William Evans.

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

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of James Bisben, innkeeper ; yea, hundreds of
men, women, boys and girls, followed us, cast-
ing stones, coals, and dirt at us, Sodom-like,
notwithstanding all their profession. When
we were come into the aforesaid house to get
some refreshment for our money, the rabble
encompassed the house, looking in at the win-
dows where we sat, abusing us with their
tongues and spitting in upon us. When we
took our horses to go away, they abused us in
like manner, as aforesaid, all along the streets
to a place called the Draygate.

" Now if the tree must be known by its
fruits, let all sober readers judge from what
spirit those fruits aforesaid proceed : and though
we have not given so full an account as we
would, yet, we think what is here said will
show the evil of such actions to other nations,
and to generations where these shall come,
whatever their profession be. And we heartily

desire that the great God of heaven and earth,
who still seeth the afflictions of his people, may
forgive our persecutors, and convince them of
the evil of their ways, that they may do so no
more, lest a worse thing befal them. For a
confirmation of this testimony, we subscribe
our names, and appeal to all sober persons that
beheld it.

" Christopher Story,
" Thomas Blair.
" The 4th day of the
4th month, 1691."

About a week after, Robert Barrow and John
Thompson of Westmoreland came there, and
they abused them, and endeavoured to set a
mastiff dog upon them. But notwithstanding
all their cruelty both against Friends that lived
there, though but three or four, and also
strangers that came to visit them, in a little
time a meeting was settled, and several con-
vinced, for which the Lord shall have the

In the year 1693, Andrew Taylor and I
travelled into the west and south parts of this
nation ; and visiting Friends in Westmoreland,
Lancashire, Cheshire, Herefordshire, Glouces-
tershire, and so to Bristol, had many good
opportunities both among Friends and others.

After we were clear of Bristol, we visited
Friends in Somersetshire, Dorcetshire, Devon-
shire, Hampshire, Sussex and Kent, and so to
London : in most places there was an open-
ness to hear the truth, though an unwillingness
to bear the cross. And after we had staid two
weeks in London, to our great satisfaction, we
set forward to Barnet, and had a meeting; and
visited Friends' meetings all along by North-
ampton, Nottingham, Leeds, and so to Cum-
bei'land to our own dwellings, where we found
all well.

Living not far from Scotland, I had a desire
to visit some parts of that nation ; and having
had meetings near the border, and one at
Gretna, in Scotland, people of several sorts
were deeply affected with the testimony of
truth ; afterwards with some other Friends, I
appointed a meeting at Broomholm, where we
had liberty granted by the owner of the ground.
But the priests perceiving it, by their threaten-
ings affrighted the man so that he would not
let us meet upon his ground. We being stopped
on the highway on Tarras-side, sat down to-
gether. Now the elders, with others, being
commanded to come out of several parishes,
used violence to drive us away, but could not
prevail ; and after some time they went away
a mile or more to Canonsby kirk, (so called)
and by the consent of the priest came with
officers and rude shabby lads, and youths void
of understanding, and laid violent hands upon
Friends, and men and boys without either fear



or wit, beat and abused Friends, and broke
John Bowsted's head till the blood ran down.
They that commanded this rabble were the
elders and other men of note ; but a brave
warfare it was, and Friends kept their places,
old and young, and the meeting continued near
three hours, where several Friends declared
the testimony of truth amongst them. And
the Presbyterian spirit and the cruelty of it,
was both seen and judged by many. Friends
returned home with peace and satisfaction.

Since that time, several things fell out that
are remarkable; particularly an accident that
happened not long after, on a first-day, when
people had been at their worship at the afore-
said kirk of Canonsby. In their I'eturn, going
over the river Esk, near the kirk, in a boat,
being thirty-five persons or thereabouts, it
suddenly sunk down into the water, and
twenty-eight were drowned, though not far
from the land. Though the same boat, as it
was reported, had carried over fifly-five at a
time or thereabouts ; and there being no ap-
parent danger, made the thing more remarka-
ble. As Friends' care continued in having
meetings in fresh places, so at times many
came to the meeting-house at Sikeside, to hear
the testimony of truth declared, and their ex-
pectations were often answered : for when
travelling Friends came into the county, they
oflen visited us on first-days ; and they who
came to hear, generally went away well

When divers of our ancient Friends were
removed by death, and others disabled by old
age and weakness of body, it became more
my concern to be engaged in the management
of the affairs of truth in our own county, and
to visit neighbouring counties, and also the
Yearly Meetings at London ; and to have
meetings in fresh places both in our own
country and in the borders of Scotland ; where
we met with hard usage tiixie after time, to
their shame.

