Imágenes de páginas

my expectation failed me, as my second school was less profitable than the first. The first brought me in gl. the second, 71. I boarded altogether with Moon the first year, but now my quarters were more unsettled : I was to board among my employers, proportioning the time to the number of the children, they sent. I first took up at the house of one Abraham Childers. Here I wished to pitch my tent for the whole year, as I found the manners of that family very much to the taste of my depraved mind. I always had a great turn for merriment, banter, buffoonery and such like. The members of the family had the same turn, consequently we met the approbation of each other. As my ambition was always to excel in every thing, I had a mind to, so I strove to excel in these, and every other species of levity and folly. And I did ex. cel so much, that, whether from envy, or something else, I sometimes met with a check, or kind of reproof, even from the members of that ungodly family. In the time of my residence here, I met with considerable hardships, which, together with the quartan ague, which regularly continued its periodical attacks, were enough, one would think, to have cowed any spirits, less audacious than mine ; but all had ho effect on me; I continued thoughtless of ·my Maker and the interests of my soul. • Having finished the quota of time, I had to stay in this family ; my quarters were to be moved. I did move, but with great re·luctance. However, in the issue, this movement proved a peculiar blessing to me.

I went now to board with a gentleman, whose name was Cannon. He was a man of great possessions, in lands, slaves, &c. &c. As I had been always very shy of gentlefolk, and had never been accustomed to the company and conversation of the rich, you may imagine, how awkwardly, and with what confusion, I entered his house. There was another very fearful circumstance, which added to my perplexity : for I had been told, that the lady of the house was a New-light, and of sentiments so rigid and severe, that all levities of every kind must be banished from her presence, and every species of ungodliness must expect a sharp reproof from her. I was put upon some serious reflections, and considerations, how to demean myself, in her presence, so as to give no cause for reproof, and also induce the pious matron to think I was not destitute of religion. This put me upon a project entirely new to me, I mean, to act the hypocrite. I had no intention of being religious, but wisheď to appear so, in order to gain her good opinion. O how thoughtless how inconsiderate-how foolish is man! While I restrained myself, that I might appear fair in the eyes of a worm, like myself I considered not that I was, at all times, exposed to the view of that Holy Being, to whom I must render an account for all my words and actions.

It was on a Sunday, P. M. when I first came to the house an entire stranger, both to the gentleman and his lady. Though they had sent their niece and daughter to me, for about three months, yet I had no personal acquaintance with them, as the school had been made up, without my presence. The interview, on my part, was the more awkward, as I knew not how to introduce myself to strangers, and what style was proper for accosting persons of their dignity. However I made bold to enter the door, and was viewed, in some measure, as a phenomenon. The gentleman took me, (if I rightly remember) for the son of a very poor man, in the neighbourhood, but the lady, having some hint, I suppose, from the children, rectified the mistake, and cried out, it is the school-master.

I found her reading a religious book, and the gravity of her appearance, gave me an unusual feeling, which, perhaps, might increase the disadvantage, under which I appeared. I felt miserable, and said little, the whole evening. I was truly out of my element, and was glad, when the morning arose, to get off to my little school, that I might, once more, be from under the eye of restraint.

The custom of this lady was, as I soon discovered, to read a sermon, in Flavel, every night-to which she wished me to attend. I had, indeed, little relish for such entertainment, yet, agreeable to my purpose of playing the hypocrite, and gaining a favourable opinion, I affected a very close attention. And that I might excel in this art, and more effectually answer my purpose, I would sometimes, after a long discourse was finished (Flavel's sermon's being all lengthy) ask her to read another-though, probably, I understood not the tenth part of what was read. Flavel's sermons are too experimental and evangelical, for one, so ignorant of divine things, as I was, to comprehend. When she was weary of reading, she would ask me to read in my turn. But so poor a hand did I make of the business, that reader and hearer were rather abashed, than edified. Yet I could not decently refuse. She soon desisted asking me to read, and took the whole task on herself. This custom con. tinued for six or eight weeks, without any other effect on me, but fatigue and drowsiness, which I supported with much forti. tude and self-denial, rather than give the least reason for suspicion, that I could be weary of good things. I should, no doubt, have eloped some nights, and passed the evening at my former stand, but as I was to carry the two little girls to school, every day, on horse back, one behind and the other before me, I was obliged to stand to my charge.

But it pleased God, on a certain night, while she was reading, as usual, to draw out my attention, and fix it on the subject, in a manner unknown to me before. The text of the sermon was, “ Then opened he their understanding :From which words were pointed out, what new discoveries would open to the eye of the mind, by means of spiritual illumination, &c. The subject was naturally as dark to me, as any of the former, and yet I felt myself imprest with it, and saw my personal interest in the solemn truths--and truths I believed them to be : But, at the same time, I was

« AnteriorContinuar »