Foote, Julia A.J.
The more my besetting sin troubled me, the more anxious I became for an education. I believed that, if I were educated, God could make me understand what I needed; for, in spite of what others said, it would come to me, now and then, that I needed something more than what I had, but what that something was I could not tell.
About this time Mrs. Phileos and Miss Crandall met with great indignity from a proslavery mob in Canterbury, Conn., because they dared to teach colored children to read. If they went out to walk, they were followed by a rabble of men and boys, who hooted at
One scholar, with whom I was acquainted, was so frightened that she went into spasms, which resulted in a derangement from which she never recovered. We were a despised and oppressed people; we had no refuge but God. He heard our cries, saw our tears, and wonderfully delivered us.
Bless the Lord that he is "a man of war!" "I am that I am" is his name. Mr. and Mrs. Phileos and their daughter opened a school in Albany for colored children of both sexes. This was joyful news to me. I had saved a little money from my earnings, and my father promised to help me; so I started with hopes, expecting in a short time to be able to understand the Bible, and read and write well. Again was I doomed to disappointment: for some inexplicable reason, the family left the place in a few weeks after beginning the school. My poor heart sank within me. I could scarcely speak for constant weeping. That was my last schooling. Being quite a young woman, I was obliged to work, and study the Bible as best I could. The dear Holy Spirit helped me wonderfully to understand the precious Word.
Through temptation I was brought into great distress of mind; the enemy of the souls thrust sore at me; but I was saved from falling into his snares--saved in the hour of trial from my impetuous spirit, by the angel of the Lord standing in the gap, staying me in my course.
"Oh, bless the name of Jesus! he maketh the rebel a
priest and king;
He hath bought me and taught me the new song to sing."
I continued to live in an up-and-down way for more than a year, when there came to our church an old man and his wife, who, when speaking in meeting, told of the trouble they once had had in trying to overcome their temper, subdue their pride, etc. But they took all to Jesus, believing his blood could wash them clean and sanctify them wholly to himself; and oh! the peace, the sweet peace, they had enjoyed ever since. Their Words thrilled me through and through.
I at once understood what I needed. Though I had read in my Bible many things they told me, I had never understood what I read. I needed a Philip to teach me.
I told my parents, my minister, and my leader that I wanted to be sanctified. They told me sanctification was for the aged and persons about to die, and not for one like me.
I wanted to go and visit these old people who had been sanctified, but my mother said: "No, you can't go; you are half crazy now, and these people don't know what they are talking about." To have my mother refuse my request so peremptorily made me very sorrowful for many days. Darkness came upon me, and my distress was greater than before, for, instead of following the true light, I was turned away from it.