Some Account of the last Illness of our Friend John Churchman, and of divers Weighty Expressions which he dropped before his Decease ——

He came Home from the Eastern Shore of Maryland the 11th of yr 6th month 1775 and attended our Meeting at east Nottingham four or five Times before he was quite confined — On the fourth of the seventh Month he expressed himself thus — “I am glad I am at Home, I have ever found in best when my Service abroad was over, to strive to get Home as quick as might be, and tho’ I have felt much inward Poverty and Weakness since my last Journey, so that I can neither see my beginning nor ending, but seems as if all were hidden, yet I hope if Providence sees meet to remove me, some Light will appear again, and that it will be otherwise before I go”  At another Time he said to this Purpose — “I have found myself much stripped, as to the Sense of Good, and tried with Poverty for many Days,, Things which I have formerly done, Tho’ they might appear to some as Acts of Righteousness, are to me become as filthy Rags, I suppose I have been accounted by some as one of the better Sort of People, but have seen great Occasion to beware of a Disposition that would seek to feed upon the Praise or Commendation of others, a Carnal selfish Spirit is very apt to present and creep in here if possible, This I have seen has hurt many who have had right Beginnings, it always introduceth Dimness and Oppression to the pure, precious, innocent Life of Truth which only groweth up into Dominion, Thro deep Abasement of Soul, and the entire Death of self” ~ At several other Times he signified to this Effect ~ “My present Baptism of Affliction, has tended to the further refining of my Nature, and to the bringing me more into the Image of my Master” — he frequently mentioned his full Submission to the Divine Will, as to Life and Death, and said several Times “I now experience my Life, my Will to be slain, and I have no Will left.” — In the last two Weeks of his Time it appeared that his Hope and Desire mentioned in the forepart of his Illness, (for Light to appear again) was answered fully by the fresh Incomes thereof, so that many Times in a Day, thought his Pain was often great, he would break forth into a kind of Melody with his Voice without uttering Words which as he several Times intimated was an involuntary Breathing of his Soul in Praise to the Lord, who had again Shone forth in Brightness, after many Days of Poverty and deep Baptism.~ On second Day Morning the 17th being asked how he was, he replied “I am here in the Body yet, and when I go out of it I hope there will be nothing but Peace.”  And soon after he said “I have seen that all the Bustles and Noises that are in the World, will end in Confusion and all our young Men that know not an Establishment in the Truth, and the Lords Fear for a Ballast will be caught in a trying Moment”  At another Time he said in an awful Manner, “There is nothing will stand, but that which is grounded in the Truth”  Again — “I feel nothing but the Peace, having endeavoured honestly to discharge myself in Publick and Private, as I Apprehended was required of me, and if it be the Lords Will I should go now, I shall be released from a great deal of Trouble and Exercise, which I believe Friends who are left behind will have to pass through.” ~ ——

On 3d Day the 18th he said “Tho’ I have endeavoured & faithfully to fulfill the Trust committed to me, yet I find it will not do to rely on that, nor any Thing I have done heretofore, I have in the forepart of this Illness been stripped of the Sensible Enjoyment of that which has been my Support all my Life long, yet the Dragon was not permitted to devour me” ———— ———

