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JOURNAL OF THE LIFE
A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL IN THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
[The Journal of Thomas Story, containing much repetition of the same matter, it has been thought best to revise it, and abridge some parts, carefully retaining the most interesting portions of the narrative and a clear exposition of his doctrinal views.]
THE following work is intended to record the tender mercies and judgments of the Lord; to relate my own experience of his dealings with me through the course of my life; and to write a faithful journal of my travels and labours in the service of the gospel: which I design for my own review, and likewise for the serious perusal of all those who may incline to inquire into things of this nature.
I have solid evidence to believe, that the Lord, in his great mercy and kindness, had an eye upon me for my good, even in my infancy, inclining my heart to seek after him in my tender years. From hence, I may reasonably conclude, arose that early inclination I had to solitude; where I sometimes had religious thoughts, and frequently read in the holy Scriptures; which I ever loved, and still do, above all books, as most worthy and most profitable; especially the New Testament, in which I chiefly delighted.
In this state, my mind suffered many flow ings and ebbings; and as I grew up towards a young man, I found myself under great disadvantages in matters of religion, as I was then circumstanced. My father, intending me for the study of the law, which was esteemed a genteel profession, first sent me to the fencing-school, as a fashionable and manly accomplishment. Here I became a considerable proficient in a short time, over all my cotemporaries in that faculty; by which my mind was greatly drawn out, and alienated from those beginnings of solidity which I had once known. Having also acquired some skill in music, the exercise of that occasioned an acquaintance and society not profitVOL. X.-No. 1.
able to religion; though I was hitherto preserved from such things as are generally accounted evils among mankind.
After this I was put to the study of the law, under a counsellor in the country; with a design to be entered, afterwards, into one of the inns of court, and to finish there. Being much in the country, and the family sober and religious in their way, of the most mode. rate sort of Presbyterians, I had again the advantage of solitude and little company, and that innocent; so that my mind returned to its former state, and further search after the truth. And though I had, at times, some youthful airs, yet, through secret grace, I was preserved from gross evils, and gained respect from all the family.
During my abode with this counsellor, I was several times with him at London; where by the fear of God, I was preserved from vice and evil company, which much abound in that great city, though I was not without temptations; and some not otherwise to be resisted than by the secret influence of grace, which supercedes them; though it may not always be immediately apprehended by such as are preserved by it.
Though I was educated in the way of the national church of England, yet I had no aversion to any class professing the Christian name, but occasionally, heard several sorts; and yet did not fully approve any sect in all things, as I came to consider them closely. At Newcastle upon Tyne I once happened to hear a famous Presbyterian preacher. It was in the reign of King Charles the Second, when the national laws were against them
and all other dissenters from the national cringings and shows, appearing to be little worship; and they, being cowardly, had their else than an abridgment of the popish mass, meeting in the night, and in an upper room, and the pomp and show attending it; I bewith a watch set below. I did not go into the gan to be very uneasy with it; and though room, but stood at the head of the stairs, ex-I went there a little longer, yet I could not pecting to hear something like doctrine from so noted a man among them; but all that he entertained his auditory with, was suggestions of jealousy and dislike against the government; and this he delivered in such a way as appeared to me very disagreeable.
comply with several of the ceremonies; which being taken notice of, in a familiar conference with an acquaintance of the same way, I asked a little pleasantly, What is that we worship towards the east? And why towards the altar, more than any other place, at the At another time I was at a Friends' meet- saying of the Creed? The person replied, ing, on a week-day, at Broughton, in the "Sure you are not so ignorant as you would county of Cumberland; where I applied my make yourself seem. The Scripture saith, mind with as much diligence as I could to At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, examine what I could discern in their way. of things in heaven, and things in earth, and But, though I observed they were very grave, things under the earth.' And again, As the serious and solid, in the time of their wor-lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth ship, I could gather but little, either from their even unto the west; so shall also the coming manner or doctrine; only I took them to be of the Son of Man be."" an honest, innocent, and well-meaning sect.
Towards the latter end of the year 1687, we came out of the country, and had chambers in the city of Carlisle. King James the Second being then on the throne, and the garrison and castle in the hands of popish officers and governors, the Protestants were apprehensive of great danger, and the people much divided in their sentiments and interests. There was a loose and treacherous sort among the Protestants, who approached daily nearer and nearer towards the Papists, and fell in, generally, with all their measures; which grieved the steady part, and justly heightened their apprehensions.
