Chapter 16: Sin and Remorse
I was now in a condition I never was in before, having a Plentiful table and an Easy place. They also invited me to go with them to their Place of Worship to a Baptist chapel in Cockspur Street, where Mr Moses Fisher was Pastor. Now I was well fed and well clothed - more and above what I had asked the Lord to give me when I left London. But I forgot the stipulation I had made, that the Lord should be my God. I was like it was written of Israel of old "Jeshurun waxed fat and Kicked and forsook the Lord." I got entangled with some Men, ranging about with them on a Sunday, smirking and dangling about after Girls, like foolish young Fellows. I had sense enough to mind my Work and keep a decent exterior, but I loved Sin and what is called Pleasure. I liked to go to the Theatre as much as I could and go with Lewd Women. But "Sin will bite as the Adder" as the Word saith, and so it did me! I was Miserable. At one time I thought I was in a Fair Way to Heaven, thinking I was a good deal better than Some. But now that conceit was knocked out of me. I thought I was worse than anybody.
In the meantime I had left Cockspur St Chapel and went to Birom St Baptist Chapel because it was a more respectable Place and had more fine girls. For Spirituality I did not know. Consequently it was out of the question. If I may describe my spiritual condition at this time it was like those people described in Chronicles:- "They feared the Lord and served their own Gods." I had a natural fear of God from reading the Scriptures and what I saw around from the Works of God; but a true Filial fear I had not. I had trusted to my own Righteousness, such as it was. But falling into Open Sin my confidence gave way. Now I thought I was in a Fair Way to be Damned. Then I thought I would Repent of my Sins and be good and behave myself for the future; but, alas, I found my Goodness to be as the Scripture saith;- "As the Morning Flower - as soon as the Sun shineth upon it, it passes away." I could not and would not forsake my Sins.
Now was opened up to me the Greatness of the Soul, and the Greatness and Holiness of God - that he could not look upon Sin and Sinners where Sin was found with Complacency but with the utmost Abhorrence. "If that is so" says I, "What shall I do and where can I go from God's Wrath and Fiery Judgement? If I now fulfil the Law, what is to become of my former sins? For it is written: 'Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things to fulfil the Law to do them'."
"Oh this is dreadful", thought I, "What can I do then? I must be lost" Now a thought came into my Heart: "God is too hard upon us poor Sinners. Suppose you try the Law about it. - 'Fairness to us Sinners'. So I tried it in my way - word by word. When so doing I was amazed by its Beauty, Holiness and Fairness. I was confounded and said; "How could a Holy God give a better - so Just to God, so good for man?" I saw clearly as Paul described it; "Holy, Just and Good" Yet my wicked heart rose in Rebellion against God.
I said in my heart that I wished I was stronger than God, so that he could not punish me. Seeing Tom Paine's 'Age of Reason' lying on the Table, I went to it to see if I could get any Comfort out of it. When I had turned over a few leaves I flung it from me with Horror and said: "O miserable Comforter, get thee hence!" Well may the prophet say: "Who is a Pardoning God like thee? that Pardoneth Iniquity, transgression and Sin!"