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alone of him, and not of his servant. But to proceed.
I was born in a village called Lazonby, situated upon
the banks of the river Eden, in the county of Cumberland, about fifteen miles from the city of Carlisle, and seven from the market town of Penrith; there I went to school, and continued until I was more than twelve years of age, when I was put apprentice to a linen-draper at Penrith for four years and a half; at the expiration of which time it pleased the Lord to bring me to London, for which I desire to bless his name. I would here stop, look back, and take a view of my past life, and ask myself this question—Is there any thing good in it?' No, nothing at all: all evil, only evil, and that continually; it was one continued blot, one continued state of rebellion and enmity against the Most High. I may truly say, with David, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” And again, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.” I think, if ever a poor creature served the devil faithfully, and with full purpose of heart, I was the man; for “destruction and misery were in all
peace I never knew." In sin and wickedness I exceeded most of
fellows. The Lord was pleased now and then to bring me to books; and conscience has frequently made terrible work within; but, when he began to lay about him with violence, then I would get
my ways, and the
into the world, and amongst my old wicked companions again, in order to silence him. And further, I would now and then resolve, when matters got very bad, that, if the Lord would be pleased to forgive me that time, I never would do so any more. And in this way I have often bound myself in such a manner as is too shocking to mention. In vowing, resolving, and striving against sin in my own strength, I continued for four years, and particularly against one besetting sin; but all in vain : for, as the Lord liveth, I never abode by one resolution, nor kept one vow that ever I made, but broke through them all. The devil and sin were both stronger than I.; and I should have been a slave and a drudge to them unto this day, had not the Lord been pleased, with his right hand and stretched out arm, to get himself the victory.
I was brought up to the church of England; and, according to the doctrine that I heard there preached, could have no hope of being saved; though I thought the fault lay in me, and not in the doctrine, which wås salvation by works. Those who lived a holy, good, and righteous life, were to be saved ; whilst, on the contrary, those tliat lived in sin and wickedness would perish; which I thought was certainly right, and as it should be. My only comfort was this—though I was certainly a sinner, and a great one; yet there being some as bad or worse than myself, and God being a merciful God, I thought I should fare as
to hear you.
well as they. But alas! when it pleased God to bring me under your faithful and honest dealing, this refuge, like all others, were made manifest as only refuges of lies, and they were all presently and effectually swept away. When I first came to London I was at an uncle's in James Street, Covent Garden, for a about a month. The first Sunday after I came he took me to Orange Street chapel, to hear the word preached: the next Sunday another uncle took me to Providence chapel
But my going was only to oblige my friends, for I had not the least intention of hearing to profit, having received a particular charge, before I came to town, to have nothing to do with the Methodists, unless it were to go now and then, if asked, rather than give offence to my relations, who are many of them in that profession.
I shall not tell you all that I thought when I first heard you preach; but nothing good you may be sure. I understood no more what you said than if you had preached in Greek or Hebrew; and could not help being astonished at my ignorance; or, to say the truth, at what I thought to be your foolishness; and yet, on looking round among the people, I had never seen such a congregation before; for, instead of looking about them, or falling asleep, they appeared to be all eyes and ears, giving particular attention, and taking heed to the things that were spoken. The third time I went to hear you I took a ticket, ip
tending to come occasionally ; and, glory be to the Lord's rich grace, he soon applied his word with such power to my heart, that I could not stay away. If I went (as I often did) to hear any other preacher, my heart and soul would be with you; though absent in body, yet present in spirit; the Lord clearly fulfilling this scripture in my experience, “As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me; the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.” And thus, by hearing of the word, he was pleased to quicken my dead soul to feel, and enlighten my blind eyes to see, the true state I was in. He caused such an earthquake to be experienced in my conscience, and such a resurrection among my sins, that they were all (from my very childhood) set in order before me: many old sins, which I thought were dead and buried, and would no more appear against me, shewed themselves, and conscience bore witness that they were all mine. The law I found to be holy, and to admit of no failure, whilst I was unholy, and full of sin. I used to think none but outward acts were sins, but now I saw sin in the desires and thoughts of the heart. All those who look for salvation by the works of the law must bring a perfect and uninterrupted obedience, not in deed only, but in thought, word, and deed, because the law allows of no failure: it puts the soul under the curse and sentence of death for the least sin of omission or commission; therefore, by the deeds of the law, it is evident, none can ever be justified. As I had broken every precept of the moral law in thought, word, or deed, I believed that what the Lord has threatened transgressors with would unavoidably be executed upon me; and these two texts stood against me, and were sadly in my way, until it pleased the Lord to shew me that they were both fulfilled for me by Christ's life and death; “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them." "Then I have obroken every precept, andam therefore the man here spoken of, consequently under the curse of God.' The other text was, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die." •Well, I have sinned, therefore I am the man. These are the words of the immutable and unchangeable God, wherefore there can be nothing but death eternal for me.'
These things, working in my heart, alarmed and terrified me greatly. I began to wish that I had been in my old dead state, as it was then better with me than now. I believed that God could not save me, but that I must perish according to bis word. These things caused slavish and servile fear to work. Death and judgment tormented me; and the sin and guilt upon my conscience I soon found to be a load and burden too heavy for me to bear. The Lord appeared to me in his law, as he did to Balaam, with his drawn sword in his hand, as an angry judge and a consuming fire; and so he would at this day, was the dear Redeemer taken out of sight; for he has revealed