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Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan

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Transcribed from the 1905 The Religious Tract Society edition by
David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk

In a faithful account of the life and death of John Bunyan
A brief relation of the exceeding mercy of God in Christ to him
In His taking him out of the dunghill, and converting him to the
faith of His blessed son Jesus Christ. Here is also particularly
shewed, what sight of, and what troubles he had for sin; and also,
what various temptations he hath met with, and how God hath carried
him through them.



Children, Grace be with you. Amen. I being taken from you in
presence, and so tied up that I cannot perform that duty, that from
God doth lie upon me to you-ward, for your farther edifying and
building up in faith and holiness, etc., yet that you may see my
soul hath fatherly care and desire after your spiritual and
everlasting welfare, I now once again, as before, from the top of
Shenir and Hermon, so now from the lions' dens, from the mountains
of the leopards (Song iv. 8), do look yet after you all, greatly
longing to see your safe arrival into THE desired Haven.

I thank God upon every remembrance of you; and rejoice, even while
I stick between the teeth of the lion in the wilderness, that the
grace and mercy, and knowledge of Christ our Saviour, which God
hath bestowed upon you, with abundance of faith and love; your
hungerings and thirstings after farther acquaintance with the
Father, in the Son; your tenderness of heart, your trembling at
sin, your sober and holy deportment also, before both God and men,
is a great refreshment to me; For ye are our glory and joy. 1
Thess. ii. 20.

I have sent you here enclosed, a drop of that honey that I have
taken out of the carcase of a lion. Judg. xiv. 5-8. I have eaten
thereof myself, and am much refreshed thereby. (Temptations, when
we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but
if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a
nest of honey within them.) The Philistines understand me not. It
is something of a relation of the work of God upon my soul, even
from the very first, till now, wherein you may perceive my castings
down, and risings up: for He woundeth, and His hands make whole.
It is written in the Scripture, Isa. xxxviii. 19, The father to the
children shall make known Thy truth. Yea, it was for this reason I
lay so long at Sinai, Lev. iv. 10, 11, to see the fire, and the
cloud, and the darkness, that I might fear the Lord all the days of
my life upon earth, and tell of His wondrous works to my children.
Psalm lxxviii. 3-5.

Moses, Numb. xxxiii. 1, 2, writ of the journeys of the children of
Israel, from Egypt to the land of Canaan; and commanded also that
they did remember their forty years' travel in the wilderness.
Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee
these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove
thee, and to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldst
keep His commandments, or no. Deut. viii. 2. Wherefore this I
have endeavoured to do; and not only so, but to publish it also;
that, if God will, others may be put in remembrance of what He hath
done for their souls, by reading His work upon me.

It is profitable for Christians to be often calling to mind the
very beginnings of grace with their souls. It is a night to be
much observed unto the Lord, for bringing them out from the land of
Egypt. This is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the
children of Israel in their generations. Exod. xii. 42. O my God
(saith David), Ps. xlii. 6, my soul is cast down within me;
therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the
Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. He remembered also the lion and
the bear, when he went to fight with the giant of Gath. 1 Sam.
xvii. 36, 37.

It was Paul's accustomed manner, Acts xxii., and that, when tried
for his life, Acts xxiv., even to open before his judges the manner
of his conversion: he would think of that day, and that hour, in
which he first did meet with grace; for he found it supported him.
When God had brought the children of Israel out of the Red Sea, far
into the wilderness, yet they must turn quite about thither again,
to remember the drowning of their enemies there, Numb. xiv. 25, for
though they sang his praise before, yet they soon forgat his works.
Psalm cvi. 11, 12.

In this discourse of mine, you may see much; much I say, of the
grace of God towards me: I thank God, I can count it much; for it
was above my sins and Satan's temptations too. I can remember my
fears and doubts, and sad months, with comfort; they are as the
head of Goliah in my hand: there was nothing to David like
Goliah's sword, even that sword that should have been sheathed in
his bowels; for the very sight and remembrance of that did preach
forth God's deliverance to him. Oh! the remembrance of my great
sins, of my great temptations, and of my great fear of perishing
for ever! They bring afresh into my mind, the remembrance of my
great help, my great supports from heaven, and the great grace that
God extended to such a wretch as I.

My dear children, call to mind the former days, and years of
ancient times: remember also your songs in the night, and commune
with your own Hearts, Ps. lxxiii. 5-12. Yea, look diligently, and
leave no corner therein unsearched for that treasure hid, even the
treasure of your first and second experience of the grace of God
towards you. Remember, I say, the word that first laid hold upon
you: remember your terrors of conscience, and fear of death and
hell: remember also your tears and prayers to God; yea, how you
sighed under every hedge for mercy. Have you never a hill Mizar to
remember? Have you forgot the close, the milk-house, the stable,
the barn, and the like, where God did visit your souls? Remember
also the word, the word, I say, upon which the Lord hath caused you
to hope: if you have sinned against light, if you are tempted to
blaspheme, if you are drowned in despair, if you think God fights
against you, or if heaven is hid from your eyes; remember it was
thus with your father; but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

I could have enlarged much in this my discourse, of my temptations
and troubles for sin; as also of the merciful kindness and working
of God with my soul: I could also have stepped into a style much
higher than this, in which I have here discoursed, and could have
adorned all things more than here I have seemed to do, but I dare
not: God did not play in tempting of me; neither did I play, when
I sunk as into the bottomless pit, when the pangs of hell caught
hold upon me; wherefore I may not play in relating of them, but be
plain and simple, and lay down the thing as it was; he that liketh
it, let him receive it, and he that doth not, let him produce a
better. Farewell.

My dear Children,

The milk and honey are beyond this wilderness. God be merciful to
you, and grant that you be not slothful to go in to possess the



In this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it
will not be amiss, if in the first place, I do in a few words give
you a hint of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby
the goodness and bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced
and magnified before the sons of men.

2. For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low
and inconsiderable generation; my father's house being of that rank
that is meanest, and most despised of all the families in the land.
Wherefore, I have not here, as others, to boast of noble blood, or
of any high-born state, according to the flesh; though, all things
considered, I magnify the heavenly Majesty, for that by this door
He brought me into the world, to partake of the grace and life that
is in Christ by the gospel.

3. But yet, notwithstanding the meanness and inconsiderableness of
my parents, it pleased God to put it into their hearts, to put me
to school, to learn both to read and write; the which I also
attained, according to the rate of other poor men's children:
though, to my shame, I confess, I did soon lose that I had learned,
even almost utterly, and that long before the Lord did work His
gracious work of conversion upon my soul.

4. As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God
in the world, it was, indeed, according to the course of this world
and the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
Eph. ii. 2, 3. It was my delight to be 'taken captive by the devil
at his will,' 2 Tim. ii. 26; being filled with all unrighteousness;
the which did also so strongly work, and put forth itself, both in
my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had but few equals
(especially considering my years, which were tender, being but few)
both for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of

5. Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they
became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with
soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my
childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and
did terrify me with fearful visions. For often, after I have spent
this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly
afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and
wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, laboured to draw me
away with them, of which I could never be rid.

6. Also I should, at these years, be greatly afflicted and
troubled with the thoughts of the fearful torments of hell-fire;
still fearing, that it would be my lot to be found at last among
those devils and hellish fiends, who are there bound down with the
chains and bonds of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day.

7. These things, I say, when I was but a child, but nine or ten
years old, did so distress my soul, that then in the midst of my
many sports and childish vanities, amidst my vain companions, I was
often much cast down, and afflicted in my mind therewith, yet could
I not let go my sins: yea, I was also then so overcome with
despair of life and heaven, that I should often wish, either that
there had been no hell, or that I had been a devil; supposing they
were only tormentors; that if it must needs be, that I went
thither, I might be rather a tormentor, than be tormented myself.

8. A while after those terrible dreams did leave me, which also I
soon forgot; for my pleasures did quickly cut off the remembrance
of them, as if they had never been: wherefore with more
greediness, according to the strength of nature, I did still let
loose the reins of my lust, and delighted in all transgressions
against the law of God: so that until I came to the state of
marriage, I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me
company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.

9. Yea, such prevalency had the lusts and fruits of the flesh in
this poor soul of mine, that had not a miracle of precious grace
prevented, I had not only perished by the stroke of eternal
justice, but had also laid myself open, even to the stroke of those
laws which bring some to disgrace and open shame before the face of
the world.

10. In these days the thoughts of religion were very grievous to
me; I could neither endure it myself, nor that any other should; so
that when I have seen some read in those books that concerned
Christian piety, it would be as it were a prison to me. Then I
said unto God, Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of
Thy ways. Job xxi. 14, 15. I was now void of all good
consideration, heaven and hell were both out of sight and mind; and
as for saving and damning, they were least in my thoughts. O Lord,
Thou knowest my life, and my ways were not hid from Thee!

11. But this I well remember, that though I could myself sin with
the greatest delight and ease, and also take pleasure in the
vileness of my companions; yet, even then, if I had at any time
seen wicked things, by those who professed goodness, it would make
my spirit tremble. As once above all the rest, when I was in the
height of vanity, yet hearing one to swear, that was reckoned for a
religious man, it had so great a stroke upon my spirit, that it
made my heart ache.

12. But God did not utterly leave me, but followed me still, not
now with convictions, but judgments; yet such as were mixed with
mercy. For once I fell into a creek of the sea, and hardly escaped
drowning. Another time I fell out of a boat into Bedford river,
but, mercy yet preserved me alive: besides, another time, being in
a field, with one of my companions, it chanced that an adder passed
over the highway, so I having a stick in my hand, struck her over
the back; and having stunned her, I forced open her mouth with my
stick, and plucked her sting out with my fingers; by which act had
not God been merciful unto me, I might by my desperateness, have
brought myself to my end.

13. This also I have taken notice of, with thanksgiving: When I
was a soldier, I with others, were drawn out to go to such a place
to besiege it; but when I was just ready to go, one of the company
desired to go in my room: to which, when I had consented, he took
my place; and coming to the siege, as he stood sentinel, he was
shot in the head with a musket-bullet and died.

