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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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we were at meeting, and a time of renewed
favour it was. My mind was deeply baptized,
and I had sensibly to perceive that there was
a renewed visitation to a roan Friend there,
on whose head I thought I could lay my hand.
It was a day to be remembered. The indi-
vidual above alluded to was much tendered.
I hope it will be made profitable to him, and
that he may make covenant, and keep it.
After meeting we had a sweet tendering op-
portunity at our lodgings, where several
Friends were present; and in the afternoon
we went home with Samuel Alexander to
Needham. The 25th we went into the coun-
try to visit an infirm woman, and in the after-
noon to see William Crotch and his family,
where we had an uniting season, not soon to
be forgotten. The following day we were at
the meeting, in which a little bread was hand-
ed to the poor and needy, of which number
there were some almost ready to faint. The
passage respecting the poor widow, who was
gathering two sticks, to bake a cake before
she and her son died was revived, as appli-
cable to a state, or states, then present ; and
I believe it was made a season of encourage-
ment to some. We had some uniting op-
portunities at that place, I hope not soon to
be forgotten.

" On the 27ih, accompanied by Samuel Al-
exander, we set out for Brandon, and were the
next day at a laborious and deeply exercising
meeting. Here sonne Friends from Bury met
us. The 29th, we rode to Wareham in Nor-
folk, and had a comfortable baptizing season
in a Friend's family there. That evening we
went to Wisbeach in Cambridgeshire. About
seven miles of the road was, I think, one con-
25



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LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON,



tinued mire, so that our horse was in danger
of being set fast, but we were favoured to get
safely through it. We went the same evening
to Gedney^ in Lincolnshire, where our kind
friend Samuel Alexander left us. The 30tb
we were at meeting there, which was a season
of encouragement to the few who belonged to
it ; we also had a tendering cementing time,
before we left the place, and then rode to
Spalding. On the 1st of the twelfth month,
we were at a meeting there, pretty large, and
for a time very exercising ; but the covering
of Ancient Goodness gradually spread over us,
and it was an encouraging time, as well as a
close one. On the 2nd and dd, we were riding
to Broughton, and the meeting the next day
was small, owing to the inclemency of the
weather : it was silent and deeply exercising ;
but an opportunity which we had in a family,
tended much to the relief of our minds, and I
believe to the comfort of some, whom we left
under the precious feeling of the Father's love.
That afternoon we rode to Newark in Not-
tinghamshire, eight miles, the weather being
very cold and snowy, and the next day, over
the forest, to Mansfield. The snow was so
deep, that we had much difficulty in getting
along; but through the goodness of our gra-
cious Helper, we came safely. The 6th, we
were at a meeting at Mansfield, I trust to sat-
isfaction, and afterwards rode to Chesterfield.
We had a meeting there on the 9th, comfort-
able and refreshing to our spirits, and I hope
to others.

<«The 10th we went to Sheffield, and the
next day entered on the close and laborious
service of visiting families. We had above
one hundred sittings and casual opportunities.
The number was increased by extending the
visit to those that were disunited, and to such
as attended meetings, though not joined in
membership with the Society. I think we
might thankfully acknowledge that gracious
Goodness afforded help from day to day, and
covered our spirits with his gathering love ;
so that when close things were spoken, they
did not seem to be spurned at.

" We closed the service on the 9th of the
first month, 1792, and left Sheffield the 11th,
in near unity, I believe, with the truly living
ampng them. On the 12th, we reached Stock-
port in Cheshire, and the meeting there was a
baptizing season. The 15th we attended a
nrieeting at Newton, which is a small one, on
the forest, and in a very cold exposed situa-
tion, and no house near. Our minds were
dipped into sympathy with the few Friends
belonging to it. May such as are differently
situated prize their privileges, and not neglect
the attendance of meetings through small mat-
ters, or slight indisposition. From thence we



