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evil fountain that was in himn poured forth“ perpetual and rapid' streams.” He adds, when afterwards commenting on that state, “ I not only inade sin a business, but my heart was fully set in me to do evil;" yea, so tender did his conscience become, and so hateful did sin appear to his renewed mind, that he thought no terms too strong, when describing his own sinfulness. “ About this time,” he says, “I began to abound in extremely heinous crimes; which have caused me to loathe myself in my own sight. For some time I was greatly ashamed, on account of them, when newly committed ; but I soon learnt, by dear bought experience, that sin hardens the soul which grace does not soften'; for I became very bold in those abominations. I could not, however, rest contented while thus persisting in my course of rebellion; for conscience whispered, How will this conduct bear being reflected upon * ?"
While thus enslaved, he made, occasionally, faint resolutions, as the rousing effect of a guilty conscience, to break off his besetting sins; but found ihem all ineffectual. His own humbling and affecting expressions are,—“I became daily faster bound in Satan's chains, nor did I feel much desire to be loosed ; no, so far from it, I stretched out my hand that he might take hold of me, and hurry me down hill in the way of destruction. I not only was involved in sin at present, but made up my mind to continue and grow worse in this way."--But the God of patience spared him; a merciful Surety bore with him; for he was a chosen vessel, notwithstanding his unworthiness and vileness through transgression. His own plain account of the work of grace in his conviction and conversion, will be more acceptable to the serious reader, than any thing which another might say on the subject. “ In this way,” he observes," I passed on to my sixteenth year, when the Lord was pleased to affect my mind with spiritual things. I went to the house of God destitute of the least serious concern ; but God,
* Note communicated to the Editor by an intimake friend of Mr. Burton.
“ The strong expressions which this eminently holy young man einploys, may possibly lead some to entertain a wrong opinion of his character previous to his conversion. Let it be recollected that this was the language of his diary, the expression of his deeply humbled and contrite heart before God; and i hat the period to which it refers, was that of childish vanity and disobedience :--so affecting a sense did he habitually entertain of the infinite evil and inexpressible vileness of sin."
who is rich in mercy, for his great and everlasting love wherewith he loved me, was pleased to touch my heart while the minister spoke from Ps. ciii. I resolved to hear him again, and began to attend on the means of grace
like one concerned about everlasting things, and felt some drawings of the Spirit.”
When about eighteen, he witnessed some family afflictions, particularly the death of a brother; who prayed in his family, as usual, the night before his death, and, about two o'clock the next morning, breathed his last in a very triumphant manner.-"By these calls of Providence,” says Mr. Burton," I was roused to consideration, but yet never dared put in my plea for a sliare in the merits of Jesus till, April 19, 1794, I went as a guilty sinful creature to beg for mercy and grace on the footing of the atonement.” And, to the praise of sovereign favour, then and there he obtained his wish. “Soon after this, I thought of being a zealous servant of God; but my deceitful heart was weaker than I thought it was; for frequently it gave awful proofs
propensities to evil, and much backwardness to that which is good. After some time, however, I was enabled, in some degree, to shake off the fear of man, by which I. had been enslaved, and to erect an altar for God in my father's house. Our united sacrifices were offered morning and evening; but in this, as in other things, I saw my own weakness and the sovereign grace of God manifested. About this time I began to exercise my gifts in social meetings for prayer, proposed to join the church of Christ at Pudsey, and was unanimously received. Some of my Christian brethren, and our minister (Rev. Mr. Laird) began to think I was endowed with gifts which might be useful in the church of God. The discovery of this thought made a strong impression on my mind, and constrained me to lift up my heart to the great Disposer of all events, that he would direct me in the path of duty. Accordingly I set apart a day for particular prayer."
Thus his deeply serious mind had been exercised for some time, when Providence directed him to the Academy at Masbro', near Rotherham ; where he soon discovered the most amiable christian virtues and graces, a conscientious diligenee in his studies, in which he made considerable and reputable proficiency; and a growing zeal for the promotion of his own personal religion, as well as for the conversion of sinners. But while others aclmired the humility and godly simplicity, the conscientionis integrity and
general general gravity of his deportme nt, he lodges heavy charges against himself. Thus, while it common observer views a piece of curious work as highly polished, the microscopic mspector discovers many roughnesses and faws. Soon after he had engaged in studies; as appears from the diary he then kept, he made great co nplaints before God, particularly against his proneness to levity and pride.
