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only very lately I rodeout twice, a quarter of a mile at a time, which wearied me much. My love in the truth is to you all. G. F.”
Because I was not well able to travel, the Friends of the island concluded to have their men's and women's meeting for the service of the church at Thomas Rouse's, where I lay ; by which means I was present at each of their meetings, and had very good service for the Lord in both. For they had need of information in many things, divers disorders being crept in for want of care and watchfulness. “I exhorted them, more especially at the men's meeting, to be careful with respect to marriages, to prevent Friends marrying in near kindreds, and also to prevent over-hasty proceedings towards second marriages after the death of a former husband or wife; advising that a decent regard be had in such cases to the memory of the deceased husband or wife. As to Friends' children marrying too young, as at thirteen or fourteen years of age, I showed the unfitness thereof, and the inconveniences and hurts that attend such childish marriages. I admonished them to purge the floor thoroughly, and to sweep their houses very clean, that nothing might remain that would defile; and that all should take care, that nothing be spoken out of their meetings to the blemishing or desaming one of another. Concerning registering of marriages, births, and burials, I advised them to keep exact records of each in distinct books for that only use; and also to record in a book for that purpose, the condemnations of such as went out from truth into disorderly practices, and the repentance and restoration of such as returned again. I recommended to their care the providing of convenient burying places for Friends, which in some parts were yet wanting. Some directions also I gave them concerning wills, and the ordering of legacies left by Friends for public uses, and other things relating to the affairs of the church. Respecting their negroes, I desired them to endeavour to train them up in the fear of God, as well those that were bought with their money, as them that were born in their families, that all might come to the knowledge of the Lord; that so, with Joshua, every master of a family might say, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I desired also, that they would cause their overseers to deal mildly and gently with their negroes, and not use cruelty towards them, as the manner of some hath been and is; and that after certain years of servitude they should make them free.’ Many sweet and precious things were opened in these meetings, by the spirit and in the power of the Lord, to the edisying, confirming, and building up of Friends both in the faith and holy order of the gospel.
After these meetings, the vessel bound for England not being gone, I was moved to write another epistle to Friends there; the copy whereof follows:
• DEAR Friends and brethren, to whom is my love in that which never changeth, but remains in glory, which is over all, the top and cornerstone. In this all have peace and life, as ye dwell in the blessed seed, wherein all is blessed, over that which brought the curse; where all shortness, narrowness of spirit, brittleness, and peevishness are. Therefore keep the holy order of the gospel. Keep in this blessed seed, where all may be kept in temperance, in patience, in love, in meekness, in righteousness and holiness, and in peace; in which the Lord may be seen amongst you, and no way dishonoured, but glorified by you all. In all your meetings, in cities, towns, and countries, men's meetings, women's meetings, and others, let righteousness flow among you, the holy truth be uppermost, the pure spirit your guide and leader, and the holy wisdom from above your orderer, that is pure gentle and easy to be intreated. Keep in the religion that preserves from the spots of the world, which is pure and undefiled in God's sight. Keep in the pure and holy worship, in which the pure and holy God is worshipped, viz. in the spirit, and in the truth, which the devil is out of who is the author of all unholiness, and of that which dishonours God. Be tender of God's glory, of his honour, and of his blessed and holy name, in which ye are gathered. All who profess the truth, see that ye walk in it, in righteousness, holiness, and godliness; for “holiness becomes the house of God, the household of faith.” That which becomes God's house, God loves. For he loves righteousness. And that is the ornament which becomes his house and all his family. Therefore see that righteousness run down in all your assemblies, that it flow, to drive away all unrighteousness. This preserves your peace with God; for in righteousness ye all have peace with the righteous God of peace, and one with another. And so every one that bears the name of the anointed, that high title of being a christian, named after the heavenly man, see that ye be in the divine nature and made conformable unto his image, even the image of the heavenly divine man, who was before that image which Adam and Eve got from satan in the fall; so that in none of you that fallen image may appear, but his image, and you made conformable unto him. Here translation is showed forth in life and conversation, not in words only; yea, and conversion and repentance, which is a change of the nature, of the mind, and of the heart, of the spirit and affections, which have been below, and come to be set above; and so receive the things that are from above, and have the conversation in heaven, not that conversation which is according to the power of the prince of the air, that now rules in the disobedient. So be faithful; this is the word of the Lord God unto you all. See, that godliness, holiness, righteousness, truth, and virtue, the fruits of the good spirit, flow over the bad and its fruits, that ye may answer that which is of God in all; for your heavenly Father is glorified, in that you bring forth much fruit. Therefore ye, who are plants of his planting, his trees of righteousness, see that every tree be full of fruit. Keep in true humility, and in the true love of God, which doth edify his body, that the true nourishment from the head, the refreshings, springs, and rivers of water, and bread of life may be plenteously known and felt amongst you, that so praises may ascend to God. Be faithful to the Lord God, and just and true in all your dealings and doings with and towards men. Be not negligent in your men's meetings to admonish, exhort, and reprove, in the spirit of love and of meekness, and to seek that which is lost, and to bring back again that which hath been driven away. Let all minds, spirits, souls, and hearts, be bended down under the yoke of Christ Jesus, the power of God. Much I could write, but am weak, and have been mostly since I left you. Burdens and travails I have been under, and gone through many ways; but it is well. The Lord Almighty knows my work, which he hath sent me forth to do by his everlasting arm and power, which is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be his holy name, which I am in, and in which my love is to you all. G. F.”
