JOURNAL OF THE LIFE AND GOSPEL LABORS OF JOHN BURNYEAT
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1691,
UNDER THE TITLE OF
Site Editor's Preface
John Burnyeat was a true worthy of the Lord, a member of Christ's body, living in the kingdom of God, serving magnificently. He brings yet another perspective of the wisdom of God and the mystery of the gospel, the power of God to make a selfish man into an entirely new creature. His Journal is mixed with many of letters he wrote, presented in the chronology of his Journal narrative. Not only are his letters instructive and encouraging, but they show great understanding and are very encouraging. For that reason, I have included a guide to his letters on the side bar, even though they are scattered throughout his Journal.
"He was a great comfort to the rejoicing of the saints, and very injurious to the Jews."
(The Jews in the above statement, refers to Christians that try to be justified by ceremonies, rituals, and rules, instead of a complete renewal of heart; a change that is only possible by going to the Lord on a daily basis, to wait on him, to watch and listen - to be taught by God directly, to be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and to be cleansed of sin in the Light by the blood of Christ. )
HE was a faithful friend and brother, and an able minister of Christ Jesus, who freely preached the everlasting Gospel, and labored to keep it without charge; who was a true apostle of Jesus Christ, and preached him freely, both by sea and land. He received the Truth in 1653, in Cumberland, and died in the Lord in Ireland in the year 1690, after he had stood those great troubles, storms and trials there. He was a great strength to Friends in the time of their late great sufferings; he stood it out, when many were ruined, and fled to England for succor, and he remained [in Ireland], until after King William came in, and King James went out of Ireland.*
And then he went up and down visiting Friends' meetings, that were gathered in the name of Jesus: and afterwards he had intended to come for England; but there he died in the Lord, and is blessed, and rests from his labors, and his works follow him. He traveled and preached the Gospel in Ireland, Scotland, Barbados, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Long Island, Rhode Island, and up and down in New England, and had many disputes with many priests and professors, that opposed the Truth; but the Lord gave him dominion over all, and to stop the mouths of gainsayers; and he turned many to the Lord, and was a peace-maker; and he preached in his life and conduct, as well as his words. He traveled with me from Maryland through the wilderness, and through many rivers, and desperate bogs, where they said never Englishman or horse had traveled before; where we lay out at nights, and sometimes in Indian houses, and many times very hard pressed for provisions; but the Lord by his eternal arm and power did support us, and carry us through all dangers; blessed be his name forever.
He was an elder, and a pillar in the house of God, and the name of the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance; but the name of the wicked will rot. He was a man endued much with the wisdom of God, and in it had a care of the welfare of the Church of Christ, to keep in peace, out of strife and contention; and labored with the apostates and backsliders to turn them to Christ and his peaceable truth; so that they might study to be quiet, and keep in the unity of the Spirit, which is the bond of the peace of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Much more I might write concerning our dear brother in the Lord,—I knew him very well, and his travels and service in the Lord's power and truth; and so does the Church of Christ, among whom he will be missed.
But he has gone to his rest; and the Lord by his eternal arm and power is able to raise up others in his place.
The 13th of the 9th month, 1690.
An account by way of Testimony concerning our dear friend and brother John Burnyeat.
WE will leave to others the account of his birth and convincement, who were his neighbors and kindred; and shall speak of him only, as some of us knew him from an intimate fellowship in many services for above twenty years. He was a choice and seasoned vessel of Christ, the special workmanship of his power and wisdom, by which he was effectually qualified for the ministry of his everlasting Gospel, thoroughly furnished, may we say, to every good word and work, [which] God called him unto:—deep and large in his gift, reaching what was seasonable to every state; in judgment sound, free in utterance, zealous for holiness; severe against unsound and dividing spirits: most tender to penitents and returning prodigals, affectionate to the brethren, and careful over the flock of God, that they might answer their heavenly call, and grow in the truth: of a grave and steady temper, yet sweet; hardy in his constitution, and undaunted and unwearied in mind. He was the father of many children in Christ, who through his ministry were begotten again to a living hope; and the builder up of more, through the same, in the precious faith of God's elect. For this he often traveled through this nation, and sometimes Scotland, and the plantations in America, but Ireland in a more peculiar manner, both at his first entrance upon his ministry, and of latter years, where he married and chiefly resided, and where he laid down his head in peace with God, and love to his people, and good-will to all men; being about the fifty-ninth year of his age; and is entered into eternal habitations, to praise the God of his mercies in the living family of the spirits of the just forever. He was indeed a man of an excellent spirit and divine understanding from God; and deep in the knowledge of the heavenly mysteries of the kingdom of God, and also of the depths, wiles and subtle workings of Satan, in which he lies in wait to beguile the children of men. The Lord many times opened him in his heavenly wisdom to declare of them, that those who had regard to God, and the peace of their own souls, might be preserved out of Satan's snares. He was an able and powerful minister of the Gospel of salvation, a strengthener of the weak, and an encourager of the upright and sincere-hearted, to continue to the end. But he was dreadful to the hypocrites and rebellious, and all the opposers and gainsayers of the truth; a skilful marksman, yes one of the Lord's worthies of Israel, a valiant man in the camp of the Lord, and an undaunted warrior in his holy host; and his bow abode in strength, and wisdom was given him to direct his arrows to the very mark; so that the sturdy were wounded, the meek were comforted, the tender in spirit refreshed. He was by the Lord made instrumental to wound that self-separating and dividing spirit, that had, for want of watchfulness in the divine light and faithfulness to God's Spirit and truth in the inward parts, prevailed over some; who, notwithstanding in a disguise and under specious pretences, endeavored to sow the seeds of dissension, discord, separation and division among the gathered of God. The Lord blessed his labors greatly, and so preserved him in a holy conversation, and in a meek, tender, bearing, healing spirit; that he promoted both by doctrine and practice that holy truth he professed and was a preacher of, and made full proofs of his ministry in many lands and countries; and at the great city of London, where he was made instrumental to the good and comfort, refreshment, and edification of many; and was valiant there (as in other places) in the time of trials, sufferings, storms and persecution. He was also a great encourager of the good in young and old, and as a tender father and loving brother, to those who were young in their testimonies for the Truth, and would rather help a young branch to strengthen it in its growth, than to bruise or hurt it in any measure. This short testimony we dedicate to his memorial, which shall be had in everlasting remembrance; for his name is written in the Lamb's book of life, where none can blot it out; — our brother, our friend, and our beloved companion in the heavenly fellowship, with whom some of us have sometimes traveled in England and Ireland upon many services for the Truth's sake; and blessed was our labor of love together. He was an apostle among the churches of Christ; and he is a fixed and bright star in the firmament of God's heavenly power and kingdom forever. O! Friends, you that knew him, know the loss of him in the Church of Christ, with other faithful brethren since departed, and worthy of double honor; concerning which sad providence we have this to say to you, — it points plainly to us the evil that is to come upon the wicked and unfaithful, and the great calamities that are at the door. The Lord fit us all for them, that we may find an interest and sanctuary in the Truth above the reach of this evil world; which they will lack, that do not prefer it [the Truth] above their greatest joy.
London, the 10th of the eleventh month, 1690-1
STEPHEN CRISP, WILLIAM PENN
[Presumed to be issued from the Morning meeting of ministers and elders.]
