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(title page) The Life, History, and Unparalleled Sufferings of John Jea, the African Preacher. Compiled and Written by Himself
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I, JOHN JEA, the subject of this narrative, was born in the town of Old Callabar, in Africa, in the year 1773. My father's name was Hambleton Robert Jea, my mother's name Margaret Jea; they were of poor, but industrious parents. At two years and a half old, I and my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, were stolen, and conveyed to North America, and sold for slaves; we were then sent to New York, the man who purchased us was very cruel, and used us in a manner, almost too shocking to relate; my master and mistress's names were Oliver and Angelika Triebuen, they had seven children--three sons and four daughters; he gave us a very little food or raiment, scarcely enough to satisfy us in any measure whatever; our food was what is called Indian corn pounded or bruised and boiled with water, the same way burgo is made, and about a quart of sour butter-milk poured on it; for one person two quarts of this mixture, and about three ounces of dark bread, per day, the bread was darker than that usually allowed to convicts, and greased over with very indifferent hog's lard; at other times when he was better pleased, he would allow us about half-a-pound of beef for a week, and about
half-a-gallon of potatoes; but that was very seldom the case, and yet we esteemed ourselves better used than many of our neighbours.
Our labour was extremely hard, being obliged to work in the summer from about two o'clock in the morning, till about ten or eleven o'clock at night, and in the winter from four in the morning, till ten at night. The horses usually rested about five hours in the day, while we were at work; thus did the beasts enjoy greater privileges than we did. We dared not murmur, for if we did we were corrected with a weapon an inch and-a-half thick, and that without mercy, striking us in the most tender parts, and if we complained of this usage, they then took four large poles, placed them in the ground, tied us up to them, and flogged us in a manner too dreadful to behold; and when taken down, if we offered to lift up our hand or foot against our master or mistress, they used us in a most cruel manner; and often they treated the slaves in such a manner as caused their death, shooting them with a gun, or beating their brains out with some weapon, in order to appease their wrath, and thought no more of it than if they had been brutes: this was the general treatment which slaves experienced. After our master had been treating us in this cruel manner, we were obliged to thank him for the punishment he had been inflicting on us, quoting that Scripture which saith, "Bless the rod, and him that hath appointed it." But, though he was a professor of religion, he forgot that passage which saith "God is love, and whoso dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." And, again, we are commanded to love our enemies; but it appeared evident that his wretched heart was hardened; which led us to look up unto him as our god, for we did not know him who is able to deliver and save all who call upon him in truth and sincerity. Conscience, that faithful monitor, (which either excuses or accuses) caused us to groan, cry, and sigh, in a manner which cannot be uttered.
We were often led away with the idea that our masters were our gods; and at other times we placed our ideas on the sun, moon, and stars, looking unto them, as if they could save us; at length we found, to our great disappointment, that these were nothing else but the works of the Supreme Being; this caused me to wonder how my master frequently expressed that all his houses, land, cattle, servants, and every thing which he possessed was his own; not considering that it was the Lord of Hosts, who has said that the gold and the silver, the earth, and the fullness thereof, belong to him.
Our master told us, that when we died, we should be like the beasts that perish; not informing us of God, heaven, or eternal punishments, and that God hath promised to bring the secrets of every heart into judgment, and to judge every man according to his works.
From the following instances of the judgments of God, I was taught that he is God, and there is none besides him, neither in the heavens above, nor in the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth; for he doth with the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth as seemeth him good; and there is none that can stay his hand, nor say unto him, with a prevailing voice, what dost thou?
My master was often disappointed in his attempts to increase the produce of his lands; for oftentimes he would command us to carry out more seed into the field to insure a good crop, but when it sprang up and promised to yield plentifully, the Almighty caused the worms to eat it at the root, and destroyed nearly the whole produce; God thus showing him his own inability to preserve the fruits of the earth.
At another time he ordered the trees to be pruned, that they might have brought forth more fruit, to have increased his worldly riches, but God, who doth not as man pleaseth, sent the caterpillar, the canker worm, and the locust, when the trees bore a promising
appearance, and his fond hopes were blasted, by the fruits being all destroyed. Thus was he again disappointed, but still remained ignorant of the hand of God being in these judgments.
Notwithstanding he still went on in his wickedness until another calamity befel him; for when the harvest was fully ripe, the corn cut down, and standing in shocks ready to be carried into the barn, it pleased God to send a dreadful storm of thunder and lightning, hail and rain, which compelled them to leave it out, till it rotted on the ground. Often were his cattle destroyed by distempers of various kinds; yet he hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord.
At one time, when his barns and storehouses were filled with all sorts of grain, and he rejoiced in the greatness of his harvest, it pleased the Almighty to send a very dreadful storm of thunder and lightning, which consumed a great part of his property; such scenes as these occurred several times, yet he regarded not the power of the Almighty, nor the strength of his arm; for when we poor slaves were visited by the hand of God, and he took us from time to eternity, he thought no more of our poor souls than if we had had none, but lamented greatly the loss of the body; which caused me very much to wonder at his actions, I being very young, not above eight or nine years of age, and seeing the hand of the Almighty, though I did not at that time know it was his works, in burning up the pastures, in permitting the cattle to die for want of water, and in causing the fruits of the earth to be blighted. At the same time a most violent storm of thunder and lightning was experienced, which, in the space of thirty or forty miles, consumed about thirteen houses, barns, and store-houses, which terrified us poor slaves in a terrible-manner, not knowing what these things meant. Even my master and mistress were very much terrified, fearful of being destroyed by the violence of the weather.
About two or three days after this awful scene, a day
of fasting, prayer, and thanksgiving, was commanded by General Washington, to pray to Almighty God to withdraw his anger from us; which day was observed by all, but us poor slaves, for we were obliged to fast, but were not exempted from work; our masters thinking us not worthy to go to a place of worship; which surprised me a great deal, being very ignorant, and I asked my parents what all this meant, but they could not tell me, but supposed, from what they had heard them say, they were worshipping their god; then I began to enquire how this could be, having heard my master often say, that all he possessed was his own, and he could do as he pleased with it; which, indeed, was the saying of all those who had slaves. My curiosity being thus raised, I made bold to speak to my master's sons, and asked them the reason they prayed and called upon God, and they told me because of the awful judgments that had happened on the land; then I asked what awful judgments they meant, and they said unto me, have you not seen how the Lord hath destroyed all things from off the face of the earth? and I answered yes; I then asked them who did this, and they told me God; then, said I, ought not God to be feared, seeing that he can build up and he can cast down, he can create and he can destroy, and though we may cultivate our lands and sow our seed, we can never secure the crop without the favour of Him who, is the sovereign disposer of all things? They answered, yes. From this I observed that there were those who feared God when the weather was tempestuous, but feared him not when it was fine.
Seeing them act in such a wicked manner, I was encouraged to go on in my sins, being subject to all manner of iniquity that could be mentioned, not knowing there was a God, for they told us that we poor slaves had no God. As I grew up, my desire to know who their God was increased, but I did not know who to apply to, not being allowed to be taught by any one whatever, which caused me to watch their actions very
closely; and in so doing, I, at one time, perceived that something was going forward which I could not comprehend, at last I found out that they were burying a slave master, who was very rich; they appeared to mourn and lament for his death, as though he had been a good man, and I asked them why they let him die; they said they could not help it, for God killed him: I said unto them, what, could you not have taken him away from God? They said, no for he killed whomsoever he pleased. I then said he must be a dreadful God, and was led to fear least he should kill me also; although I had never seen death, but at a distance. But this fear did not last long, for seeing others full of mirth, I became so too.
A short time after this, there were great rejoicings on account of a great victory obtained by the Americans over the poor Indians, who had been so unfortunate as to lose their possessions, and they strove against the Americans, but they over-powered and killed thousands of them, and numbers were taken prisoners, and for this cause they greatly rejoiced They expressed their joy by the ringing of bells, firing of guns, dancing and singing, while we poor slaves were hard at work. When I was informed of the cause of these rejoicings, I thought, these people made a great mourning when God killed one man, but they rejoice when they kill so many. I was thus taught that though they talked much about their God, they did not regard him as they ought. They had forgotten that sermon of our blessed Saviour's on the mount, which you find in St. Matthew's gospel, v. chap. 43, 44, v.; and I had reason to think their hearts were disobedient, not obeying the truth, though it was read and preached to them; their hearts being carnal, as the Scriptures saith, were at enmity with God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed could be, for they gave themselves up to the works of the flesh, to fulfil it in the lusts thereof.
My dear reader, consider the great obligations you are under to the Wise Disnoser of all events, that you
were not born in Africa, and sold for a slave, on whom the most cruel tortures are exercised, but that you were born in Britain, a land of freedom; and above all, be thankful for the opportunities you have of knowing the "true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent," and recollect that as you possess much, much will be required; and, unless you improve your advantages, you had better be a slave in any dark part of the world, than a neglecter of the gospel in this highly favoured land; recollect also that even here you might be a slave of the most awful description:--a slave to your passions--a slave to the world--a slave to sin--a slave to satan--a slave of hell--and, unless you are made free by Christ, through the means of the gospel, you will remain in captivity, tied and bound in the chains of your sin, till at last you will be bound hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth for ever.
But, to return to myself, it was evident that our masters did not believe the report God gave of his Son, which the gospel holds forth to us, for if they had they would have instructed us poor slaves; but they did not think us, as have been before observed, worthy their notice. Frequently did they tell us we were made by, and like the devil, and commonly called us black devils; not considering what the Scriptures saith in the Songs of Solomon, "I am black, but comely. Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me; my mother's children were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept." This latter sentence was verified in the case of us poor slaves, for our master would make us work, and neglect the concerns of our souls.
From my observations of the conduct and conversation of my master and his sons, I was led to hate those who professed themselves christians, and to look upon them as devils; which made me neglect my work, and I told them what I thought of their ways. On this
they did beat me in a most dreadful manner; but, instead of making me obedient, it made me the more stubborn, not caring whether I lived or died, thinking that after I was dead I should be at rest, and that I should go back again to my native country, Africa (an idea generally entertained by slaves); but when I told them this, they chastised me seven times the more, and kept me short of food. In addition to this punishment, they made me go to a place of worship, while the other slaves enjoyed a rest for an hour or two; I could not bear to be where the word of God was mentioned, for I had seen so much deception in the people that professed to know God, that I could not endure being where there were, nor yet to hear them call upon the name of the Lord; but I was still sent in order to punish me, for when I entered the place I had such malice against God and his people, as showed the depravity of my heart, and verified that Scripture which saith, "That the natural man understandeth not the things which are of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither doth he know them, because he is not spiritually discerned."
My rage and malice against every person that was religious was so very great that I would have destroyed them all, had it been in my power; my indignation was so increased on my entering the place of worship, that, "the form of my visage was changed," like Nebuchadnezzar's, when he ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, to be cast into the fiery furnace. My fury was more particularly kindled against the minister, and I should have killed him, had I not feared the people, it not being in my power to kill him, grieved me very much; and I went home and told my master what the minister had said, and what lies he had told, as I imagined, in hopes that he would send me no more; but he knowing this was a punishment to me, he made me go the more, for it was evident it was not for the good of my soul; this pained me exceedingly, so that I laid the blame to the minister, thinking that it was through
his preaching so many lies, as I thought in my foolish opinion, that I was obliged to attend, not knowing that he spoke the truth, and I told the lies. The more I went to hear him preach, the more I wished to lay in wait to take away his life; but, as when the preaching was over, I was forced to return home to my master, and tell him what I had heard, I had no opportunity. At one time, the minister said that God was in the midst of them, which astonished me very much, and I looked all about to see if I could see him, but I could not, and I thought I had as good eyes as any one; not having any idea that "God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth," John iv. 24; and only to be seen by a spiritual mind in the exercise of faith.
I was thus sent every Sabbath-day, while the other slaves rested, for while the masters go to worship, the slaves are allowed to rest, but thinking I deserved punishment I was compelled to go to the chapel; but instead of being benefited by what I heard, I mocked and persecuted the people of God; and when I went home I told my master of the foolishness of preaching, and that the people were mad, for they cried and beat their hands together. It amazed me very much to think they suffered such a noise in a place which they called God's house; on returning home I told my master what I had heard and seen, and what I thought of it, which pleased him very much. My hatred was so much against going to the chapel, that I would rather have received an hundred lashes.
Hearing the minister say that we must pray to God for his presence, I determined when I went away to do the same as I had seen the minister do; so when I got home, I retired into a secret place, and there began folding my hands together, shutting my eyes, and using many words which I had heard the minister say, not knowing whether they were right or wrong; and thinking for my much speaking, God would hear me, like the pharisees of old: little did I think that prayer
was the sincerity of the heart, and such only is accepted of God; not being acquainted with his word; but I was obliged still to go and hear the minister, or else I should not have had my daily allowance, which was very small. So after thinking a short time, I consented to go one week more, and endeavour to find out "The Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world," whom the minister pointed out; but all was in vain, for I was so tempted by Satan, that difficulties and troubles, whenever I attempted to pray, attended me. The temptations of the devil were so great, and my repeated attempts to pray so interrupted, that I resolved to go to the minister, and tell him my situation. I therefore went, and told him the state of my mind. He told me it was the works of the devil, to frustrate me in my endeavours to serve the Lord, but bid me go on praying in opposition to him. I thanked him for his kindness in telling me what to do, but believed him not; however, I still continued praying, in order to find out whether there was a God or not, being determined to take the minister's life away, if I could not find God.
Thus I endeavoured to pray, but such was my situation, that sometimes I could not utter a word; often when I began to pray, I fell asleep, which grieved me very much; conscience accusing me of neglect in my seeking after God. One day being sent as usual to the chapel, in order to punish me, the minister was preaching about prayer, my attention was immediately fixed on the minister to hear what he had to say on the subject, when he said that if any of us had been praying to God and found no benefit from it, we should pray again and again, and be more earnest, and the Lord would hear our prayers; for, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Not knowing the similarity of experience, I thought the minister was preaching about me, and exposing me to all the people, which so much vexed me, that I could not stay any longer, but left the place of worship, and returned home, crying and weeping all the way.
Having a very strong desire to know God, I often retired into some private place to pray, but did not receive any advantage for a long time, which grieved me very sorely. My own heart still suggested to me that there was no God, being so wicked and sinful; that I have since compared myself with those who were destroyed by the flood, Gen. viii. 21. But I have great reason to bless the Lord, that though my heart was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, yet he did not destroy me, but that I might by his Spirit be converted to God.
