« AnteriorContinuar »
As thus, from scene to scene, my eager eye with tearful haste had wandered, my heart reiterated its unutterable agonies; and as I considered my situation as resernbling that of the FATHER of mankind, when driven fron the paradise, to which state of blessedness it was decreed he never was to return, I would gladly have laid me down and died : I would have given the world, had it been at my disposal, to have reinstated myself in the situation, and cir. cumstances, 1 had so inconsiderately relinquished; but this was impossible, and this conviction-how terrible! I wept, I sobbed. Despair seemned taking up its residence in my bosom. I fed from the scene; again I turned ; one more look; I wrung my hands in agony, and my heart spontaneously exclaimed: Dear, ever dear parent, once more farewell; dear, much loved sisters, brothers, and thou, sweet innocent, thou smiling, thoughtless, and therefore happy babe, once more farewell; and you, dear second parents, and thou sister of the friend of iny soul, with the beauteous cherub, whose infantile caresses, włrile pouring into my ear the interesting tale, were as balın to my wounded spirit-farewell, Oh! farewell forever! and you, ye many kind, religious connexions, with whom I have often wept, and prayed, and joyed, and sorrowed, once more I bid you adien ; adieu ye flowery walks, where I have spent so many happy hours; ye thick embowering shades, reared by these hands, ye health-restoring herbs, ye sweet delicious fruits, ye fragrant flowers, receive my last farewell
. Still I lingered-still I gazed around, and yet again, another look—'tis past, and I am gone forev
I turned from the view, and have never since beheld those charming scenes. I wonder much my agitated spirits had not induced a fever; but God preserved me, and leading my mind to the consideration of scenes beyond the present state, I was enabled to proceed, until I beheld, in perspective, the spires of the opulent city, which I was approaching. The opening prospect, with the additional sound of a fine ring of bells froin Shannon steeple, a charch standing on an eminence upon the river Lee, the bells of which are heard at an immense distance, gave a new tone to my mind. I had many friends in the city of Cork, and I endeavored to derive consolation from their unquestioned attachment. I had frequently preached in this city, and I had reason to suppose my labors had been acceptable. In the city of Cork, my paternal grandmother, with her daughter, my aunt Champion, and her children, still lived. My society would be sought, and I should again be engaged in preaching; these considerations lessened the weight of affliction, by which I had been sorely pressed. I arrived at the mansion of my grandmother some time before sunset, and I was very joyfully received; but when I had communicated my plan, the countenances both of my grandmother and my aunt, decidedly evinced their displeasure; they censured me with severity, and I keenly felt their rebukes. I assured them, I came not to solicit aid ; and, rising from my chair, 1 bade them formally adieu, quitting their presence, and their house. The eldest daughter of my aunt, a very beautiful young lady, and as good as beautiful, whose heart was formed for pity and for tenderness, followed me down stairs, and entreated me to continue with them; but her well-designed interference was ineffectual. I had been severely censured, and I could not bear it; I could have borne it better, if it had been unmerited. I left my lovely cousin in tears, nor did I again see, or hear from any individual of the fainily, until one evening after I had preached in the Methodist Church, my grandmother advanced, took my hand, and requested I would attend her home. I confess I was delighted with her condescension; for my mind had greatly suffered from the reflection, that I had given pain to the dear and respectabile mother of my deceased father. I accompanied her home, and we passed a happy evening together; both my grandmother and my aunt, addressed ine in strains the most soothing; they poured into my lacerated mind the oil and wine of consolation; they confessed themselves convinced, that the good hand of God was in my removal. “You are,' sai l the pious lady, you are, my dear child, under the guidance of an Omnipotent Power; God has designed you for himself; you are a chosen instrument to give light to your fellow men; you are, I perceive, ordained to turn many from darkness unto light, from the power of Satan, unto God, and the Lord will be with you. The God of your father will bless you, and make your way prosperous before you ; look no more, then, to what you have left behind, but look forward in faith, always remembering, that God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful ; preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions. Do not, I say, reflect upon yourself; I confess, I was wrong in censuring you; God's way is in the reat deep, we ought to acquiesce in all the dispensations of our Creator. You, my dear sop, are as clay in his hand; God is as the potter, who will do with you as seemeth good in his sight. Who can resist his will ? ' Thus did this dear lady speak peace to a mind, that had not, for a long season, received such strong consolation.
