William Evans.

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

. (page 27 of 104)
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tioned in our debate, which were, that if the
maintenance of the priests was to be wholly
withdrawn, or lefl to the freedom and gene-
rosity of the people, many of them woald
come to poverty, and be forced to labour
with their hands, which would distract, or at
least impede their studies. I answered, that
with such ministers as they were, this might
be the case : but if all would come truly and
rightly to wait on the great Teacher, the
anointing in themselves, it would greatly tend
to the advantage of Christendom. For the
Almighty, who by his good Spirit is alone
able to raise up and qualify Gospel ministers,
as he knows ,the wants of his people, and their
faith and trust in him, would no doubt raise
up from among them faithful ministers; who,
being humble, meek and low in heart, like
him of whom they had learned, would be con«
tent to live in moderation on a little, and to
labour in their respective callings, such as
fishermen, collectors of customs, and like the
apostle Paul, that great minister of the Gen-
tiles, working with their hands that their
ministry might not be chargeable. Their
ministry being not their own, but received
immediately from the great Shepherd of the
sheep, would not require time and study to
pen it down, but coming from the Spirit of
Truth immediately moving upon the minis-
ters' hearts, it would be more e^tual to reach
the witness of Truth in the hearts of their
hearers, than all the laboured discourses of
the most subtle priest, though the product of
much pains and study. Neither have I found
in all my travels, from any observation I have
made, that ever the faithful ministers of Christ
became any great burthen or charge to the
churches ; for I have seen the Divine Provi-
dence attend the Lord's faithful servants, who
thereby have been enabled to order their af-
fairs with discretion, so as to want little.

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An account of my second visit to Friends
in America.

Haying had drawings in my mind for
sometime, once more to visit Friends in seve-
ral parts of America, and as I believed it
was my duty, and what the Lord required me
to give up to, I was resigned, after some rea-
sonings about my age, and declining as to
outward strength, concerning which I met
with sonie inward conflicts and combatings,
which brought me very low for a time. But
the Lord helped me through these difficulties,
and caused his Truth to spring comfortably
in my heart, and I witnessed his heavenly
presence at times to refresh my soul in these
exercises unknown to many. The time being
come for my preparing for the journey, on
the 15th of the third month, 1731, 1 set for-
ward from Hutton-in-the>HoIe to Scarborough,
where 1 took shipping with George Widget,
for London, and came thither the first day of
the Yearly Meeting, with- which I was very
well satisfied, and on the 25th day of the
fourth month went on board of a vessel bound
for Philadelphia, in America, John Wilcox
roaster, who was very civil and kind to me.

On the 27th of the said month we set sail,
and had a good passage in the main, except*
ing one very great storm, in which we were
in danger of being lost ; our bowsprit was
broken, and the masts were in danger of com-
ing down, yet we were preserved. In about
eleven weeks, being the 12th of the seventh
month, I landed near Philadelphia, to the great
satisfaction of Friends as well as myself; re-
nowned be the great name of the Lord for

I have many times considered, that although
it was my place to leave my very near and
dear friends, children and relations, who were
much concerned for me, and I for them, yet I
met with many tender-hearted Friends in my
travels, who were very near to me in the
blessed Truth. This does not fail those who
trust in the Lord, and are faithful, according
to the ability and understanding which he
gives to the children of men, and are devoted
to follow the guidance of his Holy Spirit, and
willing to bear the cross, burthen, or yoke,
which he sees good to lay upon his servants
and handmaids. I entreat all who are called
to the Lord's great work, to give up cheer-
fully and not grudgingly, and not to look back
at what is behind, so as to hasten or hinder
themselves in that work they are called to,
lest they fall short of the penny or crown,
which the faithful will receive in the end of
all their labour.

The Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia was
oigh when we landed, which was large, and

a good meeting, many Friends from several
parts being at it. Here I met with Henry
Frankland, and we were truly glad to see
each other, and went in company together
southward towards Maryland, Virginia and
North Carolina, and returned to Pennsylva*
nia ; and in a short time after we parted : he
came for England, and I travelled for New
England through the Jerseys, Long Island,
Rhode Island and Nantucket, having Richard
Walne, of Pennsylvania, for my companion,
an innocent good man; we passed through
all, or the most part of the aforesaid provinces
and islands, and had very large meetings, and
great attention there was in many to hear the
testimony of Truth, and an open door both of
utterance, and in many places of entrance, for
what was delivered ; yet not without opposi-
tion in some places.

I had some discourse with a Baptist, a jus*
tice of peace, in one of the Jerseys, a man
whom I truly loved ; he told me, that some of
his children went to our meetings, and he did
not hinder them : he appeared a tender-spir-
ited man, was of good repute in these parts
where he lived, and very serviceable in his
post. What we had most in debate, was
touching water-baptism. I endeavoured to
show him the use and end of all the shadowy
things, all which were ended in Christ the
substance, or antitype; and that such outward
materials or elements pertained not to his
kingdom, or inward and spiritual administra-
tion ; nor could they take away the root or
cause of sin, which is only effected by the
Holy Ghost and fire, to the cleansing and pu-
rifying the hearts of the children of men, as
is the nature of material fire to cleanse what
it is properly applied unto.

I met with the same justice afterwards at
Burlington, in West Jersey, he was glad to
see me, and so was I to see him, for he was
very loving and friendly. I likewise met with
a man who was a school-master upon Long
Island, that appeared offended at something I
had said in a meeting where he had been, and
he followed me to a Friend's house, and ap-
peared so full of Scriptures in vindication, as
he thought, of water-baptism, that what with
his reading many passages in the Scriptures,
and paraphrasing upon them, he would not hear
me for some time. But when he was quiel, I
said to him. Thou hast not treated me like a
fair disputant, to run on so long and not to give
me time to make my objections ; if thou hadst
pitched upon any particular Scripture, and
given me liberty to have answered, it would
have been civil and reasonable. He owned,
he had not done fairly by me ; but I desired
to know what church he pretended to belong
to? He answered to the Episcopal church. I

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then requested he would answer roe one ques-
tion before we entered into any farther debate,
and he promised he would if he understood it.
I told him, I heard he was a scholar, and no
doubt understood how to answer it, if he did
but consider the matter ; the query was this,
Whether the sprinkling a little water in a
child's face would bear the name baptism, yea
or nay ? He said it would not. I answered,
thou hast made a great noise about little or
nothing; for by thy own confession thy church
has no baptism at all, for I know not of any
other way they use but sprinkling. He would
not enter into any farther discourse about it,
but made use of the words of Gamaliel, in
favour of the work the apostles were con-
cerned in, saying. If this work be of God it
could not be overthrown, but if it was of man
it would come to naught. I told him, I was
of his mind ; and the Lord hath supported me
in this and the like work, now between forty
and fiAy years, and if I continued faithful, I
had no doubt at all in my mind, but he would
support and stand by me to the end. And
when we parted, he said. The Lord of heaven
and earth bless you, for I believe you are an
honest man.

By this we may see, that Truth sometimes
comes over men, the witness which God hath
placed in men is reached, and Truth prevails
many times beyond our expectation ; therefore
it is good to keep to the guidance of the Spirit
of Truth, for it is a blessed remembrancer,
instructer, and true comforter to all such as
truly depend upon Him, who sent the Spirit
of Truth into the hearts of the children of
men, to guide them into all the necessary
truths which we are to know and practise,
and consequently out of all untruth.

When we had gone through this island, and
visited Friends there, and in Rhode Island,
and had some meetings in our way, we went
to Nantucket, where we met with many in-
nocent plain Friends ; also on Rhode Island,
and in many places in these parts of the
country, we found great openness ; in Boston,
beyond expectation, and there was some con-
vincement in that town. We travelled to Do-
ver, and visited Friends thereabout, which are
the most remote parts inhabited by Friends in
that quarter of New England. Here I met
with a Presbyterian priest; what his design
was in coming to the Friend's house I know
not, but thought it was to speak with me, for
he soon began to ask me questions ; first,
whether I was not brought up a scholar, and
had been in some of the colleges where I had
my education ? Also, whether I had not put
on the canonical gown, and preached accord-
ing to the manner of the church of England 1
I replied, I had not received my education in

