Sivut kuvina

quarters. A curious testimony to the honour and truth of the Quakers was here given by the gaolers of the prison. When they desired to transfer them from Newgate to Bridewell, they merely took their word that they would go, and they went without a keeper.

“For having (as I hinted before,) made up our packs, and taken leave of our friends, whom I was to leave behind, we took up our bundles on our shoulders, and walked, two and two abreast, through the Old Bailey, into Fleet-street, and so to Old Bridewell. And, it being about the middle of the afternoon, and the streets pretty full of people, both the shopkeepers, at their doors, and passengers, in the way, would stop us, and ask us what we were, and whither we were going; and when we had told them we were prisoners, going from one prison to another (from Newgate to Bridewell). What,' said they,' without a keeper ?'— No,' said we,' for our word, which we have given, is our keeper.' Some, thereupon, would advise us not to go to prison, but to go home. But we told them we would not do so: we could suffer for our testimony, but could not fly from it. I do not remember we had any abuse offered us, but were generally pitied by the people.”

Some curious passages occur respecting the condition of Newgate at that time, but, as our quotations have been already so copious, these, and many other interesting parts of his life, we are compelled to omit. After some months' further confinement, the prisoners were called to the bar, and, without further question, discharged. On Ellwood's discharge, he became the tutor of his friend's, Isaac Pennington's, children, which office he filled till his marriage. The history of this interval is filled up by various anecdotes, and by narratives of inhuman treatment and persecution on the part of the time. We have only room for one passage, respecting our great poet.

“Some little time before I went to Aylesbury prison, I was desired by my quondam master, Milton, to take a house for him, in the neighbourhood where I dwelt, that he might get out of the city, for the safety of himself and his family; the pestilence, then growing hot in London. I took a pretty box for him in Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice, and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well settled in it, but was prevented by that imprisonment.

“But, now, being released, and returned home, I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country.

After some common discourses had passed between us, he called for a manuscript of his, which, being brought, he delivered to me, bidding me to take it home with me, and read it at my leisure, and, when I had so done, return it to him, with my judgment thereupon.

“ When I came home, and had set myself to read it, I found it was that excellent poem, which he entituled Paradise Lost. After I had, with the utmost attention, read it through, I made him another

[ocr errors]

visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment for the favor he had done me, in communicating it to me. He asked me how I liked it, and what I thought of it, which I modestly, but freely, told him; and, after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, 'Thou hast said much here of Paradise Lost; but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found? He made me no answer, but sate, some time, in a muse; then brake off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.

“ After the sickness was over, and the city well cleansed, and become safely habitable again, he returned thither; and when, afterwards, I went to wait on him there, (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever

my occasions drew me to London,) he showed me his second poem, called • Paradise Regained,' and, in a pleasant tone, said to me, . This is owing to you, for you put it into my head at Chalfont; which, before, I had not thought of.””

It was during this interval that he met with the founder of his sect, George Fox, or G. F. as he was always styled, without further explanation. G. F. was moved of the Lord to travel from county to county, to advise and encourage friends to set monthly and quarterly meetings. In this goodly work he was assisted by Ellwood. After this, he commenced his courtship, and a most characteristic one it is.

“ The object of this affection was a friend, (whose name was Mary Ellis,) whom, for divers years, I had had an acquaintance with, in the way of common friendship only, and in whom I thought I then saw those fair prints of truth and solid virtue, which I afterwards found, in a sublime degree, in her; but what her condition in the world was, as to estate, I was wholly a stranger to, nor desired to know.

“ I had once, a year or two before, had an opportunity to do her a small piece of service, which she wanted some assistance in; wherein I acted with all sincerity and freedom of mind, not expecting or desiring any advantage by her, or reward from her, being very well satisfied in the act itself, that I had served a friend, and helped the helpless.

“ That little intercourse of common kindness between us ended, without the least thought, (I am verily persuaded, on her partwell assured on mine own,) of any other or further relation than that of free and fair friendship; nor did it, at that time, lead us into any closer conversation, or more intimate acquaintance, one with another, than had been before.

