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William Evans.

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of my spirit, hoth on the road to Waterford,
and when there, until I gave up to mention
a concern, which I had felt when at my own
home, to visit Friends in their families at that
place. Afterwards my spirit, though awAiIly
bowed under it, was clothed with a sweet calm.

<< We left Waterford the 15th, and had the
company of our valuable Friends John Pem-
berton and Thomas Cash, on the way to Clon-
mel. The 16th, was a meeting, in which they
both spoke, myself employed in profitable si-
lence. The 18th, we entered on the laborious
service of visiting families at Clonmel. In
divers of the sittings I had cause humbly to
believe it was a right engagement, our dear
Master being graciously near, and opening
different states in a remarkable manner. May
such seasons of condescending goodness re-
main to be cause of fresh humiliation, and
lead my soul to a firm trust in His holy name,
who has been pleased thus to employ me, not
only in this place, but in several others in this
province of Munster^ which had been very
closely fixed on my mind before I left home.
O, my soul, mayst thou be more and more
centered in humble devotedness to the requir-
ings of thy God, who is worthy for ever, to
be served, worshipped, and adored !

** We have now gone through great part of
the families, and have cause to say. Hitherto
the Lord hath helped us. Indeed he hps en-
abled me to deal plainly, and honestly to dis-
charge my duty ; and I hope we have left an
open door for such as may come after us.
We also visited the families at Garryrone, to
our satisfaction, and were at some other meet-
. ings ; thence returned to Waterford, and the
9th of the tenth month began the arduous
service of visiting families there; my soul
bemg dipped as into the bottom of Jordan.
May all within me«be so entirely submissive,
as that the Lord^s voice may be deeply at-
tended to, and wholly obeyed in simplicity;
that his blessed will may be done by me on
earth, as it is done in heaven.

"On first-day, the 10th, sat two meetings
in humble, and I hope profitable silence: after
the second, paid two visits. We pursued the
engagement diligently, and were enabled, I
hope under a good degree of right authority,
even the covering of the wing of ancient Good-
ness, to speak to different states. Some of the
opportunities were memorable seasons, to the
comfort of both visited and visiters. Tender-
ing invitations were extended to some of the
youth, but close matter handed to others.



O, may the slothful be awakened to diligence,
before the awful midnight cry be heard, that
so their language may not be, ' Give us of
your oil, for our lamps are gone out.' I have
kept no written accounts of many of the vis-
its ; but some as is above-mentioned, were fa-
voured opportunities; in others the life was
exceedingly low ; and to some a lively visita-
tion was renewed, and received with much
tenderness. O, may it please the God of all
mercies to fix his gracious renewed call, that
it may be like a nail in a sure place. May
the inhabitants of this land be awakend to
their proper business, and so work in the
vineyards of their own hearts, that if calami-
ties should overtake them, they may be shel-
tered under the Almighty's wing.

" The 22nd. — I have been very poorly with
a violent cold and soreness in my chest, so
that I was much weakened, and was led to
look towards my everlasting home: and I
should, I believe, have been well content to
lay down my natural life, had it been my
dear Master's will.

" We finished our laborious service at Wa-
terfbrd, the 29th of the tenth month, through
the renewed help of gracious Goodness, whose
condescension was great in opening states, and
giving ability to speak to them in his love, so
that 1 hope many were led to view their un-
done condition without a Saviour. May it
prove lastingly profitable to their poor never-
dying souls.

« We went to Clonmel the 30th, and the
next day the province meeting began : the
sitting in the inoming was much favoured.
The 1st of the eleventh month, at the close of
the meeting for worship, began that for busi-
ness. My mind was much impressed and
awfully covered, and as matter opened I was
led to express it, pressing some who had en-
tered into covenant with God, to keep their
covenants. The meeting was much broken,
and a solemn covering over it. When the
business was finished, my spirit was led to
supplicate the Almighty, and the meeting
ended in a solemn, tender manner.

" The 5th of the eleventh month, we came
to Cork, the 6th was the week-day meeting,
and the 9th, we began the arduous service of
visiting families in this city; sat with five, and
I hope we may humbly acknowledge that our
good Master was pleased to give us the earn-
est-penny. One of the visits was a memora-
ble opportunity ; the descending of Divine love
did so cover and baptize, under which a re-
newed visitation was extended. May it be
closed in with; for if such seasons are slight-
ed, in which Divine mercy is so bountifully
bestowed, surely it must add to the weight of
distress in a day that is hastening.



