William Evans.

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

. (page 67 of 104)
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very rough set of people — scarcely a religious
character amongst them ; yet the word of life
and salvation was freely preached, and I be-
lieve many of their minds were, for the pre-
sent at least, seriously impressed with consi-
derations on the necessity of being prepared
for death.

4lh of tenth month. On my way borne
from the boarding school at Nine Partners,
feeling much depressed, a remembrance of
past mercies and judgments, dispensed to roe
by my gracious Lord, brought a seriousness
over my mind, which gradually increased as
I rode along, so that I was much humbled.
The everlasting light of life broke in upon
my spirit, in such a manner, that I felt sur-
prised and unworthy of the favour of being
thus remembered by the Ancient of days.
This blessed light dispelled the darkness which
had spread over my mind and produced so
much sadness; and praises arose from my
grateful heart to the Author of all mercies.
I remembered that I had served Jehovah, and
had reaped the rich reward of peace ; but of
late, I had concluded all was gone, and that I
should never more enjoy his favour ; bat now
my hope revived, unworthy as I feel mysdf
to be. I once more ofiTered up myself to the
disposal of Him, who leads in the paths of
peace ; saying, send me where and when thou
wilt — here I am — I will go, for good is thy
will; thou who art pleased to evince to the
sons and daughters of men, that thy mercies
endure forever ; thou art worthy to he served
and honoured by all thy creatures. I desire
that the residue of my days may be dedicated
to thy blessed cause and service ; and may I
serve thee with all my strength and mind,
my will being subject to thy humbling power.
I had been several little journeys since my

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return froai England, and now having a pros-
pect of a visit to Friends in the southern part
of our Yearly Meeting, and also in Burling-
ton, New Jersey, and in the city of Philadel-
phia, I submitted my prospect to Friends of
Stanford Monthly Meeting, who readily gave
me a minute expressive of their unity. I left
home and spent a few days at Nine Partners'
school, and then proceeded to Purchase Quar-
terly Meeting ; visited most of the meetings
belonging thereto, and in company with Wil-
liam and Hannah Field, had a few meetings
in Connecticut, as far as Bridgeport, most of
which were favoured seasons, in which the
word of life and salvation was freely preached ;
and I was comforted in the enjoyment of the
Society of my dear friends, and in the pos-
session of peace to my humblipg admiration,
having for months before I left home, been
tried with depression of mind.

My children being settled away from home,
and other circumstances appearing to render
it proper, I had given up house-keeping ; but
I now became satisfied it would contribute to
my comfort to be again settled, as I saw a
snare in being so much at liberty to visit my
friends, as there is a possibility of moving in
religious engagements too easily, and thus
that solid weight which attends the minds of
those who go from the constraining power of
Gospel love, may be wanting. And although
this love is sufficient to support the mind,
when called by our Divine Master to sacrifice
the society and endearments of home, and our
temporal concerns, it never will discharge us
from the duties we owe to those we leave be-
hind, when it is our proper place to return
home. I saw, therefore, that there was need
for me to be on my guard, not to become
habituated to living upon my friends' kind-
ness, which was evidenced by frequent invita-
tions to spend a little time with them. I
passed from meeting to meeting in New York
and on Long Island, and the power of the
Gospel was evidenced, so that I was often
bowed in reverent thankfulness, particularly
after a meeting held in Brooklyn, in which
the Gospel was preached in demonstration of
the spirit and power.

Accompanied by my kinsman. Wager Hull,
I visited Friends in some parts of Jersey, and
had meetings at Rahway and New Brunswick ;
after which I did not feel any engagement to
appoint any meeting, but proceeded directly
to Burlington, where I spent some time agree-
ably with dear George Dillwyn.

It does not appear that Henry Hull kept
any further account of this journey; he vis-
ited the city of Philadelphia and some meet-
ings in its vicinity, and attended the Yearly

Vol. IV.— No. 8.

Meeting of Philadelphia in the fourth month)
1814. In the ninth month of the same year,
he was married to Sarah Cooper, of Newtown,
in the State of New Jersey, and soon after
settled at Stanford, in New York, the place of
his former residence.

