Chapter 31: A Variety of Employment
This is a Continuation of Reminiscences from the first Book, where I left off recounting my last Voyage in the Boat called the 'Hope of Liverpool', which I sold to Mr John Howard for twenty five pounds. Ten Pounds of this was paid me in a Ten pound Note, which I at once took to Mr Mounsey and paid him for the suit of Sails which he supplied me with on credit for seven pounds ten shillings. I had now two pounds ten left to go on with to meet current Expenses and odds and ends of small Debts standing over while in the Boat.
Now I had to look for Work, which I did by attending at Warehouses where there was a Chance of getting a Job. Among these I remember Tod and Co, who were discharging a Cargo of Palm Oil, where I got Work for a few days. And then there was a Firm with which George Dawson was connnected, with whom I occasionally got a Job, and Tod Jackson, with whose firm John Turner was connected. Then I remember I worked four days for Mr Evans' William Street Sugar House where Mr Kulk was my foreman. He afterwards worked for me after I got a Sugarhouse of my own. Then I got work at Mr Mollenhauer's Bastard House, where they Boiled West India Molasses for making Bastard Sugar.
Thus I worked off and on wherever I could work. Then a time came when all these Places seemed to give out and I could get no Work at all. On one of these Occasions, when I sat in the House having Nothing to do, and the last Penny apparently gone, considering things over I said to myself: "You are very low now: you seem to be at the far End Now. Yes", I said, "it seems so!"
While I sat there musing, Satan seemed to come with a most Malignant Leer and said: "Where is your God now about whom you boasted so much to Mary Goodson? You will die in a Ditch, for all your Boasting!" I was indignant at this, and full of Choler at Satan's suggestion said; "And what if I do, what is that to you? My God is great and of Infinite Power and also Wise. If he in his Wisdom should think it best for me, I am content. After all, it is not such a Dreadful thing to die of Hunger for a man that has Eternal Glory after that! I have already a little Taste of Hunger: I have been two days in that Way already. But, suppose it take Fourteen Days or more: after that there is Glory for Ever!"
"Ah", says Satan, "but what will Mary Goodson say?" Now it may be remembered that I wrote earlier about the day when, after discharging the sand that we brought from Bromborough Pool Quarry, I went up to Kings for a Chat and a Rest with Mary Goodson. When the Subject of God's Providence came up between us, after serious consideration I made my avowal to her that God would never forsake me, that he was Faithful and so on. That I might starve to death if God so willed did not seem to me as fearful as Satan suggested; but I could not stand that the Honour and Faithfulness of God should be called into question! I could not stand that Mary's Faith should be staggered in the Faithfulness of God!
I jumped up, and rushed up to my Bedroom, to the Surprise of my Landlady, went down on my knees before my Bed, shouting with a Loud Noise, saying; "O Lord this cannot be! Thou must help me! For what will Mary Goodson say?" There seemed to come to me from God a kind and soothing Voice saying: "Husht! Husht my Child! What makes you to have such an ado? Go to Mr Goodson and Borrow a Sovereign from him!" Upon this the Perturbation of my Mind immediately ceased, and I went straight to Mr Goodson and did as I was Bid! I came away with my Sovereign without any question being asked. My mind had now come down thoroughly to my Circumstances. I looked for nothing but Daily Bread from God and wanted no more. I looked diligently after Work as usual but Anxiety I had none. Whatever Money I earned, little or much, I gave to my Landlady, whose heart the Lord disposed to lay out my little Earnings so well that I did not feel the want of anything. Even what Tobacco I wanted was always forthcoming.
These Scriptures were what I lived on in those days: "Take no thought for the Morrow. Sufficient for the Day is the evil thereof. Neither be of Doubtful Mind: doth God take care for Sparrows? Ye are of more Value than many Sparrows! Doth God so clothe the Grass of the field? Shall he not Clothe you of little Faith?"
Now those that read these Lines may say: "You are very Egotistical!" True; so I am! But, if I will write at all, I cannot be otherwise if I will write my Experience. I have indeed put off the work time after time; but if I put it off longer my time of life tells me that my opportunity will be gone, for I am in my Eightieth year. This says to me "What thou doest, do at once! for time is now very short." The Scripture saith; "The Fathers to the Children shall make known thy Truth." This being so, the Lord enabling me, I will try and do my best to my ability to make known the Works of the Lord.
As I have said heretofore, in 1839 I broke loose from the constraints of a regular Place which the Lord had given me when I was very low down indeed, when I prayed to the Lord to give me a Place. This he did, contrary to my highest expectations. He gave me a comfortable home and also called me by his Grace into fellowship of himself and his Jesus Christ, making known to me the World to come and the Glory thereof, with much Communion and Fellowship, and then taking it away - consequently Darkness Doubts and Fears with much Exercise - notwithstanding much Comfort of Mind and good hope that if I should be removed from this World I should have a Home in Heaven, full of Immortality and Eternal Life.
Having all these things, I say, like Jeshuram of Old I waxed fat and Kicked, rebelled and gave up my Place. Being in this condition, I say, I looked for Chastisement and rebukes, which also came to pass according to my expectation. For, from the beginning of 1839 to 1843 I was knocked from Pillar to Post, as we say, as I have already described. But the Lord dealt kindly with me though all, and suffered not my Faith to fail me. Yea, I must say that I never had a Happier time in my life than the three months that I am now on! I was living from Hand to Mouth, not knowing where the day's Bread was to come from. I lived literally by faith after receiving that Sovereign from Mr Goodson by God's Order. Oh, it was a Happy Life. I lived without Care or Thought, like a Prince, yet diligently always doing my best to get Work, but kept short for the Trial of my Faith. I lived in Mann St, Toxteth Park; but I used to go to Lime St Chapel, where I was a teacher in the Sunday School. I would stay there for the whole day, taking my Breakfast before starting, trusting for any chance Meal I might get through the day by someone asking me to Tea or Dinner.
There was one Tom Gibson, also a teacher of the Sunday School, who used to ask me to go home with him to Dinner. His father kept a Linendraper's Shop in Ranelagh St. The Family were very kind to me, and I was apparently welcome; but one Day after Dinner the Father, who had a taste for Phrenology was speaking to me about that Science. He told me that if he was wanting a Servant, and I was one that made Application for the Place, he would refuse me. From that I gathered that he had a very poor Opinion of my Honesty. This made me shy of going there again. So, one day, after morning Service, young Gibson looked out for me as usual, to invite me to go home with him as usual, I was on the Watch to Shun him. He noticed this, and was evidently offended with me for so doing, for he never asked me after that. So for the Future I had no Dinner, which I was made to feel when the Pinching Time came on in the Afternoon.
I said to myself "Never Mind; I can do without Dinner. Now the Lord has called on you to fast." So I went into St. John's Church, which was open during the recess, and sang hymns to myself until the Opening of the school at half past two O'Clock. After School was over, I waited about until Evening Service began, unless someone asked me to go home with them to tea. Then, after Evening Service I went home, which was about two or three Miles, and got my Supper with great Relish, and found I was no worse for a bit of Fasting.