Levi Hathaway.

The narrative of Levi Hathaway : giving an account of his life, experience, call to the ministry of the gospel of the Son of God, and travels as such to the present time online

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Online LibraryLevi HathawayThe narrative of Levi Hathaway : giving an account of his life, experience, call to the ministry of the gospel of the Son of God, and travels as such to the present time → online text (page 1 of 9)
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*' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am
chief. Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy that in me
first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long suffering, for a pattern
to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life ever-
lasting." I Timothy, i. 15, 16.




NOt 1, Market-Square, (second story.)

tjr. ., , Rhode-Island DistrkU sc.

-.nd in thrr. /^%?^* ^" ^^'^ '""^^ ^^y °^ April, A. I). 1820,
sLtes nJ A ^"^.*3^-^«"'th year of the Independence Jf the United
office thptjnp'*'r' K^'7 ^«/^«'*?^' «f ■''aid District, deposited in this
ptbce the title of a book, whereof he claims as author, in the follow-
ing words, VIZ : - The ^arratne of Levi Hathawayl gMn^anac^
tlTL"'^^?nf^ £j;>, Call to the mnutry^^t^eGoZZf

Je.usclmP in?^lh^' and worthy of .11 acceptation, that Chris!
Howbeft fnr n- '"""'^i t\r.^^«'"'^^rs, Of whom I am chief,
ilowbeit, /or this cause I obtained mercy that in me first Jesus
Christ might shew forth ail long suffering, for a pattern to them
Thy't. ^^^"I'^gh,^^^^*^^ ^^I'-v^ on bim to life everlasCg.' 1 I^mo

*lp!r ?"f°7'/^r*^?" ^^* °^ Congress of the United States, enti-
ced, An Act for the encouragement of learniag, by securing the
copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors ol
such copies during the time therein mentioned." And also to an
act, entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning, by se-
curing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and
proprietors of such copies, during the time therein mentioned, and
extending the benefit thereof to the art of desigmng, engraving and
etching historica] and other prints." ^ ^' ''"S'^aving and

Witness^ BENJ'AMIN COWELL, I ^^^^^ ^' ^'

y District,





I WAS born February 6th, 1790, in the town
of Middleborough, county of Plymouth, and
state of Massachusetts; was the youngest
and thirteenth child of my mother. My la-
ther became insane, in 1791, and remains
incapable of doing business to the present
day. My tender mother, died in February,
1799. This was a great loss, (though but lit-
tle realized by me at that time :) at her death
I felt solemn, but did not weep, while I saw
my brothers and sisters weeping by the bed-
side; my thoughts were, if weeping would
bring her to life again, I could weep ; but she
is gone, and all our tears will not bring her to

I was now left without father or mother,
to take care of, or give me advice ; though I
did not weep at her death ; yet, have often
since wept, wnen calling to mind the loss
that I then sustained. After my mother's
death, the family were scattered abroad —
there w^ere seven brothers and three sisters

of us living; my sister next to the youngest,
went to live with her uncle ; my youngest sis-
ter, with her brother, next to the eldest, and
myself, went to live with my eldest brother,
who was a professor of religion* The May
following, my brother, with whom I livedo
moved his family into the Province of Maine^
to a place then called Tingtown, since in-
corporated and named Wilton. This was
then a wilderness part of the world ; on one
side of us there was but one family within
two miles, and on the other, it was a wilder-
ness for more than one hundred. There was
nothing worthy of notice transpired in my
life, until May, 1801 ; when the spirit of God
began to operate upon my mind.

One morning in the month ofTVIay, I arose
as the sun began to appear above the tops of
the trees in the east; it was remarkably
clear, there was not a cloud to be seen.
While, beholding the serene sky, and beauti-
ful rish)g sun; my thoughts were — was there
ever a whole day, in which there was not a
cloud to be seen. I tlien resolved to take
particular notice through the day to see, if 1
could say, that I had seen a whole day, in
which a cloud was not to be seen. After
breakfast, I went with my brother to work in
a field, near the top of an high hill, that over-
looked a large part of the surrounding coun-
try. Often looking up to see, if I cordd dis-
cover a cloud, till about eleven o'clock, when
looking eastward, over the lower part of the
town, I saw the appearance of a cloud, above

