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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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not to offend Christ the Elect, whom before
she could talk of, but now she had met with,
and he had opened her state to her : and joy,
that she had met with the Messiah, the Elect
of the Father, his choice and beloved Son ;
so that she could now say, Where is the wise t
Where is the scribe 1 Where is the disputer
of this world 1 All her brisk talkative quali-
ties were swallowed up in the feeling of the
internal, enlightening presence of Christ.

When she returned to her master's house,
he asked her if she had got satisfaction : nnean-
ing, had she had any discourse with me, and
was satisfied. She replied, she was satisfied.
Some time afler I met with her in Philadel-
phia, plain and Truth-like, but knew not who
she was at the first. The manner of the
working of the Truth is to humble the crea-
ture, and bring it into contrition, tenderness
and fear, with true self-denial.

When we were crossing James river to at-
tend a Yearly Meeting in Virginia, there were
five horses and nine people in the boat; among
whom were Jane Pleasants, a public Friend,
and her man-servant, who rode before her
upon a great horse, and high in flesh. About
the midst of the river, which was two miles
over, he rose upon his hind feet, and threw
himself upon the gunnel of the boat, half into
the river ; the fall of the horse, and the mo-
tion of the other horses,< caused the boat to
make such sallies that it took in water, and
was very likely to sink. Before he could have
time to rise again, I took several young men
by the shoulders, and threw them upon his
neck to keep him down, and told them, as fast
as I could, why I did so. The ferryman, who
was about to strip for swimming, said we
should all be drowned ; but for his part he
could swim ; and was about to leap into the
river, for, he said the boat would either break
or sink. I told him it was soon enough for
him to swim, when he saw the boat either



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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break or sink^ and if he would not row, I
would. With much entreaty he took the oar
again, and rowed us to the shore. But in our
imminent danger I looked over my tender
friends, for so they appeared to me, and
thought what a pity it would be, if all these
were drowned ! yet the thought of my own
drowning never entered my mind, until I was
got over the river, which was a mercy to me,
and a great means to keep out confusion,
which commonly attends sudden surprises and
frights, or makes people faint-hearted and al-
most senseless.

I had now occasion to observe, as well as
ia some imminent dangers I had seen before,
that it is an excellent thing to be, as much as
we can, always ready, and by frequently
thinking upon death, it is not so surprising
when it does come. It is a point of true wis-
dom, to number our days so as to remember
our latter end. The want of thus contem-
plating what preparation we are in to look
death in the face, and to appear before the
great Judge of quick and dead, was the cause
of the complaint, " Oh that my people were
wise! that they understood this, that they
would consider their latter end 1" The great
remissness of such considerations among peo-
ple, bespeaks folly and great insensibility, and
that the heart is hardened through a habit of
sinning. O that I might prevail with the chil-
dren of men to awake. Arise, you that sleep
in sin, and are at ease therein, that you may
come to hear inwardly the call of the Son of
God, that your souls may not only live here
to serve God, but also may live eternally in
bliss with him, is the desire of my soul for
the whole bulk of mankind ; for my life has
often appeared not to be dear to me, in com-
parison of the saving of the souls of the chil-
dren of men.

I have often thought of Moses, how far he
went for savrag Israel, and how far Paul went
for the saving of his kinsfolk after the flesh.
It was a demonstration that they had great
faith and interest in the Lord, and a velry
great love to his people. Those whose eyes
are truly opened, cannot but see it is the love
of Grod, and love to the souls of men, that
constrains us thus to take our lives as in our
hands, and labour through many weary steps,
in many perils by sea and by land, and in the
wilderness ; sometimes in tumuhs and noises,
sometimes in watchings and fastings, and
we have been sometimes made spectacles to
men ; but the Lord hath given us faith and
patience to bear and overcome all, as we have
singly stood in his heavenly counsel, and been
truly devoted to his will in all things.

