William Evans.

The Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds online

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I do not say a messenger of Satan was sent
to buffet ; but I was plunged into heart-rend-
ing doubts, respecting my own salvation ; tho-
roughly preventing my being exalted above
measure, for the abundant revelation, vouch-
safed to me at that precious season.

I did not see that I had niissed in my com-
munications to the Friends gathered; I had
not kindled a fire and warmed myself with the
sparks thereof, that I had thus to lie down in
sorrow. How awful would be such another
season of rising in my spirit, out of the reach
of sorrow, in which there was no partition
wall between God and my soul, lest such an-
other fiery baptism should succeed! Oh! Lord,
I beseech thee, keep me in thy patience ; and
let thy refining power leave nothing that is
wronff in me, unsubdued. Thou, LoH 1 know-
est what I have gone through in my youth ;

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and all along, thy hand has been heavy upon
me. Thou, Liord ! has oAen given me to see
that thou imputest no iniquity to me, but hast
given me a sense that I had full acceptance
with thee. "Why art thou cast down, O
my soul ! and why art thou disquieted within
me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise
Him I"

In penning these remarks, I find good to
arise, which rather binds up my broken heart;
for although I have heavy trials in the out-
ward, they have had no share in my present
plunging. It was because my beloved had
withdrawn himself, and was gone. A dis-
pensation of this nature would not have dis-
mayed me so much, provided I had not been
80 long in the ministry. The Great Master,
I thought, had fully tried me as to exaltation,
and proved that I did not dare to say, " The
Lord saith," when he had not spoken ; so that
I really hoped I had been established upon
the immovable Rock; but I find they that
think they stand, should take heed lest they
fall. Neither are we to recur to those sublime
discoveries which the Divine light has mani-
fested; but, afler great favour in vision, to
sufier all to return to the fountain whence
it sprang. Ah! then, how emptied and
stripped are we; for vessels used, must be
washed. How unsafe for us to feed upon
any good we have been enabled to do! We
experimentally find it to be a truth, that it
is not for works of righteousness which we
have done, but of his mercy we are saved;
and that it is by the washing of regeneration,
and the renewing of the holy Ghost; for
which I pray.

First month 29th, 1812.— Fourth-day— A
precious meeting to roe ; indeed I thought the
solemnity general. Oh 1 the pure silence that
I felt, as if Immanuel stretched forth his wings
and covered us : and that sublime and exalted
vision of the prophet was brought clearly to
the view of my mind, when he " beheld the
Lord sitting upon his throne, high and lifted
up, and his train filled the temple. Above it
stood the serapbims, each had six wings; with
twain they covered their face, with twain they
covered their feet, and with twain they did fly :
and one said, Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Al-
mighty ; the whole earth is full of thy glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice
of Him that spoke, and the house was filled
with smoke."

I inquired whether I was to divulge it or not;
and the answer I received was ; that ^* It was
favour and food for jnyself, and that if I gave
to others my own portion, I should soon be-
come meagre and thin.'' I return thanks, and
gratefully acknowledge the favour vouchsafed,
and now conclude to keep close hold of the

Vol. IV.— No. 12.

confirming evidence I then had ; but fear at
times assails me, lest I should lose it again
and doubt.

Fourth month 5th, 1812.— After a time of
illness this morning, it was mercifully handed
to me, as Divine consolation ; " Thou art in the
hollow of my hand ;" and again ; *^ The Lord
is my shepherd, I shall not lack." Oh, Lord,
what an unutterable favour is this, when the
weakness of my body is, at times, as much as
nature can bear. I have passed thus far
through the wilderness of this world, in as great
jeopardy, as closely exercised, and as nearly
fainting under my trials, as perhaps ever any
poor mortal did. What an unspeakable favour,
when verging to the confines of the narrow and
silent grave, that so unworthy a creature should
thus be owned! Oh! gracious Father! con-
tinue thy preserving, protecting care of me, to
the last moments of my life ; and I will laud
and praise thy name while here, and eternally.

