William Evans.

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

. (page 61 of 104)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 61 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

been injured thereby, as well as the morals of
those persons destroyed. She was generally
heard with solid attention and respect, although
the rude rabble several times attempted to raise
a riot and abuse her, as she was passing from
house to house ; yet they did her no violence,
and many listened attentively to the testimo-
nies borne in their hearing against the bane-
ful custom of tippling. After spending about
three weeks with Friends in and about Water-
ford, I proceeded to Clonmel, in the county of
Tipperary » and put up at the house of my kind

friends John and Sarah Grubb. I attended
their Monthly Meeting and meetings for wor-
ship, as they came in course, and had a very
satisfactory public meeting with the inhabit-
ants. From hence I went to Cork, and at-'
tended a first-day meeting; then to Youghall,
and was at the Monthly Meeting, and had a
large meeting with the town's-peopie in the
evening, which was satisfactory, and returned
to the Monthly Meeting of Corls, where John
Conran, who had been with me ^ since the.
Quarterly Meeting at Waterford, opened his
concern to visit the families of Friends in and
about the city, which was encouraged by the
meeting, and I informed Friends I had thoughts
of accompanying him to some of the families,
as I found my mind engaged and way opened.
Friends united with this prospect, and our
friend John Conran seemed much relieved, as
he had been under great discouragement.
Things appeared to be much out of order
amongst them, both from the minutes of the
meeting and what we witnessed in sitting
with them, so that the work looked truly ar-
duous. We entered immediately upon the
visit, and Friends generally received us with
freedom, and divers of the opportunities were
to mutual satisfaction ; but others, alas ! were
humbling seasons from the want of a religious
engagement amongst the visited. Too many
were contenting themselves with the name of
Friends, some negjecting their religious meet-
ings upon slight occasions, others conforming
to the world and the customs of the times, with
scarcely the appearance of a Friend, and a few
were in a spirit of bitterness toward their fellow
members; but through adorable mercy, we
were enabled in meekness to set the judgment
of Truth over opposing spirits, some of whom
appeared humbled. Often times a loving in-
vitation was extended to the youth, like the
flowing of the heavenly oil, and many were
much tendered thereby. Having the com-
fortable answer of peace in my mind, I was
willing to continue pretty much through the
visit, and was at about one hundred sittings ;
the engagement was an arduous one, begin-
ning early in the morning and being out late
in the evening, and the streets being very
damp with the almost daily rain, I took a
heavy cold, which much affected my head,
and obliged me to give up on the last day
and take some rest. Accompanied by a kind
friend, we went to Fermoy, where several
young Friends reside, with whom we had a
religious opportunity, and proceeded to Limer-
ick and attended their week-day and first-day
meetings. The one in the morning of first-
day was a favoured season, in which the tes-
timony of Truth flowed with unusual clear-
ness ; things new and old being presented to

Digitized by




my mind, as I stood upon my feet, with
strength to hand them forth to the people, to
my own humble admiration. I also visited
several aged and infirm Friends to satisfac-
tion, and had a large evening meeting. On
second-day I was taken unwell, and prevented
from setting out for Garryroane, as I had
proposed ; but in a few days was better.
During this time, the remembrance of my
beloved wife and family oAen made me
thoughtful, with humble desires that they
may be preserved through the vicissitudes of
time in the sweet enjoyment of Divine love,
which more than compensates for the loss of
the company of near connexions and friends —
makes hard things easy, and sweetens the
bitter cups. It is long since I heard from
them, and an anxiety sometimes rises in my
mind when contemplating my situation, far
separated from them, and the uncertainty of
life. This, however, is now sweetly and com-
fortably removed, by the arising of the lan-
guage, ** Good is thy will, O Lord!" under
which feeling, I commend my dearly beloved
family, with my own soul, to his holy keep-
ing, fervently praying that we may not forget
his mercies, which have been plenteously be-
stowed upon us, though at times we have been
tried with outward besetments, and have had
to endure losses and crosses in the business
of this world ; yet not so, but that we have
had many comforts, even in the things of this
life, which others have not enjoyed. My dear
wife has been a true help-meet to me, both in
religious engagements and in the toils and
cares of this life, and my children affection-
ate and kind. Lord, what shall I render unto
thee for all thy mercies 1 Grant that I may
be preserved grateful therefor, and that my
dear wife and children may experience thy
watchful providence extended over them, to
preserve them under thy keeping and in the
blessed counsel of thy holy Spirit. Amen.