Something which I have before omitted now
occurs to my memory : when I was in that



part of Virginia towards North Carolina, to
visit Friends, a very great mist arose, and we
went wrong, until the guides were so far lost,
that they confessed, they knew not east from
west, nor on which hand we had left the road,
although it was in the fore part of the day,
neither wind nor sun was to be felt or seen.
I told them I would try what I could do, if
they did but know what quarter we should
go to : they said we should go towards the
south : then I brought out my little compass
which I had made before I left England, and
steered by it till we came into the road. The
inward sense I had persuaded me, that we
were to the westward of the road, so leaning
a little to the eastward of the south point, we
came right, and the guides rejoiced, and said
I was fitter to be guide in a wilderness coun-
try than they. My compass was not so big
as a tailor's thimble, but had often been of use
to me, and others with me.

Now the time came on for my leaving all
my near and dear friends in these parts, and
I embarked for the islands the 6th of the ninth
month, 1702, with my companion James Bates,
on board of a sloop, Samuel Salter, master,
for Barbadoes, and we put into Bermudas in
our way. Soon after we landed, being on the
21st of the same month, we were sent for by
Governor Bennett to come before him, and
being near his door, a man came and clapped
me on the shoulder, as we were walking on
our way, and said roughly to us. You must
go before the governor, and seemed to hasten
us. I replied meekly, I am willing to go as
fast as I can, but I have been very sea sick,
and can go but weakly. The man fell from
his roughness, bid us take time, and carried
himself very civilly, and put us by a man
who was keeping sentry at the governor's
dpor with his musket on his arm. When we
were come into a large room the man left us,
and we waited a while. I began to reason in
myself. What if the governor should be a ri-
gid man, and severe to us, and either confine
or punish us ? But I said in my heart. Lord,
thou that knowest all things, knowest that I
have not only oflfered up my liberty, but life
also, for thy name and Gospel's sake; and
immediately all fear and reasonings about hu-
man power were taken away from me.

Being unwell, and weary with walking from
the ship, I sat down to rest myself unbidden,
when there came a friendly well carriaged
young woman, who I supposed to be a ser-
vant, and spoke kindly lo us. I desired her
to do as much for us as to give us something
to drink, for we were very thirsty, and had
been much out of health, and were not well
recovered since we came from the sea, having
had rough weather. She brought us wine



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LIFE OP JOHN RICHARDSON.



and water, and taking most of a glass of
water, and a very little wine poured into it, I
drank and was very well refreshed. By this
time the governor called us into an upper
room, and as I came near to the top of the
stairs, going but faintly, for reasons before
given, the governor put forth his hand and
reached to take hold of mine, and like a ten-
der father drew me up, and led me along to-
wards a great window, and stood and looked
on me and said, he believed he knew what I
was, and my business too. I replied it might
be so, and asked if he was the governor of
that place: he said he was, and bowed his
head. I then spoke to him in the love of
God and said, Thy countenance bespeaks
moderation, and the apostle said, " Let your
moderation appear to all n)en, for the Lord is
at hand :" and it was with me to say to him,
The Lord of heaven and earth bless thee and
all thine. He bad^ us sit down, and gave us
each a glass of wine, and inquired from whence
we came. I told him my home was in Old
England, but it was long since I was there ;
my.companion's was in Virginia. He want-
ing to know the affairs in Europe, I told him
there was a merchant belonging to the same
ship that we did, was. lately come from Eu-
rope, and I thought was a man of parts and
memory, and well versed in the aflairs of those
parts of the world, and when we came into
this place he was with us. The governor
sent for him, and when he came, he answered
his expectation in resolving all or most of his
questions, for the knowledge of the news ap-
peared to me to be the young man's talent.
Having dismissed him, he said he must now
have some discourse with us : then rose up
all the great men who were with the governor,
to make way that I might come near him. I
«aid if it was the governor's mind, I had ra-
ther sit where I was, for I sat in the air, and
that suited well with my present weakness.
So he bade them all sit down, and they did so.
Now, said he, I want to know the reasons
why you, as a people, do not assist the king
and country with men and arms, (or their and
your own defence and safety, against all that
may attempt your hurt. I repfied, the roost
convincing reasons I have to offer to the go-
vernor are, we have neither precept nor ex-
ample from Christ, or his apostles, to use the
sword to hurt one another with. No, said he,
what then means that saying of our Saviour,
when he bade him that had no sword, sell his
cloak or coat and buy one? I replied, one of
his disciples answered and said. Lord, here
are two ; Christ said. It is enough. Now how
two swords can be enough to answer for a
general precept, I leave the governor and all
these men to judge. So afler a little pause he



