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PHILADELPHIA, THIRD MONTH 21, 1857.
EDITED BY AN ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDS.
PUBLISHED BY WM. W. MOORE,
F.very Seventh day at Two Dollars per annum, pay. ahtt in adranc*. Three copies sent to one address for Five Dollars.
Communications must be addressed to the Publisher, f ree ot expense, to whom all payments are to be made.
EXTRACT FHOM MEMOIR OF PRISCILLA GURNEY. [Continued from page 815, Vol. xiii ]
The accustomed avocations of Priscilla Gurney —visiting the infirm and sick, attendance at schools, which she had been the chief instrument in establishing, and the higher duties of frequenting the religious meetings at home, and in other districts of her own Quarterly Meeting—occupied the Autumn months of 1817. Early in the Twelfth Month she left home, with the concurrence of her friends, in order to visit the meetings of Friends in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire.
Fourth-day.—Called on some Friends. I felt the great privilege of the domestic comfort and good order which so conspicuously prevail amongst Friends. The meeting interested mo much. Many serious people were present. A quiet solemnity seemed to prevail over them.— 1 had to speak on this text, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write," and of the experience of the disciples formerly. They were led to expect the Messiah and to feel the need of a Redeemer: they rejoiced to find Him. This also applied to those present: had they not also found their Saviour? iSuch were encouraged to follow Him, to take up their daily cross, and to deny themselves. I had also to express my desire that they might be more fully brought into the love of God, and the patient waiting for Christ; abiding in Him in spirit, so as to bring forth much fruit. The afternoon was occupied in calling on several of the Friends. Much sweetness and true simplicity were, I thought, conspicuous. I felt, as I entered a little cottage, the force of these words—" The blessing of the Lord maketh truly rich." I had to express my hope that, through faith and obedience, they would increasingly become partakers of this blessing. ... I felt much exhausted and
fatigued this evening, but I hope thankful in having been carried through another day.
Fifth-day.—At Earith. Felt low and cast down; but in the meeting had to speak on the living waters. "If thou hadst asked of me, I would have given thee living water." The invitation still goes forth, "Ho! every one that thirsteth!" Our journey through life may be compared to the Israelites. To those whose trust is in the Lord the waters are " driven back, the mountains skip like rams, and the little hills like lambs." iMy dear uncle and aunt joined us before meeting, which was remarkably solemn, and I felt the silence to be quieting and composing to my soul. Before the meeting closed, I had to remind them of the disciples in the storm, and the Master's gracious language, " Peace, be still;" exemplified in our own experience, the power of the Redeemer being known amongst us to quiet every storm, to enlighten our darkness, and to strengthen us in weakness—encouragement to sit at his feet.
FirU-Day.—Meeting at Downham, which was interesting. I felt inexpressibly my poverty and darkness; but in this state I felt the power of the Spirit to arise. I was engaged in supplication that those who had put their hand to the plough might be preserved from looking back. Afterwards, I had to speak on these words, " By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns," &c. What are the fruits of the good seed? Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, &c. How far are they produced in us? Our situation in life is not the thing to be considered; but this simple question applicable to all, Do we abide in Christ? They that abide in Christ shall indeed be fruitful branches.
Second-day, lid, Twelfth Month.—Returned to Earlham with the C.'s, for whom I felt afresh interested. In reviewing this little journey I have reason to acknowledge that I have found strength to be given in weakness, and experienced the Lord to be a present helper in the needful time. I have also felt encouraged in my visits to these Friends, believing that He in whom is life is near to many of them. It was pleasant to see some in little cottages, which gave me the feeling of being peaceful habitations. My prevailing desire for them has been, and is, that they may be ever kept on the true and only foundation, Christ Jesus, the Lord: that he maybe unto them the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In the evening I attended our Norwich select meeting, and had to say a few words on the language of Peter: "Lord, I will lay down my life for thy sake;" and on the danger of afterwards denying Christ.
