Born: 1715, Mimms Middlesex
Died: 1800, Fulneck

Learn more about the life of Sarah Gurney

Sarah Gurney.
I was Born in Mimms Middlesex, Octr the 27th 1745. My Parents waswere of the
Church of England wherein I was Baptiz’d & brought up. In my Childhood
I was convinced of sin & felt I was not right & alreadly then believed that I must
attain to something at yet unpossess’d, or I could not be saved. My natural diss-
position was flighty so that what tender impressions I had in my heart, waswere
of short duration. When I was 13 years old a Discenting Gentlewoman took
me into her family, where I was instructed in thosethe principles of that denomination; I read their
Bookes & particularly Backesters Call to the unconverted, which frighten’d
me exceedingly, for I felt I fell short of all righteousness, & therefore endeavour’d
to reform my life by more strict observance of my duty, especially by reading,
praying & frequenting the meetings, which I prefer’d before those of the
E. Church, because I thought these people were more sincere. In 1730 my
Father being sick I visited him & was greatly concerned for his Salvation,
& therefore kneel’d down by his bed, read & pray’d by him, putting the Bible
into his Hands, when he open’d to that portion of Scripture, Remember
thy Creator in the days of thy youth, that when thou art old he may
not be hid from thine Eyes. This so Affected me that I immediately rose up,
giving up all the concern I had for my dear Fathers happiness, trusting to
this Lord for his Salvation, taking those words as a demand from God upon
me; nevertheless the loss of so affectionate a Parent affected me so, that I
wish’d to be buried with him, believing I shou’d never care for life any more.
In 1733 my Lady also departed & I return’d to London, where I waited on 2
young Ladies, who with their Mother Lady Askew waswere of the E. Church
but lived in all the gayeties of this world. Here I forgot my former resolutions,
I went into all manner of those so called innocent diversions viz Cards,
Dancing, plays & yet not without strong convictions which at times caused
me very heavy reflections. In this family I was in the way of many & great
temptations, so that at length I was obliged to leave my place, & got another
in Putney, where all my convictions return’d, & a deep sense of my miserable
condition caused a melancholy to overwhelm me, which notwithstanding the
advise & admonitions of Ministers & who endeavor’d to persuade me that I
enough yet I was convinced of the contrary & wanted to find out a
of God, for I firmly believed there were such in the world & that they

Page 1

could help me. The housekeeper in the family being a relation of the late
Br Williams, she invited him one day to Tea, which gave me an oppertunity
(when she went out) to ask him what religion he was of? He told me the Church
of England; I being concern’d & he appearing the same to me, I took the freedom
to ask him of he always went to the Church, he ans’d not always; I desir’d
to know where then; he told me there was a religious Society in Fetter Lane.
I ask’d him if I might have leave to come? he said yes, as also told me the
time of they meetings & promis’d (it being winter) to come for me, which he
faithfully did the next Sunday at 5 in the morning. Here I heard Br Brown
preach from the Text He was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, & with
his stripes we are healed. We had not set long before the people from
without peltered us with stores & bricks breaking the windows & doing much
mischief, so that I was very much frightened & not able to attend to the Sermon.
The late Sr Loyd by whom I sat bad me be compos’d, for she had that
confidence in the Lord that he would not suffer us to be hurt, & when the
preaching was over ask’d me how I had lik’d it? I ansd I could not tell,
for altho’ I was very desirous to to sav’d, yet I believed I shou’d never come any
more there, for I was terribly frighten’d, & thought that thereby I risk’d my
life, consequently I went no more for 3 years, during which time I was wishing
much to get into a Nunery, & did all in my power to attain to the same, but
as I was informed that I must go to France, for which I had not ability
otherwise then as a servant, which I did not chuse, as I was informed they
would use me as their slave, I dropt that scheme; At this time there was to be a confirmation
in the Church, when I consequently with many other young women was
confirm’d by the Bishop, & the Sunday following partook of the Lord’s
Supper during which I felt the Lordblessed me. After all this I got
an inclination to go again to Fetter Lane & found there was a Congn settled
& all stillness, where I again met with Br Willams & Sr Loyd whom I knew,
I was directly assured in my heart that they were Childn of God, & that to
them I belonged. I was priviledged with going to all the meetings on that
day, whereby I was more devinely assur’d of my heavenly calling. The
following week Br Williams sent me a note to come the next Sunday,

Page 2

when I should see some pilgrim Brs & Srs, I did not understand
his meaning, yet when I was present at a meeting, held to the S. Women
by the late Discipleordinary of the Brn in German which Br Spaningburg interpreted
& at which was present Anna Nitchman, Benigna & Sr. Anna LaTrobe
I soon understood they were the pilgrims that I was come to see.
My coming to the Brn was kept secret from the family for 3/4 of a
year till at length they got intelligence that I went after a religious
sect of people, which bore an indifferent character, & they fearing the
consequence sent for the Minister which had me confirm’d, he questioned
me very strictly about the Brn, & ask’d me whether I realy knew that I
was going among a pearcel of strolers. I told him he must be mistaken
for I was convinc’d they were Childn of God; he said how had I come
to this knowledge? I told him I had felt it in my heart, that there was
no salvation but in the Gospel they preached thro’ faith in our Saviour
to the forgiveness of sins; upon which he wish’d me to say what sins
I had committed, I ansd him I felt myself full of sin, altho’ I had been
preserved from outward transgressions & knew I must have forgiveness
otherwise I cou’d not saved. He ask’d me many more questions, so that
at length I grew quite weary went & fetch’d him all the Books that
I had then in my possession of the Brns & desir’d him to read them
atentively & then return them again; with this I left him at that time
but in a few days he sent for me to his House return’d me the Books and
saying he would have me consider it well over before I left the
Church. I told him, I knew what I was about, as also the people &
wish’d he knew them as well. After this conversation he came to our
House & desir’d my Mrs to part with me, I being a very dangerous
person & enough to infect her whole House. I felt an exceeding great
love for the Brns people & wish’d more earnestly for a nearer connection
& beg’d our Saviour to make known his lovein my heart, & from this
time was convinced had no righteousness, therefore ceased not to pray
our Saviour for forgiveness & that he wou’d cloth me with his righte-
ousness, which soon after I felt in my heart & was as a new born child so
free; it was as if our dear Saviour had shed his blood alone for me, I was
quite happy & every way well. This happiness lasted about 3 months,

