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dience to the “inward law," he took off from his apparel those “ unnecessary trimmings of lace, ribands, and useless buttons, which had no real service, but were set on only for that which , was, by mistake, called ornament.” He, also, ceased to wear , rings. The “giving of flattering titles to men,” such as “ My Lord,” “Sir," "Master," &c., was likewise abandoned; though, “ in this matter, he had been accounted a ready artist.” The
respect of persons, in uncovering the head, and bowing the knee or body, in salutations,” was likewise put away, “as a deceit, being used as a token of respect by persons, one to another, who bear no real respect one to another.” Evil was also discovered in the forms of speech.
Again, the corrupt and unsound form of speaking in the plural number to a single person (you to one instead of thou ;) contrary to the pure, plain, and single language of truth (thou to one, and you to more than one,) which had always been used by God to men, and men to God, as well as one to another, from the oldest record of time, till corrupt men for corrupt ends, in later and corrupt times, to flatter, fawn, and work upon the corrupt nature in men, brought in that false and senseless way of speaking, you to one, which hath since corrupted the modern languages, and hath greatly debased the spirits, and depraved the manners, of men. This evil custom I had been as forward in as others; and this I was now called out of and required to cease from.”
All these changes were not to be made without attracting observation and incurring ridicule. This was a fiery trial, severely felt by our hero, and, though manfully sustained for the most part, in some instances sunk under. He gives an amusing account of his escape out of an inn, by the back door, at Oxford, (whither he had been sent, by his father, on business,) in order to evade passing a knot of gossiping magistrates of his fa- ther's acquaintance, and whom he did not like to pass in the stiff fashion of the Quakers.
“ When I had set up my horse, I went directly to the hall, where the sessions were held; where I had been but a very little while, before a knot of my old acquaintances, espying me, came to me. One of these was a scholar, in his gown; another a surgeon, of that city; (both my schoolfellows and fellow-boarders at Thame School;) and the third a country gentleman, with whom I had long been very familiar.
“When they were come up to me, they all saluted me after the usual manner, pulling off their hats, and bowing, and saying, “ Your ; humble servant, Sir," expecting, no doubt, the like from me. But when they saw me stand still, not moving my cap, nor bowing my knee, in any way of congee to them, they were amazed, and looked first one upon another, then upon me, and then one upon another again, for awhile, without a word speaking.
VOL. XIII. PART I.
“ At length, the surgeon, (a brisk young man,) who stood nearest to me, clapping his hand, in a familiar way, upon my shoulder, and smiling on me, said, “What! Tom a Quaker!” To which I readily and cheerfully answered, “ Yes, a Quaker;" and, as the words passed out of my mouth, I felt joy springing in my heart; for I rejoiced, that I had not been drawn out by them into a compliance with them, and that I had strength and boldness given me to confess myself to be one of that despised people.
“ They staid not long with me, nor said any more (that I remember,) to me; but, looking somewhat confusedly upon one another, after a while, they took leave of me, going off in the same ceremonious manner as they came on.
“After they were gone, I walked awhile about the hall, and went up nearer to the court, to observe both what justices were on the bench, and what business they had before them: and I went in fear, (not of what they could or would have done unto me, but) lest I should be surprised, and drawn, unwarily, into that which I was to keep out of.
“ It was not long before the court adjourned, to go to dinner; and that time I took to go to the Clerk of the Peace, at his house, • whom I was well acquainted with. So soon as I came into the room where he
was, he came and met me, and saluted me, after his manner; for he had a great respect for my father, and a kind regard for me ; and though he was, at first, somewhat startled at my carriage and language, yet he treated me very civilly, without any reflection or show of light
I delivered him the recognizances which my father had sent, and, having done the business I came upon, withdrew, and went to my inn to refresh myself, and, then, to return home.
“ But when I was ready to take horse, looking out into the street, I saw two or three justices standing just in the way where I was to ride. This brought a fresh concern upon me. I knew, if they saw me, they would know me; and I concluded, if they knew me, they would stop me, to inquire after my father; and I doubted how I should come off with them.
