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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come so far from home, and we can scarce-
ly convince them that we have no lucrative

" On arriving at Potsdam, we underwent a
strict scrutiny, had our names taken, and a
soldier sent to see us to the inn, where an-
other officer took our names and examined
all our trunks. They not only take our
names as we pass through every town, but
also the place we last came from, our several
places of residence, our business in this coun-
try and the character we travel in, whether
officers, merchants, &c., to all which we have
learned to answer generally, that we are on
a visit and travel as '^particulars,'' a word
they have taught us, which mostly satisfies
them. This town is pretty large, the river
Havel, which leads into the Elbe, affords them
a water communication with Hamburg, two
hundred and thirty miles. The streets are
wide, the houses large, the palace and many
other buildings being very spacious, have an
appearance of much grandeur, and it is by
far the most magnificent city we have seen.

" 8th. The new palace and the buildings
attached to it, far exceed anything to be seen



in England, as well as the ideas I had formed
by reading of human pomp and grandeur.
As a description would be foreign to our prin-
cipal concern, it will be wisdom in us to turn
our minds from such things, and stay them
upon God, who alone can strengthen us to
finish the important work he has required us
to be engaged in, to his own praise and the
peace of our minds. The more those who
love the humble path of Jesus, see of the
greatness and glory of this world, and how
empty and vain it is, the more they will be
constrained to draw nigh unto him, who is
their dignity and their riches, and will finally
be their everlasting glory. Thus I hope it
was with us, in turning away from these
sumptuous palaces. The road to Berlin is
through a poor sandy soil, much of which is
covered with scrubby pines. It is paved all
the way, and lined on each side with Lom-
bardy poplars ; we passed through two or
three villages, and entered Berlin at the Bran-
denburg gate, which is lately built, and must
strike every stranger with its magnificence :
there we were again examined by a polite
young officer, who sent a soldier with us to
the Inspector's office, where, after a good deal
of persuasion, they consented to examine our
trunks and bags this evening, which at first
they did not seem disposed to, intending to
lock them up until to-morrow. This took
up so much time, that we did not get to the
inn until it was quite dark.

" First-day morning, 9th. Lewis Seebohm
went out to seek for some religious charac-
ters, and while absent, two Jews came into
our rooms, one after the other, wanting to
trade with us, either to buy, sell, or exchange
money. I mention this, because in all the
large towns, strangers will find such people
exceedingly troublesome, for custom seems to
have given them, and also women with fruit
and trinkets, and other persons of that class,
liberty to come into the inns, open your
room dooi's, &c., and impose themselves upon
you when they please ; and so importunate
are they, that it is difficult to get rid of them.
Generally, the people are respectful and com-
plaisant, especially those who have had a
tolerable education. In our retirement, our
minds having been much .exercised during the
morning with a feeling of discouragement,
the spirit of prayer was granted, and through
renewed mercy we were strengthened to put
our confidence in that gracious arm that had
hitherto preserved us in this trying field of
labour, and enabled us to discharge our duty,
so as to leave every place so far peacefully.
Two of our company going out to seek for
religious persons, brought back some of the
books we had left at Magdeburg, in the hands

of , the tutor in the college there,

who appeared very kind when we parted, and
gave us a letter, speaking favourably of us to
a person here, named Herman. But it ap-
peared by a counter letter, which was read to
Lewis Seebohm, that though he acknowledged
we were religious men, and had preached the
Gospel to them to their comfort and satisfac-
tion, yet upon reading our books, he says he
finds we hold erroneous opinions, reject bap-
tism and the supper, and do not hold the
Scriptures to be the Word of God; so that
he could not unite with us, and had therefore
sent the books with this information to Her-
man, requesting him to return them to us.
This brought us under additional exercise and
suffering from an unexpected quarter. Her-
man being a leading man among those who
meet for the edification of each other in this
place, who are pretty numerous, we did not
doubt but he would spread sentiments among
them to our prejudice, and we feared our way
would be quite shut up in Berlin ; for the sub-
jects of the letter had taken a deep hold on
his mind. Lewis had much conversation with
him, which appeared to soften him in some
degree ; but not to convince him.