In 1815, he set out on a more extensive
mission, attending the Yearly Meetings of
Baltimore and North Carolina, ^nd a con-
siderable number of the meetings composing

While at New Garden, attending the Yearly
Meeting of North Carolina, he wrote a letter
to his wife, dated eleventh month 5th, 1815,
from which the following is taken, viz :

" I trust the motives that led to the present
separation, were purely religious, and 1 have
thankfully to acknowledge, that * Hitherto the
Lord hath helped me;' although as much min-
isterial labour has not fallen to my lot as in
some former journies. I hope never to plume
myself as a favoured servant of Christ, from
being able to stand long in the gallery, for
the life is certainly more than meat. I had
rather speak five words in a language that is
intelligible to the true Israelites, than ten
thousand in an unknown tongue; and when
the doctrines of Truth open with clearness
for the information of strangers, or invitations
to the revolting to return to the allegiance due
to the sovereign Lord, the Creator of the hea-
vens and the earth, the seas and the fountains
of waters, I trust I shall be willing to do the
part assigned me.

"From Baltimore we proceeded to the
places where meetings had been laid out, viz :
Elk-ridge, Sandy-spring, Bush creek, Fairfax
and Goose creek. We also attended a meet-
ing at South Fork, in Virginia, where, as
George Fox sometimes expresses himself,
« Truth prevailed,' and the same evening had
a meeting in a private house, where it was
said a Friends' meeting had never been held
before ; the people in general seemed satisfied
and glad of the opportunity.

"In the morning, the roughness o£ the
road, the greatness of the distance, bad inns,
numerous slaves, and ignorant and cruel
slave-holders, all presented to my mind, and
combined to make our setting out for North
Carolina, a distance of more than three hun-
dred miles, appear a very great undertaking.
We, however, set out, and found the fare for
ourselves and horses, better than we expected;
the inhabitants generally respectful, and in
some instances very attentive, so that we got
on our journey much better than we expected.
I did not see any of the African race writhing
under the lash, nor exposed to the sun with-
out any clothes; though some appeared barely

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covered with their rags. It is an affecting
truth, that the diabolical dealers in human
flesh and blood, pay little or no regard to the
ties of nature in their traffic, but husband and
wife, parents and children, are oden separated,
never more to see each other ; and the pre-
sent high prices of cotton and tobacco, elate
their minds, while the cries, the sighs, and the
lamentations of the bought or the sold, could
they but be heard by feeling Christians, would
make their hearts ache."

Soon aAer his return from this trying jour-
ney, he visited the meetings of Friends in the
northern part of his native state ; and in the
year 1817, attended the Yearly Meeting of
Philadelphia, and some of the meetings within
its limits. Few years elapsed, in which this
indefatigable labourer in the ministry of the
Gospel, was not called abroad, as he believed,
by his gracious Lord, to proclaim unto others
the glad tidings of salvation, through a cruci-
fied and risen Saviour. In 1818, he again
visited several of the Quarterly Meetings of
his own Yearly Meeting; and in 1819, the
Yearly Meetings of Ohio and Baltimore.

In a letter written while engaged in this
service, dated ninth month lOih, he says ;

" I have, from early youth, loved solitude,
and in my rambles delighted to view and con-
template the works of nature, and at times
have been led thereby to adore the God of
nature, and been brought, I trust, to submit
to his power, which forms the mind of man,
so that from a wilderness, it becomes like
Eden and as the garden of the Lord ; sus-
ceptible of his love, as the garden is refreshed
with the dew, — thus fruits are brought forth,
to the praise of the Sovereign Ix)rd, and
Creator of the hills and the vallies, who
causeth them to produce the towering cedar,
the sturdy oak, and all the vast variety of
vegetable growth, down to the tender plant
which bends with the weight of the tiny in-
sect. We are justified in making comparisons,
between the natural and the spiritual world,
and I feel a humble confidence, that my small
labour, being as I trust the product of the
heavenly dew, will not be altogether useless.
I am sure, the curiosity that prompts to idle
rambling, was not the inducement for me to
leave the tender connexions of my life, as I
prefer their society to any thing else in the

From this period, until 1830, he was fre-
quently engaged in visits to Friends in the
State of New York and Canada ; and also
visited the Yearly Meetings of Rhode Island
and Philadelphia.

