ePub 版

this society. His stature was low, his constitution infirm, and his voice weak; but he was powerful, able, and successful, as a minister. In the exercise of this office he travelled, in different parts of the nation, for the space of nine years. He knew his season, when to speak and when to be silent; when he spoke, he delivered himself with plainness and pertinency to the subject before him. He was a man of much meekness, humility, patience, and brotherly kindness; and of distinguished equanimity, neither easily depressed in adversity, nor elated in prosperity. His life was spent in acts of righteousness and the pursuit of peace, of which his latter end exhibited the happy effects, the peaceful tenor of his conscience stripping death of all its terrors, and in the full assurance of faith, he looked forward to the near approach of future happiness.

About the same time, and in the same prison, died, in the twenty-eighth year of his age, having been ten years a zealous and powerful preacher, Mr. Edward Burrough. He was born in or near Underbarrow, a village in the barony of Kendal in Westmoreland, of parents in repute for their honest and virtuous. conduct, and of competent substance. His puerile years exhibited proofs of manly sense and religious thoughtfulness. He was fond of the conversation of such as were in esteem for piety, and placed his satisfaction in perusing the Scriptures, in which he was well versed. He was educated in the episcopal way of worship; but, about the age of twelve years, began to frequent the meetings of the Presbyterians, till he was seventeen. He then became possessed with serious apprehensions of great deficiency in the knowledge of God and internal purity of heart, and felt considerable uneasiness and fear; and, dissatisfied with the doctrine he heard, as resulting, in his view, from mere speculation and the experience of others, and not the fruit of their own experience, he withdrew from the teachers of it. On George Fox's coming into the parts where he resided, he went to hear him preach, and afterward entered into reasoning with him upon religious subjects. The consequence was, that he joined the society of the Quakers, in which he became a most serviceable member and eminent minister. On forming this connexion, his relations discarded him, his father expelled him from his house, and he felt himself exposed to many hardships, all which evils he bore with exemplary patience. His laborious exertions, both by word and writing, were indefatigable, and his religious exercises as a preacher were the whole business of his life; he allowed himself few hours of repose, and did not appropriate one week at a time, for many years, to himself or his private concerns. He travelled through England, Scotland, Ireland, and Flanders; but the principal field of his ministerial labours was London. As he was preaching at the meeting at Bull-and-Mouth, he was violently taken down by the soldiers, and carried before alderman Brown, who committed him to Newgate. Some weeks after, he was

brought to trial at the Old-Bailey, fined by the court twenty marks, and condemned to lie in prison till he paid the fine, which amounted to perpetual imprisonment, as the principles of the Quakers led them to consider a voluntary and active compliance with the penalty as a tacit confession of guilt. A special order from the king was sent to the sheriffs for his release, and that of some other prisoners, but the magistrates of the city found means to prevent the execution of it. He met his dissolution, brought on by disease and imprisonment, with the consolatory review of a life spent in the service of his Creator. "I have had the testimony of the Lord's love unto me (said he) from my youth; and my heart, O Lord, hath been given up to do thy will. I have preached the gospel freely in this city, and have often given up my life for the gospel's sake; and now, O Lord, rip open my heart, and see if it be not right before thee." As his dissolution drew nigh, he said, "Though this body of clay must turn to dust, yet I have a testimony that I have served God faithfully in my generation: and that spirit that hath lived, and acted, and ruled in me, shall yet break forth in thousands."

