صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


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EVERY thing that habituates us to sacred retirement; that leads us to self-inspection, and promotes self-acquaintance; that causes us to review past events, and examine what improvement we have made of them; that produces comparisons between our present and former experience, either for our reproof or encouragement-is confessedly valuable.

Hence good men have been accustomed to write diaries. It was known that Mr. Winter ap

proved of such a custom, and I hoped that among his papers I should find a complete journal. But in this I was disappointed.

I saw in a letter to one of his friends, the following acknowledgment. "I have been guilty of a capital omission-the neglect of a regular diary." Even this did not destroy a hope that several interesting portions of his life had been recorded by him. But all that has been discovered consists of nothing more than two fragments, began early in his public life, and soon relinquished.

Nor are these distinguishable by any thing superior in the subject or the execution. The whole is too much in the form of the Methodistical registers of this kind, which, though they may be useful in a degree, are surely very capable of improvement. If it be proper to make daily observations, it is not always necessary to write them. For this purpose perhaps weekly retrospects, or annual reviews, would be preferable. By this means their sameness might be varied, and their dullness enlivened. They might be rendered less minute and more important. They might be extended beyond the detail of one class of feelings, and which are often misunderstood as to their cause and indications; for how frequently is it the case that

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no distinction is made between the variations of the animal frame, and the operations of spiritual agency; between physical and moral inabilities and fervors.

Of the plan we would recommend we have a pattern in Dr. Doddridge; and no one can help grieving that more of his diary was not made public. We there see a man not only looking backward but forward; not only complaining but resolving, not only praying but striving: attentive indeed to his pains and pleasures of the divine life, but always connecting them with practice-you see him investigating his moral character, as well as his spiritual

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state; you see what methods he took to conquer evil propensities, and to strengthen religious habits ; you see how he kept alive the zeal that carried him through so many difficulties, and acquired the patience that supported him under so many trials.



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Short and imperfect as these manuscripts are, I shall here present a few pages of them. They serve to shew the pious state of the writer's mind, and may convince the reader that the exercises which he has often been led to consider as peculiar to himself, have been the familiar experience of the Lord's people: and

should therefore prove way-marks rather than stumbling blocks.

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"I find from a recollection of past circumstances, I have been very remiss in not continuing a method of keeping a diary of the dealings of God with me, but now, by thy grace assisting me, I will remark thy goodness, O Lord, who art plenteous in redemption, and abundant in goodness and in truth. A more proper opportunity I cannot have than in the ever memorable instance of thy salvation, O Lord, this 25th day of October, in which I enter into the 25th year of my age, at which 'time the Lord was pleased to give me an humbling sense of my wretchedness, insomuch that I could not help weeping much in secret, on account of my own unworthiness, and his all sufficient grace.-Was much assisted in this view by reading Gen. xviii. xix. Wrote to M. visited a friend, and had reason to say, hitherto hath the Lord helped me.


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