My Life being attended with many uncommon Occurences, some of which I through disobedience brought upon myselt, and others I believe were for my Good, I therefore thought proper to make some remarks on the Dealings of Divine Goodness to me, and have often had cause with David to say, it was good for me that I have been afflicted &c. 1 and most earnestly I desire that whosoever reads the following lines, may take warning and shun the Evils that I have thro' the Deceitfulness of Satan been drawn into.
To begin with my beginning. I was born in Middlewich in Cheshire in the year 1713 of honest parents, my Father a Doctor of Physick or Surgeon; his name was Thomas Sampson, my Mother's name was Mary My Father was a Man that bore a good Character, but not so Strictly religious as my Mother, who was a pattern of Virtue to me. I was the only Child of my Father but not of my Mother, she being a Widow when my Father married her, and had two Children by her former Husband, a Son & a daughter. Soon after my birth, my Father took to the sea & followed his Profession on board a ship, in many long voyages, till I arrived to the Age of twelve years, & then left off; so that my Education lay mostly on my Mother, in which She discharged her duty by endeavoring to instill in me, in my tender Age, the principles of virtue; for which I have since had Cause to be thankful to the Lord, & that he blessed me with such a parent, whose good Advice and Counsel to me has been as Bread cast on the Waters, & may all Parents have the same Testimony in their Children's breasts; in a word She was a good Example to all about her, and Beloved by most that Knew her, Tho' not of the same religious perswasion I am now of. But Alas for me, as soon as the time came that she might reasonably have expected the benefit of her Labours, & have had Comfort in me, I left her of which I shall speak in its place.
In my very Infancy, I had an awful regard for religion & a great love for religious people, particularly the Ministers, and sometimes wept with Sorrow, that I was not a boy that I might have been one; believing them all Good Men & so beloved of God. Also I had a great Love for the Poor, remembering I had read that they were blessed of the Lord; this I took to mean such as were poor in this World. I often went to their poor Cottages to see them, and used to think they were better off than me, and if I had any money or any thing else I would give it to them, remembering that those that gave to such, lent to the Lord; for I had when very young earnest desires to be beloved by him, and used to make remarks on those that pretended to religion; and when I heard the Gentlemen swear it made me sorry, for my Mother told me, if I used any Naughty words God would not love me.
As I grew up, I took notice there were several different religious societies, wherefore I often went alone and wept; with desires that I might be directed to the right. Thus my young years were attended with these & such like tender desires tho'I was sometimes guilty of faults incident to Children; and then I always found something in me that made me sorry. From my Infancy till fourteen years of age I was as innocent as most Children, about which time my Sorrows began, and have continued for the most part of my life ever since; by giving way to a foolish passion, in Setting my affections on a young man who Courted me without my Parents' consent; till I consented, and with sorrow of Heart may say, I suffered myself to be carried off in the night, and before my Parents found me, was married, tho' as soon as they missed me, all possible search was made, but all in vain till too late to recover me.
This precipitate action plunged me into a deal of Sorrow. I was soon smote with remorse, for thus leaving my parents, whose right it was to have disposed of me to their contents, or at least to have been consulted in the Affair. I was soon Chastised for my disobedience. Divine Providence let me see my error. In five months I was stripped of the Darling of my Soul, and left a young & disconsolate Widow. I had then no home to fly to. My Husband was poor, had nothing but his Trade, which was a Stocking Weaver, & my Father was so displeased, he would do nothing for me. My Dear Mother had some Compassion & used to keep me Amongst the Neighbours. At last by her Advice I went over to Dublin, to a relation of hers in hopes that Absence would regain my Father's Affection. But he continued Inflexible, & would not send for me again & I durst not return without it.
This relation was one of the People called Quakers; his Conduct was so different from the manner of my education (which was in the way of the Church of England) that it proved very disagreeable to me for tho' (as I have said) I had a Religious Education, yet I was allowed to sing & dance, which my Cousin disallow'd of, & I having great Vivacity in my Natural Disposition, could not bear to give way to the Gloomy Sense of Sorrow & Convictions; therefore let it have the wrong effect, so gave up to be more Wild & Airy than ever, for which he often reproved me. But I then thought (as many do now of this Society), 'Twas the Effect of Singularity, & therefore would not bear it, nor be controuled, & having a distant relation in the West of Ireland, left Dublin and went thither; And here I might take my Swing, for what rendered me disagreeable to the former, was quite pleasing to the latter.
Between these two relations I spent Three Years and three Months. While I was in Ireland, I contracted an intimate Acquaintance with a Widow & her Daughter that were Papists, with whom I used to have a deal of discourse about religion, they in defence of their Faith & I of mine. And tho' I was then wild, yet it often made me very thoughtful. The Old Woman would tell me of such mighty miracles done by their Priests, that I began to be shaken, & thought if these things were so they must of a Truth be the Apostles' Successors.
The Old woman perceived it & one day in a rapture said "Oh! if I can under God, be the happy Instrument to convert you to the Holy Catholick Faith, all the sins that ever I committed will be forgiven." In a while it got so far that the priest came to converse with me, & I being young & my judgment weak, was ready to believe what they said, and wild as I was, it cost me many Tears, with desires that I might be rightly directed; for some time I frequented their place of Worship, but none ofmy Relations knew what was my motive. At length I concluded never to be led darkly into their Belief & if their Articles of Faith are good, they'll not be against my Knowing them so the next time I had an Opportunity with the priest I told him I had some thoughts of becoming one of his flock but did not care to join till I knew all I must agree to; I therefore desired him to let me see their principles. He answered I must first confess my Sins to him: & gave me till the next day to consider them.
I was not much against it, for thought I, "I have done nothing if all the World Knew that any can hurt me for: And if what this Man says be true, it will be for my Good," & when he came again I told him all that I could remember, which for my part I thought bad enough, but he thought me (as he said) the most Innocent Creature that ever made Confession to him. When I had done, He took a book out & read it; all which I was to swear to, if I joined with them; and tho' young made my remarks as he went on, but I shall neither give myself the Trouble of Writing, nor any of reading a deal of the ridiculous stuff it contained; But what made me sick of my new intention (I believe I should have swallowed the rest) was to swear that I believed the Pretender to be the true heir to the Crown of England; & that he was King James' Son and also that whosoever died out of the Pale of that Church was damned.
As to the first, I did not believe it essential to Salvation, whether I believed it or not, and to take an Oath to any such thing would be very unsafe; And the Second struck directly against Charity, which The Apostle preferred before all other Graces, & Besides I had a religious Mother who was not of that opinion. I thought it therefore barbarous in me, to believe she would be damned, Yet concluded to take it into Consideration. But before I saw him again a Sudden Turn Took hold, which put a final end to it.
My Father still keeping me at such a distance that I thought myself quite shut out of his Affections, I therefore Concluded since my Absence was so Agreeable, he should have it; and getting acquainted with a Gentlewoman that then lately came from Pensilvania (& was going back again) where I had an Uncle, my Mother's Brother, I soon agreed 'with her for my passage & being ignorant of the Nature of an Indenture soon became bound, tho' in a private manner, (for fear I should be found out) tho' this was repugnant to law. As soon as this was over, She invited me to go & see the Vessel I was to go in, to which I readily consented, not Knowing what would follow, & when I came on board, I found a Young Woman I afterward understood was of a very good Family and had been deluded away by this creature. I was extremely pleased to think I should have such an agreeable Companion & while we were in discourse, our Kidnapper left us & went on shore, & when I wanted to go, was not permitted.
