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PHILADELPHIA, EIGHTH MONTH 8, 1857.
EDITED BY AN ASSOCIATION OF FEIEND8.
PUBLISHED BY WM. W. MOORE,
Every Seventh day at Two Dollars per annum, pay able in advance. Three copies sent to one address for Five Dollarj.
Communications must be addressed to the Publisher, free of expense, to whom all payments are to be made
INTRODUCTION TO THE LIFE OF MARY DUDLEY.
As it is declared that "the memory of the just is blessed," and " the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance," it seems to be the duty of those who possess the requisite materials to select and bring forward such particulars, respecting the lives and characters of pious and devoted individuals, as may tend to instruct and encourage survivors, and exalt the power of divine grace.
Mj beloved mother did not keep a regular journal; yet when absent from home she mostly transmitted copious details of her engagements, and sometimes made memoranda to which she often mentioned her intention of adding; but frequent attacks of illness, and the occurrence of trying circumstances, combined to frustrate her purpose; so that when not actively engaged in the service of her Lord and Master, the leisure she possessed was seldom accompanied by sufficient ability for much writing. In the following pages, however, her own language has beeu generally adhered to, although in making extracts some trifling verbal alterations were' found necessary; but great care has been taken to preserve the true sense and import wheie any small variation seemed expedient. The prosecution of this interesting employment has been attended with a consciousness of inability to do justice to the valuable documents committed to my trust, or the character of my departed parent; both of which are capable of being made extensively useful, had the office of editor been filled by one more competent to perform its duties.
The work is, however, submitted to the public, with an earnest desire, that one who spent so large a proportion of a lengthened life in seeking to promote the highest interests of her fellow-creatures, may, though dead, continue to speak instructively to the hearts and understand
ings of those who are alike "called to glory and virtue." Elizabeth Dudley.
Peekham, \lth Month, 1824. EXTRACTS FROM THE LIFE OF MARY DUDLEY.
Mary Dudley was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Stokes, and born in the city of Bristol, the 8th of the 6mo. 1750. Being of a delicate constitution, she was, during infancy and childhood, subject to frequent and severe indispositions, yet she was early sent to school, and has often mentioned, as a proof of serious thoughtfulness, her love of reading the Holy Scriptures, and that her partiality for the Prophecies of Isaiah was such, as to make her Governness repeatedly inquire whether she had not yet got through that book? Being of quick parts, and possessing facility at acquiring knowledge, she made rapid progress in learning; and as she advanced to youth, her vanity was much fed by the admiration of her relations and acquaintance; yet, even at this early period, she was at times sensible of the humbling visitation of Divine Love; and- in expressing her solicitude for young people, she has often been heard to say, how highly she should have valued the privilege of Christian counsel and sympathy, under those convictions which were at times counteracted on one hand by incitements to worldly pleasure, and on the other by ridicule for wishing to appear better than her cotemporaries; nor were these efforts untried on the part of those whose duty it was to act very differently. The following are her own observations:
"I am drawn to commemorate the gracious dealings of a merciful Father and Creator in early yisiting my mind, which, though ignorant, of the nature of deep religious feelings, was certainly often impressed with them in the morning of my day; though, from a remarkably lively disposition, I did not yield to that awful fear (at seasons felt) which preserving from the snares of death would have led into a conformity to the divine will. Being educated in great strictness by my parents, respecting the observance and ceremonies of the worship they professed, (that of.the Establishment,) I was a constant attendant upon them from childhood, though with this, allowed to enter into most of the vain amusements of the world, to which my natural disposition greatly inclined; while in the midst of dissipation I often felt a dissatisfaction, and my mind was visited with something so awful that I appeared to others very grave, and have frequently been laughed at for it. I was fond of reading, and found much pleasure in yielding to it; which, with a turn for poetry, and the intimateacquaintance of several sensible,seriously inclined persons, occupied much of my time from seventeen to eighteen years of age. These circumstances, together with the death of my beloved grandmother, gave a shock to that vanity, in the gratification of^which she had much contributed to support me; and a disappointment in an affectionate attachment terminated the attraction to visible objects, so that my mind was like a blank, waiting to be filled up, and prepared for the more extensive reception of the precious visitation, which, early in the twentieth year of my life, was sweetly vouchsafed; so that all that was within me bowed in deep prostration, and yielded to the superior power of heavenly love. My mind being in the prepared state