« AnteriorContinuar »
but the Lord was with us, which made sufficient amends for all the bodily hardships we met with.
I got home well, but weary; and was well and joyfully received by my loving spouse, children, and servants; and I was truly thankful to the Most High for his presence and goodness continued to me : so that, though I perceived my bodily strength to decline apace, my sight, hearing, and voice, failing much, I have occasion to believe, at times I was helped even beyond nature in the work of Christ, my dear Lord and Master,
The 27th of the Tenth month I heard the news of the death of my dear friend, John Lee, by one sent to desire my company at his burial. It affected me with sorrow, he being an old acquaintance and inward friend of mine, with whom I had travelled many miles. He was a living, serviceable minister of the gospel of Christ, and instrumental to convince divers of that principle of Divine light and truth, which we profess. I could not be at his burial, because of my indisposition, and the unseasonableness of the weather ; yet I think it my duty to say this concerning him, that our love and friendship was constant and entire unto the end, having been acquainted about thirty-five years, as near as I can remember.
In the Eleventh month, as I was meditating in my closet, on the duty and beauty of that great virtue of temperance, it appeared very bright to the view of my mind, and the great benefit of it to those who loved and lived in it: Ist. As to reli
gion, it tends to keep the mind in an even temper, which is a help to devotion, and the practice of religious duties. 2dly. It is a great preservative to health and a good constitution. 3dly. It is a blessing to posterity, in many considerations. Whereas intemperance destroys the health, stains the reputation, hurts posterity, (in respect to a healthy constitution of body, and estate), ruins many families, brings to poverty and disgrace, and what is yet worst of all, is a great let to religion and the true fear of God, and is a great scandal to any one who make profession of the Christian religion.
In this month 1 accompanied William Piggot, (who lately arrived from London, on a religious visit to the meetings of friends in America.) From Philadelphia we went to my house at Frankfort, and from thence to North Wales, and had two large satisfactory meetings on the First-day; next day we were at the monthly-meeting at Abington, the third day at Frankfort, and fourth day at German-Town; fifth day I went to Philadelphia week-day-meeting, and the said friend to Abington general-meeting; and a few days after we met again at the quarterly-meeting of ministers and elders at Philadelphia.
The eighth of the Twelfth month was youth's-meeting at Frankfort; many dying about this time, I was concerned in the meeting to put friends in mind of their mortality; and that I had told friends lately, at their meetings at Abington
and Philadelphia, that as I was riding from my house to Philadelphia, about a mile from the city, I saw (in the vision of life) the hand of the Lord stretched over the city and province, with a rod in it, in order to correct the inhabitants for their sins and iniquities; which sight affected my mind greatly; and although I did not hear any vocal voice, nor see any visible hand, yet it was as plainly revealed to me as though I had : and that notwithstanding I understood some slighted that testimony, yet I observed to them, that since that time more people were taken away than common, as they now might see; and indeed that inward sight and sense I had of the displeasure of God for the sins of the times, made great impression on my mind; and that no flesh might glory, the Lord took, from the evil to come, several sober, well-inclined young people, as well as divers whose lives and conversations were evil and vicious; so that all had need to be warned to be watchful, and turn to the Lord, lest he come at unawares, and call us suddenly out of the world unprepared. In the Twelfth and First months many died, of all ages and professions; and now some, who would hardly give credit to what I had delivered in several meetings, began to see the fulfilling of it, and great talk there was about it. And many solid and large meetings we had with the people at divers funerals about this time, exhorting the people not to slight the present visitation of the Almighty, and to prepare for
eternity, to meet the Judge of the quick and the dead, who stands at the door. And among many that were taken away by death, were some few of my particular friends; and first, dear Hannah Hill, who was a bright example of piety and charity; she was like a nursing mother to me in my afflictions, as was her husband more like a brother than one not related, whose generous entertainment I may never forget at times. Thomas Griffith, and Elizabeth his wife, died also about this time : Thomas was a serviceable man, and well esteemed in our society; and his wife a noted woman for being helpful to, and visiting the sick. She chose the house of mourning, rather than the house of mirth. These were worthy ancients, who made peaceable and good ends, and to whom may be properly applied that remarkable text of scripture, Mark the upright, and behold the just, for the end of that man is, peace.
In the Second month, 1727, I proceeded on a voyage to Barbadoes, on account of business, for the support of my family, and in order to discharge my just debts, which were occasioned by great losses by sea and land. Many of my friends were kind to me, and sent a cargo of goods in the sloop John, Anthony Peel master, consigned to me for sales and returns. When the vessel was loaded, she proceeded down the river, and I went by land to Salem, and was at meeting there on First-day, and on third-day went aboard the
sloop at Elsenborough. On the 8th of the Second month we took in our boat and anchors, and proceeded to sea. From Elsenborough and the Capes I wrote to my wife, giving her an account how it was with me, and encouraged her to bear my absence with patience : it was indeed very hard for us to part.
I may not omit taking notice of an exercise which I felt one night as I lay on my bed in Philadelphia, (on the 21st of the First month, my sleep being taken from me,) which I recollected and wrote down on board the aforesaid vessel, and was in this manner, viz.
“ That the Lord was angry with the people of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, because of the great sins and wickedness which were committed by the inhabitants in public-houses, and elsewhere; and that the Lord was angry with the magistrates also, because they use not their power as they might do, in order to suppress wickedness; and do not, so much as they ought, put the laws already made, in execution, against profaneness and immorality. And the Lord is angry with the representatives of the people of the land, because they take not so much care to suppress vice and wickedness, and wicked houses, in which our youth are grossly corrupted, as they ought to do. And also the Lord is angry with many of the better sort of the people, because they seek after and love the things of this world, more than the things of his kingdom: and it was shewed me, that the