Here I was kept near three weeks; at the end thereof the Friends of the other young Woman found her out & fetched her on shore; by which means mine found me, & sent the Water Bailif, who took me also on shore. Our Gentlewoman was forced to keep Incog(nito) or she would have been laid fast.
I was Kept close for two weeks, but at last found means to get away, for I was so filled with the thought of coming to America, that I could not give it up, & meeting with the Captain I enquired when they sailed. He told me, I got on board & came in the same ship, & have cause to believe there was a Providential hand in it.
There was Sixty Irish Servants on board (I came now unindentured) & several English Passengers, but not one of them understood the Irish language but myself:
I had taken no small pains to learn it. I could understand so much as to discover any thing they discoursed upon, which was of great service to us all. There was also on board the Gentlewoman beforementioned & a Young Man her Husband's Brother (Twenty of those Servants belonged to her). While we were on the Coast of Ireland (For the Wind kept us there some weeks) I overheard those Creatures contriving how they should be free when they came to America; to accomplish their design they concluded to rise & kill the Ship's crew & all the English on board, & the abovementioned Young Man was to navigate the Vessel. The same night I discovered their barbarous design privately to the Captain, who let the English know it. The next day they bore for the shore & some small distance off the Cove of Cork lowered sail & dropped Anchor under pretence that the Wind was not fair to stand their Course; so hoisted out the Boat, and invited the Passengers to go on shore to divert themselves, & among the rest the Rebels' Captain; he did, which was all they wanted. As soon as he was on shore the rest left him and came on board. Our Captain immediately ordered to weigh Anchor and hoist Sail, but there were great Outcries for the Young Man on Shore. The Captain told them the Wind freshened up, & that he would not stay for his own Son. So their Treachery was betrayed in good time; & in such a manner that they did not mistrust it, for it was thought most advisable to keep it private, least any of them should do me a mischief; but at Length they found out that I understood Irish, by my Smiling at an Irish Story they were telling, and from that time they Devised many ways to hurt me, & several of them were corrected and Put in Irons for it.
In Nine Weeks from the time I left Ireland we arrived at New York, (viz) on the 15th of the 7 mo 1732 & then those to whom I had been Instrumental under Providence to save Life, proved Treacherous to me: I was a Stranger in a Strange Land. The Captain got an Indenture wrote & Demanded of me to Sign it, withal Threatning a Gaol if I refused; I told him I could find means to Satisfy him for my Passage without becoming bound: they then told me I might take my Choice Either to Sign that, or have that I had signed in Ireland in force against me (by this time I had learned the Character of the afforesaid Woman, that she was a Vile Creature, & feared that if ever I was in her Power she would use me Ill on her Brother's Account). I therefore in a fright Signed that, & tho' there was no Magistrate present, I being Ignorant In such Cases, it Did well enough to Make me a Servant four Years. In Two Weeks time I was Sold, & Were it Possible to Convey in Characters a sense of the Sufferings of my Servitude, it would make the most strong heart pity the Misfortunes of a young creature as I was, who had a Tender Education; for tho' my Father had no great Estate, yet he Lived well. I had been used to Little but my School, but now it had been better for me if I had been brought up to more hardship. For a While at first I was Pretty well used, but in a Little time the Scale turned, Occasioned by a Difference that happened between my Master & me, wherein I was Innocent: from that time he set himself against me and was Inhuman. He would not suffer me to have Clothes to be Decent in, having to go bare-foot in his Service in the Snowey Weather & the Meanest drudgery, wherein I Suffered the Utmost Hardship that my Body was able to Bear, which, with the afforesaid Troubles, had like to have been my Ruin to all Eternity had not Almighty God in Mercy Interposed.
My Master would seem to be a Very Religious Man, taking the Sacrament (so called), & used to Pray every Night in his family, except when his Prayer Book was Lost, for he never Pray'd without it that I knew of. The Afforesaid Difference was of Such a kind that it made me Sick of his Religion; for tho' I had but little my Self yet I had an Idea what sort of People they should be that were so. At Length the old Enemy by insinuations made me believe there was no such thing as Religion, & that the Convictions I had felt from my Infancy was no other than the prejudice of Education, which Convictions were at times so Strong that I have gone alone & fallen with my face to the Ground crying for mercy: but now I began to be hardened, and for Some months I do not Remember that I felt any such thing, so was Ready to Conclude that there was no God; that such thoughts were foolish & all but Priest Craft: and though I had a Great Veneration for that set of men in my youth, I now looked on them in another Manner: & what corroborated me in my Atheistical opinion was, my Master's house used to be a place of Great resort of the Clergy, which gave me much opportunity to make my Remarks. Sometimes those that Came out of the Country lodged there & their Evening Diversion used to be Cards & Singing, & a few minutes after, Prayers and Singing Psalms to Almighty God. I used to think, if there be a God he is a pure being, & will not hear the Prayers of Polluted Lips: But he that hath in an abundant manner shewn mercy to me (as will be seen in the sequel) did not Long Suffer me to Doubt in this Matter, but in a moment, when my feet were near the Bottomless Pit, Pluckt me Back.
To one Woman (& no other) I had Discovered the Nature of the Difference which Two years before had happened between my Master & Me; by her means he heard of it, & tho' he knew it was True yet he sent for the Town Whipper to Correct me. I was Called In; he never asked me Whether I had told any such thing but ordered me to strip; at which my heart was ready to burst; for I could as freely have given up my Life as Suffer such Ignominy. I then said if there be a God, be graciously Pleased to Look down on one of the most unhappy Creatures & plead my Cause for thou knows what I have said is the truth; and were it not for a principle more noble than he was Capable of I would have told it before his wife. I then fixed my Eyes on the Barbarous man, & in a flood of Tears said: "Sir, if you have no Pity on me, yet for my Father's Sake spare me from this Shame (for before this time he had heard of my Father &C. several ways) & if you think I deserve such punish-ment, do it your Self." He then took a turn over the Room & bid the Whipper go about his business, and I came off without a blow, which I thought something Remarkable, but now I began to think my Credit was gone (for they said many things of me which I blessed God were not True) & here I suffer so much Cruelty I cannot bear it.
The Enemy Immediately Came in & put me in a way how to be rid of it all & tempted me to End my Miserable Life: I joyn'd with it & for that Purpose went into the garret to hang my Self Now it was I was convinced there was a God, for as my feet Entered the Place Horrour seized to that degree, I trembled much, and as I stood like one in Amaze, it seemed as tho' I heard a Voice say, "there is a Hell beyond the grave;" at which I was greatly astonished, & now Convinced that there was an almighty Power, to whom I then Prayed, saying, "God be merciful & Enable me to bear what thou in thy Providence shall bring or Suffer to Come upon me for my Disobedience." I then went Down again but Let none know what I had been about. Soon after this I had a Dream, & tho' some make a ridicule of Dreams, yet this seemed a significant one to me & therefore shall mention it. T thought somebody knocked at the Door, by which when I had opened it there stood a Grave woman, holding in her right hand an oil lamp burning, who with a Solid Countenance fixed her Eyes upon me & said- "I am sent to tell thee that If thou'l return to the Lord thy God, who hath Created thee, he will have mercy on thee, & thy Lamp shall not be put out in obscure darkness;" upon which the Light flamed from the Lamp in an extraordinary Manner, & She left me and I awoke.