Sixth month, 1812. — Recovering from a
recent illness, I found an inclination to inspect
my papers, written under a religious sense;
and on reviewing that extraordinary vision, a
fear impressed my mind, lest any hereafter
should think I had exceeded the bounds of a
finite creature; on which it occurred to me,
let them call to mind my deep exercises, hard
servitude, and bitter bondage in the iron fur-
nace, in a land of thick darkness, which
might be felt. I was so marred that I became
a wonder to my cotemporaries. Now af^er
this, if a gracious God saw meet to bow the
heavens and come down to touch my heart
that it might melt, He being Omniscient; who,
after such great favour, would lightly esteem
the Rock of their salvation ! Although He is
the High and holy One who dwelleth in the
light, and inbabiteth eternity, yet we are as-
sured that he condescends to revive the spirits
of his poor, contrite, humble servants, who
tremble at his word.

Our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is our Intercessor and Mediator between
God and man, when questioned how he would
manifest himself to his chosen ones, and not
unto the world, sealed the promise thus; "If a
man love me, he will keep my words, and my
Father will love him, and we will come unto
him, and make our abode with him." This is
not like the wayfaring man, that turneth aside
to tarry for a night, and is gone; but Christ
takes his abode with them, a blessed guest, a
teacher at home or within, that cannot be re-
moved into a comer.

These openings in my mind, confirm a Di-
vine intercourse ; and now I leave it ; and if
it be thought right wholly to suppress it, or
all I have written, the will of Friends be done

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in the Truth ; for oh ! I dread presumption ;
kDowing the high tree must be laid low, and
the low exalted ; the green tree dried up, and
the dry made to flourish.

Third month 14th, 1818. — A deep acknow-
lodgment of the mercy of God. As I lay in
bed this morning, under piercing anguish of
mind, on account of my grand-son's departure
from the Truth ; my spirit, though in the deep-
est affliction, was permitted to ascend, I thought
even to the Almighty's throne; and I there
poured forth my soul on my own and his ac-
count; and condescending kindness vouch-
safed, in abundant mercy, to unveil his be-
nign countenance and let me know, that the
assurances he had given me of his favour, I
ought not to dispute ; that if afler all the evi-
dences he had given me of his protecting care,
I should cast away my confidence in Him, I
should be worse than an infidel ; and then a
little hope was revived, that the poor erring
youth would yet be visited in mercy.

This view, if only tending to bind up my
broken heart, or to heal my wounded spirit, I
accepted in thankfulness from my God. Oh '
gracious Father, in thy wonted kindness, keep
this little flock, amongst whom I have often
laboured, the members of this meeting, when
I am no more. May they never become a
desolation, a breeding of nettles ; but continue
to come up in the nobility of Truth. Dear
Friends ! nothing will do but keeping near to
God; dwelling as in his presence. Do no-
thing in his sight, that you would be afraid
any mortal should see: keep a pure heart and
clean hands, and the end will be peace. And
this love I feel for the Monthly Meeting — the
members thereof are dear to me.

Sixth month 2nd, 1813. — ^Returning from
our week-day meeting, in which I had been
faithful according to the vision and sense
given me, this intimation revived ; " The
Lord noticeth thy shaking head and trem-
bling limbs, and in his own time, will set thee
at liberty;** a blessed hope springing up there-
from, that though sown in weakness, I should
be raised in power. Oh ! blessed be his holy
name! for he feeds the hungry with good
things, but the rich and full he sends empty

Our Monthly Meeting at Whitehaven, in
the eighth month, 1813, was to me a solac-
ing season. Nothing heard but the voice of
thanksgiving and praise. The grand adver-
sary totally overpowered; not one cloud to
eclipse the glory of the day, or dim the beauty
of Zion.

Tenth month 21st, 1813.-1 have had this
day, at the week-day meeting at Whitehaven,
the most undoubted evidence of the overshad-
owing of Divine love and mercy, that I re-

member to have experienced ; truly the wing
of the Almighty might be said to be over us.
His reconciliation was ofllered; and on the side
of mercy, I saw more than I have freedom to
write or speak. Oh, my dear friends I be-
longing to this meeting, especially those at
meeting that day; let us prize the Lord's
goodness to our souls. My love was such to
you, that it appeared almost insupportable
that even one of you should come short of
the heavenly rest, which I beheld was intended
for us: far, very far beyond the conception of
any finite creature.

