Hannah More.

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his soul, without committing Old Bailev crimes.



lie well knew that idleness, vanity, and the
love of j>/ca^ur«, as it is falsely called, will bring
a man to a morsel of bread, as surely as thoes
things which are reckoned much greater sins
and that they undermine his principles as oer
tainly, though not quite so fast

Stock was too angry with what had happened
to answer Brown*s letter, or to seem to take the
least notice of him. However, he kindly and
secretly, undertook a journey to the hard-heart,
ed old farmer. Brown's father, to intercede with
him, and to see if he would do any thing for hia
son. Stock did not pretend to excuse Jack, or
even to lessen his offences ; for it was a rule of
his never to disguise truth or to palliate wicked-,
ness. Sin was still sin in his eyes, though it were
committed by his best friend ; but' though he
would not soften the sin, he felt tenderly mr the
sinner. He pleaded with the old farmer on the
ground, that his son^s idleness and other vices
would gather fVesh strength in a jaiL He told
him, that the loose and worthless company
which he would there Meep, would harden hin>
in vice, and if he was now wicked, he might
there become irreclaimable.

But all his pleas were urged in vain. The far-
mer was not to bo moved, indeed he argued with
some justice, that he ought not u> make his in-
dustrious children beggars to save one rogue
from the gallows. Mr. Stock allowed the force
of his reasoning, though he saw the father was
less influenced by this principle of justice than
by resentment on account of the old story of
Smiler. People, indeed, should tAe care that
what appears in their conduct to proceed from
justice, does not really proceed from revenge.
Wiser men than farmer Brown oflen deceive
themselves, and fancy they act on bettor prin-
ciples than they reaUy do, for want of looking
a little more closely into tlieir own hearts, and
putting down everj^ action to its true motive
When we are praying against deceit we should
not forget to take self-deccit into the account

Mr. Stock at length wrote to ppor Jack ; not
to offer him any help, that was quite out of tiie
question, but to exhort him to repent of his evil
ways ; to lay before him the sins of his past
life, and to advise him to convert the present
punishment into a benefit, by humbling himself
heSoTQ Grod. He offered his interest to get his
place of confinement exchanged for one of those
improved prisons, where solitude and labour
have been made the happy instruments of bring-
ing many to a better way of thinking, and end«
ed by saying, that if he ever gave any solid signs
of real amendment he would still be his friend,
in spite of all that was past

If Mr. Stock had sent him a good sum of
money to procure his liberty, or even to make
merry with his wretched companions. Jack
would have thought him a friend indeed. But
to send him nothing but dry advice, and a few
words of empty comfi>rt, was, he thought, but a
cheap shabby way of showing his kindness
Unluckily the letter came just as he was going
to sit down to one of those direful merry. mak-
inga which are oflen carried on with brutal i iol
witliin the doleful walls of a jail on the entrance
of a new prisoner, who is oflen expected to givg
a feast to the rest



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215



When his companions were heated with gin ;
Now,* said Jack, ' 1*11 treat you with a sermon,
and a very pretty preachment it is.* So saying,
he took out Mr. Stock's kind and pious letter,
and was delighted at the bursts of laucrhter it
produced. * What a canting dog!* said one.

* Repentance, indeed !* cried Tom Crew; *No,
no. Jack, tell this hypocritical rogue that if we
have lost our liberty, it is only for having been
idly, hearty fellows, and we have more spirit
than to repent of that I hope : all the harm we
have done is living a little too fast, like honest
bucks as we are. — • Ay, ay,* said jolly Groorge,

* had we been such sneaking miserly fellows as
Stock, we need not have come hither. But if
the ill nature of the laws has been so cruel as to
clap up such fine hearty blades, we are do felons
however. We are afraid of no Jack Ketch ; and
I see no cause to rdpent of any sin that's not
hanging matter. As to those who are thrust
int> the condemned hole indeed, and have but a
few hours to live, they must see the parson, and
hear a sermon, and such stuff. But I do not
know what such stout young fellows as we are
have to do with repentance. And so. Jack, let
n» have that rare new catch which you learnt
of the strollers that merry night when you lost
your pocket-book.*

This thoughtless youth soon gave a fresh
intmf of the power of evil company, and of the
quick progress of the heart of a sinner from bad
to worse. Brown, who always wanted principle,
soon gre /r to want feeling alsa He joined in
the laugh which was raised against Stock, and
told many fiwd stories, as they were called, in
derision ofthe piety, sobriety, and self-denial of
his old friend. He lost every day somewhat of
those small remains of shame and decency
which he bad brought with him to the prison.
He even grew reconciled to this wretched way
of life, and the want of money seemed to him
the heaviest evil in the life of a jail.