above described, it would be unsafe to date this change from the particular period of my attending the Methodist meetings; though in doing so I certainly felt more of divine impressions than at any previous season, and particularly when under the ministry of one of their preachers, who seemed like an angel commissioned with a message to my mind. I continued to hear him, with many others; attended all the means (as they are called,) and was often sweetly affected and comforted; yet even at such times there was something within me craving the purity of an inward, spiritual life—and seeing that without holiness no man could see the Lord, as I did believe was attainable, how did my whole soul breathe for this knowledge to be revealed, and, in the depth of silence, struggle that I might rightly seek and experience it. I went into various places of worship among the Dissenters, and was at one time greatly taken with the Baptists; but still found a want, a vacuum unfilled with that good I was thirsting after. Not from conviction, but partly from persuasion, and something in me yielding to the way I thought might easily settle me, I joined the Methodist Society, and also continued constantly to attend the established worship, that of my education; but in the several ceremonies of this, and the different meetings of the other, such as classes, bands, &c, I felt unsatisfied, and often, while others were engaged in attention to the preaching and singing, has my spirit in solemn silence communed with the ' Lord [my strength,' so that I scarcely knew what was passing around me, and even felt disturbed from this inward attraction, when obliged to draw to that spot where the outward elements were prepared for the congregation. Oh! how did I then feel the Heavenly Mystery, and sweetly partake of the bread of life, so that all forms and shadows fled away, and became no longer of use or efficacy to a mind
feeding spiritually on the substance. During these feelings and consequent shakings from all visible things, I often went into Friends' Meetings, and there, especially in silence, did my spirit feed, as it also did in deep awful retiredness, when no eye saw me; but when, by this powerful attraction, hours have passed away, so that my body seemed to do with a very small portion of rest or sleep, I felt like a child clinging to its parent's breast; and in this state covenant was made, which to this hour I humbly trust has not been forgotten."
Her totally withdrawing herself from those scenes of amusement in which she had dissipated much precious time, brought upon her the ridicule of her young companions, and even the censure of many who were much older though less thoughtful than she was; and the expectation of her again returning to worldly pleasures was frequently evinced; while both flattery and entreaty were made use of, to counteract that seriousness of demeanor which was deemed so unnecessary at the age of nineteen. The change which she felt it her duty to make, by leaving off ornaments, and wearing such attire as was consistent with her views of Christian simplicity, being very mortifying to some of her nearest connexions, she suffered considerably on this account. The peace, however, with which her mind was favored, more than counterbalanced these trials; and strength being mercifully proportioned to the occasion, she was enabled to persevere in the path of obedience, and has frequently been heard to say, that her company soon became as undesirable to her former gay associates, as their's was to her; while her society and example proved the means of solid advantage to some of her cotemporaries, who continued or sought her acquaintance.
She was much esteemed by John Wesley, and other distinguished characters in the Methodist connexion, and was frequently urged to become what is called a class leader; but she freely confessed to him, and other members of the Society, that her views were not perfectly accordant with their tenets, and she uniformly refrained from taking any active part amongst them. Her exercises of mind, under the gradual discoveries of the divine will concerning her, being in degree unfolded in some letters to a dear and intimate friend, it is thought the following extracts will be acceptable to the reader.
May 10th, 1771.—" I have nothing, my dear friend, to tell you, but of mercies—nothing but unbounded love should be my theme. The Lord is indeed gracious, and has lately given me to feel it. Oh! what sweet calls, what gentle admonitions has He indulged me with. The feeble structure of clay is impaired—but, glory to my God, my soul feels the invigorating influence of his grace; in some moments of retirement lately it has been ready to burst its barrier, and I have earnestly longed to be with my Beloved, nor can I think it will be long first. Glorious prospect! Oh! my friend, if our next meeting should be around the throne! While I write my heart feels unutterable desires. Pray for me, that the work of grace may be completed in my Boul. I believe it will—I feel I want every thing, and am fully confident Jesus will supply all that is lacking. In the eyes of some this might appear as the wild excursion of enthusiasm; to my friend it will wear a different aspect, and (I trust) engage her in my behalf at th6 throne of grace. This, however, we are certain of, there is no danger from any thing that leads to God, and an impression, whether real or imaginary, of our nearness to death, cannot but give a solemnity to the mind."
