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 proving wills, and other matters, where an
oath was required, which Friends for con-
science sake could not take. The weight of
these sufferings came on several faithful
Friends, as also on Gilbert, which they com-
municated to the Meeting for Sufferings, who
encoui'aged their soliciting King William,
whose family had relieved a people called
Mennonites in the case of oaths, in Holland,
and part of Germany. These faithful Friends
feeling the Lord's power to attend them, did
accordingly again in the same year appi'oach
the king's presence, and acquainted him of
the sufferings many Friends lay under, by
reason they could not swear in any case; and
how helpful his predecessors had been to a
people in Holland, who were also conscien-
tious in that respect, and humbly desired if it
was the king's pleasure, that Friends might
partake of his royal favour in that case ; to
whom his gracious answer was. That he was
for it. Upon this Friends requested, that the
king would favourably recommend this case
to some leading members of parliament, when
we should have opportunity to move the par-
liament therein, which he promised he would,
and did accordingly. This kind reception of
the king encouraged Friends to solicit some of
the ministers of state also ; and finding the
Lord had molified their hearts towards them,
were willing also to attend some of the leading
members of the House of Commons, whose
hearts the Lord likewise had inclined to mode-
ration, and the Friends that were given up to
this service, found the presence of the Lord
to be with them, and attend them in this great
undertaking ; and it so prevailed on some
eminent peers and commoners, that Friends

were invited to prefer their petition for relief
in the case of oaths. It was accordingly pre-
sented to the Commons then assembled in par-
liament, which they received, read, and ordered
a bill to be brought in, according to the prayer
of the petition, which was done ; and being
read a first and second time, was committed.
The House divided upon the bill, every read-
ing : however the Friends who were given up
to attend this service, being supported and
carried above the discouragements they met
with, persisted in faith and patience, encou-
raging one another, and sometimes speaking
each to the other, that the Lord's peace at-
tended them : And his power was manifestly
seen ; insomuch, that some who came out,
upon the House being divided on the bill, in
order to poll, said, they could not but stand in
admiration to see what a number came out for
the bill, who in other cases were so opposite
to anything that might give ease to the dis-
sentei's. One in particular, the son of a great
duke, came and told Gilbert, he could not but
admire to see so great a number of those who
opposed the moderate party in the House,
come out and poll with them for the bill. So
great was the Lord's power, that it prevailed
upon many that were not before for Friends'
ease, but their hearts being softened, and in
measure changed, they were made helpful to
carry on this great work. Much opposition
however was made by some members of the
House, who used indefatigable endeavours to
prevail with all they could to withstand Friends ;
and one in particular, who was a very leading
man, on the last reading of the bill, came out
of the House a little before it was to come on ;
and having a prevailing power over many,
and a great interest in general with most of
the leading members, went into the Court of
Requests, and places adjacent, to gather up
all the sti'ength he could to carry into the
House with him. In the mean time, the
House, having read and gone through the bill,
the question being put, a poll was agreed ; so
that when this great man and the company he
had got together, came to the door, and were
ready to enter into the House, the door was
shut against them all, and the lobby ordered
to be cleared ; and both he and his company
were fain to go out with the rest. The Lord
knows the sighs and prayers that were put up
to him that day for his people ; and it was in
measure a strength and a confirmation to
Gilbert and others, to see the adversaries of
Friends thus disappointed ; all which being
the Lord's doing, was marvellous in the eyes
of his servants, who attended there and saw
the same, ascribing the praise to him alone.

The bill being then ordered to be carried
before the Lords, the Friends concerned went



on in faith, and gave their attendance on the
members of that house, and laid the reason-
ableness of the bill before many of them ; also
before several of the bishops ; and the good
presence of the Lord was still felt to go with
them, and make way in the hearts of these
great ones, and by his secret and invisible
hand, wrought for the carrying on what had
been thus far prosperously advanced. And
though the labour of Gilbert and his compan-
ions, in their attendance, was some months,
from the time they went to the king, until it
was quite passed the Plouse of Lords, the faith
of some never failed, nor were they dismayed,
but felt that which supported and bore them
up under all, and crowned their labours by
obtaining ease for the Lord's people ; whose
prayers were put up to the great God for his
blessing to attend those his servants, in get-
ting accomplished what thus happily was be-
gun. And, rejoicing together, [they had to]
bless the name of Him who liveth for ever and

I shall here add one account more, it being
an application drawn up and signed by
Friends, and delivered to King William, by
Gilbert and some Friends appointed ; and is
as followeth : —

" To King William the Third, over England, ^c.

