Copy of a Letter wrote by a Young Man formerly in Esteem and made some Pretensions to Preach among Friends at London, but through giving Way to Temptations had gone into gross Evils ——

                                Mount Ida in Jamaica

Respected Friend         21st 3rd mo 1749

                                Tho’ I am an entire Stranger to Thee, I hope thou’ll excuse the Freedom of this Letter when I assure Thee, the Motive that induces me to write is entirely owing to a Religious Concern awakened in my Soul after future and Spiritual Happiness —— An Exhortation to the Inhabitants of South Carolina to bring Their Deeds to the Light of Christ in their own Consciences wrote by Sophia Hume and sent by Thee to this Island has lately fallen into my Hands, The Perusal of which has revived in my Soul, all Those earnest Desires, ardent Longings, and secret Languishments after The best Things which I once experienced in my earlier and happier Days, when it pleased God even in my Childhood to visit me with his Day-Spring from on high, and illuminate my Understanding, and make me Willing in the Day of his Power to follow the Leadings of his Spirit in the Way of Self denial, and by this holy Light my understanding being Illuminated, by this Divine Power my Will being Sanctified, and brought into a holy Conformity to the Mind and Will of God, and being made truly sensible of That ineffable Peace, that inward Tranquility and Satisfaction of Mind which attends a Life of Virtue, and is Experienced in every Act of Obedience, I even found a weighty Concern (in the living Experience of the Work of God in my own Soul, and in the Overflowings of his Love) to open my Mouth at Times in the Assemblies of those who Profess to Worship him in Spirit, to invite others to come taste and see how good the Lord is, and while I continued here and stood single and Walked in the Light, I felt the Regard of Heaven towards me, I spoke tremblingly, and as with a Stammering Tongue my Testimony was received and owned by them, who were at Times led by the Spirit into the Inner Courts of the Temple, and admitted into the secret Tabernacle of the most High, the God of the Spirits of all Flesh where they receive a Commission from him to speak a Word in Season (in the Demonstration of the Spirit and with Power) suitable to the Various States and Conditions of the People, as Things open, and are presented before Them in the Vision of Life.  With These for a Time did I walk in Communion, even with those whose Fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Christ Jesus our Lord. ——But alas, my Friend, I must proceed to tell Thee (however unhappy, how disagreeable, how contrary to my natural Inclination soever it may be, to have my Unhappy past Conduct, Thus brought in review before me) that for want of Watchfulness and keeping near to That Almighty Power, which had thus visited me, in an Unguarded Hour of Temptation, I fell, grossly fell. ~ Oh! My Friend, if it had once been told me, how I should have dishonoured God, and brought Reproach upon his Truth, I should have been apt to have answered, as the Assyrian did the Prophet, when he told him Weeping what an Enemy he would prove to Israel. ~ and yet when I was tempted, I Yielded, too easily complied with the flattering Allurements of the Tempter. ——It is the Consideration of this which Wounds my Soul, which embitters every Satisfaction in Life, and causes me to go Mourning all the Day long, tis a Review of my past unhappy Conduct, a reflecting on my Folly and horrid Ingratitude, which fills me with Shame and Confusion, and blasts all my Joys — Oh! how am I fallen, how have I been deluded from the height of exalted Virtue (which I have had the nicest Sense of) to the lowest Infamy and Disgrace, and then, Oh; how am I afflicted at the Ungrateful Remembrance, what Shifts, what mean Contrivances, what hypocritical Disguises, what fig leaf Covering did I not make use of, to screen my Folly from the Eye of the World, I made Lies my Refuge, and was yet for sheltering Myself among the Trees of Eden, not considering that the Light of the Glorious Gospel, in which I had Walked and for a Time rejoiced, was become Darkness to me, because of my dark and evil deeds, and that the True Light in me was blinded by the God of this World. ~ I did not consider how I lay Naked and exposed before him whose all seeing Eye penetrates the inmost Recesses of the Soul, and that he admits not of the least Iniquity in his People with any Allowance or Approbation, I was for getting up and shaking off every Infirmity as at other Times I had been wont to do after Temptation, when happily I overcame, not considering that the Spirit of the Lord was departed from me, Divine Favour Withdrawn and I, a Captive, and enslaved to Sensual Appetites and Pleasures which led my Soul down to the very Chambers of Death, where there was Darkness even to be felt. ~  And in this Impotent, insensible, and deplorable State in the twenty second year of my Age, in the year 1741 did I leave England having a Letter of Recommendation to R P in This Island, which Shame and Confusion, and the great Perplexity of Mind, I was then under, would not permit me to deliver, however I soon met with Employment as a Book Keeper to Belvederes Estates, at which Place, and at Thompsons I continued upwards of four years, when I was employed by J Elleston as his Overseer, but he soon dying, I left his Estate and by Recommendation of A S (having the Character of a Sober and Industrious Young Man) was employed by C B as Overseer to this Plantation where I have now resided upwards of three Years, I mention these Persons and Places Names, believing they are all known to thee, and it is since I have been at this Place, that the Lord hath been pleased to visit me in the Way of his Judgments and given me Hopes of Mercy. ~ At my first Arrival in This Island tho’ I was Sensible of my Unhappy Condition, and the Weight of my Sins laid heavy upon me, and I went mourning on my Way.  