Copyright
William Evans.

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

. (page 12 of 104)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 12 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


in prosperity and health, what thou vowed in
thy sickness, and how desirous thou wast to
be spared a little longer : was it not so with
thee? Did not the Lord hear thy cry, and
grant thee thy petition ; and now wilt thou
not answer when he calls, and accept of that
grace that would be sufficient?"
7



Digitized by



Google



50



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



TO HBK CHILDREN.

" London, Fifth month, 1782.

" The hearing so good an account of the
welfare of you all, is great satisfaction and
comfort to my mind ; and had it been right
for me to be at home, I think I should have
been glad once more to see two of my dear
sons together. I am not at my own disposal ;
but under the care and direction of Him who
is a Father unto us all, and as I commit
myself to Him, so do I commit to his care
my dear children, with all other concerns of
this life, well knowing that we cannot pro-
vide for ourselves, neither can we preserve
ourselves. Therefore, as we know that it is
the Lord alone who has hitherto been our
best help— oh ! that I and mine may still en-
deavour to live in pure obedience to his Divine
will ; that so our peace may flow as a river,
and our righteousness as a mighty stream.
It hath been so with me ia this journey ; and
by such great favours, yea, merciful kind-
nesses, have many bitter cups been sweetened.
O, my dears, feel with me, and rejoice : learn
also, to bear a part with me in my suflerings;
that so we may go hand in hand, and now
and then ascend to the holy mount, where we
can sing the Lord's praise."

TO THE SAME.

" Norwich, Sixth month 22nd, 1782.

" Strong are my desires for you all, as for
myself, that we may abide in the Truth and
witness a growth therein, in order that a few
living stones may be supporters of an holy
building. O, my dears, look to it, and re-
member what station you are in. In the love
of the Gospel I beseech you to take heed how
you walk, and that you so demean yourselves
as to be ensamples to the flock of Christ, and
feeders of his lambs — way-marks unto all,
both within and without. We are watched,
and we must watch also, even against every
appearance of evil ; and not sufler our own
wills to prevail, but let our dispositions be
brought into true subjection, that we may ex-
perience the truth of the lion and the lamb
lying down together, and of the weaned child
playing at the hole of the asp, and the suck-
ing child laying its hand upon the cockatrice's
den, and that nothing can hurt or destroy upon
God's holy mountain. I had no thought of
penning these things when I sat down, but
merely to give you an account of my welfare,
as through mercy I am bravely, and our chil-
dren here are the same. I had much comfort

in son 's company at Woodbridge, and

had a few agreeable lines from him the other
day, wherein he expresses his great satisfac-



tion in paying you a visit, and having seen us
all to his comfort. As he is still in a weak
state, though better, he says if it be the Divine
will to remove him, his peace will be much
greater, having the favour of being reconciled
to us, by the renewings of that love which we
know to be of eternal duration. Oh I what a
blessing to my dear oflspring, that they are so
visited and favoured with a true sense of the
Divine will."



SECTION vn.

Her second visit to Ireland,

In the seventh month, 1782, 1 requested a
certificate for going into Ireland, which was
granted; and had the company of Mary
Ridgway and Jane Watson, who were about
to return to that country, aHer visiting most
of the meetings in England. I led home on
the 13th, with my dear husband, and pro-
ceeded to my kind friend Richard Reynolds',
of Colebrook-dale. On the 16th, with Mary
Ridgway and Jane Watson, we were at their
meeting, much to our satisfaction ; on the
17th I parted with my dear husband, which
was a sore trial. I then went with many
Friends to the Monthly Meeting at Salop, and
from thence back to Colebrook-dale, where
I remained until first-day, and was at the
meeting at Newdale. We afterwards pro-
ceeded to Holyhead, and on sixth-day, the
26th, sailed in a packet, and were landed at
Dunleary, on seventh-day, whereVe lodged.
We got safe to Dublin on first-day forenoon,
and were all kindly received by our friends.
On second-day were at a funeral; a large
meeting was held on the occasion at Meath
street, which was satisfactory.

