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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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divinity of Christ, but denied his manhood,
which was false also ; therefore I demanded
of him, to prove what part of the divinity of
Christ we denied; in which if he failed, I
should look upon him as a false accuser, and
those present would, I hoped, be my witnesses.
He shuffled and declined answering, though I
urged him as much as possible; and to cut
the matter off, he asked, whence I came. The
sheriff bid him give me a verse in Greek ; I
told them, I mattered not meddling in that, for
as the English tongue was best understood by
those present, I thought it would be best to
keep by it. I told him, I was of Old England ;
but still reminded him of proving his asser-
tion, which I looked for from him; but instead
of that, he asked, what part of Old England
I came from : I told him Yorkshire ; and bid
him produce his proofs, as before urged, but
still evading the matter, he desired to know
from what place. I told him, I was born at
North Cave; and, said he, I was born at
South Cave, and my father was minister there
many years, bis name was Sharp, and there
is but a mile difference between those places :
I said it was a long one. No sooner was this
over, but the priest, transported with my being
his countryman, began hugging me to such a
degree, that I was quite ashamed of him.
When I had got clear of his embraces, though
not without some difficulty, I asked him, if he
esteemed himself a minister of Christ : he an-
swered, yea, and lawfully called thereto. I
told him, if he was a Gospel minister, as the
Gospel was free, so should his ministry be
free ; and turning to the people there present,
I told them I would not have them deceived,
for they might understand he only possessed
his place by virtue of a law in that case pro-
vided, and his call and ordination was only
such as had been conferred upon him for a
fee, which made him require pay for what he
did, and indeed where he did nothing, which
was highly unfair; wherefore they might upon
consideration find he was but a minister of
the letter, which was dead, and not a minister
of the Spirit and Divine Power ; from which
he did not offer to clear himself, though I ur^
him thereto. Then I asked him, from which



of those odious characteristics that the false
ministers were branded with in the New Tes-
tament, he would clear himself: which I then
enumerated to him. The sheriff said it was
so; and withal said, Mr. Sharp, answer the
man, for the question is very rational, and
you ought to answer him, and for honour»sake
clear yourself of those odiums, if you can.
But he would not offer to m^dle with it;
wherefore I tokl him, to mind for the future,
not to charge any man or people with more
than he could be sure to prove ; for it was
highly scandalous. It being now meeting
time, I asked him to go thither ; but he refus-
ing, said he durst not ; so we parted.

Having visited Friends here, we returned
back for Maryland and Pennsylvania, and we
found a great 'many who loved to hear the
testimony and doctrines of Truth, but too few
who took up the cross daily, and followed
Christ in the way of self-denial, and knew the
thorough work of regeneration, so as to have
their garments washed and made white in the
mystical blood of the Lamb. These are not
polluted with the sins and iniquities of the
world, who have experienced this blood to
sprinkle the heart from an evil conscience:
these are capable of serving the living God ;
and coming from the laver or pool that truly
washes, there is none unfruitful, but every one
bearing twain, and they are inwardly clean
and fruitiiil to God, and walk with him, whose
bright and shining lives are also fruitful to the
world that will receive them. Read this, thou
that hast known something of the work of
conversion, and consider the great difference
there is between the bright lives of the virtu-
ous, and the dull and cloudy lives of the vici-
ous, and be sure thou look well, which of
these thou most resemblest in thine.

When we canoe into Pennsylvania, my com-
panion before mentioned, whom I loved well,
told me he must go back to Virginia. It be-
came an exercise to us both, for I could not
see nly way clear to go back, having been
twice through that province. When no other
way appeared, but that we must part, for my
way appeared clear for the Jerseys, Long Is-
land, Rhode Island and New England, I held
it needful that we should call the Friends
and elders of Philadelphia and thereabouts
together, to let them know how we parted,
for we parted in much love and tender heart-
edness ; that if any reflections should be cast
upon the Friends there concerning us, be-
cause of our parting, they might set those
things in their proper light; so taking our
leave of our dear friends in these parts, I tra-
velled without any constant companion. Some-
times I fell into company with Elizabeth Webb
and Sarah Clement, who were virtuous women.



