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of his elder brother, an engineer, well known in the West of England, to commence life as a master builder, with advantageous connections and the most favourable prospects. But both the brothers seem to have belonged to that class of men whom prosperity ruins: for after some years they became neglectful of their business, and were eventually reduced to great distress. At the time I have specified, my father had become a jobbing mason, of precarious employment, and in such circumstances that it had for some time been necessary that I should lend my small assistance to his labours. This early demand upon my services, joined to much previous inability or reluctance to stand the cost of my schooling, and to frequent headach, which kept me much from school even when in nominal attendance, made my education very backward. I could read well, but was an indifferent writer and worse cypherer, when the day arrived which was to alter so materially my condition and hopes in life.

The circumstances of that day-the last of twelve years of hearing, and the first of twenty-eight years of deafness-have left a more distinct impression upon my mind than those of any previous, or almost any subsequent, day of my life. It was a day to be remembered. The last day on which any customary labour ceases,the last day on which any customary privilege is enjoyed,—the last day on which we do the things we have done daily, are always marked days in the calendar of life; how much, therefore, must the mind not linger in the memories of a day which was the last of many blessed things, and in which one stroke of action and suffering, one moment of time, wrought a greater change of condition, than any sudden loss of wealth or honours ever made in the state of man.

On the day in question my father and another man, attended by myself, were engaged in new slating the roof of a house, the ladder ascending to which was fixed in a small court paved with flag-stones. The access to this court from the street was by a paved passage, through which ran a gutter, whereby waste water was conducted from the yard into the street.

Three things occupied my mind that day. One was that the town-crier, who occupied part of the house in which we lived, had been the previous evening prevailed upon to entrust me with a book, for which I had long been worrying him, and with the contents of which I was most eager to become acquainted. I think it was Kirby's Wonderful Magazine;' and I now dwell the rather upon this circumstance, as, with other facts of the same kind, it helps to satisfy me that I was already a most voracious reader, and that the calamity which befell me did not create in me the literary appetite, but only threw me more entirely upon the resources which it offered.

The other circumstance was, that my grandmother had finished, all but the buttons, a new smock-frock, which I had hoped to have assumed that very day, but which was faithfully promised for the morrow. As this was the first time that I should have worn that article of attire, the event was contemplated with something of that interest and solicitude with which the assumption of the toga virilis may be supposed to have been contemplated by the Roman youth.

The last circumstance, and the one perhaps which had some effect upon what ensued, was this. In one of the apartments of the house in which we were at work, a young sailor, of whom I had some knowledge, had died after a lingering illness, which had been attended with circumstances which the doctors could not well understand. It was, therefore, concluded that the body should be opened to ascertain the cause of death. I knew this was to be done, but not the time appointed for the operation. But on passing from the street into the yard, with a load of slates which I was to take to the house-top, my attention was drawn to a stream of blood, or rather, I suppose, bloody water, flowing through the gutter by which the passage

was traversed. The idea that this was the blood of the dead youth, whom I had so lately seen alive, and that the doctors were then at work cutting him up and groping at his inside, made me shudder, and gave what I should now call a shock to my nerves, although I was very innocent of all knowledge about nerves at that time. I cannot but think it was owing to this that I lost much of the presence of mind and collectedness so important to me at that moment; for when I had ascended to the top of the ladder, and was in the critical act of stepping from it on to the roof, I lost my footing, and fell backward, from a height of about thirty-five feet, into the paved court below.

Of what followed I know nothing; and as this is the record of my own sensations, I can here report nothing but that which I myself know. For one moment, indeed, I awoke from that death-like state, and then found that my father, attended by a crowd of people, was bearing me homeward in his arms; but I had then no recollection of what had happened, and at once relapsed into a state of unconsciousness.

In this state I remained for a fortnight, as I afterwards learned. These days were a blank in my life; I could never bring any recollections to bear upon them; and when I awoke one morning to consciousness, it was as from a night of sleep. I saw that it was at least two hours later than my usual time of rising, and marvelled that I had been suffered to sleep so late. I attempted to spring up in bed, and was astonished to find that I could not even move. The utter prostration of my strength subdued all curiosity within me. I experienced no pain, but I felt that I was weak; I saw that I was treated as an invalid, and acquiesced in my condition, though some time passed-more time than the reader would imagine, before I could piece together my broken recollections so as to comprehend it.

I was very slow in learning that my hearing was entirely gone. The unusual stillness of all things was grateful to me in my utter exhaustion; and if, in this half-awakened state, a thought of the matter entered my mind, I ascribed it to the unusual care and success of my friends in preserving silence around me. I saw them talking indeed to one another, and thought that, out of regard to my feeble condition, they spoke in whispers, because I heard them not. The truth was revealed to me in consequence of my solicitude about the book which had so much interested me in the day of my fall. It had, it seems, been reclaimed by the good old man who had sent it to me, and who doubtless concluded that I should have no more need of books in this life. He was wrong; for there has been nothing in this I asked for this book with much earnestness, and was answered by signs which I could not comprehend.

life which I have needed more.

