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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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she wept bitterly, even in the very anguish of
her soul. He came twelve miles the next day
to Philadelphia to acquaint me with the mat-
ter, and ask my advice, which I gave to this
efibct : If Friends find upon inquiry, in the
proper season, that the woman continues hear-
tily sorry, and truly penitent for what she hath
done, for godly sorrow worketh repentance,
and if from such a hearty and penitent sense,
which is to be felt beyond words, she gave
forth a paper against her wicked doings, not
so much to ingratiate herself into favour, as
for the clearing of Truth and Friends, and
for the ease and peace of her own mind, and
took the blame and shame to herself, then
Friends may pass it by ,* if not, Friends must
get the judgment of Truth over manifest wick-
edness, as before mentioned.

I went to visit a meeting in that part called
North Wales, which had not been long plant-
ed, where there was a fine tender people ; but
few understanding English, Rowland Ellis
was my interpreter ; we had a good meeting,
and truth was over all. Some expressed their
great satisfaction with our visit to that meeting,
which heretofore had not been considered as
Friends, but since that time they have been
taken notice of, and grown into good esteem
with the body of Friends.

I found it much my work to be engaged in
the discipline of the church, which was very
low in many places, yet there was a willing-
ness in Friends' minds to be helped in that
needful concern, for surely it is a good fence,
and a help to keep the righteous in, and hurt-
ful and wicked things and doings out, if the
same be^ rightly handled and extended as it
ought to be, in the love and wisdom of God.

When I was in Rhode Island, one Rogers
came thither to ofier his gifi, as he said, in
the Yearly Meeting amongst Friends; but
they appeared in a great strait about him,
although he had written on behalf of Truth's
principles, suffered imprisonment, and the
taking away his wife fVom him, and was not
•o much as permitted to converse with his



own son, but under a guard or watch which
was set over him, to hear what passed betwixt
them, as he told me and some other Friends,
which Friends said was true ; yet under the
consideration of the matter, and clearness of
the man's conversation, Friends remained in
a strait what to do. And they desired that I
would reason the case with him, to try if I
could persuade him to be easy, and not insist
upon any such thing, as a promise to receive
his gift : for otherwise, he said, he would go
where it would be received. I showed him,
That it was a thing impracticable amongst us,
and in itself unreasonable, that we should be
by any p re-engagement obliged to receive that
which he might call a gifl, before we heard it.
If he believed he had a gift, he might speak,
and, as the apostle said, we might judge. It
was not impossible but he, who was a scholar,
and a wise man, and had a strong memory,
might have gathered certain passages out of
the Bible or other books, with what other in-
terpretations he might have stored up, and
speak of, and call it a gift, but which we
could not receive as a real gift of the minis-
try, which stands in the Spirit, and in the
power, and if it be such it will make way for
itself, if not, we cannot receive it. So he
went away, and troubled Friends no more
that I heard of^

I was at William Penn's country house,
called Pennsbury, in. Pennsylvania, where I
staid two or three days, on one of which I
was at a meeting and a marriage. Much of
the other part of the time I spent in seeing,
to my satisfaction, William Penn and many
of the Indians, not the least of them, in coun-
cil concerning their former covenants, now
again revived upon William Penn's going
away for England ; all which was done in
much calmness of temper, and in an amica-
ble way. To pass ))y several particulars, I
may mention the following: They never first
broke covenant with any people ; for, as one
of them said, smiting his hand upon his head
three times, they did not make them there in
their heads, but smiting his hand three times
on his breast, said, they made them (i. e. their
covenants) there in their hearts. When they
had ended the most weighty parts for which
they held their council, William Penn gave
them match coats and some other things;
which the speaker for the Indians advised to
be put into the hands of one of their cassacks
or kings, for he knew best how to order them.
I observed, and also heard the like from
others, that they did not speak two at a time,
nor interfere in tlie least one with another
that way in their councils. Their eating and
drinking was also in much stillness.

I desire that Christians, whether they may



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be such in reality or profession only, may
imitate these people in those things which are
commendable, which may be a means to pre-
vent loss of time and expedite business ; as
much as may be, endeavouring to prevent
above one speaking at a time in meetings of
conference and of business.