Account of John Burnyeat's convincement, 1653;
IN the year 1653, it pleased the Lord in his love and mercy to send his faithful servant George Fox, with others of his faithful servants and messengers of the Gospel of peace and glad-tidings, whom he furnished with the eternal power of his word; in the wisdom and power of which he proclaimed the day of the Lord unto us, in this county of Cumberland, and the northern parts of England, and discovered the right path of life unto thousands that were in error; who sought the Lord, but knew not where to find him, nor how to become acquainted with him, although he was not far from us. But this blessed man, George Fox, one of a thousand may many say, and chosen before many thousands, was sent among us, in the power of the Most High, filled with the strength of His word; in the wisdom whereof he directed thousands unto the light and appearance of Christ Jesus their savior in their own hearts, that they might come to know him, and the glory of the Father through him, in his appearance, and so come to believe in him with the heart, and with the mouth to confess him unto salvation. And blessed be the Lord, and the day of mercy in which he visited; for he was pleased to make this labor of love effectual unto thousands, among whom he sent his servants to labor, and among whom it pleased the Lord to grant me the favor to keep a share of the benefit of this blessed visitation; whereby I came to be informed concerning the right way of the Lord, and directed to the true light, which the apostle was sent to turn people unto in his day, and so from the darkness and from the power of Satan into God and his blessed power, which in my waiting in the light I received. Through which deep judgment did spring in my soul, and great affliction did grow in my heart; by which I was brought into great tribulation and sorrow, such as I had never known before in all my profession of religion, so that I might say in spirit, it was the day of Jacob's trouble; for the God of Heaven, by the light of his blessed Son which he had I lighted me withal, which shined in my heart, let me see the body of death and power of sin which reigned in me, and brought me to feel the guilt of it upon my conscience; so that I could say he made me, even as it were, to possess the sins of my youth. Notwithstanding all my high profession of an imputed righteousness, and that, though I lived in the act of sin, the guilt of it should not be charged upon me, but imputed to Christ, and his righteousness imputed to me; yet I found it otherwise when I was turned unto the light which did manifest all reproved things. Then I came to see that the guilt remained, while the body of death remained, and while through the power thereof [we are] led into the act of sin. Then I saw there was need of a savior to save from sin, as well as of the blood of a sacrificed Christ to blot out sin, and of faith in his name for the remission of sins past. Then began the warfare of true striving to enter the kingdom; then Paul's state was seen,—to will was present, but to do, power was many times wanting; then was that cry known,—"O! wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death," and free me from the prevailing power of the law which remained in the members, warring against the law of my mind, and which brought into captivity to the law of sin. Then, when this war was truly begun, all my high conceit in my invented notional faith, and my pretence and hopes of justification thereby, were overthrown; so that all that I had built for several years in my profession, after the days of my youth, (in which tender stirrings were in me after acquaintance with the Lord, and the knowledge of him, and peace with him), was seen to be but a Babel tower, upon which God brought confusion; and so could it never be perfected to reach to heaven, being out of the faith of his covenant, and which never could bring truly to trust in his word, and rely thereupon; but which led out into inventions, willing and self-acting, though another thing was talked of. Then seeing all my works confounded by the visitations of God, and by the springing of the day from on high, which discovered things as they were, seeing them all end at Babel, and the God of heaven bringing confusion upon them, I was amazed, and fear beset me on every side; and I began sometimes to fear I was undone forever; for that had entered my heart which had turned the fruitful field into a wilderness, and made that, which I thought had been as the garden of Eden, a forest; and so the day of God discovered all to be desolation, dryness, and a death, and brought my soul to a deep lamentation, to the beginning of such sorrows as had never been known by me before. Then I lamented and bewailed myself many times, and wished myself in a wilderness, where I might neither meet with temptation or provocation from without to withstand in my spirit, such was my weakness. For all the notions I talked about regarding Christ's imputed righteousness to be my own, were not confirmed by his Spirit seal's, and so my righteousness was only a presumption. I saw clearly that my supposed righteousness was my own invention; and so was only like Adam's fig-leaf apron, in which he could not abide God's coming. О! the woe that overtook me! The distress that seized me! The horror and terror that sprung in my bosom! The poverty and want that my soul saw itself in, through the springings up of the discovering light, towards which the eye of my soul was turned! And as this light sprung up, which the apostle of old wrote of, it manifested all things,—not only the want that I was in, but also the reproved things; and then sin became exceedingly sinful, and the load and burden of it became exceedingly grievous, and all the pleasure of it was taken away from me and many more in that day. Then we began to mourn after a savior, and to look for a deliverer, and to cry for a helper and a healer; for the day of the Lord that made desolate, had overtaken us, and the fire and sword that Christ brings upon the earth, by which he takes away peace, had reached to us; and yet we knew not from where it came, though the burning and the judgment thereby were begun, by which the filth was to be taken away.
And now in this distress, deep were our groans and our cries unto the Lord, which reached unto him; and he was pleased to hear, and show mercy. For we often assembled together, as the Lord's messengers, (whom he sent among us), had exhorted us; and we minded the light of Christ in our hearts, and what that discovered; and in our spirits, we, through its assistance, warred and watched against the evil seen therein; and according to the understanding received, we waited therein upon the Lord, to see what he would farther manifest, with a holy resolution to obey his will, so far as we were able, whatsoever it cost us; for this I know was the condition of many in that day. We valued not the world, or any glory or pleasure therein, in comparison of our soul's redemption out of that state, and freedom from that horror and terror under the indignation of the Lord which we were in, because of the guilt of sin that was upon us; and so being given up to bear the indignation of the Lord, because we had sinned, we endeavored to wait until the indignation would be over, and the Lord in mercy would blot out the guilt that remained, (which occasioned wrath), and would sprinkle our hearts from an evil conscience, and wash us with pure water; that we might draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, as the Christians of old did. Heb 10:22. But, alas! we had not boldness,—for the living faith was wanting; and a true heart we had not to draw near with, and therefore could not have full assurance; but we were compassed with fears, horrors and amazement. And yet we came to know that there was no other way, but to dwell in these judgments, and wait in the way thereof; understanding that we must be redeemed with judgment, as was said of Zion, Isaiah 1:27; and so waiting therein, we began to learn righteousness, and strongly to desire to walk therein, and could no longer be satisfied with a talk thereof. Thus waiting for and seeking after the Lord, (though greatly ignorant of him), in a deep sense of our own unworthiness and un-preparedness to meet him, because of the pollution of our hearts, (which was seen by his light that did shine therein), we were still bowed down in spirit, and afflicted and tossed in soul, and not comforted; and our hearts were unstable, like water, — the waves going over our heads, and our souls in jeopardy every moment, and our faith so little, that we were ready to sink, like Peter, often crying out in the danger. In that distress and vale of tears in which we walked, our hearts became quite dead to the world, and all its pleasure and glory, and also to all our former dead profession; for we saw there was no life in it, nor help nor salvation from it, though some of us had tried it thoroughly. We saw it was in vain to look to such hills or mountains for salvation. And when we began to forsake all on both hands, seeing the emptiness of all, both the glory, vanity, and pleasure of the world, and the dead image of profession, which we had set up in our imaginations and inventions, and had worshipped with our unprepared hearts and unsanctified spirits, being slaves and captives to sin, (as all must be who obey it in the lust thereof, according to Romans 6:15-16.), I say, when we thus had a sight and sense of the insufficiency of all we either had or could do to give ease, help, or salvation, we denied them all; and as we had been directed, we turned our minds unto the light of Christ shining in our hearts, and believed therein, according to Christ's command, John 12:36; and so we met together to wait upon the Lord therein. Then began the profane to mock, scoff, and abuse us; and our very relations, and old familiars, to be strangers to us, and to be offended at us; and they did hate us, and began to speak evil of us, and did think it strange that we would not run with them to the former excess of riot, as it was of old, 1 Pet 4:4. Also the professors, even such as we had formerly walked in fellowship with in our lifeless profession, began to reproach and vilify us, and speak evil against us, and charged us with error and schism, and departing from the faith; and also began to reproach the light of Christ, as natural and insufficient, and a false light, and a false guide. Thus Christ, in his spiritual appearance, was reproached, vilified, slighted, and undervalued, and was set a naught by the carnal professors of Christianity as he was in his appearance in the flesh by the Jews, the carnal professors of the law, who saw not through the veil unto the end. In this our weak state we were beset on every hand, and greatly distressed, tossed, and afflicted, as poor Israel were, when the sea was before them, and the Egyptians behind,—and their hope so little, that they looked for nothing but death, and said to Moses, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness," Exo 14:11. Thus through many tribulations must the kingdom be entered by all that strive rightly to enter, according to Christ's command. Luke 13:24.