14. Here, as I said, were judgments and mercy, but neither of them
did awaken my soul to righteousness; wherefore I sinned still, and
grew more and more rebellious against God, and careless of my own

15. Presently after this, I changed my condition into a married
state, and my mercy was, to light upon a wife whose father was
counted godly: This woman and I, though we came together as poor
as poor might be (not having so much household stuff as a dish or a
spoon betwixt us both), yet this she had for her part: The Plain
Man's Pathway to Heaven and The Practice of Piety; which her father
had left her when he died. In these two books I would sometimes
read with her, wherein I also found some things that were somewhat
pleasing to me (but all this while I met with no conviction). She
also would be often telling of me what a godly man her father was,
and how he would reprove and correct vice, both in his house, and
among his neighbours; what a strict and holy life he lived in his
days, both in word and deed.

16. Wherefore these books, with this relation, though they did not
reach my heart, to awaken it about my sad and sinful state, yet
they did beget within me some desires to religion: so that because
I knew no better, I fell in very eagerly with the religion of the
times; to wit, to go to church twice a day, and that too with the
foremost; and there should very devoutly, 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,
clerk, vestment, 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

17. This conceit grew so strong in a 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 them the ministers of God), I could have laid
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 scripture that they were once
the peculiar people of God, thought I, if I were one 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, or whether there was such a 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. x. 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
myself therewith): wherefore I fell in my conscience under his
sermon, thinking and believing that he made that sermon on purpose
to show 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 upon my spirit.

21. This, for that instant did benumb the sinews of my best
delights, and did imbitter my former pleasures to me; but hold, 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 of Cat, and
having struck it one blow from the hole, just as I was about to
strike it the second time, a voice did suddenly 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 as if He did severely threaten
me with some grievous punishment for these and other ungodly

23. I had no sooner thus conceived in my mind, but, suddenly, this
conclusion was fastened on my spirit (for the former hint did set
my sins again before my face), That I had been a great and grievous
sinner, and that it was now too late for me to look after heaven;
for Christ would not forgive me, nor pardon my transgressions.
Then I fell to musing on 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; and 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 I must be
so, I had as good be damned for many sins, as be damned for few.

24. Thus I stood in the midst of my play, before all that then
were present: but yet I told them nothing: but I say; 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 persuaded 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 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 I 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 among poor creatures, than many are aware of, even to
over-run the spirits with a scurvy 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 hope for them; for they have loved sins, therefore after them
they will go. Jer. ii. 25, and xviii. 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 madman, 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 she ever heard in all her
life; and that I, by thus doing, was able to spoil all the youth in
the whole town, if they come 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 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 myself
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 plays.

29. But quickly after this, I fell into 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 great
conversion, from prodigious profaneness, to something like a moral
life; and truly, so they well might; for this my conversion was as
great, as for Tom of Bethlehem to become a sober man. Now
therefore they began to praise, to commend, and to 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 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 twelvemonth, 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 myself to leave
it; yet my mind hankered; wherefore I would 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 myself, and would
look on still, but quickly after, I began to think, how if one of
the bells should fall? Then I chose to stand under a main beam,
that lay overthwart the steeple, from side to side, thinking here 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,
rebounding 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 the bell should now 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 any farther than the steeple-door; but then it came into my
head, how if the steeple itself should fall? And this thought (it
may for aught 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, anything that I
thought was good, I had great peace in my conscience, and should
think with myself, God cannot choose but be now pleased with me;
yea, to relate it in mine own way, I thought no man in England
could please God better than I.

36. But poor wretch as I was! I was all this while ignorant of
Jesus Christ; and going about to establish my own righteousness;
and had perished therein, had not God in mercy showed me more of my
state by nature.

37. But upon a day, the good providence of God called me to
Bedford, to work on my calling; and in one of the streets of that
town, I came where there were three or four poor women sitting at a
door, in the sun, talking about the things of God; and being now
willing to hear them discourse, I drew near to hear what they said,
for I was now a brisk talker also myself, in the matters of
religion; but I may say, I heard but understood not; for they were
far above, out of my reach. Their talk was about a new birth, the
work of God on their hearts, also how they were convinced of their
miserable state by nature; they talked how God had visited their
souls with His love in the Lord Jesus, and with what words and
promises they had been refreshed, comforted, and supported, against
the temptations of the devil: moreover, they reasoned of the
suggestions and temptations of Satan in particular; and told to
each other, by which they had been afflicted and how they were
borne up under his assaults. They also discoursed of their own
wretchedness of heart, and of their unbelief; and did contemn,
slight and abhor their own righteousness, as filthy, and
insufficient to do them any good.

38. And, methought, they spake as if joy did make them speak; they
spake with such pleasantness of scripture language, and with such
appearance of grace in all they said, that they were to me, as if
they had found a new world; as if they were people that dwelt
alone, and were not to be reckoned among their neighbours. Numb.
xxiii. 9.

39. At this I felt my own heart began to shake, and mistrust my
condition to be naught; for I saw that in all my thoughts about
religion and salvation, the new-birth did never enter into my mind;
neither knew I the comfort of the word and promise, nor the
deceitfulness and treachery of my own wicked heart. As for secret
thoughts, I took no notice of them; neither did I understand what
Satan's temptations were, nor how they were to be withstood, and
resisted, etc.

40. Thus, therefore, when I had heard and considered what they
said, I left them, and went about my employment again, but their
talk and discourse went with me; also my heart would tarry with
them, for I was greatly affected with their words, both because by
them I was convinced that I wanted the true tokens of a truly godly
man, and also because by them I was convinced of the happy and
blessed condition of him that was such a one.

41. Therefore I should often make it my business to be going again
and again into the company of these poor people; for I could not
stay away; and the more I went amongst them, the more I did
question my condition; and as I still do remember, presently I
found two things within me, at which I did sometimes marvel
(especially considering what a blind, ignorant, sordid and ungodly
wretch but just before I was). The one was a very great softness
and tenderness of heart, which caused me to fall under the
conviction of what by scripture they asserted, and the other was a
great bending in my mind, to a continual meditating on it, and on
all other good things, which at any time I heard or read of.

42. By these things my mind was now so turned, that it lay like an
horse-leech at the vein, still crying out, Give, Give, Prov. xxx.
15; yea, it was so fixed on eternity, and on the things about the
kingdom of heaven (that is, so far as I knew, though as yet, God
knows, I knew but little), that neither pleasures, nor profits, nor
persuasions, nor threats, could loose it, or make it let go its
hold; and though I may speak it with shame, yet it is in very deed,
a certain truth, it would then have been as difficult for me to
have taken my mind from heaven to earth, as I have found it often
since, to get again from earth to heaven.

43. One thing I may not omit: There was a young man in our town,
to whom my heart before was knit, more than to any other, but he
being a most wicked creature for cursing, and swearing, and
whoreing, I now shook him off, and forsook his company; but about a
quarter of a year after I had left him, I met him in a certain
lane, and asked him how he did: he, after his old swearing and mad
way, answered, he was well. But, Harry, said I, why do you curse
and swear thus? What will become of you, if you die in this
condition? He answered me in a great chafe, What would the devil
do for company, if it were not for such as I am?

44. About this time I met with some Ranters' books, that were put
forth by some of our countrymen, which books were also highly in
esteem by several old professors; some of these I read, but was not
able to make any judgment about them; wherefore as I read in them,
and thought upon them (seeing myself unable to judge), I would
betake myself to hearty prayer in this manner. O Lord, I am a
fool, and not able to know the truth from error: Lord, leave me
not to my own blindness, either to approve of or condemn this
doctrine; if it be of God, let me not despise it; if it be of the
devil, let me not embrace it. Lord, I lay my soul in this matter
only at Thy foot, let me not be deceived, I humbly beseech Thee. I
had one religious intimate companion all this while, and that was
the poor man I spoke of before; but about this time, he also turned
a most devilish Ranter, and gave himself up to all manner of
filthiness, especially uncleanness: he would also deny that there
was a God, angel, or spirit; and would laugh at all exhortations to
sobriety; when I laboured to rebuke his wickedness he would laugh
the more, and pretend that he had gone through all religions, and
could never light on the right till now. He told me also, that in
a little time I should see all professors turn to the ways of the
Ranters. Wherefore, abominating those cursed principles, I left
his company forthwith, and became to him as great a stranger, as I
had been before a familiar.

45. Neither was this man only a temptation to me, but my calling
lying in the country, I happened to light into several people's
company, who though strict in religion formerly, yet were also
swept away by these Ranters. These would also talk with me of
their ways, and condemn me as legal and dark; pretending that they
only had attained to perfection, that could do what they would and
not sin. Oh! these temptations were suitable to my flesh, I being
but a young man and my nature in its prime; but God, who had, as I
hoped, designed me for better things, kept me in the fear of His
name, and did not suffer me to accept such cursed principles. And
blessed be God, Who put it into my heart to cry to Him to be kept
and directed, still distrusting my own wisdom; for I have since
seen even the effects of that prayer, in His preserving me, not
only from Ranting errors, but from those also that have sprung up
since. The Bible was precious to me in those days.

46. And now methought, I began to look into the Bible with new
eyes, and read as I never did before, and especially the epistles
of the apostle St Paul were sweet and pleasant to me; and indeed I
was then never out of the Bible, either by reading or meditation;
still crying out to God, that I might know the truth, and way to
heaven and glory.

47. And as I went on and read, I lighted upon that passage, To one
is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word
knowledge by the same Spirit; and to another faith, etc. 1 Cor.
xii. And though, as I have since seen, that by this scripture the
Holy Ghost intends, in special, things extraordinary, yet on me it
did then fasten with conviction, that I did want things ordinary,
even that understanding and wisdom that other Christians had. On
this word I mused, and could not tell what to do, especially this
word 'Faith' put me to it, for I could not help it, but sometimes
must question, whether I had any faith, or no; but I was loath to
conclude, I had no faith; for if I do so, thought I, then I shall
count myself a very cast-away indeed.