"Why do you not speak?" I cried. "Pray let me have the book."

This seemed to create some confusion; and at length some one, more clever than the rest, hit upon the happy expedient of writing upon a slate, that the book had been reclaimed by the owner, and that I could not in my weak state be allowed to read.

"But," I said in great astonishment, "why do you write to me? why not speak? Speak, speak."

Those who stood around the bed exchanged significant looks of concern, and the writer soon displayed upon his slate the awful words-" You ARE DEAF."







It was some time before I could leave my bed, and much longer before I could quit my chamber. During this time I had no resource but reading; and the long and uninterrupted spell at it which I had now, went far to fix the habit of my future life. The book to which I have repeatedly referred was re-borrowed for me, and was read without restraint. I wish this book had been the 'Paradise Lost,' or some other great work; the reader would be better pleased, and the dignity of this recove

would have been much enhanced. But I still think it was 'Kirby's Wonderful Magazine;' and, on second thoughts, I do not know but that this was a very proper book for the time and the circumstances. The strange facts which it recorded were well calculated to draw my attention to books as a source of interest and a means of information; and this was precisely the sort of feeling proper for drawing me into the habits which have enabled me, under all my privations, to be of some use in my day and generation.


At the period to which my present recollections refer, the art of reading was by no means diffused among the class in which I then moved, in the same degree as at present. Many could read; but the acquirement was not in the same degree as now applied to practical purposes. It was regarded more in the light of an occult art,—a particular and by no means necessary attainment, specially destined for and appropriate to religious uses and Sunday occupations. Besides, books were then extravagantly dear, and those which were sold in numbers, to enable the poor to purchase them by instalments, were dearest of all. Hence men could not afford to procure any merely current or temporary literature, but desired to have something of substantial and of permanent worth for their money, something which might form a body of edifying Sunday reading to themselves and to their children. The range of books embraced by these considerations was very narrow: a folio Family Bible; Fox's Book of Martyrs; Life of Christ; Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews; Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress: Hervey's Meditations; Drelincourt on Death (with Defoe's Preface, containing the Ghost Story of Mrs. Veal); Baxter's Saint's Rest; Watts's World to Come; Gesner's Death of Abel; Sturm's Reflections, &c. Those who launched forth beyond this range into profane literature were for the most part content with Robinson Crusoe, Pamela, the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, and Henry, Earl of Moreland. This was a selection of books not to be despised. They were all good, and some of them immortal works. But the thing was that you could see no other books than these. The selection from these books varied, and it was rare to see the whole or a great part of them together; but whenever a book was to be seen it was sure to be some one of these. Periodical literature had not reached even the class of tradesmen in any other shape than that of religion. The only periodicals within their reach were of a religious kind, being the magazines of their respective denominations, which were sold at sixpence each. Tradesmen doubtless read the newspapers, but the use of them (except in public-houses) had not descended below their class; and I can declare that I never saw a newspaper, to read, till I was nearly twenty years of age, and after I had been, in fact, removed out of the position to which these first experiences apply.

From this account it will appear that my studies, founded upon the books to be found under these circumstances, could not but be of an essentially religious tone. At a later period I fell in with books of a different description in the same class, and was enabled to satiate myself with controversies on the five points, and to treasure up the out-of-the-way knowledge to be found in such books as Dupin's Ecclesiastical History. The day came when I plunged into the sea of general literature, and, being able to get nothing more to my mind, read poems, novels, histories, and magazines without end. A day came in which any remarkable fact that I met with was treasured up, in my tenacious mind, as a miser treasures gold; and when the great thoughts which I sometimes found filled my soul with raptures too mighty for utterance. Another day came, in which I was enabled to gratify a strange predilection for metaphysical books; and with all the novelists, poets, and historians within the reach of my arm, gave my days to Locke, Hartley, Tucker, Reid, Stewart and Brown. I think little of these things now, and my taste for them has gone by;

but, although I now think that my time might have been more advantageously employed, my mind was doubtless thus carried through a very useful discipline, of which I have since reaped the benefit. But amid all this, the theological bias, given by my earlier reading and associations, remained; and the time eventually came, when I was enabled to return to it, and indulge it with redoubled ardour: and after that another time arrived, when I could turn to rich account whatever useful thing I had learned and whatever talent I had cultivated, however remote such acquirement or cultivation might have at first seemed removed from any definite pursuits. This point is one of some importance; and as I am anxious to inculcate upon my younger readers the instruction it involves, it may be mentioned, as an instance, that an acquaintance with the Hebrew language, which has eventually proved one of the most useful acquirements I ever made, was originally formed with no higher view than that of qualifying myself to teach that language to the sons of a friend whose tuition I had undertaken.

