William Evans.

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asking us many questions, and making re-
marks as he turned to difllerent parts of the
Apology, from which we found be was fully
convinced of Friends' principles. He had
been a colonel in the militia, but had resign-
ed his office, and was grieved that his sons, in
opposition to his advice, continued to muster.
We saw nothing like his being crazy, and
found that the priest's advice arose from his
fears that others might be led away from a de-
pendence on himself; and such was his influ-
ence, that he had persuaded the people to think
this poor man was in a state of mental aber-
ration, not fit to be discoursed with. Afler
spending about an hour with him much to my
satisfaction, we proceeded and lodged at the
house of Jared Bassett, attending their meet-
ing next day. Joshua Evans and Joseph Hoag
were also there; the former on his retuni
from a religious visit to Nova Scotia — be was
a meek and humble minded servant of Christ
After another meeting in the Baptist meet-
ing-house, we parted from our friends of this
place, who are much tried by the preaching of
a man, who had been a useful instrument in
gathering a number of people in these parts,
who go under the name of Friends, and are
frequently visited by them ; although but few
of them are members. Those who joined our
Society, did it in opposition to the advice of
their preacher, who was desirous they should
continue in a state of independence— ^declaim-
ing against Friends and their meetings for dis-
cipline. His meeting has thus beooaae divided
and scattered, and is now broken up ; those
who stood firm having removed to other parts,
where they could enjoy the oompaoj tii^

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Friends; and his own wife, notwithstanding
her attachment to her husband, has become a
member, and is much esteemed.

On our way to the Monthly Meeting, we
lodged at Montpelier, now the capital of the
state ; then there were but two or three small
bouses, besides the inn where we put up. As
we were about to mount our horses in the
morning, the inn-keeper told me there were a
few friendly people in the neighbourhood, not
members of our Society, who held a meeting,
and be believed would be very glad to see us.
I thought upon the subject, and feeling my
mind strongly turned toward them, concluded
to appoint a meeting in the house where they
usually met. Our proposal was heard with
gladness, and they exerted themselves to
spread the notice in difierent directions among
the new settlers, so that about the middle of
the day a large number assembled, and the
Master of our assemblies was graciously
pleased to bless the opportunity. Several
who were present soon afler joined the Socie-
ty, and a meeting was settled according to the
order of Friends, which has continued ever
since. Several came forth in the ministry,
and have been useful labourers in the good
cause. Our stay with them was short, as we
had a prospect of attending the Monthly Meet-
ing at Ferrisburgh, which we reached in sea-
son. Here I met my brother-in-law, Stephen
Keese, who with several men and women
Friends from Peru, had crossed Lake Cham-
plain in an open canoe to attend this Monthly
Meeting, to which ihey belong. We were re-
joiced to see each other, and mutually refresh-
ed in the meeting, through the kindness and
condescension of our dear Lord, who, for the
encouragement of his immediate followers,
and all who should believe in his Divine power
in after ages, declared " W here two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in
the midst of them.'' In these words he as-
suredly alluded to his Divine power or nature,
as the Immanuel, not to his personal appear-
ance in the flesh ; precious and comforting as
this was, when in the prepared body he went
up and down in the land of Judea, healing
the sick, and comforting the afflicted, and
doing his Father's will. By his Divine power
he comforted the mourners and bound up the
broken hearted, as well as alleviated their out-
ward sufferings in that day ; and by the same
living baptizing power, the faithful in all aAer
ages have been comforted and saved; for,
says he, " Lo, I am with you always, even
unto the end of the world 1"

I visited the settlements of Friends on the
eastern side of the lake, and then went over
to Grand Island, where we had a good meet-
ing with a few Friends and others who have

