Page images
PDF
EPUB

one of

suitable opportunity I went to the public-house; and seeing the man amongst much company, I called him aside, and in the fear and dread of the Almighty, expressed to him what rested on my mind. He took it kindly, and afterwards showed more regard to me than before. In a few years afterwards he died, middle-aged; and I often thought, that had I neglected my duty in that case, it would have given ine great trouble; and I was humbly thankful to my gracious Father, who had supported me berein.

My employer having a negro woman, sold her, and desired me to write a bill of sale, the man being waiting who bought her. The thing was sudden; and though I felt uneasy at the thoughts of writing an instrument of slavery for

my fellow-creatures, yet I remembered that I was bired by the year, that it was my master who directed me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a member of our society, who bought her; so through weakness, I gave way, and wrote it; but, at the executing of it, I was so afflicted in my mind, that I said before my master and the friend, that I believed slave-keeping to be a practice inconsistent with the Christian religion. This, in some degree, abated my uneasiness; yet as often as I reflected seriously upon it, I thought I should bave been clearer, if I had desired to be excused from it, as a thing against my conscience; for such it was. Some time after this, a young man of our society, spoke to me to write a conveyance of a slave to bim; he having lately taken à negro into his house. I told him I was not easy to write it; for, though many of our meeting and in other places kept slaves, I still believed the practice was not right; and desired to be excused from the writing. I spoke to him in good will; and he told me that keeping slaves was not altogether agreea. ble to his mind; but that the slave being a gift made to his wife, he had accepted her.

CHAPTER II.

1743–1748.

His first journey, on a religious visit, in East Jersey. Thoughts on merchandizing, and learning a trade.- Second journey into Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolinu.— Third journcy through part of W'est and Eust Jersey.- Fourth journey through New York and Long Islund, to New England. - Anil his fifth journey to the Eastern shore of Muryluni, and the lower Counties on Deluware.

My esteemed friend Abraham Farrington, being about to make a visit to friends on the eastern side of this province, and liaving no companion, he proposed to me to go with him; and alier a conferenee with some elderly friends, I agreed to go. We set out on the 5th of ninth ino. 1743; had an evening meeting at a tavarn in Brunswick, a town in which vone of our society dwelt; the room was full, and the people quiet. Thence to Amboy, and bad an evening meeting in the court-house; to which came inany people, amongst whom were several members of assembly, they being in town on the public affairs of the province. In both these meetings my ancient companion was engaged to preach largely in the love of the gospel. Thence we went to Woodbridge, Raway, and Plainfield; and had six or seven meetings in places where friends' meetings are not usually held, chiefly attended by Presbyterians, and iny beloved companion was frequently strengthened to publish the word of life amongst them. As for me, I was often silent through the meetings; and when I spake, it was with much care, that I might speak only what truth opened. My mind was often tender, and I learned some profitable lessons. We were out about two weeks.

Near this time, being on some outward business in which several families were concerned, and which was attended with difficulties, some things relating thereto not being clearly stated, nor rightly understood by all, there arose some heat in the minds of the parties, and one valuable friend got off his watch. I had a great regard for him, and felt a strong inclination, after matters were settled, to speak to him concerning his conduct in that case; but being a youth, and he far advanced in age and experience, my way appeared difficult; after some days deliberation, and inward seeking to the Lord for assistance, I was made subject; so that I expressed what lay upon me, in a way which became my youth and his years; and though it was a barij task to me, it was well taken, and I believe was useful to us both.

Having now been several years with my employer, and he doing less in merchandize than bererolore, I was ihcuglitsul about some other way of business; perceiving merchandize to be attended with much cumber in the way of trad. ing in these parts.

My mind through the power of truth, was in a good nie. gree weaned from the desire of ouiward greatness, and I was learning to be content with real conveniences, that were not cosily; so that a way of life free from much entanglement, appeared best for ine, though the income might be small. I had several offers of business that appeared profitable, but I did not see my way clear to accept of ibem; believing they would be attended with more outward care and cumber than was required of me to engage in. I saw that au humble man, with the blessing of the Lord, migit live on a l'tile; and that where the heart was set on greatness, success in business did not satisfy the craving; but that commonly with an increase of wealib, ibe desire of wealth increased. There was a care on my mind so to pass my tiine, that nothing might binder me from the most steady attention to the voice of the true Shepherd.