Tenth month 81st, 1818.— Oh 1 the con-
soling visions I have experienced during my
late confinement. A tribute of thanksgiving
and praise is richly due to my blessed Lord
and Master, Jesus Christ, for the sense he
has been pleased to favour me with, that he
hath heard my prayers for my poor grand-
son ; for a little before his death, the spirit of
intercession was poured forth upon me, and
my prayers were strong on his account.

Although I am exceedingly shaken, and my
hand very unsteady, yet if it is right for me
to leave to posterity, the memorable conde-
scension of the Almighty to me, a poor worm,
I shall be able to make it legible. Upon the
Idth of twelfth month, 1818, sitting in the
evening by my fire-side, with company about
me engaged in conversing, I felt a strong at-
traction heavenward, which I was glad to feel :
and a gracious God seemed pleased to bow
his heavens and come down, directing me to
dismiss every doubt respecting my own exit;
for that he would take me in his mercy, and
support me through what might befall me;
and my charge was, never more to doubt of
my eternal rest. Also respecting my grand-
son, I was charged to doubt no more; for that
repentance had been granted even to him at a
late hour.* The spirit of intercession was pour-
ed forth upon me with such energy, as seemed
to rend the very heavens. — O my soul ! never
forget that season, nor ever cease to extol a
merciful God, in pardoning transgressors : in
this instance, mercy has covered the judgment
seat to a hair's breadth.

* This poor vounff man was confined to a sick
room in the military hospital at Chelsea, with many
others in the same apartment, which he very mach
regretted; because he could not attain to that quiet
state of mind which he much wished fcnr. He was
brought to a sense of his missteppinga, and ex-
pressed the distress he felt for the uneasineas he
had occasioned his grandmother, fearing he should
shorten her days; and was ver]r anxious to read
his Bible. He uttered some striking expreesioos
near his close, which are not clearly remembered;
but the day and hour of his death accorded with
the consolatory impressions which his grandmother
had respecting him.

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The Almighty's presence was so full and
confirming, that I found it as much as my
frail tabernacle could bear and live. I then
experienced that no fiesh could see him in his
majesty and live. Although once before I
had been in a somewhat similar situation, yet
I had not the sense given me at that time, that
if Divine favour increased, my body could not
retain the spirit. I now desist from pressing
afler more being exhibited, feeling overcome
with the present extension. Oh, gracious God I

First month 16th, 1814.— This day after
Friends were gone to meeting, I was very low
in mind ; when the words of the prophet came
very lively, that he would make the parched
ground as a pool ; and after sitting in this dis-
consolate manner, I was comforted with ; '' I
am near thee, though thou knowest it not."

Eighth month 4th, 1814.— Ob 1 the mercy
of a gracious God to me in my old age and
great bodily infirmity, who has given me to
experience this morning that the just live by
faith. Were it not for this precious faith,
I should conclude myself just going, almost
every moment ; oh, blessed is thy holy name
for ever !

Ninth month 19th, 1814. — This morning
I again had the most strengthening, consoling
evidence of Divine favour, that my poor
frame could bear; letting me know that as
my strength decreased, his watchful care over
me increajsed; and although he had seen meet
nearly to deprive me of my outward hearing,
he had increased the inward so surprisingly,
that I often seem to fall down before him in
astonishment; my mind being so expanded
and enlarged, that as naturals abate, spirituals
increase ; and my dear Redeemer allows me
at seasons, to repose as upon his bosom.

After this, the subject of this memoir wrote
no more for public inspection ; yet for many
months, though in great debility, and in bodi-
ly pain, she continued to converse with her
friends ; most frequently respecting the good-
ness of the Almighty, and her latter end ; on
which occasion she evinced humble resigna-
tion and Christian hope. It appeared to those
who attended her, that the last effort of her
pious life was prayer; but the words could
not be gathered. She quietly departed about
three o'clock, the 20th of second month, 1816,
aged eighty-one. The testimony of the Month-
ly Meeting to which she belonged, may pro-
perly conclude these sketches.

Tfte Testimony of Pardtkaiw Monthly Meeting
in Cumberland, concerning Jahb PiAsaoK.

This our dear and ancient Friend, was the
daughter of Jonathan and Jane Sibson, of

Newtown, near Carlisle, at the former of
which places she was bom, in the year 1734
or 5. Her father dying when she was very
young, the principal care of her education
devolved upon her mother, who, we believe,
being conscientiously concerned, that she
might faithfully discharge such an important
trust, gave her a guarded and religious edu-

In early life she was strongly inclined to
gaiety; but by submitting to the powerful,
heart searching operations of Divine love,
clearly manifested, those natural propensities
were brought into subjection.

