« VorigeDoorgaan »
desire their eternal welfare. But if they will not hear, then the day of judgment and of sorrow, of torment and misery, and sudden destruction will come from the Lord upon them, that have been the cause of the sufferings of many thousands of simple, innocent, harmless people that have done them no hurt, nor have had any ill-will towards him or them, but have desired their eternal good for the eternal truth's sake; destruction will come upon them that turn the sword backward. Therefore do not blind your eyes, the Lord will bring swift destruction and misery upon you; surely he will do it, and will relieve his innocent people, who have groaned for deliverance from under your oppression, and have also groaned for your deliverance out of wickedness. Blessed be the Lord God, that he hath a people in this nation, that seeks the good of all men upon the face of the earth; for we have the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ, that desires not the death of a sinner, but the salvation and good of all : blessed be the name of the Lord our God for ever.'
While I continued at Enfield, a sense came upon me of an hurt that sometimes happened, by persons coming under the profession of truth out of one country into another, to take an husband or wife amongst friends where they were strangers, and it was not known whether they were clear and orderly, or no. And it opened in me to recommend the following method unto friends for preventing such Inconveniences; whereupon I writ the following lines :
All friends that do marry, whether they be men or women, if they come out of another nation, island, plantation or county, let them bring a certificate from the men's, meeting of that county, nation, island or plantation from which they came, to the men's-meeting where they do propound their intention of marriage; for the men's-meeting being made up of the faithful, this will stop all bad and raw spirits from roving up and down. And then when any come with a certificate, or letter of recommendation from one men's-meeting to another, one is refreshed by another, and can set their hands and hearts to the thing; and this will take away a great deal of trouble. And then what ye have to say to them in the power of God, in admonishing and instructing them, ye are left to the power and spirit of God to do it, and to let them know the duty of marriage and what it is; that there may be an unity and a concord in the spirit, and power, and light and wis
dom of God, throughout all the men's-meetings in the whole world, in one, in the life. Let copies of this be sent to every county, and nation, and island where friends are, that so all things may be kept holy and pure,
and righteous, in unity and peace; and God over all may be glorified among you, his lot, his people and inheritance, who are his adopted sons and daughters, and heirs of his life. So no more, but my love in that which changeth not.'
G. F. The 14th of the first month, 167
When I bad recovered so much strength that I could walk a little up and down, I went from Enfield to Gerrard Roberts's again, and from thence to the women's school at Shacklewell, and so to London to the meeting at Gracechurch Street; where though I was yet but weak, yet the Lord's power upheld and enabled me to declare his eternal word of life.
And about this time I was moved to pray to the Lord as followeth :
«O Lord God Almighty! prosper truth, and preserve justice and equity in the land, and bring down all injustice and iniquity, oppression and falshood, and cruelty and unmercifulness in the land; and that mercy and righteousness may flourish!
And, O Lord God! establish and set up verity, and preserve it in the land; and bring down in the land all debauchery and vice, and whoredoms and fornication, and this raping spirit which causeth and leadeth people to have no esteem of thee, O God! nor their own souls or bodies, nor of Christianity, modesty, or humanity.
And, O Lord! put it in the magistrates' hearts to bring down all this ungodliness, and violence, and cruelty, prophaneness, cursing and swearing; and to put down all these whore-houses and play-houses, which do corrupt youth and people, and lead them from the kingdom of God, where no unclean thing can enter, neither shall come; but such works lead people to hell. And the Lord in mercy bring down all these things in the nation, to stop thy wrath, God! from coming on the land.'
G. F. This prayer was written the 17th day at
night, of the 20 month, 1671.
I mentioned before, that upon the notice I received of my wife's being had to prison again, I sent two of her daughters to the king, and they procured his order to the sheriff of Lancashire for her discharge. But though I expected she would have been set at liberty thereby, yet this violent storm of persecution coming suddenly on upon it, the persecutors there did not release her, but found means to hold her still in prison. But now the persecution a little ceasing, I was moved to speak to Martha Fisher and another woman friend, to go to the king about her liberty. They went in the faith, and in the Lord's power, and the Lord gave them favour with the king, so that he granted a discharge under the broad-seal, to clear both her and her estate, after she had been ten years a prisoner and premunired; the like whereof was scarce to be heard in England. I sent down the discharge forthwith by a friend ; by whom also I wrote to her, both to inform her how to get it delivered to the justices, and also to acquaint her that it was upon me from the Lord, to go beyond the seas to visit the plantations in America; and therefore desired her to hasten up to London, as soon as she could conveniently, after she had obtained her liberty, because the ship was then fitting for the voyage. In the mean time I got down to Kingston, and staid at John Rouse his house till my wife came up, and then I began to prepare for the yoyage. But the yearly meeting being near at hand, I tarried till that was over: a very large meeting it was, for many friends came up to it from all parts of the nation, and a very precious meeting it was; for the Lord's power was over all, and his glorious everlastingly renowned seed of life was exalted above all.
