William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

. (page 102 of 105)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 102 of 105)
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ed, and by the effectual operation of Divine
and heavenly life, brought into true submission
to the cross of Christ, several were called to
the ministry, and engaged to speak in the au-
thority of the Gospel, which is now, the same
as formerly, the power of God unto salvation,
unto all who receive it with meekness, and
truly believe in, and patiently wait for the in-
ward and spiritual appearance of Christ our
holy Redeemer. Among the many thus fa-
voured, was our dear and well beloved Friend
and brother John Evans, who was blessed with
an excellent gift in the ministry, and being
faithful to his heavenly calling, became an
able publisher of the Gospel ; preaching it in
the demonstration and power of God. He
was careful to discharge his trust according to
Divine ability, yet not forward, but patient in
waiting for the motions of life, by which he
attained experience, and knew when to speak,
and when to be silent. In this, as in his love
of silence, he was exemplary — he was likewise
blessed with the Christian virtues of brotherly
love, and universal charity; and being endowed
with a good understanding, was a man of sound
judgment; wherefore I always esteemed him
as an elder brother, and gave him the right
hand of fellowship. He was an instrument of
help and good to me in my infant state in reli-
gion, which in point of gratitude I ought never
to forget. Oh, may I conduct in such a man-
ner through this state of probation, as that my
latter end may be like his.

Now, though I had in part been faithful to
the call of my great Lord and holy Redeemer,
yet he was pleased at times to withdraw the
light of his countenance from me, and to suffer
the grand enemy to buffet me severely, by
tempting me to believe that the peace I had
enjoyed was only a false one, that it was all
delusion, that the mortifications I underwent
would be of no real advantage to my soul.
Besides he suggested, how did I know that the
Lord required these mortifications at my hands ;
that the humility I pretended to, was only
feigned, and therefore the Lord would never
accept of it.

Here I was again brought very low in my
mind, and my spii'it depressed almost to de-
spair ; so that I began to think all this might
be true, yet knew not whither to go for help.
But after some time, these words sprang up in
my mind, I will trust in the Lord, for in the
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. And
then secret breathings arose to God, that it
might please him once more to favour me with
his holy presence, which giveth light and life
whereby to distinguish his pure voice from
that of a stranger. But, Oh ! the bitter whis-
perings of satan, and the thoughts that passed



through my mind, such as my soul hated.
Yet such were the suggestions of the enemy,
who was a har from the beginning. And in-
deed, had not the secret hand of Infinite Good-
ness supported me through these great tempta-
tions, I should have fainted and lain down in
deep despair.

I had not long enjoyed Divine peace, before
the old accuser began again, telling me I had
blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, in that I
deceived the people, in pretending to preach
by Divine influence, which he insinuated was
a positive untruth ; and for me to make a
show of worshipping Him whom I had thus
belied, was a sin never to be forgiven. This
was a distressing state to pass through, and
lasted several weeks. I went about mourning
like a person almost bereaved of I'eason ; and
though Friends still continued their care and
regard to me, I never had freedom to commu-
nicate my exercise to any mortal. I have since
found that the work which the Lord required,
if people would but patiently wait his time,
they would be enabled to perform, and would
find deliverance in a proper season. I conclud-
ed I was the worst creature ever born, and had
only received life for Divine vengeance, but the
Lord gave me to see otherwise ; for sitting one
time alone in the woods, a cry rose up in my
heart, if I die it shall be at thy foot-stool, O
Lord ! for thy loving kindness has been great
to me from my youth to this day ; and falling on
my knees, I prayed that he would be gracious-
ly pleased to enlighten my understanding in such
a manner, that I might see clearly wherein I
had offended so merciful a Father; for I thought
I had offended him, because I was suffered to
be so tempted. His word then became as a
fire in my breast, and the ansv/er I received
was to this effect; be encouraged, thou art suf-
fered to pass through these trying dispensa-
tions, not only on thy own account, but for
the sake of others to whom, when qualified, I
will, in my own time, send thee: be faithful, and
I will be with thee to the end of time. At this inti-
mation I was tendered and filled with gratitude
to his Divine Majesty, who alone can deliver
his children out of their afflictions. My
soul at this time, under a sweet sense of his
goodness, bows in awful reverence with praises
to his holy name, and says. Who is like unto
our God ! I wish all who make pi'ofession
of the Truth may conduct agreeably to the
holy principle of sincerity, and then such
will be good examples to their children and
families, if they have any, as also to the youth
in general. There were many incidents occur-
red during the time of my being among those
Friends, to whom I was indented for payment
of my passage, which for brevity's sake I omit.
Vol. I.— No. 12.

