« PreviousContinue »
short of the publication of the whole would give satisfaction. The writer's vow being still upon him, added to which, having been urged by others to furnish the public with a biographical account of the deceased, he has employed of the papers thus referred to, together with others which have since been put into his hands by different friends, whatever he has found convertible to the purpose of affording instruction to the Christian community, as illustrative of the grace and providence of God; the whole combining to furnish a living exposition of what has proceeded from the source of truth, where it is affirmed, that "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."
It may be proper to mention, that some time after the death of Samuel Hick, the writer learned, by an application being made to him for materials, that another person had it in contemplation to prepare a Memoir; but it was too late: he had gone too far to recede; and as he could not conceive what virtue his MS. could derive from the simple process of passing through a second person's hand to the press, or what advantage he could reap by placing the fruit of his labour at the disposal of one who had neither held the plough nor scattered the seed into the furrows, he preferred appearing before the public in his own name, without allowing the imperfections of his pages to be charged upon others, or their merit-should they possess any-to be claimed by any but their legitimate owner.
Among the persons to whom the writer has to ac
knowledge his obligations for information respecting the subject of the Memoir, he would not omit his friend, Mr. William Dawson, of Barnbow, near Leeds, to whom the work is inscribed,-the Rev. Messrs. H. Beech, A. Learoyd, J. Hanwell, T. Harris, and J. Roadhouse, together with Mr. Robert Watson, son-in-law of the deceased, and other branches of the family-the latter furnishing him with the use of his correspondence.
His birth-parentage-hears John Nelson-disturbance during street-preaching—is bound an apprentice to a blacksmith-his conduct-attends a lovefeast-becomes the subject of divine impressions-hears Thomas Peace-visits York-scenes of riot-hears Richard Burdsall-his conduct towards a persecuting clergyman—his heart increasingly softened-conviction -Mr. Wesley-the good effects of that venerable man's ministry.
SAMUEL HICK, the subject of the present memoir, was in the moral world, what some of the precious stones are in the mineral kingdom, a portion of which lie scattered along the eastern coast of the island, and particularly of Yorkshire, his own county;-a man that might have escaped the notice of a multitude of wateringplace visitors, like the pebbles immediately under their eye;-one who, to pursue the simile, was likely to be picked up only by the curious, in actual pursuit of such specimens, and thusthough slighted and trodden under foot, like the encrusted gem, by persons of opposite taste, to be preserved from being for ever buried in the dust, as a thing of nought in the sand, after the
opportunities of knowing his real value-when above the surface, had been permitted to pass unobserved and unimproved ;-one of those characters, in short, that could only be discovered when sought after, or forced upon the senses by his own personal appearance, in the peculiarities by which he was distinguishedwho was ever secure of his price when found -but who would, nevertheless, be placed by a virtuoso, rather among the more curious and singularly formed, than among the richer and rarer specimens in his collection.
He was born at Aberford, September 20th, 1758, and was one, of thirteen children, that had to be nursed and reared by the "hand labour," to employ an expression of his own, of poor, but industrious parents. Through the limited means of the family, his education was necessarily very circumscribed, being chiefly confined to his letters, in their knowledge and formation, without advancing to figures: and even these such was the blank of being which he experienced for several years afterwards-appear to have been either totally forgotten, or so imperfectly known, as to induce an inability to read and write, when he reached the age of manhood. This led him, in after life, when Sunday School instruction dawned upon the world, as the morning of a brighter day, to contemplate the times with peculiar interest, and to wish that he had been favoured with the privileges, in his younger years, which he lived to promote and to see enjoyed by others. The dream of childhood seemed to pass away, with all its dangers, its "insect cares," and its joys, without leaving a single trace of any interest upon his memory,