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William Evans.

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

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even to the earth, and in the midst of this
trouble I was made to cry in the bitterness of
my poor afflicted soul, "O Lord, make me
what thou wouldest have me to be — lay me
even with the dust, be thou but pleased to
raise me up again, and let roe enjoy thy pre-
sence as in days past."

Thus did the Lord work in me, and by the
might of his power made we willing to be-
come a fool or any thing, for his name's sake.
O, what peace did my soul enjoy, when I had
given up in pure obedience to the Lord's re-
quirings, which was about the beginning of the
twelfth month, 1747, when my mouth was
first opened in a public manner at our week-



day meeting at Castle Donnington, I being
then about the thirtieth year of my age.

In a little time after, I heard that Elizabeth
Fletcher, a Friend in Derbyshire, had a con-
cern on her mind to visit the counties of Hunt-
ingdon, Cambridge, Norfolk, Suffolk and Es-
sex, so to London, in order to visit that great
city, and was inquiring where she might meet
with a companion who had the same concern.
This took such hold of me when I first heard
of it, that it struck like a dart ; but I would
not have consented to it, if I could have had
peace in the refusal ; for I let in many rea-
sonings against it, and thought but few like
me travelled, and could not see how way was
to be made without a great deal of trouble ; —
and having just appeared in the ministry, and
being a poor weak creature in spiritual things,
I could not think what service I could be of to
any, except it were to Elizabeth Fletcher, who
was a very weakly woman. But I was made
willing to drop these reasonings, and leave all
to the Lord, who can and doth make way when
we can see no way ; so in obedience to his
pure mind and will, I left all to his divine pro-
tection, my dear husband and sweet babes,
my eldest about six, and youngest about three
years old. I thought this a great trial, and it
seemed at times to come very near my life ;
but as I stood resigned to the will of God, he
gave me strength in weakness, and his holy
arm bore me up through many deep exercises
that I met with in this journey.

And blessed be his powerful name! the
same arm that took me from my nearest con-
nexions in life, also brought me home again
in peace; and as I was preserved, so were my
dear husband and children ; and we both have
cause to give all honour and glory to God,
who is alone worthy, now and for evermore 1

On this journey she wrote the following
letter to her husband, viz :

TO HEB HUSBAND.
'* Woodbridge. 21st Third montti, 17ia

** In unfeigned love to thee and my dear and
tender children do I now write ; and although
it is so ordered that we are separated one from
another outwardly, yet I am near to you in
spirit. As it is in obedience to the Lord that
I am where I am, 1 sincerely desire that I may
continue in obedience to his pure and holy
will, although it be a very great trial, and at
times comes near almost as my life. Yet,
blessed be the Lord, he has been pleased so to
favour me with his living presence, and to
support roe with his divine power, that I am
made willing to be what he would have me to
be; and, my dear husband, as I desire for
myself, so for thee, that we both be wholly
resigned to his will ; and I believe, whilst we



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abide in his fear, all things will work together
for our good."

In the course of the journey mentioned in
the foregoing account, it appears that she at-
tended eighty-two meetings, in company with
her friend Elizabeth Fletcher ; besides being
at the Yearly Meeting at Woodbridge ; leav-
ing home the 8th of third month, and return-
ing the 29th of sixth month.

On the 25th of sixth month, 1749, she
again accompanied Elizabeth Fletcher on a
religious visit, and returned home on the 26th
of seventh month; having attended eleven
meetings in parts of Warwickshire, Leicester-
shire, Worcestershire, &c. ; at three of which,
Henley, Broomsgrove and Worcester, they had
the company of John Griffith.

The subsequent letters were written afler
her return home, viz ;

