網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

opened in a material point of doctrine of our better with me, but very poor; and so we blessed Lord at my first setting out.

performed our journey in about a month, and About the same time I had a desire to visit he returned to his father's house, and I to my a neighbouring meeting called Yelland, it being master Parrot's. the first that I ever had a concern to visit, and I was very loath to go to Scotland, having desired my dear friend Isaac Alexander to go been proved with so much poverty of spirit

, with me. Agreeing upon the time, I went to the cup was so bitter I could hardly bear it; Isaac's brother's house the seventh-day even: however, I kept my mind to myself, and we ing before, where Isaac lived ; and he and I set forward on foot, visiting part of Cumberwent to visit James Wilson and his parents land in our way, and I thought Isaac had fine that evening: James was under convincement, service, so much superior to mine, that after but not his parents. We had some confer- him I was afraid to lessen or hurt what good ence, but being called to supper, left off ab- he had done; and before him I was afraid to ruptly. Aster supper I could not be easy stand in his way. He was much admired inwithout repeating my visit, and James's mo- deed, and some were convinced by his minis. ther being very quick in the Scriptures, she try: we accomplished that journey in about desired my judgment on those texts in Isaiah two months time. At our return hay harvest and Peter: “Behold, I create new heavens, and came on, and I went to mowing, and on meeta new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” ing days went just where my mind led me, And my understanding was opened to preach and grew in my ministry very much, and the unto her the new birth so effectually, that she Lord let me see his kindness to lead me was thoroughly convinced, and continued an through that state of poverty, which was of honest Friend to her dying day, going to meet- great service to qualify me to speak to others ing the very next day, and so held on while in the like condition, and that trials of sundry able to attend meetings.

kinds were for my improvement and good, My time of servitude being at an end, my tending to my establishment in the true root master was very willing to keep me in his of a Divine and spiritual ministry; and the service, and spoke to me about it, which gave doctrine of our Saviour and his apostle did me an opportunity to open my mind to him much comfort me, so that I became, in the about my visit to Scotland. He then told me opinion of several, an able minister, although to acquaint some of the elders in the meet- but short, seldom standing a quarter of an ing therewith, for it was necessary I should hour. But alas! I have seen since that I was have a certificate, to show the unity of the but a mere babe in the work. brethren with my journey; which accordingly This summer passed over, and by my harI did, and had a certificate; Isaac Alexander vest work at hay and corn I got a little money, being my companion, had a certificate like being just pennyless before, so that I travelled wise. We went to Kendal, being the first to a meeting, fourteen or fifteen miles, three meeting, and then to Preston, Yelland, Height, times forth and back on foot all alone, with Hawkeshead, and visited part of Lancashire three halfpence, being all the money I had, and Yorkshire, in about three or four weeks. and thinking to refresh myself in the way, But the poverty of my spirit was so exceed when I came near the house of entertainment, ingly great and bitter, that I could scarcely I found myself so strong and cheerful, that I bear it, but cried out aloud, which so surprised thought I might want it more at another time, my companion, that being on foot, he leared and so kept it. it would be too hard for me, for I complained Towards the fall I bought a horse, and put that I was deceived or mistaken; because, myself in a condition for another journey with while I was in my master's work, I rarely by my old companion again. We thought either night or day was without some degree of Di- of us pretty sufficient to hold a meeting; howvine virtue on my mind, but now I could feel ever, I was to go with him through Bishoprick nothing but the bitterness of death and dark and Yorkshire, and he was to go with me into ness; all comfort was hid from me for a time, the west, as to Wilts, Somersetshire, Devonand I was baptized into death indeed. As we shire, &c. We had not proceeded far, before went along, I said to Isaac with a vehemence I was very much shut up, and had no satisof spirit : “Oh! that I was in my master's faction at all in going further with him. I work again, and favoured with my former en- told him how it was with me, and we were joyments of Divine life, how acceptable it both willing to part; and I went to be at York would be!" We came at our journey's end, on first-day, and meeting with dear John to one Miles Birket's, who was more than Richardson, I laid my concern before him, usually kind to us; but alas, he did not know and as a nursing father he spoke very enmy state and poverty. Next day we went to couragingly to me, and he got meetings apanother meeting at Hawkeshead, it was a little pointed for me at Wetherby, and so forward