the tops of the trees, so large as to cover an hun-
dred acres, and it was the colour of a rainbow.
I asked my brother what it was — he sat down
on a log without saying a word, and looked
at it for the space of half an hour, or more, in
which time it vanished away. He then arose
without saying a word, and we went into the
house. I was anxious to hear what he would
say to his wife, who was not a professor of
religion. So soon as he entered the house,
he took the bible, and turning to the Acts of
the Apostles, and from the second chapter,
lie read as follows : — ^' And it shall come to
pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour
out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons
and your daughters shall prophecy, and your
young men shall see visions, and your old men
shall dream dreams : and on my servants and
on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those
days of my spirit ; and they shall prophecy :
And I will shew wonders in heaven above,
and signs in the earth beneath ; blood, and
fire, and vapours of smoke : The sun shall
be turned into darkness, and the moon into
blood, before that great and notable day of
the Lord come : and it shall come to pass, that
whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord
shall be saved."

After reading these words, he conversed
about the day of judgment, and of the world's
coming to an end. This was the first time that
I ever remember of hearing any person say,
that this world would come to an end. In the
afternoon, w ent into a field to work, and while


alone med Rating on'what I had seen and heard ;
on a sudden a light seemed to break into my
mind, and for the first time, I then began to
realise a Supreme Being, who created the
heavens above and the earth beneath, and all
creatures that are in them. And that sooner
or later, myself, with all the human family
must die, and after death, appear before God^
to give an account of the deeds done here
in the body. O ! how solemn was the thought,
of death an-d judgment to me : It was clearly
manifested to my understanding, what was
right, and what was wrong. Then saw that
I had done many things that were wrong in
the sight of God, and then resolved to do so
no more : My mind became solemn, and I felt
an anxious desire to know more about tliat
God who made me, and while reflecting on
God, and the eternal world, something whis-
pered to my understanding — if you wish to
know more of God, attend to what you hear
read, (I could not then read in the Bible) for
that is the word of the Lord ; and while at-
tending to hear the word read, I learned that
all that lived and died without repentance,,
would be cast into the lake of fire, which m
the second death. My thoughts of this were
dreadful, and my mind, for a time, was much
exercised about eternal things; .time, with
me, looked very short and uncertain ; eter-
nity opening before me and near at hand !
A short time after this, there was a great and
glorious reformation began in the neighbour-
hood, where the cloud hung over, and spread

very gloriously; Ilieard of many that had ex-
perienced religion, and was very desirous to
go to meeting; but there was no meeting held
nearer than six or seven miles, and I being-
young, and my brother not knowing that I had
any serious impressions on my mind, thought
it not proper for me to go. But soon after
there was a young man experienced religion
in the neighbourhood, where I lived, and
was very happy. O ! thought I, that I knew
how I might obtain the happiness that he en-
joys ; but a gloom continued over my mind ;
and I was convinced, that I must have some-
thing more than I had, in order to be happy
here or hereafter. One day while I was
with my brother, w^e met the young man, who
had experienced religion, and my brother in-
vited him to come and spend an evening w ith
him, he consented, and appointed the next.
This gave me much joy, hoping to know how
he obtained the salvation of God. The night
arrived, I took my seat in the corner, and
was attentive to hear — and to the joy of my
heart, their first conversation was relating
how they obtained the salvation of God.
They both related in their experiences, that
when they viewed their need of salration^
they sought the Lord Jesus in this language,
»' Lord have mercy on me a sinner !" I went
to bed that night with joy in my heart, and
now thought that I knew how I might obtain
salvation. And it was the constant cry of my
heart when I was awake, for several weeks,
Baying, Lord have mercy on me a sinner ! I


