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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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will be, in which the Lord, the Judge of both
quick and dead, hath, doth, or will plead with
thee and all flesh, as in the valley of Jehosha-
pfaat; therefore beware, lest thou make him
wroth, as he was upon mount Perizim, but be
thou subject to the Lord, as faithful Moses was
upon Mount Horeb, or the Mount of God, when
he obeyed hisyoice, and put ofl*his shoes ; do
thou obey, if it be to the putting away of the
glory and wisdom of Egypt, or learning, or
what else is required of thee. Oh, then thou
art in the way to further service, and wilt be
enabled, as thou continuest faithful, to go
through all to God's glory, and thy unspeak*
able peace in the end.

Now as to the last part of the vision, when
I was swallowed up in the luminous presence
of Him that is first and last, the Alpha and
Omega, I heard a voice, very intelligible to
that sensation I had then given me, saying,
*'Dost thou see how pride and wickedness
abound in the nation?" I answered in much
fear. Lord, I do see it : the next words which
I heard in the voice and in the cloud were,
" The people are too many, I will thin them,
I will thin them, I will thin them." I desired
of the Lord to show me whether it was his
mind I should publish this in any part of the
nation? The south was set before, with this
caution, " Where this is opened to thee in my
power, there speak of it, and not otherwise."
I gave up to answer the heavenly vision, and
visited most parts of the southern counties, as
also the northern parts, and Scotland; and
where the Lord opened my mouth to speak of
what I had heard, as before, by way of pro.
phecy, I gave up, but did not so much insist
upon that matter, as to sufler it to be a means
to mislead me from that work of the ministry
I was chiefly concerned in. I would that all|
who are concerned in the like manner, may be
cautious in this great affair, and look well to
the rise and original, whence they receive this
gift, and how ; and also what frame of mind
they are in, that nothing of the warmth of
their own spirits be set to work, either by
the sight of the eye, hearing or reading,
but that the mind may be red^med from all
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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



workings which arise from these and the like
grounds, and purely purged, and fitted to re-
ceive this gift of prophecy : and also be sure
to be very careful to be guidable in the gift,
or otherwise thou mayest miss, as to time and
place, &c. I intend not to dwell long upon
it, as there are other services included in this
of prophecy, as edification and comfort, &c.,
but what I have been upon relates to fore-
telling something that is to come ; and, as a
worthy elder onc« said to me, when I was
young in the ministry. It is a great thing
to know what, where, and when ; and I have
found it true to this day. Learn of Him that
is meek and low of heart, and be not dis-
couraged, but persevere in faith and sincerity,
and look not too much at the difiiculty, but
look over all to him who hath called thee,
and in some measure has revealed his Son
through the Spirit in thee. Although I know,'
from some experience, what it is to be exer-
cised in the matter of prophecy, for in the
journey touched of befbn^, I was concerned
to tell Friends at Kinmuck, in Scotland, es-
pecially, That the Lord would take many of
them away : which in a short time came to
pass, for many died before that time twelve-
month, it being a time of scarcity of com, and
it was thought many died for want of bread,
the year ensuing my being there. I had good
service for the Lord, and great satisfaction in
these my long travels, as I had in the like
before, in divers of which some were con-
vinced of the Truth.

At Cromer, in Norfolk, one Elizabeth Hor-
ry, when my mouth was opened, despised my
routh, as she confessed afterwards ; but what
had to say so reached her condition, that she
shed many tears upon her fine silks, and be-
fore the meeting broke up, confessed, so that all
might hear, in these words, *' All that ever I
have done hath been (old me this day, and this
is the everlasting truth." As I passed along
from that meeting, not far from Cromer, with
some other Friends, it rose in my heart to say
aloud, so that a man who was watering his
horse might hear, looking and pointing my
hand towards him — That man will be a
Friend before he dies ; and, as he owned
after, he was so struck with it, that he had
no rest till he came among Friends, though
he was then afar off, but he came to be a ser-
viceable man among us, and his wife was also
convinced of the truth, and was a serviceable
woman. Samuel Hunt, of Nottingham, was
first reached at Leicester, by the testimony I
had given me to bear in that meeting at that
time, as he acknowledged afterwards; but I
always gave God the glory, and laid the crea-
ture as in the dust, that man might not be too
much accounted of.