About the eighteenth year of her age, she
accompanied through this county a female
Friend, then upon a visit to the meetings of
Friends in these parts.

In the year 1757, being about, twenty-two
years of age, she was married to John Pear-
son, a religious young man of Graysouthen,
within the limits of this meeting. In the course
of several succeeding years, she passed through
various deep baptisms and refining operations;
and thus becoming obedient to the forming
band, she received a gift in the ministry. She
came forth very acceptably in public testimo-
ny, about the year 1773.

In the following year her husband was re-
moved by death, leaving her with a numerous
family of children, some of whom died in early
life, and the rest at different periods, after hav-
ing attained to years of maturity.

Thus she had deeply to partake of the cup
of affliction, and to become acquainted with
sorrows ; but relying on the mercy and good-
ness of Him, whose ways are all in unerring
wisdom, she was supported through these try-
ing and afflictive dispensations; and we be-
lieve she was favoured to experience that state
of perfect resignation and acquiescence to the
Divine will, in which she could truly adopt
the language of a tried servant of old : <*The
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord P'

Though she did not apprehend it to be re-
quired of her to travel much in the work of
the ministry, yet she was not wholly exempted
from this service.

In the year 1777, she visited generally the
meetings of Friends in Westmoreland and
Lancashire; in 1779, those of Westmoreland,
Lancashire and Yorkshire; and in 1787, those
of Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Wor-
cestershire, Warwickshire, Somersetshire, De-
vonshire and Cornwall. Her Gospel labours
in these visits were, we believe, very accept-
able, yielding to herself the consoling reward
of peace.

About this period she removed to Whiteha-
ven, at which place she has since resided.

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She was diligent and exemplary in the at-
tendance of meetings. Her ministry was
sound, lively and edifying; and though her
appearances were frequent, and sometimes
large, she was particularly careful not to go
beyond the pure openings of the holy Spirit.
In prayer she was remarkably powerful and
fervent. She was a truly affectionate parent
and friend; tenderly sympathizing with the
afflicted. In conversation lively, affable and
instructive ; being endowed with an excellent
understanding. She retained her natural
cheerfulness even to very advanced years,
and her mental faculties unimpaired to the last.

Sometimes she intimated the serenity of her
prospects, when the trials and exercises at-
tendant upon humanity should terminate. Not
many weeks prior to her decease, upon a
Friend's taking leave of her, she seemed af-
fected, and said, " Though I drop tears, I am
not leA comfortless. No: we have not fol-
lowed cunningly devised fables. I think what
I feel, might convince the whole world. Oh,
it is marvellous ! it is marvellous I"

At another time she requested that her two
granddaughters, being all the family she had,
would not grieve after her ; but rather rejoice,
that she was relieved from all her sufferings ;
" for I believe," said ^he, '' that at my disso-
lution, death will have no sting, nor the grave
any victory."

• Second month 17th, being much tried
with infirmity and pain, she said with earnest-
ness to those about her: ^'Join with me in
petitioning the Father of mercies, to relieve
me from my sufferings : Oh, that I had wings
like a dove ; for then I would flee away, and
be at rest."

In the morning of the 18th, being in great
bodily pain, she exclaimed : ^* My God, my
God, forsake me not now." She was soon
af\er seized with faintings. In a little time
she revived, and affectionately noticed some
Friends that had come to see her. On the
19th she slumbered much, and said but little.
Very early the next morning her cough be-
came troublesome, and her breathing much
affected. About this time she was thought to
be exercised in prayer, but the words could
not be gathered. She quietly departed about
three o'clock the same morning; and we have
no doubt but her pure spirit, released from
the shackles of mortality, ascended to the
celestial mansions, to receive a crown of
righteousness and an inheritance incorrupti-
ble, that will never fade way.

Her remains were interred in Friends' bu-
rial-ground, in Whitehaven, on the 25th of
second month, 1816, afler a large and solemn
meeting. She was about eighty -one years of
age, and a minister about forty-two years.

