Copyright
William Evans.

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

. (page 46 of 104)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 46 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


had a meeting in the cabin. The captain,
his wife and sisters, also the pilot and some
of the steerage passengers sat with us. It
was a season that I trust was owned by Him
whose ways are ways of wonder. On se-
cond-day, the Idth, in the afternoon, we went
on shore again, but it was with difficulty that
I got to our kind friend's house, feeling much
bodily weakness; but there I was tenderly
nursed. The stormy weather had occasioned
our friends at Bristol to be very uneasy about
us. On their being informed that we were on
shore, my dear sister with divers others of our
afiectionate friends soon came to see us ; and
I believe, with us were reverently thankful to
the great Preserver of men. It was a favour-
able circumstance to me that the wind con-
tinued unfair for several days, for in that time
I recruited considerably; and on sixth-day,
the 17th, we went on board, and sailed about
eleven o'clock in the morning ; passing seve-
ral vessels of different descriptions. The 18th,
towards evening, we cast anchor in sight of
Ilfracombe, Devonshire, and lay by a few
hours waiting for the tide. The next day
being come to Lundy island, the pilot left us
early in the morning ; and this day we lost
sight of English ground. On the 23d having
had a brisk wind since the 19th, and part of
the time pretty much aft, we had got forward



Digitized by



Google



208



LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



upwards of six hundred miles. The next day
the wind was right ahead ; and the 25th a
brisk gale, with lightning and a pretty heavy
storm in the morning. In the afternoon a
vessel hailed ours by a gun, and soon made
up to us, put out the boat, and sent an officer
on board to examine the captain. But he
soon returned as we were not a prize for this
ship, which was a ship of the line, called the
St. Alban's from Nova Scotia, bound for Ply-
mouth or Portsmouth, and convoying two
ships laden with masts.

" 1st of the eighth month. For several days
many of the passengers have been very sick,
in part from the great motion of the vessel,
particularly one night, which was almost tem*
pestuous. The 10th we got nearly, or quite
to the grand banks of Newfoundland ; and
the next day a boat from our vessel went to a
fishing schooner that lay pretty near, from
which we had a plentiful supply of cod-fish ;
and besides these our men caught many large
ones. The 12th the sailors saw a log float-
ing which they took in tow. A great number
of small fish soon followed it, some of which
were taken, and proved very good. The log
was nearly covered with barnacles, which I
believe, attracted the small fish. The 13th,
we were in fifly-four fathoms water, and the
14th got off the banks of Newfoundland, the
weather being much warmer. On first-day,
the 23d, the wind was quite ahead. After we
were gone to bed, the mate called up the cap-
tain, apprehending danger. It proved to be a
sea-race. There was also thunder, lightning
and heavy rain for some time, so that we had
a disturbed night. The next day the wind
continued ahead, and we came to soundings
in sixty fathoms water, near George's bank.
On the 25th, a fine morning and a fair wind,
and we went seven knots an hour. In the af-
ternoon the wind was rough, and there was a
swell of the sea, so that it was with difficulty
we could keep our seats ; but it became stiller
by bed-time.

'' The 27th of the eighth month ; we shall
have been on board six weeks to-morrow, and
I apprehend we are now about two hundred
miles from New York. The passage thus
far has on the whole been favourable, though
not without storms of thunder, lightning and
rain, with high and squally winds, but not of
long continuance. Indeed the language may
justly be adopted, < Great and marvellous are
thy works, Lord God Almighty. Just and
true are thy ways, thou King of saints.'

" To relate all I have passed through from
various causes, would take much time and
paper, and I do not feel much inclination to
attempt it. Let it lie buried in the deep re-
of my heart until called for, for the



benefit of poor tried travellers, or to have re-
course to, for my own instruction, benefit and
encouragement. And may I be qualified to
say, * I know that my Redeemer liveth,' being
thereby enabled to drink the future bitter cups
that may be assigned, with increasing submis-
sion and willingness; that so the reward of
the willing servant may be mercifully granted
to me, one of the weaklings of the flock.
When I have been led to look back, and to
remember the unity and sympathy, which my
dear friends expressed, it has caused me great-
ly to admire, and being permitted to feel some-
thing of a sweetly cementing fellowship of
spirit, since enclosed in this floating house,
may I be so preserved, and enabled so to
move, that my spirit may be permitted to
unite with the Lord's humble tribulated faith-
ful servants, in the land to which I am bound;
that no reflection may be cast on those who
have certified for me, nor on those who pub-
licly or privately expressed their unity and
tender sympathy ; but above all, that the
blessed cause may have no shade brought on
it through me.