48. No, said I, with myself, though I am convinced that I am an
ignorant sot, and that I want those blessed gifts of knowledge and
understanding that other people have; yet at a venture I will
conclude, I am not altogether faithless, though I know not what
faith is; for it was shewn me, and that too (as I have seen since)
by Satan, that those who conclude themselves in a faithless state,
have neither rest nor quiet in their souls; and I was loath to fall
quite into despair.

49. Wherefore by this suggestion I was, for a while, made afraid
to see my want of faith; but God would not suffer me thus to undo
and destroy my soul, but did continually, against this my sad and
blind conclusion, create still within me such suppositions,
insomuch that I could not rest content, until I did now come to
some certain knowledge, whether I had faith or no, this always
running in my mind, But how if you want faith indeed? But how can
you tell you have faith? And besides, I saw for certain, if I had
not, I was sure to perish for ever.

50. So that though I endeavoured at the first to look over the
business of Faith, yet in a little time, I better considering the
matter, was willing to put myself upon the trial whether I had
faith or no. But alas, poor wretch! so ignorant and brutish was I,
that I knew not to this day no more how to do it, than I know how
to begin and accomplish that rare and curious piece of art, which I
never yet saw or considered.

51. Wherefore while I was thus considering, and being put to my
plunge about it (for you must know, that as yet I had in this
matter broken my mind to no man, only did hear and consider), the
tempter came in with this delusion, That there was no way for me to
know I had faith, but by trying to work some miracle; urging those
scriptures that seem to look that way, for the enforcing and
strengthening his temptation. Nay, one day, as I was between
Elstow and Bedford, the temptation was hot upon me, to try if I had
faith, by doing some miracle; which miracle at this time was this,
I must say to the puddles that were in the horsepads, Be dry; and
to the dry places, Be you puddles: and truly one time I was going
to say so indeed; but just as I was about to speak, this thought
came into my mind; But go under yonder hedge and pray first, that
God would make you able. But when I had concluded to pray, this
came hot upon me; That if I prayed, and came again and tried to do
it, and yet did nothing notwithstanding, then to be sure I had no
faith, but was a cast-away, and lost; nay, thought I, if it be so,
I will not try yet, but will stay a little longer.

52. So I continued at a great loss; for I thought, if they only
had faith, which could do so wonderful things, then I concluded,
that for the present I neither had it, nor yet for the time to
come, were ever like to have it. Thus I was tossed betwixt the
devil and my own ignorance, and so perplexed, especially at some
times, that I could not tell what to do.

53. About this time, the state and happiness of these poor people
at Bedford was thus, in a kind of a vision, presented to me, I saw
as if they were on the sunny side of some high mountain, there
refreshing themselves with the pleasant beams of the sun, while I
was shivering and shrinking in the cold, afflicted with frost, snow
and dark clouds: methought also, betwixt me and them, I saw a wall
that did compass about this mountain, now through this wall my soul
did greatly desire to pass; concluding, that if I could, I would
even go into the very midst of them, and there also comfort myself
with the heat of their sun.

54. About this wall I bethought myself, to go again and again,
still prying as I went, to see if I could find some way or passage,
by which I might enter therein: but none could I find for some
time: at the last, I saw, as it were, a narrow gap, like a little
door-way in the wall, through which I attempted to pass: Now the
passage being very strait and narrow, I made many offers to get in,
but all in vain, even until I was well-nigh quite beat out, by
striving to get in; at last, with great striving, methought I at
first did get in my head, and after that, by a sideling striving,
my shoulders, and my whole body; then I was exceeding glad, went
and sat down in the midst of them, and so was comforted with the
light and heat of their sun.

55. Now this mountain, and wall, etc., was thus made out to me:
The mountain signified the church of the living God: the sun that
shone thereon, the comfortable shining of His merciful face on them
that were therein; the wall I thought was the word, that did make
separation between the Christians and the world; and the gap which
was in the wall, I thought, was Jesus Christ, Who is the way to God
the Father. John xiv. 6; Matt. vii. 14. But forasmuch as the
passage was wonderful narrow, even so narrow that I could not, but
with great difficulty, enter in thereat, it showed me, that none
could enter into life, but those that were in downright earnest,
and unless also they left that wicked world behind them; for here
was only room for body and soul, but not for body and soul and sin.

56. This resemblance abode upon my spirit many days; all which
time I saw myself in a forlorn and sad condition, but yet was
provoked to a vehement hunger and desire to be one of that number
that did sit in the sunshine: Now also I should pray wherever I
was: whether at home or abroad; in house or field; and would also
often, with lifting up of heart, sing that of the fifty-first
Psalm, O Lord, consider my distress; for as yet I knew not where I

57. Neither as yet could I attain to any comfortable persuasion
that I had faith in Christ; but instead of having satisfaction
here, I began to find my soul to be assaulted with fresh doubts
about my future happiness; especially with such as these, whether I
was elected? But how, if the day of grace should now be past and

58. By these two temptations I was very much afflicted and
disquieted; sometimes by one, and sometimes by the other of them.
And first, to speak of that about my questioning my election, I
found at this time, that though I was in a flame to find the way to
heaven and glory, and though nothing could beat me off from this,
yet this question did so offend and discourage me, that I was,
especially sometimes, as if the very strength of my body also had
been taken away by the force and power thereof. This scripture did
also seem to me to trample upon all my desires; It is not of him
that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth
mercy. Rom. ix. 16.

59. With this scripture I could not tell what to do: for I
evidently saw, unless that the great God, of His infinite grace and
bounty, had voluntarily chosen me to be a vessel of mercy, though I
should desire, and long, and labour until my heart did break, no
good could come of it. Therefore this would stick with me, How can
you tell that you are elected? And what if you should not? How

60. O Lord, thought I, what if I should not indeed? It may be you
are not, said the Tempter; it may be so indeed, thought I. Why
then, said Satan, you had as good leave off, and strive no farther;
for if indeed, you should not be elected and chosen of God, there
is no talk of your being saved; For it is not of him that willeth,
nor of him that runneth; but of God that showeth mercy.

61. By these things I was driven to my wits' end, not knowing what
to say, or how to answer these temptations: (indeed, I little
thought that Satan had thus assaulted me, but that rather it was my
own prudence thus to start the question): for that the elect only
attained eternal life; that, I without scruple did heartily close
withal; but that myself was one of them, there lay the question.

62. Thus therefore, for several days, I was greatly assaulted and
perplexed, and was often, when I have been walking, ready to sink
where I went, with faintness in my mind; but one day, after I had
been so many weeks oppressed and cast down therewith as I was now
quite giving up the ghost of all my hopes of ever attaining life,
that sentence fell with weight upon my spirit, Look at the
generations of old, and see; did ever any trust in God, and were

63. At which I was greatly lightened, and encouraged in my soul;
for thus, at that very instant, it was expounded to me: Begin at
the beginning of Genesis, and read to the end of the Revelations,
and see if you can find, that there were ever any that trusted in
the Lord, and were confounded. So coming home, I presently went to
my Bible, to see if I could find that saying, not doubting but to
find it presently; for it was so fresh, and with such strength and
comfort on my spirit, that it was as if it talked with me.

64. Well, I looked, but I found it not; only it abode upon me:
Then did I ask first this good man, and then another, if they knew
where it was, but they knew no such place. At this I wondered,
that such a sentence should so suddenly, and with such comfort and
strength, seize, and abide upon my heart; and yet that none could
find it (for I doubted not but that it was in holy scripture).

65. Thus I continued above a year, and could not find the place;
but at last, casting my eye upon the Apocrypha books, I found it in
Ecclesiasticus, Eccles. ii. 10. This, at the first, did somewhat
daunt me; but because by this time I had got more experience of the
love and kindness of God, it troubled me the less, especially when
I considered that though it was not in those texts that we call
holy and canonical; yet forasmuch as this sentence was the sum and
substance of many of the promises, it was my duty to take the
comfort of it; and I bless God for that word, for it was of God to
me: that word doth still at times shine before my face.

66. After this, that other doubt did come with strength upon me,
But how if the day of grace should be past and gone? How if you
have overstood the time of mercy? Now I remember that one day, as
I was walking in the country, I was much in the thoughts of this,
But how if the day of grace is past? And to aggravate my trouble,
the Tempter presented to my mind those good people of Bedford, and
suggested thus unto me, that these being converted already, they
were all that God would save in those parts; and that I came too
late, for these had got the blessing before I came.

67. Now I was in great distress, thinking in very deed that this
might well be so; wherefore I went up and down, bemoaning my sad
condition; counting myself far worse than a thousand fools for
standing off thus long, and spending so many years in sin as I had
done; still crying out, Oh! that I had turned sooner! Oh! that I
had turned seven years ago! It made me also angry with myself, to
think that I should have no more wit, but to trifle away my time,
till my soul and heaven were lost.

68. But when I had been long vexed with this fear, and was scarce
able to take one step more, just about the same place where I
received my other encouragement, these words broke in upon my mind,
Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled; and yet there
is room. Luke xiv. 22, 23. These words, but especially those, And
yet there is room, were sweet words to me; for truly I thought that
by them I saw there was place enough in heaven for me; and
moreover, that when the Lord Jesus did speak these words, He then
did think of me: and that He knowing that the time would come,
that I should be afflicted with fear, that there was no place left
for me in His bosom, did before speak this word, and leave it upon
record, that I might find help thereby against this vile
temptation. This I then verily believed.

69. In the light and encouragement of this word I went a pretty
while; and the comfort was the more, when I thought that the Lord
Jesus should think on me so long ago, and that He should speak
those words on purpose for my sake; for I did think verily, that He
did on purpose speak them to encourage me withal.

