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changed; but he is become very spiritually-minded, and much attached to
Friends and our principles, believing them, as he said, to be the nearest
in accordance of any with the doctrines of the New Testament. He has been,
with his wife, several times to our hotel, and we feel sweet unity with
his quiet exercised spirit. His situation here is important, having a
boarding-school for the children of Protestants, with a few Roman
Catholics, his piety and sincerity securing to him the confidence of both
parties, which is matter of wonder in this day of religious conflict. He
is one of those characters, more of whom we are desirous of finding; one
who wishes rather to enlighten than to censure the dark prejudices of men.

We spent the evening with our kind friends the Courtois, and attended
worship in their house. F.C. read the parable of the great supper
(Luke xiv.), and made some remarks in explication of it; after which
Pastor Chabrand spoke with much feeling on the influence of the Holy
Spirit, the gradual operation of the Spirit in the secret of the soul, and
the preciousness of dwelling in Christ, as the branch in the vine, in
order to bear fruit.

Pastor Chabrand told us in conversation that the first time he really saw
the state of his soul and his need of a Saviour, was in the meeting-house
at Westminster during half an hour's silence. After this time of precious
silence a minister arose[8] and spoke in so remarkable a manner to his
state, unfolding the history of his life, that he was melted to tears.
Ever since that time he has appreciated the principles of our religious
Society, and particularly our practice of waiting upon God in silence.
These remarks opened our way to speak on a subject which has often given
us pain in our intercourse with pious people, viz., the practice of going
suddenly from one religious exercise to another. We expressed our opinion
that Christians, in general, in their worship, would derive more
edification from what is spoken, if they were to dwell under the good
feeling which is sometimes raised, before passing so precipitately to
singing, or even to prayer. With this he entirely agreed, and thought it a
point of the utmost importance; he wished it could be put in practice, for
their church in general suffered loss for want of more quiet gathering of
spirit before God.


John and Martha Yeardley did not go further towards the west than
Toulouse; on quitting that city they turned northwards to Montauban.


For several days, so they write, before reaching the extent of our journey
westward, we travelled through a fertile country, having the Pyrenean
mountains on the south, covered with snow, a magnificent sight for those
who travel to see the beauties of nature, but our hearts are often too
heavy to enjoy them.

_Montauban_, 3 _mo_. 23. - Last evening we reached this pretty
town, part of which is built on a high cliff overlooking the river Tarn,
and commanding an extensive view over a fertile plain. Our first call was
on Professor Monod; his wife is an Englishwoman; she was pleased to see
her compatriots, and introduced us to Professor de Félice and some other
pious individuals. Professor Monod invited us to spend the evening at
their house, along with a number of persons who join in their family
reading, and we did not think it right to refuse the invitation. A pretty
large company assembled in the professor's room at 8 o'clock, among whom
were some students of the college. The eighth chapter of the Epistle to
the Romans was read, and some remarks made by the professor; he then
kindly said, if we had any word of exhortation in our hearts, he hoped we
should feel quite at liberty to express it. We felt it right to make some
observations with reference to the fore-part of the chapter, which sets
forth that state of Christian experience in which the mind is prepared to
participate in the many precious promises contained in the middle and
latter portions; ability was also given us to express our faith in the one
Saviour and Mediator, and in the influence and guidance of the Holy
Spirit, and his office in the sanctification of the soul. This favored
opportunity closed with supplication. We are well satisfied with our visit
to this place; it has removed some prejudices from our minds, and perhaps
may have shown to those with whom we have had intercourse that Friends are
sound in the faith. The short time we spent with Professor de Félice has
left a sweet impression on our minds. He mourned over the want of
spiritual life among the Protestants of Montauban, amid, as he said, "much
preaching, and many appeals to conscience."


At Castres, where they stopped on the 26th, they visited the Orphan House,
and held intercourse with the pastors, and with a pious lawyer.


