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William Evans.

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

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the Lord's goodness, and to speak well of his
great and powerful name, which is still mani-
fested in the assemblies of his people, so that
we can say our God is glorious in holiness,
fearful in praises and doth great wonders
amongst us. Great is the reward and sweet
is the peace that my soul now enjoys: this
bears me up, though I move with a poor af-
flicted body, and in advanced age ; and being
unable to walk from one meeting to another,
it is with gratitude I mention the kindness of
my friends in assisting me in many respects ;
and in their thus helping a poor disciple, they
will no doubt receive a reward, even a portion
of that peace which my soul now enjoys,
peace with God and rest in him who hath
dealt bountifully with me. Amen !

In the eighty-sixth year of her age, she
penned this short effusion of parental affection
towards her grandchildren :

TO HSR GRANDOHILDBEN.

** Donnington, Thiid month, 1804.
" Being likely to have a ready conveyance,
I am set down as in the depth of poverty; but
I felt willing to salute my dear grandchildren
once more ; though it will expose my weak-
ness, yet it will manifest my willingness, and
that you are very frequently in my remem-
brance. I am glad that you are so agreeably
placed, and wish you to improve in the best
things, as it seems you are encouraged, and I
would hope exampled thereto. However, take
heed to the gift that is in you, whereby you
may be made truly wise and fitted for what-
ever service you may be employed in ; and
thus being faithful in a little you will be made
rulers over more, and have the joyful sentence
at last of, * come ye blessed of my Father en-
ter ye into the joy of your Lord, and into
your Master's rest.' Now, having thus writ-
ten a little of my meaning, and the fervent
desire of my heart, I conclude in that love
which changeth not, and am your very aged,
infirm, and much reduced grandmother,

"Ruth Foilows."



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AN



ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE



OF THAT ANCIBNT SBRVANT OF JB8U8 CHRIST,



JOHN RICHARDSON.



He that heareth you, beareth mo ; and he that despiaeth yon, deapiaeth me ; and he that deapiaeth
me, defpieath him that ient me. Luke z. 16b



The Testimony ef Friends belonging to Gis-
brough Monthly Meeting, concerning our toor-
thy friend John Ricrakdson, who departed
this life near Hutton4n4he'Hole, the 2nd of
the Fourth months 1753, in the eighty-seventh
year of his age, and was buried in Friends'
burying'ground at Kirby-moornde,

As many of our elders are removed, and
but few left who had personal knowledge of
this Friend in his younger years and early
part of his service, we cannot give so full an
account thereof as otherwise might have been
done.

By accounts transmitted to us, we have
cause to believe he was much devoted, and
given up to walk in the way of Kis duty, and
therein was of great service to the churches
where his lot was cast ; and an instrument in
the Divine hand in turning many to righteous-



As to the latter part of his life, we have this
testimony to give of him ; that he was a lover
of discipline and good order in the church,
diligent in attending meetings for worship and
Truth's service, whilst of ability ; a good ex-
ample therein, by sitting in a still and unaf-
fected manner in silence, and when raised up
to bear a public testimony, was comfortable
and acceptable to Friends.

And when his natural faculties were some-
what impaired, and he confined at home
through old age and infirmities, he appeared
more and more heavenly-minded, and seemed
to grow in the life of religion, that we hope
he is now at rest in the fruition of that happi-



ness, prepared for such as hold on to the end
in well-doing. ^

Signed on behalf of the said meeting, held at
Castletoi, on the 22nd of the thira month,
1754.

The Testimony of Friends from the Quarterly
Meeting held at York.

Oif reading the testimony given from the
Monthly Meeting of Gisbrough, concerning
our late ancient and worthy friend John Rich-
ardson, deceased, of which we approve, we
find ourselves under an engagement to add
this short testimony; from certain experi-
ence of the service he had amongst us in
a fresh and lively ministry, and in exercis-
ing the discipline of the church in a Gospel
spirit, whereby mapy received comfort and
edification ; some 6f us having knowledge of
him from his early appearance in the ministry,
remember that he was acceptable to Friends,
being sound in doctrine, reaching the witness
of God in those to whom he ministered. He
was a diligent and faithful labourer, travelling
several times through most parts of this na-
tion, and visited Friends meetings in Scotland
and Ireland, also twice the English plantations
in America, leaving many seals of his minis-
try, having had the approbation and unity of
Friends with his service both at home and
abroad. He was a tender nursing father, in
the church, over the youth whom God had
visited, to encourage and strengthen the newly
convinced, to whom also he was a good exam-
ple; and though of a sweet and courteous