Mr. Slock finding from the jailer that his
letter had been treated with ridicule, would not
write to him any more. He did not come to
•ee him nor send him any assistance, thinking
it right to let him sufier that want which his
vices had brought upon him. But as he still
hoped that the time would come when he might
be brought to a sense of his evil courses, he
amtinued to have an eye upon him by means
sf the jailer, who was an honest, kind-hearted
man.

Brown spent one part of his time in thought-
(ess riot, and the other in gloomy sadness. Com-
pany kept up his spirits ; with his new friendtf
he contrived to drown thought; but when he
was alone he began to find liiat a merry feUoio,
when deprived of his companions and his liquor,
is ofUn a most forlorn wretch. Then it is that
even a merry fellow says. Of laughter^ what is
ii 1 and of mirthy it is madness.

As he contrived, however, to be as little al^e
as possible his gaiety was commonly uppermost
till that loathsome distemper, called the jail
lever, broke out in the prison. Tom Crow, the
ringleader in all their evil practices, was first
seized with it Jack staid a little while with
his comrade to assist and divert him. but of
cjMistanco ho could give little, and the very



thought of diversion was now turned into horror.
He soon caught the distemper, and that in so
dreadful a degree, that his Wfe was in great
danger. Of those who remained in health not
a soul came near him, though he shared his last
farthing with them. He had just sense enough
left to feel this cruelty. Poor fellow ! he did
not know before, that the friendship of the
worldly is at an end when there is no more drink
or diversion to be had. He lay in the most de-
plorable condition ; his body tormented with s
dreadful disease, and his soul terrified and
amazed at the approach of death: that death
which he thought at so mat a distance, and of
which his comrades had so oflen assured him
that a young fellow of five-and-twenty was is no
danger. Poor Jack ! I cannot help feeling for
him. Without a shilling! without ifnend ! with-
out one comfort respecting this wjrld, and, what
is far more terrible, without one hope respect-
ing the next

Let not the young reader fancy that Brown*s
misery arose entirely from his altered circum-
stances. It was not merely his being in want,
and sick, and in prison, which made his condi-
tion so desperate. Many an honest man un-
justly accused, many a persecuted saint, many
a holy martyr has enjoyed sometimes more
peace and content in a prison than wicked men
have ever tasted in the height of their pros-
perity. ' But to any such comforts, to any com-
fort at all, poor Jack was an utter stranger.

A christian friend generally comes forward
at the very time when worldly friends forsake
the wretched. The other prisoners would no*,
come near Br6wn, though he had oflen enter-
tained, and had never offended them ; even his
own father was not moved with his sad condi-
tion. When Mr. Stock informed him of it, be
answered, * 'Tis no more than he deserves. As
he brews so he must bake. He has made his
own bed, and let him lie in it' The hard old
man had ever at his tongue's end some proverb
of hardness, or frugality, which he contrived to
turn in such a way as to excuse himself.

We shall -now see how Mr. Stock behav-
cd. He had his favourite sayings too; but
they were chiefly on the side of kindness,
mercy, or some other virtue. * I must not,'
said he, 'pretend to caH myself a Christian, if
I do not requite evil with good.* When he re-
ceived the jailer's letter with the account of
Brown*s sad condition. Will Simpson and Tom-
my WUliams began to compliment him on his
own wisdom and prudence, by which l»e had
escaped Brown's misfortunes. He only gravely
said, * Blessed be God that I am not in tlv; same
misery. It is He who has made us to differ.
But for his grace I mi^ht have been in no bet
ter condition. — Now Brown is brought low by
the hand of God, it is my time to go to him.'
* What, you 1* said Will, • whom he cheated of
your money V — ♦ This is not a time to remein-
her injuries,* said Mr. Stock. * How can I ask
forgiveness for my own sins, if I withhoW for-
giveness from him Y* So saying, ho ordered his
horse, and set off to see poor Brown ; thus prov-
ing that his was a religion not of words but of
deeds.