" The grateful acknowledgment of the people
commonly called Quakers, humbly pre-

" May it please the King,
" Seeing the most high God, who ruleth in
the kingdoms of men, and appointeth over
them whomsoever he will, hath by his over-
ruling power and providence, placed thee in
dominion and dignity over these realms, and
by his divine favour has signally preserved
and delivered thee from many great and im-
minent dangers, and graciously turned the
calamity of war into the desired mei'cy of
peace ; we heartily wish that we and all others
concerned, may be truly sensible, and humbly
thankful to Almighty God for the same, that
the peace may be a lasting and perpetual bless-
ing. And. now, O king, the God of peace hav-
ing returned thee in safet)'', it is a cause of joy
to them that fear him, to hear thy good and
seasonable resolution, effectually to discourage
profaneness and immorality ; rigliteousness
being that which exalteth a nation ; and as
the king has been tenderly inclined to give
ease and liberty of conscience to his subjects
of differing persuasions, of whose favour we
have largely partaken ; so we esteem it our
duty gratefully to commemorate and acknow-
ledge the same, earnestly beseeching Almighty
God to assist the king to prosecute all these

his just and good intentions, that his days may
be happy and peaceable ; and hereafter, he
may partake of a lasting crown that will never
fade away.

" Signed [by a great many] in behalf of the said
people — London, ihe 7th of the 11th month,
called January, 1697."

Upon delivering the aforesaid paper at Ken-
sington, the 1st of the twelfth month, 169-7-8,
Gilbert addressed him as follows : —

" May it please the King,
" The favours received from the king can
never be sufficiently acknowledged ; but this
we can truly say, we have prayed to Almighty
God to bless and preserve thee ; and now be-
ing returned again in peace and safety, we
rejoice to see the king's face, for we wish well
to him, and that the Lord may bless and pre-
serve him to the end of his days ; and we are
glad of this opportunity to acknowledge the
favours and kindness, which we have received
from thee, which have been many : the Lord
reward thee for them all !" The king replied,
" I thank you, and I desire the continuance
of your prayers for me."

" A Testimony of Gilbert Latey, which he de-
sired might be communicated to the Wo-
men's Meeting in London.

" In early days, about three or four years
after the settlement of the men's meeting,
which was in an upper room at the then Bull
and Mouth meeting-house, near Aldersgate,
London ; Gerard Roberts, Amor Stoddard,
John Osgood, Richard Davis, and others, be-
ing about fifteen or more, being met about the
concerns of the poor fatherless and widows
among us, as it had been advised by our elder
brethren, we found it was our place to look
into the necessities of poor Friends, and sup-
ply their wants : and a care came upon us
how this should be carried on. We could
truly say, the Lord's presence and power was
livingly felt among us, whereby our hearts
were opened, and we enlightened to see that
we wanted help-meets for carrying on the ser-
vice. Upon which it opened in our hearts
plainly, that the women being added to us as
help-meets, would answer the service which
was so needful, and that we could no longer
do without their help, care and assistance ; we
believing it would lie much on them as their
concern, being satisfied they were fitted for
the work, and would be careful and vigilant
therein.* All the meeting, as one rnan, feel-