'' About five o'clock in the afternoon, the
28th, the captain espied land, which proved
to be Long Island. It was seen pretty clearly ;
but the wind being quite ahead, we could not
get forward: a light squall in the evening.
On the 30th, the wind was fair, but we lost
sight of land for awhile. In the evening a
pilot came on board, and informed us that
New York is healthy. We lay at anchor
that night, and next day nnoved early in the
morning, the weather rough, with thunder,
lightning and rain. In the afternoon, we were
favoured to land safely, and were kindly re-
ceived at Robert Bowne's, who came with a
boat, and conducted us from the vessel to his
house. My mind with my dear companions*
were, I believe, deeply humbled with acknow-
ledgements to the God of all grace, for the
favour of being brought safely to land.

*' On our arrival at New York, or a day or
two afterwards, the weather became extremely
hot, which, with the musquittoes, after being
much exhausted with sickness at sea and con*
finement on ship-board, was very trying : so
that a little rest in the country was highly
needful, and proved salutary. After this we
went on the Main, and visited five meetings ;
then passing again through New York to
Long Island, we visited meetings there. After
this we returned to the city, and I laid before



"'Besides her companion, Mary Jefierys, there
went in the ssnie slup Samuel Smith, of Philadel-
phia, a ministering friend, returning firam a reli-
gious visit to Fri^ds in Ireland and some parts of



Digitized by



Google



LIPB OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



809



the members of the meeting of ministers and
elders, a concern to visit the families ,* with
which they concurred. The yellow fever
having broken out, it was an engagement in-
creasingly solemn, yet feeling it right to be*
gin, and many of the memlwrs being in the
country, we visited divers of those families,
as it was not thought prudent for us to be
much in the city ; and I trust and believe it
was in the right time ; a season when the rod
seemed to be awfully held over the city ; and
when the gracious gathering arm of Omnipo-
tence was extended, for the help of those who
were willing to be gathered.

"The Quarterly Meeting to be held on
Long Island coming on, it seemed right to
attend it ; so we crossed the East river at a
ferry called Hurlgate, and rode to Flushing
where it was held ; the meeting of ministers
and elders on the 21st of the tenth month, was
a season of deep exercise, but owned by the
Master. That day I was sixty-three years of
age. On the 22nd, the men and women sat
together for about an hour, during which a
good degree of solemnity was felt to spread ;
then separating, each part went to its busi-
ness. It was a time of deep exercise to me.
I was led into very close, but affectionate la-
bour ; and I humbly hope the meeting ended
to satisfaction. On the 23d was a large pub-
lic meeting, in which my spirit was deeply
baptized, and ader sitting about one hour in
silence, which to me was solemn and awful, I
felt it my place to stand up, to deliver matter
as it might open, much of which was very
close and searching; but a stream of comfort
and encouragement flowed to the exercised
travailers, and of this description there are on
this island, unto whom my deeply exercised
soul was united. On the 25th we went to
Westbury, and after meeting there, the next
day to Newtown. The 27th, we again crossed
the ferry and went to Mamaroneck, about
twenty-three miles, and next day to the meet-
ing of ministers and elders at Purchase, which
was a low exercising time. On the day fol-
lowing was the meeting for business, and
while the men and women sat together, I was
closely engaged: but gracious help was af-
forded, under the covering of love, to deal
plainly. There was also a public meeting,
in which I was largely exercised. I hum-
bly trust, life was felt in a good degree over
the meeting. In the aAemoon we rode to
Mamaroneck, and the 30th to Harlem.

'^Though deep baptisms and close exercise
have been my daily portion, yet I have cause
for reverent thankfulness, in having been
mercifully helped thus far; and I humbly
hope the cause of Truth has not sufiered by

roe."
Vol. IV.— No. 6.



