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afterwards called, out of all which his never neverfailing providence brought and delivered me.
Should I expofe in print the many straits and difficulties wherewith I have occasionally been exercised, from the time of my closing with Christ in the gospel to the time of my call to the ministry, together with the methods Providence took to bring me off, and working mine escape and deliverance, I believe it would be matter of joy and rejoicing to humble and feriously religious fouls ; but my intended brevity forces me to omit many particulars which would, I do not question, be of great use both to myself and others.
From what I have bere published concerning God's
dealing with me, let the following observations be practically improved to God's eternal praise :
See and take notice what a sweet and har, monious concurrence there is between God's electing purpose of grace, and his providential dispensations. The foundation of all God's gracious dealings with an elecied finner is his own gracious purpose, fixed in eternity. Jer. xxxi. 3. The Lord bath appeared of old unto me, saying, rea, I have loved tbee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness bave I drawn thee.
Here note, that everlasting love, in the Hebrew, signifies a love of eternity ; from whence I make this observation, viz. that God loves his elect from one eternity to another. With this agrees that of the apostle, Ephef, i. 4. According as he bath cholen us in him, before the foundation of the world; and such obtain the falvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This discovery of God's love to his elect is as a mill-stone laid on the back of that popish arminian doctrine of a temporary and conditional election, to sink it into the bottomless depth of the eternal abhorrence and loathing of God, the elect angels, and all saved finners.
Therefore, from hence learn what to think and say, when the devil and thy vain heart suggest unto thee, upon thy doing and performing any duty and service; now the Lord hath elected, or will elect me, because I have done thus and thus, Reader, the devil, who seeks thy ruin, is cordially reconciled to such an election as this, because he knows it will end in thy eternal ruin, if God leave thee here.
Therefore repel and stave off this cursed popisa arminian dream, by stedfastly believing and affirm, ing that God's electing love embraced me in its arms, and registered or enrolled my name in the Lamb's book of life, before I had a personal being, or any capacity to do or perform any duty which could move God to elect me.
Then when the devil, and thy remaining unbelief, suggest unto thee, upon any personal inis. carriage or fall into new provocation against God, now God hath cast me out of his love, and rejected me, because I have broken covenant with him! Repel this temptation, by considering and stedfastly believing, that the electing love of God, which embraced me and enrolled my name in the Lamb's book before the foundation of the world, is a love like God himself. As without beginning of time, so also witbout end, or change. Mal. iii. 6.
OB'S E R
See hence and observe the impossibility of fruftrating God's decrees, and his working providence. The deaths and dangers to which I have been fo often exposed, have been so many and greatly dangerous that, had not God's love to me, and his providence over me, preserved me, I had certainly perished. The snow in which I lay for four or five hours, at fo tender an age as but three months old, was as powerful to have killed me by the extremity of its piercing cold, as it was to destroy the vast numbers of men and cattle which have often perished by its strength. • The element of fire which surrounded me in my bed when buried in Neep, and no way able to help myself, was of as devouring a quality to destroy me as the fire that heated Nebuchadnezzar's furnace was to destroy those faithful worthies caft into it; had not God's providence restrained it in my cafe as it did in theirs.
The fierceness and teeth of the great mastiff dog, which had my head in his mouth up to the throat, was as ready and able to crush me to death as the lions in the den were to crush Daniel, had not the care and providence of Daniel's God, which restrained his lions, watched over me, and restrained
The element of water, in which I was several times a drowning, and to all appearance past
recovery, was as powerful to swallow me up, and to stop my breath, as it was to overwhelm and choak Pharaoh and his hoft, had not God restrained it in my case.
The great boar; how strong and ready was it to rend my bowels when on the top of me, making search with his frightful cusks to come to my belly, had not Divine Providence so strangely and seasonably sent the greyhound in to my rescue, my cloachs rent, and carried away in his tusks, my belly untouched. Oh! amazing Providence !
. The two horses mentioned in the beginning of the book, how near were they to putting a period. to my life! The one, by his great strength in throwing me, and striking at my forehead with his frost nails, leaving the print of the nails in my cap, within the thickness of half a crown piece to my scull; and the other, by running me so far out of breath that no motion of life could be perceived in me for so long a time, as caused all the spectators to cry out, He is killed ! he is gone! Had not the providence of Heaven watched over me then, where had I been !
When the bloody papists had lain in wait to murder me, in Dublin, several times, there being several parties of their foldiers appointed to waylay me to kill me, of which designs I knew .nothing till afterwards, who or what kept me from ruin then, but the never-failing providence of God!