When we were thus in our deep fears, and our minds not well acquainted with either striving, (out of self), in the light and seed of life that does prevail, or with true waiting or standing still out of our own thoughts, wills, and running, which do not obtain, the Lord sent his servants, who had learned of him, to direct us in what to wait, and how to stand still, out of our own thoughts and self-strivings, in the light that does discover; who often did exhort us to abide and dwell in the judgment that we received therein. As we had been turned to the light, so were our understandings informed, and we got to some degree of staidness in our minds, which before had been as the troubled sea,—and a hope began to appear in us; and we met together often, and waited to see the salvation of God, which we had heard of, that he would work by his own power. After we had met together for some time, as we had seasons and opportunities, and also sought the Lord with travailing spirits both night and day, when we were at our callings, and upon our beds, (for we could not cease, our souls were so afflicted), when in our assemblies we were exercised in the living judgment that sprung in the light in our souls, and were looking for the salvation of God,—the wonderful power from on high was revealed among us; and many hearts were reached therewith, and broken, and melted, before the God of the whole earth; and great dread and trembling fell upon many, and the very chains of death were broken thereby, the bonds loosed, and many souls eased and set at liberty; and the prisoners of hope began to come forth, and they that had sat in darkness to show themselves. And the promises of the Lord came to be fulfilled unto many, spoken of by Isaiah the prophet. Isa 49:9, 62:7, 61:2-3; and some taste of the oil of joy came to be witnessed, and a heavenly gladness entered the hearts of many, who in the joy of their souls broke forth in praises unto the Lord; so that the tongue of the dumb, which Christ the healer of our infirmities did unloose, began to speak and utter the wonderful things of God. Great was the dread and glory of that power, which in one meeting after another was graciously and richly manifested among us, breaking, tendering, and melting our souls and spirits before the Lord. Then our hearts began to delight in the Lord and in his way that he had cast up; and with great fervency and zeal we began to seek after him, and to meet oftener together than before, — our hearts being affected with the presence of that blessed power, which daily broke forth among us in our meetings, through which we were greatly comforted, strengthened and edified; for it was that same Comforter our blessed Lord promised he would pray the Father for, and which the Father should send. John 14: 26-27, John 16:13-15. This [Comforter] having come and been received, did teach us to know the Father and the Son; and as we came into acquaintance with it, and into the unity of it, we came to be taught by it, and so taught of the Lord, according to that new covenant promise,—They shall be all taught of the Lord. Isa 54:13, 1 John 2: 27.
Then were our hearts inclined to hearken unto the Lord, and our ears, which he had opened to hear, were bent to hear what the Spirit's teaching was, and what He said unto the Church, who is the chief Shepherd and Bishop of the soul. Thus were we gathered into a right gospel exercise and gospel worship by Him, through whose name we had received remission of sins past, and whose blood had sprinkled our hearts from an evil conscience, and who gave the pure water that washed and made clean. So that with true hearts many began to draw near unto God in the full assurance of faith, as the ancient saints did and were accepted, and had access by that one Spirit, by which we came to be baptized into one body, and so came to drink into one Spirit, and were refreshed, and greatly comforted; and grew up together in the mystery of the gospel fellowship; and so we worshipped God, who is a Spirit, in the Spirit received from him, which is the gospel worship, according to Christ's appointment. John 4:24. Then we came to see over all the worships in the world, which were set up either by imitation, or man's invention; and we saw it to be in vain to worship God, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men, as our Lord had said. Mat 15:9,Isa 29:13; and therefore were we constrained to withdraw from them, and also (many of us) to go and bear witness against them in their invented and traditional worships, where they were ignorant of the life and power of God.
Thus being gathered by the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, we became his sheep, and did learn to know his voice, and to follow him; and he gave unto us eternal life, and manifested the riches of his grace in our hearts, by which we were saved through faith, and delivered from that wrath, fear, and terror, which had been so weighty upon our souls, and in measure from the power of that death which had reigned, and made us miserable and wretched; and we came to partake of that life, in which the blessedness does consist. So then the Lord becoming our Shepherd, he taught us, and led us forth into green pastures, where we did feed and rest together with great delight. O! the joy, the pleasure, and the great delight, with which our hearts were overcome many times, in our reverent and holy assemblies! How were our hearts melted as wax, and our souls poured out as water before the Lord, and our spirits as oil, frankincense and myrrh, offered up unto the Lord as sweet incense, when not a word outwardly in all our assembly has been uttered! And then did the Lord delight to come down into his garden, and walk in the midst of the beds of spices; and he caused the north wind to awake, and the south wind to blow upon his garden, and the pleasant showers to descend, for the refreshing of his tender plants that they might grow still more and more. And now unto them that had known the night of sorrow, was the joyful morning come, according to that ancient experience of David. Psa 30:5; and such as had been in the foregoing deep afflictions, tosses, and distresses, came to witness the fulfilling of that great gospel promise; "O! you afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted; behold I will lay your stones with fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires: and I will make your windows of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your borders of pleasant stones. And all your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness shall you be established; you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear, and from terror, for I shall not come near you," Isa 54:11-14.
Thus came we by Him to be gathered into covenant with God, and to witness the fulfilling of the promises of God, in whom all the promises are yes and amen; and so came to sit together in heavenly places in him, and to feed upon the heavenly food, the bread of life, that came down from heaven, which Christ the heavenly Shepherd did give unto us; who had gathered us from among the shepherds that fed themselves with temporal things from the flock, but knew not how to feed the flock with spiritual food, for they had it not. Now we, coming to be acquainted with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts, became great lovers of it, and delighted in the enjoyment hereof; having already counted all things but as dross and dung in comparison of the excellence that we saw therein; and therefore were willing to suffer the loss of all, that we might win him, as it was with the apostle of old. And blessed be the Lord, many obtained their desire; they found their beloved,—met with their savior,—witnessed his saving health, by which their souls were healed; and so became his flock and family, or household of faith. Then as his children and blessed family, we still continued to meet together twice in the week, or oftener; and being gathered together in his name and holy fear, his promise we witnessed, according to Mat 18:20, that he was in the midst of us, and did honor our assemblies with his heavenly power and presence; and that was our great delight, and the sweetness of it did wonderfully engage our souls to love him, and our hearts to wait upon him; for we found the ancient experience of the Church to be true, as testified in the Scripture, "Because of the savor of your good ointments, your name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love you." Thus growing into this experience of the goodness of the Lord, and of the sweetness, glory, and excellence of his power in our assemblies, we grew in strength and zeal for our meetings more and more, and valued the benefit thereof more than any worldly gain; yes, it was unto some more than our appointed food. Thus continuing, we grew more and more into an understanding of divine things and heavenly mysteries, through the openings of the power which was daily among us, which wrought sweetly in our hearts, which united us more and more unto God, and knit us together in the perfect bond of love, of fellowship and membership. So that we became a body compact, made up of many members, whereof Christ himself became the head; who was with us, and did rule over us, and further gave gifts unto us, by which we came still to be enlarged and were further opened, that we might answer the end for which he had raised us up, and had so far blessed us, and sanctified us through his word which dwelled in our souls. So we keeping still in our zeal, and unto our first love, and keeping up our meetings, and not forsaking the assembling ourselves together, (as the manner of some was of old, whose example the apostle exhorted the saints not to follow), the Lord's power continued with us, and was renewed daily in our meetings; by the openings of which, our understandings were still more enlarged in the mysteries of life and the hidden things of God; so that many through the favor of God, grew in their gifts, and had their mouths opened, and thus became instruments in the Lord's hand to bear witness unto the world, of the day of the Lord which was broken forth again, even of the great and notable day Joel had prophesied of, and Peter bore witness unto. And they were also sent to bear witness against the world, and its evil deeds, with all the false religions with which mankind had covered themselves in the darkness and apostasy, which had spread over them, and now was seen and discovered by the light and day of God.
