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the world to put away; because I had, through the great goodness of God, and a civil educa. tion, been preserved out of those grosser evils : yet I had many other evils to put away, and to cease from ; some of which were not by the world (which lies in wickedness, 1 John, v. 19.) accounted evils : but by the light of Christ were made manifest to me to be evils, and as such condemned in me.
As particularly those fruits and effects of PRIDE, that discover themselves in the vanity and superfluity of apparel : which I, as far as my ability would extend to, took, alas ! too much delight in. This evil of my doings I was required to put away, and cease from : and judgment lay upon me till I did so. Wherefore, in obedience to the inward, law (which agreed with the outward, 1 Tim. ii. 9. Pet. iii. 3. 1 Tim. vi. 8. Jam. i. 21.) I took off from my apparel those unnecessary trimmings of lace, ribbands, and useless but.. tons, which had no real service : but were set on only for that, which was by mistake, cal. led ornament. And I ceased to wear rings.
Again, the giving of flattering titles to men, between whom and me there was not any rela. on, to which such titles could be pretend. ed to belong. This was an evil I had been much addicted to, and was accounted a ready artist in: therefore this evil also was I requi. red to put away, and cease from. So that thenceforward 1 durst not say, sir, master, may lord, madam (or my dame) or say, your
servant, to any one to whom I did not stand in the real relation of a servant; which I had never done to any.
Again, respect of persons in uncovering the head, and bowing the knee, or body in salutations, was a practice I had been much in the use of. And this being one of the vain customs of the world, introduced by the spirit of the world, instead of the true honour, which this is a false representation of; and used in deceit, as a token of respect, by persons one to another.
And besides, this being a type, and proper emblem of that divine honour which all ought to pay to Almighty God, and which all, of all sorts, who take upon them the christian name, ap. pear in, when they offer their prayers to him ; and therefore should not be given to men. I found this to be one of those evils, which I had been too long doing; therefore I was now required to put it away, and cease from it.
Again, the corrupt and unsound form of speaking in the plural number to a single per. son, you to one, instead of thou ; contrary to the pure, plain, and single language of truth, thou to one, and you to more than one, which has always been used by God to men, and men to God, as well as one to another, from the oldest record of time, till corrupt men, for corrupt ends, in later and corrupt times, to flatter, fawn, and work upon the corrupt nature in men, brought in that false and senseless way of speaking, you to one ; which
hath since corrupted the modern languages, and hath greatly debased the spirits, and depraved the manners of men. This evil custom I had been as forward in as others; and this I was now called out of, and required to cease from.
These, and many more evil customs, which had sprang up in the night of darkness, and general apostacy from the truth, and true religion ; were now, by the inshining of this pure ray of divine light in my conscience, gradually discovered to me, to be what I ought to cease from, shun, and stand a witness against.
But so subtilly, and withal so powerfully, did the enemy work upon the weak part in me, as to persuade me, that in these things, I ought to make a difference between my father and all other men: and that therefore, though I did disuse these tokens of respect to others, yet I ought still to use them towards him, as he was my father. And so far did this wile of his prevail upon me, through a fear lest I should do amiss, in withdrawing any sort of respect or honour from my father, which was due unto him; that being thereby beguiled, I continued for a while to demean myself in the same manner towards him, with respect both to language and gesture as I had always done before. long as I did so, standing bare before him, and giving him the accustomed language, he
he did not express, (whatever he thought,) abiye any dislike of me.
But as to myself, and the work begun in me; I found it was not enough for me to cease to do evil ; though that was a good and a great step. I had another lesson before me, which was, to learn to do well : which I could by no means do, till I had given up with full purpose of mind, to cease from doing evil. And when I had done that, the enemy took advantage of my weakness to mislead me again.
For whereas I ought to have waited in the light, for direction and guidance into, and in the way of well doing; and not to have moved till the divine spirit, a manifestation of which the Lord hath been pleased to give unto me, for me to profit with, or by : the enemy, transforming himself into the appearance of an angel of light, offered himself, in that ap.
pearance, to be my guide and leader into the i performance of religious exercises. And I,
not then knowing the wiles of satan, and be. ing eager to be doing some acceptible service to God; too readily yielded myself to the conduct of my enemy, instead of my
friend. He thereupon 'humouring the warmth and zeal of my spirit, put me upon religious per. formances, in my own will, in my own time, and in my own strength ; which in themselves were good, and would have been profitable unto me, and acceptable unto the Lord; if they had been performed in his will, in his
time, and in the ability which he gives. But being wrought in the will of man, and at the prompting of the evil one ; no wonder that it did me hurt instead of good.
I read abundantly in the Bible, and would set myself tasks in reading; enjoiving myself to read so many chapters, sometimes an whole book, or long epistle, at a time. And I thought that tinie well spent, though I was not much the wiser for what I had read; reading it too cursorily, and without the true guide, the holy spirit, which alone could open the understanding, and give the true sense of what was read.
I prayed often, and drew out my prayers to a great length: and appointed unto myself certain set times to pray at, and a certain number of prayers to say in a day; yet knew not, mean while, what true
prayer was. Which stands not in words, though the words which are uttered in the movings of the holy spirit are very available ; but in the breathing of the soul to the heavenly Father, through the operation of the holy spirit, who maketh intercession, sometimes in words, and sometimes: with sighs and groans only, which the Lord vouchsafes to hear, and answer.
This will-worship, which all is, that is per. formed in the will of man, and not in the movings of the holy spirit, was a great hurt to me and hinderance of my spiritual growth in the i
But my heavenly Father," who knew the sincerity of my soul to him, and the
way of truth.