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would ultimately prove no more now I felt myself a dreadful sinner, than the workings of a natural and could see no way by which I heart writhing under the lashings could be made holy. At the same of conscience. Often would I say, time I was convinced, that unless I what shall I do to be saved ? How were made holy I could never be can I come to Christ? O that some made happy.
It appeared that I man would guide me ! Thus I had a great something to do ; what went mourning from day to day as it was or how to do it I knew not. without the light of the sun. The Immediately as I walked, this pasworld had lost its charms. The sage of scripture came powerfully pleasures that had heretofore ap- || into my mind — Behold the Lamb peared so fascinating, now seemed of God, which taketh away the sin of so extremely insipid, that I won the world." A gleam of hope seemdered I could ever have thought so ed to come from these words. But highly of them. They not only ap- || 1. thought they were only words peared empty and trifling, but to a which i had read, and were now great degree disgusting.
suggested by my imagination. They “ After spending an anxious and seemed to be repeated the second almost sleepless night, I arose just time,-“Behold the Lamb of God, after the dawning of the day, and which taketh away the sin of the resolved once more to pray. I said world.” The effect was overwhelmwith Jonah, “I will look again to-ing. In an instant, the great plan wards his holy temple." I knelt of mercy through the atonement of down, and in a few broken senten-Christ was astonishingly opened to ces, tried to send my cries to the my view. He appeared to be just
I felt convinced that such a Saviour as I needed. I saw I had done nothing to merit the di- || that by his atonement he had (so vine favour, nor could I do any far as an atonement could do it) thing though I were eternally to taken away the sin of the world." perish. This I thought I confessed || What, said i to myself, is it only to the Lord; and as my last refuge, | to believe in Jesus Christ in order endeavoured to cast myself upon to be saved ? It appeared almost the mercy of God. During this too free and too glorious.
It seemday I felt less anxiety than I had ed impossible that it should be true. done for many days before. Some. But the more I reflected, the more times I hoped I had given myself clear it appeared that this was the to God, and sometimes I feared that gospel method of salvation. I could my convictions were wearing off, || not help taking hold of it, and and that I should return again unto thought I saw in it a glorious confolly.
sistency with the attributes of God. 6. Just in the twilight of the same My mind now became calm, day, I had occasion to walk to a but not transported. It occurred neighbour's house about a quarter to me that this was not such a conof a mile distant. As I walked, a version as I had been looking for.
new train of thought occupied my I had expected my distress to be y mind. How happy, thought I, are increased until I should see myself
the angels! They are happy because | hanging, as it were, over everlastthey are holy, and have never sin- ing burnings, and that then I should ned. How unhappy I am on ac- have some discovery of the Saviour; count of sin! My thoughts now but in what way I knew not. Those ran back to Adam in the garden. I sweet words would still recur to I thought I would have given the my mind,-“ Behold the Lamb of world had it been at my command, God, which taketh away the sin of if he had never sinned ; then I the world.” The gracious invitashould not have been a sinner. But! tions of the gospel, such as Isaiah
ly. 1. “ Ho, every one that thirst- had already read a number, and eth, come ye to the waters; and he was reading Blackstone's Commenthat hath no money, come; yea, taries when my attention was arcome, buy wine and milk, without rested. I was obliged to lay them money and without price," appear aside, but with the expectation of ed exceedingly precious. The more resuming them after my impressions I reflected, the more was I lost in had subsided. I made several atwonder and astonishment in contempts to resume them, but now templating the riches of grace. The found it utterly in vain. My atSaviour now began to appear prec- tention was wholly engrossed with ious to me. Yet I was exceedingly another subject, although I do not afraid that I should be deceived. recollect that I thought of preach
66 A short time afterwards, being | ing. I have since, however, had asked at a conference meeting to reason to believe that the impresrelate my religious feelings, I com- sion was very general upon the plied ; and though honestly, yet minds of the people, that I should with much fear and trembling, at some time or other become a minproceeded to state what I had ex-ister of the gospel. As there was no perienced. Christians rejoiced,
settled minister in the town at this and anxious sinners wept. I was time, I was constantly called upon called upon in the course of the to take some part in all the relig. evening to pray.. I attempted, and ious meetings." I however felt a was blessed with some degree of great diffidence in speaking, unless
freedom. Seeing some persons who when requested by some of the oldi had been for some time anxious, I er brethren.
could not refrain from addressing “ Not long after I had obtained them. They were asking, “What a hope of an interest in Christ, shall we do to be saved?" I replied, when meditating on the character « Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ of the Saviour, these words were and you shall be saved." I then impressed very forcibly on my mind, thought I could tell them so that 6. These are they which follow the they would believe. But after sta- | Lamb whithersoever he goeth." I ting to them my views of that won was struck with the thought, and derful declaration,—"Behold the wished that I might be one of them, Lamb of God, which taketh away for they seemed to me to be pecuthe sin of the world,” I could not liarly blessed. But the question perceive that they were affected by immediately occurred, “ Where has it. It seemed to me that every one the Saviour gone as an example for now could believe, and I wondered || his people to follow ?” I was first that I had never believed before. led to view him coming from GalI seldom afterwards attended meet- || lilee to Jordan, to be baptized of ing without taking some part in the John in Jordan. I at once said to public exercises, until I was sol- | myself, I cannot follow him in this, emnly set apart to the work of the nor am I required to. I have been ministry.