70. But I was not without my temptations to go back again;
temptations I say, both from Satan, mine own heart, and carnal
acquaintance; but I thank God these were outweighed by that sound
sense of death, and of the day of judgment, which abode, as it
were, continually in my view: I would often also think on
Nebuchadnezzar; of whom it is said, He had given him all the
kingdoms of the earth. Dan. v. 18, 19. Yet, thought I, if this
great man had all his portion in this world, one hour in hell-fire
would make him forget all. Which consideration was a great help to

71. I was also made, about this time, to see something concerning
the beasts that Moses counted clean and unclean: I thought those
beasts were types of men; the clean, types of them that were the
people of God; but the unclean, types of such as were the children
of the wicked one. Now I read, that the clean beasts chewed the
cud; that is, thought I, they show us, we must feed upon the word
of God: they also parted the hoof. I thought that signified, we
must part, if we would be saved, with the ways of ungodly men. And
also, in further reading about them, I found, that though we did
chew the cud, as the hare; yet if we walked with claws, like a dog;
or if we did part the hoof, like the swine, yet if we did not chew
the cud, as the sheep, we were still, for all that, but unclean:
for I thought the hare to be a type of those that talk of the word,
yet walk in the ways of sin; and that the swine was like him that
parted with his outward pollutions, but still wanteth the word of
faith, without which there could be no way of salvation, let a man
be never so devout. Deut. xiv. After this, I found by reading the
word, that those that must be glorified with Christ in another
world must be called by Him here; called to the partaking of a
share in His word and righteousness, and to the comforts and first-
fruits of His Spirit; and to a peculiar interest in all those
heavenly things, which do indeed prepare the soul for that rest,
and house of glory, which is in heaven above.

72. Here again I was at a very I great stand, not knowing what to
do, fearing I was not called; for, thought I, if I be not called,
what then can do me good? None but those who are effectually
called inherit the kingdom of heaven. But oh! how I now loved
those words that spake of a Christian's calling! as when the Lord
said to one, Follow Me; and to another, Come after Me: and oh,
thought I, that He would say so to me too: how gladly would I run
after Him!

73. I cannot now express with what longings and breathings in my
soul, I cried to Christ to call me. Thus I continued for a time,
all on a flame to be converted to Jesus Christ; and did also see at
that day, such glory in a converted state, that I could not be
contented without a share therein. Gold! could it have been gotten
for gold, what would I have given for it? Had I had a whole world,
it had all gone ten thousand times over for this, that my soul
might have been in a converted state.

74. How lovely now was every one in my eyes, that I thought to be
converted men and women. They shone, they walked like a people
that carried the broad seal of heaven about them. Oh! I saw the
lot was fallen to them in pleasant places, and they had a goodly
heritage. Psalm xvi. But that which made me sick, was that of
Christ, in St Mark, He goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto
Him whom He would, and they came unto Him. Mark iii. 13.

75. This scripture made me faint and fear, yet it kindled fire in
my soul. That which made me fear, was this; lest Christ should
have no liking to me, for He called whom He would. But oh! the
glory that I saw in that condition, did still so engage my heart,
that I could seldom read of any that Christ did call, but I
presently wished, Would I had been in their clothes, would I had
been born Peter; would I had been born John; or, would I had been
by and had heard Him when He called them, how would I have cried, O
Lord, call me also! But, oh! I feared He would not call me.

76. And truly, the Lord let me go thus many months together, and
shewed me nothing; either that I was already, or should be called
hereafter: but at last after much time spent, and many groans to
God, that I might be made partaker of the holy and heavenly
calling; that word came in upon me: I will cleanse their blood,
that I have not cleansed, for the Lord dwelleth in Zion. Joel iii.
21. These words I thought were sent to encourage me to wait still
upon God; and signified unto me, that if I were not already, yet
time might come, I might be in truth converted unto Christ.

77. About this time I began to break my mind to those poor people
in Bedford, and to tell them my condition; which when they had
heard, they told Mr Gifford of me, who himself also took occasion
to talk with me, and was willing to be well persuaded of me, though
I think from little grounds: but he invited me to his house, where
I should hear him confer with others, about the dealings of God
with their souls; from all which I still received more conviction,
and from that time began to see something of the vanity and inward
wretchedness of my wicked heart; for as yet I knew no great matter
therein; but now it began to be discovered unto me, and also to
work at that rate as it never did before. Now I evidently found,
that lusts and corruptions put forth themselves within me, in
wicked thoughts and desires, which I did not regard before; my
desires also for heaven and life began to fail; I found also, that
whereas before my soul was full of longing after God, now it began
to hanker after every foolish vanity; yea, my heart would not be
moved to mind that which was good; it began to be careless, both of
my soul and heaven; it would now continually hang back, both to,
and in every duty; and was as a clog on the leg of a bird, to
hinder me from flying.

78. Nay, thought I, now I grow worse and worse: now I am farther
from conversion than ever I was before. Wherefore I began to sink
greatly in my soul, and began to entertain such discouragement in
my heart, as laid me as low as hell. If now I should have burned
at the stake, I could not believe that Christ had love for me:
alas! I could neither hear Him, nor see Him, nor feel Him, nor
favour any of His things; I was driven as with a tempest, my heart
would be unclean, and the Canaanites would dwell in the land.

79. Sometimes I would tell my condition to the people of God;
which, when they heard, they would pity me, and would tell me of
the promises; but they had as good have told me, that I must reach
the sun with my finger, as have bidden me receive or rely upon the
promises: and as soon I should have done it. All my sense and
feeling were against me; and I saw I had an heart that would sin,
and that lay under a law that would condemn.

80. These things have often made me think of the child which the
father brought to Christ, who, while he was yet coming to Him, was
thrown down by the devil, and also so rent and torn by him, that he
lay down and wallowed, foaming. Luke ix. 42; Mark ix. 20.

81. Further, in these days, I would find my heart to shut itself
up against the Lord, and against His holy word: I have found my
unbelief to set, as it were, the shoulder to the door, to keep Him
out; and that too even then, when I have with many a bitter sigh,
cried, Good Lord, break it open: Lord, break these gates of brass,
and cut these bars of iron asunder. Psalm cvii. 16. Yet that word
would sometimes create in my heart a peaceable pause, I girded
thee, though thou hast not known Me. Isaiah xlv. 5.

82. But all this while, as to the act of sinning, I was never more
tender than now: my hinder parts were inward: I durst not take a
pin or stick, though but so big as a straw; for my conscience now
was sore, and would smart at every touch: I could not now tell how
to speak my words, for fear I should misplace them. Oh, how
gingerly did I then go, in all I did or said! I found myself as on
a miry bog, that shook if I did but stir, and was, as there, left
both of God and Christ, and the Spirit, and all good things.

83. But I observed, though I was such a great sinner before
conversion, yet God never much charged the guilt of the sins of my
ignorance upon me; only He showed me, I was lost if I had not
Christ, because I had been a sinner: I saw that I wanted a perfect
righteousness to present me without fault before God, and this
righteousness was no where to be found, but in the Person of Jesus

84. But my original and inward pollution; That, that was my plague
and affliction, that I saw at a dreadful rate, always putting forth
itself within me; that I had the guilt of, to amazement; by reason
of that, I was more loathsome in mine own eyes than was a toad, and
I thought I was so in God's eyes too: Sin and corruption, I said,
would as naturally bubble out of my heart, as water would bubble
out of a fountain: I thought now, that every one had a better
heart than I had; I could have changed heart with any body; I
thought none but the devil himself could equalise me for inward
wickedness and pollution of mind. I fell therefore at the sight of
my own vileness deeply into despair; for I concluded, that this
condition that I was in, could not stand with a state of grace.
Sure, thought I, I am forsaken of God; sure, I am given up to the
devil, and to a reprobate mind: and thus I continued a long while,
even for some years together.

85. While I was thus afflicted with the fears of my own damnation,
there were two things would make me wonder; the one was, when I saw
old people hunting after the things of this life, as if they should
live here always: the other was, when I found professors much
distressed and cast down, when they met with outward losses; as of
husband, wife, child, etc. Lord, thought I, what a-do is here
about such little things as these! What seeking after carnal
things, by some, and what grief in others for the loss of them! if
they so much labour after, and shed so many tears for the things of
this present life, how am I to be bemoaned, pitied, and prayed for!
My soul is dying, my soul is damning. Were my soul but in a good
condition, and were I but sure of it, ah! how rich should I esteem
myself, though blessed but with bread and water! I should count
those but small afflictions, and should bear them as little
burthens. A wounded spirit who can bear!

86. And though I was much troubled, and tossed, and afflicted, with
the sight and sense and terror of my own wickedness, yet I was
afraid to let this sight and sense go quite off my mind: that
unless guilt of conscience was taken off the right way, that is, by
the blood of Christ a man grew rather worse for the loss of his
trouble of mind, than better. Wherefore, if my guilt lay hard upon
me, then I should cry that the blood of Christ might take it off:
and if it was going off without it (for the sense of sin would be
sometimes as if it would die, and go quite away), then I would also
strive to fetch it upon my heart again, by bringing the punishment
of sin in hell fire upon my spirit; and should cry, Lord, let it
not go off my heart, but the right way, by the blood of Christ, and
the application of Thy mercy, through Him, to my soul, for that
scripture lay much upon me, without shedding of blood is no
remission. Heb. ix. 22. And that which made me the more afraid of
this, was, because I had seen some, who though when they were under
wounds of conscience, would cry and pray; yet seeking rather
present ease from their trouble, than pardon for their sin, cared
not how they lost their guilt, so they got it out of their mind:
now, having got it off the wrong way, it was not sanctified unto
them; but they grew harder and blinder, and more wicked after their
trouble. This made me afraid, and made me cry to God the more,
that it might not be so with me.

87. And now I was sorry that God had made me man, for I feared I
was a reprobate; I counted man as unconverted, the most doleful of
all the creatures. Thus being afflicted and tossed about my sad
condition, I counted myself alone, and above the most of men

88. Yea, I thought it impossible that ever I should attain to so
much goodness of heart, as to thank God that He had made me a man.
Man indeed is the most noble by creation, of all creatures in the
visible world; but by sin he has made himself the most ignoble.
The beasts, birds, fishes, etc. I blessed their condition; for
they had not a sinful nature; they were not obnoxious to the wrath
of God; they were not to go to hell-fire after death; I could
therefore have rejoiced, had my condition been as any of theirs.

