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termed " Calvinism," to my heart's satisfaction. The attention of a number were called up to the concerns of their souls in the neighbourhood, and we conceived the idea of having a Church constituted in the place, which soon was effected; consisting at first, of only sixteen members, who were regularly dismissed from the Church in Johnson. Brother T-m was ordained pastor. I was decply interested for our prosperity, and spared no trouble, exertion or labour in my power, to accomplish this end. I was appointed Clerk, (as I had also been in the Johnson Church) and became, strictly speaking, a burden-bearer with my brethren. Although I had at this time, a very great share of blind zeal, yet I have no doubt but that I felt in some degree, the influence of a spirit of piety and a zeal for the Lord of Hosts. But how unqualified were we to watch over the affairs of Christ's militant kingdom, aud to take care of the Church of God. I never at that time once thought of the great danger there was of delusion in religious experiences, and in receiving members; this subject was never recúrred to, among
Our Church was built up, and increased in numbers, but it is to be feared that many who were added were not such “as will be saved," in the day of the Lord Jesus. As green, ignorant, and unqualified as I was, yet I was, I believe, considered as a leading member in the Church. On all business subjects connected with the Church concerns, I used to speak freely in Church meetings, but had not as yet opened my mouth in owning Christ before the world, praying in my family, or renewing my covenant among my brethren in meetings appointed for that purpose, preparatory to the communion season.
Brother T-m began to insist on my speaking in covenant and conference meetings; but I excused myself on account of my inability; for I verily thought it would be almost impossible for me to say a word. The subject, however, pressed with increasing weight on my mind, and I began to be much distressed on account of neglecting this duty. I framed excuses from
time to time, until one evening, attending a conferenee meeting, after a number had spoken, a poor African in a most broken manner, spake on the subject of religion, when I thought surely there was no excuse left for me, and I must either open my mouth, or suffer some dreadful consequences. I accordingly arose and talked a few minutes, but was so agitated with the fear of man, that I knew not after I had taken my seat what I had been saying. From that time to this, however, I have continued to speak in religious meetings where there has been opportunity without cessation, although I was so agitated for some time after this, that in speaking a very few minutes, I should be as much out of breath and exhausted as if I had been running a mile. Another cross now lay before me, which appeared to me still heavier, and I knew not that I should ever find strength to take it up.
This was to pray in my family. I had hitherto entirely neglecte it, and knew, moreover, that in all other respects I had not lived before my family agreeably with the great profession I had made. From hence the query : what confidence will they put in you nowo, if you undertake this? It was a most grievous trial to me, and I knew not how to surmount it. I procrastinated and made vows, that at such a time in future I would attend to it; but when the time arrived I felt more hedged up than ever-I would beg to be excused for that time, and renew my vows to do my duty at a more convenient season; but still kept breaking them. I would frequently leave the house and wander into the fields, and there try to pray. But this would not answer; for I could enjoy no freedom at all. After suffering much in mind and breaking many solemn vows which I had made to God, I made my way through the crowd,” and attended to this important duty, which to my shame and reproach I had long neglected. Are there not many who are trying to get around this cross ? ress do
make, reader ! Will not your family, or some of them at least, in the day of judgment rise up and curse you ? In about one year after I commenco
ed exhorting and speaking in conference meetings, I began to entertain serious thoughts of preaching. Although as yet, I was extremely ignorant on many important points of doctrine, yet I was now quite studious in the devotion of what time I could spare from my daily avocations to the acquirement of religious knowledge. My mind was principally taken up in trying to prove and to convince my unconverted friends and neighbours, of the Divine authenticity of the scriptures, the truth of revelation, and the reality of experimental religion. In this course I was considerably successful, and frequently enjoyed much liberty in speaking. My gift, however, soon became quite a snare to me ; for I was conscious that I sometimes spake fluently and to the point, and this being often repeated to me by the Devil, and sometimes too very imprudently by God's people, I had much ado to keep from being wrecked on the quicksands of spiritual pride, and from being driven away from the simplicity of the gospel, by the winds of vanity and self-conceit, which then blew like a whirlwind all around me.