already devoted to God in infancy; 6 It may be
proper here to ob- therefore this part of Christ's examserve, that previous to my religious ple can have no claim upon my obeconcern, I had, with the advice of dience. Still the words followed several friends, determined to en. me—“ These are they which fol. ter upon the study of the law. || low the Lamb whithersoever he Two gentlemen, one of whom had goeth.” I at length resolved praybeen States' Attorney in Connecti- erfully to search the New Testacut, the other a practitioner in law, | ment, with, I trust, a heart breathing kindly engaged me their assistance, the language of the Apostle, Lord, and furnished me with books. íll what will thou have me to do?"
«[had been educated in the prin- || rectness of the distinguishing senciples, and what I now considertiments of the Baptists, I thought the prejudices of the Congregation it improper to take any step until alists. I had read little on the bap. my mind should be decided. 1 tismal controversy, except “ Dick- thanked him for his friendly invi- , enson's Divine Right of Infant Bap- tation; but frankly told him the tism.". This work had been re- state of my mind.
state of my mind. I requested him, printed with a preface by eight if he thought I was in danger of: Congregational ministers of the embracing an error, to endeavour then town of Norwich, one of whom to reclaim me. With this view, I was my grcat uncle, under whose requested him to tell me where to. instructions I had been brought up. find a warrant for infant baptism. I thought very highly of the work, He immediately referred to Geneand had read it with much atten- sis xvii. and went at large into the tion more than once, in order to ordinary argument founded upon furnish myself with arguments in the Abrahamic covenant. After favour of infant baptism. These conversing till a late hour, I informarguments had satisfied my minded him that I had hoped he would until now, when I read the Scrip- have convinced me that infant bap-, tures with different feelings. “Itism was right; but was sorry to wished to be candid, and to receive say, he had entirely failed. My the truth wherever I might find it. conscience still preponderated toBut after all, when I perceived that wards the opinions of the Baptists. the evidence appeared against my “Sir,” said I, “in this case, what former sentiments, and in favour of shall I do ?” " Why,” said he, the baptism of believing adults if we cannot agree to think alike, only, it required an amazing strug- we inust agree to differ.”. We gle to surrender the point. I con-united in prayer, and retired to cealed my conflicts from all my || rest. Baptist friends, but unbosomed my “Previously to my baptism, I visself freely to several Pedobaptist ited my friends at Norwich, Con. ministers, hoping that they might I then took an opportunity of con. be able to remove my difficulties. versing with my former venerable But all of them proved physicians | pastor. He received me very kindof no value. I had fully resolved | ly; and when at his request I relato follow the truth wheresoever Ited my religious exercises, was might find it. I well knew, more quite melted into tears. But when, over, that all my earthly connex- towards the close of the evening, ions were decided Pedobaptists. I he suspected from some of my inendeavoured to count the cost, andquiries, that my mind was not esthough I should forfeit their friend- tablished in the doctrines of Pedoship, felt determined to follow the baptism, he remarked to me, in dictates of my own conscience. rather a stern tone of voice, 6 Well,
“ During my unsettled state of Thomas, if you renounce your inmind, a respectable Congregational fant baptism and are re-baptized, minister visited and lodged at my I shall reprobate you, notwithstandhouse. In the course of the even
ing all that
I ing, he introduced the subject of was much shocked at the remark, his visit, which was, he said, to invite me to offer myself a candidate | old man did not execute his threat. After
* It is pleasing to record, that the good for examination before the Associ- || Dr. Baldwin had become a Baptist' minisation to which he belonged, with a ter, his aged relative treated him with view to my being licensed to preach | great kindness, invited him to preach in the gospel in their fellowship. But life inanifested towards him the most pa
his pulpit, and indeed to the close of his being so far convinced of the cor rental attention, Jan. 1826.
and after a moment's silence, re- || son, I hope that what I am to replied, “I hope, Sir, I shall be di- late will not be imputed to vanity rected to do what is right.” Thusor egotism. “Behold, before God we parted, perhaps with mutual I lie not."] While the subject of dissatisfaction.