went to Sutton, where the meeting was rather
small, but owned by the Master by the extend-
ings of holy help, in order to strengthen the
little that remains that is almost ready to die.
Next day was a meeting at Frandley, pretty
large, a low and wading time, but I hope not
without profit to some present. After meeting
we went to Warrington, in Lancashire, and
on the 17th, attended a marriage. In the af-
ternoon we had a favoured opportunity, in
which a precious visitation was renewed to
divers present. The next day we had a meet-
ing with Friends, a time of favour, and of ten-
der visitation to backsliders. On the 19th, was
a meeting at Ashton, a time of deep wading,
but it ended under the feeling of life ,* and on
the 20th, one at Langton, I hope to profit.
The 21st, we were at a meeting at Preston,
deeply exercising ; but some select opportuni-
ties were to satisfaction. The 22nd we went
to Lancaster, and rested a few days at my
dear cousin Sarah Dilworth's, with whom and
her daughter, we were refreshed with the de-
scendings of celestial dew, from Him who re-
gards the dust of Zion, and satisfies her poor
with bread. We also attended the week-day
meeting, which was exercising, there being
but few deeply travailing baptized minds, but
many revolters who are laying the reins as on
the neck, and going whither they list, and
others in a lukewarm state ; so that when Je-
rusalem is searched as with candles, what
must be the portion of these?

«* From Lancaster we went to Kendal, my
mind being under close baptism, having long
had a prospect of again visiting families there;
and this appeared to be the right time. With
the unity of Friends there, we entered on that
weighty service, and though deep wading and
frequent baptisms were our portion, yet, we
had thankfully to experience the arm of sure
help to be near for our support, and to supply
for the service of each day. To Him praise
and thanksgiving belong, now and for ever I
Thus, through the renewings of holy help, we
were enabled to go through the service, under
the covering of that love which seeketh to
save, and also to bring back those that are
gone astray. I think we had about ninety
sittings; and parted with the liviilg among
them, under the. sweet feeling of that unity,
aptly compared to the ointment poured on the
head of Aaron, that ran down the beard and
to the skirts of the garment. There is a pre-
cious remnant of the living upright hearted in
that place, and they have a rooarnful allot-
ment. From Kendal, we went to Yelland,
Wray and Settle, and were at first-day meet-
ing at the last named place. The prevalence
of a lukewarm spirit was painfully to be felt ;
but there is a remnant, who I trust are like



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UFE OF SARAH STEPHEN30N.







the lew in Sardia, whose garments were. un-
spotted. May the humble diffident minds be
strengthened. [We had now entered York-
shire] and proceeded from Settle to Airton,
and Skipton, where formerly lived that hon-
ourable man in his day, David Hall. We had
a searching time there ; but an invitation to
the Fountain of purification was given, aqd
some consolation to the poor travellers Zion-
ward, was handed forth. From Skipton, taking
one meeting by the way, we wept to Rawden ;
and had deep wading at the meeting on first-
day, but aAer a considerable time of starving
that thirst for vocal ministry which is painful
to rightly exercised ministers, Truth arose.
We went the same evening to dear Christiana
Hustler's, near Bradford, and rested two days,
as both of us were poorly in health. It was
comfortable being with Christiana and her
daughters ; and several Friends came to see
us, with whom we had some favoured oppor-
tunities. We afterwards took meetings in our
way to Chesterfield, and from that place pro-
ceeded pietty directly to the Quarterly Meet-
ing held at Birmingham. We also visited the
families in that place, from which I returned
home, and reached Melksham the ^dd of the
tenth month, 1792."



CHAPTER VIL



Two memorandunU'-^ntUs the Narih
Ackw&rth 9chool-^E$ther Thtke—Edinhurgh
- ^okn Wighamr^Qhugow^ Comwoody and
AUanddle — meetings in Durham and York"
shire— families at Whitby and Scarborough —
York Quarterly Meeting — Deborah Tovmsend
— families at Pickering and Hull, <J^. — a third
time at' Lancaster— famUies at Liverpool-—:
Esther Tuke near her close— families at
Mansjidd — Coalbrookdele — Ann Summerland
— extract <f a letter — visits families in some
Southern md Western counties-^a visit to part
of the Eaatem and Southem eomUies—fmni-
Ues at NortBtehr^-HU Lynn and Yarmouth — at
CkHehetter.

We have no account of further travels dur-
ing the remainder of the year 1793, nor of
many in the following year ; except that our
friend was at the Welch Yearly Meeting, held
at Carmarthen ; also at the Essex Quarterly
Meeting held at Colchester, and at some others
on her return homewards.

The two following memorandums belong to
this year, 1793.

«< 2l8t of sixih month. Being at Wanbo-
lough, I awoke this morning with the sweet
impression of these words;. As a tender Shep-
herd, doth He care for his sheep.



