May 21, 1761.
For some time past, though the iniquities of my heart have been many, yet God has done wonders for my soul. Grace lives within, and there is a longing kindled in my bosom, that I hope will never abate until I see my Beloved face to face. My secret sins cause both my shame and sorrow—before him who sees in secret. And his wonderful, triumphant, victorious love, (let every saint commend it, and eternity continue the praise), that will not be provoked to depart from me, increases my grief for sin. O how can I sin against his goodness! How can I forget his love, or offend his holiness, and abuse his fatherly kindness! I desire to keep conscience always awake, that it may roar aloud against my sins, and give me no rest, until, by fresh acts of faith, I apply the blood of him who speaks better things than that of Abel, even peace to those who are afar off, and to those who are near.
November 20, 1763.
Through various changes, my natural life is preserved. But O! where is my growth in grace; and the daily renewing of my inner man? My cares multiply, my business fills my hands, and my fond enterprises fill my head. But why is not my heart more consecrated to God? Return to my soul, O my God, that my soul may return to her rest! Surely, in the midst of all my declinings, grace prevails within, for I find no peace but in peace with God; and praise, and prize, and would sincerely pursue after likeness to God.
Sometimes there is a deadness on my soul, and a restraining in prayer—but even here I have hope, for
1. All my needs are known to God.
2. Christ presents the imperfect prayers of his people with his own incense.
3. I am driven out of all my self confidence, and wholly lean on him.
4. I am made to lift my eye to him, in whom the fullness of the new covenant is treasured up.
5. I am taught to trust nothing to my best frames in coming times.
I desire to set death daily before me, by which I may put a proper estimate on the things of time.
April 16, 1769.
When I compare past and present times, how am I pained! Once my time was a time of love; my meditation of him was sweet; his candle shined on my head; and by his light I walked through darkness. But, alas! for some time past, how have I been sighing and going backward! A bewitching world, in its cares and concern, in its profit and pleasures, in its sorrows and uncertainties, in its projects and plans—has too much tossed my mind, like a straw before the whirlwind. Return, O Lord! how long? and cause my soul return to her center, her rest. Did a pleasant paradise spring up in the wilderness—I might sit still. But when Satan, like the fiery serpents—the world, like the cruel Amalekites—and corrupt nature, like the barren desert—all conspire to make my situation dismal and deplorable, no wonder that I long to pass over Jordan, and go in to take eternal possession of the land of promise!
November 20, 1770.
What comfort to the poor buffeted believer, that his High Priest intercedes for him; and in the hour of sad temptation, when likely to succumb—sends him such fresh supplies of grace, that he not only stands his ground—but triumphs over his foes! As I have no strength—why should I have any confidence in myself? But why should I despond—seeing in Christ I am complete?