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I can devise no other which is not more so. There is no one to whom I can go, if I forsake Christ."
"Jan. 1, 1824. Rose early and tried to pray; but a weak, languid frame crushed me down. I have, however, reason to bless God, that he allows such a wretch as I am to serve him at all. Groaned and struggled with my weakness before God.—Read a number of passages in my diary, especially what is recorded under date of Dec. 16, 1815. Am glad I kept a Journal. I had, otherwise, forgotten much of what I have done against God, and of what he has done for me. Was confounded at what I read. My words are swallowed up. My life, my ministry has been madness, madness ! What shall I do? where shall I hide? To sin, after I had sinned so much, and after I had been forgiven! But I cannot write! I cannot think! And if my sins appear so black in my book, how do they appear in God's!
"Jan. 29.-Have had much to be thankful for, and much to be ashamed of, for some days past. God has been more than ordinarily gracious to me, granting me liberty of access to him in prayer, and permitting me to be, in some degree, useful. I have received many tokens of warm affection from his people, and been assisted in my work . . . . Have learned a lesson, which I ought to have learned before. I am religiously romantic. I am always expecting something out of the common course, and planning what God is going to do.
"May 15.-Rode to G. to give them a day's preaching, as they are destitute. Took up a poor cripple by the way, and preached Christ to him. Felt some pity and love for him, while talking. A curious combination of circumstances threw him in my way. Could not but think how we both should admire the leadings of Providence, if he should be converted in consequence of what was said to him.
"July 20.-Perplexed what to do. My people wish me to go to Europe. Tried to commit the case to God.
Oct. 17.-Slept none last night, and my sufferings were great. My right arm seems about to perish. Could say, God's will be done.
"Nov. 7.-What I have long feared is come upon me. My voice and my faculties are half gone already, and what remains is rapidly departing.
"Nov. 27.-Was favored with a most precious season in prayer. Had such views of God and Christ! Lay and mourned at his feet, till I was exhausted, and longed unutterably to be more holy, and to have others holy. O, what reason have I to bless God for this!
'January 5, 1825.-At the concert on Monday, recommended to the church to imitate the Lord's prayer, and always begin their supplications with praying that God's name may be glorified. Have derived much benefit from pursuing this practice. Made eleven visits, and felt thankful for having strength to do it.
“Jan. 31.—Felt very happy and dead to the world, all day. Rejoiced in God, and cared not what he did with
"Feb. 9.-Had a delightful season in prayer. seemed as if it was only to ask and receive. Had nothing to ask for myself, except that I might be swallowed in the will of God.
"Feb. 15, 16.-Much engaged in visiting.
Went to the utmost extent of my strength. Felt insatiable desires for more holiness."
"MY DEAR MOTHER,
Boston, March 21, 1825.
"I value your letters much, and your prayers still more; and sometimes think, that your life is preserved, principally, to pray for your children. It will be found, I doubt not, in the coming world, that ministers had much less share in the success, which attends their labors, than is now supposed. It will be found, that, if they drew the bow, the prayers of Christians pointed and guided the arrow. I preached, last evening, to an immense concourse of people. After the pews were filled, seats were brought in, and placed in all the aisles. So far as I know, however, very little good has been done by my labors here. But I desire to leave it all with God. I am astonished and
ashamed by the kindness with which his people here treat
"You express a wish that my feelings were equable. I wish they were. But I am so completely wretched, when God withdraws from me, that the removal of that wretchedness by his return, renders me almost too happy. This thought has lately been of some service to me. Every Christian ought to love God in proportion to what has been forgiven him. But every Christian knows more evil of himself, than he can know of any other human being. He ought, therefore, to feel as if more had been forgiven him, and as if he were under greater obligations to love God, than any other human being; as if it were worse for him to sin against God, than it would be for any other."
"Portland, July 27.
