January 1, 1805. (See Memoirs.) P. 93, ed. 10.
2. I found great peace and increase of spirituality in considering prayer my proper business: the going among our people, which used to fill me with anxiety, appeared easy and pleasant to me: read at church with seriousness, and no temptation at all to levity. ------- and -------, by constant questioning and arguing with me, gave me a most complete opportunity of telling them almost all I could have wished. I went away greatly pleased, though somewhat pained at having wounded ------'s feelings by too strong expressions of my indignation, at his having been publicly singing anacreontic songs. After an hour in my rooms, I went to W------'s, where I expounded the 12th chapter of St. John. In prayer I was more free from false fervour, and was more deliberate and orderly. Thence I went to an old woman who was dying, and read and prayed with her.
3. Read a little of Basil on the first Psalm. I was struck with his eloquence, but found little evangelic truth. I found solemnity and seriousness at different times in prayer this morning, but in my walk, my heart was ever beholding vanity. At church I was in a very insensible state, but my thoughts were afterwards more taken up by considering------'s words, that God generally used mean instruments of conversion in preference to the wise and learned. The exercise of humility, to which this gave occasion in me, was a very profitable one. I felt quite as well disposed to live labouring and praying for souls, without ever being honoured by having any given to me, as with prospects of abundant success. May the Lord gather them how and by whom may be most to the advancement of his own glory.
4. In my walk, the desire of my heart was toward God, but the body of death kept my spirit down, yet on fleeing from these thoughts, I rose for a while to heavenly peace and joy. After dinner found an opportunity of giving ------- a solemn warning; the rest of the evening was taken up with preparation for my departure: my mind was affected with solemnity and melancholy, as it usually is in such times, but in prayer it was a sweet reflection that I was a stranger and pilgrim, that I neither sought nor wished to have my rest on earth. Let no change of place distract my mind from being constantly in prayer to my God.
5. Rose early, and my spirit was in a state of enjoyment. In the coach from Cambridge to-------, there was a very clever woman, of great vivacity and infidel principles. I do not know what effect all that I have said had on her, for there was so much levity, that her real feelings were in constant disguise. I was frequently depressed at------, by the solitude and spiritual darkness of the place, but by earnest prayer against these feelings, I found that I could live independently of all created comforts upon God alone, and meditated in peace of mind upon my subjects for tomorrow, studying how I might speak with the greatest possible plainness. The afternoon was passed with ------ who has been long oppressed with doubts and fears. In the evening I was alone, and passed some hours in reading and prayer; the sermon of Jonathan Edwards on the 'Day of Judgment,' and on 'Fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites,' made me tremble at the fearful condition of lost souls, and made me feel uncomfortable at the consideration of such a melancholy subject. Read and prayed in the family.
6. (Sunday.) Preached to a small congregation on John iii. 8, with needless plainness, and rather too great familiarity, as I learnt afterwards, and in the afternoon on 2 Cor. v. 20, 21, at which time the earnestness of my manner excited the mirth of many people present. I was greatly grieved at it, yet perhaps if I had had their benefit more at heart, I should have taken care to deliver these truths with the least possible offence; so that even in this case I may reasonably blame myself. Afterwards catechized, and sung with the children. In the-evening read one of Jon. Edwards's sermons with ------, whose conversation full of levity and inconsistency, especially considering the day, was very painful to me; his incessant loquacity was tiresome to me, almost beyond bearing. I could scarcely give------the attention consistent with common politeness; it is no wonder such sort of Christians have fears, and my exhortation accordingly to him, was to serve God better, and to pass more time in prayer. In private afterwards, my soul was drawn out in fervent prayer, and felt the presence of the glorious God. I longed to be ten thousand times more devoted to him than I had been, and to pass the remainder of my days in humble laborious exertions in the cause of Christ.
7. Left B------, and arrived at dinner in Brunswick Square, where I passed the remainder of the evening very agreeably with old Mr. and Mrs. Bates, for their favourite subject was religion. I called on Mr. Grant, who told me I might certainly consider myself as destined for India, though I was not yet appointed. He had however no doubt that I should be very soon. The situation he has been endeavouring to get for me, was that of Chaplain to Fort William. Thus it pleases God to keep me in a certain degree unfixed, and it is but that his own wise purposes should be fulfilled in their time. I find these apparent delays very beneficial to me, as I perceive that God works in providence, as in nature, very slowly, which is a check to youthful rashness. Had some difficulty in prayer at night, from the distractions of the day, but with some blessed moments of drawing near to God, and away from the world.
8. Walked many hours in the street, which greatly disturbed my thoughts, but when I repeated to myself some of the chapters in Ephesians, I was with God and happy; on my return home, however, I was astonished, on reflecting on the pride, and hardness, and wicked imaginations that have been teeming in this corrupted heart. Read some of the Psalms at home, and prayed in some shame and humility against the repetition of such wickedness: while I walked in such danger, what but God's long-suffering and covenanted mercy preserved me? In the evening a chapter was read, and Mr. ------ prayed, and then we sung, 'Salvation, oh the joyful sound,' with great joy; my own mind was in general quiet and collected, but I was very slothful in conversation.
9. In reading the charge to the priests at the ordination service, I was affected even to tears, at the importance of the ministry. The great mental talents of some men naturally excite my envy, but when I am able to think of God, who hath thus gifted his creatures, I have often had new views of him, and been astonished at the greatness of his glory, and his transcendant excellency, and been filled with wonder and delight, that so mean a creature should belong to him as much as angels.
10. Walked about the grounds before breakfast, and felt little disposed to exchange my humble and laborious calling, as it appears to this world, for the ease and grandeur of the rich. My mind was however getting carnal and distracted from God, by so much company, and so little prayer and reading. Somewhat restored by reading and learning the Epistle to the Romans, but alas! I find it requires more exertion and communion with God, to maintain that due spirituality of mind, than I am using. I was a long time engaged in writing to -------, because it was on a subject on which I knew not my own mind; it was about Lydia: after some deliberation, I ventured to request a correspondence with her; but my heart felt submissive before God, how he should ordain it.
11. After breakfast began to read Isaiah, being in great need of being quickened by God, and warned by his word, and I found some life in the exercise of reading and prayer. We called on Mr. Cecil, with whose conversation I was much struck and edified: after leaving him, I called on-------, and was excessively uneasy at the conversation between the female part of the company, which was entirely on the amusements of the world. I was soon about to ask them if they had ever found happiness in these things, but-------coming in, we spoke on a subject much more agreeable to me. When I left him, I seemed to feel again the pain of parting with Lydia, but I renewed the dedication of myself to God and his service: officiated at family worship, and was serious in prayer, which I am sure was a mercy I had no need to expect, after the levity and neglect of the day. But God is plenteous in goodness, and rich in mercy. He dealeth not with us after our sins, neither rewardeth us after our iniquities.
12. Left London in low spirits, partly from illness and partly from the dissipation of my thoughts from delight in God. During the whole journey, I was exceedingly stupid and heavy, generally thinking of Lydia: on my arrival I cried to God for deliverance from my present state of lukewarmness and irreligion, and found some little increase of spirituality after praying. Strove to feel in prayer the awfulness of eternity, and of the work of the ministry. O that I may watch for souls, as one who must give an account. O that I may hear God's trumpet sound, and warn souls, lest they should perish, and their blood be required at my hand. Would to God I was stirred up to feel the affections of a minister. I was in some doubt whether I should send the letter to E------, as it was taking a very important step, and I could scarcely foresee all the consequences. However I did send it, and may now be said to have engaged myself to Lydia.
13. (Sunday.) Rose in great self-abasement, and shame, and grief, at having no fruits of labour to offer to God this day. I was enabled most of the day to retain a spirit of watchfulness, perceiving the necessity of stirring up myself to a right mind. And in consequence, what used to make me uncomfortable, appeared very agreeable. I was pleased with the thought of being alone, exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, and deprived of earthly comforts, thinking I should be a gainer on the whole, by having more of the presence of God, and experiencing the power of Christ resting upon me. I prayed before sermon that God would glorify himself, and not me, in the conversion of sinners, and in the first hymn at church I was almost overcome with joy; I hardly ever remember to have tasted such unmixed delight. 'Thine earthly sabbaths, Lord, we love,' was the hymn. Oh, I thought, it is happy to pass one's days in contention with the flesh, and painful diligence, if it was only because they so much brighten the hope and the prospect of glory. Mr. Simeon preached on "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," in a most clear and powerful manner. Found much edification at night in reading some parts of the sermons of that great man, Jonathan Edwards, as I did of quickening in the morning from David Brainerd.
14. A day of struggling with natural corruption, not operating in a way of gross sinfulness, but incessantly leading me away from God into vanity and cares. By walking time I was become peevish, though prayer at intervals in the morning had given me momentary tranquillity. Continued diligently watching over my own frame, and striving to sooth it into comfort and happiness by dependence on God. Catechized the children the whole afternoon, and by reason of standing in the cold and keeping them in order, I was excessively fatigued. Did little all the rest pf the evening; without prayer I should have sunk into great dejection, but God by that still kept me in general with my head above mine enemies round about. I had several little things to try my patience to-day, and my soul longed at first to depart, but I saw it to be nobler to live out the troubles of life.
15. I was sorely tried this morning by an unhappy spirit of distrust and anxiety, from which repeated prayer gave me only a temporary relief. I sat an hour with Mr. Simeon, who much reprobated the idea of my being settled near or at Calcutta, as Mr. Brown or Buchanan would want me to take their places in the college, and I should be more than half a secular man. He said he wished me to be properly a missionary, one who should be quite dead to this world and living for another. I thought of my dear Lydia as he spoke thus, but without regret, except that I had written that letter, for my inclination entirely coincided with Mr. Simeon's opinions. Went to meet a person at whose house I had been entertained some years ago. There was a great deal of abuse of missionaries, especially of those at Otaheite, and with all this there was of course a considerable number of errors asserted. Against all which the Lord enabled me to keep my ground and to bear testimony; with the bible in my hand and Christ at my right hand strengthening me, I can do all things. What though the world believe not, God abideth true, and my hope in him shall be stedfast.
16. In my walk I was meditating on the subject of the sermon; my desires were strong at this time, to be preaching to the gentiles, but more from a sight of its excellency, than love to Christ or souls. Could not procure a right spirit this afternoon, longer than for a few moments after prayer. At times, when I had the feelings of one anxiously concerned to preach faithfully to souls, I was very happy, and my work was pleasant, but I have had very little of the presence of God to-day. Let me never rest quietly without it.
17. Endeavoured to compose my mind to a right frame of seriousness, of indifference to the opinions of the world, and a solemn regard for souls. But I want more solitude and prayer, in order to maintain a sted-fast regard to eternal things, and God's presence. Preached at Trinity Church on John i. 14. the sermon was deficient in seriousness, and though I felt no desire to glorify myself, it did not seem as if God were speaking by me. Having but one pupil this term, I hope to be more at leisure for the work of the ministry, and that my God will give me grace to improve my opportunities with very great diligence. The worldly conversation I am so much engaged in from day to day is very deadening. It is sweet indeed still to find God my hiding-place and my shield, but my thoughts wander from him in prayer for want of spiritual exercise.
18. Read in Edwards, and wrote on a subject. In my walk was thinking on "Wilt thou be made whole,"
After dinner------'s friends, with some others, took wine with me; the conversation, though not much on religion, was interesting and learned. Had occasion to lament afterwards, a levity and unfeelingness of heart; this is my constant error. I would that I were as Christ, holding myself in tender collectedness of mind, ready to do good, and always feeling a desire after it.
19. Had my temper greatly tried this morning. Almost the whole of my morning prayer was used to get my spirit at peace.
20. (Sunday.) Rose with my mind serious and concerned for souls; had power to keep the world out of sight, almost as soon as it intruded; from Cambridge to Lolworth I was enabled to pass my time in prayer, in the sweet, serious, sedate sense of God's presence. I felt more of the missionary spirit than I have ever done, being willing at the time to run; find pleasure in the thoughts of seeing no friend or companion any more, but of travelling about in the same inclement weather as now, preaching the kingdom of God to the most ignorant. There appeared great glory and excellency in the work, and I longed to be conformed to Jesus Christ in it. Preached on Rom. vii. 18, heard the children at school, and called at several houses where the people had stayed at home on account of weather. One couple to whom I had been most kind, were pointedly disrespectful; such is the ingratitude of man, but I begin to learn by experience, how incorrigible and intractable he is. Yet I will not cease from warning every one, night and day.
21. Walked with W------, and was tolerably under self-command. Passed the whole afternoon in catechizing, and was as before, greatly fatigued. After an hour of Thucydides with my pupil, I passed the remainder of the evening in meditation, on a subject of Scripture, and prayer, and was much assisted. In prayer cried for mercy, under a sense of my guilt and great danger. My whole soul went forth to take hold of Christ, and to keep nigh to him, lest I should perish. Went to bed with my flesh trembling for fear of God's judgments.
22. Passed the morning in meditation on Job xxvii. 8--10. This afternoon a letter came from Mr. G. desiring me to sail for St. Helena in eight or ten days. The suddenness of this call produced some perturbation of spirits. As I cannot be ordained priest till after the 18th of February, it is impossible to go so soon, but I think I shall go immediately after. I found great need of prayer for tranquillity and composure of mind, and for an affectionate remembrance of these dear people I am about to leave, that my last discourses may be more spiritual and awakening than the former; and also for preparation for death, that it may not come upon me unawares; but that if I am summoned to the bar of judgment in the midst of the bustle of departure from this country, my accounts may be all ready and right. Felt more persuaded of my call than ever, indeed there was scarcely a shadow of a doubt left. Rejoice, oh my soul, thou shalt be the servant of thy God in this life, and then in the next for all the boundless ages of eternity.
23. Uncomfortable most of this day from a sense of mis-spent time. Walked out, with my soul toward God, and my thoughts much employed on my approaching departure. In the evening read a lesson in Hindostanee, but found myself in great uneasiness from my utter unprofitableness. I cried to God for deliverance from this lukewarm, irregular state. The reading of Col. i. immediately after, was applied to my heart and conscience. Went to------, hoping there might be suitable conversation amongst us. But the utmost levity prevailed. I was not carried away with it at all, but I excited myself very little to promote suitable subjects. It is miserable living with men; were I not commanded to seek my religion from God, and to find my comfort in his presence and work, I should be very unhappy.
24. Waited in the greatest expectation for a letter from Mr. Grant; reading in the meantime the Hindostanee, but no letter came. Then read and prayed over Col. i. and ii. Alas! how little do I know of experimental religion! how little am I influenced by such spiritual motives as the apostle there inculcates. Walking in Christ Jesus is something very different from what our reason would ever suggest, or is willing to give up to. May I know those evangelical mysteries. Passed the rest of the morning in meditation on a subject for a sermon. Spent the afternoon with some friends very delightfully. We sung some hymns with music. I felt much animated in devotedness to the service of my God, especially in the missionary work. After an hour with my pupil, went to church, and was edified by Mr. Simeon's sermon on Rom. viii. 12. and felt greatly influenced to mortify the flesh, and to keep it under, especially its slothful inclinations; this world is not the place to consult ease. Oh may I receive grace never to be in bondage to it, as I am by nature. Saw the Mohawk after church, and was filled with pity to find he was going back from the goodness of God.
25. Rose early, and wrote sermon before breakfast, afterwards read Hindoostanee. Continued the whole morning in expectation of a letter; at last it came, and contained Mr. Grant's urgent request that I might go in eight days, but I found it was illegal for the Bishop to ordain before twenty-four. I have been much under the influence of a light, vain spirit to-day, though my heart has been towards God, both in prayer and at other times. I longed to get near him, yet my wandering mind led me continually astray, and no spirituality remained an hour after prayer. I could use the most solemn prayer, and have the most solemn desires pass through the mind, and yet rise with my thoughts instantly going on things about me, without any holy, spiritual grace. At night, it was rather better. I found renewed profit in reading the latter part of the Epistle to the Thessalonians, as I had in reading the first part in the morning. The epistles, particularly to the Ephesians, Philippians, Thessalonians, and Colossians, are very useful to my soul at present. At other times I take less pleasure in reading, but now it is my earnest desire to increase in spirituality and rest.
26. This morning in prayer, had very clear views of eternity, and of my work on earth. I longed that I might not say one word to men of myself, from my own mind, but that God would put his own word into my mouth, that I might feed his people with truly spiritual food. Was generally joyful in my walk. Till midnight, continued slowly writing with repeated intervals and distraction. The nearness of my departure, and the interest so many people take in it, tended to harass my spirits, but I have found it particularly easy to-day to stay myself upon God, and so to be at peace.
27. (Sunday.) Preached at Trinity on Rom. vii. 18. I was in greater fear when I ascended the pulpit, than I ever remember to have been; but the moment I began to pray, all my fears vanished. Mr. Simeon pointed out the faults in my sermon afterwards, for it seems the lower people in general were not able to understand it. In my ride to Lolworth, was a little dejected at not having preached intelligibly, and especially as I feared I was ill calculated to instruct the poor ignorant heathen; yet surely I can, if I am on my guard, for I seem to be able to instruct children. Preached at Lolworth, on Acts xx. 21. to an attentive congregation, I think with great plainness. Sat an hour after church, with a woman apparently dying. I talked a great deal to her, and concluded with prayer. Had much of God's presence on my return home. The'glory of heaven stirred me up to press toward the mark, and I longed to be doing the Lord's work. Prayed at night with my bed-maker.
28. Filled with shame, or rather with a conviction that I ought to be, at the waste of my time this morning in bed; how abominable it is with my profession of religion, to throw away those precious moments in which the rest of God's people have been employed in early devotion. Walked with B. who told me there was disapprobation with some people yesterday morning at my having preached instead of Mr. Simeon. This made me a little unhappy, by the wound it gave to my pride. But may God, of his mercy, mortify this vile inmate of my heart, and teach me henceforth to be willing that my name should be cast out as evil, even by God's people, and that God should have all the honour and glory. From dinner till supper, catechized the children. I cried unto the Lord in great unhappiness. I could profess to him that I was not dissatisfied with his work or his commandments, but with my own folly and corruption, whereby my vanity is of power sufficient to draw my thoughts away from God, my best, my dearest, my only portion. Felt an exceeding satisfaction at the rich word of Christ contained in the Epistles, as I read Galatians at night. I have need to hunger and thirst after righteousness, for I am exceedingly empty. What a happy soul should I be were I quite crucified to the world.
29. In my walk, was chiefly thinking on subjects for the evening. In the afternoon, wrote to S------, expressing high things, such as ardour in the work before me, and joy in God. May I never falsify these professions. Passed some time in prayer profitably, going over, before God, the substance of the things I meant to say to-night, praying to have them wrought into my own heart. Just before I began, the desire of my heart to God was, that I might speak with exceeding tenderness and spirituality. When I went away, my mind was calm, and thankful, and fit for other service.
30. With much painful conviction of my constant unprofitableness, I had sometimes drawings of heart towards God. This morning, read Hindoostanee grammar, and meditated on a subject; heard a sermon at St. Mary's; read and prayed over the three first chapters of Ephesians, with some comfort and spirituality. In my walk, meditated still on sermon. Dined at Mr. Bates' with Mr. Simeon, &c. serious and collected on going amongst them, though I had no opportunity for prayer before. The conversation there was agreeable and spiritual, and I thought myself in pretty good order, but on recollecting the pride and vanity, the want of love and every thing good, I have every reason to abhor myself in dust and ashes. Mr. Simeon told me on going away, that he supposed I should not go for nine or ten weeks; this rather displeased me. I cried to God for deliverance from my discontented, unholy spirit, and obtained some relief. Read Ephesians with some comfort, with Grotius, but most of the time thinking on 1 Cor. xxiii. 24. How many tempers like the Devil have I! particularly pride, thinking well of myself, in spite of the clearest convictions of reason and experience; and such petulance; it is well if God through his mercy break my proud self-will by contradiction; I am constrained to acknowledge the greatness of his patience with such a wretched creature.
31. After passing the first part of the morning in prayer, with first of Philippians I sat with Mr. Simeon conversing on chap. i. 23, 24. Finding myself in great stupidity, I took up the Hindoostanee grammar, that the time might not pass away without any profit. While walking, my soul longed after conformity to God, and to be helped to do something in his service. Determined with myself, if nothing prevented, to devote to-morrow to prayer; the prospect sweetened my soul a little. Thought a long while at night on 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. but could not begin to write. I am miserable while I see the time hasting away and nothing of it redeemed.
Feb. 1. Was much at a loss this morning to know whether I ought to devote this day to prayer or not. I felt disposed to the former, but considered that it would be impossible to prepare a sermon for Trinity as I had promised. Read and prayed with Phil. ii. and iii. with profit. Oh, God's word is precious to me at this time. Wrote alittle on 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. with great slowness and difficulty. In prayer after dinner, my heart, which had been quite wandering, was restored to a spirit of seriousness, and a desire to be employed with some effect in the work of the ministry. Went to C, and sat with him an hour. In prayer in one part of it, the Spirit of God seemed to breathe on my soul, in an especial manner, as I have experienced it a few times of my life. After being with pupil, went to a class and spoke on Job xxvii. 8-10. O let me not be found a praying and preaching hypocrite at the last. They seemed to be much affected.
2. Again had the painful reflection of having wasted time in bed, through indulgence to the flesh. God is still mercifully pleased to send down his Holy Spirit, notwithstanding my poor prayers to him. Read Judges and Colossians. Walked with B. with my spirit a little more guarded than usual. I came with grief and shame to the throne of grace, confessing how much time I could find for comparative trifles, such as sleeping, walking, reading newspapers, and yet so little time for God. My soul was a little restored. I longed, as in most of the prayers at night of late, that I could entirely forget this world, the things of which do so constantly turn away my thoughts from God. Continued writing most of the evening, but interrupted by a long train of reflections on my solitary tour in Wales, and the sort of life which awaits me. The flesh shrinks at times, but I do not regret having resigned the world. No, far from it. Life is but a short journey, a little day, and then if I be faithful unto death my gracious reward will begin.
4. Kept stricter watch over my spirit this day in general, and found the benefit of it. Found the presence of God in prayer this morning composing my mind into seriousness and solemnity. I tried for some time to drive away all levity in my frame as soon as it appeared, and to seek for the unction of the Holy One. Was exceedingly delighted with a sermon on sanctuary blessings, in the 'American Preacher.' Here again I found it necessary to repress such lively feelings, and by that means tasted a purer joy. Wrote a very little on 1 Cor. i. 23, 24. In my walk I was helped to keep my mind in sobriety and regard to God, though amid many temptations to the contrary. I thought I observed some contemptuous disregard towards me to-day. It was comfortable to reflect, that it was for the name of Christ. In the afternoon catechised the children. About to be dispirited at my constant backslidings, but for a clear and heart-reviving view of the fulness of grace, which is in Christ; to him I came, and found refreshment and strength.
5. C. stayed so late this morning, that I had no time except to write a letter. I was enabled, however, to stay upon God by faith, feeling assured he would keep my soul in peace, and instruct me how to perform my public duties. In my walk endeavoured to think on a subject for the evening, as also at dinner-time. I spoke on the latter part of 2 Thess. xi. but though I had tolerable fluency, had none of that unction which much communion with God produces. So in prayer, I had much power, but I am persuaded it was entirely animal, for I had no clear views of God's excellency; did not rise more humbled, but just the contrary, nor with my soul breathing after holiness, for I was disposed to be as light as before; till at last a great sense of guilt arose in my mind, on account of the little solemn impression left by the late religious exercise. Was again disposed to dejection and departure from God, but I have learnt where my strength lieth. I know that my necessities should only lead me to Jesus, who never turns away those who come to him for help.
6. Collected passages from the prophets, predictive of the future glory of the church; but not having any specific subject to meditate on, my thoughts went much astray, and I was more uncomfortable than when my mind was oppressed by excess of care. In the evening I found my soul in great need of deliverance from a lukewarm state, and by prayer was brought to more serious self-recollection. Alas! so much communication with men is very prejudicial to me, for I cannot enjoy God without more solitude, and oh, how wretched is the best society when the mind is unfitted for God. Were I to stay any time longer at the university, I should be bound by conscience and inclination to refuse invitations of this sort. Alas! how much more profitably might all this precious time be spent, either in prayer, or study, or visiting some poor souls. I recollected among the sins of this day, having neglected an opportunity of conversation with a man whom I met on the road, merely through disinclination. How vain is all my supposed delight in the glory of the church, if I do not exert myself for individual souls. Learnt that a mandate might very likely be procured for me, for taking a B. D. degree; this would require the agreement of all the heads, and then a grace to pass the senate, before the petition could be presented to the King: all which will tend to give a publicity to my affair, which would be a trial to me. But while my God vouchsafes his grace to my soul, by which I can in prayer rise far beyond the confusion of worldly things, I need not much fear the influence of distracting vanities.
8. Began my farewell sermon, and wrote till the time of walking, and was engaged in the subject with my mind at peace. In the afternoon, for want of more prayer and solitude, my conversation with my pupil was vain and inconsistent with the gravity and sweetness of the gospel. Afterwards, I came to God, having no plea but his own mercy in Christ, and found the Lord to be gracious, plenteous in goodness and truth, for he restored my soul in a good measure. The subject of God's promises respecting the future glory of the church, on which I was at work, was exceedingly animating to me. I left off very unwillingly at a late hour, and longed to prosecute the subject on the morrow. I cannot imagine to myself how things could be differently ordered, so as to be more for God's glory, or more delightful to my soul. The nature of his promises, and the language in which they are expressed, are all such as I should suppose worthy of God, and are certainly more agreeable to my mind than I can think they would otherwise be.
9. An unhappy day to me for want of more solitude and prayer. I cannot live one happy hour without more or less communion with my God. What is this world, what is religious company, what is any thing to me without God? They become a bustle and a crowd when I lose sight of him. The most dreary wilderness would appear paradise with a little of his presence. How I long to be left alone, that my thoughts might wait upon God without any distraction. Began the day with tolerable comfort, both in reading, prayer, and writing. But from twelve to twelve at night, was scarcely at all alone. Was unexpectedly obliged to go to C------, at supper, without having time to prepare my soul by prayer, and the consequence was, as was to be expected, when I might have attempted to give the conversation a religious turn, I felt a foolish and sinful fear of giving offence. The conversation was literary. Came away with much pain.
10. C------continued with me till three quarters of an hour before church, which time I spent principally in prayer, of which indeed I stood greatly in need. After dinner, feeling much dejection, went to prayer; at first in great darkness, but soon the Lord poured out his Spirit in rich abundance, and brought light, and joy, and comfort into my soul. There is nothing in the weak words we can use, so astonishingly to change the frame of the heart, but God fulfils his promises of being found of those that seek him. At church in the afternoon, my heart at times was full. The kind expression of Christian regard I received from a young person who was leaving Cambridge, and expected to see me no more, was very pleasing to me.
11. Another unprofitable day. Oh the misery of so much conversation with creatures. I would rather be buried for ever from the sight of man in a wilderness, than to be constantly with him. Heb. i. and ii. was my portion this morning; the rest of the morning was spent in calls. After dinner, catechized the children two hours and a quarter; from them to my pupil; then C. came and staid till ten o'clock. In great vexation I tried till midnight to get something done, but wrote very little.
12. Breakfasted with C------, but my mind was so uneasy for want of spiritual duties, that I could not say any thing at all. Afterwards on reading Hebrews, and prayer, my peace and comfort returned. I endeavoured to put myself simply into the hands of God, prayed that I might be taught of the Spirit to feed the church of God. C------ stayed with me again; he has been a great trial to my mind since he has been here, but how foolish am I to be deprived of my peace of mind by the presence of another; no one can hinder the range of the spirit. Oh, may it ever dwell near my God. Oh, may the Lord help me steadily to enjoy that peace which passeth all understanding.
13. I sought of God in prayer a spiritual frame, and particularly desired I might not use the word of God deceitfully, enthusiastically, or hypocritically this evening, as I felt myself in danger of doing. The Lord mercifully poured out upon me a spirit of prayer and supplication at this time, so that I continued nearly an hour in fervent supplication, chiefly in a contrite sense of my shameful lukewarmness, and hardness of heart towards Christ; talked with-------a long time, about the glory of the Christian warfare; with great conceit, as I perceived afterwards by my distance from God. Yet he mercifully restored me to a more self-abasing spirit. The rest of the evening I wrote pretty freely a sermon for to-morrow night. Blessed be God for enabling me to do any thing at all for his glory.
14. With some elevation of spirit above the vain world, I preached on 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, but felt not very well satisfied afterwards. I was afraid it was not plain enough for the poor people, and that my sermons were little to the heart, and too much in generals. After supper found great comfort in approaching to God in prayer, and a sweet return of precious thoughts of eternity. Oh, why am I not more a man of prayer? How the Lord encourages me to pray, by soon giving me his presence, when I have been seeking him but a very little.
15. Passed the evening in conversation about the mission, and the nature of the difficulties I should meet with on board the ship. But none of these things move me at present.
16. The last unprofitable day of an unprofitable week. Almost the whole morning was broken up, and in private duties I was little comforted; but it is not fervour that will keep the soul alive, without long and continued communion with God. After dinner had much seriousness in prayer, and wished for nothing but to be doing the work of Christ, and went in this frame to visit the woman and her son. The room was so exceedingly offensive, that I could scarcely endure it for an instant, yet by care I was able to continue for about half an hour. I felt at times this evening a dislike to all God's work. I was vexed with my miserable self, and discontented with every thing that lay in futurity. But in prayer I cried to God to be delivered from my worldly, lukewarm, and idle state, and I rose more humble. My very soul groans at such a life; nothing done for God or my soul to any good purpose. C------- told me I was far above the comprehension of people in general. Nothing pains and grieves me more than this, for I had rather be a preacher of the gospel among the poor, and to the poor, so as to be understood by them, than be any thing else upon earth. Would to God my soul were quite dead to this wretched world, the outward things of which do continually plague and distract me.
17. (Sunday.) Somewhat oppressed this morning, from a sense of my unfitness and unacceptableness to a poor congregation. However, I was in no great danger from a vain wandering mind, for I felt base, and worth-less, and unfit to be among God's people. It was suitable, and comfortable to me, to read the penitential sentences at the beginning.
Preached at Lolworth on 1 Cor. i. 23, 24, and my heart towards the last was filled with the truest fervour. When I began to say, "And we now preach to you Christ crucified," and to exhort them to come to him, the Spirit seemed to fill my heart; I never felt a stronger conviction of the truth of the gospel. The people were very attentive. Called on the sick woman, and prayed by her; my heart was joyful in my ride home. At church in the evening, at the first hymn was affected to tears, with a sense of God's love, and the happiness I enjoyed in his favour, and so in a less degree the rest of the service.
18. My birthday; but I have been able to make few profitable reflections on it. Morning prayer brought me to seriousness and steadiness; meditation and prayer on Heb. xi. were delightful to me. After dinner catechized children. At night the Lord mercifully assisted me much in my studies. Especially in preparing to speak on Hebrews iv. 3, and Rev. xxii. 11. Yet this heart is vain, and proud, and alas, it is not near to God. But let me praise his holy name, for having brought me to the end of my 24th year in safety. May the world never have occasion to mourn at my birth-day.
19. Passed the morning in reading, prayer, and meditation, on Heb. ii. 3, and Rev. xxii. 11, with my mind generally impressed with a solemn sense of duty. In my walk, was thinking with great sallies of joy and delight, on the glorious work which lay before me, of carrying happiness to the benighted heathen. But I endeavoured to moderate the outward expressions of joy, that it might be more pure and lasting. After dinner I sought to solemnize my mind by prayer, and passed half an hour in the exercise. Read and prayed with my bed-maker at night. O my soul, be more serious and holy. The work of God is my business, and the more I attend to it, the more easy and satisfying it is to me.
20. Rose early, and found it long before my mind was solemnized to any seriousness in prayer. At length however it was, and I felt some sobriety of spirit.
21. Walked to Drayton, about five miles off, to see a woman who attends Lolworth church. On the road I had little of the presence of God, but was kept from wandering farther, by learning some Scripture by heart. After dinner visited------. I tried to keep near to God by continual ejaculations to him, as I went along the streets, but nothing can make up for the want of stated prayer. In the evening, after my heart had been going farther still from God, so4hat I could not read, I betook myself to prayer when alone, and oh, how great is the mercy that the Lord lets me come nigh him by an ordinance so simple. How wonderful that it should be made the means of bringing me to that spirituality and peace which the utmost efforts of reason could not do without it. The rest of the evening wrote a farewell sermon.
22. Being excessively tempted to worldliness, I found blessed help in prayer, so that with my pupil, my deportment was serious and Christian beyond my expectations all the rest of the evening; a great many hours I spent in considering what is meant by the presence of God, yet went to bed not much dissatisfied.
23. Employed in writing on Rev. iii. 20: 1st Epistle of Peter was still very profitable to my soul. Having had occasion to think on death as near, from having an oppression on my lungs, I could repose with a solemn quietness on the blessed God. In my walk felt some tenderness in my heart for souls. How easy I thought, and pleasant is the exercise of my ministry, to what it might be and will be hereafter.
24. (Sunday.) Riding home from Lolworth, I was enabled to be in prayer much of the time. I was labouring to feel an entire indifference to all created comforts, even to be contented to be without the ordinances. I wanted to feel myself as having nothing on earth to do but to work for God, and as having to expect no comfort but communion with God. I endeavoured to realize my future life as a missionary, to ask whether I could be satisfied at resigning for ever all pleasing society, to roam about a desert looking for people to preach to, and to wait upon them, patiently enduring their scorn and ill treatment. My heart did not at all shrink from it, but on the contrary, improved and embraced it. It has been in general a blessed day. Read and prayed with H------ at night.
25. Rose with my mind uncomfortable and unbelieving, but by prayer recovered a little of heavenly-mindedness and resignation. The whole morning passed away in business, in which God mercifully kept me in great calmness and unconcern about worldly things. Called on Dr. Milner, the Master, and Cotton, about the Mandate Degree, as the heads were to meet to-day. Drew up a skeleton for this evening, and walked a little in the court in great tranquillity of mind. After dinner catechized the children, and presently after, went to tea at P.'s Read the latter part of Acts viii. On my taking occasion from Philip's seeing the Eunuch no more, to speak of my short fellowship, some were in tears. Much of the rest of. the evening passed in reading Hindoostanee, during which time I wounded my conscience by not approaching God in prayer, which I foolishly delayed to a later hour. Oh, why do I suffer my heart to stay away a moment from God, the fountain of living waters: why do I not fear him who hath power to cast both soul and body into hell? How much do I want to have the fear of God before my eyes.
