William Evans.

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

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ists, at Fakenham, where much Gospel labour
was bestowed ; but my mind was not so fully
relieved as in some of the preceding meet-
ings. On our way to Lynn, we had a meet-
ing at Swaffham — attended Lynn meeting in

the morning, and had one appointed for the
town's-people generally, at six o'clock in the
evening. This was a comfortable season, the
precious uniting love of our heavenly Father
was witnessed among us, filling our hearts
with desires for the welfare of the people.
The house belonging to Friends being small,
notice of the meeting was not widely spread,
and dear Ann Burgess proposed our having
another meeting the day following, which was
accordingly held in the meeting-house belong-
ing to the Independents. A very large num-
ber of persons assembled, many more than
could get into the house, and the preacher of
the congregation was very active in endea-
vouring to settle the meeting, by procuring
seats for the people as they came in. The
meeting ended comfortably, and I was thank-
ful it had been held. The minister appeared
well satisfied, expressing his desire that the
good advice which \^d been delivered amongst
them might be treasured up and improved by.
Much tenderness was evident among some of
the people.

On the morning previous to the meeting,
my companions having proposed visiting the
families of Friends in Lynn, we sat with the
family where we lodged. I was much de-
pressed in mind, and my bodily strength being
but feeble, I informed my dear friends while
we were together, that I believed it best for
me not to join in the family visit. A little
rest seemed to be necessary for me; yet I
made this proposition in some fear, lest it
should discourage the dear Friends who be-
lieved themselves called to enter upon the
visit ; but from their reply, I was induced to
believe it would not. My mind was much
aflTected with tenderness and filled with hum-
ble acknowledgments to the great and good
Master, whom we were endeavouring to serve,
who had sweetly united our spirits in the la-
bour, and made us willing to be one another's
helpers in his blessed cause and service. Afler
the completion of the visit,' which occupied
only two days, we rode to Downham, and
had a good meeting with a number of^ pro-
fessors, and in the aflernoon another at Wear-
ham. The danger of trusting in the name of
being worshippers, without coming to the ex-
perience of true spiritual worship, and fulfill-
ing the duties of a religious life, was plainly
held forth amongst them. Next day we were
at Brandon, where only one family of Friends
reside, and these were absent from home.
Some of the neighbours attended, and we
were not sorry for the pains which were
taken to procure the meeting, as it proved a
solid good time and ended well. We then
went to Thetford, and had a favoured meeting
with a number of the town's-people* There

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is only one member of Society lefl in this
place, and here my labours in the county of
Norfolk closed. O! what shall I say for you,
the posterity of a people once highly favoured
and zealous for the Truth ! You have lost the
lustre which made them shine as lights in the
world, during the days of persecution. "The
gold has become dim, and the most 6ne gold
is changed." The dust of the earth has
marred thy beauty — thy sons and thy daugh-
ters, in many instances, have swooned in thy
streets, because those who stood as fathers
and mothers, and who ought to have been
such indeed, have not broken bread — spiritual
bread, unto them. Many of thy goodly sons
and precious daughters, have strayed in the
paths of folly, and been lost as in the wilder-
ness of the world. Strangers inhabit your
dwellings, and the sons of aliens have taken
your possessions, so that the houses which
were erected for the purpose of performing
that worship which is due to Zion's King, are
lefl as habitations for the owls and the bats,
where naught but dismal solitude reigns, in-
stead of prayers and praises proceeding from
the lips of grateful mortals, aspiring aAer the
blissful habitations of the righteous. 01 what
a contrast between the seventeenth and the
nineteenth century I Mournful indeed, as re-
spects the decay of zeal in the professors of
the ever blessed Truth, as it is in Jesus. But
thy Kingy O Zion, reigneth — his mercies are
still known and enjoyed, by those whose al-
legiance is true unto Him, and he is still gra-
ciously disposed to lengthen thy cords and
strengthen thy stakes.