After my hearing the voice, as befbre men-
tioned, I had many deep and heavenly open-
ings, some of which it may not be amiss to
mention here, inasmuch as I had now a more
clear sight into a translated state than ever I
had before. I came, through a Divine sense
and participation, to have great sympathy and
dear unity, not only with the ever memorable
Enoch, whose walking was such that the
Lord gave testimony that he pleased him ; the
ground of which witness was from hence, that
he lived near to, and loved God, and walked
in the ways of virtue, and abhorred vice : but
also with the apostle, having this seal, that
God knoweth who are his: and with some
other of the servants of Christ in former ages
who oould say, as some now can say, from
true experience, that the Spirit of the Lord
beareth witness with our spirits, that we are
his, to wit, the Lord's children, so long as we
do well ; which last words are of large extent,
to do well, think well, speak well, and believe
well; for he that hath no faith, or that believes
ill, cannot do well. He that eats, drinks, or
wears that which he knows he ought not, doth
not well ; but what is done well, is done in a
pure mind and clean conscience, for so is true
faith held, and all acceptable work to God
performed. I had great openings into the re-
moval of Moses, and taking up of Elijah, that
great and worthy prophet, from the earth into
heaven, and I have seen things not fit to be
uttered ; neither can the world yet believe
them. I saw far into the mystery of the
transfiguration of Christ, and the appearance
of Moses and Elias with him upon the mount;
and the voice which was heard from the ex-
cellent glory, ** This is my beloved Son, hear
him ;" not Moses nor Elias in comparison of
him) for the law pointed to him, and was as a
school-master to bring to him. The hdy pro-
phets foresaw and prophesied of his coming,
and John the Baptist saw Christ, and baptiz^
him, and bore witness of him as the Light,
and said, " Behold the Lamb of God, that
taketh away the sin of the world ;" he also
said, '' He is the bridegroom that hath the
bride," the church. He spoke of his own
decrease, and unworthiness in comparison of
Christ, though called by Christ himself, as
great a prophet as was ever bom of a wo-
man. He was also called Elias, which must
first come and is already come ; in respect of
power, knowledge, boldness, and faithfulness,
he was as EKas, yet the least in the kingdom
of Christ was greater than he, because the
power and glorious kingdom and Gospel dis-
pensation was not fully brought in and re-
stored to Israel, or those who should believe
in him until his ascension. But now these
great agents all passed away, with their figu-



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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rative, propbetipal, and elementary dispensa-
tions, and gave place to (he Son and Heir of
all things, the Messiah, the Great Prophet,
Bishop, Shepherd, King, and Law-giver.

Read these things, and learn truly to uader-
fitand how Moses past away, and Elias past
away, and Christ is left, who is able alone to
perfect the work of man's redemption, who
trod the wine-press alone, and amongst all the
sons of men, none were with him or helped
him. He came who was the anti-type of all
types gone before : he, Christ, is come to re-
move the covenant made before, because of
the weakness and imperfection thereof; which
covenant made not the comers thereto perfect,
but the better hope brought in by Christ did.
This covenant is abundantly more excellent
and established upon better promises than that
was or could be, by the blood of bulls, goats,
and the ashes of an heifer, which reached the
outside only. But in the second or new cove-
nant, there is the blood which sprinkleth the
heart from an evil conscience, so that such may
be fitted and qualified to serve the living God,
not in the works of the old covenant, but in the
newness of the Holy Spirit. This is he that,
as to his divinity and eternity, was before the
hills were settled, and the seas and founda-
tions were made, that took delight to dwell
with the sons of men, or in the habitable
parts of the earth. As he is a spirit, or
word uncreated, he dwelt measurably in Abel,
Seth, Enochs and Noah, before the flood;
for by his Spirit God strove with the old
world to reclaim^ them from their wickedness,
when it was great. It was by this Spirit Noah
was made a preacher of righteousness, and
instructed how to build the ark. This is he
who was with Shem and Japheth, Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, and all the faithful
fathers after the flood, the fpundation of all
the righteous, prophets, apostles, and martyrs,
such as loved and believed in him, and suf-
fered for his name's sake, and the testimony
which they held. This is he that despised the
glory of this world, and is lifted up as a stand-
ard to the people, and an ensign to the na-
tions ; onto him shall the Gentiles seek, and
his rest shall be glorious. He hath lifted up
a greater rod than that of Moses, sometimes
called the rod of iron, by which he hath, and,
I believe will, break to pieces many people as
a potter's vessel, when the sin and iniquity of
the people is come to the height. It was he
that turned the waters of Egypt into blood ; it
was he that slew the first-born throughout all
the land of Egypt : be overthrew the Egyp-
tians, and brought forth Israel by a strong
hand, and an outstretched arm. After he had
marked the dwellings of his people, and spared
them in the time of this grea^ slaughter, which



