John Burnyeat's Journal and Letters Continued
EPISTLE TO FRIENDS IN LONG-ISLAND.
Then I took shipping for Rhode Island in New England, and there spent some time in visiting Friends and their meetings; where I had comfortable service. About the latter end of the sixth month, I took my journey towards Sandwich; and when I was clear there, I took my journey by Plymouth to Tewkesbury, and so to Marshfield and Scituate, and to Boston, and I visited Friends and had meetings. From Boston I went to Salem, and so on to Piscataqua. When I was clear there, I returned back through the meetings, and came to Hampton, Salem, Boston, Scituate, Marshfield, and so by Tewkesbury and Plymouth to Sandwich, and from there through the woods to Ponyganset, and from there over unto Rhode Island. After some time spent there, I took shipping for Long Island, to visit Friends in those parts; and when I was clear I returned again to Rhode Island in the winter, and stayed for some time; for there was no going off the Island to the main, the snow was so deep. About the latter end of the first month, I took shipping for Barbados, and landed there in the second month, 1667, and spent that summer there, and had blessed and comfortable service among Friends, with large and full meetings; and the Lord's power and presence were with us, and several were gathered to the love of the Truth. In the seventh month I took shipping for Bristol, in England; and after we had been ten weeks at sea, except one day or two, being beat off the coast with an easterly storm, and kept out at sea in a great tempest, for the most part of two weeks, we got, at last, into Milford Haven, where I landed, about the 27th of the ninth month, 1667.
Then I went up to Haverfordwest, in Pembrokeshire, in Wales, where I met with a meeting of Friends the same day; and I stayed four weeks in that county, and had many blessed meetings. Being clear, I took my journey towards Swansea, and visited Friends there; and came up towards Cardiff, and so on into Monmouthshire; and after I had visited Friends there, I passed over the water arid came to Bristol, and stayed there some meetings; and there passed into Gloucestershire and Berkshire, and so up to London, where I stayed some time.
After I was clear of that city, I was moved to return again into Berkshire, and Gloucestershire, and so to Bristol, and over into South Wales and Pembrokeshire, all along visiting Friends; and I had blessed service. When I was clear of those parts, I was moved to return again through the meetings in South Wales, and to Gloucester, and through Gloucestershire and Berkshire, into Buckinghamshire, and so up to London, where I spent some time that summer, in the year 1668. After that I went over into Surrey to see George Fox, who was then traveling among Friends in those parts, to assist Friends in the settling of their men's meetings, and also to stir them up to visit such as were fallen away from the Truth and had drawn back, and to see if they could be restored and brought back again to a sense of the love of God, and so to salvation and life; which work did prove very effectual for the gaining of many. After I had been a little with him, and at Horsham, (with some Friends who went from London with me), to visit some Friends who were prisoners there for Truth's testimony, I returned back again to London, and took my journey for the north of England, through Herefordshire and Huntingdonshire, and then down into Yorkshire. I spent some time in visiting the meetings about Knaresborough, Netherdale, Masham, Thirsk, and there about; and then was moved to go down towards Crake and Malton, and so on to Killam and Burlington, Scarborough and Whitby, and into Cleaveland, and so over into Bishoprick. After some time spent there, I passed over Stainmore, and into Cumberland, and came home to see my friends and relations. I stayed there but about a week, or a few days more, and then took my journey for London to the yearly meeting, which was appointed to be about the beginning of the tenth month, and I was there about a week or two. Then I took my journey again into the west, through Berkshire and Gloucestershire, and into South Wales, down as far as Pembrokeshire, visiting the meetings, and serving the Lord and his people with faithfulness in the labors and travels of the gospel of Christ Jesus. When I was clear of those parts, I returned back again through South Wales to Bristol, and so through the counties, visiting the churches up to London, that spring, in the year 1669. I stayed about two months time in and about the city, and then I was moved again to go into Buckinghamshire, and so through the country, visiting meetings in many places, until I came to Bristol; and was at Bristol about the 25th of the fifth month, 1669. From there I went over into Wales again, and passed through South Wales, as far as Pembrokeshire; and from there I took my journey through the mountains towards North Wales, and visited Friends in Radnorshire; and from there came to Shrewsbury, and so into Cheshire, and through Lancashire and Westmoreland home into Cumberland, where I stayed a little, and visited Friends. I took shipping at Whitehaven for Ireland, and landed at Belfast in the north, and spent that winter in Ireland in the travels and labor of the gospel; and I had blessed service for the Lord and his people in that nation, and was richly comforted and refreshed among them in the gracious presence of the Lord, who was with us, who is the recompenser and rich rewarder of all who are given up in faithfulness to serve him. So that now none do lose their reward under the ministration of the gospel, no more than they did under the law in the figure, when he said, "Who is there among you, that would shut the doors for nothing? so that you would not kindle fire on my altar for nothing." Mal 1:10; to him be glory, and honor, and praise over all forever; for he is worthy! When I was clear of that nation, I took shipping at Dublin, and landed at Whitehaven in Cumberland. I stayed a little time in Cumberland, and then took my journey for London to the yearly meeting, which was in the spring of the year 1670; and I spent a part of that summer in London and thereabouts, in the service of Truth, until I could have a convenience to go for Barbados, that being upon me.*
[*”In this year, 1670, the act against seditious conventicles began to be in force, which Sir Samuel Starling, then Lord Mayor of London, immediately exerted his authority to put into execution. Watchmen and soldiers were placed in guard at our several meeting-houses in the city, either to keep Friends out of their meetinghouses, or to prevent preaching. John Burnyeat being at Devonshire-house, on the 15th of the month called May, and having begun to speak, was quickly pulled down, and had before the Mayor, who fined him £20; on the 29th of the same month, John Burnyeat attempting to preach at the same meeting-house, was taken away by soldiers, and sent by the Mayor to Newgate." Besse’s Sufferings of Friends, vol. 1 p. 409.]
In 1670, again sails for Barbados with William Simpson—his death.
In the fifth month, all things being ready, William Simpson and I went down to Gravesend with many Friends from London, who accompanied us; and staying there but a few days, we set sail from Gravesend the eighth day of the fifth month, 1670, and came to the Downs, and stayed there some days, and then set sail from the Downs the twentieth day of the same month. Because of contrary winds, we put in at Falmouth and stayed two nights there; and then put to sea again, and sailed for Barbados, where we arrived the thirtieth day of the seventh month; so that we were twelve weeks from Gravesend before we got to Barbados. I stayed in Barbados six months, and had great and weighty service in that Island before I could be clear.
