo great a change in being called home to God, as I am not able to expreſs it in words; and am now deſirous to pleaſe God, and to walk in his ways, having been long before wrought upon by the Word Preached, and by Prayer; and now have given my ſelf up to God, in whoſe Mercy alone, through the Merits of Jeſus Chriſt, I expect Joy and Peace here, and Eternal Happineſs hereaf­ter. J. C.

IX. Experiences of Mr. J.B. Preacher of the Goſ­pel.

AS to my Life, and Experiences, I muſt declare; That when I was but a little one, God began to work upon me; for going to School, I once hap­pened to Swear an Oath, as I was playing with my Companions, which I had no ſooner uttered, but I was inſtantly ſtruck with horror for it, and the ſence thereof was ſo terrible, that I doubted I ſhould be preſently thrown into Hell for it: In which Fear and great trouble, I left my School Fel­lows playing; the Sorrow and Miſery I thought I was in, would not permit me to ſtay any lon­ger; Away I went into the Church Porch not far off, and ſitting down alone, for ſome time wept bitterly to my ſelf; But at length, I know not how, I began to have ſome hopes of Pardon, and thereupon grew chearful and fearleſs, till a while40 after, I went to ſee ſome Malefactors Executed; For after I came home, the ſight of their Deaths ran ſo much in my Mind, and appeared ſo continu­ally before my Eyes, that my ſias, and the horrors of Hell came freſh upon me again, ſo that I was exceedingly caſt down, and cryod out: Oh! What ſhall I do? How ſhall I be Saved? Which I had often in my mouth, and in the hearing of my Friends; In this condition I could take no com­fort from them, till the Lord himſelf brought me out of it, and inclined me to give up my ſelf to Jeſus Chriſt, by the Life of Faith which I now live; Notwithſtanding which, I was under ſeveral Temptations, and oftentimes they came very thick upon me; but even then I reſolved, that if I were thrown into Hell, yet I would ſtill lay hold upon my Lord and Saviour Jeſus Chriſt, and would ne­ver let him go; and upon his Merits and Sa­tisfaction, I have been Eſtabliſhed through his Grace ever ſince; So that I take Chriſt for my King, Prieſt and Prophet, and do believe him to be a Propitiation for my ſins, and my Portion and Inheritance both here and for ever. J. B.

Experiences of VV. VV.

I have much reaſon to acknowledge a great work of God upon my Heart, in delivering me won­derfully from ſeveral deſtroying ſins, which once I thought ſlight, but were really ſo great, that I can ſcarce expreſs them; I was very Extravagant, and brought very low both in Body and Mind, and extreamly ſenſible of Diſobeying my Parents from what the Scripture ſays of Men in the latter times, that they ſhall be Lovers of themſelves, Heady, Diſ­obedient to their Parents, &c. The Serious conſide­ration hereof caſt me down, afflicted my Confer­ence, and ſo troubled me, that I was altogether comfortleſs; Thus I continued a long time, till41 it pleaſed God that once in a Sermon I heard Jeſus Criſt freely offered even to the worſt of ſinners, and then I began to look up a little with hopes of comfort, and applied theſe offers to my own Soul, being ſenſible that I had real need of them; and ſo at length I began to be ſatisfied with peace and reſt, and followed the hearing of the Word, and rejoyced in it, and loved the company of good People. And yet for all this I was under much temptation, and too much inclined to drinking, till my Brother Strong reproved me, ſaying, Bro­ther, I hear ſtrange things of you, that you are given to drinking; This ſo ſmote me, together with the abuſes I received from the prophane ſort, who cryed out after me, O this is one of Fowler's fol­lowers! that I was wounded in my ſpirit a long time, to think that I ſhould bring ſuch a ſcandal upon the Goſpel; For two months I was wofully tormented in my mind, till the Lord recovered me, and gave me reſolution and power againſt this and all other ſins, which hath continued with me ever ſince, and for which I acknowledge his great love and mercy to me, and do live upon Chriſt the true Meſſiah, whom I believe to have died for my ſins, and that he will ſave my Soul.