Stock's heart nearly fiiiled him as he passed



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THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



through the prison. The groans of the sick and
dying, uid, what to such a heart as his was still
more moving, the brutal merriment of the
healthy in such a place, pierced his very soul.
Many a silent prayer did he put up as he passed
along, that God would yet be pleased to touch
their hearts, and that now (during this infec
tious sickness) might be the accepted time. The
jailer observed him drop a tear, and asked the
cause. * I cannot forget^ said he, * that the most
dissolute of these men is still my fellow creature.
The same God made them ; the same Saviour
died ibr them ; how then can J hate the worst
of them ? With my advantages they might have
been much better tiian I am ; without the bless-
big of Grod on my good minister's instructions,
I might have been worse than the worst of these.
I have no cause for pride, much for thankful*
ness ; * Let us not be high-minded^ but fear*

It would have moved a heart of stone to have
seen poor miserable Jack Brown lying on his
wretched bed, his face so changed by pain, po-
verty, dirt, and sorrow, that he could hardly be
known for that merry soul of a jack-boot, as he
used to be proud to hear himself called. His
groans were so piteous that it made Mr. Stock*s
Heart ache. He kindly took him by the band,
though he knew the distemper was catching. —
* How dost do. Jack 7* said be, * dost know me ?*
Brown shook his head and said, faintly, * Know
you 7 ay, that I do. I am sure I have but one
friend in the world who would come to see me
in this woeful condition. O James ! what have
I brought nivself to7 What will become of my
poor soul 7 I dare not look back, for that is all
sin ; nor forward, for that is all misery and woe.*

Mr. Stock spake kindly to him, but did not
attempt to cheer him with false comfort, as is
too often done. * I am asham*d to see you in
this dirty place,* says Brown. * As to the place,
Jack,* replied the other, * if it has helped to
bring you to a senso of your past offences, it
will be no bad place for you. I am heartily sorry
for your distress and your sickness ; but if it
should please God by them to open your eyes,
and to show you that sin is a greater evil than
the prison to which it has brought you, all may
yet be welL I had rather see you in this hum.
ble penitent state, lying on this dirt^ bed, in this
dumal prison, than roaring and noting at the
Grayhound, the king of the company, with
handsome clothes on your back, and plenty of
money in your pocket.*

Brown wept bitterly, and squeezed his band,
bat was too weak to say much. Mr. Stock then
desired the jailor to let him have such things as
were needful, and he wouM pay for them. He
would not leave the poor fellow till he had given
him, with his own hands, some broth whicn the
jailor had got ready for him, and some medi-
sines which the doctor had sent All this kind-
ness cut Brown to the heart He was just able
to sob out, * My unnatural father leaves me to
)>erish, and my injured friend is more than a
father to me.* Stock told him that one proof he
must give of his repentance, was, that he must
forgive his father, whose provocation had been
very great He then said he would leave him
for the present to take some rest, and desired
him to M up his heart to God for mercy. * Dear



James,* replied Brown, • do you pray for me
God perhaps may hear you, but he will nevet
hear the prayer of such a sinner as I have been.*
*Take care how you think so,* said Stock., 'To
believe that God cannot forgive you would be.
still a greater sin than any you have yet com-
mitted against him.* He then explained to him
in a few words, as well as he was able, the na-
ture of repentance and forgiveness through a
Saviour, and warned him earnestly against un-
belief and hardness of heart

Poor Jack grew much refreshed in body with
the comfortable things he had taken; and a little
cheered with Stock*s kindness in coming so far
to see and to forgive such a forlorn outcast, sick
of an infectious distemper, and locked within
the walls of a prison.

Surely, said ho to himself, there must be some
mighty power in a religion which can lead men
to do such things I things so much against the
grain as to forgive such an injury, and to risk
catching such a distemper ; but he was so weak
he could not express this in words. He tried to
pray but he could not ; at length, overpowered
witn weariness, he fell asleep.

When Mr. Stock came back, he was surprised
to find him so much better in body ; but his
agonies of mind wore dreadful, and he had now
got strength to express part of the horrors which
he fell. * James,* said he (looking wildly) • it
is all over with me. I am a lost creature. Even
your prayers cannot save roe.* — * Dear Jack,'
replied Mr. Stock, * I am no minister ; it docs
not become me to talk much to ihee : but I know
I may venture to say whatever is in the Dihie.
As ignorant as I am I shall be safe enough
while I stick to that* *• Ay,* said the sick man^
*you used to be ready enough to read to me, and
I would not listen, or if I did it was only to
make fun of what I heard, and now you will not
so much as read a bit of a chapter to me.*