My dear companion William Simpson, after he had been there, was taken sick of a violent fever, which was very much among people at that time, and very many died; he was sick but about six days, and then was taken away. At his death, a very little before his departure, he gave a living, heavenly testimony to the truth, with wholesome advice to them that were about him, and departed in the peace and joy of the Lord. An account whereof may be further seen in a book written by one, who was with him from his beginning to be sick, until he departed. I was with him very much, but some times was constrained to leave him for the service sake that was upon me. He was a very innocent man, and full of fear and reverence, and ordinarily very open in his testimony, and very sweet and pleasant. We walked in great love and unity together, for he was a humble man, and had very low thoughts of himself, and always under dread. He had gone through great sufferings, and afflictions, and cruel persecutions for his testimony and service sake, unto which he was called. He likewise met with hard buffetings from Satan's messengers, and sore temptations, by which he had been wounded and sorely hurt, through the wiles of Satan and his cunning sleights; of which he would be often speaking to me in our brotherly fellowship and communication, in which we would open our hearts and states one unto another. In the remembrance of these things he was kept very low and tender, and near the Lord and he took great delight in his power, by which he had been redeemed, and his soul delivered, and which was raised up into a good degree of dominion, in which he reigned at the last, and with great triumph departed this life, and is blessed forever. My heart is well satisfied that it is even so. When he was taken away from me, my heart was broken within me, and my spirit was bowed down greatly in the sense of my loss; and I could not but mourn, though not as such that have no hope, for my hope was firm concerning his well-being and gain that he had obtained. But great was my loss, for I was left as one alone, as I had been often before, to bear the burden myself, which was very weighty upon me at that time, considering the state of the church in that island, and the care of it upon me; but the Lord was with me, and his power assisted me to go through my charge, and clear myself, and free myself from the blood of all men and women. All, being guided by his Spirit in his wisdom, the Lord's children and people were comforted, and my soul and spirit refreshed and revived; and in peace, clearness, and gladness I came away, and took shipping for New England, and set sail the first of the second month, 1671. I arrived at New York the 27th day of the same month, and from New York I went to Long Island, and visited Friends on the island, and other places in the area, and was with them at their half-year's meeting at Oyster Bay.
Being clear of those parts, I took shipping for Rhode Island; and was at their Yearly meeting, in 1671, which begins the ninth of the fourth month every year, and continues for much of a week, and is a general meeting once a year for all Friends in New England. After that meeting, when I was clear of those parts, I took my journey towards Sandwich, and visited Friends all along at Tewkesbury, Marshfield, and Scituate, and so on to Boston, where I had a meeting, and then to Salem, Hampton, and Piscataqua, all along visiting Friends; and I had many precious meetings, and the Lord was with us, and his power was over all.
From Piscataqua I returned back again the same way, and had blessed service; and I came to Rhode Island again, where I spent some time, and then went up to Providence, and visited Friends there, and so returned again. When I was clear of those parts, I took shipping again for Long Island, and land ed at Oyster Bay, and had some meetings: I then went down to Flushing, and so to Gravesend, and had some meetings. Then I went over to East Jersey to visit Friends there, and had some meetings; and I returned back again to Gravesend, and from there went again to Oyster Bay, and was at their half-year's meeting, which began about the eighth day of the eighth month, and had a blessed time. But in our meeting for business, we had an exercise with several, who rose up in a wrong spirit against the blessed order of the Truth, which by the power of God Friends were gathered into, and sweetly settling in. Chiefly their envy and bitterness were against George Fox, and his papers of wholesome advice, which he in the love of God had sent among Friends; and in that unruly, loose spirit and mind they had gone into, some of them being filled with prejudice, that they had written a book, which they brought in manuscript to the meeting, and urged to have it read. But I told them, we had the papers there, and they might lay down their objections, they being there, and we would answer them. But that would not serve; but the book they would read; and we sat in quietness until they had done. When they had done, I reached for it, and by my memory I went over the heads thereof, and cleared George Fox and Friends in our godly care and intents, and opened the service and benefit of such things which they took exception; and I showed Friends the advantage that was therein, both to the Truth and them. And withal I reprehended their slanders and falsehoods, with which they had hurt the minds of several young and newly-convinced Friends; and so opened to them, that it was the same spirit which of old led those who opposed the apostles, and endeavored to bring a slight, and beget a disesteem in the minds of the believers against them, who watched over them for their good, and so endeavored to lead them into a fleshly liberty to shun the cross. When I had cleared myself, and informed Friends of the truth of things, which then by them had been objected against, Friends in general were satisfied, and saw the mistakes which they had let into their minds, through the insinuations of those three men, who had been chiefly concerned in the writing of the book, and in the opposition. The Lord s power broke in upon the meeting, and Friends' hearts were broken, and great meltings in the power there were among us; and in the same we blessed the Lord, and praised him, and prayed unto him, and they were bowed, and went away. Thus Friends were comforted, and the seed and life reigned over all;—everlasting glory, and honor, and praise be given to him for all his mercies and preservations; for he is worthy forevermore. When all our meetings were over, and Friends in the heavenly power and seed comforted, and the bad spirits and their evil work confounded and brought under, before the minds of the simple-hearted, who were likely to be hurt and betrayed by them, and a coolness and calmness raised up among Friends, I was clear. I then took my journey with some Friends accompanying me, and went to Flushing, and down to Gravesend; and when I had visited Friends there, I went to New York, and had a meeting; and then took shipping for Maryland, setting sail the 23rd of the eighth month, 1671. We met with a sore tempest from a west-north-west wind, that blew so hard we could carry no sail for some days; but at last we got to Virginia, and then sailed up the Bay, and got to Patuxent River in Maryland the fifth day of the ninth month; and there I landed with my companion Daniel Gould, who came with me from Rhode Island, and he traveled with me that winter. We visited Friends in Maryland, and I went down to Virginia to visit Friends there, and found a freshness among them; and many of them were restored, and grown up to a degree of their former zeal and tenderness; and I found a great openness in the country, and had several blessed meetings. I advised them to have a men's-meeting, and so to meet together to settle things in good order among them, that they might be instrumental to the gathering of such as were yet scattered, and stirring up of such as were cold and careless; and so keep things in order, sweet, and well among them.
