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CHAPTER II.

He leaves his master before the expiration of his apprenticeship— is providentially directed to a suitable situation, and commences business for himself—his marriage-his benevolence—death of his wife's mother-is alarmed by a dream-obtains mercysuddenness of his conversion—its fruits—his zeal—answer to prayer, and effects of his expostulation with a landlady— summary of the evidence of his conversion.

It has been quaintly, but significantly observed, in reference to the providential lot of human beings, that "Every peg has its hole." Whatever may have been the primary design of the remark, it is certainly applicable to the notions of personal comfort and probable usefulness;— the former effected by the adaptation of the pin to the place and of the place to the pin, and the latter by its projection-going beyond itself, so to speak-affording an opportunity both to friends and strangers, of suspending upon its form whatever they may desire, whether from inclination or necessity. And the man who permits his Maker to "choose" his "inheritance" for him, will rarely be placed in a situation in which it will be impossible for some of his fellow-creatures to hang upon him their hopes, their weaknesses, and their wants. This will apply with equal propriety to persons in humble life, as to persons in the more elevated ranks of society. We are taught the doctrine of a wise and bountiful providence in the fall of a "spar

THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH.

19

row," and in the adornings of "the lilies,”-of a Providence which is both permissive and active in its operations—directing in the outset, and entering into the minutest circumstances of human life. General observation would almost warrant the belief, that there is a starting point for every man, later or earlier in life, subject to his own choice: and in proportion as he proceeds along the line, or deviates from it, will be the amount of his success or adversity-connecting with the situation, in the person that holds it, industry, economy, and integrity. The principal difficulty is in the choice. Religiously to determine this, we ought never to lose sight of the circumstances of the casc, 'personal competency, and general usefulness. Several of these remarks will apply to the subject of this memoir.

Though Samuel had acted in the capacity of a faithful servant to his master for some years, a circumstance took place which led to a separation before the expiration of his apprenticeship. His master's daughter had conceived an attachment to him, which was returned, though not to the same extent, by Samuel. This naturally led to certain domestic attentions, in which the young woman contributed to his comforts; and having a little money at command, she occasionally assisted him, with a view to give strength to the bond which subsisted. His master coming down stairs one morning, a little earlier than usual, found him seated with Miss Derby on his knee. He instantly returned, and told his wife, whom he had left in bed; and after opening the circumstance, said, “I believe she is as fond of the lad as ever a cow was of a calf.” Op again descending the stairs, he chided them both, and

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signified his disapprobation of all attachment. The day passed on, with evident indications that the master was brooding on the subject; and at length he ordered Samuel, with a good deal of angry feeling, to leave his house and his service. The dismissal having been given at an evening hour, Samuel requested permission to remain till the next day, which was granted. To prevent any matrimonial connexion from taking place between them, the father, on Samuel's removal, contrived to form an union between his daughter and a person of a little property, but much her senior, offering as an inducement, a handsome dowry. Miss D, wrote to Samuel the day previous to her marriage, requesting him to meet her at a specified time and place, pledging herself to him for ever, as the sole object of her first affection. Poor Samuel was placed in circumstances at the time from which it was impossible to escape; and the fitful moment glided away from both, without improvement, to their inexpressible grief. As this was a compulsory measure, the bride gave her hand without her heart; her spirits shortly afterwards became depressed, and confirmed insanity ensued. Samuel was sent for by her friends—he obeyed the summons -the sight of him increased her malady, and added to the poignancy of his own feelings he hastily withdrew-and she died soon after. As an affair of honour, it may be said, “in all this,” Samuel “sinned not."* Abandoned, how

* Old Mrs. Derby, who survived Samuel, and was living at Healaugh in 1831, in the 90th year of her age, was very partial to him, always styling him “Our Sam ;” and Mr. D., on seeing his daughter's distress, was heard to say, “O that I had let Sammy bave my lass !” Samuel paid occasional visits to his old Mrs. to the end of his days.

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ever, as he was, by his master, the Lord directed him by his providence.

Without giving the West Yorkshire dialect, which he wrote as well as spoke, and which it would be as difficult for persons in the southern counties of England to read and to understand, without a glossary, as the “ Lancashire Dialect, the substance of his relation, when “entering upon the world”—to employ a familiar phraseis clear, simple, and touching. “When I was one and twenty years of age,” he states, “there was a shop at liberty, at Micklefield, and my father took it for me. I here began business for myself; and when I had paid for my tools, I was left without a penny in my pocket, or a bit of bread to eat. But I was strong, in good health, and laboured hard; and that God who sent the ravens to feed his servant, fed me. One day, while at work, a man came into my shop, who told me, that his wife had fed the pig so fat, as to render it useless to the family, and that he would sell me the one half of it very cheap. I told him that I wished it were in my power to make the purchase--that I was much in needbut that I was without money. He replied, he would trust me, and I agreed to take it. I mentioned the circumstance to a neighbour, who offered to lend me five pounds, which I accepted; and out of this, I paid the man for what I had bought. I continued to labour hard, and the Lord, in his abundant goodness, supplied all my

wants." From this it would seem, that he had not been anxiously looking in every direction for a situation, and that, on finding every providential door shut, had sat down to quarrel with the dispensations of God, or made

some hazardous attempts to force an opening: nor was the situation at first either perceived by himself, or the door-to proceed with the allusion-but slightly turned upon its hinges, leaving the possibility or propriety of entrance still problematical. It was thrown open by the hand that regulates all human affairs-circumstances invited the father to the spot-he took his survey-Samuel having been released from his connexion with his master, found the occurrence seasonable-poverty was his portion, but no capital was requisite for the purchase of stock —previous industry and economy prepared him to meet the expense of tools-his father led him up to the door which his Maker had openedlabour was instantly furnished, and the "daily bread" for which he was commanded to pray, was supplied-the confidence and kindness of friends encouraged him to proceed-and there he continued, succeeded, and was afterwards useful. Providence appeared to meet him at every turn, and as in a piece of wedge-work, adapted its movements to all the peculiarities of his case.

cumstances.

After having been established in business for the space of eighteen months, without apparently elevating his mind above the drudgery of the day, he meditated a change in his domestic cir"The Lord," he observes, 66 saw that I wanted a help-meet"-he knew the character that "would suit me best"-and was so "kind" as to furnish me with " one of his own choosing." From the form of expression employed, it should seem that there was an allusion to his first attachment, which he might be led to consider, as not of God, from the circumstance of his having been thwarted in his purpose. His

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