Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ed, as one from the dead, to my offended father. Alas! she was no more; this was a disappointment; but I was in England, and everything I saw, swelled my throbbing bosom to rapture. I was determined on walking to Bristol; it was only five miles, and through a most enchanting country. O! wbat transport of delight I felt when, with the ensuing morning, 1 commenced my journey. The birds sweetly carolled, the flowers enumelled the meadows, the whole scene was paradisiacal. It was England. But where was I going? I knew not. How to be employed? I knew not; but I knew I was in England, and, after feasting my eyes and ears. I seated myself upon a verdant bank, where the hot wells, (so much celebrated as the resort of invalid votaries of fashion, who come here to kill time, and to protract a debilitated existence by the use of the waters,) were in full view. Here J'began seriously to refect upon my situation, and to attend to various questions, proposed by a certain invisible, my internal monitor, who thus introduced the inquiry. Well, here you are, in England; what are you to do ?' God only knows. "Had you not better apply to Him for his direction and protection Certainly, where has my mind wandered, that I have not thus done before? The emotions of my heart were at this moment indescribable, When I last gazed upon these scenes, my prudent, vigilant father was at iny side, to guard me from evil; now I had no guide, no counsellor, no protector! O yes,' said my monitor, you have the Creator, the Father of your father, He will be your God, and your guide: He will be your protector, your counsellor, your preserver; He will provide for you, and, if you apply to Him, He will make your way plain before you. My hean, softened and cheered by these consoling suggestions, instantly began its supplications; there I prayed, and there I remembered Jacob upon the field of Padan-aram ; I commended myself to the care of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and I added to these names, the naine of my own father. Thus, by unbosoming myself to the Author of my existence, was my spirit greatly refreshed. It is

wept, freely wept, but my tears were tears of luxury; and I went on my way rejoicing, in a hope which gave me, as it were, to tread air. I reached Bristol at early dinner: I entered a tavern, inquiring if I could be furnished with a dinner. They saw I was a stranger, and froin Ireland. The master of the inn was from the saine country; he soon discovered I was a Methodist, and being acquainted with those religionists, he invited them to visit me, and I was consequently introduced to many of the Methodists in that city. It may be thought strange, that, as I had been so much engaged among the Methodists in Ireland, being one of their approved preachers, I did not take the steps necessary to introduce ine among that class of people in England. But, besides the jealousy which had taken place in the minds of my religious brethren, on account of my attachment to the doctrine of election, which made me resolve to quit Mr. Wesley's connexion, and unite my, self with the adherents of Mr. Whitefield, I wished for liberty to act

Very true I

myself, without restraint. But on being introduced, I was soon engaged ; attended their meetings, and privaie societies, and was admired, and caressed, and consequently tarried longer than 1 had proposed, deriving, from every social interview, abundant consolation. Upon the evening previous to my departure from Bristol, I was urged to visit a society a few miles from the city; it was a pleasant walk; several of both sexes were assembled; they were neat in person, and correct in manners, and they were all English. I was charmed, and, being in good spirits, I was thought excellent company; I was then a stranger. They were highly pleased; I was requested to pray; I did so, and we mingled our tears. I was solicited to continue among this people, but my wishes all pointed to London-and to London I must go. I parted with my new acquaintance with regret, for I was as much pleased with them, as they appeared to be with me. Being prevailed upon to tarry dinner the next day, I did not leave Bristol until the afiernoon. I then departed alone, determining to proceed as far as Bath, and take the stage for London, upon the ensuing morniny. As I passed over one of the most charming roads in Ergland, and alone, I had not only time for reflection, but my reflections were pensively pleasing: I was advancing towards the metropolis ; hitherto I had experienced the goodness of God, and I indulged the most sanguine hopes. My heart was greatly elated; I beheld the surrounding scenes with rapture; I was not wearied by my walk; it was only sixteen miles from Bristol to Bath; the fie!ds stood thick with corn, the valleys, burdened with an uncommon load of hay, seemed to laugh and sing, and the birds, in their variety, were, as if hymning the praises of their Creator, while the setting sun heightened the grandeur, and gave the finishing touches to the scene. My feelings were indeed highly wrought. I proceeded near the margin of a beautiful river ; two hay-makers were returning from their toil; I addressed them, and, in my accustomed manner, I expressed my delight, and my gratitude. These,' said I, in a strain of rapture, these are thy glorious works, Parent of good ; Almighty Father, thine this universal frame; these wondrous fair-surpassing wonder far-thyself how wondrous then!' Tears gushed in my eyes, as I thus expressed the transport of my soul. The men were astonished, yet they seemed pleased; I asked the name of the river? They replied,