Thus having cleared myself in the love of God, I committed them unto the Lord and to the word of his grace, and took boat again for Maryland, and got well there at last; but we met with strong winds and rough weather, and some danger; and I spent some time more in Maryland, until the spring. In the second month 1672, I appointed a meeting at West River in Maryland, for all the Friends in the province, that I might see them together before I departed, for I was determined to go as soon as I could after that meeting. When the time appointed came, and Friends from all parts began to arrive, George Fox with several brethren, came from Jamaica, and landed at Patuxent, and from there came straight to the meeting. There were Friends present from all parts of the province, and we had a very large meeting, which continued for several days; also a men's and women's meeting for the settling of things, in order that men's and women's meetings might be established in the province, according to the blessed order of the gospel of Christ Jesus, into which Friends by the power thereof were gathered in most places. George Fox did wonderfully open the service thereof to Friends, and they with gladness of heart received advice in such necessary things, as were then opened unto them; and all were comforted and edified. When all was over, and we clear, and all sweet and pleasant among Friends, we departed, and went down to the Cliffs, some by water and some by land; and there we had a large meeting of both Friends and other people. And when that was over we departed; some went down to Virginia, and some stayed in Maryland.
George Fox, Robert Withers, George Pattison, and I, with several Friends of the province, took a boat and went over to the eastern shore; and there we had a meeting on the first-day, and on the second-day we began our journey through the woods to go overland to New England. We took horse at John Pitt's at the head of Tredaven Creek, and went through the woods above the heads of Miles River and Wye River, and also headed Chester River, and lay two nights in the woods, namely second and third-days. On fourth-day we came to Sassafras River, and swam our horses, and went over ourselves in boats or canoes. We then rode on to Bohemia River, and there also caused our horses to swim, and went over ourselves in canoes. We then came to a plantation called Augustines, and there we stayed a little; and about three in the afternoon, set forwards, and some of us got to Delaware and so to Newcastle, and there got lodging for we were wet with the rain; but Robert Withers and George Pattison lay in the woods all night, their horses being tired; next morning they came to us at Newcastle. We stayed there that day, and next day we got over the river. When we were over, we could not get an Indian for a guide; and the Dutchman we had hired would not go without an Indian, so we were forced to stay there that day. The next day he rode about to seek an Indian, but could get none to go; but late in the evening there came some over from the other side to the town, and we hired one; and so began our journey early next morning, to travel through that country, which now is called New Jersey; and we supposed that we traveled that day nearly forty miles. In the evening we got to a few Indian wigwams, which are their houses; we saw no man or woman, house or dwelling that day, for there lived no English in that country then. We lodged that night in an Indian wigwam, and lay upon the ground, as the Indians themselves did. The next day we traveled through several of their towns, and they were kind to us, and helped us over the creeks with their canoes; we made our horses swim at the sides of the canoes, and so traveled on. Towards evening we got to an Indian town; and when we had put our horses to grass, we went up to the [Indian] king's house, who received us kindly, and showed us very civil respect. But, alas! he was so poorly provided, having got so little that day, that most of us could neither get to eat nor drink in his wigwam; but it was, because he had it not. So we lay, as well as he, upon the ground; only a mat under us, and a piece of wood, or any such thing under our heads. Next morning early we took horse, and traveled through several Indian towns; and that night we lodged in the woods. And the next day, being the fourth-day, we got to an English plantation, to a town called Middle-town, in East Jersey, where there was a plantation of English, and several Friends; and we came down with a Friend to his house near the water-side, and he carried us over in his boat, and our horses also to Long Island. We got to Friends at Gravesend that evening; and next day we took our journey to Flushing on Long Island. On the seventh-day of the week, we took our journey to Oyster Bay, and came there that evening; and several Friends from Gravesend and Flushing were with us, for the next day their half year's meeting did begin, which was the cause of our haul traveling. We understood, that those who had been so troublesome at the half-year's meeting before, when I was there, in opposing the order of truth, and reflecting so upon George Fox, would then be an exercise to Friends; therefore George Fox did endeavor the more to get to the meeting, which we did very seasonably. It was of great service to the truth, and great comfort to Friends; for they [of that party] were greatly under, when we were come, and some of the chief of them began to fawn upon George Fox. So we had our meetings very comfortably; first and second-days were public for worship; third-day our men's and women's meetings for business, about the affairs of the church, as usually before. On the fourth-day, we had a meeting with those dissatisfied people; for George Fox would not allow the service of our- men's and women's meetings to be hindered by such a matter; and so on the fourth- day, as many Friends as had a desire to be there, did come; and the Lord's power went over them, and Friends were much satisfied. He that was the chief instigator of that mischief, namely, George Dennis, who came from London, and his wife, not being well owned there by Friends, now began to disown the matter, and would have cast it upon others, and willingly appeared clear to George Fox; but that I proved under his own hand, that he was a chief actor at the half-year's meeting before, and the one who read the book in our meeting, whether we wished him to or not. So things being fastened upon him, the Lord's power went over his deceitful spirit; and they were all bowed, and the truth was exalted over all; glory to the Lord forever, Amen.
After this we stayed a little upon the island, and went back to have some meetings, and returned again to Oyster Bay; and then set sail for Rhode Island the twenty-ninth of the third month, 1672, I and arrived the thirtieth of the same, and there stayed until the yearly meeting, which began the eighth day of the fourth month, which was the sixth-day of the next week following. At that general meeting there were many Friends from most places in New England, where Friends lived, and abundance of other people came into our public meetings. We had meetings for eight days together, every day a meeting, some public and others men's and women's meetings, for settling the affairs of the churches in the order of the truth; that all things might be kept sweet, clean, and well. When all was over, and the service of the meetings finished, I took my journey eastward, to go through the meetings in the eastern parts of New England, and with me went John Cartwright and George Pattison, and several other Friends accompanied us; we left George Fox upon the island, and we went to Providence and the Narraganset country. So we took our journey towards Sandwich, where we had a blessed meeting, and were comforted and richly refreshed in the blessed presence of the Lord's holy and blessed power, which was with us, and which opened and enlarged our hearts. When we had spent some time with Friends there, we left them, and traveled on by Plymouth and Duxbury, and had a meeting at Marshfield, and another at Scituate; and the Lord was blessedly with us.
