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to be examined. "Some proposed that I should be had to some inn, or other public house, and a guard set on me there. He that started this was probably an inn-keeper, and consulted his own interest. Others objected against this, that it would bring a charge on the town, To avoid which, they were for having the watch take charge of me, and keep me walking about the streets with them till morning. Most voices seemed to go this way, till a third wished them to consider, whether they could answer the doing of that, and the law would bear them out in it; and this put them to a stand. I heard all their debates, but let them alone, and kept my mind to the Lord.
While they thus bandied the matter to and fro, one of the company asked the rest if any of them knew who this young man was, and whither he was going? Whereupon the constable (to whom I had given both my name, and the name of the town where I dwelt) told them my name was Ellwood, and that I lived at a town called Crowell, in Oxfordshire.
Old mother Grime, sitting by and hearing this, clapped her hand on her knee and cried out, I know Mr. Ellwood of Crowell very well. For when I was a maid, I lived with his grandfather there, when he was a young man.
And thereupon she gave them such an account of my father, as made them look more regardfully on me: and so mother Grime's testimony turned the scale, and took me off from walking the rounds with the watch that night.
The constable hereupon bid them take no further care; I should lie at his house that night; and accordingly took me home with him, where I had as good accommodation as the house did afford. Before I went to bed, he told me there was to be a visitation, or spiritual court, as he called it, holden next day at Amersham, about four miles from Be. consfield, and that I was to be carried thither.
This was a new thing to me, and it brought a fresh exercise upon my mind. But being given up in the will of God, to suffer what he should permit to be laid on me, I endeavoured to keep my mind quiet and still.
In the morning, as soon as I was up, my spirit was exercised towards the Lord, in strong cries to him; that he would stand by me, and preserve me, and not suffer me to be taken in the snare of the wicked. While I was thus crying to the Lord, the other constable came, and I was called down.
This was a budge fellow, and talked high. He was a shoe-maker by trade, and his name was Clark. He threatened me with the spiritual court. But when he saw I did not regard it, he stopped, and left the matter to his partner, who pretended more kindness for me, and therefore went about to persuade Clark to let me go out at the back door, and so slip away.
The plot, I suppose, was so laid, that Clark should seem averse, but at length yield, which he did; but would have me take it for a fa
vour. But I was so far from taking it so, that I would not take it at all ; but told them plainly, that as I came in at the fore-door, so I would go out at the fore-door. When therefore they saw they could not bow nie to their will, they brought me out at the fore-door into the street, and wished me a good journey. Yet before I went, calling for the woman of the house, I paid her for my supper and lodging, for I had now gotten a little money in my pocket again.
After this, I got home, as I thought, very well; but I had not been long at home, before an illness seized on me, which proved to be the small-pox, Of which, so soon as Friends had notice, I had a nurse sent me ; and in a while, Isaac Penington, and his wife's daughter, Gulielma Maria Springett (to whom I had been play-fellow in our infancy) came to visit me; bringing with them our dear friend Edward Burrough, by whose ministry I was called to the knowledge of the truth.
It pleased the Lord to deal favourably with me in this illness, both inwardly and outwardly. For his supporting presence was with me, which kept my spirit near unto him, and though the distemper was strong upon me ; yet I was preserved through it, and my coun. tenance was not much altered by it. But after I was got up again, and while I kept my chamber, wanting some employment, for entertainment's sake, to spend the time with ; and there being at hand a pretty good library
of books (amongst which were the works of Augustine, and others of those ancient writers, who were by many called the Fathers ;) I be. took myself to reading. And these books being printed in the old black-letter, with ab. breviations of the words, difficult to be read, I spent too much time therein, and thereby much impaired my sight, which was not strong before, and was now weaker than usual, by reason of the illness I had so lately had ; which proved an injury to me afterwards ; for which reason I here mention it.
After I was well enough to go abroad, with respect to my own health, and the safety of others, I went up in the beginning of the twelfth month, 1661, to my friend Isaac Penington's at Chalfont, and abode there some time, for the airing myself more fully, that I might be more fit for conversation.
1662. I mentioned before, that when I was a boy, I had made some good progress in learning; and lost it all again before I came to be a man : Nor was I rightly sensible of my loss therein, until I came amongst the Quakers. But then I both saw my loss, and lamented it; and applied myself with utmost diligence, at all leisure times, to recover it ; so false I found that charge to be, which in those times was cast as a reproach upon the Quakers, that they despised and decried all human learning, because they denied it to be essentially necessary to a gospel ministry, which was one of the controversies of those times.
But though I toiled hard, and spared no pains to regain what once I had been master of, yet I found it a matter of so great difficulty, that I was ready to say as the noble eu. nuch to Philip in another case; How can I, unless I had some man to guide me?
This I had formerly complained of to my especial friend Isaac Penington, but now more earnestly; which
which put him ing, and contriving a means for my assist
He had an intimate acquaintance with Dr. Paget, a physician of note in London ; and he with John Milton, a gentleman of great note for learning, throughout the learned world, for the accurate pieces he had written on various subjects and occasions.
This person having filled a public station in the former times, lived now a private and retired life in London; and having wholly lost his sight, kept always a mian to read to him ; which usually was the son of some gentleman of his acquaintance, whom in kindness he took to improve in his learning.
Thus, by the mediation of my friend Isaac Penington with Dr. Paget, and of Dr. Paget with John Milton, was I admitted to come to him; not as a servant to him, which at that time he needed not ; nor to be in the house with him ; but only to have the liberty of coming to his house, at certain hours, when I would, and to read to him what books he