" The tutor at Magdeburg was a man of learn-
ing and of some influence, but evidently puffed
up with his own importance, and could not sub-
mit to be deprived of it by adopting the simpli-
city of the doctrines of Truth; but if he had been
a man of candour, he would have replied to us
when we were present, as we had much con-
versation, particularly on the points he lays
most stress upon in his second letter to Her-
man, viz. the Holy Scriptures, our views of
which we fully explained to him at that time,
apparently to his satisfaction ; so that after it
he wrote of his own accord our letter of re-
commendation, embraced us and parted from
us with every token of brotherly love. We
left at Magdeburg a number of books besides
those sent back, which we hope will still be
of use to a number of valuable seeking per-
sons there, who were made near to us. Our
present situation at Berlin is as trying as any
I was ever in. In addition to the exercise
we are under, in feeling the darkness and
gross depravity of many of the inhabitants, it
appears as though we should obtain but little
intercourse with those who are religiously in-
clined. We sat together in a low discouraged
state, almost ready to wish ourselves away,
but concluded that here we must stay, en-
deavour to clear ourselves, and contend for
the faith as ability might be given, through
suffering. While thus engaged, a religious
man whom Lewis had seen in the morning,
came to invite us to their meeting at seven
o'clock. He said he had acquainted several,



and he believed we should be kindly received;
but we felt most easy to decline it at present.
We continued thoughtful where it would end,
as we were among strangers with whose laws
we were unacquainted, and things might
spread among them to our disadvantage ; yet
a secret confidence was afforded, that we
were under the protection and care of Him,
whose cause we were drawn here to espouse ;
and that if we abode in patience, he would
make way for us ; yet it was a deeply trying
and almost a sleepless night.

" 10th. Conversed with several religious
chai'acters, who promised us a visit in the
evening. Berlin is a very large and populous
city, said to contain one hundred and fifty-
thousand inhabitants, including the soldiery.
There are between three and four thousand
Jews; thirty-three places of worship, of which
the greater part are Lutherans ; but the Cal-
vinists, Moravians, Roman Catholics and
Jews, have also their houses for public wor-
ship. There are several large palaces for the
king, queen and royal family, which, as well
as the public buildings and many private
houses, bridges, &c., are crowded with statu-
ary. The streets are wide, and the houses
generally the largest of any place we have
been in ; and taking it altogether, the city is
superior in grandeur, perhaps, to most places
in Europe. Many of the inhabitants are rich,
and a considerable number of coaches are kept.

" 11th. In the evening six religious men
visited us, one of whom was a man of rank ;
they appeared glad to see us, and asked us
many questions concerning our faith and re-
ligious opinions, which we answered to their
satisfaction, and we hoped the three hours
we were together were profitably spent. Near
the close of the interview, quietness prevail-
ing, some religious service ensued ; and after
prayer, during which they all kneeled, we
parted. This gave us encouragement, and a
hope that it would be inti'oductory to further
service ; — they said the letter from the tutor
at Magdeburg had not prejudiced them — they
owned us as brothers in Christ, and thought
he did not do right. In the evening two re-
ligious young men came to see us, who ap-
peared very loving and tender. They were
rejoiced to see brethren who had taken so
long a journey for the Gospel sake, and said
there were great numbers of awakened minds
in Berlin ; but they were scattered over the
town and met in separate companies ; — that a
man named Drewits held meetings at his
house, to which many, especially young peo-
ple, resorted ; and that they were now going
thither, and would conduct us if we thought
proper. Apprehending some persons might
call to see us, it was concluded that Lewis

Seebohm and David Sands should go, and the
rest of us continue in our chambers. About
nine o'clock they returned, having attended
the meeting ; the man preached and prayed,
which was the common practice, but there
was no singing. David Sands had an oppor-
tunity of speaking before they broke up, to
his satisfaction, though they were shy of
them at first entering the room, seeing them
keep their hats on ; yet they parted lovingly :
there were about thirty men and women. We
make our way by inches in this place, the
people being very wary, afraid of being in-
terrupted by the authorities, and meeting with
suffering, as some have heretofore ; so that
our trials are great ; yet we do not doubt that
our being here is in our heavenly Master's
appointment, and desire to abide in patience
all his appointed time.