preaching was yet undetermined in “ He put into my hand at part-my mind, after sermón one Lord's ing, “ Wall's Abridgment of his day, as was then customary, a broHistory of Infant Baptism.” But ther present, who was far gone
in all the help I derived from this was, consumption, addressed the people to be confirmed in what I had be- | in a very affecting exhortation ; affore feared was true. Dr. Wall ter which I was requested to pray. unhesitatingly acknowledges that I engaged--but it is impossible for the primitive mode of baptism was me to describe the scene which immersion, and blames the Presby- opened to my view. Soon after I terians for changing it into sprink- began to speak, my soul appeared ling Neither during my inquiries drawn out in an uncommon degree nor before them, had I ever seen a towards God, and the ecstasy of page written by the Baptists, ex-joy that I then felt was absolutely cept a small pamphlet written by indescribable and full of glory. S. Wilson, entitled " A Scripture For a few moments, I apprehended Manual." This I had read many I was about to quit the body. years before. I once told a Bap- Words flowed as it were without tist minister that I wished to have an effort of thought. My language some conversation with him respect and conceptions appeared uncoming Baptism, as I had some doubts monly elevated. When I had in my mind on that subject. He closed and opened my eyes, I perreplied, “Do you only read yourceived the assembly almost all in Bible,and you will do well enough." tears. One man cried out in anI thought the advice correct, and guish of soul, “I am undone !" determined to follow it. And Some others, who had remained in whether now right or wrong, a hardened, stupid state until now, only say, that the Bible and my were trembling and weeping. These own conscience compelled me to impressions with some, I have reabe what I am. In the latter partson to hope, terminated in saving of the summer of 1781, I was bap-|| conversion to God. tized by the Rev. Elisha Ransom, 6 This gracious manifestation of then of Woodstock, Vt.
divine mercy and goodness to me * From my constantly speaking was accompanied with a peculiar in public, I began to fear being sus- peace and calmness of mind. It pected of aspiring to become a was indeed that peace of God which preacher. This impression I stu-passeth all understanding. It was diously laboured to prevent. . An a season never to be forgotten, ardent desire for the salvation of whilst memory holds a place in my inmortal souls on the one hand, || breast. It had, moreover, a conand on the other, a consciousness | siderable effect in reconciling me of my want of those acquirements to devote myself to the work of the which I considered necessary to ministry. In the days of my vanqualify me for the work, kept meity I had never looked forward to for some time in a state of perplex- | any appointment with such intense ity.
desire as I now waited the return “ It may not be improper here of the holy Sabbath, that I might to mention a remarkable season of meet with the children of God, and prayer, which I once at this time tell my fellow sinners the blessedenjoyed. [If these lines shouldness there is in believing. ener meet the eye other per• “ The winter succeeding, we were
favoured with a refreshing season. A considerable portion of these Several were, as we hoped, brought were from the adjacent towns. home to God; among them one, who “I continued my labours with this has since become a minister of our church seven years, during which denomination. The church contin-time, though principally at home on ued united in love, and additions the Sabbath, I spent much of the were made from time to time of intervening time in visiting and such as we trust shall be saved.
preaching in the destitute parts of “ Although I had generally con- the surrounding country. There ducted the religious exercises in were few towns within the
of most of our public meetings, yet it fifty miles round, in which I did was not until August of 1782, that not occasionally preach. I attempted to take a text and “In this warfare, I went chiefly preach doctrinally and methodical- || at my own charges. Some few ly. The news soon circulated wide-churches, however, which I visited ly, that I had begun to preach; and by appointment of the association, the next Sabbath many collected made me some compensation, and from most of the neighbouring towns. I some individuals made me small Our assemblies were full and atten- | presents; but I do not recollect that tive, and the prospect highly encour-|| during the whole of this period, in aging, and thus in general it con- | all my journeyings, I ever received tinued.
a public contribution. I usually - In the spring of 1783, the church met with a kind reception from invited me to receive ordination. Christians of all denominations ; I consented to be ordained, but not and besides receiving their decided as the pastor of that particular approbation, often, quite often rechurch. " It was, however, under-ceived the following benediction, stood that I should perform the du- with a hearty pressure of the hand ties of a pastor so long as I should at parting, ---- The Lord bless you, think it proper to stay with them. brother; such men as you will never A meeting was then called, and the want." subject laid before the town. They “My mode of travelling was on unanimously voted to concur with || horseback. In pursuing my appoint.. the church, and presented a callments, I had often to climb the ragon their part. Arrangements were ged mountain and descend the deep accordingly made, and a 'council | ravine. These exchanges, from convened in Canaan, on the 11th of || rocky steeps to dismal swamps, June, 1783, at which time I was were far from unfrequent at that publicly ordained to the work of an early period of the settlement of evangelist. Rev. SAMUEL SHEP- this part of our country. The roads HARD, of Brentwood, N.H. preach-are since so improved, that it would ed on the occasion from 2 Cor. iv. be difficult to persuade the traveller 7. Rev. ELISHA RANSOM, of Wood-now-a-days that they had ever been stock, Vt.gave the charge,and Rev. | as bad as the early settlers' repreSamuel AMBROSE, of Sutton, N.H. sent. gave the right hand of fellowship. The people were not, however, Some other ministering brethren so much wanting in kindness, as in also assisted on the occasion. the means of assisting a travelling
“ The church enjoyed as great a minister. As for silver and gold, degree of harmony as commonly the greater part of them had none. falls to the lot of churches in the The cause for this scarcity of monage in which we live, Additions | ey arose from the particular circumwere from time to time rade, until | stances of the times. At the close our number amounted to seventy of the revolutionary war, the conti