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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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us. I could have desired ye might have seen
the acceptance your free gift in the love of
God had amongst them, but seeing it was not
so, I shall give some account as foUoweth.

" Another Friend and I, going to visit
Friends in Ireland, and our way being through
the west of Scotland, we looked upon this a
fit opportunity to disperse the books in that



LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER STORY.



161



part of the nation, and four honest Friends
going along with us, we had travelled but a
little in Scotland, till we came to a country
place where there was a mill, and several peo-
ple about it. We passed by, and being gone
but a little way, became uneasy, and not wil-
ling to miss the first step, we sent two Friends
back again, with two of the books, who told
the people that some of our Friends who lived
at London, being born in the nation of Scot-
land, in love to their country had sent those
books to be distributed as a free gift ; and we
going for Ireland had the distributing of them,
desiring them to peruse them, and let others
have the reading of them. The people with
great thankfulness received them ; and almost
in every town we gave the like account, and
the people were so pleased, that some offered
money, others desired us to drink, but as the
books were a free gift, we would not accept
anything on that account. Near the second
hour in the afternoon, we came to Dumfries,
and went to an inn, and after some refresh-
ment we inquired of the inn-keeper, if we
might have a room for a meeting, which was
refused ; and after we had sat a little together,
we had freedom to go out to the public place
in the high street. When the people saw us
walk out, they followed, believing we would
have a meeting, and we sitting down on the
Fish-cross, they gathered near us. I found a
concern upon my mind in the love of God, to
exhort them to love and fear the Lord, as
Abi'aham and others had done in their gene-
ration ; I also signified how they manifested it
by their faithfulness and obedience to the Lord,
in answering what he required of them. A
great part were very sober and willing to hear,
and after some considerable time, the town
officers were sent to disperse the meeting, but
they being pretty civil, were prevailed on to
forbear till a Friend had prayed. And then a
Friend gave a relation as aforesaid, and the
people were very desirous to receive the books,
it seeming to be what they wanted, that if we
had given many more than we did, there were
persons to receive them with great freedom.
And as we walked in the street, the town offi-
cers being with us, we saw them flocking to-
gether to read. We stayed all night, and
walked to and fro in the town, but no harsh-
ness appeared from any ; we heard some say-
ing, ' These are the honest men they disturb-
ed.' Next morning we journeyed forward,
and had not gone far till a sober man came
down a steep place, as if he had designed
to meet us ; after some discourse we gave
him a book, and when he understood what
profession we were of, he greatly desired to
converse with us, for that was what he had
long wanted, as he said, and offered to go for-
VoL. I.вАФ No. 5.



ward with us, to have some discourse, if we
would ride easily ; but after some time we de-
sired him to be satisfied and let us go, for we
hoped the book would give him as full an ac-
count of our faith and principles, as we in a
little time could do. We had frequent oppor-
tunities to disperse them to great satisfaction,
and people in receiving them showed us much
kindness, so that our way was very prosper-
ous.

" We came to a Friend's house that lives at
Baldown near Wigton in Galloway, and no
Friends but one being within sixty miles of
him, we thought it needful, he being a man of
good repute in the country, to leave a part of
the books with him, desiring him to spread
them abroad so that others might peruse them.
We came to Port Patrick, to take shipping
for Ireland, and the last night we were there,
having part of the books to dispose of, your
free gift seemed more acceptable to many than
if we had given them money ; and having but
one left, when upon the sea, near to lose sight
of Scotland, the master of the vessel asked if
I would give him a book, I said I had but one,
and he should have it. There being a calm
at that time, they read it from one to another,
and I may say, I had my reward plentifully
in the discharge of my duty ; and I hope you
will have the like, that they that plough, and
they that sow, may reap together in the time
of harvest.

" And now being safely arrived in Ireland,
the next day was the Province Meeting, for
the north, and we were glad to see Friends
generally together. With my dear love once
more to thee and faithful Friends, as also to
Friends that come from Cumberland to the
Yearly Meeting, I bid thee farewell. From thy

' Christopher Story.

" Lurgan, in Ireland, the 21st
of the 3d month, 1701."