•* LeioMter, 27lh of Sixth month, 1754.
**Deas Fkibnd,

" I with gladness received thy letter, but in
the reading of it, was seized with a jealousy
that thou art not yet emptied enough of self.
I hope, my dear friend, thou wilt bear with
me, as I must deal honestly; and desire I may
speak simply upon all occasions without seek-
ing to ornament it with what might please
myself, because I have learned to know that
what is done to gratify self, is displeasing to
the Almighty. It seems to me as if thou wast
in a track that I long trod in, therefore I am
in much love engaged to tell thee a little of
what I have experienced. When the Lord
has been pleased to lay a concern upon me to
speak amongst his people, I was not willing to
stand up or to kneel down, until I had as I
thought, made it somewhat compact; and
those who were my best friends have been
much concerned for me, and advised me to
give up in faith, for I should never grow
whilst I remained so. For this cause I have
been brought into great confusion, so that I
could neither go forward nor make an end in
a proper manner ; if I dare have said that I
would never preach more, I would have said
It; but blessed be our God, he is ready to lead
us step by step, were we but willing to follow
him in humility. Let all our actions be in
bis iear, without the least desire for the praise
of men ; then I am satisfied he would forgive
all our past offences, and love us freely. Well,
my dear friend, I seem to be near a conclu-
sion, and also near thee in spirit, and in a de-
gree of that love which first united us, I sin-
cerely salute thee and bid thee farewell."

'• Domiingloo, 18th of Ninth month* 1757.
**Dbab Cousin,
^* Thou hast at times been brought to my
mind, and I thought I had freedom to write a



few lines to thee, supposing thou might be at
the Quarterly Meeting. I hope thou wilt not
be negligent in attending such meetings, nor
any other which are appointed for the service
of Truth, and for the worship of Almighty
God. I pray thee, let not the indifierency of
others lull thee asleep; but be thou diligent and
watchful, truly waiting in the depth of humili-
ty, and then I doubt not but thou wilt be fa-
voured with the presence of God, both to thy
comfort and edification ; for it is the Divine
Monitor from heaven that is still the teacher
of his people. It is He that yet speaks as
never man spoke, and he cannot be removed
into a corner. I hope dear cousin, thou art
sensible of these things, and I desire that thou
mayest increase in wisdom. Let it be thy
concern to keep a conscience void of offence
both toward God and man. This is what I
desire to hear of thee and my other relatives."

From 1749 until the year 1758, it does not
appear that she was engaged in any more ex-
tended religious service than of attending the
general meetings at Atherstone and Matlock,
when, on the 20th of eighth month she ac-
companied Anne Wright into Yorkshire: —
they attended forty meetings, and the Quar-
terly Meeting at York ; where she says, was
James Wilson from Darlington, aged ninety
years, who had a deal of the service of the
meeting, and seemed to take his final farewell
of the place. — She returned home on the 15th
of tenth month.

In the twelfih month she says, I had for
some time drawings in my mind to Warwick,
and a few other meetings in that county, and
having acquainted the Monthly Meeting there-
of, I had its approbation, and a certificate ac-
cordingly. I attended Leicester Quarterly
Meeting, where we were favoured with the
company of George Boone and William Dod-
son. From thence, with G. B. Sampson
Lloyd and Joseph Heath, I went to Coventry ;
and on the 17th to Warwick, where was Ca-
tharine Payton, of whose company I was
glad. We were both engaged to labour
amongst a degenerate people, but had peace
for so doing, and Friends who were truly
sensible, were satisfied and seemed glad of
our company.

We were at the Quarterly Meeting on se-
cond-day, from whence afler attending a few
more meetings, I returned home and found
my family well, for which I was thankful to
my Lord and Master, who hath oAen seen
meet to call me from it ; and although it is a
pinching trial to leave dear husband and chil-
dren, yet great peace have they who are obe-
dient to the Lord's requirings. As I never
had cause to repent being faith fill, and I



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heartily desire that all who are called of God,
anointed and appointed to preach the Gospel,
would steadily walk and diligently hearken,
that they may perfectly hear the distinct
sound and the true voice, that they may not
run before they are sent, nor stay behind
when they are commanded to go — then all
would be well with them.

On the 21sl of second month, 1769, 1 went
with Thomas Bakewell and his wife to our
Quarterly Meeting at Leicester, where was
George Mason out of Yorkshire, of whose
company we were glad, and were truly com-
forted together in the love of God.

On the 26th of fourth month, was at the
general meeting at Nottingham, where was
John Alderson of Yorkshire, whose company
was very acceptable.

On the 14th of seventh month I went to
Polesworth and Atherstone ; and on the I5th
was at their general meeting, where were
. Catharine Payton and many other public
Friends. — On the 29th was at Matlock, where
was Samuel Fothergill, whose visit was very
acceptable.



SECTION n.