any college, neither ever put on the canonical
gown, nor preached afler the manner of the
church of England. He told me, I had been
so represented to him : and said, he supposed
I had been at some schools. I told him, I had
been at several to learn when I was young;
but I did not know that I had given occasion
at any time, by what I had said, for any man
to judge me to be a scholar. He understood
I came from Old England, and asked several
questions, as whether our Friends increased
or decreased : I answered, I could not posi-
tively tell ; I thought there was no great al-
teration in my time as to number, for their
decrease in one part of the nation might be
made up by their increase in another. He
asked,. how the Episcopal ministers dealt with
us about their tithes ; My answer was thus :
As to that part called the Prsedial tithes, they
commonly either gather them themselves or
family^ or let them to tenants, who take care
to fetch them away before us, knowing that
we cannot be free to leave them on the ground,
as hay and corn, &c. And as to small tithes,
there is an *act of parliament, called An Act
for the more easy recovery of small tithes, for
any sum not exceeding forty shillings, and ten
shillings cost ; which is by. justices' warrants.
This is mostly thought to be intended to pre-
vent their procedure by Exchequer process,
through which great havoc and spoil has been
made of Friends' goods, and sometimes their
bodies cast into prison, where some have lain
a long time. He asked, how our Friends did
in Scotland, if they increased there? I told
him, I heard that they did not increase, but
some of the Presbyterians in Scotland were
kind to our Friends and would come to our
meetings, especially if strangers were at them.
I also told him, that persecution in our part of
the world was become hateful amongst sober
people. He said, it was very well ; and like-
wise mentioned, that we were refined, and not
the people we had been. I asked him, wherein
he thought we were refined ? He answered, in
our principles. I desired him to name one :
and he said, George Fox denied the resurrec-

♦The 7th and 8th of William III., chap. 6. is
the Act for recovery of small tithes or offerings, &c.
not amounting to above the yearly value of forty
shillings, which is common for all people, the cost
not exceeding ten shillings, before two or more
justices of the peace, not to go back gbove two

The 7th and 8th of William IIL, chap. 34, which
is our Affirmation Act, is the act for the recover?
of tithes and church rates, for any sum not exceed-
ing ten pounds fix)m Quakers only, before two jus-
tices of the peace, without any limitation of time.
And by the Statute of the 1st of George I., chap.
6. sect 2., limited to ten shillings cost — See the
Statutes at large.

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tion of the dead. I told him, Greorge Fox did
own a resurrection according to Scripture, as
we do; but because he and our Friends thought
it not safe to recede from plain Scripture, nor
to comply wi^ the way many people have of
expressing it, which we think to be too gross
and carnal, viz: that the same body shall rise,
therefore they have asserted we deny the re-
surrection. The apostle saith, " That which
thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that
shall be, for it is sown in corruption, raised in
incorruption, sown a natural, raised a spiritual
body;" with much more that might be added:
and how much such a change maketh a dif-
ference between the present and the future, in
Che resurrection, between the natural and
spiritual, corruption and incorruption, I know
not of any finite creature that is able truly to
determine; and therefore I think it is not con
sistent with charity, nor true wisdom, to difier
about Bobh things which exceed our compre
hension. He allowed it to be better to let them

We parted very friendly, and Friends were
gkid of the opportunity, he having the char-
acter of being a great scholar and a wise
man ; but from all that passed, they believed
he gained no advantage; however he behaved
well. Before we parted, I told him, I thought
the greatest reason why some think us refined
was this ; formerly people were so prejudiced,
that whatever was printed or said against us,
our principles, practice or doctrines, was
generally received and believed, though co-
vered with such dresses as to render us more
odious, and were by many taken for the stand-
ard of our belief and practice. Of late the
light hath more appeared, many are grown
better disposed towards us, and likewise men,
not willing to be imposed upon, have searched
for themselves into the state of the controversy
between us and our opposers. Our writings,
upon perusal, appearing so clear and different
from what the books of those who opposed us
charged upon us, caused many who read them
with a good design and willingness to be set
right, to say, we were reformed, and not the
people we had been. The priest said, he
thought there might be much owing to that.
I told him, it was undeniable, that there must
be a great difference between our principles,
doctrines and conversations, truly stated and
set forth in their proper light, and when they
were misrepresented, sometime^ with all the
art and implacable malice that men were ca-
pable of: and this has been the way our ad-
versaries have treated us, almost in every
thing we have believed, said, or written ; al-
though it was very agreeable to the Holy
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
We returned back to Salem, Lynn and Bos-
VoL. IV.— No. 4.