Thus the Truth grew, and the faithful in it, and many were turned unto God; and his name, and fame, and glory, and power spread abroad, and the enemy's work and kingdom were discovered, and struck at by the Lamb and his followers. This made him begin to rage, and stir up his instruments to oppose the Lord's work, and with all subtlety to hinder people from following the Lamb, or believing in his light. So with pen, and tongue, and hands also, the beast and his followers began to war, and [resorted] to whipping, scourging, imprisoning, and seizing property, with reproaching, belying, and slandering the way of truth; with all that they could do to hinder the exaltation of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, blaspheming his light and his power,— calling his light natural, insufficient, a false guide, with many reproachful names; and calling his power diabolical, and the operation and blessed work of it, which was both to the renewing of the spirit of the mind, and also to the reformation of the conversation from debauchery, wickedness, unrighteousness, and witchcraft; even like them of old, who said Christ cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince thereof. But by this time, they that kept faithful to the Lord, and his light and Spirit in their hearts, who had come forth through the deep tribulation, as before related, were confirmed, settled and satisfied, and established in the life that was manifested; in which they saw over death, and all men's profession, and where they were, and what they fed upon, who cried out so against the light and power of Christ, which was thus with us, and wrought thus in us in our meeting; and how they were but mocking at the same that these mocked at, spoken of in the second of the Acts, when they thought the Apostles were full of new wine, and so drunk. The high professors of our days being ignorant of the Holy Ghost, through their resisting of it, blasphemed the life and power, and at the best, did but feed upon the tree of knowledge. For this I still right well remember, that in my waiting upon the Lord, in the deep distress and weighty judgment that was upon my soul, to see if he would appear and break through, and open and give relief from that which kept me down as bars of iron, so that I could not arise or ascend, nor have access, although out of the deep I cried unto him for deliverance; I say, I can remember, that in the first notable in-breaking of the power of God upon my soul, or pouring forth of the Holy Ghost upon me, the first opening in the same unto me thereby, was, a true discovery of the tree of knowledge in the mystery, upon which I saw I had been feeding with all the carnal professors of religion; and how we had made a profession of that which we had no possession of; but our souls were in the death, feeding upon the talk of that which the saints of old did enjoy. Therein I saw there was no getting to the tree of life, that our souls might be healed by the leaves of it, and so feed upon the fruit thereof, that we might live forever, unless there was a coming under the wounding, slaying sword that Christ brings, by which the life of the old man comes to be destroyed, who would still live in sin, and serve it, and yet profess faith in Christ, and to be his servant, (which is impossible, according to Christ's own saying, "No man can serve two masters," Mat 6:24), I saw there was no remedy,—either I must be buried by that fiery baptism of Christ with him into death, or else there could be no rising with him into newness of life. There might be a rising into newness of profession, notion and words; but that would not do, it was newness of life I must come to, the other I had tried over and over. I saw I must die with him, or be planted with him in the likeness of death, that is, die unto sin, if ever I came to be planted with him in the likeness of his resurrection, and so live unto God, according to Romans the sixth. Then when things thus opened in me, I clearly saw we had all been deceived, in thinking while we lived in the flesh, and after the flesh, and so in the death, and feeding upon the tree of knowledge, which was forbidden for food, we might make such a profession as might bring us to reap life everlasting. But I soon saw, such as a man lived after—such as a man sowed, such should he reap, and not what a man professed, or what he talked of; and then I was willing to bow to the cross, and come under the fiery baptism of the Spirit, and let that which was consumable be destroyed, that my soul might be saved, and come to possess that which would endure and abide, and which could not be shaken. Thus were the heavens shaken also, as well as the earth, that what could not be shaken might remain, (according to Heb 12:27;) and so that which condemned the evil fruits of the flesh, (as they were owned by us to be in our hearts profession), both in our loose conversation , and also in the desires of our hearts, and fleshly lusts which therein sprang, even the same light and true witness did discover and condemn our fleshly profession of religion in that same nature and mind which brought forth evil, or in which evil did dwell and rule; and so came our heaven to be shaken, and our covering and garment to be taken away, and we were comfortless and naked, destitute and without a habitation. Then we saw our sacrificing and our sinning to be alike in the sight of God; for our prayers were rejected, and all loathed, because both were done in one nature and from one and the same seed and corrupt heart; and, therefore, it came to be with us as with Judah of old, as may be read Isa 1 and Isa 66:3, where the Lord told Judah, their killing an ox, their sacrificing a lamb, their offering an oblation and burning incense, was as the slaying of a man, cutting off a dog's neck, offering swine's blood, and blessing an idol. Thus we saw, for want of righteousness, and keeping the commandments of the Lord, and forsaking of our own ways, and that which was evil, our religion was loathed by the Lord, and we rejected in all our doings, and left in desolation and barrenness; for whatever we might pretend, that true saying must stand, a good tree cannot bring forth bad fruit, nor a bad tree good fruit; the tree is known by its fruit.
Thus things opened wonderfully in us, and we saw not only common sins which all confess so to be, though they live in them,—but also the hypocrisy and sinfulness of the professors of religion, even in their religion, which was performed out of the true spirit of grace and life, which in the mystery is the salt that every gospel sacrifice is to be seasoned withal, according to the example in the figure. Therefore were we commanded to withdraw, and be separated in our worship, and to wait to have our hearts sanctified, and the spirit of our minds renewed, that we might come before him with prepared vessels. For we soon learned to see this, that it must be true in the substance, as in the figure; all the vessels of the tabernacle were to be sanctified, consecrated, or made holy. Therefore did we come out from among such in their worship, who lived in uncleanness, and pleaded for sin, which made unholy; and we met together, and waited together in silence: it may be, sometimes, not a word [was uttered] in our meetings for months; but every one that was faithful, waited upon the living word in our own hearts, to know sanctification thereby, and a thorough cleansing and renewing of our hearts and inward man. And being cleansed and made fit, we came to have a great delight in waiting upon the word in our hearts, for the milk thereof, which Peter speaks of, 1 Pet 2:2; and in our waiting, we received the milk, or virtue thereof, and grew thereby, and were fed with the heavenly food that rightly nourished our souls; and so we came to receive more and more of the Spirit of grace and life from Christ our savior, who is full of it, in whom the fullness dwells. In the power thereof we worshipped the Father, who is a Spirit, and we waited upon the teachings of his grace in our hearts; and he taught us thereby to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously, godly, and soberly in this present evil world. Thus we came to know the true teacher, which the saints of old did witness, as said the Apostle, Tit 2:12; and therefore did not lack a teacher or true divine instructions, though we had left the hireling priests, and also other high-flown notionists, and sat down together in silence. For this was our desire, to have all flesh silenced before Lord and his power the both in our own hearts, and from without. And as we thus came into true silence and inward stillness, we began to hear the voice of him, who said, he was the resurrection and the life; and he said unto us, "Live," and gave unto our souls life; and this holy gift which he has given, has been in us as a well of water springing up into eternal life, according to his promise; and, therefore, has it been our delight all along to wait upon it, and draw near with our spirits unto it, both in our meetings, and also at other times; that we might both be taught and saved by it, for by it the saints were saved through faith, as Paul wrote unto them, Eph 2:8.