* This appears to have been the first attempt at
einploying women Friends in the services of the
Society, and so beneficial were the results, tliat it



ing the love of God to be shed abroad among
us, did in the openings of Ufe agree, that two
of the meeting should go to Gerard Roberts's
house to acquaint the ancient ministering
Friends with what had opened in our hearts,
in relation to that service ; there being then
at Gerard Roberts's, George Fox, Francis
Howgill, Edward Burrough, Richard Hubber-
thorn, and it may be some more. The mat-
ter being proposed to George Fox and the rest
of the brethren, they very well approved it,
and consented we might be joined together in
the work and service of the Lord among his
people. It was forthwith ordered that the
names of the ancient women Friends, from
all parts of the city and suburbs, should be
taken, which was done, and some from every
Quarter met, who readily associated ; and there
was a heavenly union in our being thus joined
together, and the Lord was with us and among
us, and continued his good presence, both with
them and us to this day. And whereas some
have gainsaid ; such consider not the work of
God therein which was the ground and foun-
dation by which the men's and women's meet-
ings were first gathered and confirmed, and
have been since preserved in that service.
The blessing of the Lord hath attended, and
doth still attend them, for the refreshing and
comforting many a poor soul, to whom God
hath in mercy ministered by them, to their
great comfort and joy.

" The Power that first gathered and settled
us in this service is still the same, and as it
hath hitherto done, will break down all that
rise in opposition thereto, and preserve them
that have been faithful in this the Lord's busi-
ness ; for he hath blessed, and will bless all
such who continue their obedience, serving the
Lord to the end. Every one who hath felt
and tasted of his power, will have great satis-
faction, as well as myself, who am a living
witness of his heavenly appearance among us
at the first ; and thei'efore I was willing to give
this account and testimony, to you the women
Friends and all others, before I go hence, being
now grown ancient, and not likely to continue
long ; but calling to mind the beginning and
establishing of this meeting, which many now
know little of, I was the more induced to leave
these few lines ; who am your ancient friend
and truly loving brother,

" Gilbert Latey.

" Hammersmith, the 22d of the 6th mo., 1705."

"A Salutation of endeared love to the whole
flock of God, but in a more particular manner
to the Friends and brethren of the Monthly

Meeting at the Savoy in Westminster ;

whose prosperity, welfare, and perseverance
in the work and service of the blessed truth,
whereunto the Lord hath called you, I have
ever desired, that in it his heavenly power
and life may be felt, to preserve you all in
love and unity, which is the bond of peace.
Dwell all in his pure fear, to act for his
glory ; and as all are kept and pi'eserved here,
they will know their places in the body, bound
up together in love, where the elders will have
a godly care for the younger, and the younger
be in subjection to their elders. So will good
order be kept, and heats be shut out from
among you, and mere}- overshadow the judg-
ment-seat, where peace and good-will may be
felt to abound, in which the Lord's presence
will preserve you all ; and this hath been the
breathing desii'e of your ancient friend and

^ ^ ' " Gilbert Latey.

" Hammei-smith, the 25th of the 6th mo., 1705."

prepared the way for the establishment of Wo-
men's Meetings for Discipline ; the use of which
has been confirmed by long experience. The pe-
riod to which Gilbert Latey alludes was about the
year 1669.

Gilbert married Mary, the only daughter
of John and Ann Feilder, of Kingston-upon-
Thames, in the county of Surrey, by whom
he had eleven children, of whom only two
lived to the years of men and women.

Though he was long weak and feeble as to
the outward, yet he was fresh, strong, and
living in his inward man ; and in the . latter
end of the fifth month, 1705, was at the meet-
ing at Hammersmith. A large meeting be-
ing then assembled, the Lord moved him to
stand up, and so supported him by his divine
power, as to enable him to sound forth the
acceptable day of God, and an invitation to
all to come to Him, in and through the Lord
Jesus Christ, the alone mediator between God
and man, who is the way and only means to
restore man again into the image and favour
of God ; concerning which he there declared
about an hour, with a great deal of fervency
and wonted zeal, as if he had been under no
infirmity of body, even to the admiration of
many of the hearers ; he being carried forth
in a more than ordinary manner in this his
last sermon.

Being resigned to the will of God, he pa-
tiently waited on the Lord till he should be
pleased to remove him, and having lived to a
good old age, being in the 79th year of his pil-
grimage, on the 15th of the ninth month, 1705,
the Lord took him to himself, in great peace.

