« PreviousContinue »
The 8th of the fourth month, being the first day of the week, we had a meeting, in which acquaintance with God was exhorted to, shewing the benefit of it, and of loving him above all things, and delighting in his law, and meditating therein day and night. The 19th, in the morning, a strong northerly wind came up, and blew so hard that we could not carry sail, but lay to the wind, under our mizen, which was split or torn with the violence of the wind, and the sea rose high, so that it came into the windows of our great cabin. It was very rugged for the time, and though it was mid-summer, it was so cold, that we were obliged to clothe our. selves as in winter. The 22d, being first day, we had a comfortable meeting after the storm, wherein the great benefit of true religion was a little opened to our small company, and the Lord, Most High, was praised for our deliverance and preservation. The 26th we sounded, and found about seventy fathom depth of water. The 29th we were a-breast the isle of Wight. From the time we left the island of Barbadoes, to the time we found ground, was seven weeks. Thus through many perils and dangers, we came to Great-Britain; for all whích mercies and providences, let my soul bless and praise the holy name and mighty power of the Most High. It was now a time of a very great pressing for seamen, and several men of war's boats came on board to press our sailors; but they had prepared a place in the vessel to hide themselves, and the men of war's peo. ple could not find them. One lieutenant, with his men, came on board, and seeing us weak handed (the best of our hands being hid), he asked me if I had any more hands on board ? I made him little answer. He then said he was sure I could not bring the ship from Barbadoes without hands. I told him sailors were hard to be got in Barbadoes, either for love or money, to go
for London, for fear of being pressed, and I was to take any I could get. "He said it was in vain to talk much, but if I would say I had no more hands on board, he would be satisfied; he having a belief that I would speak the truth, though he never saw me before ; and
obliged So they
he said, if I would say there were no more men on board, he would go away, for then he had no more business there: but I made him no answer, not daring to tell a lie. Now I know that there are men on board, said he: so he commanded his men to search the ship to her keel. stripped and made a narrow search, and sweated and fretted, but could not find them. He being civil, I made him, when he went away, a small present. He wished me well; and so I carried my people safe up to London.
In the beginning of the fifth month, I came to London, and lodged at the house of Simeon Warner, in Southwark, and at divers kind friends and relations, in and : about London. The tender and brotherly respect which
I received from divers, in some of those families, in my : sickness, will not, I believe, ever be forgotten, while I am in this world, at times by me; and, I hope that he whom I serve with my might and strength, will be their reward. When in the country about London, my residence was mostly at Edmonton, at my dear brother George Chalkley's, who, with my sister and cousins, were a comfort to me both in health and sickness : for I was often in London sorely afflicted with the phthisic and asthma, which sometimes made me very uneasy; and, though my affairs required me to be often in the city, yet I was obliged to return to the country for air, and, both in health and sickness, was kindly and affectionately received and tended by my dear brother, sister, and all my loving cousins. The memory thereof is cordial to me in penning these lines. It may be truly said, 've were very joyful in meeting one another, and our sorrow in parting not easy to be expressed.
In London I sold my vessel, the Barbadoes-Packet, and settled all my affairs to general satisfaction, so far as I know, on which account I had laboured for several years, and was joyful that Providence had favored me so far as to see it accomplished : so that now I wholly intend to leave trading by sea, the which I never inclined to, only on a principle of justice; for I was fully resolved in my mind that my creditors should be paid their just
debts, though I might lose my life in the pursuit of it
, about which I had no anxious guilt, because I never was extravagant nor indolent, but met with divers casualties by fire and water; by the latter I lost many hundreds of pounds for several years together; and I would persuade all in their undertaking for a livelihood in this world, to be sure to have an eye to divine providence, who will not suffer us, if we do well, nor so much as a sparrow to fall to the ground, without he think it best for us, he , knowing what is for our good better than we know our.