"I have frequently wished for an opportunity of addressing you through this channel, but in vain, till the present moment, and with more than usual pleasure I embrace it, but what can I say? Not rich and increased with goods, but poor and needy, where is my spring of help? Even in Him who is the Alpha and Omega; if in matchless condescension He deigns to communicate, as jfftsis the power, to Him also may the glory be ever ascribed! I suppose my friend expects an interpretation of what has been lately hinted, with regard to the approbation I feel of the Quakers' mode of worship: on this point I have little to say, yet with the most unreserved freedom will 1 speak to that friend, whom I wish to know the inmost recesses of my heart. I need not tell you how exceedingly different my natural disposition is from the love of solitude, whether internal or external. Prone to activity, and fond of dissipation, I pursued the attraction, till a more powerful and all-conquering one allured me. Since I have known any thing of the peace which is from above, retirement has been pleasant, though a principle of acting was yet alive; this was encouraged by my connexion with the Methodists, who I need not tell you are in the active class; having premised how opposed to my own, I think 1 may conclude, that the Spirit of God has now produced a cessation of self-working within me, and by emptying as from vessel to vessel, is shewing me I have every thing to learn, and that by lying in His forming hand, the temple will be raised to his own glory; this leads me into the inward path of abstraction from those things I once thought essential, and to the confirmation of these feelings the ministry of the Friends has much contributed; the small still voice has whispered unutterable things to His unworthy dust in their assemblies, and given tokens of his approbation to my meeting with them. Adored be His condescending love! Hitherto then hath the Lord brought me, and who hath been Sis Counsellor f Verily his own unerring wisdom: the future (with the past) is His; ignorance it
self am I. I have no light, but as He diffuses it, and He has graciously promised that his followers shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life; they shall be taught of God. Is this Divine Teacher my friend? May I be all attention to Him who has given me the desire to be instructed by Him. To this guiding, my much-beloved friend, I leave my cause; 1 feel it my privilege to wait upon God. I know not that it is my duty to be joined with this part of the flock, though my mind strongly unites with them : my path must be more illumined before I presume to take a step so important. I want not a name, need I tell you so? it is the nature of that Christianity which is life and spirit, that can alone administer real peace to mine and to every soul. Permit me then, my friend, to meet with, and love those who are the subject of your fears—your friendly, tender fears, and think not that I shall ever realize these, unless plainly directed thereto. My ever-dear friend will, I doubt not, bear me on her heart before the throne of grace, where I trust our united language will for ever be—' Father, thy will be done.'"
Many others of her religious acquaintance also testified their uneasiness at her evident attraction to the Society of Friends; and John Wesley wrote to her in very strong terms of disapprobation. The following letter to him closed her correspondence with this highly-esteemed friend, who afterwards continued to treat her with affectionate regard, and to speak of her in terms of respect.
(To bo continued.)
THE LIFE OP GOD IN THE SOTJi OF MAN.
The different tendencies of the Natural Life.
But it is strange to observe unto what different courses this natural principle will sometimes carry those who are wholly guided by it, according to the divers circumstances that concur with it to determine them: and their not considering this doth frequently occasion very dangerous mistakes, making men think well of themselves by reason of that seeming difference which is betwixt them and others, whereas perhaps their actions do all the while flow from one and the same origin. If we consider the natural temper and constitution of men's sogls, we shall find some to be airy, frolicsome, and light, which makes their behaviour extravagant and ridiculous; whereas, others are naturally serious and severe, and their whole carriage composed into suoh gravity as gains them a great deal of reverence and esteem. Some are of humorsome, rugged, and morose temper, and can neither be pleased themselves, nor endure that others should . be so; but all are not born with such sour and unhappy dispositions, for some persons have a certain sweetness and benignity rooted in theirnatures, and they find the greatest pleasure in the endearments of society and the mutual complacency of friends, and covet nothing more than to have every body obliged to them, and it is well that nature has provided this coraplexional tenderness, to supply the defect of true charity in the world, and to incline men to do something for one another's welfare. Again, in regard of education, some have never been taught to follow any other rules than those of pleasure or advantage ; but others arc so inured to observe the strictest rules of decency and honor, and in some instances of virtue, that they are hardly capable of doing any thing which they have been accustomed to look upon as base and unworthy.