ton, and visited Friends in our way, and at
Rhode Island, Long Island and New York ;
and had many good meetings and some large,
in the Jerseys, where I had some discourse
with a justice of the peace about water bap-
tism, but he did not hold it long before he
gave up. I had another at Allentown with a
Presbyterian, which held for some hours, about
water baptism, and concerning election and
reprobation. He soon gave up the first; but
when he began upon election and reprobation,
I said I thought it was the most pernicious
doctrine that was ever broached in the world,
it so opposed the very nature of God, and his
design of creating man, whom, with all his
other works, he pronounced good and blessed;
and that man, as the crown add glory of all
his works which he had created, should be
designed for the most miserable end, was un-
accountable. I urged many Scriptures against
that doctrine, as also the confusion they were
in about it, as in their Westminster Confession
of Faith they say, " The decree is so certain
and definite, that one cannot be added to the
number of the elect, or diminished from the
number of the reprobate," and yet you tell
us, that God has ordained the means to efiect
his ends. I then said, this supposition of a
decree for the means, as well as the end, seems
intended to make the priests and their service
necessary ; bdt yet if they cannot alter the
decree, what benefit or advantage can there
be to men by their services or performance ?
I hope none will think that it is a service to
mankind, to strengthen or confirm the decree>
if it were in thfiir power to do it, Which I am
satisfied it is not; because no such decree was
made, or is in being, the opposite appearing
by plain Scripture, which he owned when I
urged it, to wit, that, the fall of Adam did af-
fect all ; and upon the parity of reason, the
coming of Christ did reach as far ; because,
as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be
made alive ; he tasted death for every man,
was a propitiation for the sins of all; and
where then wilt thou find a people that is not
included? But if thou canst find in, and prove
by plain Scripture, that there is such a people
not included in these general assertions, that
Christ came to save, show me who they are.
These and much more I urged against that
doctrine, and he with many others appeared
much satisfied, and we parted friendly. He
came next day several miles to a meeting
which I had appointed ; the man was counted
a wise and sober man, and was under some
convincement, and behaved well.

From thence we went to Pennsylvania, and

had many good meetings in that province, and

being clear and willing to return, I took leave

of Friends in a loving and tender frame of


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spirit, and embarked on board a ship, whereof
Samuel Flower was master, the 1st of the third
month, 1733, at Philadelphia, and arrived at
Bristol the 18th of the fourth month following,
and was glad we got safe to England, having
been seven weeks in our passage. I got home
on the 6th of the sixth month, and was truly
thankful to the Lord, who had preserved me
in these long travels and labours of love,
through many difficulties; but the Lord's
power is sufficient to bear up and carry
through all; renowned be his worthy name
over all, now and for ever. Amen.

