You are here presented with an account of the gracious dealings of God with the author, in the matter of the salvation of his soul. At an early period of his life, the Lord was pleased to begin a work of grace in his heart; and under the first stage of this work, you have set forth before you, the pharisaical exercises of his mind: but when the work of conviction becomes deeper, and the fountain of iniquity in his breast is fairly broken up, you will see something of what he suffered within from a sense of sin, and of the lost condition in which he saw himself plunged.
Under the cutting rebukes of God, his pharisaical hopes gave way, and his sanguine expectations withered like grass, and a fearful flood of divine wrath broke in upon his soul and filled him with great alarm, and under the same, his beauty consumed away like a moth. This to him was the day of the vengeance of the Lord, and his mind was bowed down with the burden of guilt.—Under the law he found himself placed, and by it he was condemned; for what the law saith, it saith to them who are under it, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God.
After this storm is over, he brings to your view his happy deliverance from the hard bondage wherein he was made to serve, and greatly to suffer, and shows his escape was effected by the efficacy of the gospel; and that his high joys and comforts of soul, were the results of the, same divine efficacy; and that the prison which he escaped from, was succeeded by a “broad place where there was no straitness,” and wherein he triumphed in victorious grace, and sang the praises of the Lord “with joyful lips,” Job, 36. 16; Psa. 63. 5.
And thus are you led along, step by step, through four hundred and twenty pages, by having laid before you the various workings of sin and of depraved nature, and also the aboundings of grace in preventing the writer from sinking down so low as never to rise again. And in doing all this, he gives you a fair opportunity of forming some sort of a judgment of his state and standing before God. And from the statement he gives of the whole dealings of the Lord with him, it may be you will feel disposed to form a favorable opinion of his Christianity.
But even admitting you should not feel so disposed, it is hoped you will not find any one thing in all this work, that is calculated to exalt human nature, nor yet to debase the Son of God, nor to disparage his amazing clemency. For indeed, the author would blush to commit an outrage of so serious a magnitude, being deeply sensible that human nature in its fallen state, cannot be exalted, but at the expense of Jehovah’s dignity; and also that Christ Jesus our Lord ought to be exalted highly, in all the anthems of praise sung by the saints of God.
To set forth the honors of our most glorious Redeemer, and to illustrate the amazing efficacy of divine grace in the salvation of a sinner, and for the edification and encouragement of the Lord’s poor and needy ones, has been the writer’s motive for preparing this account of the work of God in his soul and as to what decision the reader may come to concerning him, is a point of no great importance with him, since at a much higher tribunal than that of the opinion of men, the eternal condition of his soul will be decided; and if lie is found in union with Christ, “the last Adam,” all will be well with him in death, and on the resurrection morning; but otherwise it will be ill with him at death, and at judgment, and forever.
Moreover, the author is of opinion, that a true saint of God, in reading this work through, will find some things to suit his own condition, and to be in accordance with the pathway through which he has been brought; and where this is the case, he questions not, but that person will praise the Lord for the grace bestowed on the writer. And from nearly all sorts of readers, but those who are taught of God, he expects nothing else but censure, clamor, and ridicule; knowing as he does, that the whole “mystery of faith in a pure conscience” is totally hid from, and lies far beyond the reach of every son and daughter of Adam, who is destitute of divine grace, and a stranger to a change of heart by the holy and most blessed spirit of Christ the Lord.
But concerning what any reader may think and say of this work, the writer will make himself easy, believing that the purpose of God in its publication will be accomplished, be that purpose what it may. Many petitions have already been put up to the Lord for a blessing to attend the reading of it; nor can the writer be so very mistrustful as to think, that in every instance of its being read, those petitions will fall to the ground. But even this matter also will have to be left with the Lord, with whom the children of God are obliged to leave all their concerns, both temporal and spiritual.
The author has had many pleasant hours in writing this account; and more especially in writing those parts of his biography which speak of the enjoyment of the gospel in his soul; and lie wishes the same may be felt and found by his reader. He also wishes his reader may do as some have done when about to read his other writings, namely, beg of God to render the perusal of this work beneficial to his soul. In a word; into the hand of a righteous God, the author commits himself, and his book, and his reader, for him to dispose of all as seemeth good in his sight. Amen!
Baltimore, Feb. 1835.
N.B. In the prospectus for this work a sermon was promised, and the work al together was to amount to about four hundred pages; but as the narrative has run up to more pages than the author first thought it would, even to four hundred and twenty, the sermon has been left out.
C O N T E N T S.
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Elder James Osbourn--Preface