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had many inconveniences attending it, which a more liberal subsistence might have prevented, and after awhile, I judged they were only to be relieved by matrimony. I supposed there would be a delicacy in addressing a person of property, myself being destitute; and I conceived I should gain no relief by forming a connexion with one in circumstances equally narrow as my own. I considered my advance unsuitable to the commencement of family cares, especially as I had no prospect of becoming considerable in circumstances. I made it matter of prayer, that I might be directed to a suitable object, by the good hand of Providence, which had hitherto enabled me to steer my course prudently. A friend, who well knew my sentiments upon this head, and conceived them proper, encouraged my indulging attention to Miss Brown, well known to the neighborhood, whose respectable character and conduct procured her universal esteem. He introduced me to her. She was supposed to be very affluent, from the great liberality she exercised to the poor, for which she was enabled, rather from industry and economy, than from patrimony, or from the considerable pro'fits she gained by a small farm, which, in conjunction with her youngest sister, she rented,
and superintended. When I had been repeatedly in her company, and was satisfied with her genuine piety, I addressed a plain letter to ber.
After some little hesitation and objection, raised only from the opposition my offer was like to meet with from a numerous family,' I found I had firm ground upon which to advance. The opposition arose from my religion, and the idea that I was devoid of integrity, and an honest design. This idea no encomium in my favor could remove. Some little stratagem was used to prevent our union, but I went forward with a fixed determination to enjoy my object, not doubting that time would produce a conviction which testimony could not, and that I should be a gainer in the end. Therefore on the 20th of April, 1779, we entered into wedlock. We had previously considered that our joint income, being about £55 per annum, would not admit of our living in splendor, and we had laid our plan answerable to our pittance. By this we regulated our life, and experienced the blessing of the Lord upon it. We erected our altar for sacrifice as soon as we came from church, upon which we then presented our joint offering. We have continued regularly and statedly in the presentation, and
though it has been attended with all that imperfection which has rendered it unworthy of the notice of an holy God, yet, for the sake of his ever blessed Son, we have reason to conclude it has met with acceptance.
I supposed now, that I had before me my only work in which I should be engaged, the work of the ministry, which I determined in the strength of divine grace, diligently to attend, and I did not suppose my family would consist of a third person. But God's thoughts and purposes were different to my thoughts and expectations, and events occurred that set me at the head of a large family in a very little time.
In the days of my itineracy, I had often said, that, if I were ever settled, I would give some poor child a common education. Recollecting my resolution, I fixed upon the eldest child of our deacon, Mr. John Simmons, a poor but de serving man; I taught him from his alphabet, till he was made fit for business, into which I was instrumental of introducing him, and which I believe he is now going on very prosperously.
In the first year of my marriage, I had occasion to go to Bristol, and among others I called upon Mrs. Higgs, one of my first acquaintance
in that city. She said, “I have long wished you settled for the sake of Tommy,” who was the youngest of her two surviving children, then little more than ten years old; “ I expect,” said she, “You will now take him," adding, “ I care not what you do with him if you will but take him.” He was a sweet amiable child, who had enough in him to attract my affection. I signified my attachment to him, and that I had not the least objection to receive him, but that I was not sure Mrs. Winter would accept the offer; however, I proposed to take him upon a Christmas visit, with a design to return him again, if Mrs. Winter would not consent to keep him. The dear little fellow accompanied me with all readiness. On our parting, Mrs. Higgs said, “I give him to you." I replied,
I replied, “ I accept the gift,” little thinking what was to be the event. His engaging and open conversation every step of the way home, in which he gave strong indication of a mind under“some pious influence, riveted him to me. Every friend I called upon was fond of him, and when we came home he was universally noticed with esteem. His pious disposition, which I certainly cherished, was improperly ascribed to my care of him. This induced Mrs. Turner, of Trowbridge, to press a favorite nephew upon
me, whom I very reluctantly accepted, not be: cause he was unworthy of my esteem, but because I feared to have more of a tutor's business in hand than I was equal to. Mrs. Turner conceived after a while, her nephew had caught the flame of piety from my lamp, and reported such high things concerning me as impressed a gentleman of Bath; and by this I was drawn into an extreme difficulty. I used every method consistent with prudence to divert his attention from me. We were as yet a little happy family indeed.
The children loved our worship, had been used to my ministry, could be taken with us on a journey; they sat and sang comfortably with us by our fire-side, entertained us by their prattle, and ran upon our little errands; but by taking the sons of a gentleman, I conceived I should take children used to a superior line of life, rather unfriendly to our religious views, and in other respects very unsuitable to me. My intimate neighbors to whom I had communicated the difficulty I was under from the gentleman's unwillingness to receive my refusal of his sons, -pressed me very much to increase my number to six, observing I should find my account in it.
Had I been convinced in my own mind that I should have done right in opening a school,