I was urged, while in the city of Cork, to relinquish my purpose of going to England. The Methodists solicited me to repair to Limerick, where a preacher was much wanted ; but nothing could seduce my thoughts from my native island. I frequently mixed in company where religious disputes ran very high, The doctrine of election, and final perseverance were severely reprobated: but election, and final perseverance, were fundamentals in my creed, and were received by me as the doctrines of God. Yet I was aware that an attempt to defend principles so obnoxious, would subject me to the censure and ill treatment of religious enemies, and I had experienced, that religious enemics were the most to be dreaded : yet, as I could not be silent, and as I dared not dissemble, I contented myself with observing, that I had been accustomed to hear my respectable father speak in favor of those doctrines. But although, in my public labors, I never asserted aught that could expose me to censure, yet I was more than suspected of Calvinism, and consequent resentments were enforced against me. My residence in the city of Cork_was thus rendered unpleasant, and iny impatience to embark for England was augmented. I was, however, obliged to continue two weeks longer, during which period I endeavored to live as retired as possible, avoiding controversy, and devoting my time to my grandmother and a few select friends. It was during my protracted residence in this city, that the celebrated Mr. George Whitefield arrived there, upon a visit. Of Mr. Whitefield I had heard much, and I was delighted with an opportunity of seeing, hearing, and conversing with so great a man. He was the first Calvivistic Methodist I had ever heard, and he became very dear to me: I listened with transport. The principles early inculcated up: on my mind were in full force, and for Mr. Whitefield I conceived a very strong passion. He appeared to me soinething more than human: I blushed, at the view of myself, as a preacher, after I had attended upon him; yet I had the temerity to preach in pulpits which he had so well filled! and I secretly resolved to enter into connexion with him, if I should be so happy as to meet him, after my arrival in London. I had many delightful opportunities in private circles with this gentleman ; he was a most entertaining companion. But, as Mr. Wesley marked him with a jealous eye, he dispatched, by way of escort, two of his preachers, in whoin he particularly confided, who diligently followed the great man from place to place : he was of course upon every occasion, closely watched; and bis facetious observations and frequent gaiety, were, by these spies severely censured, as descriptive of unbecoming levity. In fact, every art was called into action, to prevent the affections of the people wandering from one reformer to another; yet, while gentlemen in connexion with Mr. Wesley, were continually upon the alert against Mr. Whitefield, he himself evinced not the smallest inclination for opposition, or even defence; he appeared perfectly content with the enjoyments of the day, rather preferring a state of independence, to an intimate connexion with any sect or party. His choice, at that time, was decidedly the life of an itinerant, and he then evidently shrunk from the cares and embarrassments attached to the collecting, building, and repairing churches. And never, I believe, did any man in public life enjoy more: he was the admiration of the many, and an object of the warmest affection in those social circles in which it was his felicity to mingle. The pleasures of the table were bighly zested by Mr. Whitefield, and it was the pride of his friends to procure for him every possible luxury. The pleasure I derived from this gentleman's preaching, from his society, and from the society of his friends, contributed to lessen the weight of melancholy which depressed my spirits on my departure from home. I recollect an evening passed with him at the house of one of Mr. Wesley's preachers, who had wedded a beautiful young lady of family and fortune, only daughter of a Mrs. who possessed a very large estate, kept her chariot, her city and her country house, and entertained much company. Many persons
were collected, upon this evening; I was charmed with everything I saw, with everything I heard. I had long admired the master of the house; his lady I had never before seen: she was the object of general adulation; her person was uncommonly elegant, and her face dazzlingly beautiful; she had received a useful as well as a fashionable education, and she was mistress of all the polite accornplishments. She had three lovely children, with minds as well cultivated as their time of life would permit. I threw my eyes upon the happy, the highly favored husband, the amiable wife, the fascinating children, the venerable lady, who gave being to this charming wife, mother; friend. I beheld the group with rapture; for envy, as I have elsewhere observed, was never an ingredient in my composition, and I hung with a sort of chastened pleasure upon the anecdotes furnished by Mr. Whitefield ; the whole scene was captivatingly entertaining, and highly interesting : I was ready to wish the night might endure forever. Alas ! it was but one night; I never after entered that house. Happy would it have been for me if I had never seen it.* How mysterious are the ways of heaven! this evening, upon which I was so highly gratified, was the remote canse of my suffering, many years afterwards, great and very serious inquietude. I left the house of my friend, Mr. Trinbath, expecting to have seen him again and again ; I left him an object of envy to many; but I never saw him more, nor did he, poor gentleman, long continue the object of envy to any one.
