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mand of myself; when, standing up again, through a careful stepping along, I had great peace and consolation in this day's service: praised be the Lord!
Seventh-day, 23d. We had a truly blessed opportunity in a meeting at Hockessin, where truth eminently favoured us, and opened divers important doctrines and states; which states were livingly spoken to in truth's authority, to the tendering many minds; may it be to their lasting benefit and instruction. These four last meetings were in the government or state of Delaware, and in the county of New Castle. After this last meeting, we went to see our ancient friend Thomas Carleton, in his eighty-eighth year, who had been in New England in the service of the gospel, having been esteemed a living minister of Christ. He was, though confined at home, in a tolerably comfortable state of health; cheerful in mind; and seemed to retain a good savour of truth, being glad to see us and we him.
First-day, 24th. We were at meeting at Concord, in Chester county, Pennsylvania, at which place I had before attended a Quarterly Meeting, unable then to open my mouth in a religious meeting; but now the Lord set before me an open door, which indeed has wonderfully been the case for divers meetings past, even the most so I think, since my late long spiritual imprisonment, that ever I witnessed; the enlargement of my mind, clearness of the openings, and strength of utterance, being far beyond my own expectation, and greatly to the humiliation as well as consolation of my poor exercised soul. In this meeting at Concord, I had some clear openings, and was enabled to speak to several states; among the rest, to a state of great unfaithfulness, even though great had been the divine favour from time to time extended to them. I had to sound an alarm indeed to these, and to mention the danger of their house being left unto them desolate, and the things belonging to their peace being hid from their eyes for ever; and of that awful declaration being sealed against them, unless they speedily repent and turn to the Lord, viz. " He that is filthy, let him be filthy still." After which, a Friend standing up in the meeting, in a feeling manner called upon them to suffer the word of exhortation; testifying that such was the state of some present, and that they
had repeatedly been warned, and called upon in a very pressing, awful manner before now, by such as were outwardly utter strangers to their situation.
Second-day, 25th. We were at Chester Monthly Meeting, held at Providence, where, in the meeting for worship, I had very searching service, yet dropping a word of comfort and encouragement to an exercised seed among them. It was on the whole a good meeting. Third-day, 26th, we had a good meeting at Springfield. Fourth-day, 27th, another at Middleton; precious also, especially the last, wherein truth rose into dominion, and its doctrines were livingly and largely opened; a sifting time spoken of; better days or more reformed to succeed; and a more general spreading of the truth among the nations, to the effecting in time a cessation of wars, and the downfall of priestcraft.
Fifth-day, 28th. We had a blessed meeting at Birmingham, where I had been twice in this journey before, and quite closed up at both times, but was now highly favoured. Here dear Hugh Judge and James Robinson, who had been with me several days, left me and returned home, my beloved friend William Jackson having met me again at this meeting, in order to join me for some time longer.
Sixth-day, 29th. We had another very precious meeting at Kennet. Here I had also been twice before under deep suffering, my tongue as it were cleaving to the roof of my mouth; but it was now eminently loosed, and truth reigned triumphant over all blessed be the Lord. Seventh-day, 30th, we had a good meeting at London Grove, where I had in several meetings before been abased and bowed down in silence, even as it were bound in iron fetters. But reverenced be the name of Israel's holy Helper, I was this day made to rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation. Indeed, I don't know that the power of the word of life ever was raised higher in and through me before, than it was at this time, both in testimony and supplication.
It has been the Lord's will to lead me from meeting to meeting, in this land, in exercising silence, and to strip me, yea often to empty me, of all sense of good; and I have endeavoured to
submit to it with patience. And now, on finding I could not be easy without going over the ground again, even where I had been divers times before, and on giving up thereto, though much in the cross, I have found greater openness from meeting to meeting, (so long to continue,) I think, than ever I knew before. Indeed, my sitting in them now, even while in silence, is so different from my former, empty, barren state in these meetings, that I now feel somewhat like sitting under the pressure of a water course, the gate being largely raised, and the water flowing with great power and freedom; wherein as I have risen, and carefully uttered myself in the opening of life, truth has wonderfully arisen, and largely abilitated, to the opening of divers important doctrines; to the reaching of many states; to the tendering of many minds; and to the abundant consolation and confirmation of my own exercised soul, with many more.
First-day, 31st. We had two meetings, the first a sweet and glorious one at Bradford, where I had been once before, and now doctrine and advice flowed freely forth, to the great reaching and tendering of the people. In the afternoon we had a very laborious time in silence at East Caln, where I had before been twice; but blessed be the Lord who gave us the victory, truth at length did arise, and testimony and supplication were evidently felt to be in that which lives for ever.
