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'to vomit, he fainted away, while I held his head, and could not leave him to call in assistance, fearing lest, in my absence, he should fall into the fire.'
“The coroner further proceeded : Was there nobody in the house with you ?-No, sir,' I said, • I had none with me but God. At length my father came a little again to himself, and went into the other roorn, whither I soon followed him, and found him fallen along upon the floor ; at which sight I screamed out in a most dismal manner, yet I tried to raise him up, but in vain; till at last, being almost spent, I ran to my brother's in a frightful condition.
“ Having given him this relation, the coroner said, “Sweet. heart, I have no more to say to you ;' and then addressed him. self to the jury, whose verdict being given, he turned himself to Mr. Farry, and said, • You, sir, who have defamed this young woman in this public manner, endeavouring to take away her good name, yea, her life also, if you could, ought to make it your business now to establish her reputation. She has met with enough in being alone with her father, when seized with death; you had no need to add to her affliction and sorrow ; and if you were to give her five hundred pounds, it would not make amends.'
“He then came to me, and taking me by the hand said, • Sweetheart, do not be daunted, God will take care of thy preferment, and provide thee a husband notwithstanding the malice of this man. I confess these are hard things for one so young as thou art, to meet with. Blessed be God for this deliverance, and never fear but he will take care of thee.' Then, addressing myself to the coroner and jury, I said, Sirs, if you are not all satisfied, I am free my father should be open. ed; as my innocence is known to God, I would have it known to you also, for I am not afraid of my life.'— No,' replied the coroner, “we are satisfied there is no need of having him opened; but bless God that the malice of this man broke out before thy father was buried.'
“ The room was full of people, and great observation made of my looks and behaviour.
Some gentlemen who were on the jury, as I was afterwards told, said that they should never forget with what a cheerful countenance I stood before them. I know not how I looked, but this I know, my heart was as full of peace and comfort as it could hold. The jurymen were all much concerned for me, and were observed to weep when the coroner examined me. Indeed I have abundant cause to bless God that they were deeply convinced of my innocence, and I have heard some of them were so affected with my case that they would speak of me with tears a twelvemonth after.
* When the coroner and company were gone, we sent again to our friends to invite them to the funeral, which was on Saturday night. I now thought my trials on this account were over, and that Mr. Farry had vented all his malice, but was mistaken; for seeing he could not take away my life, his next attempt was to deprive me of that substance my father had left me. Accordingly, he sends for my brother-in-law, as he was going from my father's grave, and informed him how things were left in the will, telling him that his wife was cut off with a shilling, but that he could put him in a way to come in for a share. (Mr. Farry was an attorney, and made the will about three years before her father's death, at which time he put her father forward to give her more than her sister, because of a design he then had of marrying her ; but
upon her going to the meetings and becoming religious, he turned to be her bitter enemy, was filled with implacable malice and hatred, and did all in his power to prejudice the mind of her father against her. She knew not but that the will had been altered, but it was not.)
« This was a new trouble. My brother-in-law (not her own brother who attended the meeting, and sympathized with her under her sufferings, as before related, but her sister's husband) threatened, if I would not resign part of what my Father had left, he would begin a suit at law. Mr. Farry prompted him on, saying, • Hang her, drown her; do not let her go away with so much more than your wife,' &c. And to law we were going, to prevent which, and for the sake of peace, I satisfied my brother with a handsome present.
“ About a month after my father was buried, another report was spread at Biggleswade, that Agnes Beaumont had now confessed she had poisoned her father, and was quite distracted. • Is it true?' said some. Yes, it is true,' said others. I have heard the defaming of many; report, say they, and we will report it.' Jer. xx. 10.
« But I was determined, if it pleased God to spare me till next market-day, I would go and let them see I was not distracted, and accordingly went (though it was frost and snow) on Wednesday morning; I called at my sister Eveart's to rest, and when the market was at the height, showed myself among the people, which put a stop to their business for a time; for their eyes were upon me, and some I saw whispering and pointing, and others talking in companies, while I walked through and through with this thought, If there were a thou. sand more of you, I would lift up my head before you all. That day I was well in my soul, and therefore exceeding cheerful. Many people came and spake to me saying, “We now see that you are not distracted.'
“Some I saw cry, but some others laughed; 0! thought I, mock on, there is a day coming that will clear up all. That was a wonderful scripture, Psalm xxxvii. 6, •And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noon day.'
“ After this another report was raised, in a different part of the country, that Mr. Bunyan was a widower, and gave me counsel to poison my father, that he might marry me; which plot was agreed on, they said, as we went to Gam'gay. But this report rather occasioned mirth than mourning, because Mr. Bunyan at the same time had a good wife living.
« Now, thought I, surely Mr. Farry has done with me; but the next summer a fire broke out in the town; how it came to pass no one could tell
, but Mr. Farry soon found a person on whom to charge it, for he affirmed that it was I who set the house on fire ; but, as the Lord knoweth, I knew nothing of this fire till the doleful
This malicious slander was not much regarded.
6 Thus I have related both the good and the evil things I have met with in past dispensations of Providence, and have reason to wish it was as well with my soul now as then. And one mercy the Lord added to all the rest, which I cannot but mention; namely, that he kept me from prejudice against Mr. Farry, for notwithstanding he had so greatly injured me, I was helped to cry to the Lord, and that with many tears, for mercy on his soul. I can truly say that I earnestly longed after his salvation, and begged of God to forgive him, whatever he had said or done to my
hurt.” I cannot add much to this wonderful narrative, although I inquired not a little into the facts of it. I found Mrs. Beau. mont's name written, Agnis Behement, in Bunyan's Church Book; and pronounced Behment, in the neighbourhood of
Gamlingay. There is also a vague tradition in that country, that Farry robbed a widow, who first made him refund, and then, instead of forgiving him, or praying for him, as Agnes Behment did, prosecuted him. Bunyan's memory, and that of Agnes, are still fresh and fragrant in Gamlingay, and throughout all the neighbourhood.
BUNYAN'S PASTORSHI P.
ALTHOUGH Bunyan began to preach in 1656, he was not or. dained until 1671. The record in the Church Book, which I have examined, runs thus ;—“ On the 24th of August, 1671, the Church were directed to seek God about the choice of Brother Bunyan to the office of Elder or co-pastor: to which office he was called on the 24th of the tenth month in the same year, when he received of the Elders (the other Pastors) the right-hand of fellowship.” Thus the Church chose and ordained him, whilst he was yet a prisoner. But his impris. onment was not strict at the time. His name appears in the Minutes of the Church Meetings in 1669, 1670, and 1671. I found also three appointments for him in 1668, to visit disor. derly members of the Church. This freedom must, I think, be ascribed to the Jailor : for, as Ivimey justly observes, " The tide in the House of Commons ran strongly on the side of persecution” at the time. The Conventicle Act was revived in 1669, with new and inhuman clauses, and received the royal assent early in 1670. In the face of this ferocious edict, however, the Church at Bedford elected Bunyan! They thought, perhaps, that the very ferocity of the Act would defeat itself. Or, if they were not thus far-sighted in the impolicy of craft and cruelty, they evidently had faith in the religious maxim,—That man's extremity is Goi's oppor. tunity.”
It is a curious fact, that Bunyan followed up his ordination by answering Dr. Fowler's work on “ The Design of Chris. tianity.” This was a bold stroke, and as speedy as it was spirited : for he says to the Doctor, “I could not obtain your work till this 13th of the Eleventh month ; which was too soon for you, Sir;” and yet he finished his masterly answer on the 27th of the Twelfth month, 1671." It was published in a small quarto, containing 118 pages, by “ Smith, at the