Copyright
William Evans.

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

. (page 9 of 104)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 9 of 104)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


On the 15th of sixth month, I lefl London
on third-day morning about two o'clock, and
got safely the same evening to Leicester, and
on the 16th attended (heir Monthly Meeting at
Hinckley ; thence to Leicester Quarterly Meet-
ing on the 18th, in which those who were
rightly concerned, were made sensible that
the power of God was with us, by which some
were enabled to worship him in spirit and in
truth.

1 now returned home with my husband, but
contrary to my hopes, met with fresh exercise;
but I desire that I may learn patience, and by
passing through many and great tribulations
may know my robes to be made white in the
blood of the Lamb, that so having suffered
with him we may also reign with him in his
glory.

SECTION IV.

Her visit to ike meetings of Friends Westward^
and in Wales, ^c.

On the 17th of third month, 1763, it hav-
ing been my concern for some time to visit
the meetings of Friends Westward, and hav-
ing the concurrence of my friends and a cer-
tificate from the Monthly Meeting, I proceeded
accordingly, attending the Quarterly Meetings
at Leicester and Birmingham: we had the



Digitized by



Google



86



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS-



company of Catharine Pay ton, who had good
service. I was afterwards at Dudley, Stour-
bridge, Bromsgrove and Worcester ; at the
latter place I remained until the 7th of fourth
month, visiting several sick Friends and at-
tending their meetings for worship, also the
Monthly Meeting, where I should have been
glad if more of the women Friends had at-
tended ; however, I think I may say we were
favoured with the love of our God, not only
in the meeting for discipline but in that for
worship, and enabled to offer thanksgiving
and praise to his most holy name, who is alone
worthy thereof.

From Worcester I departed in much peace,
accompanied by several Friends to Tewkes-
bury, where we had a suffering meeting;
thence to Bristol and arrived at my dear
friend Robert Peters, whose wife though in
a very poor state of health, accompanied me
to most of the meetings. On the 20th was at
Frenchay, in their company, where at meet-
ing, we had some satisfaction. Robert Peters
returned home, but his wife accompanied me
to Earthcote meeting, where we were favoured
with strength to labour amongst a people who
are not enough concerned for themselves.

We returned to Bristol on the 22nd, where
I remained until the Yearly Meeting, at which
we had the company of John Hunt from Lon-
don, and Isaac Sharpies from Hitchin, who
were engaged to labour and travail, and to
speak to the states of the people.

*' Bristol, Fourth month 30th, 1763.

" Though I am far from being' liflcd up, yet
I esteem it a great favour that I have hitherto
been preserved from sinking too low ; there-
fore I hope thou wilt continue easy about me ;
for though I am thine in one sense, yet as we
are none of us our own, let us be willing to
serve Him whose we are, and be obedient
children unto Him who in love visited us.
Surely, He it is who sees meet to separate us
outwardly — yet I am often near to you in
spirit. I have had many satisfactory oppor-
tunities in this city, and my friends seem to
have unity with me, which is a strength to
me. I cannot forget what I have met with in
my painful pilgrimage; but have still hope
that it hath been, and will be of service to me,
by making me more watchful and careful, for
there is great need of watchfulness.

" Many are ill, and many die suddenly —
how happy are all those who have made their
peace with God ! I think I may say, / know
thai peace, and beg that I may be preserved
to the end ; being assured, that all those who
are 'faithful unto death,' shall receive *a
crown of life.' "

