An Account of sundry pathetic, and Valuable Expressions of John Churchman, during the Time of his Dangerous Illness, in the 11th Moth 1761 which lasted Upward of three Weeks, and reduced him so low, that he Apprehended he could not according to human Probability recover it. ~~  ————— ~~

In the first Part of his Illness he seemed exceedingly Dejected and deeply distressed in his Mind, and Signified (after his Recovery) that it had been also much the State of it before his Indisposition, and to a near Relation of his, a little before he was taken unwell, related the Situation and Lowness of his Spirits for one Day particularly as he was alone about fourteen Miles from his House, having at the same Time rode thither and back without receiving any Sustenance, Said in his deep Distress, that he thought he was (as it were) a Cumber to the Grounds, and hardly worthy to partake of the meanest Necessaries of Life, he thought Bread and Water was too good for him, “or Suggestions of that Nature — A Distress of This Kind with great Infirmity of Body seemed to attend him for more than two Weeks, wherein he spoke but little, and That when spoken to, nor could he bear loud Discourse, or much Conversation of such who attended, or came to visit him. — On the fourth of the eleventh Month in a very awful Frame of Mind in the Presence of four Friends he had something to say concerning the provincial Tax, which was to this Purpose —— They only build on a Sandy Foundation who refuse paying that Tax for Fashions Sake, or because some others Scruple it whom they esteem, and such will never add any Thing to the Weight of the Testimony, but They Themselves will suffer Loss, and I have now clearly seen as well as aforetime that This is a Testimony of Truth, that will in the Lords Time (which is the best Time) be exalted above all Opposition and come to possess even the Gates of its Enemies, Tho’ it now seems but mean and contemptible in its small and diminutive Appearance to the Eyes of many of our Brethren in Society, as did the Testimony of our primitive Friends in divers Respects in the Worlds View, and whosoever Continues to trample upon and despise the tender Scruples of their Brethren respecting this Tax will certainly one Day find it a Weight too heavy for them to bear — my Testimony on this Account so far as I have borne it, at this Time yeilds me solid Satisfaction, also the many painful Steps I have taken on Sundry Occasions, both in Publick and Private to discharge my Conscience in the Sight of God, giving up faithfully to Warn my Brethren and Country Men as well in a Civil as Religious Capacity Affords me refreshing Consolation in this distressing Season — I have clearly seen, (and the Prospect of it at this Time adds Divine Strength to my Soul) that the God of Truth is determined in due Time to exalt the Mountain of his Holiness above all the towering Hills of an empty Profession, and all such who are Admitted as clean Inhabitants  Thereon.  he wills Them to be quite clean handed, that they should become Subject in every Respect to the Lambs Nature, not shaking Hands with that Spirit and Nature that would tear and devour, or in any Shape voluntarily contribute to the Price of Blood ——

        At Another Opportunity he said ——

In my present Weakness, I have been led to behold the situation of divers particular Friends (for whom I feel an Ardent Affection) who seem to have given away or sold for this Worlds Friendship, the Testimony they should have honestly borne for the Prince of Peace, who is the high Priest of our Profession, have submitted to be yoked with that Tax for fear of breaking an outside Friendship (which will surely come to be broken, that the True Unity in the Bond of Peace may be exalted) and acted contrary to the former Sight of their Duty, and are thereby become halt and dim sighted in several Respects, such, tho’ they still seem to desire it, cannot in that State attain to the Spotless Beauty of Truth, nor approach the Top of the Mountain, on some of whose Accounts I am pained and fear they will never recover their former Strength, or arrive to that Dignity the Truth would have led them to and conferred on them had they been faithful —— The Situation of those I have much bewailed, and do now bewail with great anxiety of Mind, having been from my Youth upwards accustomed to Sorrow, a Man Acquainted with Grief, and at this Time more remarkably so, the Lives of my Brethren and all Men appearing exceedingly precious in my Sight — It