On fourth Day the 19th in the Evening he desired to have a little Time of Stillness with those about him and therein expressed Several instructive Sentences, and also said “O that I might be a little relieved from my Pain”  Then after a little while he appeared to be somewhat easier. ~  On 5th Day Morning he said “I have been wholly stripped of the Sense of any Good I have ever done, yet I feel a Hope that if I die my Transgressions will be forgiven,” and soon after added, “I have seen more clearly than ever that there is a Spirit prevalent which would indulge Children in Wrong Things, and is for trampling Discipline as under Foot.  Therefore those who are Concerned for its Support, have great need to keep under the humbling Power of Truth, and so be preserved Upright and firm for the Testimony thereof, without giving way in the least” — The same Day he said nearly as follows “I love Friends who abide in the Truth, as much as ever I did, and feel earnest Breathings to the Lord that these may be such raised up in the Church, who may go forth in Humility, Sweetness and Life, clear of all Superfluity in Expression and otherwise, and stand for the Testimony.  That they may be useful to the Church in these difficult Times.” ~~ About three Days before his Death several Friends being in the Room, he spake as follows —“Friends in the == Beginning if they had Health and Liberty, nothing else could divert them from paying their Tribute of Worship to the Almighty on Week Days as well as first Days but after a While when outward Sufferings were ceased Life and Zeal decaying, Ease and the Spirit of the World took place with many, and thus it became fashionable for one or two out of a Family to attend Meetings, and to leave Children much at Home.  Parents also if Worldly Concerns were in the Way, could neglect their Week Day Meetings sometimes, yet be willing to hold the Name, and plead Excuses because of a busy Time, or the like, but I believe that such a Departure from primitive Integrity ever did, and ever will occasion a withering from the Life of true Religion.” ~ —— A Friend coming to visit him on 6th Day the 21st, he said “I feel that which lives beyond Death and the Grave, which is now an inexpressible Comfort to me, after a Time of deep Baptism that I have passed through, I believe my being continued here is in the Will of Providence, and I am fully resigned” ~ His Disorder encreasing he said but little on 7th Day, in the Afternoon he was very low, and Speechless, about twelve hours, then he revived a little, and About the 2nd Hour on first Day Morning he gave Directions about his Coffin, and continued rather easier the forepart of the Day, appearing chearful, and delivered divers Weighty Sentences, like farewel Exhortations to some who came to see him — On 2d Day Morning he sat up a Considerable Time, in the Afternoon he appeared Chearful and sensible tho very low, and expressed himself thus “ I am much refreshed with my Masters sweet Air, I feel more Weight more Life, more Light, more Love and Sweetness than ever before” — and often Mentioned the Divine Refreshment and Comfort — That he felt flowing like a pure Stream to his Inward Man, Saying “I may tell you of it, but ye cannot feel it as I do”  About 6 in the Evening a Young Person came into the Room, whom he looked earnestly at, and Affectionately said “Deborah arose a Mother in Israel”  a short time after that he said “the Sweetness that I feel.”  Then his Difficulty of Breathing increased, and being helped up, he expired in his Chair, about the 9th Hour on Second Day Night the twenty fourth of the Seventh Month 1775 ———