When the disorganizing principles of infi-

delity, promulgated by Elias Hicks, began to
spread in the Society, as a faithful watchman
upon the walls, he sounded the alarm, endea-
vouring to arrest their progress and to warn
all against being contaminated by their deadly
influence. This was a source of much exer-
cise of mind to him, in common with many
of his brethren, with whom he heartily united
in earnestly contending for the faith, once de-
livered to the saints; and with Christian mag-
nanimity and boldness, defending the Society
from the imputation of holding principles of
unbelief, attempted to be fastened upon it by
some of its unworthy members. In the long
and painful struggle which ensued, he meek-
ly, but firmly stood in the forefront of the
contest, patiently enduring contumely and re-
proach for the name of Christ; evincing even
under the^ most trying circumstances, a pa-
tience and gentleness, which won the esteem
of all, and which proved that he was under
the government of a principle superior to any
which belongs to man. For the preservation
of the youth from the specious sophistry of
unbelief, and the delusive guises under which
its principles were propounded to them, he
felt an ardent solicitude ; oflen pleading with
them in the most earnest and affectionate
manner, to beware of the gilded bait; and
setting before them the inestimable value of
the Holy Scriptures, and the doctrines of the
divinity, propitiatory sacrifice, mediation and
intercession, of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, so abundantly and clearly testified of
in those inspired records. As a proof of his
solicitude on this subject, the following epistle,
which he addressed, under the constraining
influence of Gospel love, to Friends of New
York, may be adduced, viz :

To the Monthly Meeting of Friends in New York,

Under an humbling sense of unmerited
goodness, vouchsafed to me in early life, and
still mercifully continued, whereby, as in
former days, I still feel desirous for the pros-
perity of Zion and the enlargement of her
borders, that peace may be within her walls,
and prosperity within her palaces, I once more
tender you my endeared love, whilst calling
your attention to the present state of our So-
ciety, and to a consideration of some of the
important testimonies maintained by our an-
cient Friends, by which they became as lights
in the world. Their memory remains to be
precious to those who are engaged to walk by
the same rule, and to mind the same thing ;
relying humbly upon the holy Head, for re-
newed qualification to labour for the purpose
of bringing forth fruit to the praise of the
great Lord of the harvest. Our worthy pre-
decessors were not distinguished by a mere

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uDmeaning singularity of dress and address,
but were restrained from following the vain
and changeable fashions and customs of the
world, and as a family of love, were engaged
to encourage one another to wait upon the
Lord for a renewal of strength, to endure the
many grievous suffisrings which were inflicted
upon them.

Much depends upon the unremitted care of
you, my dear friends, in the station of parents
and heads of families, having the charge of
children, to train them up in the fear of the
Lord; remembering that ere long the testi-
monies which the Society has to bear, for the
promotion of righteousness, should, in the line
of succession, fall upon them ^ apd that it is
as much our religious duty to instruct them
in the principles of Truth, as held by our an-
cient Friends, as it was obligatory upon the
Israelites to teach their children the laws and
statutes, by which they were frequently re-
minded of the deliverance of their ancestors
from Egyptian bondage. I am persuaded it
would be profitable to our young people, oAen
to read the history of the Society, and the
writings of our predecessors; they would
then see, that the Scriptures were highly
prized by them, as a means by which they
were strengthened in a dependence upon the
internal Teacher, encouraging them to turn
from darkness and tradition, into the redeemed
state of the righteous, enjoying true liberty :
and in consequence of the opposition they
met with from difierent professors, they had
frequently to recur to those invaluable writ-
ings, to prove the consistency of their prac-
tices, as well as the soundness of their faith.
Much disadvantage would arise, if those writ-
ings should be so neglected by us, as to pro-
duce in our children a disposition to under-
value them. I am far from desiring that they
should be held up as the alone rule of faith
and practice, as they are believed to be by
some professors; yet they are certainly a
means by which intelligent men may be
brought to the knowledge of the unerring
Guide, and thereby arranged in the ranks of
righteousness. Their antiquity places a value
upon them also ; preserved as they have been
amidst the wreck of empires ; and they give
us a view of the piety of early tinnes, and
strengthen the pious of the present day, who
in their contemplation aspire in fervent de-
sires to our almighty omnipotent Father and
protector ; Him who not only blessed the
aged patriarch, but whose protecting care was
extended to the covenanting youth, whether
engaged in a pastoral life, or in the more ex-
posed employ of princely courts. How very
difierent are these sacred writings from those
publications that are calculated to lead into