looks to me doubtful whether I shall again ever see my Friends met in a Quarterly Meeting, yet I earnestly desire it, if it be the Will of kind Providence, having heretofore concealed part of the Counsel which seemed necessary for me to have declared, thro’ a timorous and cautious Disposition least I should Offend some, and even for Fear of the Frowns of my elder Brethren —— If I should never more have a publick Opportunity, I speak these things in your hearing, and let them be made known, that I am still an earnest Well wisher to all Men, that my Integrity for the Testimony of Truth in the Matter I have been speaking of, is now full as strong, or stronger than ever. ~ In the Morning of the 9th Current, he Spoke several sentences very close and Affecting concerning the Education of his Grand Children, and Affairs relating to his Family, to those especially who he thought might survive him, and awfully expressed his foresight of some future Circumstances attending them, which we think more prudent to preserve in the Treasury of our Minds, than profitable to be exposed at present in writing, yet his expressive Ideas greatly corroborated with the conceptions some of us had previously entertained and were truly affecting and consolatory. ~ The same Day and at several other times he spoke to the following Purport concerning the use of Rum and such like strong Drinks all well in Harvest as at other Times of the Year ~ I have been led to see in this Time of Sickness the necessity there is for Friends to beware of the Custom of drinking of Drams, and mixed Liquors having myself for many years rarely taken any but on particular Occasions, and Then by small Quantities, it is my fix’d Judgment (apprehending I have good Grounds for it) that the less any of us accustom ourselves to the use of them the better it would be, both in our Minds and constitutions in the General ~ I believe it is Inconsistent with the Will of Providence that the Course of Nature should be thus Obstructed and changed, our Animal Spirits corrupted and forced by the Unnatural Heats of those Liquors, from my present Sense and feeling of that regular Temperance which is truly pleasing in the Eyes of Heaven I have mourned that the use of Strong Spirits should become so prevalent amongst us, who make so high a Profession, whose Bodies should be the Temples of the Holy Ghost, and should not be defiled or tainted with any Degree of Intemperance.  If I live I believe I shall have a stronger Testimony than ever to bear against the frequent use of those Spiritous Drinks, and desire you of my Family for Examples sake may Endeavour more and more to break off the Custom, not handing it about so liberally, and often each Day in Times of Harvest, having generally plenty of other sorts of Refreshments, which will support and keep the Bodies of Men equally as strong and capable to perform Laborious Work.  Witness the Health and Strength of our Fore Fathers in the first Settlement of this Country, when Strong Drink was very little used among them.  I am sure Abstinence on this account is very consistent with our Holy Profession.  Alas, how Dimness has overtaken us when we compare ourselves and our Practices, with the Temperance and Moderation of our fore Elders, and early Settlers of this Province, and how Sumptuous and Dainty are the Tables, Rich, and Costly the Apparel and Furniture even of many of our Friends in the Country, but more especially of those in the City, how is the Plainness and Simplicity of the Truth departed from, and Pomp with Splendid Appearance taken their Place, how much Expence and Time might be spared from needless things and applied to much more laudable Services, to the relieving the Poor and Distressed, the bettering of our Country, and Assisting to avert the Judgments of God impending over our Heads, in Part Occasioned by these Things —— I earnestly request my Grand Children may be brought up in a plain Way, accustomed to Industry and some useful Calling in the Creation, not aiming at great Estates, nor taking Example by others who are in a Different Pursuit, let them say or do what they will, give them useful Learning, but rather chuse Husbandry and a homely Calling for them in the Country, than Endeavour to fix them in ways of Merchandise in Town, for according to my Observation from my Youth to this Time, the former is less dangerous and Corrupting — I remarked when in England that some of the greatest, deepest, and Wisest Men in a Religious Sense were brought up