On third-day, at the week-day meeting, we
were again owned by our dear Lord, and his
name was praised. On sixth-day at Syca-
more-alley meeting, which was also satisfac-
tory. On first-day attended the meeting in
Meath street in the forenoon, and were fa-
voured with gracious help; in the aflernoon
at Sycamore-alley, where some light appeared.
On third-day we attended a marriage in Meath
street, but it was a dull, heavy and painful
time. On sixth-day we had a very satisfac-
tory meeting ; my great Lord was pleased to
enable me to bear testimony to the blessed
Truth, in the power whereof his holy name
was magnified, and the souls of his living
children were comforted. On first-day, the
11th, in the forenoon my dear friend Mary
Ridgway was much favoured both in testi-
mony and supplication ; the aflernoon meeting
was very dull ; after which we went to James
Forbes', where were many Friends, and a



Digitized by



Google



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



51



humbling season it was to me, and I think, to
some others. O that such favours Were not
so soon forgotten, but that a right improve-
ment might be made and good fruits brought
forth, to the praise of the Great Husbandman,
who still waits to be gracious to the children
of men !

From Dublin, accompanied by a young wo-
man named Rachel Jenkinson, we proceeded
to Rathfriland, and were at their meeting on
fiAh-day. But few profess with us in that place,
and still fewer have the Truth in possession ;
so that those who visit them in the love of the
everlasting Gospel, have hard and dull meet-
ings; yet a call is extended, and when the mes-
sengers have done their duty, peace is their
reward. Several Friends from Moyallen met
us, and thither we went, to our ancient friend
Thomas Christy's. On first-day, the 18tH,
we were at both the meetings at Lurgan, to
some degree of satisfaction — a large number,
but the want of weight is sorrowful. On se-
cond-day we had a trying meeting at Moy-
allen, but I was favoured with best help to
discharge my duly. On third-day to Bally-
hagen ; then to Lisburn, Hillsborough and
Newtown. We returned to Lisburn, and
were at William Rogers's in the forenoon,
and at John Gough's in the aflernoon. On
first-day, the 25th, at a large meeting at
Ballinderry. Then to Antrim, Ballymena,
Grange, Ballinacree and near Toberhead ;
arriving on seventh-day at our friend Thomas
Greer's. On first-day were at a large meet-
ing at Grange, near Charlemount ; and here
parted with our kind friends James Christy
and John Conran, who had accompanied us
round the lough, and by their care and ten-
derness made our journey much pleasanter.
We staid at Dungannon until fourth-day, and
were at their men and women's meetings at
Grange; and although the life of true reli-
gion is very low in this as in other places,
yet Divine favour was witnessed, and I was
mercifully helped to discharge my duty, and
came away with peace. Our dear friend
James Christy, senior, meeting us, we went
with him to his daughter-in-law's, the worthy
Deborah Christy, with whom he dwells ; and
were at their meeting at Moyallen, on fifth-
day, much to our satisfaction.

From Stranmore near Lisburn, she wrote
to a friend as follows :



TO



" Stranmore, near Lisbom, Ninth
month 7th, 1788.



« We often have to lodge at very poor

inns, jet being accompanied by two worthy
Friends, and greatly favoured with the smiles



of our heavenly Father's countenance, and
having his holy help to discharge my duty in
every place, have enabled me to rejoice in
suffering. I am humbly thankful that my
great Lord condescends to employ me in his
service, not only for my own improvement,
but sometimes for the help of others. Now
and then we find one or two whose souls are
thirsting after God — perhaps one may be
found as in a tribe, but not always one in a
family ; yet what favours are still extended,
and how are the distant ones laboured with to
come near, and that those who are near would
truly acknowledge his might. Oh ! how earn-
est are my desires that the love of Truth
might more and more abound in the hearts of
those who have long made profession of it ;
and that the love of the things of this perish-
ing world did not so much prevail; for the
people having so much love for the world,
there is not room for the love of the Father
to dwell richly in them. O that all my Fa-
ther's children were truly obedient to his law,
willing to be such as he would have theml
What a beautiful family should we be, and
how would the house of our God be adorned
with clean vessels, on whom his own image
would be engraven, and holiness would be
proclaimed to his name. Now, my friend,
thou knowest my travail, labour and deep ex-
ercise is, that I may witness an increase of
those things that belong to my peace, in which
I rejoice more than in the increase of corn,
wine and oil."

