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SOME ACCOUNT Of the early life and religious exercises of INCREASE
WOODWARD, as found among her papers. . Her grandfather, Samuel Dennis, removed to America from Essex, Great Britain, and arrived at New York the 27th of 8th month, 1675—thence to Shrewsbury, New Jersey, where he settled. He afterwards sent home to England for a certificate, which is as follows,
From the men's monthly meeting at Stansted, in Essex, the 29th of the 5th month, 1676.
« This is to satisfy all whom it may concern, that we whose names are hereunto subscribed, being of acquaintance of one Samuel Dennis, a bricklayer who was an inhabitant of a town called Stansted, Mount Fitchel, in the county aforesaid, and who sent to us for a certificate according to the good order of truth. Inquiry hath been made about him, and finding no one that hath any thing against him, and to the best of our knowledge, he lived soberly amongst us, and so departed, leaving a good report behind him, as becometh truth: also, clear of marriage engagements to anyone here in England, to the best of our knowledge.
From your loving friends and brethren in the truth.
Joseph Smyth, Ewin Morrell, Wm. Custer, John Custer, Benjamin Scott, Wm. Scott, Thomas Munch, John Mascall,John Brown, John Carebread, Anthony Penystone, John Salmon, Samuel Rooder.”
In the year 1680, he married Increase, only daughter of Richard and Abigail Lippincott, of Shrewsbury. By this connexion he had five children
these, with their parents, became members of the Episcopal church, through the sophistry and influence of George Keith, who had abandoned the principles and Society of Friends, and resided for a time in their family. It is a melancholy reflection, that while he acted, as we have reason to believe, against conviction, he led away those who were really sincere, and himself became shipwrecked in the end, and too late lamented his unhappy condition.
Her father, Jacob Dennis, married Clemence Woodward, daughter of Anthony and Hannah Woodward, of Crosswicks, New Jersey. Her mother died when she was quite young. After her decease, the subject of this memoir, according to a previous arrangement, was placed in the family of her intimate friends, J. W. and wife, of the same religious profession, who took her as their adopted child. Of her early life she writes thus:
“ While I was yet very young, the gracious Preserver of men wrought in me by his love, by his judgments and his mercies, in order to bring me to fear him and seek his favour; for at that time I greatly feared his wrath. When I look back and view the dealings of the Lord with me, it is cause of deep humility and thankfulness that he continued to follow me by his chastisements, for I was a great sinner, making covenants of amendment, and still breaking them. But when I was about sixteen years old, he was pleased in a great degree to manifest his goodness to me, and begat fervent desires in my heart to live the life of the righteous, giving me clearly to see, that I must take up the cross-depart from vanity and evil,-be sober and watchful, and deny myself
of those vain pastimes and pleasures in which I indulged with my thoughtless companions. But this seemed too great a trial, as I had none outwardly to look to for strength or help: so I turned away from the Divine requiring, intending to alter my way of life when I grew older. Oh! how foolish and unwise! How did I know that I should live to see another day; not considering that God might cut me off, and my portion be assigned with the workers of iniquity.
Yet the unslumbering Shepherd of Israel, who careth for his people and watcheth over them for good, left me not here; but after a few years brought my covenants to my remembrance with dread and fear, and prepared me by deep baptisms, to become as clay in the potter's hand; being introduced as into the awful state and condition of those who are sunk into the regions of death, and cut off from all hopes of mercy. Oh! the horror and black darkness which I was made at that time to feel! I cried out in my distress, Lord, deliver my soul, and I will follow thee. Being thus humbled, his power secretly wrought in me, enabling me to confess him openly before men. By the light which makes manifest, I now saw I must become joined to the Society of Friends, believing they were the true followers of Christ, without any mixture of men's traditions:
After this, God only knew my trials, temptations, and troubles in the wilderness; the enemy of man's happiness endeavouring to deceive and carry me away by presenting false lights instead of the true. These conflicts brought me to experience a being baptized with the fire that burneth as an oven, and I was east as it were into the furnace to be tried and purified from the dregs of nature, that so the earthly part
might be dissolved and melted away as with fervent heat. It is thus that we pass through death to obtain the pure life of the Son of God manifest in the flesh, that we may no longer live unto ourselves, but unto him who sent his Son into the world to redeem through suffering a people to his praise, and to bear testimony to the excellency of the gospel. Oh! the resplendent beauty, light, and lustre which shines around the followers of Christ, who are the faithful children of the day, called and chosen to be a peculiar people. Truly it may be said, God is in the midst of them.”
The following memorandums appear to have been written by her at different times during those close provings, and are expressive of the sorrows and exercises of her mind, as above alluded to.
4th mo. 1771. My spiritual habitation seems left unto me desolate. Wandering lonely and oppressed, oh! whither shall I go? If I return to my house, , there is pought but confusion; if I go out to seek rest I find none. I knew not till now what a fallen lump of clay I am. How long, O Lord, must I stray! Hast thou brought me out of the land of Egypt, to perish in the wilderness? Beset on every side and left alone, I look for help, but find none. my is permitted to enter within my doors, and exalt himself, whilst I sit as a captive, expecting death as the wages of my work. I know his wrath is great, and my weaknesses are manifold. My spirit would flee, but the flesh hinders me. When the Almighty lights his candle in our hearts, and kindles his consuming, refining fire, oh! how our sins are set in order before us! For until He, who is all-powerful,
arises, how greatly are we deceived! Boast not thyself then, Oman, but take heed and fear, for God is strong and high above all gods.
8th month. O merciful Father, who respectest the cry of the humble, who hast compassion on them that are weary, and heavy laden with their sins, and who hast promised that those who ask shall receive, and those who seek shall find rest and peace,-grant, I pray thee, a renewal of thy favour to my weary soul, that longs for thee;—forgive mine iniquities, for they are many; and cast me not off, 0 merciful Judge of quick and dead, but look with an eye of pity and compassion on thy offending creature, whose face is turned Zion-ward. I look towards Jerusalem, and mourn for my native home, and for my Father's house. I long to enter into thy holy temple; but sin separates the soul from its pure and holy God.Oh! that I were pardoned, and my sins forgiven, and that the Lord would be a light unto me.
O Lord, have mercy on one who labours and longs for thy righteousness; who groans to be clothed upon with that house from heaven, and who desires to be numbered with the heavenly host. Remove my sins far away; lead and guide me by thine arm of power through and over all my opposers.
O thou tender Father of the children of men, give me an earnest of thy favours; renew thy covenant of peace unto thy feeble handmaid, whose cries are unto thee, morning, noon and night. Clothe me with strength in battle; for mine enemies have set themselves in array against me. Enable me to stand, O Lord, for thy cause; strengthen and confirm me in