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sideration of my sins, and my duty; of God, and heaven, and hell, &c, my affections were raised to a pitch higher than ordinary, and my spirits more fixed and composed. I then prostrated myself before God, and humbled myself for my sins; being, as I imagined, in such a pitch of godly sorrow as would answer the characters of it, which my book proposed to
Then taking up resolutions of amendment, and begging strength of God, I rose up from my knees, in a pleased persuasion that the work of repentance (which my book told me I must begin with, and be very solemn in) was past. And that now I might with comfort pass on to the methodical practice of the duties of religion. So I cheerfully lay down, and cheerfully rose. I read the Bible, I prayed, making use of the forms in the Practice of Piety and other books that I had, and on Sunday mornings more largely confessing my sins, and examining myself. Thus went I cheerfully on, endeavouring to maintain my ground, and persist in my practice; rejoicing much that the work of conversion, as I thought, was past with me, which the books I then read, and the persons that discoursed with me, had so much possessed me with. Nevertheless under what opinion or notion soever I then did it, I do, as I have just cause, bless and praise the God of heaven, that he did so early let me see what was the practice of godliness; that I enjoyed so great an encouragement after holiness, as a taste of the sweetness of it. For this great and distinguishing goodness of the Lord, my soul doth, and ever will praise his holy name! At this time Mr. Tenison my master, (of whose religious care of me I
shall always have a very grateful remembrance, discoursed with me about receiving the sacrament; I readily consented, not being a little rejoiced at the invitation, which seemed to come as it were from God himself. So I practised the directions which my books gave me, and endeavoured to prepare myself according to my light and ability. My notions of it were obscure, for the books I had read were so, and very allegorical. Yet I hope God will lay no sin to my charge, that might arise from thence; since it was what I was then capable of, from the instructions I had.”
These were the happy beginnings of Mr. Bonnell's piety; and what mighty advances in religion might not be hoped from a zeal so early and yet so strong ? How few, even in their happiest periods of life, when their reason is best improved, and their graces most lively and vigorous, can give a better account of their piety, than Mr. Bonnell in the beginning of his youth! How firm and lasting must the building be, whose foundation was so deeply laid! And such his piety proved, encreasing with his reason and years, till all were completed in a happy eternity.
At fourteen years of age, being fit for the University, he was removed from Trim school: but his friends, who were nicely solicitous about his education, chose to send him to a private philosophy school in Oxfordshire; believing him there more out of the way
of temptation, and resolving not to expose him to the infectious dangers of a great city, and numerous acquaintance. But how much persons of the like sentiments are mistaken in their opinions of these private
seminaries, may appear from Mr. Bonnell's account of that, which his friends made choice of for him, and preferred to all our famous seats of learning. sent,” says he, “ to Oxfordshire, to a private house, for fear of being corrupted at the University : our tutor was Mr. Cole, who had formerly been principal of St. Mary Hall in Oxford; he read to us Aristotle's Philosophy, and instructed us in the classics and oratory: he preached twice every Sunday to his family and us: here I stayed two years and a half; but my unhappiness was, that there was no practice of receiving the sacrament in that place, so that I could have no solemn, earnest, and serious recollection of myself, neither were my associates such from whom I might learn any part of godliness, but, on the contrary, all debauchery; so that my friends' care seemed herein to be deluded, had I not been otherwise principled before, and had some tincture of my Trim sentiments still on my mind : our tutor was too remiss in matters of morality and religion, though I cannot accuse himself of any thing that was ill.” At last he concludes, “ I cannot with comfort reflect upon the time spent in that place." And he has been often heard to say, when speaking of that private school, “ that in it were all the dangers and vices of the Uuiversity, without the advantages."
From Oxfordshire he removed to Catherine Hall in Cambridge, having been entered there a year before, by his friend and kinsman Mr. Strype, then of the same house. There his tutor was the learned Doctor Calamy, who, upon several occasions, expressed the esteem he had for his pupil, commending
him to Mr. Strype and others, for his learning, gravity, and manliness, both in discourse and behaviour; but chiefly for his constancy at religious duties, being hardly ever known to miss prayers, all the time he continued at Cambridge. Here he enjoyed all those advantages, the want of which he lamented so much before; the frequent returns of the sacrament kept his mind in a true devout frame, put him upon the strictest researches into his past life, and the most solemn and serious resolutions of adhering to his duty. Here also he had friends and companions every way suited to his own genius and manner of life, such as were most remarkable for their parts and piety; the chief of which were, Dr. Gouge, late Minister of St. Martin in the Fields, London ; Dr. Blackall, minister of St. Mary Aldermary, London; and Mr. James Calamy his tutor's brother. Here he pursued all those methods of devotion he had begun before, and went on to farther degrees of religious strictness; particularly, here he first resolved upon keeping fasting days, which all his life after he religiously observed. “ This,” says he,“ is what all books of devotion commend, and what I had known to be the practice of several religious persons. Looking upon it, therefore, as my bounden duty, I bethought myself what day of the week would be most convenient, and without any vows, immediately set upon it; and very great did I find the benefit of being sequestered from the world, and enjoying myself alone ; it inured my mind
; to devotion, and kept it sensible and tender, and accustomed me to acts of mortification and self-denial. These days, if the weather were fair and calm, I
would usually spend in the fields ; if otherwise, in some empty chamber in the College ; in the absence of my chamber-fellow, in my own chamber ; or in my study, if he were there: but not so as to give him, or any else, the least suspicion of this practice all the time I was there."
His advancement in learning kept equal pace with his improvements in piety and years ; for he prosecuted his studies with indefatigable diligence, and performed all his academical exercises with general approbation : and when sometimes his eager pursuit of learning would occasion a thought to arise in his mind that a whole day every week, was what he could not spare from his studies, with indignation he would reject that suggestion, as coming from his spiritual enemy; “ He considered it," as he expresses it, “ that it were just in God to punish such thoughts, by blasting all his studies ; but if he cheerfully gave that time to God, his goodness would supply that and more to him, having promised to add all things to those, who first seek the kingdom of heaven, and his righteousness.”
From Catherine Hall, (after he had Mr. Freeman's taken his degrees in learning) he refamily.
moved into the family of Ralph Freeman, of Aspeden Hall, in Hertfordshire, Esq. and undertook the education of his eldest son; a trust which he ever esteemed one of the most weighty in the world, and which none should undertake without earnest resolutions of conscientiously discharging it. And it was very happy for Mr. Freeman, that he found one who had all those qualifications, which he