Thoughts shou’d engage me

This touch’d my Heart very much, and immediately I kneel’d down and gave God Thanks aloud, for my Recovery from my Sickness 雋景探索40.

July 4. In the Morning I took the Bible, and beginning at the New Testament, I began seriously to read it, and impos’d upon my self to read a while every Morning and every Night, not tying my self to the Number of Chapters, but as long as my Thoughts shou’d engage me: It was not long after I set seriously to this Work, but I found my Heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the Wickedness of my past Life: The Impression of my Dream reviv’d, and the Words, All these Things have not brought thee to Repentance, ran seriously in my Thought: I was earnestly begging of God to give me Repentance, when it happen’d providentially the very Day that reading the Scripture, I came to these Words, He is exalted a Prince and a Saviour, to give Repentance, and to give Remission: I threw down the Book, and with my Heart as well as my Hands lifted up to Heaven, in a Kind of Extasy of Joy, I cry’d out aloud, Jesus, thou Son of David, Jesus, thou exalted Prince and Saviour, give me Repentance!

This was the first Time that I could say, in the true Sense of the Words, that I pray’d in all my Life; for now I pray’d with a Sense of my Condition, and with a true Scripture View of Hope founded on the Encouragement of the Word of God; and from this Time, I may say, I began to have Hope that God would hear me.

Now I began to construe the Words mentioned above, Call on me, and I will deliver you, in a different Sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had no Notion of any thing being call’d Deliverance, but my being deliver’d from the Captivity I was in; for tho’ I was indeed at large in the Place, yet the Island was certainly a Prison to me, and that in the worst Sense in the World; but now I learn’d to take it in another Sense: Now I look’d back upon my past Life with such Horrour, and my Sins appear’d so dreadful, that my Soul sought nothing of God, but Deliverance from the Load of Guilt that bore down all my Comfort: As for my Solitary Life it was nothing; I did not SO much as pray to be deliver’d from it, or think of it; It was all of no Consideration in Comparison to this: And I add this Part here, to hint to whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true Sense of things, they will find Deliverance from Sin a much greater Blessing, than Deliverance from Affliction.

But leaving this Part, I return to my Journal.

My Condition began now to be, tho’ not less miserable as my Way of living, yet much easier to my Mind; and my Thoughts being directed, by a constant reading the Scripture, and praying to God, to things of a higher Nature: I ad a great deal of Comfort within, which till now I knew nothing of; also, as my Health and Strength returned, I bestirr’d my self to furnish my self with every thing that I anted, and make my Way of living as regular as I could.

From the 4th of July to the 24th, I was chiefly employ’d walking about with my Gun in my Hand, a little and a little, at a Time, as a Man that was gathering up his Strength after a Fit of Sickness: For it is hardly to be imagin’d, how low I was, and to what Weakness I was reduc’d. The Application which I made Use of was perfectly new, and perhaps what had never cur’d an Ague before, neither can recommend it to any one to practise, by this Experiment; and tho’ it did carry off the Fit, yet it rather contributed to weakening me; for I had frequent Convulsions in my Nerves and Limbs for some Time.

I learn’d from it also this in particular, that being abroad the rainy Season was the most pernicious thing to my Health that could be, especially in those Rains which came ended with Storms and Hurricanes of Wind; for as the in which came in the dry Season was always most accompany’d with such Storms, so I found that Rain was much more dangerous than the Rain which fell in September and October.

I had been now in this unhappy Island above 10 Months, all Possibility of Deliverance from this Condition, seem’d to be entirely taken from me; and I firmly believed, that no humane Shape had ever set Foot upon that Place: Having now secur’d my Habitation, as I thought, fully to my Mind, I had a great Desire to make a more perfect Discovery of the Island, and to see what other Productions I might find, which I yet knew nothing of.

It was the 15th of July that I began to take a more particular Survey of the Island it self: I went up the Creek first, where, as I hinted, I brought my Rafts on Shore; I found after I came about two Miles up, that the Tide did not flow any higher, and that it was no more than a little Brook of running Water, and very fresh and good; but this being the dry Season, there was hardly any Water in some Parts of it, at least, not enough to run in any Stream, so as it could be perceiv’d.

On the Bank of this Brook I found many pleasant Savana’s, or Meadows; plain, smooth, and cover’d with Grass; and on the rising Parts of them next to the higher Grounds, where the Water, as it might be supposed, never overflow’d I found a great deal of Tobacco, green, and growing to great and very strong Stalk; there were divers other Plants which I had no Notion of, or Understanding about, and might perhaps have Vertues of their own, which I could find out.

I searched for the Cassava Root, which the Indians in all that climate make their Bread of, but I could find I saw large Plants of Alloes, but did not then understand them. I saw several Sugar Canes, but wild, and for Cultivation, imperfect. I contented my self with these Discoveries for this Time, and came back musing with myself what Course I might take to know the Vertue and Goodness of any of the Fruits or Plants which I should discover; but could bring it to no Conclusion; for in short, I had made so little Observation while I wad in the Brasils, that I knew little of the Plants in the Field, at least very little that might serve me to any Purpose now in my Distress.

The next Day, the 16th, I went up the same Way again, and after going something farther than I had gone the Day before, I found the Brook, and the Savana’s began to cease, and the Country became more woody than before; in this Part I found different Fruits, and particularly I found Mellons upon the Ground in great Abundance, and Grapes upon the Trees; the Vines had spread indeed over the Trees, and the Clusters of Grapes were just now in their Prime, very ripe and rich: This was a surprising Discovery, and I was exceeding glad of them; but I was warn’d by my Experience to eat sparingly of them, remembring, that when I was ashore in Barbary, the eating of Grapes kill’d several of our English Men who were Slaves there, by throwing them into Fluxes and Feavers: But I found an excellent Use for these Grapes, and that was to cure or dry them in the Sun, and keep them as dry’d Grapes or Raisins are kept, which I thought would be, as indeed they were, as wholesom as agreeable to eat, when no Grapes might be to be had.

I spent all that Evening there, and went not back to my Habitation, which by the Way was the first Night, as I might say, I had lain from Home. In the Night I took my first Contrivance, and got up into a Tree, where I slept well, and the next Morning proceeded upon my Discovery, travelling near four Miles, as I might judge by the Length of the Valley, keeping still due North, with a Ridge of Hills on the South and North-side of me.

At the End of this March I came to an Opening, where the Country seem’d to descend to the West, and a little Spring of fresh Water which issued out of the Side of the Hill by me, run the other Way, that is due East; and the Country appear’d so fresh, so green, so flourishing, every thing being in a constant Verdure, or Flourish of Spring, that it looked like a planted Garden.