Thursday, August 17, 2017

Comfort Hoag Collins Woman Minister for Society of Friends in Seabrook New Hampshire

Comfort Collins (1711-1816) daughter of James Stanyan and Anne Hussey was among the many women to preach the Quaker faith in the colonies. She was described by many as a lively and vibrant messenger of God. She lived to be 105 years old. (The Panoplist and Missionary Magazine, Volume 12)

Comfort's mother, Anne Hussey was the daughter of Reverend John Hussey and Rebecca Perkins (d. of Isaac Perkins and Susannah Wise) One of her siblings was also noted for her vibrancy and her devotion to the Quaker faith--Lydia Perkins Wardwell, wife of Eliakim Wardell

Comfort Stanyan married 1st Jonathan Hoag and 2nd Tristram Collins (Vital Records Hoag, Comfort, wid. Jonathan, of Hampton, N. H., and Tristram Collins of Seabrook, N. H., May 29, 1771) 

The Hoags were Newbury, Massachusetts settlers. Johnathan Hoag, born 10 Dec 1708 in Amesbury to Benjamin Hoag and Lydia Jones. There is a genealogy done Hoag Family  

According to Daughters of the Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies, by Rebecca Larson, Comfort set sail for England to preach, however the ship sprang a leak and she returned. Her first marriage in 1733 was to Jonathan Hoag, son of John Hoag and Martha Goodwin. The family struggled financially and a wealthy Quaker provided for the family while Comfort was preaching. 

In Memoirs of the Life and Gospel Labours Stephen Grellet, Volume 1
At Amesbury we were refreshed and instructed in the company of that ancient and valuable servant of the Lord, Comfort Collins, then upwards of ninety years of age, but green in the Divine 'life, and a bright example of humility. She appeared to have her indwelling in Christ. Her mental faculties were bright, and she had lately traveled as a Gospel Minister. About forty years ago, Comfort Collins, then a Hoag, having surrendered herself and her all to the Divine will, under a sense of duty to go to England on religious service, with the unity of her friends, embarked for Europe, accompanied by Sarah Barney. After they had been out at sea about a week, as they were sitting together in the cabin, in solemn silence before the Lord, Comfort said to Sarah, ‘The Lord has accepted my free-will offering to his Divine will, to go to Europe, and now he releases me from this service; and, as a proof of it, he will bring us back again to the American shores.’ Sarah Barney told me that the communication was attended with so much solemnity, that she could not doubt that it was of the Lord. Without exchanging a word with one another, they continued a considerable time in silence, when they heard the captain of the ship speaking with his trumpet to another ship, stating that he was under the necessity of returning to port, as his vessel had sprung a leak, which the Friends knew not before. Thus were these women brought back, and from that time they felt themselves entirely released from the service of traveling in Europe. '
After a visit to Comfort in 1812 Matthew Franklin, wrote in a letter that he "was deeply impressed by his interview with her--All her faculties have in a manner fled but to save religious sensibility."

From the journal of John Comly who visited Comfort in Seabrook before her death in 1815 he remarks on her 
"To me, this interview and parting with these aged women was exceedingly interesting and instructive, and some deep and lasting impressions were made on my mind."
"They were a text and sermon that have left a precious and lasting lesson of comfort and instruction to my soul.

In Memoirs of the Life of David Ferris: An Approved Minister in the Society of Friends, Late of Wilmington, in the State of Delaware (1825) Ferris refers to Comfort:

In the year 1755, being in company with Comfort Hoag and her companion, from New-England, then on a religious visit to Friends in this part of the country, I attended a meeting with them, in which I felt a concern to speak to the assembly; but, as usual, evaded it. After meeting, Comfort said to me: “David, why didst thou not preach to day 2" I smiled at the query, seeming to wonder that she should ask such a question and endeavored to appear innocent and ignorant of any concern of that kind. 
As she (Comfort) knew nothing of me but what she had felt,‘v (having never before seen or heard of me,) she said no more. On the following day a similar concern came upon me, and I evaded it as before. After meeting, Comfort again said to me: “David, why didst thou not preach to-day 2” 
I endeavored to pass it by as before, but she said it was not worth while to evade it, for she was assured that I ought to have preached that day ;- and that I had almost spoiled her meeting by refraining, which had hindered her service. When I found I could not conceal my faults, I confessed the whole, and told her I had been for more than twenty years in that practice; and then gave her a history of my life from the beginning down to that day. She admired that Divine kindness was yet manifested toward me in such a manner, seeing I had so long rebelled against it. And then gave me suitable caution and advice.
The following day, being at meeting, I again felt a concern to speak to the people, but endeavored to evade it. A man of some note was sitting before me, and increased my
reluctance to speak. I supposed he would not be present at the next meeting, and then I would obey the call of the Lord to that service. Thus I spent the greater part of an hour. 
At length my Divine Master, the great Master Builder, thus addressed me: “Why dost thou still delay, desiring to be excused until a more convenient season? There never will be a better time than this; I have waited on thee above twenty years ; I have clearly made known to thee my will, so that all occasion of doubt has been removed, yet thou hast refused to submit, until thy day is far spent, and if thou dost not speedily comply with my commands, it will be too late; thy opportunity will be lost.” 
I then clearly saw that if I were forsaken, and left to myself, the consequence would be death and darkness for ever! At the sight of the horrible pit that yawned for me, if I continued in disobedience, my body trembled like an aspen leaf, and my soul was humbled within me! Then I said, “Lord! here am I; make of me what Thou wouldst have me to be; leave me not in displeasure, I beseech Thee.” All my power to resist was then suspended, I forgot the great man that had been in my way and was raised on my feet I scarcely knew how, and expressed, in a clear and distinct manner, what was on my mind. 
When I had taken my seat, Comfort Hoag rose, and had an open, favorable opportunity to speak to the assembly. After meeting she told me that, during the time we had sat in silence, her whole concern was on my account; that her anxiety for my deliverance from that bondage was such, that she was willing to ofl'er up her natural life to the Lord, if it might be a means to bring me forth in the ministry ; and that, on her making the offering, I rose to speak. On which her anxiety for me was removed, and her mind filled with comcern for the people present.

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