towards Doncaster. I went on in great fear, me as before ; however, I desired another and after meeting at Wetherby, Benjamin meeting with them in the evening, which was Brown spoke very encouragingly, that “the readily assented to, which was very large, Lord would enlarge my gift; and when thou considering that place. I seemed very poor findest it so," said he,“ do not value thyself and low, and blamed myself much for apupon it, but give the honour of it where it is pointing another meeting in so poor and weak due, and keep humble, and God will bless a frame of mind. The meeting came on, and thee, and make thee a useful member in his proved better than I expected; but I was very hand.” My next meeting was at Wakefield, low, and it being a clear moonlight night, I which was very much to my comfort and en- walked into the Friend's orchard behind his couragement. Then to Pontefract, where I house, bemoaning myself very much, as hayhad no cause to complain ; a Friend after ing lost my guide, and fallen from that happy meeting cavilled and found fault with what I condition I was in the week before. The had said, which brought some uneasiness upon Friend of the house finding I tarried, came me: but being afterwards told he used to do out to me, having a sense of my low state and so, and that he was not in unity, it brought condition, and inquiring how I did, he began me off pretty light and easy. I went from to speak in praise of those two meetings, and thence to Doncaster on seventh-day, it being of the service I had in them. All this did not market day there : I was conducted to Tho- raise my spirits; we went in, but he perceived mas Aldam's quarters, he being in town, who I was very low, and he and his wife endeasoon came and looked at me, I thought aus. voured to comfort me. His wife had a fine terely, first inquiring whence I came, and if I gift in the ministry, and she told me some exhad a certificate? To all which I gave proper periences she had gone through, but all did answers, and showed him my certificate; all not do, nor come near my condition. Next this seemed agreeable, and he undertook to day I went to Swannington in Leicestershire, appoint meetings forward, and sent me home and there was a fine body of Friends again, with his son. Not having ever been so close- and I had not sat long, before I felt, as I ly examined before, I feared how I should thought, as good an authority to preach as come off, Thomas Aldam being a noted min- ever, and stood up, not doubting an open, satister; but at last he came home, and was very isfactory meeting. I had not stood above fiftender and kind indeed. Next day, being teen minutes if so many, until all was shut up first-day, we repaired to meeting, and I came and it seemed as though both the sun and air off much beyond what I expected, and preached were darkened. I sat down under a great almost an hour, so that I was very cheerful in cloud, to think what I should do, appealing to my spirit after it, and we had a little opportu. God, that I had no ill design, but much othernity in the evening, and all ended brave and wise, and in secret earnestly desiring help; well

. The week following I went to Blithe, and immediately it was said in me, as though and took meetings in course as they lay by a voice had spoken intelligibly, “ Thou runs, Maplebeck to Nottingham. At Maplebeck and God has not sent thee; thou speaks but there was a brave old living Friend, with God doth not speak by thee; therefore thou whom I had great comfort, his name was John shalt not profit the people.” It may be thought Camm. At this place I had the best meeting if I was bad before, I was much worse now. that I had ever had, and it produced a remark. I was under the very hour and power of death able effect upon me. I thought the bitterness and darkness, being at my wits end what to and anguish of death, which I had gone do; and under this great temptation divers through before, might now be over in a great ways presented ; such as my turning myself degree, and I should go on smoother and with out of the line of Friends, which I found would more ease for time to come, for the Friends be somewhat hard to do, as I always had a showed me much respect, and I was visited in guide from one place to another : then it prethe evening and morning before I left them, sented to turn home again, and by that method by several who lived nigh: in short, I thought I might get rid of Friends as guides, and make more of myself than I had done before, that the best of my way to some part of Ireland, I remember. Two or three of them went with sell my horse, and get work, where I was not me to Nottingham, seeming much pleased with known, at my trade. But then the honour of my company. It being seventh-day, I was the Monthly Meeting, that had given me so there on first-day at two meetings, and came good a certificate, would be affected by my so off tolerably well, but not as at Maplebeck.doing: and having considered of several ways The third-day following I was at Castle Dun- to take, at last this presented, to make away nington, where was a fine collection of Friends; with myself in some river or pond, as though I preached some time amongst them, but found it had been an accident, and this would cover not authority and life, as I thought, to attend l all. Thus for a time I was bewildered, not seeing where I was; but since, it plainly ap- came in some small degree skilful in dividing peared I was under the influence of the spirit the word. I had been straitened in my

