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T WAS born, October 16, 1777, in Coventry (Tolland 1 County State of Connecticut, North-America. My parents were born in the same town and descended from English ancestors. They had a son, and then three daughters, older than myself, and one daughter younger; they were very tender towards their children, and endeavoured to educate them well, both in religion and common learning.
When I was two years old, I was taken sick, and my parents having been a long journey and returning homewards, heard of my dangerous illness, and that I was dead, and expected to meet the people returning from my funeral. But to their joy I was living, and beyond the expectation of all, I recovered.
When I was between three and four years old, one day, whilst I was at play with my companion, I suddenly fell into a muse about God and those places called heaven and hell, which I heard people converse about, so that I forgot my play, which my companion observ. ing, desired to know the cause; I asked him if ever he said his prayers, morning or pight; to which he replied, no-then said I, you are wicked and I will not play with you, so I quit his company and went into the house.
*My mind, frequently on observing the works of creation desired to know the cause of things, and I asked my parents many questions which they scarcely knew how to answer.
Being for a few weeks in another neighbourhood, I associated with one who would both swear and lie, which proved some harm to me: but these serious impressions did not leave me until in my eighth year, when my parents removed to another vicinity, the youth of which were very corrupt; and on joining their company, I too soon learned their ways, grieved the tender feelings of my mind; and began to promise myself felicity, when I should arrive to manhood.
One day I was the means of killing a bird, and upon seeing it gasp, I was struck with horror; and upon seeing any beast struggle in death it made my heart beat hard, as it would cause the thoughts of my death to come into my mind. And death appeared such a terror to me, I sometimes wished that I might be translated as' Enoch and Elijah were; and at other times I wished I had never been born...
About this time a query arose in my mind, whether God would answer prayer now as in primitive times, and there being a small lottery in the neighbourhood, and I wishing for the greatest prize, promised within myself, that if it was my luck to obtain the prize, I would take it as an answer to prayer and afterwards would serve God. No sooner had I got the prize, which was nine shillings, than I broke my promise; my conscience condemned me, and I was very uneasy for some weeks.
After I had arrived to the age of twelve years, my hopes of worldly pleasure were greatly blasted by a sudden illness, occasioned by overheating myself with hard labour, and drinking a quantity of cold milk and water. I then murmured and complained, thinking my lot to be harder than my companions'; for they enjoyed health, whilst I was troubled with an asthmatical disorder or stoppage of breath. Oh! the pain I endured!
Sometimes I could lie several nights together and sleep sound; and at other times would be necessitated to sit up part or all night and sometimes I could not lie* down at all for six or seven days together.--But as yet did not consider that the hand of God was in all this. About this time, I DREAMED THAT I SAW THE PROPHET NATHAN, in a large assembly of people, prophesying many things; I got an opportunity to ask him how long I should live? SAID HE, UNTIL YOU ARE TWO AND TWENTY: this dream was so imprinted in my mind, that it caused me mapy serious and painful hours at interen vals. Dit was
When past the age of thirteen years, and about the time that JOHN WESLEY died (1791) it pleased God to awaken my mind by a dream of the night, wbich was, that an old man came to me at mid-day, having a staff in his hand, and said to me, Do you ever pray? I told him, no said he, you must, and then went away_he had not been long gone before he returned ; and said again, Do you pray? I again said, no; and after his de. parture I went out of doors, and was taken up by a wbirlwind and carried above the skies : at length I discovered, across a gulph as it were through a mist of darkness, a glorious place, in which was a throne of ivory overlaid with gold, and God sitting upon it, and Jesus Christ at his right hand, and angels, and glorified spirits, cele lebrating praise-Oh! the joyful music !-I thought the angel Gabriel came to the edge of heaven, holding a golden trumpet in his right hand, and cried to me with a mighty voice to know if I desired to come there-I told him I did-Said be, You must go back to yonder world, and if you will be faithful to God, you shall come here in the end.
With reluctance I left the beautiful sight and came back to the earth again; apd then I thought the old man came to me the third time and asked me if I had prayed? I told him I had; then said he, BE FAITHFUL, AND I WILL COME AND LET YOU KNOW AGAIN. I thought that was to be when I should be blest; and when I awak. ed behold it was a dream. But it was strongly imprest on my mind, that this singular dream must be from God
and the way that I should know it, I should let my father know of it at such a time and in such a place, viz. as he would be feeding the cattle in the morning, which I accordingly did; and no sooner had I done than keen conviction seized my heart-I knew I was unprepared to die: tears began to run down plentifully, and I again resolved to seek the salvation of my soul; I began that day to pray in secret, but how to pray or what to pray for, I scarcely knew. T he
I at once broke off from my old companions and evil practices, which some call innocent mirth, which I had never been told was wrong, and betook to the bible, kneeling in private, wbich example I had never seeb. Soon I became like a speckled bird, among the birds of the forest, in the eyes of my friends : frequently felt for a few seconds, cords of sweet love to draw me on ; but from whence it flowed, I could not tell : which I since believe was for an encouragement to hope in the mercy of God. - If now I had had any one to have instructed me in the way and plan of salvation, I doubt not bút I should have found salvation : But, alas, I felt like one wandering and benighted in an unknown wilderness, who wants both light and a guide. The bible was like a sealed book; so mysterious I could not understand it, and in order to hear it explained, I applied to this person and that book; but got no satisfactory instruction. I frequently wished I had lived in the days of the prophets or apostles, that I could have had sure guides; for by the misconduct of professors, I thought there were no bible saints in the land: thus with sorrow, many months heavily rolled away. ..!
But at length, not finding what my soul desired, I began to examine the cause more closely, if possible to, And it out: and immediately the doctrine of unconditional reprobation and particular election, was exhibited to my view; that the state of all was unalterably fixed by God's “eternal decrees.” Here discouragements arose, and I began to slaken my hand by degrees, until I entirely left off secret prayer, and could not bear to read (or hear read) the scriptures, saying, if God has fore-ordained whatever comes to pass, then all our labours are vain.
Feeling still condemnation in my breast, I concluded myself reprobated : depair of mercy arose, hope was fled: and I was resolved to end my wretched life; concluding the longer I live, the more sin I shall commit, and the greater my punishment will be; but the shorter my life, the less sin, and of course the less punishment, and the sooner I shall know the worst of my case; accordingly I loaded a gun, and withdrew to a wilder ness.
As I was about to put my intention into execution, a gudden solemn thought darted into my mind, "stop and consider what you are about, if you end your life, you