selves. Thus when I had paid my debts, and in a good degree settled my affairs, I visited several of
my tions, as at Kingsworth, Staines, Guilford, &c. Had a meeting at Market-Street, and one at Guilford, an. other at Staines, and one at Longford ; in all which I had some service, and my relations were joyful to see me once more, having never expected to see me again ; and when I had visited meetings in and about London, I went towards the North, in order to visit some places where I had never been, and some that I had been at. The number of meetings, and the names of the places where I had meetings (while I was this time in England) are as follows. While I was in and about London, I was at eighteen meetings in that great city, at two of which I was with May Drummond, 2 virtuous young woman, who hath a good gift in the ministry, and had a gracious opportunity of declaring her convincement to our noble Queen Caroline, our great King George's royal consort. The kind treat
nent, and good reception, she had with the queen, spread so in city and country, that many thousands Aocked to hear her, and more of the gentry and nobility than ever was known before, to our meetings. I had some private conversation with her, which put me in mind of the apostle's exhortation, where he adviseth the primitive christians, that their words be few and savoury, and that they should be seasoned with grace for this great reason, that they might administer grace to the hearers ; and truly I thought there was the influence grace in her conduct and conversation, whom I pray God to preserve in Christ to the end.
I had a meeting at the house of my brother with his scholars at Edmonton, and also with his family and divers of our relations, which some of us may have occasion to remember. We had seven meetings at Tottenham, at sundry times, and four at Hartford; I travelled to Hitching, from thence to Baldock, and then to Stadtfold and Ashwell. The 7th of the eighth month (being the third day of the week) to Royston, fourth to Ives, fifth to Huntington, sixth to Ramsey. First day, being the 12th of the month, we had a meeting at a small town named Finding, and the same day, in the evening, had a large meeting at Wellingborough, in Northamptonshire. The 14th, being the third day of the week, we had a meeting at Northampton, fourth day at Braybrook, fifth day at Okeham, the county town of Rutland, sixth day at Long-Clackson; and first day, being the 19th of the month, I was at a large and open meeting at Nottingham, where were many people, not of our society, who were very sober; third day had a meeting at Fairnsfield, fourth day at Mansfield, fifth at Chesterfield, in Derbyshire; from whence we went over the moors and mountains, Benja. min Bangs, the younger, accompanying me, who came on purpose from Stockport to be my companion and guide thither: his company was both pleasant and prof. itable to me in that hilly country, through which we trav. elled to Stockport, where we had three meetings, and where I met with my dear, worthy old friend, Benjamin Bangs. When we met, we embraced each other in arms of christian love, having not seen one another for many years, with whom I stayed four days. This wor. thy friend, though upwards of fourscore years of age, went with me to Manchester, where we had two meetings, and then I went back with him to his house. He was a man of extraordinary character, and well beloved, he being a pillar in the church of Christ.
When at Manchester, I went to visit a friend newly cut for the stone, who had one taken out of him, the measure of which I saw, and had the stone in my hand. It was nine inches about, and three over. Before I went out of those parts, he was well enough to ride home, which was near a hundred miles. He was cheerful, as well as thankful.
From Stockport I went to Macclesfield, to Joseph Hobson's, where I met with Joshua Toft and his broth. er, two choice ministers of Jesus Christ, of whose company I was glad, though at that time I was very low and poor in my spirit. We had two meetings here ; on the 2d of the ninth month, being first day. I was at a large meeting at Morley, and, in the evening, at the meeting at kis John Leigh's, at both which meetings there were many people, not of our society, who were very still, and some were broken into tenderness. From Morley I went to Penketh, where we had a large, solid meeting, and had an evening meeting at Warrington, where I met with many brethren and sisters, who sincerely love our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom I was refreshed, particularly at Gilbert Thompson's and Lawrence Calen's.
From Warrington I went to Langtree, Preston, and Clifton, where I had meetings, and so went on to Lancaster. I went to Wray, in order to visit my old ship-mate Elizabeth Rawlinson, (whose son, Hutton Rawlinson, went with me). When I came to Wray, they desired me to have a meeting with them ; and though there was little notice, yet we had a large meeting, divers neighbours coming in, and Christ was preached to them freely; this was the 10th in the evening, and second day of the week
, Third day I went to Kendal, and, in the evening, with very little notice, we met with several hundreds of people; friends and others. It was a surprize to me, I expecting but a few, because of the shortness of time; but I acknowledge it was a pleasant surprize, to see the willingness and readiness of the people to hear the gos
. pel preached. Friends here are a great people, and well beloved and esteemed by their neighbours, and live in much love and unity. The fourth day many friends came to see me from divers parts, I giving them some notice that I designed no farther northward, and hastening to get ready to go to America, betimes in the spring; hav, ing been from home near two years; wherefore divers of my friends, some of whom had been at sea with me, met