At the Province Meeting, which was both
a large and good meeting, accounts were
brought in from the particular meetings, of
the care and faithfulness of Friends, in divers
branches of our testimony, except in one place,
where some relations had paid tithes, or some-
thing in lieu of tithes, for Friends, and this
became an exercise to the meeting, for it spread
about like a leprosy, and was an evil example
to others. Some would argue, that Friends'
relations would not be prevailed with not to
meddle ; but as honest endeavours were used,
this practice was set aside, as it hath been in
divers places, to my knowledge, where Friends
were truly careful to come up with their faith-
ful brethren in this weighty branch of our tes-
timony. I have also for many years observed,
that where Friends were lukewarm, and not
21



162



LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER STORY.



faithful in this testimony, they did not pros-
per in the truth, but rather decayed and with-
ered.

After we had visited meetings in that Pro-
vince, we travelled towards the Moat ; and at
Mountmellick, were at the Province Meeting,
to good satisfaction ; so proceeded to Limerick,
and Cork, and were at their Province meeting
at Clonmel. I was glad to see Friends so
established in the truth, there being a great
reformation in divers parts, since the time I
had been there before, which was about four-
teen years. We went to the Province meeting
at Wicklow, and having seen Friends pretty
generally, been at four Province meetings, and
in about twelve weeks visited most of the meet-
ings in Ireland, after we had stayed some time
in Dublin, we came for Cumberland ; and meet-
ing with no contrary winds at sea, came readily
home to our families, with desires to the Lord
that we may be thankful for all his mercies.

And now, by the good providence of God,
being eased of divers troubles which but a few
years before we lay under, we began to think
of our neighbours that lived at Canonsby, who
had been so cruel against us when we met
at Tarras-side, as before related. Having
liberty granted to keep a meeting at Wood-
house-Lees, in the same parish, when Friends
were met and sat down, to keep our meeting
abroad, there being no house convenient to
contain the multitude, bailiff Melvin with a
company of men on horseback, and others on
foot, brought out of several parishes, some of
them of the baser sort, came on purpose to
disturb our meeting : we being sat down on
the ground, if the said Melvin had not taken
special care, in all appearance they would have
trodden Friends with their horses' feet. They
commanded us to be gone ; yet we were not
free to depart until the meeting time was over;
and therefore they began to throw Friends
down a steep place, on purpose to disperse us,
and did it with such fierceness and violence,
that sometimes they tumbled down themselves
with Friends ; but the ground being dry.
Friends came up again, and they heated and
fatigued themselves so much, that after some
time they grew weary. And divers public
Friends being there, as they began to speak,
they hurried them into a wood that was near,
and the people followed, and Friends sounded
the testimony of truth amongst them, and the
well-inclined were willing to hear. Henry
Atkinson offering to pray, two men on horse-
back took him away, and dragged him through
the river, where the ford was deep, and put
him into a house on the other side. When
Friends had freedom, we parted, and through
the Lord's mercy, there was no Friend that
received any great damage. Believing that



J. Armstrong, priest of Canonsby, with others
of his brethren, were the cause of this great
abuse we received, I had it in my mind to
write a letter to the said priest, which was
delivered into his hand by two Friends, and is
as foUoweth :

" To James Armstrong, priest of Canonsby,
and the rest of his brethren.

" Upon the 4th of the sixth montn last,
we had it upon our minds in the love of God
to visit you our neighbours in Canonsby parish,
and thereabouts ; and though we have lived
for many years not many miles distant, yet
we suppose are not so well known to you as
we desire to be, in the most weighty matters
relating to salvation. When we were come
together to wait upon the Lord, and to perform
that worship which is in spirit and in truth,
John Melvin, with many others, several of
whom seemed to be of the baser sort, in a
rude unchristian manner, disturbed us. I be-
ing there, had something upon my mind to
speak to the people, showing in what manner
we expected to be saved, desiring their audi-
ence ; but without giving me liberty, they haled
me away, as they had done my brethren before
me ; and not having opportunity to speak in
the hearing of all, what was at that time upon
my mind, I shall here give thee and thy
brethren some account, that ye may judge.
It was as followeth :