From Limerick I went to Garryroane, and
was twice with Friends at their meeting.
Whilst in this place, as well as at other times,
I felt a tender sympathy with my dear friends,
who are often tried by the depredations of un-
principled men, who do not regard the laws
of their country nor the Divine law, but fre-
quently commit robberies and sometimes mur-
der. Several Friends have sufiered the loss
of property, but generally they have escaped
unhurt, except the fright occasioned by threats
made with drawn swords and presented pis-
tols. The present seems a calamitous time,
and like a prelude to more general troubles.
Was the unrighteous exaction of tithes done
away, I believe the people would be more
quiet ; but they are so fleeced by the estab-
lished clergy, who have the law on their side,

to enforce their demands, as well as by thdr
own popish priests, that afler paying them and
their rent, they have little led to live upon.
Sometimes they are turned oW their lands for
want of means to pay their rent, and seem
almost in a state of desperation, which in-
duces them to resort to the iniquitous practice
of plundering others.

Much yet remains to be done, in order that
the people may be brought to sit under the
vine and the fig-tree, where none can make
them afraid. Christ Jesus is the true and liv-
ing vine, and were the pretended ministers,
his ministers and servants, they would not
seek their gain, as many of them do ; but la-
bour to bring the people to a conformity to
the Divine will, and to do unto others as they
would that others should do unto them. O
mystery Babylon, Babylon ! She must fall,
whether Protestant or Papist, saith the Lord ;
then shall my people dwell securely: but com-
motions will increase in the earth, and the
people to whom he has made himself known,
having too much partaken with the inhabit-
ants of the land in the prevailing iniquities,
will have also to partake of the troubles and
sufferings which are approaching — then will
Zion come forth with brightness, and her light
be as a lamp that burneth.

After leaving Garryroane, I spent a few
days at the house of Samuel Grubb, of Clc^-
heen, who with his family had been much
alarmed by his having been attacked upon
the road and beaten and robbed ; his wife and
son had also been robbed upon the highway.
She appeared cheerful, although tried at the
state of the country, on her children's account.
She is a valuable minister, and I had much
comfort in being under their roof. She rode
with me to attend the Select Meeting at Clon-
mel, which was satisfactory. I staid their
meetings on first and fifth-day; in the interim
visited some Friends under trying circum-
stances, and on the 28th set out for Carlow
to attend the Quarterly Meeting there. The
meeting of ministers and elders was held the
29th, and next day being the first of the week,
two meetings for worship, and on the day fol-
lowing, that for business; in all which we
had cause to renew our confidence in IsraeFs
Helper, in the belief that he had not for-
saken his people, but was renewing his fa-
vours to them, with the offers of his gracious

On the third of the week and 1st of the
year 1811, was held the parting meeting for
worship ; aiker which we rode to Bally nakill,
and were at a small meeting there next day,
returning the same evening to Carlow, where
we had a very large meeting with the townV
people, in which the doctrines of the Gospel

Digitized by




were freely declared to a solid and attentive
audience; the praise is due to Him who only
can still the raging waves of the sea. Afler
meeting, a kind friend handed me a packet of
letters from my dear family, which she had
received before meeting, but prudently kept
them, without informing me thereof, lest it
should unsettle my mind, as I would not have
time to read them before meeting. The in-
formation they contained respecting my family
was comfortable. In reading these tokens of
tender afllection from my beloved connexions
and friends, my mind was so filled with
thoughtfulness respecting them, that I did not
get to sleep until two o^clock in the morning,
and I was obliged to rise before six, in order
to reach Ballitore in time for meeting. On
seventh-day we rode to Bathy, and had a very
comfortable opportunity with a few Friends
who lived near the place. On the following
day attended the fore and afternoon meetings
at Ballitore, where but little labour in the min-
istry fell to my lot. I had to lament the very
low state of the meeting, but a hope arose,
that there would be a revival and a return to
health, out of the wounded and diseased state
which many had been left in by the apostacy
of Abraham Shackleton, who rejected the
doctrines of Truth, and lost himself in the
labyrinth of conjecture and speculation. I
reached Dublin on the 7th of first month, and
during my stay in the city attended their meet-
ings as they came in course. The Monthly
Meeting was a solid comfortable season, in
which the minds of Friends seemed united in
concern to have the discipline conducted to
the real advantage of the members, many of
whom are immersed in the concerns of the
world, and seem to have little thought r^pect-
ing their duties in the militant church : thus
the work falls heavily on the few who are
given up thereto.