89. In this condition I went a great while, but when comforting
time was come, I heard one preach a sermon on these words in the
song, Song iv. 1, Behold, thou art fair, my love, behold, thou art
fair. But at that time he made these two words, my love, his chief
and subject matter: from which, after he had a little opened the
text, he observed these several conclusions: 1. That the church,
and so every saved soul, is Christ's love, when loveless. 2.
Christ's love without a cause. 3. Christ's love, when hated of the
world. 4. Christ's love, when under temptation and under
destruction. 5. Christ's love, from first to last.

90. But I got nothing by what he said at present; only when he
came to the application of the fourth particular, this was the word
he said; If it be so, that the saved soul is Christ's love, when
under temptation and desertion; then poor tempted soul, when thou
art assaulted, and afflicted with temptations, and the hidings of
God's face, yet think on these two words, 'My love,' still.

91. So as I was going home, these words came again into my
thoughts; and I well remember, as they came in, I said thus in my
heart, What shall I get by thinking on these two words? This
thought had no sooner passed through my heart, but these words
began thus to kindle in my spirit, Thou art My Love, thou art My
Dove, twenty times together; and still as they ran in my mind, they
waxed stronger and warmer, and began to make me look up; but being
as yet, between hope and fear, I still replied in my heart, But is
it true, but is it true? At which that sentence fell upon me, He
wist not that it was true, which was done by the Angel. Acts xii.

92. Then I began to give place to the word which with power, did
over and over make this joyful sound within my soul, 'Thou art my
Love, thou art My Love, and nothing shall separate thee from My
Love. And with that my heart was filled full of comfort and hope,
and now I could believe that my sins should be forgiven me; yea, I
was now so taken with the love and mercy of God, that I remember I
could not tell how to contain till I got home: I thought I could
have spoken of His love, and have told of His mercy to me, even to
the very crows, that sat upon the ploughed lands before me, had
they been capable to have understood me: wherefore I said in my
soul, with much gladness, Well, I would I had a pen and ink here, I
would write this down before I go any farther; for surely I will
not forget this forty years hence. But, alas! within less than
forty days I began to question all again; which made me begin to
question all still.

93. Yet still at times I was helped to believe, that it was a true
manifestation of grace unto my soul, though I had lost much of the
life and favour of it. Now about a week or a fortnight after this
I was much followed by this scripture, Simon, Simon; behold, Satan
hath desired to have you, Luke xxii. 31, and sometimes it would
sound so loud within me, yea, and as it was, call so strongly after
me, that once, above all the rest, I turned my head over my
shoulder, thinking verily that some man had behind me, called me;
being at a great distance, methought he called so loud: it came,
as I have thought since, to have stirred me up to prayer, and to
watchfulness: it came to acquaint me, that a cloud and a storm was
coming down upon me: but I understood it not.

94. Also, as I remember, that time that it called to me so loud,
was the last time that it sounded in mine ears; but me thinks I
hear still with what a loud voice these words, Simon, Simon,
sounded in mine ears. I thought verily, as I have told you, that
somebody had called after me, that was half a mile behind me: and
although that was not my name, yet it made me suddenly look behind
me, believing that he that called so loud, meant me.

95. But so foolish was I, and ignorant, that I knew not the reason
of this sound; (which as I did both see and feel soon after, was
sent from heaven as an alarm, to awaken me to provide for what was
coming,) only I should muse and wonder in my mind, to think what
should be the reason of this scripture, and that at this rate, so
often and so loud, should still be sounding and rattling in mine
ears: but, as I said before, I soon after perceived the end of God

96. For, about the space of a month after, a very great storm came
down upon me, which handled me twenty times worse than all I had
met with before; it came stealing upon me, now by one piece, then
by another: First, all my comfort was taken from me; then darkness
seized upon me; after which, whole floods of blasphemies, both
against God, Christ, and the scriptures, were poured upon my
spirit, to my great confusion and astonishment. These blasphemous
thoughts were such as stirred up questions in me against the very
being of God, and of His only beloved Son: As, whether there were
in truth, a God or Christ? And whether the holy scriptures were
not rather a fable, and cunning story, than the holy and pure word
of God?

97. The tempter would also much assault me with this, How can you
tell but that the Turks had as good scriptures to prove their
Mahomet the Saviour, as we have to prove our Jesus is? And, could
I think, that so many ten thousands, in so many countries and
kingdoms, should be without the knowledge of the right way to
heaven, (if there were indeed a heaven); and that we only, who live
in a corner of the earth, should alone be blessed therewith? Every
one doth think his own religion rightest, both Jews and Moors, and
Pagans; and how if all our faith, and Christ, and scriptures,
should be but a think so too?

98. Sometimes I have endeavoured to argue against these
suggestions, and to set some of the sentences of blessed Paul
against them; but alas! I quickly felt, when I thus did, such
arguings as these would return again upon me, Though we made so
great a matter of Paul, and of his words, yet how could I tell, but
that in very deed, he being a subtle and cunning man, might give
himself up to deceive with strong delusions: and also take the
pains and travel, to undo and destroy his fellows.

99. These suggestions, (with many others which at this time I may
not, and dare not utter, neither by word or pen,) did make such a
seizure upon my spirit, and did so overweigh my heart, both with
their number, continuance, and fiery force, that I felt as if there
were nothing else but these from morning to night within me; and as
though indeed there could be room for nothing else; and also
concluded, that God had, in very wrath to my soul, given me up to
them, to be carried away with them, as with a mighty whirlwind.

100. Only by the distaste that they gave unto my spirit, I felt
there was something in me that refused to embrace them. But this
consideration I then only had, when God gave me leave to swallow my
spittle; otherwise the noise, and strength, and force of these
temptations would drown and overflow, and as it were, bury all such
thoughts, or the remembrance of any such thing. While I was in
this temptation, I often found my mind suddenly put upon it to
curse and swear, or to speak some grievous thing against God, or
Christ His Son, and of the scriptures.

101. Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil: at other
times, again, I thought I should be bereft of my wits; for instead
of lauding and magnifying God the Lord, with others, if I have but
heard Him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous
thought or other would bolt out of my heart against Him; so that
whether I did think that God was, or again did think there was no
such thing, no love, nor peace, nor gracious disposition could I
feel within me.

102. These things did sink me into very deep despair; for I
concluded that such things could not possibly be found amongst them
that loved God. I often, when these temptations had been with
force upon me, did compare myself to the case of such a child, whom
some gipsy hath by force took up in her arms, and is carrying from
friend and country. Kick sometimes I did, and also shriek and cry;
but yet I was bound in the wings of the temptation, and the wind
would carry me away. I thought also of Saul, and of the evil
spirit that did possess him: and did greatly fear that my
condition was the same with that of his. 1 Sam. x.

103. In these days, when I have heard others talk of what was the
sin against the Holy Ghost, then would the tempter so provoke me to
desire to sin that against sin, that I was as if I could not, must
not, neither should be quiet until I had committed it; now no sin
would serve but that. If it were to be committed by speaking of
such a word, then I have been as if my mouth would have spoken that
word, whether I would or no; and in so strong a measure was this
temptation upon me, that often I have been ready to clap my hand
under my chin, to hold my mouth from opening; and to that end also,
I have had thoughts at other times, to leap with my head downward,
into some muckhill-hole or other, to keep my mouth from speaking.

104. Now again I beheld the condition of the dog and toad, and
counted the estate of every thing that God had made, far better
than this dreadful state of mine, and such as my companions were.
Yea, gladly would I have been in the condition of a dog or horse:
for I knew they had no souls to perish under the everlasting weight
of hell, or sin, as mine was like to do. Nay, and though I saw
this, felt this, and was broken to pieces with it; yet that which
added to my sorrow was, I could not find, that with all my soul I
did desire deliverance. That scripture did also tear and rend my
soul in the midst of these distractions, The wicked are like the
troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and
dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked. Isa. lvii.
20, 21.

105. And now my heart was, at times, exceeding hard; if I would
have given a thousand pounds for a tear, I could not shed one: no
nor sometimes scarce desire to shed one. I was much dejected, to
think that this would be my lot. I saw some could mourn and lament
their sin; and others again, could rejoice and bless God for
Christ; and others again, could quietly talk of, and with gladness
remember the word of God; while I only was in the storm or tempest.
This much sunk me, I thought my condition was alone, I should
therefore much bewail my hard hap, but get out of, or get rid of
these things, I could not.

106. While this temptation lasted, which was about a year, I could
attend upon none of the ordinances of God, but with sore and great
affliction. Yea, then I was most distressed with blasphemies. If
I had been hearing the word, then uncleanness, blasphemies and
despair would hold me a captive there: if I have been reading,
then sometimes I had sudden thoughts to question all I read:
sometimes again, my mind would be so strangely snatched away, and
possessed with other things, that I have neither known, nor
regarded, nor remembered so much as the sentence that but now I
have read.

107. In prayer also I have been greatly troubled at this time;
sometimes I have thought I have felt him behind me pulling my
clothes: he would be also continually at me in time of prayer, to
have done, break off, make haste, you have prayed enough, and stay
no longer; still drawing my mind away. Sometimes also he would
cast in such wicked thoughts as these; that I must pray to him, or
for him: I have thought sometimes of that, Fall down; or, if thou
wilt fall down and worship me. Matt. iii. 9.

108. Also, when because I have had wandering thoughts in the time
of this duty, I have laboured to compose my mind, and fix it upon
God; then with great force hath the tempter laboured to distract
me, and confound me, and to turn away my mind, by presenting to my
heart and fancy, the form of a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like,
as if I should pray to these: To these he would also (at sometimes
especially) so hold my mind, that I was as if I could think of
nothing else, or pray to nothing else but to these, or such as

109. Yet at times I should have some strong and heart-affecting
apprehensions of God, and the reality of the truth of His gospel.
But, oh! how would my heart, at such times, put forth itself with
unexpressible groanings. My whole soul was then in every word; I
should cry with pangs after God, that He would be merciful unto me;
but then I should be daunted again with such conceits as these: I
should think that God did mock at these my prayers, saying, and
that in the audience of the holy angels, This poor simple wretch
doth hanker after Me, as if I had nothing to do with My mercy, but
to bestow it on such as he. Alas, poor soul! how art thou
deceived! It is not for such as thee to have favour with the

110. Then hath the tempter come upon me, also, with such
discouragements as these: You are very hot for mercy, but I will
cool you; this frame shall not last always: many have been as hot
as you for a spurt, but I have quenched their zeal (and with this,
such and such, who were fallen off, would be set before mine eyes).
Then I should be afraid that I should do so too: But, thought I, I
am glad this comes into my mind: well, I will watch, and take what
care I can. Though you do, said Satan, I shall be too hard for
you; I will cool you insensibly, by degrees, by little and little.
What care I, saith he, though I be seven years in chilling your
heart, if I can do it at last? Continual rocking will lull a
crying child asleep: I will ply it close, but I will have my end
accomplished. Though you be burning hot at present, I can pull you
from this fire; I shall have you cold before it be long.