At Scituate some of the elders of their church [Puritan Congregationalist] came to our meeting, where were abundance of people in an orchard, and stood up and made opposition; so I ceased speaking to the people, and joined with them in dispute. But the people were so displeased at the interruption they made, that they signified their dislike, and would have them cease until I had done; upon which, they said they would agree and come again. They went away; and after their own meeting was over, they came again, and several Friends stayed with me, and a great company of people came with them. Then we went into our meeting-house, which before would not hold the multitude, and there began to dispute; and after some time spent, they always endeavoring to make Friends appear to be in the error, I said to them, before the people, "If I must be disputed with as an heretic, and your church esteemed as a true church, I am willing we should come to the rule Christ has left, and thereby be tried, and that is, by our fruits; and if you can prove the fruits of your church to be agreeable to the fruits of any ancient true Christian church, I shall yield; otherwise I must hold my testimony against it as a false church." But they were very unwilling to join with me in that discourse. I urged the proof of our practice by Scripture, especially in such a great point as that; and so went on to recall the fruits of their church, which were, to fine and take away goods for not coming to their worship, to imprison, to whip with cruelty, to cut off ears, to burn in the hand, to banish upon pain of death, and to hang; for they had hung four of our Friends. All which cruelties their church had executed upon us, and only upon the account of religion. And if they could prove these to be the fruits of a true Christian church, then I told them I would own them, otherwise they were to be denied. The proof of these things, or to dispute upon them, they would willingly have evaded; but I stood upon its being necessary, that we might be known by our fruits, and our practice proved by scripture, which they pretended to be their rule; or otherwise all was but vain words, and an idle notion, and had nothing to do with scripture. Then they were confounded, and didn’t know what to say; but one of them fled to that decree made by Artaxerxes. Ezra 7:26. But I showed, how inconsistent it was with the gospel dispensation, Christ's command, and the Christian's practice; and further said, I would prove the Indians better Christians than they, by practice. I instanced the Indian king, who, when they had banished Nicholas Upshall, (an ancient, grave man, against whom they had nothing, but that he was called a Quaker), from his wife and family, and out of their colony, he being received by his Friends at Sandwich in Plymouth colony, they stirred up the rulers of the colony to banish him out of their jurisdiction, which they did; and when the Indian king had inquired why they would send that ancient man sixty miles through the woods in the cold winter to Rhode Island? Further, when the Indian king understood the matter, he desired Nicholas to go with him, and he would keep him, and none should molest him, or to that purpose; and offered him land and kindness. So, I said, here was one that would entertain a stranger, a Christian practice, according to Heb. 13:2, when your church banished neighbors from their own dwellings,—an act of cruelty. Much discourse we had, but at these things they were confounded; some of themselves having been actors in persecution upon our Friends, as Friends told me, after they were gone. So the Lord's power went over them, they could not stand the trial; and we parted in the peace and love of God.
The next day we came to Boston, where we had a meeting, and many people came in, and several of note. After a while, when I was speaking, came the marshal and a constable, and many people followed them. The marshal bid the constable do his office, the constable being a moderate man, said so he did; he was to see the king's peace kept. He stood awhile, and heard me; and went away, and told the deputy governor, he had been at our meeting, but he heard nothing but what was true, and no blasphemy, or to this effect. So the people stayed, and I had a blessed season to open things to them, and clear the Truth of those scandals, which the priests and others had cast upon it; and the people went away greatly satisfied, and spoke well of the testimony they had heard. When priest Thatcher heard this, (for several of his children were there), it appears he was displeased; and the angry, persecuting spirit got up in him, and next first-day he stirred up two magistrates in his preaching to the people, and they sent and took Friends at their meeting, and committed several to prison. We had appointed a meeting for John Stubbs and James Lancaster the third-day of the next week, who came after us through the country; and when they came, they were put in prison, and banished out of the colony. Thus their old fruits, like old corrupt trees, were brought forth again.
The next day we took our journey to Salem, and there had a meeting, and a blessed season; but we met with some, who had gone into that foolish notion of John Perrot's, keeping on their hats when Friends prayed. After the meeting was over, (where many people were in a barn), we had a meeting with several of the leaders of Friends, and those who had gone after that spirit; and a great discourse we had with them, in which we labored to bring them to an understanding of that notion they were gone into, and so labored to open and settle the minds of Friends in the ancient Truth and blessed power, which they had believed in, and received from Heaven; and then appointed a meeting to be held the next week against our return. We took our journey towards Piscataqua, and had a meeting at Hampton, as we went; where several people came in, also some of the elders of their church, and they were greatly satisfied; and they went away and gave a good report of the Truth, insomuch that Seaborn Cotton, the priest, was greatly offended.
The first-day following, he called the chief of his people together, and would have a church act made, that no members, or member's children, should go to a Quaker's meeting; and it was to be confirmed by their holding up their hands; but those that were at the meeting, would not assent; but one of them declared what he remembered of the topics of what he heard at the meeting, and maintained it to be truth. The priest was in a rage, and endeavored to stir up persecution.
After the meeting was over, we went along to Piscataqua, with Friends who came from there to meet us; and stayed there until the first-day, and had a blessed meeting, and also had a meeting with the leader of Friends, both men and women, about settling men's and women's meetings. Friends were very open, and all things were settled in sweet unity, after we had opened things unto them, relating to the blessed order of the gospel. So committing them to the Lord and the word of his grace, we returned back again, and had another meeting at Hampton, where were several young people, who after the meeting gave me a paper, in which they signified their desire to be satisfied in something that was as a scruple upon their minds; to which I answered, and gave them great satisfaction. When they saw my openness and willingness to answer, they asked me about many things, in which they desired to be informed, and to all I answered, and gave them satisfaction, and so we parted. Then I and Friends with me, took our journey towards Salem, and came there against the time appointed; and we had the meeting which we had appointed, with most of the principal Friends; it was about settling meetings to look after the affairs of the Church. In this meeting it was upon me largely to open the service of our men's and women's meetings, and the duty and care of the faithful therein; and when I had done, they confessed the service to be very good and right. We desired, that they would come into the practice thereof; but when we partly pressed it, they would answer little, but held back; some of them, (like Diotrephes of old, who loved to have the pre-eminence, and so withstood the apostle), did keep off in their minds, being of that spirit I wrote of before in Virginia, pretending to be against forms. For awhile we sat waiting upon the Lord, and staying to see what they would come to; and George Pattison labored to bring them to a sense of the service, in order that they might come into the practice, and they not being willing to say anything, my spirit being very low, the word of the Lord came unto me, and the dread of his power fell upon me. After some time I opened my mouth with a lamentation, and said, —I was sorry, or grieved, that I had that to say, which I must declare unto them, and that was, that while they stood in that spirit they were in, they could not act in unity with the body, and in honor to the Head, and therefore our exhortation to them was to condemn that spirit, by which they had been led aside, and to wait for the universal Spirit of life, or to this effect; and so we left them, and they were greatly concerned. The next day we had a public meeting among them, and after meeting we came away towards Boston. Then their consciences being troubled, we spoke with several of the leaders of them, who urged me to reverse what I had spoken; and said, it was very hard. But I told them, I could not do it, the power had sealed it, and it must stand; which was, that they must come to repentance, and condemn that spirit which had deceived, or to that effect. So we left it upon them according to the word of the Lord; some of them have since seen it, and condemned that spirit, and given a testimony in writing against it;—blessed be the Lord, who shows mercy, and restores out of the snares of Satan.