said, In case you were assaulted by robbers
that would break your house, and take what
they could get from you, or upon the highway,
and would take your purse or horse, what
would you do in that case ? I replied, I could
not directly answer what I should do in such
a case, because through the Lord's mercy f
was never yet so assaulted; but it appears
most likely, that I should endeavour to keep
my house from being broken up, and yet
wiihal be tender of men's lives ; and as to the
other assault, inasmuch as it is well known I
do not provide any outward weapon for my
defence, neither sword, pistol, nor any such
like weapon, therefore I most rely upon the
Lord for protection and help, who is able to
rescue me out of the hands of all such un-
godly men: or if he does not, I must endea-
vour to bear what the Lord suffers such to do
to me. The governor said. You say well:
for inasmuch as you have not provided any
thing for your defence, you have nothing to
fly to but the Lord ; you say very well ; and
said, he hoped what he had offered had not
given any oflfence. I replied, it was so far
from that, we were glad he was so free with
us ; yet if he pleased to dismiss us, we should
be willing to be going, for night came on* He
said, there were some of our friends would be
glad to see us. I replied, I tinderstood there
were some further on the island that did own
us, but how much they were of us I could not
tell, for I had not seen any of them. He asked,
whether we had a mind to go by water or by
land, for he had a boat, and a couple of hands
should carry us where we would ; or if we
had a desire to ride, he had two horses, we
might take them and keep them as long as we
staid upon the island. I endeavoured to per-
suade him to let us go without troubling him-
self any further, for I was sensible of his good
will and love to us, and having his counte-
nance, was more than we expected, and as
much as we desired. He still urging to know,
afler what manner we would choose to go : I
told him, I was very sensible of his generosity
to us who were strangers, and if he would be
easy and let us pass, we had wherewithal to
defray our necessary charges, either by water
or land, as would answer best with our con-
veniency. He pressed upon us to accept of
his offer, for he said he did not do it in com-
pliment to us. Seeing no way but to accept
of his generous offer, I said riding at present
would be much more acceptable to me, con-
sidering how I had been lately fatigued at sea,
of which I was not yet well. He immediately
gave orders for the horses to be brought to the
door, which being done, and we having notice
thereof, I rose up and made an ofier to go,
and the governor likewise rose up and came



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UFB OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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and took me by the band, and we went down
into the great room where we first entered in
the LfOrd's dread and holy. fear. I had re-
signed my life and all to the Lord who gave
it, and my life at that time, as at many others,
was not dear to me lor Christ's sake; and
being thus resigned, I felt the love of God,
and a measure of that life was manifest, in
which I had dominion over men, bonds, and
over deaths and the powers of darkness;
blessed be the Lord for ever.

Coming to take horse, I looked out at the
door, and saw two horses. The one next the
door, which I supposed I was to ride on, had
a saddle set about with three rows of shining
silver lace, I thought about two inches broad
on each; the governor holding me by the
band, and looking in my face, said, I am apt
to think you are not used to ride upon such a
saddle as this. I told him, if he could let me
have one more like myself, plain, without
much trouble, I should like it better, ^ut if
noty I could ride on it, I thought, without
much straitness, in case of necessity. He an-
swered, he could not, for horses and saddles
were scarce on that island; one was that
which he rode on, and the other was for his
man; but he said he would tell me how to
prevent all this. If, said he, you get over the
inlet of water, though he questioned it, because
the wind blew very strong in the mouth or in-
let of the river, and should come to .Richard
Stafibrd's, an old judge of life and death, we
might ask there for the cover of his saddle,
which ties on with little straps at each corner
and hides all this, and then it will be like
yourself. But if the ferryman says he can
not carry the horses over, what roan soever
you meet, white or black, if capable, tell him
he must bring me my horses, he dares do no
other but bring them ; and be sure you take
no further thought for them : and if we met
with any thing that troubled us, let him know
and he would help it, if it lay in his power.
So with his blessing on us, we took leave of
him, and came to the water-side, but could
not get the horses over, therefore we sent them
back again, and intended to stay at the ferry-
house all night, but the boat was about going
over as we alighted ; and notice being got to
the judge, that there were two strangers on
the other side of the water, he sent a boat and
a couple of men for us, who said, we must go,
for the judge said he could not sleep until we
came. So we went, afler asking, if they at
the ferry-house had been at any cost or trou-
ble on our account in providing supper, for as
yet we had not eaten any thing since we land-
ed; the people said no, they had not done any
thing which we should pay for. It grew dark
and very stormy, and the sea broke over the