After I was able to go abroad, and had been a little amongst Friends, I went to visit the governor; Lewis Morrice, Thomas Rouse, and some other Friends being with me. He received us very civilly, and treated us very kindly; making us dine with him, and keeping us most part of the day before he let us go away.
The same week I went to Bridge-Town. There was to be a general meeting of Friends that week; and the visit I had made to the governor, and the kind reception I had with him, being generally known to the officers, civil and military, many came to this meeting from most parts of the island, and those not of the meanest rank; divers of them being judges or justices, colonels or captains; so that a very great meeting we had of Friends and others. The Lord's blessed power was plentifully with us, and though I was somewhat straightened for time, three other Friends having spoken before me, the Lord opened things through me to the general and great satisfaction of those present. Colonel Lewis Morrice came to this meeting, and with him a judge in the country, whose name was Ralph Fretwell; who was well satisfied and received the truth.
Paul Gwin, a jangling Baptist, came into the meeting, and began to babble, and asked me, “How I spelt Cain? and whether I had the same spirit as the apostles had " I told him, ‘Yes.’ And he bade the judge take notice of it. I told him, “He that had not a measure of the same holy ghost as the apostles had, was possessed with an unclean ghost.’ And then he went his way.
Wol II. 15
I went home with Lewis Morrice that night, being about nine or ten miles; going part of the way by boat, the rest on horseback. The place where his plantation was, I thought to be the finest air of the island. Next day Thomas Briggs and William Edmundson came to see me, they intending to leave the island the day following, and to go upon the Lord's service to Antigua and Nevis. Lewis Morrice went with them. At Antigua they had several good meetings, to which there was a great resort of people; and many were convinced. But when they went to Nevis the governor, an old persecutor, sent soldiers on board the vessel, to stop them, and would not suffer them to land. Wherefore, after Friends of the place had been on board the vessel with them, and they had been sweetly refreshed together, in feeling the Lord's power and presence amongst them, they returned to Antigua ; where having staid a while longer, they came again to Barbadoes; Thomas Briggs being very weak and ill.
Of the other Friends that came over with me, James Lancaster, John Cartwright, and George Pattison, were gone some time before to Jamaica, and others to other places; so that few remained in Barbadoes with me. Yet we had many great and precious meetings, both for worship, and for the affairs of the church; to the former of which many of other societies came. At one of these meetings, colonel Lyne, a sober person, was so well satisfied with what I declared, that he afterward said, ‘Now I can gainsay such as I have heard speak evil of you; who say you do not own Christ, nor that he died: whereas I perceive you exalt Christ in all his offices, beyond what I have ever heard before.’ This man, observing one to take in writing the heads of what I delivered, desired him to let him have a copy of it; and staid another day with us before he went away; so great a love was raised in him to the truth. And indeed a very great convincement there was in most parts of the island; which made the priests and some professors fret and rage. Our meetings were very large, and free from disturbance from the government; though the envious priests and professors endeavoured to stir up the magistrates against us. When they found they could not prevail that way, some of them that were Baptists came to the meeting at the town, which was full of people of several ranks and qualities. A great company came with them; and they brought a slanderous paper written by John Pennyman, with which they made a great noise. But the Lord gave me wisdom and utterance to answer their cavils; so that the auditory generally received satisfaction, and those quarrelsome professors lost ground. When they had wearied themselves with clamour, they went away; but the people staying, the meeting was continued; the things they cavilled about were further opened and cleared, and the life and power of God came over all. But the rage and envy in our adversaries did not cease; they endeavoured to defame Friends with many false and scandalous reports, which they spread through the island Whereupon I, with some other Friends, drew up a paper, to go forth in the name of the people called Quakers, for the clearing truth and Friends from those false reports. It was after this manner:
‘For the Governor of Barbadoes, with his council and assembly, and all others in power, both civil and military, in this island; from the people called Quakers.
‘WHEREAs many scandalous lies and slanders have been cast upon us, to render us odious; as that “We deny God, and Christ Jesus, and the scriptures of truth,” &c. This is to inform you, that all our books and declarations, which for these many years have been published to the world, clearly testify the contrary. Yet, for your satisfaction, we now plainly and sincerely declare, that we own and believe in God, the only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, who is the creator of all things both in heaven and in the earth, and the preserver of all that he hath made; who is God over all, blessed for ever; to whom be all honour, glory, dominion, praise and thanksgiving, both now and for evermore! and we own and believe in Jesus Christ, his beloved and only begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased; who was conceived by the holy ghost, and born of the virgin Mary; in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers; all things were created by him. And we own and believe that he was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; and that he was crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates of Jerusalem; and that he was buried, and rose again the third day by the power of his Father, for our justification; and we believe that he ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who was the soundation of the holy prophets and apostles, is our foundation; and we believe there is no other foundation to be laid but that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who we believe tasted death for every man, and shed his blood for all men, and is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world: according as John the Baptist testified of him, when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.” John i. 29. We believe that he alone is our Redeemer and Saviour, even the captain of our salvation, who saves us from sin, as well as from hell and the wrath to come, and destroys the devil and his works; who is the seed of the woman that bruises the serpent's head, to wit, Christ Jesus, the Alpha and Omega,