the mazes of speculation, or to bewilder, with
reasoning upon the attributes of an Almighty
God. We have also cause to bless the AN
iiiighty> that he has been pleased to reveal
his Truth to our ancestors, and bring them to
depend upon the grace and truth that comes
by Jesus Christ. But with all the privileges
enjoyed by our youth, there is not a uniform
engagement to build up one another on the
most holy faith that works by love ; and it is
to be feared, that blindness in part has hap*
pened unto some, who under the specious
pretence of greater light, and a further ad-
vance towards Christian perfection, have un-
settled the minds of some, to the grief of the
upright hearted.

When I first had an opportunity of attend-
ing Yearly Meetings, my mind was often
bowed in reverence before Almighty Good-
ness, who endowed his humble sefvants with
wisdom and ability to conduct so, that difiler*
ent prospects often centered in a conclu-
sion, that was to mutual satisfaction. Here
was seen an assembly owning no one to be
president or dictator, but Christ Jesus our
Lord ; under the influence of whose love,
all the faithful had a common concern for the
general good. My belief is not lessened in
the goodness and mercies of the holy Head,
vouchsafed for the help of the members of
the militant church ; but should we substitute
our own wills, or the wisdom of this world for
his will and wisdom, our conclusions may be
very difierent. It is the duty of all to watch
over themselves, and not to suffer the buddings
of any evil seed or root in them to spring up
and disturb the harmony of the Society; for
it is only in subjection to the Divine life and
power, that any can be useful in promoting
peace on earth and good will towards men.

And, my dearly beloved friends, who are
far advanced in years, and who have kept
your habitations in the Truth, I tenderly sym-
pathize with you, under the consideration, that
some of you have to mourn the state of our
Society, under the present trials and provings.
The remembrance of former days, contrasted
with the present time, may increase your sor-
row and solicitude for the rising generation,
justly fearing they may not profit, as was
happily your case, by a united engagement
with the elder members of the militant church,
in a humble dependence upon the Author and
Finisher of the saints^ faith; and through
whose gracious condescension, you were fa-
voured to enjoy the sweet influence of his
love, to bind you together, as brethren and
sisters of a well regulated family, and in con-
tentment with the simplicity of the Truth, as
it is in Jesus, enabled you, in the enjoyment
of this favour, to say, it is enough.

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Dear friends, faint not, for although the
Society is proved, it is not forsaken; 'Mhe
foundation of God standeth sure, having this
seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his;"
he will never leave nor forsake those that
trust in him. Although the prospect before
you is gloomy, and you may fear that the
children will be scattered, and you lefl weep-
ing as with the lamentation that was heard in
Ramah, I am comforted in a belief, that there
will be a remnant preserved, whose depend-
ence will be upon the sustaining arm of Di-
vine power, faithful in the cause that has been
near to your lives ; and as ye hold out to the
end, ye will be gathered with the faithful of
all ages, into enduring rest. Dear aged fa-
thers and' mothers, may the God of all con-
solation comfort you in all your afflictions,
granting unto you peace and joy in the holy
spirit. And may all of every age, aspire aAer
this, until the end of the warfare, saith your
brother, in the Gospel of our Lord and Sa-
viour Jesus Christ.

Henrt Hull.

Staofordville, Eleventh month 26th, 182a

From this time, it would appear that he
kept no memorandums until the sixth month,
1826, when he writes as follows, viz :

Looking over my memorandums, I do not
find any account of several extensive journies
in the service of Truth, performed since my
second marriage, for which tay wife freely
cave me up, and I am apprehensive that I
did not keep minutes of them, or if I did,
they are mislaid. I performed several jour-
nies on a religious account in the State of
New York and Vermont, and in Canada, pre-
vious to going to Europe; but find no account
of them. I feel disposed to mention them, to
show that I have spent a considerable part of
the best of my days in the cause of my dear
Redeemer; not boastingly, but in humility,
and under some afflicting considerations re-
specting the present state of our Society. It
is a comfort to me to think, that I have en-
deavoured to be devoted to the good cause,
although I have thereby deprived myself of
opportunities I might have had, to accumulate
wealth ; but a man's life or the happiness
thereof, consisteth not in the abundance of
the things he possesseth, and perhaps few
have enjoyed more contentment than I have.