boat, so that some of us were forced to hold
our coat laps one to touch another on the
weather-side, to keep out the breakers, that
they might not fill the boat. We came safe
over to the judge's house, and no sooner got
into the passage but his friendly wife met us,
and asked us if we were the strangers her
husband had sent for? I said, we are stran-
gers. She bid as follow her to the judge, and '
we did so. When we came to him he rose
up, and took the candle in his hand and said,
Are you the strangers I sent for 1 I said, who
thou mayest expect I know not, but we are
strangers. When he had looked well in my
face, he set down the candle, and said. What
a mercy is this, that the Lord should send
men from I know not where, in his love to
visit me ! and took me in his arms and kissed
me ; and I said to him. The Lord of heaven
and earth bless thee ; and we shed many tears
and wept together.

As I entered the house, I felt the love of
God, and his glory, I thought, shone in and
filled every room as I passed through them,
and I said, peace be to this place, and I felt it
was so. He inquired of our travels, and from .
whence we came, of which we gave him a
brief account ; he also asked, if I knew any
thing of the family of StafTords, at Lahorn,
near Haverford-west, in South Wales. I told
him all I knew about them, both of the dead
and of the living ; with which he was pleased,
and said, he had not heard of thdm for many
years, and that family were his near kindred.

I found his usual bed time drew near, and
I made an offer to go away lest I should in-
commode him, yet he appeared unwilling to
part with us; but considering his own ail-
ments, and our early rising in the morning,
he at length consented. Before we parted,
his wife asked leave of him to go with us on
the morrow to the niceting, to which he readily
assented, if he was not worse of his distemper,
and then ordered, how we should ride, and
which negro should go, not only to help his
wife but us also, and take our horses when
there was occasion, and do any thing he could
for us ; and indeed so he did, and appeared
to me to run on foot without much trouble, be«
ing a lively young man.

I omitted before, that the judge asked, if we
had seen the governor, and if he was kind to
us. I told him he was very friendly to us,
and said if we met. with any trouble that he
could help us in, only let him know and he
would right us. The judge said it was very -
well, and he was glad of it. I perceived the
judge was rather a moderator of the governor,
he being an ancient wise man, and bad lived
long as a judge upon the island, and under-
stood, it is likely, more fully the state of things



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104



LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



here than the governor, he being but a young
man, although he apfjeared to be a wise man,
and, as William Penn said, came of an an-
cient and honourable family in England, which
he knew very well, whose name was Bennett.
Aderwards I told William Penn how it had
fared with tis on that island ; and especially
the kindness of the two chief men in power
there, and William Penn wept, and said, he
had not heard any account of this nature, that
he had been so much afiected with, as he re-
membered, these many years.

