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- * defend principles, so obnoxious, would subject me to the censure, and
ill treatment of religious enemies, and I had experienced, that religious enemies were the most to be dreaded: Yet, as I could not be silent, and as I dared not dissemble, I contented myself with observing, that I had been accustomed to hear my respectable father speak in favour of those doctrines. But although, in my public labours, I never asserted ought, that could expose me to censure, yet I was more than suspected of Calvinism, and consequent resentments were enforced against me. My residence in the city of Cork was thus rendered unpleasant, and my impatience to embark for England was augmented. I was, however, obliged to continue two weeks longer, during which period, I endeavoured to live as retired as possible, avoiding controversy, and devoting my time to my grandmother and a few select friends. It was during my protracted residence in this city, that the celebrated Mr. George Whitefield arrived there, upon a visit. Of Mr. Whitefield I had heard much, and I was delighted with an opportunity of seeing, hearing, and conversing with so great a man. He was the first Calvinistic Methodist I had ever heard, and he became very dear to me; I listened with transport. The principles early inculcated upon my mind were in full force, and for Mr. Whitefield I conceived a very strong passion. He appeared to me something more than human ; I blushed, at the view of myself, as a preacher, after I had attended upon him ; yet I had the temerity to preach in pulpits, which he had so well filled ! and I secretly resolved to enter into connexion with him, if I should be so happy as to meet him, after my arrival in London. I had many delightful opportunities in private circles with this gentleman; he was a most entertaining companion. But, as Mr. Wesley marked him with a jealous eye, he dispatched, by way of escort, two of his preachers, in whom he particularly confided, who diligently * followed the great man, from place to place: he was of course, upon every occasion, closely watched ; and his facetious observations, and frequent gaiety, were, by these spies, severely censured, as descriptive. of unbecoming levity. In fact, every art was called into action, to prevent the affections of the people wandering, from one reformer to another ; yet, while gentlemen, in connexion with Mr. Wesley, were continually upon the alert against Mr. Whitefield, he himself evinced not the smallest inclination for opposition, or even defence; he appeared perfectly content with the enjoyments of the day, rather preferring a state of independence, to an intimate connexion with any sect, or party. His choice, at that time, was decidedly the life of an itinerant, and he then evidently shrunk from the cares, and embarrassments, attached to the collecting, building, and repairing churches. And never, I believe, did any man in public life enjoy more : he was the admira-' tion of the many, and an object of the warmest affection in those so- ocial circles, in which it was his felicity to mingle. The pleasures of the table were highly zested by Mr. Whitefield, and it was the pride of his friends to procure for him every possible luxury. The pleasure I derived from this gentleman's preaching, from his society, and from the society of his friends, contributed to lessen the weight of melancholy, which depressed my spirits on my departure from home. I recollect an evening, passed with him at the house of one of Mr. Wesley's preachers, who had wedded a beautiful young lady of family and fortune, only daughter of a Mrs. —, who possessed a very large estate, kept her chariot, her city, and her country house, and entertained much company ; many persons were collected upon this evening; I was charmed with every thing I saw, with every thing I heard. I had long admired the master of the house, his lady I had never before seen ; she was the object of general adulation; her person was uncommonly elegant, and her face dazzlingly beautiful ; she had received a useful, as well as a fashionable education, and she was mistress of all the polite accomplishments. She had three lovely children, with minds as well cultivated, as their time of life would permit ; I threw my eyes upon the happy, the highly favoured husband, the amiable wife, the fascinating children, the venerable lady, who gave being to this charming wife, mother, friend. I beheld the group with rapture ; for envy, as I have elsewhere observed, was never an ingredient in my composition, and I hung with a sort of chastened pleasure, upon the anecdotes furnished by Mr. Whitefield; the whole scene was captivatingly entertaining, and highly interesting ; I was ready to wish the night might endure forever. Alas! it was but one night; I never after entered that house: Happy would it have been for me, if I had never seen it. How mysterious are the ways of heaven,' this evening, upon which I was so highly gratified, was the remote cause of my suffering, many years afterwards, great and very serious inquietude. I left the house of my friend, Mr. Trinbath, expecting to have seen him again and again ; I left him an object of envy to many ; but I never saw
This was the last night I spent in this city, in this country. The vessel, in which I had engaged a passage to Bristol, was now ready for sailing ; I had only time, upon the morning of the ensuing day, to bid a hasty adieu to my grandmother, and her family, with a few other friends; to receive their blessings, and to depart. I took my place in the vessel at the wharf, some of my friends accompanying me thither; I spoke to them with my eyes, with my hands, my tongue refused utterance.