« After having made some efforts,” he obserres, “ against iny besetting sins in vain, I set apart October 19, 1796, for lasting and prayer. I confessed and lamented my sins, and by grace was enabled to resolve against them." It will be gratifying to the godiy reader: (o notice the solemn resolutions he then formed." I, T..B. a creature formed by thy power, and supported by thy bounty, O Sovereign of the universe; and redeemned by thy blood, O incarnate Son, co-equal with the Father; arıd called by thine irresistible grace, o divine Spirit, - alt er having read Ps. cxxxix. Jer. xvii. 9, 10; and Heb. iv. 10, 19:- RESOLTE to take God as my portion; the Lord Jesus Christ, in all his offices and characters, for my Saviour; as my Prophet, to teach me in all things; : is my Priest, being inily satisfied with the atonement heljas made, and hoping that his intercession will prevail before the throne for all the blessings I need; as my King, to rule over and defend me froin all my enemies, trusting that he will guard me whilst here in the sight of my foes, and afterward receive me into his glorious palace : - and I resolve to take the Holy Spirit and word of God for my comfort and direction, and to perfect the work which I hope is begun. Again, This day I resolve to renounce every sin : iny daily study shall be to oppose it in every shape, -— to regard the injunctions of the Lorel in his word, inortifying the deeds of the body, coretousness, pride, ww.cleanness, and excess in using the good things of life; to perform the duties incumbent on me according to my situation; to le for God, whilst I remain single; and if ever I should change my state and take upon ine the charge of a family, to govern it in the fear of Goll. If in the course of divine providence I should be called into the Lord's vineyarı!, I resolve to act in that station is becometh an example of the Hock of God; and, in whatever station I am placed, to exert myself, in order to promote the welfare of men and the glory of God. But linowing that no one is of himself sufficient to perform these things, I would flee to thee, O thou Helper of ibe helpless, and beg that thou wouldst do all in me, and
by by me. By sovereign grace, may I be made an example and a blessing to the church of God in this world, and a pillar in the temple of God in the celestial world! May these resolutions and vows be as bonds upon my soul while I am spared here, for his sake who gave himself for me, that I might be his peculiar, and shew forth his praise. Amen.”
Having given a specimen of the manner in which this dear young man, now in glory, exercised himself unto godliness, while preparing for ministerial services, - we inay subjoin another specimen of the manner in which he heard and improved the preaching of the word; which, to serious readers, especially those who are in similar situations, will not be unacceptable. “ January 17, 1797. This day I attended upon a serinon, preached by Dr. W. from 1 John v.7-9, concerning the five witnesses, three in heaven and two on earth; which all concur to establish the weak saint, since they all agree in bearing witness, That God is able and willing to save sinners through his Son's mediation, Whilst he spoke of these five rocks of the believer's confidence, I trust my mountain stood strong. - January 22, I heard a sermon preached in the forenoon, from Jer. ii. 13. “ For my people have committed two evils," &c. I trust that while some observations were made respecting the Fountain of living waters, I was made to drink of that river which maketh glad the city of God. In the after part of the day, the trumpet of the gospel was sounded from Isa. lv. 1. “ Ho, every one that thirsteth,” &c.—I hope that God led me to himself, and fed me with a feast of fat things. But after service I was not sufficiently careful to retain the impression.
" The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib!”. Yet my precious Redeemer remembered me in my low estate, for his mercy endureth for ever.”
In this connection we may add, that he was a great observer of private fasts, as appears from his diary, with a view to the mortification of sin, and his advancement in the divine life, for wbich purposes he found them peculiarly useful:-- a practice worthy of imitation by al christians, and particularly those who are engaged in various pursuits and studies preparatory to that work, which, of all others, is the most solemn and momentous. Such frequent self-examinations, humiliations, thanksgivings and resolutions, have a direct tendency to enlarge and improve experience, by observing with close attention the state and workings of the human heart. In a letter to one of his Vol. X,
brothers brothers, dated June 8, 1797, he observes: “ I have met with some trials of late, which may be, in some measure, common to all men; but, I apprehend, are more peculiarly severe to persons engaged in a studious life. This caused me to set apart this day for fasting and prayer, to which I attend about once a month: but I do not abstain from food through the whole day. I mention this, lest you should be fearful that I shall injure myself.”
In the year 1798, bis mind was engaged about embarking as a missionary. Thoughts of this nature had for some time tried his feelings; but in the spring of this year his ardent concern for the conversion of souls, and his desire to devote himself to the service of Christ among the Heathen, became as “ fire in his bones.” This interesting object presented itself to him night and day; by its magnitude and weight on his mind, his repose was interrupted, and his constitution, though apparently very fit to encounter the hardships of a missionary life, strongly felt it. It appears from his papers, that March 10 was “a fast day, set apart to implore God's direction and assistance with respect to going abroad as a missionary;" on which occasion bis ardent mind with all its powers, seems to have been remarkably engaged. How much this concern rested on his mind, inay appear in part from some extracts of letters written to his friends on the occasion, and from his own memoranda. In a letter to his parents, March 26, 1798, he observes : “ As to the frame of my own mind, I think I ean freely leave all things in this my native island, to go and spread the knowledge of the truth abroad.” March the 31st was kept as a day of special devotion, in reference to the missionary business; and June 1st, in a letter to his parents on the subject, lie says, " Pray that all things may be over-ruled to fulfil God's designs, and then, whatever be. comes of us *, all will be well. The prayer of my heart is, that God may lay insurmountable difficulty in our way, if it is not his will that we should go ; but if God will permit us to go, lead us out and
with us, to bless us in that important work, I think my whole soul is ready to join with my lips in uttering the prophet's words, " Here am I; send me.”
After all this anxiety of mind, with his maturest deliberations and incessant prayers, besides many days set apart for
Including with himself a fellow student, whose mind was ex. ercised the same way.