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Arminian Magazine ,
For JANUARY 1796.
À short Account of the Experience of Mt. JÁM ÉS BUCKLEY, I
WAS born December 20, 1770, at a place called Cowlitiah,
Lane, in the parish of Crampton, Lancatidire. God, as a tender parent, began to draw me by the Cords of Love, at a very early period; I can remember being under serious impresions at three
years of age : at this time I was often led to meditare upon, and inquire after God; I wondered where, atrd: how he lived.. often rambled into the fields, and looked upon the works of the Almighty that lay within my observation, with amazément. I had a great defre to know how he made the grass to grow, and the flowers, to be : so variegated. My infant mind was frequently impresled with horror when I heard kell mentioned, but was filled with great joy when I heard the pleasures and happiness of heaven described. My parents were pharisees of the ffri&teft seat," of the Church of England; they watched over.me with great exa&tness, and my convictions waxed stronger and stronger.
At ten years of age, fome fcriptures were opened to me in such a manner, that I could not read them without being much affected, and some times bursting into a flood of tears. One day wbile I was reading at fchool; the parable of the Housholder who had planted a vineyard and digged a wine-press in it, I thought I was hike one of those ungrateful Hufbandmen whò had killed his son by my frns; I attempted to shut the book, but my Master infified upon my proceeding : In the attempt, I dropped down as though I had been dead; I thought that I could go to hell. for ny wickedness. ' Sin appeared to be exceeding lintul, and the secret inquiry of my heart was, “ What fhall I do to be saved ?”. But I did not know what to do, nor where to go for inftrudion or.comfort. As the word of God and religious books augmented my mifery, I hated them with a perfect hatred, 1 ftrove to get into all kinds of irreligious company, to divert my mind from serious impreflions ; I grasped at every cmpty lhadow that presented itself, but alas was always disappointed,
Thas I continued to sin, and repent, till the year 1984, when it pleased God to bring me among the Methodists. One of my aunts who was in connection with the fociety, came to my father's on a visit, and had desired a preacher to call upon her, When I was acquainted with this circumstance, I went into the workshop to the servants and told them, in a satirical way, “ that a Mechosliite
parson was to come to our house.” This being such a phæno. menon to me, I was determined to see him. But as soon as I came in his presence, I was convinced that his countenance was expressive of something different from other men; and it seemed as if a voice from heaven had faid, “ this man has 'got what you want to constitute you happy.". I began to weep like a Magdalen at the feet of Jesus, saying, with Saul, “ Lord, what woulde ft thou have me to do!” I took up the Bible, kissed and bathed it with my tears, resolving to break off my sins by repentance.
I began now to pray in secret five or fix times a day, and to attend all the means of grace. Sometimes I was drawn by love, at others impelled by fear. I saw the flaming sword of justice suspended over my guilty head; the Law condemned, Conscience accused, Heaven appeared to frown, and Hell to be moved from beneath to meet me at my coming. Yet I could not help but love Jesus; yea, I thought if I was damned, I should love him, because he first loved me. I was received into society at.Oldham by Mr. William Thompson. My class-leader gave me great encouragement, and often enforced the doctrine of Justification by faith. . I frequently walked into the fields to lament my sin and unbelief. When con. templating the works of God in the creation, I thought, every thing can praise God, but such an unworthy sinner as me. The heavens manifeft his glory, the vegetables display his boundless wisdom and goodness, and all the animated world, from the highest to the lowest order, offer up their praises, and do the will of their almighty, all-wise Creator; but I, for whom the incarnate God has blushed in blood, cannot praise him! O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? "
I continued thus to weep. and mourn before the Lord till the latter, end of the year 1786. One evening as I was going to a public prayer-meeting, being in a desponding Itate of mind, I cried out, "What shall I do? I know nothing, I feel nothing, I can do !! nothing that is good ; I am exhorted to believe, but to my. " apprehension, I can as soon pluck the fun from its center, "! Surely I am a mark of God's vindi&tive, inflexible justice!” I had not walked many yards, before I was struck with the greatest amazement: All my darkness instantly turned into light, my grief into joy, and despair into a blessed hope full of immortality. The whole face of nature appeared to be changed, and seemed to proclaim the greatness of redeeming Love. But I did not enjoy thiş delightful sense of the divine presence many hours, before Satan, who seeks to devour the new born babes in Chrift, assaulted me with many temptations, and suggested, that I was deceived ; that it was only an emotion of the animal spirits arising from some physical cause, or that he had transformed himself into an Angel of Light; and that I had no scripture applied to my mind. As I was afraid of being deceived in a matter of such great importance, I cast away my confidence; I apprehended myself farther from the kingdom of God than before. But the Lord bad compassion upon
me, and appeared again to my fainting soul. He restored the witness of his spirit, and applied his precious promises, particu. larly Isaiah liv. 5, with such power to my mind, that all doubts and unbelieving fears were removed. I now supposed that my spiritual winter was past, and that I should enjoy an eternal summer under the kind influence of the beams of the sun of righteousness. I often sung with unspeakable pleasure,
My God is reconcil'd,
His pardoning voice I hear :
I can no longer fear :
And Father, Abba, Father, cry: I found the service of the Lord to be perfect freedom and peace; my heart was enlarged after finners, and I thought I could suffer any thing to bring them to Christ. The language of
are ready now.“ If all the world my Saviour knew,
All the world would love him too.” I remembered the words of our Lord to Peter, “ When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren," and therefore I began to give a word of exhortation, when I had opportunity, which the Lord owned and blessed. Sometimes I was sorely harrassed by a subtle enemy; but the grace of God was sufficient for me, and I went on my way rejoicing in the God of my falvation.