Another zealous preacher among this people was William Ames, who travelled in the work of the ministry not in England only, but much in Holland and Germany, where several were convinced by him, especially in the Palatinate. These Palatines, removing soon after to Pennsylvania, escaped the general devastation of their country by the French, which happened soon after. Ames was, at first, after his mind took a serious turn, a teacher among the Baptists; he was also a military officer in Cromwell's army in Ireland, in which post, being strict and regular in his own conduct, he exerted himself to introduce and preserve the like regularity among the soldiers under his command by a strict discipline. Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough coming into Ireland, he went to hear them, and embraced their doctrine. He and several others were afterward taken, by two musketeers, out of a private house in London, forced to St. Paul's churchyard, where they were derided and abused by the soldiers, and afterward taken before alderman Brown, who committed them to hard labour in Bridewell. Here they were so severely treated, that Ames grew dangerously ill; and being an inhabitant of Amsterdam, he was discharged for fear of his dying in prison. He returned, upon his release, to this city, and supported himself by wool-combing, but so injured in his health, that he never recovered, but died within the current year, 1662 *.

Near the close of the year 1662, John Audland, a native of Camsgill in Westmoreland, was taken off by a consumption in an early stage of life. When a child, he discovered a quick understanding and retentive memory. As he approached a state

*Gough, vol. 2. p. 2-15.

of maturity, he applied the attention of his mind to religious thought and to reading the Scriptures, and became an eminent teacher amongst the Independents, of whom he had a very numerous auditory. He was one of the principal preachers at Firbank-chapel, at the time when George Fox had a memorable. meeting there, and became a convert to his doctrine, which he afterward zealously and ably exerted himself to disseminate, travelling through sundry parts of the nation with this view; foregoing the comforts of domestic life, and separating himself, with her consent, from his wife, who entered into his views, a virtuous and well-accomplished young woman, of a good family, to whom he was married about the twentieth year of his age. He was one of the earliest preachers of this persuasion, who visited the city of Bristol and the western counties. The number of his hearers increased to such a degree in that place, that, for want of a house large enough, the meetings were frequently held in an orchard. He was a partaker with his brethren in repeated imprisonments and abuses of his person. His sufferings and exertions were beyond his strength, and brought on a cough, which appeared consumptive, and finally terminated in a slow fever, that put a period to his life at the age of thirty-four years, He was not only preserved in peaceful serenity of mind at this solemn season, but at times filled even with joy at the prospect of his approaching felicity; from the impression whereof his soul, under extreme bodily weakness, was raised up in praise to the Almighty, and in prayer for the prosperity of his friends in righteousness *,

In 1667, after about fifteen years spent in acting and suffering for those doctrines he had received for truth, died Richard Farnsworth, exhorting his friends with affecting energy and strength of spirit, as if he were in full health, and giving evidence of his full assurance of faith. He was one of the first who embraced the principles of George Fox, soon after his release from his imprisonment at Derby, while the name Quaker was but just known. He joined him in society and ministerial labours, and many were converted by him. For not pulling off his hat to a justice of peace, in the streets of Banbury, in 1656, he was, after the justice had struck it off in passion, sent for and committed to prison. Next day, when passion subsided, his release was offered him on paying the jailer's fees, and promising to leave the town that night. He would promise nothing, knowing that he had been illegally committed. The oath of abjuration was then tendered to him, and on his refusing it, he was recommitted to prison, where he lay about six months +.

In the latter part of the year 1668 and the beginning of the next, this society was deprived of three eminent and serviceable members; Thomas Loe, Josiah Coale, and Francis Howgill. + Ibid. p. 222, 223.

* Gough, vol. 2. p. 83-88.

[blocks in formation]

Thomas Loe was a man of fine natural temper, easy, affable, and pleasing in conversation, benevolent and sympathizing in his disposition. He travelled on foot through the greatest part of the nation, and visited Ireland several times. His gifts were attractive, and he had generally crowded audiences. He was several times imprisoned for his testimony, and his natural strength was impaired by his travels and labours. His convert, William Penn, visited him in his last sickness, whom he addressed thus: "Bear thy cross and stand faithful to God, then he will give thee an everlasting crown of glory that shall not be taken from thee. There is no other way which shall prosper than that which the holy men of old walked in. God hath brought immortality to light, and life immortal is felt. His love overcomes my heart. Glory be to his name for evermore." He accosted others with similar sentiments; and his parting breath expressed a song of praise to that almighty Being, whose goodness preserved him through life, and deserted him not in his end*.