Afler attending meetings at Bally nakill and
Wicklow, I left Dublin and rode to Rathfri-
land, in Ulster Quarter, where a great fall of
snow detained us nine days. The wind blow-
ing very hard while the snow was falling,
drifted it so as to block up the roads, which
stopped travelling and prevented the mails
from accomplishing their routes. Many ves-
sels were lost on the coast during the storm,
and a number of persons perished in the snow,
One of the mail coaches was so buried in a
snow bank, that they were unable to extricate
it, and the passengers were obliged to sit in
the coach all night. After the storm and
snow had considerably subsided, with some
difficulty I reached Moyallen, and was at their
meeting. Many of the Seceders live at this
place, a number of whom attended and seemed
well satisfied. Some of them see the loss

they have sustained, several have returned to
Friends again, while others appear obstinate.
Great is the loss which, the dear youth have
sustained; they seem estranged from (he Truth
and gone off into the wilderness of the world.
Sorrowful, indeed, are the efiTects of parents
giving way to the wild imaginations of the
human mind I What will they do in that so*
lemn season of inquisition, when the query
will be, " What hast thou done with those
lambs which I committed to thy care ?"

From Moyallen I went to Lurgan, and was
at the usual meeting on first-day, and in the
evening at a very large one with the town'sr
people, where the doctrines of Truth were
largely opened in the demonstration of the
Spirit and with power : the people were solid
and appeared well satisfied. The authority
of Truth reigned over all, and there seemed
a renewed visitation extended to this place,
where anciently the Truth prevailed, although
now the number of Friends is small. For*
merly it was the residence of many worthy
Friends, among whom was that faithful ser*
vant and minister of Jesus, William Edmund-

I then attended Hillsborough meeting, and
had a suiiering time on the following fifth-day
at the Monthly Meeting at Lisbufn; visited
the province school there on sixth-day, and
was at' Monthly Meeting at Lurgan on se-
venth-day. First-day attended Moyallen meet-
ing, and then the Monthly Meetings of Grange
and Rich-hill, where the Gospel was preached
in the love of the heavenly Shepherd, and
Friends invited to come to the living fountain,
Christ Jesus. In the management of the dis-
cipline of the church, cause for mourning was
administered, things appearing to be much out
of order. It being the time for answering the
queries, complaint was made in several of the
meetings, that some Friends were remiss in
the great duty of attending meetings for wor-
ship and discipline ; some guilty of attending
places of diversion, and many of paying tithes
and church-rates. Yet a hope was expressed,
that in each meeting there was a revival of
concern in the minds of a number, to have
things brought into better order, and to put
the discipline in force against such as per-
sisted in these inconsistent practices. This,
together with the evident extendings of Divine
love, in a renewed call to come out and be
separated from the world's vain customs and
maxims, aftbrded ground to hope that things
would be better amongst them.

On first-day, the 24th, I attended a meeting
at Ballinacree, where the number of Friends
is 'Very small ; but we had the company of a
Methodist preacher and his hearers, and it
was a solid comfortable season. The follow-

