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CONSISTING PRINCIPALLY OT
Extracts from Journals and other uWritings
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
PRINTED AT THE SCHOOLS OF INDUSTRY,
LIFE AND TRAVELS
1675—1699. Birth-Education-Early religious impressions
-Call to the Ministry-Visit to Friends in some parts of Great Britain and to Friends
in America--Return to England. Having great cause to acknowledge the regard
and protection of Divine Providence in the several stages of my life, I think it may
be of service to others, to leave behind me the following account of my life and travels :
I was born on the third day of the third month, 1675, in Southwark, and descended of honest and religious parents, who were very careful of me, and brought me up in the fear of the Lord; and oftentimes counselled me to sobriety, and reproved me for wantonness; and that light spirit, which is incident to youth, they were
careful to nip in the bud : so that I have cause to bless God, through Christ, on the behalf of my tender parents.
And I may not forget the dealings of God with me in my very tender years. When between eight and ten years of age, my father and mother sent me near two miles to school, to Richard Scoryer, in the suburbs of London. I went mostly by myself to the school ; and many and various were the exercises I went through, by beatings and stonings along the streets, being distinguished to the people, (by the badge of plainness which my parents put upon me,) of what profession I was: divers telling me, it was no more sin to kill me, than it was to kill a dog.
About this time the Lord began to work strongly on my mind by his grace, insomuch that I could not forbear reproving those lads who would take the name of the Lord God in their mouths in vain; reminding them of the third commandment, “ Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain ;' and of Christ's saying, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment;" for which I was mocked and derided by some, and others would sometimes refrain from such bad words when I reproved them.
One time I remember I was amongst some
men, one of whom I had reproved, and he told the rest of it, and turned to me, and said, that I was no Christian, and asked toe, when I said the Lord's prayer ; I asked him, if he said it; he said, yes. I then asked him how he could call God Father, and be so wicked as to swear and take God's name in vain, which I had heard him often do; and I told him what Christ said to the Jews, “ You are of your father the devil, because his works ye do ;" and that those that did the devil's work, could not truly call God Father, according to Christ's doctrine. So being convicted in their consciences that what I said was true, they were all silent, and wondered that I, being so young, should speak in such a manner; in which I remember I had great peace and good satisfaction: and from thenceforth these men let me alone.
Notwithstanding I hated to hear wicked words, I loved play exceedingly, being persuaded that there was no harm in that, if we used no bad words. One time I was at play at a neighbour's house with the children, and in the midst of my sport I was reached to with strong convictions, insomuch that I could not forbear weeping. The children's mother observing that I wept, said, “Why do you weep Tommy?" I told her I could not tell, except it was because I was a naughty boy. “Oh !” said she," do not believe him, for that is the devil tells you so, for you