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very ring-leader of all the youth that kept him comp. in a'l manner of vice and unecdlipele.
But nerwi:handing all his wickedness of his. Gode DO! vi'crly leave him, tut followed him fonetimes wilt convictions, ond fcmetimes with judon ols, but yet fucap as tad in them a mixture of mercy : Aione tipe he fell 10to a c.cek ci che fra, and ihca hardly escaped drowningi and a: 211 other timele feil out of a boat into Bradfordriver; but theche alio was preserved, ihough with great difccity. But, alas! it was neither mercy Bor judgment that could yet ar aken hin, for he had given up his lelf to the love of fin, and was fully resolved to go on, whatever rubs he mit with in his way.
Ye: God left nos himself wi hont a witnero in bis soul, ofien checking him in one way or another; as one car being at Sly with his companions, a voice suddenly aried fire heaven into his frul,' saying, Wilt theu leave the firs, and go to beavin, or cintinue in thy fins, and go to bell? This par him into such a confternation, that he immediately left bis fport, and looking up to heaven, thought he saw the Lort Jerus locking down upon him, as one hotly displeased with him, and threatening him with fowie grievous punifamest for his ungodly practices.
But fee the works of Satan! No sooner had this mode some impression on his mind, but the devil suggeried to hio, That he had been a great and grievous finner, 24d that it was now too late for him to look after heaver, at Christ would not forgive him,''nor pardon his transgredices, And this is no other than the cevil's usual practice, forft to draw finners to commit all iniquity with greediness, and then to persuade them there is no hope of mercy left, that there By the winner may be prevailed with to go on in fin. And - this was the effect that this fuggefion had upin Mr.
B29991; who, looking upon himlelf as one that had finned beyond the reach of mercy, thought within himself, that de would take his fiil of fin, it being the only plealure ho wa: cver like to have. And yet these pleasures et fin, thro the wonderful operation of the holy spirit, were so often imbicered to him, that he could take but little fatisfaction in them. For, The labour of the natural man, or man before converfion, doth but weary him, because he knoweth not the quas to the city of God, Ecclef. x. 15.
Once as he was going on in the full carcer of fin, and Yelching out oaths like the madman that Solomon speaks of, who scatters abroad fire-brands, arrows, and death, he was eproved severely by a woman, who was a notorious finner or felf; who hold him, That he was the uglief fellow for wearing, that ever she bears in all her life; and that by his 'oing thus, be was able to fpoil all the Youth in the Town, if bey came into his Company This reproof coming from sucts
woman, whom he know to be very wicked and ungodly, illed him wish great shame; and wroaghe more with him, han many that had been given him before by those lisat vere sober and godly: And made him with, that he had lever known what it was to be an fwcarer, and even made rim out of love with it; and from that time forward very nuch to refrain from it. This puts me in mind of a story
have read in the life of holy Mr, Perkirrs, who, in his young years, was as great a debauchec as any in the Unirerfity of Cambridşe, where he was brought up. He coming ne time through the out-parts of the town, heard a woman fay to her child that was froward and pecvish, Either bold your tongue, or I will give you to drunken Perkins gonder. These words were so great a reproof to him, finding himelf made a comaion bye.word among people, that it made aim resolve upon a reformation; and this, by God's gracious and all-dispensing providence, was one great step towards bis;converfion..
But to return to Mr. Bintan: God having a defign of grace towards himn, gave him frequent checks and interrupe, tions in the midt of his strongest resolutions to 'go on in his fin; sometimes fcaring him with dreams, and rerrifying him with visions, in an extraordinary manner;" verifying that of Elibi to Job, in the xxxiid chapter of that book, and the 14th verse, and forward : For God Speakehance, yea, twice; yet man perteivath it not: In'a drea:n, in a vision of the night; when deep sleep falleth upon men, in frumberings ropa on the bed : Then be openeth the ear of men, and jealeth their inftruclien: That ke may withdraw inan from tis purpose, and keep back his ford from tbe pit, and his life from perijoing. For once he dreamed that he saw the face of the heavens, as it were all on fire, and the firmament cracking and shivering with the noise of mighty thunders, and that an arch-angel sicw in the midst of heaven, sounding a trumpet, and a
throne of glory was feated in the east, wbereon fat perfor in brightness like the morning far. Upon which Mr. Dinn, thinking in his dream that it was the end of the woj'.', feil upon his knces, and with uplifted hands towards heaven, cried out, O Lord God, have mercy upon 18! What Inkl I do! The day of judgment is come, & I am not prepared! And then immediately be heard a voice behind him, saying, . Repent. And upon this he awaked, and found it was but a dream; but surely it was a very awful dream, and 3 ** mento sent from heaven; and it had an effect accordingly for, upon this he grew giore serioas, and it remained in bus mind a considerable time. This was a part of God's deal äng with him, to withdraw him from his purpose of findings. and to keep back his soul from the pic of deföruction