The author travels with John Stubbs.—At Rhode Island, attends a long public dispute, and again at Hartford. His other services.—In 1073, lands in Ireland; visits most of the meetings in that country. Returns to England, visits Westmoreland Quarterly meeting;— Case of John Wilkinson and John Story, 1675,-—Travels into other parts; troubles respecting John Wilkinson and John Story.
BEING clear of all those parts [of the country,] we came away straight to Rhode Island, and there we met with George Fox who was preparing to go westward towards Long Island; so he went away, and Robert Withers, James Lancaster, and George Pattison with him. From Long Island they went over to East Jersey, and so over land back again to Maryland; and John Stubbs and I were left at Rhode Island. We left John Cartwright at Piscataqua; he went further eastward, and after sometime he came to John Stubbs and me at Rhode Island. John Stubbs and I went up to Providence, had a meeting there; and as we returned, we had a meeting at Warwick, where none had been before; and several were convinced, and did own the truth. There we had to contend with one Gorton and his company, who were by other people there called Gortonians, but they called themselves Generalists; they were of opinion all should be saved. But they were in reality Ranters; for in our discourse they would maintain and say, no creaturely actions could be sin, and would have no drunkenness, nor the like, to be sin, but what was spiritual; the outward action was but creaturely. Thus in their filthy, unclean spirits, like the old Ranters, they made merry over the reproof of God's Spirit.
From there we came down again to Rhode Island; and there we spent some time, and had a long dispute with one Roger Williams, who sent us a challenge from Providence, with fourteen propositions, as he called them, but they were charges; and he engaged to maintain them against all comers; the first seven to be disputed on, at Rhode Island, and the latter seven, at Providence. We spent three days in dispute with him at Rhode Island; but he could not make any proof of his charges to the satisfaction of the listeners; for there was a great congregation every day. It would be tedious here to insert the discourse, if I were able; - but I cannot remember it. There is a book in manuscript, of what was taken in short-hand of the discourse at that time; besides there is a book in print, entitled "New England Firebrand Quenched," which is an answer to a book of the said Roger Williams, which gives a relation of some part of the dispute, to which I refer the reader. William Edmundson came from Virginia, and was also with us at the same dispute; William Edmundson and John Stubbs went up to Providence, and spent one day with Williams there, about the latter seven [charges,] and so cleared themselves to the .people, and came away when they had done with him.
After being some time together upon the island, John Stubbs and I went over, with several Friends that accompanied us, to Narraganset; and there we had a meeting the twenty-fourth of the sixth month, at one Richard Smith's, and next day took our journey towards Hartford. We came first to New London, and from there to Norwich, and so to Hartford, and stayed there one day; and several of the professors came to us, to dispute with us. The next day we rode nearly thirty miles to a town called Westfield, which was within the Massachusetts colony. A man and his wife received us; and we appointed a meeting. But when they heard of it, some of their officers came to us, and commanded that we should have no meeting; and so frightened the people, that none dared come to us. We had a little discourse with their officers or elders who came to us; but they would not stay, but cried out against our religion. We asked them if they knew our principles, which they so condemned? Some of them answered, and said, no, they knew them not, nor did they desire to know them. We asked them, how then they could judge of them; and withal we told the men they were such as the scriptures did speak of, who spoke evil of the things they knew not; and they were confounded, and went away; but they so scared the people, that no one dared come near us.
So we came away to Hartford again on the sixth-day of the week, and on the seventh-day several came to us, and discoursed with us: and we desired that we might speak with the priest, and they had promised that we should; but when we desired him to come, he (or they for him), made an excuse, that he could not that day come from his study. The next day being the first-day of the week we went to their meeting, and in the morning stayed without, until they had done. And when they had done, and came out, we spoke to the people; but they got away, as if they had been afraid of us; and none would stay. So we returned to the inn, and stayed there until the afternoon; and then we went into their meeting-house, and stayed until the priest had finished. Then I stood up, and called unto the people, and desired their patience a little to hear, for I had a word of exhortation to them; and so began to speak. But immediately the sexton came to me to interrupt me; and seeing he could not stop me, he drove the people away. When I saw most of the people gone, I stepped down, and thought to have gone after them; but he got to the door, and shut the door to keep me in. Then I went round an alley to get to a second door, but he got over the seats and shut that. Then I made for a third door, he also got to that before me, and shut that, and so made their meeting-house a prison, and kept us in, with a very few people who had not gotten away, until the people were gone, and then let us out; so we came to our inn again.
After some time several of their elders came to dispute with us, on purpose to keep the younger people away, as some of them confessed; and when we came to discourse with them, they would seem to charge us with breach of the Sabbath, in coming to their meeting that day. We took to the Bible and said, "Come, first prove a Sabbath-day under the gospel dispensation, and then prove our practice this day to be a breach of it, if you can; and vindicate Paul, who disputed every Sabbath-day in the synagogue, and then prove by Scripture your practice this day, and show where any Christians drove the people away from hearing the truth, (for they had granted, we spoke nothing but truth), and made their meeting-house a prison? So we shut them lower than the unbelieving Jews, who gave liberty to Paul and Silas; and they were confounded, and could not tell how to vindicate their actions, and went away. After they were gone, many younger people came into our chamber, and we opened many things to them relating to the way of truth, and cleared up things from the scriptures; and they were mightily satisfied. When the old, dry professors saw that the younger people were affected; they sent in a constable, to command all to depart; but they answered and said, they were housekeepers many of them, and therefore he had nothing to do with them; so they would not go. So we continued still opening the scriptures unto them; and they were affected. The innkeeper, being one of their elders, came and took the candle away, that we might not see to read in the scriptures; and so left us in the dark; then the people went away, being displeased.
