Jan. 11, 1811.
IT is hard work now for me to write; my right hand has forgotten its cunning; and the nerves catch it up, or draw it aside, so that it becomes disobedient and unmanageable. I have also a cold and a slow fever upon me. The City Chapel, being low, damp and cold, doth not suit the infirmities of old age. I often think of my dismission from the field of action; and hope for an honourable discharge, and an eternal pension, on the footing of grace, and according to the promise in Christ: and these things prompt me to collect my evidences and good qualifications together, as is the usual method of all self-righteous persons.
First, I greatly confide in the singular piety of my forefathers, Abraham and his seed, who was God's friend, and whose blessing is come upon me through faith. But, above all, I confide in the everlasting Father, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed with the devil, for God was with him. My mother also was a most venerable, pious, and honourable matron; the handmaid of the Lord in the best sense - I mean the heavenly Jerusalem, who is the mother of us all. So much for my pedigree.
Secondly, I thank my God also that I am not as other men, for I am the chiefest of all sinners; nor am I like that poor publican, for I can lift up my eyes to God with pleasure, which he dared not do.
Thirdly, I can say to the most refined pharisee, and even to the god of this world, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou;" and yet even this is not a smoke in the Lord's nose, nor a fire that burns to his displeasure.
Fourthly, I can look back upon a well-spent life also, believing in my conscience that Christ lived a life of unspotted obedience for poor sinful me.
Fifthly, I can bless God for an honest and good heart, being persuaded that the Lord has taken away the stony heart and given me an heart of flesh, and that Christ dwells in it by faith, therefore it must be good.
Sixthly, I do comfort myself with my own righteousness, being more than sure that I have received the abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness; and what God gives me, that I call my own, for not as the world giveth gives he unto us.
Seventhly, I have obtained a good name in the world, in spite of all mine enemies; a new name, which malice, with all her venom, cannot despoil me of; God predestinated me to the adoption of a son. The Spirit of God has cried "Abba, Father," in me; and Christ has given me power in faith to become one: this is the new name, which the mouth of the Lord (not man) shall name. Yea, more; many men, eminent for piety, who have spoken as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, have called me a child of God. In all these instances it appears to be a new name, and in all these ways the mouth of the Lord names it, and no other.
Eighthly, I am constrained also to acknowledge that God's free Spirit has, made the a willing and loyal subject of Christ in the day of his power; so that I do engage and abound in the work of the Lord most freely, willingly, and cheerfully, under the operations of a free Spirit, which greatly inclines my heart to the doctrine of free will.
Ninthly, I do declare that no man shall stop me of this boasting in all the regions of Britain; namely, that I am a member of the Church of England, which she says is a company of faithful men, whom God did constantly decree, before the foundation of the world was laid, to deliver from curse and damnation, having chosen them in Christ out of mankind, to bring them by him to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. This God himself has made known to me in answer to prayer. For I have prayed to God the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to have mercy upon me a miserable sinner. And he has heard my prayer, and given me a lively faith in his mercy through Christ, and a most thankful remembrance of his death.
Tenthly, I have wronged nobody; for, having obtained a good conscience in all things, I am made willing to live honestly.
Eleventhly, I have brought up my family without any help from the parish; for, being compelled to seek the kingdom, all other things have been added unto me.
Twelfthly, I believe that God will not blot out any of my good deeds, for he alone hath wrought in me both to will and to do.
Thirteenthly, and finally, I trust that I have obtained a good name, so that none of my neighbours will speak evil of me; for "who can lay any thing to the charge of God's elect?"
W. H. S. S.