Page 3

but not knowing my own poverty & weakness & that I stood in need of
renewed Grace every moment, I grew dark & miserable & reason’d against our
Saviour feeling an unwillingness to be stript of everything & saved alone
by him, I was often frightened at the sight of my self & was wretched to
the last degree: but the dear H. Ghost ceased not that work which he has
begun in my heart but as I afterwards found all was unmerited grace &
favor. I took the Hymn Book up in my distress & open’d to that Verse ye
wounds of Jesusbless me now & blood of Jesus flow me thro’ &c. & I found again
confidence to our Saviour. I came again to London & was hirred in Mr Raymonds
family. 1747I was rec’d into the Congn which was really blessed to me &
felt a longing desire to partake of the H. Sacrament, but a deep sense of my own
unworthiness & the feeling of my wretched nature made me afraid to venture
on so sacred a matter, therefore waited 2 years longer, when I had a particular
favorable opportunity with Anna Nitchman & A. Johanna in Red Lyon Square
who advis’d me to leave my place, which I readily did & came to live with Sr
Stonehouse, I was soon admitted to the H. Comn which made a lasting,
impression on my heart for I knew & felt I fed on the Lords body & blood, but
nevertheless I often hinder’d myself of many blessings thro’ unfaithfullness
which occasioned often hours of distress, but the dear H. Ghost often repre-
sented to my heart the sufferings & dying love of Jesus to procure my peace
which made me truly ashamed & a real humble sinner. After my Mrs decease I
I was sent by our dear A. Nitchman to the Boys OeconomyNursery in Mile end
where I enjoy’d a very happy period & sabatic season. 1754 I came to Sr Larish
in Linsey House from whence in May 1755 we set out for Hhuth where we
arrived July 12th here I was with my whole heart which made my time pass the
better with my much respectedSr Larish. After her happy Departure I had
the favor to go to the C Choir house, where I have enjoy’d many unspeakable
blessings for my poor heart, particularly in the C Choir meetings which the late Count
Disciple kept in Bethelsdorf to which I went. In this Choir House atHhuth I learnt
to know myself better, which has prov’d a wholesome school to me, & for which I
shall feel greatful to my latest breath. March 1758 I was admitted among
the Intercessors which opportunities has prov’d salutary & blessed to me
after which I liv’d 4 years in the Childrns Oeconomy & then rec’d a call to Fulneck
to be among the Childn there where, I also remain’d 4 years, & then came to live
and the C Choir House here where, I have been ever since thousand, thousand
thanks be rendered to my graciousLord & Saviour who has led me thus far, & assured
me of my everlasting happiness in him.

Page 4

Continuation of the life of Sarah Gurney I have to add the following: Since I came into the single sisters house
at Fulneck the Holy Ghost took me into his school, & showed me that
I ought to love our Saviour more than I did & that I had not that earnest
desire which I should have for the manifestation of his love to me. Though
he had followed me from my infancy, yet now he discovered my depravity
poverty & helplessness returning my abode in the sisters house in a particular
manner, I was in darkness sometimes through unbelief & the feeling of my
misery, & if it one not for his love & pitty he would have taken his grace from

me but he did not, but from time to time helped me, letting me see clearly
that without him there is no happiness, I felt my lost estate but he drew me
near to himself & did not let me rest till I could by faith apply his Atone
ments to myself & know that I was his & he was mine. If I had been
more faithful to his leading I should have experienced more happiness & have
been more to his honor. I am still his poor child. I see & feel my sinfulness
& that so very slowly toward the mark I press, but Jesuscomforts me, who out
mercy free me all my guilt with patience in the accursed tree. Now my
hearts inclination is a deep prostration for my Saviourspain, To be therby
melted so that each one felt it how I love that Man. May his love be
be all my own & may I in future love him with my whole heart
from here to eternity though I shall fall short in time & eternity. I can
never praisehim sufficiently for what he has done to me his worthy child.
His Holy Spirit often reproved me, but when with contrition I owned all to him, he
forgave me again, In short I live by his forgiveness. He I wascared for me
with thetenderness of a Mother. O that I could praise my heavenly Father and my
Saviour& I could better than I do! O that I didmight never forget his mercies to me
which alas I have often doneby heand tho’ I have often to my great loss been forgetful, yet he my great Saviour still remained the same
For waswhich I now will praise him as well as I can, & willshall do it better when I see him.
Thus far her own words, to which her Sisters added the following.

Page 5