« PreviousContinue »
cas duty, would entertain a very remote opinion.
My humble supplication therefore to you is, that 'fo malicious and injurious a practice to innocent
Englishmen, may not receive any countenance or ? encouragement from your lordship; for as it is con(trary to the practice elsewhere, and a bad argument ( to invite English hither, so, with submission, will it ( not resemble that clemency and English spirit that . hath hitherto made you honourable.'
If in this case I may have used too great a liberty, it is my subject; nor shall I doubt your par
don, since by your authority I expect a favour, < which never will be used unworthy an honest man,
· His request in the letter, so far as related to himself, was quickly granted, for the earl forthwith ordered his discharge.
His late imprisonment was so far from terrifying him, that it strengthened him in his resolution of a closer union with that people, whose religious innocence was the only crime they suffered for.
And now his more open joining with the Quakers, brought him under that reproachful name: his companions wonted compliments and caresses, were changed into scoffs and derision : he was made a by-word, scorn, and contempt, both to professors and profane; to the latter, for being religious, and to the former, for having a better than theirs.
His father being informed by letter from a nobleman of his acquaintance, what danger his son was in of being profelyted to Quakerism, remanded him home, and he readily obeyed. Upon his return, although there was no great alteration in his dress, yet his manner of deportment, and the solid concern of mind he appeared to be under, were manifest indications of the truth of the information his father had received, who thereupon attacked him afresh : and here my pen is diffident
of her abilities to describe that most pathetick and moving contest which was betwixt his father and him. His father, actuated by natural love, principally aiming at his son's temporal honour; he, guided by a divine impulse, having chiefly in view his own eternal welfare: his father, grieved to see the well-accomplished son of his hopes, now ripe for worldly promotion, voluntarily turn his back on it; he, no less afflicted, to think that a compliance with his earthly father's pleasure, was inconsistent with an obedience to his heavenly one : his father, pressing his conformity to the customs and fashions of the times; he, modestly craving leave to refrain from what would hurt his conscience : his father earnestly intreating him, and almost on his knees beseeching him, to yield to his desire; he, of a loving and tender disposition, in an extreme agony of spirit, to behold his father's concern and trouble: his father threatening to disinherit him; he, humbly submitting to his father's will therein : his father turning his back on him in anger; he, lifting up his heart to God, for strength to support him in that time of trial.
And here we may not omit to give our reader a particular and observable instance of his sincerity. His father finding him too fixt to be brought to a general compliance with the customary compliments of the times, seemed inclinable to have borne with him in other respects, provided he would be uncovered in the presence of the king, the duke, and himself: this being proposed, he desired time to confider of, which his father supposing to be with an intention of consulting his friends, the Quakers, about it, he assured him that he would see the face of none of them, but retire to his chamber till he should return him an answer. Accordingly he withdrew, and having humbled himself before God, with fafting and fupplication, to know his heavenly mind and will, he became so strengthened in his resolution, that returning to his father, he humbly signified, that he could not comply with his desire therein,
When all endeavours proved ineffectual to shake his constancy, and his father faw himself utterly disappointed of his hopes, he could no longer endure him in his fight, but turned him out of doors the second time. Thus exposed to the charity of his friends, having no other subsistence, (except what his mother privately sent him) he endured the cross with a christian patience and magnanimity, comforting himself with the promise of Christ, ~ Verily, I say unto you, there is is no man that hath left house, or parents, or bre“ thren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of « God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in " this present time, and in the world to come life “ everlasting.” Luke xviii. 29, 30.
After a considerable time, his steady perseverance evincing his integrity, his father's wrath became fome: what mollified, so that he winked at his return to, and continuance in, his family, and though he did not publickly seem to countenance him, yet when imprisoned for being at meetings, he would privately use his interest to get him released.
About the year 1668, being the 24th of his age, he first came forth in the work of the ministry, rightly called to; and qualified for, that office ; being sent of God to teach others what himself had learned of him : commissioned from on high, to preach to others that holy self-denial himself had practised: to recommend to all that serenity and peace of conscience himself had felt: walking in the Light, to call others out of darkness: having drank of the water of life, to direct others to the same fountain: having tasted of the heavenly bread, to invite all men to partake of the same banquet : being redeemed by the power of Christ, he was sent to call others from under the dominion of Satan, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, that they might receive remission of sins, and an inheritance among them that are fanctified, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Aboựt About this time he writ to a young person of his acquaintance, by way of caution, against the follies and vanities of the world, the following letter, viz.
Navy-Ofice, 10th of the 5th Month, 1668.
IT was a true word spoke by Jesus Christ, to unil deceive all those careless wanton Jews, among
whom he manifested his glorious truth, through that ·body prepared of God for that very end, that the way (which leads to everlasting life and rest, was very
strait and narrow. My friend, how much may it im
port the welfare of thy immortal foul, to reflect • upon that course of life and way thou now art
walking in, before an evident stroke from heaven
call thee hence, and send thy so much indulged flesh " and blood into the grave; an entertainment for no
better than noisome worms! I beg thee, as ever thou wouldst be saved from that unspeakable anguish, (which is reserved for worldlings, and from whence there is no redemption, to keep thyself froin those vanities, follies, and pollutions, which unavoidably bring that miserable state. Alas! How incongruous, or unsuitable, is thy life and practice, with those holy women of old, whose time was mostly
spent in heavenly retirements, out of that rattle, "noise, and conversation thou art in! And canst thou ? imagine that those holy men, recorded in fcripture, ? spent their days as do the gallants of these times ? ! Where is the self-denying life of Jesus, the cross,
the reproach, the persecution, and loss of all, which she and his suffered, and most willingly supported,
having their eyes all fixed upon a more enduring < substance? Well, my friend, this know, and by
thefe shalt thou be judged, and in it I am clear, that (as without holiness none can see God, fo without ' subjection to that spirit, light, or grace in the "heart, which God in love hath made to appear to all,
" that teacheth to deny all ungodliness and worldly « lufts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in " this present world;" I say, without subjection hererunto, there is no attaining to that holiness which
will give thee an entrance into his presence, in which is joy and pleasure for ever. And examine with thy
self, how remote chou art from the guidings and in"structions of this fpirit of grace, who canst counte
nance this age in frequencing their wicked and vain <sports, plays and entertainments, conforming thyself s to ridiculous customs, and making one at idle talkring and vain jefting, wherefoever thou comeft, not I considering thou shalt account with the dreadful God < for every idle word. And let all thy frolick asso<ciates know, their day is hastening, in which they < shall not abide the presence of him that fits upon (the throne. It shall be a time of horror, amazement, r and distress: then shall they know there is a righ
teous holy judge of all. As for thee, with pity is ċ thy condition often rin my thoughts; and often is it ( my desire that thou mayest do well : but whilft I - see thee in that spirit which savours of this world's
delights, ease, plenty, and esteem, neglecting that s one thing necessary, I have but little hopes. Howrever, I could not let this plain admonition pass me;
and what place foever it may have in thy thoughts, "I am sure it is in true love to that which shall be "happy or miserable to all eternity. I have not
fought fine words, or chiming expressions; the gra(vity, the concernment and nature of my subject
admits no such butter-fies. In short, be advised, my friend, to be serious, and to ponder that which I belongs to thy eternal peace. Retire from the noise
and clatter of tempting visibles, to the beholding " Him who is invisible, that he may reign in thy soul,
God over all, exalted and blessed for ever! Farewel,
"I am thy well-wishing, real friend,