mind of antichrist. Begging heartily for help, I respecting searching the Scriptures, lest I fell on my knees, and prayed with such fer- should thereby be tempted to lean upon them, vency, that there were but few under the roof and by gathering either manna or sticks on who were not melted into tears, and it was the sabbath-day, death would ensue. But at such a time as I never had before nor since in last I had freedom to examine the text, and to prayer, as I remember; and thus that meeting consider where the strength of the argument ended. Next I went to a town called Hinck-lay, both before and after the words I had reley, and there was a considerable number of peated. By this I saw I was often very

deFriends and other people; I was extremely fective, in not laying hold of the most suitable low and poor, but had a comfortable meeting, part to confirm the subject or matter I was which much healed me, and set me to rights upon, and this conduct did me great service. again.

Another difficulty stood in my way, which I visited Leicestershire pretty generally, and was this; some former openings would come a woman of some account, whose name was up, which I durst not meddle with, lest by so Jemima Mountney, was convinced, and was doing I should become formal, and lose ihat with me at sundry meetings, and was exceed- Divine spring which I had always depended ingly tender and loving, being thoroughly upon; but the Lord was pleased to show me, reached and satisfied. When we parted, she that old matter, opened in new life, was al. was so open hearted that I was called aside by ways new, and that it was the renewings of her, and after having said something to me the spirit alone which made it new; and that about her inward condition, she offered me the principal thing I was to guard against some pieces of gold, which I told her I durst was, not to endeavour to bring in old openings not touch. She very courteously, and with a in my own will, without the aid of the spirit ; becoming, genteel mien, told me she was both and that if I stood single and resigned to the able and willing, and as she had no other way Divine will, I should be preserved from errors that she could show her gratitude for that spir- of this nature. itual good she had received from my ministry, Out of Warwickshire I travelled into Wor. she could do no less, beseeching that I would cestershire, visiting sundry meetings in that receive it, as the true token of her love and county, and found a fresh supply every day. respect. In answer, I said, it was what I I was at Worcester on first-day, and after the never had done, nor could I now do it; but meeting in the forenoon, an ancient Friend all the reward I desired and expected was, examined me very closely, from whence I that she might carefully, with a sincere heart, came, and for a certificate; to all which I endeavour that her obedience did keep pace gave him answers. My certificate being at with her knowledge, the hearing of which my quarters in my saddle-bag, he could not would rejoice my soul: we parted in great then see it; but I had a very good meeting as love and tenderness. I heard that sundry I thought, and my landlord William Pardoe, others were convinced in that neighbourhood. a brave, sensible elder, advised me not to A very honest Friend, whose was be uneasy at the old Friend's examining me, Brooks, took great pains to get the seeking for, said he, he does so to every stranger. people to meeting, and I was very much en- We went to meeting in the afternoon, which larged in pertinent matter, suitable to the states was very large, and I was largely opened, and of such seeking souls.

had very good service; but the old Friend, Out of Leicestershire, being well rewarded after the meeting, was upon me in the same for the bitterness I suffered before I came into strain to see my certificate, but I had it not it, which was as much as I could bear, I pass- about me, at which he seemed much displeased. ed into Warwickshire, and had some good op- I made no reply, but told him I was very wil. portunities in that county at Warwick and ling he should see it; but my landlord took Other places. I found I often hurt myself by him up, and told him, he thought the young speaking too fast and too loud; against which man had already shown us his best certificate, I endeavoured to guard as much as I could; in both the meetings; but nevertheless, said but when I felt my heart filled with the power he, come to my house in the evening, and thou of Divine love, I was apt to forget myself and shalt see it : só we parted. My landlord break out. I found it proper therefore to stop, thought he had showed himself disagreeable and make a short pause, with secret prayer in his conduct, and fearing it would be an unfor preservation, and that I would be supplied easiness to me, spoke very tenderly, and like with matter and power, that might do the a nursing father encouraged me, saying, “I hearers good. Thus I went on, and grew could not show him a better confirmation that sensibly in experience and judgment, and be. I was anointed for the ministry, than I had al