A Memorial concerning Mary Jordan

It having pleased the Lord to Visit me with a very close Tryal in the Removal of my Beloved and only Daughter, Mary Jordan by Death, I think it incumbent on me, for the Benefit of those she has left behind, that are nearly allied to her, as well as that of many Young People, and for my own Satisfaction, to communicate to them Some of the Many Weighty Expressions which dropt from her when she perceived her Dissolution to draw near, and to give this short Testimony to the Memory of my Dear Child.  She was one whom the Lord had favoured with a good natural Capacity and having his Holy Fear implanted in her Heart she found it to be true Wisdom — her Deportment Manifesting a lively Sense of Religion, even from her Young Years, and would express a Concern when she observed the Youth of our Society deviate from their Principles, when in Matters that some might account trivial, and having been for several Years, tryed with Indisposition of Body, as well as deep Exercise of Mind,, she was in a great Measure weaned from those Amusements and Diversions which Youth are Naturally incident to, Spending much of her Time alone, and would sometimes observe to me with great Solidity, That she was like one that was Separated from the Pleasures of this Life, in the Bloom of Youth when her Equals in Age had the highest Relish for them ~  As her Illness was lingering she Conducted with much Patience and Resignation to the Will of Divine Providence —— being convinced as she expressed it, that such a Disposition of Mind would be more to her Advantage than any thing this World could afford.  Tho it pleased the Lord to try her with inward Poverty, of which she would sometimes Complain, particularly once in these Words, “It has been and is a gloomy Time with me, yet nevertheless I have a little Hope, that I trust is not a deceitful one, but a well grounded Hope.  But I should be glad to feel the lively Sense of Devotion which I have sometimes Experienced to break in upon my Soul as a Stream of Divine Consolation that has borne down all my Weakness. A Sense of the Obligation she thought herself under both to her Father and me for the Tenderness shewn her throughout her Illness, and our great Solicitude for her Recovery, manifestly Appeared, and the Strength of Affection which she felt for me would possess her tender Mind with an Apprehension of Fear, least she should thereby Offend the Lord, from a Conscious excess whereof she queried, dost thou think the Lord can be angry with me  for my Attachment to Thee, or it may be we have not been enough resigned to the Divine Will in the Dispensations allotted us, therefore greater Tryals are suffered to come.  Though she spoke of her Approaching End with that Freedom and Ease of Mind Natural for a Person from whom the Terrors of Death were removed, yet she manifested a Just Sense of the Solemnity of such a Change by saying “that to those who were the best prepared, Death must be an awful Thing, had I thought mine so near, I believe I should have been more circumspectly careful to have made Preparation for it, for tho’ I have been innocent according to the best of my knowledge, perhaps more may have been required of me, however it is not too late to renew a lively sensible Covenant with the Lord my God —— Observing me to be much Affected under an Afflicting Sense of the great Loss I should sustain by her Removal she with great Composure of Mind addressed me on this Wise — “My dear Mother, it affects me much to see thee grieve, and why should it be so Unless Thou Thinks I may doubt of that blessed Hope which we have been speaking of.  We must not chuse for ourselves, but submit to the Will of Divine Providence, to them that are prepared for it, tis a much greater Blessing to go than Stay, and perhaps it might be harder for thee to leave me behind thee, it will be but a little Time and we shall enjoy a happy Eternity together.  Pray for me that I may be supported through the Solemn Scene before me, “And to her Father and Myself at Another Time, she said “I have need of your Prayers, that I may be received into the Mansions of the Blessed and be at Rest.”  ~ Indeed she constantly spoke with an humble Diffidence of herself, being sensible of her own Unworthiness, and was earnest with the Lord that she might not be left to Struggle with her Weakness alone, Saying at Times she had Almost lost Sight of Faith and Hope, and towards the last as she laboured with an almost incessant Cough, she would say, “This is hard, as it deprives me of that Composure of Mind necessary for Divine contemplation, and which I stand in Need of _ _ _ And speaking to her Elder Sister (P Pemberton) she said, Oh! tis a fine thing to be ready when the Messenger comes, I would have thee, and all of you to think of it. — Some Friends of the Ministry coming to Visit her, one of them was concerned in Supplication to the Lord on her Behalf, and particularly that his Living Presence might accompany her, in her expiring Moments with which she seemed much refreshed, and said, Oh! how she spoke the Language of my Soul, for the Lord knows there is nothing I so much desire, as the Enjoyment of his Living Presence; ~ Indeed this was manifest by a frequent retiredness of Mind and the Heavenly Influences of the Divine Spirit which at Times attended her when no Words were exprest — ~~  The Day before she Departed, her Youngest Brother (Charles Pemberton) coming into the Room, she with much Affection and Solidity said to him, My dear, thou sees thy poor Sister to all Appearance near her End, My Desires are often, and have been to the Lord for thee, that he may Bless thee, & make thee a Comfort to thy dear Father & Mother, who are fond of thee, & good to thee & to me, & to us all, be sure to mind, what they say to thee, & then the Lord will bless thee, & thou will be a Comfort especially to our dear Mother, and set Thy Brothers a good Example, thought they are Elder than thee, it may particularly Affect their Minds, and pray my dear Remember me, and dont forget thou once had such a Sister.  Observing him to be much affected with her Advice, she said “it is in the Sincerity of my Heart I have spoken it. ~ An Hour or two before her Departure seeing her Father come into the Room, she with Pleasure said, it is a Sight I am fond of.  he replied, my dear thou wilt soon see much more Glorious Sights,, these being near her last Expressions, she fell into a sweet Sleep.  Fervent were my Desires to the Lord, that her Passage from Time to Eternity might be made easy, which was Mercifully granted, for she passed away as one falling asleep, without the least uneasy Sensation, retaining her Understanding to the last which was on the twenty first Day of the tenth Month 1759 being on the First Day of the Week and in the twentieth Year of her Age.  And on the twenty third her Corps was carried to the Great Meeting House where the Extendings of Divine Goodness was Graciously Manifested, and divers living Testimonies borne, and seasonable Advice Communicated, particularly to the Youth, a large Number of Whom were present, and from thence to Friends Burial Ground in Philadelphia attended by a great Number of Friends and Others where again there was a solemn Pause and the People again exhorted by Gospel Truths delivered, suited to the Occasion = after which she was decently interred — May the prudent Conduct, and Pious Example of this Desirable and Promising Plant, who I have good Grounds to Hope is entered into the Mansions of Everlasting Joy and Felicity so affect the Minds of those who may peruse these Lines, and more particularly such who were her near Relations and Intimate Acquaintance as that they may above all Things be concerned to improve their Time and Talent in making Preparation for their final Change — is the Ardent Desire of her Affectionate Mother and their True Friend.