From my being disappointed several times I began to despair of ever finding God, and I made a resolution if I did not find him in one more week, I would seek him no more, and would use all the means in my power to take away the minister's life. By earnest prayer and supplication, before the week expired, I was led to see that I was a sinner; all my sins were brought to mind; and the vengeance of God hanging over my head, ready to crush me to pieces; which filled me with distress and anguish of mind, "The sorrows of death now seemed to compass me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow." My sins seemed like great mountains pressing on me, and I thought God would deal with me according to my sins, and punish me for my crimes. I knew not how to pacify the wrath of God, for when I looked round me I saw nothing but danger, for the threatenings of God against rebellious sinners, appeared to my view, some of which you will find in the 9th and 10th Psalms; and I had sinned against him with an high hand, and an outstretched arm; and had said in my heart, who is the Lord that I should serve him. But now the Lord shewed me my sad state, and that I had spoken against him. I was in great distress and affliction, feeling the truth of what God says in his word, that he will send all these curses upon man for their disobedience; and this caused me to groan and cry in a most dreadful manner. The persecutions and threatenings which I
had vowed against religious people, particularly the minister, now came to my mind, and filled me with bitter reflection. Sometimes, my terror of mind was so great, that I thought the earth would open, and swallow me up, as in the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Numbers xvi. 31--35.
My master and mistress, seeing my distress, asked me what was the matter; and I told them what a sinner I was, and what I feared on account of it: but they commanded me to go to work, for there was no fear of the earth's opening her mouth, and swallowing me up; that the minister had put the devil in me, and they would beat him out, and then they began beating me in a most dreadful manner, whilst I was in this distress of mind; and to add to my troubles, they would not permit me to attend the chapel, thus altering my punishment, though I felt the burden of my sins almost insupportable. In this state I was forced to go to work, with my flesh torn to pieces by their scourging, having large lumps raised on my back; and my soul was grieved and troubled within me. In this situation I went from one friend to another, crying "What shall I do to be saved?" But they, instead of comforting, ridiculed me, and said I was mad.
In this miserable condition, I went to the minister, whom once I had so much despised, and enquired of him, what I must do to be saved; begging of him to read and pray for me, that God's anger might be turned away, and that he might be merciful unto me. After this I used to go to the minister every night, about ten or eleven o'clock, that he might read and pray to me; he told me I must pray for myself; but I said that God would not hear my prayers, because I was so wicked: but he told me to go to God, and tell him what a wicked sinner I was, and beg him to have mercy on me. When I went home, I began calling upon God, but did not dare to look up unto heaven, where his honour dwelleth, being so exceedingly terrified, for I feared that God would send his thunder and lightning
to destroy me, because of my sins and wickedness. And in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God, which you read of in the 18th Psalm, though I could not believe him to be my God, I was so afraid of him.
My distress was so very great, that I could have exclaimed with one of old, that I could not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eye-lids; yea, my bed was watered with my tears: seeing myself hanging over the brink of a burning hell, only by the brittle thread of life. My experiencing such hardships from my master and others led me to cry out, "O Lord, thou hast made me the off-scouring and the refuse in the midst of all the people; and all mine enemies have opened their mouths against me." My enemies, my master and mistress, my mother, sisters, and brothers, chased me sorely without a cause, and increased my trouble by not permitting me to go to a place of worship; for now I began to see the need of a Saviour to save my soul, or else I must have perished for ever; and feeling that I was not prepared to die, and appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to give an account of the deeds done in the body. Having been led to see that they were very bad, it caused me to say, "Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by; behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord, hath afflicted me, in the day of his fierce anger; from above he hath sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them. He hath spread a net for my feet; he hath turned me back, he hath made me desolate, and faint all the day. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand, they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck. He hath made my strength to fail; the Lord hath delivered me into their hands from whom I am not able to rise up. For these things I weep, mine eyes runneth down with water; because the Comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me." Lament of Jeremiah i. 12, 13, 14, 16.
In this distress I continued five or six weeks, and
found no relief, being derided, persecuted, and tortured in the most cruel manner; every thing seemed to be against me; yea, even my victuals seemed like wormwood, and my drink like gaul. Thus I bowed my knees and my heart before the Lord, in great distress, begging the Lord to have mercy on my soul, that I might not perish; and in the bitterness of my soul, "I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fastings, and sackcloth, and ashes: And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments: Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land." Daniel ix. 3, 4, 5, 6.
My troubles were so great, that I had nigh sunk into despair, the world, the flesh, and the devil, pressing on me sorely. My enemies increased their persecutions, which led me to cry to the Lord to have mercy on my soul, and deliver me from my cruel enemies. Yea, I cried and mourned like a dove of the valley, upon the tops of the mountains; saying, "Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou Most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. Psalm lvi. 1, 2, 3.
But the corruptions of my heart were so held forth to my view, that I exclaimed with David of old, Psalm li to the 18th verse.
Such was my desire of being instructed in the way of salvation, that I went at all times I possibly could, to hear the word of God, and seek instruction for my soul; while my master still continued to flog me, hoping to deter me from going; but all to no purpose, for I was
determined, by the grace of God, to seek the Lord with all my heart, and with all my mind, and with all my strength, in spirit and in truth, as you read in the Holy Bible. During five or six weeks of my distress, I did not sleep six hours in each week, neither did I care to eat any victuals, for I had no appetite, and thought myself unworthy of the least blessing that God had bestowed on me; that I exclaimed with the publican of old, "God be merciful to me a miserable hell-deserving sinner." And while I was thus crying, and begging God to have mercy on me, and confessing my sins unto him, it pleased God to hear my supplications and cries, and came down in his Spirit's power and blessed my soul, and showed me the clear fountain of living water, which proceeded from the throne of God, as you may read in the Revelations; yea, a fountain of water and blood, which flowed from Emanuel's side, to wash away my sins and iniquities, and he applied it unto my heart, and cleansed it from all iniquities, and said unto me, "And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and ear-rings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown
upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceedings beautiful, and thou didst prosper abundantly. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God." Ezekiel xvi 6--14.
My dear reader, consider the state I was in, I was nearly naked, and had scarcely food to eat, and when I complained, I was tied up, both hands and feet, or put in chains, and flogged, so that the blood would run from my back to the ground; at one time he broke two of my ribs, by stamping and jumping upon me. Consider what a great deliverance I experienced, being released from the bondage of sin and satan, and delivered from the misery in which I was in, surely none else but the eternal God could effect so great a change.
I had sinned against God with an high hand and an out-stretched arm, and had said in my heart, who is God, or the Almighty, that I should fear him, and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances, or that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts, Mal. iii. chap. part of the 14th verse. But for ever-blessed be the Lord God Almighty, who heareth the prayers and supplications of poor unworthy sinful creatures, for when I humbled myself, and walked mournfully before the Lord God Almighty, and kept his ordinances and his commandments, he sent his Spirit into my heart, which convinced me "Of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come." John xvi 8. This made me confess my sins and my wickedness, with shame and confusion of face; and when I had confessed my sins and my wickedness to God, with grief and sorrow in heart, "He was faithful and just to forgive me my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness." I John i. 13.
I was about fifteen years of age when the Lord was
pleased to remove gross darkness, superstition, and idolatry, from my heart, and shined upon me with the glorious reconciliation and light of his countenance, and turned my darkness into day, and created a clean heart within me, and renewed a right spirit within me, and said unto my soul, "Let there be light, (Gen. i. 3.) "and there was light." This "was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the [spiritual] world." John i. 9. He was in my heart, and my heart was made by him a clean, new, and fleshy heart, and the heart of stone he took away, as says the prophet Ezekiel, and he renewed a right spirit within me, and gave me a broken spirit, and a humble and contrite heart, which God wilt not despise. Jesus Christ now revealed himself to me, and appeared as, "The altogether lovely, and the chiefest among ten thousands," as he did to the church of old; and for my sorrow and sadness, he gave me joy and gladness in my heart: he also bound up my broken heart, and strengthened my feeble knees, and lifted up my hanging down hands, and comforted my mourning soul; as says the prophet Isaiah; yea, he also poured out the ointment of his grace, and to my sin-sick soul he made his strength perfect in my weakness; and found his grace sufficient for me, and caused me to exclaim in the language of the Psalmist, in the 103rd Psalm, "Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name, &c."
This was the language of my heart, day and night, for his goodness and mercy, in delivering me from a wounded conscience, and from a broken spirit, and from all the enemies that rose up against me. Yea, he delivered me from the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and drew my feet out of the miry clay and horrible pit; hewed me out of the rock of unbelief; and brought me through the waste howling wilderness of sin and iniquity, where my enemies laid in wait to destroy my soul, and watched to take away my life; doing every thing to prevent my rest; yet,
they hooted, laughed, and scoffed at me; my master beating me to keep me from attending the house of God, but all this did not hinder me, for I blessed and praised his holy name that I was counted worthy to suffer with my blessed Jesus; and in all my sufferings I found the presence of God with me, and the Spirit of the Lord to comfort me. I found the hand of the Lord in every thing, for when I was beaten it seemed that the Spirit of the Lord was so great on me, that I did not regard the pain and trouble which I felt. At other times when kept without victuals, in order to punish me, I felt the love of God in me, that I did not regard the food; and all the language of my heart was--
Wealth and honour I disdain,
Earthly comforts all are vain;
These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.
At other times when they gave me any refreshment, I acknowledged that it came from the immediate hand of God, and rendered unto him humble and hearty thanks in the best manner I could, as the Spirit gave me utterance, which provoked my master greatly, for his desire was that I should render him thanks, and not God, for he said that he gave me the things, but I said, no, it all came from God, for all was his; that the Spirit of God taught me so; for I was led, guided, and directed by the Spirit, who taught me all things which are of God, and opened them unto my understanding.
Thus I could join with John in the Revelations, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." Rev. iv. 9. For I then viewed all the things upon the earth as coming from God, and I asked my master where the earth came from; from God or man, and who had made it. He answered, that God made it. Then said I unto him, if God made the earth, he made the things on the earth, and the things in the earth, and the waters under the earth, Exodus xx. 4. Yea, and besides this,
he made the heaven also, and the things in heaven, and in the firmament of heaven, Gen. i. He also made hell for the devil and his angels; and when I took a survey of all these things, I thought "I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." Rev. v. 12, to the end.
When I took a view of the smallest insect, it showed me, that none but the Almighty could make them, I therefore asked my master who made the insects. He answered, that they came forth out of the ground, but I said unto him, that if God made the ground, surely he made the insects also; for "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John i. 4. From this passage it is evident that every thing which our eyes behold, God made it, and he hath put life into every living, moving, and creeping thing; and that he hath made all the dust of the earth, the sand on the coast of the sea, the rocks and the hills, the forests, the sea, and the fountains of water; yea, every thing that can be mentioned.
Seeing then the greatness, power, and goodness of God, how thankful ought we to be for every mercy and blessing he so richly bestows on us, and what favours we enjoy above many of our fellow-creatures; but, on the contrary, how many do we see walking contrary to God's will and commands; swearing, cursing, and abusing the holy name of God; treating with
disdain and contempt the mercies of God; who made all things good for his own glory, and for the good of our souls and bodies; and has left upon record that we should have dominion over all things.
How often do we hear our fellow-creatures swear in a most dreadful manner; should the reader be of this class, attend to the words of our Lord and Saviour, in that ever-memorable sermon on the mount; "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black: But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." Matthew v. 33--37. Seeing this to be the case, "What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness."
The time is drawing nigh when we must all appear at the bar of God, to give an account of the deeds done in the body. "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter iii. 8, 9.
O impenitent sinner! consider the uncertainty of time, and that "Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." Consider the many exhortations and admonitions the Scriptures holds out to your view "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways, and live?" Ezekiel xviii. 23. "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." I Timothy ii. 4. "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so come as a thief in the
night." 1 Thess. v. 2. "But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." Matthew xxiv. 43, 44. See Luke xii. 39. Revelations xiv. 15. Revelations iii. 3. 2 Peter iii. 10.
My dear reader, though the word of God informs us that it will be in the night, consider that you may not be permitted to live to that night, for you know not when this night will come; and if God should summon thee to appear before his tribunal this day, or this night, how dost thou think to appear before him in thy wickedness? If thou have not been led to Christ for salvation, how awful will the sentence be unto thee, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting punishment, prepared for the Devil, and his angels." O! what a dreadful sentence! But should you be holy and righteous what a joyful sound will it be unto you to hear the welcome salutation of "Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." O! what cheering words!
I would therefore advise you, my dear reader, to endeavour, if you have not, to seek the Lord, to attain this blessing, and to shun that dreadful place of punishment which you have heard of. Consider the multitude of sins which thou hast committed, and remember, that "One leak will sink a ship," and one single sin will sink thy soul into everlasting perdition; or, in plainer terms, into that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. Read the ixth chapter of the gospel by St. Mark. Matthew xvi. 28 xvii. 1, 22. xviii. It Luke xi. 49. 1 Cor. xii. 3 Matthew x 42. xviii. 6 v. 29. xviii. 8. Isaiah lxvi. 24. Leviticus ii. 13. Matthew v. 13.
There are many, it is to be lamented, in our day that profess religion, but by their life and conduct they
betray themselves, and crucify their Lord and Master, by putting him to an open shame; but a true christian is merciful to all, endeavouring always to do good. But this was not the case with me, for before I knew God, it was always my delight to do evil in persecuting the people of God, and committing all manner of sin and wickedness, to my own shame and confusion; "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 1 Cor. xii. 3. "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, He shall in no wise lose his reward." Matthew x. 42. "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew xviii. 6. But I did not think while I was persecuting the people of God, that he was able to cast me, both soul and body, into hell, where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. My dear reader, if you cannot do the followers of Jesus any good, do not injure them; consider what a solemn assertion is made in their behalf.
The least darling lust will prevent thy entering into the heavenly and blessed paradise; "Wherefore if thy hand or foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." Matthew xviii. 8. But I thought nothing of this, and was living in the indulgence of my heart, and fulfilling my carnal desires; but blessed and praised be the God of my salvation, for he has turned my darkness into his glorious and marvellous light. May it please the Lord to turn every sinner's heart, as he was pleased to turn mine; and translate them out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of his dear Son; and stop them from going down to the place of eternal punishment.
