Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Conversion of Howell Harris 3: The Slough of Despond

His failure to feel the seriousness of his sins in publicconfession shook Harris. In his diary, Harris recorded:

“I was convinced that it ought to be so; and finding it was not so, I perceived I was going to the Lord’s Table with a lie in my mouth, and was much inclined to withdraw, but quieted my mind with having determined to lead a new life; and in that resolution I received the pledges of God’s dying love. I then began to be more thoughtful and serious – I was given to prayer, and strove to keep my heart and thoughts fixed on the Lord, but all in vain. Thus I went on for about a fortnight, until I almost lost my conviction. Providence, on the 20th of April, put a book in my hands, and I looked into the latter part of it as a help to self-examination; as soon as I began to read I was convinced that in every branch of my duty to my God, to myself and to my neighbour, I had fallen short, and was guilty. […] The more I read, the greater did the spiritual light shine into my mind; discovering the extent of the law of God, calling me to account not only for outward gross sins, but for my looks, aims, and deeds – in all I had thought, said, or done. Then I saw clearly that if I was to be judged by that law, I was undone for ever.”

After wrestling in prayer, Howell Harris was granted some relief. However, he still felt himself to be quite lost and without Christ.



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