Chapter 12

Grace Abounding To The Chief Of Sinners

1. Of all the temptations that ever I met with in my life, to question the being of God and the truth of his gospel is the worst, and the worst to be borne. When this temptation comes, it takes away my girdle from me, and removes the foundation from under me. Oh, I have often thought of that word, "Having your loins girt about with truth;" and of that, "When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

2. Sometimes when, after sin committed, I have looked for sore chastisement from the hand of God, the very next that I have had from him hath been the discovery of his grace. Sometimes, when I have been comforted, I have called myself a fool for my so sinking under trouble. And then, again, when I have been cast down, I thought I was not wise to give such way to comfort, with such strength and weight have both these been upon me.

3. I have wondered much at this one thing, that though God doth visit my soul with never so blessed a discovery of himself, yet I have found, again, that such hours have attended me afterwards, that I have been in my spirit so filled with darkness that I could not so much as once conceive what that God and that comfort was with which I have been refreshed.

4. I have sometimes seen more in a line of the Bible than I could well tell how to stand under; and yet at another time the whole Bible hath been to me as a dry stick, or rather, my heart hath been so dead and dry unto it that I could not conceive the least dram of refreshment, though I have looked it all over.

5. Of all fears, they are the best that are made by the blood of Christ; and of all joy, that is the sweetest that is mixed with mourning over Christ. Oh, it is a goodly thing to be on our knees, with Christ in our arms, before God. I hope I know something of these things.

6. I find to this day seven abominations in my heart: 1. Inclining to unbelief. 2. Suddenly to forget the love and mercy that Christ manifesteth. 3. A leaning to the works of the law. 4. Wanderings and coldness in prayer. 5. To forget to watch for what I pray for. 6. Apt to murmur because I have no more, and yet ready to abuse what I have. 7. I can do none of those things which God commands me, but my corruptions will thrust in themselves. "When I would do good, evil is present with me."

7. These things I continually see and feel, and am afflicted and oppressed with, yet the wisdom of God doth order them for my good: 1. They make me abhor myself. 2. They keep me from trusting my heart. 3. They convince me of the insufficiency of all inherent righteousness. 4. They show me the necessity of flying to Jesus. 5. They press me to pray unto God. 6. They show me the need I have to watch and be sober; and, 7. Provoke me to pray unto God, through Christ, to help me and carry me through the world.

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