RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND JOURNAL OF
MRS JARENA LEE,
GIVING AN ACCOUNT OF HER
CALL TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
Lee , Preacher of the A.M.E. Church, Aged 60 years in
the 11th day of the 2nd month 1844, Philadelphia 1844
Revised and Corrected from the Original Manuscript, written by herself
Philadelphia, Printed and Published for the Author, 1849
Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1836
by JARENA LEE,
In the Office of the Clerk of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
'And it shall come to pass . . . that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy' - Joel 2.28 .
I was born February 11th, 1783, at Cape May, State of New Jersey. At the age of seven years I was parted from my parents, and went to live as a servant maid, with a Mr. Sharp, at the distance of about sixty miles from the place of my birth.
My parents being wholly ignorant of the knowledge of God, had not therefore instructed me in any degree in this great matter. Not long after the commencement of my attendance on this lady, she had bid me do something respecting my work, which in a little while after she asked me if I had done, when I replied, Yes - but this was not true.
At this awful point, in my early history, the Spirit of God moved in power through my conscience, and told me I was a wretched sinner. On this account so great was the impression, and so strong were the feelings of guilt, that I promised in my heart that I would not tell another lie.
But notwithstanding this promise my heart grew harder, after a while, yet the Spirit of the Lord never entirely forsook me, but continued mercifully striving with me, until his gracious power converted my soul.
The manner of this great accomplishment was as follows: In the year 1804, it so happened that I went with others to hear a missionary of the Presbyterian order preach. It was an afternoon meeting, but few were there, the place was a school room; but the preacher was solemn, and in his countenance the earnestness of his master's business appeared equally strong, as though he were about to speak to a multitude.
At the reading of the Psalms, a ray of renewed conviction darted into my soul. These were the words, composing the first verse of the Psalms for the service:
There was a brook about a quarter of a mile from the house, in which there was a deep hole, where the water whirled about among the rocks; to this place, it was suggested, I must go and drown myself.
At the time I had a book in my hand; it was a Sabbath morning, about ten o'clock; to this place I resorted, where on coming to the water I sat down on the bank, and on my looking into it, it was suggested that drowning would be an easy death. It seemed as if some one was speaking to me, saying put your head under, it will not distress you. But by some means, of which I can give no account, my thoughts were taken entirely from this purpose, when I went from the place to the house again. It was the unseen arm of God which saved me from self-murder.
But as yet I had not found Him of whom Moses and the prophets did write, being extremely ignorant: there being no one to instruct me in the way of life and salvation as yet. After my recovery, I left the lady, who, during my sickness, was exceedingly kind, and went to Philadelphia. From this place I soon went a few miles into the country, where I resided in the family of a Roman Catholic. But my anxiety still continued respecting my poor soul, on which account I used to watch my opportunity to read in the Bible; and this lady observing this, took the Bible from me and hid it, giving me a novel in its stead - which when I perceived, I refused to read.
Soon after this I again went to the city of Philadelphia, and commenced going to the English Church, the pastor of which was an Englishman, by the name of Pilmore, one of the number who at first preached Methodism in America, in the city of New York.
But while sitting under the ministration of this man, which was about three months, and at the last time, it appeared that there was a wall between me and a communion with that people, which was higher than I could possibly see over, and seemed to make this impression upon my mind, this is not the people for you.
But on returning home at noon I inquired of the head cook of the house respecting the rules of the Methodists, as I knew she belonged to that society, who told me what they were; on which account I replied, that I should not be able to abide by such strict rules not even one year - however, I told her that I would go with her and hear what they had to say.
The man who was to speak in the afternoon of that day, was the Rev. Richard Allen, since bishop of the African Episcopal Methodists in America. During the labors of this man that afternoon, I had come to the conclusion, that this is the people to which my heart unites, and it so happened, that as soon as the service closed he invited such as felt a desire to flee the wrath to come, to unite on trial with them - I embraced the opportunity. Three weeks from that day, my soul was gloriously converted to God, under preaching, at the very outset of the sermon. The text was barely pronounced, which was 'I perceive thy heart is not right in the sight of God,' when there appeared to my view, in the centre of the heart, one sin; and this was malice against one particular individual, who had strove deeply to injure me, which I resented. At this discovery I said, Lord I forgive every creature. That instant, it appeared to me as if a garment, which had entirely enveloped my whole person, even to my fingers' ends, split at the crown of my head, and was stripped away from me, passing like a shadow from my sight - when the glory of God seemed to cover me in its stead.
That moment, though hundreds were present, I did leap to my feet and declare that God, for Christ's sake, had pardoned the sins of my soul. Great was the ecstacy of my mind, for I felt that not only the sin of malice was pardoned, but all other sins were swept away together. That day was the first when my heart had believed, and my tongue had made confession unto salvation - the first words uttered, a part of that song, which shall fill eternity with its sound, was glory to God. For a few moments I had power to exhort sinners, and to tell of the wonders and of the goodness of Him who had clothed me with His salvation. During this the minister was silent, until my soul felt its duty had been performed, when he declared another witness of the power of Christ, to forgive sins on earth, was manifest in my conversiom.
From the day on which I first went to the Methodist Church, until the hour of my deliverance, I was strangely buffetted by that enemy of all righteousness - the devil.
I was naturally of a lively turn of disposition; and during the space of time from my first awakening until I knew my peace was made with God, I rejoiced in the vanities of this life, and then again sunk back into sorrow.
For four years I had continued in this way, frequently laboring under the awful apprehension, that I could never be happy in this life. This persuasion was greatly strengthened during the three weeks, which was the last of Satan's power over me, in this peculiar manner, on which account I had come to the conclusion that I had better be dead than alive. Here I was again tempted to destroy my life by drowning; but suddenly this mode was changed - and while in the dusk of the evening as I was walking to and for in the yard of the house, I was beset to hang myself with a cord suspended from the wall enclosing the secluded spot.
But no sooner was the intention resolved on in my mind, than an awful dread came over me, when I ran into the house; still the tempter pursued me. There was standing a vessel of water - into this I was strangely impressed to plunge my head, so as to extinguish the life which God had given me. Had I done this, I have been always of the opinion, that I should have been unable to release myself; although the vessel was scarcely large enough to hold a gallon of water. Of me may it not be said, as written by Isaiah (chap 65, verses 1,2) 'I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not'. Glory be to God for his redeeming power, which saved me from the violence of my own hands, from the malice of Satan, and from eternal death; for had I have killed myself, a great ransom could not have delivered me; for it is written - 'No murder hath eternal life abiding in him'. How appropriately can I sing -
I trembled like Belshazzar, and cried out in the horror of my spirit, 'God be merciful to me a sinner'. That night I found a resolution to pray; which, when resolved upon, there appeared, sitting in one corner of the room, Satan, in the form of a monstrous dog, and in a rage, as if in pursuit, his tongue protruding from his mouth to a great length, and his eyes looked like two balls of fire; it soon, however, vanished out of my sight. From this state of terror and dismay, I was happily delivered under the preaching of the Gospel as before related.
This view which I was permitted to have of Satan, in the form of a dog, is evidence, which corroborates in my estimation, the Bible account of a hell of fire, which burneth with brimstone, called in Scripture the bottomless pit; the place where all liars, who repent not, shall have their portion; as also the Sabbath breaker, the adulterer, the fornicator, with the fearful, the abominable, and the unbelieving, this shall be the portion of their cup.
This language is too strong and expressive to be applied to any state of suffering in time. Were it to be thus applied, the reality could no where be found in human life; the consequence would be, that this scripture would be found a false testimony. But when made to apply to an endless state of perdition, in eternity, beyond the bounds of human life, then this language is found not to exceed our views of a state of eternal damnation.
During the latter part of my state of conviction, I can now apply to my case, as it then was, the beautiful words of the poet:
During this state of mind, while sitting near the fire one evening, after I had heard Rev. Richard Allen, as before related, a view of my distressed conditions so affected my heart, that I could not refrain from weeping and crying aloud; which caused the lady with whom I then lived, to inquire, with surprise, what ailed me; and to which I answered, that I knew not what ailed me. She replied that I ought to pray. I arose from where I was sitting, being in an agony, and weeping convulsively, requested her to pray for me; but at the verymoment when she would have done so, some person wrapped heavily at the door for admittance; it was but a person of the house, but this occurrence was sufficient to interrupt us in our intentions; and I believe to this day, I should then have found salvation to my soul. This interruption was, doubtless, the work of Satan.
Although at this time, when my conviction was so great, yet I knew not that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the second person in the adorable Trinity. I knew him not in the pardon of my sins, yet I felt a consciousness that if I died without pardon, that my lot must inevitably be damnation. If I would pray - I knew not how. I could form no connexion of ideas into words; but I knew the Lord's prayer; this I uttered with a loud voice, and with all my might and strength. I was the most ignorant creature in the world; I did not even know that Christ had died for the sins of the world, and to save sinners. Every circumstance, however, was so directed as still to continue and increase the sorrows of my heart, which I now know to have been a Godly sorrow which wrought repentance, which is not to repented of. Even the falling of the dead leaves from the forests, and the dried spires of the mown grass, showed me that I too must die in like manner. But my case was awfully different from that of the grass of the field, or the wide spread decay of a thousand forests, as I felt within me a living principle, an immortal spirit, which cannot die, and must forever either enjoy the smiles of the Creator, or feel the pangs of ceaseless damnation.
But the Lord led me on: being gracious, he took pity on my ignorance; he heard my wailings, which had entered into the ear of the Lord of Saboath. Circumstances so transpired that I soon came to a knowledge of the being and character of the Son of God, of whom I knew nothing.
My strength had left me. I had become feverish and sickly through the violence of my feelings, on which account I left my place of service to spend a wekk with a colored physician, who was a member of the Methodist society, and also to spend this week in going to places where prayer and supplication was statedly made for such as me.
Through this means I had learned much, so as to be able in some degree to comprehend the spiritual meaning of the text, which the minister took on the Sabbath morning, as befre related, which was "I perceive thy heart is not right in the sight of God" - Acts, chap. 8, verse 21.
This text, as already related, became the power of God unto salvation to me, because I believed. I was baptized according to the direction of our Lord, who said, as he was about to ascend from the mount, to his disciples, "Go ye into all the world and preach my gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."
I have now passed through the account of my conviction, and also of my conversion to God; and shall next speak of the blessings of sanctification.
A time, after I had received forgiveness, flowed sweetly on; day and night my joy was full, no temptation was permitted to molest me. I could say continually with the psalmist, that 'God had separated my sins from me as far as the east is from the west." I was ready continually to cry,
all the word, come sinner thou,
All things in Christ are ready now."
I continued in this happy state of mind for almost three months, when a certain coloure man, by name William Scott, Came to pay me a religious visit. He had been for many years the faithful follower of the Lamb; and he had also taken much time in visiting the sick and distressed of our color, and understood well the great things belonging to a man of full stature in Christ Jesus.
In the course of our conversation, he inquired if the Lord had justified my soul. I answered yes. He then asked me if he had sanctified me. I answered no; and that I did not know what that was. He then undertook to instruct me further in the knowledge of the Lord respecting this blessing.
He told me the progress of the soul from a state of darkness, or of nature, was three-fold; or consisted in three degrees, as follows: First, conviction for sin. Second, justification from sin. Third, the entire sanctification of the soul to God. I thought this description was beautiful, and immediately believed in it. He then inquired if I would promise to pray for this in my secret devotions. I told him yes. Very soon I began to call upon the Lord to show mw all that was in my heart, which was not according to his will. Now there appeared to be a new struggle commencing in my soul, not accompanied with fear, guilt, and bitter distress, as while under my first conviction for sin, but a laboring of the mind to know more of the right way of the Lord. I began now to feel that my heart was not clean in his sight; that thre yet remained the roots of bitterness, which if not destroyed, would ere long sprout up from these roots, and overwheml me in a new growth of the brambles and brushwood of sin.
By the increasing light of the Spirit, I had found there yet remained the root of pride, anger, self-will, with many evils, the result of fallen nature. I now became alarmed at this discovery, and began to fear that I have been decieved in my experience. I was now greatly alarmed, lest I should fall away from what I knew I had enjoyed; and to guard against this I prayed almost incessantly, without setting faith on the power and promises of God to keep me from falling. I had not yet learned how to war against temptation of this kind. Satan well knew that if he could succeed in making me disbelieve my conversion, that he would catch me either on the ground of complete despair, or on the ground of infidelity. For if all I had passed through was to go for nothing, and was but a fiction, the mere ravings of a disordered mind, that I would naturally be led to believe that there is nothing in religion at all.
From this snare I was mercifully preserved, and led to believe that there was yet a greater work than that of pardon to be wrought in me. I retired to a secret place, (after having sought this blessing, as well as I could, for nearly three months, from the time brother Scott had instructed me respecting it,) for prayer, about four o'clock in the afternoon. I had struggled long and hard, but found not the desire of my heart. When I rose from my knees, there seemed a voice speaking to me, as I yet stood in a leaning posture - "Ask for sanctification." When to my surprise, I recollected that I had not even thought of it in my whole prayer. It would seem Satan had hidden the very object from my mind, for which I had purposely kneeled to pray. But when this voice whispered in my heart, saying, "Pray for sanctification," I again bowed in the same place, at the same time, and said, "Lord sanctify my soul for Christ's sake." That very instant, as if lightning had darted through me, I sprang to my feet, and cried, "The Lord has sanctified my soul!" There was none to hear this but the angels who stood around to witness my joy - and Satan, whose malice raged the more. That Satan was there, I knew; for no sooner had I cried out "The Lord has sanctified my soul," than there seemed another voice behind me, saying, "No, it is too great a work to be done." But another spirit said, "Bow down for the witness - I received it - thou art sanctified !" The first I knew of myself after that, I was standing in the yard with my hands spread out, and looking with my face toward heaven.
I now ran into the house and told them what had happened to me, when, as it were a new rush of the same exstacy came upon me, and caused me to feel as if I were in an ocean of light and bliss.
During this, I stood
perfectly still, the tears rolling in a flood from my eyes. So
great was the joy, that it is past description. There is no
language that can describe it, except that which was heard by
St Paul, when he was caught up to third heaven, and heard
words which it was not lawful to utter.
MY CALL TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
Between four and five years after my sanctification, on a certain time, an impressive silence fell upon me, and I stood as if some one was about to speak to me, yet I had no such thought in my heart. - But to my utter surprise there seemed to sound a voice which I thought I distinctly heard, and most certainly understand, which said to me, "Go preach the Gospel!" I immediately replied aloud, "No one will believe me." Again I listened, and again the same voice seemed to say - "Preach the Gospel; I will put words in your mouth, and you will turn your enemies to become your freinds."
At first I supposed that Satan had spoken to me, for I had read that he could transform himself into an angel of light for the purpose of deception. Immediately I went into a secret place, and called upon the Lord to know if he had called me to preach, and whether I was deceived or not; when there appeared to my view the form and figure of a pulpit, with a Bible lying thereon, the back of which was presented to me as plainly as if it had been a literal fact.
In consequence of this, my mind became so exercised, that during the night following, I took a text and preached in my sleep. I thought there stood before me a great multitude, while I expounded to them the things of religion. So violent were my exertions and so loud were my exclamations, that I awoke from the sound of my own voice, which also awoke the family of the house where I resided. Two days after I went to see the preacher in charge of the African Society, who was the Rev. richard Allen, the same before named in these pages, to tell him that I felt it my duty to preach the gospel. But as I drew near the street in which his house was, which was in the city of Philadelphia, my courage began to fail me; so terrible did the cross appear, it seemed that I should not be able to bear it. Previous to my acting out to go to see him, so agitated was my mind, that my appetite for my daily food failed me entirely. Several times on my way there, I turned back again; but as often I felt my strength again renewed, and I soon found that the nearer I approached to the house of the minister, the less was my fear. Adccordingly, as soon as I came to the door, my fears subsided, the cross was removed, al things appeared pleasant - I was tranquil.
I nw told him, that the Lord had revealed it to me, that I must preach the gospel. He replied, by asking, in what sphere I wished to move in? I said, among the Methodists. He then replied, that a Mrs. Cook, a Methodist lady, had also some time before requested the same privilege; who, it was believed, had done much good in the way of exhortation, and holding prayer meetings; and who had been permitted to do so by the verbal license of the preacher in charge at the time. But as to women preaching, he said that our Discipline knew nothing at all about it - that it did not call for women preachers. This I was glad to hear, because it removed the fear of the cross - but no sooner did this feeling cross my mind, than I found that a love of souls had in a measure departed from me; that holy energy which burned within me, as a fire, began to be smothered. This I soon perceived.
O how careful ought we to be, lest through our by-laws of church government and discipline, we bring into disrepute even the word of life. For as unseemly as it may appear now-a-days for a woman to preach, it should be remembered that nothing is impossible with God. And why should it be thought impossible, heterodox, or improper for a woman to preach? seeing the Saviour died for the woman as well as for the man.
If the man may preach, because the Saviour died for him, why not the woman? seeing he died for her also. Is he not a whole Saviour, instead of a half one? as those who hold it wrong for a woman to preach, would seem to make it appear.
Did not Mary first preach the risen Saviour, and is not the doctrine of the resurrection the very climax of Christianity - hangs not all our hope on this, as argued by St Paul? Then did not Mary, a woman, preach the gospel? for she preached the resurrection of the crucified son of God.
But some will say that Mary did not expound the Scripture, therefore, she did not preach, in the proper sense of the term. To this I reply, it may be that the term preach in those primitive times, do not mean exactly what it is now made to mean; perhaps it was a great deal more simple then, than it is now - if it were not, the unlearned fishermen could not have preached the gospel at all, as they had no learning.
To this it may be replied, by those who are determined not to believe that it is right for a woman to preach, that the disciples, though they were fishermen and ignorant of letters too, were inspired so to do. To which I would reply, that though they were inspired, yet that inspiration did not save them from showing their ignorance of letters and of man's wisdom; this the multitude soon found out, by listening to the remarks of the envious Jewish priests. If then, to preach the gospel, by the gift of heaven, comes by inspiration solely, is God straitened: must he take the man exclusively? May he not, did he not, and can he not inspire a female to preach the simple story of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, and accompany it too with power to the sinner's heart. As for me, I am fully persuaded that the Lord called me to labor according to what I have received, in his vineyard. If he has not, how could he consistently hear testimony in favor of my poor labors, in awakening and converting sinners?
In my wanderings up and down among men, preaching according to my ability, I have frequently found families who told me that they had not for several years been to a meeting, and yet, while listening to hear what God would say to his poor female instrument, have believed with trembling . tears rolling down their cheeks, the signs of contrition and repentance towards God. I firmly believe that I have sown seed, in the name of the Lord, which shall appear with its increase at the great day of accounts, when Christ shall come to make up his jewels.
At a certain time, I was
beset with the idea, that soon or late I should fall from
grace and lose my soul at last. I was frequently called to the
throne of grace about this matter, but found no relief; the
temptation pursued me still. Being more and more afflicted
with it, till at a certain time, when the spirit strongly
impressed it on my mind to enter into my closet and carry my
case once more to the Lord; the Lord enabled me to draw nigh
to him, and to his mercy seat, at this time, in an
extraordinary manner; for while I wrestled with him for the
victory over this disposiiton to doubt whether I should
persevere, there appeared a form of fire, about the size of a
man's hand, as I was on my knees; at the same moment there
appeared to the eye of faith a man robed in a white garment,
from the shoulders down to the feet; from him a voice
proceeded, saying: "Thou shalt never return from the cross."
Since that time I have never doubted, but believe that God
will keep me until the day of redemption. Now I could adopt
the very language of St Paul, and say, that nothing could have
separated me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
Since that time, 1807, until the present, 1833, I have not
even doubted the power and godness of God to keep me from
falling, through the sanctification of the spirit and belief
of the truth.
In the year 1811, I changed my situation in life, having married Mr Joseph Lee, pastor of a Society at Snow Hill, about six miles from the city of Philadelphia. It became necessary therefore for me to remove. This was a great trial at first, as I knew no person at Snow Hill, except my husband, and to leave my associates in the society, and especially those who composed the band of which I was one. None but those who have been in sweet fellowship with such as really love God, and have together drank bliss and happiness from the same fountain, can tell how dear such company is, and how hard it is to part from them.
At Snow Hill, as was feared, I never found that agreement and closeness in communion and fellowship, that I had in Philadelphia, among my young companions, not ought I to have expected it. The manners and customs at this place were somewhat different, on which account I became discontented in the course of a year, and began to importune my husband to remove to the city. But this plan did not suit him, as he was the Pastor of the Society, he could not bring his mind to leave them. This afflicted me a little. But the Lord showed me in a dream what his will was concerning this matter.
I dreamed that as I was walking on the summit of a beautiful hill, that I saw near me a flock of sheep, fair and white, as if but newly washed; when there came walking toward me a man of a grave and dignified countenance, dressed entirely in white, as it were a robe, and looking at me, said emphatically, "Joseph Lee must take care of these sheep, or the wolf will come and devour them." When I awoke I was convinced of my error, and immediately, with a glad heart, yielded to the right spirit in the Lord. This also greatly strengthened my faith in his care over them, for fear the wolf should be some means take any of them away. The following verse was beautifully suited to our condition, as well as to all the little flocks of God scattered up and down this land:
"Us unto Thy protection take,
And gather with Thine arm
Unless the fold we first forsake,
The wolf can never harm."
