By John Banks
A TESTIMONY FROM FRIENDS OF PARDSHAW MONTHLY MEETING IN CUMBERLAND
He was one upon whom the Lord poured forth of his Holy Spirit and gave a large gift thereof to serve him. The Lord's love is universal to all. He would have none to perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. And for that end he gives gifts to men to make them instrumental in his hand to bring the sons of men to have faith in his only Son the Lord Jesus Christ, "who is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
Our dear friend was early called into the work of the ministry and was faithful to improve his gift; and the Lord made him useful in his hand, and many are the seals of his ministry who yet remain in this county, who are witnesses of the power that was effectually with him to the convincing of many. He was a faithful minister of the everlasting Gospel and given up to preach it freely and to labor faithfully in the work thereof. He went through great hardships and traveled much both by sea and land in Ireland, Scotland, and in this nation, and most of all in this county where he labored night and day for the gathering of people to God and for the settling of those who were gathered.
He was one of good discernment and was often opened by the Spirit of Truth to speak to peoples' states and had an answer from God's witness in their hearts, so that many were convinced by him. He was instrumental to gather several meetings in this county, being an incessant laborer in the Lord's work, both in body and mind, rising up early and lying down late, and freely given up to spend and be spent. We sincerely desire that we who had the benefit of his labor may be kept in true fear and walk worthy of all of the Lord's mercies, to his glory, and our salvation.
His ministry was powerful and piercing, ministering judgment upon the transgressor, yet filled with consolation to the sincere hearted, so that he was both beloved and feared by many. His memory lives amongst the righteous and we doubt not but he is entered into rest. It was not only given him to believe, but to suffer for the testimony of God in which he was preserved firm and true, to the stripping of his goods by the Conventicle Act, public sale being made of what he had. Yet the Lord bore him up over all so that he was as one of the stakes of Zion that could not be moved.
He was afterwards in prison at Carlisle for his testimony. Yet he retained his integrity and stood faithful, and the Lord was with him and gave him courage still to stand firm in his testimony against tithes and the hireling priests, not only in word, but in deed and in truth. In the time of the Conventicle Act, he kept close to meetings so that the informers concluded that whoever were not, he would be there, insomuch that they ventured to inform against him whether they saw him or not and thereby laid a snare for themselves and swore he was preaching on Pardshaw Crag when he was gone in the service of the Gospel into Ireland and was taken prisoner in Wicklow. This was proved against them, and they were forced to fly the country, and both came to miserable ends.
He had great service at that time, for many were convinced of the truth at the meeting in which he was taken prisoner. We might say more on this subject; yet the bent of our minds is not to attribute anything to him or to any man, but to the Lord's power which raised him up and made him what he was, to his honor and the peace and benefit of the church, desiring that we who yet remain may keep in true fear and humility, following the Lord Jesus in the way of self-denial, that we may so run as to obtain the crown of immortal glory. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
James Dickinson, Peter Fearon, John Burnyeat, William Harris, John Wilson, Jonathan Bowman, John Ribton, Peter Wilson, Thomas Tiffin, Christopher Fearon, Jonathan Bell, John Nicholson, Matthew Lowman, George Wilson.
Pardshaw Monthly Meeting, the 23rd of the Eighth month, 1711.