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into MERIONETHSHIRE, where we had several blessed mcctings; and then went to the sea-side, where we had a precious meeting. And Friends in these parts, being established on Christ, their foundation, and the monthly meetings settled in the power of God, we left Wales, and returned into Shropshire, where the Friends of the country gathering together, the monthly meetings were established there also. Then coming into WORCESTERSHIRE, after many meetings amongst Friends in that county, we had a general men's meeting at Henry Gibb's house, at PASHUR, where also the monthly meetings were settled in gospel order.
The sessions were held that day in the town, and some Friends were concerned lest they should send officers to break up our meeting; but the Lord's power restrained them, so that it was quiet; through which power we had dominion. I had several meetings amongst Friends in that county till I came to WORCESTER; and it being the fair time, we had a precious meeting there. There was then in Worcester one Major Wild, a persecuting man; and after I was gone out of town, some of his soldiers inquired after me; but having left Friends there settled in good order, we passed to DROMWICH, and thence to SHREWSBURY, where also we had a very precious meeting. The mayor hearing that I was in town, got the rest of the officers together, to consult what to do against me; for they said, "the great Quaker of England was come to town." But when they were come together, the Lord confounded their councils, so that, when some were for imprisoning me, others opposed it; and so being divided among themselves, I escaped their hands.
We went also into RADNORSHIRE, where we had many precious gatherings, and the monthly meetings were settled in the Lord's power. As we came out of that county, staying a little at a market-town, a justice's clerk and other rude fellows combined together to do us mischief on the road. They followed us out of town, and soon overtook us; but there being many market-people on the way, they were somewhat hindered from doing what they intended. Yet observing two of our company ride at some distance behind, they set upon them; and one of them drew his sword, and cut one of those two Friends, whose name was Richard Moor, Surgeon, of Shrewsbury. Meanwhile another of these rude fellows came galloping after me and the other Friend that was with me; and having to pass over a narrow bridge, in his eagerness to get before us he rode into the brook, and plunged his horse into a deep hole in the water. I saw the design, and stopped, desiring Friends to be patient, and give them no occasion. By this time Richard Moor came up to us, with the other Friend that was with him, who knew the men and their names. Then we rode on, and a little further met another man on foot much in liquor, with a naked sword in his hand. And not far beyond him we met two men and women, one of whom had his thumb cut off by the drunken man; for he, being in drink, attempted rudeness to one of the women; and this man withstanding him, and rescuing her, he drew his sword and cut off his thumb. Now this drunken man had a horse, which, being loose, followed him some way behind. I rode after it, and having caught it, brought it to the man that had his thumb cut off; and bid him take the horse to the next justice of
peace, by which means they might find out, and pursue the man that had wounded him.
On this occasion I wrote to the justices, and to the judge of the assize which was then at hand; and employed some Friends to carry it to the justices first. The justice to whom the clerk belonged, rebuked his clerk and the others also, for abusing us on the highway; so that they were glad to come and entreat Friends not to appear against them at the assize; which, on their submission and acknowledgment of their fault, was granted. This was of good service in the country, for it stopped many rude people, who before had been forward to abuse Friends.
We passed into HEREFORDSHIRE, where we had several blessed gatherings; and we had a general men's meeting also, where all the monthly meetings were settled. There was about this time a proclamation against meetings; and as we came through Herefordshire, we were told of a great meeting there of the Presbyterians, who had engaged themselves to stand and give up all, rather than forsake their meetings. When they heard of this proclamation, the people came, but the priest was gone, and left them at a loss. Then they met in Leominster privately, and provided bread, cheese, and drink in readiness, that if the officers should come, they might put up their Bibles and fall to eating. The bailiff found them out, and came in among them, and said, “their bread and cheese should not cover them, he would have their speakers.” They cried, “what then would become of their wives and children?” But he took their speakers and kept them a while. This the bailiff told Peter Young, and said, " they were the veriest hypocrites that ever made a profession of religion.”