Here ended her tnemorandums ; but in a
letter, dated near Rahway, the 28th and dOth
of the first month, 1802, she mentions the
accomplishment of the family visit at New
York, nearly as follows :

"Though my mind was often low, yet mer-
ciful Goodness was underneath, so that through
the renewing of daily help, that arduous ser-
vice at New York was finished under the feel-
ing of peaceful serenity. We had about two
hundred and eighty sittings, besides attending
meetings, and other opportunities of religious
service: I was much spent, and my poor shat«
tered frame wanted to be recruited by a little
rest. But New York did not seem the place
for it, though the kind Friends at whose house
we lodged, manifested, if it could be, increas*
ing sympathy and love. Feeling easy to leave
the city, my desire was strong to be moving
forward, and as the roads at that tim^ were
bad, we went, on the 2dd of the first month, on
board a small vessel, to Elizabeth Town Point,
in Jersey. After taking refreshment there,
we went in a wagon provided for us to Rah*
way; and the next day, being first-day, at-
tended the two meetings there. Second-day
forenoon was spent in visiting a school and
some families. In the afternoon we came
here, and I was taken so unwell, that I could
hold up no longer, but soon got to bed, my
head being in violent pain, with great oppres-
sion on my chest, attended with spasms. After
being prevailed on to take some medicine, I
was somewhat relieved of the pain in my
head ; and if I continue mending I hope we
may set ofiT in a few days for Philadelphia,
without taking many meetings by the way, as
the roads are yet very bad."

The 31st, being better, though yet very
weak, she proceeded accordingly, attending
by the way, the meetings of Plainfield, Sto-
nybrook, Trenton and Bristol, in all of which
she was strengthened to labour, under the in-
fluence of that pure love which seasoned her
communications and evidently made way for,
them, to the edification or comfort of others,
and to the peace of her mind. The 8th of the
second month, she went to Frankford, where,
being more unwell, and having a rash out,
and the weather being cold, she did not attend
the week-day meeting; but in the afternoon
being met by her dear friend Sarah Harrison,
whom she had known in England, when on
a religious visit there, and by some other
Friends from Philadelphia, she was desirous
of returning with them the same evening as
the distance was easy.

After arriving at Thomas Harrison's, where

she naet with a very cordial reception, several

Friends of the city called to speak to her. To

one who asked her how she did, she replied,

27



Digitized by



Google



810



LIFE OP SARAH STEPHENSON-



*< She was but poorly ;'' and added, rather in
a pleasant manner, << Will ye give me about
six feet of ground 7 I don't know but I am
come to lay down my poor body amongst
you." Sarah Harrison, as well as others,
was affectionately desirous of her taking rest,
which appeared needful ; but after being nursed
for a few days, she went to meeting, and for
several weeks attended the meetings in the
city generally, as they came in course. The
three Mfonthly Meetings there happened about
that time, in which she produced her certifi-
cates, and had some tendering opportunities,
which, as she aflerwards remarked, were re-
lieving to her mind.* But she still contin-
ued languid ; yet she imparted to Friends a
view which she had of visiting the families
belonging to Pine Street meeting. This was
acceptable information, and cordially received;
but a desire was expressed by some, that there
might not be a pressing forward beyond her
strength. The engagement was accordingly
entered upon the 9th of the third month ; but
her weakness was such, that threevisits in the
day were more than she was equal to without
being much fatigued. She was therefore again
obliged to submit to lie by to be nursed ; but
she said, that '* making of the attempt had af-
forded her satisfaction, whether she lived to
move further in it or not."

Afl^r awhile, as her strength did not in-
crease, nor her complaints lessen, she was ad-
vised to go into the country for change of air;
so she went to the house of a kind Friend at
Germantown, where she continued nearly two
weeks and once attended the meeting; but for
the most part kept her room. She thought
the air salutary at first; but not finding
any material benefit, she returned to the city,
and went to the house of a Friend within
the district where she had begun her family
visit: her increased weakness was apparent
by her not bearing the ride back, which was
about seven miles, without much more fatigue
than she experienced in going. She went soon
to her chajnber, and afler the 4th of the fourth
month, which was first-day, she came down
stairs but once. On that day, she was desir-
ous of attending Pine Street meeting, which



