Page images
PDF
EPUB

thought there were five or six hundred people. A very good meeting it was, wherein truth was largely declared and preciously opened, to the comforting and refreshing of the faithful, and the drawing near of them that were afar off. I had another meeting at John Blakelin's, at which were many Friends that were going to the quarterly meeting at Kendal. With them my wife went back, who, with her daughter Rachel, had accompanied me thus far; and I, having Leonard Fell with me, passed on through SEDBERGH and GARSDALE, into WENSLEYDALE, visiting Friends as we went. At night I reached Richard Robinson’s at COUNTERSIDE, where several Friends came to me that evening; some of whom went with me next day over the hills to the widow Tenant's at SCARHOUSE, in LANGSTROTH-DALE, which we had much difficulty to reach, the snow lay so deep, though it was a week in the 2d Month. Here, on First-day, we had a large meeting, Friends coming to it from several parts round about; and the Lord gave me a very seasonable testimony to bear amongst them, which I did for several hours, to their great satisfaction and comfort. Thence passing through BISHOPDALE, MIDDLEHAM, BARTON, and so by BEDALE and NORTHALLERTON, I came to George Robinson's at BURROWBY; where also Friends coming out of several parts, we had a very large and good meeting, and very peaceable. But not long after, an envious justice, who lived not far off, hearing that I had a great meeting there, troubled Friends about it, and made them appear at the sessions, where he asked them many ensnaring questions; for he knew not how to convict them, because he had no proof against them. When he saw his questions did not catch them, he told them, “he had heard that George Fox was at a large meeting with them, and they all sat silent, and none spoke in the meeting.” This false story he cunningly feigned, thinking thereby to draw out some of the Friends to contradict him, and say, " that I had spoken in the meeting ;" that so he might convict them upon their own confession, and fine them. But Friends standing in the wisdom of God, did not answer him according to his desire, and so escaped his snare. But two Friends that came out of Ireland, and were at this meeting, having another that evening about three miles off, this evil-minded justice got information thereof, and fined Friends, and plundered them very sorely for it.

I went from Burrowby to Isaac Lindley's, calling upon Friends as I went. Robert Lodge and other Friends being with me, we passed next day to YORK, and the day following, being First-day, I was at Friends' meeting there, which was large and peaceable. Second day also I stayed in York, and had two meetings with Friends at John Taylor's ;* whence I wrote to my wife, as follows:

“DEAR HEART, "To whom is my love, and to thy daughters, and to all Friends that inquire after me. My desires are, that ye all may be preserved in the

* John Taylor was an able minister amongst the early Friends, but a very brief account is preserved of his religious labours. He was born in Huntingdonshire (?) about the year 1638. He embarked on a gospel mission to America in 1660, being then only in the twenty-second year of his age. How long he was occupied there is not stated, but his religious services were not confined to the English settlers. Lord's everlasting Seed, in whom ye will have life and peace, dominion and settlement in the everlasting home or dwelling in the house built upon the foundation of God. In the power of the Lord I am brought to York, having had many meetings in the way. The road was many times deep and bad with snow, our horses sometimes were down, and we were not able to ride; and sometimes we had great storms and rain; but by the power of the Lord I went through all. At Scarhouse there was a very large meet. ing, and another at Burrowby, to which Friends came out of Cleveland and Durham; and many other meetings we have had. At York, yesterday, we had a very large meeting, exceedingly thronged, Friends being at it from many parts, and all quiet, and well satisfied: 0! the glory of the Lord shone over all. This day we have had a large men's and women's meeting, many Friends, both men and women, being come out of the country, and all was quiet; and this evening we are to have the men's and women's meeting of the Friends of the city. John Whitehead is here, with Robert Lodge* and others; Friends are mighty glad, above measure. So I am in my holy element, and holy work in the Lord, glory to his name for ever! To-morrow I intend to go out of the city towards Tadcaster, though I cannot ride as in days past; yet praised be the Lord that I can travel as well as I do! So with my love in the fountain of life, in which as ye all abide, Trusting to the never-failing arm of Divine guidance and protection, he travelled alone among the Indian tribes, and “had meetings in the woods and wilderness, ta declare the truth to them,” as he remarks, “and to turn them from darkness to the light of Christ Jesus in their own hearts." By these untutored sons of the forest the stripling preacher was “received with kindness,” and in their wigwams he became a welcome griest, “They heard me soberly,” he says, “and confessed to the truth I spoke, by an interpreter; and they were loving and kind afterwards to Friends."

On his return from America, John Taylor, being on gospel service in London, was taken from a meeting and committed to prison. He visited America a second time, and resided some time in Jamaica, also in Barbadoes, where he became a merchant, but finally returned to England, and settled at York as a sugar-refiner. After which, he was also largely engaged in the ministry in different parts of the nation, and died in 1708, aged about seventy, a minister about fifty years.