26. Had intended to devote this morning to prayer, but this mandate business kept me out of doors all the time. Began to meditate after breakfast, on Heb. xi. 13--16, with some pleasure, as it has generally been a blessed subject, but I made little advance. Called on the Master, the Registrar, the Vice-Chancellor; in my walk met------, and continued with him till dinner. My heart burned with pain and vexation at his pernicious errors. I talked very plainly, and with a full heart, of the freeness of the gospel salvation. I pray God he may be enlightened to perceive it. Though I was very warm, I said nothing that I am aware of that could offend him, or that appeared to do it. In the afternoon went to see a poor young woman, who, after a life of sin, appears to be now in a dying state, though only seventeen; she was in too much pain to attend to me much, and so I withdrew, affected almost to tears, partly from pity to her, but more from a sense of the grace of God, and the preciousness of that gospel committed to my trust. With my pupil in our worldly studies, I had that same turn of mind I so often fall into with him; a quarter of an hour's prayer after this, hardly restored my mind to a proper tone, yet when I went at the appointed hour to the same poor creature, it was with some inward tenderness. A lady, ignorant of the true way of salvation, was with her all the while I was there, and so I could only explain the way to Christ so as to suit both, without any thing particular to her.
27. Nothing will compensate for the want of close walking with God, and private fervent prayer. After an hour with my pupil, I supped with him, and was much enlivened and cheered by Christian company, yet my soul thirsteth after the living God. At night in prayer,: I had much tenderness and contrition of spirit; how I longed to have it always as I ought: I groaned because I was in a body which kept my soul from God, and constantly hurried my thoughts from him to earth. Went to bed with fervent desires for grace and deliverance from the bondage of corruption.
28. The whole of the morning I was employed in calling on the Master, and Cotton, and assembling the seniors, who consented to let my grace come before the senate. I was a long time in the senate-house, and was about to have my grace read before the dissolution of the congregation, when most of the caput objected to the shortness of the notice. I thought it prudent to withhold my grace, and give timely notice. Called next on the public orator, who wanted a congregation as well as myself. At last I got home, and after passing some time in prayer, got rid of earthly cares and perplexities. Going out as I thought, to enjoy the presence of God, I met with------, with whom I was obliged to walk, his head so full of the senate-house business, as to be incapable of attending to anything on religion. It sometimes surprises me, that I am sent by providence into situations where my thoughts are necessarily called down to earth, without any good to myself or others. But these things are for the trial of faith.
March 1. Was again sent for by the master, and passed the whole morning in the same troublesome application as before. Called next on the public orator, but he not being at home, I lost a whole hour expecting him. I received good to my soul, at the sight of a most striking engraving of an angel, contemplating with wonder the cross of Christ. This was before my mind all the day. At last, after waiting in vain, I went to the Vice-Chancellor, and could not obtain his permission to call a congregation; though some of the caput, whose objection had obliged me to defer the grace, were perfectly satisfied when I called this morning. He would not have opposed it, he said, had he known it had been signed by so many of the heads; this was a sad oversight of his, he should have informed himself of this, the consequence will probably be, that I shall lose the degree or my fellowship. I felt some little disappointment in the evening on recollecting it, but it soon passed away, as I was not myself to blame. Walked with B.; our conversation not unprofitable; he told me of an objectionable part of my last sermon, and I felt the force of his reproof, also of a fault in my usual preaching; these objections gave me pain, and I felt unwilling to get up and preach; but blessed be God who giveth me counsel.
2. Found the presence of God at intervals this morning in prayer. After one part of the prayer, I could not help reflecting on the deep devotion that came upon me for a few moments, while I declared I had rightfully no other business each day but to do his will, as a servant constantly regarding his pleasure. In the afternoon my heart had wandered; I was unfit for prayer, but was restored to it.
3. (Sunday.) Preached on Matt. vii. 13, 14, to a large congregation, but though I was plain enough, there was little impression on the people. Alas, do I think that any good can be done without very fervent prayer for their poor souls? In my ride home, I laboured to see the necessity of patient continuance in well doing, and if even for many years I should see no fruit, not to relax my labours. It was a comfort to me again, to reflect that my business and pleasure were quite independent of outward things. Though people should despise my preaching, and God should leave his servant without any seals to his ministry, yet still my great business was not at all let, i. e. the sanctification of my own soul. At night enjoyed much of the comfort of God in. my soul at church. The account of Mr. Wilberforce's having lost the motion for the abolition of the Slave Trade, together with reflections on the pride and sins of this place, affected me deeply to night. I longed to pour forth my complaint to God, and began with much fervour, but was interrupted. Oh, our guilty land, shall not God visit for these things, shall not God be avenged on such a nation as this? The pride, infidelity, and abominations of this land, seem to show it ripe for destruction, so that I expect God will soon put in his sickle and reap. Read and prayed with H------ at night: Acts xx. was deeply affecting to me.
4. In morning prayer had a solemn season of reverence and submission to God. I seemed to have no wish in my heart, but that God may be glorified, as it was a comfort to me to reflect that he will be glorified. In my walk I prayed continually that I might be kept by the power of God in a sedate and sober frame all the remainder of the day, in which I should be engaged so much outwardly. If people are not satisfied with my conduct, I have nothing to do but to leave my record with God, before whom, HE is witness, I desire to walk with perfect strictness and uprightness. It is plain from the observations of others, that I am grown more proud. Oh, I long to have a time of humiliation, that I may be able to abase myself in tears, on account of the pride and hardness of my heart.
5. Passed much of the earlier part of the morning in prayer, which I greatly needed, and enjoyed a solemn and spiritual frame. After dinner again in prayer, and was helped to be serious. Oh, how blessed is it to be solemn and serious. A foretaste of the calm of heaven! The rest of the afternoon was engaged with------, and in preparation for departure. Preparation for leaving any place is very affecting; after a few more stages, the journey of life will be ended. Amen. I feel attachment to the present scene, though my mind is so continually distracted by it.
6. Went to London; found it very difficult to pray or keep my mind right in the journey. I thought it my duty to try and instruct the coachmen, as there was no other person outside. One was a most furious and abandoned character; he seemed a little affected and humbled, but the more sober one had learned to affect infidelity. Took up my abode in Brunswick Square.
7. After some difficulty attained somewhat of a happy spiritual frame, finding the presence of God in secret prayer. Stopped some time at the gate of St. James's, to see the nobility go to court; was much affected with melancholy, at seeing such a glare of finery on poor old shrivelled people, fit only to be shrouded in a coffin. What a transition will take place at death!
Spent the evening at Mr. G------'s, and recollected with shame, that I had introduced no religious remark, though I might have done it, and seemed more anxious to please men than God. Came away full of grief and shame, but this pain did not last long; oh, the mercy of God in not forsaking me entirely; though almost overcome with fatigue and sleep at night; I was helped to be serious and devout in prayer.
8. Went to Dr. Gilchrist, and received some instructions from him respecting the pronunciation of Hindoostanee. Afterwards went with Mr. Grant to the India House; he said he had no doubt I should be nominated, but on account of the press of business, he could not say when mine would be brought forward; time enough, however, he said, for me to go out by this fleet. But I now begin to fear it will not be so. Left Mr. G. in great dejection, yet striving to leave it willingly all with God.
9. The importance of my ministerial work was much on my mind this afternoon, and the godly conversation of Mr. Bates on the subject much assisted these thoughts.
10. (Sunday.) The want of sufficient private prayer was very hurtful to my soul, and comfort; arrived at the Chapel Royal at St. James's, a quarter before eight, according to our directions; at eight the service began. I found my hard heart melting a little at the confessional parts, the sermon was preached by Dr. Judd, on the importance of eternity, compared with time. I was pleased and gratified with the solemnity of the subject, and the thoughts. In the sacrament, which followed, I had a little more love and tenderness than before; after this came the ordination, which on the whole was rather a solemn ordinance to me, far more so than my ordination at Ely, yet very little like what it ought to be, through the levity and ignorance of my heart. 'Come holy spirit, heavenly dove,' &c. seemed to be the prayer most answered.
Walked to St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row. Mr. Cecil preached very well on Jonah ii. 4.
In the course of the day, my soul enjoyed much of God's presence, but unhappily my eyes wandered to behold vanity; with some self-denial, and pain, I determined to have nothing to do in thought with any idol, or any thing that might hinder my work. At night felt my body quite wasted with the fatigues of the day, but not tired with the Lord's work.
12. Averse to morning prayer, through sinful unwatchfulness over my thoughts, and yet through the unceasing mercy of God, was restored to something of a godly frame. Attended Dr. Gilchrist this morning, with his classes, and read some Hindoostanee to him; on my return bought an Aeschylus and Pindar, with some hesitation, as fearing I might use the money to a better purpose; but I may hope that if ever I should find it convenient to read the poets, the Lord will sanctify these as he has done my other studies, to the improvement of my mind, and my fulness for the public duties of the ministry. In the afternoon read Hindoostanee; Acts xx., and Thess v., were much blessed, as they often are, to the spiritualizing of my mind. I went to bed in a serious spirit, desiring very much that I might rise in the same state the next morning.
13. In prayer had a sort of fervour, which was destitute of true spirituality. After breakfast for two or three hours, read Hindoostanee; by foolishly delaying scriptural reading and prayer, I was called to be out some hours without being refreshed and strengthened. Went to God in great shame, and sense of misery as soon as I got home, for all the levity and unprofitableness of my conversation; this was beneficial to me, as I was more near to God all the rest of the day.
14. Went down to Cambridge; on the road had two or three seasons of prayer, with the presence of God; the latter part of the way I had an opportunity of declaring the awful truths of scripture, to some gay men on the top of the coach. On my arrival, I felt happy in communion with God.
15. Was very dull with a cold, and in prayer seemed to get little good, but in looking up to God for his sure mercy, that he would revive my soul, and keep me near him, I found returning peace. After dinner, sat with Mr.------, with whom I had a long conversation. I explained my motives with all sincerity, but in vain. So impossible is it to approve myself to men universally; but oh, while my record is on high, while I desire the heart-searching God should be privy to my thoughts, and direct my conduct, it matters little if men condemn.------sat with me some time; I found less satisfaction in his views than ever. His evil seems to be, if any thing can be so called, an excess of charity; yet withal, he is deeply humble and serious; and to his direction, under God, I owe it, that I am not now a worldling. We parted as for ever. God bless him, and preserve him to his heavenly kingdom.
16. Went to London; at times I was engaged in prayer with some fervour, and then I was happy; nearness to God diffused a sweet peace over my mind. But the greater part of the time, slothfulness prevailed to keep me from effectual fervent prayer.
17. (Sunday.) Left London, in order to get to Ockham in time, so early, that I had not time for prayer all the way there, twenty-five miles; I was uneasy for want of communion with God. Immediately after my arrival, went to church, when I preached on 1 Tim. i. 15. The subject was soothing to my own disordered spirit, and some old people there seemed much affected. After church, I obtained a little time for prayer, but not enough to attain to much spirituality. After dinner, my soul drew near to God, and breathed freely forth to him holy desires.
18. At night, in prayer, I longed to forget the world, and to be swallowed up in entire devotion to God, to live always unto him, and went to bed so happy and peaceful in this frame, that I felt very sorry that sleep would interrupt it, and would be likely to leave me in a different state in the morning.
19. I prayed very earnestly that I might be kept from that levity, into which I fell so repeatedly, in the course of the day. Employed in Hindostanee till I went to Gilchrist, from whom I returned rather discouraged at my want of progress. I was jejune for want of reading and prayer, but the Lord helped me to check and restrain the babbling tongue. Found the presence of God again, both before and after dinner, in prayer, but this seems to me to be merely keeping my ground without advancing. O may the Lord keep me safe, amid the dangers which surround me. I must have double watchfulness to employ my time and thoughts well, now I am drawn from college retirement.
20. Was depressed in spirit, at my lukewarmness and unprofitableness. Walked out into the city with tolerable peace of mind, leaving it with the Lord to help and instruct his wretched creature in holy things, in which my shallow knowledge might well make me to be ashamed, and tremble to try to teach others. Most of the rest of the evening I was writing more freely; and one half hour particularly, my spirit got disentangled from its sin and misery, and enjoyed the presence of God in prayer.
21. Read Hindoostanee, till I went to Gilchrist, where I continued till one. On my mentioning to Gilchrist my desire of translating some of the scriptures with him, he advised me by all means to desist, till I knew much more of the language, by having resided some years in the country. He said it was the rock on which missions had split, that they had attempted to write and preach, before they knew the language. The Lord's prayer, he said, was now a common subject of ridicule with the people, on account of the manner in which it had been translated. All these are useful hints to me.
22. Both in private, and especially in family prayer, I was solemn and serious. Meditation on Acts xx. seemed to form my mind to blessed spirituality. Read Benson's 'Life of Mr. Fletcher,' and seemed to enter a little into the spirit of that extraordinary man, which I did not, scarcely at all, when I last read an account of him. I longed that all the powers of the soul might be awakened to praise and adore God. Called on------, and felt much hurt at his late neglect; a sense of un-kindness pained me. Why do I look even to saints for my happiness; they are able to wound the feelings of their brethren even as others. But there is one who sticketh closer than a brother. Oh that I may love Christ more! What can the world give me in comparison of him! while I have him for my friend and portion, and a bright eternity in view, let me be contented to be slighted, scorned, and cast out by all men.
23. My thoughts were far from being spiritual, yet from fatigue, with so much intercourse with the world, and so little with God, my spirit rose easily, without effort almost, to heaven, seeking repose.
24. At home, it pleased God, in the riches of his grace, to manifest his love to me, the chief of sinners, in private prayer; so gracious is God in his ways, and sovereign in all he does. When I could least of all have expected it for my unprofitableness, then he visited my soul. Oh how shall this soul ever acknowledge the mercy, the astonishing grace of God!
25. Came to London by the coach. Through the cold, keeping my body in an uncomfortable state, I was little disposed to stir myself to communion with God. But alas, this is little of exercise for a missionary life.
26. Rose earlier than of late, and in prayer was able to feel somewhat of my misery and corruption, by nature and practice. Oh the perfect, the unceasing, the undeviating service, that ought to be rendered to God! but I am doing scarcely any thing.
27. Trifled a good deal to-day. Oh how do I long for a right state, when my soul shall for ever glorify God in the perfection of holiness. May the Lord mercifully pour out his Spirit on me, that I may weep for myself, and the people round me, and be able to leave the distracting vanities, which unfit my mind for profitable exercises, to live in unceasing communion with God.
29. Walked with B------in a vain, trifling, uneasy frame. But I could not stay in this frame long, and found the benefit of prayer in delivering me from it. Endeavoured to prepare myself by communion with God for the company I was going into. Dined at O.'s, to meet Sir William Young. After dinner I had a good deal of conversation with------, and had an opportunity of declaring many important religious truths. Yet I came away grieved, as I could not but be, at the sluggishness and want of zeal in me, as well as at the general infidelity and scorn of religion in the higher circles of society. At night, found the evil consequences of such a life as I have been leading of late, and the general want of solitude; for there was a manifest strangeness in my thoughts to eternal things; but through the rich mercy of God, my heart is heavenward. The more I see of grandeur, the more I am disgusted with it; I cannot help shuddering at their neglect of God, and scorn of the gospel. For any thing I have seen yet, in this world, I would prefer all the hardships of the missionary life, to all its pleasures.
30. The whole morning passed away in going to different places, but I have seldom enjoyed more richly the presence of God. The words, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," were continually on my mind. I was conscious I knew little or nothing of this sight of God, and yet it was certain that if my heart were pure, I should experience the blessedness of it. I did strive a little against the impurity of my heart, by excluding improper thoughts.
To keep the heart clean is a hard matter indeed, and what I know very little about; it requires more labour, care, and self-denial, than my flesh can easily submit to.
In the evening was preparing some sermons for to-morrow. Oh that I may, according to my prayer, never trifle with the awful work of addressing men's souls, nor preach the grace of the gospel only to excite a transient pleasure in people, but in the humble hope that God will glorify himself, by applying it to the conversion of sinners. Oh that I could forget self entirely, and give all honour and glory to God, even as I hope to do in heaven.
31. In the interval between morning and afternoon service, I prayed and prepared myself a little; but the world, and a regard to the opinions of people, seemed to bind down my miserable spirit. Read and preached in the afternoon, on John iv. 10. Mr. Cecil said a great deal to me on the necessity of gaining the attention of the people, of preaching with more warmth and earnestness. I feel wounded a little, at finding myself to have failed in so many things, yet I succeeded in coming down to the dust, and received gladly the kind advice of wise friends. At night I was rather discouraged, thinking I should do no better, yet my soul had more of the holy presence of God, and I went into the pulpit with composure, and more concern for immortal souls than in general; I preached to a very large audience on 2 Cor. v. 20, 21: there was great attention.
What danger am I in from public ministrations! Oh that I could still be alone in private with God, even when speaking in public.
April 1. Had much solemnity brought on, seemingly by repeating the xxth of Acts, as soon as I awoke. The effect of that passage is truly astonishing. I had intended to devote this morning to prayer, but I went out after breakfast, and was absent six hours about my business. Went to Lord Hawkesbury's office, but being too early, I went into St. James's Park, and sat down on a bench to read my Bible. After a little time a person came and sat on the same bench; on entering into conversation with him, I found he had known better days; he was about seventy years of age, and of a very passionate and disappointed spirit. He spoke sensibly on several subjects, and was acquainted with the gospel, but was offended at my reminding him of several things concerning it. On my offering him some money, which I saw he needed, he confessed his poverty; he was thankful for my little donation, and I repeated my advice of seeking divine consolations.
2. Breakfasted with------. Our conversation was on the most delightful subject to me, the spread of the gospel in future ages. I went away animated and happy. Went with Mr. G. towards the India House. He said that he was that day about to take the necessary steps for bringing forward the business of the chaplains, and that by to-morrow night I should know whether I could go or not. In prayer at night, my soul panted after God, and longed to be entirely conformed to his image.
3. After dinner passed some time in prayer, and rejoiced to think that God would finally glorify himself, whatever hindrance may arise for a time; going to Mr. Grant's, I found that the chaplaincies had been agreed to, after two hour's debate, and some obloquy thrown upon Mr. Grant by the chairman, for his connexion with Mr. Wilberforce, and those people. Mr. G. said that though my nomination had not taken place, the case was now beyond danger, and that I should appear before the court in a couple of days in my canonicals. I felt very indignant at this, not so much I think from personal pride, as on account of the degradation of my office. Mr. G. pleasantly said, I must attend to my appearance, as I should he much remarked, on account of the person who had nominated me. I feel this will he a trial to me, which I would never submit to for gain, but I rejoice that it will be for my dear and blessed Lord. 4. Went down to Cambridge; by being stirred up every now and then to meditate and pray, I was enabled to pass the hours of travelling with contentment. At night was at church, when almost for the first time, I observed Mr. Simeon's manner, and conceived great admiration of him as a preacher; supped with him alone afterwards, he prayed before I went away, and my heart was solemnly affected.
6. Passed most of the morning in the fellows' garden, it was the last time I visited this favourite retreat, where I have often enjoyed the presence of God.
7. (Sunday.) Preached at Lolworth on Prov. xxii. 17; very few seemed affected at my leaving them, and those chiefly women. An old farmer of a neighbouring parish, as he was taking leave of me, turned aside to shed tears; this affected me more than any thing. Rode away with my heart heavy, partly at my own corruption, partly at the thoughts of leaving this place in such general hardness of heart. Yet so it hath pleased God, I hope, to reserve them for a more faithful minister; prayed over the whole of my sermon for the evening, and when I came to preach it, God assisted me beyond my hopes; most of the younger people seemed to be in tears, the text was 2 Sam. vii. 28, 29. Took leave of Dr. Milner, he was much affected, and said himself his heart was full. Mr. Simeon commended me to God in prayer, in which he pleaded among other things, for a richer blessing on my soul. He perceives that I want it, and so do I. Professor Parish walked home with me to the college gate, and there I parted from him, with no small sorrow.
8. My young friends in the university who have scarcely left me a moment to myself, were with me this morning as soon as I was moving, leaving me no time for prayer. My mind was very solemn, and I wished much to be left alone. A great many accompanied me to the coach, which took me up at the end of the town; it was a thick misty morning, so the university, with its towers and spires, was out of sight in an instant. Arrived in town late.
10. Grieved at night that I could not serve God better. O Lord, have mercy on thy creature; stir him up to live by faith, to fight the good fight of faith, to be diligent in pleading with God for his grace, and using the means of improvement.
12. Rose early, as it was Good Friday, and passed above an hour in prayer with great benefit. I was led to pray for humility, and a tender spirit, which God gave; thus I find every degree of diligence is rewarded. Many little slights to-day, and the consequences of my own ignorance tended to humble me, and I desired it should be so, for in no state is my soul so safe and happy.
15. I grieved that I have never served God in any manner, that might not cover me with confusion, and do desire that God's service may be my all in all for ever. I have a promise, that they who seek shall find, that though I cannot have my faculties altered, and in that respect must remain inferior to many, yet in piety I may grow richly and largely, and without any bounds.
Oh that I was in earnest for eternity! oh, may God confirm my feeble resolution.
17. I continued in prayer nearly an hour; my folly and lukewarmness were brought home to my view, and I was grieved at thinking how the people of God might have been encouraged in carelessness, by seeing me, honoured with the name of a missionary, so carnal.
Oh, may I, according to my prayer, be kept holy during my few days in England, and then go forth to be more alone with God than ever. With the fear of God, and a broken spirit, all things are in right order in my mind; may that be my state for ever.
18. Chiefly engaged in writing; the middle of the day was with Mr. B. in the west end of town, and Hyde Park. The sight of the vain splendour of carriages, dress, &c. raised solemn thoughts.
22. Walked a good while with S------; the great difference in his worldly circumstances and mine, led to many reflections, which at first rather depressed me, not because I wished to change my condition, but because others seemed to pity me, and so I thought oftentime it was a state of little comfort; but is it not more happy and glorious to live, to do as much as possible for God, than to sit down to please myself? "Blessed are the pure in heart," &c. was an occasion of some delight to my soul, as I went along the streets.
23. Went to Mr. Cecil's this morning, and received some instructions from him, on the manner of writing to effect; soon after met with Mr. Grant, and felt much affected with his kindness.
24. Keenly disappointed at finding no letter from Lydia; thus it pleases God in the riches of his grace, to quash at once all my beginnings of entanglement. Oh may it be to make me more entirely his own. "The Lord shall be the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup." Oh may I live indeed a more spiritual life of faith! Prayed that I might obtain a more deep acquaintance with the mysteries of the gospel, and the offices of Christ; my soul was solemnized. Went to Russel Square, and found from Mr. Grant that I was that day appointed a chaplain to the East India Company; but that my particular destination would depend on the government in India; rather may I say that it depends on the will of my God, who in his own time thus brings things to pass. Oh now let my heart be spiritualized; that the glorious and arduous work before me, may fill all my soul, and stir me up to prayer.
25. Breakfasted with the venerable Mr. Newton, who made several striking remarks in reference to my work. He said he had heard of a clever gardener, who would sow the seeds when the meat was put down to roast, and engage to produce a salad by the time it was ready, but the Lord did not sow oaks in this way. On my saying that perhaps I should never live to see much fruit; he answered, I should have a birds-eye view of it, which would be better. When I spoke of the opposition that I should be likely to meet with, he said, he supposed Satan would not love me for what I was about to do. The old man prayed afterwards with sweet simplicity. Drank tea at C. Our hearts seemed full of the joy which comes from the communion of saints.
26. Met D------at Mr. Grant's, and was much affected at some marks of love expressed by the people at Cambridge, at the time of my leaving them; he said, that as I was going down the aisle, they all rose up to take their last view.
28. Went to Mr. Cecil's to tea, he was very striking a as usual in his observations, and I sat contented to be despised, as I deserve, saying nothing to the purpose, I though under all this there was much pride lurking. At i night read. Mr. C. preached on "godly sorrow worketh repentance," &c. it was a most able sermon, powerfully engaged the attention; and yet I cannot say my feelings are devoutly affected by this sort of preaching; at night, at home I enjoyed peace and comfort, and our conversation was pleasant and profitable.
29. Rose in much dejection; fearing that I should never be of use in the ministry, and moreover that I should prove an unsteady character in India, for I find the seeds of a roving temper in me; yet in prayer I was brought to trust in the Lord, to commit my way unto him, to feel that now was the time to rejoice in faith, when the cloudy and dark day was coming. Some of the promises in Isaiah were unspeakably rich. When I get near to God without any particular diligence, I suppose some one has been praying for me. At night, in the midst of great lukewarmness, grace was often in exercise, teaching me to delight in the prospect of serving God, and the permission of being with him, coming to him, and receiving, out of the fulness of Christ, "grace for grace."
May 1. Wrote sermon at night, till late, and was much assisted in it, my heart was affected, and my mind so active, that I could get little sleep.
2. Went down to Mitcham; the noise, and carriages, and people in the streets, had no power to divert my attention, for I was determined to be in earnest. At night, in my room, read Timothy with deep anxiety; could have gladly staid up all night, reading and praying, in the views of the work of the ministry, and my want of preparation for it. Retired to bed in a devoted spirit. Yes, though the flesh is necessarily lulling me with sloth, though I must truly say, that my flesh is full of all iniquity; my heart acknowledges no love but that of God; I could not, I would not be happy, without being altogether his, and employed in his service for ever.
3. Rose in much the same spirit; there was nothing on earth that seemed worth my notice one moment, but labouring for the salvation of precious souls. Walked a little in the grounds, and had much sober joy in the prospect of the time, when the wilderness should be made like Eden. Through neglect of retirement for prayer, my mind was in its natural state, and consequently much pained at night. Ah! my soul, is this the life of Brainerd? Oh let me learn from all my joys, and all my sorrows, that keeping close to God is the path of peace.
4. Waited this morning on the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. He had learnt from somebody my circumstances, the degree I had taken, and my object in going to India. He spoke much on the importance of the work, the small ecclesiastical establishment for so great a body of people, and the state of those English there, who, he said, 'called themselves Christians.' He was throughout very civil, and wished me all the success I desired. I then proceeded to the India House, and received directions to attend on Wednesday to be sworn in. Afterwards walked to Mr. Wilberforce's at Broomfield, and was much restored and refreshed by learning and thinking on Ephesians. The circumstance of leaving my friends at night, brought Acts xx. to my mind, and I continued thinking of it with great solemnity and sweet tranquillity, and desire to be the servant of the Lord.
7. In the evening read the farewell discourse in John xiv--xvi. with much comfort and benefit, and was enabled to reflect with encouragement, that the Spirit of truth would guide me into all truth.
8. Attended Courtenay again before breakfast. The rest of the morning passed in writing sermon, and reading Mr. Grant's book. The state of the natives, and the prospects of doing good there, the character of Swartz, &c. set forth in it, much impressed my mind, and I found great satisfaction, in pleading for the fulfilment of God's promises to the heathen. It seemed painful to think of myself at all, except in reference to the Church of Christ. Being somewhat in danger of distraction this evening, from many concurrent circumstances, I found a very short prayer answered by my being kept steady. Heard from Mr. Parry this evening, that in consequence of an embargo laid on all the ships by government, who had taken the best seamen from the company's ships, on account of the sailing of the French and Spanish fleets; I should not be able to go before the middle of June, if so soon. Thus it has pleased God once more to detain me. What his design is, time will shew; whatever it is, let me rejoice in thinking it will be entirely for the best.
9. Thought myself bound to change the subject of my sermon for Sunday, in consequence of Mr. Simeon's telling me I had mistaken the meaning of it; at first I was reluctant after having done so much, but I felt that I could not dare to expect the blessing or assistance of the Holy Ghost, if I wilfully perverted his meaning. By reading and prayer my mind was more steady and serious than on other mornings; after dinner, took up the Epistle to the Corinthians, and was affected with solemnity, by its spiritual truths.
10. Heard Mr. Thomson preach a missionary sermon to a large congregation. The pride of being an important personage in the assembly, being a missionary, was as much as I could keep in subjection. In prayer afterwards, found benefit to my soul, and was assisted in my walk to meditate on a subject. Passed the evening with------and------, thinking it would be the last time I should see them, but the time passed in the most unprofitable manner. This way of living is grievous to me; I want more solitude, more long and heart-searching communion with God.
11. Writing diligently to-day, and found my mind solemnized by my work.
12. (Sunday.) In the afternoon, preached a sermon for the children of a charity school, on Luke xi. 11-13. I was very inanimate, partly from ill health, partly from a desire of guarding against improper gestures. Mr. Cecil told me he had heard I had been preaching excellently. Mr. B. told me the sermon was very miserable; he observed a total want of animation and action. These remarks I was once foolish enough to feel hurt at, but now I see much cause to bless the Lord that he hath placed me for a time in London, where so many friends are endeavouring to correct me. Drank tea at Lady Catharine's. Our conversation at night was on important subjects, and my soul seemed to be very near the enjoyment of these things, but the particular nature of my disorder, made the effect which these joyous thoughts have on my frame of body, too painful to be borne. I feel encouraged to make every effort both in body and mind, in order to become an able minister of the New Testament. Blessed be God for it, this is one of the benefits of my delay in England; the settlement of my dear sister is another comfort attending it.
13. Attended Courtenay after breakfast, at which I was much enlivened by conversation with Mr. B. on religious subjects. I read Flavel's Method of Grace, and wrote to S------. Then went out without reading any of the word of God in private. The consequence was, that my thoughts were vain and idle, in my walk, and I returned unhappy, and unfit for communion with God; yet by some fervency in prayer I was a little restored. At night saw the necessity of being roused to my duty. If I spare the flesh, and take so little pains as I have been doing, God will hide his face. I made holy resolutions, the Lord help me to keep them.
Matt. x. xxiv. and xxv. and 2 Tim. were awful warnings to my soul. Oh! how base is my lukewarmness--Oh! may Christ patiently bear with all my infirmities, and heal my backslidings, and help me to pour forth my very body and soul in fervent labours exerted in his beloved service! Amen.
15. Read prayers at Mr. Newton's, and preached on Eph. ii. 19-21. The clerk threw out very disrespectful and even uncivil things respecting my going to India, though I thought the asperity and contemptuousness he manifested unsuitable to his profession; I felt happy in the comfortable assurance of being upright in my intentions. The sermon was much praised by some people coming in, but happily this gives me little satisfaction. Went home and read a sermon of Flavel's, on knowing nothing but Christ. I was made sensible of my extreme ignorance of Gospel mysteries, and on my knees implored that the Spirit of God would instruct me; my heart was also in heaviness through the rising of corruption, and seemed unwilling to part with the world and its enjoyments, and be separated from my dear friends, and left alone with God. All these evils I spread before the Lord in prayer, and obtained some relief and comfort. In the evening read for Mr. Cecil, who preached in a most striking manner, on Rev. iii. 21. I was encouraged to determine to fight, but oh, what pride and hardness of heart, and forgetfulness of God, have I to recollect this day. I again made a covenant with myself which I found it very difficult to keep.
16. Breakfasted with Mr. P------. Joined with his family in worship, he prayed himself in a very simple and devout strain. My heart was full of joy and thankfulness that a person in his station was found so pious.
17. Was very sleepy and stupid this whole morning, in consequence of having lost my sleep for three or four nights past; if there were any necessity of bearing the inconveniences of these lodgings, or any good to be got, I would quietly bear them, but as this has the effect of making me unfit for duty in the day, I shall change them. Found myself unable to write on any subject; was a little revived by learning Isaiah xl. but was sinking again into a cold state, when through the mercy of God I took the alarm at my idleness and negligence of duties, and prayed with humility and fervour. Walked out and continued in earnest striving with my corruption. I made a covenant with my eyes, which I kept strictly; though I was astonished to find the difficulty I had in doing even this. I continued in humiliation and prayer, especially that God would vouchsafe to teach me the mysteries of redemption, and help me to find out in what manner sinners should be addressed. In this state, though there was much pain and sorrow, even to tears, and though I felt dreadful opposition in the flesh, I felt it was a right work, the Spirit striving against the flesh, and I mourned to think how soon it would pass away. The sight I had of my corruption, and the extreme difficulty of fixing the soul towards God, impressed this text deeply on me--"With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Read some of the chapters of the Revelation, with much of the blessing and presence of God--I was deeply affected with divine things.
18. Changed my lodgings. I offered my services to the mistress of the house to officiate at family worship, but she said she had no time to spare for it. I talked a great deal to her, but she could not listen to reason.
19. (Sunday.) Toward night many things occurred to bring down my pride very low. Mr. Cecil preached on 1 Thess. iii. 8. I was affected even to tears at reflecting that God had not caused any such connection to exist between me and my people; it seemed as if people heard me as though they heard not. But my soul breathed fervently for grace, to perceive the infinite value of immortal souls, and to labour incessantly for them in prayer; hearing afterwards something said in praise of me, I lost a good deal of this humility and spiritual comfort; still found myself quickened and edified by the word of God at night.
20. O how merciful has God been in fixing me in necessary duty, as at Cambridge, without which I should certainly have given way to sloth; it appeared very painful to me at the time, but I now feel the benefit. Yet now I am treacherous to God; hard it is for me to stir myself up to spirituality and diligence in duty, when no outward ministration demands it. Oh, what a living after the flesh is this!
21. Almost all my prayers are now with reference to the ministry. Read and prayed over John xv. before I went out, and forced my thoughts to continue more sober. Cecil called to-day, (when S------was with me,) and spoke with his usual force on the work of the ministry, particularly on the necessity of seclusion from company. Let me remember Matthew xxiv. I read it, and well might I tremble. My soul is astonished, and confounded at itself, that it is not swallowed up in the immensity of the ministerial work.