* About this time twelve or more Indians, com-
ing to Philadelphia on business, had a conference
with Friends; to whom they applied for help or
information. At this conference Sarah Stephen-
son was present, and vms engaged to address them
in a feelinff suitable manner, ^er address being
interpretea to them, they expressed in their way,
much satisfiiction and approbation. They were
told by Nicholas Wain, firom whence she came,
and on what account she had crossed the mighty
waters. At parting, they appeared grave and solid,
and were earnest to shake hands with her.



she did ; but was then in so weak a state that
her being there was matter of surprise to
some. To a Friend who was discouraging
the attempt, fearing the fatigue would be too
much for her, she said with great emphasis,
'* I love to go to meeting ! I love to go to meet-
ing:"* and she remark^ that ''she had some-
times surprised her friends at home by going
from her chamber to meeting when very poor-
ly, and that at times she thought she felt less
pain and weakness of body there than at
home;" and added, ''that those who used
their utmost endeavours thus to meet with
their friends, would, she believed, have satis-
faction in looking back on it, when deprived
of that privilege.

From this day, she was wholly confined to
her room, and the 9th she took to her bed,
only leaving it in order to have it made, for
several days. Aflerwards she seemed rather
better again, and sat up a considerable time
in the middle of the day ; but she generally
had very disturbed nights, being troubled with
cough and a restlessness from fever. She
could bear but little company, stillness afford-
ing her complaints more alleviation than the
kindness of Friends in any other way could
afford ; and therefore she saw but few. But
Mehetabel Jenkins, who, as has been related,
had known her in England, being in the city
on religious service, and desirous to see her,
paid her an acceptable visit. On the 12th,
sitting by her bedside, afler a time of silence,
she sweetly addressed her, in testimony of her
belief that the present dispensation was of the
Lord, who does all for the best ; though his
workings were sometimes in a way past our
finding out, yet always right ; and that what-
ever nMght be the termination of her bodily
indisposition, she believed all would be well
with her, and that there was nothing in her
way ; but that He whom she had long loved,
and faithfully folk>wed would be with her to
the end ; that she felt great sweetness in sit-
ting by her, and had an apprehension that she
was near being gathered to the sabbath of rest.
With more in a comfortable way, bidding her
dearly farewell. At that time, Sarah said
very little; but a few days afler, referring
to the visit, she said, "Dear Mehetabel,
if her view should be verified, it would be a
great favour to me. I was very low in body,
and so weak at that time, that it seemed as
though I could hardly lifl up my hand or
move. I did not choose to say so then ; but it
did feel to me that there was nothing in the



* This is a signal and encouraging testimony,
from the mouth of one, whose frequent allotment
in meetings had been deep travail, exercise and
baptism.



Digitized by



Google



LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



311



way." She also added, '<It aSbrds me do
pleasure, when any one speaks of my reco-
very being likely ; for through merciful kind-
ness, I humbly hope all would be well if I
was taken now ; and if I stay longer, it might
not be better : so that none should desire my
continuance in this state of being, subject to
conflict and trials, of which I have so long
endured a share; and even since being in this
city deep have been my baptisms, only fully
known to my own soul, and to Him who knows
for what cause they are my portion."

The 19th and 20th, she appeared rather
better, and sat up part of each day. She
said she understood the doctor thought her
better, but that she did not feel herself so.
She inquired whether any thought she in-
dulged too much, by thus lying by to be
nursed, and frequently acknowledged " what
a favour it was that her allotment at this
time was with such as were not only freely
disposed, but of ability, to render every com-
fortable accommodation, which her situation
required."

Early in the morning on the 21st, she said
she had been thinking much in the night of a
young man, for whom she had been religiously
concerned; and she desired to have some-
thing written, which she wished to be conveyed
to him ; but in general since her confinement,
exercise of mind on account of others, seem-
ed mostly taken from her; having, as she
observed, done what she could when in bet-
ter health, and now wished others might feel
for themselves.

The 22nd, a Friend proposing to read a let-
ter from one she knew and loved ; she asked
whether it was interesting. A part of it was
read; but as she appeared indifferent, the
Friend lefl off, lest it should fatigue her. On
this, she said, *' I seem to be got past these
things ;" and added afler a pause, " by say-
ing so, I mean I do not wish to have m^ at-
tention drawn out." The same day, m a
clear and weighty manner, she commissioned
a Friend with a salutation she felt to Friends
in her native land.