'< Twelfth month. At a meeting on a pub-
lic occasion, my mind was much exercised,
travailing after a deep centre and lowly wait-
ing! to get where the counsel of God is open-
ed, either for ourselves, for the people, or for
both; but my exercise being, as I thought,
quite unavailing, my spirit sunk into dejec-
tion. But near the close of the meeting,
when mourning as a dove without its mate,
a language was uttered in the secret of my
soul, after this manner; Thou art precious
unto me. I have graven thee on the palms
of my hands. Thy walls are continually be-
fore me."

Early in the year 1794, she again obtained
a certificate for visiting the North; which jour-
ney may be related with small variation in her
own words.

" The 15th of the third month, I set out for
the North, in company with my dear friend
Mary Jefterys, jun., of Melksham, intending
to be at the Half-year's Meeting in Scotland.
We left Melksham in the morning, after hav-
ing been favoured together with the sweet
over-shadowings of love, and after reverent
solemn supplication to the Father of all sure
mercies ; under which our spirits were united,
and an humble trust raised in the ever worthy
name of the all-saving Helper. We went by
way of Hampton, Nailsworth, &c., a Friend
of Melksham accompanying us as far as Wor-
cester. The 16th, we attended a meeting
there, which was a season owned by the Mas-
ter. In the afternoon paid a comfortable sat-
isfactory visit to George Becket and his wi(e«
He was confined by illness. In this opportur
nity, we were favoured to drink together of
the brook by the way, which truly refreshes
the poor weary travellers. The next day we
went to Stourbridge, and the 20th were at
meeting there, in which my mind was led
into searching labour, but also in gathering
love; and at the close, solemn supplication
arose. The same afternoon we rode to Dud-
ley. Next day, we were at a meeting there,
in which gracious help was administered, and
some close labour extended under the ten-
der covering of love, and the honest-heart-
ed were encouraged, humbly to persevere.
At the close, the covering of the spirit of
solemn supplication was felt, under which
prayer was put up to the blessed Preserver
of men.

" We proceeded to Birmingham, Tamworth,
Chesterfield, Sheffield, Warnsworth, Thorn,
and Doncaster, having one or more meetines
at each place ; and I was favoured with help
to discharge my duty. At Tamworth, we
visited the few Friends in their families. The
4th of the fourth month, we reached Ack-
worth, and staid there some days, attending



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LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



the Rieetiogs on first-day^ and the week-day
meeting ; and I felt my mind drawn to have
separate sittings with different parts of the
family. Some of them were to sweet satis-
faction, particularly that in the girls' school,
where was a general tenderness. Oh ! there
are some, yea, many sweet children! May
they be preserved, is the fervent desire of my
spirit ! We also went to the Monthly Meeting
at Pontefract, in which my mind was much
exercised in deep travail, and enabled to la-
bour in a very close manner ; but under that
covering that desires all may be gathered,
and the dead in spirit raised from their graVes
of earthly mindedness, before the solemn lan-
guage be uttered, Remove the candlesticks out
of their places. For this, my soul prays.
'My spirit felt easy in having faithfully warned
them.

" We then went to York, and were kindly
received by dear Esther Tuke and her family.
We attended the two meetings there, on first-
day, and in the evening had a select sitting
with the scholars [of the girls' school] in
which Esther appeared sweetly in testimony.
From York we went to Thirsk, Stockton and
Newcastle. After we had been at meeting
there, being accompanied by two Friends of
that town, we proceeded for Scotland.

" The 22nd of the fourth month, we got to
Kelso, and had a meeting there, owned by the
Master; and the 25th, reached Edinburgh.
In the evening the meeting of ministers and
elders was held, and the next day, the ad-
journed Monthly Meeting. On the following
day, being first-day, were two pretty large
public meetings, both owned of the Master ;
and many of the inhabitants came in. In the
morning I was engaged both in testimony and
supplication; and in the afternoon in testi-
mony. John Wigham was there, and en-
gaged in pnblic labour in both meetings. He
was preparing to go on a religious visit to
America ; and under this awful prospect, my
mind was led into near sympathy with him.
<' On the 28th, was the Half-year's Meet-
ing : first one for worship, then one for busi-
ness, and in the evening the meeting for min-
isters and elders, all in degree owned. We
had also, after supper, a heart tendering op-
portunity with the Friends out of the North,
to whom I felt, or at least to some of them,
the flowings of Gospel love, sweetly cement-
ing our spirits. We afterwards sat with the
difierent fhmilies belonging to Edinburgh meet-
ing, and were also at their week-day meeting,
and the 2nd of the fifth month, set out for
Glasgow. We arrived there the next day, in
the afternoon, and the rude rabble followed
our chaise, as we rode along the streets, be-



having very unhandsomely, of which our sin-
gular appearance might be the occasion.