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LIFE OP JOHN RICHARDSON.



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and lived near the kingdom, and were of good
service in their travels, and grew in the Truth,
of which, while with them, I was sensible.
We travelled under great care and circum-
spection, both for our own good and avoiding
ofience, as became our places and holy pro-
fession, that in all things we might adorn the
Gospel of the kingdom, a dispensation of
which was committed to us to preach to
others. I had good service for the Lord, and
great satisfaction in my own mind in these
parts, the Lord helping me by his mighty
power through all my trials, as my heart was
devoted and resigned to answer his requirings.
I had great openings in several places in
New England, and it appeared clear to me,
and sometimes I spoke openly of it, that the
Lord would gather a great people to the saving
knowledge of the Truth in his time, notwith-
standing what many of our Friends had suf-
fered in these parts from the predecessors of
the present inhabitants, for the name of the
Lord and the testimony which they held. The
view of the state of these things, especially
the great sufferings of many of our faithful
Friends, put me in mind of this saying, The
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church ;
and in this case, I believe it will be fulfilled in
its season.

One passage happened, which I think not
fit to pass over in silence. A man who was
brother to a Presbyterian priest, came into
a meeting in the eastern parts of New Eng-
land, in order to oppose Friends. He had
oAen been very troublesome, as Friends said,
and in the beginning of the meeting he desired
to have liberty to ask some qnestidns. Being
a stranger, and not having so much as heard
of the man, and none making reply to him, I
felt a liberty in the Truth to return the follow-
ing answer in behalf of the meeting, That I
did apprehend it was the desire of Friends,
inasmuch as the meeting was appointed for
the worship of God, and not for asking ques-
tions, or for controversies, that the chief part
should first be answered ; and I also thought
the meeting would be willing, in the conclu-
sion, to give him liberty to ask the questions,
if his intent therein was for information or
satisfaction, and not for contention. Friends
were silent, and the man submitted to what
was proposed, and a good meeting we had,
the Lord's heavenly power and living presence
being with us, and the substance was felt
among us, and exalted over all the shadows
and types ; and Christ the true bread and liv-
log water, the light and life of the world,
was exalted that day ; and the mighty God
and Father, with his beloved Son, through the
help of the Holy Spirit, was glorified, who is
worthy for ever. Near the conclusion of the



meeting, the man began to speak well of what
he had heard, particularly touching water bap-
tism, which be said, he had nothing to object
against ; but as to the sacrament, as he called
it, because little or nothing had been said
about it, therefore he concluded, we either de-
nied or disused it ; or words to the same pur-
port. I stood up and said, I did not remem-
ber that the word sacrament was in all the
Bible ; but supposed he meant the bread and
wine; he answered he did. I asked him whe*
ther he was of the same mind as the Episco-
pal church; if not of the same mind, he might
say 80 ; for they say, the bread and wine is
an outward and visible sign of an inward and
spiritual grace, &c. ; what said he to it? He
was some time silent ; then I asked him, how
long he thought that sign was to continue?
He replied, to the end of the world. I an-
swered, he did not read in all the Bible, that
the Lord had appointed any figure or sign but
what was to end in the substance, which is to
be witnessed and enjoyed in this world, and
not put off' to the end or conclusion thereof,
as his argument seemed to declare, by his
urging, that the sign of that divine substance
must remain till the end of this world. I
asked him what he could answer to that : he
turned off with only saying, I was too great
a scholar for him, and so he would not meddle
with me. He was then silent, and there being
many people, I had a fine opportunity to open
to the tender hearted and Friends present, how
that was at best but a sign, which the people
eat and drank outwardly, in remembrance of
Christ's death until he came ; but that I could
now prove plenteously from the New Testa-
ment, that the substance, the grace, was come,
and urged many proofs out of the Scriptures
to the same purpose. What I said so reached
a good-like old man, a Presbyterian, that he
confessed with tears, he had heard much said
upon that subject, but had never heard it so
opened before ; and said he believed I was in
the right. The meeting broke up in a good
frame, and Friends rejoiced that Truth came
over all, and the contentious man was silenced.
When the meeting was over, the goodly old
man took me to the door, and asked me what
a man should do in case of a solemn league and
covenant, he being entered into it. I told him
I needed not to direct him, for he had that in
himself which would show him what he should
do ; for if one should make an agreement or
covenant with hell and death, in the time of
ignorance and darkness, and now the true
light discovered it to be so; the same light
which discovered and manifested it to be
wrong, as he was faithful to the same, would
show him how and when to break it, and
every other wrong thing ; to which light I re-