" That there is no other name given under
heaven by which men can be saved, but by
the name of Jesus, unto whose name every
knee must bow, and tongue confess, either in
judgment or in mercy : and that it was the
same Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin
Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea, whose life Herod
sought, who after he had wrought many mi-
racles, suffered the contradiction of sinners,
and his precious blood was shed without the
gates of Jerusalem. He tasted death for man-
kind, that he might be a propitiation for the
sins of the whole world ; was laid in the
new sepulchre, rose again the third day, and
after his appearing unto his disciples, as the
Scripture makes mention, was received into a
cloud out of their sight, and sits at the right
hand of the Father. All which testimonies
recorded in the Scriptures of truth, from the
time of the Virgin Mary's being overshadowed
by the Holy Ghost, and the child Jesus being
brought forth in Bethlehem of Judea, unto that
day when the cloud received him out of the
disciples' sight, all Christians that ever I met
with agree in; and we are of the same belief.
And this being part of what was upon my
mind at that time, another thing that followed
was, that after Christ Jesus ascended up on
high, he gave gifts unto men, some apostles.



LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER STORY.



163



some prophets, some evangelists, &c. (Read
the fourth chapter of the Ephesians) ' Till we
all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect
man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fulness of Christ.' And the same apostle
writing to the Corinthians in chapter twelfth,
concerning the diversities of gifts, but the
same spirit; saith, that a 'Manifestation of the
spirit is given to every man to profit withal ;'
and this makes good the words of our Lord
and Saviour to his disciples, John xvi, ' Never-
theless I tell you the truth ; it is expedient for
you that I go away ; for if I go not away, the
Comforter will not come unto you : but if I
depart, I will send him unto you. And when
he is come, he will reprove the world of sin,
and of righteousness, and of judgment, and
will guide you into all truth.' And seeing that
which is to be known of God is manifested in
man, for God hath showed it unto them, as in
Rom. i. it is our message to you and all peo-
ple Avherever we come or go, to direct all to
the Spirit of truth that convinceth of sin and
leads into all truth. And this is the word
nigh ' even in thy mouth and in thy heart,' Rom.
X. which the apostle preached, and that every
one that hath an ear might hear what the
spirit saith, is no new doctrine, for ' as many
as are led by the spirit of God, they are the
sons of God;' Rom. viii. 14. Why we should
be reviled and abused for exhorting people
that have believed in God, and in Christ Jesus,
to be led by the Holy Spirit of God, that thereby
they may work out their own salvation with
fear and trembling, do ye judge. Though we
have been unchristianly treated by you, yet
we do suppose you know us not, and therefore
we can pray and say in reality, ' Lord, forgive
them, for they know not what they do;' for all
that have persecuted God's people in every
age, such was their blindness and hardness of
heart, that they knew them not, as they were
really concerned on the Lord's account.

" It would be too tedious to go back to the
days of the patriarchs and prophets, and speak
of the blindness of the Sodomites, and the hard-
heartedness of the Jews, mentioned in the lam-
entation of our Lord and Saviour over Jerusa-
lem ; who killed the prophets, and stoned them
that were sent unto them, until the day of their
visitation was over, and the things belonging
to their peace wei'e hid from them. When our
Lord and Saviour appeared in the prepared
body to do the will of his Father, as the pro-
phets had prophesied of him ; though he
wrought the works which no other could do,
yet how few were there that believed in him.
Neither did many of the learned Jews, nor
wise Scribes and Pharisees know him as he
was the Lord of life and glory, otherwise they