Tho’ I knew I was Wounded and as one half dead, tho’ I knew there was Balm in Gilead and was Recommended there by a Worthy Friend Since Deceased, yet instead of Applying to him who is the Physician of Value, I had recourse to Things which encreased my Malady and heightened my Pain, which at length became intolerable, more than I was well able to bear, here again I hearkened to the Voice of the Tempter instead of Applying to that Almighty One upon whom Help is laid.  whose Insinuations were, how can thou now approach the Throne of Divine Grace, who has so often sought Consolation elsewhere? how can thou appear before him whose Eyes are as a Flame of Fire, how can thou intrude into his Presence, who is infinite Perfection, what Atonement can thou make for thy past Transgressions.  thou art become filthy, impure, and corrupted, and like one which has been long dead, how can Thou join with his Holy Spirit, in the great Work of thy Souls Salvation Light hath no communication with such Unfruitful Works of Darkness, or the Spirit of Christ with that of Belial, neither hast thou the least Reason to hope, thou’ll ever more receive any Token of Divine Favour, there’s now no Help for thee in God. ~ Thy Friends, Relations and most Intimate Acquaintance stand afar off, Thou hast lost thy Character and Reputation which Thy Hopes of Regaining amongst the People where thou has been Educated are entirely frustrated, they look upon thee as a vile Dissembler a Hypocrite, an Enemy to the Truth, and an Alien to the Commonwealth of Israel, if thou expects Consolation now it must be in the Gratification of Sensual Appetites. ~~ To this voice of the Deceiver I gave Ear, I suffered him to lead me Captive at his Will, I let myself loose to obey Sin in its Inclinations and Suggestions without Control. ~ But oh! what Stings, what Agonies, what amazing Apprehensions of Vengeance was I at Times possessed Perplexed and haunted with, how were my Days unacquainted with Peace, and my Nights with Rest how was I distracted in my Thoughts and almost rendered incapable of Managing the Affairs of the Estate committed to my Care, my Mind was Clouded with Guilt and under continual Uneasiness, and in this State without Peace, without Hope, and like one without God in the World, or the least Expectation of Redemption did I continue till about two years since, it pleased God to visit me with a painful and tedious Indisposition, soon after which I received an account from England of the Death of my nearest and best Friends, my Father one of the number, these Afflictions both of Body and Mind brought me very low, and in this low State, when all Comfort stood afar off, and every smiling hope forsook me, when Death seemed to be making his near Approaches, and he that is my Enemy began to Triumph, when The Earth with her Bars encompassed me about, and the Waves were wrapped as round my Head, then did Christ my Redeemer appear, and by a Shine of his Gracious Presence dispelled my Fears, then did Light break forth by the Command of that Omnipotent Being, who in the Beginning said, let there be Light and there was Light, then was I brought to a Light and Sense of my Condition, and made to mourn and lament and look towards him who I pierced and Crucified, as it were afresh, and put to open Shame by actions unbecoming my Holy Profession, then was I made sensible that God was in Christ, reconciling the World to himself, not imputing unto them their Trespasses, that the Lamb was Slain, The Atonement made, the Blood Sprinkled and that Notwithstanding, the destroying Angel Stood over me with the Sword of Divine Vengeance in his Hand, yet he was passed over, and the Day of Visitation lengthened. — May I ever keep in the most Solemn Manner this Passover, even with the Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth, May I ever Remember the bitter Herbs, and the Wormwood and Gall, the Days of Affliction, the Depths of Misery, and Despair wherein I have been plunged, because in these Days it is I have seen Wonders, and learned that the Love of God, in and through the Son of his Love, is unfathomable, incomprehensible, unlimited and without Bounds, and that the Wings of Divine Mercy yet overshadow the Judgement Seat, that our Holy High Priest forever, not after the Order of Aaron, but after the Order of Melchisedeck, is entered within the Veil into the Sanctum Sanctorum indeed, where he is making Intercession for poor Sinful Mankind is here offering not once a year only, but once for