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



cotnmeiided him, and bid him take heed to it ;
which, he said he hoped he should ; and so I
leil him with tears on his cheeks, and passed
on.

I omitted one thing which happened m that
part of New .England, near New York and
Long Island, although I was twice backward
and forward, yet to be brief in my travels
through those countries, intended to make one
account serve. As I was speaking in a meet-
ing, there came a great damp over my spirit,
and in that time came into the meeting seve-
ral men, occasioned by a topping and great
man in the world, who had given them an ex-
pectation that they should hear how he would
oppose the Quakers; but in a short time Truth
rose, and Friends generally heard a man say
to this disputant, Why do you not speak? He
hushed him with saying. The man is upon the
subject which I intend to oppose them with.
Afler som6 time the man was urged again
to speak to me, with a Why do you not speak?
We heard him say. The man has opened the
thing so as I never heard it before, and I have
nothing to say ; and to his own, and the won-
der of his neighbours, he sat down upon a
seat near the door, and wept tenderly ; so it
was a good time to him and many more, for
the Lord's mighty power was amongst us. In
my return from my journey in the eastern
parts of New England, the same roan desired
me to have a meeting at his house ; and after due
consideration and the approbation of Friends,
who desired it might be so, when they knew
it was his request, a meeting was appointed,
and I heard there were likely to be at it a
great many of the higher sort of Presbyteri-
ans of his neighbourhood.

I went to the meeting under no small con*
cem of mind, but when I was come into the
great hoase, I was very much afl^ted with
the wise conduct of the man, to see in what
excellent order he had placed every thing, so
that I could not find wherein any thing could
be amended ; and a heavenly meeting it was,
without any opposition. At the breaking up
of the meeting, this tender man, whose heart
was broken and opened by the power of Truth,
said audibly, his heart and house were open
to receive me, and such as me, let all say
what they would to the contrary. But what
the subject matter was at the first meeting
when he came in, I have forgotten ; it was
enough and that we remembered we had a good
heavenly meeting, and were truly thankful for
the same to Him who was the author thereof.

I and some other Friends being in our pas-
sage by water in a vessel bound for Rhode
Island, and meeting with high and contrary
winds, we put into a creek some miles distant
from Rhode Island, and desired the people to



procure us some horses to ride on, and we
would pay them any thing that was reasona«
ble, but hoped they would not make a prey of
us, for we were strangers, and they ought to
do to us as they would be done by, if they
were in a strange land, as we were. There
came up to us a goodly old man, and asked
us what people we were, if we were not Qua-
kers ? I told him we were in scorn so called,
but we did not much mind names, for there
was but little in them. He was a brisk talk-
ing man, ^and said. There was a man here
lately who said he was a Quaker, and bor-
rowed a horse, and when he was gone some
miles from this place, he offered to sell the
horse ; I know not, said the man, but you are
such. I returned this answer to the reflec-
tion i That that was a great proof we were an
honest and reputable people where we were
known, for when a man is so wicked as to be-
come a notorious cheat, he will cover himself
under the best name he can think of, otherwise
he might have said he was a Baptist, or a Pres-
byterian, or an Episcopalian, and desired you
to lend him an horse ; bat you mifid not these
names, neither doth the wicked man think he
can pass so well under any of these last, but
under the first; and the reason of it I leave thee
to judge. The old man asked no more ques-
tions, but used his endeavours to get us horses,
and a man and horse to go with us» to have
the horses back again, and we were well
mounted ; but before we set forward, he took
me to his house and was very courteous, for
though we had spoken for some victuals in as
short a time as well might be, he invited me
to drink, and brought of his apples and beer,
which he would have my friends to partake
of, for he said, and we found it true, it was
but a poor inn. The old man and I parted
very lovingly, and I ^ve him a piece of mo-
ney to show my gratitude for his civility and
good service to us. The people looked upon
us as some great wonder, for I heard one say.
Are these Quakers ? Well, said he, they look
like other people. How we had been repre-
sented, and by whom, it is not hard to gather,
for it is very apparent, that the same spirit and
the same enmity continues in some of the in*
habitants of that country, of which our Friends
formerly felt the severe efiects. They are
since soniewhat moderated by the government
there, which is of a more mild and Christian
disposition ; although I am well assured, that
many of the more conscientious and thinking
people in those parts of the world begin to
see, and many will see and understand in
time, that hanging and taking away lives, for
the sake of Peligion, is opposite to Christ, and
the nature of the true religion which is wrought
in man by the operation, quickenings, and in-