My employer, though now a retailer ol goods, was by trade a tailor, and kept a servant man at that business; and I began to think about learning the trade, expecting that if I should setile, I miglit, by this trade, and a liule retailing of goods, get a living in a plain way, without the load of great business. I mentioned it to my employer, and we soon agreed on terms; and when I had sure from the affairs of merchandize, I worked witli bis man. I believed the hand of providence pointed out this business for me; and I was taught to be content with it, though I felt at tiines a disposition that would have songht for sonetising greater; but, ihrough the revelation of Jesus Christ, I had seen the happiness of humility, and there was an earnest desire in me to enter deeply into it; at times this desire arose to a degree of fervent supplication, wherein my soul was so environed with heavenly light and consolation, that things were made easy to me which had been otherwise.

After some time my employer's wife died; she was a virtuous woman, and generally beloved of her neighbors. Soon after this he left shopkeeping, and we parted. I then wrought at my trade, as a tailor; carefully attended meetings for worship and discipline; and found an enlargement of gospel love in my mind, and therein a concern to visit friends in some of the back settlements of Pennsylvania and Virginia. Being thoughtful about a companion, I expressed it to my beloved friend, Isaac Andrews, who told me that he had drawings to the same places; and also to go through Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. After a considerable time, and several conferences with him, I felt easy to accompany him throughout, if way opened for it. I opened the case in our monthly-meeting, and friends expressing their unity therewith, we obtained certificates to travel as companions; he from Haddonfield, and I from Burlington.

We left our province on the twelfth of third month, 1746, and had several meetings in the upper part of Chester county, and near Lancaster; in some of which the love of Christ prevailed, uniting us together in his service. We then crossed the river Susquehannah, and had several meetings in a new settlement, called the Red Lands. It is the poorer sort of people that commonly begin to improve remote deserts; with a small stock they have houses to build, lands to clear and fence, corn to raise, clothes to provide, and children to educate; so that friends who visit such may well sympathize with them in their hardships in the wilderness; and though the best entertainment that they can give, may seem coarse to some who are used to cities, old settled places, it becomes the disciples of Christ to be therewith content. Our hearts were sometimes enlarged in the love of our heavenly Father amongst these people; and the sweet influence of his spirit supported us through some difficulties: 10 Him be the praise.

or

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and Shanando, and bad meetings; some of which were comfortable and edifying. From Shabando, we set off in the afternoon for the old settlements of friends in Virginia; the first night we, with our guide, lodged in the woods, our horses feeding near us; but he being poorly provided with a horse, and we young, and having good horses, were free the next day to part with him. In two days after, we reached our friend John Cheagle's, in Virginia. We took the meetings in our way through Virginia; were in some degree baptized into a feeling sense of the conditions of the people; and our exercise in general was more painful in these old settlements, than it bad been amongst the back inhabitants; yet through the goodness of our heavenly Father, the well of living waters was at times opened to our encouragement, and the refreshment of the sincere-hearted. We went on to Perquimons, in North Carolina; bad several large meetings, and found some openness in those parts, and a hopeful appearance amongst the young people. Afterwards we turned again to Virginia, and attended most of the meetings which we had not been at before, laboring amongst friends in the love of Jesus Christ, as ability was given; thence went to the mountains, up James' river to a new settlement, and had several meetings amongst the people, some of whom bad lately joined in membership with our society. In our journeying to and fro, we found some honest-bearted friends, who appeared to be concerned for the cause of truth among a backsliding people.

From Virginia, we crossed over the river Patoinac, at Hoe's ferry, and made a general visit to the meetings of friends on the western shore of Maryland; and were at their quarterly meeting. We had some hard labor amongst them, endeavoring to discharge our duty honestly as way opened, in the love of truth. Thence taking sundry meetings in our way, we passed towards home which, ihrough the favor of Divine Providence, we reached the sixteenth of sixth month, 1746; and I may say, that through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies selfish desires,

« PreviousContinue »