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and I sat down among them, well satisfied, though without words.
When the meeting was ended, and those of the company, who were strangers withdrawn, I addressed myself to Isaac Pennington and his wife, who received me courteously ; but not knowing what exercise I had been in, and yet was under, nor having heard any thing of me since I had been there before, in another garb, were not forward at first to lay sudden hands on me; which I observed, and did not dislike. But as they came to see a change in me, not in habit only; but in gesture, speech and carriage, and which was more, in countenance also, (for the exercise I had passed through, and yet was under, had imprinted a visible character of gravity upon my face ;) they were exceeding kind and tender towards me.
There was then in the family, a friend, whose name was Anne Curtis, the wife of Thomas Curtis of Reading, who was come upon a visit to them, and particularly to see Mary Pennington's daughter Guli, who had been ill of the small pox, since I had been there before. Betwixt Mary Pennington and this friend, I observed some private discourse, and whisperings ; and I had an apprehension that it was upon something that concerned me. Wherefore I took the freedom to ask Mary Pennington, if my coming thither had occasioned any inconvenience in the family? She asked me, if I had had the small pox?
I told her no. She then told me, her daughter had newly had them; and though she was well recovered of them, she had not as yet been down amongst them ; but intended to have come down, and sat with them in the parlour that evening; yet would rather forbear till another time, than endanger me. And that that was the matter they had been discoursing of. I assured her, that I had always been, and then, more especially, was free from any apprehension of danger in that respect; and therefore intreated that her daughter might come down.
And although they were somewhat unwilling to yield to it, in regard of me, yet my importunity pre. vailed, and after supper she did come down, and sit with us; and though the marks of the distemper were fresh upon her, yet they made no impression upon me, faith keeping out fear.
We spent much of the evening in retired. ness of mind, our spirits being weightily gathered inward; so that not much discourse passed among us; neither they to me nor I to them offered any occasion. Yet I had good satisfaction in that stillness; feeling my spirit drawn near to the Lord, and to them therein.
Before I went to bed, they let me know that there was to be a meeting at Wiccomb next day ; and that some of the family would
I was very glad of it, for I greatly desired to go to meetings; and this fell very aptly, it being in my way home. Next morn.
go to it.
ing, Isaac Pennington himself went, having Anne Curtis with him; and I accompanied them.
At Wiccomb we met with Edward Bur. rough; who came from Oxford thither, that day that I, going thither, met him on the way : and having both our mountier caps on, we recollected that we had met, and passed by each other on the road, unknown.
This was a monthly meeting, consisting of friends chiefly, who gathered to it from several parts of the country thereabouts; so that it was pretty large, and was held in a fair room in Jeremiah Steevens's house; the room where I had been at a meeting before, in John Raunce's house, being too little to receive us.
A very good meeting was this in itself, and to me.
Edward Burrough's ministry came forth among us in life and power; and the assembly was covered therewith. I also; according to my small capacity, had a share therein. For I felt some of that divine power, working my spirit into a great tenderness; and not only confirming me in the course I had already entered, and strengthening me to go on therein, but rending also the vail somewhat further, and clearing my understanding in some other things, which I had not seen before. For the Lord was pleased to make his discoveries to me by degrees; that the sight of too great a work, and too many enemies to encounter with at once, might not discourage me, and make me faint.
When the meeting was ended, the friends of the town, taking notice that I was the man that had been at their meeting the week before, whom they then did not know; some of them came and spake lovingly to me, and would have had me staid with them, but Edward Burrough going home with Isaac Pennington, he invited me to go back with him ; which I willingly consented to. For the love I had more particularly to Edward Burrough, through whose ministry I had received the first awakening stroke, drew me to desire his company; and so away we rode together.
But I was somewhat disappointed of my expectation : for I hoped he would have giv, en me both opportunity and encouragement, to have opened myself to him, and to have poured forth my complaints, fears, doubts and questionings into his bosom. But he, being sensible that I was truly reached, and that the witness of God was raised, and the work of God rightly begun in me, chose to leave me to the guidance of the good spirit in myself, the counsellor that could resolve all all doubts, that I might not have any depend. ance on man. Wherefore, although he was naturally of an open, and free temper and carriage, and was afterwards always very familiar, and affectionately kind to me, yet at this time he kept himself somewhat reserved, and showed only common kindness to me.
Next day we parted. He for London, I home; under a very great weight and exer
cise upon my spirit. For I now saw, in and by the further openings of the divine light in me, that the enemy, by his false reasonings, had beguiled and misled me, with respect to my carriage towards my father. For I now clearly saw, that the honour due to parents, did not consist in uncovering the head, and bowing the body to them; but in a ready obe, dience to their lawful commands, and in performing all needful services unto them.Wherefore, as I was greatly troubled for what I already had done in that case, though it was through ignorance, so I plainly felt I could no longer continue therein, without drawing on myself the guilt of wilful disobedience; which I well knew would draw after it divine displeasure and judgement.
Hereupon the enemy assaulted me afresh ; setting before me the danger I should run myself into, of provoking my father to use severity towards me; and perhaps to the casting me utterly off. But over this temptation the Lord, whom I cried unto, supported me; and
gave me faith to believe, that he would bear me through whatever might befall me on that account. Wherefore, I resolved, in the strength which he should give me, to be faith. ful to his requirings, whatever might come on it.
Thus labouring under various exercises on the way, I at length got home; expecting I should have but a rough reception from my father. But when I came home, I under