Josiah Coale was born at Winterborne, Gloucestershire, near Bristol, and received his impressions in favour of the Quakers' doctrine under the preaching of John Audland, about, the year 1655. He proved an able and zealous minister: his testimony was sharp and piercing against the workers of iniquity, while it flowed in a stream of life and encouraging consolation to the pious and virtuous. In 1656, after having been first grievously abused by the populace, and dragged bareheaded under the spouts in a time of rain, he was imprisoned in Newgate, at Bristol. In the same year, he was, with three other friends, severely abused and beaten by the mob, and then committed to prison by the mayor, at Melcomb-Regis. In 1658, a sense of duty determined him to pay a religious visit to the English colonies in America. As no master of a ship would take him to New England, for fear of the penalties enacted in that state against such as should bring in any Quakers, he got a passage, in company with Thomas Thirston, to Virginia; from whence they made their way on foot through a wilderness of several hundred miles, till then deemed impassable for any but the Indians. By these people, of the Susquehannah tribe, they were treated with remarkable attention and hospitality, entertained with lodging and provisions, and furnished with guides to the Dutch plantations. Their journey was, however, attended with great hardships and dangers. They met with very different treatment from the lofty professors of New-England, whose tempers were embittered, whose natural tenderness and compassion were eradicated, by false principles of religion. Here Coale was violently haled out and sent to prison, and some time after banished to Maryland. He travelled through this state and Barbadoes; and, in Europe, through most parts of England, in Holland, and the Low Countries;

*Gough, vol. 2. p. 229-231; and vol. 1. p. 318, 319.

going through many perils, imprisonments, and persecutions, valiant in what he regarded as the cause of truth, undaunted in danger, and borne above the fear of man by the supports of a peaceful conscience. He not only in his travels bore his own charges abroad, but was an exemplary pattern of liberality at home, and freely spent his estate in the service to which he devoted himself. His natural temper was cheerful, religion tempered it with seriousness; his unaffected affability was mixed with a circumspect and exemplary deportment; his whole conversation illustrated the purity of his religion, and was an ornament to his profession. After ministerial services of twelve years, he fell into a decline, and departed in the arms of his friends, as one falling into a deep sleep, full of consolation, exhorting others to "be faithful to God, and have a single eye to his glory," expressing his own confidence that "the majesty of God was with him, and his crown of life upon him," at the age of thirty-five years and two months*.

The last person to be noticed is Francis Howgill, a principal as well as early promulgator of the doctrine of the Quakers, and a valuable member of their community. He was a native of Westmoreland, and received his education, for the priest's office in the church, at the university; but, being scrupulous of complying with the ceremonies, he withdrew from the national church, and joined the Independents, and was an eminent preacher among them, laborious and zealous as a minister, and esteemed for his virtue and exemplary conversation. In 1652, he became a proselyte to the doctrines of George Fox, on hearing him at Firbank-chapel. He was, soon after this, sent with James Naylor, to the jail at Appleby. In 1654, he and Edward Burrough, in company with Anthony Pearson, travelled to London, and were the first of this society who held meetings in that city, and by whose preaching many there were brought over to the same profession. While he was there, he went to court to intercede with Oliver Cromwell, that a stop might be put to the persecution of the members of his society, and he wrote also to the protector, on the same subject, in a plain and bold strain, but without any good effects. It does not appear, that they met with any personal molestations in the metropolis; and when they had gathered and settled meetings there, they went to Bristol. Multitudes flocked to hear them, and many embraced their doctrine. The clergy were alarmed, and they were summoned before the magistrates, and were commanded to leave the city immediately. To this order they answered: "We came not in the will of man, nor stand in the will of man, but when he shall move us to depart who moved us to come hither, we shall obey; we are freeborn Englishmen, and have served the commonwealth faithfully, being free in the sight of God from the transgression of any law:

* Gough, vol. 2. p. 231-236.

« 上一頁繼續 »