22. Endeavoured to guard my thoughts this morning in a more particular manner, as expecting to pass it with Sargent, in prayer for assistance in the ministry. Called at Mr. Wilberforce's, when I met Mr. Babington. The extreme kindness and cordiality of these two was very pleasing to me, though rather elating. By a letter from B------to-day, learnt that two young men of Chesterton had come forward, who professed to have been awakened by a sermon of mine on Psalm ix. 17. I was not so affected with gratitude and joy as I expected to be; could not easily ascribe the glory to God; yet I will bless him through all my ignorance, that he has thus owned the ministry of one so weak. Oh, may I have faith to go onward, expecting to see miracles wrought by the foolishness of preaching. H------, to whom I had made application for the loan which Major S------ found it inconvenient to advance, dined with me, and surprised me by the difficulty he started. After dinner went to the India House to take leave. Mr.------, the other chaplain, sat with me before we were called in, and I found that I knew a little of him, having been at his house. As he knew my character, I spoke very freely to him on the subject of religion. Was called in to take the oaths; all the directors were present I think. Mr. Grant in the chair addressed a charge to us extempore. One thing struck my attention, which was, that he warned us of the enervating effects of the climate. In the evening heard Mr. Crowther preach.------ mentioned Mr.------as an alarming instance of the effect of Indian climate and manners; he went out with zeal but had lost it all. This dwelt very much on my mind all the rest of the evening. The sense of my very great danger made me feel a sort of guilt, as if I had fallen already. Prayed with nearness to God when I got home, both in reference to the sermon I had heard and my own case.
23. Humbled this morning at thought of my waste of time and self-indulgence. After reading 1 Tim. i. 11. I went out to------. As I walked, my soul was full of holy ardour, to war a good warfare, and to trample sin and Satan under feet. My interview with ------was such as hurt my feelings. He did not like to advance the money without some security. I went to Mr. G's to talk to him on the subject; but after waiting two hours could not see him. My mind was ruminating on the ways of the world. How much of them is seen in the people of God. Went home and found comfort in prayer.
24. Breakfasted with Mr. P------, and was as much delighted with his kindness as I was hurt by the extreme coldness of------afterwards, to whom I mentioned my pecuniary difficulties. I felt more acutely than ever I did in my life the shame attending poverty. Nothing but the remembrance that I was not to blame supported me. Whatever comes to me in the way of Providence is and must be for my good.
25. Fervent in prayer for usefulness in the ministry. In the streets, in my walk, my heart, in some dejection, seemed at times to triumph over difficulty and every snare, in the power and strength of Christ. Dined and spent the evening at Dr.------'s with Mr. Atkinson. The conversation throughout was highly spiritual and profitable, and encouraging to me.
26. (Sunday.) At night after evening service, employed the time in reading and prayer. The Lord vouchsafed his presence in prayer. And in reading Isaiah, I was delighted with the promises respecting the church. The occasional displays in Isaiah of the greatness of God rather kept my heart at a distance, though in other parts I found texts that encouraged me. This Sabbath evening was attended with greater comfort and profit than most of the former. Blessed be God for the continuance of his loving kindness!
27. Lost much of my comfort by following my own will in my studies and employments this morning, instead of a punctual observance of the order of duty. After writing some letters, prayed, and read 2 Tim. i. 11. but could not find that spirituality come from it, which I often have. O I need the spirit of fear, that I may serve God with reverence. However, in the evening, it pleased the Lord to suffer me. to draw near him in prayer. My soul had a solemn season. I could look clearly and steadily through the whole of life, and feel myself at the end of it; and thus pray with enlargement respecting the different dangers I suspected might lie in my way. Read Flavel's Sermons with much profit, and studied a subject for Sunday next.
29. It pleased God to keep my heart right this morning, though yesterday and this morning I had so little regularity in secret duties. Went to Morden, with ------, where the time passed rather unprofitably. In the afternoon read Isaiah li. and liii. and found it very solemnizing to my soul. I desired to follow Christ in his humiliation.-------'s want of sobriety and lowliness is very hurtful to me, and so is also the corruption of my sinful heart.
30. Rose with a great deal of a vain spirit, but the mercy of God restored me. Went to the India House. Kept the covenant with my eyes pretty well. Oh what bitter experience have I had to teach me carefulness against temptation. I have found this method, which I have sometimes had recourse to, useful to-day; namely, that of praying in ejaculations for any particular person whose appearance might prove an occasion of sinful thoughts. After asking of God, that she might be as pure and beautiful in her mind and heart as in body, and be a temple of the Holy Ghost, consecrated to the service of God, for whose glory she was made, I dare not harbour a thought of an opposite tendency. About the middle of the day I felt exceedingly melancholy at my unprofitableness; and prayer and determination to be more diligent could not remove it. After dinner began to think on subject for sermon with great fervency of spirit, and wrote very slowly all the rest of the evening. Yet this continuance of employment left me much relieved and refreshed. Now this is astonishing to me, that repeated, daily, invariable experience assures me of the connection God has made between diligence and delight, holiness and happiness, and yet I am so neglectful of what I know to be the means.
31. Met with my captain, who told me that two-thirds of his cargo was aboard, but the embargo was not taken off. How uncertain is the time of our departure. It is the Lord that orders all things. He will scatter the French and Spanish fleets with his storms, rather than that his Gospel should not be preached among the heathen, if he so design it. Of how little consequence in his eyes are all these political movements, except as in subserviency of gathering in his elect. In the evening wrote sermon, my mind being generally happy and serious. Two things, I sometimes thought, divided my mind; to live upon earth sometime longer to preach Christ among the heathen, or to depart and be with him; though I could not but feel the latter would be far better.
June 1. I am now come to that month, the end of which, I should think, I shall not see in England. My departure from my friends, and my deprivation of the sweetest delight in society, for ever in this life, have rather dejected me to-day. Ah I nature, thou hast still tears to shed for thyself! Was employed in writing sermon all day. My mind was peculiarly solemn, and had several affecting seasons in prayer to the Spirit for assistance. And I remember that this time last year, when I was preparing for Whitsunday, and led in some manner to pray to the Spirit, my soul was more than ordinarily impressed. I seem to be hankering after something or other in this world, though I am sure I could not say there is any thing which I believed could give me happiness. No! it is in God alone. Yet to-night I have been thinking much of Lydia. Memory has been at work to unnerve my soul, but reason, and honour, and love to Christ and to souls, shall prevail. Amen. God help me.
2. (Whitsunday.) In the afternoon, read and preached on John xvi. 8. "He shall convince the world of sin." There was great attention, and my own Spirit was animated, but I had not the precious thoughts which came into my mind occasionally yesterday and to day; namely, thoughts of the value of souls and the power of God, which would make preaching efficacious, and thoughts of simply approving myself unto God, in the near views of eternity, unconcerned and deaf to all human things; and fixedness of mind on the great end of my ministry. At home, sat and meditated and prayed, for I was too fatigued to kneel; truly I have tasted of the world and never found it satisfy me, though I am still foolish enough to try it. My dear Redeemer is a fountain of life to my soul. Oh that I may from, this time be his, and be encouraged by his kind promises, and walk in his love under the guidance and influence of the blessed Spirit. With resignation and peace, can I look forward to a life of labour and entire seclusion from earthly comforts, while Jesus thus stands near me, changing me into his own holy image.
3. Received a letter from Major S------to-day, which rather hurt my feelings; but I reflected that it is not my own fault, so far as I can see, that I am so poor as to be beholden to another for assistance; it comes from the natural Providence of God.
Went to the Eclectic, where there were nine ministers besides myself. The subject was the symptoms of the state of the nation. Mr. Cecil spoke admirably, Mr. F--, Mr. P--, and Mr. Simons also very well. Towards the end, the subject of marriage, somehow or other, came to be mentioned. Mr. Cecil spoke very freely and strongly on the subject. He said I should be acting like a madman, if I went out unmarried. A wife would supply by her comfort and counsel the entire want of society, and also be a preservation both to character and passions amidst such scenes, I felt as cold as an anchorite on the subject as to my own feelings, but I was much perplexed all the rest of the evening about it. I clearly perceived that my own inclination upon the whole was not to marriage. The fear of being involved in worldly cares, and numberless troubles, which I do not now foresee, make me tremble and dislike the thoughts of such connections. When I think of Brainerd, how he lived among the Indians; travelling freely from place to place: can I conceive he would have been so useful had he been married. I remember also that Owens, who had been so many years in the West Indies as a missionary, gave his advice against marriage. Swartz was never married, nor St. Paul. On the other hand, when I suppose another in my circumstances, fixed at a settlement without company, without society, in a scene and climate of such temptation, I say without hesitation, he ought to be married. I have recollected this evening very much my feelings when I walked through Wales; how I longed then to have some friend to speak to, and the three weeks seemed an age without one. And I have often thought how valuable would be the counsel and comfort of a Christian brother in India. These advantages would be attained by marrying. I feel anxious also that as many Christians as possible should go to India, and any one willing to go would be a valuable addition. But yet voluntary celibacy seems so much more noble and glorious, and so much more beneficial in the way of example, that I am loth to relinquish the idea of it. In short, I am utterly at a loss to know what is best for the interests of the Gospel. But happily my own peace is not much concerned in it. If this opinion of so many pious clergymen, had come across me when I was in Cornwall, and so strongly attached to my beloved Lydia, it would have been a conflict indeed in my heart to oppose so many arguments. But now I feel, through grace, an astonishing difference. I hope I am not seeking an excuse for marriage, nor persuading myself I am indifferent about it, in order that what is really my inclination may appear to be the will of God. But I feel my affections kindling to their wonted fondness while I dwell on the circumstances of an union with Lydia. May the Lord teach his weak creature to live peacefully and soberly in his love, drawing all my joys from him, the fountain of living waters.
4. The subject of marriage made me thoughtful and serious. Mr. Atkinson, whose opinion I revere, was against my marrying. Found near access to my God in prayer. Oh what a comfort it is to have God to go to. I breathed freely to him my sorrows and cares, and set about my work with diligence. The Lord assisted me very much, and I wrote more freely than ever I did. Slept very little in the night.
5. Corrie breakfasted with me and went to prayer; I rejoiced to find he was not unwilling to go to India. He will probably be my fellow-labourer. Most of this morning was employed in writing all my sentiments on the subject of marriage to Mr. Simeon. May the Lord suggest something to him which may be of use to guide me, and keep my eye single. In my walk out and afterwards, the subject was constantly on my mind. But alas! I did not guard against that distraction from heavenly things which I was aware it would occasion. On reflection at home, I found I had been talking in a very inconsistent manner. But was again restored to peace by an application to Christ's blood through the Spirit. My mind has all this day been very strongly inclined to marriage, and has been consequently uncomfortable, for in proportion to its want of simplicity is it unhappy. But Mr. Cecil said to-day, he thought Lydia's decision would fully declare the will of God. With this I am again comforted, for now hath the Lord taken the matter into his own hands. Whatever he decides upon I shall rejoice, and though I confess I think she will not consent to go, I shall then have the question finally settled.
6. God's interference in supporting me continually, appears to me like a miracle. With this subject of so great importance on my mind, involving such doubt and uncertainty, he keeps me surprisingly composed, and assists me wonderfully in my work. Called this morning on Mr. Parry, who told me the embargo would be taken off in a few days, but the fleet would not sail in less than a fortnight. In my walk met Mr. H------, and was much relieved by his kind manner. How many temptations are there in the streets of London! Returned home with a distaste for every thing, but by prayer over the iiird and ivth of Ephesians; my soul was restored both to elasticity and comfortable seriousness. Dined at------, with Mr. V. a Dutch gentleman, whose Christian simplicity and good sense delights me beyond measure. He described his conversion as having taken place at Bourdeaux, on his return home from Spain. He knew Dr. Vanderkemp. As we conversed all of us about spiritual things, our hearts burned within us. I was delighted to hear the same truths lisped in foreign accents. He also described in a most interesting detail, the manner in which the French preyed upon them at Dort, where he was one of the magistracy. Discussion in the evening was about my marriage again; they were all strenuous advocates for it. Wrote at night with great freedom, but my body is very weak from the fatigue I have already undergone. My mind seems very active this week; manifestly indeed strengthened by God to be enabled to write on religious subjects with such unusual ease, while it is also full of this important business of the marriage. My inclination continues, I think, far more unbiassed than when I wrote to Mr. Simeon.
7. Oh, the subtilty of the Devil, and the deceitful-ness of this corrupted heart. How has an idol been imperceptibly raised up in it. Something fell from Dr. F. this evening against my marriage, which struck me so forcibly, though there was nothing particular in it, that I began to see I should finally give up all thoughts about it. But how great the conflict! I could not have believed it had such hold on my affections. Before this I had been writing in tolerable tranquillity, and walked out in the enjoyment of a resigned mind, even rejoicing for the most part in God, and dined at Mr. Cecil's, where the arguments I heard were all in favour of the flesh, and so I was pleased; but Dr. F------'s words gave a new turn to my thoughts, and the tumult showed me the true state of my heart. How miserable did life appear, without the hope of Lydia. Oh, how has the discussion of the subject opened all my wounds afresh. I have not felt such heart-rending pain, since I parted with her in Cornwall. But the Lord brought me to consider the folly and wickedness of all this. Shall I hesitate to keep my days in constant solitude, who am but a brand plucked from the burning? I could not help saying, Go, Hindoos, go on in your misery, let Satan still rule over you, for he that was appointed to labour among you, is consulting his ease. No, 'thought I, hell and earth shall never keep me back from my work. I am cast down, but not destroyed; I began to consider, why am I so uneasy, "Cast thy care upon him, for he careth for you." "In every thing by prayer, &c." These promises were graciously fulfilled, before long, to me.
8. My mind continued in much the same state this morning, waiting with no small anxiety for a letter from Mr. Simeon, hoping of course that the will of God would coincide with my will, yet thinking the determination of the question would be indifferent to me. "When the letter arrived, I was immediately convinced beyond all doubt, of the expediency of celibacy. But my wish did not follow my judgment quite so readily. Mr. Pratt coming in, argued strongly on the other side, but there was nothing of any weight. The subject so occupied my thoughts, that I could attend to nothing else. I saw myself called to be less than ever a man of this world, and walked out with a heavy heart. Met Dr. F. who alone of all men could best sympathize; and his few words were encouraging. Yet I cannot cordially acquiesce in all the Lord's dealings, though my reason and judgment approve them, and my inclination would desire to do it. Dined at Mr. Cecil's, where it providentially happened that Mr. Foster came in. To them I read Mr. Simeon's letter, and they were both convinced by it. So I went away home with nothing to do but to get my heart easy again under this sacrifice. I devoted myself once more to the entire and everlasting service of God, and found myself more weaned from this world, and desiring the next; though not from a right principle. Continued all the evening writing sermon, and reading Pilgrim's Progress, with successions of vivid emotions of pain and pleasure. My heart was sometimes ready to break with agony, at being torn from its clearest idol, and at other times I was visited by a few moments of sublime and enraptured joy. Such is the conflict: why have my friends mentioned this subject? It has torn open old wounds, and I am again bleeding. With all my honours and knowledge, the smiles and approbation of men, the health and prosperity that have fallen to my lot, together with that freedom from doubts and fears, with which I was formerly visited; how much have I gone through in the last two or three years, to bring my mind to be willing to do the will of God when it should be revealed. My heart is pained within me, and my bodily frame suffers from it.
9. (Sunday.) My heart is still pained. It is still as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke. The Lord help me to maintain the conflict. Preached this morning at Long Acre Chapel, on Matt, xxviii. the three last verses. There was the utmost attention. In the interval between morning and afternoon, passed most of the time in reading and prayer. Read Matthew iii. and considered the character of John the Baptist. Holy emulation seemed to spring up in my mind. Then read John xvii, and last chapter, and Rev. i, all of which were blessed to my soul. I went into the church persuaded in my feelings,--which is different from being persuaded in the understanding,--that it was nobler and wiser to be as John the Baptist, Peter, John, and all the apostles, than to have my own will gratified. Preached on Eph. ii. 18. Walked a little with Mr. Grant this evening. He told me I should have great trials and temptations in India, but I know where to apply for grace to help. I inferred from what he said, that------- and-------were but in a low state; that I must beware of sinking to their standard, and at the same time of running to an intemperate zeal. He advised me to acquire the language, customs, and mythology, by inviting the Brahmins to come and see me. They account it an honour to be received and treated well by an European. I should have no difficulty in getting some country place, as it was the lowest situation of all; and the salary less than a chaplaincy to a brigade.
10. In the evening went to------; my mind was melancholy, but not unhappy. The ease and elegance in which they live here, gave rise to a variety of reflections, for while they were engaged in music, I was left at liberty to be looking out at the window. I felt the utmost indifference about the whole of the trifles of this life. It is perhaps for this, I am cut off from the hope of Lydia; but I did perceive that a life of labour for immortal souls, was better riches than all this which I was seeing. The sight also of H. in a fit, very much affected me; so that in my own room at night, I found a melancholy pleasure in sitting at the window in the dark, looking at the skies. My soul was deeply impressed with the value of souls, and with the necessity of speaking seriously to the conscience; eternity seemed near; no prospect of happiness on earth appeared in view. Meditated on a subject to speak on in the morning,
11. Came to town in H.'s carriage; he begged me to come again, as certainly some good was doing.
12. Discontented this morning with every thing; but by prayer, my spirit was a little quieted and solemnized. Poor and unprofitable as I am, I trust that I have been brought to Christ, and have been so far changed as to find my chief pleasure in loving and serving him; but alas, every trifle is able to distract me from him.
13. Employed in going about buying books, and packing up, &c. but much time outwardly was given to meditation on a subject with little success. At times of prayer had some affection, particularly at those hours when I felt most unwilling and unfit to pray at all. Had I a more tender sense of mercy, I should have delighted to write on the subject I had chosen; yet it is very sweet to be desiring such a state. I would wish, like Mary, to be weeping at the feet of Jesus.
14. Employed in writing on the same subject; more watchful and near the Lord, and of course more peace and comfort. Dr. F.'s words (who called this morning) made some animal impression, 'The Lord be with you; and I think that he will he with you too.' Sent off all my luggage, as preparatory to its going on board. I Dined at Mr. Cecil's, he endeavoured to correct my reading, but in vain, 'Brother M.' says he, 'you are a humble man, and would gain regard in private life; but to gain public attention you must force yourself into a more marked and expressive manner.' Read and wrote the remainder of the evening; this I observed, that when I at one time I began to write without a prayer to the blessed Spirit, I found myself not stirring; but after it, was enabled to go on again; oh, may He teach me continually my dependence upon Him. Generally, to-night, have I been above the world; Lydia, and other comforts I would resign.
16. I thought it probable, from illness, that death; might be at hand, and this was before me all the day; sometimes I was exceedingly refreshed and comforted at the thought, at other times I felt unwilling and afraid to die. Shed tears at night, at the thought of my departure, and the roaring sea, that would soon be rolling between me and all that is dear to me upon earth.
17. Attended the Eclectic; Mr. Wood, Mr. Venn, and Mr. Cecil spoke very sensibly on the subject, --'The measure and means of happiness.' This question once occasioned me dreadful disquiet, and I was at this time led into many metaphysical enquiries, without coming at any thing. My ignorance on this subject gives me trouble in this way; if I do not know what happiness is,--how it is to be denned,--what a visionary, baseless fabric is religion which proposes to lead us to it. On my return from them, I continued a long time in prayer to God, without peace. I thought that if religion were false, I would willingly be deceived, but I found to my pain, that the mind cannot be free in this particular, it cannot choose to be deceived; however, the Lord restored my soul after a time, to feel the simplicity of the gospel. I endeavoured to see myself a sinner, my plain business therefore was, not to speculate, but to obtain salvation in the shortest manner I could. Besides, as I am convinced, that nothing but the gospel, whether true or false, was of any use to man, it Was my business not to stay philosophizing and puzzling myself, while souls were perishing; and what struck me as much as any thing, was, that metaphysicians who might really discover truth, were in general, poor creatures, full of pride and sin. Let me feel it to be my true wisdom. I prayed to become a child and a fool. My mind was made easy. I read Col. i. attentively, and prayed over it with great increase to my comfort.
18. Walked to Hampstead, found myself uncomfortable through carnality of thought. By endeavouring to bend my soul to holy meditation, and to consider the Christian life as a struggle and a warfare, I became a little easy. Oh how unhappy is life without God. The fine prospect at Hampstead rather set my ideas afloat again, and I exulted in the thought that one day the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth. At night, enjoyed the presence of God in secret duties. The scenes of time seemed to have passed away. Went to bed in the hope that I should soon know what constant communion meant.
20. Learnt that it was probable that we should sail next week. Passed the latter part of the day alone, and enjoyed much more comfort and peace than for some time. I read the Acts with great delight, and afterwards at other parts of the day, enjoyed access to God, though at first there was great strangeness, from being so much out of doors, engaged in temporal matters.
21. Went to Hampstead. In the coach, after some difficulty, I brought the two persons who were with me, to conversation on religion. They had the common objections, and argued very warmly against me. But the Lord fulfilled his promise in giving me a mouth and wisdom.
23. (Sunday.) It pleased God to give me some sense of my neglect of his work, and to renew the spirit I had last night in prayer; when my soul seemed to yearn after a life of extraordinary zeal, steadiness, and spirituality in Christ's service. Read 2 Corinthians till church. Mr. Cecil preached on Psalm xxiii. 3. Walked after church, with Mr. Grant, who advised me to leave town this week. Walked alone afterwards, with a sober, but rather melancholy frame. Walked home from Hampstead in the evening with the------'s. The conversation part of the way was on divine subjects, but I endeavoured to seek the presence of God as if alone. In a sorrowful and humbled frame, I found it refreshing to devote myself to Christ's service. The world and worldly things, even Lydia, appeared all indifferent. I wished for nothing here. My proper work as a minister and a missionary seemed all my business, and all that was worth living for. The words of the hymn--' Jesus, at thy command,' &c. were much on my mind.
TO MRS. HITCHINS.
London, June 24, 1805.
MY DEAR COUSIN,
The account of your ill health as described in your former letter, affected me even to tears. I cannot indeed expect to see you any more upon earth; yet for my dear brother's sake, and those to whom you are immediately useful, I wish to regard the hour of your departure as far distant--but in this and every other particular that concerns us, God will act according to his infinite wisdom and love. As you are safe in the Lord Jesus, nothing need disquiet you, or us, on your account--whether life or death, all is yours. * * * * May God enable you, according to your desire, to continue walking as on the verge of eternity, looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God. * * * There are not many things in the world which I would withhold from you; but with respect to the sermons for which you ask, my mind must be changed before I send them. * * * * Sermons cannot be good memorials, because once read, they are done with--especially a young man's sermons, unless they possess a peculiar simplicity and spirituality; which I need not say are qualities not belonging to mine. I hope, however, that I am improving; and I trust that now I am removed from the contagion of academic air, and am in the way of acquiring a greater knowledge of men, and of my own heart, I shall exchange my jejune scholastic style for a simple spiritual exhibition of profitable truth. Mr. Cecil has been taking a great deal of pains with me; my insipid, inanimate manner in the pulpit, he says, is intolerable. 'Sir,' said he, 'it is cupola-painting, not miniature, that must be the aim of a man that harangues a multitude.' Whitsun-week was a time of the utmost distress to me; but now, through the mercy of God, I am once more at peace. What cannot his power effect? The present wish of my heart is, that I may henceforth have no one thing upon earth for which I would wish to stay another hour, except it be to serve the Lord my Saviour in the work of the ministry. Pray, my dear sister, that the Lord may keep in the imaginations of the thoughts of my heart, all that may be for the glory of his great name. The time of sailing is not yet certain. The ships are getting round to Portsmouth fast. I shall leave town this week, probably not before Thursday. As my ship is one of the latest, we shall probably not be detained long there. If we were, it would not be safe to venture to Plymouth, scarcely indeed could I wish it.
25. An hour lost this morning deranged the comfort of the day. In consequence of carelessness, I was so late as to have but little time in prayer, before going to Islington; far too little to have holy impressions on my soul.
26. Met a large party at Mr. Grant's. I had here a great marvel for my pride. The remarkable attention paid to me was far too pleasing to my corrupt nature, and was of course followed by unhappiness. It seems I *am likely to stay another week.
27. Received some refreshment of spirit from prayer, and went on with a devout and steady desire to glorify God to the utmost. Met------, my fellow passenger.
As I once was, he appeared restless and unhappy for want of knowing God.
28. In a storm of thunder and lightning, I felt safe in the mercy of God, and rejoiced at this display of his greatness. Oh what a great God do sinners harden themselves against. Sat for my miniature to a female painter; during the whole time she disputed against religion. I answered all her arguments, and explained the gospel as well as I could.
29. Diligently employed all day, and was greatly assisted to get my work finished at night. The constant employment in Divine things to-day has tired my body but refreshed my soul. O what a pity it is that one vile earthly thought should come where spiritual and heavenly ones ought to be. I should like to be ever engaged in thinking of God and eternity. But soon shall I be in that world of spirits, I hope and trust with my soul swallowed up in the love and service of God. Amen.
30. (Sunday.) After breakfasting with------went down with him to Mitcham. Felt some pain at observing in him a tendency to laxity in certain points of doctrine. Preached at Mitcham church. Returning towards town in the evening we stopped at Clapham church, where, though the service was begun, Mr. Venn begged me so much to preach, that I did on 1 Cor. xxiii. 24. "We preach," &c. to a very attentive people. Mr. Wilber-force, Mr. H--and Mr. Thornton, &c. were there. Spent the rest of the evening with Mr. Wilberforce.
July 1. Came with Mr. Thornton to the Admiralty, Lord Barbara's, and took my leave. In my rooms read Jon. Edwards, and 1 Sam. chiefly till Corrie called. In the evening Corrie sat again with me and refreshed my heart by spiritual conversation. At night in prayer, my soul, with so much company and earthly work lately, was tired, yet longed seemingly above all things, to spend and to be spent for the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Corrie breakfasted with me. We conversed about the great work among the heathen. Read and prayed. I did little more than write to K. and sit for my miniature to the painter lady, who still repeated her infidel cavils, having nothing more to say in the way of argument, I thought it right to declare the threatenings of God, to those who reject his Gospel. Our conversation lasted for an hour and a half. Went to take coach for M-------, but being too late, walked to London bridge, where the sight of the shipping, as reminding me of my approaching departure, was very agreeable to me.
3. Exceedingly weak in body, and uneasy in mind. Felt the utmost reluctance to every exertion of either. Went down to M----in the coach. I could not bring myself to open my mouth at all, the exertion seemed so painful. I thought of Christ and the Samaritan woman, but sense of duty did not prevail. If these people are condemned at the day of judgment, and I were bid to see the consequences of neglecting to speak for their souls, how should I be overwhelmed with shame and confusion. God forgive me this sin. I-was kept idle and without communion with God; when I retired into a room to pray I was interrupted, and when I went into the garden I met with some of the walkers- However, the Lord heard one or two ejaculations, and assisted my soul to rise to the enjoyment of another world, yet not to that steady sobriety which long communion with God produces. In a solitary walk I had an opportunity of calling upon God. I see very plainly that firmness and dignity becomes a minister of the Gospel, and that a deep impression of divine things always tends to produce it in me. "Let your speech be always with grace seasoned with salt." "Let no man despise thee." At night, when the day is over, I generally feel roused to be fervent and animated in the service of Christ, and to be always a burning light.
4. Walked before breakfast in the grounds, in a sort of sorrowful solemnity, yet with much peace of mind. In the family worship took my leave of them in St. Paul's words, and "Now brethren, I commend you," &c. What a world would this be, if there were no God. Were not God the sovereign of the universe, how miserable should I be; but the Lord reigneth, let the earth be glad. And Christ's cause shall prevail. O my soul be happy in the prospect. As I sat this evening reflecting on my perfect health, and the enjoyment of every blessing, my base ingratitude for not loving and praising God, struck me very much. Thousands starving, thousands sick and forsaken, thousands groaning under the devil's bondage, and I here unthankful! My soul may almost burst with astonishment at its own wickedness, but at the same time trusting to mercy, I will rise and go and try to make men happy. The Lord God go with me. Let my right hand forget his cunning, if I remember not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7. (Sunday.) Too much employed about sermon, so as to have little time for reading and prayer before church. This produced some humiliation. Preached a farewell sermon at St. John's, on Acts xx. 32. to a large and attentive congregation. Drank tea at Mr. Cecil's. Read in the evening and received the benediction of many people. My mind has been distracted to-day. How little do people know what inward loneliness there is, with all this noise and bustle about my going abroad.
O that I could escape from the crowd and walk sweetly alone with God.
July 8 to 10. I begin another book of my Journal, but how doubtful is it, if I shall ever live to finish it!
I am now in my cabin, bound for India, soon to meet new dangers and trials; but happy is it for me that through the mercy of God I feel safe in his protection. The 8th I took leave of some friends, and sat for my picture to Russel for Bates; I left home about three o'clock in W. H------'s carriage, and reached Alton; the next day went to Midhurst, to visit Sargent; felt much sorrow at the thought of leaving such friends; rode back to Petersfield at night; though I was in good health a moment before, yet as I was undressing I fainted, and fell into a convulsive fit; I lost my senses for some time, and on recovering a little, found myself in intense pain. Death appeared near at hand, and seemed somewhat different and more terrible than I could have conceived before, not in its conclusion, but in itself. I felt assured of my safety in Christ. Slept very little that night from extreme debility. 10th, I went to Portsmouth, where we arrived to breakfast, and found friends from Cambridge. Went with my things on board the Union at the Motherbank. Mr. Simeon read and prayed in the afternoon, thinking I was to go on board for the last time, Mr. Simeon first prayed and then myself. On our way to the ship, we sung hymns. The time was exceedingly solemn, and our hearts seemed filled with solemn joy. I slept on board for the first time, but got little sleep, from a headache, and the various noises on board. Rose at four the next morning, in expectation of the return of my friends, but they did not come till late. I passed my time in thinking on Matt. v. 3. Went ashore with them to the Isle of Wight, and dined at St. John's, after which the party rode to see the grounds, and those of Sir Nash Grose. I endeavoured to have my mind right in all this. Slept on board.
14. (Sunday) Friends came on board early, I read and preached on Matt. v. 2--4. to the ship's company, passengers, soldiers, &c. Dined ashore. On our return in the evening, Mr. Simeon read and preached. I went ashore with them in the evening, much against my will, but was enlivened and refreshed in my spirit, as we sung hymns by moonlight on the water.
15. Mr. Simeon read 1 Peter i. and I prayed with some degree of solemnity. We walked to see the dockyard, and the hulks. I found no sort of amusement in it, because my heart was near to God.
Portsmouth, July 15, 1805.
MY DEAR COUSINS,
I went on board on Friday, expecting to sail immediately, but we have since been informed that government will not suffer us to depart till tidings shall have been received from Lord Nelson. I make haste therefore to request you will send me another letter, directed to me on board the Union, East Indiaman. Yesterday morning I read the service and preached on deck to the ship's crew. My text was Matt. v. 2--4. Every thing was conducted with the utmost decorum. Mr. Simeon preached to them in the evening. There was the utmost attention, and one of the officers was in tears. I have generally lived on board since my arrival, and find my cabin as comfortable as my room in college, but my numerous friends here from Cambridge and London are continually bringing me ashore. I am through mercy very well, but on the road down as I was undressing at night I fainted, fell into convulsions and lost my senses. The fit did not last long; it was brought on probably by fatigue of mind and body. But how frail is my life. I thought then that I was dying, but it pleases God to uphold me from day to day. May he also give me grace to devote myself anew to his service. God bless you, my beloved friends, remember me sometimes in your prayers.
I remain now as ever, affectionately yours,
16. The Commodore called at the inn to desire that all persons might be awaked, as the fleet would sail to-day, in consequence of which we went immediately after breakfast to the quay, to go aboard in the purser's boat; but after waiting five hours, Mr. Simeon took his last leave of me in the most affecting manner, and the rest accompanied me on board. My thoughts, as we rowed, were solemn, the levity of the people in the boat, and the swearing, (for others besides ourselves were in it,) depressed me; but the thought that the Lord Jesus was a friend with whom I could enjoy communion in every company was like a reviving cordial. My dear friends, after staying on board a few hours took their leave, not as if for the last time, except------, whose conversation at the last was not such as I wished it to be. The Lord help him to have right views of that truth he is seeking.
17. Early in the morning I was awakened by the signal gun from the commander of the convoy, Captain Byng, and found when I got up that we had weighed anchor from St. Helen's, and were now at the back of the Isle of Wight; so I had bid adieu to my dear friends for the last time. Most of the rest of the day I was so sick that I could neither read nor take any exercise, but I found comfort in fleeing to my only friend, now all others had left me; the Lord was very merciful to me in keeping my soul when I was so little able to use the means.
18. Rose still troubled with sickness; was obliged to pass the morning in the poop, able neither to walk nor read, but towards the middle of the day grew better. The weather was exceedingly fine. As we came off Plymouth to-day, I wished to pray for my dear cousins there, but could not venture to go to my cabin. However, after dinner read several chapters, and had a blessed season of prayer, in which I had something more of the presence of God than for a good while past. But I found it hard to realize divine things. I was more tried with desires after the world, than for two years past. The coast of Devonshire and Cornwall was passing before me. The memory of the beloved friends there was very strong and affecting; the" sea-sickness, and the smell of the ship, made me feel very miserable, and the prospect of leaving all the comforts and communion of saints in England, and to go forth to an unknown land, to endure such illness and misery with ungodly men for so many months, weighed heavy on my spirits. My heart was almost ready to break. I thought I was the most forlorn and forsaken creature upon earth, excluded from all hopes of happiness on this side the grave, so atheistical and blind was I. In prayer for some time I could not realize the same sort of thoughts I had when ashore, things appeared different. No sweet thoughts of the near approach of eternity and the presence of God; no animating prospect of a work of grace among the heathen; but human life seemed only a succession of miseries. By continual prayer with the word of God, my spirit became more serious and fervent. The example of Jesus and the saints, the vanity of the enjoyments which the children of God have even in England, and the melancholy state of the heathen, were the most powerful motives that suggested themselves. Was grieved to hear the captain swear: the surgeon I found by conversation to be a sort of religious man. Had some serious conversation with one of the cadets, and afterwards in the cabin. A cutter from Cowes came alongside, and brought Mr. Simeon's present of Bibles and other things.