On first-day, the 8th of ninth month, were
at Lurgan, at their men and women's meeting,
which was very large, and measurably owned
by the Divine presence. We staid their week-
day meeting ; on fifth-day were at Lisburn ;
then returned to the Quarterly Meeting for
the province of Ulster, which was concluded
on first-day, by a very large meeting for wor-
ship. At these meetings were Robert Valen-
tine and his companion, John Hall ; and much
labour was bestowed upon a revolting people,
amongst whom the Lord did manifest his
power and magnify his own name — it is still
precious to a few, and such as truly gather
thereto find a place of safety. From Lurgan
we proceeded to several places, attended se-
venteen meetings, and on the 16th of tenth
month, with Samuel Neale and his wife, were
at a meeting at Cork, and had a satisfactory
season. Indeed, we had many favoured op-
portunities, both in meetings and in families ;
and I think I may say, that I was owned by
my great Master, and favoured with his Di-
vine presence in most places ; though it was
often my lot to travail very deep before the
spring arose : our labour, too, is often hard,



Digitized by



Google



6d



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



because we find few true helpers. We left
Cork on fourth-day morning; next day, the
17th, had a meeting at Garryroan, and an af-
fecting opportunity at Joshua FennelPs. To
Clonmel on the 16th, where we had a meet-
ing, and lodged at the widow Grubb's. On
the 19th, rode to Waterford — ^wer© at both
their meetings on first-day, also, at the Select
Meeting, and that for discipline. On fourth
and fifth-days we visited, several families,
which was very satisfactory to myself, and, I
believe, to my friends also. Returning to
Clonmel, we attended the Select Meeting on
the 26th, and the Quarterly Meeting on the
two following days : — best help was granted
us, and several opportunities afforded, wherein
some were nearly united in the one Spirit,
which is the bond of peace.

Afler attending the meetings of Carlow and
Ballitore, we arrived in Dublin on the Ist of
the eleventh month, in time for the Half-year's
meeting. It commenced the next day, and
ended on the 6th, and was attended by Robert
Valentine, and many worthy Friends; but our
meetings were heavy and cloudy^ though some
Divine help was witnessed. On my return to
this city, I met with my dear companion, Ann
Byrd, who ought to have come over with me,
but delayed, yet not finding peace at home,
came afterwards. It seems now an acceptable
time, and we have had many remarkable op-
portunities amongst our friends here.

From this city she addresses her husband
and children with these lines.

TO HER HUSBAIfD AND CRILDRElf.

"DaUin, 1788.
" I salute.you all in the love of the Gospel,
in which I wish you health and salvation; and
although far absent in body, I am often with
you in spirit, and sometimes you are with me
in my near approaches to the throne of Divine
grace. Oh I may we ever be preserved in a
holy dependance upon, and in pure obedience
unto, the Divine will ! considering that these
fleeting moments will soon be over. If we
patiently bear the cross, we shall undoubtedly
wear the crown. Oh I how many foretastes
have I had of that endless felicity, since I
came into this land. Yea, I think I may say,
that in most places where I have beian, my
good and great Lord hath enabled me to speak
well of his name. Although I have many,
many deep plunges, I find they are times of
refinement, and when I am helped from thence
I can sing the song of praise. Ani) thankful
is my soul that you are not strangers to these
things, but are sharers with me in the common-
wealth of our Israel. Be sure to hold on your
way— slack not your pace — and let my dear



keep in remembrance the remarkable

deliverances he hath known, so that he may
well say, as was said formerly, ^ What hath
the Lord wrought !'

'* The kindness of Friends is great, and a
very cordial reception I have had in most
places, and am afresh united to those whom I
knew before. Let my dear friends know, that
they are often in my remembrance, and that I
send them an aftectionate salutation in my
heavenly Father's love, in which I wish they
may be nearly united one unto another, and
that grace, mercy, and peace may be multi-
plied. This is the desire of their well-wishing
friend, and sympathizing companion with the
true mourners in Sion."

On the 12th of eleventh month we left Dub-
lin, got to Wicklow that evening, and had a
meeting on the Idth; at Ballahan the next
day, and in the evening got to Ballinclay, at
which place we were at the marriage of Wil-
liam Knott and Abigail Wright; a solid, satis-
factory meeting it was, there being also many
present who did not profess with us. Thence
to Joshua Smithson's, and had a meeting on
sixth-day ; after which to Cooladine ; then to
Jacob GofTSf and lodged there two nights : —
he had a very large family, and some com-
fortable opportunities we had with them. On
the 19th to Ross, and had a meeting there
much to our comfort Our great Lord owned
us in all these meetings, and employed us in
his service. But, how hard was our labour
in most places 1 the people being so leavened
with the spirit of this world, and so in love
with its vanities, that the life of religion is lost
in many. On fourth-day we were favoured
with the company of Jacob Goff and the
widow Elly, and had a meeting at Kilconner.
On sixth-day at the Select Meeting at Carlow,
where were Robert Valentine, John Hall, and
John Conran ; the Quarterly Meeting was held
the next day, and a very large meeting for
worship on first-day, in which the everlasting
Gospel was preached ; many hearts were made
to rejoice and joy in the God of our salvation.