But, to resume my narrative, when my heart was changed by divine grace, and I became regenerated and born again of the water and of the spirit, and became as a little child, I began to speak the language of Canaan to my master and mistress, and to my own friends, but it seemed to them as if I was mad, or like one that was mocking them, when I bid them leave off their sins and wickedness, by the aid of God's divine Spirit, and be saved by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and said that they must be regenerated and born again of the water and of the Spirit, or else they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven; showing them the necessity of that important doctrine by the conversation of Jesus Christ with Nicodemus, John iii. But, though they professed christianity, they knew nothing of what it meant; which surprised me exceedingly, and I exclaimed, "Are ye Christians, and know not these things?" And when I had thus exclaimed unto them, they thought I had lost my reason; yea, my dear mother and sisters, my master and his family, in particular, thought so of me; thus, "My foes were those of my own house."
But being taught and directed by the Spirit of God, I told my master, mistress, my mother, sisters, and brothers, that there was nothing too hard for the Almighty God to do, for he would deliver me from their hands, and from their tyrannical power; for he had began the work of grace in my heart, and he would not leave it unfinished, for whatsoever grace had begun, glory would end. He gave me to see the first approach of evil; and he gave me power over my beseting sins, to cast them from me, and to despise them as deadly poison. He armed me with the whole armour of divine grace, whereby I quenched all the fiery darts of the wicked, and compelled Satan to retreat; and put him to flight by faithful and fervent prayer.
In addition to these he gave me power over the last enemy, which is death; that is, I could look at it without any fear or dread; though it is the most terrible
of all other things. There is nothing in the world that we can imagine, so dreadful and frightful as death. It is possible to escape the edge of the sword--to close the lions' mouths--to quench the fiery darts;--but when death shoots its poisoned arrows--when it opens its infernal pit--and when it sends forth its devouring flames--it is altogether impossible to secure ourselves, to guard onrselves from its merciless fury. There is an infinite number of warlike inventions, by which we defeat the evil designs of the most powerful and dreadful enemies; but there is no stratagem of the most renowned general, no fortification, ever so regular or artificial, no army, ever so victorious, that can but for a moment retard the approaches of death; this last enemy, in the twinkling of an eye, flies through the strongest bulwarks, the thickest walls, the most prodigious towers, the highest castles, and the most inaccessible rocks; makes its way through the strongest barricadoes, passes over trenches, pierces the impenetrable armour, and through the best-tempered breast-plates it strikes the proudest hearts, it enters the darkest dungeon, and snatches the prisoners out of the hands of the most trusty and watchful guards. Nature and art can furnish us with nothing able to protect us from death's cruel and insatiable hands. There are none so barbarous, but they are sometimes overcome by the prayers and tears of such as implore their mercy; nay, such as have lost all sense of humanity and goodness, commonly spare in their rage, the weakest age and sex; but unmerciful death hath no more regard to such as are humble, than to those that resist and defy it; it takes no notice of infants' tears and cries, it plucks them from the breasts of their tender-hearted mothers; it stops its ears to the requests of trembling old age, and casts to the ground the grey heads as so many withered oaks. At a battle, when princes and generals of the enemy's are taken prisoners, they are not treated as common soldiers; but unmerciful death treads under feet as audaciously the prince as the subject, the
master as the servant, the noble as the vassal, the rich Dives and the begging Lazarus; together it blows out with the same blast, the most glorious luminaries and the most loathsome lamps. It hath no more respect for the crowns of kings, the pope's mitre, and the cardinal's cap, than for the shepherd's crook, or the poor slave's chains; it heaps them all together, and shuts them in the same dungeon. There is no war, though ever so furious and bloody, but it is interrupted with some days, or at least some hours, of cessation or truce; nay, the most inhuman minds are at last tired with bloody conquests; but insatiable death never saith it is enough, at every hour and moment it cuts down multitudes of the human race; the flesh of all the animals that have died since the creation of the world, has not been able to glut this devouring monster. All warfare is doubtful, he that gains the victory to day, may soon after be put to flight; he that at present is in a triumphant chariot may become the footstool of his enemy; but death is always victorious, it triumphs with an insufferable insolence over all the kings and nations of the earth; it never returns to its den, but when loaded with spoils, and glutted with blood, the strongest Samson and the most victorious David, who have torn in pieces, and have overcome lions and bears, and have cut off the heads of giants, have at last yielded themselves, and been cut off by death. The great Alexanders and the triumphing Cæsars, who have made all the world to tremble before them, and conquered the most part of the habitable earth, could never find any thing that might protect them from death's power; when magnificent statues and stately trophies were raised to their honour, death laughed at their vanity, and made sport with their rich marbles, where so many proud titles are engraved, which cover nothing but a little rotten flesh and a few bones, which death had broken and reduced to ashes.
We read in the prophecies of Daniel, that King Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream a large image of gold,
both glorious and terrible: its head was of pure gold, its breasts and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, and its feet partly of clay and partly of iron. As the king was beholding it with astonishment,, a little stone, cut out of a mountain, without hands was rolled against the feet of this prodigious image, and broke it all to pieces; not only the clay and iron were broken, but also the gold, the silver, and the brass, all became as the chaff which the wind bloweth to and fro. This great image represented the four universal monarchies of the world, viz. that of Babylon, of the Persians and Medes, of the Greeks, and of the Romans; it represented also the vanity and inconstancy of all things under the sun, for what is the pomp, the glory, the strength and the dignities of this world, but as smoke driven with the wind, a vapour that soon vanishes away, a shadow that flies from us, or a dream that disappears in an instant. Man, created in the image of God, at his first appearance seems to be very glorious, for a while, and becomes terrible, but as soon as death strikes at the earthly part, and begins to break his flesh and bones, all the glory, pomp, power, and magnificence of the richest, the most terrible, and victorious monarchs, are changed into loathsome smells, into contemptible dust, and reduced to nothing. "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
Since, therefore, death is so impartial as to spare none, and its power so great, that none can escape or resist it, it is no wonder if it appears so terrible, and fill with fear, grief, and despair, the minds of all mortals who have not settled their faith and assurance on God; for there is no condemned prisoner but trembles when he beholds the scaffold erecting, upon which he is designed to be broken on the wheel, or sees in the fire, irons with which he is to be pinched to death.
In the midst of an impious feast, King Belshazzar saw the fingers of a man's, hand writing these words upon the wall of his palace: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin; which the prophet Daniel hath thus interpreted:
Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; or, Upharsin; thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. As soon as this great monarch had cast his eyes upon this miraculous writing, it is said, that his countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. Certainly the proud worldling has a greater cause to be dismayed in the midst of his glory and pleasure, when he may perceive death writing upon every wall of his house, in visible characters, and printing upon his forehead, that God bath numbered his days, and these in which he now breathes, shall be soon followed by an eternal night; that God hath weighed him in the balance of his justice, and found him as light as the wind; and that the Almighty Creator, unto whom vengeance belongs, will soon divest him of all his glory and riches, to clothe therewith his enemies.
What comforts can be found for wretched sinners, who do not only understand their final sentence, but also hear the thundering voice of the great Judge of the world, exasperated by their impieties? They now perceive hell prepared to swallow them up, and the fiery chains of that doleful prison ready to embrace them; they may at present feel the hands of the executioner of divine justice, that seize upon them already, and see themselves stretched and tortured in that place where there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; they may feel the fierce approaches of that fire and brimstone, which is the second death, for it may be justly said of these wretched varlets, that hell comes to them before they go to it, and that in this life they partly feel the grievous pangs of their future torments: therefore some of them offer violence to themselves, and commit horrid murder upon their own persons, as if they were not afraid to die by a hand wicked enough; the expectation of death to them, is
more insufferable than death itself, and they would rather cast themselves into the bottomless pit of hell, than endure the apprehensions and fears of hell in their guilty consciences; and to be delivered from the flashes of hell fire, they cast themselves in a brutish manner into that unquenchable burning.
But that which is most terrible is, that the horrid and insufferable fears that seize upon the wicked, are not short and transitory; for, as a criminal that knows there is sentence of death pronounced against him, continually thinks upon the torments that are preparing for him; as soon as he hears the doors unlocking, he imagines that some are entering to drag him from his prison to execution; in some sense he desires what he apprehends, and hastens the approach of that which he wishes, but cannot avoid. Thus desperate sinners, that know there is a sentence of eternal death proclaimed against them in the court of the king of kings, and that from this sentence there is no appeal nor escape, must needs be in continual fears, such foresee the fearful image of death that disturbs their quiet, and St. Paul expresses himself, "Through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. ii. 15. That is, they are like so many wretched slaves, that tremble under the inhuman power of a merciless tyrant.
There are some atheists who talk of death with contempt and scorn, and who make an open profession of braving death, without the least fear; nevertheless, they feel in them some secret thorns with which death often galls them, some fears and apprehensions with which it tortures and disquiets them, when they dream least of it; it is true they for the most part boast of not fearing the approaches of death, and laugh at it when they imagine that it is a distance from them, but these are they who are most apt to tremble at the near approach of the grim countenance of death, and soonest discover their weakness and despair. There are many that seem to laugh at death, while their laughter is
only an appearance upon the lips; they are like a child newly-born, who seems to smile when it is inwardly tormented in the bowels; or like those that eat of a herb, which causes a pleasant laughter to appear upon the lips of those who partake of it, but into whose noble parts it conveys a mortal poison.
There are some, I confess, that die without any concern, but these are either brutish or senseless persons, much like unto a sleeping drunkard, who may be cast down a precipice, without any knowledge or foresight of the danger; or, they are pleasant mockers, like the foolish criminals who go merrily to the gallows; or, such as are full of rage and fury, who may well be compared to an enraged wild boar, that runs himself into the huntsman's snare. Such monsters of men as these, deserve not to be reckoned among rational and understanding creatures.
From the fear of death it pleased the Lord to deliver me by his blessed Spirit; and gave me the witness of his Spirit to bear witness with my spirit, that I was passed from death unto life, and caused me to love the brethren. At the time I received this full evidence and witness within me, I was about seventeen years of age, then I began to love all men, women, and children, and began to speak boldly in the name of the living God, and to preach as the oracles of God, as the Spirit and love of God constrained me; as the poet says,
The Love of God doth me constrain,
To seek the wandering souls of men.
For I beheld them wandering away from God, like lost sheep, which caused me to exhort them to turn unto the shepherd and bishop of their souls, from whom they had so greatly revolted, and to fly from the wrath to come. When they reviled me, I told them of Christ's example: "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but
committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." I Peter ii. 22 23. And I endeavoured to follow his steps, by exhorting and praying for them to turn from their evil ways, although they were so inveterated against me, and strove to the utmost of their power to make me suffer as an evil-doer. But, blessed be God, that I counted it all joy that I was worthy to suffer for the glory of God, and for the good of my soul. For the word of God saith, "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. I Peter iii. 14--17.
I was sold to three masters, all of whom spoke ill of me, and said that I should spoil the rest of the slaves, by my talking and preaching. The last master I was sold to, I ran from to the house of God, and was baptized unknown to him; and when the minister made it known to him, he was like a man that had lost his reason, and swore that I should not belong to any society; but the minister informed him it was too late, for the work was already finished, and according to the spiritual law of liberty, I was considered a worthy member of society. My master then beat me most cruelly, and threatened to beat the minister over the head with a cane. He then took me before the magistrates, who examined me, and inquired what I knew about God and the Lord Jesus Christ Upon this I made a public acknowledgment before the magistrates, that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned my sins and blotted out all mine iniquities, through our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby he was become my defence and deliverer; and that there is no other name under heaven,
given to man, whereby he shall be saved, but only in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. On hearing this, the magistrates told me I was free from my master, and at liberty to leave him; but my cruel master was very unwilling to part with me, because he was of the world. "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them." I John iv. 5. This was evident, for if my master had been of God he would have instructed me in the Scriptures, as God had given him ability, and according to the oracles of the living God; for we have all one father, and if any man teach let him do it as God gives him ability; so saith the Scriptures. But my master strove to baffle me, and to prevent me from understanding the Scriptures: so he used to tell me that there was a time to every purpose under the sun, to do all manner of work, that slaves were in duty bound to do whatever their masters commanded them, whether it was right or wrong; so that they must be obedient to a hard spiteful master as to a good one. He then took the bible and showed it to me, and said that the book talked with him. Thus he talked with me endeavouring to convince me that I ought not to leave him, although I had received my full liberty from the magistrates, and was fully determined, by the grace of God, to leave him; yet he strove to the uttermost to prevent me; but thanks be to God, his strivings were all in vain.
My master's sons also endeavoured to convince me, by their reading in the behalf of their father; but I could not comprehend their dark sayings, for it surprised me much, how they could take that blessed book into their hands, and to be so superstitious as to want to make me believe that the book did talk with them; so that every opportunity when they were out of the way, I took the book, and held it up to my ears, to try whether the book would talk with me or not, but it proved to be all in vain, for I could not hear it speak one word, which caused me to grieve and lament, that after God had done so much for me as he had in
pardoning my sins, and blotting out my iniquities and transgressions, and making me a new creature, the book would not talk with me; but the Spirit of the Lord brought this passage of Scripture to my mind, where Jesus Christ says, "Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, ye shall receive. Ask in faith nothing doubting: for according unto your faith it shall be unto you. For unto him that believeth, all things are possible." Then I began to ask God in faithful and fervent prayer, as the Spirit of the Lord gave me utterance, begging earnestly of the Lord to give me the knowledge of his word, that I might be enabled to understand it in its pure light, and be able to speak it in the Dutch and English languages, that I might convince my master that he and his sons had not spoken to me as they ought, when I was their slave.
Thus I wrestled with God by faithful and fervent prayer, for five or six weeks, like Jacob of old, Gen. xxxii. 24. Hosea xii. 4. My master and mistress, and all people, laughed me to scorn, for being such a fool, to think that God would hear my prayer and grant unto me my request. But I gave God no rest day nor night, and I was so earnest, that I can truly say, I shed as many tears for this blessing, as I did when I was begging God to grant me the pardon and forgiveness of my sins. During the time I was pouring out my supplications and prayers unto the Lord, my hands were employed, labouring for the bread that perisheth, and my heart within me still famishing for the word of God; as spoken of in the Scriptures, "There shall be a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor of water, but of the word of God." And thus blessed be the Lord, that he sent a famine into my heart, and caused me to call upon him by his Spirit's assistance, in the time of my trouble.