In fine, it is no small difference in the deportment of mere natural men, that doth arise from the strength or weaknessof theirwit or judgment, and from their care or negligence in using them. Intemperance and lust, injustice and oppression, and all those other impieties which abound in the world, and render it so miserable, are the issues of self-love, the effect of the animal life, when it is neither overpowered by religion, nor governed by natural reason ; but if it once take hold of reason, and get judgment and wit to be of its party, it will many times disdain the grosser sorts of vices, and spring up unto fair imitations of virtue and goodness. If a man have but so much reason as to consider the prejudice which intemperance and inordinate lust do bring unto his health, his fortune, and his reputation, selflove may suffice to restrain him; and one may observe the rules of moral justice in dealing with others, as the best way to secure his own interest, and maintain his credit in the world. But this is not all, this natural principle, by the help of reason, may take a higher flight, and come nearer the instances of piety and religion; it may incline a man to the diligent study of divine truths; for why should not these, as well as other speculations, be pleasant and grateful to curious and inquisitive minds? It may make men zealous in maintaining and propagating such opinions as they have espoused, and be very desirous that others should submit unto their judgment, and approve the choice of religion which themselves have made; it may make them delight to hear and compose excellent discourses about the matters of religion ; for eloquence is very pleasant, whatever be the subject; nay, some it may dispose to no small height of sensible devotion. The glorious things that are spoken of heaven, may make even a carnal heart in love with it; the metaphors and similitudes made use of in Scripture, of crowns and sceptres, and rivers of pleasure, &c, will easily effect a man's fancy, and make him wish to be there, though he neither understand nor desire those spiritual pleasures which are described and shadowed forth by them : and when such a person comes to believe that Christ has purchased
those glorious things for him, he may feel a kind of tenderness and affection towards so great a benefactor, and imagine that he is mightily enamoured with him, and yet all the while continue a stranger to the holy temper and spirit of the blessed Jesus : and what hand the natural constitution may have in the rapturous devotions of some melancholy persons, hath been excellently discovered of late by several learned and judicious pens.
To conclude : there is nothing proper to make B man's life pleasant, or himself eminent and conspicuous in the world, but this natural principle, assisted by wit and reason, may prompt him to it; and though I do not condemn these things in themselves, yet it concerns us nearly to know and consider i their nature, both that we may keep within due bounds, and also that we may learn never to value ourselves on the account of such attainments, nor lay the stress of religion upon our natural appetites or performances.
Wherein the Divine Life doth consist
It is now time to return to the consideration of that divine life whereof I was discoursing before, that " life which is hid with Christ in God," and therefore hath no glorious show or appearance in the world, and to the natural man will seem a mean and insipid notion. As the animal life consisteth in that narrow and confined love which is terminated on a man's self, and in his propension towards those things that are pleasing to nature, so the divine life stands in a universal and unbounded affection, and in the mastery over our natural inclinations, that they may never be able to betray us to those things which we know to be blameable. The' root of the divine life, is faith: the chief branches are, love to God, charity to man, purity and humility: for (as an excellent person has weH observed) however these names be common and vulgar, and make no extraordinay sound, yet do they carry such a mighty sense, that the tongue of man or angel can pronounce nothing more weighty or excellent. Faith hath the same place in the divine life, which sense hath in the natural, being indeed nothing else but a kind of sense, or feeling persuasion of spiritual things: it extends itself unto all divine truths.