My trials in respect to preaching were not so extraordinary at first as many of whom I have heard, but they have increased ever since. I was, however, much exercised on the subject with sober reflections on the importance of the work, and my own insufficiency for such a great undertaking. I remember of having some singular exercises about this time. It seemed to me that God was so great, and such an infinitely glorious being, and I was so small, and of so little consequence in the scale of being, that he would never notice me enough to bless me in this world so as to make me an instrument of doing any good, nor finally bring me to heaven. These thoughts for a while were to me exceedingly distressing, and I felt considerably humbled under a sense of my own unworthiness and nothingness. Brother T-m observing me gloomy and dejected, readily told me that he thought me called to preach the gospel, and insisted on my making the trial. He offered me er
ërý assistance in his power, and with other acts of kindness and brotherly affection, took me into his carriage, to visit a neighbouring minister, a few miles to the west of where we resided, to converse on the subject, and encourage me in the work. They prevailed on me to make an appointmet to preach in the Six Principle Baptist Meeting House in Scituate, on I believe the third Sabbath in October 1818. During the intermediate time I rested not very easy, and my carpenter's tools were no small burden to me, on account of the thoughts that occupied my mind in respect to the great work in which I was about to engage. I had put my hand to the plough, and it would not do for me to look back. One reason, I expect, why I did not longer shrink from attempting to preach the gospel, was on account of the system of doctrines, which I then advocated. I had got through in some degree, with the great embarrassment of speaking before a congregation; and as for Arminianism, mankind naturally love the doctrine, so that there is but little or no cross in preaching it to the world. I now see clearly that the great cross in preaching the gospel consists chiefly in preaching the doctrine of salvation entirely by grace, and more especially perhaps the doctrine of God's sovereign right, to save or damn guilty sinners as he in infinite mercy shall see fit. Besides this, I was determined to be independant of any assistance temporally, and intended to support myself and family, and preach besides-so the reader wiil see that I carried a large quantity of food with me in to the sanctuary, to keep “Mr. Pharisee''a live, which reduced the struggle down to a moderate state, compared with what it would otherwise have been, if I had understood and felt constrained to have declared the whole counsel of God, and to have given myself up as entirely dependant in this calling for temporal as well as spiritual support.
The day at length arrived, and I met the people and preached from Gen. vii. 9. " And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, whore art thou?"
I spake without much embarrassment, and to the ap. parent satisfaction of my brethren, who bid me God speed, and heartily exhorted me to persevere in what I had undertaken. From that time, I went on, endeavouring to preach when duty called, and the way opened, preaching some in my own neighbourhood, and usually visiting the adjacent towns and villages ; as I had many invitations. I felt more and more the responsibility of my station, and cried earnestly to God for grace to be faithful. I have already mentioned, that before my conversion, and during the relapse into sin and lukewarmness, already alluded to, I was much taken up with political and military subjects; so much so that I voluntarily joined a chartered Military Company, before the law compelled me to bear arms—but when I began to wake up out of sleep, these subjects began to lose their charms, and gradually became burdensome and disagreeable. In respect to bearing arms, I was more and more exercised, until I came to the conclusion to renounce it altogether and risk the consequences. I had began to speak as Messenger from the Prince of Peace, and was endeavouring to inculcate the principles of peace on earth and good will to men-of loving our enemies--of not resisting evil; and for me, after declaring these things one day, to go the next, and take instruments of war and death, and learn how to kill ! perhaps some of God's dear children, too, looked to me as inconsistent and contradictory. I meditated on the subject with much interest and concern-endeavoured to candidly weigh the arguments in favour of the practice, but after all could not see that it was any way consistent with the spirit and letter of the gospel dispensation to kill innocent and pious men to gratify the ambition or revenge of kings and rulers. I now stood fair for a commission in the company, and should very probably have obtained one if I had continued a few months longer. But I felt as if I must stop, let the consequences be what they would, and accordingly wrote to the officers of the company, and stated my deters