In the course of this visit we were gene-
rally led in our Gospel services, to serious in-
quiring persons of other religious denomina-
tions, many of whom appeared to be acquainted
with pure spiritual worship ; and humble, fer-
vent desires were frequently raised, that these
might experience their strength renewed, by
feeding on that bread which comes down from
heaven. Yet we did not forget the professors
with us; and amid all the sorrow we had to
endure, on account of the manifest departures
from the simplicity and purity of our holy
profession, we rejoiced in finding those who
seemed sensible of a renewed visitation of
good extended to them, with the offers of Di-
vine assistance, upon the terms of repentance
for past deviations and a more entire dedica-
tion of themselves to the Lord's service, fol-
lowing him in all his requi rings. But the
number of these is small in this county;
may the visit we have made be a means of
strengthening them.

At Mildenhall we had a meeting with a few
Friends and a number of other societies, to
good satisfaction. The baptizing power of

Truth united our spirits, and strengthened us
to labour in the Gospel, to the humbling of
our minds in thankful acknowledgment to Is<
raePs Shepherd, for his continued goodness to
poor dependent man, whose greatest efibrts,
even id the best of causes, cannot produce
the precious effects that are witnessed, when
the Lord is pleased to vouchsafe his Divine
power and spread a covering of solemnity
over the mind. When he thus condescends
to favour his creatures, both the visiters and
visited are encouraged to look unto Him, the
source of all true consolation, as the com-
forter and helper in the time of need.

At Bury we had a pretty large meeting,
though the house was undergoing some re*
pairs, and our friends had but a few hours to
take down the scaffolds and prepare it for the
occasion. The meeting ended solidly. Next
morning we set out for Needham, and as we
rode out of the town Ann Burgess asked me
if I felt clear of Bury ? by which I perceived
that she did not ; and as we had travelled to-
gether in much unity, I felt free to go back.

Next day being the first-day of the week,
we sat the morning meeting with Friends, and
had a large and favoured meeting with the
townVpeople in the aflernoon. We then had
meetings at Sudbury, and at a small town in
the vicinity, afler which we went home with
our friend Samuel Alexander; and having
been travelling pretty constantly for several
weeks, we rested a few days at his house.
Here we parted ; the women Friends going to
Ipswich, and I to Norwich to attend the fune-
ral of Richard Gurney. From Norwich, on
our way to London, we had meetings at Hav-
erhill, Saffron Walden, Thaxted, Bardfiekl,
Dunmow, Stanstead and Epping, in some of
which Truth reigned to our humble admira-
tion. I spent a few days in London, wrote to
my dear family and friends in Ameriea, and
attended meetings at Grace-church street,
Plaistow and Barking. On second-day morn-
ing, 5th of eighth month, we rode to Brent-
ford, and had meetings there and at Staines,
and visited several persons under affliction;
then to Uxbridge, where I had a large and
favoured meeting with the townVpeople, and
next day proceeded to visit the meetings in
Hertfordshire, and attended the Monthly Meet-
ing at Luton; it was small, but proved a good
time; and now feeling my mind turned toward
York, I bent my course that way. Since I
lefl Uxbridge, I felt much depressed, in reflect-
ing on my long separation from my family
and business, and was more discouraged than
at any time since I lefl home. But He who
knows the desires of my heart to serve and
follow him, caused his precious love and life
to break in upon my soul, so that I was en-

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abled again to commend myself and mine to
his holy care and keeping, and become re-
signed to my situation, without feeling any
reluctance to encounter the toils and fatigues
necessarily attendant on the prosecution of
this arduous journey.

Our next meeting was at Leicester, where
there are but few Friends ; on the following
day, at Nottingham, I saw the widow of our
late friend John Storer, who appeared in a lov-
ing disposition toward her friends, and com-
forted in the remembrance of her beloved
husband, though deprived by death of his
company. After having meetings at Notting-
ham, Mansfield and Chesterfield, we reached
Sheffield, where we staid two or three days ;
attended their meeting on fiflh-day and on
first-day morning, and in the evening had a
public meeting, where a large number of per-
sons assembled, many more than could get
into their large house. They behaved very
solidly, and were attentive to the doctrines of
Truth which were delivered. That devoted
and valued servant of Christ, Thomas Colley,
sat with us in the morning meeting, for the
first time after having had an attack of ill-
ness, in which he was given over by his phy-
sician. In a visit to his house. Divine Good-
ness was pleased to cement our spirits by the
holy influence of his love, which sweetly
spread over a number of Friends who were
present ; blessed be his name for the favour !