John Taylor is described by a contemporary as “an able minister of the New Testament; in the publishing of which, the Spirit of God and of glory rested upon him, to the comforting and true refreshment of the churches, where the Lord ordered him, or his lot was cast."

* Robert Lodge, mentioned before, was of Masham, in Yorkshire, born about the year 1636. He was religiously inclined from his youth, was convinced about 1658, and became a valiant gospel minister. He was very serviceable in gathering many out of the ways of the world, into the way of life, travelling up and down in the service of his Lord, enduring many trials, exercises, and imprisonments, for his sake. John Whiting says of him, “He was an excellent minister; he had a fine refreshing testimony, and an extraordinary gift in prayer. He was instrumental to turn many to righteousness, and to build them up in the most holy faith. His testimony reached to the witness of God in the consciences of many; and was a consolation to the watering and refreshing many weary souls. He kept his first love and babitation in the truth to the last; and, towards his latter end, laboured much with and for the young generation, that they might come up in the footsteps of those who were gone before. He was a man of a sweet disposition, and left a good savour behind hiin. Much might be said of him, but I refer to the Several Living Testimonies given forth by divers Friends concerning him, and his Faithful Labours and Travels, printed in 1691."

ye will have refreshment of life, that by it ye may grow and gather eternal strength to serve the Lord, and be satisfied. To the God of all power, who is all-sufficient to preserve you, I commit you all to his ordering." York, the 16th of the 2nd Month, 1677.

G. F. Leaving York, I visited Friends at TADCASTER, KNOTTINGLEY, DONCASTER, and Bally, having meetings as I went. At Balby I stayed the First-day meeting, and went next day to Thomas Stacy's at BALLOWFIELD, where in the evening I had a meeting, to compose a difference that had happened between some that professed truth, and they were reconciled. Next day I came to STAINSBY in DERBYSHIRE, in which county I had formerly lived about the first breaking forth of truth. Here I had a good meeting with Friends, and afterwards passed to SKEGBY in NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, and from thence to NOTTINGHAM, to John Reckless's. I had a meeting with Friends at his house that evening, and another next day in Friends' public meeting-house, which was peaceable and well.

I went the day following to John Fox's at WIMESWOULD in LEICESTERSHIRE, where I had a meeting that evening; and next day to William Smith's at SILEBY, where, it being First-day, we had a very large meeting; for besides Friends froin several places, many of the town's-people hearing I was there, came to it, and heard the truth declared gladly. Next day I went to LEICESTER, where finding many Friends come out of the country, to be at the horse-fair next day, I had a very good meeting with them that night; and another next evening at William Wells's house at KNIGHTON, about a mile from Leicester. Next day I passed to SWANNINGTON, and had a meeting there; thence to Samuel Fretwell's at HARTSHORN in DERBYSHIRE, where I had a meeting also; then to Henry Sidon's, at BADGLEY in WARWICKSHIRE, and stayed the meeting there, which, it being First-day, was very large and peaceable, notwithstanding a justice had threatened to come and break it up. Having stayed a while with Friends, I went in the evening to Richard Baals of WHITTINGTON, where several Friends came to visit me. Next day I went to Nathaniel Newton's at HARTSHILL, where several Friends met me, with whom I had good service. After this I passed on, visiting Friends in divers places, till I came to DINGLEY, where a meeting was appointed before, which was very large, and truth was largely opened to the people. It was peaceable and quiet, and the people generally sober; saving that while I was showing how Christendom (so called) was gone from the pure religion that is undefiled, &c., one man rushed out in a furious manner, and said, “I deny that." After this meeting I went with Thomas Charles to his house at ADINGWORTH, and next day to NORTHAMPTON, where I stayed the First-day meeting, which was very large and peaceable. I had much service among Friends besides. Next day Edward Cooper of Northampton, accompanied me to Olney in BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, where I stayed at James Brierlie's, several Friends coming to see me in the evening. Next day I went to a meeting at TURVEY in BEDFORDSHIRE, to which Friends came from several parts; so that it was very large. Here I met with William Dewsbury, who after the meeting took me to his son-in-law John Rush's of KEMPSTON, where I

stayed with William that night and most of next day, passing thence towards evening through AMPTHILL, to Thomas Gamboll's of BULLOCK'S HILL. William Dewsbury went along with me, and several Friends came to visit us. Next day, passing through Luton, I went to MARKET STREET, William Dewsbury accompanying me part of the way, and the day following Leonard Fell* and I had a meeting at KENSWORTH, which was pretty large and peaceable. After it we went to ALBAN's, where we visited Friends; and next day passing through South Mums and BARNET, where also we visited Friends, we came that night to widow Hayley's at GUTTERSHEDGE in HENDON, in MIDDLESEX. Next day, being First-day, we had a very large meeting there, several Friends coming from London. I stayed there Second-day, and on third went to William Mead's house at HIGHGATE, with whom next day I went to LONDON. It being Fourth-day, I went to the meeting at Gracechurch Street, where Friends and I were greatly refreshed in each other in the Lord, and the Lord's power and Seed were set over all, blessed be his name for ever!

