William Evans.

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

. (page 99 of 104)
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struggles, being more exposed than many
others, as his business was a linen manufac-
turer ; yet he conducted himself with honour
through all his engagements, and gained a
handsome subsistence for his family; and I
may say without doubt, he retained the better
part through all.

He was a man of an innocent life and con-
versation, of a meek disposition, readier to
take harsh treatment than to give it, and
would suffer wrong, rather than resent an in-
jury. He was temperate even to abstinence.
In the relation of a husband, he was unexcep-
tionable. When I consider hia tenderness to-
wards me and his family, I can scarcely but

lament; yet I believe he is removed to the
haven of rest; for I thoueht it was demon*
strable that the grave would have no victory
at his dissolution. His illness was tedious,
but he was quite resigned, whether life or
death should bs his portion ; and he frequently
said, he longed to be gone, and that he scarce*
ly thought it would be possible for him to be
so willing to leave us.

A Friend coming in the day before he died,
had an opportunity with him, which was an
acceptable time. The Friend expressed to
him that he might yet get a little better. He
answered, ^' I had rather go ; I have felt the
pains of death ; oh let me go I" It appeared
that he was quite reconciled to the grave; and
I said, <* O then, my dear, thou must be satis*
fied thy change will be well ?" He answered,
'* Yes, I believe so ;" speaking with becom*
ing humility. The day before he died, be felt
his pulse steadily three times, in order to know
how near his change was; and inquired of
the doctor how long he might continue ? I de-
sired he might not ask that question, and he,
Iamb-like, did not repeat it.

I am satisfied he had an assurance of ac-
ceptance with the Almighty, which declared
itself in the heavenly fortitude and serenity
that accompanied him to his last moments.
His mother, who was an aged person, and
under great infirmities, being brought in to
take her leave of him, he in a prophetic man-
ner, told her he should go first, but she would
soon follow after ; and accordingly it proved
so, for as he expired, she began to show
symptoms of her dissolution, and continued
but about two hours after him ; so they fin-
ished their course nearly toother.

Oh! my loss is inexpressible! his kindness,
his nearness in a relisious sense, cannot be
set forth by me. I had gone through various
and deep provings; many weary years had
passed over my head, whilst I was under the
preparing hand of my God ; but his compas-
sion, his patience towards me, his condescen-
sion to my weakness, in my infant state, can-
not be penned. His memory is blessed ; and
his excellent virtues ascend to the Father of
spirits and resemble the prayers and alms-
deeds of Cornelius, had in everlasting remem-

I have endeavoured not to be swayed by
afilection, in this summary account, but have
just related what I think the spirit in me bears
witness to the truth of; neither was I easy
without doing it. He departed without any
struggle, as one falling into the sweetest of
slumbers, and was decently buried in Friends*
burying-ground, at Graysouthen, aged forty-
nine years.

Jaus Pbabson.

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The Lord was now about to divest me of
my beloveds; the next year he took my eldest
son in a fever^ so that I had no son. He
also made it manifest to me, that it was his
requiring I should travel a little in the service
of Truth. I gave up, and my friends favoured
me with a certificate. I set off on my jour-
ney, with my much honoured friend Hannah
Harris. I accompanied her through Lanca-
shire, and then my dear friend Barbara Orew-
ry met me at Settle. We visited Yorkshire,
except Richmond Monthly Meeting. Then
feeling a strong draught home, I returned and
found my family well, except my dear mother
who resided with me. She was a little on the
decline, yet not so as to be much noticed ; but
in about two or three weeks, she fell sick and
died. I mention this that Friends may attend
to their feelings and drawings, as to returning
home ; for had she departed in my absence, I
should have been in danger of letting in the
reasoner. Oh, the kindness of God, who pro-
longed her life till my return.

I was now lef^ with my father-in-law, who
was a valuable man, and my four daughters.
The youngest but one, an amiable young wo-
man of about nineteen, going a little abroad,
lost her health. She continued in a state of
great weakness, for about three years, and de-
parted this life in 1784,'*' my father-in-law
dying a little before her.

* The compiler of these memoirs, has stated in
the introduction, that the subject of them occasion-
ally wrote a few verses. On the event just men-
tioned, she poured forth her maternal feelings,
nearlv as follows, without anjr view to their inser-
tion here ; but perhaps the introduction of them
may not be deemed improper.

