Martha Yeardley continued very unwell during the autumn, and by the end of the year her disorder assumed a more alarming form. It soon became evident that her dedicated life must at no distant period be brought to a close; and after many weeks of suffering, with confinement to the chamber during the latter part of the time, she expired, full of peace and hope in Christ Jesus, in the Fifth Month, 1851. The following memorandum, touchingly descriptive of her illness and death, was penned by her bereaved husband, probably soon after her decease.
After our return from the Continental journey my beloved M.Y. became more poorly. A severe influenza cold weakened her much; and a second attack she seemed never to recover. It was succeeded by a regular rheumatic fever. From the commencement of 1851, with but little exception, she was confined to the house, and for a little while to her bed, until the 8th of the Fifth Month, when her sweet and purified spirit ascended to her Saviour, and commenced an eternity of bliss.
Thus was I deprived of my only earthly treasure. She was the Lord's precious loan, granted me for nearly a quarter of a century, for which I can never be sufficiently [thankful]. She was his own, bought with the blood of his dear Son, and he saw meet to take her from me. Ours was a blessed union, and a happy life, spent, I hope, unitedly in the service of our Lord. In all our imperfections we did desire, above all earthly things, to do the work of our Divine Master, and to labor for the promotion of his kingdom, and for the spread of his knowledge in the earth.
I was her only nurse till within ten days of her happy close. Long had a covenant been made between us, in the time of health, that whichever of us was taken ill the first, should be nursed by the surviving one, if permitted and strength afforded; which it mercifully was to me, and a happy season was the sick-room. We seemed to live together in heaven; never, I think, could two mortals be more favored with the answer to prayer.
In the early part of her illness she spoke much of the satisfaction she had felt in our three last journeys to the Continent, and that she was thankful in having been enabled to go through the whole of the service which her Lord had put into her heart. I have since thought it was a mercy that I did not proceed into South Russia, as, in all probability, my precious one would have fallen on the journey, and never seen her peaceful home again.
During the whole of the illness her delight was to speak of the joy of heaven. My sins of omission and of commission, she said, are all passed by; my iniquities are all forgiven, and washed away in the blood of the Lamb; and now I rejoice in God my Saviour. His love and mercy to me are beyond all bounds; and so strong is my faith in my precious Saviour, that I have scarcely known, the whole of the illness, what it has been to be troubled with an evil thought.
When she expressed a desire to go to Heaven, I reminded her of my loneliness when she should be taken from me. The Lord will care for thee, was her constant reply. He has promised me over and over again that he will care for thee; the answer to my prayer has always been, I will care for him.
Nearly the last conversation she had with any of her beloved relatives was with -- -- , to whom she observed: My affection for thee is strong; I believe thou lovest thy Saviour: I desire that thou mayest keep nothing back that the Lord may require of thee, but serve him with greater devotedness of heart; and if ever thou art called to bear public testimony to his truth, be sure to preach the whole gospel, faith in Christ, and the necessity of the practical work of the Holy Spirit to produce holiness of life. To [another of her near relatives] she observed: Thou hast often been sweetly visited by the love of thy Saviour, and be assured thou wilt never find any joy equal to that of yielding thy heart in prompt obedience to the will of thy Lord. Her last words to her affectionate sisters were, The Lord bless you all: Farewell.
Towards the end of the year John Yeardley again communed with himself in the language of sorrow, but also of humble resignation. At the same time he speaks of an engagement of gospel labor from which he had then recently returned, the first which he had undertaken alone since his marriage with Martha Savory. Having seen his faithful and well-tried comrade fall by his side, he had now to learn again to gird himself and enter, as in the days of his youth, alone into the combat.
1851.12 mo. 13. -- How often have I prayed that the portion of her Lord's spirit which animated her devoted life may rest on me! Her heart, her tongue, and her pen were all employed in promoting the cause of her Divine Master, whom she delighted to serve. All my earthly joy was now gone to heaven, and I felt alone in the world; but my spirit seemed never to be separated from her: she seemed to be hovering over me constantly. My heart does sorrow for the loss of her sweet society; to me she was a wise and sound counsellor, and a never-failing consoler in all my troubles. I do mourn, but I dare not murmur. I hope my merciful Heavenly Father will keep me in the hour of temptation, and be with me in the last trying hour, and prepare me to join this precious one and all by whom she is surrounded with her God and Saviour in the centre of bliss.
