William Edmundson (1627—1712) is generally considered to be both the first and the most distinguished member of Society of Friends in Ireland. He was convinced of the truth in 1653 by the powerful preaching of James Nayler, and spent over 50 years traveling and suffering for its promotion in the earth. Before the Lord he was meek and submissive, but before the enemies of truth he was as bold as a lion, fearlessly “manifesting the truth to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” His life was fraught with persecutions and prisons, being often reviled and abused for his obedience to Christ. But through all he remained faithful, and was preserved in strength of body and mind to a good old age, tirelessly serving the church and bearing much fruit to the end of his days.
I met here with the Journal of William Edmundson, one of their preachers in the last century. If the original equaled the picture, (which I see no reason to doubt,) what an amiable man was this! What faith, love, gentleness, long-suffering! I scruple not to say, ‘Let my soul be with the soul of William Edmundson!’- John Wesley
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The journal, epistles, and papers of William Edmundson, giving an account of his convincement of the truth through the preaching of James Nayler, his trials and sufferings for the gospel in Ireland, and his extensive ministerial labors in America, the West Indies, and elsewhere.
“Here I met with our ancient and honourable friend William Edmundson, whom I had a great desire to see, having a deep and reverent value for him from seeing him before in England, though he knew little or nothing of me. I believed, if I was not what I should be, he would not only observe wherein, but would deal plainly with me.”— John Fothergill