A remarkable deliverance which happened
to me, being omitted in its proper place, I
think fit to insert here, which was as follows:
In the year 1718, and the twelfth month,
when John Dodgson was visiting Friends in
our parts, he lodged with me, and I went with
him and his brother-in-law, Peter Buck, to be
their guide to Whitby. I staid their first-day's
meeting, and second-day's Preparative Meet-
ing; and on the third-day went on with
Friends towards Scarborough, to have the
better road home, there having fallen a great
deal of snow while we were at Whitby, so
that it was looked upon impracticable for me
to return the same way home that I came, it
being a moorish bad way. In our way back,
within a mile or little more from Scarborough,
we came to a brook, which by reason of the
excessive rain and snow was higher than ever
I had seen it, so that when we came to ride
through it, Henry Levins, our guide, first ad-
ventured in, being mounted upon a very strong
large horse, and got over with some difficulty,
and I followed him ; but when I came about
the middle of the fording place, it took my
mare off her ket^ and something being in the
way, it turned her upon her broadside, so that
I was dismounted and carried away by the
rapidity of the stream. There being a foot-
bridge a little below, about knee-deep under
water, and no rail either to be a guide or to
lay a hand on, and the water reduced to a
narrow compass, hurried me violently along,
and drove me with my breast against the
bridge with such force, that it very nearly
knocked the breath out of me. Before I
touched the bridge I happened to hold up my
hand, and John Dodgson seeing the danger I
was in, jumped off his horse, and ran at a
venture, seeing the water ripple, to hit the
bridge, and just caught hold of my fingers,
and held my head above water, until Henry
Levins, who had got over, came to his assist-
ance. .

By the weight of the water in my boot-
tops, they being large, and a nail in the tim-
ber under the bridge, catching hold of my
great coat, which held me fast, it was impos-
sible for one man to free me, and not without
some difficulty for them both to get me out,
the nail holding so fast that it tore out a great
piece of my coat, lining and all. Upon Henry's
dismounting, his horse ran away to Scarbo-
rough, and mine swam back to the company,
and when they had got me out, Henry ran on
foot to get his horse, and found him at the
stable door where he used to stand, and in the
mean time John Dodgson kept me in motion
by dragging me along, having very little and
sometimes no hopes of my recovery. When
the horse returned, they got me back to Scar-
borough, but I was not sensible how, and they
had me to Dorothy Jaques' house. When
there, they could perceive my lips move, but
could not hear what I said, until one laid an
ear close to my mouth, and so understood that
I said, if they gave me any thing that was .
strong, it would carry me off; which made
them very cagtious: however, they stripped
me, changed my shirt, put me into a warm
bed, and applied warm flannel to my feet for
three hours together, which I knew nothing
of, being then altogether senseless.

Isaac Skelton, who had been my compan-
ion in the service of the Truth, through seve-
ral counties, hearing of this accident, came
immediately and got into bed to me, and kept
me close in his bosom, which many thought
was a great means to preserve my life. John
Dodgson, though he intended for the Monthly
Meeting, expressed so great a concern for me,
that he said, he would either see me in a way
of recovery or die, before he lefl me. It
pleased the Lord, of his infinite mercy, so
wonderfully to raise me up again, as to enable
me to be at Ihe meeting next day, and also to
bear some testimony, which was very accept-
able and comfortable to Friends, as it was also
beyond their expectation to see me there ; but
yet I was much troubled with pain, the fleshy
part of my shoulder being rent by the violent
hauling me out of the water.

In gratitude, my soul can do no less than
praise and magnify the Lord for this great
deliverance, and all his other mercies, who
alone is worthy. And I cannot but take no-
tice of Friends' kindness and good will to
me, in doing whatsoever they could for me,
but more especially my worthy friend John
Dodgson, who hazarded his life to save

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It is with some sadness that I remember
the departure of so many of the Lord's wor-
thies, as a little time hath deprived us of; but
I have sometimes comforted myself in this,
that the Lord intends to take his church more
iromediaf^y under the care and ministry of
his own blessed Spirit, whereby that loss would
be more than repaired ; and also yet to raise up
more servants, and bestow upon them such
measures of the Holy Ghost and power from
on high, as to be thereby amply qualified to
gather home the residue of the dispersed of
Judah and scattered of Israel, to the hill and
city of God : and though they should not at-
tain to the first rank of the Lord's worthies,
yet that they may deservedly be reckoned
aniong those who served God and their King

The person, the least part of whose works
and labours follow, having abounded much
more in a fervent ministry than in writing,
was brought up among the most seeking and
enlightened people of his time, in the city of
Bristol; and therefore a prepared vessel to
receive with joy, the glad tidings brought out
of the North by those eminent servants of the
Lord, John Audland and John Camm, at their

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 27 of 104)