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MAN having destroyed that which God delighted in, that is, the beauty of his soul, fell into an evil portion, and, being seized on by the divine justice, grew miserable, and condemned to an incurable sorrow. Poor Adam, being banished and undone, went and lived a sad life in the mountains of India, and turned his face and his prayers towards Paradise; thither he sent his sighs, to that place he directed his devotions, there was his heart now, where his felicity sometimes had been : but he knew not how to return thither, for God was his enemy, and by many of his attributes, opposed himself against him. God's power was armed against him; and poor man, whom a fly or a fish could kill, was assaulted and beaten with a sword of fire in the hand of a cherubim. God's eye watched him, his omniscience was man's accuser, his severity was his judge, his justice the executioner. It was a mighty calamity that man was to undergo, when he that made him armed himself against his creature, which would have died or turned to nothing, if he had but withdrawn the miracles and the almightiness of his power; if God had taken his arm from under him, man had perished. But it was, therefore, a greater evil when God laid his arm on him, and against him, and seemed to support him that he might be longer killing him. In the midst of these sadnesses God remembered his own creature, and pitied it; and, by his mercy, rescued him from the hands of his power, and the sword of his justice, and the guilt of his punishment, and the disorder of his sin; and placed him in that order of good things where he ought to have stood. It was mercy that preserved the noblest of God's creatures here below; he who stood condemned and undone under all the other attributes of God was saved and rescued by his mercy; that it may be evident that God's mercy is above all his works, and above all ours, greater than the creation, and greater than our sins. As is his majesty, so is his mercy, that is, without measures and without rules, sitting in heaven and filling all the world, calling for a duty that he may give a blessing, making man that he may save him, punishing him that he may preserve him. And God's justice bowed down to his mercy, and all his power passed into mercy, and his omniscience converted into care and watchfulness, into providence and observation for man's avail; and heaven gave its influence for man, and rained showers for our food and drink; and the attributes and acts of God sat at the foot of mercy, and all that mercy descended upon the head of man. For so the light of the world in the turning of the creation was spread abroad like a curtain, and dwelt nowhere, but filled the expansum with a dissemination great as


the unfoldings of the air's looser garment, or the wilder fringes of the fire, without knots, or order, or combination; but God gathered the beams in his hand, and united them into a globe of fire, and all the light of the world became the body of the sun; and he lent some to his weaker sister that walks in the night, and guides a traveller, and teaches him to distinguish a house from a river, or a rock from a plain field. So is the mercy of God a vast expansum and a huge ocean; from eternal ages it dwelt round about the throne of God, and it filled all that infinite distance and space, that hath no measures but the will of God; until God, desiring to communicate that excellency and make it relative, created angels, that he might have persons capable of huge gifts and man, who he knew would need forgiveness. For so the angels, our elder brothers, dwelt for ever in the house of their Father, and never brake his commandments; but we, the younger, like prodigals, forsook our Father's house, and went into a strange country, and followed stranger courses, and spent the portion of our nature, and forfeited all our title to the family, and came to need another portion. For, ever since the fall of Adam, who, like an unfortunate man, spent all that a wretched man could need, or a happy man could have, our life is repentance, and forgiveness is all our portion; and though angels were objects of God's bounty, yet man only is, in proper speaking, the object of his mercy; and the mercy which dwelt in an infinite circle became confined to a little ring, and dwelt here below; and here shall dwell below, till it hath carried all God's portion up to heaven, where it shall reign and glory upon our crowned heads for ever and ever!

But for him that considers God's mercies, and dwells awhile in that depth, it is hard not to talk widely, and without art and order of discoursings, St. Peter talked he knew not what, when he entered into a cloud with Jesus on Mount Tabor, though it passed over him like the little curtains that ride upon the north wind, and pass between the sun and us. And when we converse with a light greater than the sun, and taste a sweetness more delicious than the dew of heaven, and in our thoughts entertain the ravishments and harmony of that atonement, which reconciles God to man, and man to felicity, it will be more easily pardoned, if we should be like persons that admire much, and say but little and indeed we can but confess the glories of the Lord by dazzled eyes, and a stammering tongue, and a heart overcharged with the miracles of this infinity. For so those little drops that run over, though they be not much in themselves, yet they tell that the vessel was full, and could express the greatness of the shower no otherwise but by spilling, and in artificial expressions and runnings over. But because I have undertaken to tell the drops of the ocean, and to span the measures of eternity, I must do it by the great lines of revelation and experience, and tell concerning God's mercy as we do concerning God himself, that he is that great fountain of which we all drink, and the great rock of which we all eat, and on which we all dwell, and under whose shadow we all are refreshed. God's mercy is all this; and we can only draw the great lines of it, and reckon the constellations of our hemisphere, instead of telling the number of the stars; we only can reckon what we feel and what we live by; and though there be, in every one of these lines of life, enough to engage us for ever to do God service, and to give him praises, yet it is certain there are very many mercies of God on us, and towards us, and concerning us, which we neither feel, nor see, nor understand as yet; but yet we are blessed by them, and are preserved and secure, and we shall then know them, when e come to give God thanks in the festivities of an eternal sabbath.

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