all, never ceasing Meritorious Sacrifice, he is there Interceeding that in the midst of Judgement God may Remember Mercy, that the Rod may become medicinal, as a good Man in his Day observed, like the Rod of God in the Hand of Aaron, which brought forth Buds, Blossoms, and Almonds — Repentance, Patience and Resignation. ~ here it is I have also learned not to look upon Afflictions, Abstractedly, as they are in themselves, but to look to the End and Regard the Purpose, for which they are sent, here have I been convinced of this Truth that is has been good for me that I have been Afflicted, and that these are the means that the Almighty often employs in the Course of his Merciful Providence to bring the Children of Men home to himself, he often Visits in the Way of his Judgements, causes them to fall on the Heads of Transgressors in order for their Redemption out of a Sinful State, it being thro Judgements that poor Captive Sinners become the Redeemed of the Lord.  Afflictions rightly applied (often Styled Judgements) yield the Peaceable fruits of Righteousness, Tho’ I well know for the Time being they are not joyous but grievous, and we are very ready to think when his correcting Hand is upon us, that we are entirely forsaken by him, and perhaps almost ready to call in Question his Goodness and Omnipotence, and Impatiently in the Anguish and Bitterness of our Souls to cry out, Will the Lord be favourable no more” hath God forgotten to be Gracious?  is his Mercy gone forever, hath he in his Anger shut up his tender Mercy, “hath he brought me to perish in this Wilderness State = I must confess this has often been the Language of my Soul in the Day wherein the Heavens to me seemed to shower down Darkness, and the Water floods ready to overwhelm me, and the Day wherein I was tossed as upon a Tempestuous Ocean, and every Moment expected, when my poor tottering Bark would be overset, and Swallowed up, in the Unfathomable Depth of a Vast Eternity, without the least Prospect of gaining the distant happy Shore, or Expectation of Reconciliation with an offended Creator.  Under these deep Exercises, was he in Mercy pleased to appear and give me Hopes of Salvation, Tho’ I must confess at this Time I was afraid to approach his Presence, and under the same doubtful Apprehensions concerning his Appearance as his poor Disciples once were in a gloomy and Tempestuous Night, I was fearful it was my Subtle Enemy under one of his Deceiving Transformations, I was tempted to imagine it was the Spirit of Error and Delusions, — but when he said “It is I be not afraid” my Heart revived well knowing it to be the same Divine still, small Voice which first invited me to follow him in the early Visitation of his Love to my Soul, when I first entered into Covenant with him.  Blessed be his Holy Name and that forever more, he has given me to believe that the Almighty Arm of his Power, has been made bare on my Account, he has rescued me out of the jaws of the Devourer, and plucked me like a Brand half consumed out of the fire, when my Enemy began to Magnify himself and the Terrors of Death made me afraid, to the Lord I cried as out of the Belly of Hell, I cried and he was entreated, then did the Messiah, the Saviour of the World, the Lamb that was Slain, our Holy Advocate interceed with the Holy Father on my behalf.  Lord spare him a little longer, let him alone another year, extend to him once more a renewed Visitation of Thy Love — Thus did the Voice of Mercy plead, and thus hath the Lord regarded my low Estate, and had Compassion on me, he said unto me, live, his Eye pitied me, even in a polluted State, when like the Wretched Infant The Prophet speaks of, I was cast out in the open Field reeking in my Blood, he was the good Samaritan who when he saw me Wounded and Stripped of all valuable Perfections by the Merciless Robber and adversary of Souls, and left by him naked and bound kindly made towards me, bound up my Wounds, and poured in, not only Wine but Oyl  also, when Those who might have held forth a Hand of Help in imitation of their Lord and Master seemed to disregard my deplorable condition, They rather were for having me cut off as an Incumbrance and like a loathsome Leper banished the Camp —— perhaps permitted to make me truly Sensible from whom alone I was to look for Deliverance under This Consideration, is my Soul humbly bowed, in Adoration before the Lord at this Juncture of Time, but my Worthy Friend I would not have thee understand by my Thus Writing as if I thought I had already Attained to a State of Perfection and perfect Freedom, alas, in this Holy Mount I must not yet think of building my Tabernacle, the Days of my Mourning, Humiliation, and Probation are not yet Accomplished, I am yet attended with many Infirmities, and in my Way of Business, I am almost Daily exposed to Provocations and Temptations of various kinds, which often cause me to do Things I would not, and omit Those I ought to be found practicing, and Acting Contrary to my highest Reason, Judgement and Duty, so that Notwithstanding I am often alone, and retire as much as possible (one in my Station can) from noise and hurry, yet cannot find any Solitude gloomy enough to hide my past Follies from my Eyes, or Retreat, calm enough