settled on that fertile spot ; and then, in com-
pany with a number of Friends from Ferris-
burgh and the island, we embarked in a canoe
about two o'clock, P. M., for Peru, on the
western side of the lake. The wind was
light, but it soon increased and blew hard,
which raised the waves so high, that when
our tottering bark descended into the trough,
we could not see the land. We however were
favoured to reach the shore at Perry's land-
ing before night; and being unable to hire
carriage or horse to convey us, a part of our
number set out to walk to the settlement
of Friends. We found it extremely difficult
to keep the road in the wilderness, the night
being dark and the stars obscured by clouds.
By the light of torches, made of the bark of
birch trees, we succeeded in making our way
until we got within a short distance of the
settlement, when our torches were burnt out|
and the inhabitants having generally gone to
bed, there was no light in any direction to
guide our steps. While consulting what to do
in this awkward situation, the noise of geese
convinced us that we were near the habita-
tions of men ; and one of our company hal-
looing, we were answered by a voice not far
off, and by calling and responding we made
our way through the wilderness to the house
of John Keese, senior, where we were kindly
received, and sheltered from the rain, which
soon began to fall. Next morning I walked
to Stephen Keese's, and met with my beloved
sister Ruth, his wife. Although they had
moved from a comfortable residence, and in
conformity with the custom of new settlers,
lived in a log house, yet they seemed to enjoy
their home pleasantly. We were truly glad
to see each other, and after having a meeting
at the house of John Keese, senior, we set out
with a view of getting back to Grand Island,
the same day. But on reaching the shore,
we had to relinquish the prospect, as the
waves were running exceedingly high. We
therefore walked to Plattsburg, where we
found accommodations for the night, and the
following day returned to the island, and
thence to Ferrisburgh, having but one meet-
ing on the way. From Ferrisburgh, I rode
home, it being in the fall of 1796. Frequently
in the course of my visit to these new settle-
ments, the recollection of my home and the dear
and tender connexions I had lefl there, greatly
affected my mind, and on one occasion, being
seated on a log in the woods, in a very pen-
sive mood, I took out my almanac and was
looking over the time I had been absent from
my family, thinking also how long it would
be ere I saw them, when my mind was im-
pressed with a belief, that I must be at home
on a certain day, which I marked in the book.

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The belief that 1 must not let that time pass
over, without reaching home, continued with
me, and I accordingly arrived there in season,
by which means I had the opportunity to see
my dear father, who was taken from us by
death in two days after. My bein^ at home
at that solemn time, was much to his satisfac-
tion, as well as my own, he beins very desir-
ous of seeing me before I arrived. I cannot
but believe, that the day was pointed out to
me by the same Divine finger, that pointed
out the way and time to proceed in the ardu-
ous journey ; and have great cause to admire
the care and kindness oi the heavenly Shep-
herd, to whom my heart was filled with thanks-
givings and praises. I greatly enjoyed the
company of my beloved wife and tender chil-
dren, for whose support I willingly entered
into my business, although bereaved of a pa-
rent who had been a counsellor to me in my
inexperienced days, and in maturer years an
encourager to dedication in the Lord's work.
When I reflected on the difliculties and trou-
ble he had in the latter part of his life, in con-
sequence of the situation of his temporal con-
cerns, it was a comfort to me that I had not
contributed thereto, but in conjunction with a
younger brother, had taken charge of his af-
fairs, by which he was released from the cares
of business, and enjoyed much satisfaction
and ease some years before he was removed
to a more permanent and unmixed state of
being, where the wicked cease from troubling
and the weary soul is for ever at rest. The
removal of my dear father was not more sen-
sibly felt by any one, than myself, in regard
to encouragement iu endeavouring to promote
the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ, as he
had been an example of meekness and dedi-
cation, and was frequently concerned both in
public and private, to stir up others to a faith-
ful and humble engagement for the support of
the testimonies that are to be maintained by
the members of the militant church. That,
pleasant as it was to me once more to engage
in domestic concerns, it was with desires that
I might at all times give the preference to
those of a religious nature, when the impres-
sions with which my mind was favoured from
a Divine source, pointed to such services,
either at home or at a distance from it.