I had often mentioned to my precious one a prospect of religious service in Ireland, and once since our return home from our last Continental journey; when she replied, |I have no concern to go to Ireland -- thou must do that when I am taken from thee.| It cost me many tears and prayers before I could be resigned to request a certificate, alone, for the first time since our union; but, looking seriously at the subject, the language was constantly in my heart, The hour cometh when no man can work. Life is uncertain, and I can only expect sustaining grace by faithfully following my Lord: and, blessed be his name, he has kept and sustained me in every trial.
This day would have been the twenty-fifth anniversary of our union. How near it has brought my precious one to me in spirit, and how strong are my prayers that my Lord may preserve me faithful to the end of the race! I can say my desire is, when he cometh, he may not find me idle.
The visit which John Yeardley made in Ireland was general, comprehending all, or nearly all, the meetings of Friends in the island, and including a few public meetings in Leinster province. He has left very few notes of this journey, except an itinerary of the places at which he stopped, but makes frequent mention of the hospitality and kindness of Friends. From Cork he writes: --
I am in the midst of a family visit to the Friends of Cork, and shall have, I expect, from ninety to a hundred sittings. I am lodged a few miles in the country, in a mansion surrounded by beautiful grounds, and all the beloved inmates most affectionate and helpful to me. They send me to my work in or about the city mostly to breakfast; and I return, in the evening, and enjoy the refreshing breezes and the quiet: but then I have the family visits to resume next morning. In riding to town to-day, I tried to raise my heart to God; when the language sweetly occurred to me, Bread shall be given thee, thy water shall be sure. -- (Letter of 8 mo.5, 1851.)
A few days after his return from Ireland, he left home again to visit the Isle of Man, in company with Barnard Dickenson. On his return, he was refreshed by a visit to Dover, where he spent three weeks in the company of his kind and sympathising friend Margaret Pope.
The interval which elapsed before the recommencement of his missionary labors was to be short. In the First Month of 1852, we find him again under exercise of mind for foreign travel; having, this time, to direct his course towards the interesting community of religious persons in Norway, whose principles and practices are the same as those of Friends. The Diary which follows is the utterance of his heart in the prospect of this work.
1852.1 mo. 24. -- This has been a precious morning unto my soul; such a season of spiritual comfort I have not been permitted to experience for a long time. I think it is vouchsafed me through the efficacy of earnest prayer, which has brought me to resignation to my Lord's will. I have now no more doubt as to Norway. Light springs on my path. How powerful is the love of God when it fills the heart; there is not a place on the Lord's earth where I think I could not go, if favored with the strength, and blessed with the presence of my God and Saviour.
Unto thee, Lord, do I commit all my concerns, spiritual and temporal; do thou give to thy unworthy servant an answer of peace. Keep me faithful and patient to the end of the race. Lord, grant that my ministry, which thou hast entrusted to me, may proceed purely and entirely from thy love, and be exercised in thy fear and under the unction of thy Holy Spirit. Lord, keep my heart fixed, on the last, last awful moment that I may have to breathe; grant that it may be breathed out in the bosom of my adorable Saviour; all sting of death taken away, my robes washed in his blood, and my spirit purified and ready to be united to those beloved ones who are already enjoying a blissful eternity with thee!
The next entry in the Diary was made at Christiania, where he thus speaks of the unity and concurrence which his friends had testified with his mission.
Since I last wrote any notes in this journal, I have passed through many conflicts respecting my long-thought-of visit to Norway. When the subject was proposed to my friends in London, it met with the warm encouragement and sympathy of all, in every stage, to the receiving the full unity of the Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders.
I am accompanied by my dear friend, Peter Bedford, whose sweet and constantly cheerful spirits comfort and cheer me. We have already had many proofs that our being joined together in this laborious journey is of the Lord. Our friend William Robinson proves an efficient helper.
