Page images
PDF
EPUB

was finished, he returned to England, and laid down the body at London in great peace, singing praises to the Lord on his death-bed: whereof a more minute account may be seen in the first part of Piety Promoted.

The county of Wicklow, which had been formerly visited by Thomas Loe and John Edwards, was this year, 1669, visited again by J. Haydock and some other friends, who had good service; Thomas Trafford, the Penroses and some others being convinced ; and some time after a meeting was settled at Thomas Trafford's house at Garrymore; but the said Thomas removing to Wicklow, some time after, it pleased the Lord to give him a share in the ministry, and the meeting was kept there.

This year (1669) also came over from England in the service of truth John Kilburne, who had good luccess, and Roger Roberts particularly was convinced by his ministry.

The same year also was memorable for the arrival of that eminent minister and elder in the church, George Fox, who'together with Robert Lodge, James Lancaster, Thomas Briggs, and John Stubbs, landed at Dublin, and had a large meeting there on a weekday, and thence passed on to other parts, and had great service both among friends and other people.

After the conclusion of one of their meetings fome Papists who had been present, were angry and raged much: whereof when George Fox heard, he sent for one of them, but he refused to come to him, whereupon George sent a challenge to him with all the friars, monks, priests, and jesuits to come forth and try their god and their christ, which they had made of their bread and wine, but no answer could he got from them, wherefore he told them they were worse than the priests of Baal: for Baal's priests tried their wooden god, but these durst not try their god of bread and wine, and Baal's priests did not eat their god as they did, and then make another. *

George Fox in his journal gives the following account of this visit:

• The priests and magistrates were envious, but the Lord disappointed their counsels, and gave us many sweet and blessed opportunities to visit friends and spread truth in that nation. Meetings were large, friends coming to them far and near: many were reached, and convinced and gathered to the truth, and friends greatly refreshed. Oh the brokenness that was among them in the flowings of life! so that in the power and spirit of the Lord many together broke out into singing with audible † voices.'

The faid George Fox had a singular gift in church discipline, and having in the year 1667 recommended the setring up of monthly meetings throughout Eng. land, he in the year 1668 wrote to Ireland and other countries, advising friends to settle the like meetings there also, and afterwards visited those countries in person, (and particularly this kingdom this year) and affifted them in settling their men and women's meetings, and at Dublin he recommended the holding their men and women's meetings every two weeks, which hath been continued ever since; and the general meetings, consisting of some from each province, were concluded to be held half-yearly, on the Third and Ninth months, the first appointed meeting of which fort was in the Third month, 1670, and this settlement remains unto this day.

In those early days there was little more done at those general ineetings than collecting the sufferings of friends for conscience fake, and making a record thereof with the causes alledged, and by whose order

*This fact may serve abundantly to manifest the abfurdity of a scandal which some woulil affix on the original Quakers, as having been Jesuits in disgnise, as it likewise shews that they are one with other sound Protestants, in renouncing the idolatry of the church of Rome.

+ See George tox's Journal. Altered to a yearly meeting in 1793.

!

and on whose account; and if any friends were in prison, to endeavour to make proper application for their release.

But in process of time many other weighty affairs, respecting good order and discipline in the church, became the fubjects of their consideration in these meetings, and indeed friends of this nation became justly conspicuous by their zeal and diligence in the exercise hereof, and the same good fpirit led both them and their brethren in England into the same wholesome rules fo excellent in themselves, and so highly conducive to the preservation of a Christian community.

But to return to George Fox; after he had travelled over several parts of the nation and visited friends in their meetings for business as well as worship, and recommended the settlement of meetings of discipline as above, and had answered several papers and writings from monks, friars, and Protestant priests (who were enraged against him), he, with Robert Lodge, Thomas Briggs, &c. returned for England, parting with friends in much tenderness and brokennefs in the sense of the heavenly life and powerthat was manifested among them.

This year (1669) also Solomon Eccles was put into prison at Galway, by an occasion somewhat extraordi. nary. His zeal was so great that what he judged evil he opposed with the hazard of his life, an instance of which occurred in a strange action he performed in a chapel of the Papists without the faid town of Galway, where he went naked above his waist with a chafingdish of coals and burning brimstone upon his head, and entered the chapel, when all the people were on their knees praying to their idol,* and spoke as followeth: 6 Woe to these idolatrous worshipp-rs : God hath sent me this day to warn you and to shew you what will be your portion except you repent

* Or images.

which when he had done, he went away to the town, where he was presently made a prisoner. *

Another transaction of the said Solomon Eccles recorded by the same historian, A. D. 1670, and a memorable instance of his zeal against time-serving, was as follows: the faid Solomon going into the cathedral at Cork, found there Benjamin Cross preaching in a furplice, who having formerly been a Presbyterian preacher in Dorsetshire, had there said, that he had rather go to the itake and be burnt, than put on a furplice. This priest (now become a turncoat for gain) having finished his fermion and concluded with a prayer, Solomon Eccles declared that the prayer of the wicked is an aboinination to the Lord, and knowing the deceitfulness of the said priest, and that he was an apoftate, added these words : • What shall be done 10 the man that makes shipwreck of a good conscience?" For this he was taken and commited to prison by the inayor, where being kept ten days, he was accused as a vagabond, and, without examination, whipped through the streets of Cork, from north-gạte to fouih-gate, and, having received about ninety stripes, was expelled.

Besides the above-mentioned, several other friends also this year visited this nation in the service of truth, viz. Thomas Janny and John Abraham ; and John Burnyeat landed here a third time and had blessed service in Dublin, and other parts of the nation ; and thus by the blessing of the Lord upon the labours of his ministers, many in divers parts of the nation were convinced of the truth, and joined with friends.

This year (1669) also Anthony Sharp came from Englund and settled in Dublin, who was very serviceable in many respects to friends, and after some time received a gift in the ministry. See the testimony concerning him A. D. 1706.

Şewel's History

THE

RISE AND PROGRESS

OF THE PEOPLE CALLED

QUAKERS,

IX

IRELAND.

CHAPTER II.

The progress

[ocr errors]

From the settlement of Church-discipline to the end of

the troubles under King James II.
and increase of Friends in a state of suffering. Their
peculiar zeal and steadiness in keeping up their Meet-
ings for Divine worship in a time of persecution whilft
other dissenters fled. The state of Friends under
King James II. and their wonderful preservation
during the troubles. Summary accounts of the lives,
characters, and Christian experiences of divers of

their eminent minifters interspersed. Suffering

UFFERINGS still attended friends, con divers accounts, particularly for bearing their tellimony against the antichristian oppression of tithes, for refusing to swear, for not observing the days called holy days, and frequently for mere meeting together peaceably to worship God, on which account they suffered imprisonment and fines.

William Penn, who was here this year, did fre, quently visit his friends in prison, and hold meetings with them, omitting no opportunity he had with those in authority to solicit on their behalf; and as the

« PreviousContinue »