Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

upon Jeremiah vi. 16. Stand in the way and see, and ask for the old paths, &c. in which he proved from the bible, and the common prayer-book, as well as the articles of the church, that salvation by faith is the good old way, and besides it there is 'no other, for a lost šiwner to find rest for his soul. Had he only attempted to prove his doctrine by the scriptures, I should have thought, he put his own sense upon them, but as he clearly shewed, that in the daily service of the church, we prayed for these things, saw rhat I had been praying for what I did not believe, and was deeply humbled before the Lord, under a sense of my past sin and follý.

In June this year I went to a feast at Askwith, with no, other, design but to get an opportunity to hear the Metho-, dists. It happened to be the yearly meeting of the Quakers that day, and I went and heard a woman speak for more than an hour, but could not understand her at all. This was the first time I ever was in a Dissenting meeting of any kind. I went the same evening to Otley, and heard Mr. James Oddie preach an excellent sermon from Acts xiii. 38. "Be it known unto you men and brethren, that by this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, &c.". I was very much surprised to see the serious and devout behaviour , of the people, that I'bad so much despised ; and was highly delighted with the singing, but the discourse delivered from the pulpit with such an heavenly solemnity, quite astonished me. I was permitted to stay, the society meeting, and was obliged to conclude, that if the people paid any regard to the excellent instructions given them, they must be patterns of piety and godliness. Here it was that the Lord fixed a resolution in my heart, to seek and to serve him, which through his infinite mercy and love has continued to this day, and which I doubt not shall abide with me for ever. I returned to my uncle's, at 'whose house I then was, but did not acquaint any one where I had been ; but in the course of our conversation, my uncle said, I pray God these Methodists may nerer get the upper hand, if they do, we shall have dreadful work. One present replied, why what do you think they will do? Do said ne, why they will murder uis all, do they not damn all mankind but themselves, and if they will damn us, they will murder us too, you may be sure.

So ignorant were many people in these days, respecting the Methodists, and their designs.

I returned home fully purposed to seek the salvation of God, little thinking that any' who loved me, would oppose me in pursuing my best interests; but here I was greatly mistaken; my father and mother and all my relations, being as great strangers to the Methodists, and as much prejudiced against them as I had been, were astonished beyovd measure, and used every means in their power to divert my mind from the object I had in view. As I had never disobeyed my father at any time, he thought that he had nothing more to do, but to use his authority, wbich he did with all speed, and expressly forbad me to hear the Me. thodists any inore ; but I was obliged to disobey; and how was he surprised to find his authority disregarded? It gave the inexpressible pain to disoblige my father, but the sal. vation of my soul was at stake. My uncle was a single mang and in good circumstances. He had often promised what he would do for me, but he sent me word, that I should never be the better for any thing he had, except I left this way; and he made his resolution good some years afterwards, when he was called out of time into eternity.

I bad but very few opportunities of hearing preaching, nor had I any one to converse with, or to help me, respecto ing the salvation of my soul. The few Methodists therə were in the neighbourhood, were so much afraid of mý father, that they had not courage to say any thing to me. My mind was not a little pained to see those that I só cordially loved, in such distress on my account, and more especially so, as I well knew that all the opposition and unkind treatment that I met with from them proceeded from'. ignorance, and that their souls were in as great danger as I saw my own to be. But the words of our Lord sounded in my ears.

He who loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me ;** therefore saw that I must at all events pursue the one thing needful, let who would be offended with me.

I spent all the time I possibly could, in reading the best books I could meet with, and through the mercitul providence of God, I met with several of those published by Mr. John Bunyan; and Mr. Joseph Allein's Alarm to the Unconverted, also fell into my hands. These I found profitable, by reading them my mind was much more enlighte ened, and my conscience more awakened.

I had such a deep sense of my guilty and depraved state

of mind, that my business became a burden to me, and my father really thought that I should loose my reason, and be quite ruined; all his hopes concerning me were blasted, and all his designs frustrated, and considering the violence of his natural temper, it is matter of astonishinent to me, that he did not kill me; he had been at a good deal of ex. pence in fitting me for the business for which he designed me, but from the time I was awakened, I never used a mathematical instrument, I laid all my books of architecture aside, and never looked into one of them any more, nor did I endeavour to improve myself in gaining a more perfect knowledge of my business : But spent all the time I possibly could in reading divinity, in order to gain a more perfect acquaintance with the things of God. "I acted in all things, as if I then bad the fullest assurance the Lord designed me for the ministry, though at the same time, I had not the most distant thought of any such thing. I now adore the wisdom of God, in thus disposing my mind to search after spiritual knowledge, and in leading me to devote myself wholly to him, but would not wish any one to follow

my example as to my business, as the Lord cannot have the same designs concerning every one.