did not so much realise myself a sinner then
as I did afterwards ; but felt myself in a very
miserable condition, and knew of no other
way to find relief While I continued to
pray, my mind became solemn, and for seve-
ral days felt so weighed down, that I changed
my prayer ; and my cry was. Lord what shall
I do ? One day w hile praying in this manner,
it was clearly made known to my understand-
ing, that if I would make my mind known to
my brother and sister, I should find peace.
The adversary of souls, then suggested to my
mind ; you are too young to have religion, no
person ever experienced religion so young as
you are ; and your young mates will laugh
at you — you had better omit seeking the
Lord, until you are eighteen or twenty years
of age ; for then you can obtain the salvation
of God as well as now : While under these
severe temptations, I was convinced that one
of tw^o things I must do, either give up pray-
ing, or else tell my brother my feelings. I
finally concluded to give up seeking the Lord,
until I had a more convenient opportunity.
Soon after, being in the field alone, the sun
being about an hour high in the afternoon, I
beganjo give attention to the temptations of
the enemy ; and finally, repeated these words^
three times, with an audible voice; I will
give up seeking the Lord until I am eighteen
or twenty years old. As soon as I had repeat-
ed these words, all those solemn and tender
impressions, which I felt, left me, and dark-
ness filled my mind. The next morning, was


sent to gather some wood for the lire, and
while in the woods, my thoughts were why do
1 feel so stupid ? It immediately came into
my mind, that I had griev ed the holy spirit of
God. O ! what condemnation and horror ot
mind I then felt. My thoughts were that I
had sinned away my day of grace, and now
there was no merey for me ; I cried aloud to
the Lord for mercy, and wept bitterly before
him, and for a little while thought 1 should
never be forgiven for grieving his holy spirit.
My mind was now much exercised about
my awful condition ; but after some time, my
mind being Ireed from its burden, I began to
feel a love for God, and to his children, and
enjoyed a degree of peace for many months.
It was a great satisfaction to me to hear the
bible read ; and through that summer had ma-
ny solemn and joyful seasons in secret prayer
and meditating, that in some future day I
should preach the gospel to the world of man-
kind. I did not know at that time God had
forgiven my sins, but hoped that he would.
In the fall and winter following, my mind be-
came more taken up with vanity and youth-
ful pleasures, and little bj little, lost all the
enjoyment I had in meditating on divine
things. In the sprhig following, I was sent to
work for Mr. John Tufls, in the lov/er part of
the town where the reformation had been ;
here ^ had the privilege of attending several
meetings, in which I heard the saints tell the
happiness they felt, from time to time in the
service of God ; and while hearing them de^


scribe the beauties of the Redeemer, was mucii
impressed to tell some of the feelings of my
heart ; but the cross was so great, that I griev-
ed every impression away. One evening in
particular, remember hearing Mrs. Tuffs talk-
ing with one of her sisters in the Lord, upon
the subject of religion, my heart burned with-
in me, to tell them my feelings — but sat silent
till I grieved the tender spirit from my heart,
and darkness and distress again filled my mind.
Then I arose, went out of the house, prayed to
God, and promised the Lord that if he would
give me the same feelings of heart again, I
would tell the feelings of my mind. I then re-
turned into the house, and again felt the im-
pression to speak, to that degree, that it caused
me grtatly to tremble ; yet I was still disobe-
dient, and those heavenly impressions left me.
I lived five years with my brother in the prov-
ince of Maine, and then returned to Middlebo-
rough, my Uc.tive town. I often thought of my
youngest sister, and wanted to tell her the ne-
cessity of seeking the salvation of God, before
she died, and wanti-d to warn her not to do as
I had done ; and often, in my reflections, would
weep, while thinking that once and again, I
might have obtained the salvation of the Lord,
h id I followed the teachings of his spirit ; but
now it Was too late, for instead of growing any
better, I was continually growing more harden-
ed in sin. I did not feel those solemn tender im-
pressions of mind, hat I once did, while med-
itating on heaven nd divine things ;' but my
thoughts on death, judgment and eternity j


were dreadful to me. la the spring of 1 804*>
after I arrived at Middleborough, from the
province of Maine, I found that my youngest
sister had experienced religion the summer be-
fore, and had been baptized, this caused my
heart to rejoice on her behalf ; but, as soon as I
began to think on my ow^n situation, and that I
had no part with her, I went out and wept bit-