But alas! I did not give up nor Comply with the heavenly Vision, as I think I may Call it, for after this I had like to have been caught in another Snare, which if I had would Probably have been my Ruin, from which I was also preserved. I was Counted a fine Singer & Dancer, in which I took great Delight, and once falling in with some of the Play house company then at New York, they took a Great fancy to me, as they said, & Perswaded me to become an Actress amongst them, & they would find means to get me from my cruel Servitude, & I should Live Like a Lady- The Proposal took with me & I used no small Pains to Qualify my Self for it in Reading their Play Books, even when I should have Slept, yet was put to the Demur when I came to Consider what my father would say who had forgiven my Disobedience in marrying and earnestly desiring to see me again had sent for me home, but my proud heart would not Consent to return in so mean a Condition; therefore I chose Bondage rather.
So when I had Served near three years, I bought off the remainder of my Time & then took to my Needle, by which I could maintain my Self handsomely: but, alas, I was not Sufficiently Punished; I had got released from one cruel Servitude, & then not Contented got into another, and this for Life. A few months after, I married a young man that fell in Love with me for my Dancing, a Poor Motive for a man to Choose a Wife, or a Woman a Husband. But for my Part I fell in Love with nothing I saw in him and it seems unaccountable that I who had refused several, both in this Country & Ireland, at Last married a man I had no Value for. In a few Days after we were Married he took me from [New York. Being a Schoolmaster he had hired in the Country to keep school; he led me to New En-gland and there settled in a place called Westerly in Rhode Island Government.
With regard to Religion he was much like my Self without any, and when in Drink would use the worst of Oaths. I do not mention this to Expose my husband; but to Shew the Effect it had on me, for I now saw my Self ruined as I thought, being joyned to a man I had no Love for & that was a Pattern of no good to me; then I began to think what a Couple we were, like two joyning hands and going to destruction, & there upon Concluded if I was not forsaken of heaven to alter my Course of Life. But to Set my Affections upon the Divine being & not Love my husband seemed Impossible: therefore I Daily Desired with Tears that my Affec-tions might be in a right manner set upon my husband, and can say in a little time my Love was Sincere to him.
I now resolved to do my Duty to God; & Expecting I must come to the knowl-edge of it by the Scriptures I took to reading them with a Resolution to follow their Directions, but the more I read the more uneasy I grew, especially about Baptism; for altho' I had reason to believe I had been Sprinkled in my Infancy', because at the age of Thirteen I Passed under the Bishop's hands for Confirmation (as twas Called) yet I could not find any Precedent for that Practice & lighting on that place where it is said, "he that believes & is Baptized" &C , here I observed Belief went before Baptism, which I was not Capable of when Sprinkled: hence grew much Dissatisfied, & Living in a Neighborhood that were mostly Seventh day Baptists, I Conversed much with them. At Length thinking it my Real Duty, I was In the Winter time baptised by one of their Teachers, but Did not joyn Strictly with them, tho' I began to think the Seventh Day was the true Sabbath, & for some time kept it. My husband Did not Oppose me, for he saw I grew more Affectionate to him. I did not Leave off Singing & Dancing so, but that I could divert him when he'd ask me. But I did not find that Satisfaction in what I had done as I Expected.
Soon after this my husband & I concluded to go for England & for that End went to Boston & there found a Ship bound for Liverpool. We agreed for our Passage & Expected to Sail in two Weeks:-but my time was not to go yet, for there Came a Gentleman who hired the Ship to Carry him & his Attendance to Philadelphia & to take no other Passengers; & there being no other Ship near Sailing we for that time gave it out. We stayed Several weeks in Boston, & I stll continued Dissatisfy'd as to Religion; tho' I had reformed my Conduct so as to be accounted by those that knew me a sober Woman yet was not Content, for Even then I expected to find the Sweets of Such a Change, & though several thought me Religious, I durst not think so my Self, but what to Do to be so was an utter Stranger. I used to Converse with People of all societies as Opportunity offer'd & like many others had got a Pretty Deal of Head Knowledge, & Several Societies thought me of their Opinions severally; But I joyned Strictly with none, resolving never to leave Searching till I had found the truth: This was in the Twenty Second year of my age.
While we were in Boston I one Day went into the Quaker Meetlng not Expecting to find what I wanted, but out of Curiosity. At this Meeting there was a Woman friend spoke, at which I was a Little surprised, for tho' I had heard of Womens preaching I had never heard one before. I looked on her with Pity for her Ignorance (as I thought) & Contempt of her Practise, saying to my self; "I am sure you are a fool, for if ever I should turn Quaker, which will never be, I would not be a preacher." -In these and such like thoughts, I sat while She was Speaking; after she had done there Stood up a man, which I could better Bear. He spoke well & I thought raised sound Doctrine from goodjoshua's resolution (Viz) "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord," & C. After he had sat silent a while he went to prayer, which was something so awful & Affecting as drew tears from my Eyes yet a Stranger to the Cause.
Soon after this we Left Boston, & my husband being Given to ramble, which was very Disagreeable to me, but I must submit, we Came to Rhode Island by Water, from thence to the East End of Long Island, where we hired to keep School. This Place was mostly Settled with Presbyterians. I soon got Acquainted with some of the most Religious of them, for tho' I was poor yet was favoured with Reception amongst People of the Best Credit, & had frequent Discourses with them, but the more I was acquainted, the worse I liked their Opinions, so Re-mained Dissatisfy'd; & the old Enemy of my Happiness knowing that I was Resolved to Abandon him and Seek peace for my Soul, he fresh Assaults me & laid a bait, with which I had like to have been caught. One Day having been Abroad, at my return home I found the People at whose house we had taken a room had left some flax in an apartment thro' which I Passed to my own, at sight of which I was Immediately tempted to steal some to make me some thread. I went to it & took a small Bunch in my hand, at which I was smote with remorse. Being of such a kind that my Very Nature abhored it, I laid it Down, saying, "Lord keep me from such a Vile Action as this"; but the twisting serpent did not Leave me yet, but Assaulted again so strong & prevalent that I took it into my own Room; but when I came there Horror Seized me, & bursting into Tears Cryed, "Oh thou God of Mercy, enable me to resist this Temptation," which he in his Mercy did, and gave me power to say, "get thee behind me Satan, I'll resist till I'll die before I'll yield"; & then I Carryed it back, and returning to my Room was fill'd with thanksgiving to God, and wrapt in such a frame, as I have not words to Express, neither can any guess but those who have resisted Temptations; these have it in their own Experi-ence to taste the sweet Peace that flows to the Soul.
My Husband soon hired further up the Island where we were nearer a Church of England to which I used to go, for tho' I Disliked some of their ways, yet I liked them best; but now a fresh Exercise fell upon me, and of such a Sort as I had never heard of any being in the like, & while under it I thought my self alone.-I was in the Second month sitting by a fire in Company with Several, my Husband also present; there arose a Thunder Gust, & with the Noise that struck my Ear, a voice attended, even as the Sound of a mighty Trumpet, piercing thro' me with these words, "0! Eternity, Eternity, the Endless term of Long Eternity:" at which I was Exceedingly Surprized, sitting speechless as in a trance, and in a moment saw my Self in such a state as made me Despair of ever being in a happy one. I seemed to see a Long Roll wrote in Black Characters, at sight whereof I heard a Voice say to me, "this is thy Sins;" I then saw Sin to be Exceeding Sinful, but this was not all, for Immediately followed another Saying, "and the Blood of Christ is not Suffici-ent to wash them out; this is shewn thee that thou mays't Confess thy Damnation is just & not in order that they should be forgiven."