Digitized by



ing day we had a meeting at Lower Grange,
and then rode to Antrim, where we had a
solemn, good meeting with a number of the
townspeople and the Cew BViends, living there,
much to the satisfaction of my mind, which
had been oppressed under a consideration of
the low state of our Society in the north of
Ireland. Many, who went under the name
of Friends, have gone off with those disaffected
persons, whose stations in society should have
engaged them in endeavours for the preserva-
tion of the weak ; but as they have proved
themselves, by their revolting, unworthy of
the blessings which the faithful enjoy, the
call is afresh extended to those that are in
the highways and hedges, the streets and the
lanes, to come in and take their places. Af\er
leaving Antrim, I had meetings at Belfast and
Milecrosa. At the former place I had some
solid conversation with a man of considerable
note in the world, who appeared to be under
convincement, but finds it hard work to give
up to what he believes to be right. I led him
in a very tender frame of mind, with a belief
that the opportunity would be an encourage-
ment to him, more cheerfully to submit to the
cross, which many stumble at, and thereby
fall short of the reward of that peace which
the world can neither give nor take away.
From Belfast I went to the Quarterly Meeting
at Lisburn, the several sittings of which were,
I trust, solid and profitable seasons. The late
difRculties they have had amongst them, [oc-
casioned by a number of persons denying the
Christian principles of the Society] were the
means of the discontinuance of the Select
Meeting, the elders having all lost their sta-
tions, a part of them having been dismissed
by the overbearing influence of the Seceders
before they lefl the Society. Only one mem-
ber was led who was in the station of a min-
ister, and the meeting was consequently dis-
continued by direction of the Quarterly Meeting.
The situation of the Society being now more
favourable, I proposed for consideration the
propriety of reviving the meeting of ministers
and elders, as a measure very necessary for
the health of the body, there being, within the
compass of the Quarterly Meeting, several
who appear as ministers. The meeting was
unanimous in recommending to the Monthly
Meetings a care in the appointment of suitable
persons to have the oversight of the ministry,
excepting one Friend, who I feared would
prove an opposer of this prudent means for
the preservation of a living ministry.

A minute was accordingly made and sent
down, and I felt released from the concern of
mind I had laboured under, in the course of
my visit to Friends of this province, hoping
that the judgment of Truth will be placed

over opposing spirits. The appointment of
elders, as fathers and mothers in the church,
is a wise measure, if such are chosen who
fear God and hate covetousness ; and such I
hope may be found here. Next day I rode to
Lurgan, and put up at Thomas Houghton^s, a
Friend advanced in years and infirm in body.
I was comforted in finding him desirous of
preparing to leave his possessions in peace,
being sensible that he has been too much at-
tached to business. Having accumulated a
large portion of earthly treasure, he is now
desirous of distributing it, so that it may do
some good. I had much conversation with
him, and found that he was careful to appro*
priate it for benevolent purposes, and that he
contributes largely for the purposes of society,
and helping to repair and build meeting-houses,
educate the children of the poor, &c. Well
would it be if more of the wealthy cherished
this disposition, and spent their substance in
like manner, rather than placing their children
in possession of great estates, thereby giving
them wings to leave the Society, to soar
above the simplicity and humility of the Gos-
pel, and indulge in high life, far removed
from the usefulness and self-denial of a Chris-
tian, and, unmindful of the importance of hav-
ing their accounts in readiness, as good stew-
ards, when the solemn summons arrives,
*' Steward, give an account of thy steward-
ship, for thou mayest no longer be steward."
From Lurgan I rode to the house of Thomas
Green, near Charlemount, where I found a
comfortable respite from travelling for a few
days, in which time I wrote a short epistle to
Friends of Stanford Quarterly Meeting, as
follows :

Epistle to Stanford Quarterly Meeting, written
whilst in Ireland.

Dear friends.

In the language of the beloved apostle I
salute you ; *' Grace be to you, and peace
from God our Father, and from the Lord
Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mer-
cies, and the God of all comfort, who com-
forteth us in all our tribulations, that we may
be able to comfort those which are in any
trouble, by the comfort wherewith we our-
selves are comforted of God."