John Yeardley and his companions left London on the 9th of the Sixth Month, and went first to Homburg, as he wished to place a young person in whom he was interested, at the school kept by the sisters Mueller at Friedrichsdorf, near that town. Whilst at Homburg he was suddenly attacked with a severe and painful disorder, and was reduced to great extremity. After about two weeks of suffering, he was restored to convalescence, when he thus breaks forth: --
How can I sufficiently record the mercy of my God in sustaining me in a time of great extremity, even when there was but little prospect of my ever seeing Norway. He blessed me with resignation and sustaining grace, so that I could rest as on the Saviour's bosom, for life or death. I knew my Lord and Master could do without my poor unworthy service in Norway; but if he had work for me to do in that land he would raise me up in his own time; and so he has done.
As soon as he had sufficiently recovered his strength, they set forth for Kiel; but not before John Yeardley had had a religious meeting with the pupils in the school.
I was, he says, enabled to address them in German; a precious feeling was over us, and many spirits were tendered before the Lord. F. Mueller expressed her great satisfaction with this parting visit.
They reached Kiel by easy stages in seven days. From this place he writes: --
My very soul pants to be in Norway; had I wings I could fly there. And yet how few are the days since the cloud between me and that land was so dense that I could not see through it. But even then, O, what sweet peace and resignation were the clothing of my humbled spirit. There seemed nothing in my way to heaven, whether from Germany or Norway. I do believe my eye and heart are fixed on my precious Saviour, and he has been my stay in the hour of sore conflict of body, but none of mind. All seemed peace and bliss when I glanced at the happy home above, already inhabited by my precious one and many more who were dear to us on earth. -- (Letter of 7 mo. 2, 1852.)
On the 5th of the Seventh Month they proceeded to Christiania, John Yeardley employing the time on the voyage in adding to the little stock of the Norse language which he had acquired at home in anticipation of the journey. On landing at Christiania they were refreshed by seeing Asbjoen Kloster of Stavanger, who had come to meet them, and for two weeks had been waiting their arrival.
At a meeting which they held in this city, both John Yeardley and Peter Bedford were engaged to minister to the spiritual wants of the people; A. Kloster interpreting for them. The company were so much interested, that many of them went afterwards to the hotel to converse and ask for tracts.
The Friends left Christiania on the 10th, and sailed through the rock-bound sea to Christiansand, the passage between the cliffs being in some places so narrow that there was no more room than was sufficient for the vessel to pass.
In this town they enjoyed much freedom in the gospel, and held two public meetings. Regarding the first of these, John Yeardley says: --
7 mo.13. -- Our large room at the hotel was filled half an hour before the time appointed, and it was with difficulty that we made our way to our seats. A little unsettlement prevailed from the desire to enter, which subsided after a few explanatory words. A time of quiet ensued, and there was much openness to receive the gospel message. Before the close of the meeting I became exceedingly thoughtful about appointing another for the next evening; and on intimating the same to P.B., I found he was under the same impression. It was, therefore, announced to the assembly before they separated, and appeared much to satisfy them. The dear people were unwilling to part from us without a shake by the hand. -- (Diary and Letter.)
At one of the meetings which they held in this town, whilst John Yeardley was preaching, he became sensible that his interpreter had himself received something to communicate to the congregation; he therefore stopped speaking, and the interpreter, faithful to his duty, took up the word until he had cleared his mind from its burden. After he had finished, John Yeardley resumed his discourse.
On the 14th the Friends drove out a few miles into the country to |pay some family visits.| They had two double carrioles, or gigs: the road over which they passed was |steep and rugged beyond description.| In returning, the carriole in which Peter Bedford rode struck against a rock at a sharp corner and was overset. Peter Bedford's right shoulder was dislocated, and he otherwise bruised. In conveying him into Christiansand he suffered much from the shaking of the car; but the joint was quickly set by a skilful surgeon; and, in the evening, the love he felt for the people was so strong, that he could not remain absent from the meeting which had been appointed for that time, and he even took part in its vocal exercise.