All this while I sat Speechless; at Last I got up trembling, & threw my self on a Bed:the Company thought my Indisposition proceeded only from a fright at the Thunder, but Alas, it was of another kind, and from that time for several months I was in the utmost Despair, and if any time I would endeavour to hope or lay hold of any Gracious promise, the old Accuser would Come in, telling me, it was now too Late, I had withstood the day of Mercy till it was over, & that I should add to my Sins by praying for Pardon & provoke Divine Vengeance to make a Monument of Wrath of me. I was like one already in torment; my Sleep Departed from me, I Eat little, I became extremely melancholy, and took no delight in any thing. Had all the world been mine & the Glory of it, I would now have Gladly a given it for one glimpse of hope; My husband was Shock'd, to See me so changed, I that once Could divert him with a Song (in which he greatly delighted), nay after I grew Religious as to the outward, could now Do it no longer. My Singing now was turned into mourning & my Dancing into Lamentations: my Nights and Days were one Continual Scene of Sorows: I let none know my Desperate Condition- My husband used all means in his power to divert my Melancholy, but in vain, the wound was too Deep to be healed with any thing short of the true Balm of Gilead. I Durst not go much alone for fear of Evil Spirits, but when I did my husband would not Suffer it, & if I took the Bible, he would take it from me saying, "how you are altered, you used to be agreeable Company but now I have no Comfort of you." I endeavoured to bear all with Patience, expecting soon to bear more than man could inflict upon me
At Length I went to the Priest to see if he Could relieve me, but he was a Stranger to my Case: he advised me to take the Sacrament & use some innocent diversions, & lent me a Book of prayers, which he said was fit for my Condition, but all was in Vain. As to the Sacrament, I thought my Self in a State very unfit to receive it worthily, and could not use the Prayers, for I then thought if Ever my Prayers would be acceptable, I should be enabled to pray without form. Diversions were burdensome, for as I said above, my husband used all means tending that way to no Purpose, yet he with some others once perswaded me to go to the Raising of a building (where such Company were Collected) in Expectation of Aleviating my grief, but contrarywise it proved a means of adding to my Sorrow: for in the mean time there came an officer to summon ajury to Enquire concerning the Body of a man that had hanged himself, which as soon as I understood seemed to be attended with a Voice saying, "thou shall be the next Monument of such Wrath, for thou art not worthy to Die a natural Death," and for Two Months was Daily tempted to destroy myself, and some times so strong that I could hardly resist, thro' fear of that sort when I went alone, I used to throw off my apron & garters, & if I had a knife cast it from me Crying, "Lord keep me from taking that Life thou gave, & which thou Would have made happy if I had on my Part joyned with the Offers of Thy Grace, and had regarded the Convictions attending me from my youth: the fault is my own, thou 0 Lord art clear;" & yet so great was my Agony that I desired Death that I might know the worst of my Torments, of which I had so sharp a foretaste. All this while I Could not shed a Tear; my heart was as hard as a Stone & my Life Miserable, but God that's full of Mercy and Long forbearance, in his own good time delivered my Soul out of this Thraldom.
For one night as I lay in bed (my husband by me asleep) bemoaning my Miserable Condition, I had strength to Cry, "0, my God, hast thou no mercy left, Look Down, I beseech thee, for Christ's Sake, who has promised that all manner of Sins & blasphemies Shall be forgiven; Lord, if thou will graciously please to Extend this Promise to me an unWorthy Creature trembling before thee; there is nothing thou shalt Command but I will obey. " In an Instant my heart was ten-dered, & I dissolved in a flow of tears, abhoring my Past Offences, & admiring the mercy of God, for I now was made to hope in Christ my Redeemer, & Enabled to Look upon him with an eye of Faith & saw fulfilled what I believed when the Priest lent me his Book. (Viz.) That if ever my Prayers would be Acceptable I should be Enabled to pray without form & so used form no more.
Nevertheless I thought I ought tojoin with Some religious Society but met with none I liked in everything; yet the Church of England seeming nearest, I joined with them & took the Sacrament (So called) & can say in truth, I did it with reverence & fear. Being now released from Deep Distress I seemed Like another Creature and often went alone without fear, & tears abundantly flowed from my Eyes &once as I was abhorring my Self in great Humility of mind, I heard a gracious Voice full of Love, saying "I will never Leave thee, nor forsake thee, only obey what I shall make known to thee." I then entered into Covenant saying: "My soul Magnify thee the God of mercy, if thou'l Vouchsafe thy Grace the rest of my Days shall be Devoted to thee, & if it be thy Will that I beg my Bread, I'll be content and Submit to thy Providence."
I now began to think of my Relations in Pennsylvania whom I had not yet seen; and having a great Desire that way, Got Leave of my Husband to go & also a Certificate from the Priest on Long Island in order that if I made any stay, I might be receiv'd as a Member wherever I came; Then Setting out, my husband bore me Company to the Blazing Star Ferry , saw me Safe over & then returned. On the way near a place called Maidenhead [New Jerseyj I fell from my horse & I was Disabled from Traveling for some time: In the interval I abode at the house of an Honest Like Dutchman, who with his wife were very kind to me, & tho' they had much trouble going to the Doctor and waiting upon me, (for I was Several Days unable to help my self) yet would have nothing for it (which I thought Exceeding kind) but Charged me if ever I came that way again to call and Lodge there.-I mention this because by and by I shall have occasion to remark this Place again.
Hence I came to Trenton [New Jersey Ferry, where I met with no small Mortification upon hearing that my Relations were Quakers, & what was the worst of all my Aunt a Preacher. I was Sorry to hear it, for I was Exceedingly prejudiced against these People & have often wondered with what face they Could Call them Selves Christians. I Repented my Coming and had a mind to have turned back. At Last I Concluded to go & see them since I was so far on my journey, but Expected little Comfort from my Visit. But see how God brings unforeseen things to Pass, for by my going there I was brought to my Knowledge of his Truth. -I went from Trenton to Philadelphia by Water, thence to my Uncle's on Horseback, where I met with very kind reception; for tho' my Uncle was dead and my Aunt married again, yet both her husband and She received me in a very kind manner.
I had not been there three Hours before I met with a Shock, & my opinion began to alter with respect to these People.-For seeing a Book lying on the Table (& being much for reading) I took it up: My Aunt Observing said, "Cousin that is a Quakers' Book," for Perceiving I was not a Quaker, I suppose she thought I would not like it: I made her no answer but revolving in my mind, "what can these People write about, for I have heard that they Deny the Scriptures & have no other bible but George Fox'sJournal, & Deny all the holy Ordinances?" So resolved to read, but had not read two Pages before my very heart burned within me and tears Issued from my Eyes, which I was Afraid would be seen, therefore with the Book (Saml. Crisp's Two Letters) I walked into the garden, sat Down, and tlie piece being Small, read it through before I went in; but Some Times was forced to Stop to Vent my Tears, my heart as it were uttering these involuntary Expressions; "my God must I (if ever I come to the true knowledge of thy Truth) be of this man's Opinion, who has sought thee as I have done & join with these People that a few hours ago I preferred the Papists before? 0 thou, the God of my Salvation & of my Life, who hast in an abundant manner manifested thy Long Suffering & tender Mercy, Redeeming me as from the Lowest Hell, a Monument of thy grace: Lord, my soul beseecheth thee to Direct me in the right way & keep me from Error, & then According to thy Covenant, I'll think nothing too near to Part with for thy names Sake. If these things be so, Oh! happy People thus beloved of God."
After I came a little to my Self again I washed my face least any in the House should perceive I had been weeping. But this night got but Little Sleep, for the old Enemy began to Suggest that I was one of those that wavered & was not Steadfast in the faith, advancing several Texts of Scripture against me & them, as, in the Latter Days there should be those that would deceive the very Elect: & these were they, & that I was in danger of being deluded. Here the Subtile Serpent trans-formed himself so hiddenly that I verily believed this to be a timely Caution from a good Angel-so resolved to beware of the Deceiver, & for Some weeks Did not touch any of their Books.