The 23d, about five o'clock in the morning,
she was seized with a hard cough, which con-
tinued» without much respite for nearly or
quite an hour, with a great discharge of heavy
phl^m, so that she seemed almost exhausted,
and it lefl symptoms which encouraged her
hope that her release from the conflicts of
time was near. About the middle of the day
she gave some directions respecting the dis-
posal of her clothes ; naming some who had
come under her notice, to whom she thought
little legacies might be acceptable and useful ;
her tender feeling for those in straitened cir-
cumstances, which was great, continuing to



the last. Her companion being much afl!ect-
ed with sorrow, Sarah took her by the hand,
and affectionately entreated her not to give
way to it ; saying, *' She did not know how it
might be. She might yet recover; but it
would be unkind to covet her continuance,
for whilst here, she expected to be a cripple,
the weakness of her limbs was so great, par-
ticularly her right side." She also remarked,
what a favour it was to her companion to be
lefl among so many friends, who would extend
their tender care, and that she believed she
would be supported and rewarded; desiring
that '* she would not grieve for her, since if
consistent with the will of her good Master, it
would be far better for her to be removed
then ; and that she had never expected or de*
sired to cross the water again." One day the
doctor proposing something to strengthen her
stomach, she said to him, with a smile on her
countenance, '' Doctor, I did not want thee to
strengthen me. When I look towards going,
it feels so pleasant, that it seems like a trial
to return."

The 24th, she said to one who was aflected
by observing her increasing weakness, '* Don't
be at all uneasy, I have been sweetly comfort-
ed by my good Master's presence." To a
Friend who remarked that her '^ bed had been
made in sickness ;" " Yes," said she, " won-
derfully so." Being then asked how she felt
respecting her recovery, she replied, " I have
no prospect of it. I believe I have finished
the work. There is nothing in the way. I
have no care, but on account of my dear
child." By this term she meant her com-
panion, and addressing her, she added, "But,
my dear, thou hadst nothing else to expect
when we left home." Something being pro-
posed for her to take, she said, " My friends
propose things which I sometimes comply
with ; but it seems precious to look towards a



Her companion having told her that she felt
quite satisfied in having come, and that she
thought it a favour to be with her at that time,
even if, by means of Sarah's removal, she
should be left thus far from her native land
and her friends there, Sarah seemed almost
overcome with joy; and said, *Now how glad
I am, how glad 1 am, that thou hast told me
this. It is enough, Oh, it is a great comfort
to me. Now 1 hope my good Master will
soon take me to rest; and thou wilt be
supported and rewarded. There is little
here but trials, disappointments and conflicts*
Now don't hold me, my dear." Then she
seemed as if she would soon sink away;
but was heard to say, in a low, but melo-
dious voice, "Glory, glory." Soon after
a Friend and his wife came in, whom she



Digitized by



Google



212



LIFE OF SARAH STEPHENSON.



much loved ; and she said, *< Dear Thomas,
may the bleaeiDg rest upon you. May the
blessing of the Lord rest upon you and your
house, as it did on the house of Obededom,
where the ark of the covenant rested. Fare-
well, dear Thomas, farewell."

One day a Friend asked her how she felt ; to
whom she replied, " I have been remarkably
quiet for some days past; I am sometimes
afraid too much so." The Friend returned,
The great Master declared, ** In my Father's
house are many mansions;" and expressed
her belief that if Sarah had not been prepared
to enter into one of these glorious mansions,
he would have made her sensible of it, and
would not permit her to lie in that quiet easy
state of ^ mind. With this remark Sarah
seemed satisfied. Her strength was much
decayed; and on the 26th of the fourth month,
which was second-day, her breathing was be-
come difficult and painful, and she felt great
oppression of body. *' This, said she, is wear-
ing work :" but nevertheless she lay very still,
as she had been enabled to do during the
whole of her illness; and several times de-
sired not to be disturbed. After a hard fit of
couffhing, with a discharge of phlegm, which ^
left her much spent, she said, " It will be right,
let it be which way it may ; and that is better
than all the world. It seems as if it must be
nearly over now : I have so little strength left."
A little after, she seemed to be uttering praises.
Baying, ^* How good, how good I" and appeared
like one engaged in sweet supplication. A
Friend asking her how she did, after a pause
she replied, <* I cannot say much : but my King
reigns." Afterwards, at three different times,



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 46 of 104)