From this sickness I did not expect to recover, and there was but one thing which bound me to earth, and this was, that I had not as yet preached the gospel to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam's race, to the satisfaction of my mind. I wished to go from one end of the earth to the other, crying, Behold, behold the lamb! To this end I earnestly prayed the Lord to raise me up, if consistent with his will. He condescended to hear my prayer, and to give me a token in a dream, that in due time I should recover my health. The dream was as follows: I thought I saw the sun rise in the morning, and ascend to an altitude of about half an hour high, and then become obscured by a dense black cloud, which continued to hide its rays for about one-third part of the day, and then it burst forth again with renewed splendor.
This dream I interpreted to signify my early life, my conversion to God, and this sickness, which was a great affliction, as it hindered me, and I feared would forever hinder me from preaching the gospel, was signified by the cloud; and the bursting forth of the sun, again, was the recovery of my health, and being permitted to preach.
I went to the throne of grace on this subject, where the Lord made this impressive reply to my heart, while on my knees: "Ye shall be restored to thy health again, and worship God in full purpose of heart."
This manifestation was so impressive, that I could but hide my face as if some one was gazing upon me, to think of the great goodness of the Almighty God tomy poor soul and body. From that very time I began to gain strength of body and mind, glory to God in the highest, until my health was fully recovered.
For six years from this time I continued to receive from above, such baptisms of the Spirit as mortality could scarcely bear. About that time I was called to suffer in my family, be death - five, in the course f about six years, fell by his hand; my husband being one of the number, which was the greatest affliction of all.
I was now left alone in the world, with two infant children, one of the age of about two years, the other six months, with not other dependence than the promise of im who hath said - I will be the widow's God, and a father to the fatherless. Accordingly, he raised me up friends, whose liberality comforted and solaced me in my state of widowhood and sorrows, I could sing with the greatest propreity the words of the poet.
"He helps the stranger in distress,
The widow and the fatherless,
And grants the prisoner sweet release."
THE SUBJECT OF MY CALL TO PREACH RENEWED
It was now eight years since I had made application to be permitted to preach the gospel, during which time I had only been allowed to exhort, and even this privilege but seldom. This subject now was renewed afresh in my mind; it was as a fire shut up in my bones. About thirteen months passed on, while under this renewed impression. During this time, I had solicited of the Rev. Bishop, Richard Allen, who at this time had become Bishop of the African Ečiscopal Methodists in America, to be permitted the liberty of holding prayer meetings in my own hired house, and of exhorting as I found liberty, which was granted me. By this means, my mind was relieved, as the house soon filled when the hour appointed for prayer had arrived.
I cannot but relate in this place, before I proceed further with the above subject, the singular conversion of a very wicked young man. He was a colored man, who had generally attended our meetings, but not for any good purpose; but rather to disturb and to ridicule our denomination. He openly and uniformly declared that he neither believed in religion, nor wanted any thing to do with it. He was of a Gallio disposition, and took the lead among the young people of color. But after a while he fell sick, and lay about three months in a state of ill health; his disease was a consumption. Toward the close of his days, his sister who was a member of the society, came and desired me to go and see her brother, as she had no hopes of his recovery, perhaps the Lord might break into his mind. I went alone, and found him very low. I soon commenced to inquire respecting his state of feeling, and how he found his mind. His answer was, "O tolerable well," with an air of great indifference. I asked him if I should pray for him. He answered in a sluggish and careless manner, "O yes, if you have time." I then sung a hymn, kneeled down and prayed for him, and then went my way.
Three days after this, I went again to visit the young man. At this time there went with me two of the sisters in Christ. We found the Rev. Mr Cornish, of our denomination, laboring with hi,. But he said he received but little satisfaction from him. Pretty soon, however, brother Cornish took his leave; when myself, with the other two sisters, one of which was an elderly woman named Jane Hutt, the other was younger, both colored, commenced conversing with him, respecting his ternal interest, and of his hopes of a happy eternity, if any he had. He said but little; we then kneeled down together and besought the Lord in his behalf, praying that if mercy were not clear gone for ever, to shed a ray of softening grace upon the hardness of his heart. He appeared now to be somewhat more tender, and we thought we could perceive some tokens of conviction, as he wished us to visit him again, in a tone of voice not quite as indifferent as he had hitherto manifested.
But two days had elapsed after this visit, when his sister came to me in haste, saying, that she believed her brother was then dying, and that he had sent for me. I immediately called on Jane Hutt, who was still among us as a mother in Israel, to go with me. When we arrived there, we found him sitting up in bed, very restless and uneasy, but he soon laid down again. He now wished me to come to him, by the side of his bed. I asked him how he was. He said, Very ill; and added, "Pray for me, quick?" We now perceived his time in this world would be short. I took up the hymn-book, and opened to a hymn suitable to his case, and commenced to sing, but there seemed to be a horror in the room - a darkness of a mental kind, which was felt by us all; there being five persons, except the sick young man and his nurse. We had sung but one verse, when they all gave over singing, on account of this unearthly sensation, but myself. I continued to sing on alone, but in a dull and heavy manner, though looking up to God all the while for help. Suddenly I felt a spring of energy awake in my heart, when darkness gave way in some degree. It was but a glimmer from above. When the hymn was finished, we all kneeled down to pray for him. While calling on the name of the Lord, to have mercy on his soul, and to grant him repentance unto life, it came suddenly into my mind never to rise from my knees until God should hear prayer in his behalf, until he should convert and save his soul.
Now, while I thus continued importuning heaven, as I felt I was led, a ray of light, more abundant, broke forth among us. There appeared to my view, though my eyes were closed, the Saviour in full stature, nailed to the cross, just over the head of the young man, against the ceiling of the room. I cried out, brother look up, the Saviour is come, he will pardon you, your sins he will forgive. My sorrow for the sould of the young man was gone; I could no longer pray - joy and rapture made it impossibile. We rose up from our knees, when lo, his eyes were gazing with ecstacy upwards; over his face there was an expression of joy; his lips were clothed in a sweet and holy smile; but no sound came from his tongue; it was heard in its stillness of bliss; full of hope and immortality. Thus, as I held him by the hand, his happy and purified soul soared away, without a sigh or a groan, to its eternal rest.
I now closed his eyes, straightened out his limbs, and left him to be dressed for the grave. But as for me, I was filled with the power of the Holy Ghost - the very room seemed filled with glory. His sister and all that were in the room rejoiced, nothing doubting but he had entered into Paradise; and I believe I sahll see him at the last and great day, safe on the shores of salvation.
But to return to the subject of my call to preach. Soon after this, as above related, the Rev. Richard Williams was to preach at Bethel Church, where I with others were assembled. He entered the pupit, gave out the hum, which was sung, and then addressed the throne of grace; took his text, passed through the exordium, and commenced to expound it. The text he took is in Jonah, 2nd chap. 9th verse, - "Salvation is of the Lord." But as he proceeded to explain, he seemed to have lost the spirit; when in the same instant, I sprang, as by altogether supernatural impulse, to my feet, when I was aided from above to give an exhortation on the very text which my brother Williams had taken.
I told them I was like Jonah; for it had been then nearly eight years since the Lord had called me to preach his gospel to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam's race, but that I had lingered like him, and delayed to go at the bidding of the Lord, and warn those who are as deeply guilty as were the people of Nineveh.
During the exhortation, God made manifest his power in a manner sufficient to show the world that I was called to labour according to my ability, and the grace given unto me, in the vineyard of the good husbandman.
I now sat down, scarcely knowing what I had done, being frightened. I imagined, that for this indecorum, as I feared it might be called, I should be expelled from the church. But instead of this, the Bishop rose up in the assembly, and related that I had called upon him eight eyears before, asking to be permitted to preach, and that he had put me off; but that he now as much believed that I was called to that work, as any of the preachers present. These remarks greatly strengthened me, so that my fears of having given an offence, and made myself liable as an offender, subsided, giving place to a sweet serenity, a holy joy of a peculiar kind, untasted in my bosom until then.
The next Sabbath day, while sitting under the word of the gospel, I felt moved to attempt to speak to the people in a public manner, but I could not bring my mind to attempt it in the church. I said, Lord, anywhere but here. Addordingly, there was a house not far off which was pointed out to me; to this I went. It was the house of a sister belonging to the same society with myself. Her name was Anderson. I told her I had come to hold a meeting in her house, if she would call her neighbours. With this request, she immediately complied. My congregation consisted of five persons. I commenced by reading and singing a hymn; when I arose I found my hand resting on the Bible, which I had not noticed till that moment. It now occurred to me to take a text. I opened the Scripture, as it happened, at the 141st Psalm, fixing my eyes on the third verse, which reads: "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips." My sermon, such as it was, applied wholly to myself, and added an exhortation. Two of my congregation wept much, as the fruit of my labor this time. In closing, I said to the few, that if any would open a door, I would hold a meeting the next sixth-day evening: when one answered that her house was at my service. Accordingly I went, and God made manifest his power among the people. Some wept, while others shouted for joy. One whole seat of females, by the power of God, as the rushing of a wind, were all bowed to the floor, at once, and screamed out. Also a sick man and woman in one house, the Lord convicted them both; one lived, and the other died. God wrought a judgment - some were well at night, and died in the morning. During that time I kept house with my little son, who was very sickly. About this time I had a call to preach at a place about thirty miles distant, among the Methodists, with whom I remained one week, and during the whole time, not a thought of my little son came into my mind; it was hid from me, lest I should have been diverted from the work I had to do, to look after my son. Here by the instrumentality of a poor coloured woman, the Lord poured forth his spirit among the people. Though, as I was told, there were lawyers, doctors, and magistrates present, to hear me speak, yet there was mourning and crying among sinners, for the Lord scattered fire among them of his own kindling. The Lord gave his hand-maiden power to speak for his great name, for he arrested the hearts of the people, and caused a shaking amongst the multitude, for God was in the midst.
I now returned home, fould all well; no harm had come to my child, although I left it very sick. Friends had taken care of it which was of the Lord. I now began to think seriously of breaking up housekeeping, and forsaking all to preach the everlasting Gospel. I felt a strong desire to return to the place of my nativity, at Cape May, after an absence of about fourteen years. To this place, where the heaviest cross was to be met with, the Lord sent me, as Saul of Tarsus was sent to Jerusalem, to preach the same gospel which he had neglected and despised before his conversion. I went by water, and on my passage was much distressed by sea sickness, so much that I expected to have died, but such was not the will of the Lord respecting me. After I had disembarked, I proceeded on as opportunities offered, toward where my mother lived. When within ten miles of that place, I appointed an evening meeting. There were a goodly number come out to hear. The Lord was pleased to give me light and liberty among the people. After meeting, there came an elderly lady to me and said, she believed the Lord had sent me among them; and then appointed me another meeting there two weeks from that night. The next day I hastened forward to the place of my mother who was happy to see me, and the happiness was mutual between us. With her I left my poor sickly boy, while I departed to do my Master's will. In this neighborhood I had an uncle, who was a Methodist, and who gladly threw open his door for meetings to be held there. At the first meeting which I held in my uncle's house, there was, with others who had come from curiosity to hear the woman preacher, an old man, who was a Deist, and who said he did not believe the coloured people had any souls - he was sure they had none. He took a seat very near where I was standing, and boldly tried to look me out of countenance. But as I labored on in the best manner I was able, looking to God all the while, though it seemed to me I had but little liberty, yet there went an arrow from the bent bow of the gospel, and fastened in his till then obdurate heart. After I had done speaking, he went out, and called the people around him, said that my preaching might seem a small thing, yet he believed I had the worth of souls at heart. This language was different from what it was a little time before, as he now seemed to admit that coloured people had souls, as it was to these I was chiefly speaking; and unless they had souls, whose good I had in view, his remark must have been without meaning. He now came into the house, and in the most friendly manner shook hands with me, saying, he hoped God had spared him to some good purpose. This man was a great slave hlder, and had been very cruel; thinking nothing of knocking down a slave with a fence stake, or whatever might come to hand. From this time it was said of him that he became greatly altered in his ways for the better. At that time he was about seventy years old, his head as white as snow; but whether he became a converted man or not, I never heard.
The week following, I had an invitation to hold a meeting at the Court House of the County, when I spoke from the 53rd chap. of Isaiah, 2d verse. It was a solemn time, and the Lord attended the word; I had life and liberty, though there were people there of various denominations. Here again I saw the aged slaveholder, who notwithstanding his age, walked about three miles to hear me. This day I spoke twice, and walked six miles to the place appointed. There was a magistrate present, who showed his friendship, by saying in a friendly manner, that he had heard of me: he handed me a hymnbook, pointing to a hymn which he had selected. When the meeting was over, he invited me to preach in a schoolhouse in his neighborhood, about three miles distant from where I was. During this meeting one backslider was reclaimed. This day I walked sic miles, and preached twice to large congregations, both in the morning and evening. The Lord was with me, glory be to his holy name. I next went six miles and held a meeting in a coloured friend's house,at eleven o'clock in the morning, and preached to a well behaved congregation, of both coloured and white. After service I again walked back, which was in all twelve miles in the same day. This was on Sabbath, or as I sometimes call it, seventh day; for after my conversion, I preferred the plain language of the Friends. On the fourth day, after this, in compliance with an invitation received by note, from the same magistrate who had heard me at the above place I preached to a large congregation, where we had a precious time: much weeping was heard among the people. The same gentleman, now at the close of the meeting, gave out another appointment at the same place, that day week, Here again I had liberty, there was a move among the people. Ten years from that time, in the neighborhood of Cape May, I held a prayer meeting in a school house, which was then the regular place of preaching for the Episcopal Methodists, after service, there came a white lady, of great distinction, a member of the Methodist Society, and told that at that same shool house ten years before, under my preaching, the Lord first awakened her. She rejoiced much to see me, and invited me home with her, where I staid till the next day. This was bread cast upon the water, seen after many years.
From this place I went to Dennis Creek meeting house, where at the invitation of an elder, I spoke to a large congregation of various and conflicting sentiments, when a wonderful shock of God's power was felt, shown everywhere by groans, by sighs, and loud and happy amens. I felt as if aided from above. My tongue was cut loose, the stammerer spoke freely; the love of God, and of his service, burned with a vehement flame within me - his name was glorified among the people.
I had my little son with me, and was very much straitened for money - and not having means to procure my passage home, I opened a School, and taught eleven scholars, for the purpose of raising a small sum. For many weeks I knew not what to do about returning home, when the Lord came to my assistance as I was rambling in the fields meditating upon his goodness, and made known to me that I might go to the city of Philadelphia, for which place I soon embarked with a very kind captain. We had a perilous passage - a dreadful storm arose, and before leaving the Delaware bay, we had a narrow escape from being run down by a large ship. But the good Lord held us in the hollow of his hand, and in the afternoon of Nov. 12, 1821, we arrived at the city.
Here I held meetings in the dwelling house of sister Lydia Anderson, and for about three months had as many appointments as I could attend. We had many precious seasons together, and the Lord was with his little praying band, convincing and converting sinners to the truth. I continued in the city until spring, when I felt it impressed upon my mind to travel, and walked fourteen miles in company with a sister to meet some ministers, there to assemble, from Philadelphia. Satan tempted me while on the way, telling me that I was a fool for walking so far, as I would not be permitted to preach. But I pursued my journey, with the determination to set down and worship with them. When I arrived, a goodly number of people had assembled, and no preacher. They waited the time to commence the exercise, and then called upon me. I took the 3rd chapter John 14th verse for my text. I had life and liberty, and the Lord was in the camp with a shout. Another meeting was appointed three miles from there, when I spoke from Psalms cxxxvii, 1,2,3,4. My master was with me, and made manifest his power. In the County House, also, we held a meeting, and had a sweet waiting upon the Lord. I spoke from Hebrews ii,3, when the Lord gave me peculiar liberty. At a dwelling house one night I spoke from John vii, 46, when six souls fell to the floor crying for mercy. We had a blessed outpouring of the spirit among us - the God of Jacob was in our midst - and the shout of heaven-born souls was like music to our ears.
About the month of February my little son James, then in his sixth year, gave evidence of having religious inclinations. Once he got up in a chair, with a hymn book in his hand, and with quite a ministerial jesture, gave out a hymn. I felt the spirit move me to sing with him. A worthy sister was in the room, who I asked to pray for him. I invoked the Lord to answer and seal this prayer in the courts of heaven. I believed He would and did, and while yet on our knees I was heaven. I believed He would and did, and while yet on our knees I was filled with the fulness of God, and the answer came. I cried out in the joy of my heart - "The dead is alive" - and ran down stairs to inform a neighbor. Tears ran down the cheeks of my now happy boy, and great was our rejoicing together. He had been the subject of many prayers, and often had I thought I would rather follow him to his grave than to see him grow up an open and profane sinner like many children I had seen. And here let me say, the promise of the Lord is, "ask and ye shall receive." Dear parents; pray for your children in childhood - carry them in the arms of faith to the mercy seat, and there present them an offering to the Lord. I can say from my own experience, the Lord will hear prayer. I had given James the Bible as Haman gave Samuel to God in his youth, and by his gracious favor he was received. For the further encouragement of fathers and mothers to engage in this blessed work, let me refer them to Ecclesiastes xi, 6; "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."
"Sow it in the youthful mind,
Can you have a fairer field?
Be it but in faith consigned.
Harvest, doubtless, it shall yield,
Fruits of early piety,
All that God delights to see."
The next day, sister Mary
Owan and Myself set out for Newhope, where we arrived, after
walking sixteen miles, at about six o'clock in the evening.
Though tedious, it was a pleasant walk to view the high
mountain and towering hills, and the beauty and variety of
nature around us, which powerfully impressed my mind with the
greatness and wisdom of my Maker. At this place I stop at the
house of the gentleman with whose wife's mother I was brought
up, and by whom we were agreeably received. The next evening
we called upon brother Butler, where I addressed a small
company, and God, through his words, quickened some. The next
night I spoke in an Academy to a goodly number of people, from
John iii, 14. Here I found some ever ill-behaved persons, who
talked roughly, and said among other things, "I was not a
woman, but a man dressed in female clothes." I labored one
week among them, and went next to Lambertsville, where we
experienced kindness from the people, and had a happy time and
parted in tears.
I now returned to Philadelphia, where I stayed a short time, and went to Salem, West Jersey. I met with many troubles on my journey, especially from the elder, who like many others, was averse to a woman's preaching. And here let me tell that elder, if he has not gone to heaven, that I have heard that as far back as Adam Clarke's time, his objections to female preaching were met by the answer - "If an ass reproved Balaam, and a barn-door fowl reproved Peter, why should not a woman reprove sin?" I do not introduce this for its complimentary classification of women, with donkeys and fowls, but to give the reply of a poor woman, who had once been a slave. To the first companion she said - "May be a speaking woman is like an ass - but I can tell you one thing, the ass seen the angel when Balaam didn't."
Not withstanding the position, we had a prosperous time at Salem. I had some good congregations, and sinners were cut to the heart. After speaking in the meeting house, two women came up into the pulpit, and falling upon my neck cried out "What shall I do to be saved?" One said she had disobeyed God, and she had taken her children from her - he had called often after her, but she did not hearken. I pointed her to the all-atoning blood of Christ, which is sufficient to cleanse from all sin, and left her, after prayer, to his mercy. From this place I walked twenty-one miles, and preached with difficulty to a stiff-necked and rebellious people, who I soon left without any animosity for their treatment. They might have respected my message, if not the poor weak servant who brought it to them with so much labor.
"If they persecute you in one city, flee into another,"was the advice I had resolved to take, and I hastened to Greenwich, where I had a lively congregation, had unusual life and liberty in speaking, and the power of God was there. We also had a solemn time in the meeting house on Sabbath day morning, and in a dwelling house in the evening; a large company assembled, when the spirit was with us, and we had a mighty shaking among the dry bones.
On second day morning, I took stage and rode seven miles to Woodstown, and there I spoke to a respectable congregation of white and colored, in a school house. I was desired to speak in the colored meeting house, but the minister could not reconcile his mind to a woman preacher - he could not unite in fellowship with me even to shaking hands as Christians ought. I had visited that place before, when God made manifest his power "through the foolishness of preaching," and owned the poor old woman. One of the brothers appointed a meeting in his own house, and after much persuasion this minister came also. I did not feel much like preaching, but spoke from Acts viii, 35. I felt my inability, and was led to complain of weakness - but God directed the arrow to the hearts of the guilty - and my friend the minister got happy, and often shouted "Amen,"and my "as it is, sister." We had a wonderful display of the spirit of God among us, and we found it good to be there. There is nothing too hard for the Lord to do. I committed the meeting into the hands of the elder, who afterwards invited me to preach in the meeting house. He had said he did not believe that over a soul was converted under the preaching of a woman - but while I was laboring in his place, conviction seized a woman, who fell floor crying for mercy. This meeting held till 12 or 1 o'clock. O how precious is the sound of Jesus' name! I never felt a doubt at this time of my acceptance with God, but rested my soul on his every promise. The elder shook hands, and we parted.
Nov. 22, 1822, I returned to Philadelphia, and attended meetings in and out of the city. God was still my help, and I preached and formed a class, and tried to be useful. The oppositions I met with, however, were numerous - so much so, that I was tempted to withdraw from the Methodist Church, lest some might go into ruin by their persecutions of me - but this was allowed only to try my faithfulness to God. At times I was pressed down like a cart beneath its shafts - my life seemed as at the point of the sword - my heart was sore and pained me in my body. But the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust till the day of judgement to be punished. While relating the feelings of my mind to a sister who called to see me, joy sprang up in my bosom that I was not overcome by the adversary, and I was overwhelmed with the love of God and souls. I embraced the sister in my arms, and we had a melting time together. Oh how comforting it is to have the spirit of God bearing witness with our spirits that we are his children in such dark hours!