The next Day being the first of the week I wanted to have gone to Church, which was Distant about four Miles, but being a Stranger and having nobody to go along with me, was forced to Give it out, & as most of the Family was going to Meeting, I went with them, but with a resolution not to like them, & so it was fully Suffered: for as they sat in silence I looked over the Meeting, thinking with my self, "how like fools these People sit, how much better would it be to stay at home & read the Bible or some good Book, than to come here and go to Sleep." For my Part I was very Sleepy & thought they were no better than my Self. Indeed at Length I fell a sleep, and had like to fallen Down, but this was the last time I ever fell asleep in a Meeting, Tho' often Assaulted with it.
Now I began to be lifted up with Spiritual Pride & thought my Self better than they, but thro' Mercy this did not Last Long, for in a Little time I was brought Low & saw that these were the People to whom I mustjoin.-It may seem strange that I who had Lived so long with one of this Society in Dublin, should yet be so great a Stranger to them. In answer let it be Considered that During the time I was there I never read one of their Books nor went to one Meeting, & besides I had heard such ridiculous stories of them as made me Esteem them the worst of any Society of People; but God that knew the Sincerity of my heart looked with Pity on my Weakness & soon Let me see my Error.
In a few weeks there was an afternoon's Meeting held at my Uncle's to which came that Servant of the Lord Wm. Hammans who was made then Instrumental to the Convincing me of the truth more Perfectly, & helping me over Some great Doubts: tho' I believe no one did ever sit in Greater opposition than I did when he first stood up; but I was soon brought Down for he preached the Gospel with such Power I was forced to give up & Confess it was the truth. As soon as meeting Ended I Endeavoured to get alone, for I was not fit to be seen, I being So broken; yet afterward the Restless adversary assaulted me again, on this wise. In the morning before this meeting, I had been Disputing with my Uncle about Baptism, which was the subject this good Man Dwelt upon, which was handled so Clearly as to answer all my Scruples beyond all objection: yet the Crooked Serpent alleged that the Sermon that I had heard did not proceed from divine Revelation but that my Uncle and Aunt had acquainted the Friend of me; which being Strongly Sug-gested, I fell to Accusing them with it, of which they both cleared themselves saying they had not seen him Since my Coming into these Parts until he came into the meeting. I then Concluded he was a messenger sent of God to me, & with fervent Cryes Desired I might be Directed a right and now Laid aside all Prejudice & set my heart open to receive the truth in the Love of it. And the Lord in his own good time revealed to my Soul not only the Beauty there is in truth, & how those should shine that continue faithful to it, but also the Emptiness of all shadows which in the day were Gloryous, but now he the Son of Glory was come to put an end to them all, & to Establish Everlasting Righteousness in the room thereof, which is a work in the Soul. He likewise let me see that all I had gone through was to prepare me for this Day & that the time was near that he would require me to go forth & declare to others what he the God of Mercy had done for my Soul; at which I was Surprized & begged to be Excused for fear I should bring dishonour to the truth, and cause his Holy name to be Evil spoken of.
All the while, I never Let any know the Condition I was in, nor did I appear like a Friend, & fear'd a Discovery. I now began to think of returning to my husband but found a restraint to stay where I was. I then Hired to keep School & hearing of a place for him, wrote desiring him to come to me, but Let him know nothing how it was with me. I loved to go to meetings, but did not like to be seen to go on week days, & therefore to Shun it used to go from my school through the Woods, but notwithstanding all my care the Neighbours that were not friends began to revile me, calling me Quaker, saying they supposed I intended to be a fool and turn Preacher; I then receiv'd the same censure that I (a little above a year before) had Passed on one of the handmaids of the Lord at Boston, & so weak was I, alas! I could not bear the reproach, & in order to Change their Opinions got into greater Excess in Apparel than I had freedom to Wear for some time before I came Ac-quainted with Friends.
In this Condition I continued till lily Husband came, & then began the Tryal of my Faith. Before he reached me he heard I was turned Quaker, at which he stampt, saying, "I'd rather heard She had been dead as well as I Love her, for if so, all my comfort is gone." He then came to me & had not seen me before for four Months. I got up & met him saying, "My Dear, lam glad to see thee," at which he flew in a Passion of anger & said, "the Divel thee thee, don't thee me."18 I used all the mild means I could to pacify him, & at Length got him fit to go & Speak to my Rela-tions, but he was Alarmed, and as soon as we got alone said, "so I see your quaker relations have made you one." I told him they had not, which was true, nor had I ever told him how it was with me: But he would have it that I was one, & therefore would not let me stay among them; & having found a place to his mind, hired and came Directly back to fetch me hence, & in one afternoon walked near thirty Miles to keep me from Meeting, the next Day being first Day; & on the Morrow took me to the Afforesaid Place & hired Lodgings at a churchman's house; who was one of the Wardens, & a bitter Enemy to Friends & used to Do all he could to irritate my Husband against them, & would tell me abundance of Ridiculous Stuff; but my Judgement was too Clearly convinced to believe it.
I still did not appear like a Friend, but they all believed I was one. When my Husband and he Used to be making their Diversion & reviling, I used to sit in Silence, but now and then an involuntary Sigh would break from me: at which he would tell my husband: "there, did I not tell that your wife was a Quaker; & She will be a preacher." Upon which My Husband once in a Great rage came up to me, & Shaking his hand over me, said, "you had better be hanged in that Day." I then, Peter like, in a panick denied my being a Quaker, at which great horror seized upon me, which Continued near three Months: so that I again feared that by Denying the Lord that Bought me, the heavens were Shut against me; for great Darkness Surrounded, & I was again plunged into Despair. I used to Walk much alone in the Wood, where no Eye saw nor Ear heard, & there Lament my miserable Condition, & have often gone from Morning till Night and have not broke my Fast.
Thus I was brought so Low that my Life was a burden to me; the Devil seem'd to Vaunt that tho' the Sins of my youth were forgiven, yet now he was sure of Me, for that I had Committed the unpardonable Sin & Hell inevitable would be my portion, & my Torment would be greater than if I had hanged my Self at first. In this Doleful State I had none to bewail my Doleful Condition; & Even in the Night when I Could not Sleep under the painful Distress of mind, if my husband per-ceived me weeping he would revile me for it. At Length when he and his Friends thought themselves too weak to over Set me (tho' I feared it was all ready done) he went to the Priest at Chester [Pennsylvania] to Advise what to Do with me. This man knew I was a member of the Church, for I had Shewn him my Certificate: his advice was to take me out ofPennsylvania, and find someplace where there was no Quakers; and then it would wear off. To this my Husband Agreed saying he did not Care where he went, if he Could but restore me to that Livelyness of Temper I was naturally of; & to that Church of which I was a member. I on my Part had no Spirit to oppose the Proposal, neither much cared where I was, For I seemed to have nothing to hope for, but Dayly Expected to be made a Spectacle of Divine Wrath, & was Possessed with a Thought that it would be by Thunder ere long.
The time of Removal came, & I must go. I was not Suffered to go to bid my Relations farewell; my husband was Poor & kept no horse, so I must travel on foot; we came to Wilmington [Delaware] (fifteen Miles) thence to Philadelphia by Water; here he took me to a Tavern where I soon became the Spectacle & discourse of the Company. My Husband told them, "my wife is a Quaker," & that he Designed if Possible to find out some Place where there was none. "0," thought I, "I was once in a Condition deserving that name, but now it is over with me. 0! that I might from a true hope once more have an Opportunity to Confess to the trllth;" tho' I was Sure of Suffering all manner of Crueltys, I would not Regard it.