was executed both upon man and beast, to wit,
the first-born in Egypt, then he became Isra-
el's passover. These things that were done
typically and in an outward way, read in-
wardly und in thine own experience, that thoa
mayest say, and that truly, Christ is my pass-
over, after he hath mitigated thy sore bondage,
and. in degree given thee faith in his great
name, and caused thee to love him and made
thee willing to follow him, although it be
through the sea of troubles, and sometimes
as through the wilderness. Here is an eating
of the heavenly passover, or paschal Lamb,
under the influence of the pure love of God,
that is spread over the soul like a canopy,
or banner ; here is the heavenly manna, the
true body to feed on, that yields true nour-
ishment and solid comfort to thy soul, in thy
travel towards the heavenly country ; here
the substance of the scape goat is known,
that beareth away the sins of the people, for
he bore our iniquities, and through his stripes
we were healed. Qn his part there wants no-
thing, but on man's, faith in and obedience to
Christ. He is the substance or antitype of
the brazen serpent, which was lifted up in
the wilderness to cure the people's ailments,
occasioned by the serpents; he is the advocate
with the Father, as John said, to encourage
little children in that time, which I think may
very well be applied to all in that state until
time here shall be no more. Happy is every
one that heareih, obeyeth, and reverenceth
the Son and Heir of all things, in his spirit-
ual appearance in the heart, where he speaks
to the conditions of the children of men, as
never man spoke, and to much better purpose
than ever man could do. This is he that
spoke to the fathers by the prophets, who in
these times doth speak to us in or by his Spi-
rit ; so take heed to his spiritual appearance
in the heart, for there must the work of our
salvation be perfected, after sin is purged out,
and the guilt thereof taken away. To such
death is easy, where sin, the sting of death, is
taken away, having a part in Christ, the first-
born of many brethren, the resurrection from
the dead — a part in Him that is the resurrec-
tion indeed and the life; over such the second
death, which is a perpetual separation from
the heavenly presence of God, and the com-
pany of holy angels, shall have no power.
I now leave this digression, and return to
the historical part.

In my young years, I was very much af-
flicted upon taking cold, with a sore throaty
that I could scarcely speak so as to be heard,
and had much trouble at times to swallow
any thing which nature required. In a jour-
ney northward, in Truth's service, coming
to Hawkshead, and sitting in the meeting



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LIFE OP JOHN RICHARDSON.



under no small exercise with the trouble
aforesaid, not without some reasonings and
conflicts of spirit, having left all, as I be-
lieved, to do what the Lord required of me,
and yet I apprehended myself, by means of
this affliction, not likely to be of any ser-
vice; after some reasonings, and a fervent
seeking to the Lord to know the cause, and to
bring my mind to a true resignation to the
will of God in this, and in all the trials he might
see good in his wisdom to exercise me in ; I had
not been long brought into this resigned state
to be and do what the Lord would have me
do, but oh \ I felt of the virtue of Christ as
a sweet and living spring, by which I was
healed. ) was, and am to this day, when I
remember the Lord's kind dealings with me,
very thankful to him.

It has been frequently observable, that the
Lord leads his servants through many states,
that having the experience thereof, they may
be the more capable of helping others in the
like straits; it is an excellent thing to love
and truly believe in Jesus Christ, and keep
self down as in the dust for ever.

An account of ^ my firtt vwX to Friends
in America.