Lines on my beloved daughter ^ Haioiab Pbassom.

A widow'd mother while I sit,

In silence and dismay,
I feel a spirit-stirring power,

That prompts the sorrowing lay.

Then from a mother's bosom, let

The mournful numbers flow;
The ear of pity will forgive,

My mingling hope and wo.

There are who hold that life is but

A sliadow or a flower;
My soiil aspires to higher good,

Than bounds the present hour:

That good, my Hannah sure has reach'd

And will for ever prove :
Her bosom was th' abode of peace.

Of innocence and love.

For those whom evil tongues traduc'd,

She felt oompaflsion rise ;
While innocence, the richest gem !

Sat lovely in her eyes.

I was now lefl with three daughters. The
family sits solitary that was full of people;
but the Lord has been exceedingly kind to
me. When I mourned for the loss of my
connexions, my husband especially, conde-
scending kindness vouchsafed thus to plead
with me; ^* What have I done to thee? 1 have
taken thy beloveds to a mansion of rest, called
them to a better life ; and I will remove, as it
pleaseth me, the residue of thy family; aod
then you will meet, never more to part.*' At
this moment I had a hope, a precious faith,
that the Lord would mercifully preserve roe
and mine till the conclusion, in a degree of

I may acknowledge, I had suflered a strong
persuasion to prevail in my mind, that the
Lord in displeasure, had removed my husband
fiom me ; because I had not faithfully dis-
charged myself in the ministry, or that some-
thing was wrong with me; and I was even so

Strict modesty around her form.

Was like a mantle cast ;
Her features beamM intelligence,

But — ^these ftom earth are past!

Then who can tell the loss of her,

Or number up my tears?
I live : but all ! a sadness hangs

O'er my declining years.

My dearest consort died again

In Hannah's parting breath :
My days are spent in grie^ for who

Has known so much of death 1

Sweet were thy words, my beauteous child !

That thou to me expressed.
When, watching thy declining strength,

I hung upon my breast

And in the an^ish of my soul,

To God prefer'd my prayer.
That, in compassion, yet thy life.

He would be pleased to spare.

Thou meekly answer'dst ^ Mother dear !

Fd rather ^ than thee.
If such the righteous will of God ;

For best that will must be :

'* Tho' parted for a little space,

We'll hope to meet agam."
Such resignation gave me strength.

The conflict to sustain.

Can I describe the setting eye ?

The faultering tongue restore?
The trembling hand? the shorten'd breath?—

I cease — ^For all is o'er.

Fair as a lily, and as sweet.

My lovely Hannah grew;
But soon she from the garden here,

To Paradise withdrew.

Ye sister lilies ! keep like her,

Your innocence and love.
When gather'd from the earth, youll then

In b^tyrise above.

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weak as to require a sign from him, although
he had before fully satisfied me that it was not
in displeasure to either of us : but oh ! it was
with me a time of great dejection. What I
asked at that time was, that he would cause
some of his servants, with whom I had never
corresponded, to write to me, and I would
take it as a sign. He had chastened in his
mercy, and now he seemed to be entreated ;
for that valuable Friend, Mabel Wigham, ad-
dressed me in tender sympathy, and commu-
nicated her feelings that my husband was re-
moved in mercy, and that I and my children
would be preserved. I note this, that Friends
may be faithful in all respects, for it did me
much good.

I had now a concern of mind, and I think
it had been before me for some years, to visit
the meetings of Friends in the western part
of this nation. Cornwall pressed very close,
that had I had wings, I could have flown to it
for rest. I informed some of my friends, who
encouraged me and united with me in my
prospect. I then acquainted the Monthly
Meeting, and obtained its certificate, and I
had my dear friend, M. Haworth, of Hasling-
den, for a companion. We visited most meet-
ings in Lancashire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Wor-
cestershire, Somersetshire, Devonshire, and
Corn wall.

I had a close concern to visit a Friend who
had been low for some time, and mentioned it
to some Friends, but way was not made suit-
able to my diffidence. When I got as far
back as Plymouth, I did not know but I must
have returned ; for, if I may be allowed the
expression, the furnace was hot, which made
my anguish inexpressible; it made all my
bones to shake, and aflected my health for the
remainder of the journey, which till then had
been good. Friends had need to be careful
how they turn back diffident minds, who are
not like the offspring of Sceva, taking upon
them, in their own strength, to call over un-
clean spirits. The Lord wrought mightily in
me towards the distressed, for I had passed
through much affliction, and was thereby ren-
dered very susceptible, readily catching a sense
of .sorrow wherever I found it.