Now after this meeting was over, and I had finished my services for the Lord here in England, the ship also and the friends that intended to go with me being ready, I went down to Gravesend on the 12th day of the sixth month, my wife and several friends accompanying me to the Downs. We went from Wapping in a bárge to the ship, which lay a little below Gravesend, and there we found the friends that were bound for the voyage with me, who went down to the ship the night before. Their names were Thomas Brigges, William Edmundson, John Rouse, John Stubbs, Solomon Eccles, James Lancaster, John Cartwright, Robert Widders, George Pattison, John Hull, Elizabeth Hooton, and Eliz. Miers. The vessel we were to go in was a yatch, and it was called the Industry; the master's pame was Thomas Forster, and the qumber of passengers about fifty. I lay that night on board, but most of the friends lay at Gravesend. Early next morning the passengers and those friends that intended to accompany us to the Downs being come on board, we took our leave in great tenderness of those friends that came with us to Gravesend only, and were to return from thence, and set sail about the sixth hour in the morning for the Downs; and having a fair wind, we out-sailed all the ships that were outward bound, and got thither by the evening. Some of us went a-shore that night and lodged at Deal, where we understood that an officer had order from the governor to take our names in writing; which he did the next morning, though we told him they had been taken at Gravesend. In the afternoon the wind serving, I took my leave of my wife and the other friends, (both that came down from London with us, and that came from Dover and other parts of the country to visit us,) and went on board. But before we could set sail, there being two of the king's frigates riding in the Downs, the captain of one of them sent his press-master on board us, who took off three of our seamen. This had certainly delayed, if not wholly lost, our voyage, had not the captain of the other frigate, being informed of the leakiness of our vessel and length of our voyage, in compassion and much civility spared us two of his own men. And before this was over an officer of the Custom-house came on board us to peruse packets and get fees ; so that what with the one and the other, we were kept from sailing till about sun-set, during which stop a very considerable number of merchant-men outward bound, were got several leagues before us. But being now clear we set sail in the evening, and by next morning overtook part of that fleet about the height of Dover. We soon reached the rest, and in a little time left them all behind us; for our yatch was counted a very swift sailer. But she was very leaky, so that the seamen and some of the passengers did for the most part pump day and night. One day they observed that in two hours time she sucked in sixteen inches of water in the well.
When we had been about three weeks at sea, one aftera noon we espied a vessel about four leagues a stern of us. Our master said it was a Sallee-man of war, and he seemed to give us chase. Our master said, come, let us go to supper, and when it grows dark we shall lose him; but this he spake to please and pacify the passengers, some of whom began to be very apprehensive of the danger. But friends were well satisfied in themselves, having faith in God, and no fear upon their spirits. When the sun was gone down, I saw the ship out of my cabin, and I saw she made towards us. When it grew dark we altered our course to miss her; but she altered also and gained upon us. At night the master and others came into my cabin and asked me what they should do. I told them, I was no mariner; and I asked them what they thought was best to do. They said, there were but two ways, either to outrun him, or tack about, and hold the same course we were going before. I told them, if he were a thief, they might be sure he would tack about too; and as for outrunning him, it was to no purpose to talk of that, for they saw he sailed faster than we. Then they asked me again what they should do ; for (they said) if the mariners had taken Paul's counsel, they had not come to the damage they did. I told them, it was a trial of faith, and therefore the Lord was to be waited on for counsel. So retiring in spirit, the Lord sbewed me that his life and power was placed between us and the ship that pursued us. I told this to the master and the rest, and that the best way was to tack about and steer our right course.
I wished them also to put out all their candles but that they steered by, and to speak to all the passengers to be still and quiet. About the 11th hour in the night the watch called and said they were just upon us. That disquieted some of the passengers; whereupon I sate up in my cabin, and looking ihrough the port-hole, the moon being not quite down, I saw them very near us. I was getting up to go out of the cabin; but remembering the word of the Lord, that bis life and power was placed between us and them, I lay down again. The master and some of the seamen came again, and asked me if they might not steer such a point. I told them they might do as they would. By this time the moon was gone quite down, and a fresh gale arose, and the Lord hid us from them; and we sailed briskly on and saw them no more. The next day, being the first-day of the week, we had a public meeting in the ship (as we usually had on that day throughout the voyage,) and the Lord's presence was greatly among us. And I desired the people to mind the mercies of the Lord, who had delivered them; for they might have been all in the Turks' hands by that time had not the Lord's hand saved them. About a week after the master and some of the seamen endeavoured to persuade the passengers, that it was not a Turkish pirate that chased us, but a merchantman going to the Canaries. But when I heard of it, I asked them, why then did they