*'The 4th we had a meeting with a few
who are in part convinced, and some other
persons. It was a season owned by the Mas-
ter with his good presence, so that we had
cause afresh to bless and praise His holy
name. The 7th, we reached Carlisle, one
hundred miles from Glasgow, and the meet-
ing there next day was a' close searching
time, but I felt best help to enable me to dis-
charge what appeared my duty, and was
peaceful. The 9th, we set out for Cornwood
and stopped at Haltwhistle to dine, where a
Friend met us, and led our horse in such
roads, as seemed almost impassable for a
chaise, on account of bogs ; but we were fa-
voured to get safely to Thomas Wigham's
that evening. The next day we rest^, and
the following day, being first-day, were at
meeting, a time in which I believe many
felt something of the power of Truth. The
12th, we went to Allandale, and though the
distance is but twelve miles,' we were four
hours or more in going. The road was so
very bad two miles of the way that we rode
in Thomas Wigham's cart. One Friend led
the horse, and another walked by our side,
and often held the cart, to prevent us from
being overturned ; but the day was fine, and
my mind peaceful, so that I have seldom had
a more comfortable ride. The 13th, we had
a meeting at Allandale, in which difierent
states were opened and spoken to, I believe
under the power of Truth, as it was a favour-
ed season. The 14th, we went to Newcastle,
and the 15th was the week-day meeting, a
season of sweet refreshment, I believe, to the
humble travellers, tending to unite the spirits
of some of us. In the afternoon we rode to
Durham ; at which place we had a meeting,
exercising and very laborious, among a few
who are robbed and spoiled. We went the
same day to Darlington, and on the 18th,
being first-day, were at the meeting there,
in which the gathering love of the Great Shep-
herd was, I believe, sensibly perceived by
many. On the 20th, was the Monthly Meet-
ing, which we attended, a low wading season.
On the 21st, we had a favoured meeting at
Yarm, and in the afternoon went to Aytop,
where the next day we had a meeting, in
which my mind was much enlarged, I trust,
under right authority* The 28d, we went to
Whitby, where on ftrst-day, I went to meet-
ing under a weighty exercise, having long had
a prospect of visiting the femilles of Friends ;
and sitting under deep baptism, after a time I
felt it my place to stand up, and was engaged
in testimony ; in the course of which I had to



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LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



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inforni Friends of my prospect of visiting
femilies. When we returned from meeting,
I received a letter giving an account of the
death of a dearly heloved child, my cou-
sin, Edward Jeiferys, jun., whom I had cared
for as a child of my own. This infor-
mation deeply afiected my natural feelingSi
but, under the conflict, a sweetness not to be
(blly expressed covered my mind, with a lan-
guage as though uttered by him, Weep not for
me, for I am glorified in heaven. Thus my
spirit was bowed in thankfulness, with tears of
humble rejoicing. My mind was so strength-
ened, that I went to meeting in the afternoon,
and in the evening entered on the arduous
service of visiting families, through the con-
descending goodness of Him who helpeth with
bis bless^ Spirit to tread as on scorpions,
giving a degree of that harmless nature of the
dove which makes way amongst high and op-
posing spirits, and by which, at least for the
present, some were brought down. We also
met with some who, like scattered sheep,
were very insensible of their loss r but these
were invited home to the true Shepherd's fold.
We also met with a small mournful remnant,
who I fear may weaken themselves by un-
profitable bemoaning. We had nearly se-
venty sittings, besides attending first-day and
week-day meetings. It was a deeply exercis-
ing engagement ; but through adorable kind-
ness, we were favoured to close peacefully,
and took leave of them at the last meeting
under tbe renewed eztendings of gathering
love*

" We next went to Scarborough, where we
were engaged in the like arduous service.
When we had gone about half through the
visit, the Quarterly Meeting at York came on,
and we attended it. It was very large, and
measurably owned by the Master ,* but the ex-
ercise and depression of my poor spirit was
not small, though I was helped to relieve my-
self by uttering what seemed my duty to de-
liver. Dear ^ther Tuke, a mother in Israel,
was afiectionately kind.

