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both say and sing as others did, yet retaining my wicked life: But withal, I was so over-run with the spirit of Superstition, that I adored, and that with great devotion, even all things (both the High-place, Priest, Člerk, Vestments, Service, and what else) belonging to the Church; counting all things holy, that were therein contained; and especially, the Priest and Clerk most happy, and without doubt, greatly blessed, because they were the Servants, as I then thought, of God; and were principal in the holy Temple, to do his work therein.

17. This conceit grew so strong, in little time, upon my spirit, that had I but seen a Priest (though never so sordid and debauched in his life) I should find my spirit fall under him, reverence him, and knit unto him; yea, I thought, for the love I did bear unto them (supposing they were the Ministers of God) I could have lain down at their feet, and have been trampled upon by them; their Name, their Garb, and Work did so intoxicate and bewitch me.

18. After I had been thus for some considerable time, another thought came in my mind; and that was, Whether we were of the Israelites, or no? For finding in the Scriptures, that they were once the peculiar people of God, thought I, If I were once of this race, my Soul must needs be happy. Now again I found within me a great longing to be resolved about this Question, but could not tell how I should: At last, I asked my father of it; who told me, No, we were not. Wherefore

then I fell in my spirit, as to the hopes of that, and so remained.

19. But all this while, I was not sensible of the danger and evil of sin; I was kept from considering that sin would damn me, what Religion soever I followed, unless I was found in Christ: Nay, I never thought of him, nor whether there was such an one, or no. Thus Man, while blind, doth wander, but wearieth himself with vanity: for he knoweth not the way to the City of God, Eccles. 10. 15.

20. But one day (amongst all the Sermons our Parson made) his Subject was, to treat of the Sabbath-day, and of the evil of breaking that, either with labour, sports, or otherwise: (Now I was, notwithstanding my Religion, one that took much delight in all manner of vice; and especially, that was the day that I did solace my self therewith.) Wherefore I fell in my

Conscience under his Sermon, thinking and believing that he made that Sermon on purpose to shew me my evil-doing: And at that time I felt what guilt was, though never before, that I can remember; but then I was, for the present, greatly loaden therewith, and so went home when the Sermon was ended, with a great burthen on my spirit.

21. This, for that instant, did benumb the sinews of my best delights, and did imbitter my former pleasures to me: But behold, it lasted not; for before I had well dined, the trouble began to go off my mind, and my heart returned to its old course: But Oh! how glad was I, that this trouble was gone from me, and that the fire was put out, that I might sin again without control! Wherefore, when I had satisfied Nature with my food, I shook the Sermon out of my mind, and to my old custom of sports and gaming I returned with great delight.

22. But the same day, as I was in the midst of a game at Cat, and having struck it one blow from the hole, just as I was about to strike it the second time, a voice did suddainly dart from Heaven, into my Soul, which said, Wilt thou leave thy sins, and go to Heaven; or have thy sins, and go to Hell? At this I was put to an exceeding maze; wherefore, leaving my Cat upon the ground, I looked up to Heaven, and was as if I had, with the eyes of my understanding, seen the Lord Jesus looking down upon me, as being very hotly displeased with me, and a if he did severely threaten me with some grievous punishmen for these, and other my ungodly practices.

23. I had no sooner thus conceived in my mind, bu suddainly this conclusion was fastned on my spirit (for th former hint did set my sins again before my face :) That I ha been a great and grievous sinner, and that it was now too late fo me to look after Heaven; for Christ would not forgive me, no pardon my transgressions. Then I fell to musing upon this also and while I was thinking of it, and fearing lest it should be so I felt my heart sink in despair, concluding it was too late; an therefore I resolved in my mind, I would go on in sin: For thought I, if the case be thus, my state is surely miserable miserable if I leave my sins, and but miserable if I follow them I can but be damned; and if it must be so, I had as good b damned for many sins, as be damned for few.

24. Thus I stood in the midst of my play, before all tha

then were present; but yet I told them nothing: But, I say, I having made this conclusion, I returned desperately to my sport again; and I well remember, that presently this kind of despair did so possess my Soul, that I was perswaded, I could never attain to other comfort than what I should get in sin; for Heaven was gone already, so that on that I must not think: Wherefore I found within me a great desire to take my fill of sin, still studying what sin was yet to be committed, that I might taste the sweetness of it; and I made as much haste as I could to fill my belly with its delicates, lest I should die before I had my desire; for that I feared greatly. In these things, I protest before God, I lye not, neither do Í feign this form of speech; these were really, strongly, and with all my heart, my desires: The good Lord whose mercy is unsearchable, forgive me my transgressions.