W. W.

X. Experiences of M. K.

WHen I take a view of my Life upon the Stage of this World, I may very well compare it to a Trage-Comedy, a Labyrinth from one ſin to another, from one affliction to another. I was in­deed the Daughter of very good and honeſt Parents, who diligently brought up their Children in the fear of God. My Mother, who in her days was noted for a godly, virtuous and religious Gentle­woman; ſhe, I ſay, from amongſt twelve Children, choſe me to ſet her love and affection upon, ſhe42 told me, it was becauſe ſhe ſaw ſomething a more tractableneſs and and diligence to pleaſe her thn in the reſt, which when I perceived, as then not be­ing ſeven years old, I laid my ſelf forth the more to give her content, who took great delight to in­ſtruct me, to hear me read, and ask her queſtions. She allotted me a portion of Scripture every day, as likewiſe a part of Eraſmus Rotterdamus upon the four Evangeliſts, wherein we both took great de­light.

About that time I had ſerious thoughts concern­ing God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, who putting this part of Scripture into my mind, He that is aſhamed of me before men, of him will I be aſhamed before my Father which is in Heaven; and whoſo denieth me before men, him will I deny before the Angels which are in Heaven: I then began to ex­amine my ſelf on this manner,What wouldſt thou do, if thou wert tempted, amongſt diverſities of Opinions, to be aſhamed of this Profeſſion wherein thy Parents nurtured thee? What wouldſt thou do, if thou ſhouldſt be tempted to deny Chriſt, and be called to ſuffer for his ſake, as ſome of thy kindred were in Queen Maries time? wouldſt thou not deny thy Maſter? wouldſt thou not run away from thy colours?I reſolved, that I would not: And if the Lord would be plea­ſed to try me, he ſhould ſee how valiantly I would fight under his Banner, and what a faithful Soul­dier I would be; to this I did implore his help continually; whatſoever I was about, ſtill my heart was praying, and I deſired that God would be pleaſed to awake me in the night, that I might riſe out of my Bed to prayer, which many times I did.

After this manner I ſpent my days, until I was twelve years old, at which time it pleaſed God to43 take my Mother from me, which was ſome ſorrow to me, but being ſuddenly made my Father's houſe­keeper, ſo as it were a Mother to ten Children, a Miſtreſs over ſix Servants, none to do any thing without my command or conſent, being as it were my Father's right hand, from whom I had this Authority; it did not only ſtop my ſorrow, but cauſed an exceeding joyful pride, or proud joy to ſeize upon my heart, ſeeing my ſelf as it were ad­vanced, being reſpected amongſt the chiefeſt of the Pariſh, who were my Mothers companions, I repreſenting her perſon when I was amongſt them; then began the cares of the World, and the deceivableneſs of vanities to ſeize upon my heart, and made me forget my former order, promiſes, and intentions; and thus I ſpent almoſt ſeven years, cumbred about many things, but quite neg­lecting that one thing which is needful.

About this time, it pleaſed God to take my Fa­ther from me, upon a ſudden. I asked my heart,What was the cauſe of my Father's death? It made anſwer thus, Becauſe thou haſt ſinned againſt God, thou haſt not only omitted much good, but thou haſt committed much evil, thou haſt ſpent thy time idly, and looſely, and for thy ſake all thy Brothers and Siſters are now made Fa­therleſs and Motherleſs.This conſideration made ſuch a deep impreſſion upon my ſpirit, that I re­fuſed all comfort for half a year, crying out con­tinually, My ſins, my ſins, woe is me, my ſins! being demanded by divers godly friends, and reverend Divines, what thoſe ſins were which ſo much troubled me? I told them, ſins of omiſſion, ſins of omiſſion; they would perſwade me that I was young, and that I had not years enough over my head to be guilty of ſo many ſins by omiſſion, that needed ſo much ſorrow, I told them that I was old enough to offend God, and to provoke him to anger; indeed, I could not give ſo ready account of my ſins, of evil committed, and of good omitted; but though they never took notice of my ſins, yet my heart was witneſs againſt me: Thus I wearied all my Friends with my exceſſive ſorrow, who knew not what to do for me more than they had done. With one conſent they ſent me up to Lon­don, perſwading me that the Word of God was more plentifully Preached there, which made me willing to come. But miſſing of my Brother, to whom I was ſent, to be provided for, and reſolving to wait upon ſome Gentlewoman until I could with conveniency return down again, God by his pro­vidence brought me to the Wife of Dr. Page, Mi­niſter of Debtford, from whom I received great comfort, but in a ſhort time God took him from us all, whoſe death was greatly lamented. I found much favour and love from all that knew me, and moſt eſpecially from Mris. Page, who for three years and an half, would not ſuffer me to be away from her one day.