to lull my Present Passions, Yet do not despair, but Live in daily Hope of Conquering these Vexations by the Assistance of the Grace of that God, the Illuminations of whose Divine Light in my Soul, I am now willing to bring my Deeds to, having Faith that he is always to be found by those that seek him in an humble Sense of Their own Unworthiness, and a firm Reliance upon his Mercy, & that through the Potent Mediation and Intercession of the Redeemer of lost Mankind, my Sins will be obliterated and done away that through his Blood that was Wounded for my Transgressions, and bruised for my Iniquities, I shall be cleansed, even by the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, that Blood of Sprinkling which Speaketh better Things than that of Abels, ——— That when this Mortal puts on Immortality, I may be admitted into the Blissful Assembly of the first born Sons of Light whose Garments have been washed white in the Blood of the Lamb, who have gone Through many Tribulations, and been perfected thro’ Sufferings, that if it never more be my happy Lot, to be amongst a People, who have purified their Hearts thro’ the Sanctification of the Spirit, and Obedience to Truth, and are Worshipping God in the Spirit, I may hereafter meet with them in the Fulness of Joy, and in the Elevations of Glory amongst the Nations of them which are Saved. ~~ Now my Friend, having thus wrote a much longer Letter than I intended (which I hope thou’ll excuse) and acquainted thee in broken Language (being often interrupted by my Tears) with my State and Condition, as far as I am capable of Judgeing,, for I can scarcely trust my own Heart, knowing the Deceitfulness thereof, but if the Lord by his Almighty Power was not at work there, why am I thus Uneasy, and why am I thus disquieted?  Why cannot I set down in a State of Carnal Security, why is every Enjoyment of Life become tasteless and insipid ~ Why is Company burthensome, and why in my Solitude is my Mind so often filled with Uneasy Reflections on my past unhappy Conduct ~ Why in Bitterness of Soul am I so often made to cry out Wo is me that I remain in Mesech,  that I yet dwell in the Tents of Kedar, ~ why am I so ardent in my Longings to retain lost Paradise, that happy State I once dwelt in, when in the Light of the Lord I walked through Darkness, and his Candle Shined as upon my Tabernacle, why, even when under Strong Temptations, and closely pursued by my Souls Enemy, am I made to Thirst after Spiritual Enjoyments like the hunted Hurt after the Water Brooks ~ why do I so often long to get down to Bethel, the Place of my first Visitation, and that the Idols, the Strange Gods may be removed out of my Heart, and the Holy Spirit Tabernacle there? And why am I from Time to Time Secretly Encouraged with Hope of Pardon Reconciliation and Forgiveness, and Directed to look unto him who said “Look unto me all ye Ends of the Earth and be saved”  Why am I made to believe I shall yet know a Reconcilement into Divine Favour, and a Dwelling again in the Munition of Rocks, under the Sacred Protection of the Mediator of the new Covenant, who has Purchased Life and Immortality for all who Walk not after the Flesh but thro’ the Spirit Crucified the Flesh with its Affections and Lusts ~ And why do I lament the being cut off from all Instrumental Helps and Refreshments in a Religious and Spiritual Sense, the Conversation of good Friends, and the Opportunity of perusing Friends Books, tho I well know it is not by Religious Conversation, reading, or hearing Testimonies, that the Almighty is served and Worshipped, but by a Life of Virtue, and Obedience, and Perfecting Holiness in his Fear, yet am I convinced they are often made Instrumental to stir up the pure Mind by Way of Remembrance and awaken the Divine Sense in the Soul, and Thou knows my Friend that the Almighty ever saw meet in his Wisdom to carry on his great Work in an Instrumental Manner, even to the making use of Clay to open the Eyes of the Blind, and this Consideration was the Motive which chiefly induced me to trouble thee with this Letter to request the Favour of a few Friends Books, Those I am most desirous of having (If they can be bought in Philadelphia for Five or Six Pounds This Country’s Money) are Robert Barclays Apology, William Penns Works and Piety Promoted, these if thou will please send me, whoever thou pleases to send an Order to, receive the Money it shall be punctually paid and esteemed a very great Obligation. ~ When thou resided in this Island, I often heard of thee, and once saw thee, and must own, I was sometimes very desirous of making myself and Condition known to Thee, but Shame and Confusion, and a Consciousness of my own Guilt & Misery, and the Fear of being thought an Imposter and one putting on the Mask of a Quaker in Hopes of being employed by thee and for other Ends, prevented me.  And I must own, if I had now given way to my Reasonings of this kind, I had not wrote to thee after this Manner — I now bid thee farewel, desiring Thee, or any other good Friend to whom the Contents of this Letter may be Communicated not to be forgetful of me in your near Approaches before the Lord — ~

My Name is Josiah Stampes ———


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