When Satan appears to stop up our path,
And fill us with fears, we triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, (tho' oft he has tried,)
The soul cheering promise the Lord will provide.
He tells us we're weak, our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek we ne'er shall obtain;
But when such suggestions our graces have tried,
This answers all questions, the Lord will provide.
June 24, I left the city of Philadelphia to travel in Delaware state. I went with captain Ryal, a kind gentleman, who took me to his house in Wilmington, and himself and lady both treated me well. The first night of my arrival; I preached in the stone Methodist meeting house. I tried, in my weak way, to interest the assembly from the 2d chapter of Hebrews, 3d verse - "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation." God was there, as we had the most delightful evidence - and many had their eyes opened to see there was no escape from the second death while out of Christ, and cried unto God for his saving grace. I would that all who have not embraced the salvation offered in the gospel, might examine the question candidly and seriously, ere the realities of the other world break up their fancied security.
In July, I spoke in a School house to a large congregation, from Numbers xxix, 17. Here we had a sweet foretaste of heaven - full measure, and running over - shouting and rejoicing - while the poor errand-bearer of a free gospel was assisted from on high. I wish my reader had been there to share with us the joyous heavenly feast. On the 15th of July I gave an exhortation in the meeting house again to a listening multitude - deep and solemn were the convictions of many, and good, I trust, was done.
The next place I visited was Newcastle. The meeting house could not be obtained, and two young gentleman interested themselves to get the Court house, but the Trustees objected, wishing to know why the Methodists did not open their Church. The reason was "I was not licensed," they said. My two friends waited on me to speak in the Market house, where I attended at early candlelight, and had the pleasure of addressing a few plain truths to a crowded but respectful congregation, from John vii, 46 - "Never man spoke like this man." On Sunday the same young gentlemen invited me to give another discourse, to which I consented, before a large gathering of all descriptions.
From here I proceeded to Christine, where we worshipped in a dwelling house, and I must say was well treated by some of my colored friends. I than returned to Wilmington, where in a few days I had a message to return again to C. My friends said I should have the Meeting house, for which Squire Luden interested himself, and the appointment was published. When the people, met at the proper time, the doors remained locked. Amid cries of "shame" we left the Church steps - but a private house was opened a short distance up the road, and though disappointed in obtaining egress to a Church, the Lord did not disappoint his people, for we were fed with the bread of life, and had a happy time. Mr. and Mrs. Lewelen took me to their house, and treated me, not as one of their hired servants, but as a companion, for which I shall ever feel grateful, Mr. Smith, a doctor, also invited me to call upon them - he was a Presbyterian, but we prayed and conversed together about Jesus and his love, and parted without meddling with each others creeds. Oh, I long to see the day when Christians will meet on one common platform - Jesus of Nazareth - and cease their bickerings and contentions about non-essentials - when "our Church" shall be less debated, but "our Jesus" shall be all in all.
Another family gave me the invitation to attend a prayer meeting. It was like a "little heaven below." From here I walked about four miles that evening, accompanied by the house maid of Mrs. Ford, a Presbyterian, who said she knew her mistress would be glad to see me Mrs. F. gave me a welcome - said she felt interested in my speaking, and sent a note to Methodist lady, who replied that my labor would be acceptable, no doubt, in her Church that afternoon. When I came in, the elder was in the pulpit. He gave us a good sermon. After preaching, this lays spoke of me to the elder; in consequence, he invited me to his pulpit, saying "he was willing that every one should do good." My text was Hebrew ii, 3. Though weak in body, the good Master filled my mouth and gave me liberty among strangers, and seldom have I spent so happy a Sabbath. Mrs. F. had a colored woman in her family one hundred and ten years of age, with whom I conversed about religion - how Christ had died to redeem us, and the way of salvation, and the poor old lady said "she wished she could hear me every day." I also called upon another, one hundred and sixteen years old, who was blind. We talked together about Jesus - she had a strong and abiding evidence of her new birth, and in a few weeks went home to heaven. Here she was long deprived of the light of the sun, and the privilege of reading God's blessed word; but there her eyes are unsealed, and the Sun of righteousness has risen with healing in his wings.
There glory beams on all the plains,
Which sight to her is given -
There music rolls in sweetest strains,
And spotless beauty ever reigns,
And all is love in heaven.
At Smyrna I met brother C.W. Cannon, who made application for the Friend's Meeting house for me, where the Lord blessed us abundantly. We attended a Camp-meeting of the old connexion, and got greatly refreshed for the King's service. I rode ten miles and delivered a message from the Lord to a waiting audience - the Master assisted, and seven individuals, white and colored, prostrated themselves for prayer. Next day I rode to Middletown - spoke in a School house to a white congregation from Isaiah 1xiii, 1, and a good time it was. In the morning at 11 o'clock, I addressed a Methodist Society, and in the afternoon at 3 o'clock, spoke under a tree in the grave yard, by the road side, to a large audience. Squire Maxwell's lady, who was present, invited me home to tea with herself and nieces, and a Quaker lady showed her benevolence by putting into my hand enough to help me on my journey. The Lord is good - what shall I do to make it known? I rode seven miles that night, and gave and exhortation after the minister had preached, and felt happier than a King.
I now travelled to Cecil country, Md., and the first evening spoke to a large congregation. The pastor afterwards baptized some adult persons - and we all experienced the cleansing and purifying power. We had a baptism within and without. I was next sent for by the servant of a white gentleman, to hold a meeting in his house in the evening. He invited the neighbors, colored and white, when I spoke according to the ability God gave me. It was pleasant to my poor soul to be there - Jesus was in our midst - and we gave glory to God. Yes, glory - glory be to God in the highest. "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." I boast not myself. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God giveth the increase. I tried also to preach three times at a place 14 miles from here - had good meetings - backsliders were reclaimed and sinners convicted of sin, who I left in the hands of God, with the hope of meeting and recognizing again "When we arrive at home."
Returned back to Middletown. The next day the preacher of the circuit conveyed me to his place of appointment at Elkton. We had a wonderful outpouring of the spirit. At Frenchtown I spoke at 11 o'clock, where I realized my nothingness, but, God's name he praised, he helped me in the duty. Went again to Middletown, and from there to Canton's Bridge, and talked to the people as best I could. Seven miles from this place I found, by the direction of a kind Providence, my own sister, who had been separated from me some thirty three years. We were young when last we met, with less of the cares of life than now. Each heart then was buoyant with mildly hopes and pleasures - and little did we expect at parting that thirty three years would pass over us, with its changes and vicissitudes, ere we should see each other's face. Both were much altered in appearance, but we knew each other, and talked over the dealings of the Lord with us, retracing our wanderings in the world and "the days when life way young."
"Our days of childhood quickly pass,
And soon our happiest years are run -
As the pure dew that gems the grass the grass
Is dried beneath the summer sun.
There's such decent-such guile in men,
Who would not be a child again?"
I next attended and preached several times at a camp meeting, which continued five days. We had Pentecostal showers - sinners were pricked to the heart, and cried mightily to God for succor from impending judgment, and I verily believe the Lord was well pleased at our weak endeavors to serve him in the tented grove. The elder in charge, on the last day of the camp, appointed a meeting for me in a dwelling house. Spoke from Acts ii, 41 The truth fastened in the hearts of two young women, who, after I was seated, came and fell down at my side, and cried for God to have mercy on them - we prayed and wrestled with the Lord, and both were made happy in believing, and are alive in the faith of the gospel. The next morning a brother preacher took me to St. Georgetown. From, there I took stage to Wilmington, and called on my friend Captain Rial, in whose family I spent two days and nights. Went to Philadelphia to attend a camp-meeting. Returned again to W - where I was taken sick with typhus fever, was in the doctor's hands for some days - but the Lord rebuked the disease, gave me my usual health again, and I returned back to Philadelphia.
The Bishop gave me an invitation to speak in Bethel Church; but here my heart fluttered with fear at the commencement, in manner known but to those who feel their unworthiness in addressing new and large assemblies. My text was in Isaiah x. 10,11. Previous to dismission, the Bishop gave me another appointment in Wesley Church for first day morning. Where I labored to encourage believers, from Ephesians, ii, 19. The comforter was with us - we were sprinkled as with clear water from above - the hands of those that were hanging down were lifted up, and we truly had a refreshing season. Glory to God for the manifestation of His Spirit. "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
On the ensuing Thursday night, in Union Church, I had to opportunity of speaking a word for my Saviour again, and recommended the impenitent to see to it that they took the advice of my text, in Rev. iii, 18. The Lord searched the heart as he did Jerusalem with a lighted candle, and there was a moving of the Spirit among the people.
From Philadelphia I travelled on foot thirty miles to Downingtown, and gave ten sermons while there; and remember the cold day in December I walked sixteen miles from the above place to brother Wells, where I staid one week, and labored both among colored and white. They had one class there. Three miles further, I talked on Lord's day to an apparently hardened people, and next night preached in a School-house, after a ride of ten miles. The call of the Lord was for me now to go to West Chester, N. Y., where I remained a little period with brother Thomas Henry and brother Miller; preached in a School-house and in the Wesleyan Methodist Meeting-house. When prepared to go home, a request was sent me to preach in the Court-house of the country, to which I rode ten miles, and addressed the citizens on two evenings. The Lord strengthened his feeble instrument in the effort to win souls to Christ, for which my heart at this time was heavily burthened. Next morning I let for Westhaven, where I visited a School of boys and girls, and was much pleased to see them engaged and improving in their studies. How great the difference now, thought I, for the mental and moral culture of the young than when I was a child!
In the month of June, 1823, I went on from Philadelphia to New York with Bishop Allen and several Elders, (including our present Rev. Bishop Brown,) to attend the New York Annual Conference of our denomination, where I spent three months of my time. We arrived about nine o'clock in the evening. As we left the boat, a person fell into the dock, and notwithstanding the effort made to save and find him, he was seen no more. 'In the midst of life we are in death.' On the 4th of June I spoke in the Asbury Church, from Psalms c,33.
I think I never witnessed such a shouting and rejoicing time. The Church had then but recently adopted the African M.E. discipline. On the 5th I brought my master's message to the Bethel Church - Text Isaiah lviii, 1. "Cry aloud, spare not; lift up they voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins," The spirit of God came upon me; I spoke without fear of man, and seemed willing even there to be offered up; the preachers shouted and prayed, and it was a time long to be remembered.
June 6, Spoke in the Church in High Street, Brooklyn, from Jer. ix,1 - "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people." In these days I felt it my duty to travel up and down in the world, and promulgate the gospel of Christ, especially among my own people, though I often desired to be released from the great task. The Lord had promised to be with me, and my trust was in his strong arm.
Renouncing every worldly thing,
Safe 'neath the shadow of thy wing
My Sweetest thought henceforth shall be
That all I want I find in thee,
In them, my God, In Thee.
July 22. Spoke in Asbury Church from Acts xiii, 41 - "Behold ye despisers, and wonder and perish." I pointed out the portion of the hypocrite, the liar, the Sabbath-breaker, and all who do wickedly and die in their sins; they shall be to the judgment bar of Jehovah, and before an assembled universe hear their awful sentence, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," while the righteous shall be received "into life eternal." On the 28th I went to Dutch Hill, L.I., and spoke before a congregation of white and colored, in a barn, as there was no other suitable place. I felt happy when I thought of my dear Redeemer, who was born in a stable and cradled in a manager, and we had a precious season. Brother Croker, of Brooklyn, and father Thompson were with me, at whose feet I desired rather to set and learn, they being experienced "workmen that needed not to be ashamed." But the Lord sends by whom he will.
The next Sabbath I weakly attempted to address my friends in New York again. Took the words in Math. xxviii, 13, for my text - "Say ye, his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept." The place was greatly crowded, and many came who could not get in. A class met here, to which the preacher invited all who desired to remain, and thirty persons tarried. He called upon me to lead, but He who led Israel over the Red Sea assisted, and it was a gracious time with us. Some who remained from curiosity were made, like Belshazzar, to tremble and weep, while the spirit strove powerfully with them. One experienced religion and joined society. I expect in the resurrection morning to meet many who were in that little company, in my Father's house, where we shall strike hands no more to part; where our song of redemption shall be raised to God and the Lamb forever. Dear reader, if you have not, I charge you to make your peace with God while time and opportunity is given, and be one of that number who shall take part and lot in the first resurrection. Though I may never see you in the flesh, I leave on this page my solemn entreaty that you delay not to obtain the pardoning favor of God; that you leave not the momentous subject of religion to a sick bed or dying hour, but now, even one, seek the Lord with full purpose of heart, and he will be found of thee. "If any man sin, he had advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
"Oh that the world might taste and see
The riches of his grace;
The arms of love that compass me,
Would all mankind embrace."
Let all who are out of Christ hear the invitation - "Repent ye and be converted, for God hath called all men everywhere to repent."
"Without reserve give Christ your heart,
Let him his righteousness impart -
Then all things else he'll freely give,
With him you all things shall receive."
I travelled seven miles from the above place to Snow Hill on Sabbath morning, where I was to preach in the Church of which I was a member, and although much afflicted in body, I strove, by the grace of God, to perform the duty. This was once the charge of JOSEPH LEE. In this desk my lamented husband had often stood up before me, proclaiming the "acceptable year of the Lord" - here he labored with zeal and spent his strength to induce sinners to be "reconciled to God" - here his toils ended. And could it be, his a poor unworthy being like myself should be called to address his former congregation, and should stand in the same pulpit! The thought made me tremble. My heart sighed when memory brought back the image, and the reminiscences of other days crowded upon me. But why, my heart, dost thou sigh? He has ceased from his labor, and I here see his works do follow. It will be enough, if these, the people of his care, press on and gain the kingdom. It will be enough, if, on the final day, "for which all other days were made," we pass through the gates into the city, and live again together where death cannot enter, and separations are unknown. Cease then, my tears - a little while, my fluttering heart! and the turf that covers my companion, perchance, may cover thee - a little while, my soul! if faithful, and the widow's God will call thee from this valley of tears and sorrows to rest in the mansions the Saviour has gone to prepare for his people. "Good what God gives - just what he takes away."
My mind was next exercised to visited Trenton, N.J. I spoke for the people there, but soon had felt the cross so heavy. Perhaps it was occasioned through grieving over the past, and my feelings of loneliness in the world. A sister wished me to go with her to Bridgeport - where I found brother or win, then elder over that church. He gave me an appointment. We had a full house, and God's power was manifest among the people, and I returned to the elder's house, and God's power was manifest. walked fourteen miles to a meeting, where also we were greatly favored with the presence of God. Soon after this, I thought of going home to Philadelphia. I got about three miles on foot, when an apparent voice said "if thou goest home thou wilt die." I paused for a moment, and not comprehending what it meant, pursued my journey. Again I was startled by something like a tapping on my shoulder, but, on turning round, I found myself alone, which two circumstances created a singular feeling I could not understand. I thought of Balaam when met by the angel in the way. I was taken sick and it seemed I should die in the road. I said I will go back, and walked about four miles to Bridgeport. Told a good sister my exercise, who was moved with sympathy, and got brandy and bathed me. On Wednesday night I spoke to the people at Trenton Bridge, and notwithstanding the opposition I had met with from brother Samuel R - then on the circuit, the Lord supported the "Woman preacher" and my soul was cheered. On Thursday I walked fourteen miles, when the friends applied to the elder to let me talk for them, but his prejudices also, against women preaching were very strong, and tried hard to disaffect the minds of the people. The dear man has since gone to stand before that God who knows the secrets of all hearts - and where, I earnestly pray, he may find some who have been saved by grace through the instrumentality of female preaching.
"Then here, O God, thy work fulfil;
And from thy mercy's throne
O grant me strength to do thy will,
And to resist my own."
On the 14th April, I went with Bishop Allen and several elders to Baltimore, on their way to attend Conference; at the end of which the Bishop gave me permission to express a few thoughts for my Lord. On leaving the city of B., I travelled about 100 miles to Eastern Shore, Maryland. Brother Bailey was then laboring on that circuit, who received and treated me very kindly. We had several good meetings, and twice I spoke in Bethel Church, when the outpouring of the Spirit was truly great. In company with a good sister, who took a gig and horse, I travelled about three hundred miles, and labored in different places. Went to Denton African Church, and on the first Sabbath gave two sermons. The Church was in a thriving, prosperous condition, and the Lord blessed the word to our comfort. During the week I labored in the court-house before a large concourse of hearers. The Lord was unspeakably good, and one fell to the floor under the power.
By request, I also spoke in the Old Methodist Church in Denton, which was full to overflowing. It was a happy meeting. My tongue was loosened, and my heart warm with the love of God and souls - a season yet sweet to my memory. From there I went to Greensboro - the elder gave a sermon, after which I exhorted the poor sinner to prepare to meet the Lord in peace, before mercy was clear gone forever. The Old Methodist connexion gave an invitation for me to speak in their house, which I embraced, feeling thankful that the middle wall of partition had, thus far, been broken down. "He that feareth God and worketh righteousness shall be accepted of him" - not he who hath a different skin - not he who belongs to this denomination, or, to that - but "he that feareth God." My Master is no respecter of persons. May the partition walls that divide His sincere followers be broken down by the spirit of love.
In Whitehall Chapel I spoke to a respectable congregation, from Isaiah iii. 1. Though in a slave country, I found the Omnipresent one was with us. Dr. Clarke took us home to dine with his family - for which uncommon attention I felt highly gratified. I believe him a Christian in heart, and one, no doubt, who has read the words of the Saviour: "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, shall in no wise lose his reward." And, notwithstanding the doctor was a Presbyterian, Mr. Buly had the privilege of baptizing two of their colored children.
I stopped next to Concord, and in the Old Methodist connexion tried to encourage the Lord's people to preserver. God displayed His power by a general outpouring of the Spirit - sinners cried for mercy, while others shouted for joy. Spoke congregation of colored and white at Stanton Mills; and arrived again at Eastern Shore, where I spoke in Bethel Church during Quarterly Meeting. Attended their love-feast, where several joined society, and many encouraging testimonies were given by young converts that "God hath power on earth to forgive sins." May they be faithful stewards of the manifold gifts of God - and never be ashamed to confess what the Lord had done for them. Many lose the witness out of the heart by withholding their testimony from their friends and neighbors of the power of God to save. They run well for a season, but the tempter whispers "not now" - and by and by the soul becomes barren and unfruitful. May God help the young converts to "Watch," and tell around what a dear Saviour they have found.
"Ashamed of Jesus! - yes, I may,
When I've no guilt to wash away -
No tears to wipe - no good to crave -
No fears to quell - no soul to save."
Elder J.B. preached in Greensboro', where I attended, and had a quickening time. Some enmity had existed among the brethren, but the spirit of love got the ascendancy, and the lion became as the lamb. The gospel is the best remedy to subdue the evil passions of men that has ever been discovered. Dear Master, let Thy gospel spread to earth's remotest bounds.
I have travelled, in four years, sixteen hundred miles and of that I walked two hundred and eleven miles, and preached the kingdom of God to the falling sons and daughters of Adam, counting it all joy for the sake of Jesus. Many times cast down but not forsaken; willing to suffer as well as love. I spoke at Harris's Mills, in a dwelling house, to a large concourse of people, from Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, xviii.19-20. I felt much drawn out, in the Spirit of God, meanwhile from my feelings. I observed there were some present that never would meet me again. Mr. J.B., the elder, then requested me to lead the class. Much mourning, weeping and rejoicing. Four days afterwards, a man that sat under this sermon, (a shoemaker by occupation) fell dead from his bench without having any testimony of a hope in Christ. How dreadful to relate the wicked shall not live out half their days. In Easton I spoke from the Evan. John, I chap. 45 ver., the Lord's time. Then proceeded to Dagsberry, 25 miles, preached in Bethel Church to a multitude of people, it being to them a new thing, but only the old made more manifest. Bless God for what my heart feels, for a good conscience is better than a sacrifice. Two sermons preached in said Church, I spoke from Acts 13 chap., 41 ver., - the power of God filled the place - some shouted, others mourned, some testified God for Christ's sake had forgiven sin, whilst others were felled to the floor. From thence we went to Sinapuxom, spoke on Sabbath day to a large congregation from Num. 24 chap., 17 ver - the Lord gave light, life and liberty on that portion of Scripture, Great time. The elder filled the appointment, and while preaching, there were 10 or 11 white men came and said they wanted to see the preacher; he sent for them to come into the house, but they seemed afraid or refused; after he had finished, they came to the door to know by what authority he was preaching - but it was me they were after, but I was fortified, for their laws, by my credentials, having the United States seal upon them, - they tried to get him our of the house, they said, on business. But he told them he would meet them at 9 o'clock in the morning before the magistrate, seven miles distant. Brother J. B. then took my credentials and also showed his own, and, upon examination, the magistrate said, she is highly recommended and I am bound to protect her. An under-officer, anxious to get hold of my papers, very much opposed to our being in the State, tried hard to frighten us out of it, and went to lay his hands on it, but was rebuked by the magistrate; and two days after the magistrate sent word to me to go on and preach, he did not care if I preached till I died. I never met them but before one year. My mind led me to Solsbury and to Snow Hill - the brother, through persuasion, did not go, for fear of some difficulty, under which consideration I declined going for that time, I then returned to Easton, but my mind still led me to pay that religious visit, which was still accomplished by a sister and myself. I called on brother Massey, a preacher, who conducted us to Snow Hill and Solsbury. In the afternoon, the elder and one of the Trustees of the white Methodist Church, called on me to know of my faith and doctrine, and, while conversing, the spirit of the Lord breathed upon us - we had groans and shedding of tears - that evening the Elder gave me an appointment in the colored church to a large congregation, and we had a powerful time, sinners awakened and backsliders reclaimed. So great was the time that the meeting lasted until three or four o'clock in the morning. It was like a Camp meeting, they came seven miles distance from only three or four hours' notice. Next morning we left for Snow Hill, the Elder sent down for the friends to take care of us all, and our board, with the horses, should be paid for, consequently we were treated with great hospitality. I preached in the Old Methodist Church to a immense congregation of both the slaves and the holders, and felt great liberty in word and doctrine; the power of God seemed without intermission. We left there and rode 16 miles, spoke to a small company of people. In the afternoon to a large congregation, chiefly Presbyterians, and at many other places too tedious for me to mention, I preached twenty-seven sermons and then returned to Easton again, where I was informed that the constable who was so enraged against me before was then dying; the other white man who came and set at the end of the table twice while I was laboring, thinking I would say something to implicate myself and wanted me arrested so bad, had been sold and his family broke up; it is thus the Lord fights for Israel.