These were my Concerns while he was Entertaining the Company with my Story, in which he told them that I had been a good Dancer, but now he Could get me neither to Dance nor Sing, upon which one of the Company stands up saying, "I'll go fetch my Fiddle, & we'll have a Dance," at which my husband was much pleased. The fiddle came, the sight of which put me in a sad Condition for fear if I Refused my husband would be in a great Passion: however I took up this resolution not to comply, whatever be the Consequence. He comes to me, takes me by the hand saying, "come my Dear, shake off that Gloom, & let's have a civil Dance you would now and then when you was a good Churchwoman, & that's better than a Stiff Quaker." I trembling desired to be Excused; but he Insisted on it, and knowing his Temper to be exceeding Cholerick, durst not say much, yet did not Consent. He then pluck'd me round the Room till Tears affected my Eyes, at Sight whereof the Musician Stopt and said, "I'll play no more, Let your wife alone," of which I was Glad.
There was also a man in Company who came from Freehold in East Jersey: he said, "I see your Wife is a Quaker, but if you will take my advice you need not go so far (for my husband's design was for Staten Island); come & live amongst us, we'll soon cure her of her Quakerism, for we want a School Master & Mistress Too" (I followed the Same Business); to which he agreed, & a happy turn it was for me, as will be seen by and by: and the Wonderfull turn of Providence, who had not yet Abandoned me, but raised a glimmering hope, affording the Answer of peace in refusing to Dance, for which I was more rejoyced than to be made Mistress of much Riches; & in floods of Tears said, "Lord, I dread to ask and yet without thy gracious Pardon I'm Miserable; I therefore fall Down before thy Throne, implor-ing Mercy at thine hand. 0 Lord once more I beseech thee, try my Obedience & then what soever thou Commands, I will Obey, & not fear to Confess thee before men."
Thus was my Soul Engaged before God in Sincerity & he in tender Mercy heard my cries, & in me has Shewn that he Delights not in the Death of a Sinner, for he again set my mind at Liberty to praise him & I longed for an Opportunity to Confess to his Truth, which he shewed me should come, but in what manner I did not see, but believed the word that I had heard, which in a little time was fulfilled to me.-My Husband as afforesaid agreed to go to Freehold, & in our way thither we came to Maidenhead, where I went to see the kind Dutchman before mentioned, who made us welcome & Invited us to stay a day or Two.
While we were here, there was held a great Meeting of the Presbyterians, not only for Worship but Business also for one of their preachers being Charged with Drunkenness, was this day to have his Trial before a great number of their Priests, &c. We went to it, of which I was afterwards glad. Here I perceived great Divisions among the People about who Should be their Shepherd: I greatly Pitied their Con-dition for I now saw beyond the Men made Ministers, & What they Preached for: and which those at this Meeting might have done had not the prejudice of Education, which- is very prevalent, blinded their Eyes. Some Insisted to have the old Offenderder restored, some to have a young man they had upon trial some weeks, a third Party was for sending for one from New England. At length stood up one & Directing himself to the Chief Speaker said "Sir, when we have been at the Expence (which will be no Small Matter) of fetching this Gentleman from New England, maybe he'll not stay with us Answer, "don't you know how to make him stay? Reply, "no Sir." "I'll tell you then, said he (to which I gave good attention), give him a good Salary & I'll Engage he'll Stay." "0" thought I, "these Mercenary -creatures: they are all Actuated by one & the same thing, even the Love of Money, & not the regard of Souls." This (Called Reverend) Gentleman, whom these People almost adored, to my knowledge had left his flock on Long Island & ved to Philadelphia where he could get more money I my self have heard some of them on the Island say that they almost Impoverished themselves to keep him, but not being able to Equal Philadelphia's Invitation he left them without a Shep-herd This man therefore, knowing their Ministry all proceeded from one Cause might be purchased with the Same thing; surely these and Such like are the Shep-herd that regards the fleece more than the flock, in whose mouths are Lies; saying the Lords had sent them & that they were Christ's Ambassadors,whose Command to those he sent was, "Freely ye have receiv'd, freely give; & Blessed be his holy Name; " so they do to this day.
I durst not say any Thing to my Husband of the Remarks I had made, but laid them up in my heart, & they Served to Strengthen me in my Resolution. Hence we set forward to Freehold, & Coming through Stony Brook [New Jerseyj my Hus-hand turned towards me tauntingly & Said, "Here's one of Satan's Synagogues, don't you want to be in it? 0 I hope to See you Cured of this New Religion." I made no answer but went on, and in a little time, we came to a large run of Water over which was no Bridge, & being Strangers knew no way to escape it, but thro' we must go: he Carried over our Clothes, which we had in Bundles. I took off my Shoes and waded over in my Stockings, which Served some what to prevent the Chill of the Water, being Very Cold & a fall of Snow in the 12 Mo. My heart was Concerned in Prayer that the Lord would Sanctify all my Afflictions to me & give me Patience to bear whatsoever should he suffered to come upon me. We Walked the most part of a mile before we came to the first house, which was a sort of a Tavern. My husband Called for Some Spiritous Liquors, but I got some weakened Cider Mull'd, which when I had Drank of (the Cold being struck to my heart) made me Extremely sick, in so much that when we were a Little past the house I expected I should have Fainted, & not being able to stand, fell Down under a Fence. My husband Observing, tauntingly said, "What's the Matter now; what, are you Drunk; where is your Religion now?" He knew better & at that time I believe he Pitied me, yet was Suffered grievously to Afflict me. In a Little time I grew Better, & going on We came to another Tavern, where we Lodged: the next Day I was Indifferent well, so proceeded, and as we Journeyed a young man Driv-ing an Empty Cart overtook us. I desired my husband to ask the young man to Let us Ride; he did, twas readily granted.
I now thought my Self well off, & took it as a great favour, for my Proud heart was humbled, & I did not regard the Looks of it, tho' the time had been that I would not have been seen in one; this Cart belonged to a man at Shrewsbury [New Jersey & was to go thro' the place we Designed for, so we rode on (hut soon had the Care of the team to our Selves from a failure in the Driver) to the place where I was Intended to be made a prey of; but see how unforeseen things are brought to Pass, by a Providential hand. Tis said and answered, "shall we do Evil that good may Come?" God forbid, yet hence good came to me. Here my husband would have had me Stay while we went to see the Team Safe at home: I Told him, no, since he had led me thro' the Country like a Vagabond, I would not stay behind him, so went on, & Lodged that Night at the man's house who owned the Team. Next morning in our Return to Freehold, we met a man riding on full Speed, who Stopping said to my Husband, "Sir, are you a School Master?" Answer, "Yes." "I came to tell you," replied the Stranger, "of Two new School Houses, & want a Master in Each, & are two miles apart." How this Stranger came to hear ofus, who Came but the night before, I never knew, but I was glad he was not one Called a Quaker, Least my husband might have thought it had been a Plot; and then turn-ing to my husband I said, "my Dear, look on me with Pity; if thou has any Affec-tions left for me, which I hope thou hast, for I am not Conscious of having Done anything to Alienate them; here is (continued I) an Opportunity to Settle us both, for lam willing to do all in my Power towards getting an Honest Livelihood."
