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heard, that there are very few, if any, children who look forward to the Sabbath with so much pleasure as the Sunday-scholars, and I know of none who spend the day to greater advantage. When first I heard of Sunday-schools conducted on religious principles my heart was delighted, and I counted it one of the happiest days of my life. To these schools again I turn my mind, as likely to be the greatest, the most extensive means of good to our youth which I at present know of; and whatever means can be used for their benefit and improvement is an object worthy of the most active and attentive care.”
The small-pox being very prevalent in Nottingham about this time, the dear babe of my beloved mother was inoculated. Before the eruption appeared my little sister's life was in imminent danger from a series of convulsion fits. What my mother's feelings were at this painful crisis will be best conveyed in her own words ::
“My spirits were in a dreadful state of suspense, of silent anguish and agony. Oh, my God! my hand has hesitated while I call thee mine, for I have been unworthy of Thy goodness; forgive the want of confidence in Thee which Thy unhappy servant felt in that dreadful hour! It seemed as though, if my child were taken away, I should not know what was meant by an over-ruling and merciful Providence,-all would be darkness and desolation to me. My body, as well as my mind, was unnerved in this struggle ;-if, indeed, it might be called a struggle, for I fear it was almost without resistance that I sank under a weight which it appeared impossible for me to support. I was sitting on the stairs : I had seen my child a little
before, and those about her were expecting almost every moment to see her breathe her last. I bad begged a dear friend to stay with my child; she came to me and asked me how I was; (I had scarcely power to think or to hope,) but answered, 'I am almost lost!' She spoke kindly to me, and said she hoped the Lord would mercifully spare my child. There was a turn :-she was now sunk into a quiet sleep, though not yet perfectly free from a convulsive appearance. Forgive me, O Thou in whose hand are the issues of life and death! Forgive the want of confidence in Thine eternal wisdom and goodness which I had felt in those moments of dreadful trial! I am unworthy of the hope which beams upon my soul! As soon as I heard that my precious child was likely to be restored, I could not but express with eagerness my thankfulness to God.”
Hannah Kilham joins the Society of Friends-En
gages in a Day-school in Sheffield-Loss of her only Child.
In the close of the year 1799, and in 1800, my beloved mother's mind was led to views on some religious subjects different to those entertained by the Methodist connexion. Extracts from her journal, and from letters written about this time, will show the progress of this change of sentiment, and also that it eventually led her to retire from the Methodists, and to join the religious society of Friends.
The latter end of 1799 she gives the following retrospect of herself:
“I knew that whatever was found of good in myself or others must have its source in that Infinite Being who is the Author of our existence, and by whose power alone our life is still supported. I found my heart animated by a sincere and fervent wish for the happiness of my fellowcreatures, and I knew that this wish is excited by the Spirit of truth and love, who in mercy deigns to communicate his gracious influences to the souls of men.
I rejoiced in the desire of my spirit for the general welfare, because I knew our heavenly Father regarded His large family with affection infinitely beyond what any of them could feel for one another; and that, though He might suffer seeming evil to prevail in many things for the
present, yet in the final issue we should be made sensible of the result of infinite wisdom, power, justice, and goodness.
“I found in my own spirit a degree of sincerity and of love, and it was a conviction more evident, more striking to the mind, than what is brought through reasoning, which convinced me that truth and love had their source in God. This He himself taught me—He who only can himself explain. I loved Him first because He had given me life, and I felt existence delightful. I loved my friends; ---my affection for them added much to the happi
my life, and I did not look forward to a separation; but some of them were taken away by death, and one whom I loved more than all the rest was of that number. It would have been truly dreadful to have seen him laid in the cold grave, had I not believed his spirit was not dead, but only brought into greater liberty than before, conveyed into another world,-a bappier state, where he would live for ever.
“ With this confidence of a happy immortality, and an assurance that the work of regeneration by the Spirit of Christ was begun in my soul, I was constantly happy. Yet, as I knew no happiness apart from that of my brethren of mankind, my affections daily went out towards them, and my spirit was much engaged in desires for their welfare. My mind was sometimes pained on account of a want of clearness in my understanding of divine things. In regard to some things concerning religion there appeared a confusion, an inconsistency, both in myself and others with whom I conversed. I had many reasonings about truth, and different manifestations of truth which
were given to mankind. In regard to ourselves in this country, I was thankful for the revelation in the Scriptures, and was deeply convinced that the writers of them were inspired by Him who made the heart, and who knows what passes therein. I reasoned, not without pain, on the revelations of truth which were used for the enlightening of other nations and people, and enquired anxiously in my own mind, and of others, whether those truths which were necessary to our happiness were not self-evident to all men everywhere ? and, again, I anxiously enquired whether there was such a thing as self-evident truth ? My mind got confused, even distressed; some things which I had thought as clear as daylight, when represented to a friend whose judgment I highly esteemed, were con. sidered as, in general, inconclusive arguments. I was weary of thinking, and almost afraid, at length, to think, on account of my confused and undecided state of mind. I thought I would endeavour, through the help of the Almighty, to engage my time as much as possible in the service of my fellow-creatures, and especially of the young ; but not to think much; and to pass my time as well as I could.
“The most important thing undoubtedly is our views of what constitutes religion; for these views will have the most immediate influence on our souls, and on our conduct. What then are the questions we ought to ask ourselves, or others, in order to know what is our real state before God ? Are they not such as these : Have you this evi. dence that you are in Christ Jesus, 'You walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Do you show by your actions, as well as by your professions, that