Second-day, 1st of 1st month, 1787. We had a highly favoured meeting at Uwchlan, wherein truth prevailed over all, as in several others of our late eminently baptizing seasons. Oh! the heights and depths which the Lord leads his people through. May none of them ever separate us from his love. For about twenty days past I have mostly been favoured with the aboundings of truth, and the plentiful sheddings abroad of divine love in my heart, with unspeakable consolation and confirmation in the Lord. Whereas the last twenty before these, were nearly altogether days of darkness, distress, and great strippedness. Thus, hath the Lord his way in the whirlwind, in clouds, and in thick darkness, Oh! let him do as he will with thee, O my soul! He knows best what is best for thee.
Now, though this was an high day indeed, and God's holy help and presence eminently enjoyed, yet I feel most easy to
mention, that near the end of the meeting, feeling, (as I thought, under a good degree of religious weight,) the spirit of supplication, I kneeled, and presented my petition and intercessions to the Lord; but had very little true peace in so doing. For the meeting having sat long, and I being unwilling to detain it unseasonably, kneeled too soon; and it may be that I stept into the service of some other exercised instrument. For I am convinced that there is such a thing, as to have so much feeling sense of, and sympathy with, another's exercise, as to make great caution necessary, lest we move in each other's commission, without a real commission of our own.
I am willing to leave it as a caution, though to my own condemnation, (and may self ever be condemned,) that thou, O favoured instrument, whoever thou art, mayst be continually on thy watch, especially when thou hast been highly favoured, lest thou move again, either in an additional testimony or in supplication, merely in that fulness of divine aboundings, and in the overflowings of that cup of heavenly blessing, given thee in order to abiliate thee for the service already performed, or, afterward, as a reward for thy faithfulness therein. For this thou mayst be in danger of doing, even without a real commission, unless thou art very careful. Or, thou mayst feel thy spirit dipped into a near sympathy with the exercise of another who is under the qualifying hand, and just ready to move in the strength and clearness of a right commission. And if thou art not strictly careful to wait for a clear opening, thou mayst move in a feeling of another's exercise, to thy own hurt, the hurt of that other instrument who was receiving the commission, and even to the great hurt of the whole meeting. And in thy missing thy way, and running before thy guide, in any of those ways, either in prayer or public testimony, thou wilt retard thy own progress in the right way, and bring darkness over thy mind. But if thou art always careful to wait for a right commission, and never to move without it, thou wilt never thus err from the right way, but wilt surely be preserved.
After meeting, had a precious opportunity with our dear friends Thomas Lightfoot and wife. Thomas was formerly the husband of that excellent handmaid of the Lord, Susanna
as any member assumes another place than is allotted it; or being gone from the life and unity of the body, and losing the sense of it, lets in the murmurer, the eye that watches for evil, and not in holy care over its fellow members; and then instead of coming down to judgment in itself, will stand up and judge its fellow members, yea, the whole body, or those whom God has set in a more honourable and eminent place in the body, than itself. Such suffer not the word of exhortation, and term the reproofs of instruction, (which is the way of life,) imposition and oppression, and are not aware how far they are in the things they condemn others for; while they spare not to reprove and revile all their fellow members; yet, if they be but admonished themselves, they cry out, as if their great charter of gospel liberty were broken. Now though such, and the spirit by which they are acted, be sufficiently seen and felt by thousands, whose hearts God has so established, as they are out of danger of being entangled in that snare; and who have power and strength in themselves to judge that spirit, even in its most subtle appearances; yet there are, who cannot so well withstand the subtilty, and seeming sincerity, some such pretend to, though in measure they have a sight of them; and others that cannot so rightly distinguish between the precious and the vile; and some there are that through weakness, and want of true discerning, may be deceived, and the simplicity in them betrayed for a season; and it is written, with fair speeches and smooth words, they deceive the hearts of the simple. Therefore having, according to my measure, received an opening in my understanding as to these things, from the light of the Lord, and having been for some time under the weighty sense of them, I find at this instant a freedom to commit them to writing, for the more universal benefit and edification of the church of Christ." Page 11, speaking of what the Lord had done for Friends in that day, he says, "He hath not gathered us to be as sheep scattered without a shepherd, that every one may run his own way, and every one follow his own will, and so to be as a confused mass or chaos, without any order; but he, even the Lord hath also gathered, and is gathering us into the good order, discipline, and government of his own son, the Lord Jesus Christ: Vol. II.-31