The love of God is a delightful and affectionate sense of the Divine perfections, which makes the soul resign and sacrifice itself wholly unto him, desiring above all things to please him, and delighting in nothing so much as in fellowship and communion with him, and being ready to do or suffer anything for his sake, or at his pleasure. Though this affection may have its first rise from the favors and mercies of God towards ourselves, yet doth it in its growth and progress transcend such particular considerations, and ground itself on his infinite goodness manifested ■ in all the works of creation and providence. A soul thus possessed with divine love, must needs bo enlarged towards all mankind in a sincere and unbounded affection, because of the relation they have to God, beinghis creatures, and having something of his image stamped upon them: and this is that charity I named as the second branch of religion, and under which, all the parts of justice, all the duties we owe to our neighbor, are eminently comprehended : for he who doth truly love all the world, will be nearly concerned in the interest of every one; and so far from wronging or injuring any person, that he will resent any evil that befals others, as if it happened to himself.
By purity I understand a due abstractedness from the body, and mastery over the inferior appetites, or such a temper and disposition of mind, as makes a man despise and abstain from all pleasures and delights of sense or fancy which are sinful in themselves, or tend to extinguish or lessen our relish of more divine and excellent pleasures; which doth also infer a resoluteness to undergo all those hardships he may meet with in the performance of his duty; so that not only chastity and temperance, but also Christian courage and magnanimity, may come under this head.
Humility imports a deep sense of our own weakness, with a hearty and affectionate acknowledgment of our owing all that we are to the divine bounty; which is always accompanied with a profound submission to the will of God, and great deadness towards the glory of the world and applause of men.
These are the highest perfections that either * V laen or angels are capable of—the very foundation of heaven laid in the soul ; and he who hath attained them, needs not desire to pry into the hidden rolls of God's decrees, or search the volumes of heaven to know what is determined about his everlasting condition ; but be may find a copy of God's thoughts concerning him written in his own breast. His love to God may give him assurance of God's favor to him : and those beginnings of happiness which he feels in the conformity of the powers of his soul to the nature of God, and compliance with his will, are a sure pledge that his felicity shall be perfected, and continued to all eternity : and it is not without reason that one said, "I had rather see the real impressions of a God-like nature upon my own soul, than have a vision from heaven, or an angel sent to tell me that my name was enrolled in the book of life."
Religion better understood by actions than by words.
When we have said all that we can, the secret mysteries of a new nature and divine life can •ever be sufficiently expressed; language and words cannot reach them ; nor can they be truly •understood, but by thoso souls that arc enkindled
within, and awakened into the sense and relish of spiritual things: "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth this understanding." The power and life of religion may be better expressed in actions than in words, because actions are more lively things, and do better represent the inward principle whence they proceed; and therefore we may take the best measure of those gracious endowments, from the deportment of those in whom they reside; especially as they are perfectly exemplified in the holy life of our blessed Saviour, a main part of whose business in this world, was to teach by his practice what he did require of others, and to make his own conversation an exact resemblance of those unparalleled rules which he prescribed; so that if ever true goodness was visible to mortal eyes,.it was then when his presence did beautify and illumine this lower world.
Divine love exemplified in our Saviour; His diligence in doing God's will, His patience in bearing it.
That sincere and devout affection wherewith his blessed soul did constantly burn towards his heavenly Father, did show itself in an entire resignation to his will; it was his very " meat to do the will and finish the work of him that sent him." This was the business of his childhood, and the constant employment of his riper age; he spared no travail or pains while he was about his Father's business, but took such infinite content and satisfaction in the performance of it, that when, being faint and weary with his journey, he rested himself on Jacob's well, and entreated water of the Samaritan woman, the success of his conference with her, and the accession that was made to the kingdom of God, filled his mind with such delight, as seemed to have redounded to his very body, refreshing his spirits, and making him forget the thirst whereof he complained before, and to refuse the meat which he had sent his disciples to buy. Nor was he less patient and submissive in suffering the will of God, than diligent in doing it; he endured the sharpest afflictions and extremest miseries that ever were inflicted on any mortal without a repining thought or discontented word. For though he was far from a stupid insensibility, or a fantastic or stoical obstinacy, and had as quick a sense of pain as other men, and the deepest apprehension of what he was to suffer in his soul, (as his bloody sweat, and the sore amazement and sorrow which he professed, do abundantly declare,) yet did he entirely submit to that severe dispensation of Providence, and willingly acquiesced in it.
And he prayed to God, that, " if it were possible," (or as one of the evangelists hath it, "if he were willing,") " that cup might be removed;" nevertheless, " not my will, but thine bo done."