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till he reached the seventh year of his age; and one of the first of his reminiscences, when sitting down at a kind of halting-post, towards the close of his journey, to look back on all the way which the Lord God had led him in the wilderness, was just such an occurrence, as a mind, imbued with divine grace, might be supposed to advert to,— anxious only to fix on favoured spots, where God is seen in his ministers, his providence, and his people.
Field and street-preaching had neither lost its novelty through age, nor was it rendered unnecessary by a multiplicity of commodious chapels while the want of a suitable place, therefore, led a Wesleyan itinerant preacher to take his stand on the market-cross, to proclaim, as the herald of the Saviour, the glad tidings of salvation, the inhabitants of Aberford were allured to the ground, in order to listen to his message. Little Samuel mingled with the crowd -gazed with a degree of vacancy on the scene— heard, but understood not. John Nelson was the preacher a man whose life was full of incident and interest-who discovered no less prowess in the cause of God, than his namesake, Nelson, did upon the element for which he seemed to be called into existence-and who stood, for the fame he acquired, in a somewhat similar relation to Methodism, that the hero of the Nile did to the British nation. In the course of the service, a person prepared for the work by intoxication, having had three quarts of ale given to him by three Roman Catholics, who urged him to the onset, made considerable disturbance. The people were annoyed, and the preacher was thwarted in his purpose. The man
exhibited in his hand a piece of paper, from which he either read, or pretended to read; and being possessed of a powerful voice, he elevated it in true stentorian style, and by force of lungs rendered the feeble voice of the preacher inaudible. A chain of circumstances contributed to preserve the case alive in Samuel's recollection. The man was personally known to himhe continued to reside in the neighbourhood -afterwards lost his sight-was supported by begging from door to door-solicited alms of Samuel himself, when the latter had become a householder-was reminded of the circumstance by him, and was either hypocritical or honest enough to confess his belief that it was a judgment from God-expressed his sorrow-and finished his course in a workhouse. The uses and improvements which Samuel made of circumstances and occasions even the most trivial, were invariably devotional, and often pertinent. From an occurrence like the present, he would, in stating it, exclaim, "Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished;' then, with his usual quickness, his eyes sparkling, and beaming with a fine flow of grateful feeling, he would advert to the difference between earlier and more modern times, exulting in the quiet which reigned around, “every man being permitted, in patriarchal simplicity, to "sit" and to shelter himself "under his vine and under his fig-tree," the hand of persecution not being raised "to make him afraid."
His attention having been once drawn to the subject of religion, by the peculiarities of Methodism, it was soon re-awakened by the return of the preachers, whose visits, from the
comparatively small number of labourers employed, were more like the return of the seasons, setting in, earlier or later, and at wider distances, than the regular succession of week after week, or month after month. This irregularity, occasioned by calls to new fields of usefulness, rendered their visits, like the return of spring, the more welcome to religious persons, and preserved on the face of the whole an air of novelty, among the profane, which frequent repetition, by producing familiarity, might have destroyed. Whoever might have been the ministers, whether in or out of the Established Church, that he heard; and whatever might have been the impressions received, not any thing of personal importance is recorded, till the lapse of a second seven years, when, at the age of fourteen, he was bound apprentice to Edward Derby, of Healaugh, near Tadcaster, to learn the trade of a Blacksmith. Here he appears to have been placed in a situation favourable, in some respects, for religious improvement; and in three sentences, the full power of which, when tried upon the mind of another person, he scarcely understood, he has struck off a sketch of his own conduct while filling that situation. He states, that he had a 66 comfortable time"-that "the Lord gave "him"favour in the eyes of the people -and that he "never troubled" his "parents for any thing during" his "apprenticeship.' We have in this in the way of implication at leasthis character as a servant, a neighbour, and a child; for had he not been diligent and faithful as a servant, kind and obliging as a neighbour, tender and thoughtful as a child, there is not any thing to induce us to believe, that he could
either have been comfortable in his service, participated in the favour of those around him, or that his parents would have been exempt from trouble-owing to demands made both upon their pockets and their patience.
He had not been long in his situation, before curiosity led him to a lovefeast, which was held in a barn, at Healaugh. A good man of the same trade with himself, was the door-keeper; and either through a kindly feeling on that account, or from his having perceived something in Samuel's general demeanour, which excited his hope, he permitted him to pass, and ordered him to mount the straw, which was piled up in a part of the building, in order to make room for the people. It was not long before the door-keeper left his post, and advancing towards the body of the congregation, commenced the service. He remarked, in figurative language, when describing the influence of the Spirit of God upon his heart, that "the fire was burning,' and that he "felt it begin at the door." gross were the conceptions of Samuel, so igno rant was he of the ordinary phraseology of Christians, that, like Nicodemus on another subject, he took the term fire in its literal acceptation, and in an instant his fears were roused, his imagination was at work, and his eye was directed to the door. He deemed his situation among the straw, as one of the most hazardous, and in his imaginings, saw himself enveloped in fame. He continued to fix an anxious eye upon the entrance, but on perceiving, as he expressed himself, neither "smoke nor fire," his fears were gradually allayed, and he again lent an attentive car to the worthy man, who had bor
rowed his simile in all probability, from the descent of the Holy Ghost in "cloven tongues like as of fire," and whose feelings seemed to accord with those which stirred in the bosom of the Psalmist, when he said, "My heart was hot within me while I was musing the fire burned : then spake I with my tongue." There were two particulars which impressed the mind of Samuel, and which he afterwards "pondered in his heart;" the one was the high value which the speaker stamped upon his office, and upon the place, dignifying the old barn with the title of a place of worship, and affirming that he "had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness;" and the other was his declaration of a knowledge of the fact, that his sins were forgiven. Samuel could not conceive how the temporary appropriation of such a place to divine worship, &c., could constitute it "the house of God," or what honour or pleasure a man could derive from the apparently humiliating circumstance of keeping watch over a door that many would be ashamed to enter. But the knowledge of forgiveness puzzled him most, and in this he seemed to have a personal concern. His spirit clung to the fact, and he could not help wishing that the case were his own-that he knew it for himself; this plainly implying a knowledge of sin, though probably he was not painfully oppressed with its load. He took occasion the next day to ask his master, how the man could know that his sins were pardoned, and to express what he himself felt on the subject,-a circumstance which would lead to the conclusion, that his master possessed something more than the mere