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hearty desire I had to serve him, had compassion on me; and in due time was graciously pleased to illuminate my understanding farther, and to open in me an eye to discern the false spirit, and its way of working, from the true; and to reject the former, and cleave to the latter.
But though the enemy had, by his subtilty, gained such advantages over me, yet I went on notwithstanding, and frmly persisted in my godly resolution, of ceasing from, and denying those things, which I was now convinced in my conscience were evil
. this account a great trial came quickly on me. For the general quarter-sessions for the peace coming on, my father, willing to excuse him. self from a dirty journey, commanded me to get up betimes, and go to Oxford, and deliver in the recognizances he had taken; and bring him an account what justices were on the bench, and what principal pleas were before them; which he knew I knew how to do, having often attended him on those services.
I, who knew how it stood with me better than he did, felt a weight come over me, as soon as he had spoken the word. For I presently saw, it would bring a very great exercise upon me. But having never resisted his will, in any thing that was lawful, as this was, I attempted not to make any excuse ; but, ordering an horse to be ready for me early in the morning, I went to bed, having great struglings in my breast.
For the enemy came in upon me like a flood, and set many difficulties before me, swelling them up to the highest pitch, by re. presenting them as mountains, which I should never be able to get over; and, alas! that faith which could remove such mountains, and cast them into the sea, was but very small and weak in me.
He cast into my mind, not only how I should behave myself in court, and despatch the business I was sent about; but how I should demean myself towards my acquain. tance, of which I had many in that city, with whom I was wont to be jolly : whereas now I could not put off my hat, nor bow to any of them, nor give them their honorary titles, as they are called, nor use the corrupt language of you to any one of them ; but must keep to the plain and true language of thou and thee.
Much of this nature revolved in my mind, thrown in by the enemy, to discourage and cast me down. And I had none to have re. course to, for counsel or help, but the Lord alone. To whom therefore I poured forth my supplications, with earnest cries and breath. ings of soul, that he, in whom all power was, would enable me to go through this great exercise, and keep me faithful to himself there. in. And after some time, he was pleased to compose my mind to stillness, and I went to rest.
Early next morning, I got up, and found my spirit pretty calm and quiet; yet not with
out a fear upon me, lest I should slip and let fall the testimony which I had to bear. And as I rode, a frequent cry ran through me to the Lord, on this wise : O my God, preserve me faithful, whatever befals me ! suffer me not to be drawn into evil, how much scorn and contempt soever may be cast upon me!
Thus was my spirit exercised on the way almost continually. And when I was come within a mile or two of the city, whom should I meet upon the way coming from thence, buť Edward Burrough! I rode in a mountier-cap, (a dress more used then, than now) and so did he: and because the weather was exceeding sharp, we both had drawn our caps down, to shelter our faces from the cold ; and by that means neither of us knew the other, but passed by without taking notice one of the other, till a few days after meeting again, and observing each others dress, we recollected where we had so lately met. Then thought I with myself, O! how gład should I have been of a word of encouragement and counsel fron him, when I was under that weighty exercise of mind! but the Lord saw it was not good for me, that my reliance might be wholly upon him, and not on man.
When I had set up my horse, I went directly to the hall, where the sessions were held; where I had been but a very little while, before a knot of my old acquaintances espying me, came to me. One of these was a scholar in his gown, another a surgeon of that city,
both my school-fellows, and fellow-boarders. at Thame-school, and the third a country gentleman, with whom I had long been very fainiliar.
When they were come up to me, they all saluted me after the usual manner, putting off their hats and bowing, and saying, your humble servant, sir; expecting, no doubt, the like from me. But when they saw me stand still, not moving my cap, nor bowing my knee in way of congee to them, they were amazed, and looked first one upon another, then upon me, and then one upon ano. ther again, for a while, without a word speaking
At length the surgeon, a brisk young man, who stood nearest to me, clapping his hand in a familiar way, upon my shoulder, and smiling on me, said, what! Tom, a Quaker! to which I readily, and cheerfully answered, yes, a Quaker.
And as the words passed out of my mouth, I felt joy spring in my heart: for I rejoiced that I had not been drawn out by them, into a compliance with them; and that I had strength and boldness given me, to confess myself to be one of that despised people.
They staid not long with me, nor said any more, that I remember, to me; but looking somewhat confusedly one upon another, after a while took their leave of me, going off in the same cerernonious manner as they came
After they were gone, I walked a while about the hall, and went up nearer to the court; to observe both what justices were on the bench, and what business they had before them. And I went in fear, not of what they could or would have done to me, if they should have taken notice of me, but lest I should be surprised, and drawn unwarily into that which I was to keep out of.
It was not long before the court adjourned to go to dinner, and that time I took to go to the clerk of the peace, at his house, whom I was well acquainted with. So soon as I came into the room where he was, he came and met me, and saluted me after his manner; for he had a great respect for my father, and a kind regard for me. And though he was at first somewhat startled at my carriage and language, yet he treated me very civilly, without any reflection, or show of lightness. I de. livered him the recognizances, which my father had sent; and having done the business I came upon, withdrew, and went to my inn to refresh myself, and then to return home.
But when I was ready to take horse, looking out in the street, I saw two or three justices, standing just in the way where I was to ride. This brought a fresh concern upon me. I knew, if they saw me, they would know me : and I concluded, if they knew me, they would stop me to inquire after my father; and I doubted how I should come off with them.