the Avon, sir.' Then, said I, it flows through the native place of Shakspeare. “Shakspeare, who is he?' A writer, I replied : wondering at myself for mentioning his name; but I thought of Shakspeare, and I have ever been accustomed to think loud ; the thought was an addition to my pleasures, and, from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. My companions could not fail of discovering, that I came from Ireland, yet they cast no reflections upon me, as is the custom with low people, upou these occasions ; they were rather disposed to treat me kindly. I fancy,' said one of them, you are a Methodist.' I am, said l-I do not deny it.

! Then my Bess will be glad to see thee, I'll warrant me; wool thee come along with me? Thee may go farther, and fare worse, I can tell thee that.' 'Ay, ay,' said the other, thee had best go with my neighbor-I 'll warrant thee good cheer.' I thanked this kind man, and my heart swelled with gratitude to that Being, in whose hands are the hearts of all his creatures, for thus meeting me on my entrance into this strange city, with loving-kindness, and tender mercy. We walked on together, mutually delighted; 1, with every thing I saw, and my companions with me, for my expressed satisfaction. We soon stopped at the door of a very neat house. This cannot, said my heart, be the dwelling of a hay-maker; it was, however, and opening the door, he said : “Here, Bess, I have brought thee home a young Methodist; I know thee wilt be glad to see him.' I was then, by this rough, good-hearted man, presented to his wife: “Thou must find out his name thyself.' I imniediately told her my name, when, in a friendly manner, she requested me to be seated. She was a very different character from her husband; her manners were even polished; she entered into friendly conversation with me, and we derived much satisfaction therefrom, when her husband entering, inquired in his rough manner, What the plague, Bess, hast got no supper for thy guest?' This was a matter to which we had neither of us recurred. The good man, however, was speedily obeyed, and an elegant repast was forth with placed upon the table, of which I partook with appetite. We afterwards sang one of the Methodist hymus, and we united in solemn prayer; while my heart acknowledged all the fervor of devotion, even my host himself seemned affected and pleased, declaring he esteemed himself fortunate in meeting me. I was introduced to a handsome lodging room, and a good bed, but the fulness of my grateful heart would not, for some time, allow me to close my eyes; at length I sunk into the most refreshing slumbers, and I arose the next morning greatly exhilarated. I was received by my hospitable host, and hostess, with every mark of satisfaction; we break fasted together, sang a hymn, and addressed the throne of grace, when the good man went forth to the labors of the field, requesting that I would not think of leaving them. In the course of the morning, the good lady informed me, that they had recently settled in Bath, a Mr. Tucker, who had been a preacher in Ireland. My heart leaped at this intelligence; of all the preachers, with whom I had ever associated, this man possessed the greatest share of my affection. His tender, innocent, child-like disposition, not only endeared him to me, but to all who were acquainted with his worth. My hostess was charmed to learn, that I was known to Mr. Tucker: I solicited her to direct me to his residence, but when she informed me, that, by the death of his father, he had recently come into possession of 30,000 pounds sterling, I became apprehensive I should not be recognized. But I had occasion to reproach myself for suspicions, for no sooner was I conducted to his dwelling, than he caught me in his arms, and expressed the highest sutisfaction. Upon introducing me to his lady, he said : My dear,

this young man is the eldest son of one of the best men I ever knew. No man ever possessed a larger share of my venerating affection: I love this young person as his son, and I love him for himself; and when you, my dear, know him as I do, the goodness of your own heart will compel you to love him as I do. How highly gratifying all this to me, at such a time, in such a place, and in the presence of the lady, whose guest I was! but I must be her guest no longer; this warm-hearted friend of my father, and of myself, would not allow me to leave his house nor the city for a long season; indeed, it was greaily against his will, that I left Bath when I did. I promised I would call every day upon my worthy host and hostess, which promise I punctually performed. Mr. Tucker insisted upon my giving them a discourse in the church in which he officiated; for, although possessed of an independent fortune, he yet continued to preach to the people. On Sunday, then, I preached in the city of Bath, to great acceptation, My host and hostess (the hospitable hay-maker and wife) were present, and felicitated themselves that they had introduced a man, so much approved.