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LIFE OP JOHN RICHARDSON.



ei



disposition, yet careful in the spirit of wisdom,
to caution and guard such against the deceit
All workings and false representations of the
spirit of error. To divers of us who visited
hun towards the close of his time, he appeared
in a heavenly frame of mind, to our great
comfort, evidencing a preparation for that
eternal bliss whereinto, we doubt not, he is
entered, and now reaps the fruits of his la-
bours.

Signed m and on behalf of our Quarterly Meet^
in^, held at York, the 27th and 26th of the
thud month, 1754.

An account qf the life of John Richardson, irtr
troduced vnth a brief relation concerning his
father, Wiluam Richardson.

It has been repeatedly revived in my mind,
to leave the following account concerning my
dear father, William Richardson, having seen
something of his own in manuscript, coacem->
ing his oonvincement, with remarks on some
other things; but I being young when he died,
did not then much heed it, and when I would
gladly have seen it for my own satisfaction, I
could not, nor as yet can meet with it.

As my father was early convinced of the
Truth, a suflferer for it, and bore a public tes-
timony to it, I found it my duty, as nearly as
I could remember the contents thereof, to leave
this short account concerning him.

He was born at North Cave, in the eastern
part of Yorkshire, in the year 1624, of honest
parents, and of good repute, and was educated
in the Episcopal way, being soberly inclined
from his childhood ; a lover and seeker aAer
purity and virtue. I have heard him say he
gave his mind much to retirement, reading the
Holy Scriptures, and seeking aAer the Lord,
especially in the fields, being by calling a
shepherd ; and it pleased the Lord to open his
understanding so clearly, (hat he saw and
longed for a more excellent dispensation to
come. He also saw that the priests were
wrong, and generally proud and covetous, so
that he was weary of following them, and
much weaned from them and all company,
except two or three men who met with him,
and spoke one to another concerning their in-
ward conditions, and what they had experi-
enced of the Lord's dealings with them. This
was before they had heard of the name Qua-
ke?, as it was in a short time aAer given to a
people which the Lord raised up to g^ve testi-
mony of the notable and ancient, yet newly
revived and blessed, dis^nsation of Christ's
coming, and manifestation by the Holy Spirit
IB the hearts of the children of men, in order
to enlighten^ quicken, sanctify, and save them



from darkness, death, ignorance and sin, that
they might be made capable of obeying, wor-
shipping and glorifying the great Gml and
sanctifier of them.

As my father was thus waiting and looking
for a more general breaking forth of this glo*
rious, powerful, and Gospel day, which had
in a good degree sprung up in his heart, he
had not, as yet, seen that worthy and good
man, George Fox, although he passed through
those parts about that time; but soon aAer
came William Dewsbury, and at the sound of
his voice, I have heard my father say, he was
exceedingly glad, in hearing him declare the
way to And the lost piece of silver, the pearl
of great price wilhin, a Saviour near, who had
been held forth by men to be at a dlstance«
But having leA the dark watchmen, of whom
they used to inquire, they now met with their
beloved at home, in their own bosoms; re-
nowned be the name of the Lord, now and
for ever.

Thus the hearing and receiving the ever
blessed Truth, was as the seed, or word of the
kingdom, sown in the good ground, or honest
hearts of men, which took root downward and
sprang upward, and brought forth fruit, in
some thirty, in some sixty, and in others an
hundred fold, to the praise of the great and
good Husbandman.

My father was early raised to bear a public
testimony, which was living and acceptable to
Friends, but was so much attended with weak-
ness of body for many years, that he went
little abroad in the work of the ministry. He
sufiered patiently the spoiling of his goods,
and imprisonment of his weakly body, in the
great and more general imprisonment; and
not only believed in Jesus Christ, but sufiered
for him. He was a good neighbour, a loving
husband, and a tender father over all that was
good, but severe to all that which was wrong,
and was for judgment, without respect of per-
sons, and spared not even his own children ;
especially he was much concerned for me, for
he said, I was the wildest of them. As he
lived well, and believed in Jesus Christ, I
doubt not that he has finished his course in
the love and favour of God, is entered into a
mansion of glory, and is at rest with all the
faithful, who " loved not their lives unto
death," but rather hated them in comparison
of that endeared and unfeigned love they bore
to God the Father, and to Jesus Christ his
dear and well-beloved Son, who died for them,
and also for the whole world.