In the year 1698, towards the latter end of
the ninth month, [old style,] my wife and I
went to visit Friends in Scotland, and the
harvest being backward that year in divers
places as we travelled, until we came to Aber-
deen, people were but reaping their corn ; and
a storm of snow having fallen and lain upon
it for a month before it was reaped, people
made fires in the fields, it was so cold ; which
made both corn and fodder scarce. The poor
people looked like death, some died in the
highways, and more were supposed to die
from the corn being unwholesome, than for
want of bread. As there had been more years
than one that corn had been dear, and many
poor people were like to lose hope of having
plenty again, my wife in her testimony in a

meeting at Kinmuck, beyond Aberdeen, had
it to say, " There should be plenty of bread
again," which being attended with the life of
truth. Friends that were but weak and poor
believed, and seemed mightily to rejoice.
When we had visited all the meetings there,
and been kindly received by Friends and
many others, we returned home and found our
family well.

The next Yearly Meeting I went to London,
and gave Friends an account; and as the
brethren's care had been that Friends in that
country should not suffer want, their care in-
creased until plenty came. About this time
I wrote the following epistle to Friends.

" An Epistle of love and advice to the people
of the Lord everywhere.

" Dear Friends.,

" Who are broken off from the wild
olive, and grafted into the heavenly vine, unto
you my love and life flow with an earnest
travail upon my spirit, that as ye have known
the watering showers of the Lord's heavenly
rain to fall upon you, you may not only bud
and blossom, but bring forth much fruit to the
praise and glory of your heavenly Father;
to whom be dominion and honour for ever
and ever !

" And now, dear Friends, who in measure
have escaped the pollutions of this world, and
in all your sojourning in the way to Sion, have
had a godly care upon your minds to cease
doing evil, that ye may know a learning to do
well; this is what I would remind you of;
rest not satisfied in that ye are come by the
teaching of God's grace to eschew evil, but
also that ye may be found doing good; know-
ing that it is the fruitless trees that cumber
the ground. It is high time for all to awake
to righteousness : for many are called to
awake from unrighteousness, which is well so
far ; but what will this avail, if fruits of righte-
ousness be not brought forth? For, as "it is
written, the axe is laid to the root of the tree ;
that the tree that brings not forth good fruit
may be hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Therefore it is greatly needful to abide in the
vine into which ye are already gi-afled, that
ye may be fruitful trees like Joseph of old,
whose branches spread over the wall.

" Friends, let none sit down at ease in the
way to Sion, like some of old, who began
well, and ran well for a time, and sat down
short of the true rest : or like the young man
that came unto Christ Jesus, who had kept the
commandments from his youth, yet wanted
one thing ; and not giving up to follow the
Lord fully, sat down short of laying up
heavenly treasure. Therefore let all follow
the Lord fully, who is the Captain of our sal-



vation, the great bishop and shepherd of the
soul, who leads his sheep into green pastures,
feeds his flocks as by the still waters, and
gives unto his own eternal life.

" Let every one's eye be single unto the
Lord, that the whole body may be full of light.
Such it is whose understandings the Lord doth
open: they see their duty unto God, and their
duty one unto another.

" It is therefore time for all that profess the
true and living faith that purifies the heart and
works by love, to come forth and show them-
selves, and walk in the light of the new Jeru-
salem, where precedent is going before pre-
cept, example before docti'ine, and actions and
doings befoi'e words and testimonies ; and on
this wise the Lord is greatly at work in the
hearts of his people, to make them examples
to others in the way to Sion, where the saints'
solemnity is met with.