On second-day, we proceeded to Doncastcr,
where the power of Truth was eminently
vouchsafed for our help, in a meeting we had
with Friends and the town's-people. We
then had meetings at Ackworth, Wakefield,
Leeds and Darlington ; at the last two of
which I was largely opened to declare to the
professors of Christianity, the necessity of
doing, as well as hearing, the sayings of
Christ. The servants of our Lord Jesus
Christ have need of patience in this day, as
well as in the times of persecution ; for al-
though their sufferings are not now of the
same kind as they were then, yet they are
many and great ; and none more discourag-
ing, than to behold the careless and uncon-
cerned state of some of the professors of
Truth, evidenced by the dullness and almost
lifclessness of some of their meetings ; while
those held with persons who are not members
with us, are precious seasons, by reason of
the renewed extension of heavenly love and
the call to come unto Christ Jesus, who is the
way, the truth, and the life. Truth is truth,
though all men forsake it — it still remains un-
changeably the same, and its own excellence
will recommend it, even though the conduct
of its professors does not. But while we have
to mourn the sorrowful declension of some

under our name, there are others closely en-
gaged in religious exercise, desiring to keep
their ranks in righteousness, so that no cause
may be given to its enemies to speak ill of the
ways thereof. Were it not for the precious
unity I feel with these, through the love of our
heavenly Father shed abroad in our hearts, 1
should feel discouraged; but my cup is at
seasons made to overflow, and I am desirous
to persevere in the path allotted me, vnlil a
release is proclaimed from the exercises and
labours in which I am engaged. This pre-
cious love sustains and bears up my spirit,
amid all the trials of mind I experience, as
well as those of the body, which increase
upon me, and I often feel great weakness, es-
pecially after long meetings: good is the will
of the Lord.

After attending the meetings of Friends in
the county of Durham, some of which were
solid good seasons, we crossed the Tyne, ac-
companied by Solomon Chapman, and had a
public meeting, and also' one with Friends at
Shields, from whence we rode to George
Richardson's, at New Castle. I had seen
George and Solomon in Ireland, and our
meeting again was mutually pleasant, we
being comforted in each other's company.

They related a remarkable instance of the
interposition of Divine help, by counsel in-
wardly communicated, whereby they were
preserved from being buried in the ruins of a
house, which fell two days after they were to
have held a meeting in it, and which probably
would have fallen on the assembly, had they
collected in it. But George felt his mind
strongly impressed with the belief, that it
would not be best to have a meeting in the
house, but to go to the houses of Friends and
visit them in that way, although he then knew
nothing of the situation of the house. This
mode did not appear satisfactory to Solomon,
who thought that other persons who often at-
tended Friends meetings would thus be passed
by. But George appeared so clear in the
judgment, that it was best to have no meeting,
that Solomon yielded ; and it is beloved, that
had a meeting been held, the house would
have given way with the people in it, the
roof being very heavy and the timbers much
decayed. It fell in the evening of seventh-
day, when there was no unusual wind or
other exciting cause — and next day Friends
expected to hold their usual meeting in it. I
had a meeting in the house while I was in
Ireland, and the account of the occurrence
led me to consider it a merciful interference
of Divine Providence, that it fell at a time
when there was no one in it.

At New Castle, my dear companion, John
Hull| remained to rest, while George Richard*

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SOD and I rode to Benfield sidC) and saw the
families of Friends there, being only three in
number — the people being engaged in their
harvest fields, it did not appear to us best to
appoint a meeting.

Taking the stage coach at New Castle, we
rode to Edinburgh in a day ; and although it
was late when we arrived, we found our kind
friend, Alexander Cruikshank, waiting for us
at the coach office. On the following day we
bad a good meeting with Friends and those
who usually attend their meetings, and the
next day rode to Glasgow. Here our dear
friend, John Robertson, met us in the street
and conducted us to his house, and on first-
day we sat with Friends in their usual meet-
ing, and had a large public one in the evening
at the town-hall. Proceeding on our journey,
we went to Kinmuck, where we met William
Forster, George Saunders and Anthony Wig-
ham, on their return from a toilsome journey
through the north of Scotland and adjacent
islands ; they went on to Aberdeen, and my
companion and I to a meeting at Old Meldrum,
where Friends have a meeting*: house and two
elderly members are still living, though the
meeting is discontinued. The people were
long in assembling,, and some of them made
a noise about the doors ; but afler I stood up
they generally came in, and the meeting ended
solidly; and the day following we had a large
and good meeting at Kinmuck. Friends in
these parts live in great simplicity, and re-
ceive their friends with great hospitality;
their kindness and love abundantly compen-
. sated for the want of many conveniences which
are furnished by the more opulent, amongst
whom, however, notwithstanding they abound
in the good things of this life, 1 have not at
all times found as much satisfaction as among
these poor Friends.

