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In the latter part of the year 1668 and the beginning of the next, this society was deprived of three eminent and serviceable members ; Thomas Loe, Josiuh Coale, and Francis Howgill.
Thomas Loe was a man of fine natural temper, easy, affable and pleasing in conversation, benevoleut and sympathising in his disposition. He travelled on foot through the greatest part of the nation, and visited Ireland several times, His gifts were attractive, and he had generally crowded audiences. He was several times imprisoned for bis testimony, and his natural strength was impaired by bis travels and labors, His convert, William Penn, visited him in his last sickness, whom he addressed thus : “ Bear thy cross and stand faithful to God, then be will give thee an everlasting crown of glory that shall not be taken from thee. There is no other way which shall prosper than that which the holy men of old walked in. God hath brought immortality to light, and life immortal is felt. His love overcomes my heart. Glory be to his name for evermore." He accosted others with similar sentiments; and his parting breath expressed a song of praise to that Almighty Being, whose goodness preserved bim through life, and deserted him not in bis end.t
Josiah Coale was born at Winterborne, Gloucestershire, pear Bristol, and received his impressions in favor of the quakers' doctrine under the preaching of John Audland, about the year 1655. He proved an able and zealous minister : his testimony was sharp and piercing against the workers of iniquity, while it flowed in a stream of life and encouraging consolation to the pious and virtuous. In 1656, after having been first grievously abused by the populace, and dragged bare-headed under the spouts in a time of rain, he was imprisoned. in Newgate, at Bristol. In the same year, he was, with three other friends, severely abused and beaten by the mob, and then committed to prison by the mayor, at Melcomb-Regis. In 1658, a sense of duty determined him to pay a religious visit to the English colopies in America. As no master of a ship would take him to New-England, for fear of the penalties enacted in tlat state against such as should bring in any quakers, he got
+ Gough, p. 229, 231. and vol. i. p. 318, 319.
a passage, in company with Thomas Thirston, to Virginia ; from whence they made their way on foot through a wilderness of several hundred miles, till then deemed impassable for any but the Indians. By these people, of the Susquehannah tribe, they were treated with remarkable atteution and hospitality, entertained with lodging and provisions, and furnished with guides to the Dutch plantations, Their journey was, however, attended with great hardships. and dangers. They met with very different treatment from the lofty professors of New England, wbose tempers were embittered, whose natural tenderness and compassion were eradicated by false principles of religion. Here Coale was violently baled out and sent to prison, and sometime after banished to Maryland. He travelled through this state and Barbadoes; and, in Europe, through most parts of England, in Holland, and the Low Countries; going through many perils, imprisonments, and persecutions, vol. iant in wbat he regarded as the cause of truth, undaunted in danger, and borne above the fear of man by the supports of a peaceful conscience. He not only in his travels bore his own charges abroad, but was an exemplary pattern of liberality at home, and freely spent his estate in the service to which he devoted himself. His natural temper was cheerful, religion tempered it with seriousness; his unaffected affability was mixed with a circumspect and exemplary deportment; bis whole conversation illustrated the purity of his religion, and was an ornament to his profession. After ministerial services of twelve years, he fell into a decline, and departed in the arms of bis friends, as one falling into a deep sleep, full of consolation, exhorting others to “be faithful to God, and have a single eye to bis glory,” expressing his own confidence that the majesty of God was with him, and his crown of life upon him," at the age of thirty-five years and two months.*
The last person to be noticed is Francis Howgill, a principal as well as early promulgator of the doctrine of the quakers, and a valuable member of their community. He was a native of Westmoreland, and received his education, for the priest's office in the church, at the university; but, being scrupulous of complying with the ceremonies,he with
* Gongh, vol. ii. p. 231, 236.
drew from the national church, and joined the Independ. ents, and was an eminent preacher amongst them, laborious and zealous as a minister, and esteemed for his virtue and exemplary conversation. In 1652, he became a proselyte to the doctrines of George Fox, on hearing him at Firbank chapel. He was, soon after this, sent, with James Naylor, to the gaol at Appleby. In 1654, he and Edward Burrough, in company with Anthony Pearson, travelled to London, and were the first of this society who held meetings in that city, and by whose preaching many there were brought over to the same profession. While he was there, he went to court to intercede with Oliver Cromwell, that a stop might be put to the persecution of the members of his society, and he wrote also to the protector, on the same sulject, in a plain and bold strain, but without any good effects. It does not appear, that they met with any personal molestations in the metropolis ; and when they had gathered and settled meetings there, they went to Bristol. Multitudes flocked to hear them, and many embraced their doctrine. The clergy were alarmed, and they were summoned before the magistrates, and were commanded to leave the city immediately. To this order they answered: 66 We came uot in the will of man, por stand in the will of man, but when he shall move us to depart who moved us to come hither, we shall obey; we are free-born Englishmen, and have served the commonwealth faithfully, being free in the sight of God from the transgression of any law: to your commandments we canuot be obedient; but if by vio. lence you put us out of the city, and have power to do it, We cannot resist.” Having said this, they went out of the court, but tarried in the city, preaching as before, for some time.* In 1663, Francis Howgill was summoned before the justices, as he was in the market-place at Kendal on his business; and, for refusing the oath of allegiance, was committed to prison till the summer assizes, at which the oath was again tendered to him, and upon refusal an indictment was drawn up against him, which he traversed. But as he would not enter into bond for his good behavior, which he considered as a tacit acquiescence in the charge of ill-bebavior, and a bar to attendance on meetings, he was
* Gough, rol. i. p. 112, 126, 144. &r..
recommitted to prison. At the spring assizes he was brought to his trial; when, under a rigorous sentence of præinunire, he was sent back to the prison, wbere he remained, till released by death, for nearly five years, de. prived of every comfort and convenience his persecutors could take from him. He died, after a sickness of nine days, the 20th of January, 1688-9. During bis confinement he evidenced the peaceful and even tenor of his soul by his patience ; and preserved to the last an amiable equanimity, which had characterized him through life, the serenity of his conscience hearing him superior to his sufferings and to the fear of death. He wrote a copious treatise against oaths, wherein he maintained the unlawfulness of swearing under the gospel. His virtues, innocence, and integrity of life, were conspicuous. He was generally respected by those who knew bim; his sufferings were commiserated ; and the unmerited enmity and cruelty of his persecutors condemned. Several of the principal inhabitants of Appleby, and particularly the mayor, visited bim in his sickness; and some of them praying that God might speak peace to bis soul, he answered, “He hath done it.” He also expressed himself thus : “ That be was content, and ready to die; praising the Almighty for the many sweet enjoyments and refreshing seasons he had been favored with on that his prison bed, whereon he lay, freely forgiving all who had an hand in his restraint." А few hours before he departed, he said, “I have sought the way of the Lord from a child, and lived innocently as among men; and if any enquire concerning my latter end, let them know, that I die in the faith in which I lived and suffered for.” After these words, he uttered some others in prayer to God, and so finished his life in perfect peace, in the 50th year of his age.
Mr. Gough has preserved a letter of useful instructions, addressed to his daughter, which he left behind him. His will, made some time before his decease, bequeathed out of his real estate, his personal having been forfeited to the king, a legacy to his poor friends in those parts where he lived, and a token of his affectionate remembrance to several of bis brethren and fellow-laborers in the ministry. *
* Gough, vol. ii. p. 31, 96---108, and 286—241.