Her visit to the meetings of Friends Westward —

to Bristol — and thence to London,

On the 28th of second month, 1760, afler
a long time of deep exercise, I parted from
my dear children, having the approbation of
my friends and a certificate according to good
order, to visit the meetings of Friends west*
ward to Bristol, and from thence to London ;
my dear husband accompanied me a few
days, first to Leicester then to Coventry ; at
which places I held no meetings, but parted
with my friends in much love, being engaged
in my mind to be at Birmingham on first-day.
I was at their meetings to my satisfaction.
On the next day I parted with my dear hus-
band, which was no small trial to me, being
left alone and never having gone such a
journey by myself, it seemed full hard for me
to bear ; but I found it best to be still, know-
ing that I was engaged by and for Him, who
is alone able to help and preserve his people.

From Birmingham^ I was at various places,
attending nineteen meetings, and on the 20th
of third month reached Bristol, where I at-
tended six meetings before the quarterly meet-
ing, and seven aHerwards. I now seemed to
take my farewell of them to my satisfaction,
though I was an example of silence in many
of their meetings.

I here feel inclined to look back upon my
journey, not having had an opportunity until
now to make any remarks. And first I find



freedom to say, for the encouragement of such
as have the right cause at heart, that I have
had no cause to repent leaving home and my
near and dear connexions there ; for the Lord
has been pleased to be with me hitherto. I
have been kindly received by Friends; and
at this time a hope is afforded me, that I shall
be enabled to perform the rest of my journey;
and being well assured that I am in the way
of my duty, I am thankfully content. I was
now favoured with the company of Mary
Winter, a young woman, young also in the
ministry ; she was with me at Bewdley and
Bromsgrove, and I was truly glad of her
company.

I was favoured also with the company of
Martha Merrill, who staid with me whilst I
was at Bristol, and accompanied me to Fren-
chay and Earthcot; at the latter place we
parted in much love. On seventh-day I went
to Bath and lodged at Love Tyler's, who very
kindly received me, which made my lonesome
situation much pleasanter whilst I remained
in that town. My great Master too, whose
servant I have been and for whom I desire
that I may ever be rightly engaged, was
pleased to send my dear friends Robert and
Love Peters, from Bristol to Bath on first-day
morning. O, how glad was I to see them,
for it seemed as if I could hardly live or be
able to get that day over ; but being thus fa-
voured with agreeable company, and again
finding the Lord to be my helper, I got
through the meetings with some degree of
satisfaction. My dear friend Love Peters,
offered to accompany me to some meetings,
which I very thankfully accepted ; we were
at nine including the Quarterly Meeting at
Cain, where we parted, she returning with
her husband, who came from Bristol for her.
There were many Friends at the above meet-
ing from several places, but too few who were
truly concerned for the cause of God ; so that
they who were rightly engaged had very hard
work ; but the power of the Most High was
over all, and his great name was glorified.

We next proceeded to Devizes, and how
hard did it seem to me to go amongst stran-
gers. 1 cannot express what my soul went
through in that place ; I had nothing to say
at meeting ; neither could I see for some time
how I might find ease. I endeavoured to be
still, and cried unto the Lord in my spirit that
I might be preserved, and if it would please
him to show me what he required of me, I
thought I should submit if it were ever so hard
to my own will. As thus I sat, there came
several to dine at the house where I was. We
sat down to dinner, and in the bitterness of
my soul did I at the command of the Lord,
pour forth my supplication unto him for their



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sakes, poor souls, who were living in forget-
fulness of God : yet did the Lord visit them
in this wise, and engaged me to pray for
them ; and by my obedience I had peace. O !
how thankful was I that I could leave the
town with satisfaction ; so from Devizes I
went to Marlborough, though still in dread
and fear lest I should not be able to stand my
ground; but blessed be the Lord who has thus
been pleased to lead me, even as through the
valley of the shadow of death ; he stood by
me, and I got safe from the town. From
thence to Newberry and Backhurst, and
Reading: staid their Half-year's Meeting,
with which I was well satisfied ; there were
many worthy Friends present, one of whom
was Joseph White, from America.

