Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

came to Gertrude's, where we were, with whom George Keith had much discourse in Latin.

Having now finished our service at Amsterdam, we took leave of the friends there, and passed by waggon to Leyden, which is about twenty-five miles, where we staid a day or two, seeking out and visiting some tender people that we heard of there. We met there with a German, who was partly convinced, and he informed us of an eminent man, that was inquiring after truth. Some sought him out, and visited him, and found him a serious man; and I spake to him, and he owned the truth. William Penn and Benjamin Furly went to visit another great man, that lived a little out of Leyden, who, they said, had been general to the king of Denmark's forces; and he and his wife were very loving to them, and heard the truth with joy.

From Leyden we went to the Hague, where the prince of Orange then kept his court; and we visited one of the judges of Holland, with whom we had pretty much discourse. He was a wise, tender man, and put many objections and queries to us, which, when we had answered, he was satisfied, and parted with us in much love. Then leaving the Hague, we went to Delft, and from thence that night to Rotterdam, where we staid several days, and had several meetings there. While I was here I gave forth a book for the Jews; with whom, when I was at Amsterdam, I had a desire to have had some discourse, but they would not. Here also I reviewed several other books and papers, which I had given forth before, and were now transcribed.

And now finding our spirits clear of the service which the Lord had commanded us to do in Holland, we took leave of friends of Rotterdam, and passed by boat to the Briel, in order to take passage that day in the packet-boat for England ; several friends of Rotterdam accompanying us, and some of Amsterdam, who were come to see us again before we left Holland. But the packet-boat not coming in till night, we were fain to lodge that night at the Briel; and next day, being the one and twentieth of the eighth month, and the first-day of the week, we went on board, and set sail about the tenth hour, viz. William Penn, George Keith and I, and Gertrude Dirick Nieson, with her children.

We were in all about sixty passengers, and had a long and hazardous passage; for the winds were contrary to us, and the weather stormy; the boat also very leaky, insomuch that we were fain to have two pumps continually going both day and night; so that it was thought there was twice as much water pumped out as the vessel would

have held. But the Lord, who is able to make the stormy winds to cease, and the raging waves of the sea to be calm, yea to raise them and stop them at bis pleasure, he alone did preserve us : praised be his name for ever. Though our passage was bard, yet we had a fine time, and good service for truth on board among the passengers, some of whom were a sort of great folks, and they were very kind and loving. We arrived at Harwich on the twenty-third of the eighth month at night, having been two nights and almost three days at sea. Next morning William Penn and George Keith took horse for Colchester, but I staid, and had a meeting at Harwich; and there being no Col. chester coach there, and the postmaster's wife being unreasonable in her demands for a coach, and deceiving us of it also after we had hired it, we went to a friend's house about a mile and an balf off in the country, and hired his waggon, which we bedded well with straw, and rode in it to Colchester.

I staid in Colchester till the first day of the week, having a desire to be at friends' meeting there that day; and a very large and weighty meeting it was : for friends hear. ing of my return from Holland, flocked in thither from several parts of the country, and many of the town's people coming in also, it was thought there were about a thousand people at the meeting ; and all was peaceable. Then having staid a day or two longer at Colchester, having service amongst friends there, I travelled through Essex, visiting friends at Halsted, Braintree, Felsted and Saling, and having meetings with them. At Chelmsford I had a meeting in the evening; and there being many friends prisoners, they got liberty and came to the meeting; and we were all well refreshed together in the Lord. Next day, being the ninth of the ninth month, I got to London, where friends received me with great joy; and on the fifthday following went to Gracechurch-street-meeting, where the Lord visited us with bis refreshing presence, and the glory of the Lord surrounded the meeting : praised be the Lord.

After I had been a little while in London, I writ the following letter to my wife, whom (though I had written to her several times out of Holland) I had not written to since I came into England.

« Dear Heart, " To whom is my love, and to the children, and to all the rest of friends, in the Lord's truth, power, and seed, that is over all; glory to the Lord, and blessed be his name

for ever beyond all words, who hath carried me through and over many trials and dangers, in his eternal power. I have been twice at Gracechurch-street-meeting; and though the opposite spirits were there, yet all was quiet, and the dew of heaven fell upon the people, and the glory of the Lord shined over all. “Every day I am fain to be at meetings about business, and sufferings, which are great abroad; and now many friends are concerned with many persons about them : so in haste, with my love to you all'

G. F. London, the 24th of the Ninth

Month, 1677. About this time I received letters from New England, which gave account of the magistrates' and rulers' cruel and unchristian-like proceedings against friends there, whipping and abusing them very shamefully; for they whipped many women friends, and one woman they tied to a cart, and dragged her along the street, she being stripped above the waist. Yea, they whipped some masters of ships that were not friends, only for bringing friends thither. And at that very time, while they were persecuting friends in this barbarous manner, the Indians slew threescore of their men, and took one of their captains, and flayed the skin off of his bead while he was alive, and carried it away in triumph; so that the sober people said the judgments of God came upon them for persecuting the Quakers; but the blind dark priests said it was because they did not persecute them enough. So a great exercise I had in seeking relief here for our poor suffering friends there, that they might not lie under the rod of the wicked.