The Lord heard my groans and cries at the end of six weeks, and sent the blessed angel of the covenant to my heart and soul, to release me from all my distress and troubles, and delivered me from all mine enemies,
which were ready to destroy me; thus the Lord was pleased in his in finite mercy, to send an angel, in a vision, in shining raiment, and his countenance shining as the sun, with a large bible in his hands, and brought it unto me, and said, "I am come to bless thee, and to grant thee thy request," as you read in the Scriptures. Thus my eyes were opened at the end of six weeks, while I was praying, in the place where I slept; although the place was as dark as a dungeon, I awoke, as the Scripture saith, and found it illuminated with the light of the glory of God, and the angel standing by me, with the large book open, which was the Holy Bible, and said unto me, "Thou hast desired to read and understand this book, and to speak the language of it both in English and in Dutch; I will therefore teach thee, and now read;" and then he taught me to read the first chapter of the gospel according to St. John; and when I had read the whole chapter, the angel and the book were both gone in the twinkling of an eye, which astonished me very much, for the place was dark immediately; being about four o'clock in the morning in the winter season. After my astonishment had a little subsided, I began to think whether it was a fact that an angel had taught me to read, or only a dream; for I was in such a strait, like Peter was in the prison, when the angel smote him on the side, and said unto Peter, "Arise, Peter, and take thy garment, and spread it around thee, and follow me." And Peter knew not whether it was a dream or not; and when the angel touched him the second time, Peter arose, took his garment, folded it around him, and followed the angel, and the gates opened unto him of their own accord. So it was with me when the room was darkened again, that I wondered within myself whether I could read or not, but the Spirit of the Lord convinced me that I could; I then went out of the house to a secret place, and there rendered thanksgivings and praises unto God's holy name, for his goodness in showing me to read his holy word, to understand
it, and to speak it, both in the English and Dutch languages.
I tarried at a distance from the house, blessing and praising God, until the dawning of the day, and by that time the rest of the slaves were called to their labour; they were all very much surprised to see me there so early in the morning, rejoicing as if I had found a pearl of great price, for they used to see me very sad and grieved on other mornings, but now rejoicing, and they asked me what was the reason of my rejoicing more now than at other times, but I answered I would not tell them. After I had finished my day's work I went to the minister's house, and told him that I could read, but he doubted greatly of it, and said unto me, "How is it possible that you can read? For when you were a slave your master would not suffer any one, whatever, to come near you to teach you, nor any of the slaves, to read; and it is not long since you had your liberty, not long enough to learn to read." But I told him, that the Lord had learnt me to read last night. He said it was impossible. I said, "Nothing is impossible with God, for all things are possible with him; but the thing impossible with man is possible with God: for he doth with the host of heaven, and with the inhabitants of the earth, as he pleaseth, and there is none that can withstay his hand, nor dare to say what dost thou? And so did the Lord with me as it pleased him, in shewing me to read his word, and to speak it, and if you have a large bible, as the Lord showed me last night, I can read it." But he said, "No, it is not possible that you can read." This grieved me greatly, which caused me to cry. His wife then spoke in my behalf, and said unto him, "You have a large bible, fetch it, and let him try and see whether he can read it or not, and you will then be convinced." The minister then brought the bible to me, in order that I should read; and as he opened the bible for me to read, it appeared unto me, that a person said, "That is the place, read it." Which was
the first chapter of the gospel of St. John, the same the Lord had taught me to read. So I read to the minister; and he said to me, "You read very well and very distinct;" and asked me who had learnt me. I said the Lord had learnt me last night. He said that it was impossible; but, if it were so, he should find it out. On saying this he went and got other books, to see whether I could read them; I tried, but could not. He then brought a spelling book, to see if I could spell; but he found to his great astonishment, that I could not. This convinced him and his wife that it was the Lord's work, and it was marvellous in their eyes.
This caused them to spread a rumour all over the city of New York, saying, that the Lord had worked great miracles on a poor black man. The people flocked from all parts to know whether it was true or not; and some of them took me before the magistrates, and had me examined concerning the rumour that was spread abroad, to prevent me, if possible, from saving the Lord had taught me to read in one night, in about fifteen minutes; for they were afraid that I should teach, the other slaves to call upon the name of the Lord, as I did aforetime, and that they should come to the knowledge of the truth.
The magistrates examined me strictly, to see if I could read, as the report stated; they brought a bible for me to read in, and I read unto them the same chapter the Lord had taught me, as before-mentioned, and they said I read very well and very distinct, and asked me who had taught me to read. I still replied, that the Lord had taught me. They said that it was impossible; but brought forth spelling and other books, to see if I could read them, or whether I could spell, but they found to their great surprise, that I could not read other books, neither could I spell a word; then they said, it was the work of the Lord, and a very great miracle indeed; whilst others exclaimed and said that it was not right that I should have my liberty.
The magistrates said that it was right and just that I should have my liberty, for they believed that I was of God, for they were persuaded that no man could read in such a manner, unless he was taught of God.
From that hour, in which the Lord taught me to read, until the present, I have not been able to read in any book, nor any reading whatever, but such as contain the word of God.
Through the report of the minister (whose name was the REVEREND PETER LOWE, a pastor of the Presbyterian church) and the magistrates, I was permitted to go on in the strength of the Lord, and to proclaim the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ, unto every one, both great small, saying unto those that were christians, "Rejoice with me, for the Lord hath liberated my soul from all my enemies." I was so over-joyed that I cried out, "Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious, &c." as in the lxvith Psalm.
I was now enabled, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to go from house to house, and from plantation to plantation, warning sinners, in the name of Jesus, to flee from the wrath to come; teaching and admonishing them to turn from their evil course of life; whilst some mocked and others scoffed at me, many said that I was mad, others pointed at me, and said there goes "the preacher," in a mocking and jeering manner. Sometimes after I had been preaching in a house, and was leaving it, some of the people, who were assembled together, without the door, would beat and use me in a very cruel manner, saying, as the Jews of old did to Jesus Christ, when they smote him with the palms of their hands, "Prophesy unto us who it was that smote thee?"
But, for ever blessed be the Lord, he was pleased to give me one soul for my hire, and one seal to my ministry; which caused me to bless the Lord, and ascribe all the honour and glory to his name, for not having let my labours been in vain. This poor,
soul to whom the Lord was pleased to bless my feeble endeavours, was a poor black slave, the same as I had been; the Lord in infinite mercy, was pleased to liberate his soul from the bondage of sin and Satan, and afterwards from his cruel master.
It was a law of the state of the city of New York, that if any slave could give a satisfactorily account of what he knew of the work of the Lord on his soul he was free from slavery, by the Act of Congress, that was governed by the good people the Quakers, who were made the happy instruments, in the hands of God, of releasing some thousands of us poor black slaves from the galling chains of slavery.
After this poor man had received his liberty from slavery, he joined me in hand and heart, willing "To follow the Lamb of God whithersoever he goeth." His employment while with his master, was sweeping chimnies; but now his master, who was God, had given him his labour to endeavour to sweep the evils out of the hearts of poor slaves. He and I used to go from house to house, and in barns and under hedges, preaching the gospel of Christ, as the Spirit of God gave us utterance; and God added unto our number such as should be saved. In the course of about nineteen months, it pleased the Lord to add to our number about five hundred souls; and when we could not find room enough in the houses, we used to preach out of doors in the fields and woods, which we used to call our large chapel, and there we assembled together on Saturday evenings about eleven o'clock, after the slaves had done their masters' work, and continued until Sunday evening about ten or eleven o'clock. The other black man and myself used to go fourteen miles of a night to preach, and to instruct our poor fellow brethren, and thought ourselves well paid for our trouble in having a congregation together in the name of the Lord.
I knew it was a hard task for the poor slaves to get out, because when I was a slave I had gone fiteen
miles to hear preaching, and was obliged to get back before sun rising, to go to my work, and then, if my master knew I had been to hear preaching, he would beat me most unmercifully, so that I encouraged the other poor slaves to seek the Lord, and to be earnest in prayer and supplication, for well I knew that the Lord would hear and deliver them, if they sought him in sincerity and in truth, as the Lord delivered me; for they did not suffer for evil doing, but for doing the will of God. Being under that promise which says, "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye:" Yea, this was the encouragement that I gave them--"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." I Peter iv. 1--7.
We informed them that they must cease to do evil, and learn to do well, for the end of all their troubles was near at hand. We told them that they should not desire nor covet the dainties of this world, for it was the deceitfulness of man's evil and wicked heart, which made him desire to partake of those things, which is not for his benefit, but will tend to destroy him; as the lying prophet caused the man of God to be destroyed, enticing him to go back to his house, to eat and drink with him, although the man of God was
forbidden to go back, nor to eat bread, nor to drink water, in the place, nor to go back by the way as he came; but the lying prophet persuaded the man of God to return back, for an angel had sent him, and that he was to return back, and to eat and drink, and afterwards he should proceed on his journey. Being over-persuaded by the lying prophet, he returned back, but he lost his life, for not truly believing and keeping the commandments of God, which he had so strictly commanded him. I Kings xiii.
My dear reader, take care what company you keep, and take care whom you eat and drink with; for many would almost persuade you that they were saints, but by their gluttonness way of living, their hearts are like a knife to your throat. "When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee." Proverbs xxiii. 1-12.
We told the poor slaves that God had promised to deliver them that call upon him in time of trouble, out of all their distress; for "He would be with their in six troubles, and in the seventh he would not for sake them." We encouraged them to be angry with, and not to commit, sin, as the Scripture saith, Be ye angry, and sin not;" For sin brought all their punishment upon them, whatever they suffered; therefore,
I exhorted them to hate sin, and to fly from it as from the face of a serpent; and to remember that our blessed Lord had said, that we should have persecution in the world, but in him we should have peace; for the world hated him, and the world knew him not, and therefore they would hate us, because they hated him first; for they knew him not, neither do they know us, because he has chosen us out of the world; therefore our Lord has said, "It is through many tribulations that you shall enter the kingdom of heaven: for ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake, and they shall cast out your name as evil, and they that kill you will think that they do God service; and they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets and apostles that were before you." We encouraged them in the christian life, and said to them "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil." 1 Peter iii. 8-12.
Thus we went on preaching in the name of the Lord, and it pleased God to bless our feeble efforts, by adding unto our number such as should be saved.
At this time the Lord was pleased to raise up some white friends, who were benevolent and kind to us, when they saw our simpleness, and that God prospered us in our manner and way of worship; who joined their mites with our's, and purchased a piece of ground, and built upon it a meeting-house, in the city of New York, for us poor black Africans to worship
in, which held about fifteen hundred people! They also procured white preachers twice a week to preach, to assist the other black man and myself.
Being thus highly favoured, we now had preaching three times on the Sabbath-day, and every night in the week; and the number of them that were added unto the society, was about nine hundred and fifty souls!
I continued at this place four years after that, preaching with the other preachers; for we were appointed to preach in rotation. The word of the Lord grew and multiplied exceedingly, for it pleased the Lord, sometimes at one service, to add to our number fifteen souls! and, sometimes more! At our watch nights and camp meetings, I have known one hundred and fifty, or two hundred, awakened at one time; by which it was evident that the time was like the day of Pentecost; which you have an account of in the second chapter of Acts.
Thus, when we were assembled together with one accord, the Lord was pleased to send down his convincing and converting spirit, to convince and convert the congregation, and they were filled with the spirit of prayer, which caused them to groan and cry unto God, begging him to have mercy upon their never-dying souls, to such a degree, that it caused some to say, that the people were drunk, others said they were possessed with devils, many said they were mad, and others laughing, mocking, and scoffing at them; while the people came running in out of the streets and houses to see what was the matter; and many of them were convinced of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment to come; crying out with the jailor of old, "What shall we do to be saved?" We still continued speaking as the Spirit gave us utterance.
It was our heart's desire, and prayer to God, that every sinner might be saved; so we went on in the strength of God, by the aid of his Spirit, warning sinners every where to repent and believe the gospel, that their souls might be saved through grace, by
faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When the congregation grew numerous, and there were enough preachers besides myself, I was then constrained by the Spirit, and the love of God, to go about four hundred miles from thence, to preach the everlasting gospel to the people there, at a place called Boston, in North America. I continued preaching there about three years and a half, and the Lord crowned my feeble endeavours with great success, and gave me souls for my hire, and seals to my ministry.
After being at Boston three years and a half, I returned to New York, to see my mother, sisters, brothers, and friends, and after arriving there, I thought it necessary to enter into the state of matrimony, and we lived very comfortably together about two years, being of one heart and one mind, both of us belonging to the Methodist society in New York. My wife was of the Indian colour. To add to our comfort the Lord was pleased to give us a daughter.
But a circumstance transpired which interrupted our felicity, and made me very unhappy: My wife's mistress had been trying to persuade her not to be so religious, for she would make herself melancholy to be so much at the house of God, and she did not like it; she told her she thought it was no harm to sing songs, and to do as the rest of the people of the world did, and said there was a time for every purpose under the sun: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones, together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. Thus her mistress spoke,
not thinking that these were spiritual times, nor considering that the Scriptures were wrote by inspiration and that they must be understood by the Spirit; "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. ii. 12, 13, 14.
From this it appeared that her mistress did not understand the things which were of God, although she was a professor of religion; for she was continually attempting to persuade her, to turn to the ways of the world, and said that so much religion was not required. By these persuasions, my wife began to listen to the advice of her mistress, and to the temptations of the Devil's cunning arts, and began neither to fear God, nor regard man; and wanted me to turn to the beggarly elements of the world; but I told her I was determined by the grace of God, to live and die for God, so that whether I lived or died I should be the Lord's; begging and beseeching her to turn unto God, with full purpose of heart, that he might have mercy on her poor heart; informing her, that "Thus saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?" Joel ii. 12, 13, 14. But she would not
hearken unto me, for she was led away by the advice of her mistress, and the temptations of Satan. She now used her poor little innocent and harmless infant very cruel, in order to prevent me from going to the house of God: during my absence from home, she used to try every method in her power to make the poor little babe suffer; her mother always took the child's part, and endeavoured as much as possible to hinder her from using it ill, and when I returned home she would acquaint me of my wife's transactions. On account of this she beat her mother in such a manner, that it caused her death, being pregnant at the time, so that she was not able to resist her wicked undertakings. Thus if she had been dealt with according to the law of God, she would have been put to death, for the Scriptures saith, "He that smiteth his father or mother, shall be surely put to death." Exod. xxi. 15.
Thus, my wife treated her mother, that she died by her cruel usage. Her mistress on this took her to task, and beat her very much, for using her mother in such a manner, particularly in her situation; and told her that she was become a hardened sinner, desiring her to turn unto the Lord, that he might have mercy upon her, or else she would certainly perish; but she was so hardened in her heart, that she could not bear to hear the name of the Lord mentioned; for she would curse and swear, and break and destroy every thing she could get at. It now seemed as if the devil had taken full possession of her heart, and now her master and mistress persuaded me to intreat her to go to the house of God, but she would not, the more I entreated her, the worse she was, and abused and ill-used me as she did the poor infant.