19. In prayer after breakfast, my soul gained something in spirituality. Little done this morning, and partly on account of the interest with which I watched the shore, as it appeared more and more. Carnmath first caught my eye, and led me to think of my dear sister particularly; then the Lizard. As we were at dinner, the ship came round St. Anthony's, and soon after we came to anchor off Falmouth. The Diana coming in soon after, ran aground, and hoisted the union midway up the main mast, as a signal of distress. Three others also of our ships ran aground, but got off; one ran foul of the Commodore, and carried away his jib-boom. In the midst of all this we were mercifully preserved; but our captain, to my great grief, swore repeatedly on account of the great danger of bringing so many ships to so small a place. I was affected almost to tears, at being so disappointed in him, but did not think it expedient in the hurry to tell him of it. May God convince him of his sin when I shall speak to him, or before. Passed the afternoon writing to all my friends round about, desiring them to come and see me. I seemed to be entirely at home, the scene about me was so familiar, and my friends so near. I was rather flurried at the singularity of this providence of God, in thus leading me once more to the bosom of all my friends: may the Lord glorify himself in this and every other dispensation; found myself after tea in a happy frame of mind. For the first time I had forgot health, and ease of body, since I have been at sea. I walked on deck, endeavouring to think on these words, "To me to live is Christ," and found my mind easily fixing on heavenly things, notwithstanding all the noise and confusion. The evening is a time of great idleness and noise on board, all are talking and laughing. The soldiers doing nothing but jeering one another, and swearing. The passengers lounging about, or sitting on chairs under the poop, the drums and fifes constantly playing. Mr. Kearie joined me, so that I had not long to meditate, but endeavoured to assist him to the best of my power in his Christian course. My ears are constantly assailed and shocked by the most horrid oaths, and I see no method of putting a stop to it, except by perseverance and preaching the gospel to them. Outward restrictions would do little if they could be applied; but as the captain and the commanding officers on board sanction it by their own example, no attempt can be made in that way; the Lord give me compassion for their souls.
20. Read some of Whitfield's Journal, and found it a greater spur than any I have received a long time. A young man only twenty-three preaching the gospel to crowded congregations in London, and then going to Georgia. I have thought with exceeding tenderness of Lydia to-day; how I long to see her, but if it be the Lord's will, he will open a way. I shall not take any steps to produce a meeting. Was sensible of an instance of pride to-day, in being ashamed of being seen by the ship's passengers, in company with one of the children of God, who appeared a mean person; but there is nothing too contemptible for me to conceive in my heart. May I be humbled on account of this sin.
Falmouth, July 20, 1805.
MY DEAR COUSIN,
We sailed from St. Helen's at day-break last Wednesday morning, and to my no small surprise, I found we were bound to Falmouth. After a pleasant passage down the channel, we came to in this harbour yesterday evening, and are ordered to continue till accounts shall be received of the combined fleets. You will easily conceive my feelings at being thus brought once again to my friends; what the design of God is in this providence, I am at a loss to understand. May it be for the mutual establishment and comfort both of them and me. * * * On passing Plymouth, we were too far from the shore to distinguish the houses. I tried my spy-glass in vain, it would not bring you nearer, but my heart was with you, and I retired to my cabin to pray for you both. * * * You will have time now, I think, to send me a letter, and I need not assure you how acceptable it will be. I have sent a short letter to my cousin at Marazion. How happy should I be if she should be able to come part of the way to Falmouth to see me. But I pray that my heart may not again rove in pursuit of earthly comfort, and so subject me to new affliction.
I remain, &c.
21. (Thursday.) Had some fervour this morning in praying for zeal: on account of the rain, the captain said it was inconvenient to have divine service in the morning, so I went ashore as soon as I could, and arrived just in time to hear the latter part of the sermon, "On the excellency and knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord." In the afternoon I preached at Falmouth church, on the jailor; the Lord assisted me beyond all my fears. Immediately after, I went on board, and preached on "The faithful saying," with more love in my heart, than I ever yet enjoyed in preaching. The general attention was very striking. Most of the cadets and officers went on shore. Lent some of the tracts to-day, and one Testament. God has been exceedingly gracious and merciful to me this day. Oh, may I be more thankful, and devote myself more unreservedly to his blessed service. I am still thinking with exceeding tenderness of Lydia, and have been strongly induced to go to her, but I dare not; let the Lord open the way, if it is his will.
22. Another idle day; oh, how great is the sum of my mis-spent hours, when every moment ought to be charged with important work. After much deliberation, and waiting till the evening mail came in, and calling on the Commodore, I determined to go to Marazion on the morrow. Went to bed with much thought about the step I was going to take, and prayed that if it was not the will of God it might be prevented. Early on the 25th went in the mail to Marazion; all the way I was speaking to the two coachmen, and thought they were much affected. I arrived at Marazion in time for breakfast, and met my beloved Lydia. In the course of the morning I walked with her, though not uninterruptedly; with much confusion I declared my affection for her, with the intention of learning whether, if ever I saw it right in India to be married, she would come out; but she would not declare her sentiments, she said that the shortness of arrangement was an obstacle, even if all others were removed. In great tumult I walked up to St. Hilary, whence, after dining, I returned to Mr. Grenfell's, but on account of the number of persons there, I had not an opportunity of being alone with Lydia. Went back to Falmouth with G. I was more disposed to talk of Lydia all the way, but roused myself to a sense of my duty, and addressed him on the subject of religion. The next day I was exceedingly melancholy at what had taken place between Lydia and myself, and at the thought of being separated from her. I could not bring myself to believe that God had settled the whole matter, because I was not willing to believe it. The day after being Saturday, I was employed diligently in preparing for to-morrow, and my mind was less the subject of distracting thoughts.
TO MISS LYDIA GRENFELL, MARAZION.
July 27, 1805. Union, Falmouth Harbour.
* * * As I was coming on board this morning, and reading Mr. Serle's Hymn you wrote out for me, a sudden gust of wind blew it into the sea. I made the boatmen immediately heave to, and recovered it, happily without any injury except what it had received from the sea. I should have told you that the Morning Hymn, which I always kept carefully in my pocket-book, was one day stolen with it, and other valuable letters, from my rooms in college. It would be extremely gratifying to me to possess another copy of it, as it always reminded me most forcibly of the happy day, on which we visited the aged saint. The fleet, it is said, will not sail for three weeks, but if you are willing to employ any of your time in providing me with this or any other MS. hymns, the sooner you write them, the more certain I shall be of receiving them. Pardon me for thus intruding on your time; you will in no wise lose your reward. The encouragement conveyed in little compositions of this sort is more refreshing than a cup of cold water. The Lord of the harvest who is sending forth me, who am most truly less than the least of all saints, will reward you for being willing to help forward even the meanest of his servants. The love which you bear to the cause of Christ, as well as motives of private friendship, will, I trust, induce you to commend me to God, and to the word of his grace, at those sacred moments when you approach the throne of our covenant God. To his gracious care I commend you.. May you long live happy and holy, daily growing more meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. I remain with affectionate regard,
Your's most truly,
28. (Sunday.) Preached in the morning, on hoard, on John iii. 3. In the afternoon at Falmouth church, on 1 Cor. i. 20--26.
29. My gloom returned. Walked to Lamorran; alternately repining at my dispensation, and giving it up to the Lord. Sometimes, after thinking of Lydia for a long time together, so as to feel almost outrageous at being deprived of her, my soul would feel its guilt and flee again to God. I was much relieved at intervals by learning the hymn, 'The God of Abram praise.'
To MRS. H--.
The consequence of my Marazion journey is, that I am enveloped in gloom; but past experience assures me it will be removed. I have taken every step that I conceive right, and now I leave the whole matter with the Lord. May he give me grace to turn cheerfully to my proper work and business, in respect of which all others sink into comparative insignificance. If she would prove a real blessing, it is not for me to complain of God, or of her, that she is withheld. * * * With the assurance of his love, I know that all things work together for good, and with this I may be satisfied; yet nature mourns, restless at being contradicted. Another consequence of my journey is, that I love Lydia more than ever.
30. Dined at Mr. H------'s, and walked in the evening with his daughters. Then visited a sick man, and prayed with him. Waited afterwards, in great fatigue of body, and almost stupid with agitation of mind, expecting to go on board for the last time; but no boat coming, I went back to Mr. R.'s, about midnight, and slept a little; the prayer at night was a little relief. I lay down in the enjoyment of the consolations of Jesus, but rose very early at the sound of the signal guns, as miserable as ever.
31. Went on board this morning in extreme anguish. I could not help saying, Lord, it is not a sinful attachment in itself, and therefore I may commune more freely with thee about it. I sought for hymns suitable to my case, but none did sufficiently; most complained of spiritual distress, but mine was not from any doubt of God's favour, for I felt no doubt of that; but in the afternoon, it pleased God to give me a holy and blessed season in prayer, in which my soul recovered much of its wonted peace, and began to turn with more relish to spiritual things. In the afternoon went ashore in the hopes of finding a letter, but there was none, nor did I see any of my friends. Left England as I suppose for the last time, with somewhat less horror than in the morning, but still not without much grief. Prayer, again, was a rich and comfortable ordinance, still my heart is sore and in pain.
Aug. 1. Rose in great anguish of mind, but prayer relieved me a little. The wind continuing foul, I went ashore after breakfast; but before this, sat down to write to Lydia, hoping to relieve the burden of my mind. I wrote in great turbulence, but in a little time my tumult unaccountably subsided, and I enjoyed a peace to which I have been for some time a stranger. I felt exceedingly willing to leave her, and to go on my way rejoicing. I could not account for this except by ascribing it to the gracious influence of God. The first few Psalms were exceedingly comfortable to me. Received a letter this evening from E-------, and received it as from God; I was animated before, but this added tenfold encouragement. She warned me, from experience, of the carefulness it would bring upon me; but spoke with such sympathy and tenderness, that my heart was quite refreshed. I bowed my knees to bless and adore God for it, and devoted myself anew to his beloved service. Went on board at night, the sea ran high, but I felt a sweet tranquillity in Him who stilleth the raging of the sea. I was delighted to find that the Lascars understood me perfectly when I spoke to them a sentence or two in Hindoostanee. I asked them if they knew who Jesus Christ was? They said, No. I told them he came into the world to save sinners: they smiled among one another, saying, Neha, neha,--well, well.
2. Continued on board all day, expecting to sail every hour. Unbelieving and dejected at rising; but obtained refreshment by prayer. My soul, though a little sorrowful, yet was impressed with holy solemnity, while walking up and down the poop repeating hymns. Talked a good deal to the sentry there. In the afternoon, read Edwards's Sermons, learnt Hindoostanee roots, and tried to converse a little with the Lascars. Talked a great deal with Ensign B------, and Major D------, on religion, the former seems exceedingly opposed, the latter very different. My time passes happily with God; I have no other companion.
3. Rose with rather greater tranquillity, but my feelings before prayer are a striking evidence to myself of my natural corruption. How miserable and restless should I be without the powerful Spirit of God restoring and encouraging me. Lost much time by being called out incessantly by the various signals and reports about sailing. Endeavoured to pass my time at intervals in reading and prayer. After a signal made by the Commodore for all the Captains to come on board of him, we learnt that we were to wait the motions of the Brest fleet, as we might be of use in assisting against them. In consequence every man's station was appointed in case of battle; mine is with the surgeons in the cockpit. I feel so indifferent whether death or life awaits me, that I have no fear at being exposed upon deck. One of the soldiers asked me this morning for a book, and I gave him a Testament, several tracts, and a hymn-book, and a book of prayers. Gave the Captain a tract on swearing; had a long conversation with a company's surgeon on the Madras establishment, who said he committed no sin at all. Continued to have happy seasons of prayer, especially after every meal. A soldier, to-day, fell down the fore hatch-way, and was let blood; he was too ill to be spoken to, but by going to see him, I had an opportunity of being amongst the women, and found I should be easily able to read to them, without being disturbed, as they were about the middle of the ship, directly under the main hatch-way. B. put a letter into my hand written by himself, describing with much simple propriety, his spiritual circumstances, of which he could find no opportunity of speaking immediately to me, on account of the crowded state of the ship. Walked on the poop this evening, enjoying the serenity of the weather; heard the carpenter's mate complaining he had never yet known what it was to be happy. I pointed out to him the path of life, in which he would soon be happy; I told him, moreover, that I should wish to talk with him more hereafter upon the subject, of which he said he should be glad. The attention of the ship seems all alive at the unexpected prospect of being engaged in battle, but I felt very little concerned indeed. In the midst of the bustle, I found a sort of melancholy pleasure in repeating the hymn, 'The God of Abram praise,' &c. Heard that B. generally began to swear after divine service, at my keeping them so long. I have scarcely seen one more determinately set against all holiness. Yet even this man may be the first to melt when God puts forth his hand. At night, after supper, at which I was not per-sent, they began to sing songs, to my no small annoyance. Their mistaken efforts after happiness excited my compassion in a little degree: but I want more zeal and love to souls. In every prayer I see occasion to cry to God to rouse me to earnestness and fervour. The example of Whitfield has been made of great use to me in this respect. I want, when I walk the deck, to have my heart melted at the sight of so many poor sheep all going astray.
4. (Sunday.) Very heavy. Preached on 2 Cor. v. 20, 21. with more life than I expected. I waited on board the rest of the day, to be at hand if there should be evening service; but towards night it blew a heavy squall to the south, attended with rain. I was in great dejection, but the 2nd of Micah was much blest to me. I rejoiced with great joy at the prospect of the future happiness and peace of the church;--I shall never see it upon earth. But if it shall take place here!--much more in heaven. From the violence of the gale every part of the ship was in confusion, by their using the necessary precautions, so that I went below to the soldiers' berths, in hopes of being able to read to them,--I found it impossible. Conversed with Corporal B. The poor man was in very low spirits; but I tried to revive him, and by so doing refreshed myself. We stood together at the main hatchway looking wistfully at the raging sea, and sighed at thinking of the happy societies of God's people, who were now joining in sweet communion together, in public worship. The ship is a melancholy sight on the Sabbath. They read all manner of things on deck immediately before service; and directly after turn to the same sort of employment. I am in some hopes that swearing does not abound quite so much.
5. For want of sleep in the night, rose unrefreshed. Very dull in prayer for a time, but by taking the Bible itself before me, my soul was enabled to spread its wants more freely. Went ashore. Walked to Pendennis garrison; enjoyed some happy reflections as I sat on one of the ramparts looking at the ships and sea. But could not help feeling my own depravity, that with so much to call forth continual praise and prayer, I should forget God so easily, and be so slowly induced to seek after him. The Lascars, who brought us ashore, seemed so interesting in their countenances and manner, that I longed to know the language, so as to preach the gospel to them, and looked forward with great pleasure to living among them. Dined at-------, and after dinner, enjoyed nearness to God in prayer. Called afterwards on Miss D. an aged saint, and then went on board.
Falmouth, Aug. 5, 1805.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
After the many farewels you have received from me, you are surprised, though not, I am willing to hope, displeased, at hearing once more from me. Immediately after my last letter I went on board, supposing that by this time we should be many leagues at sea; but the wind veered, and blew strong from the S. and S. W. the whole week till Saturday, when the Commodore, in consequence of an express he had received, sent for all the Captains in the fleet, to inform them that government wished to muster all the effective force in the channel, to oppose the Brest fleet, which it was supposed would be soon out. The delay occasioned by this new order is unlimited, and occasions much discontent in the fleet; but I find continual satisfaction in recurring to the first Great Cause of all these events--only I sometimes doubt whether it is ever destined for me to visit the shores of India. The belief generally prevails amongst us that the troops on board are intended to co-operate in taking the Cape of Good Hope; and that we are to wait off Ireland to join another fleet. These reports have set the minds of our young men afloat; and I cannot walk the deck without interfering with knots of consulting politicians; my own mind is not much disturbed with speculation on human events at this time. I find the words of that hymn which I have met with in your little book far more in unison with my feelings,
'From earth I rise,
And seek the joys
At his right hand:
I all on earth forsake;
Its wisdom, fame and power,
And Him my only portion make,
My shield and tower.'
I have little expectation of finding a letter from Stoke to-night, though wishes often become expectations. I am afraid of troubling you by requesting such frequent letters from you both, but the opportunities will soon cease. I never forget to remember you twice a day in my prayers. Do you kindly continue your occasional intercessions for your unworthy brother and fellow-labourer in the gospel.
I remain with affectionate regard,
Your's in our blessed Lord,
6 to 10. I am now at sea in a melancholy state of body and mind. The 6th I passed on shore writing letters. Meeting with Mr. T. I walked with him, and endeavoured to explain the system of divine truth. Dined at Mr. H.'s. My mind was in general in a very cold state, indisposed for spiritual conversation. In the evening the whole family walked. I was in the walk a little elevated in my thoughts, and as I stood on the shore near the Swan-pool, looked forward with delight to passing the great deep for the sake of the poor heathen. 7th, Preached at Falmouth church on Psalm iii. 1. with much comfort; after church set off to walk to St. Hilary. Reached Hilaton in three hours in extraordinary spirits. The joy of my soul was very great. Every object around me called forth praise and gratitude to God. Perhaps it might have been joy at the prospect of seeing Lydia, but I asked myself at the time, whether out of love to God, I was willing to turn back and see her no more. I persuaded myself that I could. But perhaps had I been put to the trial, it would have been otherwise. I arrived safe at St. Hilary, and passed the evening agreeably with R------. 8th.
Enjoyed much of the presence of God in morning prayer. The morning passed profitably in writing on Heb. ii. 3. My soul seemed to breathe seriously after God. Walked down with R. to Gurlyn to call on Lydia. She was not at home when we called, so I walked out to meet her. When I met her coming up the hill, I was almost induced to believe her more interested about me than I had conceived. Went away in the expectation of visiting her frequently, but on our return to St. Hilary, I found an express for me from Falmouth, with notice that orders had arrived for the fleet's sailing. So I returned in the mail to Falmouth, in no small disappointment; and yet much pleased and satisfied with the discovery which I thought I had made this morning. My mind was so full of it, that I made no effort to speak to the coachman and others on divine things; what I said was to little purpose, I thought at the time, it was the last opportunity I should ever have with them, and yet I could not overcome my reluctance to speak. O may I tremble for the future to indulge such sinful neglects.
9th. Found this morning, that orders, had been received last night for the detention of the fleet, on account of the Rochefort squadrons being out. In consequence of which, I set off again for St. Hilary, though not without some hesitation. Walked to Polkerris, in the rain, about eight miles, with my mind very uneasy, lest I was not in the way of duty. Met with a blind old man standing under a tree, with whom I had a very interesting conversation. I was quite melted into tears at finding such a subject of the Spirit of God in such a wilderness; at Polkerris I waited for R. from St. Hilary, in a house, and had much spiritual conversation with the old people. Rode on Richard's horse to St. Hilary; called on my way at Gurlyn. My mind not in peace; at night in prayer, my soul was much overwhelmed with fear, which caused me to approach God in fervent petition, that he would make me perfectly upright, and my walk consistent with the high character I am called to assume.
10. Rose very early, with uneasiness increased by seeing the wind northerly; walked away at seven to Gatzyn, feeling little or no pleasure at the thought of seeing Lydia , apprehension about the sailing of the fleet, made me dreadfully uneasy; was with Lydia a short time before breakfast; afterwards I read the 10th Psalm, with Home's Commentary, to her and her mother; she was then just putting into my hand the 10th of Genesis to read, when a servant came in, and said a horse was come for me from St. Hilary, where a carriage was waiting to convey me to Falmouth. All my painful presentiments were thus realized, and it came upon me like a thunderbolt. Lydia was evidently painfully affected by it, she came out, that we might be alone at taking leave, and I then told her, that if it should appear to be God's will that I should be married, she must not be offended at receiving a letter from me. In the great hurry she discovered more of her mind than she intended; she made no objection whatever to coming out. Thinking, perhaps, I wished to make an engagement with her, she said we had better go quite free; with this I left her, not knowing yet for what purpose I have been permitted, by an unexpected providence, to enjoy these interviews. I galloped back to St. Hilary, and instantly got into a chaise with Mr. R. who had been awaked by the signal gun at five in the morning, and had come for me. At Hildon I got a horse, with which I rode to Falmouth, meeting on the road another express sent after me by R------. I arrived about twelve, and instantly went on board; almost all the other ships were under weigh, but the Union had got entangled in the chains. The Commodore expressed his anger as he passed, at this delay, but I blessed the Lord, who had thus saved his poor creature from shame and trouble. How delusive are schemes of pleasure; at nine in the morning I was sitting at ease, with the person dearest to me on earth, intending to go out with her afterwards to see the different views, to visit some persons with her, and to preach on the morrow; four hours only elapsed, and I was under sail from England! The anxiety to get on board, and the joy I felt at not being left behind, absorbed other sorrowful considerations for a time; wrote several letters as soon as I was on board.
When I was left a little at leisure, my spirits began to sink; yet how backward was I to draw near to my God. I found relief occasionally, yet still was slow to fly to this refuge of my weary soul. Was meditating on a subject for to-morrow. As more of the land gradually appeared behind the Lizard, I watched with my spyglass for the mound, but in consequence of lying to for the purser, and thus dropping astern of the fleet, night came on before we weathered the point. Oh, let not my soul be deceived and distracted by these foolish vanities, but now that I am actually embarked in Christ's cause, let a peculiar unction rest upon my soul, to wean me from the world, and to inspire me with ardent zeal for the good of souls.
Union, Falmouth, August 10, 1805.
MY DEAR MISS LYDIA,
It will perhaps be some satisfaction to yourself and your mother, to know that I was in time. Our ship was entangled in the chain, and was by that means the only one not under weigh when I arrived. It seems that most of the people on board had given me up, and did not mean to wait for me. I cannot but feel sensibly this instance of divine mercy in thus preserving me from the great trouble that would have attended the loss of my passage. Mount's Bay will soon be in sight, and recal you all once more to my affectionate remembrance. * * * * * I bid you a long Farewell. God ever bless you, and help you sometimes to intercede for me.
Union, August 10, 1805.
MY DEAREST COUSIN,
We are at last under sail, the pilot will carry back my last farewell to you. This morning at nine o'clock, I had just finished reading 'Horne on the Psalms,' to Lydia and your mother at Gurlyn, when a messenger from St. Hilary brought an account of an express from Falmouth; how delusive are our schemes of delight. It was but yesterday that I went to St. Hilary; this morning after breakfast, Lydia and myself were to have taken a walk to view the grounds, and then to have gone to T-------; then to-morrow I was to have preached at St. Hilary and Marazion, but four hours only have elapsed, and the shores of England are receding from my sight. But I bless God for having sent the fleet into Falmouth; I go with far greater contentment and peace than when I left Portsmouth; the Lord will do all things well, and with him I cheerfully leave the management of this and every other affair for time and eternity through Jesus Christ. And now with gratitude to you for your kind counsel and sympathizing affection, I bid you once more adieu. May God bless my dear brother in his ministry, and bless you both in your family and in your own souls; this is my daily prayer, and will continue to be so. Pray that a more peculiar unction may be vouchsafed to me, now that I am actually embarked in the cause of Christ, and that I may not go forth in vain. May the Lord prosper his word in the thing whereunto he sends it. It will be a bitter disappointment if I do not receive letters from you both by the next fleet. I have not a moment more. I subscribe my name for the last time in England.
Your's with everlasting affection,
11. (Sunday.) Rose dejected in spirit. (Vide Memoir.) In conversation with the captain, I learnt that we were to have service only once a day at sea; I could not conceal my chagrin, and he assigned as the reason, that the men who had to keep watch in the night, were obliged to take rest in the evening. My chief hopes of a change in the ship, must, under God, depend on private exhortation and reading among the soldiers and sailors. Had a little conversation with the Italians, in French, and lent one a French Testament; he was a Roman Catholic, very ignorant, worshipped images, and the Virgin Mary, he said, but would not use auricular confession.
12. A day of the most severe trial to me; was vomiting all the morning, this rendered me incapable of removing by prayer or reading, the dreadful gloom that hung upon my mind: not a ray of pleasure or even hope appeared in any quarter. England had disappeared, and with it all my peace; the memory of Lydia, and all the dear Christian friends in England, cut me to the heart every moment. Every wave produced vertigo and sickness in the body, and what was more painful, bore me farther and farther from Lydia: towards evening found it best to stand upon deck, looking at the waves, and the other ships in the fleet: the beauties of the setting sun, though it tinged the sky with those colours which have often delighted me on shore, had no longer any power to charm me. I found a short relief at intervals, in thinking of the realms of glory, which I hoped I should one day see, and be free from sickness and sorrow, but faith was not in lively exercise. The pains of memory were all that I felt. Till bed-time I passed the hours away with reading some of the most sorrowful Psalms, and those hymns which were most suitable to me. I was almost the whole day engaged in ejaculatory prayer to God, but it was without power. Kneeling brought on retching immediately. No thoughts, but those of God's tenderest love and kindness could I have borne. Would you go back, I said, and leave the poor heathen to perish, now that they are, as it were, looking out with anxious expectation for glad tidings of eternal joy? Oh no, but how can I be supported? I now find by experience, that I am weak as water. My faith fails, nothing seems destined for me now, but to drag on a miserable existence. Oh, my dear friends in England, while in the midst of health, and joy, and hope, what an imperfect idea did we form of the sufferings by which it must be accomplished! Throughout the whole of this day, the want of Christian society, or of any friend with whom I could converse, made me scarcely doubt of sending for Lydia, immediately on my arrival in India. I almost think I should before that, only that I may perhaps never arrive; and besides, I am determined by the help of God to give it a fair trial, and learn his will more perfectly. We continued steering for Cork, within a few points of the wind, in consequence of which we made little head-way, though, the breeze was very fresh. Went to bed very sick.
13. Rose much better, had a most comfortable season in prayer for an hour after breakfast, and passed the remainder of the morning in thinking on Psalm 1. 21. Went about among the soldiers in the afternoon, according to my plan, but found no opportunity of speaking to them. After tea, I again sought some means of speaking to the soldiers, but finding none, I betook myself to prayer, in which my own lukewarmness was made to appear to me so shameful, that I determined if possible, to do something for them: but again found none at leisure, except the gunner's mate and the Italian to whom I had given the Testament. Afterwards on the poop with Major D------and M'K------, the question, what would become of the heathen, was proposed to me. In the dispute, I was assisted to declare the way of salvation clearly; the subject was made very useful to myself, blessed be God! I saw very plainly what was the state of the heathen world, and looked forward with hope and joy to the work of preaching among the eastern nations, the everlasting gospel of the blessed God. All earthly things seemed to die away in insignificance. At night M'K------came into my cabin, to combat what I had said about the heathen, and to inquire also what Scripture had really declared. I was grieved before at the unsoundness of his views in many respects, but to-night was led to entertain better hopes of him, from the teachableness and submission to Scripture he manifested. To all his questions and objections, the Lord provided me a ready answer. The officers and others, he told me, did nothing but make objections to my sermons: I was fearful my manner had been offensive, but he said it was the doctrine, Went to bed almost as if for the last time, so near did death and eternity appear. Came in sight of Ireland this evening.
14. Had again this morning much enjoyment in private prayer, but the time afterwards was interrupted by the confusion of coming into harbour; and I was scarcely at all alone in my cabin. Came to anchor in the Cove of Cork about noon. In the afternoon was blessed with much comfort in prayer. Visited a corporal who had been sick a good while, he seemed in real concern about his soul. Sat some time with the seamen, and heard one of them read Isaiah Iv. Gave some bibles and tracts. Lost much of the peace and comfort I had enjoyed, by not praying in the course of the evening, by being in such company as that of the mess room, and by W. H. lounging with me at night in the cabin. I must alter my hours somehow in order to gain time.
Cork Harbour, Aug. 19, 1805.
MY DEAREST COUSIN,
I hasten to send you a few lines, in the hope of receiving one more letter from you before I leave this part of the world. No one in the fleet knew of our destination to Ireland till the Commodore opened his sealed dispatches off the Lizard, or I should have desired you to direct to me there. We continued our course the Saturday on which I wrote to you, and on the Sunday morning were becalmed in Mount's Bay. It was a melancholy pleasure to have one more view of the Mount, Marazion, and St. Hilary, all which I could see with the glass very well, though not distinctly with the naked eye. My heart was very full, as you may suppose. I would have given any thing to have been ashore preaching at Marazion or St. Hilary, where I was probably expected. I took for my text Heb. xi. 16. "But now they desire a better country, that is a heavenly, wherefore God," &c. The text was not very suitable to them, but it was quite so to me. The beloved objects were still in sight, and Lydia I knew was about that time at St. Hilary, but every wave bore me farther and farther from them. I introduced what I had to say by observing that we had now bid adieu to England, and its shores were dying away from the view. The female part of my audience were much affected, but I do not know that any were induced to seek the better country. The Mount continued in sight till five o'clock, when it disappeared behind the western boundary of the bay. Amidst the extreme gloom of my mind this day I found great comfort in interceding earnestly for my beloved friends all over England. If you have heard from Marazion since Sunday I should be curious to know whether the fleet was observed passing. Whether it was or not I am very sure that more persons than one were praying for its preservation. Monday, the day after, was a day of most severe trial to me. It began to blow fresh in the morning, in consequence of which all the passengers were ill. I was thus rendered incapable of removing by persevering prayer the dreadful gloom that hung upon my mind; not a ray of comfort or life appeared in any quarter. We had lost sight of the land in the night, and with it I seemed to have lost all the sources of happiness. O this ensnaring world! What but the Almighty power of God can effectually wean us from it! I slumbered away the afternoon in darkness and stupidity, scarcely sensible of any thing but the pains of memory; but reviving a little at night I was refreshed by reading some of the Psalms, and your hymns. No thoughts but those of God's covenant love and everlasting kindness would at all suit me. In such passages as these, "Why sayest thou, O Jacob," &c. I found strong consolation. I believed I should utterly have fainted, but that I was enabled to say in faith, "Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy, when I fall I shall arise; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me." Throughout the whole of the day the want of Christian society, or of any friend with whom I could converse, made me scarcely doubt of the necessity of applying to Lydia immediately on my arrival in India. But I am determined by the help of God to give the matter a fair trial. I hope I shall never request her to make such a sacrifice merely for my personal relief, except so far as that may tend to promote the kingdom of God. Yesterday and to-day my sickness is removed, and my peace restored. God fulfils his promises to me in a marvellous manner. "As thy days so shall thy strength be." He is a friend very near to me, now that all others are far from me, and refreshes my soul with long and happy seasons of prayer. He makes the great business of my ministry to be now uppermost in mind. O let the Eastern nations at last emerge from their darkness, and let these my poor wretched countrymen who sail with me, and whom I see under the power of Satan, be turned away from their sin and enmity to God! The more I see of the world, the more deeply I am struck with the truth and excellency of the blessed Gospel. O the transcendent privilege of being enlightened by the knowledge of it. I have now free access among the soldiers and sailors, and pray that some may be awakened to a serious concern for their souls. We have a Venetian on board who speaks French; to him I have been preaching the Gospel in that language. I have given him a French Testament. Tracts and bibles I have dispersed in numbers. Yesterday Ireland came in sight, and to-day we came to anchor in the Cove of Cork. We are now in the midst of a vast number of transports filled with troops. It is now certain from our coming here that we are to join in some expedition, probably the Cape of Good Hope, or the Brazils; any where so long as the Lord goes with me. If it should please God to send me another letter from you, which I scarcely dare hope, do not forget to tell me as much as you can about Lydia. I cannot write to her, or I should find the greatest relief and pleasure even in transmitting upon paper the assurances of my tenderest love. And with respect to yourself, my dear Cousin, I cannot but be deeply anxious, considering the very long period that must elapse before I can hear again of you. I could have wished to have left you in more established health, but I must rest contented with the happy assurance of your being under the care of a gracious God and reconciled Father in Christ, who will in his own time call you to your high reward. And now I reluctantly conclude, commending you both to God, and to the word of his grace. Amen.
15. Went ashore and walked to Cork, about eight miles up; on the road I joined two Serjeants of the 25th light dragoons, and was speaking to them on divine things, when Mr. K. came up, and with him I was obliged to walk the remainder of the way, with very unprofitable conversation. Continued at a coffee-house in Cork the remainder of the day, unable to converse for want of communion with God. Wrote a letter to Mr. Simeon, and that was of use in fixing my mind a good while on the things of another world. One object in going to Cork, was to see if any pulpit might be procured for Sunday; but the persons of whom I sought information happened to be all Roman Catholics, who could tell me nothing more than that there were seven Protestant churches, and about the same number of Roman Catholic. At night I turned as usual to the bible, and found it quickening to my soul. In prayer had an awful impression of my own unprofitableness, and of the shortness of time.
16. After a disturbed night, in which vain fancy pained me with thoughts of Lydia, I rose with my mind also hankering after this world, as I was afraid it would be. Going forth in God's service appeared more desirable than any thing else. Laid out a good deal of money in books. Walked out of Cork alone, sorrowful at not having been of any spiritual good to a single individual in it.
17. After a happy season in prayer after breakfast, began writing a sermon, which employed me all the day after. Rowed ashore for exercise. My mind seemed made up to a long and continued course of opposition to the flesh. Came on board. Attempted several times to have some conversation with the soldiers, but they were so full of preparations for a review, that I could find no opportunity.
18. (Sunday.) No service in the morning in consequence of rain, but from the time I got up till the middle of the day, I enjoyed more peace and spiritual joy, than I have since I begun the voyage. I recollected it was the first Sunday my friends knew of my being at sea. Oh, there were many prayers ascending for me. Read the psalms of praise with a happy sense of God's love. Found it still in vain to get at the soldiers, in the midst of their bustle of preparation for a drill previous to their review. While they were drilled on deck, I walked on the poop, my soul in general expanding with love, in recollecting the society of the children of God, with whom I felt sweet communion of Spirit. Talked to the quarter-master, but he did not seem to receive what I had to say; another seaman continues to read the bible daily which I gave him a few days ago; I asked him if he understood it: the tears ran down his cheeks, while we conversed on religion: on asking him, whether he did not sin against God daily, he was quick to confess that he did. His soul seemed to be very tender, serious, and humble, and I left him in comfortable hope. Went below decks, but the confusion was greater than ever; reproved a corporal and a sentry for swearing. I observed evident marks of contempt. There was a quarrel amongst the soldiers and sailors, one of the former who was stripped for fighting, I went up to; they all gave great deference, and the tumult subsided for awhile, but I feel a coward heart in such circumstances. In a season of prayer at this time, I was stirred up to pray fervently for zeal in the different offices of my ministry. I saw that I ought to give my whole strength in preaching. I consider it as an awful occasion in which I should labour mightily. Mr. K. was going on a party of pleasure, with some of the passengers, but I convinced him of the sinfulness of it, and so he staid. At half after five we had service, I preached on Psalm iv. 21, 22. There were not many passengers present, but the profoundest attention in those that were.