I then made an appointment at a place called the Hole in the Wall, it was a little settlement of coloured people, but we had no Church, but used a dwelling house, and had a large congregation. I had no help but an old man, one hundred and odd years of age; he prayed, and his prayers made us feel awful, he died in the year 1825, and has gone to reap the reward of his labor; freed from the toils and cares of life, no more to labor under a hard task master, but to rest where the slave is freed from his master. I strove then to fill the appointment at 11 o'clock in the morning, from Daniel 5 chap. 27 ver. the declaration was, there is no other way under heaven that men can be saved only through Jesus Christ; the Lord gave me great light on this subject. At 3 o'clock, in the afternoon, we stood in the open air in the woods, and I spoke from 12 chap. 2-3 ver. I felt greater liberty on this subject than the other; the Lord was with me; of a against the power of God? We had people of all descriptions, from the true Christian to the Devil, and from slave-holder to slave. We two white men and two colored; one of the white men, by the name of Sharp had killed all his family, except his oldest daughter; she conversed with them. Sharp treated it with contempt, but the other answered with a degree of humility; but they were hung according to the laws of their state.
But O, their end,
Their dreadful end!
They told me that sinners
were converted, backsliders reclaimed, mourners comforted, and
believers built up in the most holy faith. Then they wished us
to stay until next night to preach again; but I thought it
best to leave them hungry. Previous to this I was sent for by
a slave-holder to come to his house to preach three funeral
sermons, all at one time, two grown persons and one child;
they had been dead about a year, but their graves were only
filled up even with the earth. I spoke standing in the door of
his dwelling to a great congregation, from the 2 Book of
Samuel, 12 chap. 23 very - dwelling much on the certainty of
the child's happiness, through the redemption of Christ -
shewing how men might be saved living in accordance with the
truth. When finished we fell in procession and moved to the
graves of the departed. Brother Massey rehearsed the funeral
ceremony, then the graves were raised and made oval, as usual,
a most affecting scene, one of the deceased being the mother
of two little girls there present. They were so affected, it
seemed they would go in fits; several persons tried to pacify
them, but in vain. It was a solemn time; many were deeply
affected that day at the graves, and mourning of the whites in
the house, but they treated us kindly, and we left them,
visiting my places too tedious to mention. I met a Camp
meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Denton.
the Elder was much encouraged in commencing the Camp. Although
in a salve State, we had every thing in order, good preaching,
a solemn time, and long to be remembered., Some of the poor
slaves came happy in the Lord; walked from 20 to 30, and from
that to seventy miles, to seventy miles, to worship God.
Although through hardships they counted it all joy for the
excellency of Christ; and, before day, they, or a number of
them, had to be at home, ready for work; nut some aid they
came as sinners before God, but went away as new creatures in
Christ; and they could not be disputed. My heart glows with
joy while I write; truly God is inscrutable. The Eler, J.B.
then appointed a Camp meeting within five miles of Easton, too
near the town, but it was done to glorify God. Yet it seemed
there was not that general good done like the previous time.
He gave me an appointment on Sunday afternoon; to myself I
appeared lost thought I was doing nothing, but the south wind
from the hill of the Lord began to blow upon the spices of his
garden. The power of God arrested a person who started to run,
but fell in the flight, and begged God for mercy and obtained
it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being apprized
of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God for mercy and
obtained it. After the sermon, which was the first of my being
apprized of it, but no merit to me, but all glory to God, for
the good done at Camp meetings, though much persecuted, but
they are a glorious meeting to me. I pray God to protect the
camp-meetings while I think him for the invention. Various are
the operations of the Sprit of God on the human family. We
must believe in the truth of God, and then we can behold the
mysteries and enjoy the truth of them with joy and thanks
giving. I went to speak about 10 miles from Centreville at
early candle light - warm weather - in a dwelling house, the
largest congregation being out-of-doors. I felt an open mind,
the power of God fell upon the assembly in open air, and I
heard an awful cry. A woman had started, jumped over the fence
and run, but fell and rose again; that woman contended until
she found redemption in Jesus Christ. I went to a place called
Beaver Dams and spoke there; left there for Hillsborough, and
spoke there to a large congregation; from there to
Greensborough, and preached in white Methodist Church. The
visit not so prosperous; from there to Boomsborough. We were
much favoured and approbated by the people, and blessed with
the presence of the Lord in power. I then preached at Cecil
Cross roads in an old meeting house, almost down, to a large
congregation, and it was warm. I was informed a gentleman rode
fourteen miles to attend that meeting. Previous to this the
Methodists had almost died away, a very few excepted at that
place, but from that time they took a rise as I was informed
by two young ladies from there. In about 5 years after I left
they built a large Church on that same spot where the old one
stood, and had a fine congregation; from there brother J. B.
appointed a Quarterly Meeting on Mr. John Peaker's Island, for
a society of 60 members, which was composed altogether of the
said gentleman's slaves. We were entertained in the best of
style, had a powerful meeting, and a great manifestation of
the power of God. From there we returned to Easton a second
time, and were entertained by the overseer very highly at Mr.
John Peakey's Island. Went to Baltimore, from there I visited
Hales' Mills, and preached three sermons, much favored the
sermons, much favored of the Lord by his presence, after which
I returned to Baltimore. The elder gave me an appointment and
collection, and I returned to Philadelphia. And on Sunday
morning collection, Bishop Allen gave me an appointment in
Bethel church, and we had a shout in the Camp of Israel.
I had spent six months in Maryland and I only remained in this city three or four weeks, during which time the Lord was with me, and opened my way through opposition, but I felt willing to suffer cheerfully.
Through tribulations deep
The way to glory is.
Jacob Richardson was a spiritual preacher. God attended the word with power, and blessed his labors much on his circuit. From there a friend carried me to Downingtown, where I took stage and went on to Lancaster; but prospect not so good there; they had a new Church but not paid for; the proprietor took the key in possession and deprived them of worshipping God in it. But I spoke in a dwelling house, and I felt a great zeal for the cause of God to soften that man's heart, or kill him out of the way one had better die than many. Brother Israel Williams, a few days, called to converse with him on the subject, and he gave him the key; he was then on his death-bed, and died in a short time afterwards, and we must leave him in the hands of God, for he can open and no man can shut. I went on to Columbia and spoke in the Church, and my tongue fails to describe the encouragement I met with. The Lord converted poor mourners, convicted sinners, and strengthened believers in the most holy faith. God's name be glorified for the display of his; saving power. I led class, held prayer meetings, and left with a good conscience for little York. The first sermon I preached was in the Church at 10 o'clock in the morning, from Mat. xxvi, 26, 27, to a large congregation. My faith it seemed almost failed me, for when I got in the stand, so hard was the task that I trembled, and my heart beat heavy, but in giving out the hymn I felt strength of mind, and before I got through, I felt so much of life and liberty in the word, I could but wonder, and in the doctrine of Christ it was a sacramental sermon indeed to my soul. I spent some weeks there, and we enjoyed good meetings and powerful outpourings of the Spirit. I truly met with both good and bad; my scenes were many and my feelings various. I bless the Lord that the prayers of the righteous availeth much. After freeing my mind, I passed on to York Haven, and preached in a School-house to a white congregation. I was not left alone, but was treated very well by a white Methodist lady. I took lodgings at her house all night; next afternoon took stage for Harrisburg, and when I stopped at the Hotel a gentleman introduced me to the Steward, who took charge of me and escorted me to Mr. Williams, where I took supper. It was on a New Year's evening; the colored congregation had expected me and made a fire in our Church, but being late when I arrived, they had gone to hear a sermon in a white Methodist Church, and I had retired to rest a while in the evening. When they returned they came after me, taking no excuse, and I had to come down stairs, go to the Church, and preach a sermon for them, then 10 o'clock at night. The text from Acts xv, 36. Hymn 250th, as follows:
And now my soul another year
Of thy short life is past,
I cannot long continue here,
And this may be the last.
I then proceeded on to Chambersburg by stage, and met with one Rev. Winton, who displayed much of a christian disposition, and conversed freely with me on the most particular points of the God-Head, for my instruction, showing his benevolence. He knew I was a stranger - he had friends to go to at that place, but he offered to pay my bill for a room at the Inn. I never have forgot the goodness of that gentleman, who, I believe, to be a great gospel minister. I stopt at brother Snowden's, who were very kind to me. The Lord continued to pour out His Spirit and clear the way for me, and also continued to convict, convert, and reclaim the backsliders in heart. There were very large congregations, both in and out of doors, and great revivals throughout the circuit. The elders generally treated me well, for which may the Lord bless them and their labors in his vineyard, and add to the Church such as shall be forever saved from the power of sin - may I take heed lest I fall, while I teach others. Saith the Apostle: "Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God must give the increase," for which I feel thankful. I remained in this place for some weeks, but being debilitated in body, I left for Philadelphia about the middle of April. On my return, I met with such a severe trial of opposition, that I thought I never would preach again, but the Apostle says, "ye are not your own but are bought with a price." I feel glad that God is able to keep all that put their trust in him, though the mis-steps of others often interrupt our own way - I always found friends on different parts of Globe. I preached and led classes on my return. Praise God for his delivering grace - "Oh the depth of the riches" of the glory of God, how unsearchable are his ways; they are past finding out - a sea without bottom or shore. One thing is encouraging, "When he who is my life shall appear, I shall be like him." "I know my Redeemer liveth, and shall stand on the latter day upon the earth, and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Lord help me to keep this confidence. Rev. Richard Williams, a gentle and christian-minded man, treated me well. God would not suffer me to be destroyed. It is not by might or by power, but by the Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Dear reader, give ear to the truth, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
If such a worm as I can spread
The common Saviour's name,
Let him who raised thee from the dead,
Quicken my mortal frame.
In July, 1824, I felt an exercise of mind to take a journey to Reading, Pa., to speak to the fallen sons and daughters of Adam. I left the city and stopped at Norristown on my way to Reading. I spoke in the Academy to a respectable congregation, the same evening I arrived there. I felt a degree of liberty in speaking, though it was a quiet meeting, and I also felt thankful that the Lord would manifest himself through such a worm as me. Next morning I walked four miles and stopped at Littleton Morris's, and preached two sermons on the Sabbath day, and God struck a woman, and she had liked to have fallen to the floor; I spoke in the Dunkard's meeting house. This ended my visit with them at this time. On Tuesday I walked three miles to Schuylkill, to take the Canal boat on Wednesday morning. I met in company with a Presbyterian minister and lady on the boat; they treated me very kindly indeed. We arrived in Reading about 7 o'clock in the evening. I was recommended to a family in that place, the man of which had once confessed religion, but had fallen from grace, and they were very kind to me. The next morning I enquired for other respectable families of color, and an elderly lady of color that belonged to the white connexion, and the only colored Methodist in the place at that time, conveyed me to Mrs. Murray's, where I remainded a while; then the elderly lady, just mentioned, feeling interested for me, went to the proprietors of the Court-house with me, to see if we could get in to preach in, and like Esther the Queen, who fasted and prayed, and commanded the men of Jerusalem and the women of Zion to pray; as she approached the king the sceptre was bowed to her, and her request was answered to the saving of Mordica, and all the Jewish nation. When we approached this gentleman, who was the head Trustee of the Protestant Church, I showed him my recommendation, and he answered me, "Madam, you can have it," and I felt humble to God for the answer. I felt it my duty to preach to the citizens, and accordingly made an appointment for Sunday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Rev. James Ward, a colored Presbyterian, assembled with us, although he was so prejudiced he would not let me in his pulpit to speak; but the Lord made a way where there was no way to be seen; there was no person to intercede until this sister tried to open the way; the men of color, with no spirit of christianity, remained idle in the enterprise, but we got possession and we had a large concourse of people. I spoke with the ability God gave me. I met with a family of color, but very respectable, that formerly had belonged to our Church in Baltimore; they invited me to their house, and it was a home to me, praise God. I held a meeting in their house previous to holding meetings in the Court-house; the white brethren and sisters assembled with us. We called on a minister's lady, and she treated me very kindly, while he, like a Christian, united and helped to go through with the meetings. I visited the Quaker friends (amounting to four only) then in the place, and very pleasant visits they were. A great number of Christian friends called on me, among the rest this minister's lady, who left a donation in my hand, consequently the way was made where there was no way, but I left in friendship. Praise God I feel the approbation now. It is to be lamented, that James Ward, colored, with his over-ruling prejudice, which he manifested by saying no women should stand in his pulpit, and with all the advantages of a liberal education, was in a few weeks after I left there, turned out of; the Church.
On returning to Philadelphia, I stopped at Pottsgrove and found a Society of colored persons, christians I believe. We had solemn meetings there; I met kind friends there, and visited a Church about six miles off; preached in the morning; the Lord was with us; of this truth my soul is a witness; in the afternoon I preached to a large congregation. Next morning I left for Philadelphia. I continued to preach, paid some short visits about, and was welcomed home again.
I left Philadelphia again for Lewistown, Del., to attend a camp meeting of the African Methodist Episcopal connexion, of which I was a member, to be held in Gov. Paynter's Woods. There was immense large congregations, and a greater display of God's power I never saw. The people came from all parts, without distinction of sex, size, or color, and the display of God's power commenced from singing; I recollect a brother Camell standing under a tree singing, and the people drew high to hear him, and a large number were struck to the ground before preaching began, and signs and wonders followed. There appeared to be a great union with the white friends. James Towson was the Elder holding the camp; he was in the bloom of the gospel of Christ. But poor brother, may the Lord give him a Peter's look by the way of mercy. Right Rev. Bishop Allen was present. The ministry were all for me, and the Elder gave me an appointment, and the Governor with a great concourse came to hear the weak female. My heart beat, my limbs trembled, and my voice was faint, but I spoke from Eccles. xi, 9, 10. After I took my text, it appeared to me as if I had nothing to do but open my mouth, and the Lord filled it, consequently I was much encouraged: it was an immense assembly of people.
Content with beholding his face,
I all to his pleasure resigned.
Jan., 1827. Contemplating on the greater responsibility I owe to my God for my stewardship, I fain would go round the Cross or shrink beneath the load, but I rest upon the promises of God, which are as firm of the pillars of heaven. My labors here cease a little.
April, 1827. My health having been bad, I have not travelled so largely, and in this, as in some other moment's of reflection, I felt somewhat oppressed, and I resorted to the Hymn Book for something to suit my feelings; the poetry as follows:
1. Soon as I heard my Father say,
Ye children seek my grace,
My heart replies, without delay,
I'll seek my father's face.
2. Let not thy face be hid from me,
Nor frown my soul away,
God of my life I fly to thee
In a distressing day.
3. Should friends and kindred, near and dear,
Leave me to want and die.
My God will make my life his care,
And all my wants supply.
4. My fainting flesh had died with grief,
Had not my soul believed
To see thy grace prove a relief,
Nor was my hope deceived.
5. Wait on the Lord, ye trembling Saints,
And keep your courage up,
He'll raise your spirit when it faints,
And far exceed your hope.
How good to contemplate or to think the heathen has caught the sound of salvation through the name of Jesus, our Lord. I saw a goodly number added to the Church on Sabbath-day. I still continued engaged in my mind with the Lord, in their behalf, when I was informed that they had three and four of an evening at their prayer meetings, then my mind felt at liberty to leave for Schenectady. Sister Streeter rode with the fourteen miles; I stopped eleven days, at which place there was a large upper room that was appropriated for a preaching place, where I spoke to a small number of coloured persons several times. They were under the white elder, he was a friends to me, and appointed a meeting for me in the white Brother's house to speak for them. We had a favourable time. But the people, feeling and uninterested spirit in propagating the religion of Jesus Christ, I left the dust with them. Got on board a Canal boat for Utica, there I met with my own connexion, African Methodist Episcopal Church, we had a prosperous time. I spoke and had prayer meetings on board of the Canal boat. There was a pasture there notwithstanding the difficulties of this life and the people being hunted like partridges on the mountain. It deprives a man's usefulness among the people, but the work of the Lord went on, and there is no weapon formed by the enemy that can stop the work of God. Therefore we have nothing to fear. We have large and respectable congregations, and I felt strengthened in warning man to flee from the wrath to come. If signs and wonders did not follow sometimes, I must certainly die, but glory to God for refreshing showers. I led class, had prayer meetings, and took my passage on another canal boat for Rochester; had a pleasant passage. I soon found some Methodists, and our local Elder was then a smart preacher. I was there three or four weeks, and he treated me very kindly and opened my way. They erected a new brick church, basement for schools; the corner-stone was laid while I was there. The elder was a man of good repute; people of color of different denominations, but much united together. The elder held the charge from there to Buffalo, he had then a Quarterly Meeting on hand. I left Rochester with him and rode about seventy miles. Next morning I left Lewistown and rode seven miles, crossed the Lakes, on the British side. When we left Rochester the snow was ankle deep, when ten mile from Lewistown, it became dry and hard, and when we crossed the Lakes it was clear and cold, and the air very pure. I told the elder this was the first time I ever breathed pure air. I walked about a mile and the first house I stopped at was sister Holmes'. I felt strange and lonely. I waited to see if the peace of God would abide on the house. Previous to my being introduced, I arose from my chair and the power of God fell upon the people, and, it seemed to me, that God answered me. I was fully convinced that God would make bare his arm, in this part of his moral vineyard. We had a Church in Niagara; the elder made an appointment there, and forty or fifty miles round the circuit, being now about six hundred miles from Philadelphia. I felt the loss of my former companions and friends, the elder and deacon, in two days time left for Buffalo, to hold a quarterly meeting in York state about seventy miles. I commenced to speak for the people, and God owned the word, and I saw many displays of his power - the people in Niagara seemed to me to be a kind and Christian like people. The white inhabitants united with us, and ladies of great renown. The slaves that came there felt their freedom, began to see the necessity of education, and hired a white man to teach them to read and write among themselves, and have Sabbath schools. I am astonished to see so many there that came from a free state, and not take more interest in instilling the science of education among their fellow beings. The winter was cold - I never had experienced such - but very healthy. I went to a town called Niagara. I spoke in a dwelling house. The next night I spoke in the Old Methodist Church to a large congregation of respectable people. There were three ladies, one the widow of a great Judge, and one daughter and sister of first education; they sympathized with me in this important work of the Gospel of Christ. They assembled with us in our meeting. A little girl about 8 or 9 years of age experienced religion and prayed in public, and attended to their private devotion, so much for early piety. Teach the child the way he should go and when he gets old he will not depart from it. But, it is to be lamented, that so few of our children experience this early piety; the cause we must try to find out and avoid the evil effects, and not bring up our children in so much pride and heathenism. We, as a people, are generally poor and cannot support so many changes of fashion; they grow up and crave it, and of times substitute evil practices to support themselves, either girls or boys, and often bring a stigma upon; their parents and family connexions, though very respectable. Let us bring up our children in industry, for work is honorable, and it is the way to get riches and to keep them. I travelled back and forward again from Niagara to Buffalo, and had regular appointments in our Churches. We had a great opposition among the coloured people, one trying to excel the other in point of eminence. One of our preachers left us on the promise of forty dollars per year. Poor man, he was like Simon Magus who perished with his money. Our Circuit rider was absent on the Sunday of the split, but the Lord was with us. I spoke three times to the remaining part of the congregation, which was increased much by a large body of bystanders, and great good followed; and we continued to sow and gather for two or three months, and the Lord blessed our labors abundantly. Feeling I had discharged my duty, I left and crossed the Lake from Buffaloes to Fort George, and spoke about eight miles from there, it was cold and snowed very fast - it was four o'clock in the afternoon - the congregation had been there and gone. We were in a sleigh, and the driver got lost; we all brought up in a swamp, among the fallen tree tops, but we turned about and found a house and lodged all night; and spoke next morning at eleven o'clock to a quiet congregation, and the Lord was with us, though composed of all denominations. I appointed another meeting and rode about eight miles on horseback - it snowed and was very sleety - after I spoke to the people I left them for good and made an appointment for the Indians; two of the chiefs called at where I stopped to see me. I asked them to pray for us; they complied, but done it in their own tongue. I felt the power of God in my own heart. Then they held a council about it, and granted my visit at Buffalo village, about three miles from Buffalo city. We rode and got there before their worshipping hour, their school had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of 50school had not dismissed, after a while they dismissed school - of children - and as they gathered to worship I saw an old chief come, he stood and prayed very devoutly, tears running down his cheek. I told them I had not come to worship with them, and wanted to preach for them after their worship ended. They held a council and they agreed I should preach for them, but I could not help admiring the ways as well as gestures of the children. The teachers bring them up in the English language and dress some of them in the English style, but the greatest number are clad in the Indian style; those of the old Indians in their blankets. Some of them met me from seven or eight miles round - they filled the house. It was in the month of March - it rained and snowed - yet they walked in their moccasins, and some bare-headed - they made a large congregation. Their Elder or missionary had gone to teach another tribe that day, and he only taught them very plainly, and read out of pamphlets the experiences of others. I commenced by giving out the hymn in our language, and the interpreter spoke in their tongue. Hymn thus, O for a thousand tongues to sing, &&;c. They sung it beautiful, - two long benches of them sung by note (their books printed in their own language) a very familiar note tune, such as we use in congregations. I spoke plain and deliberate and very pointed, the interpreter spoke it after me in the Indian tongue, and one of the women cried out Amen. Much weeping among them, dear reader, take notice, notwithstanding they are a nation revolted from Israel, and would not be governed. Yet they can civilized and Christianized. We might call them heathens, but they are endowed with a Christian spirit. I felt happy in my visit; the missionary wished me to speak for them that evening; but I had an appointment that night at Buffalo, after which my mind was calm and serene. I left on Tuesday, 1st of April, on my return for Philadelphia, and arrived home May 18th.