This was the yery point to which Stock long-
ed to bring him. So he took a little Bible out
of his pocket, which he always carried with him
on a journey, and read slowly, verse by verse,
the fifly-fiflh chapter of Isaiah. When he came
to the sixth and seventh verses, poor Jack cried
so much that Stock was forced to stop. The
words were. Let the wicked man forsake his way^
and the unrighteous man his thoughts^ and let
him return unto the Lord, Here Brown stoppsd
him, saying, * Oh it is too late, too late for me.*
— * Let me finish the verse,* said Stock, * and yoo
will see your error ; you will see that it is never
too late.* So he read on — Let him return tinio
the Lord, and he wiU have merey upon him^ end
to our God, and he wUl ahundanlly pardon. I fere
Brown started up, snatched the book out of his
hand, and cried out, * Is that really there 7 Nc,
no ; that*s of your own putting in, in order to
comfort me ; let mo look at the words myst^f'
— * No, indeed,* said Stock, * I would not for tbo
world give you unfounded comfort or put off"
any notion of my own for a Scripture doctrine.*
— *' But is it possible,* cried the sick man, ' that
God may really pardon me 7 Do*st tliink he can !
Do*st think he will 7* * I dare not give thee false
hopes, or indeed any hopes of my own. But
these are God*s own words, and the only diffi-
culty is to know when we ar^ really J>rought

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THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



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into rach a state as that the words may be ap.
plied to us. For a text may be full of comfort,
and jet may not belong to ut.'

Mr. Stock was afraid of saying more. He
would not venture out of his depth ; nor indeed
was poor Brown able to bea; more discourse
just now. So he made him a present of the Bi-
ble, folding down such places as he thought
might be l^st suited to his state, and took his
leave, being obliged to return home that night.
He led a little money with the jailor, to add a
few comforts to the allowance of the prison, and
promised to return in a short time.

When he got home, he described the suffer-
mgs and misery of Brown in a very moving
manner ; but Tommy Williams, instead of be-
ing properly affected by it, onlj said, • Indeed,
master, I am not very sorry ; he is rightly
served.' — * How,'Toramy,* said Mr. Stock (ra-
ther sternly) * not sorry to see a fellow creature
brought to the lowest state of misery ; one too
whom you have known so prosperous V ' No,
master, I can't say I am ; for Mr. Brown used
to make fun of you, and laugh at you for being
so godly, and reading your Bible.'

* Lot me say a few words to you Tommy,'
said Mr. Stock. *■ In the iirst place you should
never watch for the time ox a man's being
brought low by trouble to tell of his faulta.
Next, you should never rejoice at his trouble,
but pity him, and pray for him. Lastly, as to
his ridiculing me for my religion, if I cannot
stand an idle jest, I am not worthy the name of
m Christian. — He that ia ashamed of me and my
loorrf— do'st remember what follows Tommy r
— *■ Yes, master, it was last Sunday's text — of
kim shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he
$haU judge the wortd.^

Mr. Stock soon went back to the prison. But
he did not go alone. He took with him Mr.
Thomas, the worthy minister who had been the
guide and instructor of his youth, who was so
kind as to go at his request and visit this forlorn
prisoner. When they got to Brown's door, they
found him sitting up in his bed with the Bible
in his hand. This was a joyful sight to Mr.
Stock, who secretly thanked God for it Brown
was reading aloud ; they listened ; it was the
fifteenth of Saint Luke. The circumstances of
this beautiful parable of the prodigal son were
to much like his own, that the story pierced
him ixi the soul ; and he stopped every minute
to compare his own case with that of the prodi-
gaL He was just got to the eighteenth verse, /
wiU arise and go to my father — at that moment
he spied his two friends ; joy darted into his
•yes. *0 dear Jem,' said he, * it is not too late,
I will arise, and go to m^ Father, my heavenly
Father, and you, sir, will show me the way,
won't you?' said he to Mr. Thomas, whom he
recollected. • I am very ^lad to see you in so
hopeful a disposition,' said the good minister.
• O, sir,' said Brown, * what a place is thi| to re-
ceive yoa in ? O, see to what I have brought
myself!'