This was the last night I spent in this city, in this country. The vessel in which I had engaged a passage to Bristol, was now ready for sailing ; I had only time, upon the morning of the ensuing day, to bid a hasty adieu to my grandmother, and her family, with a few other friends; to receive their blessings, and to depart. I took my place in the vessel at the wharf, some of my friends accompanying me thither; I spoke to them with my eyes, with my hands; my tongue refused utterance.
The beauty of the surrounding scenes, in passing from the city to the cove of Cork, cannot perhaps be surpassed. A few miles from the city stands a fortress, then governed by a half-brother of my father. I beheld it with a humid eye; but the vessel had a fair wind, and we passed it rapidly. I retired to the cabin ; my too retentive memory retraced the scenes I had witnessed, since first I reached Hibernia's hospitable shore; they were many, and to me interesting ; reflection became extremely painful, yet it was impossible to avoid it; and while I was thus retrospecting, the vessel cut her way through the harbor; we had reached the cove, we were on the point of leaving the land. I jumped upon the deck, I threw my eyes over the country I was leaving, which contained all that was dear to me, either by the ties of blood or friendship; all, were drawn up in order before me; it was another parting scene. Yet I cherished hope; I might again return. Alas!'alas ! this hope was * See Chap. VI. for an explanation of this reference.
delusive; it was an everlasting adieu. Dear country of guileless and courteous manners, of integrity, and generous hospitality, I bid you adieu ; adieu ye verdant hills, ye fertile vallies, ye gurgliug rills, which everywhere cross the path of the traveller; ye delicious fruits, ye fragrant flowers, ye sylvan scenes, for contemplation made adieu, perhaps forever. Here end the various hopes and fears, which have swelled my bosom in a country celebrated for the salubrity of its air, the clearness of its waters, the richuess of its pas tures, and the hospitality of its inhabitants; where no poisonous reptile could ever yet procure sustenance.
Arrival in England, and further Progress of the inetperienced
Hail, native Isle, for deeds of worth renowned,
I tow began a new era of my melancholy life. Losing sight of land, I again retired to my cabin : alas!" busy thought was too busy for my peace. Launched upon the wide ocean, I was speeding to a country, my native country indeed; but a country, in which I could boast neither relation, nor friend, not even a single acquaintace. I was quitting a country, in which I had both relations and friends, with many pleasant acquaintances ; yet this consideration did not much depress me; for although my heart was pained, when I reflected on those I was leaving, yet I was in raptures at the thought of England. I promised myself everything pleasing in England; yet, in my most visionary moments, I could not name a source, from which I could rationally expect establishment, or even temporary gratification. Several gentlemen were in the cabin, who took kind notice of me; they asked me no questions, so I was not embarrassed; but they contributed to render my passage agreeable, whiclı, however, was very short; for the identical passage, which, when I accompanied my father, consurned full nine weeks, was now performed in three days; but, exempted from those fears, and that nausea, which sometimes afflict fresh-water sailors, I was rather pleased with the rapidity of our passage. We dropped anchor in Bristol channel; I was charmed with an opportunity of going ashore at Pili, and once more greeting the good old lady, that had many years before, so tenderly compassionated me, when I return