When the time for which I engaged to them
was expired, I served them a quarter of a year
longer, in consideration of the tender regard
they had shown to me, when it was in their
power to have conducted otherwise, and for
granting me the liberty of going to week-day
meetings ; which they accepted from me with

We loved one another much, and being un-
willing to part, I staid with them till the spring,
and then in much love and tenderness we
parted. — I am persuaded that if servants were
careful to discharge their trust faithfully to
their masters and mistresses, the Lord would
provide suitably for their support through the
world, with credit and reputation. I never
was more easy and contented in mind, with
regard to outward things, in any station of
life, than when I was a servant ; because under
this circumstance, I met with that for which I
had laboured many years, the true and saving
knowledge of Christ Jesus, who is the only
way to the Father, and whom to know is life
eternal. I cannot but desire that people in every
condition in this world may be thus blessed.
When the soul is tendered with the love of
God, it strongly desires that all may be par-
takers of life and salvation, as freely offered
through Christ Jesus our Lord.

When I had fulfilled my contract as above,
I found a concern to remove over Schuylkill,
which I did, with the advice of some of my
Welch friends, who had been as nursing fathers
and mothers to me.

I staid some time at Haverford, where I
found many good Friends who were tender of
me. I attended meetings diligently, both on
first, and other days of the week, at Haver-
ford, Radnor, Merion, &c., as I found free-
dom ; yet I very seldom appeared in public.
When out of meetings I kept myself pretty
much retired from company, finding retirement
profitable for me in this my infant state in re-
Hgion. I hired for a month with a Friend,
but would not engage for a longer time ; be-
cause I found this was not the right place for
me to settle in. I was scrupulous of fixing
any price for my work, fearing I might over-
value it, and those for whom I wrought would
lose by me ; therefore I lefi; it to them to
give me what they thought I earned. — Thus I
conducted to the best of my understanding,
with fear, lest I should bring dishonour to the
holy profession I made, and be a stumbling
block in the way of tender inquirers. The
Lord regarded me in this state, and not only
favoured me many times with the descendings
of heavenly life and love, but gave me favour
both with Friends and others, so that I might
have had the best places either in Philadelphia



or in the country, but I was not to settle in
those parts. I must go a Uttle farther, but the
place was still hid from me.

One first-day, after I had sat some time in
Haverford ineeting, David Lloyd from Chester,
with his wife and several other Friends, came
into meeting. As soon as they were seated, it
was as though it had been spoken to me,
" These are the people with whom thou must
go and settle." They being strangers to me,
and appearing as persons of distinction, I said,
Lord, how can such an one as I get acquaint-
ance with people who appear so much above
the common rank. The word was in my soul,
be still, I will make way for thee in their
hearts — they shall seek to thee. 1 knew not
'what to think of this, and was afraid it might
be a temptation of satan; yet was contented
in the thought, that the Lord who never yet
failed, was all-sutficient to provide for me. At
that instant a great stillness came over me,
and I felt the love of my heavenly Father to
affect me in a very uncommon manner. I
afterwards understood that David Lloyd and
his wife fixed their eyes upon me, felt a near
sympathy with me, such as they had never
known towards a stranger before, and said in
their hearts, this young woman is or will be a
preacher. They wei'e both tendered, and it was
fixed in their minds, that they were to take
me under their care, and nurse me for the
Lord's service, with a promise that his bless-
ing should attend them. This I had from
their own mouths after I lived with them.