I was enabled to leave Bristol with a degree



of satisfaction, on the 16th of fifth month, ac-
companied by William Bragg and William
Bush : — Robert Peters also going to Hotwells
tor see his worthy wife, who seems to be near
her change, having fought a good fight, and
no doubt will finish her course with joy. Mary
Winter of Stourbridge, accompanied me into
Wales. We rode to New Passage, and with
difficulty got safe over to the county of Mon-
mouth. Our first meeting was at Sheernew-
ton, to which came several of the neighbours,
and we had a satisfactory opportunity. We
then proceeded to Pontypool, a poor place as
to the situation of our professors ; but we had
cause to be thankful to our Lord who sent us,
and was pleased to show unto us the states of
the people, with whom we had a meeting on
the 18th. We then visited a few families in
the town, one of which, or rather the father
thereof had done wickedly, but we knew it
not, yet were led to pay them a visit ; and
soon after entering the house I had to believe
that something was wrong; after a time of si-
lence I found an engagement to speak, there
being present two children of this person both
grown up, himself and his second wife. At first
the old man looked very stiff; but though an
entire stranger, I was led to speak very close-
ly to his state and to mourn with the children,
desiring them not to bring forth the fruits of
Sodom, nor the grapes of Gomorrah, although
their teeth had been set on edge by their pa-
rents ; neither to be worshippers of idols, nor
in anyway to defile themselves; telling them,
that the Lord was of purer eyes than to be-
hold iniquity with approbation, neither should
the sinner go unpunished. Yet, although I
was thus led, I had to speak of the beautiful
situation of those, who came through true re»
pentance and amendment of life to have their
hearts purged from dead works, and in them
living sacrifices prepared, and could ofier them
as upon God's holy mountain, having access
to the throne of divine grace, through Jesus
Christ, which I was desirous might be one day
their situation, therefore I exhorted them to
beg for true repentance. Surely it was a time
of favour, wherein the youth were encouraged
and the old man brought down and broken
into tears. Oh I how often do we mourn, be-
cause the fathers and mothers lead their poor
children into captivity.

From Pontypool we had a long and tedious
ride over the mountains to Irevirig ; lodged at
John Bevan's the 19th of fifth month, and on
the 2dd went to Nailth, having meetings at
both places. Thence we went to Swansea,
and attended meetings on first-day ; in the af-
ternoon were at the funeral of a Friend named
John Griffiths ; a great number of people at-
tendedy and a very solemn time it was. y/e



Digitized by



Google



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



87



lodged at our friend Paul Bevan's, and on se-
oond-day, vfiih our dear friend Elizabeth Be-
Yan visited several families, being engaged to
labour amongst them in spirit, and in the de-
monstration and power of God to preach the
Gospel ; for indeed the Gospel is the power of
God, which is oflen preached in our souls ;
and did all that hear it live in obedience unto
it, they would know redemption from sin and
come to witness a being reconciled unto God,
his Spirit bearing witness with their spirits
that they are his children.

On the 24th we proceeded to Carmarthen,
and lodged at William Reynolds's, where we
had a meeting: thence to Haverfordwest to
John Lewis's, who went with us over a large
and difficult ferry to Jamestown, where we
had a meeting. On first-day attended meet-
ings at Haverfordwest, and in the evening had
an opportunity in the house of a Friend at
which several were present ; it was an exer-
cising season, but I was at length favoured
with strength to speak in a very close man-
ner, and to query, whether the fathers and
mothers, who once had been serviceable * in
the church of God, were not now laying
waste what they had helped to build? It
seemed to me to be so ; and that those who
should have been the repairers of breaches
had broken down the wall of discipline, and
made way for the destruction of their chil-
dren ; yet that the Lord had mercifully visited
them with his servants, and had hewn them
by his prophets, but if they would not return
and repent, I believed the Lord would remove
the stumbling blocks and pluck up the dead
trees ; and in place thereof, raise up a people
whom he would purify, and that such should
tread his courts, and only such could sing his
praise. By thus discharging my duty, al-
though it was in fear, I obtained peace ; and
our friend John Lewis concluded in supplica-
tion, confirming what had been said. On the
morrow we left for a place called Redstone,
where we had a satisfactory meeting. We
then continued our journey to Carmarthen,
accompanied by William Reynolds and an-,
other Friend, and had il meeting at a place
called the New Inn to satisfaction, although
very close doctrine was preached.

-We aflerwards had a meeting at Pennibunt,
on the Ist of sixth month ; on the 2nd had
an evening meeting at OLlandewey-Brevy and
lodged at the house where it was held, but
knew nothing of the people until aAerward ;
for indeed, we do not inquire, neither are we
willing to be informed until our service is
over ; but we think Friends should be careful
where they take us. We asked our guide
soon after we entered the house, if it would
Miot have been better to take us to an inn ;



for we were afraid that all was not well, but
he said there was ncr place convenient; so
here we staid, but had such a meeting as I
hope I shall not forget. Oh ! how did the
Lord lead me as into the secret places, and
engage my spirit in a deep and painful travail,
enabling me to tell unto the people their trans-
gressions and to call upon them to repent, for
their sins seemed grievous. And so they
were, as I was aflerwards informed ; for not
only the people of the house had grievously
erred, but some of that meeting who had been
preachers, had been disowned for their wicked
conduct, yet would at times preach to the peo-
ple; and these I was concerned to cry against.
We had hard labour in most places, Ending
very few that were rightly concerned, yet
these few were encouraged, and I hope,
strengthened, being made sensible that the
Lord was with us of a truth, and that " with
him is neither variableness nor shadow of
turning." Although many depart from him,
yet he remains a faithful Creator and a sure
Helper in the needful time, to all those who
keep near him, and put their trust in him
alone.

