Chapter 22: Ups and Downs of a Life of Faith

About this time I lost the delight in Religion which I formerly had. I went about, Moping and Mourning and Sighing, wanting the Lord's Presence but could not get it. How different now to what it was before! Then, as soon as I had my breakfast, I had the Lord's Presence all the Day. Prayer was so delightful that I used to spy out any corner or out of the way place where I might commune with God: and he would be so near and precious that I would say "Ask what thou would and it shall be done". Now it was poor dragging Work and a Bore and no response but Buffeting from Satan, and a hard and unfeeling heart, full of doubts and reproaches, which would make me cry out : "O Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this Body of Death". These Buffetings would continue with me all the Day. But, when going to bed, I would feel relieved and could commit my soul to God: so that, before I went to sleep I felt that all was right, and that, if I died before morning I was right with God. Thus I would have a sound and refreshing Sleep, but in the morning would have the skackles put on again until Evening.

This went on for weeks and months, I cannot say how long. I wondered why I was thus plagued; but, considering and looking back on my former Experience when the Candle of the Lord shined upon my Tabernacle (as Job describes his case when he was in prosperity). "Ah" says I "the abundance of the Lord's goodness then made you proud. You doted on the gifts instead of the Giver. I see it all now: don't you remember a special occasion when you was as near as an Ace going to fall into a dreadful Sin: you would certainly have fallen into it if the Lord's hand had not been stretched out to save. You would have been the miserablest of Men if he had not stept and saved you in the Nick of Time". "Ah me", says I, "all that is come upon me is to save me from sinning against the Lord: for while these things are upon me I cannot think about the World and its Allurements. I have enough to do to keep me from falling into a Quagmire and be smothered in it."

About this time, having had a Miserable Day I went to the Monday Prayer meeting. Mr Lister, being the Pastor, was reading the second chapter of Revelation, speaking of the Church of Pergamon: "I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's Seat is." My Ears and Heart were fastened on those words. "Well then", says I," the Lord Jesus knows where Satan dwells. Then he must know about me. For Satan has been plaguing me all day." "Yes", says Jesus, "I know all about it". From this it seemed to me he was taking a special interest in my case, and went home with me and went up with me into my Garrett. He was with me in my prayers in going to Bed and in my bed in the most endearing manner, saying "I will keep thee in the hour of Temptation that shall come upon all the World. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee to the very End". "Ah, dear Lord", says I, "I will never doubt again if I can recall this thy Kindness".

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