name

my

ready done.” In the evening, after it was panion, which was of great service to me. I dark, he and many other Friends came; but was very poor and low at most meetings in my landlord, the old Friend and I, went aside, that journey, as but few of the people could and I showed him what he so such desired to understand what I said in some places : but see; he read it, being much pleased with it, Philip stood up after I had done, and in part and knowing several Friends that had signed interpreted what I had said, but I did not feel it, inquired after them. We went to our quite easy

in mind. friends again, who were much increased in Isaac went to Bristol Yearly Meeting, and number, and we had a heavenly season, being was very zealous against unnecessary fashions thoroughly baptized together; we parted in and superfluities in both sexes, insomuch that great love and sweetness, and the old Friend some thought, in his words against them, he was exceedingly kind.

exceeded the bounds of modesty: but he might From thence I went into Gloucestershire, plead the example of the prophet Isaiah in and visited part of that county, and by that respect. The chief objection to him was, Tewkesbury to Cheltenham, Gloucester, Pains concerning his prophesying a great mortality, wick, Nailsworth and Tedbury. I had seve- which the Lord was about to bring as a judg. ral good opportunities; and one young woman ment upon the people, for their pride and was convinced at Tedbury, who became a wickedness; which he thought it his duty to very good Friend.

deliver in their Yearly Meeting, as a warning From thence I went into Wiltshire and for all to mind their ways, lest, being taken Hampshire, as far as Ringwood, and to Pool unprepared, their loss should be irreparable. and Weymouth ; called at Wareham and This he did in such strong and positive terms, Corse, and had a meeting at each place, but that Friends were afraid he was too much exnothing worthy noting at either of them: so I alted in himself: upon which some of the travelled to Bridport, Lyme, Membury, Chard elders thought proper to converse with and and Crewkern, and back to Somerton, Puddi. examine him, concerning this extraordinary more, Masson to a funeral, and to Yeovil on message which he had delivered: but what he first-day; thus having visited Somersetshire, said to them not being satisfactory, they adI went into Devonshire as far as Exeter; then vised him to proceed no further on his jour. turned up towards Taunton, taking meetings ney, but to return home; which he did under in my way towards Bristol.

great trouble, and was there received in much I 'staid in Bristol, and visited meetings love and tenderness, and appeared in his gift about the city nearly five weeks, and from very excellently, and grew in Divine wisdom thence I found my mind drawn to visit Wales. and power, being of great service in the minI took the Quarterly Meeting of Hereford in istry wherever he came. Having a concern my way, which was held annually at Amelly, to visit the churches abroad, and acquainting and there I met with my dear friend Isaac some of our elders therewith, they thought it Alexander. We were glad to see each other, not proper for him to go, until something was as well as to hear each other, which when we done to satisfy Friends at Bristol, and upon did, it appeared to me that Isaac was improved their inquiry of Isaac, he gave them a single considerably, and he said the same of me, ob- and honest account how it was with him at serving that I preached the practical doctrine that time, respecting his concern: so Friends of the Gospel he thought, more than he did ; took it in hand, and wrote to Bristol, neither for his preaching was very much in compari- justifying nor condemning him, but recomsons and allegories, which he apprehended mended charity and tenderness towards him. were not so plain and easy to the understand. And from Bristol, Friends answered, that ings of the vulgar, as what I had to say. We “ with open arms they could receive him, behad now an opportunity of opening our minds lieving him to be a sincere young man, who to each other, which was of great service to intended very well: and they were glad he us both, having several meetings together, and took their admonition right, and had owned it we had drawings for the Yearly Meeting at had been of service to him.” Thus ended Llanidlos in Wales. This opportunity seemed this affair, and Isaac said, “ he could not think very agreeable to us; there were sundry hardly of his brethren in doing what they did, Friends of note, Benjamin Bangs and others though he could not then see that he had out of Cheshire; the people came in abun- missed his way in delivering that prophecy. dance, and at times were very rude, but in the Thus showing forth a lively instance of a main it was a serviceable meeting. After warm zeal, tempered with a due regard to the that I visited Wales, appointing from the sense and advice of his brethren and elders, Yearly Meeting several meetings, as far as and the unity of the church, which doubtless was thought proper at once; and a good old / tended to his own comfort and preservation. Friend, Philip Leonard, offered to be my com- When I heard of it, I took it so much to heart, it was almost too much for me, and a fall of the year prepared myself for a journey concern came upon me to go to London with with my good old friend Joseph Baines. the like message, but with this caution ; first We set out the latter end of the sixth month, to advise with some faithful brethren before I and visited some parts of Yorkshire, and so delivered it: and I wrote to Isaac, to let him into Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, and know it, which gave him great ease.