That year I travelled two thousand three hundred and twenty-five miles, and preached one hundred and seventy-eight sermons. Praise God for health and strength, O my soul, and magnify his name for protection through various scenes of life.
God of my life whose gracious power
Through various deaths my soul has led,
Or turned aside the fated hour,
Or lifted up my sinking head.
Mrs. Dillin, who once was a Friend, and now a member of the Church, spoke to the Trustees and Ministers, and they opened the Church and I spoke twice in that Church, and after that I spoke in west Zanesville, back of that place, and I still remained among my colored friends, and they seemed much revived; after which they formed a Resolution to build themselves a Meeting House. A Quaker Friend, so called, presented them with a piece of ground to build one on, which they did. Glory to God, for his glory stood over the doors of the Tabernacle. Many were convicted, and converted, and many added to the old Methodist Church and I left there on New-years day for New-Lancaster, where we had a haunch, standing on a frame of a house for three or four years, and had not been used to preach in; but the Lord opened the way, and a great revival took place among the people, and their eyes being opened, they with willing minds commenced and built a new Church, and god blessed their labors. I preached several Sermons and led class, &&;c. My common way is to visit the sick and afflicted in whatsoever city I may stop in, that I may get my spiritual strength renewed in the Lord. Although I preached the Gospel through the Commission of my Lord, yet I have nothing to boast of.
I opened a Love-Feast in the said Church in New Lancaster. We held Prayer Meetings. I spoke in the White's Church also. The people were very friendly. I met them in Class, and after the lapse of eleven days, I left for Columbus. The Preachers generally were very kind to me. Both white and colored. A worthy brother conducted me on further. It snow'd, and I was very cold, but the Lord was with us, and my mind was free'd. But notwithstanding, I met an antagonist, who was ready to destroy my character, and the principles of the work that God saw good to make me instrumental of doing in his name, which caused me to open the case to the Trustees and Preaches, who were much astonished at him to be preaching four or five years with malice in his heart. I was favored to see him in the morning before he went away, that was the first time he had spoke to me anything like a Christian in that time. He knew from the first period I went to him to satisfy his mind. But his heart was bitter. I felt his spirit like a viper. But the word of the Lord was verified at that time also. "When the Tempter raise a flood against you, I will set up a standard against him." He told me he had sent a letter to Pittsburg to stop me, although I had my Licence from the Bishop, with his own signature. I told him he was a worse enemy to me than I was aware of, and I was ashamed of him, professing to be a Preacher in charge, and setting such an example in a strange laud, and begged him to throw away his prejudices, or he would never obtain the Kingdom of Heaven. He left me in a flash, and I saw him no more until conference. I wrote a letter to bishop Allen to let him know of my grievances, as I was innocent of any crime. I felt under no obligation to bear the reproaches of progressing Preachers; and I wanted it settled at Conference. But it was looked upon with little effect by the Preachers and Leaders. I laid it before the Conference, and it was settled. But I tarried all winter. Preached, led Class, visited the sick, &&;c., with great success. I bless God for the witness of a good conscience. Old sinners were awakened, and constrained to come trembling, and enquiring the way to Zion.
L. W., a respectable brother from Chillicothe, had never heard a woman preach, and was much opposed to it. An appointment was given me, and when I went into the desk and commenced reading the hymn to commence the worship, he looked at me a while, then got up and went out and stood until I had nearly got through the hymn, and then he came in, when I asked him to pray for us but he refused. I prayed myself, after which I took my text, and felt much liberty in speaking in the spirit indeed. And after meeting he came and shook hands with me in the spirit of a Christian, and next day he came and confessed to me his prejudices had been so great, so much like his father, that he could not unite with me, but now he believed that God, was no respecter of persons, and that a woman as well as a man, when called of God, had a right to preach. He afterwards became a licensed preacher, and we parted in peace. I took the stage and left for Chillicothe, but there was but one house that would open for me in the city, although I had my recommendation with me. As soon as that friend heard of me she met me in christian bonds, and her house was my home, her husband being a man of christian qualifications, and I went of my mission doing my Father's will. I spoke once in the week and on Sabbath afternoon, to crowded houses; it was like a camp-meeting, and twenty-one lay upon the power of God at one time; after preaching, we called them to be prayed for; some got religion that day and some on the next Sabbath, and the father L. W. became one of my best friends, and a doer of the work. There was large fields of labor open to my view, and I visited both colored and white, and many were concerned about sanctification. I was with them about six weeks, during which time I had an interview with a lady, who informed me she had a call to preach the everlasting gospel of Christ. She was a Presbyterian by profession, and she told me she feared the church government. But the greatest objection, was her husband was a Deist by profession; she also told me of her experience she passed through; it was a broken heart and a contrite spirit. God answers the prayers of such a supplicant, but she could not enjoy that sweet fulness of religion in that situation of life, although very rich as regards this world's goods; also knowing that gold and silver should vanish away, but the word of God should endure forever. And some feel their labors a long time before it comes to perfection. Out Methodist sisters established a prayer meeting, and the people worked in the unity of the spirit, and much good was done in the name of the Holy child. Glory to God for what my heart feels while I use my pen in hand. I felt peace of conscience and left Chilicothe for Hillsborough to meet a quarterly meeting of W.C., he being Elder at that place; the Governor and his family residing there, six in number, were all Methodists, and one sone a preacher; they had the spirit of christians. The trustee of the Methodist church opened their doors and gave us liberty to hold our quarterly meeting and love feast in their small donation, which was very thankful; after which I left there for Cincinnati, where I spoke to a large congregation. I stop't at Williamsport and spoke in the white Methodist church to a respectable congregation. I felt liberty in the spirit of God, and we left there about daybreak in the morning. All nature seemed in silence (except the chirping notes of a little bird.) A few rods from us a Panther screamed very loud and sudden, but we could not see him, it being a dense thicket on either side of the road, but the unseen arm of God sheltered us from harm; one of the gentlemen seemed quite used to hearing them. We arrived safe in Cincinnati about 11 o'clock; the Elder W.C. was very liberal in giving me appointments, and the friends were very affectionate to me, and largest congregations attended. I remained there some time, feeling to be blessed in my weak endeavors to a great extent. The next day after I arrived there, one of our sisters fell sick and I had the pleasure of visiting her on her death-bed and in her last hour she told me in presence of others, her peace was made, and raised her hands toward heaven and told us she was going. This is the end of sister Crosby; who can doubt this faithful saying; by grace ye are saved. A month or more previous, she had buried a daughter, who was a member of our church; before she left the world, she called her young companions and caused them to promise to meet her in heaven, and then closed her eyes triumphing in death. Brother Crosby laid the heavy task on me to preach their funeral sermons, which I did, as feeble a worm as I am, on Sabbath morning. Words of my choice were found in 2d Ephe. 8th v. - "For by grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Which of itself is a semon to all that believe - glory to God, Christ has overcome the world. And while laboring many tears were shed both in joy and sorrow. But it's better to be one day in the house of the Lord than a thousand in the tents of the wicked.
Another circumstance worthy of notice, was a young man whose heart was in the world and in worldly affairs, or the pursuits of nature, and diverted much of his time on Sabbath days on the Mississippi River, fighting against all impressions of the Spirit of grace, until God stopped him by the heavy hand of his power, in a death-bed affliction. After some time he began to inquire the way to Zion. His mother was also a stranger to the blood of Jesus, but wished me to come and see her son; being conducted to the house, I found him looking like an anatomy. I asked him if he believed in Christ and his prayers with him and all sufficiency to save; is answer was in the affirmatives. We had prayers with him and there was a display of God's power; a white woman screamed and nearly felt to the floor, but strove hard to keep from it. And on that day he acknowledged his Saviour to be reconciled to his poor soul. Praise God! my soul replied. Afterwards he wished me to hold a meeting with as many persons as the room would contain with him, which I accepted; one day and night after, he departed this life, and requested me to preach his funeral sermon at the house before the procession moved to the ground. I spoke from the 14th chap. 13 v., and we had a solemn time; you may anticipate the weight of that important task, but we had joy in the midst of sorrow, and this was the last of James Thompson. I also left his sisters in the last stage of consumption, and she confessed to be in favour with the Lord. Having finished my visit, I left in steamboat for Dayton. I spoke three times, and tried to preach the whole salvation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The members of the New-light church deny the divinity of Christ. Once I spoke in a large dwelling of Dr. Esley, after which himself and wife went on a journey to Indiana and wished me to go with them, but I was deprived by a previous engagement, having to attend a camp meeting at Cap-teen. After my return to Urbanna, Ohio, I took stage for Springfield, and from there to Columbus, and spoke several times. The Elder's class consisted of about twenty; a young man and myself led the class in 1829. The Elder W.C. ordered a camp-meeting for the Cincinnati people, and the brother at Cap-teen and Rev. Bishop Brown, held a conference, and we had a very large camp-meeting, and manifestations of great good, and at the close of the Love-feast, there were thirty-two or three testified that they experienced the love of God. The people of color came out forcibly, and the preachers preached in power. My health was much destroyed by speaking so often and laboring so very hard, having a heavy fever preying upon my system. I was called upon to speak at a camp-meeting, I could scarcely accomplish the task, and I was obliged to take my bed (having also lost my appetite) as soon as my sermon was over. After a while my particular friends conveyed me to Mount Pleasant in a carriage; the day was pleasant, but in the woods at night we were overtaken by a dreadful storm of thunder, wind and rain, but through the will of Providence I escaped the inclemency of the weather and stopped at brother and sister Hance's; after being medically renovated, I fulfilled an appointment, and commenced to visit the sick in that place, but was arrested by a heavy fever. A physician was called, and by day break my sense left me, so severe was the disease, which caused the physician to visit me two and three times a day, which proved to be the bilious fever. After my mind returned and became calm, I was convinced that it would not terminate in death at that time. I had faith in the Lord. Eleven days I lived on rice water and chicken tea without salt, at the end of which time I felt an appetite to eat. I had been under a deep salvation which proved a blessing in effecting a cure. After a lapse of four weeks I was enabled to get out of that house, but very weak; my money was short; I left seven dollars with them hoping the Lord may bless them; then I returned to brother Hence, and was well treated. I commenced preaching, though very weak, and I accepted an appointment on Sabbath in the white Methodist Episcopal church, to a well-behaved congregation, about ten miles distance. I had to be carried to the carriage in a blanket and returned the same way, and was well taken care of by brother and sister Moor and family, for which may the Lord bless them in the basket and store. Elder Jones gave me an invitation to go to Pittsburg and try to gather a little strength, which I accepted, and was kindly taken care of by brother Lewis and wife, which I very much profited by the assistance of his family doctor, which he called in amid the blessings of Providence; this was in May, 1830. I then taken care of by brother and sister Moor and family, for which may the Lord bless them in basket and store. Elder Jones gave me an invitation to go to Pittsburgh and try to gather a little strength; which IL accepted, and was kindly taken care of by brother Lewis and life, which I very much profited by the assistance of his family doctor, which he called in amid the blessings of Providence; this was in May, 1830. I then commenced to labor amid the souls of the people, which are precious. After gaining strength in body and mind in my recovery, I spoke to a good number of colored friends on the Hill, and they were about to build a church for worship as they owned the property. When I was able to travel, one of the preacher's wives and a kind brother conducted me on to Washington, from which I took stage for Mount Pleasant; labored for them, enjoyed a love-feast with them, and in a few days left for St. Clairsville and the next successive place; then took stage for Zanesville, continuing to labor around the circuit, and then went to Columbus. I was invited to attend a quarterly meeting at Urbana; we had quite a profitable waiting upon the Lord; it makes me glad when they say let us go up to the house of the Lord. After trying to rest myself four or five weeks, a brother preacher, in company with brother Steward's widow and myself, visited the Indians, she having lived nine years in Sandusky. We heard them preach in their own language, but I could only understand when he said Jesus Christ of God, and the interpreter had gone to conference. I spoke to them in English, was entertained in an Indian family, and that very kindly after which I shook the dust off my feet and left them in peace. Thank the Lord for Urbana. The Elder appointed a camp meetings at Hillsborough; it was nothing to boast off; after which I turned towards Philadelphia. Brother Rains paid my stage fare on to Springfield; from thence endeavored to speak to a small and very quiet congregation; from thence to Columbus and paid seven dollars and a half, and left for Wheeling; stopped at a camp-meeting at the request of the Wheeling friends, but it seemed that both the golden wedge and Babalonish garment was there, as the wheel could not turn, for Christ said I could not do may mighty works on account of your unbelief; the Devil was at work, but the Lord was above.
I spoke at Wilkesbarre to both white and colored, Baptists and Methodists, and had an invitation to preach in the afternoon, had good congregations, and tears of contrition were visible in many places. I had life and liberty. I next visited Wheeling, stopped a few days and labored several times, which was much blessed, and the Elder organized a new class of twenty-one young men, brother and myself led them the first time, and they seemed very zealous. But in a few months the severity of the Laws stopped their privileges, which is an honor to any people; while sin is a reproach to any Nation. I then paid $10 and took passage to Hagerstown. My health was poor. Passengers consisted of three white ladies, members of the Episcopal Church, and one old gentleman, (a Deist) 73 years of age who would reproach Religion, until I told him that Solomon spoke of a man 70 years of ages, and called him a fool, - and exhorted him to get religion; for God's name is name is worthy to be praised by all intelligent beings. I have found Him to be a strong hold in the day of trouble. We arrived at Hagerstown in eight or ten days. We had a Meeting House there. I met the Elder, Joseph Harper, Deacon John Cornish. Had good Meetings; a visit of the Holy Ghost. The house was crowded, and many hundred sinners struck to the heart, - back-sliders were reclaimed - and believers built up in the most Holy Faith. Praise God for so much. I spoke to a very respectable congregation of white people about eleven miles distant.
"Go, preach my Gospel, saith the Lord,
Bid the whole world my grace receives;
He shall be sav'd that trusts my word,
He shall be damn'd that won't believe."
We had a remnant of our Connexion from Virginia, years before, but through some contention among themselves, the owner of the Church took it from them, run up a chimney in the centre of the house, and rented it out to different families to lives in. He also went into the yard, kick'd over the head and foot boards of the graves, and levelled them down, and made a garden of the grave-yard. But the Lord afflicted him even unto death, and he was buried a day or two before I arrived at Frederick-town.
But God has a people everywhere; a remnant that never has bowed their knee to Baal. A Lutherian brother, (minister), interceded in their behalf, (the Church being offered for sale,) and receiving One Hundred Dollars from the Trustees' hands, bought it in for them, and a firm Deed being made of the Trustees, the Elder taking charge of it. So much, for Delivering Grace.
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His foot-steps in the sea
And rides upon the storm."
I stopped a few weeks with my sister and Dr. Burton; boarded with her, and he seeing my debilitation of body, rendered medical assistance, which helped me much; but I was unable to labor and preach for some months. After my business of 1831 had been accomplished, I felt it my duty to visit my aged parent, whom I had not seen for eleven years. At length I started on my journey for Cape May, West Jersey, in the following way: By Steam Boat to Salem, N.J., and preached in the African M.E. Church to a good congregation, and we had a comfortable waiting upon the Lord. Some signs followed the preaching of the Cross of Christ; the people were very kind. From thence by Stages to Greenwich, and spoke with the Elder to a very humble people; a great display of God's power, six joined the Church, seven were baptized, and others fell to the floor and cried for mercy; thank God for it.
On Monday morning I left for Bridgeton; we having no Society there, I preached in the Court House to a large assembly of different denominations. I felt a degree of liberty in speaking, and I then stopped a few days with them, and was kindly received and entertained. I then proceeded on to Fair-field, and endeavored to labor for them at 11 o'clock, Sabbath morning, and at 3 o'clock, P.M. to crowded houses of respectable and quiet congregations, and the Lord poured out his spirit upon us and we had a solemn waiting in his presence, for which my soul rejoices even now.
I next went on to Port Elizabeth, which was very thinly inhabited, some two or three very respectable families there with only three persons belonging to Church; among them a Sqr. Brick, a man of ability. Through him the Church was opened for me, and I preached two Sermons to large congregations of respectable inhabitants of the place, in which I placed myself as in my Saviour's hand, and staying there as clay in the hands of the Potter. I had liberty, whilst I could hear the humble groans of the people, which cause my breast to swell as with pure Serephic joy. I bless the Lord, that the Gospel has never been left without a witness. Wisdom is justified of her children saith our Lord; if it was not so, thousands of Christians would have sunk in despair; but now and then I come across a great many whose sins were cancelled, and in whom pride was destroyed, and respecters of persons were not known. Among such, Gode will prosper the labors of his servants. "God knows the proud afar off, but his Saints are beloved in his sight." I next proceeded to Goshen; there I found my aged mother, who I had not seen for eleven years, well in health and very active. But above all the rest, enjoying Religion, the love of God in the soul; which is more than the Gold of Opher; though poor, making many rich. Truly she dropped many aged tears on account of my exposures in travelling, but I strove to compose her by the word of God, which tells us "in this world we shall have tribulation, but in him we shall have peace." 'Tis there, the Christian's warfare ends, and sorrow cannot come. We dropped a few tears of gratitude with uplifted hearts to Almighty God for bringing us together once more in the flesh.
But my work soon again commenced. I preached in a dwelling house the next; in Goshen School-house, to both white and colored; and was assisted by the prayers of some humble souls, and felt both life and liberty. My colored brethren held a protracted meeting. some were Baptists and some Methodist. But all one in Christ. I think I never saw a greater display of God's eternal power; it was somewhat inexpressible: Glory to God for it. Four miles from there I preached in the Court House to a congregation of different denominations, and the house was crowded. Text - 28th Chap. of St. Matt. 18th and 19th verses. On the following Sabbath I spoke in a School-house to a white Methodist congregation. We had a weeping time in the afternoon of the same day. Spoke to my own people, and the Lord blessed several souls. It was a time long to be remembered. Truly a sword that is so often whetted, must keep sharp, but in the midst of difficulties it appeared the word had its more perfect effect. After feeling I had discharged my duty towards God in that part of his vineyard, I returned home and spent the winter in Philadelphia, but very much afflicted. But in the midst of it my peace was like a river.
Some time in February 1832, the Lord sent two friends to take me out of town to visit a part of his vineyard, and they thought it would improve my health. I rode about twenty miles, - grew worse again - but medicine was applied which proved effectual. I spent a few weeks, preached in the Free Church in Norristown, three or four times, built by a lady of the Church of England, for all, or any that preach Christ and Him crucified.
Having gained my health, I returned in peace to Philadelphia, where I labored under some difficulties until the middle of May: After which I took a journey with a sister preacher for about two or three weeks, and truly the Lord blessed her labors abundantly, and my heart rejoiced to witness the out-pouring of the Spirit of that Gospel visit with a Hand-Maiden of the Lord. The Scriptures are fulfilled as spoken of by the Prophet Joel, Chap. 27th, 2nd verse. "Ye shall know that I am in he midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord, your God, and none else, and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterwards, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall Prophecy. "Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see vision." In 1831, a young man who professed to be righteous, says he saw in the sky men, marching like armies, whether it was with the naked eye, or a Vision by the eye of Faith, I cannot tell. But the wickedness of the people certainly calls for the lowering Judgements of God to be let loose upon the Nation and Slavery, that wretched system that eminated from the bottomless pit, is one of the greatest curses to any Nation.