The like contrivance they had in other places. For there was one Pocock at London, that married Abigail Darcy, who was called a lady; and she being convinced of truth, I went to his house to see her. This Pocock had been one of the triers of the priests; and, being a high Presbyterian, and envious against us, he used to call our Friends house-creepers. He being present, she said to me, “I have something to speak to thee against my husband.” “Nay,” said I, “thou must not speak against thy husband.” “Yes,” said she, “but I must in this case. Last First-day,” said she," he and his priests and people, the Presbyterians, met; they had candles and tobacco-pipes, bread, cheese, and cold meat on the table; and they agreed beforehand, that if the officers should come in upon them, then they would leave their preaching and praying, and fall to their cold meat." “O,” said I to him, “is not this a shame to you, who persecuted and imprisoned us, and spoiled our goods, because we would not join you in your religion, and called us house-creepers, that now ye do not stand to your own religion yourselves ? Did ye ever find our meetings stuffed with bread and cheese and tobacco-pipes? Or did you ever read in the Scriptures of any such practice among the saints ?” “Why," said the old man, “We must be as wise as serpents.” I replied, “ this is the serpent's wisdom indeed. But who would have thought that you Presbyterians and Independents, who persecuted and imprisoned others, spoiled their goods, and whipped such as would not follow your religion, should now flinch yourselves, and not dare to stand to your own religion, but cover it with
tobacco-pipes, flagons of drink, cold meat, and bread and cheese!” But this, and such-like deceitful practices, I understood afterwards, were too common amongst them in times of persecution.
After we had travelled through Herefordshire, and meetings were well settled there, we passed into MONMOUTHSHIRE, where I had several blessed meetings; and at Walter Jenkins's, who had been a justice of the peace, we had a large gathering, where some were convinced; this meeting was quiet. But to one before this, came the bailiff of the hundred, almost drunk, pretending he was to take up the speakers. There was a mighty power of God in the meeting, so that, although he raged, the power of the Lord limited him, that he could not break it up. When it was over, I stayed a while, and he stayed also. After some time I spoke to him, and so passed quietly away. At night some rude people came, and shot off a musket against the house, but did not hurt anybody. Thus the Lord's power came over all, and chained down the unruly spirits, so that we escaped them. We came to Ross that night, and had a meeting at James Merrick's.
After this we came into GLOUCESTERSHIRE and had a general men's meeting at Nathaniel Crips's house, where all the monthly meetings were settled in the Lord's everlasting power; and the heirs of salvation were exhorted to take their possessions in the gospel, the power of God, which was and is the authority of their meetings. Many blessed gatherings we had up and down in that county, before we came to BRISTOL. And after several powerful seasons, the men's and women's meetings were settled there also.
As I was in bed at Bristol, the word of the Lord came to me, that I must go back to London. Next morning Alexander Parker and several others came to me: I asked them, “what they felt?” They in like man. ner asked me, "what was upon me?” I told them, “I felt I must return to London.” They said, “the same was upon them.” So we gave up to return to London; for whatever way the Lord moved and led us, thither we went in his power. Leaving Bristol, we passed into WILTSHIRE, and established the men's monthly meetings in the Lord's power there; and visited Friends till we came to LONDON. .
After we had visited Friends in the city, I was moved to exhort them to bring all their marriages to the men's and women's meetings, that they might lay them before the faithful; that care might be taken to prevent those disorders that had been committed by some. For many had married contrary to their relations' minds; and some young, raw people that came amongst us, had mixed with the world. Widows had married without making provision for their children by their former husbands, before their second marriage. Yet I had given forth a paper concerning marriages about the year 1653, when truth was but little spread over the nation; advising Friends who might be concerned in that case, “ that they might lay it before the faithful in time, before anything was concluded, and afterwards publish it in the end of a meeting, or in a market, as they were moved thereto. And when all things were found clear, they being free from all others and their relations satisfied, they might appoint a meeting on pur. pose for the taking of each other, in the presence of at least twelve faithful witnesses." Yet these directions not being observed, and truth being now more spread over the nation, it was therefore ordered, by the same power and Spirit of God, “ that marriages should be laid before the men’s monthly and quarterly meetings, or as the meetings were then established; that Friends might see that the relations of those that proceeded to marriage, were satisfied; that the parties were clear from all others; and that widows had made provision for their first husbands' children, before they married again; and what else was needful to be inquired into; that all things might be kept clean and pure, and be done in righteousness to the glory of God." Afterwards it was ordered, in the wisdom of God, “ that if either of the parties, that intended to marry, came out of another nation, county, or monthly meeting, they should bring a certificate from the monthly meeting to which they belonged; for the satisfaction of the monthly meeting before which they came to lay their intentions of marriage."**
These things, with many other services for God, being set in order, and settled in the churches in the city, I passed out of London, in tho leadings of the Lord's power, into HERTFORDSHIRE. After I had visited Friends, and the men's monthly meetings were settled there, I had a great meeting at BALDOCK, of many sorts of people. Then returning towards London by WALTHAM, I advised the setting up of a school there for teaching boys; and also a girls' school at SHACKLEWELL for instructing them in whatsoever things were civil and useful.t
* Some interesting documents, exhibiting the early care of the Society with regard to marriages, may be referred to in Letters, Sc., of Early Friends, p. 259, 279, 283, &c. So early as 1659, at a meeting of Friends from four counties, an Epistle of Counsel and Advice was issued on this, and other subjects; recommending "that no marriage take place hastily or rashly; but in the fear of the Lord, and in presence of many witnesses, according to Scripture example; that so no scandal or blemish may be laid upon the truth, but that all may be brought to the light; that a record in writing of the day, place, and year, be kept within the meeting where a marriage occurs, of which one or both are members ; under which the witnesses may set their names."