We next went to Talcord, and Friends were
informed at Cwm that they might meet with us
on first-day at this place ; several of them
came, and we had a painful time of sitting to-
gether, but were favoured in the conclusion
and the meeting ended well. On second-day
we went to Esgyrgoch, in Montgomeryshire.
We had only one meeting in Cardiganshire,
being all there is, and held at Llandcwey-
Brevy ; and we were but at one in Radnor-
shire, as some from the other meetings met us
at Talcord. The few meetings in this princi-
pality are far distant from each other, so that
we had hard work to get from one place to
another in one day. We had a meeting at
Esgyrgoch on third-day, which was dull and
heavy. On fourth-day we went to Llenynde,
to Humphrey Owens', whose wife is the
daughter of our worthy friend John Goodwin,
whom I have often heard called the " Prince
of Wales ;" we were glad of his company, he
and his wife both having lived to a good old
age; and although thus advanced in years,
they are living members fresh and green.
We staid here two nights and had a meeting,
in which I believe we should have been more
favoured if all of us had been faithful; I could
not forbear thinking that something was want-
ing from our worthy friend ; yet said within
myself, perhaps it is only because I should be
glad to hear him; but after meeting to my sat-
isfaction and confirmation, he told me that he
was afraid of being in the way of strangers.
" O I" said I unto him, " what a pity it was,
that thou, who art a father, should withhold



Digitized by



Google



38



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



any thing from a poor child, who was in such
need of a Utile help."- He said, he always
used to be fearful and backward. However,
he was open and free in conversation, and
told us many things which had befallen him
in his pilgrimage, and how wonderfully the
Lord had made way for him, and been with
him all along, even unto this day. Although
at one time he had not where to lay his head,
he now by the favour of Providence, enjoys
plenty of the things of this life, is freed from
the cares of worldly business, and like a
faithful steward, is ready when his Lord may
be pleased to call him. Oh ! saith my spirit,
that I, who have known something of the
same trials, and have also known the arm of
the Lord to be made bare for my help, may
also know a being kept in humility, and in a
true sense of the goodness of God and of my
own nothingness, that so over all, God may
be glorified, who alone is worthy.

We parted in much love and proceeded to
Tyddynygarrag, where we had a meeting, I
believe, to the satisfaction of the few who are
alive. The next day being very wet, we re-
mained and staid the meeting on first-day,
and were well satisfied therewith. We afler-
wards had meetings at Dolobran and Salop ;
and on the 26th of sixth month at Colebrook-
dale. Many thereabouts profess with us, but
we had an exceedingly hard meeting amongst
them ; some however, expressed their satis-
faction at our visit, and we were glad to find
a few who were living in the Truth : for in-
deed, the world and the things of it do too
much prevail amongst us. On the 18th were
at Dudley at James Payton's, he and his mo-
ther being at home, whose company was very
acceptable; thence forward to Birmingham,
where my dear husband met me, and on the
22nd of sixth mouth we got safe home. I
was out this journey fourteen weeks, and was
favoured with the company of Mary Winter
through the principality of Wales. I was
near two weeks in Worcester, near five in
Bristol, and four in Wales ; from all which
places I returned home in peace.

In the fiflh month, 1764, finding drawing
in my mind to attend the Yearly Meeting m
Wales, held at Wrexham, I was at a forenoon
meeting at Uttoxeter; in the afternoon, in
company with Thomas Shipley and his sister
Hannah, went to Newcastle, and next day to
Wrexham, where I met several Friends I had
known before, and we were glad to see each
other. We were favoured with the company
of Samuel Fothergill and Catharine Payton ;
the meetings were large, and I think conducted
to satisfaction. On the lith, came with Tho-
mas Shipley and his sister to Chester, and with
Samuel Lucas I went the same night to Con-



gleton, and in the morning to our worthy
friends John and Joshua Tof\'s, at Haregate.
We attended a funeral at Leek in the after-
noon, where, afler a long time of silence, our
aged friend John Toft, appeared in a sound,
plain and lively testimony, greatly to my sat-
isfaction. On first-day his brother appeared
also in a lively manner, and a satisfactory
meeting we had together, besides several pro-
fitable opportunities in his family. It was an
agreeable visit to me, as I am persuaded that
I found them as lively in the blessed Truth as
they had been in years past, and have a hope
that they will be gathered in due season, as
shocks of corn fully ripe. I parted with these
my dear friends on the 15th, and arrived at
home the next day, when I found my family
well, which was a great favour.