19. Had again a long and blessed season in prayer. (Vide Memoir.) Visited the soldiers, &c. between decks, and began the Pilgrim's Progress with a party of soldiers and their wives, promising to continue it.
20. God visited me again in prayer, my soul wrestled for the continuance of the spirit of adoption; I felt angry with myself, and grieved that I should ever walk so carelessly, and so faithlessly, as to bring guilt upon my conscience. In the afternoon, finding no opportunity of going below, I looked into a review, and was led on, by one thing after another in the book, to delay prayer and further exertions among the people; detestable curiosity about the impertinent subjects of literature has often given a severe wound to my peace. After tea, again went to see if I could read to the people, but saw, or fancied I saw, they were in too great confusion, from stowing casks, to attend to me.
21. The same enjoyment of morning prayer. By Mr. K. lounging with me, I was very inconveniently deprived of most of the morning. Continued the Colossians, thought on my sermon, but in a very desultory way. After dinner, read one of Hannah More's tracts to the people, and talked to them about swearing. The evening slipped away in an unprofitable manner; I began it indeed with a solemn season of prayer, in which I strove to realize the certainty of my death; perhaps it is very near. I felt pleasure in the prospect.
22. Had a most blessed enjoyment of the Divine presence in prayer this morning, in which I found not that tendency to be puffed up at the discoveries made to me as in former days, but my soul seemed filled with love, and willing self-abasement. "My cup runneth over;" I almost ventured to think, "truly mercy and goodness shall follow me all the days of my life; "but oh, how little do I deserve the manifestations of God's love! I ought to have served him better for his goodness to me. Went on board the Ann, in order to convey some books to Mr. B. which, however, I did not do; I unhappily chose a most improper time for my visit, as the ship had just been in a state of mutiny. The soldiers on board, exasperated at the treatment of the officers, had resolved a night or two before, to kill the sentinels, and then to murder the captain and officers; when they were detected, a scuffle ensued, the men pointed one of the great guns toward the quarter-deck, but they were overcome, and nine of the ringleaders put in irons; a court martial was sitting on them when I came on board. Mr. T.'s situation appeared so dreadful, that I returned to the Union, as to a kind family of friends, thankful to God for his mercy in ordering my lot to fall in pleasanter places. The remainder of the morning I walked the deck for exercise, and had some useful conversation with the surgeon. In consequence of late dinner and drill, I did not think it convenient to the soldiers, to go below and read to them; and directly after tea, the hammocks were ordered down, and so no reading took place; on inquiry afterwards, I found they had assembled in considerable numbers on the upper deck to hear me; on hearing this I was quite cut to the heart. It is not for want of willingness, that I am so slow to action, but I am destitute of that energy, promptness, activity, and holy forwardness, which characterized Whitfield, and the eminent servants of God.
23. Had more seriousness than joy in prayer; yet the past experience of the satisfaction to be tasted in communion with God, excited me to some perseverance, and earnestness to seek his presence. Went aboard the Pitt, Botany Bay ship. She is carrying out 120 female convicts. They were well accommodated, but the person who showed me round, said, they had no Bibles or religious books. While he and the rest were with me, I could neither speak to them particularly, nor distribute tracts; but on deck observing some improper conduct in a seaman, I spoke to him, and after a little conversation, declared what the law of God threatened, and directed him how he might be able to leave off his sin. No, said he, I cannot do that, and will not; and soon after I saw him in defiance behaving as before. Our conversation drew others about me, who all questioned me concerning the harm of it, with the utmost contempt. One man said, Well, if that is the greatest sin I have ever committed, heaven is my portion. However, I could very easily keep them all at bay, and told them that though they could make a laughing matter of it now, they would think differently of it at death, and the day of judgment. However, I could not leave them without telling them of the gospel, and the way God would deliver them from sin; this made them rather more serious; chiefly, I suppose, because they could not but receive with civility what I spoke to them mildly as a great mercy and privilege. I afterwards went below alone, and finding a few women, spoke to them, and gave them a few tracts which I had. One whispered to me in great emotion, asking me if I was not a Roman priest. Guessing her intentions, I asked her if she was not a Roman catholic, and advised her to confess her sins to Him who knoweth the heart. On going away, I proposed to Captain B. to preach next Sunday, but he did not seem to accede to my proposal. I went away much shocked at the iniquitous state of the ship, and found no sympathizing sentiments in our shipmates who returned with me to the Union, for they treated it with that levity which characterizes wicked men, when treating of sin. Afterwards went ashore on the east point of the harbour, with the Lascars who were going to water, and some others. Walking to the fort, I passed two men who were hanging in chains, for murder. They were the most horrid spectacle I ever beheld; some of the clothes were still remaining, and parts of the skeletons appeared through the rags. In one a few locks of dishevelled hair remained, and the teeth, so that his countenance still preserved a look of the most dire malignity. My feelings, which had been excited by what I had witnessed in the convict ship, were now greatly agitated. The wickedness of that earth on which I was destined to dwell so long, impressed me very deeply. I seemed to have received a new idea, in considering what sort of people God had to manage. Advancing to the brow of the headland, with my face toward the wide and lovely ocean, I thought--O thou hast sent me as a sheep among wolves. My heart too is the same, disposed to the same iniquities. I looked towards India, and remembered they were heathens, perhaps ten times worse than any thing I had seen. Yet I felt no disposition to do any thing but labour in the gospel among my fellow creatures. Seeing a middle-aged soldier sitting under the wall of the fort, I began a conversation, and found he was a Roman catholic. In answer to my arguments against the main errors of his superstition, namely the use of the intercession of the Virgin, and the saints, and dependence on our righteousness for acceptance; he replied very sensibly and seriously. I was pleased that he made objections, as it was not in a captious spirit, because it shewed he understood what I said, and felt the force of it. Afterwards, while I opened the system of the gospel to him, he listened with great attention, without interrupting, and having nothing more to reply, I left him after giving him Vivian's Dialogues. He read, he said, the English Testament. On my return to the beach, the boat not being ready, I walked to see some ruins near Colonel Fitzgerald's, and afterwards sat on the turf near the rocks, reading Acts xxi. with great comfort. Oh, what should I do without God. In the afternoon went below, and read Pilgrim's Progress for about an hour. Afterwards wrote a little of sermon; but Mr.-------took away almost all the evening, by coming to tell me, 1st. that he had been defending my conduct before the junior officers of the regiment, who had declared, that if they were commanding officers, I should not be suffered to talk to the men in this way about religion, thus unfitting them to be soldiers; and that if I read at all to them it should be to the whole on deck; and 2nd. by opening his mind to me on the subject of his revengeful temper, which had just been excited. I endeavoured to advise him on the subject. Orders arrived to the Commodore to detain us, for fear of immediate invasion, in which case the ships might be of use. This will probably delay us a month.
24. After prayer to God for the continuance of the word of life among the poor soldiers, and that He would order the hearts of the commanding officers, I went to Captain O. and beginning to tell him of what the subaltern had been saying, he begged me not to mind that, but to continue my labours among them.
25. (Sunday.) Rose from prayer with a solemn impression. In consequence of the rain, there could be no service this morning; I felt at this a secret sort of pleasure, but soon after the guilt of the feeling was brought home to my mind. I prayed that God would not for my wickedness' sake deprive those perishing souls of the bread of life, but feed them, and in mercy to his church, and free compassion to his wretched creatures, inflame their soul with a burning zeal. I found that the Lord had in part heard my prayer, for I rose with an utter scorn of my former base lukewarmness, and desired above all things, to spend, and be spent in Christ's service. In my walk on deck, conversed a little with the mate, but to all on religion obtained no answer. Yet he is my staunch friend; for after dinner, while I was below, he said to Lieutenant D. If you won't be religious yourself, why hinder another; and he said to several of them, Though you laugh at religion now, by and by your consciences will be overhauled. He is the picture of a good-natured blunt seaman. Read chiefly in Samuel to-day. Colonel H. and another officer of the 21st dined with us. The conversation was about regiments, and firemen, and officers, &c. I retired soon after dinner, and read the Pilgrim's Progress to the men, who attended in great numbers to hear, chiefly because the rain prevented their being on deck. I never perceived so much of the extraordinary value of this book till now. I am now got beyond most of my poor hearers, but it cannot be helped. The latter part of a Christian's course may be more blessed to them than the beginning. But as I go on, the book furnishes me with opportunities of making a thousand useful remarks I should never have thought of else. It clearing off in the evening, I walked on the poop, enjoying the thought of the people of God, who were then assembling in different parts of the kingdom, to happy worship, particularly the congregations at Cambridge, St. John's, London, and Dock, when I was interrupted by the mate's proposing divine service without a sermon, which indeed it was impossible to have, as the sun was down before they began to rig the church.
26. Two things were made the subject of my earnest petition this morning. 1. That God would exert his power, and make me depend on that power by which he can renew my heart. The texts, "What is the exceeding greatness of his power," and "He is able to do exceedingly, &c." appeared to me just what I wanted. Nothing seemed capable of fitting my body and soul for glory, but the sovereign power and pleasure of God. I prayed the Lord that he would himself create me anew unto good works, and a spirit of love, and make me to see it to be his doing, for then he would have all the glory. Oh that the Lord would be pleased to remove pride and delusion of self-love from this vile heart, lest I be made to feel the truth of his word, by being cast into outer darkness. My mind, during my walk, was uneasy at the danger of trifling in my studies, and giving myself to unimportant reading, for want of being called to immediate duties. After some doubts, and much unwillingness, I went below in the afternoon, expecting to find few people able to attend, but had a considerable number, and from a part of 'Pilgrim's Progress,' told them much of the evil of being ashamed of religion. Enjoyed a solemn, though short season of prayer in the evening, in which I felt all my soul go forth in desires to be like Christ, in finding my meat and drink in doing the will of God. In the evening endeavoured to learn the notes on the flute, as thinking it may be of use in helping my people to sing, perhaps in India. The Lord keep these things from being a snare to me.
27. My chief business in prayer this morning, was to put my soul into a state of heavenly-mindedness. Oh, how unconquerably carnal did my heart appear. Though the outward scene presents nothing but what is unsatisfying and tedious, except viewed in a spiritual manner, I feel I have no power to preserve any abiding enjoyment of invisible things. However rich it is to be under the influence of divine realities, I cannot keep my soul in eternity: it is presently down again upon earth, the easy sport of almost every thing that passes before the sight. What a state of joy it must be, I thought, to be there, where I shall always see God, and always be filled with divine affections, to worship him day and night in his holy temple. Endeavoured as I walked on deck, to turn my thoughts into a profitable channel, but to little purpose; at last I bowed my knees in prayer, and never yet found such precious power in the atonement. The Spirit, of a truth, applied the blood of Jesus, to cleanse me from all my sin. Whatever I had been in times past, free pardon might be obtained, and I might begin anew with quietness and peace, my heart being sprinkled from an evil conscience; death, which seemed very near, through the weakness of my bodily frame, appeared very desirable. I tried to realize what would be my feelings on a death-bed, and my fears, and endeavoured to meet them. Then read 1 Cor. xv. with great impression, and I tried to be persuaded that there was really nothing here, for which I should be unwilling to leave the world; certainly nothing in the ungodly, and nothing also in the society of saints.
28. The whole fleet sailed out of Cork harbour, under convoy of the Diadem 64, Belliqueux 64, Leda and Narcissus frigates, but the wind proving westerly, and the ships making a great deal of lee way, we came to anchor again under the windward shore: I was very uncomfortable from sickness, but wrote several letters. Passed the rest of the day in dejection: being scarcely able to keep from vomiting. I could not continue long enough at a time in prayer, to enjoy the presence of God. It would have been some pleasure and relief to have been able to read 'Pilgrim's Progress' to the soldiers, but the ship was in the utmost confusion, and most of the soldiers on deck helping to wash her.
29. The fleet at anchor still outside the land; in a thick fog all day; felt very uncomfortable from sea-sickness; found the consolatory parts of the prophets most suited to my state; read Hindoostanee most of the morning; conversed a good deal with Captain S------; or rather told him what I thought of importance for him to know, for he made no answer. Read as usual in the afternoon to the soldiers; at night, as is often the case, prayed with great fervour for zeal.
30. The swell was so much increased this morning, that I continued very sick. Employed the intervals of ease in prayer, that God would enable the soul to rise above the body, and make me peaceful, patient, and resigned, in all the bodily suffering that awaits me. Read a good deal of Scripture, but in a heavy frame, though I selected the most enlivening parts. I was not on the whole so much dejected as the last time I was sick, but yet very much so now; misery seemed to await me through life. Nothing but death and heaven appeared as a pleasant end in view. There seemed no one person who cared for me. As there was a prospect of a gale of wind, and the Commodore had probably no order to proceed, the fleet weighed, and by dinner time were moored again in Cork harbour. Finished Robertson, and began Dow. The insidious attacks on Christianity in this writer, while he describes the Hindoos, and their inveterate attachment to their superstition, stirred me up to prayer, in which, after making mention before the Lord of the state of India, and his promise respecting the conversion of all men, and the want of success his faithful servants had met with, I said that I, a poor feeble worm, should certainly be swallowed up, and lost in the difficulties, unless God should show to the world that He still reigneth: the hope that the Lord might perhaps be pleased to make use of me, inspired me with great ardour, and I sat down to deliberate on the subject; I could not perceive that anything was to be done, till I had learnt by actual intercourse with the natives, to enter into their minds and views, for so only could I learn to answer the objections they would make to the truths of the gospel. Read some chapters of the Acts, to see how the apostles addressed ignorant heathens; and afterwards Brainerd's description of the difficulties which attended his mission. But all this is outward, my soul wants the spirit of prayer. The work is easy to God, if I could pray earnestly in their behalf. The Lord awaken me to spiritual earnestness.
31. Rose ill with a bilious headache; in my prayer and general thoughts in the morning felt resigned and happy at the prospect of death and heaven. Went aboard the W. Pitt, Indiaman, to see young C------, and gave him the best advice I could. Received a letter from E. just such an one as has often refreshed me. The wind becoming fair about the middle of the day, a signal was made for sailing. I went ashore to get some things, and returned just as the anchor was up. In one minute we were under weigh, and sailed out of the harbour with a fair wind and fine weather. My spirits much better, but I want to live nearer to God, and to find him my all-satisfying portion.
September 1. (Sunday.) A very melancholy sabbath. From the swell last night, I was so tossed in my cot, that I got scarcely any sleep. Soon after I rose, and before breakfast, in great faintness and fever, began to be, and continued very ill the whole morning, and indeed the whole day; got into my cot about seven, and being a little more at ease, sought communion with God. At different times of the night as I lay awake, I experienced the consolations of God, not so great as to give me joy, but enabling me to suffer with tranquillity. Upon the whole, I have reason to adore his mercy, that my spirit has not been so tried as this day three weeks. But my anguish at times was inexpressible, when I awoke from my disturbed dreams, to find myself actually on my way, with a long sea rolling between me and all that I hold dear in this life. Death throughout the day appeared very desirable. I longed to die, rather even than to be well and with my friends. Death was the best consolation I could find, as I had not enough of the presence of my heavenly friend to be able to rejoice at suffering for him.
2. Still sick. Passed a good part of the morning in meditation and prayer over Isaiah lx. and lxvi. The promises respecting the church, and the future joy of every member of it in heaven, were applied with sweetness and consolation to my fainting spirit. The conversation in the afternoon, in the cuddy, turning upon swearing, I had an opportunity of speaking on the subject. The poor people are all so sick as well as myself, that there is no reading to them yet. The swell increased so much towards evening, that I soon got into my cot to keep myself from sickness. Still able to pray at intervals to the blessed God.
3. A day of bitterness and distress. To describe the variety of perplexing, heart-rending, agonizing thoughts, &C.1 Coming into my cabin I took up one of the volumes of the Cheap Repository, and found several things very suitable. The conversion of Gamba affected me in an extraordinary manner; I had a deep impression made upon me of the misery of mankind. The story of the fair-weather sailor delineated my character, I thought, too truly. The shepherd of Salisbury Plain made me ashamed of myself. What I suffer is only the common evils of life. The Lord have mercy upon me! it is all I can say. I would rather be cut in pieces than deny my Saviour, by forsaking this part of his work, which he assigned me; and yet, with a heart so full of corruption, there is nothing too pitiful for me to do. After dinner, got nigh to God in prayer, but it was like stemming a torrent. If I got on a little, I was presently carried back where I left off. My soul was influenced with something of ardour to be doing the Lord's work: I never felt such a marked sensibility; my present languor, not arising from repeated sickness, disposes me to think I shall never live to see India; or it is the confinement of this crowded ship which disagrees with me. Respecting life I am not anxious. There is only reason to fear lest the Lord in wrath should send me back as unworthy to proceed on so high an errand. But O may he rather graciously fit me for it, if it be his will. After being on board seven weeks, and tumbling so much on a heavy sea, we are no further on than the latitude of the Lizard, and not yet to the west of Ireland. But were I blessed with a humble contented mind, as I desire to be, no earthly trifles would move me. "I have learnt in whatever state I am, therewith to be content," &c. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." At night I resolved, in the strength of God, to make an effort to rise above present afflictions, and be happy and contented in God. Felt much returning joy and peace.
4. I was taught in my prayer to-day the necessity of living by faith. It was a relief to my soul to declare to God my utter insufficiency for all good, and that therefore my hope for ever obtaining contentment and joy in his service, must be the gracious gift of his Holy Spirit; and with this I felt a very serene and calm assurance that God would work all my works in me, that I should be created anew in Christ Jesus, unto good works. Read the Galatians and meditated. It was then suggested to me,--Think no more of any thing but suffering in this life, you are an exile from your native country and friends, think not of seeing them any more.
Major D------had been giving me an account of what would be my situation in India. I sat musing upon it on deck, without being able to find one single ray of comfort, but what should come from the presence of God. It was now in vain to look forward to any thing upon earth. In mute astonishment therefore I looked forward and surveyed the scene. The pleasures and comforts of this life, such as are allowed to God's children, from them you are entirely excluded. After a little time, I quietly looked upon this as my portion, and made up my mind to expect nothing but suffering every day. The thought was not so overwhelming, but it solemnized my mind most exceedingly, and I felt weaned from the world to a degree I never experienced before. Read the Pilgrim's Progress in the afternoon to the soldiers. Read Dow's Hindoostan. M'K. read to me several chapters in Revelations; felt very ill. Oh, this mortal dying frame! When shall this corruptible put on incorruption, and this mortal, immortality?
5. Rose without strength or spirits to dress myself, As long as I could sit in my cabin, I passed the time, about three hours, in reading and prayer. I found many of the psalms in exact unison with my feelings, and this was a great comfort to me, as I found that some of the children of God had been in as distressed circumstances. The rest of the morning, stood in the air, in a sort of patient stupidity, very sick and cold. The wind was blowing a heavy gale, accompanied with rain. At dinner the ship heeled so much, and the wind was so high, that one or two of the officers were evidently much alarmed; on account of the numbers present I could not well speak to them. In the afternoon I could do nothing but sit holding my head in my cabin. Here I was assaulted with a sense of guilt, lest I was giving way to laziness in not stirring up myself to pray and labour for God. After ten I revived considerably in my spirit.
Talked very closely to my servant. Mr.------coming in, I read an account of Brainerd's death, and some hymns, which so much refreshed me, that I could hold up my head again. Afterwards alone; read some chapters in Revelations, and determined to endeavour to improve the present season of danger, by going into the cuddy after supper, which I did, but as the weather was become rather more moderate, the conversation was not at all about the gale. However I had occasion to mention to------the real cause of the fears we have of death, and the remedy. In my prayer before this I saw reason to be humbled for the vain-glorious desire I had shewn to manifest my contempt of death, but now I found it impossible to approach God but as the most abject of creatures. My grief is, that I cannot have my affections set upon things above. The world in a particular form has a hold upon my soul, and the spiritual conflict is consequently dreadful. Nothing but such assurances as that, "Without me ye can do nothing," could support me from sinking to deep despondency. God will not cast off his people. I am now in the fire, fighting hard; Oh for strength to carry me through! Outward and inward trials threaten to destroy me, but I will put my trust in God. "I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." The wind continues blowing violently from the south west, (i. e.) directly in our teeth. Our course being westerly, we are scarcely a degree south of the Lizard, though some way to the west of Ireland. At the close of day all the rest of the fleet were almost out of sight, ours being the heaviest sailor of all. We shall meet them again indeed at Madeira, the appointed rendezvous, but we are in danger of being taken.
6. The storm continued to increase during the night. Two of the sails were torn to pieces. The violence of the wind in the rigging, and the confusion on deck prevented my sleep. About four in the morning M'K. came and sat in my cabin, and the awfulness of the scene led us to a very solemn conversation. To avoid the violent tossing of the ship I continued in my cot. When he went away I lay and endeavoured to realize my speedy appearance before God in judgment.
I was not long without sorrowful convictions of my sinfulness, and renewed my supplications for mercy in the name of Jesus; I had no doubts of the willingness of God to save me; but an assured hope. I felt peaceful, and on the whole desirous to depart; but no joy. I was chiefly led to think of the many poor souls in the ship, and for their sakes to pray that they might have longer time for repentance, and that the terrors of this night might be of lasting benefit. At the same time the thought of them reminded me of my own lukewarmness and unfaithfulness, but all this only made me feel more deeply the necessity of the Redeemer's righteousness.
When I got up we were going under bare poles, the sea covered with so thick a mist, from the spray and rain, that nothing could be seen but the tops of the nearest waves, which seemed to be running even with the windward side of the ship. I was again faint with sickness; on getting up continued upon deck, and found an opportunity of talking a good deal to M------who was much terrified; but after pointing out the way of salvation, I found he doubted the truth of Christianity itself. Continued very sick during the day. At night, when the wind abated, read Whitfield's journal, and observing how he acted on such an occasion, I was cut by it to the heart, at the sense of my lukewarmness. Once more I struggled, determined to rise, through God, above the body, the flesh, and the world, to a life of ardour and devotedness to God.
Next morning, was very sick, insomuch that I was obliged to stay upon deck in the crowd; in prayer my corruption seemed to be like a mountain pressing upon me. As for the world, I detested it, for being the cause of my plague, but could not get the love of it out of my heart. I could not find my supreme pleasure in being separated from all things unto the gospel of God, and thus my spiritual conflict was agonizing beyond mea- sure. Beginning to grow quite outrageous with myself, and like a wild bull in a net, I saw plainly this was coming to nothing, and so in utter despair of working any deliverance for myself, I simply cast myself upon Jesus Christ, praying that if it were possible, something of a change might be wrought in my heart. Though I was a little earnest in the afternoon, the sense of my constant unprofitableness made me more miserable than ever, and my soul was fast departing in unbelief from the living God. Thus the Lord vouchsafed to me a sense of my danger, and I began to consider, What can this end in? if I am really in anguish for the low state of my soul, what hinders me from rising? why do not I make a struggle and cry with power to God?--so I did this day, (not on my knees, for my cabin was floating with water, which had broken in at the port-hole) and God in a measure answered my prayer. I walked the deck in great haste, for I have to strive against stupor of body almost as much as against that of the mind: I repeated and meditated on Eph. i. 11. and kept doing so notwithstanding whatever I heard or saw, and this activity of mind on spiritual things was made a blessing. Meeting with Corporal R. I talked to him, but was grieved to find how little he seemed to relish serious conversation; but however, I have learnt, I hope, to make allowance for the weak. Tolerably comfortable in mind the rest of the evening. M'K. lounged with me the finest part of the evening, when I was expecting a season of comfortable reading and prayer; I was beginning to be vexed, but I checked my chagrin, and read some chapters and hymns to him.
8. (Sunday.) Rose in nearly the same state as on preceding days, sick in body and wounded in spirit. However, thought I, now is the time for struggling. In prayer I was led away from my own corruptions to the more refreshing subject of God's church and ministers. About the time when I expected service, I went upon the poop, but the sailors were all at work, and the boatswain swearing at them. My heart was agonized with my situation among the ungodly, compared with that of the Christian societies upon shore. The weather was fine, and the fleet all around in crowded sail, made 'a fine appearance, but to a discontented mind nothing is agreeable. Went helow again, and read several chapters of the Acts, with much profit and comfort. When I went to take my exercise on deck, I resolved to fight hard against my dejection, and truly a hard conflict I had of it for two hours; I was afraid to let my thoughts dwell upon the outward scene for a moment, or upon England, or friends, which would have made the matter worse. But by reciting scripture, I strove to keep my thoughts incessantly engaged in divine things; though I could not obtain joy, I was conscious of doing right; and that painful as it was, thus to struggle up hill, was the appointed narrow way. However, much of this depression arises from the body. At five, we had divine service, I read the thanksgiving for deliverance from storm. Preached on Gal. iii. 10. The soldiers not very attentive. B----, and the officers began to ridicule it instantly, and left the deck. I did not feel the least irritated at their conduct, but was cheered by our Lord's words, "If they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." Read Leighton on Peter to-day, and found every sentence almost applicable to my case; I almost thought it good to be in tribulation, to have such precious truths appropriated to me. In the evening read the Revelation with greater peace of mind and devotedness to God.
9. At last the Lord hath appeared for the comfort of his creature. In prayer, launched sweetly into eternity, and found joy unspeakable in thinking of my future rest, and the boundless love and joy I should for ever taste in His beloved presence hereafter; I found no difficulty, as generally, to stir myself up to the contemplation of heaven, but my soul, through grace, realized it, and delighted to dwell by faith, in those blissful scenes. Now, why cannot my soul be always in heaven? Dearest Lord, there is nothing on earth worthy of a moment's concern, thy work may be prosecuted best by my soul's remaining in heaven. The transcendent sweetness of the privilege of being always with God would appear to me too great, were it not for the blessed command, "Set your affections on things above," &c. "For your life is hid with Christ in God."--Life hid in God! In my walk on deck found it necessary to watch and pray, lest I should sink into dissatisfaction. Endeavoured to keep in mind that the little trifling occurrences and changes which took place around me, had no concern with me, and that, considering the great work God had put upon me, I ought to be hourly considering how eminently I should be a man of prayer, thought, and heavenly-mindedness. After dinner, went below deck, and found at first but few; for as the weather grows fine and warmer, they are up in the air. I waited some time and nobody came; I went away for a little time to get a book for a woman, who refused it; reproved a soldier for swearing, and felt hurt at the insolence of another, who ridiculed it just as I turned my back. Determined not to be discouraged by the neglect of the soldiers; and so when I went down again, I began to read to about three, and my hearers soon increased. My heart was often very full, in describing the way of salvation by Christ, and the happiness of finding it. In the evening, had sweet access to God. My chief concern was that this season of peace, Sic. (See Memoir.)
10. Sickness this morning was about to bring on discontent and peevishness, but I presently recollected that it was my business to be faithful and happy in every condition. Endeavoured to consider what should be my study, &c. (See Memoir.) Walked on deck with Major D. He told me I should find nothing wanting in India, but a partner. This was to me a very unwelcome piece of advice; for though I am greatly delivered from all desires of a worldly nature at this time, his words recalled many thoughts of Lydia, which I could not remove so easily as I wished.
11. Enjoyed the blessed presence of God in prayer, great deadness to the world, and happy meditation on eternity. In my walk upon deck, the Lord kept my heart in general above the influence of the idle occurrences and passing scenes around me, and I looked forward with contentment and pleasure, to living among none but Mussulmans and Hindoos, to which I feel at times strong reluctance. Read Hindoostanee; at dinner, many spiritual thoughts were suggested to my soul. I looked forward with delight to the time, when the body would no more need to be fed with corrupting food, but would be changed and made like the glorious body of Christ. In the afternoon looked over Vince's Astronomy till it was time to go below; prayer would have been a better preparation for reading to them, for the immediate effect of considering some things in astronomy was an extraordinary coldness of heart towards divine things and religious duties: but reading to the poor people presently warmed me again; my few hearers now, I observe, are generally the same persons, which I am glad of. In the evening thought to finish a few calculations before prayer; but M'K-------coming in, prevented, and thus the time, which I find most profitable, was lost. He stayed a long time conversing on religion. He grows visibly in grace. He now reads the Scriptures aloud in the cabin, and has one or two to hear him. At night had a solemn season of prayer, in which my eyes were a little opened to consider the holy examples of John the Baptist and St. Paul. Oh, that I might be taught and strengthened to become such a holy, self-denying, spiritual minister and missionary. Before going to bed, read Milner's sermon on fasting. I have no doubt of the usefulness of separate seasons of fasting and prayer, though my flesh seemed to shrink from it at present, as if it were too much for my strength; yet past experience encourages me, and David Brainerd's advice. What a quickening example has he often been to me, especially on this account, that he was of a weak and sickly constitution.
12. An unhappy day, made so through negligence. Had a happy season of morning prayer as usual, but -wasted much of the rest of the morning in calculations, though I knew it ought to have been in composition. In my walk alone on deck, I found it hard to keep from my former unbelieving thoughts. After dinner found myself dull; and unfit for the service of God. This wounded my peace deeply: I was almost ashamed to appear in the presence of God. With shame and humiliation, I read to the soldiers below; in prayer afterwards, in vain did I pray to enjoy the sweetness of eternity; my soul seemed left to its own stupidity, and God to have hidden his face. After reading a portion of Scripture, I began, after some deliberation, to write sermon; and though I made little progress, I felt more satisfied at night, as having been in the path of duty. How debasing is sin; it separates the soul from God, and leaves it to grovel on earth in misery.
13. My soul tasted much of the love of God in prayer this morning, and rose in the desire and hope of continuing in it all day. I was disposed to ask with the bride, from my constant expectation of soon losing spiritual fervour: "Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon, for why should I become as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? "Why should I give way, and suffer my thoughts to be led by outward occurrences? Employed about sermon with rather greater sobriety and seriousness than in general. In my walk on deck, &c. (Mem. Page 125.) I retired to pray for them and myself. I could willingly have fasted with them, were it not that such conduct in me on this particular day, would have been remarked.
14. Was again favoured with a sense of the love of God in prayer this morning. When I rose I was very feeble and dejected, but was refreshed by remembering that my body and soul are Christ's, and that when he shall call me away, "this corruption shall put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality." In my walk had little opportunity of reflection, as there were so many on deck, and one and another joined me; to Captain J. I declared what I thought the will of God about duelling. After dinner all the men were paraded on the quarter deck, to hear the decision of the court martial on one of the mutinous soldiers, which was his acquittal. Some of the articles of war were read. This left me no time for reading to them. The rest of the evening continued writing, with my mind low, but solemn; finding a sweet relief at intervals, to stop and try to have a foretaste of heavenly glory. Walked at night on deck, while they were at supper, and found the time and scene favourable to serious and solemn meditation. I seemed to have no prospect in my heart, of ever taking up my rest in this life, but was resigned, and pleased at being altogether for another world. Read at night some chapters of Revelation in the Greek Testament.
15. (Sunday.) He that testified! these things, &c. (See Memoir p. 126.) As I read these words in the Greek Testament to night, they struck my mind much. Though I have enjoyment at present through mercy, yet I think I could humbly say with the beloved divine, when the Lord says to me, Erxomai,--Nai ercou Kurie Ihsou. The glory of the heavenly Jerusalem appeared so enrapturing, about verse 21, 23, that I said, almost in unbelief, Let me truly find these things to be fulfilled to my soul when I die. The words directly after came in as a security, "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it." B------said immediately after service, 'Mr. Martyn sends us to hell every Sunday.' I was astonished at this, as I mentioned our condition by the law very slightly, "but we have piped unto you, and ye have not danced." Talking with Mr. V-----who told me of this, I was surprised to see how confused his views were of the way of salvation, and I was even more struck with the necessity of divine illumination, when I consider that serious persons, clever and sensible, are sometimes so slow in coming to any thing like an accurate apprehension of divine truth. How little did I myself see of the glory of the gospel till lately. Prayed after sermon in my cabin, but found my thoughts too much excited to fix calmly on spiritual things, and so I walked out with some pain and humiliation; Had a long conversation with Major D------; from his great anxiety and extraordinary humility in being willing to receive instruction from me, (indeed he seems to think me almost infallible) I was very earnest. With the utmost possible plainness, in every variety of expression and illustration, did I endeavour to point out the difference between the way of salvation by the law and by the gospel. Yet without making objections, his mind seemed to continue in darkness. I next had conversation with------,one of the cadets, who appeared to seek it. He seems very well disposed, I offered him instruction in mathematics and classics, which he accepted. Next with the chief mate, commending his leaving off swearing, which I observe is already the case. I reminded him of the necessity of putting off the old man, and being renewed, &c. He is one of the worthiest men in the ship, but we cannot continue long on religion: he is so soon out of his depth, he said he always avoided anger, ever since he heard a sermon on the subject, the finest he ever heard, one Wednesday at St. Ann's, Blackfriars. Went below in hopes of reading Baxter's Call to the Unconverted, but there was no getting down, as they were leaking out water, so I sat with the seamen on the gun-deck, in the boatswain's birth; at the request of one of them, I gave them a Bible, two Testaments, Baxter's Call, and some Tracts, for one mess consisting of six. As I sat there, I had a long and close conversation with the carpenter, who wished to appear better informed than the rest; he would not believe that he was not safe in acting according to his own good thoughts: the ship's steward, whom I formerly spoke to for swearing, and received a disrespectful answer, used the same expression; I reproved him again, and received the same answer, that in his own thoughts he was innocent, for he meant nothing. I told him that his sin was in mentioning those words without meaning anything. This seemed to strike him very forcibly. Coming up, I met the purser who was ill; I presently began with him, and talked a considerable time; next with Serjeant C------, but could not go on long, as the soldiers began to gather round us, too near the quarter-deck; lastly with Corporal B------, who seemed to be in a very low state. I can get nothing from him, poor fellow; I hardly know what difficulties he may have to contend with. As I walked in the evening at sun-set, I thought with pleasure, 'but few more suns, and I shall be where my sun shall no more go down.' My dear Lydia, my sister, and all the dear saints in England, I can be content to see no more: I have nothing to do, but to attend diligently to my work, since "the day of redemption draweth nigh." After tea in prayer, the work of a missionary before me, was as is in general, the occasion of a very serious impression on my mind. Oh, that in the actual labour and suffering, I may see its excellence.