“ This doubting brought weakness on me, and that weakness led to contrivance, how I might avoid this trial. I knew the city pretty well, and remembered that there was a back way, which, though somewhat about, would bring
me out of the town, without passing by those justices. Yet, loth was I to go that way. Wherefore, I staid a pretty time, in hopes they would have parted company, or removed to some other place, out of my way. But when I had waited till I was uneasy for losing so much time, having entered into reasonings with flesh and blood, the weakness prevailed over me, and away I went the back way; which brought trouble and grief upon my spirits, for having shunned the cross.
“But the Lord looked on me with a tender eye; and seeing that my heart was right to him, and that what I had done was merely through weakness and fear of falling, and that I was sensible of my failing therein, and sorry for it, he was graciously pleased to pass it by, and speak peace to me again; so that, before I got home, as when 1 went in the morning, my heart was full of breathing prayer to the
Lord, that he would vouchsafe to be with me, and uphold and carry me through that day's exercise, so now, at my return in the evening, my heart was full of thankful acknowledgments and praises unto him, for his great goodness and favour to me, in having thus far preserved and kept me from falling into any thing that might have brought dishonour to his holy name, which I had now taken on me.”
The most serious apprehensions were, however, to be expected from the indignation of his father, who could not fail to detect, very soon, the change that had been worked in the heart, as well as in the body, of his son. The following passage describes the mode in which the important information was communicated to his father, and records his son's first act of disobedience.
“On this nag I designed to ride, next day, to Isaac Pennington's; and, in order thereunto, arose betimes, and got myself ready for the journey. But because I would pay all due respects unto my father, and not go without his consent, or knowledge at the least, I sent one up to him, (for he was not yet stirring,) to acquaint him, that I had a purpose to go to Isaac Pennington's; and desired to know, if he pleased to command me any service to them. He sent me word, he would speak with me before I went, and would have me come up to him, which I did, and stood by his bed-side,
" Then, in a mild and gentle tone, he said, I understand, you have a mind to go to Mr. Pennington's.' I answered him, I have so.' Why,' said he, 'I wonder why you should. You were there, you know, but a few days ago ; and, unless you had business with them, don't you think it will look oddly? I said, I thought not. • I doubt,' said he, you'll tire them with your company, and make them think they shall be troubled with you. If, replied I, • I find any thing of that, I'll make the shorter stay.' • But,' said he, can you propose any sort of business with them more than a mere visit? - Yes,' said I, I propose to myself not only to see them, but to have some discourse with them.' Why,' said he, (in a tone a little harsher)
I hope you don't incline to be of their way.' Truly,' answered 1, • I like them, and their way, very well, so far as I yet understand it; and I am willing to go to them, that I may understand it better.'
“Thereupon, he began to reckon up a beadroll of faults against the Quakers ; telling me, they were a rude, unmannerly people, that would not give civil respect, or honour, to their superiors; no, not to magistrates : that they held many dangerous principles ; that they were an immodest, shameless people; and that one of them stript himself stark naked, and went, in that unseemly manner, about the streets, at fairs, and on market-days, in great towns,
“ To all the other charges, I answered only,' that, perhaps, they might be either misreported or misunderstood, as the best of people had sometimes been. But to the last charge of going naked, a parti, cularanswer, by way of instance, was just then brought to my mind, and put into my mouth, which I had not thought of before; and that was, the example of Isaiah, who went naked among the people for a
long time.' (Isaiah 20. iv.) Aye,' said my father, ' but you must consider, that he was a prophet of the Lord, and had an express command from God to go so.'Yes, sir,' replied I, 'I do consider that ; but I consider also, that the Jews, among whom he lived, did not own him for a prophet, nor believe that he had such a command from God. And,' added I, how know we, but this Quaker may be a prophet too, and might be commanded to do as he did, for some reason which we understand not.'
“ This put my father to a stand, so that, letting fall his charges against the Quakers, he only said, 'I would wish you not to go so soon, but take a little time to consider of it: you may visit Mr. Pennington hereafter.' *Nay, sir,' replied I,“ pray don't hinder my going now; for I have so strong a desire to go, that I do not well know how to forbear;' and as I spake those words, I withdrew gently to the chamber door, and then, hastening down stairs, went immediately to the stable, where, finding my horse ready bridled, I forthwith mounted, and went off, lest I should receive a countermand.
