Memorandum of my course of life (widow of Thos Harsley? + Bradford, Wilts)
The Lord hath done great things for me
what to his precise each blood drop
within me were followed always
My Maiden name was Craddock I was born in Bristol, April 17 1745 Old Stile and was Baptized in the Church of England
My Fathers name was Ebenezer Craddock.
My Father first was Clerk to the Chamberlain of the City. I had one Brother a year younger than myself at the Age of Seven years I lost my Father who died of a Fever not having the use of his senses to the last my Mother had been afflicted with Convulsive Fits for years and unable to take care of her family. her Grief for the loss of my Father increased her disorder which terminated in a Consumption. She went happily home calling upon Our Lord Jesus Christ to take care of her dear Children. My Grandmother who lived with us brought us up in a very strict legal, way we had an Estate of 50 Pounds a year but it was in Houses and Life land by an Aunt’s Reservations I was sent to Boarding School for a year here I got such a love for the World that my home seemed like a Prison to me – I was then placed with my Grandmothers Sis.tr who was just as religious as herself but I made my escape like a Bird out of a Cage.
My Brother was put Apprentice to an Engraver. I wanted to be a Millener but this my Grand.m would not suffer lest I should be seduced by the men – this I could not comprehend, having very high Notion of my sisters’ inclinations, upon this I would learn Nothing and went to live with a young Woman whose Parents were not so Strict – and who was just of my own way of thinking – this grieved her so much that she gave up the Estate to my Brothers management tho with a strict charge for it to be divided between us as my Father died without a Will – I went on with a full resolution to enjoy the World & took great delight in Reading Novels and Plays and seeing them acted my Br. indulged his inclinations also but restrain me in some degree by refusing to give me money except when he thought proper – I was at times reduced to the greatest extremity and would pray most earnestly to God Almighty and promise how good I would be if he would help me I got work at my Needle of various sort, but my Trouble often returned for I could not bear to be in debt being in a poor State of Healthy my Br. advised me to go and live Near Bath with some Acquaintance of my late Father promising to pay for my Board, this I did but he forgot his promise so I was obliged to leave them and lived in Bath as a Ladys Maid by this means I got acquainted with Tho! Stratten who lived as Butler in a Nobleman’s family – he was the only Man I ever liked my liking went so far that I was several times off my Guard and it was a Miracle that I was kept from from actual pollution, I felt at those times as tho I was in the Presence of some Awful Being who would not suffer him
to touch me –
My Br. being very ill of a Fever I was sent for He was quite senseless and died the next day – at his Decease two thirds of the Estate fell to the City for want of renewing the lives – part of the remainder I sold to pay his debt tho he was not quite of Age – at this time I grew very thoughtful leaving
my Br. was lost and that I should be so two … to pass it of I went to London from thence to Southampton and various other places but the uneasiness of my heart followed me everywhere … I grew sick and tired of the World and of every thing I used to delight in I returnd to Bristol for soon all my Gay companions went to live by myself and was resolvd to try if there was any happiness to be found in Religion – went constantly to Church & I kept a School for children for my Support as I had but one small House left which brought me in but 4 Pounds a year. the remainder I had spent.. and now my whole life was painted before my eyes – every fault I had committed in the strongest colours .. my outward affairs seemd very bad, as my School did not answer my expectation But that text came strongly into my mind – Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his Righteousness and all these things shall be added into you – I was now effectually Awakend from the sleep of Death seeing myself a poor last undone creature without a Sav.r what brought me to the brink of Despair was I felt what I had been ashamd of had despisd and even hated the Lord Jesus who had bought me with his Blood – how then could I love to appear at his Judgment seat, and he might call me hence in a moment – – these words at times gave me a ray of hope – – – the Wages of Sin is death. But the gift of God is Eternal Life thro Jesus Christ our Lord – but my distress returnd again with a greater force – one day as I was in my Apartment quite alone in such Anguish of mind as no words can express – – it came into my mind. Believe of the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved _ I cried out, Lord what is believing O save one save me – – at that moment Our Sav.r stood before my heart in his Crucified form. I fell at his feet – – and when I arose found all my load of guilt was gone. I could now believe and not till now that Jesus Christ was God overall Blessed for evermore and my Sav.r – – my Soul was full of Life, Light and Love – – the Scriptures of truth which before was seald up was now open to my veins . . and wondered at my former blindness When I read the Sufferings of our Sav.r my heart burnd with love to Him, and thought I could suffer the most cruel Death
for for the name of Jesus [page is cut off]
attempted before, tho I was confirmed & the Bishop at the age of [cut off]
