Although raised by sober and godly parents, after the death of her mother, Ruth Follows (1718-1809) “fell largely into vanity,” frequenting such company as she later said was likely to have proved her ruin, had not the Lord followed her closely with His judgments and reproofs. As she was brought near unto the Lord, and made to love His chastisements, she was rewarded with His sweet presence and peace, and near the thirtieth year of her age she felt a necessity laid upon her to bear a public testimony to His name and goodness. Though at first she felt very unwilling “to be counted a fool or a gazing-stock to the world,” she eventually yielded to the Lord’s requirings, and was frequently made to part with her husband and children for the work of the ministry, visiting England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, and laboring faithfully among a largely backslidden church.
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The journal and letters of Ruth Follows, a valuable minister in the Society of Friends, describing her travels and experiences in the ministry, and her constant concern for the preservation of a living church in the midst of an increasingly lukewarm generation.