16. Two things,1 &c. The flesh seemed very unwilling to submit to such self-denial, especially as the bodily frame, from weakness, seems scarcely able to support it; however, I can but try. In my walk on deck, my flesh seemed again to shrink very much from fasting and prayer. Learnt a few hymn tunes on the flute, some of which recalled the assemblies of the saints at Cambridge. In the evening began to pray as in the morning, with great barrenness, but I continued, relying on his covenant mercy, 'Lord, to whom shall I go,' must be my constant cry. The necessity and excellency of my mission work, appeared so strong, that I set about the language with great earnestness and delight.
17. A very happy season in prayer this morning, much of praise and love: began to learn the use of the navigation tables, and the practical method of astronomical observations. As I began it with the belief of its utility, I left off without injury to my spirit; received W. and M. with their Euclid. In the morning M'K--and the surgeon came to my cabin; I read to them Augustine's Confessions, from Milner. When they were gone, I was assisted in getting my thoughts fixed in prayer. I seemed at a long distance from the earth, and time, and near the blessed God. My soul spoke freely of its wants, particularly of the life of faith in Christ, and walking happily in him, and with him. Spent the rest of the night in thinking of Col. ii. 6, not with much success, but profited by my thoughts being summoned to aim at so spiritual a subject. Studied again Rom. iv. in order to discover the Christian motives, and found great insight into it. Oh may I walk in great humility, and if I increase in knowledge, may I remain also in lowliness of spirit! It began to blow hard again; the calmness and pleasure with which I contemplated death rather made me fear I did not fear it enough. 18. Having had little or no sleep in the night past, through the motion of the ship, rose ill and continued so all day. Stood upon deck most of the morning; tried to encourage myself in the Lord; but had little fixedness of thought; yet, through mercy, had none of those heart-rending desires after this world, which I had before suffered under. At intervals read the Song of Solomon, and Milner, but head-ache and sickness would not allow of continuance in reading. Looking at the sea, my soul was enabled to rejoice in the great maker of it, as my God, and I thought so long and so forcibly on the happiness of the blessed state hereafter, that I almost began to doubt whether it were not too good to be true: the rest of the day read when I could. Read Ephesians, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," &c. Why are these things continued, if God is not willing to bestow them? I began therefore to set myself to keep my thoughts fixed on them, but passed insensibly to consider of the Lord's dealings with me the last four or five years. It is an occasion of thankfulness, that I am more disposed to labour and die in the service, than ever I was.
20. (Vide Mem. p. 128.) Continued to read on in Isaiah, the passages referring to the call of the gentiles; that one in particular, "I will not give my glory unto another, nor my praise unto graven images," I thought so remarkable, that I could not but plead it with' some ardour, that God would fulfil the truth of it in India, which for numberless ages has been sunk in idolatry.
21. (See Memoir p. 128.) Passed some time with the astronomical tables. In the afternoon read Milner, and had the young men as usual.
22. (See Memoir p. 128.) Had some thoughts of devoting this day to prayer and fasting, but was undecided as to the latter, whether it would be right in the present weak state of my body, to omit the meal of dinner. Read in the morning a good deal of David Brainerd; his dying testimony in favour of such occasional abstinence is very weighty. I began to pray, first in reference to my own soul, that it might be made truly penitent. I endeavoured to take a review of my life, the recollection made me burst into tears. My heart was quite broken. Prayed at length for my sister, my brother R------. Dr. J. E. and Lydia. After praying nearly two hours, my heart seemed to be at last really poor and broken, nothing appeared so remarkably deep-rooted and detestable, as that never-ceasing self-complacency and esteem, which attended me amidst all those causes of humiliation: I pictured myself strutting about the streets and walks of Cambridge, wrapt in content, thinking myself very amiable and admired, as much by others as by myself. Yes, it is pride which surpasses all my other sins, hiding from me the extreme guilt of laziness and lukewarmness. I could not have borne this self-condemnation without views of Christ, and I was shrinking continually from the search, save when I applied the blood of Christ, and confirmed my assurance of his all-sufficiency to save. Oh, that the memory of my iniquities might never cease from before me, while I sojourn in this land of sin and sorrow. Read afterwards Psalm 1. and Dan ix. 1 Kings xvii. xxi. I then walked. With respect to the enjoyment of time and sense, how poor and worthless do they appear. We are just to the south of all Europe, &c. (See Mem. p. 130.)
24. The determination with which I went to bed last night, of devoting this day to prayer and fasting, I was enabled to put into execution. In my first prayer for deliverance from worldly thoughts, depending on the power and promises of God, for fixing my soul while I prayed, I was helped to enjoy much abstinence from the world, for near an hour. Then read the history of Abraham, to see how familiarly God had revealed himself to mortal men of old. Afterwards, in prayer for my own sanctification, my soul breathed freely and ardently after the holiness of God, and this was the best season in the day. During my walk, my thoughts were heavenward, indeed, more than on common days, but not humble and careful. Endeavoured to recollect all those who had desired my prayers, and wrote them down. In interceding for them, I was rather led to dwell on young ministers, that they might be stirred up to go forth as missionaries, and for myself, that I might have more firmness, warmth, vigour, energy, and character. I prayed with some zeal, but yet with little of the presence of God humbling my heart. M'K. coming in, we had a great deal of conversation on the subject of fasting. I then went below, and began Baxter's Call to the Unconverted. Three of the cadets came to me with Euclid. I sat most of the evening, endeavouring to compose on a subject, but seemed quite spent in body and mind. I very much fear that the climate, which is extremely soft and luxurious, (Lat. 35°) produces this relaxation in ray frame, though I make every effort against it. If this should be the case, what will India be?
25. (See Memoir.) The Hindoostanee I learn is vastly too fine for these men. They not only very seldom understand my way of speaking, but are ignorant of many particular words very common in Gilchrist, which are Arabic, I suppose.
26. Read Hindoostanee, and made some calculations. In the afternoon, not being able to go below, I continued reading. Began Gilchrist's larger work, and was discouraged at the confusion of it. On the poop at sunset, I had many happy reflections on the heavenly glory, and in prayer found great delight in the presence of the blessed Lord.
27. Found much comfort and benefit in the Psalms. Proceeded but slowly in my composition. My mind was more impressed with the value of the souls in the ship, and my duty in striving to stir up myself and them, to a deep apprehension of eternal things; but it is here I feel my unfitness for a missionary. I do not know how to push things. I have a delicacy about me which no doubt proves ruinous to souls. When I believe, and therefore speak, I shall then pluck souls as brands out of the burning, with haste. At present, I do not, that I know of, shrink from any known method of diffusing the light of truth, but I am not ingenious in methods; I do not invent ways and means in getting at men. I want the essence of zeal, which if no way be open, will make a way. Alas, I let men sleep, as if only in error, not as on the brink of eternal fire; yet I know not what can be done but to preach, and to read to them as often as the business of the ship will permit, and to converse with whomsoever I can get to join with me. The oaths I hear on deck move me. (Vide Memoir.) I enjoyed great peace and assurance in God, confident that should we be driven from the fleet and lost, my spirit would be transported to a happier world. With Major L------, I had a long conversation on the impossibility of converting the Hindoos. I was not so anxious to combat his arguments as desirous to say something for the conviction of himself, but I found little opportunity. On my return to the Union, by the recollection of the constant objections drawn from the bigotry of the Hindoos, I was led to pray that God would of a truth shew the gospel to he his own, by causing the lighting down of his arm to be seen, by a great work in that country. India is consigned by the world, to the irrefragable chain of Satan. Oh that God may soon interfere to remove her reproach, may she "forget the shame of her youth, and not remember the reproach of her widowhood any more." Wrote sermon with some freedom, but was soon interrupted by M'K. to whom I read Milner; the part I read was the mission to England by Gregory; it interested me much, and refreshed me with the prospect of something to take place in India. Lord, increase my zeal, that though I am but a feeble and obscure instrument, I may struggle out my few days in great and unremitting exertions for the demolition of paganism, and the setting up of Christ's kingdom.
28. Again permitted to enjoy a happy abstraction from the world. Lost much of the morning as to any instructive purpose, in getting things to rights in my cabin, and making preparations for landing at Madeira, which it was thought we should see to-day. My thoughts were very much engaged. (Vide Memoir.)
29. (Sunday.) On rising this morning, soon after five, I found we were close to Madeira: the hills presented a very grand appearance, they rose almost perpendicularly from the sea; had a brown tinge; here and there a few folds of green; scarcely any cultivation; and a house here and there was to be seen, like a white speck on the declivity. About noon, we anchored before Funchal; the ship was one uninterrupted scene of confusion the whole day, and my mind was lamentably distracted. After waiting till two, without having any service, and being told there could be none on account of the anchor's being to be weighed again, I went ashore. On entering the parade at Funchal, I perceived I was in a foreign country, the houses were all large and stately, even the poorest, and the middle of it was a walk of orange trees. The Portuguese carriers, dressed only in an open shirt, and pair of drawers, untanned leather half boots, and small conical caps, were bowing and uncovering to one another with great gravity and respect, &c:--they were goading on their yokes of oxen. Priests, in cap, gown, and cassock, and women with rosaries, and beads, were passing in every direction.
I went directly to Mr.------, to whom I had been given letters, and was grieved to find him with his clerks in his counting-house, doing business as on a common day; so there was no hope of preaching to-day. He gave me an invitation to take my meals at his house, which I accepted with great thankfulness, as there was not a bed or a meal to be had at the two inns--a West India fleet having preoccupied them. Till dinner, I went to the great Catholic Church, and was shocked beyond measure at the absurd ceremonies; the splendour of the church was beyond any thing I had conceived. The priests eyed me with considerable attention, amidst the crowd of officers, guessing me to be an ecclesiastic I suppose. One of them, when he came to one ceremony more than ordinarily ridiculous, could not conceal his laughter. At other times the few devotees there, while on their knees, would laugh and talk together. One young man in the dress of a priest, who was shewing me a place which was called the sanctuary, while service was going on in the next department, I addressed in latin, but he did not understand. Is it possible, thought I, this can be a Christian church? I do not know that any thing shocked me so much, as the burning of incense before the picture of St. Francis. I was almost ready to shed tears with grief. A poor negro woman crossed herself at this time with much fervour, and apparent contrition. I thought she might be truly an awakened soul, and longed to be able to speak to her, but could not. At dinner, met a party of about twenty; several colonels and ladies; every thing was in the same grandeur as in London; I was disgusted at the thoughtlessness of the company on this day. We had great profusion of fruit, apples, pears, grapes, raisins, walnuts, almonds, and bananas, a fruit I did not like. One of the clerks, who sat next me, kept me in constant conversation, chiefly on religion; he brought forward all the difficulties in a way which shewed he was used to dispute. At last Mr.------called me away to a lodging-room he had found for me, and then we read and prayed together, thus closing the Sabbath more happily than we had passed through it.
30. This morning my soul was still distracted, by the novelty of the scene, from a happy spiritual frame; and prayer, from the same cause, had no abiding efficacy. Most of the morning passed away in waiting to get on board. Going to the ship with the Captain, I was obliged to step with him on board the Diadem, Sir H. Popham. Sir H. was holding a levee of all the captains and colonels, and giving them orders for the approaching expedition. My mind was much recovered at this time; I walked the larboard side of the quarter-deck, undisturbed by the bustle. I could not help reflecting with shame on myself, while I observed Sir H.'s earnestness of manner, in expressing himself. Till dinner, wrote letters. At night, sat with my poor host, who had been a hair-dresser in London forty years, a hearer of Basil Woodd; and talked to him of the gospel; he is a Roman Catholic from fear, but despises popery. This evening I met an old Saxon gentleman, with whom I spoke of the gospel: we conversed chiefly in French. He agreed with me when I spoke of the way of salvation by Jesus Christ, and then quoted this beautiful sonnet written, by Debareaux, I think, which was praised by Boileau.
Grande Dieu! tes jugemens sont remplis d'equité,
Toujours tu prends plasir a nous etre propice,
Mais j'ai tant fait de mal que jamais ta bonté,
Ne me pardonnera sans blesser ta justice,
Oui Seigneur! la grandeur de mon impieté,
Ne laisse à ton pouvoir que la choix de supplice,
Ton interet oppose à ma felicité
Et la clemence même attend que je perisse,
Content de ton desir, puisqu 'il t'est glorieux,
Offense toi, des pleurs qui coulent de mes yeux,
Jonne, frappe, il est temps, rends moi guerre pour guerre,
J'adore en perissantla raison qui t'aigrit,
Mais dessus quel endroit tombera latonnerre,
Qui ne soil tout convert du sang de Jesus Christ?
October 1. After breakfast retired with Mr. L------ to his room, and read the whole of Gibert's sermons to him. He corrected my pronunciation with great care and attention, and pointed out several remarkable niceties. When the celebrated La Perouse touched last at Madeira, Mr. L. being introduced, conversed with him. La Perouse confessed that he spoke French better than any foreigner he ever heard. The rest of the morning I walked about with S------, the hairdresser, to the shops, and he acted as my interpreter. The heat was exceedingly oppressive, I hardly knew how to support myself. At my lodging in the evening, I was about to read to S-------a chapter in the Bible, when E------and a relation came in. We went to my own room, and there we had much comfortable and godly conversation, in the view of seeing each other no more. I read 2 Tim. ii. and iv. and prayed; but when I was alone, the fatigues and distractions of the day left me little disposed to enter into my own heart. After dinner to-day at Mr. Gordon's, an American speaking in a very light manner of the sin of drunkenness, I thought it right to reprove him: I was surprised to see how, with all his ill humour, he was silenced: soon after, when he happened to make the common remark, of all sincere people being equally good, and was seconded by Mr. G. I combated them, and in the hearing of the whole party, defended the truth of God to a certain degree.
2. After writing a letter at Mr. G------'s, I lost many hours in waiting for a boat, to take me on board. To and fro from the boat to the street did I pass, in the greatest bustle and crowd of people I was almost ever in; it was owing to their being obliged to water, &c. one hundred and fifty sail in a few hours. As our water boat was placed a little beyond the surf, our carpenter and myself got into a little boat, which put us on board our own. In our way out, I endeavoured to lead the carpenter, who is a most discontented man, to the knowledge of the truth, but I believe I spoke to little purpose. In the evening on board wrote letters. Mr. Edwards sent on board two dozen of Madeira for the use of the sick soldiers.
3. The East and West India fleets sailed this morning at sun-rise, but to what place bound is not yet known. Our troops have received sixty rounds of ball cartridge, and have this day been paraded, in consequence of which they had not time for reading. Poor souls, now that they are to take the field while I am with them, how anxiously should I watch over them. I said to Captain S------as we were walking, without any preamble, what godly men you soldiers ought to be, who may be so suddenly called upon to give up your account. He said with a smile, he did not know he had any reason to be afraid; I tried to convince him of his error, but he seemed wrapt in self-confidence. Passed a good part of the morning in reading Psalms and Isaiah, and often parts of Scripture, in order to recover from the great distraction occasioned by this visit to Madeira. My mind was in general at peace. In the afternoon read Milner. The evening was much interrupted; was obliged from weakness and faintness to be on deck, where I was assailed by questions and conjectures about our destination. The Cape, Teneriffe, the West Indies, Mexico, &c. are some of the places mentioned; but I somewhat succeeded in having my thoughts on the better country, where there would be no more war or bloodshed. The weakness of my body was dejecting to me for a time, lest I should never be of any service in India, but peace was restored to my soul, by the sweet consideration, that all was at the disposal of the Lord. Read Jude, and Revelations i. and Colossians ii. with much comfort and edification.
4. Read Hindoostanee. In my walk enjoyed a peaceful mind, reflecting on what I had been reading; (Colos. i.) in the afternoon, had a greater number than usual below; it was apart of the Cheap Repository I read, and it was more than usually profitable. I addressed them on the subject of their being soon to be called to the field In the evening I could do little or nothing from head-ache. Walked a good deal upon deck, and sat among the Lascars, who were upon watch, endeavouring to understand their conversation, but I could not yet; conversed a little with the one who spoke French. I get to be better understood by them, but cannot yet follow them; I think with delight upon the day when I shall be able to speak fluently to these poor creatures the precious truths of eternal life.
5. Communion with God in prayer; little about the ministry and mission, rather in reference to my own sanctification and expectation, that I might live uninfluenced by outward things. I succeeded in maintaining for a time, a spirit elevated above the visible scene; how happy is it that God has made that a precept, the fulfilment of which is my highest joy: "Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." My soul, what hast thou to do here? as thou hast bid adieu to thy friends, and to the pleasantest things of this life, so shalt thou ere long quit this mortal scene altogether, without mixing any more with the pleasant things of this world. The iiird of Colossians, which I had been reading, afforded me much useful meditation during my walk. In the afternoon read Milner, and below to the men, and heard the young men in Euclid. After tea, prayer;--passed the rest of the evening in reflecting for to-morrow. I have been helped to be rather more watchful to-day. The words of Milner have dwelt much upon my mind, 'to believe, to suffer, and to love, was the primitive taste.' I do not know that any uninspired sentence ever affected me so much. I thought in my prayer, that the Lord had given me learning, or the reputation of it at least among men, but how much better did the possession of simplicity appear. I could have willingly forgotten all I had ever read or learnt, to be a man of the ancient primitive simplicity. Lord, give me the spirit of a true missionary, his lowliness, his patience, his love. The thermometer has been above 80 to-day in my cabin, without a breath of wind, yet I have borne it with ease.
6. (Sunday.) Preached on John iv. 10. The want of attention in those present, and the faults of my manner, which M'K. pointed out, produced much dejection, but I endeavoured to check the usual train of desponding thoughts, such as that I should never be of any use as a public preacher, that I was only fit to be a bookworm, &c. by considering that I had no right to expect success; that it was a sufficient privilege to me, to be permitted to have the gospel at all entrusted to me; and that I might be very well satisfied in labouring in vain to the end of my days. In a conversation with Mrs. O. to-day, I was much comforted; she spoke but little, and that was so much to the purpose, that I was highly delighted; I endeavoured to consider with her, to what dangers she would be most exposed. I supposed that the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, would be most likely to choke the word, but she was, like Peter, very certain this would not induce her to go back. In the afternoon I was grieved beyond measure, at seeing the Sabbath so profaned; the passengers were reading all manner of books on the quarter deck; two, whom I knew, I reproved, and they laid them aside; I went below in hopes of reading Baxter, but there was no one there, as I have found to be the case every Sunday. After remaining some time in conversation with one or two, I retired in great darkness, to bemoan my own deadness, and that of the people, before God, and found my soul wonderfully revived and encouraged. I found it in my heart to pray fervently for dear Christian friends, who, I hoped were praying for me; and it was a delightful consideration, that on this day, the cause of God and my concerns, would generally go hand in hand with my praying friends. After tea M'K. coming in, I read Milner and some hymns; my soul all the time being full of joy, and a cheerfulness which put me on my guard.
7. In learning the three last chapters of Ephesians, I was much blessed. I was persuaded that the prohibition of foolish talking, and jesting, was little attended to by modern Christians, and especially by myself; a saint who like the primitive Christians, speaketh the truth in love, i.e. who enjoys a serious and happy frame, as every one ought, is little disposed to trifle; I endeavoured to keep this in view through the day, and how often did it recur as a check. I felt uncomfortable from sickness, and so sat a good while on the poop, reading hymns; but I found it hard to realize the happiness of heaven, at which I longed to arrive. At dinner, my mind was occasionally abstracted from outward things, by reflecting, on the subject of the hymns, particularly 'Vital spark of heavenly flame.' Went below in the afternoon, but the noise from some of the ship business was so great in that part, that they told me it was in vain to read; had a long conversation with two seamen. In the evening, the devil laid a snare for me I think, which threatened to drown my soul in perdition; the Lord save me, and keep my feet from being taken; oh may I with trembling awe cry to him for help! "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil." I humbly trust the issue will be for the benefit of my soul. Conversing with the purser to-night, upon the quarter-deck, I found he had once been two days in company with one of the Danish missionaries at Tranquebar, but he could not give me many particulars about him. I staid a long time listening to his narrative about many parts of the world he had seen, but did not observe that my religious remarks were attended to; he told me he was well acquainted with Mr. Brown of Calcutta, and gave a very high character of him.
8. I determined to give up some time to the composition of sermons, a duty which, I fear, from sloth, I have much neglected. Wrote on a subject the rest of the morning. The violent exercise I took on deck, seemed to relieve and lighten both body and mind. In the afternoon, prayed as usual for the spirit of a minister and missionary, and went below, read Pilgrim's Progress, and conversed with the men about teaching some of them to read and to sing. They seemed to be very well pleased with the idea of singing. After tea, walked upon deck with Captain and Mr. S------. I talked to them of the popular parts of astronomy, endeavouring to lead it to a profitable purpose. In my cabin had a blessed time of prayer; my soul succeeded in a measure in its struggles to get away from things of sense. Oh, would to God I could live always with Christ. What is it which bewitches me to be governed by such trifles, so that so much of my mind is given to things about which I care nothing, and so little to God, whose loving kindness is better than life.
9. Wrote on a subject and walked with Mrs. O. In the afternoon talked to a sick man in his hammock. I observed two or three quietly drawing near, and sitting on the ground to hear. I really think there is a spirit of enquiry among the poor men. Read Baxter late; at the usual place. There was more serious attention and greater numbers than I have yet seen. In the evening drew near to God in prayer. Oh how I wish I could view outward things with a strange and forgetful eye, and neither think nor say any thing but in seriousness and love. I felt more ardour, and zeal, and desire to spend and be spent for God, after this afternoon's ministrations among the men. When a branch bringeth forth fruit, the Father purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. But I am at best a poor languid creature. Sometimes solemn, but scarcely ever lively. By reading the sermons preached before the Missionary Society, I was much refreshed to-day. The interest so many dear and honoured saints are taking in my work, and especially the accounts of so many missionaries lately gone to Tranquebar, Surat, and the Cape, whom I had some hopes of seeing, quite gladdened my heart; I was disposed to bless God for the honour he had put on one so unworthy.
10. Employed as yesterday. Mr. S. took up much of my time by coming to learn French. By prayer before and after dinner, and watchfulness during it, I went to the men below in a serious frame; read Pilgrim's Progress; just as I was beginning Baxter, we were interrupted. On deck had some conversation with one of the sergeants, who said with some emotion that many of the men were the better for my coming among them; 'and that for himself he had been brought up in this persuasion, and now things that he had almost forgotten were brought to his mind. At his request, I supplied him with a Bible, which he wanted to buy, and a hymn-book, and another book. They found a man in the regiment for me who promised to assist to-morrow in singing, as he had formerly sung in a choir. At night, got below, without being observed, and with some Madeira and water for two of the sick men; but could not read to them, as they are allowed no light. My soul was very serious after this, in reflecting on the hardships of most men. What reason I have to be thankful myself! I had, I thought, no wish, save to be as a light burning out for God; I could rejoice to waste away the body in labouring and preaching all the day long. Let me say now as in the morning, "Why is his chariot so long in coming, why tarry the wheels of his chariot." Then eternal seriousness shall pervade my soul, and I shall join his perfect creatures in fulfilling the will of the Most High. We saw some of the flying fish to-day; though I believe it was not the first time. I had seen them before, but taken them for birds. The poor little things are emblems of my soul. They rise to a little height, but in a minute or two their fins are dry, and then they drop into the waves.
11. Many an animating thought was infused into my heart to-day. Read Hindoostanee most of the morning without gaining any increase to my knowledge. My temper was rather tried by it, but I was restored to peace and dependence upon God for assistance in this study by prayer. In the evening, my soul rose delighting to be employed. Walking a little on deck at night, found Corporal B------, on watch. He was quite revived, and I talked with him a good deal on divine things. But of the glory of heaven, and the nearness of it, which is my present joy to think of, I can get no one to speak. My mind is now generally very cheerful. I believe that many of my former happy times in England were produced, or at least heightened, by the presence of external aids, as of beloved saints, ordinances, &c. My chief pleasure now is, I hope, more independent. I wish to be always with God, and to look forward to the finishing of my work, and entering into rest. In two or three days, I have been led much to think and pray for Lydia in this respect, lest she should be disquieted on my account. I know not how this thought has arisen now, and not before.
12. After wasting a great deal of time in a careless perusal of Holy Scripture, I felt very unhappy, but by prayer was excited again to peace and seriousness; the time below deck was spent in singing with B------and L------; the men got round us in great numbers, and seemed disposed to assist with great readiness.
12. (Sunday.) Service before dinner; endeavoured to have my soul fixed on divine things, in seriousness, and deep conviction of the awful responsibility to God. Preached on Rom. vii. 18. Went below in the afternoon, and talked a little in Hindoostanee with Cadi; he could understand me tolerably, but I could not follow him. Read Baxter's Call to the men, and found some parts so affecting, that I warned them even with tears. In the evening, had a long season of communion with God, through his mercy. Prayed chiefly for the increase of my soul in grace, particularly in love and zeal. Oh the difference when God is present, and when not! The time passed happily; I seemed to fear no interruption; it was not with difficulty that I beheld his glory, as in general, but he was nigh me; it was pleasant and easy to pray, and I did it for all the ministers and brethren in England, for the heathen world, and India in particular. M'K. coming in, we read several chapters of the Bible together. Bless the Lord, O my soul, for all the benefits he hath done unto me. Farewell wicked world, from henceforth is it my desire to labour for Christ, and then to die.
14. Alas, my days so few, my work so great, and my account so woeful, what ails me that I sleep? much time passed away this morning in reading and prayer,' but want of energy wasted my time. I felt thankful for 1 Cor. xiii. that God had given such a beautiful picture of Christian temper; my prayers were chiefly for myself; my ostensible employment, was writing on a subject, but I did little. M'K. indeed prevented much; my attention during my walk on deck was taken up with things which did not belong to me; prayer however delivered me from the pain which a succession of merely earthly thoughts always produces.
15. Spent much time with Major D. and M'K. separately; endeavouring to mediate and produce a reconciliation; M'K. acts with great propriety. I am understood by the blacks better still, but I cannot catch their words. Below, we sung hymns, and I read Baxter's Call. I felt pressed in spirit to speak to them the word of God. My usual deadness seemed to have vanished; I could have poured away my life to persuade them to return. M'K. came down while we sung, and was ridiculed and bantered by them all on his coming up. To-day, one of the waiters at table fell into an apoplectic fit, brought on it is said by drunkenness. Awful state! he is still raving. I still enjoy health and strength, though the thermometer, which has been gradually rising to 80°, is to-day 85°. In the evening at prayer, my soul panted after God, and cried fervently for a short time, after a perfect conformity to the holy nature of Jesus Christ. O that I may be kept faithful a few years longer, and I shall be out of danger. '' In my Father's house are many mansions."
16. The first part of the morning was spent with some distraction in desultory reading. John xv. convinced me how little or nothing I know of abiding in Christ. "So shall ye bring forth much fruit.3' Enjoyed some happy reflections this evening, as I sat refreshed by the evening breeze on the poop. In prayer after tea, I was led to cry for sincerity and openness of heart before God. I felt that I am apt to be satisfied with a few religious affections, excited by a sense of the shortness of time, &c. but that I really enjoy little of actual and spiritual communion with God in Christ. The thought of death and the resurrection is very sweet to me. My chief concern now seems to be, to wait patiently for it, and to beware of distrusting God's promises concerning it. The first Christians thought much of this, because they had little prospect of a comfortable stay in this world. So now that I neither enjoy the company I like, nor have the expectation of ever doing so, all my expectations are led on more naturally to the delights of another world.
17. Little done to-day. A conversation at dinner respecting the Indians, roused more than ever my desire to go amongst them. In the evening was blessed in prayer, by being assisted to lay my heart open before God. The Lord only knows what a poor cold creature I am, and how miserably I mis-spend my time. Oh that I may walk more in the fear of God.
18. Had a long and earnest conversation this morning with Major D------, on the subject of our acceptance with God. He is a candid self-righteous man. I left off with begging him to read Rom. iii. with prayer. I had great boldness also, in telling Captain O. of his sins. In the afternoon was again prevented going below; had some conversation with G------in French, and C------in Hindoostanee. M'K passed the evening with me: we read Milner; was filled with shame at night in reflecting on my unprofitableness, and on the carelessness of my walk before God. Oh, let the mercy of God spare me yet longer, that I may never dare any more to serve God, but with reverence and godly fear.
19. Finished writing a sermon before breakfast, and afterwards was employed in reading and prayer, and considering the sermon; the heat made it impossible to continue in my cabin for head-ache, and so I was obliged to be much on deck. Resumed the conversation with Major D------on the same subject; he had been reading Romans iii. but could not understand it. Read Milner and Dow; my heart was departing from God, but prayer revived my soul. Found my spirit breathing after God in the evening at prayer, and hoped I should really be able to keep my eyes always on Jesus; that I should be able to labour henceforth with utter unconcern about human opinions, and with simple reference to the will and pleasure of Jesus Christ. I thought at night of various scenes of pleasure, such as living in a useful sphere, in a beautiful country, united to Lydia; but I could see no pleasure at all in it. How is the chain broken! It seems to me as if no one thing could ever more give me pleasure, but something in connection with the eternal world. Show me something that will bring me to God, or God to me, and I am satisfied. The world without this is all nothing. Oh, my soul, why not live thus in heaven according to thy duty and privilege.
20. (Sunday.) Endeavoured as usual to launch away into eternity, so as to feel above, and beyond, all concern about men, excepting their souls. Preached on Rom. viii. 7, but not freely, owing perhaps to following the divisions and short sentences of Jonathan Edwards too closely. In the evening had my soul fixed in a measure in prayer, and intercession for missionaries in different parts, but especially for those at Sierra Leone, in the latitude of which place we were to-day. M'K. who passed much of the evening with me, told me of the same defects of manner, of which I have often heard, induced as he said, by what they said to him about me. 'Martyn is a good scholar, but not much of an orator.' M'K. said it was a want of easy flow, arising as he thought, from a want of confidence in my own abilities. This reminded me of Mr. Cecil's observations; I was rather dispirited by it, as I hardly know how to remedy it, and if it be not remedied, I am afraid I shall make but a dull preacher to Indians. "But not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit."
21. If there be any thing I do, if there be any thing I leave undone, let me be perfect in prayer. So I thought in the morning. In prayer I was fervent at times, but without a spirit of deep humiliation I am never happy. The captain of the Botany-men came on board to-day; I thought of the opportunity of getting some Testaments aboard, but the character of the captain hindered me. The fear of man, too, operated; for all round him were engaged in such busy inquiry about news from the Commodore, that the fear of ridicule, I believe, prevented my asking him to take the books. However, my conscience gave me no trouble when he left the ship. Now only when I write the events of the day, do I see the matter in its true light. I am so grieved, that I would give almost any thing to get them on board the Pitt. I bless God I shall have one more opportunity; the fleet are to rendezvous in St. Salvador, South America, according to fresh orders received today. In the afternoon I could get no lower than the gun-deck, the sailors' berth, where meeting with Cade, I read to him and the rest of the Lascars, the prayer of Parboter, which I had been translating into Hindoostanee. They seemed to understand me perfectly; Cade corrected my pronunciation in a few words, and one or two other words they did not understand, but I was surprised at being able to gain their attention at all. Before tea on the poop, I was sitting with the cadets looking at the lightning; I said a little about having such a God for an enemy, but somehow I feel afraid of speaking frequently to them, for fear of surfeiting them. I believe indeed it cannot be fear of men, because I speak as plainly as possible to them in preaching. In the evening had the presence of the Lord in prayer, the ease and peace of my own soul in the contemplation of faith * * were as usual my subject, and fitness for the mission. In the latter, I have received an encouraging answer, as at night. I conversed tolerably with the blacks, and even understood a little what they said. Mr. K. sat with me at night, a squall coming on, and producing great noise on deck, our conversation led to death. I could have wept for the state of the poor unprepared souls in the ship; at night I was led to consider what on my death-bed would be my retrospective views. If I should look back and see a life of eminent strictness, should I lament any thing, but that it was not more strict?--and yet my flesh sinks from fasting and long prayer. But oh world, flesh, and Devil, I have declared war against you all; my single inquiry shall now be, through grace, what is the Lord's will. Thus, Christ strengthening me, I shall triumph in faith. My heart is distressed at the thought of my unfitness for public preaching; but through Christ's grace I shall be taught to be content with such gifts as I possess, and improve them without asking any more. I read three chapters of Corinthians on the subject, and learnt, 1. "That the spirit divideth severally as he will," and, 2. "Covet earnestly the best gifts."
22. Passed the morning till dinner, in prayer and reading; first, prayed for the presence of God and due preparation, afterwards, in reference to the ministry, and then for all Christian friends in England, with much freedom and increase of seriousness. The rest of the day till evening, I had intended to continue in fasting and prayer for the church at large, but not being; able to get any air, in consequence of rain, I grew so exceedingly weak, as to be fit for nothing more. In the afternoon Cade came to my cabin, and I read to him sentences from the prayers of Parboter. I desired him to repeat it in English, from which I found that he understood scarcely a quarter of it, yet he, and all with him, a day or two before, pretended to listen with great interest while I read it. I felt not a little disconcerted at this. When we came to the simple sentence, EC, &c. I could not help asking, do you believe you shall ever be saved by the blood of Christ? He declined answering for some time, but said at last, 'Who hath seen the blood of God?' with the contemptuous smile of a modern sceptic, and then began to tell a long and laboured story which he said was in the Koran. I am afraid I shall be able to get but little good from him; one thing however I have perhaps learnt, that the attention of an Indian audience is not to be depended upon.
At night read Flavel, but was much taken up by------. He came to relate his encounter with some of the most bitter opponents of religion below; they still believe him to be a hypocrite, and want to draw him back again. Of me they said little, and that not in my favour. They gave me up as a mad enthusiast; I was very little offended at this, my soul wants more of God. I have no inclination to harass myself any more about the trifles of this world.
23. Continuing weak and low-spirited. My heart tried with great distrust, Very unhappy through not being able to trust God for assistance in the ministerial work. The weakness and languor of my body under the heat, made me fear I never should be useful as a preacher in India. About the middle of the day, I considered, what means this misery? Is it not of God that I am led into outward trials and difficulties, that my faith may be tried? Supposing that you are obliged to return, or even that you never see India, but wither and die hereabouts, what is that to you? Do the will of God to-day where you are, and leave the rest to him. My soul was somewhat eased by casting my burden on the Lord, and the rest of the day I enjoyed a solemn tranquillity. In prayer in the evening, I felt a blessed resignation to God, and a desire to forget, and be forgotten, by all the world for him. Wished that if I should hereafter become a more public character, I might hear the praises of men without a smile, and their censures without a sigh, and go on with perfect disregard, withdrawn from the world, looking in secret to the judgment of the great day, when the secrets of the heart shall be manifest. Oh, that the deepest seriousness were uninterrupted in all my conversation.
