Quaker Women

[Being called to travel in the Ministry to America]

...And in the year 1697, in the 6th month, as I was sitting in the meeting in Gloucester, which was then the place of my abode, my mind was gathered into perfect stillness for some time and my spirit was as if it had been carried away into America; and after it returned, my heart was as if it had been dissolved with the love of God, and it flowed over the great ocean, and I was constrained to kneel down and pray for the seed of God in America, and the concern never went out of my mind day nor night, until I went to travel there in the love of God, which is so universal that it reaches over sea and land. But when I looked at my concern, with an eye of human reason, it seemed to be very strange and hard to me, for I knew not the country, nor any that dwelt therein; and I reasoned much concerning my own unfitness, but when I let in such reasonings, I had nothing but death and darness, and trouble attended my mind; but when I resigned up my all to the Lord, and gave up in my mind to go, then the divine love did spring up in my heart, and my soul was at liberty to worship the Lord as in the land of the living: thus I tried and proved the concern several times in my own heart, till at last these words ran through my mind with authority, viz. the fearful and unbelieiving shall have their portion with the hypocrite in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. This brought a dread, and I told my husband that I had a concern on my mind to go to America, and asked him if he could give me up. He said he hoped it would not be required of me; but I told him it was, and that I should not go without his free consent, which seemed a little hard to him at first; but a little while after I was taken with a violent fever, which brought me so weak that all that saw me thought I should not recover. But I thought my day's work was not done, and my chief concern in my sickness was about going to America. But some were troubled that I had made it public, because they thought I should die, and people would speak reproachfully of me, and said, if I did recover, the ship would be ready to sail before I should be fit to go, & c. But I thought if they would but carry me and lay me down in the ship, I should be well; for the Lord was very gracious to my soul in the time of my sickness, and gave me a promise that his presence should go with me. And then my husband was made very willing to give me up; he said, if it were for seven years, rather than to have me taken from him forever. So at last all those difficulties passed over, and I sailed from Bristol in the 9th month, 1697, with my companion Mary Rogers.

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