One day while I was gone to my mother's house, which was about nine miles from home, she was so overpowered by the temptation of the Devil, that she murdered the poor little infant! by squeezing it between her hands. When I returned home, I was
greatly surprised to see a number of people assembled together at the door of my house; and on enquiring what was the matter, they told me that my wife had killed the child. I said unto her, "What hast thou been doing?" She replied, "I have killed the child, and I mean to kill you, if I possibly can." I then said to her, "My dear wife, what is the reason of your doing this horrid deed? what do you think will become of your never-dying soul?" She said, that she expected to go to eternal misery; and therefore she was determined to do all the mischief she could.
She was taken before the judge, and found guilty of the crime laid to her charge, that murdering of her infant. She acknowledged that she had committed the horrid deed; and therefore suffered according to the law. Before her punishment took place, I frequently visited her, to endeavour to convince her of the state of her soul, and begged her to pray unto God to have mercy upon her soul, and strengthen her in her dying moments; but her heart was so hardened by sin, that it was all in vain.
This, my dear reader, you must think, was a fiery trial for me to endure; it almost cast me down to the ground, and to make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience: indeed, my state of mind was such, that it caused me to go to a river, several times, in order to make away with myself; thus the old lion would have devoured me; but, thanks be to God, he gave me grace to withstand the temptations of the Devil at last; and enabled me to say, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now, for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through
manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fiery trials, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 1 Peter i. 3--7. Thus the Lord gave me encouragement by his blessed Spirit, saying "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil doer, or as a busy body in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." I Peter iv. 12--16.
The cause of my wife's destroying her child was attributed, by many, to my being so religious, and through religion; but they had forgotten the language of the Scripture which saith, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah xlix. 15. Thus was this passage exemplified, in my wife forgetting the child of her own womb, but blessed be God, he delivered me out of all my distress, and endued me with a double portion of his divine grace, and lifted me up upon my feet again, to travel on to Zion; and gave me strength
To bear my cross from day to day,
And learn to watch as well as pray,
And gave me his blessed Union.
I continued two years after this in New York, preaching the everlasting gospel, both to saints and sinners, and the Lord was pleased to bless my weak
efforts. After this the love of God constrained me to travel into other parts to preach the gospel, when I again visited Boston, in North America, where I tarried about twelve months, and the Lord blessed my ministry, and owned my labours, to the conversion of many.
From thence I travelled to a place called Salisbury, about forty miles from Boston, where I met with great success; for God, by his Spirit, was pleased to convince and convert five or six souls of a night! I tarried at this place between nine and ten months.
After that time, it pleased God to put it into my mind to cross the Atlantic main; and I embarked on board of a ship for that purpose. The name of the ship was The Superb of Boston, and the captain's name was ABLE STOVEY, with whom I agreed to sail with for seventeen dollars per month. I was quite unacquainted with the sea, and was very much pleased in going on board the vessel; but the case was soon altered, for the first day I went on board to work, the captain and the men asked me if I came on board to work. I told them yes. They asked me where my clothes were. I said I had them on my back. They asked me if that was all I had. I told them I thought I had sufficient, for I was not certain of staying longer than one day; for if I did not like it I would not stay out the month; for I thought that a person going to sea, could go one day and return the next.
After they had told me what to do, which was to clean the coppers, I went and looked all about the ship, but could not find them, not knowing what they were; at last I asked one of the sailors where the coppers were, for the captain had ordered me to clean them, so he shewed me where they were. Those which they called coppers, were a couple of black iron things; and they told me I must make them very clean, and that I was to cook the victuals, being cook of
the ship. The coppers were very large, for the ship was about four hundred tons burden. I then began to rub the coppers as I was ordered, and the more I rubbed them, the more the rust came off, and the blacker they looked. About two hours after I had began cleaning them, the captain asked me if I had cleaned the coppers; I told him I could not get them clean; but he told me I must be sure to clean them well.
During this time the vessel had got under weigh, and was sailing through the river, which was very pleasant, until we got outside of the light-house, when the ship began to roll about very much, which greatly terrified me. The captain coming to me, said, "How do you come on?" I told him that I was tired, and that I wanted to get home. He told me that I should soon get home; and asked me how the sailors' suppers got on. I said, "I cannot get these black things clean; they certainly are not copper." The captain said, "Never mind, let them alone, and have another trial to-morrow." But I said within myself, "You shall not catch me here to-morrow, if I can get on shore." The captain seeing how I was, bade me go below, for the men had some cold beef for supper, and that I should rest myself. When I was going below, I looked at the man at the helm with an evil eye, thinking he made the ship to go on one side on purpose to frighten me the more; but before I got down to the hold I fell down, by the vessel rolling, and all the men sung out, "Hollo, there is a horse down:" and they laughing at me so, made me the more afraid and terrified, and after I had got down into the hold, I was afraid the ship would fall, and I strove to keep her up by pushing, and holding fast by different parts of the ship, and when the waves came dashing against the sides of the ship, I thought they were sea lions, and was afraid they would beat a hole through the ship's side and would come in and
devour me; when day-light appeared, I was very much tired and fatigued, for I had been holding and trying to keep the ship upright all the night; in the morning I asked the sailors why they did not keep the ship upright, and one of the men said, pointing to another, "That is the man that makes the ship go on one side." This they said in their scoffing way, to deride me. Having been about eight or ten days at sea, I found out what it was, in some measure. The weather was very boisterous, the sea running very high, and thundering and lightning very much; the reason of which was, I believe, because they so ill-used and abused me, and swore they would throw me overboard, or beat me so that I should jump overboard. When they saw me praying to God, they called me by way of dersion, a Jonah, because I prayed to God to calm the tempestuous weather. On the contrary, they were making game of the works of the Lord, and said that the old man had fine fire works, for it gave them light to go up on the yards to furl the sails; but to their great terror, after they had furled the sails, it pleased the Lord to send his lightning and thunder directly, which killed two men on the spot. One of them was burnt like a cinder, his clothes were totally consumed, not so much as a bit of a handkerchief nor any thing else being left. His name was George Begann, about thirty-six years of age. The other's name was James Cash, about twenty five years of age: his body was entirely burnt up, not a single bit of it was to be seen, nothing but the cinders of his clothes, one of his shoes, his knife, his gold ring, and his key.
Seven more were wounded, some in their backs, and others in different parts of their bodies: and appeared to be dead for about ten or fifteen minutes.
At the time this dreadful carnage happened, I was standing about seven or eight feet, from them; my eye-sight was taken from me for four or five minutes,
but my soul gave glory to God for what was done. When I recovered my sight I saw the captain standing in the cabin gangway, and the cabin-boy and three passengers behind him, lamenting greatly, ringing their hands, and plucking their hair; the captain crying out--"O! my men, we are all lost!" I then took the boldness to speak unto him, and said, "Why do you cry and lament? You see that your ship is not hurt, and that the Lord has been pleased to spare your life; and what the Lord has done is right."
A short time after we had survived this awful scene, the captain exclaimed, "O! my men, my men, the ship is on fire!" On hearing this, the men that were able to move, were roused to take off the hatches, to see where the fire was. But, blessed be God, the ship was not on fire, for it was part of the men's clothes who were consumed, which had got down into the hold, and was burning, which caused a very great smoke; for the sailors stood round the main-mast (excepting four who were at the helm) which was the most materially injured; that part of the cargo which was near the main-mast, consisting of tobacco and staves for casks, was nearly all consumed, but the ship sustained no damage whatever.
The captain and ship's crew were very much terrified when they saw the power of God in killing and wounding the men, and destroying the cargo; which judgments were sent on them, "Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High: Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalm cvii. 11-15.
Should the reader of this be like those, against whom the judgments of God were so remarkably displayed, for their sins and rebellion against him, particularly in making sport with his awful warnings, let me intreat of him to consider the cases above recorded; and let him ask himself, "Am I able to stand before the power of that God who 'Is greatly to be feared;' whose arm is mighty, and whose hand is strong; and who is called 'The God of the whole earth?'"
We had not been more than a fortnight at sea, after the first deliverance from the thunder and lightning, when we were visited by most dreadful whirlwinds and hurricanes, which dismasted the ship, and made her almost a wreck. We were forty-two days in the Gulph of Mexico, without receiving any assistance whatever; during three weeks of which we had not any dry clothes to put on, not one of us, and we were obliged to eat our victuals raw, for the weather was so very boisterous, that we could not light a fire; we were also put on short allowance, both of victuals and water, for we did not know how long it would be before we should meet with any deliverance. The quantity of provisions and water we were allowed was--half a pound of raw beef or pork, a biscuit and a half, and half a pint of water, for four and twenty hours. During this dreadful tempest, the snow and rain descended rapidly, which we caught, and put into casks, and of this we were only allowed the same quantity as of the good water.
My dear reader, consider what great distress we must have been in at this time, when the ship was tossed and rolled about in such a dreadful manner and expecting every moment that the ship would be staved in pieces, by the furiousness of the raging sea. Yea, this also terrified me, as well as the rest of the men, when it first began, and I entreated the Lord God Almighty to have mercy on us, that we might once more, by his grace and by the aid of his Spirit, arrive at our
desired part; for our hearts were faint within us, and our spirits within us were famishing, that it caused every man on board to be earnestly inclined to call upon the Lord for deliverance; for they now believed that the Lord had sent this distress upon them, that they might earnestly desire the word of God, for the Scriptures saith, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst." Amos viii 11--13. Thus was our hearts faint within us, and we sought for the words of God's promise, unto us wretched miserable sinners, that "In the time of trouble he would deliver us;" and I have every reason to believe that the Lord did hear our feeble breathings, for we perished not, but at the end of forty-two days, we saw a sail making towards us, and afterwards another, which both came to our assistance.
Thus, blessed be God, our feeble breathings were heard, when we cried unto God with a sincere heart, he delivered us out of this distress, for these two vessels supplied us with provisions and water, and spars, whereby we were able to make jury-masts, so that we were enabled to gain the state of Merelian, in Virginia, which is not far from Baltimore, there we remained until our ship was repaired, and after that, we set sail for England, our destined port being London. When we arrived at the Downs, we were commanded to go to Amsterdam, in Holland; we tarried there about three weeks for further orders, and then we were ordered to go to Liverpool, in England.
When we arrived at Liverpool, I enquired for the people that were followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, seeing that the place was large and populous, I believed
in my heart, that God had a people there, and I began to tell the people there of the goodness of God towards me on the sea, and to the ship's company, declaring of his wonderful works on the sea, and rendering God humble and hearty thanks for our safe arrival in port. The love of God constrained me to preach to the people at Liverpool, as I had done to those in North America.
Thus, dear reader, I have informed you, how God had brought me safe into Liverpool, and did not destroy me when I was on the sea, but brought me safe into Liverpool, to preach the everlasting gospel; although I was very ill of a pleurisy, which was occasioned by the ill-treatment I had received on board of ship, for they used to flog, beat, and kick me about, the same as if I had been a dog; they also rubbed grease and dirt over my face and eyes; oftentimes they swore they would beat me till they made me jump overboard, but I never did; and sometimes they would call me a Jonah. This was the treatment I experienced from the officers and men of the ship, until it pleased the Lord to send the thunder and lightning, and the whirlwinds and the hurricanes, which was the cause of softening their hearts a little, seeing the Lord pouring down his anger, and destroying some of the men, by which they began to be terrified and alarmed, and I had peace even until I came to Liverpool.
While I was at Liverpool I told the people what the Lord had done for me on the seas, and how he had delivered me from the hands of my enemies, and by the grace of God I gave them to understand, that these officers and men were not sinners above all the people in the world; but, unless they repented, that they should all likewise perish; as the Scripture saith: "And $Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay: but except
ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Luke xiii. 2--5.
Thus I preached unto the people in Liverpool, faith, repentance, and remission of sin by Jesus Christ, and the glad tidings of salvation. By these means the people inclined their ears, and believed the report which I gave concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Saviour, for many were alarmed by the Spirit of God, turned from the evil of their ways, repented, and were converted to God; "Forasmuch as I saw that my labour was not in vain in the Lord;" for the Almighty blessed and owned my feeble endeavours; although I was very ill and desired to go to the infirmary; but the good friends that God had raised up unto me, Christian brethren and sisters, would not suffer me to go, but kept me still with them, in order that I should recover my health.
During the time I stayed with them, I still continued preaching and exhorting them in the name of Jesus; so that the report of my preaching and exhorting spread all through Liverpool, and in the country. I had not preached more than a month at Liverpool, before they sent for me into the country, then
The love of God did me constrain,
To seek the wandering souls of men;
With cries, intreaties, tears, to save,
To snatch them from the burning blaze.
For this let man revile my name,
No cross I shun, I fear no shame;
All hail reproach and welcome shame;
Only thy terrors Lord restrain.
My life, my blood, I here present,
If for thy truth they may be spent;
Fulfil thy sovereign counsel Lord,
Thy will be done, thy name ador'd.
Give me thy strength, O God of Pow'r
Then let winds blow, or thunders roar;
Thy faithful witness will I be,
They're fixt, I can do all through thee.
This was the language of my heart, while I paused upon the words which the people had spoken unto me, about my going into the country; for I was not rightly settled in my mind, whether I should stay in Liverpool, go to America, or go into the country; but I saw that the Lord had hitherto blessed and owned my feeble endeavours, and the love of Christ constraining me, I determined to go into the country.
The first place I arrived at was Baudley Mores, about fourteen miles from Liverpool, where I met with Mr. Christopher Hooper, who had travelled in the time of Mr. Wesley. I also met with Mr. Cooper, a Methodist preacher. These were the first brothers in Christ that gave me liberty to preach in the country. Here much good was done in the name of the holy child Jesus, for many were convinced and converted to God, whenever there was preaching.
At Baudley Mores, I was sent for to go to Manchester, and great success attended my preaching there. While at Manchester, I was sent for from Lancashire to preach, and there the Lord gave me many seals to my ministry, and souls for my hire. In this place I was blessed by the Spirit of God, to preach in every chapel and preaching house that was in the place, except it was the Church of England, and there was no place that was sufficient to hold the congregation.