I had attempted to observe my birth day, as a day of prayer, but apparently to no purpose. I was so unwell, that I could do nothing. However, the next day, the blessings which I wished to ask for, but could not, were bestowed. I need not tell you how sweet, how soothing, how refreshing, Christ's returning presence is, after long absence. Still, I am borne down in such a manner by ill health, that I can but half rejoice. The state of religion among us helps, also, to crush me.There never has been so entire a suspension of divine influences, since my settlement, as at present. Those of the church, who are most spiritual, tell me that they never found it so difficult to perform religious duties, as they do now. In fine, the church seems to be on Bunyan's enchanted ground, and many of them are sleeping in some of the arbors which he mentions. Whether they will wake before death, seems doubtful.”
I preached, last Sabbath, on being guilty of the blood of souls; and endeavored to point out some of the ways in which we may incur this guilt. I have incurred but too much of it; and it lies upon me with a weight, which I know not how to bear, but which I can
not throw off. True, blood has been shed for us, which has efficacy to take away the guilt of blood. But though this consideration may keep us from despair, it cannot shield us, or, at least, cannot shield one, whose guilt is like mine, from the sufferings occasioned by self-reproach, and a wounded spirit. I seldom think of the time I spent in B, without a pang, the keenness of which you cannot easily conceive. It is a painful thought, that we are so long in learning how to live, that, ere the lesson is well learned, life is spent.-Another subject, on which I have lately been writing, and which has assisted to increase my depression, was suggested by the passage-" Even Christ pleased not himself." If any one, who ever lived in this world, had a right to please himself, he surely had such a right; yet how far was he from exercising or claiming it! He evidently adopted and acted upon the principle, that, as man, he was not his own; that he belonged to God, and to the universe, and that he must do nothing merely for the sake of promoting his own personal gratification. I contemplate this example with feelings similar to those, with which a child, who has just begun to hold a pen, may be supposed to look upon a superb copper-plate, which he is required to imitate; or rather, with such feelings, as one might indulge, who had been learning to write for many years, and yet found himself further from resembling his copy, than he was at first."
"Nov. 4.-Quarterly Fast. Went to meeting feeling very unwell, and found very few assembled. Was obliged to wait half an hour before there was a sufficient number to sing. Was entirely overcome by discouragement. Could not say a word; and, after struggling in vain with my feelings, was obliged to state them to the church, and come away.
"Nov. 9.—Installation of a minister over the Third Church, to-day. Have reason to be thankful, that I have been carried through this business of separation so well, and that affection for those who have left us is rather increased than diminished."
This last date brings us down to a period, from which
his health may be said to have been constantly declining. The progress of the maladies which were wasting away his frame, may have been stayed for a few days or weeks in succession, after this; but their hold on him was never more weakened. The winter succeeding was one of infirmity and suffering. He continued to preach on the Sabbath; but the exhaustion consequent upon the exertion, often rendered it difficult for him to reach his home, distant but a few rods. So much overcome was he, as to be physically unable to lead the devotions of his own family; and his Sabbath nights were nights of restlessness and anguish. Still, when holy time again returned, he longed for the habitation of God's house, and again repeated his efforts, and with similar consequences.
Observing with alarm this prostration of his strength, his people, in the spring of 1826, resolved upon an alteration of their meeting-house with a view to his relief. The ceiling was brought down and arched, and the floor inclined towards the pulpit, by which changes more than one-third of the space to be filled by the speaker's voice was excluded, and the difficulty of filling it, diminished in a still greater proportion. It was while this alteration was in progress, that he made his circuitous and last journey to the springs, which has already been mentioned.
On arriving there, he said to Mr. Whelpley, in allusion to his health—'I am in pursuit of a good, which is constantly flying before me, and which, I apprehend, will forever elude my grasp.'-'The incessant and unremitted labor of years,' adds Mr. W., 'seemed to have left him but a mere wreck of being, which he longed to be rid of to serve God in a region of perfect health and boundless activity. He had little expectation of recovering his health, and several times remarked, that, if it was the will of God to take him away speedily, it was no matter how soon he departed. The idea of wearing out his days in a state of inactivity and consequent depression, was distressing to him, and made him deeply solicitous to have the question of life and death fully settled. Sometimes, said he, when I retire to bed, I should be happy to have it the last night of my life. With Job he might say—" I am made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed unto me. When I lie down, I say,