My Expressions took place, & after a Little Pause he consented, took the young man's Directions, & made towards the place, & in our way came to the house of a Worthy Friend, Whose wife was a Preacher tho' we did not know it. I was Sur-prized to see the People so kind to us that were Strangers; we had not been long in the house till we were Invited to Lodge there that night, being the Last in the Week.-I said nothing but waited to hear my Master Speak; he soon Consented saying, "My wife has had a Tedious Travel & I pity her"; at which kind Expression I was Affected, for they Were now very Seldom Used to me. The friends' kindness could not proceed from my appearing in the Garb of a Quaker, for I had not yet altered my dress: The Woman of the house, after we had Concluded to Stay, fixed her Eyes upon me & Said, "I believe thou hast met with a deal of Trouble," to which I made but Little Answer. My husband, Observing they were of that sort of people he had so much Endeavoured to shun, would give us no Opportunity for any discourse that night, but the next morning I let the friend know a Little how it was with me. Meeting time came, to which I longed to go, but durst not ask my husband leave for fear ofDisturbing him, till we were Settled, & then thought I, "if ever I am favoured to be in this Place, come Life or Death, I'll fight through, for my Salvation is at Stake." The Friend getting ready for Meeting, asked my hus-band if he would go, saying they knew who were to be his Employers, & if they were at Meeting would Speak to them. He then consented to go; then said the Woman Friend, "& wilt thou Let thy Wife go?," which he denied, making Several Objections, all which She answered so prudently that he Could not be angry, & at Last Consented; & withjoy I went, for I had not been at one for near four Months, & an Heavenly Meeting This was: I now renewed my Covenant & Saw the Word of the Lord made Good, that I should have another Opportunity to Confess his Name, for which my Spirit did rejoice in the God of my Salvation, who had brought Strange things to Pass: May I ever be preserved in Humility, never forget-ting his tender Mercies to me.
Here According to my Desire we Settled; my husband got one School & I the Other; & took a Room at a Friend's house a Mile from Each School and Eight Miles from the Meeting House:-before next first day we were got to our new Settlement: & now Concluded to Let my husband to see I was determined to joyn with friends. When first day Came I directed my Self to him in this manner, "My Dear, art thou willing to let me go to a Meeting?," at which he flew into a rage, saying, "No you shan't." I then Drew up my resolution & told him as a Dutyfull Wife ought, So I was ready to obey all his Lawfull Commands, but where they Imposed upon my Conscience, I no longer Durst: For I had already done it too Long, & wronged my Self by it, & tho' he was near & I loved him as a Wife ought, yet God was nearer than all the World to me, & had made me sensible this was the way I ought to go, the which I Assured him was no Small Cross to my own will, yet had Given up My heart, & hoped that he that Called for it would Enable me the residue of my Life to keep it steadyly devoted to him, whatever I Suffered for it, adding I hoped not to make him any the worse Wife for it. But all I could Say was in vain; he was Inflexible & Would not Consent.
I had now put my hand to the Plough, & resolved not to Look back, so went without Leave; but Expected to be immediately followed & forced back, but he did not: I went to one of the neighbours & got a Girl to Show me the way, then went on rejoicing & Praising God in my heart, who had thus far given me Power & another Opportunity to Confess to his Truth. Thus for some time I had to go Eight Miles on foot to Meetings, which I never thought hard; My Husband soon bought a Horse, but would not Let me ride him, neither when my Shoes were worn out would he Let me have a new Pair, thinking by that means to keep me from going to meetings, but this did not hinder me, for I have taken Strings & tyed round to keep them on.
He finding no hard Usage could alter my resolution, neither threatening to beat me, nor doing it, for he several times Struck me with sore Blows, which I Endeavoured to bear with Patience, believing the time would Come when he would see I was in the right (which he Accordingly Did), he once came up to me & took out his pen knife saying, "if you offer to go to Meeting tomorrow, with this knife I'll cripple you, for you shall not be a Quaker." I made him no Answer, but when Morning came, set out as Usual & he was not Suffered to hurt me. In De-spair of recovering me himself; he now flew to the Priest for help and told him I had been a very Religious Woman in the way of the Church of England, was a member of it, & had a good Certificate from Long Island, but now was bewitched and turn'd Quaker, which almost broke his heart. He therefore Desired as he was one a t are of souls, he would Come and pay me a Visit and use his Endeav-ours to reclaim me & hoped by the Blessing of God it would be done. The Priest Consented to Come, the time was Set, which was to be that Day two Weeks, for he said he could not come Sooner. My Husband Came home extremely Pleased, & told me of it, at which I smiled Saying, "I hope to be Enabled to give him a reason for the hope that is in me," at the same time believing the Priest would never Trouble me (nor ever did).
Before his Appointed time came it was required of me in a more Publick man-ner to Confess to the world what I was and to give up in Prayer in a Meeting, the sight of which & the power that attended it made me Tremble, & I could not hold my Self still. I now again desired Death & would have freely given up my Natural Life a Ransom; & what made it harder to me I was not yet taken under the care of Friends, & what kept me from requesting it was for fear I might be overcome & bring a Scandal on the Society. I begged to be Excused till I was joyned to Friends & then I would give up freely, to which I receiv'd this Answer, as tho' I had heard a Distinct Voice: "I am a Covenant keeping God, and the word that I spoke to thee when I found thee In Distress, even that I would never leave thee nor forsake thee If thou would be obedient to what I should make known to thee, I will Assuredly make good: but if thou refuse, my Spirit shall not always strive; fear not, I will make way for thee through all thy difficulties, which shall be many for my name's Sake, but be thou faithfull & T will give thee a Crown of Life." I being then Sure it was God that Spoke said, 'thy will 0 God, be done, I am in thy band; do with me according to thy Word," & gave up. But after it was over the Enemy came in like a flood, telling me I had done what I ought not, & Should now bring Dishonour to this People. This gave me a Little Shock, but it did not at this time Last Long.
This Day as Usual I had gone on foot. My Husband (as he afterwards told me) lying on the Bed at home, these Words ran thro' him, "Lord where shall I fly to shun thee &C ," upon which he arose and seeing it Rain got his horse and Came to fetch me; and Comingjust as the Meeting broke up, I got on horseback as quick as possible, least he Should hear what had happened. Nevertheless he heard of it, and as soon as we were got into the woods he began, saying, "What do you mean thus to make my Life unhappy? What, could you not be a Quaker without turning fool after this manner?" I Answered in Tears saying, "my Dear, look on me with Pity, if thou hast any. Canst thou think, that I in the Bloom of my Days, would bear all that thou knowest of & a great deal more that thou knowest not of if I did not believe it to be my Duty?" This took hold of him, & taking my hand he said, "Well, I'll E'en give you up, for I see it don't avail to Strive. If it be of God I can't overthrow it, & ifit be of your selfit will soon fall." I saw tears stand in his Eyes, at which my heart was overcome withjoy, and I would not have Changed Conditions with a Queen.
I already began to reap the fruits of my Obedience, but my Tryal Ended not here, the time being up that the Priest was to come; but no Priest Appeared. My Husband went to fetch him, but he would not come, saying he was busy; which so Displeased my husband, that he'd never go to hear him more, & for Some time went to no place of Worship.-Now the Unwearied adversary found out another Scheme, and with it wrought so Strong that I thought all I had gone through but a little to this: It came upon me in such an unexpected manner, in hearing a Woman relate a book she had read in which it was Asserted that Christ was not the son of God. As soon as She had Spoke these words, if a man had spoke I could not have more distinctly heard these words, "no more he is, it's all a fancy & the Contrivance of men," & an horrour of Great Darkness fell upon me, which Continued for three weeks.