At the end of which time I was married to her eldeſt Son then living; we had not been long married, and my Husband received his Portion, but we took a houſe in Weſtminſter, intending to take ſome honeſt courſe for a livelihood, but there, God knows, we fell acquainted with ſome company which did not only cauſe much time to be ſpent in idleneſs, but almoſt all our means. One man eſpecially who gave his mind to drinking, and other vices more than any good, he, I ſay, was never well contented without my Husband's com­pany. Seeing imminent danger to hang over our heads by reaſon of this courſe of life, I greatly deſired my Husband to refrain that man's company, or at leaſt not to ſuffer him to come ſo often home45 to our houſe; This I begged upon my knees with tears, but could not prevail; then did the Devil ſet his foot into my heart, and perſwade me that by the committing of one ſin, I ſhould prevent many, and ſo ſtirred me up to murther him, to which ſuggeſtion I cowardly yielded, and ſought all opportunities to perform this wicked act. Here I denied my Maſter Chriſt. In the higheſt of this hatred, in my ſleep, I thought I was in a very large Chamber, ſitting behind a Table covered with a green Carpet, upon which lay all manner of Inſtru­ments which proclaim death; ſuddenly the man came into the Chamber, whom, ſo ſoon as I eſpy­ed to be alone, catching up a weapon in my hand, I reſolved there to commit the horrid act of mur­ther upon his body; but God, who watcheth over his, whether they ſleep or wake, and worketh by means, and without means, which way he pleaſeth, at that time put an end to all my revengeful thoughts, and cauſed me to hear a voice in my Ear, ſaying, Vengeance is mine; to which voice I anſwered aloud, And, thou wilt repay, O Lord; Then waking, hear­ing my ſelf ſpeak, I was in very good charity with him, and left my wrong to God, but reflecting upon mine own heart, there I found not only theſe, but a whole neſt of moſt Diabolical and wicked intentions, which my God was pleaſed by his preventing graces to ſmother in their birth, for I no ſooner had concluded, that I would fulfil mine own hearts luſt, although I ſuffered all the puniſhments due for ſuch and ſuch like ſins; wherein I ran away from my Captain, yet for all this he had a favour towards me, and ſent an Herauld after me to bring me back again.

But then began a freſh Battel, for my God coming as it were, to ſee what uſe I had made of the Talent that he had given me, he found it, not only wrapt46 up in a napkin, but exceedingly abuſed; and ſearch­ing my heart, what found he there, but a ſink of ſin, a Cage of unclean Birds, and Den of Theeves, a place for Dragons, for the Scritchowl, and for the Satyre? theſe had taken full poſſeſſion, there was no room for my God, they kept him out, and what did they there, but made it like a troubled Sea? Firſt, telling me my ſins were greater than could be forgiven. Doſt thou not know (ſaid they) that thy thought ſins are ſufficient to damn thee, although thou haſt never committed any actually? doth not the Scripture ſay plainly, if a Man luſt after a Woman he hath committed Adultery?which commandment being broken, brings death. I then took a view of all the ten Commandments written in the Moral Law, to ſee which of them I had broken, and which I had kept, I found them all broken, and at the end of every one was written Death: And not only theſe, but thoſe ſweet commands of my Saviour Jeſus Chriſt, wherein he bids us watch, and pray for your ene­mies, feed the hungry, cloath the naked, love one another, all which I had likewiſe broken, which made me to ſee nothing to remain for me but death and damnation. I argued then with my ſelf on this wiſe,I have read, and I have heard, that Almighty God, which by his power made Hea­ven and Earth, and all therein, had ſent his Son to dye for ſinners, and that there was hopes through his death that I ſhould get pardon;I had no ſooner caſt mine eye upon my God and Sa­viour, but I was daſhed from all: Mine enemy Satan poſſeſſing my thoughts, ſuggeſted thus un­to me.

Fond Fool (quoth he) why doſt thou thus trouble thy ſelf? take thy pleaſure, do what thou likeſt, thou ſhalt never be called to an ac­count47 for any thing: for as the wiſe man dyeth, ſo dyeth the fool, and both reſt in the grave to­gether; there is no God to ſave thee or to pun­iſh thee, all things were made by nature, and when thou dyeſt, there is an end of all thy good and bad deeds; thou talkeſt of the Scripture, and of a God, and of a Jeſus which thou haſt heard of there; ſee thy ſimplicity now, how canſt thou prove the Scriptures to be true? alas they were made by mens inventions, there is no hold for thee to take there.

