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practised there did not furnish that edification and comfort which his soul longed for; yet his regard for, and sense of duty to his tenderly affectionate mother, made the thoughts of separating from her, in the solemn and important duty of public worship, very trying to him ; though at times, when present with her, he was so much distressed, and felt such strong convictions that he was not in his proper place, that, to use his own words, his knees have been ready to smite together.
In reference to this season of his early* and Divine visitation, in a conversation with a religious person, not a member of the Society of Friends, a few years before his decease, he feelingly remarked, that he had never since, for a moment, had to doubt the certainty or the source of those convictions which were thus, at a very early age, so remarkably and so indelibly stamped on his mind; that shortly afterwards, he attended meeting of the people called Quakers, at Morley, a village about two miles distant from his native place, where he found, publicly professed and advocated, as the principles of a religious community, doctrines consonant with the convictions which had operated so powerfully on his mind,
* The time of this remarkable visitation is not clearly. known, but from several circumstances which he has occasionally mentioned, it is probable that it was about his fourteenth or fifteenth year.
adding, that if he were only preserved in the way of his duty to the end, which then could be at no great distance, he should have cause to rejoice, and be thankful through eternity, that his lot had been cast amongst them.
It appears, by the records of Morley Monthly Meeting, that in the year 1762, in the twentieth year of his age, he applied for, and was received into membership by that Meeting For some years after his admission into the Society of Friends, he had to pass through many and deep baptisms, in being made willing to bear the cross patiently, and to become an humble follower of a crucified Redeemer; to renounce the world, with all its friendships and interests, the flesh, and the devil, and daily to make war in righteousness against the enemies of his soul's salvation—the pride and selfishness of his own heart.
He was often made sensible of the depravity of man, how prone he is to feed upon vanity and pride, and that even in his best pursuits ; and to seek his treasure and comforts from earthly things, instead of being willing to become as a strauger and a pilgrim on the earth ; but, by continuing in faithful obedience to the manifestations of that Divine light by which he had been early visited, he was often renewedly strengthened to offer up himself an unreserved sacrifice to the Divine disposal, and to petition the Father of all his mercies that he would sanctify the offering to
Himself. In the seasons of bis deepest temptations, he was made to believe that he was not wholly forsaken of his God; that He, who bad condescended to visit him when he was as one lost and blind, would not leave him, (if he continued faithful,) when he had become enamoured of His ways. After many proving seasons, he was brought to know an anchoring upon the everlasting Rock, Christ Jesus ; and it became more and more his delight to do the law of the Lord his God, and to live continually as in His holy presence. Thus he came to know the accuser to be cast down, and to experience the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
In 1763 he removed to London, as appears by a short letter, dated the 20th of the 9th Month in that year,
addressed to an intimate friend. From the circumstances in which his mother was left, by the death of his father, it may reasonably be concluded that his education was comparatively limited; but, however this might be, his removal to London greatly facilitated his access to books and the means of information ; and possessing a comprehensive understanding, he very much improved himself, during his residence there, in the knowledge of various branches of useful learning. The following account of his conduct when in London, being well authenticated, may be worthy of record. A relation, who accompanied him from the
country, and with whom he had joint lodgings, and bis oldest brother, an officer in the army, a man of talents and general knowledge, formed, for some time, nearly the extent of his acquaint
With these companions, who were his superiors in information and learning, and for whom he felt the attachment arising from relationship, he at times delighted to converse ; but, through Divine help, he inflexibly resisted all their persuasions and entreaties to deviate, in any one instance, from that steady and uniform religious practice of life and manners, which he had believed it to be his duty to adopt. He occasionally accompanied them in an evening's walk; but if they gave way to any levity of conduct, or turned aside into any tavern or place of diversion, he immediately left them, and returned to his lodgings.
He continued to reside in London about four years, living much retired ; yet he was known to some valuable Friends, by whom he was esteemed. In the latter part of the year 1767, he removed to Manchester, where he continued to reside to the end of his days.
On the 4th of 9th Montb, 1769, he married Martha, daughter of John Goodier, of Morley Meeting, by whom he had two sons—Samuel, who died in infancy, and John, who is now living. She was removed from him by death, after the short union of four years, which event he has
been heard to mention as a peculiarly exercising affliction.
For several years after he had settled at Manchester, there does not appear to be much further to remark upon, except that he continued under a deep religious exercise and concern, that nothing might be permitted to obstruct or retard his progress in that way which leadeth to the heavenly kingdom ; pressing “ toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Under the influence of these impressions, he believed it right for him to keep his temporal concerns in a small compass, steadily declining offers that were made to induce him to embark more extensively in business ; desiring neither lot nor inheritance in the land; asking only a passage through this world in peace, with “food to eat, and raiment to put on.” During this period, he was favoured with the kind regard of some valuable Friends, among whom he has particularly mentioned that excellent minister of the gospel Sarah Taylor. She was concerned to sympathize with him in his spiritual exercises, and to encourage bim to continue in faith and patience ; she being persuaded that he was under the preparing Hand for service in the church.
Having fulfilled the “ weeks of preparation,” and “ eaten the roll of prophecy,” he was, by the great Master, called to the work of the ministry. The exact time when he first appeared in this