On the 25tb, we had a very dull meeting ^t
Castle Dermot. We then proceeded to the
house of our kind friend, Richard Shackleton,
who with his wife are of great use in our So-
ciety. This was a very agreeable place for
poor travellers to rest at ; and I being very
unwell, we staid above a week. On fii^h-dny,
the 28th, were at their meeting, where through
much exercise and deep travail, we were at
length favoured with best help to do our duty.
On first-day attended their meetings, but were
silent in both. On second-day went to Joshua
Pim's, near Ratbangan, and had a meeting
next day ; and on fifth-day one at Timaboe;



Digitized by



Google



HEIfOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



M



thence to Ana Wiley'a, at New Park, and
Joseph Inman'sy at Ballibritain. On firat-day
we attended the meetioffg at Edenderry ; then
came back to Joseph Inman's, and were fa-
voured with an opportunity before we lefl,
which I wish we may not forget. On the
10th we attended the Monthly Meeting at
Edenderry; on the 12th had a meeting at
Mount-melick ; and on seventh-day attended
the Monthly Meeting at Montrath, which was
large, and, I believe, satisfactory to some,
who had not quite lost the life of religion.
Although there is not much of it to be felt,
being almost in a state of stagnation through
the prevalence of evil, yet we had many op-
portunities to plead with the backsliders, both
in meetings and in families, and their states
were very closely spoken to.

We next proceeded to a meeting at Knock-
ballymaher, and our chaise being broken, we
staid at this place several days. On the 21st
we lodged at the widow Walpole^s, who had
mx sons and as many daughters — a large and
hopeful family. On the 22d were at Ballina-
kill, where, as at many other places, we were
favoured with best help. The next day we
reached Clonmel, lodged at Samuel Grubb's,
and were twice at their meeting on fiflh-day,
which was satisfactory. We visited the fa-
ther and mother of Joseph Sparrow, who was
lost about a year before, on his way for Eng-
land, the vessel being wrecked and many lost;
he was sping with an intention of marriage to
a Friend of Minehead* The visit we paid to
the afflicted parents, with whom we had near
sympathy, although exceedingly humbling, yet
was greatly favoured with the living and pow-
erful presence of our God, who alone can and
doth sweeten every bitter cup, that he sees
meet to hand for our good ; and we had to
believe, that this great trial would be of use to
many of those concerned, if entire resignation
be experienced.

Here she again addtesses her beloved hus-
band and children.

«• Waterfoid, Fint month 2d, 1783.

«< Perhaps we may leave here next

week. — ^How long we may stay at Clonmel
on our return we cannot say, the Friends there
being desirous of our joining them in a family
visit; but if our great Lord do not direct us,
their desires will not avail; if we should be so
en^^iged it may be well. Afler leaving there,
it is not unlikely for us to go to Cork. Our
dear and much esteemed friend, Robert Valen-
tine, is now there, and has been very poorly ;
but we hear of his being better. His com-
panion has lefl him, they having gone through
the nation. I have visited all the meetings
except two, which we intend taking in our re-



turn to Dublin, which I hope will be in the
right time; for what matters it when or where
we are, so we be but where and what we
ought ; and thus far I believe it is so. Had I
come sooner hither, I might have suffered less;
but I can truly say, that I preferred my Mas-
ter's work before my own ease, and was de-
sirous of finishing my visit, or nearly so, before
1 stopped for relief, not knowing what the
consequence would be ; but as I am now so
bravely, I am willing to hope to be favoured
with seeing you, my near and dear connex-
ions, once more ; and if not, I wish you to be
content. Sometimes I have longed to be un-
clothed of this poor mortal body, as I have
often had my mind covered as with immor-
tality and eternal life, and could say, that a
glorious crown and an everlasting song was
before me. O, my dears, I beg of you all to
labour so as to have the same in your experi-
ence. I know that all of you have often tasted
with me of the good word of life,, and of the
powers of the world to come ; oh ! let us not
fall away, but stand fast in that faith that was
delivered to the saints, and hath been delivered
unto us, whereby they did^ and we may^ ob-
tain the victory. Well, I am glad that in my
thus moving along, I feel you near, as inde^
I often do ; and now can 1 salute you all in a
degree of that love which changeth not, and I
still remain a faithful wife to my dear husband,
and an afiectionate mother to all my dear
children.''