But through my unbelief, and not attending
to the whisperings of the spirit of God, the im-
pressions that I then felt soon wore off, as the
others had done. I now was entered my fif-
teenth year, and had to seek a home for myself,
in this wide world, without having a fathers
house, or home. My mind now looked for-
ward, in hopes to find happiness in the things
of this world ; and while eagerly pursuing
them, soon found myself one of the first in the
gay circles. I did not believe that happiness
was to be/ound among the baser sort. And
was determined whenever I went into a new
place, not to join any company, could I not have
an invitation to join with the more honourable;
and this, no doubt, was the means of keeping
me from many an hurtful sin, that otherwise
would have fallen upon me. After taking un-
wearied pains for several years, to find substan-
tial joys in the gay circles of life, I was brought
to say, in the language of the scriptures, " van-
ity of vanities, all is vanitv, and vexation of
spirit." But the gracious Lord was still mer-
ciful to me, and often taught me, that the road
that I then was in, was tlie broad way to de-


str^ction. In the spring of 1809, while trav-
elling on the road from Middlcborough to Bos-
ton, it came into my mind, that the age had ar-
rived that I promised to serve God, when in
my twelfth year. But, O ! what a distance I
now found myself to be from him, and while
viewing my wretched situation — having no
hope, and without God in the world — I lifted
up my cries and wept as I went along the road.
I arrived in Boston, and took passage in a
Packet for North-Yarmouth, in the province of
Maine. From thence, went to the town of
Bath, on Kennebeck river. I still had happi-
ness in view ; I had not found it in the ball-
chamber; therefore concluded, that it might
be found in crossing the ocean, visiting the dif-
ferent nations and cities of the world. And as
there was a vessel bound to the West Indies,
and from thence to several parts of the conti-
nent of Europe, I concluded to go on board,
and see if happiness could not be found in this
way ; but all the time I was preparing for the
voyage, there was something within that seem-
ed to forbid my going ; but I was so hardened
at this time, that I gave but little attention to
the teaching of the good spirit of God. But,
O ! the goodness of God, in preserving me
from time to time. For as soon as the Brig
was rendy to sail, we castofFour fasts, and sail-
ed down the river with a pleasant breeze from
the north-west, and thought soon to see the
European continent — but on our arriving in
sight of the mouth of the river, the wind shift-
ed to the east, and a storm, blew a gale, which

lasted forty-eight hours. We lay at anchor
until the second morning after the storm be-
gan ; the wind came fair, and at the dawning of
the day, all hands were called to prepare for
getting underway ; a fresh breeze from the
north west, and the tide setting very rapidly
down the river, about sunrise the vessel drag-
ged her anchors, and was carried with the wind
and tide, very furiously, against a point of
rocks that ran out into the river and broke in her
stern. Then I thought how awful must our
situation have been, had this happened one
hundred miles from the shore ; surely, we all
must have had a watery grave. I felt to give
thanks to God for his goodness in sparing ni}^
life again. From this time I gave over the
idea of finding happiness in crossing the ocean,
and this summer worked in^he town of Au-
gusta ; and in the winter, visited my brethren
in Wilton, in the county of Kennebeck ; when
I arrived there, I found that their chief subject
of conversation was about going to the state of
Ohio. Those who had been to see it, had re-
turned at)d represented it as the most delight-
ful part of the world. My eldest brother had
sold h^s farm, and was making preparations to
move there the summer following. While
hearing them describe the beauty and fertility
of the soil, and the noble rivers that ran through
the diflPerent parts of the country, I began to
think I had not travelled far enoui^h to find the
land of happiness, and was again determined to
find happiness, if it was to be had in this world.
Not being contented in mind, to wait for my


brother until lie was ready to go, therefore,
left the principal part of my clothing for my
brother to bring on with him, hoping to meet
him at the head of Ohio river, having con-
eluded to take a circuitous route through the
state of New- York. On the 5th of June, 1810,
I bid my brethren farewell, and commenced
my journey on foot for the west^ in full expec-
tation that I should find the land of happiness
before I returned to my native place again. I-
journied through the state of New-Hampshire,
and a corner of Vermont, crossed the Hudson
river at the city of Albany ; from thence trav-
elled to the town of Lile, in the county of
Ijroom, where I had tlie pleasure of seeing a
sister whom I had not seen for more than elev-
en years before. She was a small girl when I
saw^ her last, but now she w^as married, had an
agreeable companion and two children, and
they were very anxious that I should make
their house my home, and live in that part of
the country. My reply to them was, that I
was in pursuit of a better country.