Read and approved in our said meeting,
held at Cockermouth, the 19th of third month,
1816 ; and signed on behalf thereof, by
John Wilson Flbtchex,

Clerh to the meeting.

And on behalf of the women's meet'mg, by
Debokah Robinson, Clerk.

The foregoing testimony has been read and
approved, in the Quarterly Meeting for Cum-
berland and Northumberland, held at Carlisle
the 26th of third month, 1816 ; and signed
on behalf thereof, by

Thomas Stordt, Clerk.

Signed in and on behalf of the women's
Quarterly Meeting, held at the same time and
place, by Ltdia Sutton, Clerk.

Jane Peabson has finished her outward
labours and inward exercises ; and the reader
has now finished her own memoirs, here
presented for his perusal. Every thing per-
taining to this life, whether conspicuous or
obscure, must come to an end ; but there is a
life beyond the grave, that will continue for
ever. To engage us in a preparation for that
life, our friend has written ; to none of her
readers, may she have written in vain. As
for herself, it has been seen, that under accu*
mutated discouragements, she sought for the
evidence of final acceptance; and that her
constancy was crowned with the assurance
she sought for. This ought to animate the
diffident and encourage the dejected. By her
life, the lukewarm may be also reminded, that
though we may be born members of our reli-
gious Society; yet having by nature the same
propensities as others; we must be **bom
again," if we would become members of the
church of Christ.

We have also seen that the journey through
time, of our dear deceased friend, was in the
path of tribulation. Independent of her sor-
rows as a widow and a mother, her " inward
conflicts" and ^'searchings of heart," were
equal to most that we read of.

Modest, diffident and humble, how came
she then to expose her trials 1 Surely it was
for the benefit of others ; and to bear a testi-
mony to the goodness of God in sending the
Comforter into her soul, as promised by a dear
Redeemer. These things set forth by her own
pen, have a value in them beyond what couid
be produced by the pen of another.

In laying down mine, I am inclined to say,
Oh I that more full obedience was yielded to
the power of Truth, through the various ranks
of our religious Society; I include myself in
this implied shortness ; and my belief is, that
it would then rise in its early simplicity and

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Among the many remarkable instances of
patient adherence to the principles of Truth,
under severe sufiering and persecution, which
are furnished by the history of our religious
Society^ there are few that exhibit more fully
the constancy of the sufierers or the mighty
power of the Lord in sustaining them, than
the cases of William Moore and John Philly.
Of these individuals but little account is pre-
served, and we have now no means of ascer-
taining their birth-place, parentage, or the
manner of their convincement. John Philly
appears to have been an inhabitant of Dover,
where he suffered distraint in the year 1660,
for not paying tithes, and in 1670 was com-
mitted to prison there for teaching school
without a license from the bishop ; and being
brought before the justices, they tendered the
oath of Allegiance to him, and on his refusing
to violate the command of our blessed Savi
our, " Swear not at all," recommitted him.

William Moore seems to have dwelt in
Gloucestershire, for in 1688, he with a num<
ber of other Friends, was committed to prison
on an indictment for a month's absence from
the national worship, and in 1686 with fifly-
five of his fellow-sufferers, was discharged at
the Quarter Sessions, by virtue of the procla-
mation of King James the Second.

It does not seem probable, however, that
William was a prisoner there during all that
time, for we find his name in a list of persons
who were tried at Guildhall, in London, on the
8th of tenth month, 1684, on the charge of
being present at a riotous assembly, with force
and arms, in White Hart Court; and although
the witnesses brought to convict them, testi-
fied that they were in Angel Court, and not
White Hart Court, yet the recorder said, if
they were anywhere in the same ward, it was
sufficient ground to find them guilty. The
riotous assembly alluded to, was a meeting
for Divine worship, peaceably held in the
street, the Friends who were at it being stop-
ped there by their persecutors and prevented
from going to their meeting-house.

William Moore and John Philly appear to
have been ministers of the Gospel, and tra-
velled abroad in the exercise of their gifts.
In the first month, 1662, being in Germany,
with several other Friends engaged in the like
service, they were drawn under a sense of re-
ligious duty to proceed into Hungary, to visit
a society known by the name of the Hortesche
Brethren. These people were a kind of Bap-
tists, whose minds had been measurably en-
lightened, so as to see the inconsistency of

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 101 of 104)