" Dear Friends, who have given up your-
selves to follow the Lamb in the way of re-
generation, and in some measure have known
your garments washed ; ye are to hold on
your way, for the mark is before : such the
Lord is drawing near unto, teaching them to
lay up heavenly treasure. It is the Lord that
teaches his people to profit, and such come to
see in his light which makes manifest the will
and mind of God to mankind, that it is not
enough to glorify God in your bodies and
spirits, which are the Lord's ; but we are to
serve the Lord with what we may receive
from his bountiful hand, of his outward mer-
cies, of which many are made large stewards.
Remember the prayers and alms of Cornelius
were accepted, and ascended up for a memo-
rial before the Lord, to his great comfort and
future happiness, and drew down a blessing
upon his household. Seeing that to do good
and to communicate, is such a needful duty,
there is surely need to charge them who are
rich in this world, not to trust in uncertain
riches but to trust in the living God, who will
call all men to an account of their steward-
ship one day ; for what we enjoy is the Lord's :
therefore, all that would be clear in the day
of their account, must wait for the Lord's
ordering hand to be near them, who opened
the heart of Lydia ; and her service was to
invite the Lord's people into her house; which
being done in a right mind, brings a blessing;
and such lose not their reward.

" And as the good reward attends the good
work, it hath been much upon my mind of
late, to remind the Lord's people to do good
unto all, but more especially to the household
of faith ; and that all such who may have
much of the outward mammon committed to
their trust, be not short of feeding the hungiy,
clothing the naked, entertaining strangers.

visiting the sick, and them that are in prison,
which must needs be a necessary duty, seeing
the Lord takes it as done unto himself And,
that none of the Lord's people may be found
wanting in the day of their account, let it be
the care of all who expect a good reward from
the hand of the Lord, to sow plentifully that
they may reap plentifully ; for they that sow
sparingly, saith the apostle, shall reap spar-
ingly ; and the time draweth near that every
one must receive a reward according to his
works. What will it profit any then, if they
had gained the whole world, and lost their
own soul ? For, as it is written, ' When the
Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all
the holy angels with him, then shall he sit
upon the throne of his glory. And before him
shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall
separate them one from another, as a shepherd
divideth his sheep from the goats : and he shall
set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats
on the left. Then shall the King say unto
them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of
my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for
you from the foundation of the world. For I
was an hungered, and ye gave me meat : I
was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a
stranger, and ye took me in : naked, and ye
clothed me : I was sick, and ye visited me :
I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then
shall the righteous answer him, saying. Lord,
when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee ?
or thirsty, and gave thee drink 1 When saw
we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked,
and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick,
or in prison, and came unto thee? And the
King shall answer, and say unto them. Verily
I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye
have done it unto me. Then shall he also say
to them on the left hand. Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the
devil and his angels. For I was an hungered,
and ye gave me no meat : I was thirsty, and
ye gave me no drink : I was a stranger, and
ye took me not in : naked, and ye clothed me
not : sick, and in prison, and ye visited me
not. Then shall they also answer him, saying,
Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or
athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and did not minister unto thee ? Then
shall he answer them, saying, Vei'ily I say
unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of
the least of these, ye did it not to me. And
these shall go away into everlasting punish-
ment: but the righteous into life eternal.' Oh!
thei'efore, that none may rest satisfied in feed-
ing, clothing, and taking care of themselves
in sickness, &c. supposing to lay up durable
riches, and yet be unmindful of the poor, the
widow, and the fatherless ; such will do well



to make a narrow search, and consider whether
they are come to that religion which is pure
and undefiled, that is, to visit the fatherless
and the widow, in their affliction; and to keep
unspotted of the world.