“ This discourse with my father had cast me somewhat back in my journey; and it being fifteen long miles thither, the ways bad, and
my nag but small, it was in the afternoon that I got thither; and, understanding, by the servant that took my horse, that there was then a meeting in the house, (as there was weekly on that day, which was the fourth day of the week, though I, until then, understood it not) I hastened in, and, knowing the rooms, went directly to the little parlour, where I found a few friends sitting together in silence, and I sat down among them, well satisfied, though without words.”
When his friends saw the change in his costume, in his gesture, speech, and carriage, and likewise in his countenance, for, as he says, the exercise he had passed through, and yet was under, had imprinted a visible character of gravity upon his face, they were exceedingly“ tender towards him.” He parted from them with reluctance, and bent his way home, where he expected a heavy reckoning.
"Thus, labouring under various exercises on the way, I at length got home, expecting I should have but a rough reception from my father ; but, when I came home, I understood my father was from home; wherefore I sat down by the fire in the kitchen, keeping my mind retired unto the Lord, with breathings of spirit to him, that I might be preserved from falling.
“ After some time, I heard the coach drive in, which put me into a little fear, and a sort of shivering came over me; but, by that time he was alighted and come in, I had pretty well recovered myself; and, as soon as I saw him, I rose up, and advanced a step or two towards him, with my head covered, and said, · Isaac Pennington, and his wife, remember their loves to thee.'
“ He made a stop to hear what I said, and observing that I did not stand bare, and that I used the word thee to him, he, with a stern countenance and tone, that spake high displeasure, only said, 'I shall
talk with you, sir, another time;' and so, hastening from me, went into the parlour, and I saw him no more that night.”
Poor Thomas had become now an affiliated Quaker; and spiritual communion, in the presence of his brethren, was necessary to his very existence. It was not long before he was again tempted to oppose the parental authority, which he did not with impunity.
“My spirit longed to be among friends, and to be at some meeting with them on the first day, which now drew on, this being the sixth day night. Wherefore 1 purposed to go to Oxford, on the morrow, (which was the seventh day of the week), having heard there was a meeting there. Accordingly, having ordered my horse to be made ready betimes, I got up in the morning, and made myself ready also. Yet, before I could go, (that I might be as observant to my father as I possibly could,) I desired my sister to go up to him in his chamber, and acquaint him, that I had a mind to go to Oxford; and desired to know if he commanded me any service there. He bid her tell me,
he would not have me go until he had spoken with me; and getting up immediately, he hastened down to me, before he was quite dressed.
“ As soon as he saw me standing with my hat on, his passion transporting him, he fell upon me with both his fists, and having, by that means, somewhat vented his anger, he plucked off my hat, and threw it away. Then, stepping hastily out to the stable, and seeing my borrowed nag standing ready saddled and bridled, he asked his man, whence that horse came? who telling him that he fetched it from Mr. Such an one's : “then ride him presently back,' said my father, and tell Mr. -, I desire he will never lend my son a horse again, unless he brings a note from me.'
“The poor fellow, who loved me well, would fain have made excuses, and delays; but my father was positive in his command, and so urgent, that he would not let him stay so much as to take his breakfast, (though he had five miles to ride;) nor would he himself stir from the stable, till he had seen the man mounted, and gone.
“ Then coming in, he went up into his chamber, to make himself more fully ready, thinking he had me safe enough, now my horse was gone, for I took so much delight in riding, that I seldom went on foot.
“ But while he was dressing himself in his chamber, I, (who understood what had been done,) changing my boots for shoes, took another hat; and acquainting my sister (who loved me very well, and whom I could confide in) whither I meant to go, went out privately, and walked away to Wiccomb, having seven long miles thither; which yet seemed little and easy to me, from the desire I had to be among friends."
He was well received by his new friends, and the uneasiness and trouble, with which the idea of disobedience had agitated his mind, gave way before the satisfaction he derived from his spiritual exercise.