With the approbation of my friends, I fre-
quently appointed meetings in the afternoon
of first-day at neighbouring meeting-houses,
school-houses and private dwellings; these
meetings were generally large, and through
the Lord's blessm^ on the labour, some were
constrained to jom in membership. Unto
Him who giveth the increase is all praise

In the fifth month, 1799, on first-day morn-

ing, in much tenderness of spirit, I parted
with my affectionate wife and dear children,
and set out to pay a religious visit to Friends
and others in some parts of the southern and
western states. Having no companion, I rode
along in a solitary state of mind toward Cnim
Elbow. On the way I stopped to take leave
of a Friend's family ; after doing which, the
Friend took me into another room and opened
a drawer which contained his money, and re-
quested me to take as much as I would, to
help bear my expenses. This I declined doing,
on which he took up a handful of pieces, and
urged me until I accepted them. We then
parted, but I soon felt uncomfortable, thinking
of the charge given by Christ to the apostles,
" Freely ye have received, freely give ;" and
I thought that, if through the grace freely be-
stowed upon me, I was engaged to preach the
Gospel, it would be no more consistent for roe
to make a gain of the Gospel, by receiving
^ifts which were the effect of the place I had
m the afiections of my friends, in consequence
of the gift dispensed to me and occupied to
their comfort and edification, than to make a
trade of preaching. Therefore, though I be-
lieved the Friend's motives were good and his
gift the result of true friendship, I returned
the money on the same day, with a due ac-
knowledgment of his kindness.

After attending meeting at Cram Elbow, I
crossed the Hudson river, and rode to Edward
Hallock's, father to my dear wife — who ac-
companied me to New York, taking me^ngs
on the way at Newburgh, Cornwall, Smith's
Clove, and one appointed at Tappan. My
mind was drawn in Gospel loVe toward the
inhabitants of some other places through which
we passed, but as the Yearly Meeting was at
hand, time did not admit of our stopping, yet
we were not without humble prayers to the
Lord of the harvest, that he would be pleased
to send forth more labourers into his vineyard.

The Annual Meeting proved a season of
Divine fiivour, much love and harmony antt-
ing the hearts of Friends, with desires for the
preservation of all in continued faithfulness in
our dififerent allotments. We had the help
and company of Gervas Johnson from Ire-
land, and of John Hoskins and others from
Philadelphia. In the evening, after die close
of the Yearly Meeting, a number of Friends
came to my lodgings to take leave of roe, with
some of whom we had a heart-tendering sea-
son, in solemn supplication to the G^ of
grace for protection and comfort, when far
separated from each other, and that through
the remaining days of our lives we might be
found grateful partakers of those mercies
which are new every morning, to the praise
of the Lord God and the Lamb.

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On the 1st of the sixth month, I parted
with my heloved wiie and other of my con-
nexions, and in company with John Hoskins,
Joshua Lord and another Friend from Jersey,
I rode to Benjamin Clark's, at Stony-brook.
The day following attended Mansfield meeting,
and the one held at Mount Holly in the after-
noon. John Hoskins parted from us after
Mansfield meeting. He was an elder in Isra-
el, of good report, and excelled perhaps by
none, in dedication to the cause of Truth and
righteousness. His company and encourage-
ment proved seasonable and strengthening to
me, who was but little experienced in the
work. Next day attended a Quarterly Meet-
ing at Evesham to good satisfaction, and
crossed the Delaware to Philadelphia. I at-
tended the meetings in the city as they came
in course, one at Germantown, in company
with Samuel Emleu, a father in Israel — vis-
ited some persons who were confined by sick-
ness, and became acquainted with a number
of Friends, by whose friendship and unity I
have profited, as a weary traveller does from
the refreshnoent of a brook by the way.

In attending the meetings in the city, my
mind was dipped into sympathy with some
who had been bereaved of their near relatives
during the late awful visitation by the yellow
(ever, and also with other Friends, who ap-
peared humbled under the dispensation and
the apprehension of the return of a similar
calamity. In the ability vouchsafed, I had to
condole with the afflicted, and also to encour-
age all to seek for Divine support, should a
renewal of the scourge be permitted, which I
believed could not be averted by human pru-
dence, when it pleased the sovereign Ruler of
heaven and earth to pour forth the bitter cup
of his just judgments.