It was, writes John Yeardley, a favored time. Peter Bedford gave some account of the difference between our religious Society and other professing Christians. It opened the way for me to speak on the peculiar doctrines and practices of Friends at more length than I ever remember to have done before; after which the glad tidings of the gospel flowed freely, and the people were invited to come to Christ and partake of the full blessedness of his teaching by the Holy Spirit. A precious solemnity prevailed, and the serious attention of the company was great. A good many soldiers, and some officers, were present; but the expression of our dissent from all wars and fightings had not displeased them, for they shook hands with US most kindly. -- (Diary and Letter.)
Besides being interested for the people of Christiansand in general, John Yeardley and Peter Bedford were especially attracted towards several young men who had embraced the doctrines of Friends, without any knowledge of the Society, and without any instruction from man. With these persons they met more than once. John Yeardley writes: --
|We had a precious meeting with them. They were invited to embrace the doctrines of the gospel in living faith, and to give full room to the workings of the Spirit of Jesus, whose voice they had already heard inviting them to come under his teaching. We encouraged them to meet for divine worship.|
On the 16th the Friends proceeded thirty-five miles to Mandal, travelling post. From thence, John Yeardley and Asbjoen Kloster went by the road to Stavanger, leaving Peter Bedford and William Robinson to follow by steam-vessel, the former being unable to bear the motion of the Norwegian carriages.
John Yeardley, in one of his letters, in a lively manner describes the mode of travelling: --
The usual vehicle in this country is the single-seated carriole, made exactly to fit the figure of the traveller, and no spare room except a little well under his feet. The seat is placed on two crossbars fixed to the long shafts, the spring of which is intended to mitigate the jolting of the road. We chose double cars on iron springs, which we found not too easy: they were like old-fashioned, worn-out, and very shabby English gigs. The posting is under government regulation, and is performed by sure-footed ponies kept by the farmers, who are obliged to supply them under any circumstances after having had notice. A forbud is sent on with printed notices filled up with the time at which the traveller expects to arrive at each station. This avant-courier is often a little boy, and sometimes, to save the expense of a horse, for which the traveller has paid, he is sent on foot. On one occasion we met a young girl, with bare feat, who had walked sixteen miles with notice papers, as our forbud. Now away goes the traveller, accompanied by a man, or more often a boy, or it may be a little girl, to bring back the pony. They run by the side, but down hills always seat themselves behind on the luggage as best they can. The traveller drives himself, and the little horses are so brisk that, whatever the state of the road may be, they run down the mountains as fast as they can clatter, and so sure-footed that they are scarcely ever known to fall; but a person of weak nerves has no business to be the rider.
From Christiansand to Stavanger is about 200 miles, which took us four days. Our road lay occasionally over a wild and stony heath by the sea, sometimes along the river-banks, lakes, or fiords, but more often among and upon the high and rugged rocks; the passing of some of which is, I think, more difficult than crossing the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. -- (letter of 8 mo.3.)
On the way towards Stavanger John Yeardley had a public meeting at Flekkefiord, the first time such a meeting had been held in the place. It was |a good time,| and so well attended that the town-hall could not contain nearly all who came together.
Immediately on arriving at Stavanger, the Friends commenced visiting the families of the Friends in the town and on the adjacent islands; and on the next First-day held a meeting about eleven miles up one of the fiords, to which so many flocked from all directions that they were obliged to assemble in the open air: --
It was, says J.Y., a lovely sight to see so many clean-dressed peasants, in their mountain costume, with a seriousness in their countenances which indicated that a motive better than curiosity had brought them together. I was reminded and had to speak of the miracle of our blessed Saviour, when he commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass, and fed them with five barley loaves and two fishes.
Since this time, he says in a letter, we hold our public meetings in the open air, and the stillness that prevails is quite remarkable. Last evening we had a solemn opportunity in a plantation belonging to one of our Friends by the seaside. The hushing of the trees, the gentle rolling of the waves behind a strong sea-wall, and the warbling of the little birds, all seemed to aid our worship; but these would have been nothing had not the presence of our Divine Master been near. After the meeting, as many as could be seated partook of tea, &c. The seriousness, simplicity, kindness and hospitality, are great. All flock together as if they were one family. -- (7 mo.28.)