About this time I went diligently to the public worship, especially to the cathedral at Carlisle; where, in time of public prayer, as soon as that called the Apostle's Creed began, we all used to turn our faces towards the east; and when the word Jesus was mentioned, we all bowed and kneeled towards the altar-table, as they call it; where stood a couple of Common Prayer books, in folio, one at each side of the table, and over them, painted upon the wall, I. H. S. signifying, Jesus Hominum Salvator; Jesus, the Saviour of mankind. I had read and heard many things of the popish religion; of their manifold ceremonies, strange tenets and doctrines; their cruelty, murders, and massacres of all who differed from them, wherever they had power: which I thought denoted a degeneracy below even fallen nature; that making men worse than this. As I was concerned to inquire more and more after the truth of religion, the manner of our worship in the cathedral often put me in mind of the popish religion and ceremonies, and made me conclude, that the way we were in, retained abundance of the old relics; our prayers, postures, songs, organs,
To the first I returned, That our pagan ancestors were worshippers of the sun and all the host of heaven; and this looked very like that; and could not certainly be grounded on that Scripture; which I cannot understand to signify any other, than the gradual manifestation of the power and glory of Christ to the world. But if he should literally come from the east, in an outward sense; which, considering the state of the earth, its revolutions and relation to the sun and other planets, cannot be in the nature of things, that being west to one place which is east to another; yet that coming would not excuse our superstition, if not idolatry, before he so come; though I grant, if he should so come, and we see him, then, and not till then, may we lawfully and reasonably worship towards the place, or imaginary place, of his coming.
As to bowing at the name of Jesus, I understand it to be in the nature of a predic tion, that in the fulness of time all powers in heaven and earth shall be subjected and brought under the power of Christ, as the next verse imports, which is explanatory of the former, viz: that "every tongue shall confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Agreeing also with what the Lord Jesus himself saith,-" All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." And therefore, this bowing towards a cipher of the words, Jesus the Saviour, painted upon a wall, whilst the heart and spirit of a man is not subjected to the power of his grace, is but a mocking of Christ, a relic of popery, and hath some show of idolatry in it, from which I thought all Protestants had been thoroughly reformed.
This a little surprised my acquaintance at first, coming from one in whom so little of the work of religion appeared outwardly; but
as I remained in the diversions of fencing, that child; and that being taken for granted, dancing, music, and other recreations of the as already done by that ceremony and prayer, like sort, little notice was taken for a while. they then receive the child into the congregaAfter this I happened to be at a christening, tion of Christ's flock; as they say, acknowledgas we called it, of a relation's child; on which ing, that, by that baptism, that child is regeneoccasion I found my mind agitated in an un-rated, and grafted into the body of Christ's usual manner, and a secret aversion to that church; and accordingly they make their adceremony; which I perceived was not accord- dress of thanks to God for doing it. After ing to the holy Scripture, for we have neither this ceremony was over, I privately asked the precept nor example there for that practice. priest, whether he did believe that that cereAnd when the priest came to say the prayer, mony, for which there is not any foundation which is a part of the service on that occa- in Scripture, either for making little children sion, a great fear and surprise came over my the subjects of baptism, signing them with the mind, as I gave a more close attention than sign of the cross, promising and vowing in usual, so that I could not pay that regard to their names, believing and confessing in their it as formerly. By way of introduction to stead, or sprinkling them only with water, &c., the work, the priest reads part of the tenth did really then, or at any time to come, regechapter of Mark's history of the gospel, where nerate those children? At which he smiled, and it is related, that the people "brought young said no; but it being an established order in children to Christ, that he should touch them;" the church, the practice could not be omitted. that his disciples rebuked those that brought Why then, said I, you do but mock God, in them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much giving him thanks for that which you do not displeased; and said unto them, "Suffer the seriously believe he hath effected. And the little children to come unto me, and forbid sequel proves there is no such thing done by them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. those means; for true baptism is justification Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not and sanctification, effected by the holy Spirit of receive the kingdom of God as a little child, Christ in the mind; and not by the application shall not enter therein. And he took them up of any outward element, or external perin his arms, put his hands upon them, and formance of any person whatsoever, under blessed them." After this they prayed that any qualification. God would give his holy Spirit to that infant; that she, being born again, and made an heir of everlasting salvation, through our Lord Jesus Christ, might continue the servant of God, and obtain his promise, &c. And after some more ceremony, the priest said, "We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock, and do sign her with the sign of the cross," &c. Then the priest, pretending to the company that the infant is, by that rantism, regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ's church, exhorts them to prayer; the substance whereof was this: they thanked God that it had pleased him to regenerate that infant, with his holy Spirit, to receive her for his own child by adoption, and to incorporate her into his holy church, &c.