When th^se matters were nearly gone
through, I put William Penn in mind to in-
quire of the interpreter, if he could find some
terms intelligible to them, by which he might
reach the understandings of the natives, and
inculcate a sense of the principles of Truth,
such as Christ's manifesting himself to the in-
ward senses of the soul, by his light, grace,
or Holy Spirit, with the manner of its opera-
tions in the hearts of men, and how it reproves
for evil, and ministers peace and comfort to
the soul in obedience and well-doing ; or, as
nearly as he could, come to the substance of
this in their own language. William Penn
pressed the matter much upon the interpreter
to do his best, but he would not, either because,
as he alleged, of a want of terms, or his un-
willingness to meddle in religious matters,
which, I know not; but I rather think the lat-
ter was the main reason.

William Penn said, he understood they
owned a superior power, and asked the inter-
preter, what their notion was of God in their
own way. The interpreter showed, by mak-
ing several circles on the ground with bis staff,
till he reduced the last into a small circum-
ference, and placed, as he said, by way of re-
presentation, the great man, as they termed
him, in the middle circle, so that he could see
over all the other circles, which included all
the earth. We queried what they owned as
to eternity, or a future state ; the interpreter
said, they believed when such died as were
guilty of theft, swearing, lying; murder, &c.,
they went into a very cold country, where
Ihey had neither good fat venison, nor match
coats, which is what they use instead of
clothes to cover themselves, being of one
piece in the form of a blanket or bed-cover-
ing. But those who died clear of the afore-
said sins, go into a fine warm country, where
they had good fat venison and good match
coats ; things much valued by the natives. I
thought, as these poor creatures had not the
knowledge of God by the Scriptures, as we
have who are called Christians, that what
knowledge they had of the Supreme Being
must be by an inward sensation, by contem-
plating the works of God in the creation, or
probably from some tradition handed down
from father to son, by which it appears, they
acknowledged a future state of rewards and
punishments ; the former of which they ex-
press by warmth, good clothing and food, ai)d

Vol. IV.— No. 3.



the latter by nakedness, pining hunger, and
piercing cold.

I have often thought and said, when I was
amongst them, that generally my spirit was
very easy, and I did not feel that power of
darkness to Oppress me, as I had done in
many places among the people called Chris-
tians.

After William Penn and they had expressed
their satisfaction, both for themselves and their
people, in keeping all their former articles in-
violate, and agreed that if any differences hap-
pened amongst any of their people, they should
not be an occasion of fomenting or creating
any war between William Penn's people and
the Indians, but justice should be done in all
such cases, that all animosities might be pre-
vented on all sides for ever ; they went out of
the house into an open place not far from it,
to perform their worship, which was done thus :
First, they made a small fire, and the men
without the women sat down aboqt it in a
ring, and whatsoever object they severally
fixed their eyes on, I did not see them move
them in all that part of their worship, while
they sang a very melodious hymn, which af^
fected and tendered the hearts of many who
were spectators. When they had thus done,
they began to beat upon the ground with little
sticks, or make some motion with something
in their hands, and pause a little, till one of
the elder sort sets forth his hynm, followed by
the company for a few minutes, and then a
pause ; and the like was done by another, and
so by a third, and followed by the company
as at the first ; which seemed exceedingly to
affect them and others. Having done, they
rose up and danced a little about the fire, and
parted with some shouting like triumph or re-
joicing.