24. Much dejected the whole day, through mistrust of the promised grace of God to assist me in the ministerial work. I am disposed to fret that I have no time for such necessary study as learning the Hindoostanee; I turned again and again, till my mind was quite tired. The heat also was so oppressive, that I could hardly tell how to place my body at rest. In the afternoon went below again, and read Baxter, and sung. Going down a second time, I found my little flock collected and none others present, or not very near. They were four, and I addressed a word of exhortation and encouragement to each, and afterwards in the evening had much comfort in prayer for them. One of them asked me to explain the verse, "for every idle word," which I did in the strictest sense, according to corresponding passages in Ephesians. Oh, may I henceforth be very careful to set f them an example of such godly conversation. Came on a little better at night in writing.
25. Rather more tranquil in my mind to-day; felt the exceeding privilege of prayer in upholding my head even in the midst of the thoughts which disquieted me. I wished I had had more time for longer communion with God. Unhappily when I have more time and a mind more at ease, I can go on too long in quietness without intimate communion. Writing all the morning; advancing very slowly. Went below in the afternoon, but found none to hear. Had great satisfaction in reflecting this evening on the proofs that my hourly wisdom was not to repine, and look for a change, but to consider what is my duty in the existing circumstances, and then to do it in dependence on grace. Nothing better than this can be adopted.
26. Employed most of the day about my sermon, and found much assistance. Blessed be God, he is always better to me than my fears. In the afternoon we sang a number of hymns below. In the evening tasted great joy in the consideration of a part of my subject. Was much pleased to-day at the mano3uvring of the ships which passed under the Commodore's stern in succession, and received orders, ourselves among the rest, to proceed as fast as we could, with the Leda and fastest-sailing ships for St. Salvador.
27. Rose in tolerable tranquillity, feeling a carnal confidence in the preparation I had made. Till service spent much of that time which had better have been spent in prayer, in considering the subject still more. But with all my anxiety and precaution, I had no greater fluency than before. The subject was Matt. xi. 28. to which the soldiers paid little attention; they seldom indeed, do, to any thing encouraging. Went among them on the forecastle afterwards, and was shocked as usual with their horrid blasphemies. I have spoken to them about swearing in such a variety of ways, that I am at a loss to know what to say to them. One man looked with the utmost arrogance and disdain, as if wondering I should call him to account: their blind and headlong course of wickedness makes me think often of the words, "Led captive by him at his will." Had some close conversation with Ser. G------. Poor B------ who was the person I went to visit at the forecastle, was so extremely ill as not to be able to speak. Belol, a young Lascar from Surat, seemed to watch me with such kindness and attention in his countenance, while I was talking to the men, that I thought of the words, "had I sent thee to them, people of a strange speech, they would have hearkened unto thee." These Mussulmen seem to be quite delighted, if I will but try to speak to them; and they seem eager to help me out. They addressed me as I past to-day; but though I can speak a little to them, I cannot converse with them. Was kept from prayer before dinner by Mr. K. continuing in my cabin. Want of more prayer left me extremely light. In the afternoon, not being able to get below, I read 1 Chron. and enjoyed sweet reflections, and intercession for my beloved friends in England. My dear sister lay very near my heart.
28. Rose with somewhat of the same impression on my mind, as that in which I had retired last night, of the necessity of stirring myself up to activity in Christ's service, instead of being carried on in the dull routine of studies. At the beginning of my voyage, when my soul was sinking in the deep waters of troubles, my only relief was to fly to the bosom of God; but now that every thing is more comfortable without and within, I ungratefully think of the time for prayer without pleasure. O Lord! who hast borne with thy miserable creature so long, "create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me." The chief point to which the Spirit of God awakened my attention was prayer. I am not a man of prayer; I think I have something else to do besides pray. How many hundreds of millions of souls lying in heathen darkness there are--how many millions of heathen souls professing Christ--how few who preach the truth as it is in Jesus--how few among them are willing to go out to visit the deserts of paganism! And even of those few who are 'thrust out,' here is one who will not take the trouble to pray. Where then shall poor dying souls find an advocate. My soul cried out for a spirit of prayer and supplication in behalf of the church; but I know by continual experience, that I shall not only flag, but forget altogether my present resolutions, if the Lord do not quicken my slumbering conscience. But adieu! folly and sloth, I will be, through grace, the servant of Christ; and the little I can do for India I will, which is praying for it. The rest of the evening my soul had more of the fear of God before its eyes. Entered passages from Hooker into Common Place Book, and read Flavel on the subject I wished to write on. Mr. K. afterwards came in, and by mere worldly conversation I grew cold and languid.
29. A day no better than the former; notwithstanding the recollections with which I rose in the morning, concerning what ought to be the manner of my life. The morning was frittered away by reading Flavel, in reference to the subject on which I meant to write. Another thing which always injures my spirit, without great caution, was some astronomical calculations for finding the longitude by a lunar observation. At night, as I was beginning, after some liveliness in prayer, to prosecute my work with vigour, M------came in, and the rest of the evening might be called lost. I read Milner and Dow. But oh! what a weak creature I am, to be thus the sport of every trifling distraction, particularly when God and his glories invite and command my diligence. God put his fear into my heart, that I may be more watchful and spiritual!
30. This morning about six o'clock we crossed the line. My soul kept near to God for the first part of the morning, but the finishing of the calculations again left me dissatisfied at not having gone forward in my proper work. Had some conversation with a young man, who keeps close to me notwithstanding the scoffs of the rest. In general I was in much dejection to-day, partly from a bodily cause, but chiefly on account of my sinful propensity to a continual absent departure from God, through laziness, and a continuing from him through unbelief. But in the evening God restored me to considerable peace, by enabling me to open my heart before him, and to write on my subject. Oh that I could begin every thing with God, prosecute it in the presence of God, and then after the conclusion return far from men to be in secret with my God.
31. This morning was lost in a great measure, by the confusion the ship was in, from the idle ceremony of ducking, &c. I thought it right to be present at the procession of Neptune; at short intervals I read Hin-doostanee, and was careful not to let my heart wander from God, in vanity and unbelief. In the afternoon read Dow, as there was no getting below. Was much delighted with a young Lascar called Belol, who spoke so slowly and distinctly for my sake, that I could understand him pretty well; he said he knew the Farree and Arabic. I tried him by writing his name in Arabic; he repeated the Persian alphabet exceedingly well, as I supposed, from his way of pronouncing the peculiar gutturals; he was highly pleased at a story from Gilchrist which I read to him, and said he perfectly understood me. On asking him how he liked one of the midshipmen who is generally disliked, he said, 'when he tells me to go aloft I go, when he tells me to go down, I go--to do that, I do it,--he is my officer; he is a white man and I a black--is not that right, Sir?' I was on the whole much charmed with this graceful, active, and amiable Mussulman. O what would I have given to have seen him a Christian! My heart burned with desire to impart the Gospel of God to him!
November 1. An awful and affecting day. About break of day signals of distress were fired, and a ship was observed aground near some breakers. We bore away, but the frigate stood towards her. About the middle of the morning we tacked again towards her after the frigate, and from the mast head two ships were observed aground. Presently one disappeared, and we were struck with a sort of panic, from concluding she must have gone to pieces. At last the breakers came in sight to us upon deck, and soon after two white sand banks behind them, terminated either way by a long reef of frightful rocks. Looking steadily with my glass, I saw two men on the beach, and presently after could count twelve or thirteen on the top of the beach, which seemed to be green. Looking again, I saw a pole elevated with a hat or jacket on the top of it, and a clump of men round it, and at different parts of the beach parties of men and one or two ladies. The rocks and surf were frightful. The appearance was that of columns alternately white and dark. The white ones gradually melting away, and succeeded by others, so prodigiously high were the breakers. About this time several pieces of wreck floated by us, a chest of drawers, barrels, boards, &c. I saw a cabin door with the glass window in it pass by us. One of the frigates' boats then came alongside (i.e.) within hail, in her way to the island, for the ships were afraid to come very near, and told us it was the King George transport that was lost; but that only three officers were lost out of the whole, that one of them was General Yorke of the artillery. We then sent a boat on board the frigate, and learnt that the other ship was supposed to be the Britannia, and that every sailor on board had perished. So much only we know, but wait with anxiety for to-morrow for further information. The Leda had not received all her boats back when night drew on. M'K. coming in at night said that he had just heard from the mate that our own escape was almost miraculous, for if the second mate who was on watch from twelve to four, had not called up the captain and first mate, we should have been ashore, for we were very near, and the reef lay exactly across our track. The interest excited by the whole transaction through the ship was remarkable, and my anxiety about the sufferers engrossed most of my thoughts. Circumstances added solemnity to my prayers to-day, but the power of God, and the approach of death, kept me back from God, till my soul found its encouragement in the promises of grace. In Christ I feel safe, for I know that all things are mine, whether life or death. M'K. and myself prayed together for the first time to-night.
2. We obtained no further intelligence respecting the ship. I was employed all the day in writing, but M'K. took away much of the precious time. In the afternoon we sung below. Finished Dow. At night enjoyed much serenity and solemnity of mind at getting my work done.
3. Sunday. Was composed and comfortable in prayer, and free from that distraction and anxiety which generally haunts me when about to preach; my subject was John iii. 14, 15. I had some time for reading and prayer afterwards, but I found it hard to pray; and something in Archbishop Leighton very much dejected me. However, I strove to keep nigh to God by repeating Scripture, in my walk. One squadron which had been detached from the main fleet, yesterday rejoined it, in consequence of the loss we had sustained, and to-day we are left behind by all but one. Our captain was much concerned at navigating in these unknown seas alone, and therefore fired a shot, and made signal for that one ship to come down, which at first she refused to do, but presently hoisted signal of an enemy in sight. So that one alarm succeeded another with us; but they were all dissipated towards night by the main fleet appearing from the mast-head. The captain said we must have passed the same island, the fatal Ronas, last night, within a mile of it, and yet though we had been looking out in every direction, we did not see it. Thus we may be well said to be walking in the "valley of the shadow of death; "but "I fear no evil, thy rod and thy staff will comfort me;" but oh that my conversation may be in heaven, where if I die I hope to be. With what a spirit ought I to preach, and they to hear, when every instant the ship may strike on a sand-bank. This afternoon sung and read Baxter's Call; it was a very affecting part, and the number of hearers much greater, so that I was willing to believe that good was doing. I was wondering at myself, why I did not rejoice more, and feel happy at thus having the songs of Zion sung, and the word of God preached to as many as would come. I can ascribe it only to this, that in England, I scarcely ever had joy from God alone; there are so many assistants to joy in the society of those we love that it is comparatively easy to be happy, and we are ready, (at least I was,) to account it all love of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; but I now find that true joy in God, independent of all worldly adjuncts, is what I am little acquainted with. In the evening, till interrupted by M'K., the Lord answered my supplications, by shewing he was with me of a truth. I was grieved at being interrupted; he sat with me till very late, when he proposed prayer; but I told him we had better have stated seasons, and not wait till we were exhausted by the day.
4. Had very painful convictions of my deadness and unbelief; sometimes prayer had so little effect on my mind, that I almost despaired of ever being of any use in the world. I should scarcely be acknowledged among the pious Christians as one at all, or any thing but a philosophical dabbler in religion; I am far too proud, instead of hanging as a child on its mother's breast, I can pass my time far too pleasingly and continually with my books, and in pleasures of intellect and speculations, instead of living only upon God. The coast of South America came in view this morning; by prayer before and after dinner, I began to enjoy more comfort in my thoughts; this moment, while I am writing, we have been speaking the Europe, who tells us the Britannia was lost on the reef, but that all were saved.
5. Morning chiefly passed by making extracts in my common-place-book from Milner, and from Edwards on Faith. The reflection that my direct and proper business was to be a man of prayer, encouraged me to pray. On the poop, the number of hearers was three or four times as many, and as the gun-deck above was clear, some of the cadets and midshipmen heard. It is the singing, I believe, that attracts them. There was a solemn attention to Baxter; two of the seamen came, which were the first I had seen. These things would make my heart overflow with gratitude if I knew how unworthy I was of being listened to; I endeavoured to be persuaded that my proper portion every day was extreme suffering, and while these thoughts remained, the flame of thankful love broke out. The ministry in the ship and mission were the subject of my thoughts at this time. At night my soul burned with zeal; but these, I fear, are transient affections.
6. A day passed more with God than any for a long time past. The prevailing reflection of my mind was this, that the whole of the proper business of my life was prayer. I might write sermons, or read the language, but intercession for the interests of the church, was my direct and proper occupation, as a missionary. This thought in my mind served as a constant check to carnality, and my soul rejoiced in God. In prayer at different times, my soul seemed to increase in holiness. To plead with God for a more meek submission to his holy will, and for profound humility and resignation, was easy and delightful, while I felt these tempers in some degree of exercise. Passed much of the morning in Hindoostanee. Was very much tired about the middle of the day; but the trial was of short continuance, for I was enabled to embrace by faith the precious promises, and found instant deliverance from guilt and the power of corruption. The cloud passed away and the sunshine returned. With the officers on deck I had much conversation about drunkenness. We were so near the shore of America, that I could see with a glass the forests that covered the whole land, and distinguish the trees peculiar to the tropics, with a naked stem and spreading summit. The conversation after tea turning on Hume and other infidels, I felt in a most extraordinary degree exasperated against their memory, and it was some time before I could soothe the tumult by prayer. My soul glories in the power of Jesus. "Why do the heathen rage," occurred to my memory, as applying to those enemies of Jesus Christ, and of the happiness of human souls; but the reign of Satan and his agents shall be short. "I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven." Began to-day to pray over the passages of Isaiah that refer to the spread of the gospel, and found God peculiarly present to my soul.
7. In general, to-day, formal in prayer, particularly in the one over Isaiah, in the middle of the day. Oh how soon doth spiritual-mindedness hasten to decay. This truth I seem to be learning, that the utmost efforts of reason are insufficient to elicit one spark of true holiness from the mind; unless the Spirit lighten the sacrifice with fire from heaven, there it remains dead and cold.
8. Had a little more spirituality in prayer, in the middle of the day, for the church; I trust the Lord will enable me to persevere in this. Prayed in the evening with much earnestness. My soul seemed to rejoice in calling the blessed God my God in Christ for ever. I rose free from the world, and appeared to speak freely to him without interruption. From this the great day of judgment was brought to my mind, with a nearness I never before experienced. I thought how ministers would be called to be judged, one by one, by him who was no respecter of persons, and endeavoured to think of all the solemn questions that would be put to them. Did you "watch for souls," &c. Oh may the judgment of that great day be ever present to my mind.
9. Uneasy as usual on the Saturday, through excessive anxiety about being prepared. Oh would that my care were from a wish to approve myself to God. Had a long conversation with the Captain this evening; made several ineffectual efforts to introduce religion. In the afternoon, sung below, and expounded a chapter; passed the rest of the evening in thinking of my subject.
10. (Sunday.) My soul in that wavering state, in which it so often is on the Sabbath morning, between anxiety, and that spirituality so congenial to the holy day. But it was disquieting myself in vain, as oh other accounts we had no service; for soon after breakfast, a strange sail bore in sight, which the Captain, from her manoeuvres, took for an enemy; on which all hands were ordered to their quarters, and the ship cleared as much as it could be for action. The soldiers had ten rounds of ball cartridges. M., who was to command the cadets on the poop under Major D., sat with me some time during the state of suspense. I was much pleased with his remarks, which were suitable to the solemnity of the occasion. His post was that of great danger, and he seemed prepared to die. To the Captain I could say nothing of a religious nature; he was in a great ferment, and told me he was determined rather to fight till the ship sunk, than strike to a privateer. However, soon after twelve, the ship bore away out of sight, but it was too late for divine service. At this I again felt a secret pleasure, which gave a deep wound to my peace. However, after some time spent in prayer, I was brought, through grace, to a somewhat different state. I therefore went and asked the mate when we were to have service; he said not at all if the rain continued, which it did all day. The last chapter of Colossians was very applicable to me this day, especially those words, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving, withal praying for me that a door may be opened, that I may speak the mystery of Christ." Oh here was a door opened, but I had no heart to use the opportunity. "Say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry, that thou fulfil it." I could substitute another name for Archippus. Had a service below in the afternoon, where, besides singing, we had Baxter, and an Exposition of the Scriptures. Many were present, and with them two of the cadets on the deck above, and the surgeon. After tea, had a most vehement and interesting dispute with Captain O. in the cuddy, before a great number of the others. He endeavoured to maintain that drunkenness and swearing had no harm in them, and went so far as to say, that great part of the scripture was priestcraft, and that God was to blame for giving him such a nature. This began from our hearing the boatswain's mate using the song they sometimes sing out in pulling a hard rope.--(This man has lately attended me regularly, and I was quite shocked at hearing him use such a string of blasphemies.) I pressed Captain O. with scripture, till he was obliged to shift his ground. He had nothing to say to which the Lord did not give me a ready answer, but held that drunkenness in scripture does not apply to occasional drunkenness, and that the law which forbade drunkenness was not made till man had been sometime in the world.
11. Writing letters all day. In the afternoon a pilot came on board--told us that had we continued to steer as we were doing, we should have run upon some rocks, where many ships have been lost. Oh how sweet to perceive such repeated instances of God's guardian care. At night, as we drew near St. Salvador, we were much alarmed at the danger of running aground. As they sounded, the depth was from ten to seven, and from seven to five fathoms. The Captain roared out in a fury to the pilot, 'four fathom and the ship is aground!' However, we soon got into deep water, and came to just outside the harbour.
12. Cried to God for deliverance from that lively interest about worldly things,--such as the new scenes I visit,--with which my soul is drawn away from God. On coming out, the coast of America was close to us, beautified with much romantic scenery. On going ashore, saw for a long time nothing but negro slaves, male and female, very good-looking cheerful people. As we stood on the market, a great many eyed me from top to bottom, guessing, I suppose, that I was a padre. The town exactly resembled Funchal, &c. (Vide Memoir, p. 137.) While I waited for the boat, which was a long time, I sat in a little shop on the quay, kept by a negro. Here a great number of negroes, men and women, came about me, and examined every part of my dress, as if they had been uncivilized savages. They had not been used to such condescension I believe, for they stood round quite delighted, all endeavouring to assist me in speaking the words, the radical parts of most of which I knew from the latin. One woman talked to me with great earnestness, and asked repeatedly, 'Are the English baptized?' O yes, I told her, and thought 'I am one of those supposed heretics who has a precious gospel intrusted to him which he would preach to you if he could.' A boy exchanged a rosary with a cross, for one which I had found on the wall without one.
13. Early this morning there was a great storm. (See Memoir, p. 139.) Much of the morning passed in reading and prayer. Read the Portuguese grammar. Found some comfort in prayer over Isaiah, in the middle of the day. Afterwards visited one of the seamen, who was sick in his hammock. Endeavoured to fix my thoughts on a subject; but my mind has been much disturbed with the outward frame; and the heat, moreover, very oppressive.
14. "As for me I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice." Psalm Iv. 16, 17. This, I set down as my resolve in the morning, but the bustle of the day has prevailed to prevent my practising it. In the morning, however, my soul enjoyed nearness to God, and some seriousness of spirit. Went ashore with Major D.
15. Employed all day in writing letters. Called in the afternoon on board the William Pitt, East India-man, to see Cecil.
16. "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple." Psalm lxv. 4. To approach unto God, and to dwell in his courts, is the only satisfaction my soul desireth.
17. (Sunday.) "There shall be a handful of corn in the earth, upon the top of the mountains, the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth." Psalm lxxii. 16. This has been once fulfilled. From the Gospel truths scattered by a few fishermen, saints have grown up stately as the cedars, and numerous as the blades of grass. We are now but a handful upon the earth; when shall it become a rich harvest of souls! Preached on John xvi. 8. not without fear but with rather more tenderness than formerly. In the afternoon had the usual service below, and answered the objections of a Roman Catholic Serjeant. As the time for sending letters was prolonged, I wrote some more; in the evening had a happy season of prayer, though it was but short. To have God for my God seemed to be the real possession of heaven on earth.
18. Went ashore at 6 o'clock. (See Mem. 140.)
St. Salvador, S. A. Nov. 19, 1805.
MY DEAR SIR,
Our stay at Madeira was so short, that I was obliged to defer writing to you, till our arrival at the next port; and now we have had such sudden notice of the sailing of this packet for Lisbon, with the unfortunate Captain of the Britannia, that I shall not be able to enlarge so much as I could wish. We were present at part of the disastrous scene, the particulars of which you will have read before the receipt of this letter. The ships had gone to pieces before we arrived, but we could perceive many of the people walking about on the sands. A peculiar providence preserved us from being lost on the same rocks, for we past close to them twice in the night without perceiving them; the first time, however, we had no suspicion of being within many miles of them; and the second time, two days after, on joining the main fleet, from which we had been detached, it appeared we must have past within a mile of them, and yet could not see them, they were so low. From the time of this event we were a single ship till we reached St. Salvador. We crossed the Tropic of Cancer on the 10th of October, and the Line on the 30th. My health has continued remarkably good, occasionally indeed I suffer from relaxation and weakness; but upon the whole I bear the heat as well as any of the passengers, I have walked here for three hours together in the noontide heat of a vertical sun without any sensible inconvenience. My mind through the rich mercy of God enjoys much of that peace which Christ promises to his people--"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." I seem to have lost a good deal of that saliency of spirits, which the company of my dearest friends, and the want of offensive objects around me used to inspire. Here I am, and have enough to break the heart of any one who has a concern for the honour of God. I perceive it therefore, to be my business in life, not to look for enjoyment in this world, which lieth in wickedness, but to fulfil as an hireling my day, struggling against Satan, and exposed as a sheep among wolves. God, however, has so far had compassion on his unworthy servants and the perishing souls in the ship, as to gather some of his children from amongst us. There is a small party of us, who meet every day on the orlop deck to sing and hear an exposition of Scripture. The rest are very hardened and contemptuovis; but I trust I shall have grace to instruct in meekness those who oppose themselves. In the mean time, my dear friend, you will continue to putup a prayer occasionally for me to the God of our salvation, who is the confidence of the ends of the earth, and of them who are afar off upon the sea. It is so long before we are likely to arrive in India, in consequence of the Indiamen being engaged in this expedition, that I seldom think of it. We have been already seventeen or eighteen weeks, and perhaps may be as much longer. However, my time passes very delightfully in learning the language, writing letters, and becoming more acquainted with Scripture. Major Lamdren gives me but little encouragement to hope for the conversion of the natives of India. Being strangers themselves to the power of God over their own hearts, they see only the arm of man, and therefore despair. My general reply to them is that which consoles me; "With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible." I have not been much ashore, because there are no inns; but the Lord has in kindness furnished me with a very benevolent friend in Corin, who has given me a general invitation to his home. I have dined with him once, and walked round his plantation. The novelty of a tropical garden afforded me no small amusement, and much occasion of admiring the grand magnificence of the creating power of God. There is an army of 8,000 men with us, so that almost all the men I see here are military officers. This is a new scene to me. I hear nothing but the sound of the trumpet and the alarm of war. Oh! that the day were come "when nation shall no more lift up sword against nation."
I hope my dear Major, you maintain your ground among the enemies of the Gospel who are found in Helston. Stand fast, beloved brother, clad in the panoply of God, in truth, in righteousness, in peace, in faith, with the word of God. I delight to offer a word of encouragement to the feeble. I know that your God in whom you trust will be your strong rock and defence. Eliza, I may venture to hope grows in grace; as she reads this, let her be assured of my affectionate remembrances. Compliments to------. Those who are united to me in the sacred bond of the Gospel must not be forgotten. In the utmost haste, I conclude, dear sir,
20. "Holiness becometh thine house for ever," Psalm xciii. 5.--Holiness the everlasting ornament of heaven, and the inhabitants of it. Yes, it is an ornament which my soul shall seek. Found the presence of God this morning, and my soul was delighted with his comforts; I was blest with a clear view of my duty in respect of the ministry. Captain P. of the W. Pitt, Botany-Bayman, came on board to beg me to baptize a child of Mr. Bale, who was going out in some office under government to Botany Bay. I was quite rejoiced at the Lord's thus opening a way to the convicts without my asking it as a favour of the captain. I went aboard with twenty Testaments, a few copies of the Bible, Saint's Rest, Call to the Unconverted, Flavel's Saint Indeed, and a variety of tracts. The baptism was performed in the captain's cabin before dinner, Mrs. S. and the mother stood godmothers, and Captain B. godfather. I was grieved to see with what levity they seemed to treat this sacrament. After dinner I walked out in hopes of talking with some of the convicts, but staid so long with the chief mate conversing about them, that it grew dark. Captain B. granted my request to preach to them, and said he should be very happy to have me, whenever I should like to come. So now, may the Lord give me a heart and utterance.
23. (See Mem. p. 147, 148.) They revived the dispute, but they were now more prepared, and began to act on the offensive. Lamented my danger with much apparent tenderness; the chief speaker said, 'he was my friend,' but alas, his friendship could not bring me to heaven with him. Well, said I, I am willing to become a Roman Catholic, if you can convince me that it is the true religion, but first, let me ask, you will expect me to worship images, and the Virgin?--Yes. What in spite of the second commandment?--Yes, In defence of the worship of the Virgin, they said, 'She is the mother of God.' They quoted also the text at the end of John, "Woman, behold thy son." "Son, behold thy mother: "Saying that these words were addressed to us in the person of John. 'But what ground is here for worshipping her?' said I, 'we don't worship our parents'; but they ceased immediately to act on the defensive. I asked one 'whether he believed his present life as a friar was according to the will of God?' he said, 'he did not know.' Here I began to breathe again, for, thought I, this man is certainly not upright in the sight of God, but his tenderness, affection, and humility, so exactly resembling the true demeanour of saints, made me tremble to think what little evidence I had in my own temper, of being more right in my principles than he. We parted with mutual lamentations over one another. (Vide Mem. p. 148.)
24. (Sunday.) Preached on Ephes. ii. 18, and had great assistance. Oh how delightful to preach the gospel where the Spirit of God vouchsafes his blessing. Baptised a child which was brought from the Comet, East-Indiaman. Read and sung below in the afternoon, my heart still continuing very happy and joyful. Having heard that the cadets are to be employed in a body in the expedition, I spoke on the subject to M------and B-----, the former of whom seemed to be thinking with some seriousness. In the evening had a season of prayer for the church in England, and for myself in the concerns of the mission, which was solemnizing.
25. Psalm cvi. 3--5. "Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance." I want the testimonies of the love of God; I feel often serious, often weaned from the world, but seldom joyful: O why should I not rejoice in the gladness of thy nation? Though I have lost the company of those whom I love best upon earth, the chief source of this pleasure is the same to me as to them. But I have a stupid indolence and unbelief. Went on board the W. Pitt, East Indiaman, and conversed a considerable time with young Cecil. In prayer about the middle of the day over Isaiah xlix. found great benefit to my soul. Still there is great unbelief respecting the promises of the increase of the church. In the evening had some assistance in struggling against a carnal mind, and spiritual things were brought home to my soul with power. Oh eternity! Oh that I had constantly the remembrance of it. Feeling great energy in prayer on a certain subject, I endeavoured to write upon it, but warmth of thought soon declined. Another cadet conversed with me very, seriously this evening, on the subject of the approaching expedition. In an affray ashore the night before, one officer was killed, one dangerously wounded, three misr sing, all belonging to the Glory. Oh, in what a state are they hurried to judgment.
26. Isaiah xlviii. 17. "I am the Lord thy God, that teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go." In all my unprofitableness and waywardness, this is an encouraging support to my soul, that God will still teach his creatures how to live aright. Though I have neglected his teachings, though I have consequently been doing little or nothing, still it is the covenant attribute of God to afford his gracious instructions for the time to come. Walked more strictly and carefully to-day, and had more of the divine presence. After breakfast I was about Hindoostanee. Finished Orme's Hindoostan, and began Scott's History of Deccan. Heard that one of the soldiers was dying, and went down instantly, but the poor man was insensible. He had been ill a long time, and I knew nothing of it.
27. The same subject remained on my mind this morning in prayer; employed about sermon and Hindoostanee. In the midst of preparations for war, we met this afternoon and sang. I expounded 1 Cor. xv. which for want of time, I had omitted this morning, when I read the funeral service over the man. He was not committed to the deep over the ship's side, but carried out to some distance in the bay. The Lascars in the boat would not touch the body. Had free access to God in prayer in the evening. Dear friends in England and the church in general, were as last night, the subject of my intercession; afterwards wrote sermon.
28. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee." Psalm cxxii. I seldom read this psalm without a pensive pleasure, arising from the recollection of the day when I took leave of Cambridge; they that love the church of God will prosper in their souls, and they that are prosperous themselves, will be sure to pray that the church may prosper; so these imply each other. This morning the fleet sailed from St. Salvador. I have been with my friend Signer Antonio, only 'as a wayfaring man, that tarrieth but for a night.' Yet hath the Lord put it into his heart to send me on after a godly sort. Once more we prosecute our voyage; a few more passages, and I shall find myself in the scene of my ministry; a few more changes and journeys, and I am in eternity. Read Hindoostanee in the afternoon; expounded Luke xvi. In the evening sat as much as I could with M'K. who is ill of a fever, but from sea-sickness I was obliged to be frequently on deck. Kneeling down to prayer at night, brought on vertigo and sickness.
29. Ps. cxxx. 6. ''My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning." Being awoke by the wind and rain long before day-light, I waited for the morning with some anxiety, but though my soul findeth more pleasure in the light of God's countenance, than the eye does in returning day, I fear I do not wait for him in the way of faith and prayer. I was sea-sick all the morning, and very weak from its continuance yesterday and to-day. I thought of England as I sat on the poop, but not with that degree of inward misery, as when I left Cork. The benefit of perishing millions was the object, and that animated me to suffer quietly. Was much grieved at some things I heard and observed, in three of the most established saints in the ship; this among other things was a source of seriousness in my prayer in the afternoon. The Lord teach his ignorant creature to edify his church, as I am over thine in the Lord; let me have grace and wisdom to admonish them, not as a lord over God's heritage, but as an ensample to the flock.
30. The gale continues; but through the loving-kindness of the Lord, I have been tolerably free from that distressing sensation of sea-sickness. How shall I become more active in improving my hours of health to his service? Did nothing this morning, but the casual exercise of reading and prayer, which filled it all up without any extraordinary exercise of devotion. I wish I had a deeper conviction of the sinfulness of sloth. Oh, when shall I make a duty of activity in holy things. The hatches being fastened down, there was no light to read below, and besides, the heat was so great, that with my weak state of stomach, I could not have borne it. Finding my mind in a solemn state, and disposed to be thankful, that God gave me to find enjoyment in this dark tempestuous scene, when others were at a loss for amusement, I retired to prayer: how affecting is the consideration, that God is present to me in a certain degree in such a place as this, where the angry ocean lashed into surges frowns all around with a misty darkness. Employed till bed-time in preparation for tomorrow.
December. 1. (Sunday.) The weather being squally, and a great deal of work to do in the ship, there was no service. I passed my time very comfortably in reading the service and prayer till-------came in, when I read some of Merrick's Psalms, and found my soul at times full of joy; after dinner went below, and found none but Corporal B. who could sing, all the rest of my choir being employed upon deck. He was so heavy and unwilling, and so little inclined seemingly to get my people together, that I was quite grieved: however, 'I was resolved to make an effort towards having something like a service, and so I stayed the usual time, singing a few hymns with him, and expounding Luke xvii. to a few people there. But it was a very melancholy season; every thing seemed languid and lifeless. I went and sat on the poop to take the air, musing in some dejection at the bad appearance of things amongst us, and was ready to take refuge in the reflection, that I was not to blame, that I was willing to lay myself out for them, and never to cease instructing them for a single day, both in public and private. Had several conversations with Captain S------- S------ and S------ saved from the Britannia, but all to no purpose; after advancing a little way on religion, they change the subject of conversation, or turn away. In the evening had a long and pleasant remembrance of friends, and particular scenes in England, especially at Cambridge, and took a view of what had been my thoughts with respect to my mission, and what was my present duty and prospect. I found pleasure in the thought of dying entirely to the world, and departing far from friends, and every thing that can fasten me to it, in order to dwell alone with God, and learn by his immediate instruction, what is to be done for the kingdom of Christ, and to receive from him a heart and a mind to work.
2. "Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning, for in thee do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my heart unto Thee. Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God. Thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness." Psalm cxliii. 8, 10. Lord, I am blind and helpless, stupid and ignorant. Cause me to hear; cause me to know; teach me to do; lead me. When I kneel to pray, I scarcely know what to ask, so ignorant am I of my wants; when I am most enlightened by God, I see my wants more clearly. Had some thoughts of devoting this day to prayer, but sea sickness prevented it. In the afternoon expounded Luke xviii. to the soldiers. Corporal B. came to my cabin in the evening for some music books, and I embraced the opportunity of conversing with him about the men. But I could get nothing instnictive from him. My own mind was deeply impressed with the awfulness of the occasion, and wanted to see something of the same spirit in him, especially as he himself was one of the persons concerned in the approaching danger. But there was nothing of the sort; I was grieved with his intolerable lukewarmness and littleness of thought. Perhaps it was the peculiar state of my own mind at the time, that could not bear indifference in another, on what I had my thoughts so engrossed, but I felt quite vexed at his speaking on any other business, but that of the impending scene of battle. Another of my people had occasion to come to me at night, and I had reason to lament the same want of serious reflection in him. Oh wretched creatures that we are, when shall we please Thee, O God? O teach us to gird up the loins of our minds, to be sober and holy. Make them as well as me to have a tender regard to the souls of their perishing fellow-creatures.