Thus it pleased the Lord to bring me safe to London, though much wearied, for though I rode not very far in a day, yet through weakness of body, continual travelling was hard to me. Besides, I had not much rest at night to refresh nature; for I often sat up late with Friends, where I lodged, to inform and advise them in things wherein they were wanting; and when in bed, I was often hindered of slecp by great pains in my head and teeth, occasioned, as I thought, from cold taken by riding often in the

. * The above is the last mention of Lconard Fell, whose name has frequently occurred in the progress of this Journal. Very little is known of him but that he was a faithful minister amongst the early Friends. I feel inclined to insert an anecdote respecting him, as an instance among others that might be adduced, of the carrying out of the non-resistant principle. The conduct of several “Friends” who, having “ fallen among thieves,” were, of course, precluded from retaliating violence, even in their own defence, affords an exemplification of this feature in the Christian character.

Leonard Fell, when travelling alone, was attacked by a highwayman, who demanded his money, which he gave him; then he desired to have his horse ; Leonard dismounted and let him take it. Then feeling the power of truth rise in his mind, he turned to the robber, and, under its authority, solemnly warned him of the evil of his ways; but he flying into a passion, asked the Friend why he preached to him, and threatened to blow out his brains. But Leonard replying to this effect, “Though I would not give my life for my money or my horse, I would give it to save thy soul,” so struck the astonished robber, that he declared, if he was such a man as that, he would take neither his money nor his horse from him; and, returning both to the faithful Friend, went his way, leaving Leonard to the enjoyment of that peace, attending the honest discharge of his conscience, to obtain which he had not counted his life dear.

The courage and presence of mind exhibited by the true soldier of Jesus Christ, when permitted, in the course of Divine Providence, to be cast into straits and trying situations, is often conspicuous. He not only knows the strength of that preserving arm, which rules or overrules all circumstances for the good of those that are faithful, he not only is furnished for all occasions, and “out of weakness is made strong," so as even to“ stop the mouths of lions,” and “quench the violence of fire” (Heb. xi.), but is abundantly furnished with resignation to submit unto the Lord in all things; and, with one who was “in perils of robbers,” and “in deaths oft,” he can say, “Whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” (Rom. xiv. 8).

rain. But the Lord's power was over all, and carried me through all, to his praise.

In my journey I observed a slackness and shortness in some that professed the truth, in keeping up the ancient testimony against tithes; for wherever that spirit got entrance, which wrought division in the church, and opposed the men's and women's meetings, it weakened those that received it in their testimony against tithes. Wherefore I was moved of the Lord to issue a short “ Epistle to Friends," to stir up the pure mind, and to encourage and strengthen them in their Christian testimony against that antichristian yoke and oppression :

“MY DEAR FRIENDS, “Be faithful to the Lord in your testimony for Jesus, who ended the Levitical priesthood of Aaron, that took tithes, and sent his ministers forth freely, to give freely that which they had received of him freely, without a bag or a staff. Christ's disciples could not join with those that made a trade of preaching. And as there was a testimony to be borne against those tithes which were commanded, in the law, for Levi and Aaron, so there is a testimony to be borne against these tithes, which have been set up by man, in the dark time of Popery, and not by God or Christ. Now to cry against the priests in words, and yet to give them means, and put into their mouths, that they may not prepare war against you, is a contradiction. Therefore take heed; for if the Lord bless you with outward creatures, and you bestow them upon Baal's priests, he may justly require the outward things from you again, which he hath given you : who saith, that his ministers should freely give, as they have freely received. So all the preachers for tithes and money, and the takers and payers of tithe, must be testified against in the Lord's power and Spirit; that all may stand up in their testimony for Jesus Christ, in his power and Spirit, against the tithe-mongers. Consider how many faithful servants and valiants of the Lord, have laid down their lives against them, in this day of the Lord; and in the days of the martyrs they did witness against them. Consider also what judgments have come upon those that spoiled Friends' goods, and cast them into prison for titles and maintenance. Therefore in the power of the Lord, maintain the war against the beast, and do not put into his mouth, lest he cry peace to you; which peace you must not receive; but it must be broken, and thrown out by the Spirit of God. Then in the same Spirit, ye will reccive from the Son of Peace, that peace which the beast, and the whore, and the world, with all their earthly teachers for the earth, made by man, cannot receive, nor bereave you of. Therefore keep your authority and dominion in the power, Spirit, and name of Jesus, in whom my love is to you.'

G. F. 3d Month, 1677.

I came to LONDON on the 23rd of the 3rd Month, ten or twelve days before the Yearly Meeting, in which time I fell in with Friends there in the service of truth, visiting them at the meetings. The parliament then sitting, we prepared something to lay before them, concerning the seizing of the third part of Friends' estates, as Popish recusants, which was a

« PreviousContinue »