After the meeting I was passing away, as
usual, for fear of being taken notice of, but
was stopped by a Friend, who asked me to go
home with her, for the Chester Friends were
to dine there. I excused mj^self as well as I
could ; then those Friends came and spoke
kindly to me, which affected me in such a
manner, that they let me go, but told some
Friends there, how they were affected towards
me, and how it opened to them in the meeting.
They left their love to me, and said they intend-
ed to visit me soon with proposals for living
with them ; for by what each of them felt in
themselves, they were to be instruments of
good to me.

Soon after this I became acquainted with
Elizabeth Levis, a Friend of Springfield ; the
manner of which was thus. I had not appear-
ed in public for a great while, nor felt any mo-
tion that way, but was very low in my mind, and
having got into a dark spot, had again almost
lost hope, and thought it impossible but that I
should fall a sacrifice to the temptations of the
grand enemy, who still followed me. How-
ever, it happened that Elizabeth Levis came to
visit Haverford meeting, where I then was.
After some time of silence she stood up, and

speaking in the authority of Truth, so effectu-
ally laid open my present state, that I could
heartily subscribe to the truth of the testimony.
The power that attended her ministry reached
the witness of God in my heart ; a zeal was
begotten in me for the honour of the good
cause ; and I was filled with love to the in-
strument through whom I had thus been fa-
voured. Hope was again renewed in me by
virtue of the word preached, that the Lord
would still continue his wonted favours to me,
in preserving me from the snares of the wicked
one. After meeting she took kind notice of
me, and said, I came here to-day through the
cross, the Lord knows for what end ; it may
be for thy sake. I was so overcome I could
not speak, but wept much, and esteemed it as
a blessing she had taken notice of me. I went
home rejoicing in spirit, because I had met
with Divine refreshment, of which I was in
much need.

As it pleased the Almighty to visit me in a
wonderful manner, by the renewing of his
pure love, I made covenant, that if he would
be with me in the way I should go, he should
be my God, and I would serve him forever.
This disposition increased, and I felt the unity
of the one spirit with this dear hand-maid, in
which we became near and dear to each other,
and in process of time joined as companions
in the work of the Gospel, as I shall hei'ealter
have occasion to mention in the course of this
account. But to return, my mind was still
engaged about Chester, with strong desires to
be with Friends there, but how to accomplish
it, was the question. I knew the promises
of God, were yea, and amen, and in this I con-
fided — but a good opportunity soon offered.

I was just finishing some work which I had
taken to do for a Friend, and on my saying,
when this is done, I know not where to get
more — one, not of our Society, being in com-
pany, said to me, "Fear not, God will always
provide for you, because you fear his great
name." I made no I'eply, but in a few min-
utes a person knocked at the door ; I being
next to it, opened it ; when I saw a man of a
good appearance, sitting on horse-back, who
asked if there was a young woman there who
wanted a place, for he wanted a maid, one that
was sober? We desired him to alight, and in-
quired of him, whence he came ? He and his
family belonged to Chester meeting, and he
lived not far from the town. It immediately
started into my mind, it may be this is a
providential thing, to bring me to that people;
I will give him expectation of my going with
him next week, if he will come for me, but
concluded to hire only for a month, to see how
I liked his wife, &c. I communicated my mind
to him ; he accepted, and inquired what wages



I asked? I answered as usual, what they
thought I deserved, and we parted. His name
was Benjamin Head, a worthy, honest man.
He called at a Friend's just by, and told of his
success, and when he was to fetch me ; they
said I was a preacher, and they were unwil-
ling to part with me ; but he had my word,
and came according to our agreement : I was
prepared to attend his call, and so went with