I continued in the national way of worship, though by the divine grace, my understanding was still more and more cleared. About this time the power of king James the Second was at the height, and all sects were indulged with great liberty; when John Scansfield, a noted Quaker, having, by leave, a meeting on a first-day in the town-hall, several young men, amongst whom I was one, went thither to hear what those Quakers had to say. There was a mixed multitude, and some of our sort and company rude enough; but others, and myself, were resolved to give the best attention we could, in order to form a right judgment. Two Cumberland preachers. spoke before John Scansfield, whom several of us knew; but their preaching had no other Upon this I note, that the Scripture there effect upon me, than to confirm an opinion hath no relation at all to baptism; much less which I had conceived when I was a boy; to sprinkling, which is no baptism. For the that as a sort of people I had heard of, called people brought their children to the Lord Baptists, imitated John the Baptist, in washing Christ, not to be baptised, but that he might or plunging their followers in water, who, I touch them; and he answered the faith of the people accordingly; he blessed them, and declared their innocence and aptitude for the kingdom of God, without such baptism; and did not baptise them. So that this Scripture is inapplicable, and all the consequences drawn from it, in this sense, are null and chimerical. But they, first praying that God, in their own invented way, would give his holy Spirit to
believed, had not any authority from God for that practice; so the Quakers only imitated the apostles, in going about preaching, as they did, but without that power which the apostles were accompanied with and travelled in; and I thought it was a great pity they were not so endued, since I heard they took pains as if they were. One of these preachers, to me, had only a little dry, empty talk, and the
other was more lively; but straining his voice struction. Nevertheless, whether out of fear, to be heard over the multitude, he quickly or other cause, as well the bishops as inferior grew hoarse, lost his voice, and so sat down. clergy, and the generality of the people And then Scansfield, the stranger, from whom throughout the king's dominions, presented we had greater expectations, stood up, and addresses to him on this occasion, replete made a more manly appearance than either with the utmost expression of loyalty and of the former. The first thing he did was to duty that words were capable of. The pulpits reprove the rudeness of some of the compa- generally resounded throughout the nation ny; and, in his preaching, falling upon bap with their king-pleasing doctrine, of passive tism, amongst other things, and alledging obedience and non-resistance; but with their there was no foundation for the practice of the own mental reservations, as in the sequel church of England, in all the Scripture: con- proved, insomuch that he who could not comcerning that, he advanced this query: "Suppose a discourse on that modish subject, would pose," said he, "I were a Turk or a Jew, and beg, borrow, buy, and steal from the more should ask thee, What is the rule of thy prac-able, rather than not be fashionable; which tice in that point? and thou should say the occasioned jealousy in many, lest the clergy Scripture; and if I should desire to see that should revert and embrace the old errors; Scripture, thou not being able to produce any, from which they, with the people, seemed to what could I conclude other than that thou have been reformed. Yet seven of the bishhadst no foundation for thy religion but thy ops stood obstinately to their principles, when own imagination, and so go away offended the king commanded them to read, or cause and prejudiced against the Christian religion?" to be read, his proclamation for liberty of conThis agreed with my own former sentiments, and gave me occasion to give further attention. In the rest of his speech, he first run down the national church at a great rate, and then likewise the church of Rome: and there being many Irish, popish, military officers present, and a couple of musketeers placed at the door, and the officers behaving so tamely, as no show of dislike appeared in any of them, many suspected Scansfield to be a Jesuit, and that his aim was to expose and run down the church; and what he said against the church of Rome, was only the better to cloak his design: for the king and his friends could support their religion by the power of the sword, and other cruel and forcible means; that being their usual method and practice but there was nothing then to support the church of England but the truth of her own principles, and the fortitude and stability of her members, in the time of an impending danger and trial.
science in their respective dioceses; which, though highly reasonable and Christian, they refused. This could not be on any foundation of religion, but because it was contrary to those national laws which persecuted and suppressed all but themselves, and those of their own sect.
The face of affairs thus flattering the Roman interest, they became zenith-high in their expectations and assurance; imperious, insolent, swaggering, and insulting every where; and the Protestants more and more filled with rational apprehensions of impending danger and destruction. Notwithstanding, there were many, both among the priests and people professing the Protestant religion, as brisk and forward as the Papists themselves, to fall into the present measures, interests and politics; which gave others just occasion to think they would, in the end, prove themselves false brethren.
A solid consideration of the state of affairs, Many of us left them when they went to and the doubtfulness of the issue, put me upon prayer; yet I was apprehensive of the secret a more inward and close observation of perinfluence of a divine power and presence, sons and things than ever. And one day, at being in some degree, among that people: the assizes at Carlisle, dining at an inn with but that impression did not remain long with a mixed company, where happened to be two me, till renewed upon another occasion; which of our ministers of the church of England, a will be related hereafter. popish gentleman moved a debate concerning This was in the year 1688; and when the transubstantiation; pretending to prove, by news came of the birth of a prince, the Pa- Scripture, that, by virtue of certain words pists made a great bonfire in the market which their priests say over a piece of bread, place; where they drank wine, till, with that, or wafer, there is a substantial conversion of and the transport of the news, they were ex-it into the real body of Christ; the very same ceedingly distracted. The whole Protestant that was born of the Virgin Mary, crucified part of the king's subjects, except the tem- at Jerusalem, and now glorified in heaven. porizers, were in great consternation, and apprehensive of a popish government, and consequent oppression and persecution to de
The text of Scripture he advanced to support this position, was, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it,