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LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



"The 16th. — We have sat with twenty-four
families, and have had humble cause to admire
the Lord's goodness, who has been pleased to
be near, strengthening to labour, to deal very
plainly with the lukewarm, and to warn the
disobedient, also to comfort some poor mourn-
ful travellers. I was one evening so fatigued,
and had taken so little proper nourishment,
that I was very faint, and seemed as if I was
going home ; but my spirit was clothed with
such a heavenly sweetness, that I believe all
would have been well with me. O, my soul;
mayest thou keep near to thy dear Redeemer;
that when the time, the solemn time, doth
come, thou mayest be centered with him in
everlasting rest.

" 20th. We have had forty-six sittings, very
close labour, and many deep baptisms; but
may thankfblly acknowledge our heavenly
Father has been mercifully near, opening the
states of many, and renewing a gracious invi-
tation to divers. Some, I hope, will close in
with it. O, may his offers of love be as bread
cast on the waters, that may be found ader
many days.

" At Cork, Youghal and Bandon together,
we had about two hundred sittings ; but what
swelled the number was, that I was not easy
without visiting those who might be termed
the outcasts ; for when reduced very low, I
received this command, Gather the scattered,
in a manner that deeply contrited my spirit :
and we may with reverence acknowledge, that
the gathering arm of Divine love was won-
derfully manifested, to the tendering of many
of their minds, so that great contrition ' ap-
peared.

" We left Cork the 9th of the second month,
1765, and came on the 10th to Clonmel, where
was Mehetabel Jenkins from Berwick, in the
state of Massachusetts, North America. We
went with her to a meeting, appointed for the
town's people at Cashel ; which was a solid
time. After some other religious engagements,
we went to Waterford. My spirit was much
aftected at a first-day meeting there as I sat
in silence, in viewing some whose minds had
been tenderly visited, but who had not made
that improvement that could have been wished.

<* The Quarterly Meeting began the 26th,
at which were Thomas Ross and John Pem-
berton. At the week-day meeting on the 1st
of the third month, my mind was set at lib-
erty. The 2nd paid several visits and was
engaged in close labour; and the next day left
Waterford in company with Thomas Ross and
John Pemberton, and went to Ross, where we
bad a meeting with the town's people, a time,
I hope of profit to divers. We had also seve-
ral other religious opportunities there. Hien
we attended a public meeting on the way to.



Hoare-town, and from thence went to Forrest
and Cooladine. At a meeting held at the last
place, different states were visited under the
influence of Divine love, and it was a favoured
season : blessed be the God of Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob, who remains to be with his Israel,
and at times causeth the shout of a king to be
heard in the camp.

^'This morning [the date and place are
omitted] I awoke with the precious feeling of
the sweetness of Divine love, which remained
some time without alloy ; and under this co-
vering had an opening of fresh service in this
quarter, which brought my spirit under cloee
exercise. It was to visit the families* The
12th, went to Ballinclay, and was the next
day at the first*day meeting ; a searching, la-
borious time.

<« We went the 15th to Ballydarton, and the
17th entered on a family visit to the meeting
at Kilconner, accompanied by Richard Shac-
kleton. Some of the visits were seasons of
favour, in which Divine goodness adminis-
tered his visitations of love in an extraordi-
nary manner. May the visited keep under
the tendering power of Truth, and then, I be-
lieve, some of them will be brought into use-
fulness in the Lord's family.

"The 22nd.— This morning closed the
family visit under the fresh renewings of the
baptizing power of Truth; and in the evening
reached Cooladine. O, may our minds bow,
and reverently worship that awful Being, who
continues to be near his poor little depending
children. 20th. Finished the family visit
here, not without having had some deep and
painful labour, though there is a little rem-
nant in whom I believe the true birth is be-
gotten. May nothing be permitted to wound,
or hinder its increase. I may remark, that
my heavenly Father was pleased to own, in
a week-day meeting, with the comforts of his
holy Spirit, which I silently enjoyed, to a
greater degree than I have many times
known : in which, under the flowing of the
sweet streams of humbling consolation, I was
led to make fresh covenant that, through the
aid of his holy Spirit, I would willingly keep
with my dear crucified Lord, though in a state
of continued suffering, while the Seed was
there, not desiring a release ; if he would be
pleased to sustain and keep in the patience,
to the end. O, may my spirit be so entirely
weaned, as only to desire to be what, and
where, best pleases my gracious Lord and
Master.