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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dwellings of the Holy Spirit. As it is regarded
and followed, it leavens and brings the soul of
man in some degree to put on the purity, hea-
venly image, and nature of Christ, which is
love, praying for enemies, and is not for de-
stroying, but saving lives ; how far the reverse
will agree with that religion taught by Christ,
and practised by him and the apostles, I would
have all seriously consider in time.

While we were in Boston, when one of the
aCbre-mentioned worthy women was declaring
excellently, both with good utterance and
voice, and good matter, as the manner of the
inhabitants of Boston had been for many
years to encourage, or at least sufier a rude
mob to bawl and make a noise, so they did
now, that it was hard to hear so as to under-
stand distinctly wbat the Friend said, although
she spoke plainly and intelligibly. It did very
much grieve me to see the ignorance and
darkness of those high professors of religion,
and when the Friend had done, observing
there appeared men of some note in the world,
I requested them to hush the rabble, for I had
something to say, which I desired them to
make known to the governor and chief men
of the town; so they soon quelled the, noise.
Then I told them, that in case we were as er-
roneous as some might insinuate we were, that
was not the way to coovince us of our errors,
neither to bring us out of them, but rather to
establish us in them; and that was not the
way for them to gain proselytes, but the way
to lose many from them, and increase dissen-
ters ; for what convincement could there be
by noise and clamour, and hooting, as if they
would split their^own lungs. I had come a
great way to see them, and what character
could I give of them. I never thought to have
seen so much folly amongst a wise aivi reli-
gious people as I now saw ; tell the governor
and chief men of the town, what the English-
roan saith ; for I am ashamed of such doings.
It had a good efiect, for when I came after,
we had quiet meetings ; and I understood by
a letter from Daniel Zachary, of Boston, to
Old England, that the governor said I was in
the right, and ordered that peace should be
kept in Friends' meetings there ; and I never
heard to the contrary but it is well yet as to
that We had great reason to be truly thank-
ful to the Lord for these and all other mer-
cies, that He, the fountain of all good, is pleased
to favour us with. As an instance of the
Lord's mercy to many poor sufferers, and to
show the implacable envy of these people to
Friends, the case of Thomas Maulham, of
Salem, may suffice, in some measure, who
was a great sufferer in the time of hot perse-
cution. When the persecutors had stripped
him of almost all he had ; not content with

Vol. IV.— No. 3.



that, they came with axes, and hewed down
all the apple trees in his orchard, which was
a large one, and left the stumps about the
height of a man's knee. As Thomas Maul*
ham said, they took the way, as they thought,
to. ruin him, but the Lord turned it into a
blessing, for the trees grew to admiration, and
came to bear fruit abundantly, and a finer or-
chard I have not seen in all my travels, for
the size of it ; let the Lord be sanctified by
all his people, and admired by all them that
believe*