at the Plough, Or in some Laborious Occupation, where the Mind seems less liable to be diverted from an awful Sense of the Creator, Than in an easy Idle Education, or by being too deeply immersed in the Hurries and Fluctuations of the Town —— How many Great Men could I name whose way of living is so mean and homely as to the Riches of this World, that they have but little more than what real Necessity requires and yet entirely Rich and happy in Contentment, take these for Examples rather than grasp after great Estates for your tender Offspring — or Expressions to this Import ——— the day after, or 10th Current, he sent for me early, in the Morning, and asking him how he was, he answered nearly as follows — I have slept sweetly and seem much refresh’d  Tho I feel myself extremely Weak in Body, yet I am full of Divine Consolation, having never had greater or clearer Prospects of Heavenly Raptures — it seems even as tho’ my Soul was united in Chorus with Glorified Saints and Angels, both Sleeping and Waking, I now believe I shall get over this Illness, clearly beholding it did not happen Alone on my own Account, but also on Behalf of my Brethren, and the way for my Recovery, is to be Industrious and Diligent in what I am now plainly convinced is my Duty to do — I have many Messages to deliver both in Publick and Private to divers Friends who I have clearly seen have missed their Way, and have in a great Measure deprived themselves of the Beauty wherewith an humble abiding in the Truth would have dignified them — I feel also an uncommon Nearness of Affection towards my Elder Brethren whose Lives never appeared more near and dear to me, some of whom I dare not conceal Counsel from, whether they will hear or forbear.  Yea last Night it seemed as Tho’ I had a Clear Prospect of the Respective Situations of many or most of the Ministers and Elders throughout the Verge of our Quarterly Meeting, as tho’ the inward States of Particulars were opened to me in full View — My Spirit is uncommonly earnest to attend the Approaching Quarterly Meeting, and I am strong in the Faith.  I shall be there, tho considering my present Weakness (he being then not able to stand without Trembling, even to shake the Floor) I shall be a Marvel to myself and a Wonder to Mankind, if I get to it.  —— From the Prospect I have had of Things within these few Days, the Lives of those in the Brightness of Religion never were to me more Precious, and an Unbounded Ardours rests upon my Mind for the Welfare of the Rebellious Hypocritical Backsliding Professors of all Ranks amongst us, if I live to get to the Quarterly Meeting of Ministers and can have Time allowed me there, I have Tidings, important Tidings, as from a Dying Man to deliver to the States of Particulars. ~ I have never seen so clearly the Mystery of the three Days, or the Prophet’s laying Three Days and Three Nights in the Belly of the Whale — a Wicked and Adulterous Generation are now as well as formerly seeking for a Sign, to Things closely spoken of, but no Sign shall be given them, but the Sign of the Prophet Jonah, and his being Three Days and Three Nights in the Whales Belly, which was a Type of our Saviour’s Suffering for Mankind.  Afterwards, Descending into the Bowels of the Earth, thereby prefiguring that his Followers must after his Pattern Descend into Spiritual Baptism, that they may rise again, freed from the dregs of Nature, and the Corruptions of the Creaturely Passions, before they can be Qualified to see, and Suitably Administer to the States of others.  I have likewise clearly seen the Mystery of the Prophet Ezekial’s Sufferings (mentioned in the 4th Chap) bearing the Sins of the House of Israel for the Space of 390 Days by laying on one Side for the Transgressions of 390 Years, which being Accomplished, he was Commanded instantly to turn on the other to bear the Sins Judah 40 Days for the Crimes of 40 Years of that Princely Tribe who should have been as Way’marks to others, my Sorrowful State, my deep Baptisms, and painful Sittings in our Meetings have been for several Years past, like bearing the Rod of the Wicked, in which Dispensation I have been ready to conclude with Elijah that the Altars were thrown down.  The Lords Prophets slain, with the Sword and I a mean worthless Servant left alone, and my Life was also sought —— I have plainly discerned the use and Design of my present Sickness, whereby I am reduced as it were to the lowest Ebb to retain Life.  