I believe the Friends were backward of
giving encouragement, wishing to conceal the
infirmities that had overtaken so valuable an
instrument as she had been : and besides all
this, many much more worthy had visited her,
with whom indeed I am not fit to be ranked.
But I am what I am, by the grace of God ;
and as he worketh wonders by mean low in-
struments, he may work through such to
others if he please. I must however own
that they gave permission to me, but not to
my companion, and an allowance differs from

Vol. IV.— No. 12.

a hearty concurrence ; yet I have felt judg-
ment for the omission, but believed before I
led the place, that deliverance would come
from another source; and I have lived to
know and be thankful for it. I missed seve-
ral meetings in my way home, being poorly,
and believing it safe and lawful for me to re-
turn. I found my family well, and had the
evidence of peace answering my obedience.

I have now arrived at the fiRy-sixth year
of my age, and still afflictions abide me. My
second daughter being removed by death, I
have but two remaining. She was an inno-
cent, virtuous young woman, bore a lingering
illness with patience and resignation, and I
believe is gathered in mercy.

In 1791 I moved to Whitehaven to reside,
before the death of my youngest daughter; to
whose marriage with a Friend belonging to
that meeting, I had consented. Our going
there, was also much the mind of both my
daughters. My daughter who resided with
me was desirous of living there, in order to
be helpful to her married sister, whose family
was increasing. Oh, the close exercise I have
had in this meeting! truly it has worn me
down, with other trying circumstances which
befell me at that place. Many a bitter cup
have I and my poor children drunk of there.
If it has but tended to our refinement, it is
well; for surely our bodies were enfeebled
thereby. I did my best under the heavy
trials I met with. The Lord knows my
prayers were almost incessant, while under
the weight of unpleasant things.

My youngest daughter was a religious,
pious young woman, and died the year we
removed. She was exceedingly delicate, of
a meek disposition, and tender spirited ; and
yet she had waded through difficulties, so that
in her dying moments she expressed, that
streams of tears had run down her cheeks ;
and that if she died then, which she was not
afraid to do, she died innocent ; for that she
had never done ill to any one. And she often
said encouragingly ; " The Lord knows what
is best for us.^' She had a strong apprehen-
sion that she should die; but from a sweet
prospect of good that I had had in our meet-
ing a little before, in my low wading respect-
ing her, I did believe all would be well ; and
from this discovery, I caught a hope that she
might recover; which she remarked during
her illness. << Mother,'' said she, " thou hast
been mistaken." I answered : " My dear, I
saw something so comfortable about thee, I
believed all would be well;" she answered:
'< All will be well," and added, " I have oflen
thought of that Friend from Manchester, who
pointed out to us in a family sitting, that some
had not long to stay; but the state he spoke

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to, seemed too good for me to accept of. I was
willing to put it to another in the company,
who at that time was indisposed." She led
three fine children in charge to surviving re-

Though it is my lot oflen to sit silent at
meetings in the place where I now reside;
yet I have precious openings and Divine inti-
mations on my return home from them, even
respecting individuals. But hardness of heart
has crept into the minds of some, and it may
be right to let them alone.

2nd of sixth month, 1793. — I know not
for what I am held at this place, except it be
faithfully to sufier with the suffering seed here.
I have renewedly felt a precious union with
our dear Lord in his crucified state, in the
hearts of professors. Oh, the plungings wit-
nessed in our meetings 1 There is an active
spirit got in, that takes its food upon the sur-
ftice, or catches at it flying in the airy regions.
With food of this nature, some seek to feed
and to be fed. I have painfully sat under
some recent testimonies, when it seemed clear
to me, sin held its empire : and what was de-
livered, though sound truths, yet did not slay
the man of sin : but I am alluding to none
belonging to our meeting ; there is a precious
seed in this place, with which in a great mea-
sure, I can unite.

