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99 prove what I have heard, only that his servants said he had brought more guilt upon their conscience, concerning farmer Southcott, than all the sins they ever committed in their lives; and not only in the stock but various other ways; every invention that could be to ruin my father was practised, till my father was brought into great distress, greater than he had any fortitude to bear; for the agonies of his mind were so great, that when he went to bed, meditating upon his sorrows, he would be in such agitation that I have been obliged to set by him hours of a night, reasoning and talking to him, wiping off the perspiration from his face. In this manner he continued, calling to me night after night to give him something, fearing he should be choaked; he said his sorrows were greater than he could bear; and I have seen the sweat running down his face, in a cold winter's night, like a man in the harvest day, that I have stood hours wiping, his face. He said all the sorrows and disappointments in life, that he had gone through, now crowded
his mind; and the loss of his property that he was heir to, now came upon him with a double weight. He lamented for my sister, and for all his children. The scene is too affecting for me to repeat, what I saw in my father, for three months; but I am ordered to bring it forward. When I intreated him not to grieve at the loss of his estates and
property, and said, suppose he had never been entitled to any thing; he said, then he should be as other poor men were, nothing to reflect about; but now old age and poverty were come upon him, and he could not forget what he was entitled to. But though I saw all that sorrow with my father, and took so much pains with him, and worked early and late to save the expenses of workmen : for the Lord gave me great courage
and great strength, and great presence of mind, how to act for my father's good; yet in all this, I can safely say, that I rejoiced in my own afflictions: I thought it was good to be afflicted, that my heart might not be carried away by the world; and I trusted in the Lord, that he would protect my father; and bless my endeavours, that he would be able to withstand the malice of his enemies, till his term was out in the farm : as the last year was the bearing year for cyder, and the breaking for crops would be without any expenses. But this my father despaired of seeing; however, I was promised that the Lord would protect us through ; and so he did ; and by my faith my father rose from his despair.
As to my own sorrows I did not mind, as I' reflected upon my early days, how soon I delighted in vanity and dress, more than I saw in others, and was often reproved by my mother; who would speak with a feeling heart, “ Joanna, my dear child
" Wilt thou then thy bright mornings waste,
To trim and make thee fine ?
If Christ be none of thine.
In this manner iny mother used often to reprove me; but I must say, to my shame, it had only a momentary effect; so deeply was my heart fixed upon the vanity of dress, that I did not care how hard I worked, early and late, so long as I could earn money to get clothes to appear smart in. My father used warmly to re
101 prove me, and say he was ashamed to see me, for a farmer's daughter to dress as I did ; but all had no effect upon me; my heart was so set upon it, till sorrow broke it off. And when now I reflect back upon my youthful days, I see how flattery hurts the mind; for when I think on my childish days, my heart was set upon serious meditations, and I felt great comfort and pleasure in learning hymns and repeating them to myself; but when I came to the age of fifteen or sixteen, and began to be flattered by the world, I found vanity arise, and I became vain ; but this vanity was of a short duration ; for every thing I fixed my heart upon I was disappointed in, which made me turn all my thoughts, like my aunt Sarah, whom I have already inentioned ; and as I have said of sorrow, it was good for me, so I say of my enemies, it is good for me that my heart has been sorely wounded by the malicious lies and inventions of men, or I might not have been so earnest in my petitions and prayers to the Lord to take the cause into his own hand, to put my enemies to shame and confusion : and therefore I shall conclude with saying-
“ The very thorns that make the traveller bleed
And we stop short, short of the promis'd land.” “ Now I shall answer thee why I ordered thee to bring the history of thy father's family in a straight line together. The first I shall bring back to the fall, where the two were slain,, by the arts of Satan's working. In a spiritual sense they died, as I had pronounced them dead: for this was the pride and rage of hell. Then the ages went on, ļike thy father's family, not to possess the inheritance I had designed for them; but now see in what manner thy father's land stands, Ye know not whether it
can be regained or not, without diligently searching the wills, and knowing whether the heirship was ever cut off or not. For thou knowest, lands have been got of as long standing as thy father's; and therefore thou canst not tell that thy father's dream may not be yet fulfilled. So let the words appear.
I sealed up my writings the old Christmas day at midnight, 1795. Soon after that my father came to see me.
He did not know what I had done, but said he was in hopes he should have his lands, which he was heir to in Hertfordshire, about thirty miles from London; as he said, at midnight, old Christmas day, he thought he was quite awake, when a voice called him
aloud, “ Southcoit! Southcott! thy name must spread far and wide : there is a lady in Hertfordshire, who hath great possessions for thee, and wants thy family to possess it.” And so sure was my father that he should get it, that he went to Mr. Putt and asked him if he could direct him how to proceed; but Mr. Putt took no notice of it, only laughed about it to me, and said how old and foolish my father was grown.
“ Now leave his wisdom, till thou seest the end :
To keep thy father till his term was up,