Now the time came for my going into Ame-
rica, having had a sight of it about ten years
before. I acquainted my wife therewith about
a year before she died, and found it was likely
to be a very near trial to her. She was a vir-
tuous good woman, but was taken away, and
left me three small children, the eldest not
above four years old, the youngest not much
above one month old. Having but little of
this world, I reasoned much about going,
thinking my circumstances at present might
excuse me: my intentions were good in it,
that I might not leave things in any way to
the dishonour of the truth. My youngest child
was taken away when about a year old ; and
soon after, wherever I went, while I was
awake, it sounded in my ears several days
and nights, Now is the time, now is the time.
Providence so ordered it, that my other two
children were placed to mine and Friends' sat-
isfaction. I went through many provings that
00 man knew of, but I believe, when I am
gathered to my place, I shall leave many
brethren behind me in mutability, who will
read my lines in their own experience. I
would not have any to misunderstand me,
for as to my outward circumstances, I left
no debt, neither was I in a way of going
backward in the world ; for after I received
the knowledge of the Truth, I could not see
what pretence I could have to religion, if any
should lose by me. I have often said, and
been hearty in my intentions, that rather than



truth should suffer on that score, I would live
upon bread and water, and wear very mean
clothes, and work very hard if I were able,
and upon any mean, but lawful calling. It
has been matter of wonder to me, how per-
sons who carry any pretensions to religion,
dare run such great ventures, sometimes be-
yond their own bottom or abilities ; which to
me bath always appeared an unwarrantable
risk, and I apprehend pride and ostentation
are much the occasion of it, which are against
truth, and men are no better for their great-
ness ; for the more plain, and the more hum-
ble we are, the more we resemble humble Je-
sus and his religion, which be laboured to
inculcate. If any are lifted up, or aspire
above their places, let them consider well the
foregoing paragraph.

Now I must leave my little children, and
my very near friends, and native country, and
all for Christ and the GospePs sake, without
any sinister end or view. I appealed to the
Lord, in the simplicity of my heart, that he
knew I. was willing to be at his disposal, and
what he had favoured me with, I could leave
to him; yet whether what I had was sufficient
to defray mine and my two little ones neces-
sary charges, was somewhat in my way ; and
to satisfy me in this doubt, the Lord's voice
sounded exceedingly clear to that sensation I
was then endued with, saying, " Oo, and be
faithful, and I will bless thee every way." Oh !
my heart seemed to melt, and my spirit to
dissolve within me, and I said, Good is the
word of the Lord, thou hast not failed me in
any of my great straits and trials to this day;
I have great cause to trust in thee; renowned
be thy most excellent name, now and for ever.

I parted ft-om my friends with much bro-
kenness of heart, and set forward on my jour-
ney towards London, in order to take ship-
ping there, the llth of the eighth month, 1700.
With my companions, Thomas Thompson,
Josiah Langdale, John Estaugh, and some
other Friends, I went on board a ship in the
river Thames, and we had not been long
there, considering our freedom about going
in the ship, when it opened clearly in my
mind, in the light. That I must not go in that
vessel ; and I said to the Friends, I could not
go in her, for I saw nothing but death and
darkness there. The account of what after-
wards happened to the ship I had from two
particular Friends, in two letters from Lon-
don to America, wherein they expressed a
thankftilness fbr our deliverance, and magni-
fied that hand which wrought it, and preserved
us from going in that ship^ which was lost
near the island of either Jersey or Guernsey,
and, as it was said, about seventy people were
drowned* •



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I have seen a Divine ProTidence attend ter-
rene affiiira ; and I may mention some things
that appear to be of but little moment to some;
and such as do not duly consider these things,
may make a wrong application ; yet my tra-
vels have afibrded a variety of trials and
transactions, which are in some things very
peculiar, and there is a willingness in my
mind to favour some who have been desirous
I should leave a journal of my life, as far as
I can see my way clear in the Truth.

We went on board another ship called the
Arundel, Splenden Rand, master, in which we
embarked the 17th of the ninth month, 1700,
and after many storms, and much sea sick-
ness, not without some conflicts of spirit, more
than I am free to express, and a long passage,
being nearly sixteen weeks upon the sea, we
arrived in the river Patuxent, in Maryland, as
near as I lem^nber, the 6th or 6th of the first
month, 1701, and my heart was glad, and
filled with acknowledgments and praises to
the Lord, for bringing us safely over the
mighty waters."