Friends generally attended the meeting, ex-
cept dear old John Cruikshank, who was too
infirm. He was much broken into tenderness
when I parted from him, and expressed his
hope that I should be rewarded for coming so
far to see them. Returning to Aberdeen, we
found William Forster and his companions
there, and we all lodged at our kind friend
Jane Cruikshank's, who, with her daughters,
made us very welcome. May he who is the
Father of the fatherless and a Judge for the
widow, reward them for their abundant kind-
ness to his servants, to whom their house is
always open, as they pass along in the ser-
vice of Truth. In the meeting on first-day
morning, the love of our heavenly Father
united our spirits : and at ^^^q o'clock, P. M.,
we .bad a crowded meeting, when the conde-
scending goodness of Israel's Shepherd was
conspicuously manifest, enabling me to set

Vol. IV.— No. 8.

forth his great love to mankind, from the
words of the apostle, " It is by grace ye are
saved, through fuith, and that not of your*
selves, it is the gifl of God." A holy solemni-
ty covered us — the people were very still, and
we united in humble petitions to the Lord on
high, that his light might break forth upon
mankind, as when he said, ** Let there be
light, and there was light," acknowledging
our renewed conviction, that his power was
undiminished, the work his, and that the
praise belongs unto Him, with his dear Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb Immaculate,
now and forever more. Amen. Dear old John
Wigham sold he thought it, through Divine
favour, the best meeting he had ever attended
in that place. I write not these remarks to
exalt the labour of the poor servant, but in
humble acknowledgment to our holy -Helper,
and to bear testimony of his goodness, to the
people; — I believe it was a season that will
not soon be forgotten by some who were there,
and in which the good Shepherd of the sheep
was pleased to invite those who are athirst,
'* to come buy wine and milk, without money
and without price."

On second-day we took our seats in the
mail coach, and after a season of religious
retirement with our dear friends, in which my
mind was humbled under the renewed over-
shadowing of Divine Goodness, we set out for
Edinburgh, where we arrived next day. At
Aberdeen I received letters from my dear
family, giving accounts of their health — they
are almost constantly in my remembrance,
and but few hours pass without deep thought-
fulness respecting them ; yet I do not find
myself under condemnation for leaving them.
I settled my outward concerns as far as I
could, as if I was never to return, and com-
mended them to the keeping of the heavenly
Caretaker. I love them tenderly, but lefl
them in the belief, that it was at tbe command
of Him to whom I owe my all. He has sup-
ported me in humble confidence, that he will
do right with me and mine — that it is my bu-
siness to visit the churches in this land, and
that in so doing I shall be blessed with the
support of his love, which, at times so fills
my heart, that tears of joy flow from my eyes.
When I think of my beloved family and
friends in America — of many with whom I
am acquainted in this country and in Ireland —
of the poor French prisoners in El^gland, and
the English prisoners in France — of the many
widows and fatherless children, made such by
the calamities of war — of how many are train-
ed up to butcher one another in the field and
on the ocean, and remember the poor slaves
remaining in cruel bondage to gratify avari-
cious men, my heart is moved within me.

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The love of my heavenly Father is my sup-
port in heights and in depths. 01 may I
never know a separation from it ; for it is this
which enables me to say, Thy will, O Lord !
be done, as respects myself; and if unrighte-
ous men still continue to dishonour thy holy
name by their evil works, and the Gospel of
peace and salvation by their cruelties, yet
verily, there is a reward for the righteous —
verily thou art a God that judgeth in the
earth. I know that my Redeemer liveth — ^O
Lord, keep my soul as thou hast graciously
kept it hitherto, and make use of me as thou in
thy wisdom may see meet, if I may be instru-
mental in spreading the knowledge of thee
amongst the inhabitants of the earth. I mur-
mur not at the privation of the society of my
dear connexions at home; but once more, O
righteous Father, commit them to thy holy
keeping — blessed be thy name — Amen.