+ In the establishment of the schools at Waltham and at Shacklewell, at the sug, gestion of George Fox, we have evidence of his desire that a useful education should be imparted to youth. It is an error to suppose the early Friends depreciated human learning, and they must be exonerated from any such charge. They exhibited in their own persons the practicability of the union of knowledge and virtue. While they were, many of thein, eminent for their learning, they were distinguished for the piety of their lives. They were indeed the friends of both, but did not patronize the one to the prejudice and expulsion of the other. They always maintained (as Friends continue to do) that learning is not necessary to make a gospel minister, and here it is that many have mistaken their meaning.
Barclay, in his celebrated Apology, nowhere condemns the propriety, or usefulness of human learning, or denies it to be promotive of the temporal comforts of man. He says the knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, or of Logic and Philosophy, of Ethics or of Physics and Metaphysics, is not necessary. But mark his meaning. Not necessary to make a uninister of the gospel. But where does he say that knowledge, which he himself possessed to such a considerable extent, was not necessary; or that it did not contribute to the innocent pleasures of life? What would have been the character of his own book, or what would have been its comparative value and ascfulness, had he not been able to quote so many authors to his purpose in their After I had had several precious meetings in the country, I came to London again, where I stayed a while in the work and service of the Lord; and then went into BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, where I had many precious meetings. At John Brown's, of Weston near Aylesbury, some of the men Friends of each meeting being gathered together, the men's monthly meetings for that county were established, in the order of the gospel, the power of God; and the power of the Lord confirmed it in all that felt it, and they came thereby to sec and feel, that the power of God was the authority of their meetings. Then after the monthly meeting was settled there in the order of the gospel, and upon the foundation of Christ Jesus, I went to Nathaniel Ball's, at North NEWTON near BANBURY, in Oxfordshire, who was a Friend in the ministry. And there being a general meeting, where some from all the meetings were present, the monthly meetings for that county were then settled in the power of God; and Friends were very glad of them; for they came into their services in the church, to take care for God's glory. After this meeting, be passed into GLOUCESTERSHIRE, visiting Friends till we came into MONMOUTHSHIRE, to Richard Hambery's ; where meeting with some from all the meetings of that county, the monthly meetings were settled there also in the Lord's power, that all might take care of God's glory, and admonish and exhort such as did not walk as became the gospel. And indeed these meetings made a great reforma
original texts, or to have detected so many classical errors, introduced such apposite history, or to have drawn up his propositions with so much logical and mathematical clearness and precision; or if he had not been among the first literary characters of his day?
William Penn was equally celebrated with Barclay as a scholar. His works afford abundant proof of his erudition, and of the high cultivation of his inind. Like the rest of his associates, he was no advocate for learning as a qualification for a minister of the gospel; but he was yet a friend to it, on the principle that it enlarged the understanding, and that it added to the innocent pleasures of the mind. He entreated his wife, in the beautiful letter he left her before he embarked on his first voyage to America, “not to be sparing of expense in procuring learning for his children; for that by such parsimony all was lost that was saved.” And he recommended also, in the same letter, a mathematical and philosophical education,
Penn's Secretary, James Logan, was also a patron of learning among the early Friends. He was a correspondent of Sir Hans Sloane and other literati of Europe, a contribntor to the Philosophical Transactions, and bequeathed his library, of 3000 vols. on arts and sciences in various languages, to the city of Philadelphia, with an endowment to preserve it for public use.
Thomas Ellwood, the companion of Milton, was so sensible of the disadvantages arising from a want of knowledge, that he revived his learning with great industry after he had become a Friend. “I mentioned before,” says he in his Journal, “ that when I was a boy I made some progress in learning, and that I lost it all again before I came to be a man. Nor was I rightly sensible of my loss therein, till I came amongst Friends. But there I both saw my loss and lamented it, and applied myself with the utmost diligence at all leisure times to recover it. So false I found that charge to be, which in those times was cast as a reproach on the Society, that they despised and decried all human learning, because they denied it to be essentially necessary to a gospel ministry, which was one of the controversies of those times.” Elwood's friend, Isaac Pennington, assisted him in this matter, and through his influence with Dr. Paget. procured him the means of improvement in becoming a reader to Milton.