25. (And I am very confident, that this temptation of the Devil is more usual amongst poor creatures than many are aware of, even to over-run the spirits with a scurfy and seared frame of heart, and benumbing of conscience; which frame he stilly and slily supplieth with such despair, that though not much guilt attendeth Souls, yet they continually have a secret conclusion within them, that there is no hopes for them; for they have loved sins, therefore after them they will go, Jer. 2. 25. and. 18. 12.)

26. Now therefore I went on in sin with great greediness of mind, still grudging that I could not be so satisfied with it as I would. This did continue with me about a month, or more: But one day, as I was standing at a neighbour's shop-window, and there cursing and swearing, and playing the mad-man, after my wonted manner, there sate within the woman of the house, and heard me; who, though she also was a very loose and ungodly wretch, yet protested that I swore and cursed at that most fearful rate, that she was made to tremble to hear me; and told me further, That I was the ungodliest fellow, for swearing, that ever she heard in all her life; and that I, by thus doing, was able to spoil all the Youth in the whole Town, if they came but in my company.

27. At this reproof I was silenced, and put to secret shame; and that too, as I thought, before the God of Heaven: Wherefore while I stood there, and hanging down my head, I

wished with all my heart that I might be a little child again, that my father might learn me to speak without this wicked way of swearing; for, thought I, I am so accustomed to it, that it is but in vain for me to think of a reformation, for I thought it could never be.

28. But how it came to pass, I know not; I did, from this time forward, so leave my swearing, that it was a great wonder to my self to observe it; and whereas before I knew not how to speak, unless I put an Oath before, and another behind, to make my words have authority; now I could, without it, speak better, and with more pleasantness, than ever I could before. All this while I knew not Jesus Christ, neither did I leave my sports and play.

29. But quickly after this, I fell in company with one poor man, that made profession of Religion; who, as I then thought, did talk pleasantly of the Scriptures, and of the matters of Religion: Wherefore falling into some love and liking to what he said, I betook me to my Bible, and began to take great pleasure in reading, but especially with the Historical part thereof; for as for Paul's Epistles, and such like Scriptures, I could not away with them; being as yet ignorant, either of the corruptions of my nature, or of the want and worth of Jesus Christ to save me.

30. Wherefore I fell to some outward Reformation, both in my words and life, and did set the Commandments before me for my way to Heaven; which Commandments I also did strive to keep, and, as I thought, did keep them pretty well sometimes, and then I should have comfort; yet now and then should break one, and so afflict my Conscience; but then I should repent, and say, I was sorry for it, and promise God to do better next time, and there get help again, for then I thought I pleased God as well as any man in England.

31. Thus I continued about a year; all which time our Neighbours did take me to be a very godly man, a new and religious man, and did marvel much to see such a great and famous alteration in my life and manners; and indeed, so it was, though yet I knew not Christ, nor Grace, nor Faith, nor Hope; for, as I have well seen since, had I then died, my state had been most fearful.

32. But, I say, my Neighbours were amazed at this

my

14

great Conversion; from prodigious prophaneness, to something like a moral life; and truly, so they well might; for this my Conversion was as great, as for Tom of Bethlem to become a sober man. Now therefore they began to praise, to commend, and speak well of me, both to my face, and behind my back. Now I was, as they said, become godly; now I was become a right honest man. But, Oh! when I understood that these were their words and opinions of me, it pleased me mighty well: For though as yet I was nothing but a poor painted Hypocrite, yet I loved to be talked of, as one that was truly Godly. I was proud of my Godliness; and indeed, I did all I did, either to be seen of, or to be well spoken of by men: And thus I continued for about a twelve-month, or more.

33. Now you must know, that before this, I had taken much delight in ringing; but my Conscience beginning to be tender, I thought such practice was but vain, and therefore forced my self to leave it, yet my mind hanckered; wherefore I should go to the Steeple-house, and look on, though I durst not ring: But I thought this did not become Religion neither, yet I forced my self, and would look on still: But quickly after, I began to think, How if one of the Bells should fall? Then Í chose to stand under a main Beam, that lay overthwart the Steeple, from side to side, thinking there I might stand sure. But then I should think again, Should the Bell fall with a swing, it might first hit the wall, and then re-bounding upon me, might kill me, for all this Beam: This made me stand in the Steeple door; and now, thought I, I am safe enough; for if a Bell should then fall, I can slip out behind these thick walls, and so be preserved notwithstanding.

34. So after this, I would yet go to see them ring, but would not go further than the Steeple-door; but then it came into my head, How if the Steeple it self should fall? and this thought (it may fall for ought I know) when I stood and looked on, did continually so shake my mind, that I durst not stand at the Steeple-door any longer, but was forced to flee, for fear the Steeple should fall upon my head.

35. Another thing was, my dancing; I was a full year, before I could quite leave that; but all this while, when I thought I kept this or that Commandment, or did, by word or deed, any thing that I thought were good, I had great peace

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