Afler writing the foregoing, I attended a
large meeting held in the evening at Edin-
burgh, where many Gospel truths were de-
livered ; but not so much to the relief of my
mind as at some of the preceding meetings.
On the following day I sat with Friends, and
a holy solemnity spreading over us, I was
opened upon the situation of the meeting,
from those words of the apostle; "Behold
how great a fire a little matter kindlelh," re-
lating what had been brought to my remem-
brance while sitting among them. I observed
that one man was so nettled, that he was not
able to sit still ; but Truth was in dominion,
and its testimony was set. over every opposing
spirit, — the humble were comforted and the
great name of Israel's Helper blessed. Sel-
dom have I known a time, when the followers
of the Lamb had a more complete victory ;
but all through his power which enableth to
bear testimony to the peaceable spirit of the
Gospel. O that all may guard against the
destroying epirit, as against the destructive
element !

We again took the mail coach, and reached
Hawick about ten o'clock at night. There
are only two families of Friends here, who
appear glad to see their friends, and I trust
will continue to increase in their love to the
precious Tfuth. A number of the French
prisoners passing along under a strong guard
of soldiers, when we were about leaving Edin-
burgh, mjr mind was affected in beholding
their emaciated looks, from long confinement;
and the reflections occasioned by the sight,
caused me to feel sorrowful as we rode along
in the coach. O professing Christians ! great
are the inconsistencies of your conduct with
the religion you profess, when engaged in the
cruel business of war, and inflicting sufferings
one upon another.

From Hawick we rode to Carlisle».and at-
tended their meeting on first-day, in which I
was humbled under a renewed consideration
of the goodness of God. Alas 1 for the want
of weight in some of the members of our So-
ciety, by which the youth are sometimes dis-
couraged from submitting to the holy yoke
and cross of Christ. In the evening held a
meeting for the town's-people, but not to so
much satisfaction as at some others. Where
the peaceableness of the religion of Jesus
Christ is advocated amongst those who are
not under the influence of his love, there is
not so much willingness to receive it, as where
a consistency with *its benign principles is
maintained by its professors. On second-day
had a comfortable meeting at Hesketh New-
market, and the day following sat with Friends
at Setmarthy, where John Phillips met us,
whose company was pleasant. He had spent
a part of bis life in the English navy, and
was rapidly promoted in consequence of his
bravery, and was on the eve of further advance-
ment, when he forsook the service of the kingt
and enlisted under the banner of the Prince of
peace, and is now a humble disciple of the
cross, and mighty in the Scriptures.

We rode to Cockermouih, and put up at the
house of Deborah Robertson, whose husband
had deceased only a few weeks before. I had
seen them together in Dublin, and received
from him a kind invitation to make his house
my home, when I came here, and now finding
his widow in deep affliction in consequence of
his sudden removal, I was led into tender
sympathy with her, in contemplating the un-
certainty of all earthly enjoyments. In the
evening I sat with the ministers and elders of
Cumberland, who had assembled to attend
their Quarterly Meeting, which was held the
following day ; afler which there was one for
worship, in all of which the Master of our as-
semblies was graciously pleased to assist in
advocating the cause of Truth, as supported
by the humble, faithful followers of the Lord
Jesus, and in bearing testimony against a
sluggish disposition, in which some of its pro-
fessors were found. There was a large num-
ber of fine looking and promising young peo-
ple present, who were encouraged to a faithful
dedication of themselves in the cause of Troth
and righteousness. We then attended meet-
ings at Broughton, Graysouthen and Pard-
shaw, where the collection of people was very
great. Notice having been given at the close
of the Quarterly Meeting, of our intention of
being at this place on first-day, and the wea-
ther proving fine, companies of people were
to be seen coming over the moors from the
neighbouring towns and villages, as though
they had been going to a great fair. Some of the

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Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 63 of 104)