On the 11th of the month I left the city,
accompanied by several Friends, and was at
a small meeting at Haverford, to good satis-
faction, being comforted in the belief, that
there were some among the younger class,
who were well inclined*

At Newtown meeting, the following day,
the doctrines of Truth were clearly opened
upon my mind, and strength afforded to bear
testimony to the peaceableness of the Mes-
siah's kingdom. The minds of the people
seemed to be in a ferment from the prospect
of war, and Friends were encouraged to keep
out of the political disputes of the times, the
tendency of which always is to inflame the
mind with evil passions, and to lead from un-
der the government of the Prince of peace.
In this excited state, the mind rather seeks re-
venge for supposed injuries, than cultivates a
disposition to forgive our enemies, and thus
individuals and nations are often introduced

Vol. IV.— No. 7.

into dreadful contentions and strife, more cruel
than even requiring an eye for an eye or a
tooth for a tooth, causing the innocent to suf-
fer with the guilty, and leaving mourning wi-
dows and fatherless children to suffer innu*
merable difficulties; — these, with a train of
dreadful evils not easily described, are far re-
moved from the benign spirit of the Gospel,
which breathes *^ Glory to God in the highest,
on earth peace, good will to men." Our
blessed Saviour says, '* If ye love me, keep
my commandments," and his command is,
" Love your enemies ; bless them that curse
you; do good to them that hate you; and
pray for them that despitefuily use you, and
persecute you." How widely different from
this is the fierce spirit of the warrior and the
duelist! Yet, these are sometimes found among
the high professors of Christianity. '*By their
fruits shall ye know them;"— the effects of
war evince, that the warrior is not a disciple
of the lowly humble Jesus,- who went about
doing good to men, and when suffering on the
cross, prayed for his persecutors in the mov-
ing language, " Father, forgive them, for they
know not what they do."

13th. Attended Willistown meeting, where
I was strengthened to labour by* the fresh
flowings of Gospel love. In the afternoon we
were at the recently established boarding-
school at West-town, and had a religious op-
portunity with the family and children ; and it
was cause of renewed thankfulness, that the
concern for the religious, guarded education
of the rising generation, is spreading among
Friends. The liberality of the promoters of
this and similar institutions, is to be com-
mended ; for here an asylum is found for the
fatherless and motherless, as well as for the
children of such. Friends as incline to send
their offspring where they are less exposed to
temptation, than when-placed under the tuition
of irreligious persons at mixed schools, where
the principal object in view often is, the cheap-
ness of the price at which a teacher can be
employed. I believe, as Friends continue this
religiojLis care for the guarded education of the
youth, a blessing will attend it.

The following day attended a Monthly
Meeting held at Bradford, where I found no
opportunity to engage in vocal service. We
dined at the house of Humphrey Russell, who,
I understood, had been a faithful servant and
labourer in the cause of his Lord and Master,
but is now drawing near his close, being near-
ly blind and very weak, but lively in spirit
and loving to his friends. From thence we
rode to Caspar Wistar's, on Brandy wine,
where I was instructed by the sweet, patient
disposition evinced by his son and daughter,
who were deprived of the use of their Umbs,

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so as to be helpless. Their mother was a
near relation of mine, and our meeting was
mutually pleasant* I felt renewed desires to
dedicate my strength to the Lord's work, who
bad blessed me with ability to travel in his
service, and given me a heart to feel with the
afflicted. Our next meetings were at Kennet
and New Garden ; the latter was held mostly
in silence, under the precious canopy of Di-
vine love, much to my comfort and encour-
agement, in the work in which I was engaged.
Afler dining at Jacob Lindley's, we attended
an appointed meeliug at London Grove, where
a large number of people collected, who,
through the condescending kindness of the
holy Head of the church, appeared to be se-
riously impressed under the testimony given
me to declare among them ; for which praises
ascended to the Lord on high, with a humble
petition ' for preservation in the Lamb's war-
fare, that the victory might be obtained.