Ar another time he dreamed, thai ke was in a pleasant place, living in riot and luxury, banquecing and fealing his senses : where, on a sudden, even in a moment, a mighty earthquake rent the earth in runder, and out of the wice and areadful gap came bloody and amazing flames, and I whole fiames the sgures of men toffed up in globes of bre; and falling down again, with horrid Snrieks and cries, and execrations; whilst sowie devils that were mingled with lern: 3: ughed aloud at their forments. And whilA he stood trema bling as this affrighting vilon, be thought the earth hoek under him, and a circle of fame in closed lim : But when he thought himself just at the poin' of perishing, one is white shining raiment descended, and plucked him out of that dreadful place, whilft the devils cried after bim, to leave bin with them, that he might receive the jot prnihment his fins had deserved ; yet he escaped the danger. He was extremely affrighted with this dream, and not a litile glad The found it to be but a dream ; tho’indeed it was a great deal mort, for it was che secret working of the Almighty upon his spirit, to draw him from his fins, aliho'be was aznorant of Christ, and so wedded unto sport and play thai he could not leave it. But in a little cime after, he fellinta the company of a poor man, that made profession of religion, · whose discourse of religion, and of the scripjures, so affect
ed Mr. Bunyan, that he betook himself to reading the Bible, especially the historical part thereof; but was yet ignorant both of the corruption and depravity of his nature, and, by a necessary confequence, of the want and worth of Belts
Chrif to fave him. However, this produced outward refora mation both in his words and life, and he now was tallen inta a kind of legal religion, working for life, and making up a rightsoufness for himself thereby o that while he thought he kept the commandments be had comfort; but when at some times he broke any of them, his espicience was full of guilt and trouble : But then upin his forrow & repentance, he henied himself agais, and thought thereby he had made God amends, and all was well,
And thus he continued for some time, very near a year; his neighbours all that time iaking him for a very good maa, and wondering at his reformation. Tho' indeed all that time he was as far from the way of life as when he was the most prophane; tho', as himicif phrases it, bis change of life and manaers was as remarkable as for 70. of Bedlam to become a cober man
And now those shat fpoke ill of him before, began to praise and commend him, both to his face and behind his back; which, notwithstanding bis reformation, puffed bim up with pride, and filled him with hypocrily. He had been mightily addicted to ringing, and for all his reformation, was very unwilling to leave is: Euthis conicinde beginning to be tender, he thought the practice thereof to be but vain, and so forced himseli io leave it, yet could not keep him mind from bankering after it; and therefore would not ring. But then he was surprized with tears, that posiibly one of the bells mighe fall and kill him, & then he durit no longer go into the itceple, but would stand at the door; and even there he was afraid let the fleeple isfeif fhould fall upon him, This boil but thewed continual conviction, and that yet the love of pleasures still remained, and his corrupe aifections were unmortified. Dancing was aifo another thing in which he suck delighted, and be found is a hard thing to relinquith that alo; and it was near a year's time before he cou leave it off. But, alas! this was but the lopping Dit' the brarches of fin, whilst the root of usregeneracy 18inained: This was but building upon the old foundation, zwhich must all be overiurneu, where Gou intends to carry on his work in truth. But it pleased God, in his wonderful wisdom and goodnese, to leilim país chro' these things, ahat ho might the better know how to direct those poor wandering souls, that would be afterwards in such a face,
which in itself indeed is very dangerous : For no fort of fire pers are in a more desperate condition, than those that are puri : en ikeir caun eyes, and get are not cleansed from their filtbinejsi jete l'rov. xxx, 12. Not long after, the providence of Godio oricred it, that Mr. Bunyan went to Bedford to work upor his calling, and happened there to bear ihree or four poct women who were firing in the sun, discourfing together about the things of God, which caused him to craw seat to them, for he was hy this time himself become a mighty talker of religion : But when he had heard them a.rule, as himself coníe fred, he heard, indeed, but he undertoon not, for they fpoke of things above his reach; discourling of Ebe new birth, and the work of God on their kearts, 201
how they were convinced of sheir miserable state by nature: · They talked how God had vifited their fouls with bir leke
in the Lord Jelus, and with what words and promiles they had beca refrelhed, comforied, and supported against the temptatiuns of the devil: They also reasoned of the suggeing ons and temptations of the evil one in particular, $nd tere each other by which they had been a filated, and bot it were borne up under his. Affaults. He heard them liker discourse of the wretcheaness of their own hearts, and of the unbeliet; and of contemning and abhorring their own righ, teousness, as filthy, and intofficient to do them any good And all this appeared to him to be spoken with such a of joy, and such pleasanthers of scripture language, and
such an appearance of grace in all they faid, that they fecale · 10 him is if they had found a new world; as if chey
people that dwelt alone, and were not to be reckoned amoly their neighbours. It was upon this discourse of theirs, he began to feel some unusual agitations in his own heart, and to be conscious to himself, that his own condition 1 nor so good as he had thought it to be; because, in all al thuoghis about religioni in. falvation, the new biich nerer enterea into his mind? but he found it was a thing be wa wholly a ftranger to, and unacquainted, with: Nor did ever know the comfort of a word or promise, nor the ceifolius and treachery of his vo wick d heart: Anda for secret thoughis, he had severiaceo znv notice of them nor did he at all anderstand what latan's templations selts os, how they w-re to be wiihiluod, or refitted. But, cver, this discourse of these good wonen mightily ante