We lefl the judge until the morning, and
got some refreshment, it being late, and I had
been faint for several hours for want of eating,
but the Lord's heavenly power bore me up
over ail, so that at times I felt no Want of any
thing: Oh! renowned over all be the name of
the mighty God, oow and for ever. We went
to bed, and when morning came, I and my
companion were stirring early, having eight
miles to the meeting, and it being in the latter
end of the ninth month, we were willing to be
in time, that we might give some notice to the
people. I was walking in our lodging room
early, and the judge's wife came to the door
and asked, if she might speak with us; I said
she might : then she came in and said she had
a message from her husband to us. I queried,
what it was; she said he desired we would
come and pray for him before we went away.
I desired she would favour us so much as to
lay before her husband something which I had
to say, and she promised she would: Well
then, tell the judge, that if he will suffer us to
come into his room, and sit down and wait
upon the Lord, as our manner is in such a
case as this, if it please the Lord to move us
by his Holy Spirit to pray, we may ; but if
not, let not the judge take it amiss, for we are
willing to be at the Lord's disposing in all
things. She went, and I believe, as she said,
laid the matter before him, as I had delivered
it to her ; for she was a woman of a good un-
derstanding, and came back again to us in a
very little time. I asked what the judge said ;
she replied, he said, let the men take their own
way, and whether they pray for me or not, I
believe they are men of God. So afler some
little respite, being brought to the judge's bed-
side, we sat down and waited upon the Lord,
who was pleased in his love, and by his
mighty power to break in upon us, and also
opened my mouth in his gid of grace and of
supplication, in which gifl ardent and fervent
cries went up to the Lord of heaven and earth,
that he would«send health and salvation to the
judge, and also to all his family, and to all
people far and near, that all every where,
might repent, and come to the knowledge of
the Truth and bo saved. The judge wept



aloud, and a mighty visitation it was to his
family, and especially to himself and his ten-
der wife. We lefl the judge in a fine frame
of spirit, and no doubt near the kingdom, hav-
ing his blessing and earnest tequest, that when
we could reach his house we would not fail to
come to it, for we were very welcome ; and I
found and felt it so, and it was mostly our
lodgings. His wife and foot page went with
us to all the meetings, except one, while we
were on the island, which was about two
weeks, in which time we had many good op-
portunities among a soberly behaved people,
amongst whom we met with no opposition,
but had large quiet meetings.

When we were clear, as we thought, of the
island, we went to take our solid leave -of the
governor, acknowledging his civility and gene-
rosity to us. I told him and the judge, that
they would not want their reward for what
they had done to us, and to such who should
take their lives as in their hands, and come in
the love of God to visit those remote parts of
the world, which we durst not have undertaken
if we had not believed it required of us by the
Almighty, and our peace concerned in it, as
also the glory of God, and the good of the
children of men; these are the motives to
those our great undertakings, or words to that
purpose. So we parted in much love, with
these great men, especially the judge, with
tears on his face, as also his tender and
friendly wife, who had been very serviceable
to us in ordering meetings, and making way
for us. There was none like her in all the
island, that we met with, being given up to
that service, for encouraging Truth and
Friends in what she was capable of.

Being invited to a Friend's house to dine
one day, when we were sat down at the table,
the woman of the house desired that one of
us would say grace ; from which I took occa-
sion to show her and several more in the com-
pany, who appeared not much more grown in
the Truth than she, that since we had been a
people, we had both believed, and accordingly
practised, that true prayer was not performed
without the help of the Holy Spirit of God,
and no man could pray aright and acceptably
without it ; nor was it in man's power to have
it when he pleased. Therefore it is man's
place to wait upon the Lord for the pouring
forth of this gifl upon him, and also to know
whether it be required of him to pray so as to
be heard by man, or only to pray secretly, so
as to be heard of God, as did Hannah, and as
many more have done; which, as they do
aright, no doubt, but as Christ said to his dis-
ciples, their Father will hear them in secret,
and reward them openly; or to this effect;
with which they all appeared satisfied.



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LIFE OF JOHN RICHARDSON.



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We then went on board our vessel, and set
sail with a fair wind lor Barbadoes ; but soon
afler we got out to the mouth of that inlet
where we arrived first, the wind came full
against us, and we put in there again ; and
the master, although not called one of us,
said, in a friendly manner. What is the matter
now? This is because of you; Mr. Richardson,
as he was pleased to call me, although I often
showed my dislike to it, you have something
to do yet upon the island. I said I know not
of any thing; but he seemed positive, and
said, if the wind came fair at midnight he
would call, if I was willing, if ^not, he would
stay as long as I pleased. I said I knew not
of any thing to hinder, but he might call as



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 23 of 104)