He departed this life in 1679, aged about
fiAy-five years, and was decently buried in
Friends' burying-place at Hotham, near Cave,
where he was born.



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63



LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



Having given the foregoing account of my
father, it remains with me to leave to posterity
some remarks on my convincement, with an
account of sundry transactions, travels, heal-
ings, and deliverances I have met with, from
my youth to this day, with some advice and
openings in the Spirit of Truth.

I was not above thirteen years of age when
my father died, yet the Lord was at work by
his light, grace, and Holy Spirit in my heart ;
but I knew not then what it was which in-
wardly disquieted my mind, when any thing
which was evil prevailed over the good in me,
which it oftentimes did, for want of taking
heed to the spirit of God in my heart. 1 de-
sired ease and peace some other way, without
taking up the cross of Christ to my own cor-
rupt will, and strove for some time, as no
doubt many do, to make merry over the just
witness, until for a season the converting and
true witness of God seemed to be slain, or
disappeared. / Theri I took liberty, but not in
gross evils which many ran into, being pre-
served religiously inclined, seeking afler pro-
fessors, and inquiring of them, for my infor-
mation and satisfaction, to find, if I could,
any thing that was safe to rest in, or any true
and solid comfort to my poor disconsolate and
bewildered soul. But I was afraid I should
be deceived, or take up a false rest in any
thing that was wrong or unsafe; which fear was
of the great love and mercy of God to me.
Afler many searches and inquiries among
those who were but in the letter and outward
court, where the veil is over the understand-
ing, and the eye of the mind is not truly
opened to see into things that are hid from
all carnal-minded men ; so my state and af-
flictions were hid from them, and all the de-
ceitful workings of satan, and the strong
temptations which I met with, these blind
guides could not see, nor did they know how
to direct me to the true Shepherd of Israel,
the Law- giver coming out of Sion, that turns
away ungodliness from Jacob, and trans-
gression from Israel; not having truly ex-
perienced deliverance wrought in themselves
out of this cloudy, bewildered, and tempted
state which I was in. Oh! that people would
come to him that hath the eye-salve, with
which if the eye be truly anointed, it will see
things clearly as they are, and not darkly,
mistaking trees for men, and things terrestrial
for things celestial ; and that they would buy
gold, tried by the fire of hire who is called the
Tried Stone, elect and precious, laid in Sion for
a foundation. This is Christ whom the true
church believes in and builds upon, and is
enriched with his love, power, and virtue,
which is better than gold outwardly : this is
the unction, which the true church hath, and



receives from Christ, the Holy One; and such
as do truly put on his righteousness, purity,
and holiness, their clothing is better than that
of fine linen outwardly. Oh ! that all the in-
habitants of the earth might be thus anointed,
enriched, and truly clothed, that no more in-
ward blindness or poverty may be found in
the children of men, nor the shame of their
nakedness be any more seen.

Receive and learn these things, you that
can, of him that is the faithful and true wit-
ness, who always witnesseth against the evil
in man, but always giveth witness to the Fa-
ther, for the good in men which they say and
think. This is the Spirit of him that was
dead, and is alive, no more to be known afler
the flesh, as the apostle gave testimony, but is
to be known inwardly and spiritually by the
children of men, to open the blind eye, and
unstop the deaf ear, and pierce into the soul
that hath been clouded and captivated, impri-
soned, and misguided, and even in a wilder-
ness, and sees no way for deliverance ; like
Israel in the land of Egypt, when the Lord
Jehovah sent Moses, a lively type of Christ,
and employed him in that great work of plead-
ing with, and plaguing Pharaoh and the Egyp-
tians. For a time their burthens were in-
creased, and their exercises more imbittered,
until their deliverance was in a good degree
accomplished ; and which was not wrought
until the first-born of man, and of beast, was
slain, throughout all the land of Egypt.

