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This part of my history includes about two years. When I look back as far as I can remember, I can collect many circumstances which are not sufficiently interesting to insert here; one however I cannot omit, namely, the frequent and deep impressions made upon my mind by religion. I have been informed by some who knew me before I knew myself, that it was hardly possible to keep me in the house after Gray's-inn chapel bell struck out, to summon people to the daily prayers at eleven in the morning and five in the evening. I well remember its powerful attraction, and also the first time wherein, after very earnest entreaty, I was intrusted to go by myself to St. Andrew's church. I can recollect the pious frame of my mind, the energy with which I could repeat prayers, and, according to my ability, read and hear the scriptures read. A very serious walk round Gray’s-inn, with some of my companions on a sabbath day evening, and our conversation upon the greatness and goodness of God, excited by the serenity of the element, frequently occurs to my mind. I attended funerals till I could repeat the burial service by rote. In the time in which I was denied the privilege of school, I frequently went to St. Andrew's church, at the hour of prayer, and re. collect perfectly the first time, that the twentyfirst chapter of St. Luke being read by the minister in the desk, made a deep impression upon me. Indeed the scriptures I am now most conversant with are those I have heard read in the desk, or recited as texts from the pulpit, through a succession of sixteen or eighteen years. I enjoyed going to church on the saints days and on the sabbath days, and, with a few exceptions which were always accompanied with remorse, devoutly joined in the prayers and psalmody of the church and of the school. My mind at times has been so elevated that I believe I could have received the summon of death with joy.
I am inclined to think these frames may be attributed to the work of the spirit of God, which though early began,. was frequently in. terrupted by sinful propensities, and practices which as the result of temptation I fell into the recollection of which gives me pain and constrains me to pray; O remember not against me former iniquities, remember not the sins of my youth. I frequently feel the most powerful distress for them now, at the age of fifty seven, and if I could would make retribution. I must and blessed be God I may be a debtor to the blood of Jesus. I never did any thing incon
sistent with the strict rule of morality without feeling the smart of conscience.
An innocent forgetfulness became the inlet of a sad temptation, in compliance with which I was too successful a practitioner in sin. As the solicitation occurred, I many times laid my. self under a curse, that I would commit the sin
But nothing short of converting grace could break the snare. One day I fell by the temptation. I had been in high expectation of hearing a favourite preacher on the following Sunday. When the Sunday came, I hesitated much, whether, with so much guilt upon me, I should go to church. I did go, but got sorely wounded by considering the impropriety of the religious act of that day, with my sinful conduct in the course of the week.
I found out a relation who was dying in a consumption. He was the son of the widow of my father's brother. He encouraged me, when I had liberty, to visit him. In death he recommended me to his brother's notice, who had been indebted to my father for putting him apprentice. This was Mr. Winter, Water-gilder, in Bunhill-row, of whom I had not any knowledge. I found he had a design to take me from the work-house. I wish I could represent his design in a pleasing light. He appeared disposed to let me go to the charity school for the advantage of education, but instantly as he took me, I was dismissed by the trustees. I heard it was to be my fate; but hoped the report was false, especially, as the committee-day passed in which the business of the school was attended to, and the scholars were reviewed, without any notice being taken of it. I went as usual the next morning at the exact time, for I never was late, nor ever incurred displeasure by an hour's absence unavoidably. After the usual exercise of prayer, the head master surlily came up to me, and demanded if my Sunday's clothes were in their place (they were taken home on the Saturday and returned on the Monday by the law of the school) on being answered in the affirmative, he told me I must go away,
that I was no longer of that school. It is not to be described what I felt. I returned to my new home, broken hearted. As Mr. Winter permitted me to apply for re-admission, I am inclined to think it was not his design to prevent me the advantage of the schooling, at least for a time. The month was a very gloomy one. On the Sunday I betook myself to the church, longing to be in my seat; like an out cast I placed myself after church, at the school door and was pierced to the heart by seeing the pro. cession of the scholars, without permission to join them. On the committee-day I presented my petition for re-admission, begged access into the room, kneeled upon my knees and with crying and tears intreated for God's sake the learning of the school might be granted to me; but nothing was said to me; on the other hand, an haughty clergyman, dressed in his full suit of robes ordered me instantly to be taken out.
I had not been two years in the school: and three severe fits of sickness; the saints days, and christmas, easter, and whitsuntide holidays, made a considerable reduction from that time, and no very great attention was paid to improvement; so that I had merely learned to write when my schooling closed, without being set to put three figures together, or to learn one line in any of the tables.
I now became the errand boy, and was devo. ted to what employ I was capable of in the work-shop, and occasionally in the kitchen and other domestic services from six in the morning till eight in the evening, or later, as occasion served. This was my situation till I was one and twenty years of age. Mr. Winter was a man of very irritable, severe temper, unhappy in his marriage, and given exceedingly to drinking. Whatever ruffled his temper I was the victim