would not have crucified him, and put him to
open shame. Neither did they know holy
Stephen whom they ran upon, and stoned to
death ; neither did Paul while he was Saul,
though brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and
exceeding many in learning and zeal, know
the believei's in Christ Jesus, but had his com-
mission from the high priests to bring them
bound to Jerusalem ; and persecuted the true
church with great severity, until the Lord
appeared unto him by the way, saying, 'Saul,
Saul, why persecutest thou me?' And such
was his ignorance when fear fell upon him,
that he cried, 'Lord! who art thou?' Not to
speak particularly of the persecutions under
the Roman emperors, who knew not the Lord's
people as they were truly his, and so persecu-
ted them as deluded and heretics ; but to come
to the martyrs' day and time, who were perse-
cuted by such as professed Christianity, under
the name of being guilty of heresy and delu-
sion, which they were never able to prove, and
yet used all manner of severity against them,
which plainly shows they knew them not as
they were the Lord's witnesses upon earth,
and counted worthy not only to believe, but
also to suffer for his name's sake. And to
come a little nearer also, to the professors in
New England, which is scarcely an age past,
who used such sevei'ity to our Friends there,
that they hanged three men and a woman, and
others they whipped, and beat severely, and
some had their ears cut off,. whereas nothing
was ever proved against them by the testi-
mony of the Holy Scripture, that will render
them unsound either in faith or practice ; all
which severity shows those professors in New
England to be of the same spirit that crucified
Christ, stoned Stephen, and murdered the mar-
tyrs. And though a cloud of witnesses may
be brought out of the Holy Scriptures and
church histories, to prove that it was the birth
born after the flesh that persecuted the birth
born after the spirit; yet where do we read in
the Gospel dispensation, that the true church,
the bride, the Lamb's wife, used violence to any
people as you have done to us these two times.
And though this last time they were not so
severe as before in beating us ; yet the like
severity in throwing an innocent people over
a brow, as though they had been casting sheep
into a water, not regarding old or young,
without any just occasion, hath not been often
known. One in performing a religious duty,
which is, to pray everywhere, lifting up holy
hands unto God, was violently pulled off his
knees, and dragged through the river where
the ford was deepest ; and amongst those who
were severe, there was thy man the clerk, and
schoolmaster, (as people said,) which, if so,
shows no good government in thy family.



164



LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER STORY.



Now seeing it hath been the advice of good
men not to judge others before they hear them,
all that we desire of thee is, to search us
thoroughly both by word and writing ; and I
do not doubt but when thou comest to know
us as we are, thou wilt be made to say, as some
of thy brethren have been, who never came to
be of our Society, 'Ye are not such people as
ye are represented to be.'

" A few lines from thee is desired, hoping
thou wilt be charitable for the future concern-
ing us. To love enemies is an incumbent
duty ; and here we desire to remain.

"By a lover of truth and righteousness,

" Christopher Story."

The 26th of the sixth month, 1701, the
foregoing paper was read publicly amongst
them, in the hearing of many, as I am in-
formed, and after divers .consultations about
it, at last they concluded, that to answer by
silence would be best.

Some time after, we had a meeting at the
same place, and no disturbance ; they used
their endeavours privately to persuade the
people not to come to the meeting, but as to
words or writing were pretty quiet.

THE END OF THE AUTHOr's NARRATIVE.



SUPPLEMENT.

Having carefully collected the foregoing
sheets out of the papers of this our worthy
Friend ; and no farther account appearing
among them of anything particularly relating
to himself for many years together, it is a
demonstration to us, that his concern has been
rather to leave to succeeding times the way
and manner truth first brake in upon this bar-
ren country, (which at that time was like a
wilderness as to the knowledge of God,) than
to give a journal of his own services therein.
These were not a few in the church in his day ;
there being naany remaining witnesses of his
diligence and application in encouraging and
confirming the churches in this country, where
his service was truly great, and among whom
he was honourably esteemed, being as a tender
father and a faithful watchman over the flock
of Christ, that nothing might get in among or
prevail over them that would prove hurtful,
and hinder the work of regeneration.

The Lord having favoured him with a good
understanding and pecuUar talent in the Dis-
cipline of the church, he was careful and very
diligent to exercise the same, to the comfort of
God's people; and his labour among them was
in much plainness and sincerity, being very
tender over the weak, but zealous against the
wilful and stubborn, to whom he was often a
terror.



As he was favoured also with a good under-
standing in temporal affairs, in moral and civil
rights, he was often employed in that good
work of ending differences, and putting a
period to strife among his neighbours of other
communities, with great success ; often satis-
fying both parties.

Although he has given but little account of
his services abroad in this collection, yet he
often visited the churches in divers parts of
this nation, as likewise in Ireland and Scotland,
as is well remembered by many ; and being
frequently at the Yearly Meetings at London,
attending the service there, he commonly spent
much time in visiting Friends in several coun-
ties on such occasions, in his going up and
returning.

