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drawing my mind away. Sometimes, also, he would cast in such wicked thoughts as these: that I must pray to him, or for him. I have thought sometimes of that-Fall down, or, 'if thou wilt fall down and worship me' (Matthew 4:9).
9 And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. AMP
108. Also, when, because I have had wandering thoughts in the time of this duty, I have laboured to compose my mind and fix it upon God, then, with great force, hath the tempter laboured to distract me, and confound me, and to turn away my mind, by presenting to my heart and fancy the form of a bush, a bull, a besom, or the like, as if I should pray to those; to these he would, also, at some times especially, so hold my mind that I was as if I could think of nothing else, or pray to nothing else but to these, or such as they.
109. Yet, at times I should have some strong and heart-affecting apprehensions of God, and the reality of the truth of His gospel; but, oh! how would my heart, at such times, put forth itself with inexpressible groanings. My whole soul was then in every word; I should cry with pangs after God that He would be merciful unto me; but then I should be daunted again with such conceits as these: I should think that God did mock at these, my prayers, saying, and that in the audience of the holy angels, This poor simple wretch doth hanker after Me as if I had nothing to do with My mercy but to bestow it on such as he. Alas, poor fool! how art thou deceived; It is not for such as thee to have favour with the Highest.
110. Then hath the tempter come upon me, also, with such discouragements as these: You are very hot for mercy, but I will cool you; this frame shall not last always; many have been as hot as you for a spirit, but I have quenched their zeal. And with this, such and such who were fallen off would be set before mine eyes. Then I should be afraid that I should do so too; but, thought I, I am glad this comes into my mind. Well, I will watch, and take what heed I can. Though you do, said Satan, I shall be too hard for you; I will cool you insensibly, by degrees, by little and little. What care I, saith he, though I be seven years in chilling your heart if I can do it at last? Continual rocking will lull a crying child asleep. I will ply it close, but I will have my end accomplished. Though you be burning hot at present, yet, if I can pull you from this fire, I shall have you cold before it be long.
111. These things brought me into great straits; for as I at present could not find myself fit for present death, so I thought to live long would make me yet
more unfit; for time would make me forget all, and wear even the remembrance of the evil of sin, the worth of heaven, and the need I had of the blood of Christ to wash me, both out of mind and thought; but I thank Christ Jesus these things did not at present make me slack my crying, but rather did put me more upon it, like her who met with the adulterer (Deuteronomy 22:27); in which days that was a good word to me after I had suffered these things a while: 'I am persuaded that neither_5 height, nor depth, nor life,' etc., 'shall_5 separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus' (Romans 8:38). And now I hoped long life should not destroy me, nor make me miss of heaven.
27 For he came upon her in the open country, and the betrothed girl cried out, but there was no one to save her. AMP
38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, AMP
112. Yet I had some supports in this temptation, though they were then all questioned by me; that in the third of Jeremiah, at the first, was something to me, and so was the consideration of the fifth verse of that chapter; that though we have spoken and done as evil things as we could, yet we should cry unto God, 'My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth'; and should return unto Him.
113. I had, also, once a sweet glance from that in 2 Corinthians 5:21: 'For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' I remember, also, that one day as I was sitting in a neighbour's house, and there very sad at the consideration of my many blasphemies, and as I was saying in my mind, What ground have I to think that I, who have been so vile and abominable, should ever inherit eternal life? that word came suddenly upon me, 'What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?' (Romans 8:31). That, also, was an help unto me, 'Because I live, ye shall live also' (John 14:19). But these were but hints, touches, and short visits, though very sweet when present; only they lasted not; but, like to Peter's sheet, of a sudden were caught up from me to heaven again (Acts 10:16).
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. AMP