I leave Pennsbury, but intend, before I leave
the Indians, to say something more concern-
ing that people, which I met with near Caleb
Pusey's house in Pennsylvania. Walking in
the wood, I espied several wigwams or houses
of the Indians, and drew towards them, but
could not converse with them ; but looking
over them in the love of God, I found it to be
my way, as I apprehended, to look for an in-
terpreter, and go to them agaiiu which I did.
I signified to them that I was come from a far
country, with a message from the great man
above, as they called God, and my message
was to endeavour to persuade them, that they
should not be drunkards, nor steal, nor kill
one another, nor fight, nor conimit adultery,
nor put away their wives, especially for small
faults, which, as I understood, is usual with
them to do ; for if they did those things, the
great and good man above would be angry
with them, and would not prosper them, but
13



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



bring trouble on them ; but if they were care-
ful to refrain from these evils, then would God
love them and prosper them, and speak peace
to them ; or very nearly these words. W hen
the interpreter expressed these things to them
in their own language they wept, and tears
ran down their naked bodies, and they smote
their hands upon their breasts, and 1 perceived
said something to the interpreter. I asked
what they said : he told me they said, all that
I had delivered to them was good, and except
the great man had sent me, I could not have
told them those things. I desired the inter-
preter to ask them, how they knew what I had
said to them was good : they replied, and
smote their hands on their breasts, the good
man here, meaning in their hearts, told them
yifhai I had said was all good. They mani-
fested much love to me in their way, and I
believe the love of God is to them, and to all
people in the day of their visitation.

Having left them, I came to a Friend's
house in the lower part of Pennsylvania, who
was in the office of a justice of peace, and
had been convinced not long before by Tho-
mas Story. When I came into the house the
man's wife was very uneasy, and called me a
deceiver, and wrung her hands and said, Woe
is me I I am undone, my husband is deceived ;
and more deceivers are come ! O how she la-
rnented 1 I was somewhat struck with the pas-
sion the poor woman was in ; however, I said
little, but sat down, and after some time it
rose in my mind to ask her, in what her hus-
band was deceived : whether he was, since he
Came amongst us, any worse husband to her;
if' he was, it was a bad sign ; or, was he a
worse father to his children ; or a worse
neighbour; or in any particular thing which
she could name, changed from better to worse,
since he was convinced of the Truth 1 If not,
she had no great reason to complain. But if
he had turned drunkard, railer, fighter, or be-
come a vicious man, she would have had rea-
son to complain. She honestly owned, she
had nothing to charge him with. He sat by
me and heard all our discourse, but said no-
thing. I told her, she had made a lamentable
outcry about her husband's being deceived,
but had not convinced me of any cause she
had received for her sore complaint.

Being weary, having rode a great way that
day, I with my companion Richard Orm took
leave of her husband, and went to our rest,
and saw him no more till the next day in the
evening. When he came, I asked him, for
what reason he left us so long, as he knew
how uneasy his wife was about us, and that
we had a great want of him. He said he had
been giving notice of the meeting twenty miles
one way, and two men had given notice as



far, each man his way; that was six score
miles in and out.

Our landlady, against we rose in the morn-
ing, had got another woman, a justice's wife,
to help her to dispute with us, and overthrow
us, as she hoped, but in vain, for Truth proved
too hard for them ; although the other woipan
charged high in the morning, and said we were
no Christians. I said it was easier to charge
than to prove; how do you prove it? Because^
said they, you deny [water baptism,] the pre-
cious ordinance of Jesus Christ. I asked if
they could prove it to be such : they said they
did not question but they could. I said they
should do it from plain texts of Scripture, ver-
batim as it lies, without any inferences, con-
sequences, or comments upon the places they
insisted upon ; and they agreed to it. But I
told them, in case they should fail and not
prove, as they thought they could, that ordi-
nance to be so appointed by Christ, 1 hoped
then they would allow us to be Christians,
notwithstanding what they had charged to the
contrary ; and they said they would.

I then repeated all the preliminaries, and
asked them if they would agree to each par-
ticular : they said they would. I desired
Richard Orm to mind them, and imprint them
in his memory, for it was like enough we
should have occasion to call them in question
before we had done ; which came to pass not
long after we began. They urged the twenty-
eighth of Matthew in defence of water-bap-
tism, where Christ said to his disciples, " Go
ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing
them in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them
to observe all things whatsoever I have com-
manded you : and lo I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world." Water not
being mentioned, the disputants were at a
stand, and said it must be implied. I showed
them, that by their agreement to the prelimi-
naries, there were to be no inferences, but
plain Scripture. I told them, it was an un-
reasonable thing to undertake to unchristian
a great body of religious people by a few in-
ferences, which might be true, or not true.
When they had searched the New Testament
a great while, they could not find what they
desired, although they urged what Peter said
in a certain case, "Who can forbid water,
that tliese should not be baptized, who have
received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" I
showed them, that there was a great disparity
between a servant's question, and a master's
command. When they were weary with
searching, and could not find a positive ordi-
nation by Christ for water baptism, they gave
it over, and I asked them, if they had not
fallen short of the proof of what they had so



