death, and thereby made several children fatherless. Col. Kirby never prospered after, and the chief constable Richard Dodgson, died soon after, and Mount, the petty constable, and the other petty constable John Ashburnham, his wife, who railed at me in her house, died soon after. And William Knipe, that was the witness they brought against me, died soon after also : and Hunter, the jailer of Lancaster, who was very wicked to me while I was his prisoner, he was cut off in his young days : and the undersheriff that carried me from Lancaster prison towards Scarborough, he lived not long after : and one Joblin, the jailer of Durham, who was prisoner with me in Scarborough castle, and had often incensed the governor and soldiers against me, though he got out of prison, yet the Lord cut him off in his wickedness soon after. When I came into that country again, most of these that dwelt in Lancashire were dead, and others ruined in their estates, so that, though I did not seek revenge upon them, for their actings against me contrary to the law, yet the Lord had executed his judgments upon many of them.

Being now set free from my imprisonment in Scarborough castle, I went about three miles to a large general meeting at a friend's house that had been a chief constable, and all was quiet and well. On the fourth day after i came into Scarborough again, and had a meeting in the town at Peter Hodgson's house. To this meeting came one called a lady, and several other great persons, also a young man that was son to the bailiff of the town, and had been convinced while I was there in prison. That lady (so called) came to me, and said I spahi against the ministers; I told her, such as the prophets and Christ declared against formerly, I declared against now.

From hence I went to Whitby, and having visited friends there, I passed thence to Burlington, where I had another meeting, and from thence to Oram, where I had another meeting: and from thence to Marmaduke Stor's, and had a large nieeting at a constable's house, on whom the Lord had wrought a great miracle.

Next day, two friends being to take each other in marriage, there was a very great meeting, which I was at: and I was moved to open to the people the state of our marriages, declaring how the people of God took one another in the assemblies of the elders, and how that it was God that did join man and woman together before the fall. And though men had taken upon them to join in the fall, yet in the restoration it was God's joining that was the right and bonourable marriage : but never any priest did

marry any that we read of in the scriptures, from Genesis to the Revelations. Then I shewed them the duty of man and wife, how they should serve God, being heirs of life and grace together.

After the meeting I passed from thence to Grace Barwick, where I had a general meeting, which was very large, and when that was over I came to Richard Shipton's, where I had another meeting, and so to a priest's house, whose wife was convinced, and himself grown very loving and glad to see me. This was that priest that in the year 1651, threatened if ever he met me again lie would have my life, or I should have his; and said he would lose his head if I were not knocked down in a month. But now he was partly convinced, and become very kind. I went from bis house towards the sea, where several friends came to visit me, and amongst others one Philip Scarff, who had formerly been a priest, but having received the truth, was now become a preacher of Christ freely, and continued so. Passing on, I called to see an ancient man who was convinced of truth, and was above an hundred years old. Then came I to a friend's house where I had a great meeting, and quiet; and passing on through the country I had a great meeting near Malton, and another large meeting near Hull, from which I went to a place called Holdendike; as we went into the town the watchmen questioned me and those that were with me, but they not having any warrant to stay us, we went on by them, and they in a rage threatend they would search us out. I went to the house of one that was called the lady Mountague, and there I lodged that night, and several friends came thither to visit me. Next morning being up betimes, I walked out into the orchard, and saw a man about sun-rising go into the house in a great cloke; he staid not long, but came soon out again, and went away, not seeing me. I felt something strike at my life, and went into the house, where I found the maid servant affrighted and trembling, and she told me that man had a naked rapier under his cloke. By which I perceived he came with an intent to have done mischief, but the Lord prevented him.

From this place passing through the country, I visited friends till I came to York, where we had a large meeting. After the meeting I went to visit justice Robinson, an ancient justice of the peace, who had been very loving to me and friends from the beginning. There was at this time a priest with him, and he told me it was said of us that we loved none but ourselves. I told him we loved all mankind, as they were God's creation, and as they were chil.

dren of Adam and Eve by generation, and we loved the brotherhood in the Holy Ghost. This stopped him, so that after some other discourse we parted friendly, and we passed away.

About this time I had written a book intituled, Fear God and Honour the King; in which I shewed that none could rightly fear God and honour the king, but they that departed from sin and evil. This book did much affect the soldiers and most people.

Now having visited friends at York, we passed thence to a market-town, where we had a meeting at one George Watkinson's, who formerly had been a justice. A glorious blessed meeting it was, and very large, and the Seed of life was set over all. But we had been troubled to have got into this town had not Providence made way for us, for the watchmen stood ready to stop us, but there being a man riding just before us, the watchmen questioned him first, and perceiving that he was a justice of peace, they let him pass, and we riding close after him, by that means we escaped.