"Fourth-day, 12th. Several of the friendly
people visited us ; and we proposed a meeting
in the evening, which was agreeable to them.
We took a walk round the city, the magnifi-
cence of which is surprising ; many of the
houses are from one hundred to one hundred
and fifty feet front, and ornamented in a
beautiful manner ; it being the residence of
many of the great officers of the kingdom,
both civil and military ; and one thing is re-
markable, we have not seen a beggar, and but
{"ew miserable looking people in the streets,
though many are low in the world ; but the
employment they receive from the army and
grandees of the court, with the many charita-
ble institutions, supply all their real wants.
In the evening at six, between thirty and forty
persons collected in our rooms, which are
convenient and retired ; among them were
two parsons, one a Lutheran, the other a Cal-
vinist. I had conversation with one before
the people were all gathered, and found him
possessed of some lovely and valuable traits.
The company being gathered into silence, a
solemnity covered us which was precious, and
we were favoured with the spirit of prayer ;
after which David Sands and myself were en-
gaged in testimony : the people were solid,
and through Divine Mercy it proved a satis-
factory season to us and them, as far as ap-
peared. They all took leave of us in a very
affectionate manner, and some stayed late in
religious conversation. A pious young wo-
man, in particular, took our attention, who
continued for some time after the meeting was
over, lifting up her eyes and pouring forth
pious ejaculations and praises to the Father of
mercies, who had thus favoured us together.
Here we had fresh occasion to acknowledge
the continued goodness of God, who thus un-
expectedly made way for us: 'Surely there is
no rock like unto God.'



" 13th. We felt our minds drawn to visit
Freyenwalde, a town about thirty-five miles
north-east of Berlin, where the Koenig's Rath
Albinus had retired, after laying down his lu-
crative office for conscience sake. We arri-
ved there in the evening, and finding a num-
ber of awakened people lived in the place, our
friend Albinus proposed to collect as many as
he could in about an hour, in the house where
he boai'ded. We went there at the time ap-
pointed, and about twelve persons came in,
with whom we had a solid meeting, in which
the Lord favoured with matter and utterance,
we believed suited to the states of this tender
people, and we parted in much love and bro-
kenness of spirit. Albinus accompanied us to
the inn, after ten o'clock, where he stayed
and supped ; his countenance and spirit be-
spoke him to be a brother beloved in Christ.
He is a single man, about forty years of age,
of good education and polished manners. He
proposed taking a seat in our wagon to ac-
company us to Berlin, which was very agree-
able to us.

"14th. The woman of the house where the
meeting was held last night, having requested
us to visit her husband, who was sick in his
chamber and could not have the benefit of the
meeting, we breakfasted early, and had a pre-
cious opportunity with him, his amiable tender
spirited wife and our friend Albinus in the
chamber, and parted from them and divers
others who were at meeting last evening, in
near affection and with their prayers. On the
way to Berlin, at the place where we dined and
changed horses, I accidentally fell in with the
president of the Chamber of Justice at Berlin,
who conversed with much freedom respecting
America, and was particularly desirous of
information on the subject of our abolishing
corporal punishments, with which he seemed
pleased ; but had doubts whether it woidd an-
swer the desirable end in view. Travelling
in a convenient wagon with our friend Albi-
nus, gave an opportunity of much free reli-
gious conversation, for which his mind was
prepared, and he made several very pertinent
remarks and inquiries ; he is, by the teaching
of Divine Grace on his own mind, nearly
united with us in pi'inciple, and earnestly en-
deavouring to conform in practice; though he
sees plainly, as we do also, that the cross will
be great if he is altogether faithful to the light
he has received. If he is favoured to stand fast
on the foundation, of which we do not at pre-
sent see any room to doubt, he may be made
an instrument of much good in this country;
though it undoubtedly will be through suf-

"We arrived at Berlin about seven o'clock,
■where we were subjected to an examination of

our trunks ; this is a trying circumstance, and
occasions great detention to weary travellers,
but must be submitted to at every fortified
town, though it may be twice in a day. Al-
binus took up his lodgings with us at the inn
where we staid before — the landlox'd and ser-
vants received us gladly. Some conversation
taking place respecting the mode of cutting
the hair and powdering it, common here even
among the religious people, it appeared that
he had felt himself restrained from the gene-
ral custom ; we sympathise with him, and
have strong desires he may be favoured to go
forward step by step.