23d.—Quarterly Meeting. This might be truly called a solemn day, and one in which the presence of the Lord seemed to own us. I had to address the meeting on those words: "To you who believe, He is precious, but to the disobedient a stone of stumbling and a rock of offencealso, on the preciousness of the Redeemer to the penitent sinner, to the afflicted, and, finally, to those who are brought to a bed of sickness, and to the hour of death. But what is the hope of those to whom the cross of Christ is a stumbling-block? Encouragement to those who, through faith, have known Christ to be precious to their souls, and warning to those who still stumble at his word: with my earnest desire for us all that we may be so brought to the Redeemer, as to know his preciousness here and hereafter. I had to lay my concern for visiting Ireland before the women, and then before the men Friends. The time in the men's meeting was one of deep solemnity. Dearest Joseph supplicated for me in a pathetic and feeling manner, for my support and consolation in this service, and that, if it be consistent with the Lord's will, I might be restored to them in peace. My heart was deeply affected; but the voice of the Lord had been mightier to my soul than the voice of many waters. I had to to leave with our men Friends these few words: "Say unto Jerusalem, fear not; and unto Zion, let not thine hands be slack." The women's meeting concluded with the supplication that we wight yet know in all future seasons, when collected together, or when separated, that "the Lord's arm is not shortened that it cannot save, nor his ear grown heavy that he cannot hear." Dined at the Grove, and we passed a sweet evening, in much love and harmony. As I was reflecting on the past day, I felt as if it had been a wedding-day to me; though no earthly marriage indeed. I was thinking it was just as if all my dear friends had been signing my marriage certificate. I was engaged in these thoughts when my dear uncle Joseph broke the silence, by saying, "Well I this day has been to my feelings like a wedding-day, a day of espousals, a day of solemn covenant with our God I" He then expressed how very sweet and heavenly an influence had been spread over us; desiring that we might puy our vows and keep our covenants. It was particularly striking to me. I prayed that this day of visitation might be blessed to us: Dearest Lord 1 if this day haB been, indeed, as a wedding-day to me—not temporally, but spiritually —if I have had afresh to enter into a solemn covenant with Thee, then be Thou with me, weaning my wandering affections from earthly
things, and set them entirely on things above; that I may indeed say, " My heart is fixed." And as Thou seest meet that my longing heart should not be satisfied with anything here below, be pleased to fill up this void with thine own Spirit, and, by the consolations of thy presence, make the desert of my heart to blossom as the rose. Be the Bridegroom and the beloved of my soul, that, finally, I may find rest and peace and joy in Thee, my strength and my Redeemer.
First-day, 4th.— At meeting, I had to enlarge a little on the parable of the tares and the wheat. It is not for us to judge, or here to separate the tares from the wheat; but it is for us to watch individually over ourselves, that the tares be not sown, or suffered to grow up among the good seed. At the afternoon meeting, had to speak on the importance of partaking of the Bread of Life—even of Christ Jesus, who came down from heaven that those who partake of Him, spiritually, may never die. In the latter part of this day, I felt something of very deep conflict, almost tribulation of mind. The division between earthly and heavenly things has, at times, been a sharp and close trial.
First Month, 11th.—Of the conflicts which I have passed through in the prospect of visiting Ireland, it is enough to say that they have been peculiar, and very deep. But I desire, also, ever to remember that, in the midst of many infirmities and many sorrows, the Everlasting Arm has been underneath to sustain; and I trust that the fruits have been, to have my heart more simply fixed on Christ as my only Saviour, and on his Spirit as my only effectual Comforter.
First-day, 21s<.—This was an exercising day to us—Dublin Meeting is large. I had to supplicate that the same gospel love that had led us forth might still be shed abroad in our hearts; and not only in ours, but in the hearts of those amongst whom our lot might be cast. We felt it difficult to reach the living seed of the kingdom and the deep waters. In the afternoon a a few words were expressed on the importance of watchfulness. Many Friends assembled to see us in the evening. I often feel much at being anything to be sought after, well knowing my poverty, weakness, and how little I have in myself.
Second-day, 22d.—Left Dublin for Wicklow, where we were received by Friends, who were very kind, hospitable, and easy in their manners. Before we separated at night I longed for us to be brought at least to the spirit of prayer, and had to say a few words on the subject.
23d.—The meeting interesting and relieving. Expressed a little on those words, " All flesh is grass," &c, "but the Word of the Lord abideth forever," and on the infinite importance of the Word abiding in us. After dinner supplicated for a blessing, and that the Word of the Lord might bring forth fruit for the little community at Wicklow, that their light might shine before the people, who appear to ait " in darkness and in the shadow of death." Returned to Dublin.