We leA the ship and master, who was a
churlish, ill-natured man. I was very weak
and low, both in body and mind, when 1 land-
ed, but the Lord helped me, and made my
journey and labours comfortable to many, as
well as to my own soul. After the first or
second meeting we were at, John Estaugh
being my companion, as we came near a great
house in Maryland, I espied a little white
horse, the sight of which put me in mind of
a dream I had on board the ship before I
landed, in which I thought I got a little white
horse, which carried me well, and many miles.
I said to the Friends with me. Let us call at
this house, ^faich we did, and upon inquiry
about a horse, the man said he had none but
a little white young galloway, as he called it,
which be was willing to sell, and told us, it
carried him one day forty miles. He asked
^ht pounds sterling for it, and I bade him
hve pounds sterling ; the man's wife coming
op the passage, heard what I had o&red, and
she said to her husband, It is enough : so I
had him, and a good horse he proved, and
carried me, by a moderate computation, four
thousand miles. I took this, according to the
nature of it, to be a fiivour from that great
Hand which led me forth, and hitherto hath
preserved me in the land of the living, to
praise his ever worthy name.

We set forward towards Virginia and North
Carolina, and found great openness in these
two provinces amongst the people, and a ten-
der hearted remnant of Friends scattered in
these wilderness countries. Although, as I
said before* I was brought very low, yet the
Lord» in whom I did, and yet do believe and



put my trust, raised me, and many times filled
my heart with his word and testimony, so that
sometimes it went forth as a flame of fire
amongst the loose libertines, who were proud
and unfaithful, yet professors of the Truth $
and we had many large and good meetings.
One thing is worthy of notice; as I waa
speaking in a meeting in Virginia, a sudden
stop came upon- me, and occasioned me to say,
I cannot go forward, whatsoever the matter
may be, I know not ; but giving over impnedi«
ately, a Friend, whose name was Edward
Thomas, began to preach, who was but young
in the ministry, though an elderly man, and
apt to be attended with reasonings. He said
after the meeting, he had sought to the Lord
with prayers, that he would condescend so ikr
to his request, as to give me a sense of him,
and in so d6ing he would take that as a
great strength and confirmation to hi» mini-
stry, in this day of many exercises and great
fears ; or much to the same effect. Thus we
see the Lord in his great mercy condescends
to die low, weak, and as it were, infant states
of his children, like a tender father, and being
our heavenly high priest, is touched with a
feeling of the infirmities of his people; thanks-
giving and honour be given to his most excel-
lent name, now and for ever.

During our stay in Virginia, being at a
Friend's house^ an ancient widow, I observed
several persons of note come into the yard, a
store-house being near, to make, as appeared
aflerwards, a seizure for rates for the govern-
ment and priest. Not being distinctly charged,
but a mixed rate, it occasioned Friends to be
straitened about the payment of them. Observ*
ing the priest to be there, and very busy, I ask-
ed what he was come about : the Friend replied^
they were come to make distress for the forty
pounds per poll, as they phrase it, which is
forty pounds tof tobacco, payable for every
taxable head, t. e. all above sixteen ye^rs old.
There were along with the priest, the sheriff
and constable for the government, and divers
merchants of note as spectators. Understand-
ing the reason of their coming, I stepped out
to the priest, who seemed a topping brisk man,
his temper in this case not unsuitably to his
name, which was Sharp ; and desired him to
be careful how he devoured widows' houses ;
he briskly replied, he did not ; to which I as
closely returned, that I found he did. He de-
nied my assertion, and said, the government
gave him what he demanded and took; to
which I gave the following answer: Inasmuch
as he did not any thing for the widow, for
which he reasonably might require a reward,
I believed the government would not insist
upon it for him, if he would be willing to drop
it, which in common equity I thought he



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



should. The priest, displeased with this mo-
dest reply, tartly answered, you are no Chris-
tians. I told him, the charge was high and
false, and he might more easily affirm than
prove it; wherefore I put the question, and
asked him, why we were so charged hy him ;
to which he returned this insignificant an-
swer, that we denied part of the divinity of
Christ. I told him, he was a novice, and dif-
fered in his opinion from most of his brethren,
seeing it was a general reflection cast on us
by most of his fraternity, that we owned the



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 17 of 104)