I then proceeded towards London, where,
and in its neighbourhood, I continued nearly
six weeks visiting the different meetings.
Finding myself at liberty when the Yearly
Meeting was over I parted from many Friends
in much love and satisfaction, some of whom
I had now first become acquainted with ;
amongst these was Susannah Hatton from
Ireland, a widow, who was intending to visit
America, and had led six children. My friend
Anne Wright, was nearly two weeks at John
Canledge's in Wood street, and we were to-
gether at several families, to much satisfac-
tion. May that love ever remain with them
in which we were truly united ; and although
we may be outwardly separated, yet wc are
as epistles wrttten in one another's minds. —
Oh ! that we may keep near to the Fountain
of love and life ! then we shall have to re-
joice together in the communion of the one
pure Spirit, which is extended to the whole
family of God, the world over. Amen.

TO HER HUSBAND.

•' London, Fourth month, 25th, 1760.

^^I am still satisfied that I am about my
Father's business, and for thy comfort may
inform thee that I now enjoy peace, and de-
sire that we may be enabled to do our duty to
Him from whom all our blessings come. I
vas at Gracechurch street meeting this day,
and came away in peace ; Isaac Sharpless
was there in the morning, and we were comr
forted together. His concern has been to
visit families, and he has got through so far
as to think he will be at liberty to go home
to-morrow, having been at many places and
fami!ies, although only here a little more than
a week. By his labour he has made way for
others who had the concern, but perhaps could
not so well begin that great work. In look-
ing back a little to my visit at Bristol, the
place where I have often been concerned, it



was not without a cause that my service there
should be in a manner I did not expect. I la-
boured diligently and was baptized oQen, be-
cause of the sins of the people, and brought
near to the mourners in Sion, and feel as I
now write, my spirit drawn towards them. It
is pleasant to me to think of them, for we
were joined in a holy fellowship which will
endure. I visited many families, in which en-
gagement 1 had freedom to join Martha Mer-
rill and Love Peters. I had to admire how
their states were brought before me ; nay, I
had hard work to believe my Lord, but his
mighty power did enable me to do his will, for
which I am truly thankful; and the love of
God did so prevail that many were bowed,
and seemed to be brought near to us. Al-
though I have been thus favoured, yet fear
and weakness encompass me, so that at
times I am ready to faint and seem like one
who has not known good. Oh ! may the fear
of the Lord, which is a fountain of life, ever
preserve us from the snares of death. May
we who have known redemption in some de-
gree, never more be entangled with the yoke
of bondage. May we be * favoured with food
and raiment, and a blessing upon our tender
offspring from the Holy Spirit, which hath
and doth conduct us; and may this good
Spirit rest upon our children. This I desire
for them and us more than uncertain riches,
which will fade away. My mind is very
closely engaged, oAen in great painfulness
and watchings, lest the enemy, who way-lays
me daily, should so prevail as to cause me to
do any thing that would occasion the honest
minded to be uneasy. Oh ! the proving sea-
sons I have met with, but which I hope are
all for my good ; and I do expect many in
this place, and surely thou with my dear
friends, will have a concern to pray for me."

On 4th of sixth month I \eti London, and
went with our friend John Griffith, to his
house at Chelmsford ; staid their first-day
meeting, where I was again favoured with the
company of Susannah Hatton. With these
Friends I proceeded to the Yearly Meeting at
Colchester, aAer which we again parted, and
on the next first-day I was at Ipswich ; thence
to Woodbridge Yearly Meeting, and on the
18th to Yarmouth ; next to Norwich, where
I lodged at Samuel Gurney's, and was at
many meetings with many worthy Friends.
Then in company with Mary Gurney, I went
to North Walsham ; from which place my
worthy friend John Ransom went with me to
several meetings. I was truly glad of his
company, and hope I may not forget his kind-
ness to me.

We returned to Norwich 12th of seventh



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month, where I mostly continued till 7th of
the ninth, when I parted with my dear friend
with whom I had been so unexpectedly de-
tained. It was very contrary to my own
will, and might seem strange to many ; but I
believe it was according to the will of God ;
and for his cause did I mourn with them that
mourned, yea, I was very often in sorrow ; a
time of deep searching of heart it was to me;
but blessed be the Lord, he was pleased after
he had thus tried me, and found me in sin-
cerity truly desiring that I might not be de-
ceived, but that his will might te done — I say,
after all this time of proving, he let me see
my way again ; and when the cloud was re-
moved from my tabernacle, I went on my
way rejoicing. My friend John Lucas, a&
oompanied me until I came to Lynn ; thence
I went to Downham to their general meeting,
where I met David Couison and William Dod-
son. Proceeding to several places I came to
Godmanchester, where was Samuel Spavold ;
afterwards I proceeded homeward, and arrived
there the 15th of ninth month, 1760.

