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The Foundling or, The Child of Providence

The Foundling
or, The Child of Providence
Author: Church John
Title: The Foundling or, The Child of Providence
Release Date: 2018-10-06
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 10
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Foundling, by John ChurchThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Foundling       or, The Child of ProvidenceAuthor: John ChurchRelease Date: October 6, 2018  [eBook #58039]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE FOUNDLING***

Transcribed from the 1823 R. Weston edition by David Price,email [email protected]

Public domain book cover


In Two Parts.



“He found him in a desert land, and in thewaste howling
wilderness: he led him about; he instructed him; he kept
him as the apple of his eye.”

Deuteronomy xxxii. v. 10.








Investigator andFriendly.

Investigator.—Good morning,sir.

Friendly.—Good morning.

Investigator.—How is yourhealth, and your mind?

Friendly.—Why, sir, much asusual; God has blessed me with tolerable health and spirits,which I consider great mercies, amidst so many exercises of bodyand mind: I am, at times, weak in my nerves, but most wonderfullyupheld, and sometimes dejected in mind, through the variety ofinward and outward conflicts which God has given to me, to beexercised with beneath the sun: both body and mind are affectedwith the fretting leprosy, and though often healed by a look fromthe Great High Priest, and by the application of hisall-cleansing sacrifice, and the oil of his comforting andsanctifying spirit; yet the plague frequently breaks out again,and it will be the case, I suppose, till this leprous house ispulled down, p.ivthe stone, the timber and the mortar, and carried to thegrave.—Leviticus, xiv.  But may I be permittedto ask the reason of your calling this morning?

Investigator.—Why, sir, Ihope I am not intruding on your time, but I have long desired aninterview with you; for having occasion to travel much, for manyyears, I have frequently heard your name mentioned, both inpublic and private, sometimes with credit, honour, and pleasurewith pity and commiseration.  I have also met with somepersons who are, I believe, very spiritual and consistent,God-fearing persons, who have heard you preach, both in town andcountry, and read your publications with profit and pleasure;but, alas! I have also heard your name treated with the utmostscorn and contempt, stigmatized as the vilest miscreant, the mostabominable wretch, advancing the most dreadful antinomianism,living the most dissolute life, and as industriously circulatingthe most licentious doctrines, totally subversive of allmorality and common honesty.

Friendly.—Well, sir, reallythese are awful charges, and as they have been so many yearspropagating, I almost wonder these calumniators are not tired oftalking about one so unworthy of their notice; but I guess whothat ever-restless agent is, who them, going about; (1Peter, v. 8.) this p. vis the roving commission he hasreceived; and he must fulfill it.

Investigator.—But is it notstrange, sir, so many pretended advocates for morality, holiness,and the moral law, should exert all their influence to suppressthe truths you preach; and employ so many hands to write, print,publish, and circulate your history in the most degrading mannerpossible?

Friendly.—It is so, but thereis no new thing under the sun; various indeed, are the motives ofsuch calumniators; some degrade me to cover their own infamy;some from pharisaic principles; some to exalt themselves upon myruin; some to please those above them, and some to gain money byit, which they have, and to which I have no objection, had theynot filled their pages with so many palpable falsehoods, whichhave disgraced the writer, and shewn the malignity of theirspirits.  These infamous squibs have been sent to the fourwinds of heaven, to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, the Eastand West Indies, and to almost every county and village inEngland, in twopenny, fourpenny, and sixpenny pamphlets; eachcontaining from one to two hundred well-known falsehoods.

Investigator.—Yes, I believethat not less than twenty thousand such scandalous pamphlets havebeen published, and circulated.

p. viFriendly.—But can you form any ideawho were the ringleaders of so much infamy?

Investigator.—I have heardsay they were persons who are perpetually pleading for the morallaw, as the rule of their lives, although that holy law strictlyforbids such conduct, because it is a violation of these twoprohibitions: “Thou shalt do no murder;” “Thoushalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour;” andits language is, owe no man any thing, but love for love is thefulfilling of the law.  But I think I could give you anintimation of some of the persons; one was the Rev. Dr.Diotrephes. (2 John)—another was Alexander, thecoppersmith, who is always currying favour with the above doctor:these, I know, were very industrious, in writing, publishing, andrunning about from house to house, or rather, like hawkingpedlars, with their bad ware, which conduct is strictlyforbidden.  Lev. xix. 26.

Friendly.—But as it was zealfor holiness, I pardon it; they were mistaken men, and thoughthey have done me much injury, I believe God has resented theirconduct, by mortifying their pride.  All public charactersthat God has blessed, must expect evil surmising, ill-groundedjealousies, awful insinuations, vile aspersions, whisperings, andback-bitings; and why should I escape?  In whatever I p. viihaveoffended, I am willing to acknowledge it: but surely, I have nojust right to acknowledge their lies.

Investigator.—My heart hasbeen grieved to read the vile publications which have beencirculated under the title of, the life of J. C.  I havethought, at times, none could know so much of his history ashimself; and have frequently wished to know something, inreality, of your eventful story.—In this wish, I believe,many hundreds concur; therefore, to oblige your friends, and toconfound your foes on that subject, it would be gratifyingtheir desires to make your life public.