The clear opening I had in the light, of
what is to be understood and gathered from
hence, is not the slaying of the outward man,
but a putting off, or slaying the body of the
sins of the flesh, crucifying, or putting off the
old man with his deeds ; and as to the beast,
all cruelty, lust, pushing, tearing, devouring,
and savageness, is to be slain or put away ;
and the corrupt or strong will of man, as well
as what is bestial, must be slain before man can
come from under the power of him .who is
called the Prince of the power of the air, the
spirit that rules in the hearts of the children
of disobedience. These things must be expe-
rienced, before the children of men can go
forth rightly qualified to glorify God, and fol-
low his dear Son, whom he hath appointed to
be a leader and a commander of his people.
This is he, as Moses declares, who is to be
heard in all things, under the penalty of being
cut off from the people ; or of having their
names blotted out of the book of life ; or being
deprived of the comforts of the Lord's holy
presence. Read this, you who have heard
and understood what the Spirit saith unto the
churches. These things I saw, afler the true
witness arose or revived in me, and the light
shone which had disappeared or been clouded.



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



68



Afler much searching without, amougst
those who proved to me physicians of no
value, and miserable comforters, I betook
myself to a lonesome and retired life, breath-
ing after, and seeking the Lord in the fields
and private places, beseeching him, that he
would bring me to the saving knowledge of
his truth ; and blessed be the name of the
Lord now and for ever, I had not sought him
long with all my heart, before I met with his
inward appearance to me, in and by his Holy
Spirit, light and grace. But when the true
Light did begin to shine more clearly, and the
living witness arose in my inward man, oh !
then my undone, bewildered, and miserable
condition began to appear, and great and un-
utterable were my conflicts and distress. I
thought no man's condition upon the face of
the earth was like mine. I thought I was not
fit to die, neither did I know how to live. I
thought in the evening, ^' Oh that it was
morning!" and in the morning, "that ft was
evening!" 1 had many solitary walks in the
fields, and other places, in which I poured out
my complaints and cries before the Lord, with
fervent supplications to him, that he would
look upon my alRiction and the strong tempt-
ations I was under, and that he would rebuke
the adversary of my soul, and deliver it, for I
even thought it was in the jaws of a devour-
ing lion, and amongst the fiery spirits, and,
as it were, under the weight of the mountains.
Read and understand the afiHictions of thy
brother, thou that hast come through great
tribulations, and hast washed and made thy
garments white in the blood of the Lamb.
This is the beginning of that baptism which
doth save, and of that washing of regenera-
tion and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which
the Lord sheds upon the believers in abun-
dance. This is the blood which* sprinkleth
the heart from an evil conscience, that the
children of men, thus changed, may serve the
living and true God; this is the life which
eonverts the world, even as many as are con-
verted; this is the virtue, life, and blood,
which maketh clean the saints' garments, and
inwardly washeth them from all fihhiness,
both of flesh and spirit. I found this was
and IS He of whom it is said, " By him were
all things made, and he is Lord of all ;" a
man ought to be servant to him, and all things
in man subservient to him, who comnfiands
and comprehends all things, in whom all the
types and shadows end, or are fulfilled. Read
this, thou virgin daughter, or clean church of
Christ, the rock of thy strength, whose name
to thee is as precious ointment poured forth,
and because of the savour thereof, the virgins
love him, and are under great obligations to



obey and follow the Lamb of God, whereso-
ever he leadeth.

Although I had seen many things, and had
divers openings, yet great were my trials, and
many were the temptations I met with in those
days, for I lived at a distance from Friends
and meetings, which made my exercise the
harder, as will more fully appear hereafter,
in the course of my travels and pilgrimage
in this vale of tears and troubles, and some of
them not very common ; but the Lord helped
me through them all, blessed be his name for
ever.