On our journey, says John Yeardley, we had heard of a man near this town
who bore the name of Quaker, and we inquired of the lawyer if he knew
whether he was sound in the Christian faith. The lawyer spoke with respect
of the so-called Quaker, but thought that in his opinions he favored
Arianism. "If so," said I, rather hastily, "we will not seek him or
recognize." "Why," said the advocate, "it is the very reason you should go
to see him, and try to do him good." At this reply my conscience was stung
on account of my hasty conclusion; and after reflecting on the matter, we
walked next morning five or six miles into the country in search of the
new Friend. He received us with joy, and we soon satisfied ourselves as to
his soundness in the Christian faith; but he was rather ardent in his
expectations of the reign of Christ on the earth. Twenty years ago he
refused to take an oath on a jury; the judge told him he must go to
prison, to which the Friend replied, "I am willing to go to prison, but I
cannot swear to condemn any person to death; if you place me as juryman I
shall acquit all the criminals." The judge, believing his scruples to be
sincere, dismissed him without further trouble. This dear man attached
himself to us in such a manner that it was difficult to part from him; he
pressed us to remain some days in his house, but this our duty did not
permit.


From Castres they returned through Béziers to Nismes, visiting various
little companies of Protestants by the way, and arrived in the latter city
on the 1st of the Fourth Month. They found that the school had increased
in numbers, and the scholars had made good progress.


On entering the school-room, says J.Y., the girls all flocked to us, their
black eyes sparkling with joy, while they clung round us with their little
arms to be embraced. The harmony and peaceful feelings which pervade the
family are truly comforting to our hearts.


In taking a retrospect of what they had done up to this time, they write
thus to their Friends in England: -


The manner in which our gracious Lord has condescended to open the way for
a portion of labor in this part of his vineyard, adds a grain to our
faith: the service which has hitherto fallen to our lot on this journey is
of that nature towards which we had a view before we left our native land;
and we are bound gratefully to acknowledge, amid many conflicts and
discouragements, that sweet peace is sometimes our portion. But our dear
friends in England will readily conceive that our baptisms are various and
deep, during our separation from the bosom of our own little visible
church; and we hope to retain a place in their sympathy and prayers, when
they are favored with access to the throne of mercy. Our love flows freely
and unceasingly to all our dear friends, from whom it is always comforting
to hear. Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free
course and be glorified.


On the 18th of the Fourth Month they again left Nismes, and commenced
their journey towards Switzerland, accompanied, as before, by Jules
Paradon. On their way to Grenoble, they had opportunities of spreading
many copies of the _Scripture Extracts_, which they had with them,
among the Roman Catholics; and they had also some interesting conversation
with individuals of that profession.


At Tullins, they write, the eagerness to receive books was so great, that
a crowd soon assembled around us, and we found it difficult to satisfy
them; again, at the moment of our departure, they pressed round our
carriage, and we could hardly separate ourselves from them.

On the 22nd (to continue their own narrative) we arrived at Grenoble, with
a view to spend First-day there. A letter from one of our acquaintances at
Nismes to Pastor Bonifas procured us a kind reception, and he invited us
to spend First-day evening at his house, where a meeting was to be held.
We did not, however, feel quite at liberty to attend, as we found the
regular church-service would be performed. The next day we received
another invitation from the Pastor to a meeting where only the Scriptures
would be read. We thought it best to accept it, and by going a little
before the time proposed, we had a very interesting conversation with the
Pastor, his wife, and a young Englishwoman, on our peculiar views. The
meeting was an assembly of various classes, with a preponderance of young
persons, and was a very interesting occasion: many of the young people
were deeply affected. In the morning of this day we had been to see an
aged Catholic woman of the Jansenist persuasion: she appeared to have no
dependence but on her Saviour, and, full of faith and love, to have her
conversation in heaven; she gave us a sweet benediction at parting.


They left Grenoble on the 25th, and pursued their way by Chambéry to
Geneva, taking care to dispose of most of their French tracts by the way,
lest they should be stopped at the Savoy custom-house. They arrived in the
city of Calvin on the 27th.

Here, as on former occasions, they found much to interest them. Several of
the ministers and professors whom they had known before, seemed to have
become more spiritually-minded; and with the flock of the deceased Pastor
Monnié, in particular, "of precious memory," they were united in near
Christian fellowship.