Next day I was joined by my friend Joshua
Lord, of New Jersey, who had come to ac-
company me in my southern journey; and on
tbe day following had an appointed meeting
at Okesson, where I had to speak upon the
sorrowful fruits produced by a departure from
the love and unity which the religion of Jesus
Christ leads into; this being comparable to
the nature of the lamb, — while a departure
therefrom produces the fierceness of the lion ;
and that there were instances, even in our
favoured Society, where the chief seats were
occupied by those whose conduct did not
evince the meekness of the lamb. I had
also to exhort the youth, not to be discour-
aged, if such weaknesses did exist; but rather
to follow the example of Joshua, who yielded
not to the report of the evil spies, but called
upon the people to choose whom they would
serve ; saying, " as for me and my house, we
will serve the Lord." When the meeting
closed, a deep thoughtfulness respecting the
close searching labour that had fallen to my
lot, covered my mind, and I remained on my
sent while Friends withdrew, when an elderly
woman Friend came to me, and in a feeling
sympathizing manner said, "Don't be discou-
raged — I wish not to exalt the creature, but
great truths have been delivered this day — I
desire thy preservation." Another Friend,
who sympathized with me on account of the
close labour I had been engaged in, bid me be
faithful ; observing, that " I was rightly led, for
the wild boar of the forest had made ravages
in that place, and had set ministers and elders
at variance, much to the grief of Friends."

The meeting at Westgrove was a trying
one, in consequence of the close labour that
(ell to my lot; and afler it was over, I mourned
my situation, yet prayed for resignation to

whatever service might be assigned me. Next
day^at East Nottingham, I had an open time»
being enlarged in tender invitation to those
who were not members, to come buy wine
and milk, without money and without price.
The following day, at West Nottingham, I
had a word of encouragement to deliver to
some present, particularly to a woman, upon
whom my eye fixed, fully believing she was
called to make a vocal acknowl^gment of
the noerciful o^rs of a gracious God to fallen
man ; although I did not express myself in
such terms as to awaken the suspicions of the
audience. She was altogether a stranger to.
me, having never seen eadh other beforeh-
and believing that I had, according to the
ability given me, cleared my mind for the
present, I felt no disposition to speak to her,
as we passed each other; she, however, came
to the house where we dined, and being drawn
into silence, the same religious impressions
which I had in the meeting, were renewed
upon my mind ; and I had a more full oppor-
tunity, in a plain manner, to encourage her
to faithfulness. I understood, afler parting
with her, that she was of a high family in the
world's esteem, and had passed through trials
for joining the Society.

AAer attending meetings at Eastland and
Little Brittain, to good satisfaction, we crossed
the Susquehanna at Bald Eagle ferry, and
rode to William Cole's, at Deer creek. On
the way we saw a number of slaves at work,
whose dejected looks and otherwise miserable
appearance, made a deep impression on my
mind, and led to a train of reflections on the
injustice and cruelty of their oppressors, and
of tender sympathy with them in their hard
allotment. At Deer creek meeting, many
Gospel truths were delivered to a large and
mixed assembly, and humble prayers put up
to the Father of mercies, that the inhabitants
of the earth might be brought^ under his
righteous government, and thereby prepared
to comfort the afflicted, to clothe the naked
and to feed the hungry.

We rode to Fawn, and had a satis^ctory
meeting, in which I was engaged to open the
nature of true religion, of the true and false
ministry, and the necessity of ministers en-
deavouring to put in practice what they re-
commended to others, viz : justice, mercy and
humility. Returning to Deer creek, we at-
tended the Monthly Meeting, in which strength
was afforded to labour in plainness, to the re-
lief of my own mind, particularly with the
youth, whose appearance did not become the
children of Friends. My mind being clothed
with that love which leads to plain dealing,
without fear of giving offence, mixing encour-
agement with reproof, their better feelings

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were wrought upon through the power of the
Gospel, and love to me seemed to increase
while I was engaged in labour ; a tenderness
of spirit was also manifest ; and instead of
shyness aAer meeting, they seemed desirous
of being with me, and their company was
pleasant. A number of them rode to an ap-
pointed meeting, held at Bush river, with
whom and the family where we dined, we had
a solemn season of religious retirement, and
the dear children were encouraged to close in
with the invitations and drawings of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that so their talents might be
•dedicated to his blessed service — that love un-
feigned might abound among them, and the
blessings of heaven be their happy lot. I
parted from theh) with much nearness of af-
fectionate feeling, and attended a meeting at
Little Palls, at four o'clock in the aAernoon.

Next day were at Gun-powder Monthly
Meeting, and from thence rode into the city
of Baltimore. The morning meeting there
00 first-day was a season of favour, in which
great freedom in the ministry was felt by me.

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 56 of 104)