June 1832, my mind was led to travel towards the east part of New Jersey, through Trenton, N. J., &&;c., and I preached three or four times, and found considerable consolation; The Elder made me appointments about two or three miles in the country, where there were a class of Methodists. There was a white came next morning to invite me to speak for them the next Sobbath afternoon, and himself proposed to make me a collection. I thus, truly, saw a way made for me I knew not, for I had but three or four cents in my pocket. Yet I had not mentioned it; but according to promise, after I had spoken, their contribution for me amounted to four or five Dollars; which added me on my journey. So much for trusting is God. I then went to Princeton. Not much success there, the Society being small. Preached three or four times there. Left for New Brunswick, and had very good meetings; more praying people, and had more life and power among them, and the Word of God had its effect. And the Judgements of God was in the land, the Cholera was taking away the people by scores. An awful day to them that had no God with them in death. It carried a sword with two edges, it cut right and left, took Saint and sinner, noble and ignoble, white and colored. It showed equality in my god's decree; where he speaks of "all men." I next left for Rahway, - still coming among strangers, but was kindly received by friends, both colored and white, of different orders, without distinction. I saw a large field open before me, and a plenty of labourers wanted in that part of God's moral Vineyard. I commenced to obey the Spirit of God, and had great liberty, both in word and Doctrine. I stopped six weeks, and the Elder only once preached. The people dying fast: News came into town from New York that great morttality was prevailing, - the people dying at the rate of 120 to 160 a day. It was truly alarming, but we were highly favored in Rahway, there being only about four or five cases; and among them it clearly shown that God had no respect for persons. One poor colored man, who had used too much ardent spirits, was boasting about 8 o'clock that Cholera could do nothing with him; but while harnessing the horse for the family to go to church only two hours after, being 10 o'clock, A.M., he was seized with cramps, carried into the barn, and several Doctors sent for who remained with him, he having no friends. But at last, there being no hope for him by 8 o'clock P.M., the Doctors requested some colored Methodist family to let him die in their house, which was cheerfully acceded to, and he died about 12 o'clock, and was buried before day-light the same morning. A very rich man also died who was buried in splendor in day light, but the poor beggar was hurried away at night; yet they both died wicked. A short notice indeed. But Oh! their end, their dreadful end.
I still continued to
labor, and witnessed good revivals. When the President's
Proclamation went out for a General fasting throughout the
United States on account of the Judgement of God, it was
obeyed by all denominations, and of course came under our
notice - and we having no Elder in that place, held it
ourselves, - and it fell to my lot to give a sermon on that
occasion, which I did through some embarrassment, from St.
Matt. chap. 24th, 21st and 22d vrs. and the Spirit of the Lord
was upon me, and the Scriptures opened to my mind. The
stammering tongue was loosed, and the feast truly glorious. At
night we held Prayer-meetings, and so continued until I felt
arrival I called on the Elder, S.T. - , and was kindly
received by him, and after a few days he gave me an
appointment in Brooklyn Church, it having been near six years
since I had spoken to that people. But while filling several
successive appointments I saw signs of much good being done in
the name of the Holy Child Jesus, which was owned with one
accord. When entering the pulpit, the Bible being-torn, I was
deprived of finding the Text. A young gentleman of the
Episcopal Methodist Church being present, took occasion on my
next appointment to present the Church being present, took
occasion on my next appointment to present the Church with
large new Bible. So much for the principles of Christianity.
The Elder also gave me three appointments in the Bethel
Church, New York, at Asberry, in Allen. st. upper part of the
city - several times in Flushing Church, and attended a
Loves-Feast, where the people spoke in the Spirit. Praise God
I then returned to New York again, feeling my strength much renewed in the inward man Christ Jesus. I saw a large want of labor there, as the Prophet Ezekiel said: "I saw the river rise to the Joins of a man."
After laboring about six
weeks and seeing it was not in vain; with the approbation of
the Brethren and in answer to a good conscience. Oh! that I
had language to express my mind while I hold my pen in hand.
But had I the tongue of an Hannah, whilst she spoke to Eli! I
could not express the revelation of Jesus; but the bodily
strength seemed to fail fast. I then returned to Philadelphia,
rested four days, and was called to Salem, N.J., and after
preaching two or three times crossed the Bay for St. Georges,
a town in the State of Delaware, and preached twice by
invitation of the citizens, and also by request I spoke in
Delaware City. Here a horse, gig and driver being provided for
me, I rode four or five miles in the evening and preached to a
large congregation of white and colored persons. Good
behaviour, but no particular display of God's power. I
returned the same night to St. Georges, and spent a few days
with my sister, whom I had not seen for eleven years previous.
I left there a few days before Christians for Philadelphia,
where I remained until January 1,1833. After which I started,
in company with another sister for New Hope, pa. We held
meetings in Frankford, then I proceeded to Ben-salem; from
thence to Attleboro'. The Elder, P.S., was on that circuit, he
cordially gave me appointments, and we were caused to rejoice.
The Devil was also at work, setting up difficulties like
mountains high, but having a skilful Pilot! I steered between
the rocks. The Church, having been in a seven years law suit,
was gained by the African M.E. Connexion. A brother, L.I. - ,
conveyed us seven mils, and I attended an appointment which
was visited by the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Sister C -
followed in exhortation and the meeting was closed by a
brother - a crowded house - and were requested to hold
another. But we appointed the next in Holmesburgh, which was a
like prosperous. After which I returned to Philadelphia, and
there remained until July 2, at which time I left for Canada,
being a second visit to my scattered nation, for which time I
felt a painful impression. For more than six years the first
stop was in New York, from there to Albany, where I remained
three or four weeks, but the Church was wading through deep
waters. I had, long before, felt a great anxiety to publish my
religious experience and exercise to a dying world, but,
laboring under the disadvantages of education, I thought it a
favour to pay $5 to have a portion of it taken from the
original of my own registering, and corrected for press. By
special request I visited Troy and found a christian spirited
minister, Rev. Wm. Bishop, with a lively society, and I spoke
for them - the Lord was with us, and gave seed to the sower
and read to the eater, at different times; and, the next
Sabbath I preached my Farewell sermon, and so Sunday night I
heard prayer meeting in the Church, and on the next Saturday I
left for Schenectady, preached in the Presbyterian Church
twice on Sunday, and was kindly entertained; after which I
left on Monday for Utiea, and arrived there next morning about
sunrise. I spoke for them on Thursday evening, also on Sunday
afternoon to crowded houses of lively christians, and they
administered to my necessities to assist me in travelling. I
felt a great liberty in the gospel. From there IL proceeded to
Rochester, where I arrived, after being two days and a night
on the canal, and found elder Graham with a prosperous church,
which seemed a though his labors were much blessed. But, alas!
the Devil crept in - has left them - they became scattered,
the old trustees died, and the other connexion caught them.
But during my stay they added several to the church. I then
left for Little York in Canada, which was one day's sail
across the Lakes; the passage was very rough that day. I was
directed to Brother Brown's the preacher, and was kindly
received by himself and wife. I preached on Sabbath morning
and afternoon, and that day we had a shout in the Camp of
Israel. Praise God, the mission was both owned and received.
After speaking several times and holding prayer meetings, I
left them for Niagara, spoke three times. From there to St.
David, and preached to a respectable congregation of whites
and colored persons. Six years before this I visited Niagara
and there was a large society of the A.M.E. Connexion, but at
this time the very Chapel was gone, the minister dead, the
people scattered and backslid. I finding only two or three
members at this time and no school, and children coming up in
sin, then left for St. Catharine; spoke three times, but no
particular revival, there were some who wished to be lords
among God's heritage, and the work seemed stagnated, but they
used me well, and I left them with peace of mind, in
discharging my duty, fort George, and spoke on Sabbath morning
to a white and colored congregation in a school house -
wonderful time indeed - some shouted, some mourned, other
sought for mercy, and I felt the Holy Ghost upon me, glory,
glory, to God. After I helped to lead the class, I was
insisted upon specially to preach a child's funeral sermon,
before the corps left the house, a curious circumstance, which
was caused by the following incident; seven years before I had
preached in the neighborhood, to a great mixed multitude,
after which I was invited to dine by this person, on which
visit this child was born, or on that day; after some little
hesitation on my part, I accepted the invitation and preached
from the 2d Book of Samuel, "I shall go to him, but he shall
not return to me. "It was a very solemn time - the corps was
then taken to the Church of England, and laid before the
altar, the clergy spoke over it, and very much to the purpose,
without partiality, and then committed it to the breathless
grave. On Thursday night I filled an appointment at a
brother's house, the Lord was there. On the next Sabbath I
rode seven miles, preached and helped to lead class, and the
next week I left in stage for Little York, but stopped in
Niagara, preached several times and paid a visit to a new
society of Wesleyan Methodists, also then returned to York
again and preached for a society of Baptists, a very quiet and
attentive congregation, with one exception. Text by grace ye
are saved through faith, that's not of yourselves, it's the
gift of God. The Devil is always busy in his agency as in the
following: a school-teacher was present in the congregation
who, after I concluded my subject, arose to contradict my
argument, he became very much excited and red in his face, but
while he was on his feet I expressed a desire of the
congregation not to notice his replay, and they accordingly
treated it with contempt, which caused him to desist with all
his prejudices against women. The people were very kind. From
thence by steamboat, I proceeded to Hambleton, which was 50
miles; I found no colored society in that place, but the
children went to school; about two miles from there I found a
class, and, by permission of the trustees, on Wednesday
evening, I spoke in the Methodist Chapel, to a small
congregation, from a very short notice, but the Lord owned His
Word. After the close of the meeting, and English gentleman
and his lady invited me to go home and lodge one night at
their house, which I did, and they exhibited a great degree of
benevolence towards me; may God reward them for it. On Sabbath
morning I spoke to my own people, and afterwards led class and
found the same one God owned them in worship also. I saw that
seed must be sown accordingly. I spoke in the afternoon, and
the Lord made himself manifest by His Spirit in great display;
the people, though very poor, were exceedingly kind; one of
the brother preachers, conveyed me to Dundas and Flamburg,
west. I preached to a large congregation in the white
Methodist Chapel. We had an humble waiting upon the Lord. From
there I went to Ancaster, there the Lord prepared a friend to
take care of me through the winter. I preached several times
and met many friends whom I had seen in Cincinnati; some
gifted preachers there, but no elder to preside. There were
many of our society there, called from place to place, which
had been scattered like sheep without a shepherd - it truly
was heart-rending to hear them lamenting the loss of their
shepherd who was deceased. The brethren kept a watch meeting
on Christmas eve. We enjoyed the meeting and spent the night
like St. Paul; the next day it fell to my lot to fill an
appointment which I did with both life and liberty, (praise
God for it) from the 2nd chap. of St. Like, verses 10, 11. I
felt my mind lead me to a village called Ammonsburg, on Lake
Ontario, on what was called the Bush side, but I kept it with
myself and the Lord, and kept travelling and preaching as the
Lord gave ability. Brother S. Lewis was much interested at my
anxiety for that people's welfare, and also Brother Wm.
Edwards, a gospel preacher, who had been instrumental in
civilizing and christianizing many of the natives whom I saw
in Brentford, an Indian town on the Mohawk river, where a
number of the natives lived along the river side, in the woods
formed churches of societies of different denominations, hours
excepted, and having no Methodist Church, a gentleman, seeing
the necessity of a place of worship for us, gave us the
privilege of a large house to worship in several times; truly
it was cold, but we had many comfortable meetings, and very
many solemn impressions made on a number of the minds of those
present; afterwards I left for buffalo. The road was so rough
that it caused me to be quite sick. I could not stand it to
ride 200 miles that cold weather, and I continued to preach in
and out of town to different denominations through frost and
snow. A gentlemen came to me after the sermon was over, and
wished me God's speed in a very friendly manner, then quietly
withdrew with his ladies in company with him, with politeness.
My mind was on Buffalo, Brother Edwards had not yet formed any
society. I particularly desired him to take my appointment,
which he did, and also read the discipline with proper
explanations, wishing to know who would be subject to the
government of the same, and there were ten persons came
forward and consented to be subject as members of our
Discipline. I went to Ancaster, stopped at brother Lewis' and
wife, and although she was a young married woman, she was very
much like a mother to me. My mind was exercised to go to
Ammonsburg, through a gloomy winter; that night, after serious
meditation, I fell asleep, and suddenly awoke and received the
witness that I must go. Next morning I informed brother Lewis
that I must go, and, he, feeling interested for me, had me
conveyed, in a private carriage, that I might travel
comfortably. In the middle of February I left for Chatham, and
arrived there no the 26th of the same month, where I found a
society scattered, without a shepherd; some living in the
faith of Christ, while others had gone back to the beggarly
elements of the world. Mr. Lightfoot received me very kindly;
his house was open for worship, where I had large gatherings
some five or six times, for a new place. The house being quite
commodious, and Mr. Lightfoot used every endeavor to send me
on with the gospel to others. In April I left for Ammonsburg,
there the believers seemed much strengthened; backsliders
reclaimed, and sinners converted to God. Among which was a
woman that had belonged to the Methodists by profession,
having the form of godliness but was destitute of the power,
until, the Spirit of God arrested her at this time. After
which she ceased her carnal amusements; quit dancing and went
to praying, at which time she arose on her feet and said that
she never saw that dancing was wrong before now - but she had
resolved to serve God in spirit and truth - praise God for the
victory. For three days in Ammonsburg we could scarcely get
any rest, from the effects of the outpouring of the spirit of
God, on both white and colored. I was still more confirmed in
mind that my visit was accepted of my God, who gave me this
mission in Christ Jesus. I stopped with a brother, Jas. Jesus.
I stopped with a brother, Jas. McKenney, and his affectionate
wife, who had suffered much in the fear of Jesus. Brother made
an appointment for the next evening for me, which I tried to
fill. Text as follows: 16th chap. of St. Matthew's Gospel,
26th verse. I was in a strange part of God's vineyard, but his
power was manifest even there; after which another appointment
was made for Sunday morning, which was alike prosperous, and I
helped to lead class; then spoke in the afternoon and at night
with equal success. My mind was much exercised, seeing the
need of schools. I counted 25 children and some young people
whom I loved. I lamented their obscurity, and advised them to
get a white man to reach them, and endeavored to shew them,
that, without the advantages of education they never would be
a moral people, and, in the course of time, their own children
could, by proper advancement, become teachers for themselves.
So I continued in all the towns, finally they caught the
spirit and commenced in the following places; in Ancaster they
chose their trustees to build a house for school, and likewise
to preach in, at Brantford, at Chatham, and St. Catharine.
Some went to St. David's and Toronto, to Sabbath schools, and
in the week also; colored and white, all went together. After
the course of two or three weeks, a colored teacher came to
the last named place and established a school of between 30 or
40 scholars (after being examined and found competent) which
improved the manners of the people very much, and they
worshipped in their own Chapels. Their own preachers,
exhorters, and class-leaders (colored.) There was a young
sister that wished to travel with me a little way, and brother
McKenny furnished us with a driver and conveyance, and the
friends received us very kindly, and, to my astonishment, we
were given appointments by the trustees of the Church. I spoke
from the following text, By grace ye are saved through faith,
that is not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God. A
Friend, W - God. A Friend W - was there, who was ever ready to
oppose the Methodists; he was a Baptist preacher, and would
invite the Methodists to preach for them, and then get up
contradict them; he wished me to come and preach for them, but
I felt no spirit of contention in religion and I declined. Our
own people were talking of forming a union with the Canadian
Methodists who were a branch of the Old Episcopal Methodists,
that was raised by the missionaries from America; this being
the time of the split, but some would leave to the Wesleyan
Methodists. I preached five or six different times in this
village for several Sabbaths two sermons a day, in which the
Lord gave ability. We continued our meetings as usual, and
invited the old ministers to visit us, which they did; and one
of them gave an exhortation after me, and God's power filed
the house and the guilty were alarmed, while believers
rejoiced in hope of a better resurrection. I left that
morning, rode five miles with a friend, and on Wednesday
afternoon preached again - signs and wonders followed - after
which I continued to visit the sick the remainder of the week,
and on Sabbath day I rode five miles again to the Chapel, and
filled an appointment in the afternoon for the last time as I
thought, but the Lord seen best, and I was retained another
week; the next Sabbath I filled an appointment from the
following text; Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word
of the Lord have free course and be glorified even as it is
with you which was my Farewell Sermon. After which I returned
to Ammonsburg in the fear of God where I preached several
times and saw many manifestations of the operations of the
Spirit of grace, and, on the following Sabbath, Brother A -
made an appointment for me six miles distant, and one also for
6 o'clock in the evening; we had a very hard ride through the
swamp, and met a large gathering both in and out of doors, and
sinners were cut to the heart, and cried aloud for mercy,
which was a joyful sound to believers in Christ Jesus. The
next evening I spoke again from Isaiah, chap.59 ver. 1; and
several of the nobility taking into consideration my
necessities, contributed to me the sum of $5. We had a quiet
waiting upon the Lord; after which I and a sister that was
with me, called on Mr. Gardiner and he collected some
subscriptions and added to the former sum, for which, I trust,
God will reward all the cheerful givers, as they were very
generous. I held prayer-meetings, visited the sick, and passed
many joyful moments of sweet communion especially in one
sister's company, who was a member of the National Church in
But in affliction she enjoyed the Spirit's grace, and, in May, 1834, we parted as for eternity, and I trust to meet her where parting will be no more, neither will any of us shake the parting hand, for we have had sweet communion together, in spiritual exercises. Dear reader, think not that I am going to heaven as in golden slippers, for I have various trials to encounter while travelling over this world so wide, but I feel willing to suffer for the cause of God, after which I shall (if faithful) meet many of my friends that have communed with me in the spirit, where we never, never, shall shake the parting hand - these are the consolations in affliction as described in Rev. chap.12, 11th verse. And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto death; and whilst I move my pen my soul rejoices in God my Redeemer. Having filled my mission I parted with my friends on joy. I sailed for Detroit city, 18 miles, then build adieu to British shores, not knowing that I should ever step on them again. I was kindly received on American possessions by a respectable family from Cincinnati, a Mr. D - . I felt there was a work for me to do in that part of God's vineyard. I arrived on Tuesday and on Thursday evening we had a comfortable meeting at the usual place. I met with much encouragement in laboring for the Lord, and many impressions were made on the minds of the hearers. The evening previous to my landing I saw some of the American affliction towards the people of color, such as mobbing, theft and destruction. To unto the inhabitants of the earth and the sea, for the Devil is come down unto you. On the following Sabbath morning, 10 o'clock, I preached again, then lead class - a soul reviving time, indeed - at 7 o'clock, P. M. I preached again, and the house was crowded to overflowing, it not being sufficient to hold the people. Text as follows: And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto all the world for a witness, and then shall the end come. After which we visited a prayer meeting held by the stationed minister in the white Church, which was truly comfortable. On the next Sabbath I had an appointment made for me on the British side in a dwelling house, but, it not being sufficient to hold the people, the Episcopal Methodists opened their session-room which was larger and well crowded with various denominations. Text, 1st chap. St. John; ver.45. The Lord touched my tongue as with a live coal from his altar, and we had a good time as from the hand of the Lord, and the Amens of the preachers, elders, and leaders, helped to swell the theme of rejoicing. Glory to God, we had all things common. But now feeling my mission ended I waited for the first opportunity and took passage for Buffalo. Three hundred and sixty miles on Lake Ontaria, and, I must say, the most uncomfortable passage I ever experienced, although the boat was commodious, yet they treated the people of color very indifferently indeed, as regards their accommodation, and yet charged them a high price, I having paid $4.50. After two uncomfortable days' and nights' sail, me arrived at Buffalo wharf about six o'clock, A.M. Six years had elapsed since I had been in Buffalo, which was the first time, but during my absence many changes had taken place, the loss of some of my particular friends by death and other moveable causes. But I found a Mrs. Davis, who was a great friend indeed to the people of God. I felt my mission truly in this part of His vineyard - there were a few of the Episcopal Methodists, but no established society. The Baptist denomination had the majority of the people, they opened their places of worship and I preached and held prayer meetings three or four times among them, which was attended with considerable success. I also had the pleasure of meeting an anti-slavery society where I heard some very able discussions on the rights of the oppressed, and also clear demonstrations of the cruelty of the slaveholder, which was exposed with all its horror by a young man by the name of L - but was greatly opposed by the Judge of the city, after which the young man arose to his feet the second time in which it seemed nothing escaped his exposure. I, about this time had written from Buffalo to Philadelphia (as it was shown me by the Spirit that my son had embraced religion) to know the fact of the matter, as I was some hundred miles from home and received the satisfactory answer by letter from his own hand, which explained his conviction - the length of the distress of his mind - the severity of which had caused him to seek opportunity to put an end to his own existence, but in the act he was told to try and pray once more, by the voice of the Spirit, which he consented to do, but concealed his intention from the people, which had been suggested by the Devil, to take his own life, and it would be all over. In this extremity it was God's opportunity by his act of obedience to convert his soul, after bringing him to the ground like a Soul of Tarsus, and now stands as a living witness that God has power on earth to forgive sin.
O Reader, you may only imagine the joy of my heart at such language as this from my only son, whom, it seemed, God had left as a comfort to me in my old age, more especially after not having had any communication from him for eight months, and then he was very ill which made my cross seem very heavy, but I trusted in God, although I expected to hear of his death when I did hear anything, but, on my knees at a brother and sister L's - at family prayer was shown these things by revelation of spirit, which caused me to get up off my knees and I exclaimed aloud, the Lord has converted the soul of my son, for which we had a shout around the room, and then comes the letter as a witness of the same from his own written composition. I scarcely knew how to praise the Lord enough, and for another reason when I thought that God granted what I had prayed for, from the days of his childhood, while I travelled the barren wilds, of lonesome hills, and gloomy vales. But so much for trusting in God who will not let the prayers of his people pass unnoticed, but is bound to hear and answer when they pray aright. Praise the Lord, O my soul, magnify his name.
With joy let Judah stand
On Zion's chosen hill,
Proclaim the wonders of thy hand,
And councils of thy will.
The Vineyard of the Lord before the laborer lies.