SECTION V.

Her visit to some South and Southreast counties;

also to London^ the Land's-erid, <^c.

In 1765 I felt an engagement of mind to
visit some meetings in some Southern and
South-east counties, and the Yearly Meeting
of London ; I therefore laid my concern before
Friends and had their approbation, and a cer-
tificate accordingly ; not then knowing of a
companion. But in the fourth month went
to a general meeting at Breck, in Derbyshire,
and there providentially met with Sarah Tay-
lor, of Manchester, who was going the same
way. We were at Nottingham at the Quar-
terly and Yearly Meetings, much to our satis-
faction ; but not being set out on my intended
journey, I returned home a few days and
parted with my dear children. My husband
accompanied me to Leicester, where we sepa-
rated. I proceeded to Oakham and had a
meeting ; thence to Godhian Chester and to
Ramsey, where I met with my companion,
Sarah Taylor. We attended several meet-
ings in our way to London, and many in that
city before the Yearly Meeting, and staid some
little time after its conclusion. We then went
to Bromley, and lodged at Robert Forster's;
thence to Chelmsford to John Griffith's, who
was then very ill but recovered shortly after,
and I believe went to America.

The following letters appear to have been
penned about this period :

" London, Sixth month 1st, 1765.

" And thou my son, whom with the

rest of my children I dearly love, let me en-
treat thee to be constant in thy pursuit after
stability of mind ; sufifer not thy own will to
prevail, but learn meekness, exercise patience,
and let thy moderation in all things appear;



Digitized by



Google



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



80



inasmuch as thou knowest that * the Lord is
at haad.' Let me again advise thee to < study
to be quiet and mind thy own business i* * be
Bwifl to hear and slow to speak :' let thy mind
be often gathered into silence, and thy desires
more after communion with God than with
men. I hope these hints will be observed by
thee, and as thou lovest and seekest after true
retirement, thou wilt be favoured with clear
instructions : therefore to the holy guidance of
the pure Spirit of Christ I recommend thee."

TO HEB HUSBAND.

** London, Sixth month 14th, 1765.

" O that we may be more and more

concerned to watch against every appearance
of evil — be willing to be what we ought to be,
and do what we ought to do. This is my
daily concern for myself, who am still sur-
rounded with weekness, and slavish fear hath
too much prevailed. My poor soul hath often
been in bitterness, fearing lest the Divine Hand
would no more strive with me. Yet I hope a
sincerity remains in my heart ; and the Lord
in his tender mercy hath had compassion on
me, and enabled me to speak well of his name.
O that I may keep in the way of my duty, and
faithfully discharge the same ; then peace will
assuredly be my portion. Therefore I feel
desirous that we may more and more unite in
a godly concern with our dear children and
the few Friends who remain alive, that so our
strength may again be renewed. Let us learn
patience and wait for it ; and when able, pray
for resignation ; and not marvel at the fiery
trials that we may meet with, for so it hath
been with the righteous of all generations from
the beginning of the world."

We then went, to Coggeshall, Colchester,
Needham, and to the Yearly Meeting at Nor-
wich. We staid here and in the neighbour-
hood several weeks, and as in other places,
had hard labour ; yet in our journey we have
had many satisfactory meetings, visiting most
of those in Norfolk and many in Suffolk. —
We came pretty direct from Lynn to Wis-
beach, Spalding, Broughton, Stableforth and
Nottingham, where my husband met me.

