Page images
PDF
EPUB

viour Jesus Christ; and they likewise promised us, that they would never have any differences or disputes, one with another, about religion.

When I came to Will Atkins's house (I may call it so; for such a house, or such a piece of basket-work, I believe was not standing in the world again !) I say, when I came thither, I found the young woman I have mentioned above, and William Atkins's wife, were become intimates ; and this prudent, religious young woman, had perfected the work Will Atkins had begun; and though it was not above four days after what I have related, yet the new-baptized savage woman was made such a Christian, as I have seldom heard of any like her, in all my observation or conversation in the world.

It came next into my mind, in the morning, before I went to them, that among all the needful things I had to leave with them, I had not left a bible; in which I shewed myself less considering for them, than my good friend the widow was for me, when she sent me the cargo of 100l. from Lisbon, where the packed up three bibles and a prayer-book. However, the good woman's charity had a greater extent than ever she imagined ; for they were reserved for the comfort and instruction of those that made much better use of them than I had done.

I took one of the bibles in my pocket, and when I came to William Atkins's tent, or house, I found the young woman, and Atkins's baptized wife, had been discoursing of religion together; (for William Atkins told it me, with a greal deal of joy.) I asked, if they were together now? And he said yes ; so I went into the house, and he with me, and we found them

together,

together, very earnest in discourse: 0, Sir, says William Atkins, when God has sinners to reconcile to himself, and aliens to bring home, he never wants a messenger : My wife has got a new instructor ; I knew I was unworthy, as I was incapable of that work; that young woman has been fent hither from Heaven; she is enough to convert a whole island of savages. The young woman blushed, and rose up to go away, but I desired her to sit still ; I told her she had a good work upon her hands, and I hoped God would bless her in it.

We talked a little,, and I did not perceive they had any book among them, though I did not ask; but I put my hand in my pocket, and pulled out my bible; Here, said I to Atkins, I have brought you an assistant, that, perhaps, you had not before. The man was so confounded, that he was not able to speak for some time, but recovering himself, he takes it with both hands, and, turning to his wife, Here, my dear, says he, did not I tell you, our God, though he lives above, could hear what we said ? Here is the book I prayed for, when you and I kneeled down under the bush; now God has heard us and sent it. When he had said thus, the man fell into such transports of a passionate joy, that between the joy of having it, and giving God thanks for it, the tears ran down his face like a child that was crying.

The woman was surprized, and was like to have run into a mistake, that none of us were aware of; for she firmly believed God had sent the book upon her husband's petition : It is true, that providentially it was so, and might be taken so in a consequent

[ocr errors]

sense ;

sense ; but I believed it would have been no difficult matter, at that time, to have persuaded the poor woman to have believed, that an express messenger came from heaven, on purpose to bring that individual book; but it was too serious a matter to suffer any delusion to take place: So I turned to the young woman, and told her, we did not desire to impose upon the new convert, in her first and more ignorant understanding of things; and begged her to explain to her, that God may be very properly said to answer our petitions, when in the course of his Providence, such things are, in a particular manner, brought to pass, as we petitioned for ; but we do not expect returns from Heaven, in a miraculous and particular manner; and that it is our mercy it is not fo.

This the young woman did afterwards effectually; so that there was, I affure you, no priestcraft used here; and I should have thought it one of the most unjustifiable frauds in the world, to have had it so: but the surprize of joy upon Will Atkins, is really not to be expressed ; and there, we may be sure, was no delusion. Sure no man was ever more thankful in the world for any thing of its kind, than he was for this bible ; and I believe, never any man was glad of a bible from a better principle ; and though he had been a most profligate creature, desperate, headstrong, outrageous, furious, and wicked to a great degree; yet this man is a standing rule to us all, for the well instructing children ; viz. That parents should never give over to teach and instruct, or ever despair of the success of their endeavours, let the children be ever so obstinate, refractory, or, to

appear

appearance, insensible of instruction ; for if ever God in his Providence touches the consciences of such, the force of their education returns upon them, and the early instruction of parents is not lost, though it may have been many years laid asleep; but, some time or other, they may find the benefit of it.

Thus it was with this poor man. However ignorant he was, or divested of religion and Christian knowledge, he found he had some to do with now more ignorant than himself; and that the least part of the instruction of his good father, that could now come to his mind, was of use to him.

Among the rest it occurred to him, he said, how his father used to infist much upon the inexpressible value of the bible; the privilege and blessing of it to nations, families, and persons; but he never entertained the least notion of the worth of it till now; when, being to talk to heathens, savages, and barbarians, he wanted the help of the written oracle for his affıstance.

The young woman was very glad of it also, for the present occasion, though she had one; and so had the youth on board our ship, among the goods which were not yet brought on shore. And now, having said so many things of this young woman,

I cannot omit telling one story more of her and myself, which has something in it very informing and remarkable. I have related to what extremity the poor young

was reduced; how her mistress was starved to death, and did die, on board that unhappy ship we met at sea; and how the whole ship’s Vol. II.

0

company

[ocr errors]

woman

[ocr errors]

company being reduced to the last extremity, the gentlewoman, and her son, and this maid, were first hardly used, as to provisions ; and, at last, totally neglected and starved; that is to say, brought to the last extremity of hunger.

One day, being discoursing with her upon the extremities they suffered, I asked her, if she could defcribe, by what she felt, what it was to starve, and how it appeared ? She told me, she believed she could; and she told her tale very distinctly thus :

First, Sir, said she, we had for some days fared exceeding hard, and suffered very great hunger ; but now, at last, we were wholly without food of any kind, except sugar, and a little wine, and a little water. The first day after I had received no food at all, I found myself, towards evening, first empty and fickish at my stomach; and nearer night, mightily inclined to yawning, and sleepy ; I laid down on a couch in the great cabin, to sleep ; and fept about three hours, and awaked a little refreshed, having taken a glass of wine when I lay down : after being about three hours awake, it being about five o'clock in the morning, I found myself empty, and my stomach fickish again, and laid down again ; but could not sleep at all, being very faint and ill: and thus I continued all the second day, with a strange variety; first hungry, then fick again, with reachings to vomit: the second night, being obliged to go to bed again, without any food more than a draught of fair water, and being asleep, I dreamed I was at Barbadoes, and that the market was mightily stocked with provisions; that I bought some for my mistress, and went and dined very heartily,

I thought

2

« PreviousContinue »