I went with several other Friends from Sa«
lem Yearly Meeting, which was a large and
good meeting, towards Dover, and coming to
a river, a Friend took my horse, with two
more, into the boat, and by the time I came
to the river side, the boat was sinking, and the
ferryman made a lamentable cry, saying. The
boat is sunk, and we shall be all drowned.
It was so ordered, that there was but one
Friend in the boat with the boatman, and I
do not remember that ever before now my
horse was in any boat and I not there; which
I looked on as the mercy of a kind Providence
to me, and to several other Friends in com-
pany. Hearing the noise and the floundering
of the horses when tumbling into the water, I
called to the men to be sure to take care to
free themselves of all the tackling of the
horses, as bridles, stirrups, &c., and catch
hold of my horse's tail, and he would bring
them both on shore ; but if they trusted to
the tackling, when the horses swam, they
would fail them, unless very strong ; and to
hold by the bridle was the way to drown both
horse and man. This advice was given while
they had the horses in their hands ; and the
boatman being a lively youth, took my advice,
caught bold of my horse's tail, it being long,
which I ever approved of among rivers, and
calling to my horse, he came quickly with the
man ashore, but left the honest old Friend,
Ezekiel Waring, to whose house we intended
to go that night, in the river floating to the
neck, a hundred yards from the shore by com-
putation, yet watchful Providence did so at-
tend, that his life was preserved to a wonder.
He missed taking my advice, and caught hold
of the stirrup, and the girth broke, as they
are apt to do if they be tight when the horse
begins to swim, which brought off the saddle
and pillion, and the oar of the boat and his
hat, which with the pillion-seat being in his
arms, just bore up his head above water for
some time. His poor wife seeing the danger
to which her husband was exposed, fell into a
fainting fit ; there being neither house, man,
or boat, to be seen on this side of the river but
ourselves and the boatman, and the stem and
stern of the sunk boat full of water. There
11



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



was a house on the other side of the river,
which was half a mile over. The ferryman
did his best to get a boat or canoe, and al-
though it began to be dark, yet he found a
canoe, which is made of a fine piece of timber,
hollowed in the form of a boat, and generally
will carry but two or three or four men.
Coming to us, he asked if Ezekiel was alive:
] told him he was, but very weak, for I had
oAen heard him blubber in the water ; I en-
couraged him, that he might not faint in his
mind, for I told him, I yet believed his life
would be preserved; he would very faintly
say. Unless help came, he could not hold it
long. I went on by the waterside, and laid
me down oAen on the land, not much regard-
ing wet or dirt, sometinies tumbling over logs
of wood and limbs of trees, for so it is in these
uncultivated places, and I directed the man
with his canoe where the poor Friend was, as
nearly as I could tell by my last observation,
and desired he would turn the stern of his ca-
noe to him, as he could not lifl him into the
canoe ; neither to let him lay his hand upon
the broad side of it, but upon the stern, lest
he should overset it, and they be both drowned :
he did so, and brought him gently on shore,
to the great joy of his loving wife and of us
all. The boatman, as he owned, had found
my counsel good, and therefore would have
me tell him what he must do now. I bid him
fetch the boat to shore by the fowler or rope,
and then go and carry Ezekiel in the canoe
to the inn on the other side of the water, that
he might dry, warm, and refresh himself until
we came ; in the mean time we cleared the
boat of water, which, when done, we put two
horses into it, and I towed my horse at the
boat's stern, to make room for several, espe-
cially the good women before mentioned, who
were at this time in my company, and not
without their exercise any more than myself.
We got well over, and then the ferryman and
Friend on the other side, brought the horses
that were left, being three, which were enough
for the boat, and proved too many the first
time. We found the good old Friend finely
and well recruited, and got to his house about
midnight, where we were glad, and our hearts
were full of praises to the Lord for this great
and eminent deliverance and preservation.

In this first visit, while in Rhode Island, I
met with something worthy of thy notice, if
thou art such a reader as I wish thou mayest
be, which was thus : Being in Rhode Island,
several Friends came to me in some of the
intervals of the Yearly Meeting, for it held



meetings of public Friends : I said. Yes, if
they were of clean lives, and what they had
to say, approved ; and it was very likely such
might want advice as much as those who were
come to more experience in the work of the
ministry, if not more : this was some means
of enlarging the said meetings of ministers
now coming on. When I came into the meet-
ing, several of the elders desired me to go into
the gallery, which I refused, the concern upon
my mind being so great, I thought it was
enough that I could but get into the house,



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 18 of 104)