That I might be as a Sign to the this Generation and as with the Mouth of a Dying Man utter Tidings without Fear of giving Offence, Tidings which I have aforetime concealed thro’ a Timidity, tho’ I have seen at this Season that the Lord has preserved a Living Number in Israel, who have not bowed the Knee to Baal, or the God of this World, yet I have also obviously seen the Conditions of many that have Worshipped strange Gods, together with the Corruptions of many Ministers in our Society — How some are so far Deceived as to believe Lies, they have seen false Visions, have caused the Weak to stumble, and have Spoken Peace as in the Lords Name, when it was only a Divination of Their flashy Brain, which hastened to Deception, and Putrifaction throughout the Churches.  ~ I have long observed how many little ones have laid, groaning as under the Burthen and oppression of these Things, whose Day of Redemption draws near, when by the Almighty, they will be made as bright Stars in the Firmament of his Power and Shine forever and ever, while those who are Corrupted and settled on Their Lees, will have their Just Reward, Inexorable Punishment. —— I have often abundantly Witnessed in this my present Weak Condition the Salutary Incomes of that Peace and Love, which surpasses all human Understanding nor have I Capacity or Language able to set forth the Bowels of Compassion, which I livingly feel to flow towards the whole Bulk of Mankind, and especially towards Those my Brethren and Sisters in Profession.  Yea it seems as tho’ no Affliction would be too great to endure for their Sakes if it might be a Means to have some of them restored (whose Situation I have been now led to behold) to their former Greenness and Spiritual Health, from whence they have fallen, and Dimness hath overtaken Them.  Tho’ my Outward Man seems now almost wasted, yet my Spirit is Strong in the Lord, and in the Inexpressible Strength of Affection I have found my Spirit led from Place to Place over the Country, to visit the Souls in Prison, Yea, I have clearly beheld the Dawnings of the precious Morning, wherein Corruption shall be swept away from the Churches, and Righteousness and Truth begin to flourish greatly, yea, to me the Day appears to be near at Hand, having also a Degree of living Faith, that some of the Children now born may live to see it.  ~ My Face now more than ever Seems to be made as Brass and I think in the Openings of the Vision of Life, I could at this Time utter Gospel Truths, and discover the Mystery of Iniquity which I have beheld, without fearing any mortal Man — Perhaps I may be raised to live a while longer, tho’ now to die would be a Welcome Release, Yea, I could not Desire to live, but for the Longings of Soul and great panting of Heart which I feel towards the precious seed in some of the Islands, Barbadoes & Ă  towards many whom I have now been led to Visit throughout our Own Borders, having beheld Their situation to be as Lumps taken or cut out from the Bowels of their Mother the Earth, tho much hidden from the View of Mortals and are tempering and fashioning by the Divine Potter being Sufficient to pick out and cast away every small Pebble and gravel stone in Nature, and many there are in This Situation, which I have beheld, as it were set by, out of Sight to dry, until all the dampness, and Natural Moisture is removed from them, being not yet Seasoned to undergo the Operation of Burning, but when properly prepared, and thoroughly dried, many will be brought to the Fire, to be burned and glazed even to retain that Liquor or Wine of the Kingdom with a sweet Taste without any Degree of Taint or Nauseous Smell — Or Words nearly to the same Effect — Early in the Morning the 12th Current I again Visited him, wherein he said, I believe I shall be at the Quarterly Meeting, but what seems to me difficult is, how I shall get upstairs to sit in the Meeting of Ministers and Elders, yet hope these may be somebody who will afford me their kind Assistance therein, as my Mind is remarkably there both sleeping and Waking, and if I safely arrive there, I hope to be relieved of some Things which remain like a Fire in my Bones, I cannot, I dare not forebear Endeavouring to be at it, well knowing it is the Way for my Recovery of Strength outwardly, and to be Relieved from that Burthen which is too heavy inwardly — I suppose it will be Judged more fit for me to be in Bed than abroad to sit in Meeting, but think as they will I must go, believing I shall recruit daily afterwards — he further added, My mind for some Days past has been attended with an uncommon Sweetness the like, for so long together I have never known, nor have I ever witnessed such a Succession of Soul melting Prospects, One of which I had this Morning before Day, as I lay in a sweet Slumber, the Sight thereof I find Freedom to relate —— I thought I saw Noah’s Ark floating upon the Deluge, with Noah and his Household in it, then looking earnestly at it I beheld the Windows of the Ark, saw Noah put forth the Dove, which when out, I beheld her flying to and fro, for some Time, but finding no Rest for the Sole of her Foot, she returned, then I saw his Hand put out again to receive her.  