                                Mary Pemberton


Samuel Spavolds Prophecy or Testimony which he gave forth at Sauterforth the third day of the tenth Month 1754 and at Lotherdale in Yorkshire the fourth Day of the same Month, not that he spake the same Words, but to the same Effect at both Places, after he had Preached for the Space of two Hours and an half —— 

People go to their Worship with out stretched Necks and fairly decked, as tho’ they were going to present Themselves before an Earthly Prince, not with Their Hearts pure, humble, meek and low, as they ought to be when they present themselves before him who is the Dread of all Nations — Pride and Abominable Wickedness are grown to such a Degree in this Land, that God is angry with the inhabitants thereof, I say they have angered God and he hath sent one Afflicting Calamity or Warning after another, in Order to call them to Repentance, or make them remember him the Being of all Beings, The Creator of all Things animate or inanimate he hath done all that a just and all Merciful God can do, in Order to make the Inhabitants of poor England repent for their Abominable Wickedness and live. — I say he hath sent this Afflicting Distemper on the horned Cattle, the People endeavour to Stop it, but it is impossible. — It is the Effect of Nature many vainly imagine, No, it is not so, its kind Providence that hath sent it in Order to make his Noble Creature Man Repent. — And thus he reasons as it were, with the most Exquisite Part of his Handy Work, to Wit, Man, who is a most Noble Creature.  “I’ll take of that which he chiefly hath to boast of, and with which he chiefly subsisteth, and in which the longing of Man hath a particular Satisfaction, and by which he is principally Supported.  I’ll see if he will murmur at my Doings.  I’ll see if he will Remember me, the Great Giver of them” — I say he thus reasons with the Inhabitants of this Land, but Alas, they are Stiff necked People like Back sliding Israel of old, they will not remember him that hath thus infinitely poured down of his Blessings upon them — Oh, behold the poor horned Cattle, how they are afflicted with Groans inexpressible for the Sins of the Nation.  Lo, how they look upon their Masters with Tears trickling from their Eyes, as much as to say “It is for thy Sins I am Afflicted”  These poor Creatures are a lively Emblem of that which is to follow, for as they now are Afflicted, there is a more great and terrible Day a coming over England than any of you have seen.  Alas, these are the beginnings of Sorrows —— O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem said our Saviour, “Thou that killest the Prophets, and Stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy Children together, even as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings, but thou wouldest not, behold your Houses are left desolate, for I say unto you, you shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord” — This may be said of England —— O, poor England, how often have I bewailed thy Condition, as with the Thousands of Tears.  Woe, to poor England and the Inhabitants thereof, for they shall be as Grass before the Scythe, Yea, they shall be as Dung upon the Ground for their Abominable Wickedness.  The most High God, Supreme Arbitrator of Heaven and Earth will cut them down as he doth the poor horned Cattle, his fiery Indignation is kindled against them, and he will be avenged for their Wickedness. — I cannot speak of these things but my Heart trembleth within my Body, to see the Desolations of poor England makes my Soul heavy, and full of Anxiety, and Methinks I see it as plain as if I had it before mine Eyes.  This great and terrible Day seems to be just at Hand, the Man is grown that must live to see it, = Yea, I believe I myself shall see it, for methinks I hear the Sound Thereof in mine Ears — I know the Cloud of Darkness overshadows a great many, and many of you cannot be made to believe. ~ but you will remember me, for this Day will clearly come, take it home with you, and note it in your Pocket Books, with the Day of the Month and Year for in a little Time you will see it come to pass O, you that are faithful Worshippers in the Temple, hold on your way, and be not dismayed when you hear of these Things, for you Shall be hid, as in the Hollow of his Hand —————————————