The uniting influence of this comfort re-
mains undiminished, and is to be witnessed
by the faithful followers of Christ in our day,
as well as by the primitive believers. It is pre-
cious in its nature, and vouchsafed by its holy
Author to support under the various trials
that await his servants. In the enjoyment of
a measure thereof, my mind has been engaged

Digitized by




this morning by the remembrance of you,
although far separated in a distant land. I
have ielt you preciously near, desires have
been raised in my mind for your comfort in
the bonds of Gospel fellowship, and that you
may witness its cementing virtue, to render
you truly one another's joy in the Lord, that
you may comfort one another in all your
tribulations. Truly, if you are partakers of
that peace which is from God the Father, this
will be your delight, in preference to any in-
dulgence that arises from self-love, that seok-
eth only the support of self, and those whom
we are placed over by the ties of nature, or
those who may walk in the paths of self-in-
dulgence with us. We are ail in a tribulated
path as inhabitants of the world, and have
need of all the comfort we can afibrd one

May we, brethren and sisters, all study so
to fulfil our duties, that nothing of an evil
tendency may get the ascendency over us, or
separate us from '* the unity of the spirit in
the bond of peace." In this happy state,
those that have a greater share of tribulation
than others, have the sympathy of their friends,
and partake thereof to their refreshment, as
a cordial reviving the drooping spirits, even
of him that laboureth under the pains of the
body. But he that languisheth and hath no
cordial administered to him, fainteth, and
finally dies away ; and where any thing of a
poisonous nature is administered, his suffer-
ings increase, and presage a speedy dissolu-
tion. Seeing we are social and intelligent
beings, professing a belief in the consolations
of the holy Spirit, and called upon to seek
them, let none think to obtain them, or to be
able to administer them, but by an engagement
of mind that preferreth the righteous cause
of God to our earthly joys. " God is love,"
saith the apostle, and *' they that dwell in love
dwell in God, and God in them." Thus they
are near to the fountain of consolation, and
are enabled to comfort one another in all their
tribulations. May you be enabled to come
up in usefulness in the militant church in your
day, that you may bear testimony with the
beloved apostle to the sufficiency of Divine
love. I often remember the seasons of re-
freshment we have had together, wherein we
have known this as the streams of that river
which makes glad the whole heritage of God.
I also remember that sometimes these streams
were obstructed, so that there was not an un-
interrupted flowing of them. As these streams
of Divine consolation are very precious, we
certainly ought to endeavour that the comfort
resulting from them may be witnessed by all,
ond that the aged may be strengthened, the
middle aged animated, and the dear youth in-

VoL. IV.— No. S.

vited to bend their necks to receive thg yoke
upon them, that there may continue to be a
succession of those who prefer *' Jerusalem to
their chiefest joy." Many particular obstruc-
tions to this present to my mind, but none
so forcible as where there is not a guard
maintained against the love of the world and
the fascinating customs and fashions thereof.
Where this guard is maintained, Zion becomes
beautiful; and if she were preserved so by
the vigilance of the watchmen on her walls,
would become the praise of the whole earth.
But her beauty has not been so alluring as it
might have been, had her watchmen been on
the watch at their posts; the enemy has gained
an advantage, and dismay has been spread in
the ranks of the army ; and in some places
the Truth hath not been supported, but some
of its testimonies have fallen with those who
have fallen. May this not be the case amongst
you — many of you have known the heavenly
calls, by which your love was turned to the
Fountain of true consolation, with desires to
partake thereof, and you have been refreshed
thereby. Oh 1 that nothing may deprive you
thereof, but that you may steadfastly look
unto Him, who can support under every trial,
and will continue to supply you with the need-
ful strength for every good word and work.
I do not feel disposed to enlarge, but am de*
sirous you may be enabled to feel me in the
covenant of life, and be willing to join in a
continued and a renewed care, that we may
be one another's joy in the Lord, not suSer-
ing any thing to divert our minds from the
renewings of the Father's love. May this
support me, who am exposed to various perils
in a distant land. And you, dear friends, in
the land of my nativity, may you witness the
glory and the beauty of this world stained in
your view, that avarice and covetousness may
not have an ascendency over those who are
advanced and are advancing in years; nor the
youth be lefl to sacrifice on the altars of
vanity, but while cheerfully employed in the
necessary cares and concerns of life, be en-
gaged to comfort each other in all your tribu-
lations, and not forsaking the assembling
yourselves for the performance of that wor-
ship that is due to the Father of Jesus Christ
our Lord, even the God of all comfort. So
prayeth your friend and brother,

Henr7 Hull.

From Grange, near Charlemont, in Ireland,

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 61 of 104)