" The first-day meeting was very laborious,
my spirit travelling as under the mountains;
but I felt engaged to stand up under an awful
covering, and the power of Truth spread, to
the baptizing of the meeting; and I believe I



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closed while life was at the highest, and the
sweet savour of it remained on my mind for
sometime after. The ISth of the fourth month,
we finished the family visit within the compass
of Forrest meeting. Here Richard Shackle-
too left us. He bad been dipped into those
baptisms that fit us for service, and our spirits
were nearly united.

'^The 14th we had a public meeting at
Wexford, then went to Ballintore, where we
visited the families. We attended a Monthly
Meeting at Enniscorthy, and went back to
Ballmtore; where at a week-day meeting
were divers not of our Society. Truth
owned, and I was led to open how it had
been with me, respecting my concern to come
to that land, that we had no outward gain for
preaching, and that I felt the ' woe' was ' unto
me if I preached not i* I enlarged on the purity
that vessels thus employed should be brought
into, that the wine and oil might pass without
mixture. I also had to treat on the advantage
of silent worship. It was a season of favour,
for which, may all within me bless and praise
Him to whom praise belongs.

** We visited the families of Friends gene-
rally in the counties of Wexford and Wick-
low, and felt peace in the review, though deep
was our wading, and close the labour, with
renewed baptisms.

''We reached Dublin the 29th of the fourth
month. The Half-year's meeting began the
80th, and concluded the 4th of the fifth month.
I was strengthened to perform what appeared
my duty, to the peace of my own mind. On
the 4th, under the sweet savour of uniting
k>ve, we parted with dear Mehetabel Jenkins,
Richard Shackleton and some other Friends,
who were going the next morning for Eng-
land: sooo after, my dear companion was
seized with a violent suiTocation, so that if she
had not been speedily relieved, it appeared
likely that she would have been soon removed
by it.

'' After this, we were at Mountmelick, and
paid a family visit there, having about fifty
sittings, some of them close searching sea-
sons. Dear Mary Rtdgway belonged to that
meeting, to whom my spirit was nearly united.
We returned by Ballitore and Baltibois to
Dublin, and were at several meetings.

** On the 7th of the sixth month, my spirit
bowed, and was bound up in dark deep si-
lence ; and my mind was greatly aftected lest
I had ofiended my God, and I humbly desired
to understand in what ; but I was awfully and
sweetly answered thus, I am in the thick dark-
ness, as well as in the light. The next day
we left Dublin."

It may be added, that when she delivered
up her certifiicate to her Monthly Meeting,



which was in the eighth month, she bore tes-
timony with reverent thankfulness, to the mer-
cy and goodness of the Almighty ; by which,
she said, her companion and herself, through
many deep probations, had been endued with
help and strength, to discharge their duty to
his praise, and to their own peace.



CHAPTER VL

VisiuHampshireyKentf Surryy Somersett Dewm^
DorseU Cornwall — a written sciUoquy — visitB
the Northern and Midland counties'—extract qf
a letter — visits families in Hants, Eastern,
Northern, and Midland counties—second fam-
ily tfisit at Sheffield, and at Kendal—famUy
itisit at Birmingham.

Sahah Stephenson does not appear to
have travelled much during the remainder of
the year in which she closed her engagements
in Ireland. In the year 1786, she had a certi-
ficate for the purpose of visiting Friends in
Hampshire, Kent, Surry, and parts adjacent,
with the families in some places. In the
course of this journey, she attended the Yearly
Meeting, and had Mehetabel Jenkins for a com-
panion through Kent, and the adjacent county
of Sussex.

In 1787 she travelled twice with certificate.
The first journey was chiefly in Somerset-
shire, and in divers places the visit was ex-
tended to families. The other engagement
was in Devonshire, Cornwall, and Dorset-
shire. In this visit also, she was concerned
at times to go from house to house, and Ann
Byrd, already mentioned, bore her company
in the three counties.

