Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Aspiring After Him and His Presence

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"Thursday, Oct. 21
Had a very deep sense of the vanity of the world most of the day; had little more regard to it than if I had been to go into eternity the next hour. 

Through divine goodness,I felt very serious and solemn. O, I love to live on the brink of eternity, in my views and meditations! 

This gives me a sweet, awful, and reverential sense and apprehension of God and divine things, when I see myself as it were standing before the judgment-seat of Christ.

"Friday, Oct. 22
Uncommonly weaned from the world to-day: my soul delighted to be a stranger and pilgrim on the earth; 

I felt a disposition in me never to have any thing to do with this world. 

The character given of some of the ancient people of God, in Heb. xi. 13. was very pleasing to me, `They confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth,' by their daily practice; and O that I could always do so! -- 

Spent some considerable time in a pleasant grove, in prayer and meditation. 

O it is sweet to be thus weaned from friends, and from myself, and dead to the present world, that so I may live wholly to and upon the blessed God! 

Saw myself little, low, and vile in myself. -- 

In the afternoon preached at Bethlehem, from Deut. viii. 2. God helped me to speak to the hearts of dear Christians. 

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Blessed be the Lord for this season: I trust they and I shall rejoice on this account to all eternity. -- 

Dear Mr. Bellamy came in, while I was making the first prayer; (being returned home from a journey;) and after meeting we walked away together, and spent the evening in sweetly conversing on divine things, and praying together, with sweet and tender love to each other, and returned to rest with our hearts in a serious spiritual frame.

"Lord's day, Oct. 24. Felt so vile and unworthy, that I scarce knew how to converse with human creatures.

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"Monday, Oct. 25. [At Turky-Hills] 
In the evening I enjoyed the divine presence in secret prayer. It was a sweet and comfortable season to me; my soul longed for God, for the living God: 

enjoyed a sweet solemnity of spirit, and longing desire after the recovery of the divine image in my soul. `Then shall I be satisfied, when I shall awake in God's likeness,' and never before.

"Tuesday, Oct. 26. [At West-Suffield] Underwent the most dreadful distresses, under a sense of my own unworthiness. It seemed to me, I deserved rather to be driven out of the place, than to have any body treat me with any kindness, or come to hear me preach. 

And verily my spirits were so depressed at this time, (as at many others,) that it was impossible I should treat immortal souls with faithfulness. 

I could not deal closely and faithfully with them, I fell infinitely vile in myself. Oh, what dust and ashes I am, to think of preaching the gospel to others! 

Indeed I never can be faithful for one moment, but shall certainly `daub with untempered mortar,' if God do not grant me special help. -- 

In the evening I went to the meeting-house, and it looked to me near as easy for one to rise out of the grave and preach, as for me. 

However, God afforded me some life and power, both in prayer and sermon; and was pleased to lift me up, and show me that he could enable me to preach. O the wonderful goodness of God to so vile a sinner! -- 

Returned to my quarters; and enjoyed some sweetness in prayer alone, and mourned that I could not live more to God.

"Wednesday, Oct. 27
I spent the forenoon in prayer and meditation; was not a little concerned about preaching in the afternoon: 

felt exceedingly without strength, and very helpless indeed; and went into the meeting-house, ashamed to see any come to hear such an unspeakably worthless wretch. 

However, God enabled me to speak with clearness, power, and pungency But there was some noise and tumult in the assembly, that I did not well like; 

and endeavoured to bear public testimony against it with moderation and mildness, through the current of my discourse. -- 

In the evening, was enabled to be in some measure thankful and devoted to God." 

The frames and exercises of his mind during the four next days were mostly very similar to those of the two days past; excepting intervals of considerable degrees of divine peace and consolation.

The things expressed within the space of the three following days are such as these; 

some seasons of dejection, mourning for being so destitute of the exercises of grace, longing to be delivered from sin, pressing after more of God, seasons of sweet consolation, precious and intimate converse with God in secret prayer, sweetness of Christian conversation. -- 

"Thursday, Nov. 4. [At Lebanon] 
Saw much of my nothingness most of this day: but felt concerned that I had no more sense of my insufficiency and unworthiness. 

O it is sweet lying in the dust! But it is distressing to feel in my soul the hell of corruption, which still remains in me. -- 

In the afternoon, had a sense of the sweetness of a strict, close, and constant devotedness to God, and my soul was comforted with his consolations. 

My soul felt a pleasing, yet painful concern, lest I should spend some moments without God. O may I always live to God! -- 

In the evening, I was visited by some friends, and spent the time in prayer and such conversation as tended to our edification. 

It was a comfortable season to my soul: I felt an intense desire to spend every moment for God

God is unspeakably gracious to me continually. In times past, he has given me inexpressible sweetness in the performance of duty. 

Frequently my soul has enjoyed much of God; but has been ready to say, `Lord, it is good to be here;' and so to indulge sloth, while I have lived on the sweetness of my feelings. 

But of late, God has been pleased to keep my soul hungry, almost continually; so that I have been filled with a kind of pleasing pain. 

When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable; and the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward. 

I feel barren and empty, as though I could not live without more of God; I feel ashamed and guilty before him. 

Oh! I see that `the law is spiritual, but I am carnal.' I do not, I cannot live to God. 

Oh for holiness! Oh for more of God in my soul! Oh this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God; the language of it is, `Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in God's likeness,' (Ps. xvii. ult.) but never, never before: and consequently I am engaged to `press towards the mark' day by day. 

O that I may feel this continual hunger, and not be retarded, but rather animated by every cluster from Canaan, to reach forward in the narrow way, for the full enjoyment and possession of the heavenly inheritance! O that I may never loiter in my heavenly journey!"

These insatiable desires after God and holiness continued the two next days, with a great sense of his own exceeding unworthiness, and the nothingness of the things of this world.

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