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next day I went to the week day meeting at Providence
, and on first day was at Springfield; from whence I re. turned home.
The 23d of the ninth month, I left home again, and went to Philadelphia, and from thence with Daniel Stanton, John Easton, and John Proud, Jun. (the two latter ai Rhode Island), to Radnor meeting, and from thence to Goshen meeting, and by the coldness of the weather, and crossing several creeks, I got a cold, which settled on my lungs, so that, in conversation, I was hoarse ; but I was helped in meetings to admiration; for which I was truly thankful to the Almighty, the great helper of his servants
and children. We had a meeting with an ancient friend : who said she had above two hundred who called her
mother, being her children by blood and marriage to the fourth generation : we took our leave of her, as never es. pecting to see each other more, and parted in tenderness of heart. One of this friend's grandsons went with us to Concord, where, on a first day, we had a very large meet. ing, and an evening meeting at Moses Mendenhall's; and the remainder of the week we had meetings at Birming
. ham, Kennet, New-Garden, Marlborough, and the monthly meeting at Center, on the seventh day following
, at which were many young people ; for whose sakes I was drawn and moved, in my exercise of the ministry, to shew the rise and design of our meetings of discipline.
Ist. That the same power that gathered us to be a people, inclined our elders to establish those meetings
, and settle them in most parts where we were gathered and had meetings for the worship of God.
2d. They were advised to do their business, and speak to their affairs, in the sense of the same power, spirit
, and wisdom of Christ, which, as it had raised us, would
, as we kept to it, preserve us to be a people to the praise of God's holy name.
3d. They were advised, in doing their business, not to run out into many unnecessary words, which might lead to contention, and spending much time to little purpose i religious affairs being done best in a meek and quiet spirit, that being of great price with the Lord ; great evils
having been known in many ages, through hot and long contentions about religion. It is also good to avoid, in matters of difference, respect of persons, on account of being acquainted or related, so as to be swayed thereby from justice.
4th. They were advised to be very careful of giving any just occasion of offence to any, to Jew or gentile, to indian or negro; for, “ Wo to them,” says our Saviour, " by whom offences come;" and if any will take offence when none is justly given, it is the best way to be patient, and take our Saviour for our example, who got the vic. tory through suffering; a safe way, and glorious in the end. And, as to few words, the apostle says, “Let your words be few and savoury, seasoned with grace, may administer grace to the hearers."
5th. I was engaged, for the sakes of the youth of both sexes, to shew them, that a material part of the service of these meetings, is, that care be taken therein, to see that persons are clear of prior engagements or entanglements, in relation to marriage, and that they have the consent of parents, or parties concerned, as guardians, &c. and also, that they, and all that belong to our society, walk orderly in conversation ; otherwise they could not be in unity with us, or owned by us, as a society of religious people: we do not own scandalous persons, nor admit them to be married amongst us, without acknowledging their faults, and promising amendment for the future, through divine grace and assistance. Also, in those meetings, the widows and fatherless are taken care of, that they may be supported and visited, and youths put out apprentices to learn trades, &c.
This meeting concluded with supplication for the rising generation, and for the king, and all his subjects, and with thanksgiving and praises to the sacred name of Him who lives forever.
After the abovesaid meeting, we went to Wilmington, a newly settled town on Christiana-creek, which I be. lieve will be a flourishing place, if the inhabitants take care to live in the fear of God, and seek his glory, and the riches of his kingdom, preferring it to any thing or things of this world. We had a pretty large meeting here, considering the season, (for it was very cold), which was held in a large house of William Shipley's; but they are making provision for a meeting-house. From this town we went to Newark, and had a comfortable meeting at George Robinson's in the evening, and next morning set out for Philadelphia.
As it was now the winter season, and having been divers times at this season of the year in the warm cli
. mates, the cold was become harder for me to bear than usual, so that I stayed at and about home pretty much, being divers times at Philadelphia, Frankfort, Germantown, and Abington meetings.
