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of their children; and, by consequence, Religion became the legitimate inheritance of my immediate parents. The conversion of my paternal grandmother, from the tenets in which she was educated, increased her zeal, while the inheritance, sacrificed from conscientious principles, gave her to consider herself more especially heir of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away; and conscious that she had fully concurred with my father, in depriving their children of a temporal treasure, they were sedulously, anxious to inculcate a persuasion of the necessity of securing another.
It is wonderful, that while it was the great business, both of my father and mother, to render their children feelingly solicitous to secure an interest in the Redeemer, that they might be thus entitled to a blessed and happy futurity, they were both of them very rigid Calvinists.
The doctrines, taught by that gloomy Reformer, they undeviatingly taught to their family; and hence my soul frequently experienced the extreme of agony. Naturally vivacious, to implant religion among my juvenile pleasures required the most vigorous and uniform effort. Religion was not a native of the soil, it was an exotic, which, when planted, could only be kept alive by the most persevering attention. Hence Religion became a subject of terror. I was not ten years old when I began to suffer; the discovery of my sufferings gave my fond father much pleasure; he cherished hope of me when he found me suffering from my fears, and much indeed was I tortured by the severe unbending discipline of my father, and the terrifying apprehensions of what I had to expect from the God who created me. The second son of my parents was naturally of a pensive, gloomy disposition. He was more piously disposed, and less fond of amusement than myself; and hearing much of ain as the eldest son of Adam, of Esau as the eldest son of Isaac, and of Abel and Jacob as the younger sons, my soul was frequently filled with terror, verily believing my brother was the elected, and myself the rejected of God. This appalling consideration, even at this early period, frequently devoted my days and nights to tears and lamentation. But stability dwelt not with me, and the pleasing expectations of my father were often blasted; my attachment to my playmates, and their childish gambols, revived, and when engaged in appropriate amusements, I often forgot the immediate terror of the rod, and of future misery; both of which, as often as I reflected, I painfully believed I should endure. My father took every method to confine me within his walls: it was with difficulty he prevailed upon himself to permit my attendance at school, yet this was necessary, and to school I must go; while that rigid and extreme vigilance, which was ever upon the alert, produced effects diametrically opposite to the end proposed. My appetite for pleasure increased, and I occasionally preferred the truant frolic, to the stated seasons of study, yea, though I was certain se
vere castigation would be the consequence. Pious supplications were the accompaniments of the chastisements which were inflicted, so that I often passed from the terror of the rod, to the terrifying apprehensions of future and never-ending misery. Upon these terrific occasions, the most solemn resolutions were formed, and my vows were marked by floods of tears. I would no more offend either my father, or his God; I dared not to say my God, for I had heard my father declare, that for any individual, not the elect of God, to say of God, or to God, 'OUR FATHER,' was nothing better than blasphemy: when most devout, I was prevented from deriving consolation from my pious breathings, by a persuasion that I was a reprobate, predestined to eternal perdition. In fact, I believed that I had nothing to hope, but every thing to fear, both from my Creator, and my father; and these soul-appalling considerations, by enforcing a conclusion, that I was but inaking provision for alternate torture, threw a cloud over every innocent enjoyment.
About the time that I attained my eleventh year, (1751) my father removed to Ireland, and though 1 dreaded going with him any where, I was the only individual of the family whom he compelled to accompany him. Yet I was captivated by the charms of novelty. London filled me with amazement, and my fond, my apprehensive father was in continual dread of losing me; while the severity he practised to detain me near him, by invigorating my desires to escape from his presence, increased the evil.