During my stay at Lancashire, I was sent for to go into Yorkshire, and when I arrived there, I preached there also, and had greater success than at any place I ever had preached in before; for I was permitted to preach in every place of worship, in the Methodist, Baptist, Calvinist, Presbyterian, and every other place, excepting the Church of England; and the Spirit of the Lord filled my heart, and the glory
of God filled my soul, and the Lord was pleased to send his blessed Spirit with his word, to convince and convert the people, for sinners were convinced and converted to God, transgressors were taught the ways of the Lord, believing children of God were edified, and God was glorified. Some nights I think there were fourteen or fifteen souls converted! sometimes more, and sometimes less. Thus the Lord blessed and prospered my ways, even until I got to Sunderland, and there I preached, and had great success. The Lord owning and blessing my ministry in this manner, caused great hatred to spring up among the brethren, so that they desired the people not to follow me, for they said that they could not get a congregation to preach unto, worth speaking of. This was the case with one of the preachers with whom I travelled; while the other was my friend, and desired me to continue preaching in the name of the Lord. His name was Mr. John Booth, about forty years of age. The other's name, who was my enemy, was Mr. Chittle; he was of rich parents, and for the sake of his father he was offended with me: for I and his father preached together in one meeting-house, his father first, and I afterwards. His father being an old man he did not preach very often, only on particular occasions; for this reason he was to preach the same evening as I did, for he wished to convince the people that they should not follow after a man, but after Christ. He compared me to poor Lazarus; because wherever I went to preach the meeting-houses could not hold the people, but wherever the other preachers went to preach, they had plenty of room, having scarcely any congregation; which caused him to preach on this part of the gospel: "Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judea again. His disciples said unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep; that is to say, that he would raise him from the dead." John xi. 1-11. "Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was night unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." 17-25. Now Jesus would convince them, that whosoever believeth in him should never die, for they seemed to he doubtful of his words, although he had said unto them that he was the resurrection and the life, yet it seemed to be a doubtful matter for them to believe, for "When
Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." 32. Which showed that they believed Jesus was able to keep him alive while living, but not to raise him when stinking in the grave; for they said unto him, by this time he stinketh. "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled." 33. Now we have reason to believe that Jesus was concerned because of their unbelief which caused him to groan in the spirit, and be troubled. "And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept." 34, 35. It is evident that he wept because they could not yet believe; as he wept over Jerusalem for their sin and unbelief, and had told them he would save them, but they would not be saved. This showed that he loved them, as he did Lazarus, and all other sinners; and as he raised Lazarus from the grave, so he would raise every sinner from the grave of sin and wickedness, if they would but hearken and listen to the calls, invitations, and preaching of the everlasting gospel, and by his blessed Spirit convince and convert them to God. For "God is love." This the Jews acknowledged, and said, "Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me
always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Many, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done." 36-46.
Now at this time the Jews' passover was near at hand, so that they were in full expectation that Jesus would come to the feast, they they might have an opportunity of laying hands upon him, to destroy him. "Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus." Luke xii. 9, 10, 11.
Thus did this preacher, who I took to be my friend, but was my enemy, for he strove to kill me, as the Scripture saith, "He that hateth his brother without a cause is a murderer." I John iii. 15. And whosoever hateth his brother whom he seeth daily, how can he say that he loves God. "We love him because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." I John iv. 19, 20, 21. It was evident that he hated me without a cause, therefore as the Scriptures inform us, he was a murderer. "And ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
Had he been led by the Spirit of God he would not have hated me. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, Iasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians iv. 18--24. Now it is evident, that if he had walked in the Spirit, and lived in the Spirit, he would not have desired vain glory, or envied others: for he and his father strove to the uttermost to prevent my usefulness, and hinder me from spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ; for his father was to preach against me, as has been before mentioned, in order that the people should not go to hear me preach. During which time I was sitting in the pulpit behind him, for I was to preach after him. He then began to explain who Lazarus was, and said that he was a poor man, a porter, of no reputation, and making out that scarcely any notice was taken of him, because he was a poor stinking man. He then exclaimed to the people, that they were all running after a poor dead Lazarus, and that they did not come to see Jesus; and told the people that they might as well throw their bibles and books away, as to be always running after a poor dead man, nothing but a poor wounded Lazarus.
Thus he preached to the people, and told them he was sorry to say, that they had been running to see and hear a poor dead Lazarus, that was risen from the dead, and that they were not then come to see Jesus, but Lazarus. This was his discourse to the congregation, and then he closed the subject; and said, "Our friend, our black brother, will speak a few words unto you."
I then stood up and addressed the congregation, saying, "Men and brethren, I shall not take a text, but only make a few remarks, by God's assistance, on what our brother has spoken unto you concerning poor Lazarus." I then stated unto them the particulars of that transaction, which has been noticed. I then said unto the congregation, "Spiritually speaking, who is this Lazarus? Yea," said I, "every sinner is as Lazarus; for we were all born in sin, and brought forth in iniquity, dead in trespasses and sins, laying in the grave of sin and wickedness, and stinking in the nostrils of the Almighty God."
My dear reader, are you laying in the grave of sin and wickedness? For many have been laying in that state ten, twenty, thirty, yea, and some fifty years, stinking in the nostrils of the Almighty God; and indeed, so are all sinners, who sin against God, and disbelieve his blessed word; it therefore becomes you to enquire and examine whether you have been raised from this awful state or not.
The Jews did not only come to see Lazarus, because of the miracle which was wrought by Jesus Christ on him, but that they might be enabled to lay hands upon him, and kill him, even as they wanted to kill Jesus Christ; for, they said, if they let him alone, his life and conduct, wherever he went, would shew that he was that dead stinking Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the grave. So it is with every one, whether they be men or women, that confesses Jesus Christ before man on earth, being an evident proof that they are risen from the grave of sin and wickedness by the resurreetion of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, even as Jesus Christ himself confesseth.
I told them, our brother that had preached against me, had not always been a preacher, but was once like other men, for he was born in sin, and brought forth in iniquity, and going astray from the womb, telling lies, and was laying in the grave of sin and wickedness,
and stinking in the nostrils of the Almighty. But God, in his infinite goodness and mercy, was pleased to send his only begotten Son into the world, to save all such as should not perish, who lay in the grave of sin and wickedness: Jesus Christ being troubled in the spirit for poor sinners, wept over him as he did over Jerusalem, and rolled the stone of unbelief from his heart, and cried with a loud voice, and said unto him, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Thus the grave of sin and wickedness opened, and the dead sinner arose from it, by the Spirit of God, bound with the grave clothes of lust, and his face bound up with a napkin of speechlessness, but God said unto the Spirit, Loose him and let him go.
Thus I said God had done to our brother that preached against me, and that he had opened his grave in which he had once lain stinking in the nostrils of God; and that Jesus had risen him from the grave, and had loosened him by his Spirit, to let him go to the gospel feast, to shew himself unto all men, that he was the stinking sinner Christ had risen by his Spirit, to preach the gospel to every creature.
On hearing this the congregation clapt their hands and shouted.
These pretended friends, the father and son, were now more inveterated against me than ever, because I followed the commission of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. They wrote many letters against me, and sent them abroad in every direction, to prevent my preaching the gospel of Christ: but, blessed be God, they were not able to prevent me, for the Lord prospered me and blessed my undertakings, which caused a great division amongst the people, and some of them wished me to tarry with them, but I thought it best to go away, and not stay to hurt any of their feelings; because God hath commanded us to live in peace one with another, and hath pronounced
his blessing upon them, saying, "Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew v. 9.
I did not tarry at Sunderland above three or four months after this, but took a journey to Liverpool; and from thence I went to New York, where I stayed about nine months, preaching, and visiting my relations, and my brothers and sisters in Christ. During the time I was at New York, I had the happiness to know that my mother and elder brother were converted to God, but they were afraid to apply to the magistrates for their liberty. I daily exhorted them to hold on until the end, and at last they should receive the crown that fadeth not away. While I was with my brethren and sisters in Christ, the Lord blessed and owned my feeble endeavours, and crowned them with the success of his Spirit.
I was now well acquainted with travelling, both by sea and land, so that I knew what it was to suffer and do well: for you must think that I suffered very much by travelling to and fro; but I counted it all joy that I was worthy to suffer for the glory of God; for our trials and tribulations which are but for a moment, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be given us hereafter. For I did not suffer as an evil-doer, nor as a busy-body in other men's matter, nor as a murderer.
After staying at home about nine or ten months, I was constrained to travel abroad again; so I took shipping at New York for Boston. When I arrived there, I began preaching the everlasting gospel, and found the Lord blessed and owned my feeble endeavours. But I was not contented to stay here above three or four months, being still constrained to go farther, to see how the people lived in the other parts of the world, and to preach the gospel unto them. I accordingly embarked at Boston for Amsterdam, in Holland; and there I preached the gospel for one
year, which was the whole time I stayed there; and I preached the gospel unto them, in their own language; and the Lord crowned my feeble endeavours, and blessed them by his Spirit.
From Amsterdam I went to Rotterdam, and tarried about two months and a half, preaching the gospel, and I thank God that my labours were not in vain, for I saw some of the fruit of my labour, and the people treated me very kindly.
From thence I took shipping, and went to Helder, about a hundred miles from Hamburgh, and stayed there about two months; here I also found prosperity.
At Helder I embarked for Boston, in North America, and arrived there in safety. I continued two years and a half at Boston preaching the word of life, which was crowned with abundant success and prosperity, many of the people there being convinced, and converted to God.
After that I was constrained by the love of God to take another journey abroad, and I went from Boston to New Orleans, and remained there three months, striving by all possible means, with God's assistance, to do good, but all was in vain, for the people were like those of Sodom and Gomorrah, for it appeared that they neither feared God, nor regarded man. Sunday was their greatest holiday; for they were singing, dancing, playing at billiards, cards, and dice, and every evil thing that could be mentioned, was committed on the Sabbath-day. There were very few persons that had any religion whatever, only here and there one that was a little serious, which grieved me so much, that I could not content myself to stay at New Orleans any longer, because of the unbelief of the people. Jesus himself declares that when he went into a certain place, he did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief; and he departed and went into another country. He also gave commission to his disciples that whatsoever country or house they
went into, they should say, "Peace be unto this house." And if the son of peace was in the house, their peace would abide upon them; but if not, their peace would return to them again. And, whatsoever house would not receive them, they should shake off the dust of their feet, as a testimony against the people. And thus it was with me, for I did not abide at New Orleans; but by the assistance of God, I took a ship, and sailed for Liverpool, and we had a pleasant voyage thither. But, on the passage, one evening, the captain had forgotten to order his officers to take in a single reef in the top-sails of the ship, as had been done every night, though the weather was ever so fine; so the captain asked me, as I was going upon deck, to tell the mate to go down into the cabin. I accordingly told the mate, and he went down to the captain, who asked him if he had ordered the sailors to take in a single reef into the top-sails, as usual. The mate told him no, for as the weather appeared so fine, he thought it not necessary. But the captain said it did not signify how fine the weather was, he desired it might be done, for he did not know what the weather might be before the morning. This was about the dusk of the evening, when the sailors were in their beds; the mate therefore called them to turn out, to take in a single reef in the top-sails; the sailors grumbled very much, and said there was not wind enough to carry the ship two knots an hour, but they were obliged to do it, whether they liked it or not, which made some of them curse and swear bitterly. Particularly one young man, about nineteen or twenty years of age, for he wished that the vessel might sink, that we might all go to hell together. I could not then help speaking unto him, and asked him if he were not ashamed to talk in such a manner, and what he thought would become of himself. He said unto me, "I do not want any of your preaching, for I am willing to go to hell for my part." One of the sailors
said unto him in a jesting manner, "Why, then, you do not care if we all go to hell." The young man said no, for he was willing to go. He put on his jacket, and went upon deck, in order to go up on the main top-sail yard-arm, and was the first there; but no sooner had he got on the yard-arm, than he was struck with the DART OF DEATH, and fell into the water without a groan or struggle, and sunk as if he had been a stone, not having time enough to say, The Lord have mercy upon me; for we were all eye-witnesses of it, and could not say any otherwise, but that he had his desire fulfilled.
I engaged myself at New Orleans as steward and cook of this ship, in order to get to Liverpool: and I thanked the Lord that we all arrived in safety at Liverpool, except the young man above-mentioned.
When I arrived at Liverpool, I could not forget God's promises to his people if they were obedient, that he would send blessings upon them, that there should not be room enough to receive them; as the Scriptures saith, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, If I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground: neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed." Malachi iii. 10, 11, 12.
But, on the contrary, if they were disobedient, God hath said, "But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant; I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror,
consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you, according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high-ways shall be desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of your enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and
my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I have also walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they
despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the Lord." Leviticus xxvi. 14--45.
Dear reader, how well would it be for us, and all mankind, to confess unto God our sins and our wickedness, and return and repent of our iniquities, that God may have mercy upon us, and forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness; that we might not be cut off from the land of the living; as that young man was on board of the ship in which I went to Liverpool. That was for our example, that we should not follow his wicked ways, either by life or conversation, but that we should repent and believe the gospel, that our souls might be saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by faith in his precious blood; that we might be holy in all conversation, while we are tabernacling in this vale of tears, and that our speech might be seasoned with divine grace.
This is the way I spoke to the people when I arrived at Liverpool, and they gladly received me as a brother in Christ, and believed the exhortation which I gave them.
During my stay at Liverpool, they provided me a place to preach in, which was in Byram Street. I was as plain with them as God was pleased to give me ability, by his blessed Spirit, preaching the everlasting gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; for "I would not have them to be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the
cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say." 1 Cor. x. 1--15.
Thus I endeavoured, by the grace of God, to shew the people, that most men and women were baptized in different churches and in different manners, under a great cloud of witnesses; and have passed through seas of troubles and difficulties; and did eat of that spiritual bread of life, which is the word of God; and did all drink of that spiritual drink, the waters which cometh from the throne of God. But with many of them God was not well pleased; but overthrew them in this world: for some of them were mockers, scoffers, drunkards, whoremongers, idolaters,
swearers, backbiting their neighbours, and some their own brothers and sisters, yea even their fathers and mothers. But to speak plain, and be candid with you, I would ask, if it is not so now-a-day, amongst us? You hear the husband abusing his wife for seeming to take a little of this spiritual drink, which is faith in the blood of our blessed Redeemer. On the other hand, you will see the woman mocking and scoffing at her husband, if he appears rather inclined to be baptized in the blood of the Saviour, to be purged from dead works, and from sin and wickedness.
My dear reader might be one of these characters, but I hope not, for unless you repent and become baptized into Jesus's favour, and be, by him, washed and cleansed from dead works, which is sin and wickedness, before another day appears to your eyes, you might be cut down as cumberers of God's holy ground, and be added unto the number of the three-and-twenty thousand, who fell in one day for their sins and abominations. But if you should be baptized with the baptism of Christ, by his Spirit resting and abiding in the altar of your heart, it will convince you that no other baptism will avail you any thing, but the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth from all sin.