<« At this Quarterly Meeting were Deborah
Townsend of London, and her companion
Mercy Ransom of Hitchin, in their way to
Scotland. Dear Deborah's state of health
was such, that according to human proba-
bility, she was not likely again to see her
own habitation ; but her mind evinced a state
of rasignation and preparation for what her
good Master might see best, either life or
death. They travelled on, though with difii-
culty, as far as Edinburgh, and there Debo
rah peacefully closed the scene of life.

««When the Quarterly Meeting was over,
we returned to Scarborough, to finish the
family visit there, in the course of which we



had some tendering opportunities with divers
who attended our meetings, though not joined
to the Society ; and those who were so, but
whose dwellings were not within the precious
enclosure, were called and invited no longer
to remain without it, but to return with speed,
whilst the day of merciful visitation was ex-
tended, before the door was shut. There was
also a travailing remnant, which was, I trust,
a little strengthened ; and we parted under the
feeling of the precious love of Him, from
whom all good cometh, and to whom belong-
eth blessing and honour, salvation and praise;
but from the servants the acknowledgment re>
mains to be due, *We are unprofitable ser-
vants, we have done that which it was our
duty to do.'

^* We visited the few families belonging to
Pickering, about fiflteen, and also attended
their Monthly Meeting, and then went to
Bridlington, and sat with the few there; also
attended the meeting on first-day. Some so-
ber neighbours came in, whose minds seemed
in a seeking state, and who were, I believe,
glad of the opportunity. Surely the Lord's
table will be filled, and the descendants of the
faithful shut out, if they turn not in time to
Him, who hath so loudly called, < Turn ye,
turn ye, why will ye die, O house of Israel V
From Pickering we went to Beverly; some
miles of the way on the sand, close by the
sea. As the weather was fine, and I had the
feeling of that peace which is an evidence of
our being in the way we should go, it made
the ride pleasant. We had a meeting at Bev-
erly the next day, exercising and laborious.
Thence we went to Hull, where being joined
by Christiana Hustler, we entered pretty di-
rectly on the arduous service of visiting fami-
lies; and though the baptisms were many,
and the labour deep, yet merciful help was
graciously near, so that I trust some minds
were benefitted. We finished the engagement
on a sixth-day evening, had an appointed
meeting the next day for all the visited, and
in the afternoon went to Cave. We were at
the meeting there on first-day, in which very
close doctrine was delivered, fbr the arousing
of the lukewarm careless professors, to awake
lest they sleep the sleep of death. After this
we parted with Christiana Hustler, and went
to York, were at the week-day meeting, a sea-
son owned by the Master, and the next day
went to Selby. M. Anderson of Kelso, who
was at York, went with us, also Elizabeth
Tuke. Their company was pleasant, and the
meeting at Selby favoured with the descend-
ings of heavenly good. The next day we
went to Leeds, and on first-day attended both
the meetings there. A little strength was
given to throw off my burthen, and to leave



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WFB OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



it with them. The next meeting was Skiptoo«
in which was deep wading and close labour ;
but Truth arose, and I trust some minds were
strengthened ; and to others, their states opened
and the way set forth how and where to apply
for saving help: also the danger of delay.
After meeting we went to Settle, and had a
meeting appointed there, in which strength
was given to labour, I hope faithfully. We
also had some more private opportunities to a
good degree of satisfaction. We went to Hen-
tham on a seventh-day, and on first-day were
at meeting there, a close searching time, but
favoured. In the afternoon we went to Lan-
caster, under the prospect of the arduous ser-
vice of visiting the families of Friends there,
which was performed ; and Oh, the deep bap-
tisms, through which my soul passed while so
engaged, the Master only knoweth. We had
upwards of ninety sittings, besides attending
their first-day and week-day meetings. There
are many in this place, who have * waxed fat
and kicked,' and forsaken the Rock of their
salvation; unto whom the ofl^rs of mercy
were afresh extended, on the terms of true
repentance. There are a few who see the
disordered state of things, but sink under dis
couragement. May He who was with little
David enable them to put on strength in bis
eternal name, to search and cleanse the camp.
*' Having, I trust, been enabled to divide
the word aright, we left Lancaster peaceful,
and went to Preston. We had a meeting
with the few Friends there. The spring of
life seemed low, though I believe there is a
little exercised remnant. From Preston we
went to Liverpool, with a prospect of engaging
in the service of visiting families; and the



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 43 of 104)