Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

speak so to me; and why did they trouble the passengers ; and why did they tack about from him and alter their course? And I told them they should take heed of slight, ing the mercies of God.

Afterwards, while we were at Barbadoes, there came in a merchant from Sallee, and told the people, that one of the Sállee-men of war saw a monstrous yatch at sea, the greatest that ever he saw, and had her in chase, and was just upon her, but that there was a spirit in her that he could not take. This did confirm us in the belief that it was a Sallee-man we saw make after us, and that it was the Lord that delivered us out of his hands.

I was not sea-sick during the voyage, as many of the friends and other passengers were; but the many hurts and bruises I had 'formerly received, and the griefs and infirmities I had contracted in England by extreme cold and hardships that I had undergone in many long and sore imprisonments, returned upon me now that I came to sea, so that I was very ill in my stomach, and full of violent pains in my bones and limbs. This was after I had been , at sea about a month; for during the space of about three weeks after I came first to sea I sweat abundantly, chiefly my head, and my body brake out into pimples, and my legs and feet swelled extremely, so that my stockings and slippers could not be drawn on without difficulty and great pain. Then on a sudden the sweating ceased. So that when I came into the hot climate, where others sweat most freely, I could not sweat at all, but my flesh was hot, dry, and burning; and that which before brake out on my body into pimples struck in again, and struck to my stomach and heart, so that I was

very ill and weak beyond expression. Thus I continued during the rest of the voyage, which was about a month; for we were seven weeks and some odd days at sea. On the third of the eighth

month early in the morning, we discovered the Island of Barbadoes, but it was between nine and ten at night ere we came to anchor in Carlislebay. We got on shore as soon as we could, and I, with some others, walked to a friend's house, a merchant, whose name was Richard Forstall, above a quarter of a mile from the bridge. But being very ill and weak, I was so tired with that little walk, that I was in a manner quite spent by that time I got thither. There I abode very ill for several days, and was so far from sweating, though in that hot climate, that although they several times gave me things to make me sweat, yet they could not bring me to sweat; but what they gave me did rather parch and dry up my

printed.

body, and made me probably worse than otherwise I might have been. Thus I continued for about three weeks after I landed, having very much pain in my bones, joints, and whole body, so that I could hardly get any rest; yet notwithstanding I was pretty cheary, and my spirit kept above it all. Neither did 'my illness take me off from the service of truth, but both while I was at sea and after I came to Barbadoes, before I was able to travel about, I gave forth several papers (having a friend to write for me), some of which I sent by the first conveyance for England to be

After I had rested three or four days at Richard Forstall's, where many friends came to visit me, John Rous having borrowed a coach of one of his acquaintance there (called colonel Chamberlain) came to fetch me in it to his father Thomas Rous's house; but it was late ere we could get thither, and little or no rest could I take that night. A few days after that, colonel Chamberlain, who had so kindly lent his coach, came thither to give me a visit, and carried himself very courteously towards me.

Soon after I came into the island, I was informed of a remarkable passage, wherein the justice of God did eminently appear; it was thus: There was a young man of Barbadoes, whose name was John Drakes (a person of some note in the world's account, but a common swearer and a bad man,) who having been in England, and at London, had a mind to marry a young maid, that was a friend's daughter, left by her mother very young and with a considerable portion, to the care and government of several friends, whereof I was one. He made his application to me that he might have my consent to marry this young maid. I told him, I was one of her overseers appointed by her mother (who was a widow) to take care of her, that if her mother had intended her for a match to any man of the world, she would have disposed her accordingly; but she committed her to us that she might be trained up in the fear of the Lord, and therefore I should betray the trust reposed in me if I should consent that he who was out of the fear of God should marry her; which I would not do. When he saw that he could not obtain, he returned to Barbadoes with great offence of mind against me, but without just cause. Afterwards when he heard I was coming to Barbadoes, he swore desperately, and threatened, that if he could possibly procure it, he would have me burned to death when I came there. Which a friend hearing, asked him what I had done to him that he was so violent against me. He would not answer, but

said again, I'll have him burnt. Whereupon the friend replied, Do not march on too furiously, lest thou come too soon to thy journey's end. About ten days after this, he was struck with a violent burning fever, of which he died, and by which his body was so scorched, that the people took notice of it, and said it was as black as a coal. And three days before I landed his body was laid in the dust, and it was taken notice of as a sad example.

While I continued thus weak, that I could not go abroad to meetings, the other friends that came over with me, bestirred themselves in the Lord's work; for the next day but one after we came on shore, they had a great meeting at the bridge, and after that several meetings in several parts of the island; which alarmed the people of all sorts, so that many came to our meetings, and some of the chiefest rank. For they had got my name, understanding I was come upon the island, and expected to have seen me at those meetings, not knowing that I was weak and unable to go abroad. And indeed, my weakness continued the longer on me, by reason that my spirit was much pressed down at the first with the filth and dirt and unrighteous. ness of the people, which lay as an heavy weight and load upon me.