Thus being unquiet, I ſpent my days and nights in tears and ſighs, and groans, ſometimes thinking with my ſelf If I ſhall be ſaved, why am I thus? Then again, concluding that there was noHea­ven, no God, no Jeſus, no good Angels, only an Hell there was, and Devils to carry me thither, who waited in every corner, and behind every door to ſnatch me away:And I ſaw there was no remedy, but the more I ſtrove, the faſter I ſtuck, I fainted, and laid down mine arms, and cowardly yielded to the enemy, arguing with my ſelf,if I am a firebrand of Hell, a child of perdition, a limb of Satan, and my portion is to be with the Devil and his Angels: Why live I longer up­on the Earth?why go I not to mine own place? Thus content to periſh, I wandred about the ſpace of half a year; no Man nor Woman was privy to, nor knew the leaſt of all my thoughts; at length concluding that the night enſuing, would be my laſt night that I ſhould ſtay here on Earth, as one deſiring to be at home, I careleſly left my Family and went to bed, as it were, inviting the Devils to come and take their due; but mark I pray you, the goodneſs of our God, who was with me all this while and I was not aware of it, for even that ſame night, The little dog leaping upon the bed, I48 thought it was the Devil who was come to fetch me away; I ſcreamed forth aloud; but when I perceived it was the dog, and not the Devil, I began to think, Thut ſurely there was a God that had preſerved me all this while.

In a moſt grievous agony I ſpent that night weeping, and although it was Winter, yet I ſweat that the water ran from off every part of my Bo­dy. Being in this ſad condition, I thought it was not right, but ſurely ſome means might be uſed to get out of it. And riſing the more early in the morning, went up into the higheſt room that was in the Houſe, and looked forth at the window to ſee if I could ſee God; there I beheld the Trees to grow, the Birds to flye, the Heavens how they hanged, and all things that were before me, then I thought they could not make themſelves, no more than I could make my ſelf, and that we muſt needs have a Maker, and this Maker muſt be ſtrong and powerful; Then I fell down upon my knees, crying out in this manner,O God, if there be a God, ſhew thy ſelf to me a poor mi­ſerable wretch, that I am at the point to periſh;Then I thought I ſaw the Lord, but with a frown­ing countenance he looked upon me, as if he had ſaid,Thou haſt diſpleaſed me, and I will not hear thee, and turning his back went from me, which ſight was as a dart thruſt through my Soul;for the ſpace of half an hour, divers thoughts entred into my Heart, but before I roſe from off my knees, I reſolved to become an earneſt ſuter to him, and not to do any thing more that ſhould diſpleaſe him, hoping that he would be intreated for that which was paſt.

But now, I beſeech you godly Chriſtians, to take notice of the wonderfull workings of our good God, whoſe judgements are unſearchable,49 and his ways paſt finding out. He had called many times at the door of my heart, and had but ſmall and ſlight entertainment, but now he came vio­lently and powerfully to take poſſeſſion of his own, and ſet me about his work in my ſelf: Then I be­gan to think what I ſhould do, and whether I ſhould go to pacifie the wrath of this terrible and dreadfull God, by whoſe providence I was brought to a Church in VVeſtminſter, where Mr. Dod, a ve­ry godly and reverend Divine, was preaching a Funeral Sermon, I went in, hoping to hear ſome comfort, giving attentive heed, his Text was, With my dead body they ſhall ariſe; ſee here, my God did not only make a ſcourge of ſmall cords, and whipped out the buyers and ſellers, but he did over-turn, and overturn, and overturn; for this Miniſter did not only preach to the people, but ſhewed me, as it were in a looking glaſs, mine own condition, and told me that by the gates of Hell many times God was pleaſed to bring his Ser­vants to Heaven; being hungry and thirſty, I was glad of a little food; and preſently catcht hold of that word; Is it ſo thought I, then there is comfort for me, I will about my work, if it pleaſe God to aſſiſt me: In his Sermon he asked divers queſtions, to which my heart made anſwer, ſo that I came home joyfull, longing to hear more of his Do­ctrine, which fell out as if it had been on purpoſe for my ſake, ſo that for a month, or five weeks, I heard two, three, four, or five Sermons, from him conſtantly every week, wherein he bid me try and prove whether I had Faith or no, whe­ther I did hate my ſins or no, and what have been the ſigns and fruits thereof: He likewiſe bid me ſearch the Scriptures, for they are true, and com­pare my condition with the children of God there; But after he