"15th. Lewis Seebohm and Albinus visited
several religious people, and a minister named
Jenike, who was at our meeting on the twelfth.
He holds an assembly every seventh-day even-
ing in a large room at his house, to which
many young people come. Lewis queried,
whether we could not attend and hold the meet-
ing in our way. He behaved kindly, but in-
formed our friend, that he found by the letter
Herman had received from Magdeburg, that
we did not own water baptism nor the supper;
and that our preaching tended to draw the
people from a dependence on their teachers ;
that it had already been under consideration
among the ruling clergy, to apply to the ma-
gistrates to send us out of the city ; though for
his own part he should have nothing against
our coming to the meeting, but it would give
great ofl^ence to his superiors ; said he had
been well satisfied and edified the evening he
was at our meeting, and wished us well.

" Concluding to hold a meeting in our cham-
bei's to-morrow evening, we wrote a note to
Jenike, requesting he would give the people
notice who assembled at his house this even-
ing ; which he did according to his promise;
but told them at the same time, that we were
no doubt good men in our way ; yet we held
some doctrines tending to lay waste their ordi-
nances, and to draw people from their pastors,
and that the superior clergy had already taken
into consideration to apply to the magistrates

to send us out of the city. Our friend ,

being present, vindicated us, and came from
thence with the information. At the request
of some, we met them at six this evening, and
had some discourse respecting baptism and
tlie supper. They were men of talents, and
furnished with arguments in support of their
opinions, equal to most who attempt it ; — a
small degree of ■\\armth appeared at one time
in the course of disputation, for they were very
zealous, religious men, and were very loath to
give up their strong holds ; but that soon sub-
sided, and much brotherly love prevailed; and
though they did not acknowledoe themselves
fully convinced of our doctrines, we had rea-



son to believe the opportunity had been bles-
sed to them ; several others coming in, the
evening was closed in prayer, and we parted
in a friendly manner, having fresh occasion
to say the Lord hath not forsaken us.

" First-day, 16th. Held a meeting in our
chamber, with a few of the most serious of
our friends here, among whom was secretary
Hoyer, one of those who were with us last
night; it proved, through the renewing of our
heavenly Father's love, a time of refreshment
and comfort. Dined by invitation with Johann
Christopher Henefusz ; and several other re-
ligious people being present, there was some
service in the ministry. The family were
made very near to us in the love of Christ.
A young woman of good countenance and in-
nocent manners, daughter of one who dined
with us, came in; she had not seen us before,
but on hearing her father speak of us, she
sent a book with a collection of religious
scraps in it, to our lodgings, requesting us to
put our names in it, and each to add a text of
Scripture, such as might occur to us for her
instruction ; which we did ; this appears to
be a practice among the religious people here.
In the evening, the people began to gather an
hour before the appointed time, many crowd-
ed into the meeting, whom we had never
seen before, so that our four rooms, which
communicated with each other, were soon fil-
led ; some who took an account of the num-
ber, thought there was not much short of two
hundred, divers of whom were people of rank
in the world. Our minds were much humbled
in the prospect of the necessity of Holy di-
rection, that Truth might not suffer among
this discerning people. Our heavenly Father,
who is graciously pleased to be with those who
trust in him, was in a very remai'kable man-
ner, mouth and wisdom, tongue and utterance
to us; an uncommon solemnity prevailed over
the assembly, such as I have seldom seen in
my own country amongst a mixed multitude
of strangers, and great bi'okenncss was among
them. Although the meeting continued three
hours, and many had to stand in a crowded
situation, the whole time, yet nothing like
restlessness appeared; we rejoiced in the hope,
that Truth was in dominion over all ; for
which favour, the glory and the praise was
rendered unto God, to whom only it is due.
The Lord causes all things to work together
for good to them that fear him. We had rea-
son to believe that this meeting was increased
even by the opposition we had met with from
Herman and others.