1st of fiAh month, 1794.— I have been at
meeting this day, which was heavy; I felt
clouds gathering thickly, the sun and moon
darkened, the greater and lesser lights with-
drawn ; that in my deeply trying, inward la-
bour, 1 saw no light in the horizon, and very
confidently believed the bitterness of death
was around. I struggled in silence till my
gracious Master gave me to see, that where
he was, his servant should be also. I derived
some consolation therefrom ; reposing in a
belief that I was of the suffering seed, though
the least member in the body, or the meanest
in the Father^s house. I think I have had in
this meeting, such a diversity of feelings, that
perhaps I have experienced the two extremes
of happiness and wo. At one time in silence,
there was a confirming language inwardly
spoken ; and though a poor worm, I had hopes
it might be applied to myself. It was : ^^ My
presence shall go with thee, and I will give
thee rest ;" under which I was ready to sing
the song of Moses, the servant of the Lord,
and the song of the Lamb. At another time,
my mind was so overshadowed with the power
of Truth, that the season was too solemn for
any vocal voice to be heard, the cloud and
glory so great, that none could minister.

Sixth month. — I am now returned from
Broughton, where I have been nine weeks, on
account of my only surviving daughter's weak

state of health. I felt comfortable whilst there,
and much enlargement of heart towards the
few Friends belonging to that place. Oh, may
they be profited 1 Truly it was free mercy
handed to them, and not for works of righte-
ousness that they have done, for I think them
deficient in that great duty of attending reli-
gious meetings. How sorrowful it is, when
elders and overseers stay at home by their
stufl!*, while others are wading deeply for the
promotion of Truth 1

Whitehaven, eighth month, 1794.— Thia
day our Monthly Meeting has been a very
favoured season to me. My soul arose above
all its troubles, under a precious sense, that in
my sojourning thus far through life, the Lord
has always eyed me for good and has watched
my goings ; and though I cannot say I never
made false steps, yet he who knows my heart,
knows it to be weakness. Oh, how weak are
we, when divested of his saving help ! Yet he
has in mercy fully forgiven all, and deigned
to give me a foretaste of the joys of hia king-
dom : a sense that has no feeling of sorrow;
no more sighing; no weepings, but a joy with-
out alloy. In this state I have been ready to
think the days of my moarning are nearly
ended, having a strong *^ desire to depart and
to be with Christ ;" feeling all my souFs ene-
mies subdued, so that I could pray for them
that have despitefully used me. In this hea-
venly place in Christ Jesus, it is good for us
to abide. This day I was silent; the fulness
of glory too great to minister.

22nd, 1794. — Have been at meetiog. Oh,
the sifling I have, in regard to the ministry 1
am gifted with ! Though I believe 1 was
rightly called, that I entered at the right time,
and have moved with godly fear in it, not
choosing my own way, nor carving for my-
self, yet I am so low as to think I have never
been of use. I opened my mouth this day*
as I thought, from a small impulse, or the
moving of prophetic instruction, out of my
little to bake a cake first. Here is no redun-
dancy now, but a grain of faith that a supply
may be afforded, answering my need. I ven-
tured my offering in the simplicity, so far as
I know ; but oh, the buffeting at my return
home was truly bitter I

I am now arrived near the sixtieth year of
my age ; and my bodily strength is much im-
paired: I am grown very weak. I do not
expect it will be long, before the narrow con-
fines of the silent grave will enclose me.
Happy moment 1 when I shall be freed from
the sight and voice of the oppressor: for al-
though some might be sensible that I have
undergone hard things, yet none have known
the anguish of my heart; it is beyond all de-
scription, but it is known to God. I have of-

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ten had to remember holy Job, and to quote
him in the exercise of my giA, in honest la-
bour among the people, and to say, '^ Even
to-day is my complaint bitter, my stroke is
heavier than my groaning ;" and so has mine
been, even at this late period of my life. He
also declares, he cried out of wrong, but was
not heard, yea, cried aloud, but there was no

I ventured to conclude this day, as at some
former seasons, that I would preach no more
in this place ; for the spring of the Gospel is
much shut. I find if I speak, my grief is not
assuaged, if I forbear, what am I eased? For
I have tried from meeting to meeting what si-
lence would do for me. I search myself to
find the cause, that I am not lively in my
ministry as in the days of my youth : for
truly I conclude there is no life in me, so that
I now most earnestly wish for the lodging of
a wayfaring man in the wilderness, where I
might go from my people and leave them. I
feel weary of these sufiering seasons ; they
are more than my frame can well bear.

