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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 ftraits and. difficulties wherewith I have occafionally been exercised, from the time of my closing with Christ in the gospel to the time of my call to the miniftry, 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 here published concerning God's dealing with me, let the following obfervations be practically improved to God's eternal praife:
- SEE and take notice what a fweet and harmonious concurrence there is between God's electing purpose of grace, and his providential difpenfations. The foundation of all God's gracious dealings with an elected finner is his own gracious purpofe, fixed in eternity. Jer. xxxi. 3. The Lord bath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
Here note, that everlasting love, in the Hebrew, fignifies a love of eternity; from whence I make this obfervation, viz. that God loves his elect from one eternity to another. With this agrees that of the apostle, Ephef. i. 4. According as be bath chofen us in him, before the foundation of the world; and fuch obtain the falvation which is in Chrift Jefus with eternal glory. This discovery of God's love to his elect is as a mill-ftone laid on the back of that popish arminian doctrine of a temporary and conditional election, to fink it into the bottomlefs 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 obferve the impoffibility of fruftrating God's decrees, and his working providence. The deaths and dangers to which I have been fo often expofed, have been fo many and greatly dangerous that, had not God's love to me, and his providence over me, preferved me, I had certainly perished. The fnow in which I lay for four or five hours, at so 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 ftrength.
The element of fire which furrounded me in my bed when buried in fleep, 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 deftroy thofe faithful worthies caft into it, had not God's providence reftrained 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 reftrained his lions, watched over me, and restrained my dog.
The element of water, in which I was feveral times a drowning, and to all appearance paft
recovery, was as powerful to fwallow me up, and to top my breath, as it was to overwhelm and choak Pharaoh and his hoft, had not God reftrained it in my cafe,
The great boar, how strong and ready was it to rend my bowels when on the top of me, making fearch with his frightful tufks to come to my belly, had not Divine Providence so strangely and seasonably fent the greyhound in to my rescue, my cloaths rent, and carried away in his tufks, my belly untouched. Oh! amazing Providence !
. The two horfes mentioned in the beginning of the book, how near were they to putting a period. to my life! The one, by his great ftrength in throwing me, and striking at my forehead with his froft nails, leaving the print of the nails in my cap, within the thickness of half a crown piece to my fcull; and the other, by running me fo far out of breath that no motion of life could be perceived in me for fo 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 papifts had lain in wait to murder me, in Dublin, several times, there being feveral parties of their foldiers appointed to waylay me to kill me, of which defigns I knew nothing till afterwards, who or what kept me from ruin then, but the never-failing providence of God!