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TENDER-HEARTED AND CONSCIENTIOUS. 77 Meetings for worship are • favoured seasons' to him; he discerns there the excellency of a true gospel ministry ;' enjoys particular satisfaction in the company of Friends, and feels a great love and an enlargement of heart towards them.'
The benevolent affections were not less fully developed. He longs to be the means of relieving suffering, and sympathizes both with man and brute. The tyranny and oppression exercised towards the poor Africans,' and the reflection that so many thousands are yearly murdered in the disgraceful slavetrade,' affect him deeply, and as sugar is undoubtedly one of the chief commodities procured by the labour of slaves,' he resolves, through Divine assistance, to persevere in the disuse of it, until the slavetrade shall be abolished ;' a resolution to which he stedfastly adhered for forty-three years. The death of a faithful dog,' killed by accident in the street, causes him a day of bitterness and sorrow;' and as for those who are cruel to animals,' he will put .no confidence in them even in the common concerns of life.' Tender-hearted, conscientious, watchful, averse to the society of persons who had no sense of religion, and alive to the
secret impressions of duty,' God guided his steps in purity; he lived unpolluted by the world; and his young heart hated sin.'
HE BECOMES A CHEMIST,
During the whole of the period thus referred to, and probably until he was about two and twenty, he remained under the parental roof, and was employed in his father's business. But, although diligent and attentive,' he had no taste for the manufacture of silk. His mind had already received a decided bias in favour of scientific pursuits. Even while a child he had a particular predilection for chemistry, and was persevering in his efforts to obtain an experimental knowledge of this science. Astronomy was also a favourite study, and at the age of fourteen he had himself constructed a telescope with which he could see the satellites of Jupiter. In describing the circumstance, he said, that not being strong in cash,' he was obliged to go economically to work; he accordingly purchased an eye-. piece, an object glass, for which he paid one shilling; he then bought a sheet of pasteboard, which cost twopence; and, having made his tubes, and adjusted his glasses, he found, to his great delight, that the moons were visible. Thus, for fourteenpence, he obtained a source of enjoyment, the recollection of which always afforded him pleasure.'
The close of the year 1792 first associates William Allen with Plough Court, Lombard Street; Joseph Gurney Bevan having introduced him into the chemical establishment
AND RISES TO EMINENCE.
79 carried on there under his able superintendence. In this new and more agreeable situation his peculiar talents soon became manifest. He devoted himself with characteristic ardour to the duties of his position, and within three years, in consequence of the retirement of Mr. Bevan, he became leading partner in the house, and opened a laboratory at Plaistow. Soon after this, he unites with other Friends in the formation of a philosophical society;* takes to ó sitting up all night, preparing for lectures and making experiments ;' becomes very low' for want of letters from a certain dear Mary Hamilton,' then residing at Redruth; and, finally, as after this intimation might be expected, is happily married to the lady of his choice.
William Allen was now a busy and a prosperous man. Literary and scientific pursuits, the claims of an extending business, experiments, lectures, meetings at Guy's, and medical studies, employed his days and frequently absorbed his nights; while competence, peace, and domestic felicity shed their blessings on his path, and cheered and refreshed him under labours which would otherwise have been overwhelming.
* Luke Howard, William Phillips, Joseph Fox, W. H. Pepys, and Samuel Woods, were ainong the earliest members. Astley Cooper, Dr. Babington, Tilloch, and others, joined afterwards.
80 LEARNS THE UNCERTAINTY OF LIFE,
But he was soon to learn, by bitter experience, the uncertainty of all earthly joy. On the 6th of September, 1797, just ten months after marriage, his beloved coinpanion gave birth to a daughter, and five days afterwards passed into the unseen and eternal world. His grief was deep and abiding. For a season it seemed as if his soul refused to be comforted. For afterwards, his journal bears constant testimony to the tenderness of his love and to the depth of his sorrow.
Divine consolations were, however, richly mingled in his cup of bitterness, and he was soon made sensible of the blessedness of the discipline to which his tortured heart' was subjected.
Indications of spiritual growth at this period appear in various parts of the diary. On one occasion he observes, I seemed willing to part with all, that I might win Christ. Oh, how have I longed for a more intimate knowledge of him! May I never love anything more than him ! but be favoured to keep everything in subordination, yea,
under feet. He often commemorates the sweet solace' he found in waiting upon the Lord,' and urges the petition, Make me one of those sheep of whom thou hast said, • They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of
hand.' With this spirit of dependence there was
AND PROFITS BY THE LESSON. 81 combined habitual watchfulness, and an incessant struggle after higher practical virtue. Hence he determines to abridge the time devoted to natural science, and to fast from it,' lest it should absorb the heart. Again, he resolves to be exceedingly careful to avoid every share of egotism, the nurse of vanity. "I feel,' he says, "great self-contempt when I detect myself in doing anything to be seen of
How minute are the ramifications of selfishness ! Soul, keep in the valley, be content to let any one take the precedency, study to be more than to seem.' And again,
I have seen the beauty, and long to attain to that heavenly disposition of mind that seeks constantly to render those around us happy. May I be favoured to guard against peevishness, even when just cause, or what appears so, is given, and also to strive against foolish lightness !!
The death of his father, which took place about three years after this, and the subsequent decease of a beloved brother, possessed of a remarkably sweet and amiable disposition,' opened afresh wounds which had
never healed, and led him with increased earnestness to desire that he might be made 'an instrument in the Divine hand of usefulness to others, and, at the same time, be preserved from the flattery and applause of a world lying in wickedness.'