It seems to us, they write, that the feeling is spreading of the necessity
of the immediate guidance of the Holy Spirit; and we believe that this
view of the gospel, with that of the universality of divine love, is much
more calculated to win upon unbelievers, and to enlighten Romanists, than
the high Calvinistic doctrines which have so generally prevailed, and
which impede the growth of Christian humility and daily dependence on
divine help.

At our little meeting on First-day morning, we had the company of a widow
and her daughter. The former is like a mother to those around her who are
seeking spiritual things, and we were much comforted together. She invited
us to tea, and to have a meeting in her house the next evening: a
considerable number were collected, among whom were a pastor, several
professors, and many females. The pastor read a chapter; and when, after a
time of silence, the way opened for communication, it was like casting
seed into prepared ground, and the retirement of spirit before the Lord
which we recommended seemed really to be experienced before we separated;
it was a silence to be felt better than expressed.


Amongst other pious persons in this city, they had an introduction to the
Countess de Sellon.


She received us, says J.Y., with open heart, saying, "I am fond of the
principles of your Society, believing they have the real substance of
religion, stripped of its forms." She asked us many questions, and we felt
sweet unity with her.


On the 3rd of the Fifth Month they went to Lausanne, where they renewed
their friendship with Professor Gaudin, and had interviews with several
other seeking persons.


We were, they say, most interested by a pious magistrate, Frossard de
Saugy, near relative to a dear friend of ours at Geneva. He inquired
respecting the education of children, of whom he has many - by what means
he could make them sensible of vital religion. We replied that all we
could do was to represent to them the love and mercy of our blessed
Redeemer, and recommend them to cherish the convictions of his Holy
Spirit, which are very early bestowed upon us all: he entirely united in
our views.


From Lausanne they went to Yverdun, and the day after to Neufchâtel. Since
their last visit in 1834, some who were very dear to them had been
summoned to eternal rest, which cast a shade of natural sorrow over their
entrance into the place: and they were called upon, in addition, deeply to
sympathise with some of those who remained.


The family of Professor Pétavel has sustained a great loss in the death of
his eldest son, accompanied, by circumstances peculiarly striking. This
young man was about nineteen years of age. He had been very serious for
some time before his illness, and wished much to be employed as a
missionary. Early instructed by his mother in the importance of seeking
divine influence, his mind was prepared to receive the baptism of the Holy
Spirit; and he had a deep conflict to pass through, which he confided to
his mother, and which he seemed to think was the presage to suffering. In
performing some gymnastic exercises he received a fall on the head, which
after some time was followed by a paralytic affection of the whole body,
so that he became entirely helpless, and his speech was taken away. It was
only his tender mother who could ascertain his wants and administer to
them, which she did with unceasing assiduity. After about six months his
speech was almost miraculously restored, and he used it in praising the
Lord for the remarkable support and consolation of his Spirit. He said he
had been sensible of all that had passed, and that he had been abundantly
confirmed in the belief that true religion consists in hearing the voice
of our blessed Redeemer, and seeking to do his will. After some time the
capability of speaking much again forsook him; yet he lingered some months
longer, and when M.Y. beheld him soon after our arrival, he appeared like
a precious lamb purified, and waiting to be gathered to the everlasting
fold. The resignation of his parents was truly edifying: they proposed
that we should both come the next day, and sit quietly beside him for a
while. This proved a deeply impressive time; the presence of the Great
Shepherd was evidently with us, and called forth thanksgiving for the
mercies received and the deliverance anticipated. While listening to a few
words addressed to him at parting, he fixed his dying eyes upon us with an
expression not to be forgotten, and before midnight the precious spirit
was received into the arms of its Saviour. As we left for Locle early in
the morning, we did not hear of this until our return the day following.