111. These things brought me into great straits; for as I at
present could not find myself fit for present death, so I thought,
to live long, would make me yet more unfit; for time would make me
forget all, and wear even the remembrance of the evil of sin, the
worth of heaven, and the need I had of the blood of Christ to wash
me, both out of mind and thought: but I thank Christ Jesus, these
things did not at present make me slack my crying, but rather did
put me more upon it (like her who met with adulterer, Deut. xxii.
26), in which days that was a good word to me, after I had suffered
these things a while:- I am persuaded that neither death, nor life,
etc., shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. viii. 38, 39. And now I hoped long
life would not destroy me, nor make me miss of heaven.

112. Yet I had some supports in this temptation, though they were
then all questioned by me; that in Jer. iii. at the first was
something to me; and so was the consideration of verse 5 of that
chapter; that though we have spoken and done as evil things as we
could, yet we should cry unto God, My Father, Thou art the Guide of
my youth, and shall return unto Him.

113. I had, also, once a sweet glance from that in 2 Cor. v. 21:
For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we
might be made the righteousness of God in Him. I remember that one
day, as I was sitting in a neighbour's house, and there very sad at
the consideration of my many blasphemies; and as I was saying in my
mind, What ground have I to say that, who have been so vile and
abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? That word came
suddenly upon me, What shall we say to these things? If God be for
us, who can be against us? Rom. viii. 31. That also was an help
unto me, Because I live, ye shall live also. John xiv. 19. But
these words were but hints, touches, and short visits, though very
sweet when present; only they lasted not; but, like to Peter's
sheet, of a sudden were caught up from me, to heaven again. Acts
x. 16.

114. But afterwards the Lord did more fully and graciously
discover Himself unto me, and indeed, did quite, not only deliver
me from the guilt that, by these things was laid upon my
conscience, but also from the very filth thereof; for the
temptation was removed, and I was put into my right mind again, as
other Christians were.

115. I remember that one day, as I was travelling into the
country, and musing on the wickedness and blasphemy of my heart,
and considering the enmity that was in me to God, that scripture
came into my mind, Having made peace through the blood of His
cross. Col. i. 20. By which I was made to see, both again and
again, that God and my soul were friends by His blood; yea, I saw
that the justice of God, and my sinful soul could embrace and kiss
each other, through His blood. This was a good day to me; I hope I
shall never forget it.

116. At another time, as I sat by the fire in my house, and was
musing on my wretchedness, the Lord made that also a precious word
unto me, Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and
blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same, that through
death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the
devil; and deliver those who through fear of death, were all their
lifetime subject to bondage. Heb. ii. 14, 15. I thought that the
glory of these words was then so weighty on me, that I was both
once and twice ready to swoon as I sate; yet not with grief and
trouble, but with solid joy and peace.

117. At this time also I sate under of holy Mr Gifford, whose
doctrine, by God's grace, was much for my stability. This man made
it much his business to deliver the people of God from all those
false and unsound tests, that by nature we are prone to. He would
bid us take special heed, that we took not up any truth upon trust;
as from this, or that, or any other man or men; but to cry mightily
to God, that He would convince us of the reality thereof, and set
us down therein by His own Spirit in the holy word; For, said he,
if you do otherwise, when temptations come, if strongly, you not
having received them with evidence from heaven, will find you want
that help and strength now to resist, that once you thought you

118. This was as seasonable to my soul, as the former and latter
rains in their season (for I had found, and that by sad experience,
the truth of these his words: for I had felt no man can say,
especially when tempted by the devil, that Jesus Christ is Lord,
but by the Holy Ghost). Wherefore I found my soul, through grace,
very apt to drink in this doctrine, and to incline to pray to God,
that in nothing that pertained to God's glory, and my own eternal
happiness, He would suffer me to be without the confirmation
thereof from heaven; for now I saw clearly, there was an exceeding
difference betwixt the notion of the flesh and blood, and the
revelations of God in heaven: also a great difference betwixt that
faith that is feigned, and according to man's wisdom, and that
which comes by a man's being born thereto of God. Matt. xvi. 15; 1
John v. 1.

119. But, oh! now, how was my soul led from truth to truth by God!
Even from the birth and cradle of the Son of God, to His accession,
and second coming from heaven to judge the world!

120. Truly, I then found, upon this account, the great God was
very good unto me; for, to my remembrance, there was not any thing
that I then cried unto God to make known, and reveal unto me, but
He was pleased to do it for me; I mean, not one part of the gospel
of the Lord Jesus, but I was orderly led into it: methought I saw
with great evidence, from the relation of the four evangelists, the
wonderful work of God, in giving Jesus Christ to save us, from His
conception and birth, even to His second coming to judgment:
methought I was as if I had seen Him born, as if I had seen Him
grow up; as if I had seen Him walk through this world, from the
cradle to the cross; to which also, when He came, I saw how gently
He gave Himself to be hanged, and nailed on it for my sins and
wicked doings. Also as I was musing on this His progress, that
dropped on my spirit, He was ordained for the slaughter. 1 Peter
i. 12, 20.

121. When I have considered also the truth of His resurrection,
and have remembered that word, Touch Me not, Mary, etc., I have
seen as if He had leaped out of the grave's mouth, for joy that He
was risen again, and had got the conquest over our dreadful foes.
John xx. 17. I have also in the spirit, seen Him a man, on the
right hand of God the Father for me; and have seen the manner of
His coming from heaven, to judge the world with glory, and have
been confirmed in these things by these scriptures following, Acts
i. 9, 10, and vii. 56, and x. 42; Heb. vii. 24 and ix. 28; Rev. i.
18; 1 Thess. iv. 17, 18.

112. Once I was troubled to know whether the Lord Jesus was man as
well as God, and God as well as man: and truly, in those days, let
men say what they would, unless I had it with evidence from heaven,
all was nothing to me; I counted myself not set down in any truth
of God. Well, I was much troubled about this point, and could not
tell how to be resolved; at last, that in Rev. v. 6 came into my
mind: And I beheld, and, to, in the midst of the throne, and of
the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb, as
it had been slain. In the midst of the throne, thought I, there is
the Godhead; in the midst of the elders, there is His manhood; but,
oh! methought this did glister! It was a goodly touch, and gave me
sweet satisfaction. That other scripture also did help me much in
this, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the
government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be
called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting
Father, the Prince of Peace, etc. Isa. ix. 6.

123. Also besides these teachings of God in His word, the Lord
made use of two things to confirm me in this truth; the one was the
errors of the Quakers and the other was the guilt of sin; for as
the Quakers did oppose this truth, so God did the more confirm me
in it, by leading me into the scripture that did wonderfully
maintain it.

124. The errors that this people then maintained, were:-

'1. That the holy scriptures were not the word of God.

'2. That every man in the world had the spirit of Christ, grace,
faith, etc.

'3. That Christ Jesus, as crucified, and dying sixteen hundred
years ago, did not satisfy divine justice for the sins of the

'4. That Christ's flesh and blood were within the saints.

'5. That the bodies of the good and bad that are buried in the
church-yard, shall not arise again.

'6. That the resurrection is past with good men already.

'7. That that man Jesus, that was crucified between two thieves,
on mount Calvary, in the land of Canaan, by Jerusalem, was not
ascended above the starry heavens.

'8. That He should not, even the same Jesus that died by the hands
of the Jews, come again at the last day; and as man, judge all
nations,' etc.

125. Many more vile and abominable things were in those days
fomented by them, by which I was driven to a more narrow search of
the scriptures, and was through their light and testimony, not only
enlightened, but greatly confirmed and comforted in the truth:
And, as I said, the guilt of sin did help me much; for still as
that would come upon me, the blood of Christ did take it off again,
and again, and again; and that too sweetly, according to the
scripture. O friends! cry to God to reveal Jesus Christ unto you;
there is none teacheth like Him.

126. It would be too long here to stay, to tell you in particular,
how God did set me down in all the things of Christ, and how He
did, that He might so do, lead me into His words; yea, and also how
He did open them unto me, and make them shine before me, and cause
them to dwell with me, talk with me, and comfort me over and over,
both of His own being, and the being of His Son, and Spirit, and
word, and gospel.

127. Only this, as I said before, I will say unto you again, that
in general, He was pleased to take this course with me; first, to
suffer me to be afflicted with temptations concerning them, and
then reveal them unto me; as sometimes I should lie under great
guilt for sin, even crushed to the ground therewith; and then the
Lord would show me the death of Christ; yea, so sprinkle my
conscience with His blood, that I should find, and that before I
was aware, that in that conscience, where but just now did reign
and rage the law, even there would rest and abide the peace and
love of God, through Christ.

128. Now I had an evidence, as I thought, of my salvation, from
heaven, with many golden seals thereon, all hanging in my sight.
Now could I remember this manifestation, and the other discovery of
grace, with comfort; and should often long and desire that the last
day were come, that I might be for ever inflamed with the sight,
and joy, and communion of Him, Whose head was crowned with thorns,
Whose face was spit upon, and body broken, and soul made an
offering for my sins. For whereas before I lay continually
trembling at the mouth of hell, now methought I was got so far
therefrom, that I could not, when I looked back, scarce discern it!
And oh! thought I, that I were fourscore years old now, that I
might die quickly, that my soul might be gone to rest.