From this place we passed to Thomas Taylor's, who had formerly been a captain, where we had a precious meeting. Hard by Thomas Taylor's there lived one called a knight, who was much displeased when be heard I was like to be released out of prison, and threatened that if the king set me at liberty he would send me to prison again the next day. But though I had this meeting so near him, yet the Lord's power stopped him from meddling, and the meeting was quiet. Colonel Kirby also, who had been the chief means of my imprisonment at Lancaster and Scarborough castles, when he heard I was set at liberty, got another order for the taking me up, and said he would ride bis horse forty miles to take me, and would give forty pounds to have me taken. Yet awhile after I came so near him as to have a meeting within two miles of him, and then was he struck with the gout, and kept his bed, so that it was thought he would have died.

From Thomas Taylor's I passed through the country visiting friends till I came to Synderhill Green, where I had a large and general meeting. The priest of the place hearing of it, he sent the constable to the justices for a warrant, and they rid their horses so hard that they almost spoiled them; but the notice they had being short, and the way long, the meeting was ended before they came. 1 heard not of them till I was going out of the house, after meeting was over, and then a friend came to me and told me they were searching another house for me, which was

the house I was then going to. As I went along the closes towards it, I met the constables and wardens and the justice's clerk with them, so I passed through them, and they looked at me, and I went to the house that they had been searching. Thus the devil and the priest lost their design, for the Lord's power bound them, and preserved me over them, and friends parted, and all escaped them. And the officers went away as they came, for the Lord had frustrated their design, praised be his name for ever.

After this I went into Derbyshire, where I had a large meeting, and some friends were apprehensive of the constable's coming in, for they had had a great persecution in those parts; but our meeting was quiet. There was a justice of peace in that country had taken away much of friends' goods; whereupon one Ellen Fretwell had made her appeal to the sessions; and the rest of the justices granted her her goods again, and spake to that persecuting justice, that he should not do so any more. And she was moved to speak to that justice, and to warn him; whereupon he bid her come and sit down on the bench. Ay, said she, if I may persuade you to do justice to the country,'I will sit down with you : No, said he, then you shall not; and bid her get her out of the court. But as she was going out she was moved of the Lord to turn again, and say, she should be there, when he should not. After the sessions were ended, he went home, and drove away her brother's oxen, for going to meetings. And then another woman, a friend of Chesterfield, whose name was Susan Frith, was moved of the Lord to tell him, that if he continued on in his persecuting of the innocent, the Lord would execute his plagues upon him. Soon after which this justice fell distracted, and died. This relation I had from Ellen Fretwell herself.

I travelled out of Derbyshire into Nottinghamshire, and had a large meeting at Skegby; and from thence went to Mansfield, where also I had a meeting; and thence went to another town, where there was a fair, at which I met with many friends. Then passing through the forest in a mighty thundering and rainy day, I came to Nottingham; and so great was the tempest that day that many trees were torn up by the roots, and some people killed; but the Lord preserved us. On the first-day following I had a large meeting in Nottingham, very quiet; and friends were come to sit under their teacher, the grace of God, which brought them salvation, and were established upon the rock and foundation, Christ Jesus. After the meeting I

went to visit the friend that had been sheriff about the year 1649, whose prisoner I had then been.

From Nottingham I passed into Leicestershire and came to Sileby, where we had a large blessed meeting : after which I went to Leicester to visit the prisoners there, and then came to John Penford's, where we had a general meeting, large and precious. From thence I passed through the country, visiting friends and my relations, till I came into Warwickshire and to Warwick, where having visited the prisoners, I passed from thence to Badgley, and had a precious meeting there. Then I travelled through Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, visiting friends in each county. In Oxfordshire the devil had laid a snare for me, but the Lord brake it; and his power came over all, and his blessed truth spread, and friends were increased therein. Thus after I had passed through many counties, visiting friends, and had had many large and precious meetings amongst them, I came at last to London. But I was so weak with lying almost three years in cruel and hard imprisonments, and my joints and my body were so stiff and benumbed that I could hardly get on my horse or bend my joints, nor well bear to be near the fire or to eat warm meat, I had been kept so long from it. Being come to London, I walked a little among the ruins, and took good notice of them; and I saw the city lying, according as the word of the Lord came to me concerning it several years before.

Now after I bad been a time in London, and had visited friends meetings through the city, I went into the country again, and had large meetings in the countries as I went, at Kingston, Reading, and Wiltshire, till I came to Bristol. At Bristol also I had many large meetings, and Thomas Lower came thither out of Cornwall to meet ipe : and friends were there from several parts of the nation, it being then the fair time. After I was clear of Bristol I left that city and went to Nath. Crips's; and so through the countries till I came back to London again, having large meetings in the way, and all quiet, blessed be the Lord. And thus, though I was very weak, yet I travelled up and down in the service of the Lord, and the Lord enabled me to go through in it.

About this time some that had run out from truth and clashed against friends were reached unto hy the power of the Lord, which came wonderfully over, and made them condemn and tear their papers of controversies to pieces. Several meetings we had with them, and the Lord's everlasting power was over all, and set judgment on the head

« VorigeDoorgaan »