Their visit to their favorite orphan-institution was, as ever, very
interesting. They thus describe the state in which they found it: -


Our dear German friend M. Zimmerlin, the associate of dear M. A. Calame,
still lives: she received us with overflowing affection. After tea, which
we took there, she hastened to show us the improvements in the premises,
which, she said, our kind friends in England had contributed to procure by
their donations through us. The institution appears to be now in excellent
order. In the evening, the children, 138 in number, were collected with
the mistresses and family, and we had a very satisfactory opportunity with
them. The same precious influence seems to prevail which we have noticed
heretofore.


They returned to Neufchâtel the next evening, where they heard that the
remains of Paul Pétavel were to be interred the next day.


His father, they add, was desirous that the meeting we intended to hold
with our friends should be held at his house that evening. When M.Y. went
to see the family, she found the parents fall of gratitude and praise. The
funeral was attended by the students from the college, and a large number
of others; for the professor is much beloved, and the affecting situation
of his son has been a lesson of instruction to the young people who used
to associate with him, and seems to have had an effect on the whole town.
The evening of this day proved to be a memorable time: a considerable
number were collected, among whom were several pastors and a number of
young persons. I seldom, says J.Y., remember to have attended a more
solemn occasion. The Saviour's presence was near, to console and instruct.
After my M.Y. and I had relieved our minds in testimony and supplication,
the professor and the other pastors spoke with much feeling; I think it
was evident they were constrained by the Spirit. We parted (to resume the
words of their joint epistle) from the family under a strong conviction of
the support and consolation which those experience who depend in living
faith upon their blessed Redeemer.


From Neufchâtel, John and Martha Yeardley went to Berne, where they
renewed the bond of friendship with those to whose spiritual state they
had ministered in former years. With these they united several times in
worship and in social religious intercourse. At the close of one of these
meetings, the lady of the house, an active and benevolent character,
acknowledged, that she was sensible of the truth of what they had heard,
and believed that in the present day the Lord was leading many of his
devoted children to listen to his voice, that they might be brought more
under the teachings of his Spirit, and from this would flow their
consolation. "This (they observe) is the more remarkable, as, when we were
here before, she held views on election and the _finished_ work of
grace, almost to the exclusion of the work of 'regeneration and the
renewing of the Holy Ghost.'"


We find in some here, writes John Yeardley in his Diary, a desire for food
of a more spiritual nature: they really enjoy waiting on the Lord in
silence; but the customary activity is strong, and not easily broken
through. I trust the day will come when silence will more prevail in the
assemblies of the people. We left Berne with feelings of peace and of much
affection for many in that place, and thankful to our Heavenly Father, in
that he had prepared the hearts of his people to receive the invitation to
feed on that spiritual food which alone can nourish the soul to eternal
life.


They arrived at Basle on the 17th. Since they had visited this city in
1834, Hoffmann, the director of the institution at Kornthal, had succeeded
Blumhardt in the superintendence of the Mission-house. He received them
with his usual kindness, and one evening they supped with the students,
and had a religious meeting with them. They spent another evening with a
pious family, where several missionaries and pastors were present. In
speaking of this occasion, John and Martha Yeardley were led into a
reflection which deserves to be pondered by Christians of every name.


Before separating, they say, the Scriptures were read, and some of the
missionaries spoke on the importance of uniting in desire for a more
general outpouring of the Spirit: J.Y. also spoke much to the same effect.
It was, we trust, a profitable season; but the reflection arose on this
occasion, as it has done on some others when among serious persons not of
our profession, that if they would but suffer the degree of divine
influence mercifully afforded thoroughly to baptize the heart with the
true baptism, much creaturely activity would be done away, and the light
of the gospel would shine in them and through them in much greater purity.

We paid and received visits, they continue, from some of the
_Intérieurs_ whom we had known before, and had to lament something of
a visionary spirit in the midst of right feeling. We recommended
simplicity, and close attention to the Scriptures and to the Shepherd's
voice.


One day John Yeardley went into the mountains to see an establishment
called the Pilgrim Mission Institution, where he was interested in meeting
three young men from Syria, who had come there to escape the scenes of war
in their own country, and with the desire to be rendered capable of
instructing their countrymen.