• Your condition, as to this world, is indeed
very low,' replied the good divine. • But what
are mines, dungeons, or gallics, to that eternal
hopeless prison to which your unrepented sins
must soon have consisnied you. Even in the



gloomy prison, on this l>cd of straw, worn down
by pain, poverty, and want, forsaken by your
worldly friends, an object of scorn to those with
whom you used to carouse and riot ; yet here, I
say, brought thus low, if you have at last found
out your own vileness, and your utterly undone
state by sin, you may still be more an okject of fa-
vour in the sight of God, than when you thought
yourself prosperous and happy ; when the world
smiled upon you, and you passed your days and
nights in envied gaiety and unchristian not If
you will but improve the present awful visita^
tion ; if you do but heartily renounce and ab-
hor your present evil courses; if you even now
turn to the Lord your Saviour with lively faith,
deep repentance, and unfeigned obedience, 1
shall still have more hope ofyou than of many
who are going on quite happy, because quite in-
sensible. The heavy laden sinner, who has dis-
covered the iniquity of his own heart, and his
utter inability to help himself, may be restored
to God's favour, and become happy, though in a
dungeon. And be assured, that he who from
deep and humble contrition dares not so much
as lifl up his eyes to heaven, when with a hearty
faith he sighs out, Lord^ he merciful to me a sin-
ner^ shall in no wise be cast out. These are the
words of him who cannot lie.'

It is impossible to describe the self-abasement,
the grief, the joy, the shame, the hope, and the
fear which filled the mind of this poor man. A
dawn of comfort at length shone on his benight-
ed mind. His humility and fear of falling l^ck
into his former sins, if he should ever recover,
Mr. Thomas thought were strong symptoms of a
sound repentance. He improved and cherished
every good disposition he saw arising in his
heart, and particularly warned him against self
deceit, self-confidence, and hypocrisy

Afler Brown had deeply expressed his sorrow
for his offences, Mr. Thomas thus addressed
him. 'There are two ways of being sorry for
sin. Are you, Mr. Brown, afraid of the guilt of
sin because of the punishment annexed to it, or
are you afVaid of sin itself? .Do you wish to be
delivered from the power of sin ? Do you hate
sin because you know it is offensive to a pure
and holy G^ ? Or are you only ashamed of it
because it has brought you to a prison and ex- .
posed you to the contempt of the world ?• It is
not said that the wages of this or that particular
sin is death, but of sin in general ; there is no
exception made because it is a more creditable
or a favourite sin, or because it is a little one.
There are, I repeat, two ways of being sorry
for sin. Cain was sorry — my punishment is
greater than I can bear, said he ; but here you
see the punishment seemed to be the cause of
concern, not the sin. David seems to have had
a good notion of godly sorrow, when he ^ays,
Wash me from mine iniquity ^ cleanse me from
my sin. And when Job repented in dust and
ashest it is not said he excused himself, but ho
abhorred himself. And the prophet Isaiah called
himself undone, because he was a man of un
clean lips; for, said he " I have seen the K'ln'r
the Lord of hosts ;" that is, ho could not takt
the proper measure of his own iniquity till he
had considered the perfect holiness of (rtjd.'

One day, when Mr. Thomas and Mr. Stook



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THE WORKS OF HANNAH MORE.



came to see him, they found him more than
commonly affected. His face was more ghastly
pale than usual, and his eyes were red with cry-
ittg, * Ob, sir,* said he, *■ what a sight have t
just seen ! jolly George, as we used to call him,
the ringleader of all our mirth, who was at the
bottom of all the fun and tricks, and wickedness
that a.e carried on within these walls, jolly
Georgo is just dead of the jail distemper ! He
taken, and I left ! I would be carried into his
room to speak to him, to beg him to take warn-
ing by me, and that I might take warning by
\um. But what did I see ! what did I hear !
not one sign of repentance ; not one dawn of
hope. Agony of body, blasphemies on his tonguei
despair in hiiB scul ; while I am spared and com-
forted with hopes of mercy and acceptance. Ob,
if ail my old friends at the Gray hound could but
then have seen jolly George ! A hundred ser.
mons about death, sir, don*t speak so home, and
cut BO deep, as the sight of one dying sinner.*

Brown grew gradually better in his health,
that is, the fever mended, but the distemper set-
tled in his limbs, so that he seemed likely to be
a poor, weakly cripple the rest of his life. Bat
as he spent much of his time in prayer, and in
reading such parts of the Bible as Mr. Thomas
directed, he improved every day in knowledge
and pietv, and of course grew more resigned to
pain and infirmity.

Some months afler this, his hard-hearted fa*
ther, who had never been prevailed upon to see
him, or offer him the least relief, was taken off
suddenly by a fit of apoplexy ; and, ajler all his
threatenings, he died without a wilL He was



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