We had several very good meetings I then crossed over to Bristol and spoke once or twice in a dwelling-house, at which time the Lord verified his promises, which are, I will hearken unto. I proceeded on my journey to Trenton, which was Elder Robinson's Circuit. Two or three days after this he arrived in the city. On Sabbath morning he preached and was much favored by the Spirit of the Lord. At night I preached and felt joy in my soul; from there he gave me other appointments. My mind was cleared and the Scriptures opened themselves to my mind and I felt strengthened; some shouted, others wept. I feel the holy influence of that fire now, while my pen makes record of the same to a dying world. Let the inhabitants of the rocks sing, and let them shout as from the top of the mountains. I preached another sermon from the 59th chap. of Isaiah, 12th verse. The fire kindled some where, and the hearty amens that ascended the hill of the Lord seemed to strike guilt to the hearts of sinners. I helped to lead class. O, the worth and value of precious souls which cause me oft to mourn. I preached again from the 22d chap. of Rev. 1st ver. The prayers of God's people helped me, and the power of God, like the dew of heaven, was let down upon us, and the sower and reaper rejoiced together, independent of various opposition. I also spoke from Romans, 1st chap. 16th ver., and spoke three times on Sabbath day; and I felt more strength at the last appointment than I did at the first, which proves the assertion of Scripture, freely give and freely receive. I also visited the sick, after which they gave me some appointments at Princeton, a hard part of the vineyard. I had my talent and to use it I was not ashamed, although the substance seemed to be lost - ful houses. The Presbyterian friends were very kind to me and received me with Christian friendship. The weather cold, and travelling hard, through wintry storms to pass. The first text, Let the dead bury the dead. It seemed a little astonishing, especially to the brethren. I continued, and on different times filing appointments. From thence to Brunswick; and one of the coldest days, rode sixteen miles; the Lord was with me, and I had great liberty of speech; a church and a large congregation; and the power of God was more fully manifest than at Princeton; and the Lord added such to the Church as, I trust, will be eternally saved. I remained there to labor for the Lord two or three weeks, and there was a general revival throughout in prayer meetings, both of male and female, and in class meetings; not my labors, reader, but the merit belongs to God alone.
Praise the Lord, ye heavens adore him;
Praise him all ye stars of light;
Sun and moon rejoice before him,
Praise him, angels in your heights.
After this I started for a Camp-meeting, near Baltimore. On my arrival I received two appointments, and after the Bishop came, still more was given to me, and at one time the power of God arrested an individual and he cried aloud, fell out of the door and was reclaimed. I preached three sermons in the African M.E. Church, and God gave us souls at every meeting, and my heart rejoiced to see sinners coming to God. Notwithstanding I had my opposers I out-live them through the strength of Him, that yet loves His faithful followers. After seeing so many displays of the miraculous power of God, I returned to the city of Baltimore, with peace of conscience. After which my mind was exercised to go to Elicott's Mills to preach in the African M.E. Church, and was accompanied by a dear sister, previously having had conversation with Bishop Walters he sent a letter to the preacher in charge, who received me with christian spirit. In the morning I led class and in the afternoon I had an appointment. and preached from the 5th Chapter of St. Luke, 18th & 19th verses. A full house, with attentive hearers, - praise God for a visitation of His Spirit. An humble groan is better than a sacrifice. At night I spoke from the 7th Chapter of Hebrews, 12th & 13th verses, and wonderful to relate, if language could, the power of feeling. And well may it be said that feeling has no fellow. On Thursday night I spoke from the 61st Chapter of Isaiah, 1st verse: And truly I was appointed. And one visible sign of the manifestation of the Spirit of God was, an aged lady was caused to cry aloud, under the distress of mind, and many more, too tedious to mention. During the whole week, I continued to visit the sick, &&;c. One case I here mention as a caution to those who procrastinate the day of Salvation holder of a tyrannical turn, said to be very wicked. But he had received a summons, served by the officer Death, and I saw it pictured in his faces; which is as follows. By request, I called to see a Slave-holder of a tyranical turn, said to be very wicked. But he had received a summons, served by the officer Death, and I saw it pictured in his face; previous to which I had heard of his selling two men from their wives, recently. I asked him what he thought of dying; if he was prepared to meet the change. He told me he was not. He was very ill, could not recover, but wanted religion and could not get it; but wished me to have prayers with him. This I did, but it was of no avail, although it was truly solemn. I then exhorted him to have faith in the merits of the blood of Christ and then left him, a repining subject for eternity.
"Don't you see how unexpected in my chariot I do ride,
Convulsion fits, Plagues and Fevers, are the weapons by my side."
After this, I returned to Baltimore, and from thence I was conducted to Springtown, and spoke in the morning, Sunday, 11 o'clock. Text, in Psalms. No extra display in the afternoon. Brother H. U., held forth to a very large congregation. At night I preached again. By this time there was inroads made upon the minds of the people, - they caught the Hallowed Flame, and some shouted, while others were convicted and reclaimed, and I was lifted up in Word and Doctrines of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. On Monday night I held a Prayer-meeting, - next morning I started for Baltimore, quite indisposed, but being once more restored to health, I preached on the following Sabbath night in Bethel Church, Baltimore, appointment by Bishop Walters. Text, Acts 18th Chapter, 9th & 10th verses, with special references, from Chapter 20 ;19th, 20th, 21st & 22d verses. On the ensuing Wednesday night I preached again from Prophet Joel, Chapter 1st & 1st vers. The slain of the Lord truly was many. Again I spoke from Hebrews, Chapter 7th; 12th & 13th verses, at 3 o'clock, P.M. and God's name was glorified. I had great liberty of speech - bless the Lord. It is a good cause to live in, but better to die in. It is sweeter than life and stronger than death.
The Bishop gave me an appointment on the following Sabbath night. Text, from one of Peters' Epistles, 5th verse. The word preached had its effect. Three persons were arrested under the power of God and felled to the floor at once. The grand-mother and her daughter and grand-daughter cried aloud for mercy. In the meanwhile a gentleman fell on his face and cried for Sanctification; and there was a general rumbling among the dry bones. Praise God, for I feel the unction from on high, while I hold my pen.
I next started for Long Green, a distance of sixteen miles. A sister I - - -- who had been travelling with me, as also brother Dunn, accompanied us. I spoke from Acts 17, verse 31. Three persons found peace, several under serious impressions. The word still had a lasting effect, and they sent for us again We complied, accompanied by our Rev. brother; although the morning was very cold, we were blest to get there in time for Church, and by the help of God, I tried to speak to the people from these words. "Although you tread upon scorpions and serpents, they shall not hurt you, having faith." The word went out and did not return void; for two found peace that day, and we left some on the floor mourning for redemption in Christ, while others wore deep symptoms of serious impressions for the welfare of their souls. We left at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but the meeting continued until night. May God continue to water every plant in Zion. I preached and sold my books, and paid my own way. I returned to Philadelphia in December. After I arrived my health was much impaired, and I had a severe spell of sickness. So ended 1836.
I commenced travelling
March 11th, 1837. Eight miles from Philadelphia, I preached
three Sermons. Two at Blaketown, N.J., after which I took
Steam-boat for St. Georges, Del. to see my sister, at the
request of Doct. - - - , he being the main proprietor of the
town, I accepted an appointment and filled it. I then spent a
few days with my sister, and left for Salem, N.J. Preached two
Sermons on Sabbath day, two miles from Salem, and we had a
good meeting, - for, where the Lord is, there is liberty. On
Wednesday I left for Greenwich, preached three times, and the
Lord was there in power, and my soul witnessed it. From thence
I proceeded to - - - - - and there truly was a revival among
the people, which gave me encouragement to trust in God. From
there I proceeded on to Port Elizabeth, and spoke in the
Ebenezer Church, to a very large and respectable congregation
from seventh chapter, Hebrews, 12th & 13th verses. On
Sunday 3 o'clock, P.M., I preached at the same Church, then I
proceeded six miles further and preached one Sermon to the
Forgemen, and tried to give them the Gospel, but I did not
feel that liberty of Spiritual fellowship as I did at many
places, to see professing Christians working hard on the
Sabbath at the forge , and then walk into Church, to keep the
Holy is, in my opinion, altogether out of the question.
However I returned from that place the same night, and on
Monday I left for Goshen, Cape May, to see my aged mother,
then 78 years of age. I found her happy in the Lord, and my
sister also. I preached three sermons on Cape May and left
them as I found them, in the hands of God. I arrived on my
return, at Port Elizabeth on the next Sabbath morning, filled
an appointment both morning and night. Next morning I took
stage for Philadelphia, where I arrived on June 5th, found all
well. Our Conference being held in May, I concluded I must
have some of the Feast. Three or four days after this I
proceeded to New York, from there on to Albany, Elder Williams
having charge of the Church. I preached nine sermons. Some
revivals, some joined the Church, and members strengthened in
the Faith of Christ. I also visited Troy, preached three
Sermons there, one for a white congregation. We had a good
meeting; and I was well treated by the friends. On my return
to Albany I preached two sermons - and truly enjoyed myself in
the Lord. I then returned to New York with an appeal to the
conscience of every man, as regards my endeavors to do good, -
bless the Lord. Duty makes labor light. My visit was to be
accomplished in New York and Brooklyn. Rev. Wm. C. - - -
-,having charge at both places, gave me appointments. Preached
four sermons in New York, five in Brooklyn and two in Flushing
and one in Williamsburg.
Knowing my religious visits were nearly closed for the presents I availed myself of the opportunity of visiting the different Schools, the most impressive was that of Mr. Louis Tappan, which I think exceeded all I had ever seen; the principles in different branches which had been, and in some instances, are yet hid from the people of color, to deprive them of their enjoyments, were here taught them, which greatly helped to elevate them to a position that would command respect through the short voyage of life. These are the proceeds of vital piety. "Do unto all men, as ye would they should do unto you." Love, truly, is the fulfilment of the Law. O! may the day speedily come when the yoke of oppression shall be finally destroyed. Under a striking impulse of gratitude, and at the request of Mr. Tappan, I delivered a short address and then left the School with the answer to a good conscience. Then leaving New York, I arrived at New Brunswick, where I was kindly received. Preached three sermons, truly, the Lord was there in power. Next I proceeded to Rahway, preached four sermons, and some were added to the church. From that to Princeton, and preached four sermons. No particular display of God's power; yet my soul rejoices in hope of the promise. "If Israel is not gathered, Jacob shall not lose his reward." I then left for Trenton, met a Quarterly Meeting, and the Elder gave me two appointments. His labors had been very successful on his circuit. I then left for Philadelphia, and found my friends well. This being the month of November, I remained a-while in the city. I preached in Bethel Church and the Union also. Dec. 2nd I left for New-Hope, with a sister speaker. She and myself attended two churches by the permission of the Elder, R. R. - I preached five sermons before Christmas, 1st at brother's house, 2nd at the Mountain, and 3rd in the new church; praise God for it. "Long expected, seen at last." The 1st text as follows: "Wisdom is justified of her children," &&;c. it was a time long to be remembered. I preached the Watch-Night sermon Christmas Eve, from Matt. 2nd chap. and 10th verse, and during my stay until New-Years Eve, there was great good done in the name of the Holy Child Jesus. In travelling towards Frankford I stopped at Holmesburg for the purpose of warning some persons of approaching danger, but finding an intimate friend of mine very ill, I paid her a religious visit, which gave me much satisfaction to see her resignation unto death. I purposed leaving next morning for Frankford at 9 o'clock, but she died, and the Elder and preacher being at a far distance from there, by special request I attended the funeral, and after a short sermon at the house I had to commit the body to the earth, as no other person was present to do it. I then left for Frankford, preached four sermons which was profitable through God's grace.
Feb'ry. 16th, I started for Attleboro. I spoke from the Following passages: Romans 6th chap. 21st 22nd 23rd verses. Also from the 8th Chapter, 36th & 37th verses. At first it seemed like seed sown in stony ground, but the deadness began to remove, and life, light and immortality was come to pass through the preaching of the Cross of Christ. I preached one sermon in Ben-Salem, and held a prayer meeting, and the Lord smiled upon us, and truly some had in a measure lost their first love, and others who had not defiled their garments, but contended for the fulfilment of the promise. Now, coming towards Philadelphia, I found my son and my friends all well. After preaching one hundred and forty-six sermons and travelling nine hundred and ninety-nine miles.
In April, I felt impressed to visit Reading, Pa., which I did, and met some that I had met with years before, testifying that God is God, and changes not. I preached five sermons, and truly I must say that the Gospel is prevailing. Some few years previous there was not one member of church, now there is a good church and a large society. I now went to Norristown, spoke five times and led class. A man formerly lived there that played on the violin, but leaving his place of residence went to Philadelphia and embraced religion, and was called to go to the people of that town to preach the gospel to them, and the Lord blessed his labors, and they now live in hope of a better resurrection.
July 15th, 1838, I left for Westchester, preached two sermons. From there I went to Chichester, from that to the Valley, laboring as I passed along to lively congregations. On the 23rd I left for Colombia, calling on Rev. S. S. - - - -he gave me three appointments. God revived his work in the hearts of his people, and while my pen moves my heart burns with love to God. Next I left for West-town and visited some aged friends, such as could not get to the church, and two remarkable once in particular, which were regarded as pillars of the church. I was conducted on board the canal boat for Lewistown. I had a pleasant passage, arrived at 1 or 2 o'clock, A. M. and was kindly treated by them. Preached four sermons to a hard people. I was sick during my stay, my system was much debilitated before I reached Pittsburg; however, I pressed on to Huntingdon, found a small society suffering for want of help. I was received by all the brethren, preached five sermons, rode 11 miles and spoke to the Forgemen, but through bad management the congregation was small, but the word had its effect; the souls of the redeemed are precious. I next proceeded to Hollidaysburg. Took passage by stage at night, arrived at 8 o'clock A.M. I was kindly received by a gentleman belonging to Wesley church, and entertained in a friendly manner. Preached two sermons to a comfortable congregation, and then left for Johnstown. After I got out of the car I thought it almost the last end of the world as regards accommodations. I had to stand near one hour before I could get a person to carry my trunk. The Captain was kind and offered to send me a person, but I got a man at last to take my trunk there. His wife was kind, although I introduced myself to her, knowing her to be the Barber's wife. She sent for him to coming, and then introduced me to her husband. When he sat down he said, "you preach do you?" I try, said I. "Do you understand the Scriptures?" Some parts of it, was my answer. He appointed a meeting, and the time arrived, congregation gathered. When I commenced I felt a little confusion in the house, but in a few minutes every thing was still, and we had a solemn waiting upon the Lord; after which the Barber closed the service. So I left them. A brother informed me that the chief Magistrate of the town said we must hold another meeting and he would attend it, but the preacher did not seem to feel interested for the welfare of souls; for this cause I took passage on steam boat for Pittsburg, which was pleasant although crowded. The last day being Sabbath, I sat in serious meditation on the beauties of Creation and the plan of Redemption. There were some lady passengers from Charleston that enjoyed religion would come and sit by me to read. When about to leave, one of them requested me to pray for her husband and daughter. I hope the Elijah's God will prosper her desire for their welfare. We arrived at Pittsburg about 8 o'clock, P.M. I was conducted to the house of a worthy Father in Israel, where I remained a while, preached four or five sermons in Pittsburg. My mind still urging me on to Brownsville; and the Lord opened the way. The Elder of the circuit coming into Pittsburg, made a way for me, and provided me with a sister to accompany me. The Lord blessed the labors of his servants. In three months time there were one hundred and ten added to his circuit Some converts, some mourners. Five out of one family fell in love with this Heaven-born plan. I commenced my winter journey the 10th of December. I left Pittsburgh for a Quarterly Meeting at Williamsport; it was a tedious journey. We had to walk seven miles, and on entering the town we met a brother coming to meet us with a conveyance. That night the meeting commenced, and truly the battle was the Lord's. Six were slain by his mighty power, and the faith of believers strengthened. I spoke at 11 o'clock from the 12th Chapter of Isaiah, 5th & 6th verses, and at night again, to a crowded house of well-believed people. Elder Clemens, a successful laborer for the Lord was on this circuit. After preaching, the mourner's bench was erected, and the slain of the Lord were many. This meeting continued two days and nights, after which our Love-feasts took place. The Lord was in the midst, and the people were crying for mercy in every direction. The Wesleyan Methodists opened their church and gave me an appointment on Monday at 3o'clock, P.M., after which the Elder gave us privilege to hold prayer meetings, which continued all night, was very successful, and a revival took place with both white and colored people, and one of the members informed me there were thirty persons added to the church that time. Praise God for the Victory.
The world cannot withstand
Its ancient conqueror;
It sure must fail beneath the hand
That arms us for the war:
Thy banner unfurl,
Bid the nation surrender;
And own Thee their God,
Their King, and Defender.
In March I left for Pittsburg, and we met in joy; and at my first appointment I spoke from Isaiah c. 50, v. 31. I then rested three or four weeks, during which time my mind become much exercised to go to Cincinnati - it was difficult to travel, but God always makes a way for his people. A friend both to God and me, got a passage for me on board of a Steamboat, with a preacher and his family, and on my arrival, I was recommended to friends there, Elder King and wife, and I found them. I told them it was my business to preach. An appointment was given me. I spoke several times, and the Lord approbated the efforts of the feeble worm, and believers were built up in the most holy faith. My visit was joyous. My pamphlets went off as by a wind, the Elder recommending them very highly, and also encouraged me to have the 2d edition printed, which I had done - there being then one thousand more for sale, in which I was successful. Five joined the church after the last sermon.
I then left for Dayton, Ohio, and found a large church and building. The colored population there was very large - there I preached six sermons, and one in the other church. I was aided by both churches. I then took steamboat for Hambleton, a well situated place, and preached two sermons; had a good visit, much favored of the Lord, although the members were much scattered abroad. But a worthy brother, a man of God, had settled there and formed a Society of some twenty persons, which was still prosperous. After preaching two sermons, I took passage in steamboat for Cincinnati; remained there awhile until I had some new direction opened to my mind, where I might call the people to the arms of Christ. The recent printing of my tracts, had caused me to be very scarce of money, (price of printing 1000 copies, $38.) There were individuals who helped me in a way for travelling. The Elder being absent that Sabbath morning, there was some disorder prevailed amount some who seemed double minded, yet they were officers. But God can make a way where there appears to be no way. Mrs. E.J., her husband and children, made me a present of seven dollars, and another friend interceded for me in getting a good cabin passage in a comfortable boat, and no distinction - captain was a gentleman. I enjoyed sweet communion with the spirit of the Lord. But a painful circumstance took place near our journey's end, which seemed to me awful in the extremes. There was a woman on board of the boat who was called insane. I thought she was laboring under a despair of mind. She had seen herself a dreadful sinner, and set in a melancholy position, at times only she would seemingly arouse and ask us not to let them hurt her. On one occasion I asked her how she felt. She answered, "I hear some persons talking; they will hurt me - I would drown myself, but it is such a sin." A lady and myself strove to comfort her, after which the lady read to her respecting the storms. She set very quiet, then she suddenly arose to her feet, and said she must pray. I told her to kneel down by my side, which she did very orderly; she first prayed in Dutch; I could not understand her only as she said God or Jesus, and then she prayed in English very feeling, then clapped her hands and said he has taken a load off me - this was about 10 or 11 o'clock, A.M. She arose, washed her face and hands, combed her hair, and then put on a cap and looked like another person, and thus remained until candle-light, she and the young lady walking and talking. I was reading and felt greatly relieved from the care of her. Suddenly the chambermaid came in and asked me for her, and it seemed only five minutes since I missed her. The captain made search, went down on the deck and there found her, but she begged so hard to stay there that he left her. The boat arrived at Portsmouth next morning at sunrise, and that morning at 8 o'clock, she was seen to jump overboard. They lowered a boat and tried to save her, but before they reached her she sank to rise no more; and on the authority of God's word, I say, no self-murderer hath eternal life. reader, be careful, exceedingly careful, how you trifle with the spirit of God, lest it should take its flight and leave thee to undergo eternal punishment.
Take the warning, turn and live,
And God will his Spirit give.
I felt an anxiety to go to Chilicothe, for which place I took passage and arrived on Wednesday; found a large field of labor open. I preached on the next night (Thursday) to a very large and well informed congregation. I then took passage via canal, and my mind was much exercised, indeed, some what uncommon. Text 1st, Thessalonions: "Because iniquity abounds the love of many waxed cold, but they that endure to the end the same shall be saved." Text 2d: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel lest the cause of Christ should be made of non effect." Text 3d. Prov. 5th c. 6th v., I preached again from these words: "All flesh is as grass." Fifth and last: "I am the true Vine," & c. My visit being out, I left for Williamsport in peace with God, likewise the brethren, as the friends had used the very kind. After the quarterly meeting, we all took passage with the Elder for Pittsburg, to meet the conference. I there met the Rt. Rev. Bishop, and others I was glad to see. I remained there two or three weeks, and preached four sermons. Both preachers and people used me like Christians. The conference was largely attended with ministers from every direction. The Bishop granted an open house for persons to visit and hear the arrangements and appointments on the circuits. The preaching was very good, and it seemed as if the word fell heavy upon the hearts of the King's enemies; a general revival took place. The Bishop gave me an appointment during the conference. After my visit came to a close, I was exercised to leave for Philadelphia. A lady, named Mrs. Dorsey, being acquainted with one of the captains of the boats, succeeded in procuring a comfortable passage for me for $15, and $3 for board; making $18 in all, when it was $48 from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. I felt grateful towards God for his mindfulness of me. The captain was a gentleman, and the passengers of the first circle, and I enjoyed their company. When we changed boats at Hollidaysburg, the captain put me on the fast line that I might arrive at Philadelphia in the day. There was a white lady on the boat with me, bound to Philadelphia, who had travelled from New Orleans. A gentleman who was coming to the city, seeing her lonely situation and also mine, he never left the cars until he saw each of our baggages in the omnibus and starting for our doors - a gentleman indeed. Thus ended this journey, Sept. 1839.
