The Journals of Nathan Bangs
 1805-1806, 1816-1817

 

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Editorial Annotations


This entry is marked by a degree of introspection unusual even among Bangs's often intensely personal entries. Indeed, the fact that it alone is signed gives it the appearance of a spiritually-binding faith contract. Bangs's continual fretting over the state of his own soul, though not uncommon among Methodists in general, nevertheless seems increasingly odd given that in just over one month Bangs will be at the forefront of the largest evangelistic revival in Upper Canadian history. Entries such as these increase the probability that Bangs never intended this journal for publication.

His unidentified quotation "Solemn awe that dares not move/and all that silent heaven of love" is from Charles Wesley's oft-quoted 1746 hymn "Sinners, obey the Gospel word."

 

Tuesday 20 [August 1805]

Last evening I kneeled down before God in secret and earnestly plead with God for my witness of his love to be brightened. It was asked, "Do you believe that I am able to do this" & I said Yea Lord, Thou hast all power [cf. Mt 9.28]. But I could not believe for a present answer. I was wanting in the vinture [venture] of faith at that instant. Yet I believed God would accomplish his work, but it seemed it must not be then, but God said now in His time. What was lacking then was in me. I believe that God is willing to save me now, but the thing is to believe he does save me now. This is the direct act of faith which brings an immediate answer to prayer. I have frequently found myself wanting in this venture of faith, yet this I believe to be the faith of the Gospel. Nevertheless I believe that the prayer of the faithful is always answered.  I ask the Lord for a blessing. Now perhaps what I call a blessing at this time the Lord does not. Therefore he gives me one in disguise. I am cut to the heart by the powerful application of some truth. I am humbled under a deep sense of my unworthyness. This makes me loath myself and long for a still deeper self abasement. Whenever God sees needful he shines upon my Soul. I am comforted above measure with a sense of his goodness. I feel at the same time, it is wholly of grace which makes me thankful to God for his unspeakable gift. Now if my heart is wholly given up to God and I have that measure of faith which brings peace to my soul, and that peace is heightened from a sense of sanctifying Love, let me ask what I will it shall be granted because I ask agreeable to this the will of God. I ask resignedly, and in faith. This then is the model of my prayer. "Lord if my heart desires anything that Thou in Thy Wisdom seest would be hurtful to me, that withhold; if Thou seest any thing which I need and am insensible of it myself that give, and thus may I always be supplied from Thee who art the fountain of Wisdom & goodness." This prayer presupposes that my heart is scripturally resigned to the Will of God. This then is my faith; I believe it will always be answered for the sake of Jesus Christ. Praised be God that he ever taught me the mystery of faith in the Son of God. This is the life of my soul. The Joy of my heart.

Thank God I feel my prayer answering [being answered]. It is answered Jesus has come into my room since I have been writing. His love disperses the gloom and makes all within me rejoice. Yesterday as I was riding along the road such a sense of the Majesty of God rested upon my mind that I felt all that "Solemn awe that dares not move and all that silent heaven of love.["] Truly it may be said that he is Glorious in is in holiness, Terable [Terrible] in power. For some time I seemed wholly taken up in contemplating upon his power as I had a fair prospect continually before me. It is good to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord [2 Cor 5.8]. For awhile last evening the scene seemed changed, a kind of inward shrinking seized upon me, a fear least the Lord was angry with me. I now feel, thank God, that he is love to my soul. O that I may be kept pure from the great transgression [Ps 19.13].

In the evening. I have just been preaching and such a time of rejoicing I have not had for a long time. Before I began I wrestled with the Lord in secret with all my might for his blessing and it came like a flood upon my own soul and the souls of his people. Glory and honor be unto God forever for his unspeakable mercy and loving kindness. Such sweet intercourse with Jesus is truly delightful. My tent was Ps. 16.11 [Ps 16.11] and surly that fullness of Joy thou mentioned my soul felt and feels stil [still]. O Lord keep me evermore through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. Nathan Bangs.

I felt such a spirit of prayer the last evening as I have not felt for some time. Such arguments were handed to me that I could not but believe the Lord would answer my request and according to my faith it was done unto me.
 

16 August 1805

Manuscript

9 September 1805

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Edited by Scott McLaren
Book History Practicum
University of Toronto