After a while I thought I beheld her put forth a second Time, and a Raven with her, saw the Dove fly about as before for some Time, then returned with a Green Olive Leaf in her Mouth, as a Welcome Token of the Abatement of the Flood.  I saw also the Raven fly, cawking, to and fro, but he returned not.  Then I thought within myself, that it was a ravenous Bird and sought only for Prey to satisfy his own Stomach, or else he might have returned with good Tidings, or some pleasant Token again to the Ark with the Dove —— After a short space of Time, I again thought I beheld the Tops of the Mountains, and some of the Trees beginning to appear above the Waters, then I saw the Flood abate very fast, and as the Waters fell away I beheld the Trees advancing to put forth the Buds, a Greenness of fresh Leaves came gradually upon them, I saw likewise their Bloom, the Valleys Adorned with fragrant Herbage, and Beautiful Flowers, and the pleasant Streams of Water gushing downwards to the ocean, indeed all Nature to me appeared to have a new Dress,, The Birds were hopping from Spray to Spray chirped and Warbled forth, each in their own Notes the Praise of the Creator.  The voice of the Turtle I heard in Cooing Melody.  I beheld also many other Symptoms of a pleasant and happy Season approaching, the Prospect of which ravished my Soul, and sunk it into deep humility, while I was musing and beholding these Things, a saying of the Prophet Isaiah was brought fresh into my Remembrance, and applicable as I then thought to the View before me (see 55th Chap 12th & 13th ver) For ye shall go out with Joy, and be led forth with Peace, the Mountains and the hills shall break forth before you with singing,, and all the Trees of the Field shall clap their Hands, Instead of the Thorn shall come up the Firr Tree, and instead of the Brier shall come up the Myrtle Tree, and it shall be to the Lord for a Name, for an Everlasting Sign that shall not be cut off —— when I awoke the Prospect remained clear in my Mind, and with a sweet Relish which now continues with me, I cannot help applying the Vision after this.  Manner, The Flood which seemed to cover the Face of the Earth is the general Corruption and Darkness which now prevails and for a long Time past hath prevailed over the Hearts of Mankind, the Ark represents a Place of Safe (tho’ Solitary) refuge, wherein the Almighty preserves his Humble depending People, those who are aiming at Perfection in their Pilgrimage as did Noah in his Generation.  The Dove sets forth the innocent harmless, and cooing Disposition which attends the Followers of the Lamb, who are always willing to bring good Tidings when such are to be met with — the Raven represents a contrary Disposition that reigns in the Hearts of the Children of Disobedience, who chiefly aim at gratifying their own Sensual Appetites— The Waters gradually Abating, the Trees Appearing to the View, then afterwards budding, the pleasant and harmonious Notes of the Birds, with the Voice of the Turtle, all clearly seem to me to presage the Approach of that Beautiful Morning, when Corruption and Iniquity shall abate, shall be swept away from the Earth, and everything will appear in new Robes, and will wear the Face of Harmony and Love. — I am strongly confirmed of the Approach of that Season which was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah Chap 11th ver 9th, They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy Mountain, for the Earth shall be full of the Knowledge of the Lord, as the Waters cov’d the Sea — In the belief and Assurance of these Things my Soul is Overcome. ~ I feel the loving Kindness of the Almighty Creator, yet waiting for the Return of Backsliders with Unspeakable Mercy, and my Soul in a Sense of it Seems bound Stronger than ever in the Bonds of a Gospel Travail (which Travail I hope will increase and Spread amongst the Faithful) for the Enlargement of the Church, that the Nations may flock to Zion who shall become an Eternal Excellency, and the Joy of the whole Earth. — At another Time he subjoined his having a Prospect of the near Approach of the Glorious Morning and said — The Day Star is risen which presages the Dawning of the happy Morning.  