They left Basle on the 22nd, and entered Germany. They were, for a time, a
good deal embarrassed with the change of language from French to German,
having had little or no occasion to use the latter tongue during their
journey. They stopped at Carlsruhe, where they called, with an
introduction, on the Princess of Würtemberg.


She received us, they say, very kindly, and we had a satisfactory
interview with her, and also with an interesting female who has the charge
of her children. After much conversation with the princess in French, she
introduced us to her three lovely children, and asked J.Y. to give them a
word of exhortation. We remained silent awhile, and, under a precious
feeling, offered prayer for the divine blessing on this family and all its
branches; after which the word of sympathy and exhortation flowed freely.
At parting, the princess took a cordial leave of us, and said she received
our visit as a blessing from the Lord.


The next day they pursued their way towards Pyrmont. Being weary with
travelling, and their horses also needing rest, they tarried two days at
Frankfort. Here they saw their old friend Von Meyer; and spent much of
their time in the company of Dr. Pinkerton. "I was instructed," says J.Y.,
"with seeing the charity and Christian meekness in which he daily lives."

On the 3rd of the Sixth Month they reached Pyrmont, where they remained a
few weeks. They attended on the 2nd of the Seventh Month the Two-months'
Meeting, at Minden. Many peasants were present in the meeting for worship,
and on John and Martha Yeardley's return to Pyrmont, some of them came to
the meeting there on First-day, and begged the Friends to go to Vlotho to
meet a company of their brethren. They gave the peasants liberty to call a
meeting at that place for Third-day, the 18th.

On Second-day, as they were setting off, an accident happened to John
Yeardley.


He had left the horse's head, writes M.Y., to attend to placing the
baggage, when, hearing another carriage drive rapidly up, our horse set
off, and my J.Y., in attempting to stop him by catching hold of the reins,
fell, and was much bruised, but through mercy no limb was broken. We
applied what means were in our power, and I urged our remaining at
Pyrmont, and sending to defer the meeting; but he would go on to Lemgo.
His whole frame was much shaken, and we passed a sleepless night, so that
the meeting next day was not a little formidable. It proved a much longer
journey to Vlotho than we had expected; when we arrived we found a large
number assembled. Five of our Friends came from Minden to meet us, and it
was a remarkable meeting, notwithstanding we had gone to it under so much
discouragement: we have cause to bless and adore our Divine Master, who
caused his presence to be felt amongst us. August Mundhenck interpreted
for J.Y. and for me. J.R. also suffered his voice to be acceptably heard
in testimony, after which the meeting closed in solemn supplication. We
pursued our way that night to Bielefeld and the next day towards the
Rhine.


On their way home they stopped at Düsseldorf. The ten years which had gone
by since they had visited the Orphan Asylum at Düsselthal, near this town,
had wrought a great change in the physical condition of Count Von der
Recke. He looked worn and ill, the effect of care and anxiety for his
numerous adopted family; but he evinced a spirit of pious resignation, and
had a hearty welcome ready for his visitors. They returned to England
through Belgium, and arrived in London on the 8th of the Eighth Month.

They did not at once return to their home at Scarborough, but spent a
month in Hertford, Oxford and Buckinghamshire, attending the meetings of
Friends in these counties, and visiting that of Berkhamstead several
times.


CHAPTER XVI.


REMOVAL TO STAMFORD-HILL, AND COMMENCEMENT OF THE FIFTH CONTINENTAL
JOURNEY.

1843-48.

The tour which John and Martha Yeardley made in and around
Buckinghamshire, and which is mentioned at the conclusion of the last
chapter, was undertaken in quest of a new place of abode. In a letter from
Martha Yeardley to her sister, Mary Tylor, written on the 3rd of the
Eleventh Month, she says: -

Thou art aware that we have thought, if way should open of going nearer to
you, and of pitching our tent within the Quarterly Meeting of
Buckinghamstead. We offered to purchase a cottage at Berkhamstead, but for
the present that has quite fallen through: we therefore intend to rest



Online LibraryJohn YeardleyMemoir and Diary of John Yeardley, Minister of the Gospel → online text (page 25 of 35)