The year 1788 was marked with more ex-
tensive travels; but, previously, her mind had
been much stripped of consolation, and en-
veloped in dismay. Such an event would na-
turally tend to keep it humble, and to prepare
her for further service. The following notice
of it, penned the 21st of the second month,
shows, in some degree, for words paint feel-
ings but feebly, the depth of her distress, her
continued patience, and the administration of
help in the needful time.

** My mind having been for some time deeply
led, as in the valley and shadow of death, so
that I much feared I had some way or other
greatly ofiended my good Master, many were
my searches ; but Oh ! I could not say with
David, * When I go through the valley and
shadow of death, I will fear no evil;' for
many were my fears, and the greatest was,
lest I should never again experience the lift-
ing up of the light and life of his glorious
eountenance upon roe. But this morning.



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LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



being gathered into solemn slitlness, my soul
felt these words, < My words, they are spirit,
and they are life ;' and they proved so to my
poor spirit, which was then permitted in some
degree, to see the usefulness of these baptisms,
not only to myself, but in order to feel with
and speak to others who may be alike proved ;
and who may hear in this valley the roaring
of the beasts of prey. These are deep felt
truths, to the poor in spirit."

In the sixth month, she received her Month-
ly Meeting's certificate to visit Friends in the
Northern and Midland counties, also in Scot-
land ; and it had the addition so usual in those
lately granted to her, of her view of visiting
in some places the families of Friends.

She has lefl a very short account of this
long journey; and indeed she performed it,
comparatively, in a very short time ; for she
was at home in the eleventh month. Her
former companion, Ann Byrd, went with her
as far as York ; and then Esther Brady (al-
ready mentioned by the name of Esther Mar-
shall) joined her, and they went together
through Scotland.

A short extract from a letter, written at
Edinburgh, on this journey, will show her
humble disposition, and in the scarcity of in-
formation relating to this engagement, may be
acceptable to the reader.

** I have had renewedly hitherto, on this
journey, to admire His love and great conde-
scension in helping me along, so as to leave
the places in general peaceful : a favour be-
yond the expression of words. Indeed, I can-
not but humbly admire his goodness afresh,
being often led to feel that, * My father's fami-
ly is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in
my father's house.' "

When she attended the Monthly Meeting
on her return, and gave back her certificate,
she informed her friends that in the course
of her visit, from meeting to meeting, she had
been led to trust in that Power, which appear-
ed at first like a grain of mustard-seed, but
which enabled her fully to discharge her
duty. She also expressed her compassion
for the low circumstances of many Friends
in Scotland, and her belief of the need of
thankfulness on the part of those who were in
more easy situations.

Two religious engagements employed a part
of the year 1789 ; in which she had the ac-
customed certificates of the concurrence of
Friends. First, accompanied by Ann Byrd,
she attended the Welch Yearly Meeting held
that year at Breckon. Then returning through
Herefordshire, they visited the families of
Friends at Leominster; and aAer calling at
Worcester, and visiting several meetings in
Gloucestershire, she arrived at home after an



absence of about two months. Her other en-
gagement was a visit to most of the families
of Friends jn Hampshire ; and Mary Merry-
weather, a promising young woman in the
ministry, since deceased, was her companion.

She was at the Yearly Meeting both in
1790 and 1791 ; but previously to that in the
latter year, she had obtained a certificate to
visit some families of Friends in Wales. Her
own short memorandum of the journey only
mentions those of Ponty pool, Monmouthshire;
after which service she went to the Welch
Yearly Meeting, held that year at Builth, in
Brecknockshire.

A longer journey was now to be accom*
plished, though the season of the year might
seem ill adapted to the frame of a tender fe-
male. It seems however, that the clear call
of religious duty silenced subordinate consi-
derations, and our friend had long been en-
deavouring in simplicity to follow that holy
Leader, who can make hard things easy. In
the tenth month she obtained a certificate to
visit Friends in some of the Eastern, North-
ern, and Midland counties, and the families
in some spots. Her own words, with little
variation, may relate the accomplishment of
the undertaking.