The following letter is a further description
of the close conflict she endured in being de-
tained at Norwich :

" Norwich, Eighth month 18th, 1760.

** It seems very hard for me to tell thee
that I am yet bound in this place, although
when I wrote to thee I thought that I might
have got away. It is not omission of duty
that detains me, but surely it is for a trial of
my patience and of thine, for a cause we
know not. I fear we have been over anxious ;
yet sometimes I have hopes that thou art more
resigned to the will of the Most High than 1
am. If 1 be rightly sensible, I believe that I
am where I ought to be; and although I would
have hid the concern, yet I could not ; for se-
veral Friends whose spirits are united with
mine, and who had a sense of my tra-
vail of soul came to see me — and my dear
friends with whom I make this long abode
told me they did believe I was not clear, and
my unwillingness to stay made my affliction
heavier ; which indeed was true. Friends
are very kind and loving to me, seem glad to
see me and tell me they are^ot weary of me.
When I consider how it was formerly, when
our worthy ancients were concerned to speak
in the name of the Lord, how they were haled
to prisons, abused, and all they had taken
from them ; yea, that many sealed their testi-
mony with their blood; when I remember
those things, what can I say ? There hardly
seems room for us to complain; our trials
seem so trifling to those which they met with;
and looking at what many are tried with now,
as to going over sea, oh ! my heart is often



affected for them. Yet how unwilling I am
to be thus confined in my native land, which
seems but little to enga^ with to what those
have who cross the mighty ocean. There-
fore, as it thus happens for me to be tried on
this wise, I beg that thou may still resign me;
how affecting would it be to us both to bring
a burden home with me. O that it may not
be so ! it would be better for thee to see me
no more, than to see me in that anxiety of
soul which disobedience brings. Therefore
be thou comforted, for although thou may
with me have been tossed as with a tempest,
yet our foundation is sure, against which the
gates of hell shall never prevail ; and may we
ever remain upon it."

30th of seventh month, 1761— Although I
have not set any thing down of my travels
for many months, yet I have not been much
idle, but have had an afflicting time so that I
could not go far from home, yet when able,
got to our own Quarterly Meetings. In the
sixth month, Joseph White from America, was
at our meeting, and I with other Friends, were
with him at Soilby and Dalby. — In the seventh
month my husl)and took me to Nottingham, I
being engaged for Lincoln Quarterly Meeting,
where were John Griffith, John Hunt, Thomas
Corbin, Joseph Taylor and Joseph Roe, on
an appointment from the Yearly Meeting to
visit the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in
divers counties — whose company was very
acceptable. After my return home, I attended
the Atherstone general meeting.



SECTION m.

Her visit to Friends in Ireland^ and to the Yearly
Meeting in London.

On the 22nd of eighth month, 1761, I
parted with my dear children, having some
time before acquainted my friends with my
concern to visit the meetings in Ireland, and
they having unity therewith gave me a certifi-
cate. My dear husband and Joseph Evatt ac-
companied me to Uttoxeter, where Anne White
from Coventry met me, she having the same
concern. We lodged at John Shipley's — and
here I parted with my dear husl>and, he goiag
home with Joseph Evatt. We next lod^ at
Joshua Toft's at Haregate; thence to War-
rington and so to Liverpool, and were at their
fifth-day meeting.

On the 28th we embarked for Dublin, and
were at sea three days and three nights, in
which time we had a sore tempest, and were
amongst a very disagreeable crew; but by
Divine Providence we were wonderfully pre-
served, and landing safe on the Slat, proceed-



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ed to the house of our worthy friend, Samuel
Jodd.

The Ist of ninth month we were at the
meeting in Dublin, which though silent, was
solid and satisfactory. We were also at the
meetings on sixth and first-days, where we la-
boured more in silence than in words ; being
sensible that there is something amongst them
which at times obstructs and hinders the min-
istry. May we and all those whom the Lord
is engaging to visit the churches of his peo-
ple, patiently wait and willingly suffer, until
the Lord's power be over all ; and when he is
pleased to favour his ministers with strength
and zeal for his cause, and commands us to



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 7 of 104)