And now in conclusion, I may say of Gil-
bert, that as he attended all the former kings



and princes of this nation, which were in his
time, with most of the ministers of state in
former reigns, as well as many of the bishops;
so likewise in the present queen's reign, he
was not wanting, as occasion offered and his
strength permitted, to solicit the ease of the
Lord's people ; and having long served the
families of some of the great persons in the
nation, he had easy access, they knowing that
he came not for any worldly advantage to
himself; some of them saying, He cometh not
for anything we have, for he needeth nothing
of that.

In all these engagements he kept to and
bore the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
which he was crucified to the world ; and his
great self-denial was taken notice of and be-
loved ; insomuch, that an eminent Friend and
minister of Christ, in one of the former reigns,
being then in another nation, having great in-
tei'est amonsc the men at court and attending

there often, meeting with a Friend one day,
told him he had been at court, and that of all
the men, among Friends, that he ever knew
or heard of, he never followed a man that
had a sweeter character than Gilbert Latey
had at court.

It was his practice, in soliciting kings,
princes and great men, to keep to the anoint-
ing and love of God ; and, as that gave utter-
ance, to speak ; in which he oftentimes reached
and had place in them ; and his solicitation
was often answered, which made him say, that
as Friends feel and keep to this anointing in
their solicitations, they may expect a blessing,
and therein be made serviceable to the Lord's
people ; but if, on the contrary, any shall go
in these services, in their own will, wit and
parts, they may miss the desired end, as some
have done ; notwithstanding the children of
this world are, as of old, wiser in their gene-
ration than the children of light.






Thomas Thompson, of Skipsea, England,
was convinced of the truth of God by that
faithful minister of the Gospel of Christ, Wil-
liam Dewsbury, in the eighth month of the
year 1652, and shortly after opened his mouth
to declare the name of the Lord and preach
repentance to the people. He was preserved
in faithfulness to the truth to the end of his
days, not turning his back from sufferings,
but patiently endured reproach for Christ's
sake, and spoiling of goods, with many years
imprisonment. When it pleased the Lord to
visit him with the illness whereof he died,
which began on the 26th day of the sixth
month, 1704, his heart was filled with the love
of God, and he was enabled through his good-
ness, though very weak in body, to go to se-
veral meetings, in which the Lord's heavenly

power did livingly attend him : On the 6th
day of the seventh month, he was at the
Monthly Meeting held at Harpham, being the
last public meeting he was at, where he bore
a plain and powerful testimony to the ancient
truth, labouring to encourage all Friends to be
faithful to God, and to be diligent in the ser-
vice of truth, according to their several abili-
ties and endowments, that so an increase of
the peaceable government of Christ might be
witnessed, both in the particular and also in
the general.

He was indeed a laborious man in the work
of the Gospel, having travelled in truth's ser-
vice several times through Scotland, and in
many places in this nation ; and, as he said
when upon a dying bed, for many years had
not omitted any opportunity of being service-



able. His testimony was plain, but powerful,
sound and convincing, and severe against
wickedness ; but to the young and tender-
hearted he was very loving and affectionate,
even as a nurse that cherisheth her children.
On the 10th day of the month, in the year
abovesaid, being the first-day of the week,
several Friends visited him in his chamber,
he being then very weak, to whom he de-
clared the loving kindness of God, and of his
tender dealings with his soul, from his youth
to that day ; and that he felt the Lord, who
had been the guide of his youth, to be the staff
of his old age ; exhorting Friends to faithfulness
and confidence in God, that they should de-
pend upon his power and providence for ever.
On the 13th day of the month, several
Friends being with him, he said that he was
content to live or die, as the Lord pleased, in
whom he had peace ; and that he was in no
doubt concerning his salvation, but was satis-
fied for ever, and could say with Job, the Lord
had granted him life and favour, and his visi-
tations still preserved his spirit. The next
day, being the 14th, and the day of his de-
parture out of this world, he spake little in the
forenoon, being under much bodily weakness
and pain at times ; but about the second or
third hour in the afternoon, in a heavenly
manner, he said, " The Lord is my portion,
and the lot of mine inheritance for ever, I am
not dismayed;" and after a little time, "I have
peace with God ;" and again, " Since the day
that the word of the Lord came unto me,
saying, as thou art converted, strengthen thy
brethren and if thou lovest me, feed my
lambs ; I have spared no pains, either in body
or spirit, neither am I conscious to myself of
having omitted any opportunity of being ser-
viceable to truth and Friends ; but have gone
through what was before me with willing-
ness ; and now I feel the love of God, and the
returns of peace in my bosom ;" which words
were spoken in so living a sense of God's
heavenly power, that it wonderfully broke and
tendered Friends present.

