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Several journeysRemarkable death of two athe
istical young men-Removal from Philadelphia to the neighbouring Village of FrankfortVisits in different places—Epistle to Friends of Barbadoes-- Visit in Long Island -After his return, meets with an accident-A letter on the subject of Baptism-Great losses and trialsExtract of a letter from his aged Father, with his answer.
IN the year 1721, Thomas Lightfoot and I, with William Browne, went to a theeting at BushRiver, and going over Susquehannah-Ferry, the people were fiddling and dancing. When their dance was over, I asked them, believing them to be Protestants, If-they thought Luther to be a good man? They replied, Yes, there was no doubt of it. “ Well,” said I, “and so do I; and I will tell you what he says concerning dancing, That as many paces as a man takes in his dance, so many steps he takes towards hell;" which spoiled their sport, and they went away, and we went on ours towards the meeting; and a good meeting it was! and we after it returned by
way of Nottingham, and had a meeting there, and one at New-Garden, and so on to Philadelphia. I was from home about a week, and travelled in this journey about 150 miles, and was well satisfied therein.
In the years 1721 and 1722, I went several journeys, and had many large meetings, travelling many hundreds of miles, of which I neglected to keep a particular account, hardly thinking what I did worth recording; but divers of my friends in many parts of the world, put me upon something of this nature, to which, at length, I gave up, and found some benefit and satisfaction therein, in looking back and considering the dealings of God with me in my youth, and upwards.
From Philadelphia I went to the general-meeting at Shrewsbury, in East-Jersey, where I heard of J. G.'s being wounded by a young man, with a sword, of which he died, lamenting that he did not take the counsel of his friends; as young men who slight the counsel of those that wish them well, commonly do, either sooner or later, if the day of their visitation be not over. Some few days after this meeting at Shrewsbury, I visited Friends on Long Island, and returned home again, having travelled about 300 miles. In my stay at, and about home, I wrote something concerning perfection, in answer to a nameless author; as also something concerning predestination, or election and reprobation.
In the year 1722, I went back in the woods ta
Buckingham, the Great Swamp, Perkiomy, Manahatawny, and Oley, where I had meetings, travelling over great mountains, from which we could see many miles. I travelled in this journey about 150 miles, and returned home in about two weeks; and after staying some time at home, and visiting neighbouring meetings, I went to the yearly-meeting of Friends on Long-Island, which meeting was very large, many people, not of our persuasion, being there, and were very sober. Many things were opened in the love of Christ, and his great love was declared to that great congregation. The parable concerning the Prodigal Son, came before me to speak of to the people in a very moving manner, and strongly to invite the youth to lay hold of the love of the Father in his Son, to poor souls: and indeed it is a wonderful parable, setting forth the infinite love of the great Lord of all to his poor creatures. Many were affected and reached to at this meeting, and the Almighty was praised and glorified, who alone is worthy.
From thence I went and had a meeting at New York, and then set forward to Woodbridge, where we had a comfortable meeting; Naaman, the Assyrian, being much the subject of that day's work : and that one thing loved and esteemed more than Christ, whatever it be, is to be avoided, and the people warned to be careful to keep close to the God of Israel, spiritual Israel, and to give up all which is contrary to his nature, and to take
up Christ's cross, and follow him : for it is those who follow him in the regeneration, that are to be heirs of his kingdom.
In this year also was at the burial of our Friend, Jonathan Dickinson, at which we had a very large meeting ; he was a man generally well beloved by his friends and neighbours. In this meeting a passage, he had often told me in his health, was brought to my remembrance, I think worthy to be recorded to the end of time, which is as follows: " It happened at Port-Royal, in Jamaica, that two young men were at dinner with Jonathan, and divers other people of account in the world, and they were speaking about earthquakes, there having been one in that place formerly, which was very dreadful, having destroyed many houses and families. These two young men argued that earthquakes, and all other things came by nature, and denied a supernatural power, or Deity; insomuch that divers, surprised at such wicked discourse, and being ashamed of their company, left it; and at the same time the earth shook, and trembled exceedingly, as though astonished at such treason against its Sovereign and Creator, whose footstool it is: and when the earth thus moved, the company which remained were so astonished, that some ran one way, and some another, but these two atheistical young men staid in the room, and Jonathan with them, he believing that the providence of Almighty God could preserve him there if he pleased, and if not,
that it was in vain to fly; but the hand of God smote these two young men, so that they fell down; and, as Jonathan told me, he laid one on a bed, and the other on a couch, and they never spoke more, but died soon after.” This was the amazing end of these young men: a dreadful example to all Atheists, and dissolute and wicked livers. Oh! that young people might be warned, that the hand of God might be upon them for good, and that they would tenderly be concerned for their salvation.
On the 30th of the fourth month, 1723, my tenth child, named Thomas, died about midnight, having before buried nine. . It was some exercise to me thus to bury my children after another; but this did a little mitigate my sorrow, that I knew, that could I have all things relating to them according to my desire; could I see them grow up to be sober men and women, well married, have a competency in the world, &c. yet it was safer and better for them, and they more out of danger, being taken away in their infancy and innocency; and I fervently begged of the Almighty, that he would be pleased to take them away while innocent, rather than that they should live to be vicious or unrighteous men and women, and to bring scandal on the holy name of Christ, and upon our Christian profession; which cons sideration did mightily tend to settle and quiet my mind in my sorrowful exercise. The great Lord of all sanctify the sorrows and afflictions of