My reverend friend conducted me from place to place, showing me every thing curious in that opulent resort of the nobility. It was to this faithful friend that I communicated, in confidence, the difficulties under which I labored, respecting my religious principles. I observed to him, that I could not, with a good conscience, reprobate doctrines, which, as I firmly believed originated with God, nor advocate sentiments diametrically opposite to what I considered as truth. On this account I could not cordially unite with Mr. Wesley, or his preachers. Mr. Tucker saw the force of my objections; nay, he felt them too, for he was at that instant nearly in the sanie predicament with myself. Yet we could not hit upon an expedient to continue in the connexion, anil preserve our integrity. My anxiety, however, to reach the capital compelled me to press forward; and ny kind friend, convinced I was not to be prevailed upon further to delay my departure, engaged a place in the coach for me, discharging all the attendant expenses, and placing, besides a handsome gratuity in my pocket. Of my first host and hostess I took a friendly leave; gratitude has stamped their images upon my bosom; I left them, and my other kind friends, in tears; we commended each other to the kind God, who, in his own way, careth

I have since been grea:ly astonished ; indeed I was at the timo surprised, at my thus hastening to quit a place, where I was furnished with every thing my heart ought to have desired, when the prospect before me was at least uncertain ; but I have been, all my days, a mystery to myself; nor is this mystery yet unravelled. I retired this night to bed, but did not close my eyes until near the dawn of day; yet my reflections upon my pillow were charming; I clearly saw the good hand of God in all my movements; I was enchanted with everything I had seen, and with the prospect of what Į had still to see.

0! how sweet, in early life, are those sensations, which are the

for us.

offspring of vigorous hope; how great are the joys of expectation! No one ever derived more high-wrought pleasures from hope, than myself. I quitted my bed just at the dawn of day, after a refreshing slumber; I had apprized the people at the stage-house, the evening before, that I should walk on, and let the staye overtake me; this I did, and a most delightful walk I bad. I met the Aurora, the rising sun, the waking songsters of the hedges, the lowing tenants of the mead, the lusty laborer, with his scythe, preparing to cut down the bending burden of the flowery meadow. The increasing beauty of the surrounding scenes, the fragrant scent of the new-mowed hay, all, all, were truly delightful; and thus enchanted, with spirits light as air, I passed on, till I reached the Devizes, nineteen miles from Bath, wlicre, after I had breakfasted, the coach overtook me, in which I was soon seated, finding a ride, after walking, more abundantly refreshing ; we rolled over the finest road in the world, with such rapidity, that we reached London before sunset. How much was my heart elated, as I passed over this charming country; how did it palpitate with pleasure, as I advanced toward the metropolis; yet still I had no fixed plan, nor knew I what I should do, or whither repair True, I had some letters to deliver, but, in the hurry of my spirits, I had forgotten them; and on being set down at the stage house in London, I left my trunk without a single line of intimation to whom it belonged, and wandered about the city, feasting my eyes with the variety which it presented, till twilight grey had, in her sober livery, all things clad,' when I began to turn my thoughts towards a shelter for the night. I entered a tavery, requesting a supper, and a lodging, both of which were readily granted. I sat pensive; I was weary, my spirits sunk, I ate little, and, retiring to my chamber, after securing the door, I fell on my knees, beseeching the Father of mercies to have compassion upon me. I wept, wished myself at home, and my heart seemed to die within me, at the consideration that I could not return, without fulfilling the predictions of my matron friend : 'You will return,' said she, and, perhaps find this door shut against you.' Never, said I, never; I will die first. This was the most melancholy night, I had passed, since I left the dwelling of my mother. I arose in the morning unrefreshed; I inquired where the stage put up; I had forgotten; I told my host, I had left my trunk at the stage-house. He soon found the place, but he despaired of ever obtaining my trunk; I recovered it, however, and a porter took it to my lodgings, there I believed it safe, although I knew nothing of the people. I recollected where I had lived, when with my father in this city ; thither I repaired; but although there were remaining individuals who remembered him, no one recog

I was however kindly noticed, for his sake, and soon introduced to many, by whom I was much caressed. From this I reaped no benefit; a few of my Methodist friends, whom I had known in Ireland, visited me, but, seeing me in company which they did not approve, they stooů aloof from me. In the judgment

nized me.

« AnteriorContinuar »