I think I may say, that my foregoing jour-
ney was in the Lord's time and according to
his will ; and I was favoured with a compan-
ion who, indeed, was a helpmeet in the good
cause for which we were both engaged ; and
as we faithfully laboured therein, we enjoyed
much peace : yet, as it was formerly so it is
now, many are the trials of those who are
truly concerned, and above all, still prefer Je-
rusalem above their chiefest joy. O that I
may be enabled to struggle through the many



difficulties which it is my lot to experience ;
but doubtless, they are suffered for good.
Meeting with some close trials, I had great
difficulty after my return home, to keep my
mind in any degree of quiet ; but considering
that I had been so far as I knew, in the way
of my duty, I saw I must learn patience. As
I endeavoured to submit to the all-wise Dis-
poser of events, who will do as he sees meet
with us his poor creatures, and surely it is
good for us to be tried and proved ; and as in
this sore time of conflict I could not find that
the things which had befallen us were any
way through any neglect of mine, but in the
ordering of Providence : therefore to him did
I again look for help ; and in his mercy he
looked down upon me, and once more deliver-
ed my soul. Then did his peace return, and
again was I engaged to visit some of my bre-
thren, and went to our Quarterly Meeting at
Leicester, where my Lord and Master favoured
me with his presence, and enabled me to praise
his holy name. I also went to the Quarterly
Meeting at Wellingborough, where I had some
service for the Truth and returned home in
peace.

On the 20th of sixth month, 1768, I at-
tended the Quarterly Meeting at Coventry,
where were Samuel Geulea of Bristol, and
Hannah Bevington of Worcester, who had a
concern to visit the families of Friends in this
county. I also found it my duty to join with
them in this close exercise ; and did not leave
them until the visit was performed, which
ended at Eddington, where we parted, having
been made helpful one unto another, and very
often as one another's joy in the Lord. It
was by the help of his power that we were
carried through so great a work; and as it
was at seasons, very edifying and comfortable
to ourselves, so we have cause to believe it
was a time of favour to many : and the great
name of our God was glorified ; and with his
peace in our bosoms we returned, and I ar-
rived at my habitation after an absence of
nine weeks.

On the 22nd of ninth month, 1769, 1 was
at our Quarterly Meeting at Leicester. On
first-day at Wigston ; and in the evening had
a large and satisfactory meeting at Oadby,
with the people of that village, who behaved
very well. Thence by Wigston and Nunea-
ton to Coventry, and attended their meeting
on fourth-day, which was a very trying one
to me ; and I was given to understand that I
had caused uneasiness by making some sort
of preamble and needless apology, which I
was not sensible of until after being told;
then by a deep consideration and thorough
self-examination I found myself guilty, and
much exercise and many a painful hour it



Digitized by



Google



40



MEMOIRS OF RUTH FOLLOWS.



cost me. Oh I how was I covered with
shame! but true repentaoce I was favoured
with, and again received into favour. I leave
this as a caution to such as may see these
lines; desiring that none may slight advice
which is intended for good, although it may
seem to be given sharply.

From the following letter it appears she was
on a visit at Norwich :

TO THE SAME.

•'Norwich, Sixth month Sd, 1770.

"As a tribulated path is our lot I would
have us learn contentment therein, as we have
the comfortable assurance in ourselves of hav-
ing endeavoured to do our part. Let us re-
member to put in practice the good advice of
our worthy friend Samuel Emlen, which was,
*to commit ourselves and all we have into
the hand of Him who can turn the heart of
man as a man turns the water-course in his
field :' we see that by our over thoughtfulness
we cannot add one cubit to our stature, nor
make one hair white or black. I have a hope
that things will appear rather pleasanter in
time; and if we faithfully follow our holy
Captain unto the end of this short race, we
then shall inhabit a glorious eternity. Let
not thy spirit sink too low neither be over
much troubled, for certain it is, that in our
Father's house are many dwelling places ; —
therefore be of good cheer; many have, and I
hope we shall be enabled to overcome this

wicked world. I hope my dear J will be

with thee when thou receives this : I should
be glad to hear of a suitable place for him,
but do not know how to advise. Would he
but take my counsel, and choose good and re-
fuse evil, then would peace flow in his soul as
a river and righteousness as a mighty stream:
and that this may be the experience of us all,
is the travail of my soul."

Twelfth month 13th, 1770, 1 attended our
Quarterly Meeting at Leicester; thence to
Coventry, and to the Quarterly Meeting at
Warwick. On the 18th was at Wigston with
John Burgess, where I remained some days ;
on the 23d was at the meeting at Leicester,
and finding that 1 must now proceed on a
longer journey that had for some time rested
upon my mind, I wrote home for a certificate
to meet me in London, feeling engaged to nU
tend several Quarterly Meetings. On the 24th



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 9 of 104)