Friendly.—Why, it might, insome sense, be so to them; and especially, as I trust it would bemagnifying the grace of that great God, who has done so much forme, which I hope will be my principal motive; but it will exposeme to the contempt of fools, and perhaps add additionalpersecution to my friends.

Investigator.—Suppose itdoes; your enemies cannot say worse of you than they have said;they have gone to the very utmost in scandal, and no further thanthe infamous name given to your Master, who was holy, harmless,and undefiled.  They said he had a devil; yea, that he wasthe prince of devils.  There is another advantage in yourcompliance with p.viiithe request of your friends; it will confute thefalsehoods which have been fabricated about your history, andprevent your enemies from adding sin to sin, by any further falsestatements of the matter: therefore, like the memoirs of mostgospel preachers, it must expect all sorts ofmis-statement.  Some will rejoice in what God has done foryou; others will say it is lies; some, more candid, will wish youhad omitted many parts, and others will wish you had notmentioned many circumstances; but write TRUTH, and leave the consequences.

Friendly.—Well, I promise,through mercy, so to do.  I will write the bad as well asthe good, as far as prudence dictates.

Investigator.—The Lord be thyhelper, and kind remembrancer, and give his approbation to thework, by blessing it to his own people.—Farewell.

And though pretended friends have aim’dto wound thy heart,
And household friends in that have borne a part;
Yet, each appointment came to thee for good,
To make thee joyful in thy Saviour God.

Friendly.—I thank you; I willsend a few particulars of my history in letters to myfriends.—


p. 9PARTI.

JuvenileDaysApprenticeshipMarriageEngagementsCallto the MinistryBaptismChecqueredScenesSoreTrialsRemovalsTrialBuildingProsperityFreshTroublesImprisonmentEnlargementsMercies.


“Can a woman forget her sucking child, thatshe should not have compassion on the son of herwomb?  Yea, she may forget, yet will not I forget thee,saith the Lord.”

To —

Your Christian affection andmaternal concern for me, so many years, entitle you to thisacknowledgment.  The holy apostle, in his directions to hisson Timothy, advises to entreat the elder brethren in the churchas fathers; the younger men as brethren; the elder women asmothers, and the younger women as sisters, with allpurity.—1st Epist. Tim. 1, 2.  I am mostsensibly alive to every feeling of p. 10gratitude, for your long andunwearied kindness—your many prayers for my present and myeternal good—your tears on account of my troubles, and yourbest wishes for the sanctification of them, that I may bedelivered from sin, the worst of evils, from error, as derogatoryto the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and from all the traps,snares, and temptations which may be laid for my feet, and whichmight bring me into bondage; the Lord reward thy kindness, andmay a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, underwhose wings thou hast been enabled to trust.  It has beenthe desire of many to be acquainted with the earlier part of mylife, my birth, parentage, education, and how the Lord hasmanifested his good hand to me in a way of providence, and hisSpirit’s operations in away of grace.

With respect to my birth and parentage, I know nothing; nordid I ever hear of any one that ever did.  Inever could gain the least information of my parents, from anyquarter, nor ever hear of a relative of any description.  Inever knew a mother’s care, nor a father’s fosteringhand.  Many times, when a boy of only eight years of age,have I reflected my case was hard.  I have sat under thetrees at the Foundling Hospital, and wept that I had no mother;and when the nurses from the country came to see other boys, andgiven them little presents, there was none for me; and when thekiss went round, there was no kiss for me.  I said nothing;but tears might have told what I felt, and what they meant. Sometimes p.11I heard that some boys had found their mothers, but thatwas never my lot.  No kind mother owned me.  This wouldmake me weep again.  Often have I observed, when in thechapel of the hospital, some persons would sit and look at thechildren in the gallery with seeming anxiety; as if they weretheir own, though they dared not acknowledge them, and singlingout one and another, they used to send them presents. Perhaps, thought I, my dear mother may be among them, but darenot own me.  But who can tell her feelings?  I usedoften to repeat the 10th verse of the 27th Psalm, though I knewnot its real excellencies: “When my father and my motherforsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”  This wastrue in my case, in more senses than one.  I have oftenreflected, and do to this day, how it is possible for a mother toforsake her child.  Divine truth has declared itpossible.  Yea, she may forget the son of her womb, asucking child.  One would think it almost impossible; but,mothers, yes, even mothers, may monstersprove.

I refer you, my dear friend, to a remark of good Mr. Hervey,on the text, Isaiah, xlix. 15, in his Contemplations onthe Starry Heavens, towards the close of the chapter.  Letme beg you to read it.  I must observe to you, it has beenquestioned, whether a person, who is left an orphan, can everglance a thought, or feel any attachment to his unknownparents?  Perhaps not, in general; but mankind differas widely in their feelings as in their gestures.  It wasnot my p.12case, but the contrary; as many reasons might beassigned for my situation in the Foundling.  Perhaps I hadan affectionate mother, but the cruel hand of death deprived meof her maternal care; and interest being made for me, I wasadmitted into that kind asylum—or, for some unknown cause,she might have been driven to a foreign clime, no more toreturn—or, I might have been stolen away from her bysome proud being to hide

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