His diligence in attending meetings;—the delight and profit experienced in keeping near to the power of Truth.—Is moved to speak in the public places of worship at Aspetry, Lorton, Brigham—is committed to Carlisle jail.
FROM the year 1653, as before hinted, in which year I was convinced of the blessed truth and way of life eternal, unto the year 1657, I was not much concerned abroad in travels upon the account of the Truth, save only to visit Friends that were prisoners for the Truth's testimony; but being mostly at home, allowed my outward calling. I was very diligent to keep to our meetings, being given up in my heart thereunto, for I found great delight therein; and many times, when one meeting was over, and I at my outward labor, in which I was very diligent also, I did in my spirit long for the next meeting-day, that I might get to the meeting to wait upon the Lord with the rest of his people. I can also with safety say, that when I was there, I was not slothful, but in true diligence set my heart to wait upon the Lord, for a visitation from him by the revelation of his power in my soul; and as I waited in diligence, patience, and faith, I can say this for the Lord, and on his behalf, (with many more witnesses), we did not wait in vain. He did not allow our expectations to fail;—everlasting glory, and honor, and praise be to his worthy and honorable name forever! The very remembrance of his goodness and glorious power, revealed and renewed in those days, overcomes my soul. Thus in diligent waiting, and the Lord in mercy visiting by his power in our hearts, my soul was daily more and more affected with the glory, and excellence and sweetness of it, and with the holy dread with which it filled my heart,—for that became pleasant; and then my spirit was bent to keep near unto this power, and to dwell in that holy fear which the Father placed in my heart. Then I came to see what David exhorted to in the second Psalm, when he told the kings and judges of the earth be wise and learned; and further said, "serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling." O! the bowings of my soul! the pleasant dread that dwelled upon my spirit, and the reverent tremblings that came over my heart, which filled it with living joy, as with marrow and fatness! Then could I say in my heart with David, I will wash my hands in innocence, and compass your altar, О Lord. O! the pleasant drawing near, and that not unprepared, unto the altar of the Lord by many, whose hearts were filled, and their souls and spirits anointed with the true anointing from the Holy One, which John speaks of in his first epistle, which is the substance of what was figured out in that ointment which Moses was commanded to make. Exo 30:25, with which all the vessels of the tabernacle were to be anointed.
When my heart was thus fitted, filled, and furnished, as it was many a time in our holy assemblies, with many others, I know, who sat under the same dread and power with me, (for our temple and tabernacle, in which we worshipped, as children of the new Jerusalem, was but one, even the Lord God and the Lamb, as John says, Rev 21:22;) I say, when my heart was thus fitted and filled, then did I endeavor to keep down my spirit to the meltings of it; and great was the care of my soul, that I might in no ways miss or abuse this power, nor let up a wrong thing into my mind, to be betrayed by it. I knew, if I kept down all that was wrong, sound wisdom and a true understanding would be grown into, even of those mysteries that the world was ignorant of; for the Son of God having come, it was he that gave the understanding, to know him that is true, as John said of old, in his first Epistle, and he was made unto us wisdom, as Paul said, 1 Cor 1:30. I often observed, and that with great care and diligence, how it was with my own spirit in those blessed and pleasant seasons, in which the Lord did so wonderfully appear among us, and filled our hearts with the glorious majesty of his power, whether [my spirit] was subject, as it ought to be, or not; for I clearly saw the enemy might beguile and lead up into the heights, and into pride and vain-glorying in that, which the soul might soon be deprived of, if it was not kept humble; for it is the humble the Lord teaches, and the meek he guides in judgment
Thus, in the greatest enjoyments, I saw there was need of a care and fear to be kept up; for as those that grew sluggish, idle, and careless in waiting for the power in a meeting, sat without the sense of it in a dead, dry, barren state; even so such as were not diligent to keep low, humble, and tender, and so to mind the nature of the working of the power, and the state of their own spirits under the power's exercise, and also to watch against the enemy's subtlety, (who lays in wait to betray), these might easily be led aside out of the way of the power by the stranger, even while the power was working, and the joy was in the heart. Thus for want of true fear and care, might the soul come to a loss before it was aware; and I believe some have so done, and can scarcely find the reason of it. Great is the mystery of godliness, it may truly be said, even the great mystery which Paul writes of in the first of Colossians, "Christ in you the hope of glory;" and as he is there, great is the mystery of his working by his Spirit, to the opening and clearing of the understandings of all who rightly wait upon him. It is the soul that is in the sanctification and oneness with the life and true unction, that comes to be a priest, and so of the royal priesthood, chosen and elected in God's covenant, and that comes rightly and lawfully to eat of those holy things, and so to partake of the sanctified holy food. This I did observe; and therefore the stranger is not to come near; and this was signified in the figure—"The stranger was not to eat of the passover." Exo 12:43; and the command of God was to Aaron by Moses, " That no stranger should eat of the holy things," Lev 22:10.
And again Solomon said, "The heart knows his own bitterness, and a stranger doesn't meddle with his joy." Pro 14:10. Much might be said further, but this is the matter,— it is wisdom for the heart that has known its own bitterness in the judgment and distress, and through it has come to peace and joy, to keep therein and not to let that which would have no share with it, come to meddle with the joy; for if it does, it will soon overthrow the joy of the soul, and bring to another state; and then it will have no more pity in the day of distress, than the Jews had of Judas, when they told him: "What is that to us? You see to it;" after he had betrayed his Master.
I continued, as I have said before, for these four years, mostly following my outward calling, and attending and waiting upon the Lord in the workings of his holy power in my heart, both in meetings and at other times, wherever I was or whatever I had to do, I found that as my heart was kept near the power, it kept me tender, soft, and living. And besides I found, as I was diligent in eyeing it, there was a constant sweet stream, that ran softly in my soul, of divine peace, pleasure, and joy, which far exceeded all other delights and satisfactions; and this became the great engager of my soul to watch with such diligence, for I found the love of God to constrain. And furthermore, I observed, that if I neglected it, or let my mind out after anything else more than I ought, and so forgot this, I began to be like a stranger; and I saw that I soon might lose my interest in these riches and treasure, and in the true commonwealth of God's spiritual Israel, which Christ had purchased for me, and given me the taste of to inherit. Thus being mindful of the opening wisdom of God, which was from above, and heavenly, and not from below, earthly, I was preserved, and helped, and succored in the needful time. And because of the blessings and rich mercies of the Lord which my soul enjoyed, I was willing to serve him in what I might; and willingly received upon me a share of that concern which became proper for me, with others, to take upon us in the church; that I might be helpful in all necessary things.