We quitted London in the middle of April, and, reaching Bristol, tarried but a little while in that city. At Pill, five miles from Bristol, between my father and myself, a final separation was on the point of taking place. In the Bristol river the tide is extremely rapid: I stepped into a boat on the slip, and letting it loose, the force of the current almost instantly carried it off into the channel, and had it been ebb instead of flood tide, I must inevitably have gone out to sea, and most probably should never have been heard of more: but the flood tide carried me with great rapidity up the river, and the only fear I experienced was from the effects of my father's indignation. The poor gentleman, with a number of compassionate individuals, were engaged, until almost twelve o'clock, in searching the town, and the harbor, and had returned home relinquishing every hope of my restoration. In the midst of the stream I found a large flat-bottomed boat at anchor, to which, making fast the boat I was in, I consequently proceeded no farther. At midnight, I heard voices on the side of the river, when, earnestly imploring their aid, and offering a liberal reward, they came in their boat, and, conveying me on shore, conducted me to my lodgings; but no language can describe my dismay, as I drew near my father, who was immediately preparing to administer the deserved chastisement, when the benevolent hostess interposed, and in pitymoving accents exclaimed: 'Oh, for God's sake let the poor Blood
alone; I warrant he has suffered enough already.' My father was softened, perhaps he was not displeased to find a pretence for mildness: he gave me no correction for this offence; he even treated me with unusual kindness. We were detained in Pill three weeks, wishing for a favorable wind; three weeks more at Minehead, and three weeks at Milford Haven. Thus we were nine weeks in performing a passsage, which is commonly made in forty-eight hours, and instead of my father's reaching Cork before the residue of his family, they were there almost at the moment of our arrival. In Cork we were at home. There dwelt the respected mother of my father, and in easy circumstances; many changes, however, had taken place in her family, although the remains of affluence were still visible. My father fixed his residence in the vicinity of this city, and a most pleasing residence it proved.
About this time the Methodists made their appearance, and my father was among the first who espoused their cause. His zeal for vital religion could hardly be surpassed; and it appeared to him that this innate, and holy operation, rejected by every other sect, had found refuge in the bosoms of these exemplary people. But, though my father espoused the cause, he did not immediately become a Methodist: the Methodists were not Calvinists. Yet, if possible, he doubled his diligence; he kept his family more strict than ever; he was distinguished by the name of saint, and became the only person in his vicinity, whom the Methodists acknowledged as truly pious. With the religion of the Methodists I was greatly enamor ed; they preached often, and in the streets; they had private societies of young people, and sweet singing, and a vast deal of it, and an amazing variety of tunes, and all this was beyond expression charming. At this period the health of my father began to decline. Physicians concurred in opinion, that his complaints indicated a pulmonary affection. Again his efforts were renewed and invigor ated, and, poor gentleman, his labors were abundantly multiplied. The ardent desire of his soul was to render every individual of his family actively religious, and religious in his own way; but as his children necessarily mingled more or less with the children in the neighborhood, they caught words and habits which he disliked, and application was made to the rod, as a sovereign panacea.
In the course of my twelfth year, my father was overtaken by a very heavy calamity; his house, and indeed almost every thing he possessed, were laid in ashes. He had only a moment to snatch to his bosom a sleeping infant from its cradle, when a part of the house fell in; an instant longer and they would both have been wrapped in the surrounding flames; and a deep sense of this preserving mercy accompanied him to his grave. Thus every event of his life seemed to combine to render his devotions more and more fervent. It was happy for us that my respectable grandmother still lived, whose extricating hand was an ever ready re
It was my father's constant practice, so long as his health would permit, to quit his bed, winter as well as summer, at four o'clock in the morning; a large portion of this time, thus redeemed from sleep, was devoted to private prayers and meditations. At six o'clock the family were summoned, and I, as the eldest son, was ordered into my closet, for the purpose of private devotion. My father, however, did not go with me, and I did not always pray; I was not always in a praying frame; but the deceit, which I was thus reduced to the necessity of practising, was an additional torture to my laboring mind. After the family were collected, it was my part to read a chapter in the bible; then followed a long and fervent prayer by my father; breakfast succeeded, when the children being sent to school, the business of the day commenced. In the course of the day, my father, as I believed, never omitted his private devotions, and, in the evening, the whole family were again collected, the children examined, our faults recorded, and I, as an example to the rest, especially chastised. My father rarely passed by an offence, without marking it by such punishment as his sense of duty awarded; and when my tearful mother interceded for me, he would respond to her entreaties in the language of Solomon,
