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Having now, I dare say, had enough of ghostesses, I will proceed with my narration.
During the time that I lived with the baker, my name became so celebrated for selling a large number of pies, puddings, &c. that for several years following, application was made to my father, for him to permit me to sell almanacks a few market days before and after Christmas. In this employ I took great delight, the country people being highly pleased with me, and purchasing a great number of my almanacks, which excited envy in the itinerant venders of Moore, Wing, Poor Robin, &c. to such a degree, that my father often expressed his anxiety lest they should some way or other do me a mischief. But I had not the least concern, for possessing a light pair of heels, I always kept at a proper distance.
O, my friend, little did I imagine at that time, that I should ever excite the same poor mean spirit in many of the booksellers of London and other places ! But,
“ Envy at last crawls forth, from hell's dire throng,
The true condition of Envy is,
Our eyes continually fix'd upon another
And to grieve at that.” I was fourteen years and a half old when I went with my father to work at Taunton, seven miles from Wellington. We had been there about a fortnight, when my father informed our master, George Bowden, that he would return to Wellington again. Mr Bowden was then pleased to inform my father that he had taken a liking to me, and proposed taking me apprentice, I seconded Mr Bowden's motion (having a better prospect in continuing with Mr Bowden than in returning to Wellington with my father,) as he offered to take me without any premium, and to find me in everything. My father accepted his offer, and I was immediately bound apprentice for seven years to Mr George and Mrs Mary Bowden, as honest and worthy a couple as ever carried on a trade.
“Religious, punctual, frugal, and so forth ; Their word would pass for more than they were worth.”
Pope. They carefully attended to their shop six days in the week, and on the seventh went with their family twice to an Anabaptist meeting ; where little attention was paid to speculative doctrines, but where sound morality was constantly inculcated.
“ For modes of faith let graceless zealots fight,
His can't be wrong whose life is in the right.” But in this, as in many other places of worship, it was performed in a dull spiritless manner, so that the excellent morality taught there was not so much attended to as it would have been had it been enforced, or re-enforced by the captivating powers of oratory.
I well remember, that although I constantly attended this place, it was a year or two before I took the least notice of the sermon which was read; nor had I any idea that I had the least concern in what
the minister was (as it is called) preaching about. For,
" Who a cold, dull, lifeless drawling keeps,
Sermons, like plays, some please us at the ear,
ART OF PREACHING.
I am, dear friend, yours.
Youth is the stock whence grafted superstition
-All must lament that he's under such banners, As evil community spoils our good manners."
DEAR FRIEND, At the time that I was bound apprentice, my master had two sons, the eldest about seventeen years old, the youngest fourteen. The eldest had just been baptized, and in troducedas a member of the Arianistical dipping community where my master and his family attended. The boy was a very sober indus
trious youth, and gave his father and mother much pleasure. The youngest was also a good lad. Thus everything continued well for some time after I had been added to the family. Both of the boys had very good natural parts, and had learned to read, write, keep accounts, &c. But they had been at schools where no variety of books had been introduced, so that all they had read was the bible. My master's whole library consisted of a school-size bible, Watts's Psalms and Hymns, Foot's Tract on Baptism, Culpepper's Herbal, the History of the Gentle Craft, an old imperfect volume of Receipts in Physic, Surgery, &c., and the Ready Reckoner. The ideas of the family were as circumscribed as their library. My master called attention to business and working hard,
minding the main chance.” On Sundays all went to meeting ; my master on that day said a short grace before dinner, and the boys read a few chapters in the bible, took a walk for an hour or two, then read a chapter or two more.
“ What right, what true, what fit we justly call,
And this was all our care--for this is all." They then supped, and went early to bed, perfectly satisfied with having done their duty; and each having a quiet conscience soon fell into the arms of “nature's soft nurse, sweet sleep."
66 And thus whatever be our station,
HORACE IMITATED. I cannot here omit mentioning a very singular custom of my master's: every morning, at all seasons of the year, and in all weathers, he rose about three o'clock, took a walk by the river side round Frenchware-field, stopped at an alehouse that was early open, to drink half a pint of ale, came back before six
o'clock, then called up his people to work, and went to bed again about seven.
Thus was the good man's family jogging easily and quietly on, no one doubting but he should go to heaven when he died, and every one hoping it would be a good while first.
“ A man should be religious, not superstitious.” But, alas! the dreadful crisis was at hand that put an end to the happiness and peace of this little family I had been an apprentice about twelve or fifteen months, when my master's eldest son George happened to go and hear a sermon by one of Mr Wesley's preachers, and who had left the plough-tail to preach the pure and unadulterated Gospel of Christ. By this sermon the fallow ground of poor George's heart was ploughed up, he was now persuaded that the innocent and good life he had led would only sink him deeper into hell; in short, he found out that he had never been converted, and of course was in a state of damnation ithout benefit of clergy. But he did not long continue in this damnable state, but soon became one of
-The sanctified band,
SIMKIN. He persuaded himself that he had passed through the new birth, and was quite sure that his name was registered in the Book of Life, and (to the great grief of his parents) he was in reality become a new creature. 16 'Twas methodistic grace that made him toss and tumble, Which in his entrails did like jalap rumble.”
Ovid's Epist. Burlesqued. George had no sooner made things sure for himself, than he began to extend his concern to his father, mother, brother, and me; and very kindly gave us to understand that he was sure we were in a very deplorable state, “ without hope, and without