" I left home the 21st of the tenth noonth,
1791, with my beloved companion Ann Byrd,
and got to Marlborough. The 22nd, after an
opportunity with a widow Friend there, we
rode to Hungerford, at which place we had a
sitting with two Friends, and then went to
Newbury. First-day, the 23d, was at a fa-
voured meeting, and a sitting at a Friend's.
In the afternoon we rode to Reading. The
24th, we went to Staines, and the next day
were at a meeting there, owned by the Mas-
ter; also had two opportunities in Friends'
families. The same evening we went to
Brentford. The 26th, we were at a meeting
there, the forepart of which was very exer-
cising, but it ended comfortably. Afterwards
we rode to Islington, and lodged at Mary Ster-
ry's. On the 27th we had a humbling ten-
dering opportunity; the next .day rode to
Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex, and were the
day following at a meeting held in eilence,
and deeply exercising; but we had two op-
portunities in the Friends' families, which
much relieved our minds, and then we went
to Saffron Walden. The 30th, being first-
day, we were at the two meetings, and three
opportunities in Friends' families. The Slst
we were at a meeting at Thaxted, very close
and exercising ; but I was enabled, under the
authority of Truth, to clear my mind, and felt
comfortable. After dinner, we had a baptiz-
ing time, to the tendering of all present* and
then rode to Dunmow.



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'< The 1st of the eleveDlh month, we had a
meeting at Felsted, and on the 2nd one at
Stebbing, attended with deep travail of spirit,
under the feeling of a lukewarm disposition,
inattentive to the business of salvation ; and
for the awakening of such, we were enabled
to labour closely under the influence of that
love, which desires that all may be gathered.
After dinner, we were favoured with the ex-
tendings of heavenly goodness, under which
we parted, and rode to Bardfield, where George
Gibson and Susanna Day, from Walden, came
to us on the dd, and we had a favoured meet-
ing. They accompanied us in paying two or
three family visits. The 5th, we dined at a
Friend's house, where we had a searching
opportunity, then rode to J. M's. and spent
seventh-day with them. On first-day, we
went to Chelmsford, and sat the two meet-
ings, which were laborious and exercising;
but we had one or two opportunities in Friends'
families which were relieving to our minds, so
that we left the place easy.

"The 8th, we arose early, and went to
Boreham to breakfast, where we had a com-
fortable but closely baptising opportunity, and
then went to an appointed meeting at Witham,
very deeply exercising: more humility and
spiritual labour were wanting; but Truth
arose, and we felt humble thankfulpess. The
9th, we had an apppointed meeting 9t Maiden,
where many Friends met us, and several of
the town's people came, and the scholars of a
girls' boarding school. It was a memorable
day. The blessed Truth reigned, both at
meeting and in an opportunity at the inn,
where twenty or more Friends were present.
It was a day that called for reverent thanks-
giving to the Author of all good, unto whom
all praise belongs, and unto poor mortals, ab-
stracted from heavenly goodness, only blush-
ing and confusion of face. The 10th, at
Kelvedon, we had a sweet, silent meeting, also
some family sittings; and the next day a meet-
ing attended with close labour, under the feel-
ing of a lukewarm spirit being loo prevalent.
On the 12th, was a nneeting at Coggeshall,
large and mercifully owned by our great and
good Master. It ended with solemn supplica-
tion. We had also several other favoured
opportunities, and left the place peaceful.

" The 13th, we went to Clolchester, where
we found dear John Kendal weak and poorly;
but I believe sweetly alive in the immortal life.
The next day we were at the two meetings,
which were deeply exercising, and did not
tend much to the relief of our minds. The
next momine we had a sweet opportunity at
a girls' boarding school, and went forwards.
On the 16th, we were at a meeting at Colne,
a time of deep exercise. Here our beloved

Vol. IV.— Nq- 6.



friend Mary Brightwen, of Coggeshall, met
Us, whose company we also had at some other
places. She is one who lives near that pure
fountain, which preserves us fresh and living
in the best life. We had two favoured oppor-
tunities, and then rode to Halsted ; and on the
17th, were at a meeting there, and at several
family opportunities, in which the offer of holy
help was extended. The 18th we went to
Haverill, and the next day in a meeting there,
had deep wading, but Truth arose, and it ended
with thanksgiving and praises to Him who is
for ever worthy.

[Being now in Suffolk] " we went on the 20th,
to Sudbury, and the next day attended the two
meetings. At the afternoon one was a burial,
and they were both owned, as also were seve-
ral opportunities. Samuel Alexander, of Need-
ham, in this county, met us here, and his com-
pany was truly acceptable. On the 22nd, he
accompanied us to Ipswich, where we rested
the next day, and hfid a tendering opportunity
with some Friends in the evening. The 24th,



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 42 of 104)