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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boldly charged upon us in the morning. My
landlady confessed they had fallen short of
their expectation; but the other was in the
mind, as she said, that it might be proved : I
told her she would not prove it from any plain
text of Scripture.

My passionate landlady became more meek
and friendly, and received the Truth in the
love of it : we had a good meeting the next
day, and she said if I would stay that night, I
should be as welcome as her own children ;
but if not, she blessed the Lord for my com-
pany, and the good she bad already received
by me, and parted with me in much broken-
ness of heart ; and I beard she lived and died
in good unity with Friends. But, oh 1 how
glad was her husband to see that great and
sudden change wrought in her! it was the
Lord's doings ; to him be the praise now and
for ever, for he alone is worthy.

I had many comfortable meetings in my
travels through these provinces, and good ser-
vice. We were at a Yearly Meeting at Tred-
haven in Maryland, upon the eastern shore,
to which meeting for worship, came William
Penn, Lord Baltimore and his lady, with their
relinue, bat it was late when they came, and
the strength and glory of the heavenly power
of the Lord was going off from the meeting.
The lady was much disappointed, as I under-
stood by William Penn, for she told him, she
did not want to hear him, and such as he, for
he was a scholar and a wise man, and she did
not question but he could preach ; but she
wanted to hear some of our mechanics preach,
as husbandmen, shoemakers, and such like
rustics ; for she thought they could not preach
to any purpose. William Penn told her, some
of these were rather the best preachers we had
amongst us ; or nearly these words. I was
a little in their company, and I thought the
lady to be a notable wife, and withal a cour-
teously carriaged woman. I was also in com-
pany with the governor of Virginia, at our
friend Richard John's house, upon the west
clifis in Maryland, for we both bdged there
one night, and I heard that he had been stu
dious in a book against Friends, called the
Snake, and Friends desired he might have the
answer, called the Switch, but knew not how
to be so free with him as to offer it to him ; I
told Friends I would endeavour to make way
for it. Although he seemed to be a man of
few words, yet at a suitable interval I said to
him, I had heard that he had seen a book
called the Snake in the Grass ; he confessed
he had. I desired he would accept of the an-
swer, and be as studious in it as he had been
in the Snake ; which he promised he would,
and took the book.

There happened a passage worthy of note



either in this or the preceding governor's time
in Virginia, as I was credibly informed, which
was thus : The governor wanted a cooper to
mend his wine, cider and ale casks, and some
told him there was a workman near, but he
was a Quaker ; he said if he was a workman,
he made no matter what he professed ; so the
Quaker, such as he was, was sent for, and
came with his hat under his arm : the go-
vernor was somewhat at a stand to see the
man come in after that manner, and asked if
he was the cooper he had sent for : he said,
yes. Well, said the governor, are not you a
Quaker ? Yes, replied the man, I am so called,
but I have not been faithful. He then asked,
how long have you been called a Quaker?
The poor man said, about twenty years. Alas
for you, poor man, said the governor, I am
sorry for you !

By this we may clearly see, that such who
walk up to what they profess, are in most es-
teem among the more thinking and religious
people ; and the unfaithful and libertine pro-
fessors of the Truth are slighted, and I believe
will be more and more cast out as the unsa-
voury salt, which is good for naught in reli-
gion, and is indeed trodden under the feet of
men ; for a great part of the world have such
an understanding as to know what we profess,
and what we should do and be in many things.
Let us therefore walk wisely before all, and
not be an occasion of stumbling, nor give
o^nce either to Jew or Gentile, nor to the
church of God, that so we may indeed be "as
a city set upon a hill, which cannot be hid ;"
nay, that may not desire to be hid, but rather
that the inhabitants of the earth may see our
good works, and have an occasion from thence
administered, to glorify the Father which is in
heaven.