After this the Friends availed themselves of the efficient assistance of Endre Dahl, and of the active peasants who form a large portion of the Society of Friends there, in a more extensive excursion which they made up one of the fiords which in so remarkable a manner intersect the country. John Yeardley gives a graphic description of this voyage.
Our efficient helper prepared his own boat; our ship's company are all volunteers. We set out with seven, but were joined by others on the way, so that this morning we started with ten men. They are a most cheerful and playful company, all interested in the object of our voyage. It does my heart good to see with what delight they bring planks for seats, and run in all directions to give notice of our meetings. Each seems to strive which shall show us the most attention, even anticipating our wants. They enjoy our family readings and worship; their conduct is instructive; and the solemnity on these occasions precious.
On Fifth-day we landed on an island (Findon) sprinkled with trees, and with a park-like bank sloping to the water. This was refreshing to the eye after having seen nothing but bare rook for many days. The meeting was at our friend's house who owned the pretty little farm. It was sweet and refreshing; and afterwards a number of these people accompanied us to the boat, and did not quit their standing till we were out of sight. My heart yearned towards them in gospel love.
Next morning we started before 6 o'clock, and when we had rowed fourteen English miles put into a little village, Ielsom. We were all strangers in the place, and Friends and their principles unknown. Our friend Endre Dahl had a pointing that we should try for a meeting, which was appointed for 2 o'clock. After waiting till 3, only one or two persons came, and we had a consultation whether we should proceed on our voyage, but concluded it safer to go in and sit down. When we were seated (I may say in faith), first one and then another came in, till the large room and passage were filled, and a number were outside under the windows. It was quite a remarkable meeting, and we were well satisfied in having exercised patience as well as a little faith. We were informed that it was the custom of the place not to attend any appointed meeting till an hour after the time named.
We arrived at Sand about 9 o'clock, after hard rowing, the tide being against us. Sand is beautifully placed at an opening in the rocks, at the mouth of a river where salmon-fishing is good. As soon as we landed, our ship's company made the object of our journey known, when a serious-looking man immediately offered to go about six miles to inform a person who he knew would like to attend. Two individuals in this place have for some time been in the practice of holding a silent meeting for worship; they had no knowledge of Friends, nor Friends of them.
Fixing the meeting for the First-day evening, John Yeardley and his companions pursued their way the next morning, which was Seventh-day, to Saevde, situated at the head of the fiord, and consequently the extreme point of their voyage. Before starting they went a little way up the Sand river, to view one of the grand Norwegian waterfalls, and also to see how the salmon-fishery is conducted.
A hamper of about six feet in diameter, and the same height, made by the fisherman of the roughest wicker-work, is placed in a side stream of the rock, in the bed of the river. The anxiety of the salmon to mount up the stream is so great, that he forces himself through a hole into the hamper, as the easiest way of advancing upwards, from which position he cannot again escape. In this manner, in a favorable season, sixty-three salmon have been caught in one night in a single basket. It is a source of wealth to the little town of Sand.
At Saevde they held a meeting on First-day morning.
We reached the head of the fiord, writes John Yeardley by 12 o'clock, and found but poor accommodation. We three had one room with three beds; Endre Dahl with his willing-hearted and contented men lodged in a barn on straw. There was time enough to arrange for a meeting in the morning, and we applied for a room at the inn; but a little knot of illiberal Haugeans [followers of Hauge], or Saints, as they call themselves, persuaded our landlord not to let us meet in his house. But we obtained better accommodation under the rocks in a house containing two rooms connected by a passage, and, seating ourselves in the centre, could be well heard by those outside the door. We had a good meeting.
Returning to Sand, he continues: --
The wind being against us, the men had to work very hard at the oar to bring us in time for the meeting appointed for 6 o'clock at Sand. Some of the Friends from near Saevde accompanied us in their small boat; and some from Sand had gone many miles to attend the meeting at Saevde, and returned to the one at Sand. Their zeal is great and their love fervent. This was a very crowded meeting, and proved a satisfactory time. We found here a few of the Saints, but of a more liberal cast; they expressed great grief that their brethren at the head of the fiord had refused the peaceable messengers of the gospel from a far country a house in which to meet. This unwelcome news had reached them long before our arrival.