Accompanied by my dear friend John Gur-
ney, I travelled at almost all seasons of the
year, both before and since I returned from
England, some thousands of miles in the old
settled parts of the States of Vermont and
New York, as well as in Canada ; and also
visited several new settlements forming in di-

vers places, and had many meetings for those
not of our Society. In company with ray
deajr friend Henry Warrington, jr., I went
into the State of Ohio in the year 1819, at-
tended the Yearly Meeting and a few other
meetings in that state and in Pennsylvania;
and at another time he was with me in a
visit to the meetings in Bucks county; and
Smith Upton had an arduous journey with
me in the second visit I made to some parts
of Maryland, Virginia and Carolina.

I have often reflected upon the precious sea-
sons, in which our spirits were baptized toge-
ther with Friends, in these journies, as well as
in one I performed with dear Enoch Dorland,
in Canada ; and that the Shepherd of Israel,
who worketh by whom he will work, has been
pleased to make use of me as an instrument
to convince some, and to awaken others ; by
whose example and engagement in the Lord's
cause, many have been brought to the know-
ledge of the Truth, as it is in Jesus, and seve-
ral meetings have been settled where no meet-
ings of Friends had been held ; and my spirit
has glowed with thankfulness for his goodness
to me, an unworthy servant.

And now when I feel the infirmities of age
coming upon me, the cause appears as precious
to me as ever ; but alas ! how difllerent is the
state of society ! Schism is beginning to make
its appearance in an appalling manner; and
why is it so? Because all have not kept their
first love ; but giving place to false reasoning,
have departed from the Truth, and made inno-
vations in doctrine — ^the minds of Friends have
become alienated one from another, and those
who should have been examples to the flock,
have hieen the means of leading others astray.
The discipline of the church, if not discard^,
is much neglected, and endeavours used to
weaken this hedge. Discordant sentiments
disturb the quiet of society, and in some
places threaten its dissolution. The youth,
taking advantage of the commotion, have, in
many instances, taken their flight into the
customs and fashions of the world, so that
they would not be recognized either by their
dress or address, as members of our religious
Society. An awful responsibility rests upon
some of those who stand in the fore ranks ;
and I have often felt willing to investigate
myself, and see wherein I have contributed to
this sorrowful change ; and now fervently de-
sire not to justify myself, by avoiding a close
scrutiny, as respects my conduct and the doc-
trines I preach. I am not sensible of holding
any sentiments diflerent from what I first set
out with, and held up to the public in the be-
ginning of my ministerial labours; which doc-
trines had a good efllect to unite me to my
friends, and rendered them near to me. Friends

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were then united in the covenant of life, and
were indeed engaged to keep the unity of the
spirit, in the bond of peace, mutually con-
cerned to watch over one another in love for
good, and not for evil. Judging of causes
from their effects, as well as from an evidence
in my own mind, of the soundness of the
doctrines of the Society, as set forth in their
approved writings, I consider the cause of the
present disunity to be a departure from those
doctrines. Unsound doctrines teem not only
from the press, but from the galleries of our
meeting houses. I say, unsound ; because the
Society of Friends have uniformly acknow-
ledged their belief in the divinity of Jesus
Christ, without striving to make it appear,
that the Divine power with which he was
filled, made him the light of the world, whilst
he was no more than one of the prophets;
that the Divine power only was termed
Christ, &c., with divers other vague and in-
definite terms, which are used by those who
have departed from the faith, and which bor-
der on the Unitarian notions, and are contrary
to plain Scripture testimony.

Some who advocate these unsound views,
aware of the difference between their senti-
ments and those of our first Friends, strive
greatly, by misconstruing and garbling their
writings, to make it appear that their doc-
trines are the same as those of George Fox

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 67 of 104)