« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
considering my years, he approved of my qualifications and conduct, and offered wages for my future service. My mother took little notice of the offer; but was exceedingly rejoiced at the other part of the letter, as giving her better hopes on my behalf than she hitherto had.
In the course of the succeeding year, by agreement between my father and my master, I
spent three months with Richard Kennedy, writing master in Liverpool, to improve myself in writing, and learn some branches of the mathematics. One Seventh-day while here, having always a great propensity to see towns and places that were new to me; I went to see the city of Chester, and lodged two nights at Peter Leadbetter's; in my return by Eastham ferry, which is five miles across to Liverpool, an elderly gentlewoman having got some play-books in the boat, I offered to read for her: as I was reading, some horses in the boat grew unruly, which terrified her very much; so that she put by her play-books, and while we were in the boat, would no more touch them herself, or suffer me to touch one of them.
Many remarkable preservations I had in my younger days; but the most remarkable was during my residence at Liverpool, which happened as follows: One First-day, in the afternoon, I went with some other boys a boating in the dock, which, by means of flood-gates, was kept so full of water as to keep the ships afloat when the tide was out. We rowed several times from one end of the dock to the other. At length some rude boys, that were stronger than we, took from us our oar, or oars, and this in all probability proved the means of our preservation. For now we found ourselves obliged to work our way with our hands by the ships to the upper end of the dock. Just as we reached it, we heard a noise as of the loudest thunder; climbing
up from the boat unto the quay, we soon found that the dock gates, being grown old were broken down. The water rushing out in a rapid torrent, bore down all before it, oversetting and greatly damaging several vessels that lay near. The frightful nearness of such a danger, and narrow escape from it so affected my mind, as to invade my sleep that night, and repeat itself again to my imagination with aggravations of horror.
At the expiration of my three months here, I went to Kendal Yearly Meeting, where my father, being just arrived from a journey, in which he had made his way through Skipton, informed me that he had agreed with David Hall to bind me to him for four years longer; this was no agreeable intelligence to me, for although I honored my worthy master, yet every thing else was not as I could wish it. I thought I could foresee much hardship to be unavoidably my lot; yet as my father had so agreed, I thought it my duty to comply. I endeavored to put a good heart and face upon it, and so entered upon my part. During these four years my master was frequently abroad at meetings. He did not often miss the Quarterly Meetings at York, and sometimes attended the Yearly Meeting at London, and then the care of the scholars in and out of school lay heavy on me.
Both before my coming to Skipton, and while I was there, I often had fresh desires kindled in my heart after redemption. I was clearly shown the necessity of it, and the danger of delays in a matter of such consequence; so that I left off playing for a time, thinking it great infatuation to squander my precious hours in play, when in danger
of my life, and that too forever. But the most particular reach I had, was at a meeting in our schoolhouse, under the baptizing ministry of John Fothergill, whereby
I was awakened to vigilance for a season, rising early, and carefully attending to every step in my business, and the duties of my station. But soon, the fervor of this sacred flame abated, and I gradually fell back, and became just what I was before; yst I did not forget or wholly lose the sense of this day of my visitation; but often privately lamented my revolt, and I continued still to maintain a good character amongst Friends.
I do not remember much more than what I have already intimated in general of these four years, save that one time, when my master was abroad, I thought myself hardly and um reasonably used, and thereupon conceived a design to run away by night, it being moonlight; but that kind Providence whose fatherly care was over me, when I was too little careful for my own well-doing, withheld me. When the time proposed for putting my design in execution arrived, the pernicious consequences of such a procedure, were so clearly manifested to my mind, that I was discouraged from the attempt; and therefore concluded patiently to endure what might be permitted to befall me, till the termination of the time contracted for might bring me my release in a reputable and conscientious way.
Near the expiration of my time I wrote to some of my friends, acquainting them that I intended to try some new place, and received a letter from my good friend John Wilson, of Kendal, signifying that Alexander Arscott, of Bristol, wanted an usher, and offered twenty pounds per annum, Which offer I readily embraced.
ENTERS THE SCHOOL OF ALEXANDER ARSCOTT, IN BRISTOL.
REMARKS ON A PLAIN GARB, AND THE DANGERS ATTENDING THE RELINQUISHMENT OF IT. IS FAVORED WITH A RENEWED DIVINE VISITATION. EXPERIENCES DIVINE FAVOR IN OBE
DIENCE AND WATCHFULNESS.
OF ALEXANDER ARSCOTT. ENGAGES TO TEACH SCHOOL AT CORK, AND REMOVES TO IRELAND.
LEAVING Skipton, and the Yearly Meeting at Kendal approaching, I went thither, staid a few days with my mother, and then set forward for Bristol. In my way at Wolverhampton, standing at the door of the inn where I alighted, I saw a crowd of people passing by, and heard it was a Quaker's funeral ; whereupon I went to it, and our friend Joshua Toft, whom I do not remember to have seen before, attended it, and was raised up in a large and living testimony, whereby I was afresh reached, and considerably tendered, and thence proceeded on my way, under renewed impressions of good upon my mind, to Worcester. There I met with William Beesley going to Bristol Yearly Meeting, with whom I went in company to Gloucester, but my horse being tired I was forced to leave him behind, and walked the greatest part of the remainder of the way in my boots. In a few weeks after, that worthy minister and elder, John Richardson, of Yorkshire, landed in company with Robert Jordan from Pennsylvania, who bought my horse for the same price it cost
My good master, Alexander Arscott, was like a kind and tender father to me. He was the eldest son of the par
son of Southmolton, in Devonshire, and himself educated at the university of Oxford, with intention to fit him for the same function. But when he was just ripe for preferment, and might have had a fair prospect that way, his father being well beloved and respected among the great men in that country, he turned his back on all prospects of this kind, being convinced of the blessed truth. This was a great mortification to his father and mother, who would both sit weeping by him in the bitterness of their hearts, as I have heard him relate. This, he added, pierced him deeply, as he sincerely desired to be a dutiful son to tender and indulgent parents. A cloud came over his understanding, and the enemy in his own breast suggested that he was acting quite wrong. But as he humbled himself before the Most High, imploring his direction, he received a fresh sight that he must forsake father and mother for Christ, and be faithful to the manifestation of his will, through all events. His parents became afterwards better reconciled to his change, when he was settled in good business in Bristol, where he kept a school for the children of Friends and others, from that time till his decease, being about thirty-five years, and proved helpful to the rest of his father's family, in procuring them by his interest, places for getting a livelihood.
I came up to Bristol quite plain in my garb, as David Hall would not suffer any other in his family; and it being the time of the Yearly Meeting, at a Friend's house I fell in company with some well-minded Friends, one or more of whom observed to me, that sundry young people had come up in the same way from the north of England to the southern parts, particularly to London and Bristol; and after being there awhile, they ran into the fashions of those places, till they even outstripped the native inhabitants.