The next morning, John Stubbs and I took our journey westward; and our friends that had accompanied us, returned home to Rhode Island. We went from Hartford to Newhaven, Milford, Stratford, Fairfield, Norwich, Stamford, and so to Greenwich, where we met with Friends; and there we appointed a meeting. The priest of that town in his pulpit had preached against Friends, and had often boasted how he would dispute with the Quakers, if any came there; so when the meeting was appointed, the people came with great expectation of what a priest would do. But in the morning he rode away to Stamford to a magistrate, and sent a constable with a warrant to apprehend us; who came at the beginning of our meeting, and took us and carried us away to the magistrate at Stamford. The people being displeased, many of them followed after us to Stamford, and our friends also, to see what they would do. When we came there, many people were gathered about the house, for it was only two miles between the towns; but after a little time we were called into an inner room, where the magistrate lay upon his bed, he not being very well. When we came in, there were none with him but two priests, the priest of Greenwich, and the priest of Stamford, and none were to be allowed to come in but the constable, and one man of Stamford who was a merchant, as they said; he went in and out when he pleased. The magistrate asked us many questions, and we answered him; and he discoursed with us long in many things, and we answered him; for he was very moderate. After a long time one of the priests put in a question; and I said, if we must discourse of divine things, we did desire to be more public; for the people were outside, desirous to hear. Then the magistrate said to the priests, "Master Jones and Master Bishop, I desire you to go into the public meeting-house with these men, and there discourse with them before the people; for," said he, "they are sober, rational men." So we accepted kindly of the offer, and rose up, and went forth; and the priests came after us displeased. But when we were forth of the door among the people, we called upon the priests to go with us, as they were desired; and so we went up, and they and the people also. When we were settled in the meeting-house, with many people, the priests put it upon us to begin; and so we began with them first about their wages, and then went on to our call, which they put upon us; and then about the light, which they denied; also about the election and reprobation, and free grace. They affirmed the grace of God had not appeared to all men, and that Christ did not die for all men. Several hours we spent; but the discourse is drawn up in a book in manuscript, and therefore I shall avoid it here, for it is large. The next day we had a meeting at Greenwich, but the priest came, and we had a great discourse; which is in the said book. On the first-day following we had a meeting about six miles from there; then, being clear of these parts, we took a boat and went over to Long Island, to Oyster-Bay, and met with John Cartwright; and so visited Friends upon the Island. John Cartwright and I went over to East Jersey, and visited Friends there, and had several blessed meetings; we returned back again to Long Island, and had several meetings. Being clear of those parts, John Cartwright and I came to New York, in order to get a passage for Maryland; we set sail from New York the first day of the ninth month 1672, and from Sandy Hook out to the sea the third-day of the same, and met with rough weather; but the sixth-day of the same we got in at the Capes of Virginia, and on the ninth of the same month we came to anchor in Patuxent River in the province of Maryland, and so got up within a day or two to James Preston's; for the north-west wind blew so hard, that we could not get up the first-day. We then went among Friends in that province as the Lord made way. George Fox and Friends that were with him, who came over land together, were gone down to Virginia, and he also traveled over land to North Carolina, and there found some Friends, and returned over land to Virginia, and came up the bay again to Maryland; and while they were below in Virginia and Carolina, we traveled among Friends in Maryland, and had blessed service.
Upon the first-day of the eleventh month we had a meeting at John Baldwin's at South-River; where were many Friends, and other people, who came together upon the occasion of a dispute to which one Henry Pierpoint had challenged us, who was a kind of fifth-monarchy man. The first thing to prove, which he had assumed, was, that the scriptures were the only rule to try all things by in matters of faith and doctrine; about which we had a great discourse; and we proved, that the patriarchs had faith and a rule for faith, before any scriptures which we have were written; and we showed what was their rule. We spent several hours in dispute about the other three things, which he had affirmed; but there is a book in manuscript, which is an answer to them all. I therefore shall omit any further mentioning of it here. Some time was spent in visiting Friends from meeting to meeting, to which many people came at several places; and the Lord's power opened us, and we were comforted, and the consciences of the people reached.
George Fox and the other Friends then returned, and John Cartwright took shipping for Barbados. George Fox and I were some time together; and we were up at an Indian town, at the emperor's house, who had ordered the Indians, both men and women, to be at his house, namely the ancient and grave; and the young people were at another wigwam. George Fox spoke to them by an interpreter for the space of four or five hours, I suppose it was near five hours; and they were very still and quiet, and very attentive, and delighted, (as we perceived), to hear. When the time was over, and we were clear, they showed us kindness, and were going to hang a kettle on the fire to boil fish for us to eat, as they told us; but we could not stay, having a long way to go by water, and it was late; so we came away to the waterside, and some of them accompanied us until we took boat. We came down the river again to Friends, and spent some time more in travel and labor in that province.
James Lancaster, George Pattison, and I took a journey to visit some people that were convinced, up Potomac river; we ferried over Patuxent river, and then traveled through the woods on foot, until we came to them; we stayed a few days, and had a meeting or two, and then returned back again to Patuxent, and to the Cliffs, where we left James, being very weary. Next day George and I traveled to West river, and we were at their meeting. The next week we got a boat and went over the bay to the eastern shore, and went up Miles River to Friends. From there we went to meet with George Fox to speak with him, having some intentions to take shipping, and go for England with one John Ore, a Friend and master of a ketch, which belonged to some Friends at London.
When we had been with George Fox a little time, we returned to Miles River to our boat; and after a time we went over the bay towards West River, and through some exercise with contrary winds, at last we got over; and after a little time spent there with Friends, we departed, and went down by the Cliffs, where we met with George Fox, who had come over the bay. We stayed but little there, and went on towards Patuxent where we took shipping, and set sail the twenty-fifth day of the second month, 1673; and we came out at the Capes of Virginia to the sea on the twenty-sixth day of the same month. When we had sailed but a few days, in an early morning we noticed a fleet of ships behind us, about twenty-four; then we stopped a little, assuming them to be an English fleet, which sailed out of the Capes from James Rioter, two or three days before us; and when some of them came up to us, they told us, it was the same fleet. So we stayed, and went in company with them, until we came about the Banks of Newfoundland; and then we met with foul weather, which parted us one from another, so that we no more got altogether again. We were six that got together again in our company, and kept together, until we came into the bay at Galway in Ireland, where we arrived the twenty-fourth day of the third month 1673.
Abstract of some of the letters of John Burnyeat, in continuation of his travels, from 1673 to 1690.—His marriage in 1683.—His imprisonment in Dublin.—Death of his wife 1688.
FROM Galway I traveled to Limerick, and so to Charleville, Mallow, and to Cork, and Bandon, and as far almost as Baltimore, visiting Friends and having meetings. I then returned back to Cork, and took my journey to Youghal, and so on to Tallagh, and to Kileomin, and to Waterford, and so on into the county of Wexford, having meetings in all the places; and the Lord's good presence was with us, to our comfort;—glory, and honor, and praise to him forever!