Accord- we did very well together; only I was afraid ingly I went to London, and got several bre. that Friends took so much notice of me, he thren together, viz: James Dickinson, James would be uneasy; but he was so entirely inBowstead, Peter Fearon, Benjamin Bangs, nocent, and had so much of the Lamb in him, Robert Haydock, and some others, and gave that he never did, that I could find, show any them a plain and honest account how it came uneasiness, more than to give me a caution upon me, which was not till after I heard my with a smile; “Sammy,” said he, for I was dear companion was returned home from Bris- mostly called so, “Friends admire thee so much tol ; adding, that I had acquainted Isaac how thou hast need to take care thou dost not it was with me, that he might know my sym- grow proud;" and indeed the caution was very pathy with him. The Friends seeing what he seasonable, as well as serviceable to me; which had written, found there was a strong sympathy I saw and acknowledged. This Joseph was, between us, and very justly supposed that to it might be said, an Israelite indeed, as meek be the moving, if not only, cause of the conas a lamb, not great in the ministry, but very cern I was under, and very tenderly advised acceptable, especially amongst other people, me to keep it in my own breast, till I found having a meek, quiet, easy delivery, mostly how the Lord would order it; for, if he was in Scripture phrases, with which he was well the author, I should find more of it; if not, it furnished, repeating them with very little or would die. But ifal found it grew upon me, I no comment upon them, which some admired should let any of them know it, and they would very much; and he had great service at funeconsider what steps to take in a matter of so rals, being in a peculiar manner qualified for great consequence, as going forth in a pro- such occasions : but receiving an account of phecy of that nature. The fatherly kindness some troubles in his family, it brought a very they showed me was very affecting to me, one great uneasiness upon him, and he returned or other of them making it their business to home. I visited most of the meetings over visit me every day; and as they said, I found again, and returned into Huntingtonshire, the concern went off, and I became easy with. Northamptonshire, and so towards Dorsetout publishing it.

shire, and Somersetshire, visiting as I went I had several very acceptable opportunities through part of Oxfordshire. I had many in London, during the time of the Yearly meetings, sometimes fourteen in a week, and Meeting, and afterwards visited Friends to generally to satisfaction. wards Leeds in Yorkshire, and in my way parish where a Friend lived, we had a meetthither had very agreeable service in the ing, besides which some offered their houses, counties of Leicester and Nottingham, and at who were not Friends, which we embraced. other places.

I came through part of Hampshire and War. From Leeds I went to the Yearly Meeting wickshire, and back again to Hampshire, vis. at York, which was very large, and many iting Friends, and had many meetings in places public Friends; but I was hid, as it were, and where none had been, and the people, who made very little appearance at that meeting. were not Friends, were much inclined to have

From thence I travelled homeward, visiting meetings at their houses in many places, and Friends as I went, and was gladly received by would desire Friends to conduct me to their them. I found my ministry very acceptable'; houses. Although I was entirely unknown to and as it increased upon me, I was very hum. most, yet there was a very great willingness ble and low in mind, knowing my strength to receive the doctrine of Christ; and I found and safety from temptation consisted therein. afterwards, by accounts I received from

I was now in a strait what course to take Friends some were convinced. The teachers to get a little money, my linen and woollen of the national way, and dissenters also, were clothes both wanting to be repaired. I met much disturbed, and threatened what they with a young man newly set up in his trade, would do, and that they would come and diswith whom I proposed to work, and he was pute; some of them came several times, ready to comply with my offer, supposing it and got out of sight, where they could hear would be a means to improve him. So we and not be seen; but never any gave me the agreed, and I began with him, and found it least disturbance; though some would say I answered much better than harvest-work, so was a cheat, a Jesuit in disguise; others, that that I soon stored myself with a little cash, I was brought up for the pulpit, and for some and worked hard all that summer, and in the misdemeanour suspended ; and so they varied, Vol. III.-No.1.

2

In almost every

« 上一頁繼續 »