While on the way to my sister's, passing
through a town near to the Surnango river,
where a great reformation was among the peo-
ple, night overtook me before I found a tav-
ern, and I got the privilege to put up in a pri-
vate house. The old gentleman and his wife
I soon found were professors of religion, and
they had one daughter that had lately experi-
enced it ; and when I found that they were
much engaged in the cause of God, I con-
versed with'them ft-eely upon the reasonable-


ness of religion, and of the importance that
mankind should attend to the glorious subject.
They were very attentive to hear, but in the
midst of my conversation a thought entered
my mind, that, frv)m my talk, they would take
me to be a professor of religion, and would ask
me to pray.

I immediately arose, and made as though J.
was in a great hurry to go to bed, and after I
went to bed, I feared that they would ask me
in the morning whether I had ever experienced
religion ; but to avoid this, thought that I
would set out very early in the morning, and
as the day began to dawn, I arose and asked
the man what I had to pay ; he arose and told
me that I was welcome to what I had received,
and he and his wife urged me very strong to
stop and take breakfast I made many excu-
ses ; but before I could get away the family
were all up, and when they saw that I would
go, the good woman said to me, her daughter
requested her to ask me if I had ever experi-
enced religion : I told them that I had not ; the
daughter burst mto a flood tears and cried a-
loLid ; I bid them farewell, and continued on my
journey. But O ! what distress filled my mind
through that day, I was impressed in mind a
number of times to go back, and to work in
the neighbourhood where the reformation was ;
it appeared that if I would, God would give
me a part in it; but I was still disobedient.

After tarrying a few days with my sister, I
left her in tears, pursued my journey, came to
the north branch of the Susquehannah river, at


Owegah village, went down the same a little
below Tioga point ; then crossed over a moun-
tain to Sugar creek, went up the same some
distance, then crossed another mountain to
Tawcnda creek, from thence came to the head
waters of Ly common creek ; this river empties
itself into the west branch of the Susquehannah.
I went down this river thirty miles, and had to
wade through it thirty-two times. It was be-
tween two mountains which are so high that
the clouds frequently roll upon their tops, their
ragged rocky sides are so steep, that wherever
the river bends so as to touch either side of the
mountains, the traveller is obliged to wade
through it. But little part of this country is
fit to be inhabited, and must be left to the wild
beasts of the forest. Early in the morning
went on my way, and began to pass through
these dreary chasms. In the month of June,
the morning pleasant and serene, my mnid was
delighted while passing along the bank of the
gentle river, in beholding the Deer bound over
the brush and ranging the forest. I contem-
plated a life of much happiness in this world.
But O ! how soon was the scene changed ; for
about eleven o'clock, when I was five miles
from any house or habitation of man, the hea-
vens over my head were covered in darkness,
with a dreadful rumbling on the tops of the
mountains, the rain began to pour down in tor-
rents, and the forked lightning flashing forth its
vivid streaks. Finding an hemlock tree stand-
ing by the side of the river, that spread its
branches in the form of an umbrella, was my


only shelter. This was the most dreacirul
thunder-storm that I ever witnessed ; it seem-
ed for a time that the tops of the mountains
were in a flame of fire. While I stood tremb-
ling on the bank of the river, the many times
that God had called me to forsake my sins and
to yield obedience to his spirit, cam« with great
weight into my mind. And my thoughts were

that this was the place that God had chosen to


slay me for my long rebellion ; and in the
midst of the rolling thunders and forked light-
nings, I lifted up my voice and said, O, Lord,
God, save me by this river of water ; let me
not be slain in this distant land, far from my
father's house, nor my body be given to the
wild beasts that are howUng in the forest for
their prey, nor my soul go down to hell : O,
Lord, deliver me this once, and I will return to
my native town and serve thee : Lord, hear
and save me, by the river of water, this once.
After having thus prayed, my mind became
calm, and J believed that God had heard, and
would answer my prayer.

After the dreadful tempest was over and
gone, I began to think on the vow that I had
made to the Lord; namely, to return to my
native town and serve him. But instead of per-

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Online LibraryLevi HathawayThe narrative of Levi Hathaway : giving an account of his life, experience, call to the ministry of the gospel of the Son of God, and travels as such to the present time → online text (page 1 of 9)