Thus I went on in the holy fellowship of the gospel of life and salvation, with the rest of my brethren and sisters; and many joyful days we had together in the power of the Holy Ghost, which was richly and graciously continued among us, and daily poured out upon us; so that we still grew in favor with God, and in unity one with another, and received daily strength from the Lord, and an increase of his divine wisdom and Spirit, which did greatly comfort us. In this our pleasant state I do well remember, my heart was satisfied, and settled into content, where I was willing to abide. But the Lord who had so dealt by me in mercy, as I have said, began to stir in my heart by his Spirit, to arise and go forth in the strength of his word, and declare against the hirelings who fed themselves and not the people, and who kept the people ignorant of those good things, of which he had made me and others witnesses. And when the word of the Lord came unto me with this message, it became a great exercise to me; and I would willingly have shunned it, and have dwelled in that case, peace, and pleasure into which the Lord had brought me; but there was none, but in obeying the Lord, and giving up to do his will. This I soon came to know, for I was sure it was the word of the Lord: and then I yielded in spirit, and longed for the day that I might clear myself, and be cased of the charge that was upon me; for weighty was the dread and majesty of the power of the word of life that lived and, as a fire, burned in my heart, so that I could not stay.
When the first-day of the week came, in obedience to the word of the Lord, I went to Aspetry, the place which the Lord set before me, to speak to one Warwick a priest. When I came, he was preaching in their bell-house, who, soon after I came in with a friend with me, began to put forth some subtle questions to provoke us to speak, that he might have an opportunity to cause us to be haled out, and sent to prison; but I resolved not to mind his temptation, but to wait upon the Lord. When he could not prevail with his questions to get his end upon us, he spoke to the constable to put us forth: who answering, bid him go on, and said, "they do not disturb us." Then the priest went on and finished with his sermon. When he was finished, I began to speak to the people; but the priest got away, and the people hurried me out, and kept me and the priest asunder, that I got not to speak to him that morning. So I came away with my friend, and thought to have returned home; but immediately after I got out of the town, the wrath and displeasure of the Lord in his word sprung dreadfully in my heart, and a dreadful cry was in me from the same, — "cursed is he that does the work of the Lord negligently." Then I saw how I had let in a fear upon me, in which I had shunned the priest and spared him, for fear I should be sent to prison for speaking to him, the law being such at that day, that whosoever did disturb a minister, as they termed it, should be sent to prison. When I found out my weakness in this, that I had spoken to the people, and spared the priest, against whom I was sent to cry, then was I sorely afraid, and my heart was filled with horror, and a sore cry [prevailed] in me still, cursed is he that does the work of the Lord negligently. Then I knew not what to do, for the wrath of God was upon me; and another cry from the same word was sounded in my heart, saying, Babylon has sinned, all you that bend the bow, shoot at her; spare no arrows, for she has sinned. When it was thus with me, and I saw that I had not been faithful, but had missed my service, after I had come so far as the common [the public grazing land] above Plumland, I sat down; and there I mourned before the Lord, whom I had so grieved; and humbly desired of the Lord, that he would but grant me liberty to go again to clear myself, that I might come into peace with him again; and then let outward life or liberty go, which I did not value. So waiting upon him in this humble bowed frame of spirit, the word of life arose in me again, and opened my heart, and sealed to me "That I might go." Then I arose with boldness, and went with speed, until I came at the worship-house. The priest was preaching again in the afternoon, so I went in and stood before him, until he was finished; and then was my heart filled with peace, and I resolved in the name of the Lord not to spare, but to speak the word of the Lord faithfully, whatever I might suffer for it; for in comparison thereof, I valued neither life nor liberty. So when he was finished, I spoke unto him, what the Lord put in my mouth; he immediately got away and gave me no answer, but I followed him so quickly, and cried out after him, that he turned again to me in the graveyard; and then I cleared my conscience to him, and a great dispute we had, for I did not spare him; at last he went away, and would stay no longer. Then I spoke to the people, and cleared my conscience among them; after which I came away in peace, and my heart was filled with unspeakable joy, and my soul with gladness. Then I saw it was good to be faithful to the Lord, and to trust in him, and to obey his voice; and I came to feel and see more and more the woeful and dreadful state that the priests and hirelings were in, who for their own earthly gain made merchandise of people. Although they were defended by the laws of men, yet I found they were in the transgression of the laws of God, and so were in Cain's, Korah's and Balaam's ways, in envy, and even gainsayers of the truth, and lovers of the wages of unrighteousness, such as Peter and Jude wrote of, and Jude cried woe against. 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 10-12.
Sometime after, I was moved by the Spirit of the Lord to go to Lorton, to speak to one Fogoe, a priest, who was preaching to the people in their worship-house; and I stayed until he was finished. He affirmed in his preaching to the people, that both he and they were without the life of both the law and the gospel. Then I spoke to him, and questioned him what he had to preach, or to pray with, who was without the life of both the law and gospel? But after a few words, he fell into a rage and stirred up the people, and they fell upon me, and haled me out of the house, and beat me, and the priest threatened to put me in the stocks. So I came away; and that day two weeks I was moved to go again to speak to the same priest at Loweswater, the parish where I then lived. When I came in, the people beginning to look at me, and take notice, the priest bid them let me alone; if I would be quiet he would discourse with me, when he was finished. So I stood still and quiet, waiting upon the Lord. The priest prepared to go to prayer, but when he saw that I did not put off my hat (for I could not so do, because I could not join with him in his dead lifeless prayers), instead of going to prayer he fell a railing against me, and said I should not stand there in that posture. At last I spoke to him, and asked him, what he had to pray with, who was without the life of both the law and the gospel; but he continued calling out to the people, to take me away; so that at last, my father being there, and displeased with me for troubling their minister, came himself and haled me out of the house, and was very angry with me. I stayed in the graveyard until the priest and people came out, and then I got to him and spoke to him again; but he soon began to be in a rage, and to threaten me with the stocks, and got away. Then I cleared my conscience to the people, of what I had to say, and so came away in great peace with the Lord. Not long after, in the same year, I was moved of the Lord by his Spirit to go to Brigham, to speak to a priest Denton; he was preaching in the steeple-house to the people, and his sermon, which he had beforehand prepared, had many false accusations, lies and slanders against Friends, and the principles of truth. I stayed until he was finished, and then spoke to him, but got little answer; but immediately some of his hearers fell upon me, and beat me with their bibles, and with a staff or staves, all along out of the house, and also out of the graveyard, so that the next day I was sore with the blows. Then the priest commanded the constable to secure me and a Friend that was with me; and next day caused him to carry us to Launcelot Fletcher of Tallentire, who ordered a warrant to be written for us, and so sent us from constable to constable, to the common jail, in Carlisle, where I was prisoner twenty-three weeks.* And when I wrote a paper to the priest, in which I answered his false accusation, and sent it to him by a Friend, he would not read it, but, as I was told, put it in the fire and burnt it.