“ But, some time and that a good while,) after, I found my heart secretly drawn, and inclining towards her; yet was I not hasty in proposing, but waited to feel a satisfactory settlement of mind therein, before I made any step thereto.

“ After some time, I took an opportunity to open my mind therein unto my much honoured friends, Isaac and Mary Pennington, who then stood in parentum loco, in the place or stead of parent, to me. They, having solemnly weighed the matter, expressed their unanimity therewith ; and, indeed, their approbation thereof was no small confirmation

to me therein. Yet took I further deliberation; often retiring, in spirit, to the Lord, and crying to him for direction, before I addressed myself to her. At length, as I was sitting, all alone, waiting upon the Lord for counsel and guidance in this in itself, and) to me,

so important affair, I felt a word sweetly rise in me, as if I heard a voice, which said, ‘Go, and prevail.' And faith springing in my heart with the word, i immediately arose and went, nothing doubting.

“When I was come to her lodgings (which were about a mile from me) her maid told me that she was in her chamber, (for having been under some indisposition of body, which had obliged her to keep her chamser, she had not yet left it;) wherefore I desired the maid to acquaint her mistress that I was come to give her a visit; whereupon I was invited to go up to her, and, after some little time spent in common conversation, feeling my spirit weightily concerned, I solemnly opened my nind unto her, with respect to the particular business I came about, which I soon perceived was a great surprisal to her; for she had taken in n apprehension, (as others, also, had done,) that mine eye had been ixed elsewhere, and nearer home.

“ I used .ot many words to her: but I felt a divine power went along with the vords, and fixed the matter expressed by them so fast in her breast, tat (as she afterwards acknowledged to me) she could not shut it out.

I made, t that time, but a short visit; for, having told her I did not expectin answer from her now, but desired that she would, in the most solenn manner, weigh the proposal made, and, in due time, give me súh an answer thereunto as the Lord should give her, I took my leave o her, and departed ; leaving the issue to the Lord.

“ I had a jouney then at hand, which, I foresaw, would take me up about two week' time. Wherefore, the day before I was to set out, I went to visit her gain, to acquaint her with my journey, and excuse my absence; not y pressing her for an answer, but assuring her, that I felt in myself an ncrease of affection to her, and hoped to receive a suitable return frm her in the Lord's time; to whom, in the mean time, I committed bch her, myself, and the concern between us. And, indeed, I found, on y return, that I could not have left it in a better hand : for the Lord hd been my advocate in my absence, and had so far answered all her bjections, that, when I came to her again, she rather acquainted me ith them than urged them.

“ From that timeorwards, we entertained each other with affectionate kindness, in oter to marriage; which yet we did not hasten to, but went on delibertely. Neither did I use those vulgar ways of courtship, by making fruent and rich presents ; not only for that my outward condition wouli not comport with the expense ; but because I liked not to obtain, 'y such means, but preferred an unbribed affection."

When he returne from his journey, the business was quickly and happily cocluded :

“ From that time forard, I continued my visits to my best beloved friend, until we wei married; which was on the 28th day of

the eighth month (called October,) in the year 1669. We took each other to a select meeting of the ancient and grave friends of that country, holden in a friend's house, where, in those times, not only the monthly meeting for business, but the public meeting for worship, was sometimes kept. A very solemn meeting it was, and in a weighty frame of spirit we were; in which we sensibly felt the Lord with us, and joining us: the sense whereof remained with us all our lifetime; and was of good service, and very comfortable to us on all occasions."