I found his family were only himself, his
wife and daughter, with one man and a maid
servant : his wife being apprised of my char-
acter, received me with love and affection,
which lasted, not only while we lived together,
but to the conclusion of their time in this life.
Indeed, it would have been high ingratitude
in me, if I had not retui'ned their kindness
in the best manner I could ; for I had not been
there three weeks, before I was seized with a
violent fever, which reduced me so low, that
my life was despaired of, though they got the
best advice that could be had, sparing neither
cost nor labour, in hopes of restoring my
health. The distemper was violent on my
body, yet I was favoured with quietude of
mind, and entirely resigned to the Divine will,
whether to live or die. It is a ^reat blessing
which attends those who fear God, that his holy
spirit accompanies their souls, when upon a bed
of languishing: the Psalmist experienced this in
his day, and so will all the I'ighteous now, as
well as then. This illness held me near three
months, in all which time Benjamin Head's
wife, and her daughter, a sober young woman,
attended me night and day very carefully.
Several Friends of Chester and others visited
me, and tendered their services in ministering
things suitable for my disorder and otherwise;
so that I wanted for nothing proper for me.
Some Friends were for removing me, but that
was impossible; besides, the Friend v.'ith whom
I was, objected to any such measure, and I
was against it myself, under this considera-
tion, that if it pleased Providence to raise me,
it would be my duly to stay and make such
return for their kindness as might be in my
power. Thus the time was prolonged six or
seven months instead of one, so that we poor
short-sighted mortals may propose many things
to ourselves, but Providence can disappoint,
and all for our good, if we patiently submit ;
and indeed it is our interest so to do. Grace
Lloyd perceiving that Benjamin Head's wife
was unwilling to part Avith me, forbore speak-
ing anything of her mind to me till after I had
got out to meeting, which I did as soon as I
was able.

My first going to meeting was on a first-day ;
the meeting was large, by reason that John
Danson, a Friend from Great Britain, was

there. I sat about the middle of the house,
under great exercise of spirit, insomuch that
the Friend was sensible of it ; though I did
not appear in testimony, yet I was not hid. — I
do not remember anything remarkable that at-
tended the meeting. John Danson was silent ;
and as soon as it broke up, he spoke to David
Lloyd, saying, " Stop that young woman, who
sat in such a place, I have something to say to
her from the Lord." He spoke aloud; I heard
him, and trembled, and was going away ; but
Grace Lloyd desired me to stay, and kindly
told me, I must go home with her. I excused
myself: but it did not do, she would not be
denied, I must go. I therefore asked leave of
my employer's wife, which she readily gave,
and left a horse for me to ride home.

When we came to David Lloyd's, there was
a great company of Friends; but not thinking
myself worthy, I would not thrust myself
among them, intending to go among the ser-
vants. This was not permitted, for as I was
entering the parlour, I heard the English
Friend say, " Where is the young woman, I
want her company." I came in, and was
seated next to him. He took hold of my hand,
fixed his eyes upon me, and after a little si-
lence spoke to me in such a manner, by way
of encouragement, as I have not freedom here
to relate; only so much I may say, he proved
a true prophet to me, as I afterwards experi-
enced, respecting the work the Lord was pre-
paring me for, and about to employ me in.
But I, like Nicodemus, was ready to say, how
can this be ; will the Almighty engage a poor
unworthy creature in so great a work ? he
knows I am noways sufficient for the task.
The Divine word to me was, "Trust in my suf-
ficient power, that shall properly qualify thee
for every service. What I require of thee is to
be faithful, and thou shalt see greater things
than yet have been made manifest."

I felt Infinite Goodness near; my soul bowed
in awful reverence to the Divine Majesty of
heaven and earth ; and in the secret of my
heart I said. Lord, I will submit to every dis-
pensation thou allottest. The Friends present
were mightily broken, and we were made par-
takers together of the virtue of light and life,
which caused gladness of heart, so that little
food satisfied some of us. After dinner, the
Friend spoke to David Lloyd and his wife,
saying, " Take this young woman, make her
your adopted child, and give her liberty to go
wherever Truth leads." Thoy told him, that
was their intention, and when I was free to
come, their house should be my home for the
future. He replied, " Do as you say, and the
blessing of God will attend you on her behalf"
Grace Lloyd then took me into another apart-
ment, and told me how she and her husband



were drawn in love to me the first time they
saw me at Haverford, as is related ; and if I
would come and live with them, they intended
to do well for me.