" My dear Friends, in this time of ease and
outward liberty, which the Lord's faithful peo-
ple greatly prize as a mercy from the Lord's
bountiful hand, beware of the enemy of the
soul, that lies near to draw the minds of men
and women to love the world, and the things
of this world ; for whosoever loveth the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. This
unwearied adversary, whose transformings
are many, would come in under pretence of
being a friend, but in the light of the Lord is
seen to be a devouring enemy ; not leading at
first into open profaneness ; for many are dead
to the gross evils that are in the world, but
rather into earthly-mindedness, where little
fruit is brought forth that is well pleasing
unto the Lord ; and his end is to waste and
destroy the heritage of the Lord. Ought not
all to pray, as their flight hath not been in the
winter, that it may not be on the Sabbath-day,
for ' many are called, but few are chosen V
And the Lord in his mercy hath freed us of
many burdens which our elder brethren bore
in the heat of the day, the memorial of whom
is sweet to the living, who gave their cheek to
the smiter and their head to him that pulled
off the hair. That which they enjoyed to-day,
they could not call their own to-morrow ;
whose innocent sufferings made deep impres-
sions upon many people, and largely mani-
fested their love to God and contempt of the
world. Many came to see that the Lord's
people were diligent in labouring in the out-
ward creation that they might not be chargea-
ble to others ; yet willing to give up their all,
when called thereunto, to suffer for his name's
sake. Here their light shone to the admira-
tion of many, and great is become the gather-
ing of the Lord's people, who through many
tribulations enter the kingdom, and whose care
is to lay up durable riches.

" And now, let it be the care of such who
may not be called to give up their all, and so
manifest their love to God and contempt of the
world in suffering for his name's sake, to be
found doing the will of God, that there may
be a delight in doing good, and showing mer-
cy ; and that saying may be fulfilled, ' If thine
enemy hunger, feed him ; if he thirst, give
him drink ;' and then no doubt there will be a
feeding one another ; and hei'e it is made man-
ifest, who they are that love enemies, and such
must of necessity love one another, as the
Lord, for Christ's sake, hath loved us.

" And, dear Friends, our contempt of the
world makes fruitful, as we abide in the hea-

venly vine ; and if there be such a true care
as there ought to be, to show forth the Lord's
praise, who hath called us to glory and virtue,
he will open the eyes of many to see our love
to God, and contempt of the world, in this
calm time, that many shall say. These people
are diligent and laborious in all their under-
takings, yet they exceed many of their equals
in hospitality, in dispensing abroad, and giving
to the poor. This being done in a right mind,
always was and still is, a good work, being
done so as that they that did it, their end was
not to be seen of men, for if so, such have
their reward ; but if done so that the left hand
may not know what the right hand doeth, the
Lord, who sees in secret, will reward openly.

" My dearly beloved Friends, whom the
Lord hath given gifts unto, and who are be-
come planters and waterers in his holy hand,
whose service is great in the church, to the
bringing of many from far, unto the Lord,
may such do their day's work faithfully, that
there may not be a coming short of the crown
in the end, is the weighty concern that ought
to remain upon their minds, that there may be
a readhiess and willingness at all times, to an-
swer the Lord's requirings, and to show forth
a good example unto all, in keeping clear of
those unnecessary entanglements of this life,
that may hurt their service in the church, re-
membering the saying of the apostle, ' No
man that warreth, entangleth himself with the
affairs of this life ;' and ' We brought nothing
into this world, and it is certain we can carry
nothing out ; and having food and raiment, let
us be therewith content ;' signifying that the
love of money is the root of all evil ; which
while some coveted after, they have erred from
the faith, and pierced themselves through with
many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee
these things, and follow after righteousness,
godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness :
charging him, ' in the sight of God,' and ' be-
fore Jesus Christ,' to ' keep this commandment
without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing
of our Lord Jesus Christ ; which in his time,
he shall show, who is the blessed and only
Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of
lords, &c., to whom be honour and power
everlasting. Amen.'