Then I came up through the county of Catherlough, [Carlow] and the Queen's County, and so on into the county of Westmeath, having meetings all along, and visiting Friends; and there George Pattison left me, and took his journey for Dublin, and from there to London, but I took my journey for Cavan. When I had seen Friends, and had a meeting or two, I took my journey for the north, the county of Armagh and the county of Antrim, and those parts; and I visited Friends, and had many precious meetings, and the Lord was with us, and his gracious presence was our daily comfort;—to him be the glory forever!
When I had spent some time in the north of Ireland in the service of the Truth, I took my journey for Dublin. And after some meetings there, I took my journey into the county of Wicklow, and so through the province of Munster a second time, and also took Friends in Leinster, and in the north; so that I traveled through most meetings a second time in that nation. Then being clear of the nation, I took shipping at Belfast the twenty-fifth day of the tenth month 1673, and the twenty-sixth we set sail out of the Lough, and arrived at Whitehaven in Cumberland in England the twenty-seventh of the same month, and stayed about three months in Cumberland for the most part. Then I took my journey out of Cumberland towards Newcastle, visiting Friends and their meetings, as I went along. From Newcastle I went on into Bishoprick, and through their meetings, and so into Yorkshire, through Cleveland to Whitby, and Scarborough, Malton, and York, and had many precious meetings. I went up to Masham, and from there Robert Lodge and I, with James Hall, took our journey towards London to the yearly meeting in the year 1674, and stayed some time in that city, laboring in the word and testimony that God had committed unto me. Afterwards I took my journey into the country, and went down into Buckinghamshire, through their meetings; and so on into Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire, and to Bristol, and then back again, and to Shrewsbury, and on as far as Wrexham in Wales, visiting the Churches of Christ; and the good presence of the Lord in his heavenly power accompanying, we were often refreshed and sweetly comforted together, to our joy and his praise, who is our God forevermore.
From Wrexham in North Wales, I took my journey with John ap John, who accompanied me towards South Wales. We visited Friends, and had many meetings as we went along, in Montgomeryshire, Merionethshire, and Cardiganshire; and we passed on by the west sea into Pembrokeshire, there we visited the Lord's people, and spent some time among them. Then we took our journey through Carmarthenshire to Swansea; and having a meeting or two we passed on towards Cardiff, visiting Friends in Glamorganshire, and then into Monmouthshire, and having visited Friends in that county, we parted; he returned home, and I passed over the water into Gloucestershire, and so to Bristol. I continued traveling through several counties, visiting the churches, and so to London, where I spent some time; and then I I went down into Essex, and visited Friends in that county, and returned again to London to the yearly meeting in the year 1675. From London I took my journey to Hartford, and so northward, with John Graves and James Hall, to York, and there we parted. I went from York to Malton, and so to Scarborough, and Whitby, taking Friends in Cleveland, and so to Stockton in Bishoprick, visiting Friends, and having many precious meetings. I then passed through several meetings in that county; and being clear I took my journey for Cumberland; and being there, with several brethren was desired to come over into Westmoreland, to a meeting appointed by Friends at their quarterly meeting, which was to be at Powbank. So I went there against the day appointed, with John Graves, John Tiffin, Hugh Tickell, and Thomas Laithos, where we met with several brethren, who had come out of Yorkshire, at the request of the before mentioned quarterly meeting. Upon this occasion many Friends of Westmoreland came together; who, when we were sat together in the meeting, did present before us several disorders in many things, which were contrary to the truth, by which they had been grieved and sorely exercised for a long time in their monthly and quarterly meetings; so that the spirits of a loose company were set at liberty, and so much borne up and countenanced by John Story and John Wilkinson, that the blessed order of the truth brought forth among us by the power of God, was greatly slighted, and endeavored to be trodden under by that loose company, which was thus encouraged by these two men, who looked upon themselves to be elders, and like Diotrephes, loved to have the pre-eminence; which brought great grief upon the honest and simple minded. So we hearing what Friends had to say in that matter, and observing what was charged and proved, we desired Friends to give us another meeting, and let John Story and John Wilkinson be sent to, and desired to meet us, that we might hear them face to face. Although they had been requested by the quarterly meeting, and several others, to come to this meeting so appointed, they had refused; and withal they sent us a letter, declining to come, and disowning our meeting.
Nevertheless, we were willing to have another meeting, which Friends of Westmoreland freely assented unto; and so it was appointed at Milthrop the next day. And we (that is) six or more of Cumberland and Yorkshire Friends, did ourselves go to them as messengers, and did entreat them to come with us to the meeting, that we might hear them and the Friends of Westmoreland, who were aggrieved, face to face, concerning those things that were in charge against them; but they were so high and so obstinate, that they slighted us all, or any advice we could give. So after some hours' discourse with them, in which we thoroughly saw their spirits to be wrong, we left them, and went to the meeting appointed at Milthrop, where Friends were waiting for us. After we were settled a little in the meeting, we gave an account how we had endeavored to persuade them to come, through all entreaty we could, but we could not prevail. So we gave a hearing a second time to the Friends; and then we of Yorkshire and Cumberland withdrew, and among ourselves viewed the whole matter, for it was in writing, and opened our hearts one unto another. And waiting upon the Lord, there fell a weighty concern upon us for the Truth's sake, and the blessed order thereof, with our holy testimony we had been raised up into, which by them had been slighted, and scorned, and reproached; so that we could not pass it by; but in the power of the Lord God, which was dreadful among us, we gave judgment against that spirit, which had grown so high, and loose, and fleshly, as thus to undervalue the testimony of God, and the bringing forth of his holy power in the churches of Christ, by which all may be kept sweet, clean, and in good order. When we had cleared ourselves in the rising and springing up of the word of life, and drawn up our testimony in writing, we gave it unto Friends there, and so departed. Of the judgment given I shall say no more here, because it is in writing in many places.
I then went over to Swarthmore, and stayed for a meeting there; and then returned into Cumberland, and stayed there some weeks, and visited Friends. Being clear, I returned again to Swarthmore, in order to go over the sands towards Wales, which was before me. When I was at Swarthmore, I was moved to go over first into Westmoreland, to visit the meetings there. So I went over to Sedberg, and had a meeting there; and I had a meeting at Gray-rigg, and then came to Kendal, where I met with Robert Lodge, and we had a blessed meeting there. The next day we were at Preston meeting; and then I was clear of that county.