At a later date, John Yeardley relates an occurrence which happened at Sand, worthy of note in itself, and which must have been not a little confirmatory of his faith. It came to his knowledge after his return to Stavanger.
When we were at Sand, one of the Friends who joins in holding the silent meeting invited several of our ship's company to his house; but the man's wife was so exasperated that she drove them away, saying she would not have such folks under her roof. She had confounded the principles of Friends with those of some wild persons who had gone about the country spreading ranterism, and giving the people the idea that they were of our Society. It was in vain to reason with her, and the husband, for the sake of peace, mildly consented to let the Friends withdraw. However, she attended our public meeting, where the gospel doctrine of our Society was pretty fully illustrated; and I felt constrained also to preach on the unreasonableness of persecution for conscience' sake, either by the government, private persons, or families. Conviction seized her heart, and she became broken to pieces. After the meeting she sought up the Friends whom she had driven from her house, and told them she could not be happy unless they would give her a proof of forgiveness by taking up their abode in her family so long as they might remain in the place. Several of them accepted the invitation, which gave them an opportunity for free and satisfactory conversation.
How merciful are the Lord's doings with us in sending help in the needful time! I was so spent when we arrived at Sand, having had nothing from breakfast till 5 o'clock, that I said in my heart, It is impossible to get through the meeting this evening.
The Friends had some religions service at several other places about Stavanger, and on the 6th of the Eighth Month proceeded northward to Bergen, accompanied by Endre Dahl and his wife and Asbjoen Kloster. Their chief service in this city was a public meeting, at which there was a large attendance. John Yeardley says of the meeting: --
There was a great mixture of feeling. Many pious, thirsty souls, I believe, were present, and I hope such were encouraged and comforted; but the strong impression on my mind was to call the sinner to repentance.
On their way back to Stavanger, among the passengers were two Finland convicts, for whose peculiar case they felt much sympathy.
On board our steamer were two prisoners on the deck, in heavy irons. They were natives of Finland, and had been sentenced to some months' confinement in irons at Christiania, for having, it is said, committed some outrage on the priest in disturbing the national worship. There has for some time past been a great awakening about religion in Finland and other parts of the North, and the most active among this number, in their zeal not tempered with right knowledge, have transgressed the law. I heartily pitied the two poor creatures, inasmuch as I feared justice had not been done them; the prejudices of the priests and judges are so great in all matters connected with any separation from the national worship. They were chained together, and were clothed in their native reindeer skins, and on their ironed feet were snow-sandals turned up with a long toe. We offered them money, but they turned from it; and when acceptance of it was pressed, their change of countenance indicated anger. They understood nothing but the Finnish language.
On their return to Stavanger, Peter Bedford felt that his share in the work was accomplished, and that it was not his part to accompany John Yeardley in the service which remained for the latter to do in Norway. After being present at another public meeting in Stavanger, and in a parting interview with the Friends of the town, he went with William Robinson direct to Kiel. John Yeardley had two or three more meetings in the neighborhood of Stavanger, where the desire of the people to attend was more remarkable than ever.
On the 11th of the Eighth Month he bade farewell to this interesting place, and, accompanied by Endre Dahl, again crossed the mountains to Christiansand, holding meetings at several places on the sea-coast, where none had ever been held before. His notices of some of these meetings are well worth transcription.
14th -- Journeyed about fourteen miles up the fiord, into the mountains, to Aamut in Qvindesdalen. This meeting was the most solemn of any we have had. Many said, in tears, at the conclusion, This is a doctrine that we cannot resist; it goes to our heart, and meets the conviction of our own experience. What shall we do? -- our heart burns within us!
15th. -- We returned to Foedde to a meeting this afternoon, which was, I think, the largest we have had. There were two large rooms filled, and a number seated on planks on the grass; not less than about 700 persons were present. Many followed us to the lodging, to converse on subjects that lay near their hearts, and to ask for tracts and books. Among them was a man who goes about to exhort the people to amendment of life. He appeared to be a simple, sincere character, and was much satisfied with our meeting, saying, as if from the bottom of his heart, How remarkably, how wonderfully, have the truths of the gospel been opened and explained to us this day!