I have seen it in its Lustre, having a feeling Sense of the Reaccomplishment of that Saying, in the New Creation which will be brought about, wherein (2d Cor 5th Chap 17th ver) I have heard their Sound Intelligibly, and my Heart is comforted therein, tho the Potsherds of the Earth may dash together for a Season, yet the Lord in due Time will bring about a Reformation.  The Predictions of Arch Bishop Usher have often been brought fresh into my Remembrance in these trying Seasons, nor can I but join with him in his Opinion, that tho’ a Sharp and trying Dispensation shall come upon Professors, it will be most severe upon Hypocrites and Formalists, but the Honest upright hearted Ones shall he hide as under the Hollow of the Lords Hand, when Rents, Divisions and Commotions shall increase amongst the Earth by Minded, one Branch of a Family be at Strife with another (Micah 7th Chap 6th ver Math 10th Chap 35th ver. Luke 12th Chap 53rd ver.)  Like the Daughter in Law against her Mother in Law & happy shall they be who Endeavour to stand ready for the Approach of such a Dispensation —— Many other Things he delivered during that uncommon Time which could not be perfectly remembered

                                                        George Churchman —


In a First Day Meeting at East Nottingham the 19th of the 12th moth 1756 John Churchman expressed himself as nearly as follows viz ——

I have felt my Mind in this Meeting remarkably drawn from Outward Observation, and was Commanded, as it were, to center in deep and awful Silence, wherein there was such a flowing of Good Will to Mankind as is scarcely to be uttered by Tongue, but thus centering with deep Attention I thought I felt a strong Power of Darkness and stupid Ignorance seemingly combined to make War against this Solemn Attention of Mind, Yet after Waiting Patiently some Time, to my Comfort, I felt a secret Victory, and the Darkness Vanished, then, as it were, a Voice was uttered in me, attended, I thought with Divine Authority, —“Thus I will bow the Inhabitants of the Earth, and Particularly of this Land, and I will make them fear and Reverence me, either in Mercy or Judgement.” —  Hereupon a Prospect immediately opened to my View of a Day of Calamity and sore Distress that was approaching, and in which the Careless and stupid Professors, who are easy and Unconcerned, to properly Worship and Adore the Almighty, and have not Laboured to witness their Foundation to be laid on him the Immovable Rock, will be greatly surprised with Fearfulness, and on the Behalf of such, a piercing Cry and Lamentation runs through me thus, Alas, for the Day, Alas, for the Day, Woe is me; several Times repeated, and a Voice which seemed to be connected with the former, said further, “Yet once more saith the Lord, I shake not the Earth only, but also the Heavens, not only, the Situation of those, that know not any Place of Safety or Refuge, but that which is outward and Earthly, but also those who assume a higher Place, and in their specious Appearances, and false Pretences amongst Men, do value themselves in their Assumed Goodness, and would fain be Accounted of the highest Rank, and even place themselves amongst the Saints, and are by some accounted as Stars in the Firmament, Yet in the Day of my Power, wherein I will shake the Heavens and the Earth, those Stars shall fall to the Ground” — In this Opening something within me, was ready to say, Amen, so be it, O Lord Almighty, cut short thy Work in the Earth, in Order that thou may put an end to Sin, and finish Transgression, that thy Fear, and the knowledge of thee may cover the Earth as the Waters cover the Sea — Wherefore my Friends, the fervent Desire of my Soul is, that all present, may with Diligence labour to have your Minds truly centered, and humbled before God, to know a being fixed on that Foundation,, which only standeth sure, that in a Time of outward Distress, which perhaps may come in your Day, you may find a place of Safety, and Refuge ———

All this, with more to the like Effect was delivered in great Humility and Brokenness ————~



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