While I was in prison, something came upon me for Scotland; but being a prisoner, and not yet deeply acquainted with the way and work of the Lord's power and Spirit in relation to such a service, great was the exercise of my spirit which I went under; and for want of experience and a clear understanding, I was swallowed up and for a time quite lost in the deep; where great was the distress of my soul beyond utterance. But the merciful God by his powerful arm, and healing, saving Word of life, did restore and bring up my soul out of the deep, where it was for a time buried; and he renewed life and understanding, and caused the light of his countenance to shine, and the sweetness of his peace to spring up; so that I may truly say, he caused the bones that he had broken to rejoice. And when he had thus crushed and humbled, and let me see how he could make all things become as nothing again, and so hide all glory from man, then in his goodness he revealed his own glory, and power, and presence, and reviving life, and so opened to my understanding his good pleasure, which with all readiness and willingness of mind I gave up to, in my heart and spirit. After being kept about three-and-twenty weeks in prison, I had my liberty; and I came home, and followed my outward calling that summer, and grew more and more into the understanding of the mind and will of the Lord, in that which I had a sight of while I was in prison. And keeping to meetings, and waiting upon the Lord in a true travail of spirit, after more acquaintance with him, and more enjoyment of his power and word, I grew not only into an understanding, but also into a degree of strength and ability fit to answer that service, which the Lord had called me unto.
So, in the faith that stood in God's power, about the beginning of the eighth month, 1658, I took my journey into Scotland; and traveled in that nation about three months, and was both in the north and west of it, as far north as Aberdeen, and back again to Edinburgh, and down west to Linlithgow, Hamilton, Ayr, and as far as Port-Patrick; and back to Ayr and Douglass. Our service was at their steeple- houses, and markets, and other places, where we met with people; and sometimes at Friends' meetings, where there were any. Our work was, to call people to repentance, out of their lifeless hypocritical profession and dead formalities, in which they were settled in the ignorance of the true and living God; and so to turn them unto the true light of Christ Jesus in their hearts; that therein they might come to know the power of God, and so come to know remission of sins, and receive an inheritance among the sanctified. Being clear of that nation, we returned into England, and came over the water to Bowsteadhill the first day of the eleventh month 1658.
After my return home, I followed my trade again until the third month, 1659; and then took shipping for Ireland, according to what had been opened unto me in the truth, when I was in Scotland; [which opening] grew mightily in me through the strength of the grower and word of life, while I stayed at my calling at home, and kept to meetings. For the Lord often filled and enriched my heart and soul with his glorious power, and so sanctified and prepared me for that which he set before me. For often in spirit was I carried there, and had it sealed unto me, that it was my place to go into that nation to serve the Lord, and bear witness unto the Truth, and call people to repentance, and hold forth the way of life and salvation unto them. I waited until the full season came, according to the blessed counsel of God, in which I found his leading power with me, and to go before me; and at the time before mentioned, I took shipping at Whitehaven, and landed at Donaghadee in the north of Ireland, and traveled to Lisburn, and so up to Lurgan, and to Kilmore in the county of Armagh, and so up and down in the north for some time among Friends, and I had meetings. And many people came to meetings, and many were convinced and turned to God from the evil and vanity of their ways. From there I traveled to Dublin, and there to Mountmellick, and so forward to Kilkenny, and to Caperqueen, and Tullow, and to Cork, and Bandon; and back to Cork, and then to Youghal, Waterford, Ross, and to Wexford. I had meetings along as I traveled; and according to that ability I received of God, I was faithful and preached the truth and true faith of Jesus. From Wexford I came to Carlow and Mountmellick, and so into the north, where I spent some time.
Having gone through [the country,] and in the fear of God published his name and truth, as I had opportunity, I was willing to return home to England; and for that end as I intended, came down to Carrickfegus; but before I got there, it came upon me that I should return back again to Lurgan and Kilmore, and from there to Londonderry. So I sent word to appoint a meeting at Lurgan; and went on to Carrickfergus, and got a meeting, where there were many people at it. I cleared myself to them in the fear of the Lord, and then returned to Lurgan, as I had appointed. There I met with Robert Lodge, newly come out of England, who had something in his heart also to go to Londonderry; this was about or near the beginning of the seventh month 1659. So Robert Lodge and I became concerned in one work, service, and travel together, and were truly united in spirit, in the unity of the faith and life of Christ, in which blessed unity and fellowship of the gospel of the Son of God we labored and traveled in that nation of Ireland for twelve months, after we met together, not often parting; though sometimes we were moved to part for the service's sake for a little time, and then come together again. The Lord gave us sweet concord and peace in all our travels; for I do not remember that we ever were angry or grieved one at the other in all that time. We went down to Londonderry together; and when we came there, it was soon discovered what we were, and the people were unwilling to receive us, or to let us have lodging for our money. We were at their great steeple-house on first-day, and had a large time among the people to declare the Truth; but at last the mayor sent his officers, who would not allow us to stay any longer, but forced us out of the city, and down to the boat, and commanded the boatman to carry us over, and not to bring us back again. Being clear, we took our journey towards Colerain, and then to the Grange, and to Antrim and Lurgan, and so among Friends in the north. After some time we took our journey into the south, and traveled through a great part of the nation, as to Dublin, Mountmellick, and to Athlone, and Galway, Limerick, Cork, and Bandon, and so through the south, and again into the north. Thus we spent our time with diligent labor and hard travel, often in cold, hunger, and hardships in that country, which then was in many parts uninhabited. We were in prison several times; once in Armagh, once in Dublin, twice in Cork; besides other abuses we received from many, because of our testimony which we had to bear for the Lord, in their towns and in their steeple-houses, and against their hireling priests, who sought their rewards, and loved the wages of unrighteousness, like Balaam; and worse than he, forced it from the people, like the sons of Eli, whose sin was very great. 1 Sam 2:16, 17.
Having traveled and labored in the gospel together for twelve months, and many being convinced and gathered to the Truth, we were clear of our service there, and in the seventh month 1660, we took shipping at Carrickfergus, and intended for Whitehaven in England; but by contrary wind we were driven to Kirkowbry in Scotland, and from there came overland into Cumberland, and to Cockermouth. I again returned to my outward calling, and followed that, and kept diligently to meetings; for it was still my delight so to do, and there to be diligent in waiting upon the Lord; for I always found that therein I received an increase of strength, life, and wisdom from the Lord. As I found any motion upon me from the Lord to go to any meeting abroad, either in our county or any other, I went and cleared myself, as the Lord gave ability; and returned again to my calling, and so to our own meeting, where I delighted to wait in silence upon the Lord. For I loved that much because I found an inward growth thereby, through the teachings and openings of his Spirit in my heart; and when something did open in me to speak in our meeting, I gave up for the most part, though sometimes ready to quench through backwardness, but that was hurtful; and grew over it by degrees, and increased in faith and holy confidence more and more.
1662.—Proceeds for London by Yorkshire;— is imprisoned at Ripon fourteen weeks.—In 1664 sails for Barbados.—John Perrot's no lions.— Visits Virginia, and New England;— in 1667 returns to Barbados, and thence to England; travels into various countries.