3. Designed to set apart this day to fasting and prayer, in behalf of the ship. I found my soul mounting heavenward at the prospect of what was to be my employment to-day. From nine to three, my soul found the especial presence of God, in four successive seasons of prayer, but in none of these was my heart enlarged in intercession for the people of the ship. I tried again and again, but found no words to continue speaking for them, so that my object for them has not been attained, and I fear that I cannot again venture to fast with prayer for some time, as the position of the body and exercise of mind so weakened me, and produced such a headache, that I was fit for nothing at night, nor even the next morning. From three till four interceded with serious and delightful feelings for the church, from Isaiah 1. lviii. After taking some tea in the evening, I prayed again with a heart overflowing with joy; I could call God my own God in Christ; I could say in the spirit of adoption, Abba, Father'; nothing appeared desirable in the universe, but God, and so I felt exceedingly happy in possessing all that was good. In prayer that God would glorify himself, I cared not by what instrument; I truly felt willing to be despised, and forgotten, so God's purposes were accomplished respecting the setting up of his kingdom in the world.
4. "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Ps. i. It is the thoughtful and heavenly-minded Christian, that will be the thriving one. I suppose sometimes that an uninterrupted waiting upon God in fixed meditation, would raise the soul to the highest pitch of devotion, but, alas! the weakness of the flesh interposes a barrier. If the body and mind be exercised too long, the soul sinks again; almost all this day has been lost through fatigue of body and mind. The sensible feeling of love, or joy, or the exercise of thought, put my body to pain. I was chiefly on deck, low and languid, but enjoying a peaceful serenity of mind. Going below in the afternoon, I found that Captain O. had given strict orders that no one should go down, and even set a sentry to prevent it. I went and talked to him about it; he said that any might go down, if they went for the purpose of hearing me, but my object is effectually prevented, for I hoped to call the attention of those who were careless. The Lord now direct me how to act, and strengthen me. M'K. stayed with me the whole of the evening, and we were conversing about England. Dearest Lydia! never wilt thou cease to be dear to me; still the glory of God, and the salvation of immortal souls, is an object for which I can part with thee. Let us live then for God, separate from one another, since such is his holy will. Hereafter we shall meet in a happier region, and if we shall have lived and died, denying ourselves for God, triumphant and glorious will our meeting be.
5. "In thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple." Ps. lvii. Christ is that holy temple, toward which I look in prayer: within him my prayers, poor, and distracted as they are, shall come up with acceptance on his altar. How is it that my soul does not draw back unto perdition? There is an invisible intercession made on my behalf, and a secret influence operating upon me. Employed as usual in reading the Hindoo Storyteller, and writing sermon. Found an opportunity of speaking to Captain------about his evil temper and peevishness; it was no small cross, for he is so terrible, scarcely any one can approach him, and I was obliged to use all my address; he bore it very well, and confessed it wrong. With Captain S. a man of mild manners, though utterly destitute of religion, I converse every day: he seemed anxious that I should have my own way with respect to instructing the soldiers, and said I should have one or two Serjeants to bring the men up from below, as soon as I came up myself. My mind has been running on Lydia, and the happy scenes in England, very much; particularly on that day when I walked with her on the sea-shore, and with a wistful eye looked over the blue waves that were to bear me from her. While walking the deck, I longed to be left alone, that my thoughts might run at random. Tender feelings on distant scenes, do not leave me indisposed for communion with God; that which is present to the outward senses is the greatest plague to me. Went among the soldiers in the afternoon, distributing oranges to those who are scorbutic. My heart was for some hours expanding with joy and love; but I have reason to think that the state of the body has great influence on the frames and feelings of the mind. Let the rock of my consolations be not a variable feeling, but Jesus Christ and his righteousness.
6. Our Captain going aboard the Commodore, by a signal, brought back the information, that the Cape was our object, and that a stout resistance was expected; and that it would be five weeks yet before we should arrive thither. The minds of all were set in motion by this account, as few, I believe, expected hard fighting. My thoughts, always, alas! too vividly alive to what does not belong to me, needed to be calmed and spiritualized by prayer, and the Lord helped me to meditation on things in connexion with eternity. Visited this morning, the ship's steward, and found him dangerously ill of a fever; it was a melancholy sight. He lay convulsed, with the gunner standing by him, holding a burning lamp, which would scarcely burn, the air was so bad, and the place withal so hot, being directly under the copper, that it was altogether almost intolerable. As it was not convenient for him to attend to me then, I promised to come in the afternoon, which I did, after a very solemn season in prayer for a fit frame to minister to a dying man. In answer to a few of my questions, he said, he had a good hope, gave up all his mind to religion, and put his trust in God, &c. I bid him remember the sins of his life, his swearing, sabbath-breaking, &c. and particularly with this, that he had always been in the habit of pleasing himself, and not God. This seemed to strike him, he groaned and said, 'it is very true.' I went on showing the aggravations of his wickedness, and at last asked him again, 'Do you believe, that if God should refuse to hear you now, in the same manner as you have refused to hear him, he would be just and right?' To this he now answered in the language of a person convinced. I put this question to him in every variety of forms, and he always returned a satisfactory answer. I began to hope his heart was melting under the influence of the spirit of God, and after asking him the other important question, 'Do you desire to become a new creature, if it should please God to spare you?' he replied, as a person unconscious of innate depravity and helplessness, but with great earnestness. I ventured to proceed to the gospel. But here I had a difficulty as before, to show him, that God would not save him for his repentance or faith, any more than for his works; in short, for nothing in himself. I then read the fifty-first Psalm to him, and John vi. and went to prayer. In the evening on deck by moonlight, I had a conversation for nearly an hour, directly in point, on the subject of religion, with Mrs. S. I was surprised at her increase of religious knowledge of late. The most important part was this, that when I asked her, 'Can you say that you would do all the will of God, without any reserve, as far as you know it?' She said, 'that I would.' 'Why, then it is very plain, (said I,) that you ought to see day by day, what the will of God is, if you wish to practise it.' On this she promised that she would read the Bible every day for the future.
7. Expounded a chapter in St. Mark, and sung; in the afternoon a man from the upper deck continued looking down upon us with such a malicious sneer, that I had much ado to keep my temper. Presently after, another came, roaring out for my chief singer to come away, as he was wanted, and continued to disturb us with his noise. I went out at the conclusion of the service to the forecastle, to see if the Serjeant had sent for him, and there I spoke to the men with some severity. In visiting the ship's steward, whom I found recovering, I met with a sailor, and a very sensible one, waiting upon him, with whom I had a long and close conversation. As he said he would come to the same place as soon as he was off watch and hear me read, if I could make it convenient to come, I went at eight, and expounded John v. One of the midshipmen came and was very attentive; I did not go to prayer, as in the place to which he had shifted, the hammocks were putting up all around, and many persons around us about their different business. The steward seemed to be strong in his resolutions, but had little of a right spirit.
8. (Sunday.) Preached on Mark viii. 34, 35. and there was much attention. Going below, I found every thing in greater bustle than ever. Sent for the singers, but none came. Nothing now seems to disconcert me; so in the midst of noise and oaths, I began to read Pilgrim's Progress; but presently a serjeant came by, and with many a blasphemy counted several of the watch, as he said, among my hearers, and flew off to get the sentry. I told whoever was on the watch to go up; I then went on, but immediately a squall coming on, the hatches were shut down, and I was obliged to retire after conversing with a few. Two or three soldiers felt for me more than I did for myself, and seemed to wish to atone by their attention for the ill behaviour of the rest. At night M'K. staid so long that it was too late to go and read to the steward, as I intended, an omission which wounded my conscience considerably; but, oh my soul! be not dispirited in thy work, but be roused to redoubled diligence.
9. Psalm xvii. 7. "Shew thy marvellous loving-kindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand." What but marvellous loving-kindness could save such a wretched creature! By irregularity in morning duties, and putting them out of their proper place, I had nearly lost all comfortable sense of divine things. Little or nothing done in my studies. Cried to God again in behalf of myself and the ship, with some feeling sense of things. I found it most suitable to humble myself as one of them, rather than intercede for them as one more righteous. In prayer before dinner, my soul was wonderfully restored by those words in Psalm lxvi. 10. "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her, rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her, that ye may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations, that ye may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." Here is a promise that our desires shall be satisfied. Those who wish the progress of the church, shall hereafter see it and enjoy it. They shall surely be delighted with the abundance of her glory. I thought on the perfection of beauty and holiness of God's people in that day, and felt strong and fervent desires to be entirely holy unto God now, and to shew myself an instance before all men of the image of Christ. Below deck afterwards I felt something of the same spirit, saying to myself, Now let my soul be ardent, let me speak as one in earnest; let me remember what I think when I am in prayer for them. Expounded Matt. xi. When I spoke to them of the guilt of Capernaum, that it repented not at the preaching of the gospel, and applied to this ship how they had it preached every Sabbath and every day, there seemed to be much solemn attention. Staid below for some time after to speak with an old man and soldier, who had been seized with cholera morbus this morning; but seemed to gain little ground. The same things however seemed to succeed with his mind as the steward's; 'Have you not lived every day as you liked best yourself, without considering what was the will of God?--If then God were to treat you as you have done him, i. e. not hear you, but cast you into hell, would He not be doing right?' To all which he professed his assent, with some apparent conviction. Going afterwards to the forecastle, B. the same soldier who had behaved with such impudence to me before, took care to make one of his wicked speeches to the rest who sat near him, just as I was passing; on which I turned and entered into conversation with him and the rest, determined to see whether the devil should remain master of the field or no. B. broached the most blasphemous and abominable sentiments; said he was determined he would never pray, for if he did, he should not be able to fight; that he was a soldier, and robbery was his business; that he would rob his father for grog; that he had often robbed, and would continue to do so. I shuddered at this wretched bravado, but persisted in shewing the folly and madness of all these thoughts, till the ringleader, B. rose up and went his way, and then the rest listened to me in silence. At night, in conversation with -------, upon deck, who, with all his wickedness would talk to me about the mission, and on every subject which forms the theme of a religionist; I told him of the horrible hypocrisy of his heart, and the danger of his state. He confessed that he did swear terribly, and had fallen much away; but there was not the slightest mark of contrition, or the least expression of better resolutions. He said that on board a man-of-war, he had made a good profession for four years, and had even suffered persecution for the cross; but in this ship there was such general indifference that he was led away. He told me many idle aspersions cast by the officers upon me; that Captain------spoke of the men who attended me, as a parcel of vagabonds. My want of success was also frequently cited, as an argument against me. Thus alas! that which causes my pain, is made use of to increase it.
10. Psalm xxvii. 32. "All the ends of the earth shall remember, and be turned unto the Lord." Sooner or later, they shall remember what is preached to them; and though missionaries may not live to see the fruits of their labours, yet the memory of their words shall remain, and in due time shall be the means of turning them unto the Lord. Employed in writing. Was much delighted with seeing all my people present this, afternoon, and the pleasure with which they seemed to come--though alas! even out of these five, there are only three of whom I can be in any wise confident. I explained Isaiah xl. and staid to converse with two sick men. The steward is recovering fast; 'I am determined,' said he, 'to be a good liver, as you shall see;' but I have little hopes of him. At night Corporal B. came to my cabin, and M'K. soon after coming in, I proposed to them a regular meeting of the religious soldiers for prayer in my cabin; but they both objected to it; not, they said, because they were afraid of the cross, but they thought the trial would be too great for the others, especially as the disapprobation of Captains S. and O. would encourage the ridicule and opposition of the officers, and others. Such words from them, sufficiently proved, that it was yet too early to call any of them to such a cross; but I could not help believing that it was fear of man which suggested this advice of their's to me. However, let me judge charitably, and think of them in the spirit of meekness, considering myself, lest I also be tempted.
11. "Who is the king of glory?" Psalm xxiv. 8. My ignorant heart, which knows little of Jesus Christ, has need to ask this question. Oh may the blessed Spirit take of the things of Christ, and shew them unto me. May I be more self-abased, self-emptied, and by a more spiritual communion, abide in Christ, and have his love abiding in me. May I walk in him, and grow up into Him in all things, and be changed into his image from glory to glory! Oh when shall I learn to know Christ and heavenly things. Employed in writing, but with scarcely any progress. There were rather more singers and hearers below than for some time. I felt myself so little disposed for spiritual exercises, that I was thinking of not going down, as supposing the men were as unwilling as myself. However, recollecting that they might be well disposed to hear, at times when I was very little inclined to speak, I went down, and had a profitable season. Expounded Matt. v. to them. In the evening prayed with some fervour for a ministerial spirit.
12. "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," Eph. iii. Spiritual stability and advancement in strength are evidenced by Christ's dwelling in the heart, when the affections and thoughts keep Christ in view, and embrace him habitually. Oh this soul-enrapturing inhabitation, after which I pant sometimes, though but feebly. When shall I comprehend and enjoy it? Then shall I be weaned indeed from the world, and no more seek heavenly-mindedness from thinking of the shortness of time only, but by choice and preference, cleaving to Christ, and living to Him alone, though my life on earth were extended to ages. Wrote sermon, but with little success; my soul can never rejoice while my time is spent so unprofitably. A considerable number attended in the afternoon, perhaps about twenty. Expounded Matt. vi. In the evening and at night, had strong desires to spend and be spent in glorifying the blessed God, and wrote with some spirit till M. came in, and thus prevented me. It is God's providence which allots me the duty of conversation as well as of writing.
13. "On thee do I wait all the day," Psalm xxv. 5. "Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord," 15. From having found so much comfort yesterday by continually invoking God's presence, I hoped to-day also to have my eyes ever towards the Lord; I had not however so much as yesterday. Employed as usual in writing. In the afternoon just as I had got down, Captain O. ordered every man up; I felt rather hurt at this; but on-speaking to him, he said he did not know I was there, for he would on no account have given such an order, as he never meant to interfere in religious matters; such is the goodness of God in hushing my rising fears. M. again deprived me of the best part of the evening.
14. "Oh Lord thou hast brought up my soul from the grave, thou hast kept me alive that I should not go down to the pit," Psalm xxx. 3. Daily do I deserve the pit of destruction--daily doth God save me from it. After experiencing such long-continued patience, let me not provoke the Lord to cast me off for ever. Passed the morning in writing, and was much assisted; my mind was consequently peaceful. In the afternoon had no service below, as I was taken up in going to and fro to the sick, of whom there is now a great number. K., one of my singers, who with his profession of the gospel is yet addicted to swearing, had been dangerously ill till morning. I told him of his sin; it seems that he is leaving it off, but he did not speak with that self-condemnation I could have wished. The condition of the sick was miserable: I could not stand it till I got some aromatic vinegar. Continued writing in the evening, and then began to read Rev. ii. and iii. with great impression and earnestness, but Mr. K. entered and interrupted my reflections; I read Milner to him.
15. (Sunday.) "Oh love the Lord! all ye his saints," Psalm xxxi. 23. How cold is my love, how weak and languid my hope! Yet in speaking to Mrs. O. on the duty of joy and praise, I found my own heart a little warmed. There being something to do in the ship, we had no service before dinner. M'K. passed a great deal of the morning with me; I read Leighton and the Bible to him: found great difficulty in keeping my mind from dejection; visited the sick below deck; walked with Mrs. S. for a long time; told her very plainly what I thought needed amendment in her outward conduct, which has far too much of giddiness and levity. In the afternoon preached on deck, on Rom. iii. 21-23. The soldiers were more attentive than I expected from the nature of the subject, but M'K. told me that he and the cuddy passengers, who had just risen from dinner, could scarcely keep their eyes open; that B. had been making his remarks again; and some of the cadets I saw laughing; how different is it to preach to such a congregation, from what it is to be amongst the congregations in England. Here there is scarcely one who encourages me by an attentive hearing, and none at all, who strengthens my hand by a kind word on the subject. To-day scarcely any of my people were present; being confined by sickness, but when they are, there is not one who says a word about any thing that suited, or any thing they did not understand. The whole passes off their minds, without leaving the smallest impression. However, this dispensation of the Lord is humiliating, and so will do some good. I feel no despondency, but am contented to go on to the end of life, testifying, according to the best of my abilities, as long as people will stay to hear me. Corporal C. one of my singers who was ill, seemed to be brought to see the necessity of a more stedfast adherence to God, so that I hope here is another soul revived. My servant at night spoke also in a way that surprised me; I began to talk to him as usual, much against my will, never dreaming of an intelligent answer, but unexpectedly heard sounds that made me turn round to look at him with double interest and pleasure. M'K. came in the evening, I read several hymns, and Rev. iii. and after some preparation of mind went to prayer with him; and found more self-recollection, more of the over-awing presence of God, more suitableness and simplicity of expression than for a long time past. My soul continued in a very serious and happy frame.
16. Suffered considerably from pain, and from the cold damp weather; went below in the afternoon, but could have no service; finished Milner; read Harmer's Observations; employed in the evening with thinking on a subject; the thought of death was at times refreshing and joyful to me,--to die! to be with Jesus! struck me at some moments with unutterable sweetness, but I cannot enjoy much habitual comfort without profiting more in my studies.
17. "Rivers of tears run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law." O Lord, be pleased to have compassion, and break this hard heart! Oh! shall I think of the eternal damnation of sinners, and not be able to melt--I feel that I cannot. I saw something of myself this morning in prayer, when I strove to feel some grief or sorrow for the greatest number of my flock. Let it please God to display His power, by placing a new heart of flesh within me. Wrote freely till M. came in. I had some refreshing views of death, and the happiness of being free from sickness and sin, still growing weaker from the continuance of my disorder. Could not go below because the hatches were down. Read Scripture instead, with much comfort. How awful does death appear when sickness gives a nearer view of it! Yet I have no wish to live for any thing agreeable in this world. Felt much pain at what I observed in M'K. at night. The Lord save him from his besetting sins.
18. "Hear, for I will speak of excellent things." "I love them that love me." "Hearken unto me, Oh ye children, for blessed are they that keep my ways. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my door--for whoso findeth me, findeth life--I shall obtain favour of the Lord," Prov. viii. Blessed be the Lord my God, who now in the time of my youth, hath inclined my heart to take the paths of righteousness and peace. It was long a doubtful case with me; but now, through God's love I have undertaken the hardships of a Christian life, and am climbing the steep ascent. "How excellent is the loving kindness of God, therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light," Psalm xxxvi. 7--9. Writing still with slow progress. Had some conversation with ------, who was wrecked in the Britannia, and endeavoured to call his attention to the proper thoughts on the subject. He said that immediately after the Britannia had got clear of the Streatham, the officers on the forecastle called out they were close to breakers; the ship was too much disabled to get away, and in a few minutes struck with tremendous force upon a perpendicular rock, by which every man in the ship was thrown down, while the passengers stood in the stern in great consternation, every moment expecting death. He Mr. M. went forward, as he thought for the last time, supposing the ship would part in the middle. But the ship, after beating some time upon the rock, got off, they know not how, and floated into deep water about two miles from the rocks, where the crew were saved by the Comet. Expounded Matt. vii. below to a good number. My heart was filled with great delight, while singing--" O'er the gloomy hills of darkness." In the evening a private of the name of Lock, the man who began the singing and then left off, came to me in great distress of mind as he said about his state. He had formerly made a profession, but had gone back; I talked to him as closely as possible, and prayed with him, during which he shed many tears; still I could not be satisfactorily persuaded of his uprightness. He wished to come every night to my cabin to join with me in prayer, but I told him he might come to-morrow night. He said he had often wished I would pray at the time of our meeting below; I scarcely ever thought this was at all possible, from the variety of interruptions to which we are exposed. Yet I began to consider whether it was not my duty to attempt it, and leave events with God. M'K. to whom I mentioned it, did not approve it; but I saw no good reason in what he said. F. with whom I had a little conversation, still continues an example to the rest in liveliness and love. He said some were growing cold; but I warned him against forming hasty judgments.
19. The sudden change from warm weather to a cold damp atmosphere, which took place a few days ago, is very trying to my constitution. My sickness and dysentery continue and weaken me considerably. Aboard ship many things which I desire are not to be had, but it was a matter of great thankfulness that I had so many more comforts provided for me, than for the poor men in the same state. Oh, God knoweth how utterly undeserving I am of such a difference being made for me. Wrote sermon this morning, but the weather not allowing me to walk, I remained unfit for every thing, and felt very unhappy. It was one of those seasons when this world appeared a tedious and tiresome place: I felt myself departing from God, but considering that now was the time for exercising faith, I betook myself to prayer, which had the effect of relieving my mind from a sense of guilt; but otherwise did not much comfort me. Expounded Matt, xviii. I take much delight in this sort of exercise, as it is very profitable to myself. The connection of things in the Gospel suggests ideas I never before thought of. One of the quarter masters, an old man, seemingly declining fast, I talked with, and endeavoured to convince him of his sins. In the evening prayed. Lock did not come, neither was he at our afternoon meeting. His wife was there; she was suffered to come on board to see him at Portsmouth, and contrived to escape notice till the fleet sailed. They lived both on his single ration, by which means she remained unnoticed as a supernumerary, till we got near Madeira. The captain in great anger said she should go ashore there; but happily for the poor thing, he changed his mind, and suffered her to go on and have full allowance. M'K. staid with me two hours at night; I read to him.
20. Being very ill in the night past from sickness and cholic, I began to think seriously of death, as I lay awake upon the cot. I endeavoured to consider in order, what God had done for the salvation of sinners, what evidence I had of being in Christ, and the comfort I was permitted to ask for from the blessed Spirit, in case of that evidence appearing. There is not one thing I have ever done, that would give me a substantial reason for believing myself to be in Christ. It is chiefly my affections and inclinations which convince me I am born of God, for they are now toward God. I am very often without any pleasure, but I seldom think of seeking it in the world. My taste, I have reason to believe, is for holy pleasures, and for holy employments. In prayer after getting up, I had so much delight and joy in the consideration of heaven, and my assured title to it, that I felt far more desirous of dying than living.
Much of this morning passed upon deck, as it was a dry day; I was much restored by walking. In the afternoon, only three out of six of my people were present, and. they seemed very dull, especially Beasant. There were however several others. Had some conversation again with the old quarter-master. He seemed alarmed and humbled. Expounded to them Matthew ix. and felt determined to have prayer, if there had been opportunity; but the noise of the children of the married people, and the sailors, who were all about us, talking as if nothing were going forward, seemed to prove that this was not the favourable time for beginning. Felt much dejected the remainder of the evening, at the state of religion in the ship, especially in the want of primitive simplicity and love, in those who profess it. Called to see the Captain, though I had been told he did not like to speak, he was so ill, as thinking I might nevertheless read; but he was engaged with the Surgeon. It is a very trying time to the whole ship. At night with M'K. read Leighton and Philippians, and prayed.
21. Writing all the morning with sufficient freedom, and walked with my mind intently fixed on heavenly subjects, but more in my thoughts than in my heart. Had a pretty good number below; expounded Matt. x. Made slow progress in writing at night, and felt exceedingly dull at a part, where in my first considerations of the subject, I had found a remarkable glow of animation.
22. (Sunday.) "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." As the ship was lying to for those astern, they made use of the opportunity of having divine service at the time, though it was two hours earlier than usual. It was a very full congregation; for some Sundays past, several of the soldiers were suffered to stay away. I preached on 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. There seemed to be a considerable stir excited against the sermon, as there were knots of them talking about it afterwards, and they eyed me, some with spite, some with contempt. I felt a little unhappy at offending men so; but I still thought, if the whole universe were to rise up, and object to me, and despise, I could face their frowns, and retain my confidence in the truth. In the afternoon below, there was a great number hearing, perhaps near fifty. In expounding Matt. xii. the verse about the Queen of Sheba coming from the uttermost parts to hear the wisdom of Solomon, gave me a most apt occasion to observe, how shameful it was that they would not come so far as from the forecastle to the main hatchway to hear about Jesus Christ. My proposal to them to pray, seemed to be accepted with the greatest readiness, as they all knelt down. Through God's mercy we were not disturbed. Coming up, I met Major D------, who asked me if I had been praying with them; and on my asking him how he came to suppose it, he said, he thought I always gave them a prayer. This greatly encouraged me to continue. He then told me of my preaching, that it was not calculated to win people to religion, for I set the duties of religion in so terrific a light, that people were revolted. I felt the force of his remark, and determined for the future to make more use of the love of God in the gospel, and my heart melted with joy at the thought of the precious tidings, and the angelic work of proclaiming them. The Major asked me also what was meant by the Law. I told him the Ten Commandments; said he, 'I always supposed it meant the gospel, I could never conceive how I should be saved without the law.' I was astonished, and could note help saying to him, 'if you, with your desire of information, have been so mistaken, what can I expect the poor soldiers to understand?' He had read Rom. iii. five times over, he said, but could not understand it at all; upon which I proposed that we should meet and consider the matter; so after I had had time to pray for divine assistance, with the assurance that if he was sincere, God would certainly teach him, we met in my cabin, and I began the epistle. He stopped me every verse he did not understand; at the 14th, 20th, and 25th, of chap i.: in chap ii. he brought an objection against salvation by grace, from verse 6. Verse 12 and 15 required a good deal of explanation, and the language of 25--27. In chap. iii. from 3 to 8, I found I did not understand myself, but here he helped me out by several pertinent remarks. In 19. he did not perceive what it was the apostle's design to prove, but misunderstood it exceedingly. In explaining 21 and 22, a light began to break in upon his mind; on verse 31, he asked what was the use of God's giving the law at all; I referred him back to 20, and he then clearly understood it, and repeated the idea in a very satisfactory manner. Chap. iv. and v. suggested much subject of conversation again. I pointed out the two objects of faith here spoken of, "believing on him that justifieth the ungodly:"--A conviction that we were ungodly, or that God was willing to justify such. We stopped at the end of the vth, of which chapter he said, after some consideration, 'it is very consolatory;' and then again, 'there is something irresistibly fascinating in this chapter.' I was beyond measure delighted at his increasing understanding, and yet I cannot rejoice without trembling. He said he should be glad to come again on the same business. Soon after he went away, M'K. came, and we rejoiced together; he said that during my sermon to-day, he had felt the utmost opposition and contempt, and found his evil nature ready to burst out in open abuse of me, but he had just been pleading with God, to deliver him from this temptation of Satan, and he now told me it was right, and hoped I should go on to preach boldly, however offensive the truth might be. I have now nothing to complain of, but a hard and unthankful heart, which is slow to praise God, and apt to be afraid of those opportunities of more extended service, which I had even prayed for.
24. "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men, yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell amongst them." Psalm lxviii. 18. For the rebellious! and not ministerial gifts only I hope, but things good for the soul of the rebellious. O consolatory gospel, precious rays of grace, scattered through the Bible. Were it not for these free gifts, how could my heart ever be open, that the Lord might dwell in it! Wrote on Luke xi. 10, 11. but was obliged to relinquish the attempt of preparing it by to-morrow. Scarcely any below in the afternoon, yet we sung, and I expounded Matt. xiv. to three Serjeants and two Corporals. My heart enjoyed prayer much to-day, and in my intercourse with others, and amidst outward scenes, felt happy in communion with God. M'K. spent much of the evening with me with little benefit.
25, (Christmas-day.) F. consented to have prayers, no sermon. We prayed for the Captain, who had called in the purser and mate, and given his dying charge. I went in before dinner, though not sent for, but he did not speak, or seem to take any notice of me. Coming in a second time, he desired me in a strong voice to withdraw, as he did not like to be seen in the situation in which he was. I felt much hurt, and went and poured out nay soul in prayer, and found relief and happy consolation in God. Captain M's friend, the Captain of the Sarah Christiana, came on board, and the staff surgeon from the hospital ship, by a signal made for that purpose. The Sarah Christiana coming down in an opposite direction to fetch him, ran so near us, that there was the utmost noise and confusion upon deck. We could almost touch her from our larboard quarter. The mate said there was imminent danger, as one or other of the two ships would have inevitably gone to the bottom.
26. About seven this morning, I was sent for by the surgeon to the captain. I saw that he was a dying man; his eyes rolled in his head, his speech was gone, but he was in general sensible. And the doctor by applying his ear close to his mouth, could sometimes make out a few of his words. I began to read the most encouraging passages I could find, beginning with Isaiah lv. In John vi. he repeated in a low tone after me, "Lord, evermore send us this bread." I continued reading after breakfast, though he did not seem to wish it, only when the doctor asked him, he said, Aye, aye. After reading I prayed, but I do not know that he joined, indeed he was so far gone, that it was impossible to collect any thing from his look or imperfect words. On my being interrupted by the doctor, he said, 'Mind him," meaning that he was to attend to me. At last, after being much convulsed, he said, 'I am going, I shall not be long here, Lord help me, Lord help me;' and his eyes began to close, and his breath returned successively at longer intervals, and at length he expired. The purser, the chief-mate, the surgeon, his servant, and myself, were the persons present. He died about eleven in the morning. The colours were hoisted half mast high, and we bore down to give notice of it to the Commodore, and the Commodore of the Indiamen. The Sarah Christiana, when she saw our signal, fired minute guns, so that the whole scene was very affecting. The place being engaged in the afternoon, I passed the time in conversing with the sick. One of the seamen, a Scotchman, seemed to hear gladly. In prayer in the evening, I had such near and terrific views of God's judgments upon sinners in hell, that my flesh trembled for fear of them. The passages of God's holy word that proved the certainty of hell torments, were brought to me in such a way as I never before felt; I flew trembling to Jesus Christ, as if the flame were taking hold of me. Oh, Christ will indeed save me, or else I perish. M'K. came in, and we conversed together of the melancholy events of the day. He had been reading to-day in the steerage, the tract upon Eternity to the cadets and officers. They hated the sound; would not listen to it, and said he wanted to make them melancholy mad. M------said, 'Martyn will never persuade me to be otherwise, with all his logic.' To which Captain S. with a serious look, said 'I hope he will, M.' A person from the Streatham told M'K. that we had the reputation in the fleet of being a very praying ship. I wish it were more true. Blessed be God for raising up such a person as M'K. Now that they have broken with him, and given him the downright name of methodist, he is much more bold to speak the word without fear.
27. "Arise, O God, and plead thine own cause, remember how the foolish man reproacheth thee daily. Forget not the voice of thy enemies: the tumult of those that rise up against thee increaseth continually." Psalm lxxiv. 22, 23. In pleading for the prosperity of the church, and her deliverance from enemies, when all arguments are exhausted, we may urge this at last, that God would arise and plead his own cause. Let me remember this, when I pray in unbelief, as if God were indifferent; let me reflect that it is God's own cause, and the honour of his name concerned in it. Several circumstances seemed to suggest the propriety of setting apart this day for fasting and prayer, which I did; but for want of sufficient watchfulness and labour, I failed to derive that benefit from it which might have been expected. One thing, however, I am bound to bless the Lord for, that he helped me to come down with shame into the dust, and to weep and mourn before him, for the sins of my former life, and for my lukewarmness and unfaithfulness in my ministry. I thought it would be a proper portion for me to combat with affliction all my days; to walk solitarily with tears through the wilderness of life, full of thankful love that God had permitted such a creature to live; but my heart was not much enlarged in other petitions; sometimes I was sunk in great dejection, from finding myself utterly averse to pray at all, owing to the fatigue of mind and body. From the same cause in the afternoon, I was very languid amongst the people, except at intervals, when my soul burned with delight and love. In the evening, M'K. and' myself read and prayed together, and my heart was generally with God, looking forward with peace and joy to the happiness of another world.
28. Psalm Ixxxi. 13--16. "O that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned my hand against their adversaries. The haters of the Lord should have submitted themselves unto him: but their time should have endured for ever. He should have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee." Similar to this in Isaiah--"O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments, then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea." With what earnestness and compassion does God express his regret that his people have not enjoyed more of spiritual comforts. Shall we then ascribe our un-happiness to God? Oh no, He is far more anxious to load us with blessings, than to deprive us of them. Employed all day in writing, and in general able to find the repose of my soul, in being alone with God, forgetful of outward concerns. Sung in the afternoon, and expounded Matt. xix. After tea, a conversation arising in the cuddy about Pope's Universal Prayer, they desired me to read it, and state my objections, which I did, and had an opportunity of answering familiarly all the objections they made to the gospel. But I was again astonished at their great ignorance, and inability to comprehend any thing of the divine plan, in a subject that so deeply concerns them. What can I expect to teach poor heathens without the Almighty power of God interfering!
29. (Sunday.) "My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up," &c. Cant. ii. 10, 11. Ah! why cannot I rise and go forth and meet my Lord? Every hindrance is removed; the wrath of God, the guilt of sin, and severity of affliction: there is nothing now in the world that has any strong hold of my affections. Separated from my friends and country for ever in this life, I have nothing to distract me from hearing the voice of my beloved, and coming away from this world and walking with him in love, amidst the flowers that perfume the air of Paradise, and the harmony of the happy spirits who are singing his praise. But alas! my heart is cold and slothful. Preached on 2 Peter iii. 11. taking notice at the end of these remarkable circumstances, that made the text particularly applicable to us. It was the last Sabbath of a year, which had been memorable to us from our having left our country and passed through many dangers. Secondly, Within a few days they were to meet an enemy on the field of battle. Thirdly, The death of the Captain. I was enabled to be self-collected, and in some degree tender. There was a great impression; many were in tears. Visited and conversed with Mr. M------twice to-day, and marked some passages for him to read. His heart seems tender. There was a considerable number on the orlop in the afternoon. Expounded Matt. xix. and prayed. In the evening Major Davison and M'Kenzie came to my cabin, and staid nearly three hours. I read Romans vi. and vii. and explained those difficult chapters as well as I could, so that the Major, I hope, received a greater insight into them; afterwards I prayed with them. But my own soul after these ministrations seemed to have received harm rather than good. It was an awful reflection that Judas was a preacher, perhaps a successful one. Oh let my soul tremble lest after preaching to others, I myself should be a cast-away.
30. An unprofitable day, in which I was ostensibly employed in thinking about sermon, but could do little; yet in prayer and reading scripture was comfortable. In the afternoon I visited the sick; M' K. spent most of the evening with me. I read to him, and through the mercy of God enjoyed a happy frame of mind, with heavenly glories continually in view.
31. Thus hath the Lord brought me to the conclusion of another year. (See Memoir.) In the evening, both by myself, and with M'K. had solemn seasons of prayer. We read Psalm xc. and conversed about the shortness of time, &c. and other subjects suggested by the conclusion of the year. I felt at night a very affecting sense of my want of love. I may have the tongue of men and angels, or all knowledge, or faith, and give my body to be burned; yet without love, it profiteth nothing. As often as I stirred up myself to cry to God for his grace my heart was warmed, but it continued lively but for a short time. Oh how wretched is a soul without grace. If I could not be made holy, I would not wish to exist; I cannot conceive any pleasure in the universe, without having the soul restored to order and conformity to the blessed God.