After a little time I took my journey into Wales, through Lancashire and Cheshire, and so coming to John ap John's, near Wrexham in North Wales, he traveled along with me. In the first place, we went to a quarterly meeting that was held at Dolobran, at Charles Lloyd's, for two counties, namely Merionethshire and Montgomeryshire; and we had a blessed service for the truth there among Friends. Afterwards we went down into Merionethshire, and visited the meetings: and then to Mackynleth, and had a meeting. We then returned up into Radnorshire, and visited the meetings in that county. We next took our journey through Brecknockshire and Carmarthenshire, into Pembrokeshire, where we spent some time among Friends, and had several precious meetings. Being clear, we took our journey towards Swansea and Cardiff, and had several precious meetings in Glamorganshire, and then went over into Monmouthshire. And after we had visited Friends, John went with me to the ferry, and stayed to see me board the boat, and then returned.
I went that same day to Bristol, and stayed some meetings there; and then I went down into Somersetshire, and visited Friends there, and had many blessed meetings. I returned back to Bristol, and stayed some meetings there, and then went into Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, and through Berkshire and into Oxfordshire, and so into Worcestershire, as far as Worcester, and visited Friends, and had many precious meetings through those counties. From Worcester I returned again through Gloucestershire, and had several meetings: and came again to Bristol; from there I took my journey through several counties, visiting Friends: and so came to London, and stayed there some time in the service and work of the gospel.
Being clear, I took my journey for the north, and did not make much stay at any place, until I came into Cumberland. The reason of my so traveling was, because of a meeting, which was agreed upon by Friends to be held at Draw-well in Sedberg parish, about the former difference, which had been heard at Powbank; chiefly occasioned by the before mentioned John Story and John Wilkinson, and a loose sort of people, whom they did countenance in a liberty that the truth would not allow, and therefore could not be borne with by such tender Friends, as were zealous for the truth, who kept their first love. These therein delighted to uphold that ancient testimony for the Lord, against the priests and their tithes, hire, and maintenance, with other things that were to be borne witness against through sufferings; and also for meeting together to worship God, which from the beginning had been our practice, there being many statutes with penalties upon us, for so doing; for fear of which, the before mentioned John Story and John Wilkinson, with such as had let in the same fear through fleshly reasoning, did shrink and hide; and so let fall the nobility of that testimony, which we had received and were raised up to stand for in the beginning. So because of a failure in many things, and pleading for a liberty from under the exercise of the cross, that the offence thereof might cease, the faithful became concerned to stand up against that spirit, which thus was likely to weaken or overthrow the faith and testimony of many, through its subtle workings in and through many; who, like those the apostle writes against in his Epistle to the Galatians, that to avoid persecution endeavored to bring the believers under circumcision, that so the offence of the cross might cease, or suffering for the gospel might be avoided.
Now this difference still continuing, and they abiding obstinate, and not willing to receive advice, or bear the judgment in the Truth placed upon them, Friends in condescension, to see if they could be gained, appointed a meeting at Draw-well near Sedberg, that they might have another opportunity, and be heard what they could further say. Then the matters were fully gone through before many ancient, faithful brethren, who were there assembled; who spent four days in hearing and going through the matters relating to that difference, which was occasioned through the opposition of those to the blessed order of the Truth, who withstood Friends' godly care for the preservation of the dominion thereof in righteousness. When all things were heard and gone through by the brethren, the judgment was again given in the power of the Lord upon that spirit which they had let in, whereby they had been led into a separation and division, and opposition to the Truth and the holy order and testimony thereof; and they in the same power and love with great bowels and tenderness, were sought to return back again unto that spirit of love and peace, in which the unity and fellowship of the true body does consist. But alas! Many of them would not be wrought upon nor prevailed with; but in that hardness the enemy had wrought their hearts into, did persist, until they became open enemies to the Truth and the faithful witnesses of it, even to the writing and printing publicly against them, and what the Truth leads into; and so are become such as the apostle writes of, that greatly withstood their words, and slighted them; of which Paul, Peter, John and Jude wrote. This meeting at Draw-well, was in the second month 1676.
After Friends had done what could be done at that time, with holy endeavors for the reconciling and gathering into the heavenly unity, and making up of the breach, I returned from there again into Cumberland with several brethren, to wit, J. T., J. В., Hugh Tickhill, Thomas Laythes, John Steele, and so spent a little time in Cumberland; and then I took my journey with John Tiffin towards London. In our journey we came into Westmoreland to visit Friends there, where we met with some of those, with whom we had to do at Draw-well; and then they were grown hard, through resisting the counsel of the Lord, and had set up a separate meeting, and so ran into the self-separation, and grew more into the enmity, and stronger in the opposition, through resisting the love of God, that so richly was reached forth unto them in the heavenly bowels, which, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, were opened in the brethren at the before mentioned meeting at Draw-well. For the power of the eternal God in great majesty appeared, and in a weighty dread was judgment set and sealed upon that spirit, by which they had been betrayed; and by the same power and word of life was a door opened unto them who had been betrayed, and an entrance in the same was set before them, and they, with much brokenness and tenderness, in the power of love, were sought to return, and be reconciled unto God, and unto his people. But this great visitation being rejected by them, they grew harder and harder, until they grew, many of them, as before said, enemies unto the cross of Christ; and so they withered as to their spiritual state, and became as some of old, whom the apostle wrote of, as trees twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.
From Westmoreland I went over into Yorkshire, had a meeting at Sedberg, and went through the Dales to Masham, visiting Friends in the area. And then J. T. and I, with Robert Lodge, took our journey to York, and from there towards London, visiting Friends along the way; and so we came to the yearly meeting in the year 1676, where there were many faithful brethren assembled together from most parts of the nation. Among many things of concern relating to the truth and the churches of Christ, that division in Westmoreland was laid before the meeting, and how they were hardened, and had set up a separate meeting, and so had withdrawn themselves from the rest of their brethren, and broken the Christian fellowship; which thing, when understood by the brethren there assembled, was a grief unto them. Therefore under the sense thereof, and in that brotherly love, with which their hearts were filled towards them, were there two epistles written from the meeting, one to John Story and John Wilkinson, warning and advising them, as heads and leaders in that sedition and schism, to endeavor to break up that separate meeting, and to be reconciled unto their brethren, before they went abroad to offer their gift; and the other was written to the meeting, as advice unto them to return to their former fellowship with Friends, and lay that separate meeting down, and join with their brethren in the unity of the Truth.
But all this did not prevail with them; but still they grew higher and harder, and went on in the strong resolutions of their wills. Only there were many individuals who were for a time concerned in that opposition and separation, whose understandings the Lord opened, so that they saw the snare of the enemy, and returned; and under a sense of the Lord's judgments, they gave forth many testimonies in writing against that spirit, by which they had been seduced, with a confession of the error they were led into; and so returned into the true fellowship and unity of the Church of Christ, and were received with gladness. Glory to the Lord, who is the savior and healer of his people, who now heals and saves by his word, as he did of old!
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