FHOM the Seventh month 1660, to about the first or second month 1662, I was very much at home at my calling; and then I was moved of the Lord to go to London to see Gorge Fox and others of the elders; and to acquaint him with what was upon me from the Lord to go to America, which came weightily upon me when I was in Ireland, so that I had a great travail in spirit and deep exercise in mind before I gave up. But when I had given up in the belief that it was the word of the Lord to me, and submitted to his will, the weight and exercise were removed; and I was with my former openness again restored into my service, and no more remained but a remembrance of the prophecy or opening which I had received, and faith in the word, which I was satisfied was sure forever. And therein I rested as to that matter, until the time before mentioned, when it came upon me to go and acquaint George Fox and also Edward Burrough, who were then at London, and Richard Hubberthorne; for I loved to have the counsel and countenance of my elder brethren, who were in Christ before me. Then I returned through Yorkshire home, and had some meetings as I came along. I stayed at home only a little while, and was moved to go again into Yorkshire, and went to many meetings to visit Friends. Being, as I thought, clear to return home, I came to Ripon to see some Friends, who were then prisoners for meeting together to worship God; and going into the prison to see them, and in the love of God speaking some words of exhortation to them, the jailer took me, and had me to a house in the town, where the mayor and the chancellor and several of the aldermen were together. Then the chancellor chiefly took in hand to examine me, and sought to ensnare me, that he might get occasion to commit me to prison. First, he tried to prove me visiting my friends in prison to be an offence; but I pleaded in so doing I had broken no law. Then he said, I spoke in prison. I answered, there was no law that forbids us to speak to our friends, when we came to visit them. Then he asked me, when was I at church, and when I took the sacrament according to the laws of England? I answered, I knew no law I had broken, nor evil I had done to any man; if any man had evil against me, let him bear witness of the evil. Then he began to be in a rage, and said he would have an answer to what we had done. But when he could not get an advantage that way, he reached for a book, and asked me, if I would take the oath of allegiance and supremacy? Then I answered, " Not in contempt to the king, or his authority, but in obedience to Christ's command, I could not swear." Then he commanded the clerk to write a mittimus, and sent me to the prison, to the rest of my friends, who were twenty-four before, and there I was kept prisoner fourteen weeks. When we sat down to wait upon the Lord, (for we sat down once every day together, and with us, many times Friends that came to see us), I spoke something in exhortation to Friends, and prayed unto the Lord, as he enlarged my heart, that we might be comforted and edified together, and the magistrates were offended, and sent the under-jailer to take me away, and put me in the dungeon from among my fellow-prisoners; he came at three several times, and each time haled me from my knees, when I was at prayer, and put me in the dungeon, a little dark room, where I was one time two days and nights, another time three days and nights, and the last time seven days and nights. There was a bowling alley before the prison door, where several of the magistrates and others used to come to their games; and hearing my voice, they were offended, and sent to take me away.
After fourteen weeks I was set at liberty, and in some little time I had freedom to return home; and then did, as at other times, follow my outward calling, and kept to our meetings at home; but when I was moved to go forth to visit Friends in our own county, or into Yorkshire and Bishoprick, I was sometimes two months away, or thereabouts, and then returned home to my calling or trade. Thus it continued with me until about the first part of summer, in the year 1664. Then that which had been opened to me four years before, began again to arise in my heart in that word which lives forever, and the living motion of it began to press upon my spirit towards the fulfilling thereof; and then I saw that the time drew near, and the season was coming upon me, in which the Lord would have me go and fulfill his word, which I had yielded unto in spirit so long ago. I therefore began to prepare, and set my heart to leave all things behind, and give up all things else, that I might follow him. His power wrought my spirit into a right frame, so that I could easily leave all things; and he gave me time to settle and order my outward concerns, and leave all things clear. That summer I took shipping for Ireland, and passed among most Friends, and did visit them. About the seventh month 1664, I took shipping at Galway in Ireland for Barbados; and was seven weeks and two days in sailing to Barbados. I stayed there about three or four months, and visited Friends, and traveled and labored in the work of the gospel, both for the confirmation of those that were gathered, and for the gathering of others to the Truth, that they might partake with us of the like precious faith. There I also met with many who had been hurt by John Perrot, and carried away with his imaginations. He was led out of the power and from the true cross, into high notions and vain conceits, and so into a fleshly liberty and ease therein, from the true spiritual travail and right exercise, both in spirit and outwardly, pretending to be against forms; and under that pretence led out of the faithful and diligent practice which Friends had been gathered into, as to their meeting together and waiting upon the Lord, counting that a form, which he did lead into a slight of, and so caused many, both there and in Virginia and other places, to neglect, or in a great measure to forsake the assembling of themselves together, contrary to Friends' practice, and the counsel and advice of the faithful laborers, who first labored among us, as also contrary to the advice of the apostle. Heb 10:25. He also, in his new notion, led many to keep on their hats in the time of prayer, when any Friends prayed, and condemned our reverend practice of putting off our hats at such times: and so in many things, such as were taken with his notions, were led out of true order into looseness and such a liberty, that the cross in most things was laid down by them, and their own wills followed, and Truth's testimony let fall. But he ran out of the Truth so far at last, that many began to see him and what his spirit led to; and so came to see their own loss, and returned back unto their first love; and the power of the Lord went over that dark spirit, with all the vain imaginations they had been led into thereby; and so Friends were gathered into their former unity. Now because of the prevalence of this spirit, I had the greater travail and exercise among Friends in that island, and in other places of America; both in withstanding such as were high and hard, and also to gather back and preserve such, as had in some measure been betrayed, and yet were more innocent and tender.
When I had traveled and labored, as I said before, about three or four months in that island, and was clear, I took shipping for Maryland about the latter end of the first month, and landed there about the latter end of the second month 1665. I traveled and labored in the work of the gospel in that province that summer, and we had large meetings; and the Lord's power was with us, and Friends were greatly comforted, and several were convinced. But I had a sore exercise with one Thomas Thurston, and a party he drew after him for awhile; so that both I and faithful Friends were greatly grieved, not only with his wickedness, but also the opposition which he made against us, and the disturbance he brought upon us in our meetings. Great was the exercise and travail which was upon my spirit day and night, both upon the Truth's account, which suffered by him, and also for the people, who were betrayed by him to their hurt, and were under a great mistake. But through much labor and travail in the Lord's wisdom and power, I and other faithful Friends of that province had to search things out, and to clear things to their understandings, both as to what related to the Truth, and also matter of fact, which he was guilty of; it pleased the Lord so to assist us, and bless our endeavors, in manifesting the wrong and the wickedness of the heart and spirit of the man, that most of the people came to see through him, and in the love of God to be restored into the unity of the Truth again, to our great comfort, Truth's honor, and their everlasting happiness. But he himself was lost as to the Truth, and became a vagabond and fugitive as to his spiritual condition, and little otherwise as to the outward.
In the winter following I went down to Virginia, and [I found] Friends there, or the greatest part of them, were led aside by John Perrot, who had led them into his notions, as before described; and they had quite forsaken their meetings, and did not meet together once in a year, and many of them had lost the very form and language of the truth, and had become loose and careless, and much one with the world in many things; so that the cross of Christ, for which they had suffered, was shunned by them, and so sufferings were escaped, and they got into outward ease. For they had endured very great sufferings for their meetings, and stood faithful therein, until he came among them, and preached up this notion of his; by which he judged Friends' practice and testimony in and for the Truth, to be but forms; and so pretending to live above such things, he drew them from their zeal for the Truth, and their testimony therein so far, that they avoided everything that might lead to their sufferings. Thus they were seduced or bewitched, as the Galatians were, into a fleshly liberty, the offence of the cross ceased, and the power was lost; and when I came there, it was hard to get a meeting among them. I had a lot of discussions with some of the chief of them; and through much labor and travail with them, and among them, to maintain the principles of Truth and our testimony and practice therein, I obtained a meeting; and the Lord's power was with us and among us, and several were revived and refreshed, and through the Lord's goodness and his renewed visitations, raised up into a service of life, and in time came to see over the wiles of the enemy.
After some time I returned again to Maryland, and passed among Friends, and visited their meetings, and in the first month I came to Virginia, and did visit them; and so returning again to Maryland, I landed at New York in the fourth month, 1666, and spent some time there among Friends, in going through their meetings.
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