16th. -- At Fahrsund we had some difficulty to procure a place for a meeting. It is a brandy-drinking place. No one would bear anything of our business. A rich old lady has a large room which she lets for all kinds of purposes except for anything connected with religion; she gave an abrupt refusal to the application. E. Dahl and I went to the English vice-consul, showed him my certificate, and explained to him the object of my visit to Fahrsund. He kindly accompanied us to the old lady, and told her that we belonged to a respectable religious society in England and were not the persons she supposed, come to preach wild doctrines. She consented to let us occupy the entrance-hall, which was good and spacious. The consul then went with me to call on the sheriff; he said he and his lady would attend the meeting, which they did, with a good many of the respectable inhabitants, but the common people would not come near us. One man to whom a notice was offered, when he saw the word worship, immediately tore it to pieces. The lady to whom the room belonged sat near me all the meeting, and looked serious before the close; and she took leave of us with very different feeling from that in which she first met us. The sheriff came to me after the meeting and offered his hand, saying, I thank you for the present occasion -- I shall never forget it.
Before the meeting at Foedde John Yeardley had an opportunity of refreshing his mind with the charms of Norwegian nature.
My friend E. Dahl and I went out for a quiet walk. It was a lovely Sabbath morning; the sky cloudless, and the sun shining brightly on the water as it rapidly foamed down the cliffs. After gathering a few cranberries we seated ourselves on a shady rock to meditate. All was silent around -- nothing heard but the shepherd-boy playing his horn; the sound coming from the distant mountains into the wooded valley where we sat, first shrill, then softening into a simple irregular note. My friend asked me what I thought the instrument was. It is made, said he, of a goat's horn, and is blown to keep the fox from taking the young lambs, and as a means of communication with other shepherds when widely separated on the mountains; the sound of this horn also keeps the sheep from straying.
They arrived at Christiansand on the 19th; and Endre Dahl, finding a vessel sailing for Stavanger, engaged a passage in it for himself. After parting with him, John Yeardley writes: --
E. Dahl and I have been closely united in the gospel bond; he has been a truly affectionate sympathizer and efficient helper. I am thus, he continues, left alone in a strange land; but I do feel a peaceful and a thankful heart to my Heavenly Father that he has in mercy blessed me with light, strength, and faith to go through this service in Norway. Imperfectly has it been performed, I know; but I have done what I could, and a song of thanksgiving is due to my Lord.
John Yeardley returned by Germany to England. At Obernkirchen, near Minden, where some persons had not long before been convinced of Friends' principles, he had a meeting, in which he was joined by a number of Friends from Minden. A few years before, Thomas Arnett, from America, desired to hold a meeting for worship in this place, but was prevented by the police. The object was now accomplished by engaging a room without the limits of the state of Bueckeburg, in which the town is situated, and within the Hessian frontier, which includes, in fact, a part of Obernkirchen.
A public meeting for worship in that place (says John Yeardley, in a letter written after his return home,) was such a new thing, that on our arrival we found a press of persons whom the room could by no means contain. The landlord readily granted us his barn, which was commodious, and we threw open the large doors into the yard, which was seated; besides which, the people stood in numbers. We had a solemn meeting. There is a little company who hold a meeting at Obernkirchen; several of these have suffered on account of their religions scruples in refusing baptism to their children, &c. These we invited after meeting to take coffee with us, about thirty persons, all serious. It was a delightful occasion. After the coffee we had a sweet parting meeting with this truly interesting company. We had been given to expect that, although we had taken the precaution to pitch our tent without the limits of the intolerant place, the police would be present, and would most probably disperse our assembly. But no such thing; -- all was quiet.
I was thankful (he adds in his Diary) that the meeting was held in quiet, for there is a bitter feeling of persecution in the neighborhood. I was previously much cast down, but |thanks be unto God who always causeth us to triumph in Christ.|