In the latter part of his time, it became
much his concern to appoint meetings in fresh
places, in which he was often very serviceable,
his testimony being not only living and power-
ful, but plain, pertinent, and well adapted to
various states, much tending to the opening of
the understandings of people in things relating
to the kingdom of Christ, as well in principle
and doctrine, as practice. His behaviour and
conduct at all times, was in such mildness and
gravity, that it greatly adorned and confirmed
his testimony ; so that we have reason to be-
lieve, his labour of love had good effects.
But as the Lord, in all ages of the world, hath
ever called home his faithful servants, in the
fulness of his own time, to reward them with
peaceful and glorious habitations, it pleased
him to visit this our dear Friend with a linger-
ing sickness about the seventy-second year of
his age, which gradually wasted his natural
strength ; during all which time, he neverthe-
less diligently attended the meeting to which
he belonged. And though his outward man
decayed, yet his inner man was strong in the
Lord, as appeared by the many living and
comforting testimonies he bore during his
bodily weakness. In the time of his illness
many excellent things dropped from his lips,
on divers occasions, and he was surely one of
those (as appeared from his own mouth) whose
hope is in the Loi'd in the time of his death, which
happened at his own house at Righead, on the
6th of the eleventh month, 1720. His body
was interred in our burying-place adjacent, on
the 8th of the same ; on which occasion a large
congregation of Friends and others assembled,
where the Lord was pleased to engage some
of his servants in living testimonies to his
truth and way of life, and salvation by Christ
our Saviour; through whom to God the Father
of all, be attributed and ascribed all dominion
and praise, as alone worthy now and for
ever.

Robert Latimer.



LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER STORY.



165



Several letters qf Christopher Story to his
wife; written in his absence from home on
Truth's service.

Edinburgh, the 13th of the 10th month, 1680.

Dear Wife,

My love in that which is unchangeable
is unto thee and my dear children, with a true
desire for your preservation and well-being
every way, but especially in the blessed truth
of our God, for we are made sensible that all
things that can be enjoyed appertaining to this
life, will vanish and come to an end ; but to
know a well-being in the Lord, who is without
beginning of days, or end of years, whose
kingdom is from everlasting to everlasting, is
precious ; and blessed and happy are all they
who have received the promise and earnest of
this inheritance, in their own hearts. They
have more cause to rejoice and be exceeding
glad, than they that enjoy the increase of corn,
wine, and oil, or anything that is visible.
Having through well-doing and obedience to
thy Maker, received in thy measure, the
earnest and promise of everlasting life if thou
abide faithful, O ! continue faithful, for the
Lord who hath promised, will certainly per-
form, for his promises are all yea and amen
for ever, unto all that walk before him with
an upright heart. Let thy care and concern
be to serve the Lord with all thy heart, and
let him have the chief room there, that so the
Lord may delight to abide with thee ; that
through the daily enjoyment of his presence,
thou mayest have cause to rejoice, and by
living experience say, ' In his presence there
is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there
are pleasures for evermore.' At present I am
well every way, blessed be the Lord. I have
had a prosperous journey hitherto ; and for
aught I know, am clear of the west ; I have
seen Friends for the most part, and I could
not pass by four Friends in the west, which
was near forty miles out of my way, and was
well refreshed to see them, and I had the com-
pany of two good Friends, to wit, Hugh Wood
and John Hai-t. At this meeting last first-day,
where were many good Friends, we had a
comfortable time ; and truly, I can say to the
praise of the Lord, as I am diligent in waiting
upon him, the Lord is near me to my comfort
and encouragement, blessed be his name for
ever. I am intending, if the Lord enable
me with health and liberty, to go for the
north shortly. My love once more to thee,
my father and mother, and to my children,
and friends and relations, as though named,
hoping that all the honest-hearted are sensible
of my love, as I am of theirs ; in remembrance
of which love, my heart has been broken, and
my spirit bowed before the Lord many times ;



which love I pray God may increase and grow
amongst us.



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 36 of 105)