We staid over first-day, and on second*day
went to Waterford, in which city we had much
exercise, yet were so favoured that our visit
was very acceptable to our friends, and, I
hope, of some service. I think we visited
more than fifty families, and had many satis-
factory opportunities, both public and private;
and being both confined with iever more than
twelve days, our stay was long. A very hum-
bling dispensation it was to us ; yet were we
so united to many of our friends, and felt such
an increase of pure love towards them, that
our parting was with tears, sweetened, how-
ever, with that peace which the world can
neither give nor take away.

The following appears to have been written
about this time.

TO HER HUSBAIYD AND CHILDRSlf.

** Clonmel, Third mondi, 1783.
" I can now inform you of my recovery,
not having much relapsed since I wrote before,
and both of us are bravely every way, having
been graciouly helped through some very try-
ing dispensations; no doubt for our own good,
and, I do believe, for the help of many who
have with meekness received the ingrafted



Digitized by



Google



54



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



word. How have we rejoiced with such ; and
great has been our joy in the God of our sal-
vation ; and thus have all our bitter cups been
sweetened. And how frequently doth my
spirit visit you, having also a belief that you
often think of me. Strong are my desires,
that you all may witness an increase of that
which is of God, having the wisdom that is
pure and peaceable, gentle, and easy to be en-
treated, full of love, and abundant in good
fruits ; knowing the old man with all his cor-
rupt deeds to be put off, and being clothed with
the new man Christ Jesus, whose fruits are
unto holiness and the end everlasting life."

On second-day, the 26th, we came to Clon-
mel, and were very kindly received by our
friends Samuel and Margaret Grubb: here
we had to enter into the arduous labour of
visiting families, which was accomplished to
satisfaction. We visited more than thirty fa-
milies, and had some satisfactory meetings,,
besides visiting some families in the country,
and got to Youghal on seventh-day, the 15th
of third month, being the time of the province
n)eeting. On first-day we attended both meet-
ings, and had the company of some valuable
Friends from several parts of the province.
On second-day, being favoured with best help,
we had a satisfactory meeting ; vte staid over
their meeting on third-day, and were well sat-
isfied in so doing. On fourth -day we arrived
at Cork, staying in and near there about four
weeks ; visited above fifty families, and had
some good service. From thence we went to
Limerick, and staid about a week, had some
satisfactory meetings, and visited several fa-
milies; thence' to Ross, and were much fa-
voured amongst a poor few ; then to Mount-
melick, and were well satisfied with staying
meeting there, and had the company of John
Ridgway before we left. We were at meeting
at Ballitore on first-day.

At Ballitore she writes to her family, as
follows :

" Ballitore, Foarth month 26th, 178a

" I have hitherto been helped with best help,
so as faithfully to discharge my duty in all the
meetings I have been at since I came into this
nation ; and I think we have been at all the
places where meetings are constantly held,
except one, which we intend to take on our
way to Dublin, where the Half-year's Na-
tional Meeting is to begin. O that I may
finish well ! is the breathing of my humble,
thankful soul.

" I long to fix a time for my return, but
cannot tell how long we may be detained in
Dublin ; having frequently been in bonds, as
ambassadors who have to declare the way of
life and salvation. I desire that you will with



me learn patience and resignation to the Di-
vine will, as we well know, that it is the will
and power of God which is our sanctification ;
and, my dears, you, with me, are very sensi-
ble that our lime here will soon be over ; there-
fore let us cheer up our drooping spirits, and
not sink below hope, but ever witness it to be
a safe anchor to our souls. Though one fall
on one hand, and another on the other, yet
let us remember, that the foundation of God
standeth sure, having this seal — ^'The Lord
knoweth them that are his.'

" I feel very near to you all, and though
absent in body, yet very often present in spi-
rit ; and sure I am, that we have been bap-
tized into the one Spirit, and have drank of
the one cup, even the cup of blessing, by
which our many bitters have been often sweet-
ened, and we have blessed that name which
alone is worthy of thanksgiving and praise.
I beg that we may ever rely upon, and live in
pure obedience unto Him, who can subject



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 12 of 104)