The beauty of the surrounding scenes, in passing from the city to the cove of Cork, cannot perhaps be surpassed. A few miles from the city stands a fortress, then governed by a half brother of my father. I beheld it with a humid eye, but the vessel had a fair wind, and we passed it rapidly. I retired to the cabin; my too retentive memory retraced the scenes I had witnessed, since first I reached Hibernia's hospitable shore; they were many, and to me interesting : reflection became extremely painful, yet it was impossible to avoid it; and while I was thus retrospecting, the vessel cut her way through the harbour; we had reached the cove, we were on the point of leaving the land. I jumped upon the deck, I threw my eyes over the country I was leaving, which contained all that was near and dear to me, either by the ties of blood or friendship; all, all were drawn up in order before me, it was another parting scene. Yet I cherished hope, I might again return. Alas! alas ! this hope was delusive ; it was an everlasting adieu. Dear country of guileless, and courteous manners, of integrity, and generous hospitality, I bid you adieu ; adieu ye verdant hills, ye fertile vallies, ye gurgling rills, which every where cross the path of the traveller; ye delicious fruits, ye fragrant flowers, ye sylvan scenes, for contemplation made—adieu, perhaps forever. Here ends the various hopes and fears, which have swelled my bosom in a country celebrated for the salubrity of its air, the clearness of its waters, the richness of its pastures, and the hospitality of its inhabitants; and
Arrival in England, and further Progress of the INExperienced
my peace.” Launched upon the wide ocean, I was speeding to a country, my native country indeed; but a country, in which I could boast neither relation, nor friend, not even a single acquaintance. I was quitting a country, in which I had both relations and friends, with many pleasant acquaintances; yet this consideration did not much depress me; for although my heart was pained, exquisitely pained, when I reflected on those I was leaving, yet I was in raptures at the thought of England. I promised myself every thing pleasing in England; yet, in my most visionary moments, I could not name a source, from which I could rationally expect establishment, or even temporary gratification. Several gentlemen were in the cabin, who took kind notice of me; they asked me no questions, so I was not embarrassed; but they contributed to render my passage agreeable, which, however, was very short; for the identical passage, which, when I accompanied my father, consumed full nine weeks, was now performed in three days; but, exempted from those fears, and that nausea, which sometimes afflict freshwater sailors, I was rather pleased with the rapidity of our passage, We dropped anchor in Bristol channel; I was charmed with an opportunity of going on shore at Pill, and once more greeting the good old lady, that had, many years before, so tenderly compassionated me, when I returned, as one from the dead, to my offended father. Alas! she was no more ; this was a disappointment, but I was in England, and every thing I saw, swelled my throbbing bosom to rapture. I was determined on walking to Bristol, it was only five miles, and through a most enchanting country. O ! what transport of delight I felt, when, with the ensuing morning, I commenced my journey. The birds sweetly carolled, the flowers enamelled the meadows, the whole scene was para- . disiacal. It was England. But where was I going I knew not. How to be employed I knew not; but I knew I was in England, and, after feasting my eyes and ears, I seated myself upon a verdant bank, where the hot wells, (so much celebrated as the resort of invalid votaries of fashion, who come hear to kill time, and to protract a debilitated existence by the use of the waters,) were in full view. Here I began seriously to reflect upon my situation, and to attend to various questions, proposed by a certain invisible, my internal monitor, who thus introduced the inquiry. “Well, here you are, in England, what are you to do *" God only knows. “Had you not better apply to Him for his direction and protection ?” Certainly, where has my mind wandered, that I have not thus done before ? The emotions of my heart were at this moment indescribable. When I last gazed upon
these scenes, my prudent, vigilant father, was at my side, to guard me from evil; now I had no guide, no counsellor, no protector “O yes,” said my monitor, “you have the Creator, the Father of your father, He will be your God, and your guide : He will be your protector, your counsellor, your preserver; He will provide for you, and,if you apply to Him, He will make your way plain before you.” My heart, softened and cheered by these consoling suggestions, instantly began its spplications ; there I prayed, and there I remembered Jacob upon the field of Padan-Aram ; I commended myself to the care of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, and I added to these names, the hame of my own father. Thus, by unbosoming myself to the Author of my existence, was my spirit greatly refreshed. It is very true I wept, freely wept, but my tears were tears of luxury, and I went Ón my way rejoicing, in a hope which gave me, as it were, to tread air. I reached Bristol at early dinner, I entered a tavern, inquiring if I could be furnished with a dinner. They saw I was a stranger, and from Ireland. The master of the inn was from the same country; he soon discovered I was a Methodist, and being acquainted with those Religionists, he invited them to visit me, and I was consequently introduced to many of the Methodists in that city. It may be thought strange, that, as I had been so much engaged among the Methodists in Ireland, being one of their approved preachers, I did not take the steps necessary to introduce me among that class of people in England. But, beside the jealousy which had taken place in the minds of my religious brethren, on account of my attachment to the doctrine of election, which made me resolve to quit Mr. Wesley's connexion, and unite myself with the adherents of Mr. Whitefield, I wished for libelty to act myself, without restraint. But on being introduced, I was soon engaged ; attended their meetings, and private societies, and was admired, and caressed, and consequently tarried longer than I had proposed, deriving, from every social interview, abundant consolation. Upon the evening previous to my departure from Bristol, l was urged to visit a society a few miles from the city; it was a pleasant walk; several of both sexes were assembled, they were heat in person, and correct in manners, and they were all English. I was charmed, and, being in good spirits, I was thought excellent company; I was then a stranger. They were highly pleased; I was requested to pray; I did so, and we mingled our tears. I was solicited to continue among this people, but my wishes all pointed to London—and to London I must go. I parted with my new acquaintance with regret, for I was