if thou beat him with a rod, he shall not die;' the bible was again introduced, and the day was closed by prayer. Sunday was a day much to be dreaded in our family; we were all awakened at early dawn, private devotions attended, breakfast hastily dismissed, shutters closed, no light but from the back part of the house, no noise could bring any part of the family to the window, not a syllable was uttered upon secular affairs; every one who could read, children and domestics, had their allotted chapters. Family prayer succeeded after which, Baxter's Saint's Everlasting Rest was assigned to me; my mother all the time in terror lest the children should be an interruption, At last the bell summoned us to church, whither in solemn order we proceeded; 1 close to my father, who admonished me to look straight forward, and not let my eyes wander after vanity. At church, I was fixed at his elbow, compelled to kneel when he kneeled, to stand when he stood, to find the Psalm, Epistle, Gospel, and collects for the day; and any instance of inattention was vigilantly marked, and unrelentingly purished. When I returned from church, I was ordered to my closet; and when I came forth, the chapter from which the preacher had taken his text, was read, and I was then questioned respecting the sermon, a part of which I could generally repeat. Dinner, as break fast, was taken in silent haste, after which we were not suffered to walk, even in the garden, but every one must either read, or hear reading, until the bell gave the signal for afternoon service, from which we returned to private devotion, to reading, to cate chising, to examination, and long family prayer, which closed the most laborious day of the week. It was the custom for many of our visiting friends to unite with us in these evening exercises, to
the no small gratification of my father: it is true, especially after he became an invalid, he was often extremely fatigued, but, upon these occasions, the more he suffered the more he rejoiced, since his reward would be the greater, and indeed his sufferings, of every description, were to him a never-failing source of consolation. Iu fact, this devotional life became to him second nature, but it was not so to his family. For myself, I was alternately serious, and wild, but never yet very moderate in any thing. My father rejoiced in my devotional frames, and was encouraged to proceed, as occasion was given, in the good work of whipping, admonishing, and praying. I continued to repeat my pious resolutions, and, still more to bind my soul, I once vowed a vow unto the Lord,-kissing the book for the purpose of adding to its solemnity,-that I would no more visit the pleasure grounds, nor again associate with those boys, who had been my companions. Almost immediately after this transaction I attended a thundering preacher, who taking for his text that command of our Saviour, which directs his disciples to 'swear not at all,' gave me to believe I had committed a most heinous transgression, in the oath that I had taken; nay, he went so far as to assure his hearers, that to say, 'upon my word,' was an oath, a very horrid oath, since it was tantamount to swearing by Jesus Christ, inasmuch as he was the word, who was made flesh for us, and dwelt among us. This sermon rendered me for a long season truly wretched, while I had no individual to whom I could confide my distresses. To my father I dared not even name my secret afflictions; and my mother, as far as the tenderness of her nature would pernit, was in strict unison with her venerated husband. The depression of my spirits upon this occasion was great, and enduring; but for revolving months I continued what they called a good boy, I was attentive to my book, carefully following the directions that were given me, and on my return from school, instead of squandering the hours of intermission with idle associates, I immediately retired to the garden, which constituted one of the first pleasures of my life: in fact, the cultivation of fruits, and flowers, has, in every period of my existence, continued to me a prime source of enjoyment. My paternal grandmother was the Lady Bountiful of the parish; having made it her study, she became an adept in the distillation of simples; she had a large garden adjoining to my father's, and she cultivated an amazing variety of plants. As I was her favorite assistant, she gradually obtained my father's permission, that I should appropriate to her a large part of my time; and the hours which I consequently devoted to this venerable lady, in her garden, and in her habitation, were to me halcyon hours. It was my study to enrich her grounds with every choice herb, or flower, which met my gaze, and I was ever on the alert to collect plants of the most rare description. This was confessedly an innocent amusement; it would bear reflection, and was therefore delightful. Alas! alus! it was too replete with