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we had a large meeting, where some were convinced: this meeting was quiet. But to a meeting before this came the bailiff of the hundred, almost drunk, pretending he was to take up the speakers. There was a mighty power of God in the meeting; so that, although he raged, it limited him, that he could not break up the meeting. When it was over I staid awhile, and he staid also. After some time I spoke to him, and so passed quietly away. At night some rude people came, and shot off a musket against the house; but did not hurt any body. Thus the Lord's power came over all, and chained down the unruly spirits, so that we escaped them. We came to Ross that night, and had a meeting at James Merrick's. After this we came into Gloucestershire, and had a general men's meeting at Nathaniel Crips', where all the Monthly Meetings were settled in the Lord's everlasting power; and the heirs of salvation were exhorted to take their possessions in the gospel, the power of God, which was and is the authority of their meetings. Many blessed meetings we had in that county, before we came to Bristol. And after several powerful seasons, the men's and women's meetings were settled there also. As I was lying in bed at Bristol, the word of the Lord came to me, that I must go back to London. Next morning Alexander Parker and several others came to me. I asked them, what they felt 7 they asked me, what was upon me? I told them, I felt I must return to London. They said, the same was upon them. So we gave up to return to London; for which way the Lord moved and led us, thither we went in his power. Leaving Bristol, we passed into Wiltshire, and established the men's Monthly Meetings in the Lord's power there; and visited Friends till we came to London. After we had visited Friends in the city, I was moved to exhort them to bring all their marriages to the men's and women's meetings, that they might lay them before the faithful; that care might be taken to prevent such disorders as had been committed by some. For many had gone together in marriage contrary to their relations' minds; and some young, raw people, that came among us, had mixed with the world. Widows had married without making provision for their children by their former husbands, before their second marriage. Yet I had given forth a paper concerning marriages about the year 1653, when truth was but little spread, advising Friends, who might be concerned in that case, ‘That they might lay it before the faithful in time, before any thing was concluded; and afterwards publish it in the end of a meeting, or in a market, as they were moved thereto. And when all things were found clear, being free from all others, and their relations satisfied, they might appoint a meeting on purpose, for the taking of each other; in the pre
sence of at least twelve faithful witnesses.” Yet these directions not being observed, and truth being now more spread over the nation, it was ordered by the same power and spirit of God, ‘that marriages should be laid before the men's Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, or as the meetings were then established; that Friends might see, that the relations of those who proceeded to marriage were satisfied; that the parties were clear from all others; and that widows had made provision for their first husband's children, before they married again; and what else was needful to be enquired into; that all things might be kept clean and pure, and be done in righteousness to the glory of God.” Afterwards it was ordered in the wisdom of God, ‘that if either of the parties intending to marry came out of another nation, county, or Monthly Meeting, they should bring a certificate from the Monthly Mceting to which they belonged; for the satisfaction of the Monthly Meeting before which they came to lay their intentions of marriage.” After these things, with many other services for God, were set in order, and settled in the churches in the city. I passed out of London, in the leadings of the Lord's power, into Hertfordshire. After I had visited Friends there, and the men's Monthly Meetings were settled, I had a great meeting at Baldock of many sorts of people. Then returning towards London by Waltham, I advised the setting up of a school there for teaching boys; and also a women's school to be opened at Shacklewell for instructing girls and young maidens, in whatsoever things were civil and useful in the creation. Thus, after several precious meetings in the country, I came to London again, where I staid awhile in the work and service of the Lord; and then went into Buckinghamshire, where I had many precious meetings. At John Brown's, of Weston, near Aylesbury, some of the men Friends of each meeting being gathered together, the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were established, in the order of the gospel, the power of God; which confirmed it in all that felt it, who came thereby to see and feel that the power of God was the authority of their meetings. I then went to Nathaniel Ball's, at North Newton, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, who was a friend in the ministry. And there being a general meeting, where some of all the meetings were present, the Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the power of God; and Friends were very glad of them; for they came into their services in the church, to take care for God's glory. After this meeting we passed through the county visiting Friends, till we came into Gloucestershire, and visiting Friends through that county also, we came into Monmouthshire, to Richard Hambery's; where meeting with some of all the meetings of that country, the Monthly Meetings were settled there in the Lord's power, that all in it might take care of God's glory, and admonish and exhort such as did not walk as became the gospel. And indeed, these meetings made a great reformation amongst people, insomuch that the very justices took notice of the usefulness and service thereof. Richard Hambery and his wife accompanied us a day's journey, visiting Friends, till we came to a widow's, where we lay that night. From thence we passed over the hills, next day, visiting Friends, and declaring the truth to people, till we came to another widow’s, where we had a meeting. The woman could not speak English; yet she praised the Lord for sending us to visit them. " . We travelled till we came to Swansey, where on the first-day we had a large and precious meeting, the Lord's presence being eminently amongst us. On a week-day afterwards we had a general meeting beyond Swansey, of men Friends from Swansey, Tenby, Haverfordwest, and other places; and the Monthly Meetings were settled in the gospel order, and received by Friends in the power of the Lord; whose truth was over all. From hence we endeavoured to get over the water into Cornwall: and in order thereunto went back through Swansey to Mumbles, thinking to have got passage there; but the master deceived us; for though he had promised to carry us, when we