How have we to experience, day after day, that grace is sufficient for us in our great weakness!
Fourth-day, Third Month, 4«A —The ride to Belfast very pleasing: the appearance of the country cheerful and flourishing. At the meeting at Belfast I had to express a little on the inquiring language, "Wherewith shall I come before the Lord 1" &c. He requireth us " to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly" before Him. We must be brought to walk humbly, and with repentance and contrition, before we can see and understand what it is that covers transgression, and before we can behold for ourselves " the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." In the evening many Friends came to see us. I continually feel, What have we to give, unless we receive an immediate and constant supply from the Source of all help? After all, what can we do for the salvation of others, but commend them unto the Lord and to " the word of his grace?"
7th.—Returned to Lisburn. Visited several families and the school, about forty children. They appeared nicely cared for. I ventured to give a little advice about reading the Scriptures.
On reaching home she addressed the following letter to a Friend:
Karlham, 8ixth Month 10th, 1818.
Though I have had much comfort and enjoyment in meeting all my dear friends again, yet the pressure of engagements and interests during my stay in and about London was sometimes rather overcoming to me, and at last I felt so much exhausted that the rest of home was peculiarly desirable to me. It was an interesting, and, I think, encouraging Yearly Meeting: there appeared to me real cause for comfort in the state of the Society. I had not much part to take in any way, wbich was a relief to me; I went to none of the Committees, and was thoroughly disposed to retire into the background. It is a good thing, and I never felt it more than at this Yearly Meeting, that there is that spirit in the Society which loads to watching over one another for good: if it be kept under the right influence it is an invaluable safeguard. Individually, I passed along very much unnoticed; I felt neither encouragement nor discouragement from others. I sometimes fear falling into a flat, indifferent state, about myself; I feel there is a danger of it, from my circumstances, and from the tendency of my own mind. I have had hardly time to dwell much in our late interesting journey; but, on returning homo, I feel afresh sensible of the great cause we have for thankfulness in having been carried through our various exercises and conflicts. I
have felt very much without a burden on reflecting on our little exercises in Ireland, and the feeling of peace, I really believe, does rest upon it. This is an unspeakable, and I do sometimes feel, an unmerited favor. It is a privilege to have been so sweetly and so nearly united as I trust we were in this service. There are few things I more earnestly desire to attain than that spirit of love which would lead to still more unreserved rejoicing with those that rejoice, as well as mourning with those that mourn.
To be continued.
Extracts from a letter of ancient date, from^ Mary Brotherton, to her friend John Hall.
Esteemed Friend:—I being of the number that desire to prove all things, and hold fast that which is good, and not having my understanding biased by other men's conceivings, I have liberty to read all people's opinions; having my faith fixed that the omnipresent God, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, will condescend to guide my judgment by his infallible Spirit in things of a religious nature, that I may thereby be enabled to separate truth from falsehood without being indebted to the studyers of the letter of the sacred Scriptures for a knowledge of the Truth as it is in Jesus; and this being my care, I have read the books which thou lentest me in that oandid, unprejudiced disposition of mind so necessary for a professor of Christian charity to read in, if he would form a right judgment of things, and without which it is impossible to do as we would be done by; and as I perused them, my God gave me unity with all therein contained that may be justly called with the Scriptures of Truth, right, reason, and the spirit of real Christianity; but all that is contrary to these I reject, it being no breach of charity to call bad good, though perhaps the confused strainings of Scriptures to make them subservient to her own purpose may answer the end I imagine she aimed at, viz., the exalting herself by gaining on the minds of those who are not subject to the teachings of the pure spirit of God, so we are easily imposed on, being willing slaves to the lo 1 heres and lo! theres; not considering that the kingdom of God is within us, as saith our blessed Lord; such are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Nevertheless, though I see this sort of people, I am far from making this remark out of hatred or a preconceivable prejudice against them, for that holy principle or ingrafted word of life which is the adequate rule of faith, practice, and doctrine, and by which I desire to be attended continually, teaches me to love mine enemies, and that not feigaedly, or only in word, but in sincerity, reality, and: simplicity of heart, desiring their eternal welfare; and then, consequently, I must pity those who ignorantly receive the traditions of men or the commandments of meD, for the commandments of God; and by so doing, rely on human wisdom, and the conceivings of mere men for their rule of faith. These