129. But before I had got thus far out of these my temptations, I
did greatly long to see some ancient godly man's experience, who
had writ some hundreds of years before I was born; for those who
had writ in our days, I thought (but I desire them now to pardon
me) that they had writ only that which others felt; or else had,
through the strength of their wits and parts, studied to answer
such objections as they perceived others were perplexed with,
without going down themselves into the deep. Well, after many such
longings in my mind, the God, in Whose hands are all our days and
ways, did cast into my hand (one day) a book of Martin Luther's; it
was his Comment on the Galatians; it also was so old, that it was
ready to fall piece from piece if I did but turn it over. Now I
was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hand, the
which when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition in
his experience so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book
had been written out of my heart. This made me marvel: for thus
thought I, This man could not know any thing of the state of
Christians now, but must needs write and speak the experience of
former days.

130. Besides, he doth most gravely also in that book, debate of
the rise of these temptations, namely, blasphemy, desperation, and
the like; showing that the law of Moses, as well as the devil,
death, and hell, hath a very great hand therein: the which, at
first, was very strange to me; but considering and watching, I
found it so indeed. But of particulars here, I intend nothing;
only this methinks I must let fall before all men--I do prefer this
book of Martin Luther upon the Galatians (excepting the Holy Bible)
before all the books that ever I had seen, as most fit for a
wounded conscience.

131. And now I found, as I thought, that I loved Christ dearly:
Oh! methought my soul cleaved unto Him, my affections cleaved unto
Him; I felt love to Him as hot as fire; and now, as Job said, I
thought I should die in my nest; but I did quickly find, that my
great love was but little; and that I, who had, as I thought, such
burning love to Jesus Christ, could let Him go again for a very
trifle,--God can tell how to abase us, and can hide pride from man.
Quickly after this my love was tried to purpose.

132. For after the Lord had, in this manner, thus graciously
delivered me from this great and sore temptation, and had set me
down so sweetly in the faith of His holy gospel, and had given me
such strong consolation and blessed evidence from heaven, touching
my interest in His love through Christ; the tempter came upon me
again, and that with a more grievous and dreadful temptation than

133. And that was, To sell and part with this most blessed Christ,
to exchange Him for the things of this life, for any thing. The
temptation lay upon me for the space of a year, and did follow me
so continually, that I was not rid of it one day in a month: no,
not sometimes one hour in many days together, unless when I was

134. And though, in my judgment, I was persuaded, that those who
were once effectually in Christ (as I hoped, through His grace, I
had seen myself) could never lose Him for ever; The land shall not
be sold for ever, for the land is mine, saith God. Lev. xxv. 23.
Yet it was a continual vexation to me, to think that I should have
so much as one such thought within me against a Christ, a Jesus,
that had done for me as He had done; and yet then I had almost none
others, but such blasphemous ones.

135. But it was neither my dislike of the thought, nor yet any
desire and endeavour to resist, that in the least did shake or
abate the continuation or force and strength thereof; for it did
always, in almost whatever I thought, intermix itself therewith, in
such sort, that I could neither eat my food, stoop for a pin, chop
a stick, or cast mine eye to look on this or that, but still the
temptation would come, Sell Christ for this, or sell Christ for
that; sell Him, sell Him.

136. Sometimes it would run in my thoughts, not so little as a
hundred times together, Sell Him, sell Him, sell Him: against
which, I may say, for whole hours together, I have been forced to
stand as continually leaning and forcing my spirit against it, lest
haply, before I were aware, some wicked thought might arise in my
heart, that might consent thereto; and sometimes the tempter would
make me believe I had consented to it; but then I should be, as
tortured upon a rack for whole days together.

137. This temptation did put me to such scares, lest I should at
some times, I say, consent thereto, and be overcome therewith, that
by the very force of my mind, in labouring to gainsay and resist
this wickedness, my very body would be put into action or motion,
by way of pushing or thrusting with my hands or elbows; still
answering, as fast as the destroyer said, Sell Him; I will not, I
will not, I will not, I will not; no, not for thousands, thousands,
thousands of worlds: thus reckoning, lest I should, in the midst
of these assaults, set too low a value on Him; even until I scarce
well knew where I was, or how to be composed again.

138. At these seasons he would not let me eat my food at quiet;
but, forsooth, when I was set at the table at my meat, I must go
hence to pray; I must leave my food now, just now, so counterfeit
holy also would this devil be. When I was thus tempted, I would
say in myself, Now I am at meat; let me make an end. NO, said he,
you must do it now, or you will displease God, and despise Christ.
Wherefore I was much afflicted with these things; and because of
the sinfulness of my nature (imagining that these were impulses
from God), I should deny to do it, as if I denied God, and then
should I be as guilty, because I did not obey a temptation of the
devil, as if I had broken the law of God indeed.

139. But to be brief: one morning as I did lie in my bed, I was,
as at other times, most fiercely assaulted with this temptation, To
sell and part with Christ; the wicked suggestion still running in
my mind, Sell Him, sell Him, sell Him, sell Him, sell Him, as fast
as a man could speak: against which also, in my mind, as at other
times, I answered, No, no, not for thousands, thousands, thousands,
at least twenty times together: but at last, after much striving,
even until I was almost out of breath, I felt this thought pass
through my heart, Let Him go, if He will; and I thought also, that
I felt my heart freely consent thereto. Oh! the diligence of
Satan! Oh! the desperateness of man's heart!

140. Now was the battle won, and down fell I as a bird that is
shot from the top of a tree, into great guilt, and fearful despair.
Thus getting out of my bed, I went moping into the field; but God
knows, with as heavy a heart as mortal man, I think, could bear;
where for the space of two hours, I was like a man bereft of life;
and, as now, past all recovery, and bound over to eternal

141. And withal, that scripture did seize upon my soul: Or
profane persons as Esau, who for one morsel of meat, sold his
birthright: for ye know, how that afterward, when he would have
inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of
repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Heb. xii.
16, 17.

142. Now was I as one bound, I felt myself shut up unto the
judgment to come; nothing now, for two years together, would abide
with me, but damnation, and an expectation of damnation: I say,
nothing now would abide with me but this, save some few moments for
relief, as in the sequel you will see.

143. These words were to my soul, like fetters of brass to my
legs, in the continual sound of which I went for several months
together. But about ten or eleven o'clock on that day, as I was
walking under an hedge (full of sorrow and guilt, God knows), and
bemoaning myself for this hard hap, that such a thought should
arise within me, suddenly this sentence rushed in upon me, The
blood of Christ remits all guilt. At this I made a stand in my
spirit: with that this word took hold upon me, The blood of Jesus
Christ His Son, cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John i. 7.

144. Now I began to conceive peace in my soul, and methought I
saw, as if the tempter did leer and steal away from me, as being
ashamed of what he had done. At the same time also I had my sin,
and the blood of Christ, thus represented to me, That my sin, when
compared to the blood of Christ, was no more to it, than this
little clod or stone before me, is to this vast and wide field that
here I see. This gave me good encouragement for the space of two
or three hours; in which time also, methought, I saw, by faith, the
Son of God, as suffering for my sins: but because it tarried not,
I therefore sunk in my spirit, under exceeding guilt again.

145. But chiefly by the aforementioned scripture concerning Esau's
selling of his birthright; for that scripture would lie all day
long, all the week long, yea, all the year long in my mind, and
hold me down, so that I could by no means lift up myself; for when
I would strive to turn to this scripture or that, for relief, still
that sentence would be sounding in me; For ye know, how that
afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he found no
place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

146. Sometimes, indeed, I should have a touch from that in Luke
xxii. 31, I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not; but it
would not abide upon me; neither could I, indeed, when I considered
my state, find ground to conceive in the least, that there should
be the root of that grace in me, having sinned as I had done. Now
was I tore and rent in an heavy case for many days together.

147. Then began I with sad and careful heart to consider of the
nature and largeness of my sin, and to search into the word of God,
if I could in any place espy a word of promise, or any encouraging
sentence, by which I might take relief. Wherefore I began to
consider that of Mark iii. 28: All sins shall be forgiven unto the
sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme.
Which place, methought at a blush, did contain a large and glorious
promise for the pardon of high offences; but considering the place
more fully, I thought it was rather to be understood, as relating
more chiefly to those who had, while in a natural estate, committed
such things as there are mentioned; but not to me, who had not only
received light and mercy, but that had both after, and also
contrary to that, so slighted Christ as I had done.

148. I feared, therefore, that this wicked sin of mine, might be
that sin unpardonable, of which He there thus speaketh. But he
that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never
forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Mark iii. 29.
And I did the rather give credit to this, because of that sentence
in the Hebrews: For you know how that afterwards, when he would
have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place
of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. And this
stuck always with me.

149. And now was I both a burthen and a terror to myself; nor did
I ever so know, as now, what it was to be weary of my life, and yet
afraid to die. Oh! how gladly now would I have been anybody but
myself! anything but a man, and in any condition but my own! For
there was nothing did pass more frequently over my mind, than that
it was impossible for me to be forgiven my transgression, and to be
saved from the wrath to come.

150. And now I began to call again time that was spent; wishing a
thousand times twice told, that the day was yet to come when I
should be tempted to such a sin; concluding with great indignation,
both against my heart, and all assaults, how I would rather have
been torn in pieces, than be found a consenter thereto. But alas!
these thoughts, and wishings, and resolvings were now too late to
help me; this thought had passed my heart, God hath let me go, and
I am fallen. Oh! thought I, that it were with me as in months
past, as in the days when God preserved me! Job xxix. 2.

151. Then again, being loth and unwilling to perish, I began to
compare my sin with others to see if I could find that any of those
that were saved, had done as I had done. So I considered David's
adultery, and murder, and found them most heinous crimes; and those
too committed after light and grace received: but yet by
considering that his transgressions were only such as were against
the law of Moses, from which the Lord Christ could, with the
consent of His word, deliver him: but mine was against the gospel;
yea, against the Mediator thereof; I had sold my Saviour.

152. Now again should I be as if racked upon the wheel, when I
considered, that, besides the guilt that possessed me, I should be
so void of grace, so bewitched. What, thought I, must it be no sin
but this? Must it needs be the great transgression? Ps. xix. 13.
Must that wicked one touch my soul? 1 John v. 18. Oh! what sting
did I find in all these sentences?