The Exercise I was under I am not Able to Express, neither durst I let any know how it was with me. I again sought Desolate Places where I might make my moan, & have Lain whole nights, & don't know that my Eyes were Shut to Sleep. I again thought my self alone, but would not let go my Faith in him, often saying in my heart, I'll believe till I Die," & kept a hope that he that had Delivered me out of the Paw of the Bear & out of thejaws of the Devouring Lion, would in his own time Deliver me out of his temptation also; which he in Mercy Did, and let me see that this was for my good, in order to Prepare me for future Service which he had for me to Do & that it was Necessary his Ministers should be dipt into all States, that thereby they might be able to Speak to all Conditions, for which my Soul was thankfull to him, the God of Mercies, who had at Several times redeemed me from great distress, & I found the truth of his Words, that all things should work together for good to those that Loved & feared him, which I did with my whole heart & hope ever shall while I have a being. This happened just after my first appearance, & Friends had not been to talk with me, nor did they know well what to do till I had appeared again, which was not for some time, when the Monthly Meeting ap-pointed four Friends to give me a Visit, which I was Glad of; and gave them Such Satisfaction that they left me well Satisfy'd. I then joyned with friends.
My Husband still went to no place of Worship. One day he said, "I'd go to Meeting, only I am afraid I shall hear you Clack, which I cannot bear." I used no persuasions, yet when Meeting time Came, he got the horse, took me behind him & went to Meeting: but for several months if he saw me offer to rise, he would go out, till once I got up before he was aware and then (as he afterwards said) he was ashamed to go, & from that time never did, nor hindered me from going to Meetings. And tho' he (poor man) did not take up the Cross, yet his judgement was Convinced: & sometimes in a flood of tears would say, "My Dear, I have seen the Beauty there is in the Truth, & that thou art in the Right, and I Pray God Preserve thee in it. But as for me the Cross is too heavy, I cannot Bear it." I told him, I hoped he that had given me strength Would also favour him: "0!" said he, "I can't bear the Reproach thou Doest, to be Called turncoat & to become a Laughing Stock to the World; but I'll no Longer hinder thee," which I looked on as a great favour, that my way was thus far made easy, and a little hope remained that my Prayers would be heard on his account.
In this Place he had got linked in with some, that he was afraid would make game of him, which Indeed they already Did, asking him when he Designed to Commence Preacher, for that they saw he Intended to turn Quaker, & seemed to Love his Wife better since she did than before (we were now got to a little house by our Selves which tho' Mean, & little to put in it, our Bed no better than Chaff yet I was truly Content & did not Envy the Rich their Riches; the only Desire I had now was my own preservation, & to be Bless'd with the Reformation of my husband). These men used to Come to our house & there Provoke my husband to Sit up and Drink, some times till near day, while I have been sorrowing in a Stable. As I once sat in this Condition I heard my husband say to his Company, "I can't bear any Longer to Afflict my Poor Wife in this manner, for whatever you may think of her, I do believe she is a good Woman," upon which he came to me and said, "Come in, my Dear; God has Given thee a Deal of Patience. I'll put an End to this Practice;" and so he did, for this was the Last time they sat up at Night.
My Husband now thought that if he was in any Place where it was not known that he'd been so bitter against Friends, he Could do better than here. But I was much against his Moving; fearing it Would tend to his hurt, having been for some months much Altered for the Better, & would often in a broken and Affectionate Manner condemn his bad Usage to me: I told him I hoped it had been for my Good, even to the Better Establishing me in the Truth, & therefore would not have him to be Afflicted about it, & According to the Measure of Grace received did what I could both by Example and advice for his good: & my Advice was for him to fight thro' here, fearing he would Grow Weaker and the Enemy Gain advantage over him, if he thus fled: but All I could say did not prevail against his Moving; & hearing of a place at Bordentown [Newjerseyj went there, but that did not suit; he then Moved to Mount Holly [New Jerseyj & there we Settled. He got a good School & So Did I.
Here we might have Done very well; we soon got our house Prettily furnished for Poor folks; I now began to think I wanted but one thing to complete my Hap-piness, Viz. the Reformation of my husband, which Alas! I had too much reason to Doubt; for it fell out according to my Fears, & he grew worse here, & took much to Drinking, so that it Seem'd as if my Life was to be a Continual scene of Sorrows & most Earnestly I Pray'd to Almighty God to Endue me with Patience to bear my Afflictions & submit to his Providence, which I can say in Truth I did without murmuring or ever uttering an unsavoury expression to the Best of my Knowl-edge; except once, my husband Coming home a little in drink (in which frame he was very fractious) & finding me at Work by a Candle, came to me, put it out & fetching me a box on the Ear said, "you don't Earn your light;" on which unkind Usage (for he had not struck me for Two Years so it went hard with me)I utter'd these Rash Expressions, "thou art a Vile Man," & I was a little angry; but soon recovered & was Sorry for it; he struck me again, which I received without so much as a word in return, & that likewise Displeased him: so he went on in a Distracted like manner uttering Several Expressions that bespoke Despair, as that he now believed that he was predestinated to damnation, & he did not care how soon God would Strike him Dead, & the like. I durst say but Little; at Length in the Bitter-ness of my Soul, I Broke out in these Words, "Lord look Down on mine Afflictions and deliver me by some means or Other." I was answered, I Should Soon be, & so I was, but in such a manner, as I Verily thought It would have killed me.-In a little time he went to Burlington where he got in Drink, & Enlisted him Self to go a Common soldier to Cuba anno 1740.
I had drank many bitter Cups-but this Seemed to Exceed them all for indeed my very Senses Seemed Shaken; I now a Thousand times blamed my Self for making Such an unadvised request, fearing I had Displeased God in it, & tho' he had Granted it, it was in Displeasure, & Suffered to be in this manner to Punish me; Tho' I can truly say I never Desired his Death, no more than my own, nay not so much. I have since had cause to believe his mind was benefitted by the Under-taking, (which hope makes up for all I have Suffered from him) being Informed he did in the army what he Could not Do at home (Viz) Suffered for the Testimony of Truth. When they Came to prepare for an Engagement, he refused to fight; for which he was whipt and brought before the General, who asked him why he Enlisted ifhe would not fight; "I did it," said he, "in a drunken frolick, when the Divel had the Better of me, but my judgment is convinced that I ought not, neither will I whatever I Suffer; I have but one Life, & you may take that if you Please, but I'll never take up Arms."-They used him with much Cruelty to make him yield but Could not, by means whereof he was So Disabled that the General sent him to the Hospital at Chelsea, where in Nine Months time he Died & I hope made a Good End, for which I prayed both night & Day, till I heard of his Death.
Thus I thought it my duty to say what I could in his Favour, as I have been obliged to say so much of his hard usage to me, all which I hope Did me good, & altho' he was so bad, yet had Several Good Properties, & I never thought him the Worst of Men. He was one I Lov'd & had he let Religion have its Perfect work, I should have thought my Self Happy in the Lowest State of Life; & I've Cause to bless God, who Enabled me in the Station of a Wife to Do my Duty & now a Widow to Submit to his Will, always believing everything he doeth to be right. May he in all Stations of Life so Preserve me by the arm of Divine Power, that I may never forget his tender mercies to me, the Rememberance whereof doth often Bow my Soul, in Humility before his Throne, saying, "Lord, what was I; that thou should have reveal'd to me the Knowledge of thy Truth, & do so much for me, who Deserved thy Displeasure rather, But in me hast thou shewn thy Long Suffering & tender Mercy; may thou 0 God be Glorifyed and I abased for it is thy own Works that praise thee, and of a Truth to the humble Soul thou Makest every bitter thing Sweet.