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THE

NAKED BOW OF GOD.

IT

was at Kingston upon Thames, in Surry, where God was pleased to convince me effectually of the evil of sin, and of the dreadful vengeance to which I was exposed: his heavy hand made my spirit stoop, and the agonies of my soul appeared in many a gloomy shade on my fallen countenance, insomuch that my fellow-workmen could easily perceive it; while the terrors of God, appearing in battle array against me, prohibited me from joining them in their vain and filthy conversation, or assembling with them in public houses. This set me up as a mark, or subjected me to all their oaths and malice. But one man in particular was a most dreadful enemy to me; he, at times, uttered such blasphemies, that I have been obliged to leave the nursery, and wander in the fields like a pelican of the wilderness, or an owl of the desert; and this at a time when I had a family to maintain on the scanty pittance of eight shillings per week, two of

which I paid for a ready-furnished lodging; therefore could ill afford to lose time by wandering in this solitary way. But that same man, some time after, fell sick; and, as God had delivered

my

soul out of trouble, I was determined to visit him; which I accordingly did; and, as soon as I saw him, this noble champion for Satan was dissolved into many tears at the sight of him on whose head he had formerly showered so many heavy curses. I stood astonished to see a person so depressed and bowed down under the fear of all-conquering death, who in his health could boast of his strength, of his valour, of his excesses, and of his disdaining all thoughts of God and futurity. I asked him if I should pray for him; he wept, and said, “ Yes.' I did so, but the answer flowed into my own bosom; for before I departed he cursed the very limb of his body where he saw death had made his first attack; and soon after he closed his

eyes

in sorrow. · His name was Costor.

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Thus are the wicked cut down as the mown grass; and, under the burning ire of God, they wither as the green herb. .

From Kingston I went to live at Sunbury in Middlesex. My guilt, distress, and temptations, went along with me. I had often ignorantly confessed with my lips that I was tied and bound with the chain of my sin, and had prayed, without the heart, for the pitifulness of God's great mercy to loose

But now I was sensibly acquainted with the import of those words, and also that other part of

me.

the church service, ‘Deliver us from the crafts and assaults of the devil, from thy wrath, and everlasting damnation. These were the groaning petitions of my burdened heart. Having waded through that summer, and the winter before it, in these perilous depths of revealed wrath, the family I served went to London, and left a woman, one of the baser sort, to keep the house. She soon perceived the sorrow of my mind, and the tender regard I paid to holiness; and, being constrained at times to reprove, and at other times to admonish her, she kept her mouth as it were with a bridle from sin, though I believe it was great pain and grief to her. At other times she would talk about religion, and appear in a garb of sanctity. This hypocrisy was assumed in order to sift me; and, as I longed for some person to condole with me,

, I often hinted to her the sore temptations under which I laboured; and, finding that my speaking to her assuaged my grief and eased my complaint, I thought her a friend that took pity. But she afterwards turned all into ridicule, broke forth in the vulgar tongue, and appeared with every feature of the devil. However, we must expect those swine to turn again from their hypocritical profession to their former filthiness, and rend our souls with reproach, if we are so foolish as to cast our pearls before them. All the rest of the winter I heard nothing from her mouth but contempt upon all that appeared sacred or serious; and what I had told her of my sore temptations she

cast in my teeth. This was like striking the dying dead. But in the summer I escaped the scourge of her tongue, and went to live at Ewel in Surry; where I was informed, some time after, by Mr. Harkle, a grocer, that the same woman had been extremely ill, and in her illness was violently tempted to murder her child that lay with her; and, fearing lest she should perpetrate this horrid crime, she leaped out of bed, ran naked into the fore court, was brought in again by force, and soon after expired. Thus she felt, and died in, the temptations of Satan, which she had so often laughed at, and out of which God in mercy delivered me. “ Is there not a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?” “ Thus the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment.” As she had laughed at calamity, she went not unpunished, Prov. xvii. 5. Her name was Cole.

At Ewel I first began to speak for God; and indeed I had been so marvellously delivered, and was blessed with such a sense of everlasting love in Christ Jesus, that I was constrained to it. This preaching of Christ raised me many enemies; but one man in particular seemed more furious against me than any other; it was a rare thing to pass him without many heavy curses. The gentleman to whom I was gardener manufactured gunpowder, at which he employed many hands, and gave me leave to supply the workmen with any vegetables that were not wanted in the family. I generally

1

gave this noted enemy the greatest share, to see if it were possible to overcome evil with good. He would receive from me what I gave him with a smile, and thank me; but, as soon as my back was turned, he would storm my ears with every oath and imprecation which his lips could utter, or imagination suggest. God's long-suffering mercy permitted him thus to reign as a persecutor about six months; at the expiration of which time God laid his heavy hand on him, while at his work, on the same spot where he generally uttered his blasphemy. He was carried home ill; and in a few hours the inundation of his guilt began to break up, and the flood-gates of wrath to be opened. This alarmed his benumbed conscience to that degree, that his ghastly visage seemed to express all the horrors of the damned. He began to confess his feelings, and to tell others of the.perilous voyage he was about to make. But God struck him dumb; which caused him to howl like a dog, and bellow like a bull, until he was forced to submit to the shaft of Death. IIis name was Toppin. This was another arrow from the divine quiver. And, though it may appear a light thing with many, in the midst of health, to boast of their fortitude, and brave it out against the lips of Truth in defying the arm of Omnipotence, yet, when the snares of death begin to entangle the carnal mind, and the pains of hell to invade the guilty conscience, their bravery, like Ephraim's goodness, vanishes like the early dew.

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