But after I had been above a month upon the island, my spirit became somewhat easier, and I began to recover in some measure my health and strength, and to get abroad among friends. In the mean time, having opportunity to send for England, I wrote to friends there, to let them know how it was with me, as followeth :

6 Dear friends, • I have been very weak these seven weeks past, and so not able to write myself. My desire is to you and for you all, that ye may live in the fear of God, and in love one unto another, and be subject one to another in the fear of God. I have been weaker in my body than ever I was in my life that I remember, yea, my pains have been such as I cannot express; but yet my heart and spirit is strong. I have hardly sweat these seven weeks past, though I am come into a very hot climate, where hardly any but are well nigh continually sweating; but as for me, my old bruises, colds, numbness, and pains, struck inwardly, even to my very heart. So that little rest I have taken, and the chiefest things that were comfortable to my stomach, were a little water and powdered ginger; but now I begin to drink a little beer as well as water, and sometimes a little wine and water mixed. Great pains and travails. I have felt, and in measure am under; but it is well, iny life is

VOL. II.

[ocr errors]

over all. This island was to me as all of a fire, ere I came to it, but now it is somewhat quenched and abated. I came in weakness amongst those that are strong, and have so continued, but now am got a little cheary and over it; many friends (and some considerable persons of the world) have been with me. I tired out my body much when amongst you in England; it is the Lord's power that helps me; therefore I desire you all to prize the power of the Lord and his truth. I was but a weak man in body when I came away from you, after I had been in my great travail amongst you, but after that, it struck all back again into my body, which was not well settled after so sore travails in England. And then was I so tired at sea that I could not rest, and have had little or no stomach a long time. Since I came into this island, my life hath been very much burdened; but I hope, if the Lord give me strength to manage his work, I shall work thoroughly, and bring things that have been out of course, into better order. So dear friends, live all in the peaceable truth, and in the love of it, serving the Lord in the newness of life; for glorious things and precious truths have been manifested among you plentifully, and to you the riches of the kingdom have been reached. I have been almost a month in this island, but have not been able to go abroad or ride out; only very lately I rode out twice, a quarter of a mile at a time, which wearied me much, and almost tired me. My love in the truth is to you all.

G. F.

Now because I was not yet well able to travel, the friends of the island concluded to have their men's meet. ing and their women's meeting for the service of the church at Thomas Rous's, where I lay, by which means I was present amongst them at each of their meetings, and had very good service for the Lord in both. For they had need of information in many things, and divers disorders were crept in for want of care and watchfulness. Wherefore I exhorted them (more especially at the men's meeting) to be watchful and careful with respect to marriages, to prevent friends marrying in near kindreds, and also to prevent over-hasty proceedings toward second marriages, after the death of a former husband or wife; advising that a decent regard were had in such cases, to the memory of the deceased husband or wife. And as to friends' children marrying too young, as at thirteen or fourteen years of age, I shewed them the unfitness thereof, and the inconveniences and hurts that attend such childish marriages.

And I admonished them all to purge the floor thoroughly, and to sweep their houses very clean, that nothing might remain that would defile; and that all should take care that nothing be spoken out of their meetings to the blemishing or defaming one of another. Likewise concerning registering of marriages, births, and burials, I advised them to keep exact records of each in distinct books for that only use; and also to record in a book for that purpose, the condemnations of such as went out from truth into disorderly practices, and the repentance and resto. ration of such of them as returned again. Also I recommended to their care, the providing of convenient burying places for friends, which in some parts were yet wanting: Some directions also I gave them concerning wills, and the ordering of legacies left by friends for public uses, and other things relating to the affairs of the church. Then as to their blacks or negroes, I desired them to endeavour to train them up in the fear of God, as well them that were bought with their money, as them that were born in their families, that all might come to the knowledge of the Lord; that so with Joshua they might (every master of a family) say, “ As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I desired them also that they would cause their overseers to deal mildly and gently with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them, as the manner of some bath been and is; and that after certain years of servitude they would make them free. Many sweet and precious things were opened in these meetings by the Spirit and in the power of the Lord, to the edifying, confirming, and build. ing up of friends, both in the faith and holy order of the gospel.

After these meetings were over, the vessel that was bound for England not being yet gone, I was moved to write another epistle to friends there, the copy whereof here follows:

Dear friends and brethren, to whom is my love in that which never changeth, but remains in glory, which is over all, the top and corner-stone: in this all have peace and life as ye dwell in the blessed seed, wherein all is blest over that which brought the curse, where all shortness and narrow ness of spirit is, and brittleness and peevishness is. Therefore keep the holy order of the gospel, and keep in this blessed seed, where all may be kept in temperance, in patience, in love, in meekness, in righteousness and holiness, and in peace, in which the Lord may be seen amongst you, and no ways dishonoured, but glorified by you all.

« VorigeDoorgaan »