I admired at the ordering of Providence, in
thus providing for me, a poor destitute orphan,
separated from all my natural friends, in a
strange land, and having no certain habitation
in mutability. Oh ! that all would fear and
serve the living God, whose goodness en-
dures forever ; it was his own work, and he
shall have the praise. We parted in tears,
under the holy influence of Divine love, and
with a sense of his wonderful kindness to me,
I went home rejoicing in spirit, praising the
Almighty. I mended fast as to health, so that
I was able to perform to the satisfaction of my
master and mistress ; with whom I staid till
near spring, and then parted in much affection.
We loved each other sincerely : they always
treated me with respect, as I did them, being
fully satisfied they were instruments in bring-
ing me to my future settlement in this world ;
and this love subsisted between us until it
pleased the Lord to take them to himself;
their memory is as agreeable to me now, as
in the beginning of our acquaintance.

I entered into David Lloyd's family as an
upper servant, such as we call in England,
house-keepers, having all the keys, plate,
linen, &c., delivered to me. They had a
great family, and everything passed through
my hands ; and as they had reposed such a
trust in me, it brought a weighty concern on
my mind, that I might conduct aright, and
discharge my duty faithfully to my principals
and their servants ; and being sensible of my
own weakness, I many times, when others
were asleep, poured out my prayers to God
for wisdom, who giveth liberally and upbraid-
eth none. I was often afraid lest through my
misconduct, I should bring dishonour to the
pure Truth I made profession of; for now I
began frequently to speak in meetings, and
many eyes were upon me. I was become like
a city set on an hill which could not be hid ;
and Christ our Lord speaking of this situation,
says, " Let your light so shine, as that others
beholding your good works, may glorify your
Father which is in heaven." This text was
often revived in my memory ; and under this
dispensation I was led through a painful anx-
ious travail of soul. I considered that I had
been tried in low life, though I never wanted for
any necessaries, but was always provided for;
having met with kind treatment from ail sorts
of people, and was blessed with contentment
in the station allotted me. Now I was to be
proved with greater plenty, and favoured with
the company of valuable Friends, who often
frequented our house; and though I was but

in the station of a servant, yet was taken
notice of by them ; for when they came, 1 was
always allowed to be in the room with them.
This was a great favour conferred on me, and
it did not elevate my mind, but made me more
humble and assiduous in my business. Ano-
ther kindness extended to me was, that I al-
ways dined with my master and mistress,
which was of advantage to me, for many
times their conversation was profitable.

Thus as I kept my eye steady to the Al-
mighty, he gave me favour among my friends,
and with both my said benefactors, and they
were kind and aflectionate, like tender parents,
watching over me for good, often telling me to
mind the dictates of Truth ; and if at any time
I found a concern to visit any meetings, be
sure to go; and they were careful to provide
suitably for me in every respect. This was
engaging, and my love to them increased daily ;
I judged it ray duty to make their interest my
own, as if I was their child, and can in truth
say, I never wilfully disobliged either of them,
or left their service to serve myself, in any
shape. I went nowhere without their leave,
not so much as to buy any trifles I wanted ;
and when a religious concern came over my
mind to visit the churches of Christ, they were
the first whom I made acquainted therewith.

The first visits I made were to some of the
neighbouring meetings, in company with some
of our friends, and returned at night ; after-
wards it became a concern upon my mind to
visit Friends at Philadelphia, and some more
meetings in that county, in the company of a
Friend from Long Island. I had my friends'
leave to go this journey, and went with her
into Bucks county ; from thence I returned
home, and was diligent in my business when
there ; for though the Lord was pleased to
crown my labours in the ministry with suc-
cess, and Friends everywhere were exceeding-
ly kind to me, yet I was not exalted, being sen-
sible that of myself I could do nothing that
tended to good. I therefore found it my busi-
ness to return unto the place of waiting, to
know the further will and pleasure of my great
Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. But though I
enjoyed satisfaction and peace, of which the
world could not deprive me, and met with abun-
dance of love and respect from Friends and
others, yet I was not exempted from the buf-
fetings of satan, within and without, nor from
the woe pronounced by our Lord against those
whom all men should speak well of I had
outward enemies who waited for my halting,
but blessed be the Mighty arm of Power, it
supported me through all, and preserved my
feet from falling into the snares which were
laid for me. How invaluable is the light of
Christ! it manifests the wiles of sin and satan,



so clearly, that some have reason to say,

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 102 of 105)