are apt to have hard thoughts of others, and of the truth itself; yet but few of them know what they dislike, and why they are displeased, unless it is because their teachers are not willing they should receive any thing for truth that clashes with their interest, who generally are hirelings, and whose interest it is to keep the people in a disbelief of that which alone is sufficient to enlighten the understanding, and give a true faith in, and knowledge of, that pure and holy Being who inhabiteth eternity; which knowledge is indispensably necessary, seeing the very lip of Truth hath said it is life eternal to know the,only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. Now, though this be granted by all, yet the way to obtain this saving knowledge hath been shut up, by men of mercenary dispositions, who boldly deny that there is any such thing as inspiration or revelation, since the Apostles' time; Baying that all things profitable and necessary are contained in the Holy Scriptures, which we esteem, prize and honor, as the best of books; and a true declaration of the truth itself, the word of God, which was in the beginning with God, which truth and word is Jesus Christ, who himself saith, concerning them, they are they that testify of me; yet although they testify of God, and of true faith, and of repentance, and of regeneration, yet they cannot give faith, that being evidence in the mind of things not seen, and is the gift of God; neither can they give repentance, It work the new birth in us, or create us anew in Christ Jesus ; and these things being necessary to be known, and it being profitable to experience them, there must certainly be some other way to obtain that which we cannot be saved without; which we, without lessening the worth of the Scripture, believe to be by inspiration and revelatiou, and that according to Scripture, because the same unerring lips that said it is life eternal to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, hath also left upon record that no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him; and as a confirmation of this, Paul saith the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God; no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.
Therefore, if these Scriptures be true,as I firmly believe them to be, there is consequently no other way to arrive at this saving knowledge but by revelation; and since it cannot be revealed by any meaner or lesser thing, than the Spirit of God, whose office it is, and by which the scriptures were dictated, it would be well for those who are taught to deny this dostrine to consider how they can understand or comprehend the di
vine mysteries contained in the sacred records which testify that the natural man cannot know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned. To me it seems most arrogant presumption for men to pretend to unfold the mysteries of the kingdom of God, by the strength of mere reason, which is the consequence of denying revelation, and docs evidently constitute man the rule of faith and practice instead of the Scripture, which they only call so; for certainly that cannot be a plain rule which needs explaining, as the Scriptures, we may conclude, are thought to do by people hiring men for that purpose; and the thing which needs explaining being subject to that which explains it, brings the Scriptures down to human reason as the expounder; so the meaning it gives to those truths hard to be understood is the real, and not that which could not be comprehended without it; so at this rate depraved man's poor vitiated reason is the rule for himself to steer by to the mansions of bliss, which how absurd let the witness within every conscience judj.»e. For my part, I do not mean nor want, by revelation, any new doctrine to be brought to light, contrary to the Holy Scriptures, but can freely subscribe to that saying of Paul: "Let him that preacheth any • other Gospel than that which was preached by the Apostles be accursed."
I have not wrote any of this out of the least disesteem of the Holy Scriptures, or that noble faculty in man called reason; but purely to prove there is something else wanting to make both useful in matters of religion that is to refine the one, and give me an insight into the nature of the promises and threatening* contained in the other, and also to enable me to make a right application of them to my own state, which they themselves cannot do; neither can anyone heart be sufficient for this. Therefore I believe these things no way attainable but by and through the illuminating revealer of divine mysteries, the Spirit of Grace, a measure whereof is given to every man to profit withal; so I heartily wish that all people would believe in, and come to the free teachings of the pure, unerring spirit of God, that they may witness his promise fulfilled of teaching his people himself.
To be concluded.
James Lainez, a Jesuit, wrote to Faber, another of the same order, then employed in converting German heretics to the Roman Catholic faith, for some rules to direct the Society how to proceed with them. Faber returned a sensible answer, and laid down the following rules.
1. Sincerely love heretics yourselves.
2. Engage them by your behavior to lovo you. This was certainly good advice, worthy to be
attended to by Protestants as well as Roman Catholics.— Cope'a Anecdotes.
Some acco-unt of the wonderful operations of Redeeming Love and Mercy, as manifested in the Life and Experience of John Davis.
(Concluded from p&ge S21.)