After my arrival, my first inquiry was after the state of health of my son and his family, and to my great disappointment I found that my little grandson had died. This was startling news to me, you may think, but the Lord removed him for some wise purpose of his providence, and in this I felt perfectly resigned to his will, with a heart of gratitude for my protection and safe arrival at home. I remained in the city about three months and received appointments in our churches on Thursday nights, although in years past I always had them at any time, Sunday afternoons not excepted. In Philadelphia, N. York, Baltimore, and all the principal cities, from 100 to 1000 miles distant, as I travelled under the reign of the first Bishop Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, I have been instrumental in the hands of God of gaining many hundreds of dollars for the connection, buy raising societies where there never had been any, since which time they have grown to such a mass as to build large churches, and that in different places, and likewise have spent hundreds, but don't regret it, as I was about the work of Him that sent me, for which my reward is promised if I but hold out faithful.
Now, pray for me,
That while on earth I roam;
That with the joyful Jubilee,
I may arrive at home.
My sister leaving for England to visit the world's convention, I started alone. My first appointment was over Schuylkill - then I was conveyed nine miles farther, preached three sermons, and then returned to the city; on the following week I left again for Lancaster, Pa., but meeting friends going to Columbia I went with them. The meetings were attended by the spirit of God, and the speakers felt the spirit of their station, and the feast was glorious; over thirty were added to the church in less than a week, and many of them found peace with God. From thence I went to Marietta, preached two sermons, and then left for Lancaster. The Lord owned the word spoken, and after preaching, ten joined the church. "Praise the Lord, for He only doeth great wonders." - Psalms. I then proceeded on the Carlisle Seemingly the wolf had got in among the fold and had scattered some clear away. But God's word will have its effect where it is promulgated in its purity. The consequence was, we had a great rejoicing. I preached six sermons, including one for the Protestant Methodists. I employed my time, as usual, endeavoring to explain the effects of the everlasting gospel of the kingdom even in common conversation. The happy seasons I have seen are ever memorable to me, and my prayers is, that all Israel may be saved, not only form the trials of life, but from the power of hell. I then proceeded to Harrisburg, preached one sermons to a good congregation, and felt considerable liberty in speaking. I left next morning for Marietta; it was a very cold day; sometimes I rode in a slay and sometimes in a carriage. I preached one sermon on Sabbath, and next day took passage in a slay for Penningtonville. I preached there on Sabbath day to a good congregation of different denominations - it was a glorious day to my soul. Upon the authority of God's word, there need be no doubt about religion, for they that have it carry the witness within themselves. Thus, having finished my visit with a peace of conscience, I returned to Philadelphia, March 1st, and found all my friends well. I waited in the temple of the Lord and preached several times. I felt anxious to go to Baltimore on a visit to the general conference, being the first of that kind held there for many years. After mentioning it to the Bishop, he said I should be paid for it if I wished to go, for which I felt very grateful. After making the necessary preparations by arranging my clothes, & c., the morning came for to start; the boat was to leave Philadelphia at 6 o'clock, A.M. My mind had been somewhat divided about going to N. York, as I wanted to see the convention for the American Anti-Slavery Society. But on my way to the Baltimore boat, in company with a young sister, my mind was suddenly arrested by a strange sensation, which proceeded form some supernatural cause, followed by a voice which seemingly spoke thus: "a watery grave! a watery grave! !" I told the sister what had been revealed to me, yet not half a square from the house. She believed as I did, and I consequently turned back with an impression I should be drowned if I went as I seemingly saw the water. "How unsearchable are God's judgments, and his ways are past finding out."
The same month, April, I was sent for in great haste to visit Cape May, to see my aged mother, as it was thought for the last time, as she was very ill, at the advanced age of 82 years. I went and remained with her several weeks, when she nearly recovered. I then filled several appointments unexpectedly. But my way was I know not where. During my stay there I lost a nephew 12 years of age, whom I trust rests. But I should have mentioned, the day I returned from the Baltimore boat, I took passage at 2 o'clock, P.M. for Burlington, and preached for them on Sabbath day at quarterly meeting and second day after I left for New York and arrived the first day, the convention sat which I attended in company with Mrs. H. Lane, who was ever zealous in the good cause of liberty and the rights of all and I heard some very eloquent speeches which pleased me very much and my heart responded with this instruction: "Do unto all men as you would they should do unto you;" and as we are all children of one parent, no one is justified in holdings slaves. I felt that the spirit of God was in the work and also felt it my duty to unite with this Society. Doubtless the cause is good, and I pray God to forward on the work of abolition until it fills the world, and then the gospel will have free course to every motion and in every clime. - After the convention was over I returned to Philadelphia, and prepared for a long journey. But previously I visited a part of Rev. Turner's circuit - Jersey, Viz. of Burlington, Trenton, & c. His charge was extensive and laborers were much wanted. I endeavored to preach two sermons in Burlington, and in the other places nine more, and then visited Allentown and preached three sermons. I visited a camp meeting and never saw a greater display of God's power, for truly signs and wonders followed the preaching of the cross of Christ, while the voice of prayer made sinners stare and filled them with awe and wonder. I also preached to a small society five miles farther, called Lawrenceville, after which I returned to Trenton, Princeton, &&;c., and in a few days I left for Brunswick. I left for this journey in 1843, in one of the brother's own conveyance, for which I felt very thankful. I filled several appointments, and then left for New York where I remained several weeks, and proposed the holding of a protracted meeting to the Elder Boggs, in charge and he thought well of it, and appointed one, and it seemed that the people truly had a mind to work, and the Lord blessed our labors. I preached on two Sabbath nights and once in the middle of the week. A revival broke out and twenty-one were added to the church, and it concluded with a victorious Love-feast, glory to God. During my absence my son was taken very ill with a severe disease, and I felt very anxious to see him after an absence if several months. Consequently in December I left N. York in my return, and I found him much better then I expected, which greatly relieved my mind. I preached once in the Bethel, once in the Wesley church, which came in the connexion, Hurst St., and other places, but soon finished my work in this city, and notwithstanding the severity of the winter I returned to Rahway, and found the friends very kind to me. I thank the Lord for giving them hearts to be so, as the winter was trying. I preached ten sermons during my stay, in which time a great revival took place in the church, and many were added, amongst whom was a Rev. father E. - who had that very appropriate phrase; "The dead is alive and the lost is found," and the brother rejoiced much, seeing the Providence of God. Now I began of feel my labors nearly, completed in that part. I returned to N. York (as my visit was not accomplished in that city) on the 1st of March, 1841, and tarried some time, after which I took passage on steamboat for New Haven and arrived there at 1 o'clock, P.M. I was conducted by carriage to Mr. B's and his-family was kind; on next Wednesday I was taken to a brother's house, near the meeting house, near the meeting house, which they commenced in January, and I preached in it in March. Being a people there whose minds were much cultivated, I felt at liberty to speak, believing God would own his word, which he did and we had a revival. But Lucifer had prepared an engine to play upon it and put it out. But we had some firm members that turned neither to the right or left, as the scripture saith "the righteous shall hold on their way." Ah! reader many scenes I have passed through but I yet live by faith in the Son of God. I preached twenty-one sermons, and made my home at brother white's near the church; this saved me from a great deal of exposure in going to and returning from the church. I perceived their slothfulness in coming out to Sabbath morning services. My first text was Rev. i, 10. God was with us truly for signs and wonders followed, and we commenced a protracted meeting, and on the fifth night there were forteen mourning souls at the anxious bench. After a stay of seven weeks, I felt at liberty to leave them, which I did, and arrived in New York on the 24th of April. Elder B. gave me an appointment the ensuring Sabbath morning in Bethel church. After that I went over to Brooklyn and spoke three or four times, but my heart mourned to see such a great falling off that had taken place in a few months past. But the conference sit there, and they had good preaching, and the congregation soon began to increase. The brothers were kind to me and gave me appointments at different places. I continued to travel round about, and spoke a number of times in Flushing, eight sermons in Jamaica, three in Flatbush, three in Huntingdon south, three in Glen-cove, and then returned to Brooklyn again and remained a while with a sister who was ever kind to me, for which I hope God will reward her, with others. There was a camp-meeting to commence that week of my return, to be held by Rev. Boggs, near Harvest Straw, and I through invitation went in company - it was a very rainy time, but we had a great meeting, and I received two appointments. We caught no cold, and the Christians rejoiced in the victories of the Cross, for we believed the Lord would shelter us even in the midst of storm.
Having a great desire to
go to Massachusetts, I paid my way to Harvest Straw to take
the boat, but was disappointed not being in time, after which
I had to pay a gentleman to convey me ten miles and conduct me
safe on board of the boat for Albany. I had a pleasant cabin
passage for $1 50. On my arrival I employed a person to convey
me and my baggage to a friend's house, and when I got there,
they being absent, I did not stop even for breakfast; but
returned to a N. York boat that stopped at Hudson, and there
to take passage by Railroad. On my arrival, I found the cars
did not start until 4 o'clock, P.M. It then occurred to my
mind that I was in Hudson unexpectedly and truly the hand of
the Lord must be in it, as I wanted to visit that place some
time before. I then went out in search of some of my own
people of color, trying to find out if I could get a place to
preach in on my return, as I felt anxious to call the fallen
sons and daughters of Adam. When about to start in the cars
for Stockbridge, one of the brothers of the church went in
company with me to the camp. By 7 o'clock we were safely
landed and found the meeting prosperous and I felt warm for
the battle, as though I must press through fire or water. We
had one mile to walk or pay 25 cents - after walking the
distance, we found the tent that the Albany friends were
accommodated at; soon after which the Elder heard of it and
called upon me, which seemed to approbate my coming to his
camp. I felt a great degree of liberty, believing my self to
be in the right place. After several other strangers had
labored in their turn, the Elder gave me another appointment
on Saturday night. I endeavored to speak as God gave ability,
and a brother closed meeting after me. On Sabbath morning at
10 o'clock, I tried to speak again to a large congregation. It
rained very heavy, but they gave the best attention and
withstood the storm in all quietness; I felt free, the tongue
was loosed, the lip was touched, and the heart was warm, which
seemed to operate with the language of the text, in Rev.: "I
was in the spirit on the Lord's day". The Lord owned the word,
and the hearty Amens that went up, caused the woods to echo. A
white Methodist gentleman was present, who had become almost
choked to death with the glutted case of this world; while
sitting, God through his mercy, sent his awakening power to
his heart, and he rejoiced louder than others, telling me he
was glad the Lord had sent me, that his mind had been
overcharged with the cares of this life truly, and all of this
while Israel shouted for the battle. The wicked were somewhat
rude on Sunday night, and the Elder gave a very appropriate
address to the gentlemen of the State of Massachusetts,
showing how our rights were invaded, after which the gentlemen
took it on themselves to guard the camp ground, and we had
good order. The breaking up was a time long to be remembered,
and on that day at 12 o'clock I left for Hudson. I there
preached one or two sermons, visited the sick, &&;c.,
and was then taken to Pittsfield, preached one sermon, and
then proceeded by stage to Hudson city, where I remained a
while with a kind sister and her daughter. I attended the
church on Sabbath morning and enjoyed a good sermon delivered
by the Elder.
At 2 o'clock, P.M., I tried to preach in the same church to a full congregation. Text from the general epistle of James, 1st Chapter & 25th verse. At night I spoke in the old Methodist church for the first time, from these words; "We have found him of whom Moses and the Prophet's did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." My mind was much exercised on the subject; receiving light from Heaven. I preached one sermon in the School-House at Catskill from these words;"I will give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and they shall not harm you." The Lord was there of a truth. After this, by request, I spoke in the white Methodist church from these words: "Therefore, cast not away your confidence, which has great recompense of reward." The Lord was there, and assisted the clay to speak in his name. On Monday night I spoke from these words of Paul to the Hebrews: "If the words spoken by Angels, are steadfast," &&;c., which had its desired effect. On Saturday I left for Albany, taking with me a good report for the Elder of our connection; after which, we wrote for him to come and form a Society, which he did sometime afterwards. The Elder was kind, and gave me appointments frequently. He held a Protracted Meeting, at which all of our laborers were successful. I preached seven sermons in Albany and one in Troy; after which I felt moved upon to visit Binghampton, and sister Tilghman was on her way to the same place to visit her father and mother, from whom she had been absent for some time, Preaching the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom. But we were detained on the canal some time; but the Captain was kind and treated us well. After five days sail we arrived safe, and found our friends well; but not well in the Lord.
As soon as I enter a city I can feel the spirit that I may have to contend with; but by the permission of the Elder I filled appointments for a week or two, and then left for Montrose Quarterly Meeting. Preached five sermons, and passed through many things that were not agreeable, but duty makes labor light. I also spoke to a white congregation. After riding five or six miles and back the same night, and preaching two sermons in the town, I returned again to Binghampton, and held the Christmas Watch-Night meeting, as I found it was about to be omitted, and feeling interested, made application to the Trustees the Elder being absent, and thus Lord was with us, while we rejoiced in the light that had come into the world. Glory to God for the gift of his Son. In the morning three of us attended the Episcopal church, and associated with them in receiving the Lord's Supper. At night I preached again, and I felt zealous in the cause of God, who was and is ever faithful to his promise; "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
The Elder then returned and urged me to stay, but I saw my way was onward. After preaching once more, I was aided on my way to Owego, where I found the enemies were many, standing in opposition to female preaching, or preachers of any kind; but God always clears the way for his people. While they were preparing to have a dance rather than come to hear preaching, and boasting that they would invite the Elder to come to it, God laid his heavy hand upon the man that was to play the fiddle for them; he fell sick on the floor; but he was determined to carry it out, and sent for another man, and he refused, and at last this Goliah-like man was glad to send for the Elder to come and pray for him. "O! sinner, thou cans't not measure arms with Jehovah! He is a man of war, and the Lord is his name." In this very place, God worked miracles among them. I preached on Friday night, Sabbath morning, afternoon and night - and God worked wonders; converting some of the most wicked among them.
After this, I left for Smithboro; it seemed truly a hard place, and my labors were attended with but little success. There were a few scattering Methodists that assembled to worship, and seemed profited thereby. After I delivered my message I left for Towanda; and there we had very comfortable meetings. I then proceeded ten miles further and preached; there were eight persons, there one being an exhorter. They met us in the spirit of the gospel. After doing my duty I returned to Towanda, and on Wednesday I left for Athens; remained two days preaching two sermons in the Academy. Next morning I rode about two miles, but we had to wait until the next Tuesday, in consequence of the flood being so great. I now was among strangers, with very little money; but finding the lady was a christian. I ventured to open my mind to her, telling her the nature of my mission. She told her husband, who said he would charge me only six shillings. I sewed three spreads together for her to quilt. She then informed me of a lady preacher in the neighborhood, one mile distant. I was kindly received by her, and met another person here also that seemed greatly wrought upon. After a seasonable word of exhortation, I took tea with them. In three days time I left for Towanda again, and met with great success by preaching in private houses. There was a gentleman that seemed as if he never thought of God in all his life, but was arrested by the conviction of God's spirit, and sent for me to come and pray for him and his family. In this my soul greatly rejoiced, leaving him with a promise to call again, which I did. After inquiring my manner of travelling, and what I depended upon for support. I replied by giving him a statement. Of how I travelled, when he kindly aided me by a donation and wished me success, requesting me to pray for him and his family before I left them, and I believe I saw him then fast ripening for eternal blessedness.
I was then sent for to
return again to Owego, a distance of 38 miles, and they would
pay my way on to Montrose, on my way to Philadelphia. I obeyed
the request and found things very prosperous indeed. At night
we had prayer meetings, and the Lord continued to pour out his
spirit upon the people, and we had a meeting every night. Mr.
J. H., formerly of Columbia, whose lot was cast as in a
strange land, where there were only for a few people that were
members of the M.E. Church; several husbands, strangers to God
until now, and their wives, servants of the most High God, and
two daughters of Mr. J.H., were justified through faith -
three joined the church previously. I was selected to make a
class book, and did so, as I wanted to see how many were for
us. The Baptists had held an anxious meeting, after which five
joined them. I made the trial by special invitation, and
thirteen joined us. I had preached on Sabbath morning and
night, and then held prayer meetings every night afterwards
that week, except Saturday night; a man and his wife fell to
the floor and cried for mercy, and both arose in the same hour
soundly converted, giving God the glory. I preached on the
next Sabbath morning and then led class, and at night again -
text, Judges iv.25,26. They all marvelled at a woman taking
such a deep subject, but the Lord assisted the organ of clay,
and we had the victory, as there were twenty-one persons
joined from that revival, and nearly all of them evinced
justifying grace. On 3d day night we wound up, as I was to
start on my journey on next day, which I did - brother paid my
passage. I rode 28 miles in good company with a lady and
gentleman who were going to New York. She said she was sorry
to part; we had a heavy thunder storm with rain, and it was
very dark, but we had a very careful driver, and we arrived
safe at Montrose and took supper - between 12 and 1 o'clock at
night I took stage for Wilkesbarre and arrived there at 8 next
morning, and there I crossed the Susquehanna; I was very
hungry, having a little time I went to the house and asked the
lady for breakfast and I would pay her. She said she had
nothing, but would try and get me a good breakfast and take no
pay, which she did. I truly feel thankful to God that he has
proved himself a table in the wilderness. About 4 o'clock in
the afternoon I arrived safe and was kindly received, and
preached on Sabbath morning and night. Between the two
appointments I rode two miles and preached in the afternoon.
That day the Lord was in the house in power. Tuesday evening
we had a glorious prayer meeting. I rode all night around the
mountain, and some walked and appeared to be a quarter of a
mile off. But the Lord preserved me in the mail stage alone. I
adore his name now and I shall for evermore. The preacher in
charge arrived the next day after I did, and spent his labors
of love among the people. On the Wednesday following he went
away and left me in charge of the class, (eight persons) to
regulate them, and by the permission of the elder I addressed
them. After I had relieved my mind and taken my seat the
preacher formed them into a class and appointed a leader, who
but three months before, was unconverted; but being so
interested for the prosperity of Zion, seemed worthy of the
appointment. After this I endeavored to hold prayer meetings
through the week; preached twice on Sabbath day and helped to
lead class, as the brother was young, - but they were all
willing people, and truly it seemed to be the day of God's
power among them, and "Peace abided at our House."
At the expiration of three weeks and four days I left them fifteen names on their class book. I then rode a distance of sixty miles over a hard road, hills and mountains, (there being no turn-pike or rail-road on that rout from Wilksbarre to Easton;) - some part of the way there was good sleighing. Through the help of Providence we arrived at Easton about 8'clock, P.M. I took supper and lodging in the Hotel, where I was well accommodated; after which I found a small number of colored friends. We had a meeting, and "it was good for us to be there." After this I called at New Hope, thirty-two miles I think from Philadelphia; visited the family I was brought up in, stopped and rested myself, as I felt much exhausted from travelling, so much winter and summer. I preached two or three times. Brother J. B. - was holding a protracted meeting. I gained strength; thank the Lord, and then left for home, and arrived in the city the last day of March 1842, having been two years, wanting a few days, almost incessantly travelling. I found my son, together with the rest of my family connections quite well; yet I could hear of the ravages of death, the relentless murderer, who never takes denials; my little grand-daughter, a promising child indeed, was taken with the rest. O! how soon delights may perish, and my heart responds - "The Lord's will be done."
My health being very much impaired, I knew not but that I should be the next one called away, but the Lord spared me for some other purpose, and upon my recovery I commenced travelling again, feeling it better to wear out than to rust out - and so expect to do until death ends the struggle - knowing, if I lose my life for Christ's sake, I shall find it again.
I now conclude - by requesting the prayers of God's people everywhere, who worship in His holy fear, to pray for me, that I ever may endeavor to keep a conscience void of offence, either towards God or man - for I feel as anxious to blow the Trumpet in Zion; and sound the alarm in God's Holy Mount, as ever; -
Though Nature's strength decay,
And earth and hell withstand-
To Canaan's land I'l urge my way,
At HIS Divine command.
As to the nature of uncommon impressions, which the reader cannot but have noticed, and possibly sneered at in the course of these pages, they may be accounted for in this way: It is known that the blind have the sense of hearing in a manner much more acute than those who can see: also their sense of feeling is exceedingly fine, and is found to detect any roughness on the smoothest surface, where those who can see find none. So it may be with such as I am, who has never had more than three months schooling; and wishing to know much of the way and law of God, have therefore watched the more closely, the operations of the Spirit, and have in consequence been led thereby. But let it be remarked that I have never found that Spirit lead me contrary to the scriptures of truth, as I understand them. "For as many as are led by tha Spirit of God are the sons of God." - Rom. viii. 14.
I have now only to say, May the blessing of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, accompany the reading of this poor effort to speak well of his name, wherever it may be read. AMEN.
P.S. Please to pardon errors, and excuse all imperfections, as I have been deprived of the advantages of education (which I hope all will appreciate) as I am measurably a self-taught person. I hope the contents of this work may be instrumental in leaving a lasting impression upon the minds of the impenitent; may it prove to be encouraging to the justified soul, and a comfort to the sanctified. Though much opposed, it is essential in life, as Mr. Wesley wisely observed. Thus ends the Narrative of Jarena Lee, the first female preacher of the First African Methodist Episopal Church.
JULIAN OF NORWICH, HER SHOWING OF LOVE
AND ITS CONTEXTS ©1997-2017 JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY
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