The following was Communicated by John Shinn, West Jersey the 26th of the 7th month 1766 ——

I find freedom so far to say to you that are present, that I have had a very great Tryal of Spirit, I believe my Spirit was absent from the Body, and had no Connection with Flesh and Blood at the Time —— I thought I saw that God was a great and Glorious Light, and I was Commanded to Walk in that Light, which I did, but after some Time I lost Sight of the Light, and was left to myself in great horror and Darkness =  Oh! the Anguish of Soul — no Tongue can express what I felt, and I cried unto the Lord for help, at length I discovered a Star in the East, the Bright and Glorious Morning Star, and I saw Jesus Christ the Sun of Righteousness arise with Healing in his Wings, I thought he had Salve and Anointed my Eyes.  Then I saw clearly, I beheld the Patriarchs, Prophets, and holy Angels and Spirits of Just Men made perfect Singing Praises & Hallelujahs to the Lord God and the Lamb who are Worthy forever and ever — and I heard a Voice in my Name, but I said, Lord I am unworthy and not able for so Great a Work — Then was Answered, go, and I will go before thee, and prepare the Way, so I went and the Light of the Lord was before me, opening, as it were the Windows, that I clearly saw the State of every House, and then I heard the Voice of the Lord God proclaim aloud, there are not Ten righteous Souls to be found in this Place,, OH: how was I Astonished and sore amazed, for I thought these had been many more. —— then was the Sword of Divine Justice drawn over this Place ready to destroy, to Slay, and visit with sore Judgments our Sins and Transgressions — Oh! the Mourning and Lamentation this Caused in my Soul = And I cried to the Lord that he would yet spare us, and try us a little longer which seemed granted for a little Space.  Oh! that those who have been favoured with Line upon Line, and Precept upon Precept, have been visited, tried, and have tasted of Divine Comforts in a Particular Manner, Yet have turned their Backs with a Grievous Backsliding and making for themselves a covering of Religion, and are Saying in their Hearts, “we will Eat our own Bread, and Wear our own Cloathing, only we will have thy Name we desire no more” — Oh! that these would cry mightily to the Lord that he might yet have Mercy upon them.  I saw some that were standing on the very Brink of Eternity ready to step into Everlasting Misery, except they will speedily turn and cry to the God of Heaven and Earth that he might yet have Mercy on them —— but Blessed be God there are some who have been tried and proved with sore Trials and Grievous Buffettings, and many Tribulations, have thought themselves lost, and wholly left to themselves, which has caused great Mourning, and Sorrow of Soul, but Blessed be the Name of our God, I have to declare to such as are not left, that his Holy Arm is underneath tho’ unseen who does separate, and will support them through every Trial and Difficulty, if they still will look to him.  Oh! that we might with Ninevah Cloathe ourselves with Sack = cloth and Ashes, and humble ourselves before him that he might yet Suspend his Judgments and Spare us ——~~~



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