In the latter end of the year 1787, and the beginning of 1788, I had very strong impreslions to preach the gospel of the Redeemer; but I trembled at the thought, and treated these impressions as so many devices of the enemy. The affli&tion of mind which I had on this occasion, was much greater than any thing I had ever before experienced : I thought, were I to open my mind to any person, considering my youth and little experience, they would advise me to decline such an undertaking. The more I ftrove to reGift the secret impulse, the stronger were my convictions. When I was pleading my cause with God, and laying my youth before him as an excuse, saying, " Ah, Lord God, behold I cannot speak, for I am but a child, Send by whom thou wilt, but send 'not me; I am ignorant, and know nothing as I ought: What can I say to promote thy glory?". The Lord was pleased to silence my objections, by the application of some scriptures, accompanied with so much of the divine presence, that I was for a moment a new creature.
When I walked out alone, it often seemed as if a congregation were before me, and being led out of myself by these vigonary ideas, I frequently exclaimed aloud, before I was aware,
“ O! for a Trumpet's voice
On all the world to call,
Being under the influence of two powerful motives, the Love of Christ to the Church and the world; and the terrors of the Lord against finners; I made a covenant with him, that if he would open a way for me, I would embrace the firft opportunity: At this time, a friend unknown to me, made an engagendent for me to preach at a place called Flathead, in Halifax Circuit. I much objected to the engagement, till recollecting the vow whichi I had made unto the Lord. When I got to the place appointed, I never dreaded the terrors of hell more, than I did the right of the hour in which I was to preach, but the Lord was better to me than all my fears.
By this time I was reduced to a very relaxed, and low habit of body; it was therefore thought proper 1 should go to Harrowgate waters in Yorkshire, were it pleased God to strengthen both body and mind. When I returned home I was appointed a local preacher and continued in this sphere of action, a fubject of many temptations; (but grace much more abounded) with fomě fruit of my poor labours, till the year 1791, when I was called into Coln Circuit. My new sphere of action brought new temptations and troubles. Though I was much blessed in preaching, yet I began to call every thing into question relative to my experience, and the work of the ministry. I had great struggles of mind arising from three caufes: First, whether I was called to preach the gofpel, and what evidence I could produce in favour of that call; for Satan told me I had none. Secondly, whether I fhould obey God or man, becaufe it did not meet with my Father's approbation. Thirdly, my inability for fo great a work; I saw that all I could say, came infinitely sort of exploring the myffery of a juft, holy, and purę Law; the skupendous system of redemption ; the mysterious intlu ence and operations of the Holy Spirit; and all the heights and depths of grace. I had no rest either night or day; reafonings crowded in upon me, till I thought I could neither pray nor preach. . Every thing I did or faid, in the discharge of my office, appeared to be fuperhcial and a vain attempt : Life itself became a burden, and I withéd rather to die than to live. I often refolved to leave the Circuit; one day I was determined to put my refolu: tion into practice, and went to the stable to take my horse, but was prevented by the door being locked: I returned to my rooin, weary and heavy laden, and fell proftrate before the Lord, my eyes overflowing with tears, and blood gushing up at my mouth. 0! how did I long for the fatal Kroke! My health being much impaired, it was judged expedient to consult Dr. Hamilton of Leeds, by whose prefcriptions, through the bleffing of heaven, and the tender care of an affectionate people, amongst whom I laboured, I got much better. Towards the latter end of the year my faith was strengthened, and I had an increase of the comforts of the Holy Spirit.
At the Conference in 1992, I was appointed for Leicester Circuit, to travel with Mr. Longley, who had been a Father to me
in all my aficions the year before. The Lord revived his work in several places. The first time I preached at Leicester, I had the pleasure of seeing one awakened and others much affected under the word. I spent the greatest part of the year at Coventry, where the Lord removed prejudice from the minds of many, and increased the number of our little flock: He likewise favoured me with frequent manifestations of his love. I had a good opportu, nity for retirement, which contributed greatly to my peace; as I never found my foul more happy than when secluded from the world, and engaged in contemplating those fubjeéis which are calculated to furnish the mind with useful knowledge.
At the Conference in 1793, I was appointed for Nottingham, I went with much diffidence, left I should not profit the people ; but this was foon removed, by their hospitable spirit and brotherly love. I fpent this year with much profit to myself; and found that sufficient unto the day was the grace thereof. I felt a willing, nefs to suffer, as well as to reign with Christ. The facrament of the Lord's fupper was a bond of union to us, and an ordinance of peace and love. At the Conference in 1794, I was appointed to labour in Glamorganshire. From the accounts which I had received of Wales, I expected this to be a year of trial, but blessed be his Name, who causeth all the occurrences of providence to work together for good to them that love him, I found his service to be perfect freedom. Though it has been a year of great labour yet we have had peace and prosperity in our borders: Indeed some dead branches were broken off from the living vine, but others were grafted in, after being convinced of fin and savingly born again of the spirit.
When I reflect upon the kindness of God to such an unworthy finner, I think I cannot conclude my imperfect account in lan. guage more confonant with my present views and experience, than that of the Apostle's, “ Having obtained help of God, I continue unto this day : ". Unto whom, with the Lamb who hath washed me from my sins in his own blood, be ascribed glory, falvation, and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.
Two DISCOURSES on CHRISTIAN PERFECTION,
By Mr. MATHER.
DISCOURSE I. Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiņess of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of GOD. 2 Cor. vii. 1. THE persons here addressed, are the Believers at Corinth,
These had already received the Grace of God; and although in time, pait: they had been uprighteous, yet now they