came he would not. We went to another place, where was a passage-boat, into which we got our horses; but some rude men in the boat (though called gentlemen,) threatened to pistol the master if he took us in; who, being afraid of them, turned our horses out again; which put us out of hopes of getting over that way. Wherefore, turning back into the country, we staid up all night; and about the second hour in the morning took horse, and travelled till we came near Cardiff, where we staid one night. The next day we came to Newport, and it being market-day there, several Friends came to us, with whom we sat awhile; and after a fine refreshing season together, we parted from them, and went forward. Beyond this market-town we overtook a man who lingered on the way, as if he staid for somebody; but when we came up to him, he rode along with us and asked us many questions. At length meeting with . two, who seemed to be pages to some great persons, he took acquaintance with them; and I heard him tell them he would stop us, and take us up. We rode on ; and when he came to us, and would have stopped us, I told him, “none ought to stop us on the king's highway, for it was as free for us as for them;’ and I was moved to exhort him to fear the Lord. Then he galloped away before us; and I perceived his intent was to stop us at Shipton, in Wales, a garrison-town, through which we were to pass. When we were come to Shipton, John-ap-John being with me, we walked down the hill into the town, leading our horses. It being market-day there, several Friends met us, and would have had us Wol. II.-10
to an inn. But we were not to go into any inn, so we walked directly through the town over the bridge, and then were out of the limits of that town. Thus the Lord's everlasting arm and power preserved us, and carried us over in his work and service. The next first-day we had a large meeting in the forest of Dean; and all was quiet. Next day we passed over the water to Oldstone; where after we had visited Friends, we came again to William Yeoman's, at Jubb's Court, in Somersetshire. From thence we went to a meeting at Posset, whither several Friends of Bristol came to us. After which we went further into the country, and had several large meetings. The Lord's living presence was with us, supporting and refreshing us in our labour and travel in his service. We came to a place near Minehead, where we had a general meeting of the men Friends in Somersetshire. There came also a cheat, whom some friendly people would have had me to have taken along with me. I saw he was a cheat; therefore bid them bring him to me, and see whether he could look me in the face. Some were ready to think I was too hard towards him, because I would not let him go along with me; but when they brought him to me, he was not able to look me in the face, but looked hither and thither; for he was indeed a cheat, and had cheated a priest, by pretending himself to be a minister, and had got the priest's suit, and went away with it. After the meeting we passed to Minehead, where we tarried that night. In the night I had an exercise upon me, from a sense I had of a dark spirit that was working and striving to get up to disturb the church of Christ. Next morning I was moved to write a few lines to Friends, as a warning thereof, as follows:
‘DEAR FRIENDS,-Live in the power of the Lord God, in his seed that is set over all, and is over all trials that you may have from the dark spirit, which would be owned in its actings, and thrust itself amongst you; which is not come as yet: but in the power of the Lord God, and his seed, keep over it, and bring it to condemnation. For I felt a kind of dark spirit thrusting itself up towards you, and heaving up last night; but you may keep it down with the power of God; that the witness may arise to condemn its actings, so far as it hath spread its dark works before it have any admittance. So no more, but my love in the seed of God, which changeth not. G. F.
“Minehead in Somersetshire, the
22d of the 4th month, 1668.”
The next day several Friends of Minehead accompanied us as far as Barnstable and Appledon in Devonshire, where we had s meeting.
Barnstable had been a bloody persecuting town. There were two men Friends of that town, who had been a great while at sea; and coming home to visit their relations (one of them having a wife and children,) the mayor of the town sent for them, under pretence of discourse with them; and put the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to them. Because they could not swear, he sent them to Exeter gaol, where judge Archer premunired them, and kept them till one of them died in prison. When I heard of this, I was moved to write a letter to judge Archer, and another to that mayor of Barnstable, laying their wicked and unchristian actions upon their heads; and letting them know, that the “blood of that man would be required at their hands.’ After a precious meeting at Appledon among some faithful Friends there, we passed to Stratton, and staid at an inn all night. Next day we rode to Humphrey Lower's, where we had a very precious meeting; the next day to Truro; so visiting Friends till we came to the Land's End. Then coming by the south part of that county, we visited Friends till we came to Tregangeeves, where at Loveday Hambley's we had a general meeting for all the county; in which the Monthly Meetings were settled in the Lord's power, and in the blessed order of the gospel; that all who were faithful might admonish and exhort such as walked not according to the gospel; that so the house of God might be kept clean, righteousness might run down, and all unrighteousness be swept away. Several, who had run out, were brought to condemn what they had done amiss; and through repentance came in again. Being clear of that county, we came into Devonshire, and had a meeting amongst Friends at Plymouth. Whence passing to Richard Brown's, we came to the widow Philips', where we had some men Friends from all the meetings together; and there the men's Monthly Meetings were settled in the heavenly order of the gospel, the power of God; which answered the witness of God in all. There was a great noise of a troop of horse coming to disturb our meeting; but the Lord's power prevented it, and preserved us in peace and safety. After things were well settled, and the meeting done, we came to King's bridge and visited Friends thereaway. Then (leaving Friends in those parts well settled in the power of God,) we passed to Topsham and Membury, visiting Friends, and having many meetings in the way till we came to Ilchester in Somersetshire. Here we had a general men's meeting, and therein settled the men's Monthly Meetings for that county in the Lord's everlasting power, the order of the gospel. After the meetings were settled, and Friends refreshed, comforted in the Lord's power, and established upon Christ, their rock and foundation, we passed to Puddimore; where, at William Beatons', we had a blessed meeting and all was quiet: though the constables had threatened before.