My old companions urged me to go with them to former practices, having a pleasure in my good company, as they called it, for I could drink, game, sing, and tellahundance of diverting stories; but I durst not go, and would sometimes lock myself up, and occasionally steal into the garden or fields. Once they found me, and with them, they said. I must and should go. So after reasoning awhile I consented, on condition that I might have my liberty to drink only what I pleased, and not meddle with any games. To this they consented, and I went staying several hours; but I was concerned to keep near the Lord in spirit, who preserved me ; and I could perceive they got tired of toy company, I being a burdensome stone to them. I left them, and they never asked me to go with them again, that I remember.
Shortly I was concerned to go to a Friends' Meeting, about five miles off; and, notwithstanding what had passed, I had much ado to persuade myself to sit down amongst such a poor despised people: but the Lord led me. We sat in silence for nearly two hours, and I had a testimony in my heart for them, that they were of God;—He owned them, and I was glad I was amongst them, for the Lord's powerand presence was with them, of which I was a witness. A woman Friend spoke a few words, by which*my spirit was comforted. Meeting broke up, several perceiving I was a stranger, were civil to me; and an ancient Friend took me to his house. After spending some time together in sweet conversation, we parted. This Friend was made instrumental as a help to me in many respects.
I rode home, but the news of my having been at a Qnakers' Meeting got there before me; and a mighty noise it made. I took little notice, but went to my friend, to inform him of the satisfaction I had that day, and to encourage him to faithfulness. He was now well enough to leave his room, and I was earnest with him to be careful of drinking, for that was his danger. He did not follow my advice; for ho daily grew more and more wicked, and became worse than ever I knew him; so that I was afraid he would be finally lost, for I was not then so much acquainted with the depth of that great Fountain of lovo and mercy, as I hope I have since been.
About this time, as I was waiting on the Lord in my bed, I had a view given me of having to meet much trouble, and a cry arose in my heart to the Lord, that He would be pleased to convince ray wife of the blessed Truth, so that I might have some comfort in that respect.—(She was then in London, about eighty miles distant.) Such was the mercy and condescension of the Lord, that before 1 saw her she was powerfully visited by Him, and had become a religious
character, and an honest Friend; for which my soul makes thankful acknowledgment.
But to return to my friend. The time drew near, when the terrors and judgments of the Lord followed him, and he was brought in some degree to obedience; but the lady, who was kind to him, used all possible means to divert his attcntiou from the right thing, she having her instruments, who kept him almost continually intoxicated, so that wickedness increased in him; and my trouble on his account was inexpressible. One night, as I lay in bed, I had a sight of his further backsliding, which brought great trouble to my spirit; and calling to a servant that lay near, I bid him tell my friend that I was not well, and I wanted to speak with him. He got out of bed, and came and sat down by me, when I told him the oppression of my spirit on his account, and that the Lord was displeased with him: but for a time his heart was very hard. I felt a cry within me to the Lord on his behalf, that He would touch his heart, and make him sensible of tho condition he was in; which I felt so forcibly, that I could not forbear giving utterance to my secret feelings, which was not usual with me. The Lord, whose love is everlasting, answered my petition, so that in a few moments this young man was humbled; confessing and bemoaning his great disobedience, he told me, that whilst that woman (meaning the lady) was his friend, he could not be faithful.
One first day, I got horses to carry us to meeting. (After detailing the persevering and bitter opposition they met with in various ways from the members of the family, the narrative proceeds.) The meeting was silent, excepting that a woman Friend spoke a few words; and the Lord's powerand presence was with his people, of which we were measurably made partakers. An ancient Friend took us to his house, and encouraged us to be faithful; and in much love we parted. On going home, we received information that our master had ordered wo should not stay in the house that night, but go to the inn near; and in the morning come to settle accounts, and be discharged. (His friend becoming again intoxicated, J. D. was obliged to leave him; on which occasion he writes) I cannot express the depth of my sorrow on his behalf, for he was very dear to me; and the separation was like dividing a man from himself. Such was my concern, for I felt that the forbearing love of God was, at that time, very great towards his soul.
I then prepared for my journey to London, intending to go as soon as possible. Meeting with a Friend going thither, I bought a horse, and set forward with him. We reached London, and were kindly welcomed by my wife, who had become a plain honest Friend: and I also felt constrained to appear in my clothing more like one of that people. I resolved, however, to imitate only the smartest I had noticed amongst them. I bought cloth for a dress, and carried it to a