The latter end of the tenth month, on a first day of the week, I was at a large, open meeting, at Darby, in Chester county. After meeting I rode home, about fourteen miles; but it was so cold, that my limbs were much benumbed, and were not fully recovered in more than a week. Coming home, between Schuylkill river and Philadelphia, we observed the largest meteor that ever I saw, though I had seen many by sea and land; this was in sight almost a minute, as near as I could guess; it was a mighty stream, like a flame of fire, leaving, as it were, sparks of fire behind it, as it went along, and then settled like a star, and disappeared. A few days after this me. teor, there appeared in the sky an uncommon redness, with streams like fire.
About this time was buried at Frankfort, John Hur. ford, who was about ninety years of age ; at whose burial, the coldness of the season considered, were a pretty many friends, neighbours, and relations of the deceased ; as also divers from Philadelphia. I was concerned to advise those present, to prepare for their final change; that being certain, though the time is uncertain ; which, generally, none knows but the Almighty ; therefore we ought always to be preparing for our dissolution, and always watching and praying, lest we enter into temptation; as said our dear Lord, “ If the good man of the house had known in what hour the thief would come, he would have watched.” Luke xii. 39. And, we not knowing whether death will come in our youth, our middle, or old age, therefore, were earnestly desired to prepare our hearts to meet death, so that we might dwell with God and Christ in his kingdom forever. It was also observed, that though this friend had lived to a great age, yet that few lived so long, no, not one in a thousand, and many die very young; therefore they were earnestly entreated, in the love of God through Christ, to prepare for their latter end, and not to set their hearts and affections on things below; for, by how much they set their hearts and affections on natural or outward things and objects, by so much the harder it would be to part with them, when death should come. This meeting ended with prayer for reformation and preservation to the end of life ; and praises, yea, high praises were given to him, who had given to all present our life, our breath, and our being
It being exceeding severe weather, with much rain, wind, and snow, there were great floods, so that we could not get over Frankfort-creek to meeting; wherefore the friends on the west side met together at my house, and we had a satisfactory, good meeting, in which we were exhorted to build our religion on the sure foundation ; that neither storms, rain, or winds, might be able to shake us from this foundation, which is Christ, the rock of
This winter we were visited at Frankfort with the small-pox, of which many died at Philadelphia, and several in our neighbourhood.
The latter part of this winter staying much at home, I spent my time much in reading and writing, often being sensible of the love and goodness of God, my exceeding great reward; he, by the spirit of his Son, comforting me, and sometimes melting my heart into tenderness, in consideration of his many mercies, which caused me to praise his holy name, who is thereof worthy, beyond expression, forever.
In the first month, I went with my friend John Oxley, of Barbadoes, to Bristol, where we had a large meeting; thence went over the river Delaware to Burlington quar
terly meeting: we were obliged to get to the Jersey shore on the ice, laying boards thereon for about one hundred yards together; and being long on the ice, and poorly asp to health, I took such a cold, that I could not get to meeting next day, but was at the youths' meeting third day following; fourth day I went to Ancocas meeting
, thence to a large meeting at Mount-Holly, where was a marriage; afterwards to Evesham and Upper Springfield, or Hanover, and then returned to Burlington, and next day was at the monthly meeting there, which, to me, was a good open meeting, wherein church discipline was somewhat treated of, and friends advised to wait for that spirit which leads into all truth, to guide them in their discipline.
In the second month, 1737, I went to Cohansey, in or. der to negociate some affairs there, and while there, had 70 three meetings at Greenwich, and one at Alloway's-creek; and on the 9th of said month, being first day, was at Sa. lem meeting, which was large and open : and, in the evening, we had a heavenly meeting at Bartholomew to Wyat's.
After my return from Salem, on the first of the third month, I took a journey to the eastward, having a desire ? to see friends in those parts, whom I had divers times per visited, in the service of the gospel, in my young years; and though now upwards of threescore years of age, was? willing to visit them once more before I died, who, in some places where I had formerly travelled, were now grown very numerous. I set out with Joseph Gilbert
, N and several other friends, and we travelled together to t Long-Island, where we parted, and I went to Newtown, where I met with John Fothergill and Samuel Bowne ; at which place we had a meeting, which was appointed on John's account, and his service therein was to the satisfaction and edification of friends. From thence John went to West-Chester, on the Main, and I went to Flushing, where we had a large, open meeting : it was a solid, good time, and the sacred name of Him who lives forever was praised.