My young friends, I would intreat of you, by the grace of God, to examine yourselves, and search the bottom of your heart, to know if you are one of those rebellious children. Dost thou love thy father and mother? or dost thou curse and hate them? If thou curse and hate them, consider thou art cursing and hating thy maker; for before thou wast made, God made thy parents; and, did he not make thee? Yea, he did, for He is the maker of us all; and there is nothing made, but what was made by the immediate hand of God; and as he is able to make alive, is he not also able to kill? Yes, my dear reader, consider but for a moment, that if the Lord was able to kill three-and-twenty thousand in one day, he will not be
one moment in taking thy life. For, in the twinkling of an eye, the breath which we now breathe, is taken from us; and, if we are not baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, we cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Perhaps some of you may be enquiring what you should do; I would answer you in the words of our Saviour, where it is said, "And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized. and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages." Luke iii. 10--14.
It pleased God to send the Spirit of his Son into my heart, to bear witness with my spirit that I was a child of God, and that he had chosen me out of the world; therefore the world hated me, because I was not of the world; but they who were of God loved me, because that God had loved them first, and had shed abroad in their hearts the love of his Son, that they should love one another, even as God hath given us commandment. Thus did the people of Liverpool, for they showed me great kindness beyond measure, by God's assisting of them by his blessed Spirit: he that had two coats gave me one, and he that had meat did the same; and God crowned my feeble endeavours with great success, and gave me many seals to my ministry, and souls for my hire.
On taking my farewell of the people at Liverpool, after I had been there about five months, preaching the everlasting gospel, and ministering the ordinances of our blessed Lord and Saviour, which was the third time I had been to Liverpool, I said unto them,
"Now, my dear and beloved friends in Christ, I am about to leave you in body, but I hope not in spirit; for I trust we shall see each other (who are followers of Christ) and that we shall meet in heaven around his throne: where parting shall be no more, where all trials and troubles shall have an end, where sorrow and sighing shall flee away, where the tears shall be for ever wiped from our eyes, where our wearied souls shall be at rest, where the wicked shall cease troubling us, and where our souls shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and join with all the host of heaven, in singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, hallelujahs, and praises unto God for ever and ever."
I then embarked at Liverpool for Newberry Port, in North America, and, thank God, we arrived in safety. I did not tarry at Newberry Port because I had some business to transact at Boston; where I arrived in safety, and settled my affairs, by God's assistance. I also met with many brothers and sisters in Christ, who were glad for my arrival. I stayed at Boston about three months, preaching the gospel of our blessed Jesus, and him crucified; and blessed and praised be God, my labours were not in vain, for many were alarmed and awaked out of their sleep of carnal security, turned from the evil of their ways, and walked in Christ the good old way to eternal joy, many souls were edified, and God glorified.
It appeared that God had greater work for me to do, and to go through many trials and tribulations, for it is through them that we are to enter the kingdom of God. After I had been at Boston three months and a half, I was constrained by the Spirit of God, to take a journey into a foreign country; so I took my leave from the people at Boston, who were sorry to part with me, so we parted with each other in body, but not in mind; and sung the following hymn:
We part in body, not in mind;
Our minds continue one;
And each to each in Jesus join'd,
We hand in hand go on.
Subsists as in us all one soul,
No power can make us twain;
And mountains rise and oceans roll,
To sever us in vain.
Present we still in spirit are,
And intimately nigh;
While on the wings of faith and prayer,
We each to other fly.
In Jesus Christ together we
In heavenly places sit:
Cloth'd with the sun, we smile to see
The moon beneath our feet.
Our life is hid with Christ in God:
Our life shall soon appear,
And shed his glory all abroad,
In all his members here.
The heavenly treasure now we have
In a vile house of clay:
But he shall to the utmost save,
And keep us to that day.
Our souls are in his mighty hand,
And he shall keep them still;
And you and I shall surely stand
With him on Sion's hill!
Him eye to eye we there shall see;
Our face like his shall shine:
O what a glorious company,
When saints and angels join!
O what a joyful meeting there!
In robes of white array'd,
Palms in our hands we all shall bear
And crowns upon our head.
Then let us lawfully contend,
And fight our passage through;
Bear in our faithful minds the end,
And keep the prize in view.
Then let us hasten to the day,
When all shall be brought home!
Come, O Redeemer, come away!
O Jesus, quickly come!
God of all consolation, take
The glory of thy grace!
Thy gifts to thee we render back,
In ceaseless songs of praise.
Thro' thee we now together came,
In singleness of heart;
We met, O Jesus, in thy name,
And in thy name we part.
By the assistance of God, I took ship at Boston for Venneliea, in the East Indies; not to please myself, but for the glory of God, and the good of souls; as the Scriptures saith, "Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof. If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." I Cor. x. 24, to the end.
This was my motive in going to the East Indies, that whatsoever I did, to do it for the honour and glory of God; not to seek mine own interest, but the interest of my Lord and Master Jesus Christ; not for the honour and riches of this world, but the riches and honours of that which is to come: I say, not for the riches of this world, which fadeth away; neither
for the glory of man; nor for golden treasure; but my motive and great concern was for the sake of my Lord and Master, who went about doing good, in order to save poor wicked and sinful creatures.
We had a good passage to Venneliea, but were not permitted to land, although the ship remained there a fortnight. We then received orders to sail to Buones Ayres, where we arrived all safe and well, excepting me, for I was ill a fortnight with pains in my legs. We laid at Buones Ayres about eight months, but I had not the pleasure of preaching the gospel there, on account of the war between the Spaniards and the English; it was the period that General Achmet took Monte Video, and General Whitelock came to assist him with his army. So I still continued preaching on board of our own ship, by God's assistance.
During the time we laid there, one of the sailors, a young man about eighteen or nineteen years of age, having considerable property on board of the ship, which he wanted to smuggle on shore, (which indeed was the traffic of the whole ship's crew, both officers and men) was boasting of his money, and that he would go on shore, and get intoxicated, and when we got to our destined port, he would visit every place of riot and vice. So I said unto him, "You had better think about a dying hour; for though you are young you must die, and you do not know how soon; for there is nothing more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than life." But he said, that he did not want any of my preaching, and that he should live till we arrived at our destined port, and enjoy his pleasure; but to his great surprise he never lived to see it, for that same day he went to go on shore, and from our ship he went alongside of another, when he fell out of the boat, and sunk immediately, not having time to say one word; the whole of the ship's company being eye-witnesses of it. That ship's name was The Arrow of Boston, in North America;
and the ship to which he and I belonged, was The Prince of Boston, in North America. We remained at Buones Ayres eight months, when all the vessels that were there, were ordered to the different ports to which they belonged: we accordingly made for Boston, where we all safely arrived, except the young man who was drowned.
I had engaged myself on board of the above ship, as cook, for seventeen Spanish dollars per month, in order that I should not be burdensome to the church of God; and this was the way I acted whenever I travelled; for, as St. Paul saith, "I would rather labour with my hands than be burdensome to the church."
When we arrived at Boston I was involved in trouble by the captain wanting to wrong me out of my wages, for he entered a law-suit against me in order to cast me into prison; but thank God it was not in his power, for "There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" and this the captain found to his sorrow, for God, by his blessed Spirit, delivered me out of his hands, and from the power of the law; the captain and mates having to pay all costs and charges of the court, for injuring my character, which amounted to two thousand dollars for the captain; eight hundred for the chief mate; and eight hundred for the second mate. The amount of which, a man, whom I took for my friend, received for me, and went away with, and I never saw him any more, which distressed me greatly.
The remainder of my troubles and distresses during my stay in the West Indies, in the different islands, and also in the State of Virginia and Baltimore, where I was put in prison, and they strove to make me a slave, (for it was a slave country) were very severe but God delivered me by his grace, for he has promised to be with us in six troubles, and in the seventh he will not leave us nor forsake us; and that there
shall be nothing to harm or hurt us, if we are followers of that which is good. By these promises I was encouraged not to repine at the losses and crosses I had met with.
I staid at Boston about four months, and preached the gospel there with great success, by the aid and assistance of God's Spirit. After that time I had a desire to go to Ireland to preach the gospel; so I parted with the dear people at Boston in body, but not in mind, our minds continuing one, for it grieved them a great deal that I would go from them, but I was constrained by the Spirit of God, although I had not forgotten the troubles and difficulties that God had brought me through; for I was ready to join with the poet, and say,
Come all ye weary travellers,
And let us join and sing,
The everlasting praises
Of Jesus Christ our King;
We've had a tedious journey,
And tiresome, it is true;
But see how many dangers
The Lord has brought us through.
At first when Jesus found us,
He call'd us unto him,
And pointed out the dangers
Of falling into sin;
The world, the flesh, and Satan,
Will prove to us a snare,
Except we do reject them,
By faith and humble prayer.
But by our disobedience,
With sorrow we confess,
We long have had to wander
In a dark wilderness;
Where we might soon have fainted,
In that enchanted ground,
But now and then a cluster
Of pleasant grapes we found.
The pleasant road to Canaan
Brings life, and joy, and peace,
Revives our drooping spirits,
And faith and love increase.
We own our Lord and Master,
And run at his command,
And hasten on our journey
Unto the promis'd land.
In faith, in hope, in patience,
We now are going on,
The pleasant road to Canaan,
Where Jesus Christ is gone:
In peace and consolation,
We're going to rejoice,
And Jesus and his people
Shall ever be our choice.
Sinners! why stand ye idle,
While we do march along?
Has conscience never told you
That you are going wrong?
Down the broad road to ruin,
To bear an endless curse;--
Forsake your ways of sinning,
And go along with us.
But if you do refuse us,
We'll bid you now farewell,
We're on the road to Canaan,
And you the way to hell;
We're sorry thus to leave you,
And rather you would go;
Come, try a bleeding Saviour,
And feel salvation flow.
Oh! sinners be alarmed,
To see your dismal state;
Repent and be converted,
Before it is too late;
Turn to the Lord by praying,
And daily search his word,
And never rest contented
Until you find the Lord.
Now to the King immortal,
Be everlasting praise,
For in his holy service,
We mean to spend our days;
Till we arrive at Canaan,
That heav'nly world above,
With celestial praises,
Sing his redeeming love.
Farewell to sin and sorrow,
I bid you all adieu;
And you my friends prove faithful,
And on your ways pursue:
And if you meet with troubles,
And trials in your way;
Then cast your care on Jesus,
And do not forget to pray.
He never will upbraid you,
Tho' often you request;
Will give you grace to consider
And take you home to rest.
I therefore embarked at Boston for Ireland, and arrived safe at Limerick, where the brethren and sisters in Christ gladly received me. The prosperity of the work of the Lord in this place, was a memorial, like unto the day of Pentecost; for God showered down righteousness into the hearts of the people in copious showers, so that many of the people thought that miracles were wrought, by the weak instrumentality of my preaching the everlasting gospel. By this means the fame of my preaching spread through the country, even from Limerick to Cork. I preached in Limerick and in the country villages round, and by the Spirit of God, many people were convinced and converted. I also preached to the regiment, at the request of the commanding officer and the mayor of Limerick. The mayor was so kind as to go with me to protect me from the Romans; for they were very much inveterated against me, and said they would have my life. And when the mayor did not go with me, a guard of soldiers was sent. By the command of the mayor and the commanding officer, five of the Roman priests were brought before them, and ordered to give a reason why they were so malicious against me. They could only say, that I would not believe their doctrine, neither would they believe mine; and one of the head priests said, that I was going to hell. The mayor and commanding officer then said, that they would defy any person in Limerick to dispute my doctrine, Then three of the priests said unto them, "We cannot deny or dispute his doctrine." They then went out full of rage and fury, and determined to lay in wait for my life. After this I had greater success than ever, although running greater hazard of losing my life, but I said,
I am not ashamed to own my Lord,
Nor to defend his cause;
Maintain the honour of his word,
The glory of his erose.
Jesus, my God, I know his name,
His name is all my trust;
Nor will he put my soul to shame,
Nor let my hope be lost.
Firm as his throne his promise stands,
And he can well secure,
What I have committed to his hands,
Till the decisive hour.
Thus I spoke in the name of Jesus. After having preached a month, three Protestant ministers came to visit me, and to discourse on the doctrines of election and reprobation, at the house of Mr. Wawy, not far from the custom-house, in Limerick, where I was staying. They came three days following, with their bibles, and as many as fifteen people with them, to hear them discourse with me on the subject. They asked me what my opinion was of election and reprobation. I told them that my opinion was, that every person might be elected by the grace of God, through the Spirit of the Lord: for "By grace are ye saved; and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God." And that my opinion of reprobation was, that they who believed not, should be damned; Mark xvi. 16. They then said unto me, "Do you not know that God hath a chosen and peculiar people, whom he hath foreknown, elected, and predestinated? and that they are his peculiar people and his royal priesthood?" I answered, "Yes; I have heard and read it." Then said they, "Do not you recollect that God hath made some vessels to honour, and some to dishonour; some to be saved, and some to be damned? and that we were all in the hands of God as clay in the hands of the potter?" I then said unto them, "I perceive that you are of a cavilling principle, but I will not argue and cavil on the principles of religion; for where argument and strife is there is confusion and every evil work, which is not of God, but the devil; for as the Scriptures saith, "Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge? Let him shew out of a good conversation, his works with
meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envyings and strife in your hearts; glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish: for where envying and strife is there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated; full of mercy and good fruits; without partiality and without hypocrisy; and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." Therefore I said unto them "I will not argue with you at all; will you make out God to be the author of sin and wickedness, as you are yourselves? Do you not recollect that God made all things, made them good, and blessed them? and that God made man after his own lovely image and likeness, crowned him with honour and glory, made him but a little lower than the angels, gave him power over the whole creation, and over every thing that liveth, creepeth, and groweth on the face of the earth, and the earth and the fullness thereof? And how is it you say, that there is a certain number to be saved, and a certain number to be lost? Are you so ignorant that you do not know your own bibles? to know what God saith in the first chapter of Genesis, from the twenty-sixth verse to the end? "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is
the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
But should any of my readers be ready to say, How then is man deprived of this great happiness? I answer, By believing the Devil rather than God; for which he was driven out of Paradise: For God had given man a strict charge, and made a covenant with him, that if he broke this covenant by eating of the forbidden fruit, he should lose the happiness of his soul. But, "The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat." Genesis iii. 4, 5, 6. Hereby they disobeyed God, and lost the happiness of their souls, which was their life: for they had no more union and communion with God, being driven out of Paradise.
This was the case with the man of God that disobeyed God by eating and drinking in the place where God had forbidden him.