I now came to witness thait Scripture to be
fulfilled which saith, that '' When the Lord's
judgments are in the earth," or earthly hearts
of men, ** the inhabitants learn righteousness:"
and notwithstanding there was an aversion in
my wild nature to the people in scorn called
Quakers, as also to the name itself, yet when
the afiHicting hand of the Lord was upon me
for my disobedience, and when, like Ephraim
and Judah, I saw in the light my hurt and my
wound, I bemoaned myself, and mourned over
that just principle of light and grace in me,
which I had pierced with my sins and disobe-
dience. Although that ministration of con-
demnation was glorious in its time, yet great
were my troubles, which humbled my mind,
and made me willing to deny myself of every
thing which the light made known in me to
be evil, I being in great distress, and wanting
peace and assurance of the love of God to my
soul; the weight of which so humbled my
mind, that I knew not of any calling, people,
practice, or principle, that was lawful and
right, which I could not embrace, or fall in
with. This was surely like the day of Ja-
cob's troubles, and David's fears. I saw that
the filth of Sion was to be purged away by
the Spirit of judgment and of burning ; this
is the way of the deliverance and recovery of
poor men out of the fall, and the time of the
restoration of the kingdom to God's true
Israel. Read ye that can, and understand.
This was the day of my baptism into the
love of God, and true faith in his beloved
Son, as also into a feeling of, or sympathy
with him in his sufferings, which were unut«
terable, and I found that ministration changed;
that which had been unto death, was now unto
life ; and the ministration which was of con*
demnation unto the first birth, when that was
slain, and in a good degree nailed or fastened
to the cross of Christ, the power of God, then
the good prevailed over the evil, and working
out the evil in the mind, and also in the mem-
bers, made all good or holy. The Lord's
living power, and consuming word, when it
works and prevails, brings into subjection.



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64



LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



and maketh holy the very heart or ground in
men.

As there had been an aversion in me to the
people called in scorn Quakers, and also to
their strict living, and demeanour, plainness of
habit and language, so I learned none of these
from them ; for when the Lord changed my
heart, he also changed my thoughts, words,
and ways, and there became an aversion in
me to vice, sin, and vanity, as there had been
to the ways of virtue. Having tasted of the
terrors and judgments of God because of sin,
I was warned to flee from such ihings as oc«.
casioned Christ's coming not to bring peace
upon the earth, but a sword ; a sword indeed,
yea, his heart-penetrating, searching word,
which is sharper than any two-edged sword,
that pierceth to the dividing asunder between
flesh and spirit, joints and marrow. As I
came thus to see and abhor the evil in myself,
when such who had been my companions in
vanity reviled me, or came in my way, I was
often moved to warn and reprove them. Hav-
ing tasted of the terrors of the Lord for sin, I
could not well forbear to warn others to flee
such things as I had been judged for. Now
I came clearly to be convinced about hat-hon-
our, bowing the knee, and the corrupt lan-
guage, as well as flnery in habit ; all which,
for conscience-sake, and the peace thereof, I
came to deny, and take up the cross to, and
had great peace in so doing.

Notwithstanding the blessed truth thus pre-
vailed in me, I was not without great con-
flicts of spirit, temptations, and trials of di-
vers kinds ; yet my mind was resigned to the
Lord, and my fervent prayers were to him,
and he kept me, and opened my understand-
ing, for I was afraid of being misled in any
thing, especially relating to my salvation. I
came to be weaned fVom all my companions
and lovers in whom I had taken delight, and
all things in this world were little to me, my
mind being much redeemed out of the world,
not only the corrupt and evil part thereof, but
even from the lawful part ; so that I became
much given up to seek the Lord, waiting upon
him to feel his presence, and peace, and to
know his will, and receive power to do the
same.

As my mind came to be thus brought into
a dependant and waiting frame upon the Lord,
and to be stayed in the light, and experiment-
ally and feelingly to partake of his love and
grace, which helped me against my infirmi-
ties, blessed be his name, I found it sufficient
for me, as I kept to it, in all trials and tempt-
ations. Then I came to see, that all outward
performances in matters of religion did not
avail nor render man acceptable to God, but
as the heart came to be truly given up to him,



that he might not only purge it from defile-
ment, but keep it clean through the indwelling
of his Holy Spirit. As nearly as I remember,
I saw clearly through these things before the
sixteenth year of my age. Between the death
of my father and this time, I took liberty to
go among what people I would, my mother
giving us great liberty, although she was a
woman well accounted of among all who
knew her, and not undeservedly, for her in-
dustry and fair dealing concerning the things
of this world.

Afler this time I attended the meetings of
the Lord's people called Quakers, as diligently
as my circumstances would well admit. My
mother being 1ef\ whh five children, the young-
est about three years old when my father died,



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 14 of 104)