THE FOURTH CONTINENTAL JOURNEY.
In the journey which now lay before them, John and Martha Yeardley were about to explore a part of Europe hitherto untried,—the province of Languedoc, conspicuous in past ages for its superior enlightenment, but now, owing to the temporary mastery of error, wrapt in ignorance and gloom. In this mission, the opportunities which they found for reviving and gathering together the scattered embers of truth, were nearly confined to social intercourse; in seeking occasions for which, they availed themselves of introductions by pious Prostestants from place to place, whilst they were careful, as had always been their practice, to wait, in every successive step, for the direction of the Divine Finger. The mission was performed in much weakness of body, and under frequent spiritual poverty; yet it will be readily acknowledged that theirs was a favored lot, to be able, with the clue of gospel love in their hand, to trace the pathway of Christian truth, and the footsteps of true spiritual worship, and of a faithful testimony for Christ, through the midst of a degenerate and benighted land.
They went to London on the 2nd of the Eighth Month, and spent the time before they sailed in gathering information and counsel for their approaching journey, and in social visits. Speaking of one of these visits (to their nephew J. S., at Clapton), John Yeardley says:—
Before parting we had a religious opportunity, in which a word of exhortation flowed in gospel love, and ability was granted to approach the throne of mercy in solemn supplication. I often wish we were more faithful in raising our hearts to the Lord before separating from our friends when met on social occasions; a blessing might attend such simple offerings.
In a visit they paid to Thomas and Carolina Norton, the subject of establishing a school for the children of Friends in the South of France came under consideration; a project which, as we shall see, they were able in their visit to that part of the country to carry into effect.
They left London on the 16th, and on the 19th arrived at Amiens, where they halted for a few days. They found in this city a movement among the Roman Catholics, a number of whom had joined the Protestant worship. The Protestant Pastor, Cadoret, was very friendly to them; when he heard that they belonged to the Society of Friends, he pressed John Yeardley’s hand and said, I am very glad to make your acquaintance; it is the first time I have seen any of your Society, of whom I have heard much.
On the 20th J.Y. writes, in allusion to the spiritual darkness which so generally covered the land of France;—
My soul is cast down, but when I am afflicted because of the wickedness of the people, I call to remembrance these words: “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”—Psalm xxxvii. 1, 3.