This was also the case with the Jews, who were the chosen and elect people of God; for he hath declared because of their unbelief, they should not enter into his rest, although it was appointed for them from the foundation of the world; as the Scriptures saith, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us, of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached
did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Hebrews iv. 1--6, 11. By which it is evident, if we believe we shall enter in, and if we believe not we shall not enter into that rest which remaineth for the people of God.
This was likewise the case with the Israelites, whom the Lord saved and brought safe out of the land of Egypt, but afterwards destroyed them that believed not; as the Scriptures saith, "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but
what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those, things they corrupt themselves." Jude 5--10.
Thus I spoke unto the ministers, and said, "May the Lord change your hearts, your minds, and your thoughts; and give you a better understanding of his blessed word." Now they were contending with me three days, at the end of which time they were convinced by the word of God, and his Holy Spirit, that they were wrong and that I was right. They then gave me the right hand of fellowship, we joined in prayer with each other, shook hands, and parted in love and friendship. I remained two years in Ireland, preaching the gospel, until the year 1805; when I was constrained by the love of God to leave these beloved people, who were very sorry to part with me.
Before my departure from Ireland, I took to me a partner in life, who is still alive and with me. Her name is Mary Jea, a native of Ireland. This was my third time of marriage. My second wife died a natural death, while I was at Holland; she was a Malteese woman; and her name was Charity Jea. My first wife's name was Elizabeth Jea, of whom mention has been made before. I have had several children, none of whom are alive, but I hope they are all in heaven, where I expect to see them, by the grace of God, and spend an endless day of praise around his dazzling throne, where parting shall be no more for ever.
I and my wife accordingly took ship at the Cove Cork for St. John's in Hallifax; but after we were on board, we found we were obliged to come to England, to take convoy from Portsmouth. When we arrived at Portsmouth, my wife was taken ill; and the friends in Christ thought it necessary that she should remain until her health was restored, and then to follow me, or else for me to return for her. But to our sad disappointment we set sail from Portsmouth in the evening with a breeze of wind, which lasted till near the morning, when about eight or nine o'clock we
were becalmed; and as we were laying to becalmed off Torbay, about five or six miles from the land of Torbay, and striving to get up with the convoy, we were taken by a French privateer, who carried us into Pampoole in France. Our vessel was the brig Iscet of Liverpool, HENRY PATTERSON, Master.
After we landed at Pampoole, we were marched to Cambria, which was seven hundred miles from Pampoole. After a long march we arrived safe at Cambria, after many severe troubles and trials Here I remained five years in the prison at that place; and was constrained by the love of God to preach to the people there, the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ, and God was pleased to crown my feeble endeavours with great success; and, in eighteen months, the Lord was pleased to add to my number two hundred souls; the number of the people in the prison was about three thousand: and I had liberty from the commissary general of the Depot, to preach to all of them.
After I had been there eighteen months, orders came from the minister of Paris, that all who were called Americans, were to go away; we were accordingly marched away to Brest, seven hnndred miles from Cambria; and all the dear prisoners in the depot were very sorry to part with me, the same as if I had been their own father; but I was forced to go. This was the Lord's doings and it was marvellous in our eyes. I told them that God had promised me in his word that he would deliver me from all my enemies, both temporal and spiritual, by his blessed Spirit; but they would not believe me, until they saw me going away; they then were exceedingly sorrowful, and made a subscription for me, which amounted to about nine crowns. On the morning before I went away, I preached my farewell sermon; which was from the 2 Cor. xiii. 11. "Finally, brethren, farewel. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
We arrived safe at Brest, thanks be to God, but we had great trials and difficulties on our march thither, being obliged to walk without shoes, and having no more provisions than what we could buy by our scanty allowance, which was a half-penny per mile; and when our feet were so sore that we could not march, we were not allowed any thing. Some of us had no clothes to cover our nakedness; and our lodgings at nights were in barns and cow-houses, and we were obliged to lay down the same as beasts, and indeed not so comfortable, for we were not allowed straw nor any thing else to lay on.
As soon as we arrived at Brest we were sent on board of a French corvette, under American colours, to go and fight against the English, but twenty, out of near two hundred that were sent on board, would not enlist under the banner of the tyrants of this world; for far be it from me ever to fight against Old England, unless it be with the sword of the gospel, under the captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ. Those of us who would not fight against the English, were sent on board of a French man of war, that they should punish us, but they would not, but sent us to Morlaix, about thirty miles from Brest, where they put us in prison, and kept us upon bread and water for a fortnight, then all the rest consented to go back on board of the corvette, rather than be sent again to the depot, for we were to be sent back loaded with chains, and under joint arms. I was the only one that stood out; and I told them I was determined not to fight against any one and that I would rather suffer any thing than do it. They said they would send me back to Cambria, and they would keep me upon bread and water, until the wars were over. I said I was willing to suffer any thing, rather than fight. They then took me before the council and the head minister of the Americans, to examine me. They asked me which I liked to do, to go back to the ship, or to be marched to Cambria. I
told them they might send me on board of the vessel, if they liked; but if they did I was determined not to do any work, for I would rather suffer any thing than fight or kill any one. They then consulted together what they should do with me; and made up their minds to turn me out of prison. The head minister then asked me what I was at, that I would not fight for my country. I told him that I was not an American, but that I was a poor black African, a preacher of the gospel. He said, "Cannot you go on board, and preach the gospel there?"--"No, Sir," said I, "it is a floating hell, and therefore I cannot preach there." Then said the council, "We will cool your Negro temper, and will not suffer any of your insolence in our office." So they turned me out of their office; and said that I had liberty to go any where in the town, but not out of the town; that they would not give me any work, provisions, or lodgings, but that I should provide it myself. Thus was I left upon the mercy of God, but was enabled to cast my care and dependence on the Lord Jesus; for he has promised to deliver those who call upon him in the time of trouble; and I did call upon him in the time of my trouble and distress, and he delivered me.
I was two days without food, walking about without any home, and I went into the hospitals, gaols, and open streets, preaching the gospel unto every creature, as Christ hath commanded us.
Thus I went about preaching the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Often, at the conclusion of my sermons, many of the nobility and gentry came to me, and said, "We are much edified by your preaching; when do you preach again?" I told them, in the mornings at nine o'clock, and in the afternoons at three, by God's assistance. Thus I did both Sundays and other days, when the weather would permit, during the time I was at Morlaix.
It pleased God to raise up a friend unto me on the
second day of my distress, after I was turned out of Morlaix prison into the streets, by order of the American counsellor Mr. Dyeott, and Mr. Veal the American minister of France. The French commissary-general gave me liberty to preach every where God would permit me; so I went on in the name of the Lord, preaching and exhorting the people to put their trust in the Lord, and serve him truly with fear, reverence, and godly sincerity. This dear friend, whom God was pleased to raise up unto me, was so alarmed by my preaching, that he was constrained by the love of God to come and speak unto me, and asked me where I lived. I told him no where. He asked me if I had any place to stay at. I told him no; for I had been turned out of prison two days, and was not suffered to work, and was not allowed to go farther than the bounds of the town; that I might humble myself to the order of the American counsellor, to go on board of the corvette, to fight against the English. Thus they strove to punish me; but it was utterly in vain, for this friend took me to his house and family; his family consisted of a wife and four children; who received me into their house as an angel of God, and gave me food, raiment, and lodging, for fourteen months, and charged me nothing for it, but said, that the Lord would repay then seven-fold for what they had done. Thus they gladly received me into their house, as Lot did the angels, Genesis xix.
But Mr. Dyeott, the American counsellor, told the people that received me into their house, that they should turn me out of doors, in order that I should go on board of the corvette, to fight against England; and if they would not order me out of their house, they should not have any satisfaction for what they were doing for me; for they were preventing me from going on board the corvette. Thus he endeavoured to lay every obstacle in my way, by trying to prevent those people from doing for me; but the dear man and woman
said, that if no person satisfied them for their doings, God would, and as for me I should not perish, for as long as they had a mouthful of victuals, I should have part of it, and such as they had I should be welcome to, the same as their own children. Some said that I was imposing on these people, for Mr. Tangey had only one shilling and three-pence per day, which he earned by hard labour, and said it would be far better for me to go on board of the corvette, for thereby I should be enabled to obtain a great sum of prize-money. But I told them, as I had Mr. Dyeott, that I would not go on board if they would give me a guinea for every breath I drew, and that I would sooner starve and die first, than I would go on board; and that if they carried me on board in irons I would lay there and die before I would do the least work. I had been on board four weeks before, laying upon the bare deck, without bed or blankets; and I counted it a floating hell, for the evil language of the officers and sailors, continually cursing and swearing; and my humble supplications and petitions were unto God that he would deliver me from this vessel; and God did deliver me.
Some persons said unto those of the house where I was staying, that they were wrong in keeping me, but they would not hearken unto them, and kept me, until peace was proclaimed between France and Great Britain, and all the soldiers were out of France. I then made application to Mr. Dyeott for a passport to England, but he denied me, and said that he would keep me in France until he could send me to America, for he said that I was an American, that I lied in saying I was married in England, and that I was no African. I told him with a broken heart, and crying, that I was an African, and that I was married in England. But he contradicted me three times. When I told the people where I lived, they said that he was rich, and that it was impossible for me to get clear, and asked me if
I thought I should. I told them yes, for all things were possible with God, and to him that believed all things were possible, and according to our faith it should be unto us; and my faith was such, that I believed God would deliver me.
A captain of an English ship of war, laying at Morlaix, advised me to go to the French commissary, to get a passport to England, and that if I succeeded, he would take me in his ship. Accordingly I went to the French commissary, who sent me to the mayor, and I asked him if his honour would have the goodness to grant me a passport to England, to see my wife. The mayor answered and said unto me; "You must go to Mr. Dyeott, the American counsellor, to get a passport." I said unto him, "Sir, it is no use; I have been to him three times and he pushed me out of doors, and would not suffer me to speak to him." Then the mayor said, "Stop a moment, and I will send a letter to him;" he then wrote a letter, and gave it me, saying, "Take this to Mr. Dyeott." I accordingly carried the letter to Mr. Dyeott, who opened the letter and read it; after he had so done, he said unto me, "Had you the impudence to go to the mayor?" I said, "Yes, sir, for I was compelled to do it." He then took me by the shoulders, and pushed me out of doors, and said that he would keep me as long as he possibly could. I then returned to the house where I lived, crying and mourning, and my spirit within me was troubled; and the people asked me what made me cry. I told them that I had been to the counsellor, and he would not let me go, and said that he would keep me as long as he could. They said it was what they expected. I said that God had told me to call upon him in the time of trouble, and he would deliver me. So I passed that night in fasting and prayer unto God, and wrestled with him as Jacob did with the angel; and blessed be God, I did prevail. I went to the mayor in the morning, and asked him if Mr. Dyeott
had said any thing to him concerning me. He said no; and asked me what Mr. Dyeott said unto me. I said that he would not give me any thing, for he would not suffer me to work, or to go to England; but said he would keep me perishing in France, until he could send me to America. The mayor said, "Stop awhile, and I will send a gentleman with you to Mr. Dyeott." The gentleman accordingly went with me to him, and asked him what he meant to do with me. He said that he meant to keep me, and send me to America, for I was an American. The gentleman then said, "You must not keep this poor black man in this manner; you have kept him already fourteen months without food or employment; and if he be an American, why do you not give him American support?" He said, "Because he will not go on board the vessel I have provided for him." At that moment the mayor came in, and said, "What do you mean to do with this man?" He said, "I mean to keep him in France until I can send him to America." The mayor said, "You cannot keep him in this manner, you must give him a passport to England." But he said he would not. The mayor said if he would not, he would; and told me to come with him to his office: I went with him, and he gave me a passport to embark at St. Maloes on board of any vessel that was going to England.
As I was going to St. Maloes I met with an English captain, whose brig was laying at Morlaix, and he said that he was going to Guernsey, in three hours time; and as he had heard me preach at Morlaix, he would give me my passage for nothing.
Then I told the dear people at the house where I had lived, who were exceedingly glad, and thankful to God for my deliverance. I also was thankful to God our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that brotherly love had continued.
I arrived safe at Guernsey, and brotherly love did not withdraw itself from me there, for the brethren in
Christ gladly received me, and gave me the right-hand of fellowship, treated me as a brother, and gave me liberty to preach in the different chapels; and I can say with truth, there was no chapel large enough to hold the congregations. I remained there fifteen days, and during that time there were many souls convinced and converted to God. After that I departed from them in the Guernsey packet, for Southampton, and they furnished me with every thing convenient for me; and thank God, I arrived there in safety, and was cordially received by the brethren, who gave me the use of their chapels to preach in, and much good was done during my stay. They kindly furnished me with every thing that was necessary. But I did not stay there any more than four days, because I wanted to come to Portsmouth. I arrived safe at Portsmouth, and found my wife well, which I bless God for; I was gladly received by the brethren in Christ, and preached for several of them; and I can say with truth, that all those who have received me in the name of Christ, are brethren unto me, and I pray that the Lord will bless them, and give them all a happy admittance into his kingdom, there to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, for ever and ever.
My dear reader, I would now inform you, that I have stated this in the best manner I am able, for I cannot write, therefore it is not quite so correct as if I had been able to have written it myself; not being able to notice the time and date when I left several places, in my travels from time to time, as many do when they are travelling; nor would I allow alterations to be made by the person whom I employed to print this Narrative.
Now, dear reader, I trust by the grace of God, that the small house in Hawk Street, which the Lord hath been pleased to open unto me, for the public worship of his great and glorious name, will be filled with converts, and that my feeble labours will be crowned with abundant success.
COME, O thou Traveller unknown,
Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone,
And I am left alone with thee:
With thee all night I mean to stay,
And wrestle till the break of day.
I need not tell thee who I am;
My misery and sin declare:
Thyself hast call'd me by my name;
Look on thy hands, and read it there:
But who, I ask thee, who art thou?
Tell me thy Name, and tell me now.
In vain thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold,
Art thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of thy love unfold:
Wrestling I will not let thee go,
Till I thy Name, thy Nature know.
Wilt thou not yet to me reveal
Thy new, unutterable Name?
Tell me, I still beseech thee, tell;
To know it now, resolv'd I am:
Wrestling I will not let thee go,
Till I thy Name, thy Nature know.
What though my shrinking flesh complain,
And murmur to contend so long?
I rise superior to my pain:
When I am weak, then I am strong:
And when my all of strength shall fail,
I shall with the God-man prevail.
Williams, Printer and Book-binder, 143 Queen Street, Portsea.