The marriage, contracted in so sober and rationala manner, was attended by the happiness and domestic comfort.hat might have been anticipated." His wife appears to have possessed property; at any rate, Ellwood spent the remainder of his life in easy circumstances. When more quiet and ecure times had come in with the Revolution, he seems o have devoted himself to the controversial study and explaation of the doctrines of his sect; and, in defence of his opnion, to have maintained many a well contested wordy war. "He was early drawn into print, and the composition and publiation of pamphlets on religious topics appear to have been tle chief amusement and solace of his life. Not that he did not engage in more weighty studies, for we are indebted to him for a very excellent history of the Bible, and he moreove superintended the publication of the Life of Fox. At the nd of this Life, which, as respects Ellwood's latter years, is connued by a friend, we find a voluminous list of Ellwood's writngs, both those printed, and those which remain, or were leftsy him, in manuscript. Ellwood died at the very advanced ag of seventy-four, preserving, to the last moment, his intellects his most amiable disposition, and the respect of all who knewiim. The following passage gives an interesting summary ofhis character:

“ He lived many years (if not most of is time, after he was married,) at Hunger-Hil, in the parish of gmondersham, alias, Amersham, in Buckinghamshire, (though his hese stood in Hartfordshire, as aforesaid,) where the monthly meetigs of men and women were constantly kept, for that part of te county of Bucks; wherein he was very serviceable in writing, adsing, and exhorting to keep all things well, and in good order, acoding to truth, and the testimony thereof; and had a peculiar giftfor government in the church, and ordering things in monthly and uarterly meetings; and used to come up constantly to the yearly meing at London, and was very serviceable therein ; not only by his gve counsel and advice, but also in reading and writing on occagn, especially in difficult matters. He had a singular talent in incting and composing of things, epistles and papers, beyond many so that I must needs say, he was an ornament to the meeting, and wi be much missed therein, and many other ways. His wife died abit five years before him,

being a. solid weighty woman, who had a public testimony for the Lord and his truth, in meetings; and therefore the greater loss to him and friends. And for himself, he lived a private retired life, not concerning himself with much business in the world, but gave himself much to reading and writing, and lived in good repute among friends, and all sorts of people, as far as I heard of, to a pretty good age; but bore his health very well, being of a regular life and healthy constitution; only, in his latter years, was somewhat troubled, at times, with an asthma. And, at last, he was taken ill of a palsy, the 23d day of the second month, 1713, which he bore with great patience and resignation ; an account of which, and his dying words, I leave to them who were with him in the time of his sickness, the eighth day of which he departed this life, the 1st of the third month, in the seventy-fourth year of his age : having served his generation according to the will of God, he fell asleep, and was honourably buried the second day following, being the fourth of the third month: being accompanied from his own house by a great many friends and others, to the meeting house at Jordan's, (the meeting he belonged to,) and interred in the burying-ground there, where was a very large meeting, and great appearance of friends and others, several public friends being there from London and other parts ; and divers living testimonies borne to the truth he lived and died in, in a living remembrance of him, and his services in the church. A man of a comely aspect, of a free and generous disposition, of a courteous and affable temper, and pleasant conversation; a gentleman born and bred ; a scholar, a true Christian, an eminent author, a good neighbour, and kind friend; whose loss is much lamented, and will be much missed at home and abroad. The Lord (if it be his will) raise up many more such pillars, elders, and overseers of his flock, (as watchmen upon Sion's walls,) for his honour, and the benefit of his church and people; saith my soul, Amen.

J. W. London, the 30th of the

ninth month, 1713."

[ocr errors]

The writer, whom we have just quoted, refers to an interesting sketch of the closing scenes of this worthy and exemplary man, by George Bowles, which is prefixed to the volume. The following is an extract from it, and with it we close our account of this very curious and instructive work.

“ When I first came to him, which was soon after I heard of his being taken ill, which was the 24th day of the second month, I found him very much disabled by the distemper, which was thought to be a palsy, which had seized him, especially on his right side, so that he could not stand alone, nor help himself, but a little with his left hand ; and his speech was also very much interrupted, insomuch that it was with great difficulty, for the most part, that he expressed himself so as to be understood. Some time after I came to him, there being also other friends with him, we sate down together under a mighty exercise of spirit, waiting upon the Lord in deep silence, with our eye

« EdellinenJatka »