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Companions on Horseback

Friday, 17.—Early in the morning we left Manchester, taking with us Mr. Kinchin’s brother, for whom we came, to be entered at Oxford. We were fully determined to lose no opportunity of awakening, instructing, or exhorting any whom we might meet with in our journey. At Knutsford, where we first stopped, all we spake to thankfully received the word of exhortation. But at Talk-on-the-hill, where we dined, she with whom we were was so much of a gentlewoman that for nearly an hour our labor seemed to be in vain. However, we spoke on. Upon a sudden, she looked as one just awakened out of a sleep. Every word sank into her heart. Nor have I seen so entire a change both in the eyes, face, and manner of speaking of anyone in so short a time.

About five, Mr. Kinchin riding by a man and woman double-horsed, the man said, ”Sir, you ought to thank God it is a fair day; for if it rained, you would be sadly dirty with your little horse.” Mr. Kinchin answered, “True; and we ought to thank God for our life, and health, and food, and raiment, and all things.” He then rode on, Mr. Fox following, the man said, “Sir, my mistress would be glad to have some more talk with that gentleman.” We stayed, and when they came up, began to search one another’s hearts. They came to us again in the evening, at our inn at Stone, where I explained both to them and many of their acquaintance who were come together, that great truth-–godliness hath the promise both of this life and of that which is to come.

Tuesday, 21.—Between nine and ten we came to Hedgeford. In the afternoon one overtook us whom we soon found more inclined to speak than to hear. However, we spoke and spared not. In the evening we overtook a young man, a Quaker, who afterward came to us, to our inn at Henley, whither he sent for the rest of his family, to join with us in prayer; to which I added, as usual, the exposition of the second lesson. Our other companion went with us a mile or two in the morning; and then not only spoke less than the day before but took in good part a serious caution against talkativeness and vanity.

An hour after we were overtaken by an elderly gentleman who said he was going to enter his son at Oxford. We asked, “At what college?” He said he did not know, having no acquaintance there on whose recommendation he could depend. After some conversation, he expressed a deep sense of the good providence of God; and told us he knew God had cast us in his way in answer to his prayer. In the evening we reached Oxford, rejoicing in our having received so many fresh instances of that great truth, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” [Prov. 3:6].

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