this was in the year 1773 . . on Easter Sunday early I waked from a Dream I had of being in Heaven where I saw in letters of Gold the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and believd there was a people on earth assembled at this very moment to sing the Praises of the Lord and that I should once belong to them . . I went on my way rejoicing thinking my heart was quite clean – but to my great surprise found evil thoughts arise in my mind – – and that [?]ovd of Scripture occurd often — Take Lord lest there be in any of you an Evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God – this caused me great perplexity for instead of submitting to the teachings of the Holy Spirit – I was like a forward child who thought I could not go alone and fell . . . I got into reasonings about the Holy Trinity and abundance of things until I was quite confusd . . I still corresponded with Tho! Slarttyr who had been in London and Hampshire with the same family He begged my pardon for his misbehaviour some years ago and intreated me to marry him saying he had saved 300 Pounds in his Service. I wrote him an account of my awakening and imagined by his answer that a work of grace was begun in his heart – my Aunt diedsoon after and left me 270 Pounds besides valuable – – I now conceivd the proud vain hope of converting him to our Sav.r and with this view gave my consent . . tho it often occurd to my mind Be ye not unequally joined with unbelievers and other text of Scripture which was in certainly Admonitions from the Holy Spirit . . I also dreamd I saw a Man stand with his Back towards me in a Garment of a Blood colour. . in his hand he held a ring which he threw into the sky I saw it turn into 2 bright stars with a single spark between. While I was looking a voice said to me you will be married – but soon separated – – the small star signifies a child the man who stands there is Our Lord Jesus Christ. His coming to Bristol left me no time to think. We were married the first of June 1775 and went to live at Bradford in Wiltshire entering into the brewing Busyness. and Now instead of the happiness I had expected my Sav.r hid his Trace from me I met with nothing but afflication – I was brought to bed of a little girl in March 1776 who died at eleven weeks old and Feb.r 1 1777 became a truly disconsolate Widow – – for tho my Savr at the moment of my Husbands departure took me as it were in his Arms and promisd to be my Everlasting Husband. . Yet I had lost that tender constant communion with him which I had before I was married . . my Husbands relations persuaded him to make a Will to their mind tho contrary to the dictates of his own Conscience and no one taking to the Business I sold of with
great loss – so that when I had paid the legacy I had but 250 Pounds left – 200 of which would have been theirs if I had married again. I returnd to Bristol; and now the Holy Spirit labourd to convince me that the cause of all my Sufferings was that I had left my first Love often applying the words which had been said the Church of old But I still went on in a self righteous way for several years – – At last the Lord turned and lookt upon me just as he did upon Peter – – this look struck me to the heart I shed numberless tears for my Care ingratitude I think it a great mercy being a person of Strong
Passion I did not attempt my own life, for now; though I had sinnd against the Holy Ghost, of course, could never be forgiven, Said acquaintance
Being my distress took me often to hear preaching – – but I could find no rest for the sole of my foot – – once she askt me to go to the Moravian Chapel saying there was a fine man there – having never heard of these people before I said what are they – & dont know she said but I never heard the name of Jesus repeated so often in my life – tho was just what I wanted – – but I would not go till Easter Sunday – Br. Worthington’s text was the Lord is risen indeed and hath appeard unto Simon – this was the first time I heard the pur Gospel preached – that full free salvation which I had felt in my own heart formerly – my own case was described in that of Peter and a tall pardon was held out to me in the Suffering and Death of my Dear Savr which were
painted in the most beautiful colours to my poor distressed heart – I attended the preaching constantly till Jan 1783 and always with blessing but at
times my distress returned – and hearing Br W was going to leave the city I went to buy a hymn Book he askt me several questions, in particular – if I lovd our Lord Jesus Christ – this I could only answer with tears – next day I was as it were compeld to go to him and open all my heart – his Wife was present he gave me true Consolation in Christ Jesus and came to see me . . I felt such a union of Spirit with these dear people that I could not rest till I asked then if it was possible such a vice creature could be receivd into the congregation: they said it I desird it ,: might be receivd into the Society – by way of preparation – in time our Sav.r might receive me into his congregation describing it in a beautiful light I was recivd on the 9 of March and went to live with Br and Sis Mineard soon after visited an old acquaintance – she was sadly afraid I should be sent to a Widows house which she said was 300 miles distant – and intreated me to be on my guard – this was news to having never heard there was such as house she left the room – I saw in the window a piece of an old hymn, with these lines which I never saw before nor since – Where thou determinst my abody Cover there my choice shall be . for in thy presence death is life. And earth is heaven with thee – I was sure this was the spot my Sav.r designed for me – – when I went home our people said the place was calld Fulneck and gave me an excelist Character of Sis.r Stedman I longd to be under her case believing she would be a Mother to me – – this impression was removed to me when I read the Brethrens history – I simply asked our Sav.r if I should write for Recepto into the Cong.n or speak about the Choir house first. I felt him near my heart and was directed to write and then to speak about Fulneck – – he also gave me the power to do it – which I could not before tho I had attempted it many times. Br. Sulger wrote to Br LaTrobe who came soon after and gave me great encouragement . . the 13 of Nov.br following the gracious Head and Sholder of his Church, Receivd me into his Congregation with a blessed feeling of His Presence.