THE TESTIMONY OF MARMADUKE STEVENSON
Source: London Yearly Meeting, Christian Life, Faith, and Thought, Being the First Part of
Christian Discipline of the Religious Society of Friends of Great Britain. London: Friends' Book
(Marmaduke Stevenson was one of the Boston martyrs, executed by hanging October 27, 1659
for being a Quaker. He wrote this brief life story a week before his death.)
This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.
In the beginning of the year 1655, I was at the plough in the east parts of Yorkshire in Old
England, near the place where my outward being was; and, as I walked after the plough, I was
filled with the love and presence of the living God, which did ravish my heart when I felt it, for it
did increase and abound in me like a living stream, so did the life and love of God run through me
like precious ointment giving a pleasant smell, which mad me to stand still. And, as I stood a
little still, with my heart and mind stayed upon the Lord, the word of the Lord came to me in a
still, small voice, which I did hear perfectly, saying to me in the secret of my heart and
conscience, "I have have ordained thee a prophet unto the nations," and, at the hearing of the
word of the Lord, I was put to a stand, seeing that I was but a child for such a weighty matter.
So, at the time appointed, Barbados was set before me, unto which I was required of the Lord to
go and leave my dear and loving wife and tender children; for the Lord said unto me, immediately
by HIs Spirit, that He would be as an husband to my wife and as a father to my children, and they
should not want in my absence, for He would provide for them when I was gone. And I believed
the Lord would perform what He had spoken, because I was made willing to give up myself to
His work and service, to leave all and follow Him, whose presence and life is with me, where I
rest in peace and quietness of spirit, with my dear brother [William Robinson] under the shadow
of His wings, who hath made us willing to lay down our lives for His name's sake, if unmerciful
men be suffered to take them from us. And, if they do, we know we shall have rest and peace
with the Lord for ever in His holy habitation, when they shall have torment night and day.
So, in obedience to the living God, I made preparation to pass to Barbados in the Fourth month
[June] 1658. So, after some time that I had been on the said island in the service of God, I heard
that New England had made a law to put the servants of the living God to death if they returned
after they were sentenced away, which did come near me at that time; and, as I considered the
thing and pondered it in my heart, immediately came to word of the Lord unto me, saying, "Thou
knowest not but that thou mayst go thither."
But I kept this word in my heart and did not declare it to any until the time appointed, so, after
that, a vessel was made ready for Rhode Island, which I passed in. so, after a little time that I had
been there, visiting the seed which the Lord had blessed, the word of the Lord came to me
saying, "Go to Boston with they brother William Robinson," and at His command I was obedient
and gave up to His will, that so His work and service may be accomplished. for He had said unto
me that He had a great work for me to do, which is now come to pass. And, for yielding
obedience to and for obeying the voice and command of the everlasting God, which created
heaven and earth and the foundations of waters, do I, with my dear brother, suffer outward bonds
near unto death.
And this is given forth to be upon record, that all people may know who hear it, that we came
not in our own will but in the will of God.
Given forth by me, whom am know to men by the name of MARMADUKE STEVENSON, but
have a new name given me, which the world knowns not of, written in the book of life. (Besse,
Sufferings, 1753, vol. II., pp. 201, 202.)