Fourth month 8th, 1795. — I was at our
week-day meeting, in which I beheld that we
are born to trouble, as the sparks fly up-
wards; that the human mind at seasons, is
like a sponge, drinking up affliction, till it
sinks in deep waters : yea, they flow into the
soul. Oh! the perplexities experienced in this
space of time 1 Few and evil have been our
days, and we have not attained to the years
of our progenitors. In this state, condescend-
ing kindness vouchsafed to lead me to the
rock that is higher than I; and mine eyes
saw that we fret for things unworthy the no-
tice of a redeemed mind ; and that if I, or my
friends with whom I sat, were but called upon
to take leave of every thing below the sun, all
these perplexing anxieties would vanish like
an atom in the whirlwind, and be of no weight
at all. We should then only lament that we
had not looked above these momentary afllic-
tions, and fixed our confidence on the invisible
Arm, and invincible power of Omnipotence.
But oh I how is the natural part attracted by
visible objects I while that which is born from
above, sufllers through our not adhering to the

In this meeting I desired that I might be fa-
voured with an extraordinary visitation, where-
by I might be made willing to give up to any
requirings, having long had an exceedingly
great dread upon my spirit, in regard to pray-
ing in public assemblies. Ah ! this broke the
creaturely part in me, and laid me in the dust.
I could be willing to breathe mentally during
the whole of a meeting r but when I should
have fallen upon my knees, oh, the reasonings
I had ; as that the cup of favour was not full

enough : that I had not come so near to his
seat as I ought, or was not sufficiently clothed
with the garment of praise ; that fervent de-
sire for my friends, was not arrived at full
height ; or that I had not enough of the in-
dwelling of God's pure Spirit, to enable me,
in this awful gift of prayer, to keep so close
to his precious, directing, all-saving power, as
to be preserved from oflering a word in prayer,
of which he was not the author and requires
Although this is a pinching dispensation,
and I may now appear very like a weakling,
just entered into the service, yet I have at dif-
ferent times been prevailed upon, to call upon
the name of the Lord in public. But I have
had great searching of heart afterward, lest I
should have made the smallest deviation or
sally from the precious life, whilst so con-
cerned; that now nature is likely to fail at
the appearance and approach of intercession.
May the Lord help me! Perhaps this little de-
lineation, may be as face answering face in a
glass, to some who are very conscientious in
every movement, especially prayer; and may
that always be oflered " with a right under-
standing, seasoned with grace."


Carlisle Quarterly Meeting, 1797 — Verses writ'
ten under trial—lUness in 1800 — Prospect of
a religious visits respecting which^ the toiU
was accepted for the deed — Observations-^Re'
markahle vision — Illness of her only remain^
ing daughter — Her decease and burial^ 1806
or 7 — Observations in 1807 and 8, on entering
her seventy-fifth year, and in subsequent parts
of IQlO^Extractfrom Piety Promoted,

20th of eleventh month, 1796—1 have felt
a desire this morning to be thoroughly washed,
until I be made clean, so as no fuller on earth
could make more white. Many are made
willing to bear the spiritual baptisms, pro-
vided they are assured it is Jesus that is dip-
ping them. But so uncertain and seemingly
casual are the occasions of their plungings,
they believe not that he is the author of their
immersion, or that it is his holy hand that is
washing and bathing them for their imperfec-
tions. Sin being mercifully done away, how
can these that are dead to sin, live any longer
in it!

Third month 28th, 1797—1 was favoured
once more to attend our Quarterly Meeting at
Carlisle, very near the place of my nativity,
and the meeting I belonged to for many years.
The meeting of ministers and elders was a
favoured season ; I had the evidence of peace
in my little labours ; and indeed all the meet-

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ibgs were more or less owned with the heart
solacing presence of Zion's King. It was like
taking my leave; and I was helped to be
faithful: so that in ray return for many miles,
my cup ran over, and I seemed anointed with
the oil of gladness. Great was my peace ;
such a full foretaste of heavenly joy, as I have
not before experienced, except when I first
opened my mouth in testimony. There seem-
ed nothing between my soul and its blessed
Redeemer. At that time my joy was so full,
that I longed to be dissolved, feeling nothing
but purity and holiness about me ; or at least,

Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library: comprising journals, doctrinal treatieses, & other writings of members of the religious Society of Freinds → online text (page 99 of 104)