September 14, 1760. Nothing is more incumbent on a Christian than to make his calling and election sure; and when this is cleared up, nothing can be a greater comfort. Every man should try his state and walk accordingly. He should hold what he has attained, and reach forward to apprehend what he has not yet apprehended.
Should I be ashamed to confess to God the great things he has done for me, at which I am astonished? But let the praise be his alone. However I have gone after vanities, yet I can, through grace, say—"None for me but God! Heaven and earth are shadows without him; but he is my portion and my all. I love him for himself, for his holiness, for his love. I set nothing above him, I seek nothing beside him—but count 'God reconciled in Christ', a treasure sufficient to enrich eternity itself. All my fear is lest I offend him, all my desire is to please him, all my ambition is to be like him. I dispute not his will, I repine not at his providence, for when repinings arise, as too oft they do, I represent to myself his love, his wisdom, his promise—whence I infer—that he cannot order wrong for me. True, I daily fail—but I daily bewail myself, and daily dip myself in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness.
My graceless companions are my daily grief, and I bewail over those to God—who never bewail themselves. I shun the company of the wicked, and where necessarily cast into it, I am uneasy all the while. I esteem the saints very highly, even the excellent ones of the earth. Prayer is my daily exercise; and though too often formal and full of detractions, yet it is the joy of my soul. I make the sins of the land my burden, and the sins of the whole world my concern. Jews and Pagans, deluded Turks and Papists, have a part in my supplications, and all the Christian churches in my prayers. When true religion suffers, I burn; when it triumphs, I rejoice. I have not an enemy in the whole world but I desire to forgive, as I expect to be forgiven. The rising generation dwells on my mind, and I plead with God in their behalf.
Above all things in the world, were I qualified, I would gladly serve God in the gospel of his Son. O I esteem it more to win one soul from hell, than to sway the scepter of the universe. I dare not seek to be learned—but to be useful. I dare not cherish vain schemes about future times—but commit my lot to God. I count that day idly spent, wherein I have not some divine meditations. I rejoice in hope of the glory of God, and wait for Christ from heaven. I count the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord and honorable. I have joy in believing on the unseen Christ, whom the highest heavens contain until the restitution of all things.
I have had a turbulent spirit often—when I have been misused. But now I desire to throw down pride and self-conceit, to overlook reproaches, forget affronts, and forgive injuries. When I awake in the morning, I am with you, and my meditation of the most high God affords me sweet thoughts. The light of your countenance makes me exceeding glad, and gives me greater joy than those whose grain and wine increase. Some sins I confess more easily beset me than others—but these I desire to guard against, and I allow not myself in any known sin. Hence I see, that what I am, I am by grace, and not by nature. My daily vain thoughts and errors who can understand, for they are innumerable? Yet my daily complaint is against them, "O who shall deliver me from this body of death?" and my continual struggle is to oppose them.
As to holy frames and feelings, I dare not build on them—but on the solid promises which in Christ are yes and amen. Yet do I desire to walk always with him, and in the light of his countenance to go on rejoicing, and mourn when I go without the sun. My daily fear is, that I am growing worse, and not better; going backward, and not forward; and my cry is, O that it were with me as in months past, as in former times! I desire to rejoice in the gifts and graces of others, as if they were my own, and not to have an evil envious eye, because God is good, and gives others more than me.
Of all changes—death is the most shocking; of all trials—judgment is the most tremendous; of all states—the eternal world is the least known. Yet let my soul bless his name forever, when I have seemed in the arms of death by sickness, I could, with a sound mind and unshaken faith knowing in whom I had believed, say with the psalmist, "into your hands I commit my spirit, O God of truth! who has redeemed me." When I thought I was on the brink of death, with a serenity of mind, which yet refreshes me, I commended my soul into his hand, in view of hastening into the eternal and changeless world.