" And, dear Friends, as there are diversi-
ties of gifts, by one and the same Spirit, so the
members of that holy body, of which Jesus
Christ is the head, have their several services
in the body, and many are become as pruners
and diggers in the Lord's vineyard : O that
such may do their day's work faithfully ! For
as I have already said, the old enemy is great-
ly at work, to lead into earlhly-mindedness,
and though little fruit is brought forth that is
well-pleasing unto the Lord, yet superfluous



branches grow naturally, where there is a
being often watered. What must be done to
the fruitless trees, that cumber the ground 1
Shall they not be cut down? It is written,
' A certain man had a flg-tree planted in his
vineyard, and he came and sought fruit there-
on, and found none ; then said he to the dresser
of his vineyard, Behold these three years I
come seeking fruit on this fig-tree, and find
none ; cut it down, why cumbereth it the
ground? And he answered and said unto
him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I
shall dig about it, and dung it ; and if it bear
fruit, well ; and if not, then after that thou
shalt cut it down.' So it appears the fruitless
trees are not to be let alone to cumber the

" And therefore, men being compared unto
trees, what great need is there for all that pro-
fess the way and the truth of the Lord, to be
so fruitful, as that men may call them trees
of righteousness ; and seeing the tree is known
by the fruit, that such fruit may be brought
forth by the Lord's people everywhere, as will
demonstrate that they are branches of the
heavenly vine. The apostle Peter exhorts the
believers, who had escaped the corruption that
is in the world, through lust ; ' And besides
this,' says he, ' giving all diligence, add to
your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ;
and to knowledge, temperance ; and to tem-
perance, patience ; and to patience, godliness ;
and to godliness, brotherly-kindness ; and to
brotherly kindness, charity.' What is aimed
at, in the whole matter herein contained, is
that all may be found in those things, that
make neither ' barren nor unfruitful in the
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ;' ' but he
that lacketh these things,' saith the apostle, ' is
blind, and cannot see far off, and hath forgot-
ten that he was purged from his old sins.' I
shall conclude with the saying of the apostle,
' I will not be negligent to put you always in
remembrance of these things, though ye know
them, and be established in the present truth :
yea, I think it meet as long as I live in this
tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in

" In a feeling of that divine sweetness, and
ray of God's glory, that covers the souls of
the righteous, do I unfeignedly salute all that
are sojourning in the way of Zion, sincerely
desiring your happy end and safe arrival at
that eternal rest, where the righteous shall
ever live, to praise and magnify the worthy
name of the Lord God, and the Lamb, that
sits upon the throne, for ever and ever. Amen.
" By a lover of truth and righteousness,
" Christopher Story.

" Righead in Cumberland, the 5th
of the 11th month, 1699."

The number of Friends increasing, many
being convinced, and Friends children grow-
ing up, our meeting-house at Sikeside was too
little to contain us, and in the aforesaid year,
1699, (it being about twenty-seven years since
our meeting was first settled,) we enlarged the
meeting-house, which it is supposed will con-
tain about three hundred, and is generally, well
filled ; many of our children growing up in the,
truth, and being zealous for the God of their
fathers. Thus hath the Lord increased our
number, and as the harvest is great, and the
labourers but few, there is great need to pray
the Lord of the harvest, to send forth more la-
bourers ; who can do what seems good in his
sight, to whom be honour and praise for ever.


Passes through part of Scotland into Ireland —
Visits most of the Meetings of Friends in that
Nation, and returns. — Disturbance of a Meet-
ing in the Parish of Canonshy, in Scotland —
Letter on that subject. — Termination of the
Author''s oicn Narrative. — Supplement, briefly
noticing his various further Services, his last
illness, and his decease.

In the year 1701, I had it in my mind to
visit Friends in Ireland ; and when the time
came I concluded to go, and having acquaint-
ed Friends therewith according to order, had
a certificate from the Monthly Meeting, and
accordingly I took my journey for Ireland,
and a Friend of our meeting with me, whose
name was Richard Latimer. We went through
Scotland, and Gilbert Molleson with some other
Friends born in that country, having sent some
Friends' books relating to the principles of
truth, to be spread abroad in that nation, we
dispersed them all along, as we had opportu-
nity, till \ye came to Port Patrick, which was
about eighty miles ; as the following letter will
give a relation.

" Loving Friend, Gilbert Molleson :

" The salutation of dear love reacheth
to thee over sea and land, whose care (with
the rest of thy brethren,) hath been manifest-
ed in sending to your native country such
books as are for information, concerning those
weighty things most certainly believed amongst

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 35 of 105)