This was a time of great and sore trial; I saw with un. speakable sorrow, how exceedingly distressed my dear

parents were on my account, and yet notwithstanding my sin'cere, and tender affection for them, my conscience obliged me daily to increase their sorrow; not only by acting in direct opposition to their will, as to myself, but I laboured with my might to bring all the family into the same way: And blessed be the name of the Lord, my labour was not in vain, my only brother was awakened, so likewise was my younger sister's husband, and my oldest sister and her husband. These things, any one may suppose, would greatly alarm my father, as he thought, he saw all his family quite ruined, he laid all the blame upon me, and looked upon me as the cause of all these misfortunes, so that he was almost willing to give me up, if he could only preserve the rest of his fainily, but the Lord had merciful designs concerning

them.

My father had often threatened to disown, and disinherit me, and treated me with great severity, but he' now tried a different method. He expressed the tenderest regard for me, and said, "you know these people are exceedingly despised, it will entirely ruin your charaeter to go among them, and as it is now a time of war, you may be pressed for a soldier, and then I shall be at a good deal of trouble and expence to get you released. You may purchase what books you please, and surely you may gain much more - knowledge by reading, than by hearing those unlearned and ignorant lay-preachers." I found it hard work to resist the authority, and withstand the tender intreaties of an aged, and affectionate parent: but although my heart was ready zo bleed, I saw the necessity I was under to obey God rather than man, even my own father. From this time he watched me so narrowly, that it was with great difficulty I could get to the preaching. One Sunday in particular, I had fully intended to go, but his eye was upon me, and I had not resolution sufficient to break through, and, when the time was elapsed, I went into a solitary place, where I thought, no one would find me, and there bitterly lainented my case before the Lord. My father soon found me, and asked me to take a walk with him into the fields, it being summer, in order to amuse and divert me; but alas, my sorrow was 100 great to be removed, or released by any thing of this sort, but was rather increased than otherwise. We return; ed in time to attend the service of the church, and in the evening I read, as we generally did on a Sunday night, in the family. As I was very much profited by Allein's Alarm myself, I read in that book this evening. He seemed to approve of what this blessed man of God said, but I plainly perceived, he did not understand hiin. I therefore with all possible tenderness ventured to speak a little, on the neces sity of experiencing these things in our own minds. This copld not be endured, he was offended and said, “ Blessed he God you are not to be my judge, if, you were, I knoir you would condemn me; and for your part I see you are utterly ruined. I have done all in my power to reclaim you, but it is all in vain. I rejoiced at your birth, and I once thought you as hopeful a young man as in this town, bat now I shall bave no more comfort in you while I live. Your mother and I are both growing old, and you will bring down our grey heirs withi sorrow to the grave, these Me thodists are the most bewitching people upon earth, when onee a per: on hears them, there is no possibility of persuad, ing them to turn back again.

You think to make my house à preaching-house when once my head is laid, but I will take care that it shall never

be yours, I will leave it to the poor of the parish before the Methodists shall have any thing to do with it ; do pray give up this

way, and let me die in peace, and then you must do as you please when I am no more.” Such a speech as this from an affectionate parent, any one may suppose, was exceedingly affecting, but although my heart was ready to break, I could only reply, When I can see any fufficient reason to oblige you in this particular, I certainly will, but not till then.. He said, “ I see it is all in vain, I must give you up. I am bound to pray for you as long as I live, but I see no ground of hope concerning you.” I went to bed with a very forrowful heart, but fully determined, let what would be the consequence, to seek the salvation of God. : My Brother and I began to take sweet counsel together, and greatly strengthened each others hands in the Lord, We laboured to oblige our parents in every respect to the very utmost of our power, save this one thing, the salvation of our souls. But in my absence my father so powerfully wrought upon my brother, by his tender and affectionare entreaties that he promised him that he would hear the Methodists no more. This troubled my mind exceedingly, but I loved him too well to give him up; 1 persuaded bim to go along with me to preaching once more, and the word took deep hold upon bis heart, and from that time he never looked back, but was faithful unto death. We frequently prayed together in our bed chamber, and my mother got upon the stairs to hear us, and desired to join in prayer with us; soon after this my father desired to do the same, I had not then found a sense of the love of God, I had not sufficient courage to pray when he was present. His min:1 had been variously exercised; sometimes he thought he would use violence, and at all events prevent my bearing These men any more, then be thought, but what if he should be in the right, then how dreadful it would be." I had bought the Rev. Mr. Wesley's Sermons, and he read some of them, this gave him a more favourable opinion of the doctrines of the Methodists, and softened his mind in some degree : But the Minister of the parish being a potorious drunkard, and a determined enemy to the Methodists, began to fear he should lose all our family, he gathered up all the idle stories he could h ar of, respecting that despised people, and there were plenty of such in those days, and brought them to my father, by this means lie created me a great

b

but as

« PreviousContinue »