Another time he said, " The Lord Jesus
Christ has shed his precious blood for us, and
laid down his life, and became sin for us, that
we mia;ht be made the ricrhteous of God in
him. O this is love indeed." Again, " My
heart is filled with the love of God. Oh the
excellency ! oh the glory ! oh how glorious
and excellent is the appearance of God ! the
rays of his glory fill his tabernacle :" and so
he sung melodiously, saying, " O praises,
praises, high praises, and hallelujah to the
King of Sion, who reigns gloriously this day."
To a neighbour that came in to see him, he
said, " We must put off these mortal bodies ;
but for them that fear the Lord there is an im-
mortal one prepared." He continued very
cheerful and sensible to the last, and spake
very cheerfully to several neighbours who
came to see him. About three quarters of an
hour before his death, he spake to one that
had been under convincement several years,
but had not been faithful, exhorting him to re-
pent and be faithful to what God had mani-
fested to him, that so he might find mercy ;
telling him that he would find it a terrible
thing to appear before an angry God ; and to
remember the words of a dying man, and so
bid him farewell. Another time he said to
Friends, " Ye are my witnesses, that I have
not withheld from you the counsel and mind
of God, but have laboured to provoke you to
faithfulness and diligence in his service, that
so ye might receive a crown of glory at the
hand of the Lord, which is laid up in store for
all the righteous, and my conscience is clear
in God's sight." Being filled with the power
and love of God, he often praised his holy
and glorious name; and about the seyenth hour
passed away like a lamb, without either sigh
or groan, and is at rest in the Lord for ever-

He departed this life in the seventy-third
year of his age, the 14th of the seventh
month, 1704. A labourer in the Gospel about
fifty years.









And Jesus said unto his disciples ; If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,
and follow me. Luke iv. 23. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : Henceforth
there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, &c. 2 Tim. iv. 7.

The treatise entitled " No Cross, No Crown,"
written by William Penn during his imprison-
ment in the Tower, in 1668, has justly been
considered among the best productions of his
pen. His education and rank in life, emi-
nently qualified him to judge of the emptiness,
vanity and sinfulness of those worldly plea-
sures and compliances which he censures, and
against which he produces such conclusive
arguments from the Holy Scriptures. Ad-
mired and courted for his talents and accom-
plishments, beloved for his amiable disposition
and engaging manners, with the road to honour
and preferment open before him, he had all
the inducements that the world could offer to
pursue its gratifications. But in the vigour
and freshness of youth, when all before him
was bright and promising, in obedience to the
will of his heavenly Father, he voluntarily re-
linquished his prospects of earthly honour and
advantage, renounced the fashions and cus-
toms of the age, and lived a serious, self-deny-
ing life, in conformity with the example of the

Vol. I.— No. 5.

holy men of ancient time and the precepts of
our Lord and his apostles, as set forth in the
Scriptures of Truth. In consequence of this
change he endured much opposition from his
relations and friends, and was even banished
from his father's house. But neither these
trials nor his subsequent imprisonment, could
shake his constancy nor induce him to shrink
from what he believed to be his religious duty ;
and that God whom he endeavoured to serve
and honour in the midst of contumely and re-
proach, not only supported him above the fear
of man, and filled his soul with peace and con-

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 42 of 105)