153. What, thought I, is there but one sin that is unpardonable?
but one sin that layeth the soul without the reach of God's mercy;
and must I be guilty of that? must it needs be that? Is there but
one sin among so many millions of sins, for which there is no
forgiveness; and must I commit this? Oh! unhappy sin! Oh! unhappy
man! These things would so break and confound my spirit, that I
could not tell what to do; I thought at times, they would have
broke my wits; and still, to aggravate my misery, that would run in
my mind, You know, how, that afterwards, when he would have
inherited the blessing, he was rejected. Oh! no one knows the
terrors of those days but myself.

154. After this I began to consider of Peter's sin, which he
committed in denying his Master: and indeed, this came nighest to
mine of any that I could find, for he had denied his Saviour, as I,
after light and mercy received; yea, and that too, after warning
given him. I also considered, that he did it both once and twice;
and that, after time to consider betwixt. But though I put all
these circumstances together, that, if possible I might find help,
yet I considered again, that his was but a denial of his Master,
but mine was, a selling of my Saviour. Wherefore I thought with
myself, that I came nearer to Judas, than either to David or Peter.

155. Here again my torment would flame out and afflict me; yea, it
would grind me, as it were to powder, to consider the preservation
of God towards others, while I fell into the snare; for in my thus
considering of other men's sins, and comparing them with mine own,
I could evidently see, God preserved them, notwithstanding their
wickedness, and would not let them, as He had let me, become a son
of perdition.

156. But oh! how did my soul at this time prize the preservation
that God did set about His people! Ah, how safely did I see them
walk, whom God had hedged in! They were within His care,
protection, and special providence: though they were full as bad
as I by nature; yet because He loved them, He would not suffer them
to fall without the range of mercy: but as for me, I was gone, I
had done it: He would not preserve me, nor keep me; but suffered
me, because I was a reprobate, to fall as I had done. Now did
those blessed places that speak of God's keeping His people, shine
like the sun before me, though not to comfort me, yet to show me
the blessed state and heritage of those whom the Lord had blessed.

157. Now I saw, that as God had His hand in all the providences
and dispensations that overtook His elect; so He had His hand in
all the temptations that they had to sin against Him; not to
animate them to wickedness, but to choose their temptations and
troubles for them; and also to leave them for a time, to such sins
only that might not destroy, but humble them; as might not put them
beyond, but lay them in the way of the renewing His mercy. But oh!
what love, what care, what kindness and mercy did I now see, mixing
itself with the most severe and dreadful of all God's ways to His
people! He would let David, Hezekiah, Solomon, Peter, and others,
fall; but He would not let them fall into sin unpardonable, nor
into hell for sin. Oh! thought I, these be the men that God hath
loved; these be the men that God, though He chastiseth them, keeps
them in safety by Him; and them whom He makes to abide under the
shadow of the Almighty. But all these thoughts added sorrow,
grief, and horror to me, as whatever I now thought on, it was
killing to me. If I thought how God kept His own, that was killing
to me; if I thought of how I was fallen myself, that was killing to
me. As all things wrought together for the best, and to do good to
them that were the called, according to His purpose, so I thought
that all things wrought for my damage, and for my eternal

158. Then again I began to compare my sin with the sin of Judas,
that, if possible, I might find if mine differed from that, which
in truth is unpardonable: and oh! thought I, if it should differ
from it, though but the breadth of an hair, what a happy condition
is my soul in! And by considering, I found that Judas did this
intentionally, but mine was against my prayer and strivings:
besides, his was committed with much deliberation, but mine in a
fearful hurry, on a sudden: all this while I was tossed to and fro
like the locusts, and driven from trouble to sorrow; hearing always
the sound of Esau's fall in mine ears, and the dreadful
consequences thereof.

159. Yet this consideration about Judas's sin was, for awhile,
some little relief to me; for I saw I had not, as to the
circumstances, transgressed so fully as he. But this was quickly
gone again, for I thought with myself, there might be more ways
than one to commit this unpardonable sin; also I thought there
might be degrees of that, as well as of other transgressions;
wherefore, for aught I yet could perceive, this iniquity of mine
might be such, as might never be passed by.

160. I was often now ashamed that I should be like such an ugly
man as Judas: I thought also how loathsome I should be unto all
the saints at the day of judgment: insomuch that now I could
scarce see a good man, that I believed had a good conscience, but I
should feel my heart tremble at him, while I was in his presence.
Oh! now I saw a glory in walking with God, and what a mercy it was
to have a good conscience before Him.

161. I was much about that time tempted to content myself by
receiving some false opinion; as, that there should be no such
thing as a day of judgment; that we should not rise again; and that
sin was no such grievous thing: the tempter suggesting thus: For
if these things should indeed be true, yet to believe otherwise
would yield you ease for the present. If you must perish, never
torment yourself so much beforehand: drive the thoughts of damning
out of your mind, by possessing your mind with some such
conclusions that Atheists and Ranters use to help themselves

162. But oh! when such thoughts have led through my heart, how, as
it were, within a step, hath death and judgment been in my view!
methought the judge stood at the door; I was as if it was come
already; so that such things could have no entertainment. But
methinks, I see by this, that Satan will use any means to keep the
soul from Christ; he loveth not an awakened frame of spirit;
security, blindness, darkness, and error, is the very kingdom and
habitation of the wicked one.

163. I found it a hard work now to pray to God, because despair
was swallowing me up; I thought I was as with a tempest driven away
from God; for always when I cried to God for mercy, this would come
in, 'Tis too late, I am lost, God hath let me fall; not to my
correction, but condemnation: my sin is unpardonable; and I know,
concerning Esau, how that after he had sold his birthright, be
would have received the blessing, but was rejected. About this
time I did light on that dreadful story of that miserable mortal
Francis Spira; a book that was to my troubled spirit, as salt, when
rubbed into a fresh wound: every sentence in that book, every
groan of that man, with all the rest of his actions in his dolours,
as his tears, his prayers, his gnashing of teeth, his wringing of
hands, his twining and twisting, and languishing, and pining away
under that mighty hand of God that was upon him, were as knives and
daggers in my soul; especially that sentence of his was frightful
to me, Man knows the beginning of sin? but who bounds the issues
thereof? Then would the former sentence, as the conclusion of all,
fall like an hot thunderbolt again upon my conscience; For you know
how that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he
was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought
it carefully with tears.

164. Then should I be struck into a very great trembling, insomuch
that at sometimes I could, for whole days together, feel my very
body, as well as my mind, to shake and totter under the sense of
this dreadful judgment of God, that should fall on those that have
sinned that most fearful and unpardonable sin. I felt also such a
clogging and heat at my stomach, by reason of this my terror, that
I was, especially at some times, as if my breast-bone would split
asunder; then I thought of that concerning Judas, who by falling
headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed
out. Acts i. 18.

165. I feared also that this was the mark that the Lord did set on
Cain, even continual fear and trembling, under the heavy load of
guilt that he had charged on him for the blood of his brother Abel.
Thus did I wind, and twine, and shrink under the burthen that was
upon me; which burthen also did so oppress me, that I could neither
stand, nor go, nor lie, either at rest or quiet.

166. Yet that saying would sometimes come into my mind, He hath
received gifts for the rebellious. Psalm lxviii. 18. The
rebellious, thought I! why surely they are such as once were under
subjection to their Prince; even those who after they have sworn
subjection to His government, have taken up arms against Him; and
this, thought I, is my very condition: I once loved Him, feared
Him, served Him; but now I am a rebel; I have sold Him, I have
said, Let Him go, if He will; but yet He has gifts for rebels; and
then why not for me?

167. This sometimes I thought on, and should labour to take hold
thereof, that some, though small refreshment, might have been
conceived by me; but in this also I missed of my desire; I was
driven with force beyond it; I was like a man going to execution,
even by that place where he would fain creep in and hide himself,
but may not.

168. Again, after I had thus considered the sins of the saints in
particular, and found mine went beyond them, then I began to think
with myself, Set the case I should put all theirs together, and
mine alone against them, might I not then find some encouragement?
for if mine, though bigger than any one, yet should be but equal to
all, then there is hopes; for that blood that hath virtue enough in
it to wash away all theirs, had virtue enough in it to do away
mine, though this one be full as big, if not bigger than all
theirs. Here again, I should consider the sin of David, of
Solomon, of Manasseh, of Peter, and the rest of the great
offenders; and should also labour, what I might with fairness, to
aggravate and heighten their sins by several circumstances.

169. I should think with myself that David shed blood to cover his
adultery, and that by the sword of the children of Ammon; a work
that could not be done, but by continuance, deliberate contrivance,
which was a great aggravation to his sin. But then this would turn
upon me: Ah! but these were but sins against the law, from which
there was a Jesus sent to save them; but yours is a sin against the
Saviour, and who shall save you from that?

170. Then I thought on Solomon, and how he sinned in loving
strange women, falling away to their idols, in building them
temples, in doing this after light, in his old age, after great
mercy received: but the same conclusion that cut me off in the
former consideration, cut me off as to this; namely, that all those
were but sins against the law, for which God had provided a remedy;
but I had sold my Saviour, and there remained no more sacrifice for

171. I would then add to these men's sins, the sins of Manasseh;
how that he built altars for idols in the house of the Lord; he
also observed times, used enchantments, had to do with wizards, was
a wizard, had his familiar spirits, burned his children in the fire
in sacrifice to devils, and made the streets of Jerusalem run down
with the blood of innocents. These, thought I, are great sins,
sins of a bloody colour, but yet it would turn again upon me, They
are none of them of the nature of yours; you have parted with
Jesus, you have sold your Saviour.

172. This one consideration would always kill my heart, my sin was
point blank against my Saviour; and that too, at that height, that
I had in my heart said of Him, Let Him go, if He will. Oh!
methought this sin was bigger than the sins of a country, of a
kingdom, or of the whole world, no one pardonable; nor all of them
together, was able to equal mine; mine out-went them every one.

173. Now I should find my mind to flee from God, as from the face

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