" 17th. Many of the tender people who
were at meeting yesterday, visited us, and
acknowledged their unity and satisfaction. A
young man also came with some money,

which his mother desired wc would accept,
towards bearing our expenses : we thanked
them for their kind intention, but could not
receive it, and it gave us an opportunity of
explaining ourselves to the satisfaction of se-
veral respecting the free gift of Gospel minis-
try. Another poor woman sent us a pot of
honey and some cakes, and many appeared
ready to do us any service in their power,
which manifestation of their love for us, were
grateful and encouraging. A Roman Catho-
lic hearing there were some priests arrived
from a foreign country, came to see us, and
inquired if we received the confessions of the
people : we told him it was best to confess his
sins to God, who would forgive him upon re-
pentance; and he went away satisfied. At the
request of the people, we gave away almost
all the books in our possession, and those sent
back from Magdeburg answered a good pur-
pose. Several parents brought their children,
desiring we would give them some counsel;
and in many ways they expressed their at-
tachment to us. Truly the Lord has a tender
hearted people in this place, whom he is gath-
ering to the spirituality of his kingdom. We
visited an ancient woman who had been many
years helpless from palsy ; the people of the
house had been at our meeting, and several
neighbours coming in, we had a truly refresh-
ing, tendering opportunity, which we trust
will not soon be forgotten by some of them.
At our return found several visitors had taken
possession of our room, to whom we had some
religious communication. In the evening there
were several with us, some of them men of
considerable rank in the world, of enlarged
understanding, and measurably enlightened to
see the spirituality of Christ's day ; they re-
joiced to see us on our present errand, and
say the Lord's hand is in it.

"18th. We are here kept day after day;
through the Grace that is mercifully granted
us, without murmuring. The Lord has many
sheep, whom in his own time he will gather,
and establish upon that foundation, which the
fear of man will not be able to overthrow.
We were united in appointing another meet-
ing at six in the evening; and though the
time was shoi't, and the seeking people much
scattered, yet upwards of one hundred at-
tended with great readiness, many of whom
we had not seen before : and what is remark-
able and different from any other places is,
that the zeal of these people occasions them
to be mostly collected before the hour appoint-
ed. The time of silence was solemn, and Da-
vid Sands appeared largely in the ministry,
being much favoured ; afler which, having
travelled with him in near unity, I felt excu-
sed from any addition, and the meeting ended



in prayer and praises to our heavenly Helper.
The people took leave of us in great broken-
ness of spirit, with many tears and pi'ayers
for our preservation ; so that we are made
thankful that Truth is making its way in
many minds, although there are not a few
adversaries, who we fear are watching over us
for evil. Experience teaches that where Truth
is gaining in the hearts of people, satan raises
up enemies to it.

"19th. In the morning we had some hopes
we might have left Berlin in the afternoon ;
but many of the people coming in, we wei'e
engaged with them until dinner time in reli-
gious conversation. A major Marconnay, who
had been a man of note, and held an office
under the king, had been several times to visit
us, and attended the meeting last night ; and
now came with a desire to open to us the reli-
gious exercises of his mind. He related how he
had sought the Truth among a variety of pro-
fessors, and had not been satisfied, though di-
vers of them had held up high pretensions; at
length he had lefl all, laid down his office and
lived a retired life ; but he had found that
among us, which he never was acquainted
with before; saying, he believed we were sent
there in the will of God, for his and others
help. He had a few questions to ask us,
which he did in a very tender frame, and was
much broken with the answers that were given
him ; and after some religious communication
and prayer, we parted; his mind being reliev-
ed, and we hoped convinced of the way of
Truth as professed by us, and with desires to
walk in it.

"Time will not admit of particularizing our
almost continual engagements in this great
city, where we find a large number of seeking
souls, and every day brings new ones to see

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 85 of 105)