Having it on my mind to visit a meeting up
the river called Perquimons, on the west side
of the river Choptank, and being on the east
sidfe, Henry Hosier and some more Friends
set forward with me in a small boat, not in
good condition, with only one small sail. We
set out, as we thought, in good time to reach
our desired port, but when we were upon the
great river, which is ten miles over the short-
est way, according to my recollection, though
the manner of our crossing it made it more,
the wind veered much against us, being then
within about four points of our course. It
rained hard, and was very dark, so that we
could scarcely see one another, and the water
broke so into the boat, that it was one man^s
work to heave it out, and all our company
were discouraged, and most of them veiry sea
sick. Henry Hosier, of whom I had the most
hope for help, said that he could not steer the
boat any longer. Notwithstanding the ex-



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



Ireme darkness, the roughness of the waves,
boisterousness of the wind and hard rain, un-
well as I was, I was obliged to undertake the
steering of the boat, and not without some
conflicts of mind, having no certainty, from
any outward rule, what way we went. Hav-
ing no fire, and the boat being open, we could
not have any light to see our compass, but my
faith was in the Lord, that he would bring us
to shore; and I kept the boat as near the wind
as she would sail, and told my poor sick and
helpless company, I believed that we should
not perish, although we might miss of our
poTt. The like imminent danger, I think, I
was never in before upon any water ; but re-
nowned over all be the great 43ame of the
Lord for ever, we put into the mouth of our
desired river Perquimons, ps though we had
seen it in the day, or steered by a compass,
neither of which we had the benefit of for se-
veral hours.

Here we went on shore and made a great
fire under the river's cliff, and about midnight
the moon rose, it cleared up and froze, and
was very cold. My companions falling asleep,
I turned them over, and pulled them from the
fire as it increased, and put them nearer as it
failed, but could not keep them awake. I
sought logs of wood, and carried thorn to and
minded the fire, which was work enough for
the remaining part of the night ; but morning
being come, we got into our cold icy boat, and
sailed away towards the meeting. When we
were come among Friends, notice was given
of a stranger being there, and a heavenly and
sweet meeting it was, so that we thought we
had a good reward for all our trouble; blessed
be the name of the Lord now and for ever,
for he is worthy ; although he may see good
to try us, sometimes one way and sometimes
another. How should we know that we have
any faith, if it be not tried ? How shall we
know that we have any true love to God, if
it never be proved ? The trial of the true be-
liever's faith is more precious than gold. The
excellent sayings of Job came into my mind,
" Behold, I go forward, but he is not there ;
and backward, but I cannot perceive him: On
the left hand, where he doth work, but I can-
not behold him : He hideth himself on the
right hand, that I cannot see him." And then
in verse the tenth, he, like a man in the true
faith, saith, " The Lord knoweth the way that
I lake; and when he has tried me, I shall
come forth as gold ;" and the more vehement
the fire is, the more it destroys the dross, and
the more pure and weighty the gold is. Read
thou, and understand this, that canst.

I had a meeting, when in Virginia, at a
Friend's house, whose name was Matthew
Jordan, and something that I said in the meet-



ing, ofiended a young woman, a Presbyterian ;
and not having, as she said, a suitable oppor-
tunity while I was there, to discourse with me,
being busy in her master's a^irs, for she was
the Friend's housekeeper, she desired liberty
of her master to go to the next meeting, that
there she might ease her mind to me about
the offence I had given her. It was something
about election, and they told me what it was,
but not writing it down, it went from me. Ac-
cordingly she came to the meeting, where the
Lord's mighty power broke in upon us, to the
tendering of many hearts, to Friends' mutual
satisfaction, and it proved a good day to this
young woman. Her heart was as if it had
melted within her ; she shed many tears, and
I am satisfied went from the meeting in fear
and in great joy ; in fear, how to walk so as



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 22 of 104)