Upon this and other services for truth, to get friends' sufferings in several places taken off, I staid in London a month or five weeks, visiting meetings, and helping and encouraging friends to labour for the deliverance of their suffering brethren in other parts. Afterwards I went down to Kingston, and visited friends there and thereaway. And baving staid a little ainong friends there, overlooking a book which I had then ready to go to the press, I went from thence across the country into Buckinghamshire, visiting friends, and having several meetings amongst them, as at Amersham, Hunger-bill, Jordans, Hedgerly, Wickham, and Turvil-beath; in some of which, they that were gone out from the unity of friends in truth into strife, opposition, and division, were very unruly and troublesome. Particularly at the men's meeung at Thuilas

Ellwood's at Hunger-hill, where the chief of them came from Wickham, endeavouring to make a disturbance in the meeting, and to binder friends from proceeding in the business of the meeting. When I saw their design admonished them to be sober and quiet, and not trouble the meeting by interrupting the service thereof, but rather, if they were dissatisfied with friends' proceedings, and had any thing to object, let a meeting be appointed on purpose some other day. So friends offered them to give them a meeting another day: and at length it was agreed to be at Thomas Ellwood's the week following. Accordingly friends met then there, and the meeting was in the barn (for there came so many, both of friends and of them, that the bouse could not receive them :) so after we had sat a while they began their jangling, and most of their arrows were shot at me; but the Lord

was with

mie,
and

gave me strength in his power to cast back their darts of envy and falsehood upon themselves. And so their objections were answered, and things were opened to the people, and a good opportunity it was, and serviceable to the truth; for many that before were weak, were now strengthened and confirmed; and some that were doubting and wavering, were satisfied and settled ; and the faithful friends were refreshed and comforted in the springings of life amongst us; for the power rose, and life sprung, and in the arisings thereof many living testimonies were borne against that wicked, dividing, rending spirit, which those opposers were joined to and acted by; and the meeting ended to the satisfaction of friends. That night I lodged with other friends at Thomas Ellwood's, and the same week I had a meeting again with those opposers at Wickham, where they again shewed their envy, and were made manifest to the upright-hearted.

Now after I had visited friends in that upper side of Buckinghamshire, I called upon friends at Henley in Oxfordshire, and afterwards went by Corsham to Reading, where I was at friends meeting on the first day of the week, and in the evening had a large meeting with friends. Next day there being another meeting amongst friends, concerning settling a women's meeting, some of them that had let in the spirit of division, fell into jangling, and were disorderly for a while, till the weight of truth brought them down. After this meeting 1 passed on through the country, visiting friends and having meetings amongst them in several places through Berkshire and Wiltshire, and so on till I came to Bristol, which was on the 24th day of the 11th month, just before the fair.

I staid at Bristol all the time of the fair, and some time after, and many sweet and precious meetings we had there at that time, many friends being there from several parts of the nation, some on the account of trade, and sonie in the service of truth. And great was the love and unity of friends that abode faithful in the truth, though some who were gone out of the holy unity, and were run into strife, division, and enmity, were rude and abusive to me, and behaved themselves in a very unchristian manner towards me. But the Lord's power was over all, by which being preserved in the heavenly patience, which could beer injuries for his name's sake, I felt dominion therein over the rough, rude, and unruly spirits; and would leave them to the Lord, who knew my innocency, and would plead my cause. And the more these laboured to reproach and vilify me, the more did the love of friends, that were sincere and upright-hearted, abound towards me; and some that had been betrayed by the adversaries, seeing their envy and rude behaviour, brake off from them : who have cause tu bless the Lord for their deliverance.

When I left Bristol, I went with Richard Snead to a house of his in the country, and from thence to Hezekiah Coale's at Winterburn, in Gloucestershire, whither came several friends that were under great sufferings for truth's sake, whom I had invited to meet me there. And there Stephen Smith, Richard Snead, and I, drew up a breviat of their sufferings, setting forth the illegal proceedings against them, which was delivered to the judges at the assizes at Gloucester; and they promised to put a stop to those illegal proceedings. Next day we passed to Sudbury, and had a large meeting in the meeting-house there, which at that time was of very good service. We went next day to Nathaniel Crips's at Tedbury, and from thence passed on to Nailsworth, where on the first day of the week we had a brave meeting, and large. From thence we went to the quarterly meeting at Finchcomb, wbere were several of the opposite spirit, who (it was thought) intended to have made some disturbance amongst friends, but the Lord's power was over and kept them down, and good service for the Lord we had at that meeting. We returned from Finchcomb to Nailsworth again, and had another very precious meeting there, to which friends came from the several meetings thereabouts, which made it very large also.

We went from Nailsworth on the first-day of the first month, 1677, and travelled through the country visiting

« VorigeDoorgaan »