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PHILADELPHIA, FIRST MONTH 31, 1857.
EDITED BY AN ASSOCIATION OF FRIENDS.
PUBLISHED BY WM. W. MOORE,
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ON CHRISTIAN LOVE AND FAMILY HARMONY. By Pbiscilla Gurnet.
The command to love one another from the highest authority, is taught not only by the doctrines, but by the example of our Lord, who went about doing good. "This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you." "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you; that ye also love one another." There are few things that I have so much desired in Christian communities as that this holy influence of love were a more actuating and prevailing principle among them. We see much of universal benevolence, but the prevalence of Christian love in domestic life is still evidently but too deficient and imperfect. It is so much a general feeliDg that the tics of natural affection are sufficient for domestic union and harmony ; but there are innumerable proofs "that this is but a transitory and frail bond, unless supported by the discipline of Christian and divine love ; whereas this holy, and blesse'd, and sanctifyiiig principle, gives strvjgth and stability to natural affection; being itself of a pure and eternal nature, it gives the same stamp to relationships and unions begun in this life. It is impossible that Christian love can prevail unless self love be brought under subjection, and we are called upon to practice forbearance and self-denial even in the enjoyment of the nearest and dearest ties in life. We must love our neighbor as ourselves; we must do unto others as we would be done unto; we must in honor prefer one another. Now, I think we see that these injunctions are often more practically obeyed and observed by Christians in their general intercourse with others, than with their families in their private and' domestic life. It is a great error that even,religious characters are too apt to fall into, to suppose that we do not want to have our natural affections regulated by
divine love; the former, unassisted by the latter, will never teach us to suffer long and be kind, to envy not, to seek not our own, to bear all things, to hope all things, to believe all things. It is surely from this cause that we see so little family union and harmony among Christians, too rarjly in much perfection even among those of high spiritual attainments in other points. It is very delightful where we witness charity (in its most extensive sense) thus to begin at home. The important subject of family harmony has of late much engaged my attention, and I have been led to reflect on those principles which can alone insure it, and on those causes which too lamentably prevent its prevalence in the world. The nearer, the closer, the dearer the natural connexion, the more important docs thus solid foundation and cementing influence become. The nature of human affection is to diminish, to fall away. Divine love is not opposed to natural affection, but gives it strength, value and duration. Natural love finds no full satisfaction, but Christian love alters its character, and gives it that which is satisfying, complete and lasting. Natural love is selfish, but, sanctified by divine love, it becomes disinterested and generous. The principles first to be looked for as the fruits of this love are religious union and religious liberty. Keal Chistians must be united in essential points. If Christians at all, they must have " One Lord, one faith and one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and in all." But such is the imperfect state of the church-militant on earth, that these essential and vital truths are viewed through different mediums. The application of these truths to individual experience may be a little different in their religious services and Christian practice; " There are diversities of gifts, but the same spirit; and there are differences of administration, but the same Lord; and diversities of operations, but It is the same God who worketh all in all." How deeply it is to be lamented that these little differences among Christians should be more separating than the essential grounds of union should be uniting. We must, then, if we would love one another according to the commandment of our Saviour, diligently cultivate such a spirit, as well as conduct, of religious liberty, as would lead us to forbear one with another in love. We must cherish the feelings of interest in one another's welfare. We must " watoh unto prayer," for those we love as well as for ourselves, but we must suspend the spirit of judgment. It would be pleasant, indeed, always to walk in the same path, and especially to go "to the house of God in company," but since this cannot be, in the present state of things, we must chiefly desire that the will of the Lord may be done. We must look with a single eye unto Him : must remember bis injunction to Peter, " If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to theo? Follow thou me." On looking a little to this principle of religious liberty, as tending to promote unity and family harmony, it is still evident that the more complete be the union and understanding on religious subjects, the more perfect must be this harmony. And it therefore appears to me a matter of essential importance, that in connexions of marriage, there should be similarity of views and union of heart and mind, on the lesser as well as on the greater points of Christian faith and practice. To walk in the same path, to partake of the same refreshment, to be united in the same objects, to have one mind with regard to their families and households, to be enabled to strengthen one another's bands in their daily walk in life, must greatly tend to their domestic happiness and good. This complete union, therefore, should be earnestly desired in this most close and near connexion, and it must be considered a great risk, and very imprudent, to enter upon it without this accordance. If, however, differences of views on these important subjects should arise, then, in proportion as the connexion is near should be the watchfulness, that forbearance in love may be experienced one toward the other, that the spirit of religious liberty may be cherished, that the essential points of union may be kept alive in the heart and cultivated, and that the points of discussion may be kept out of sight, and be in no wise suffered to occasion any breach of love. This holds good, also, in all the relations of life,—parents toward children, children toward parents, and brothers and sisters toward one another. Let parents diligently implant in the minds of their children those principles and views which appear to them the most accordant with the truth. If, after the most watchful care and example, the result should be a want of that conformity which they have desired, let not these things, more than can possibly be helped, occasion a breach of love and union, and of family harmony. And, on the other hand, let children yield as much as their conscience will allow them, to the judgment and wishes of their parents; they are called upon to honor their parents, and nothing but the will of God should be stronger to them than the will of their parents.
dulge in capricious desires, but will infallibly take it more amiss when the feelings or happiness of others require that they should be thwarted, than those who have been practically trained to the habit of subduing and restraining them; and consequently will, in general, sacrifice the happiness of others to their own selfish indulgence. To what else is the selfishness of princes and other great people to be attributed? It is in vain to think of cultivating principles of generosity and beneficence by mere exhortation and reasoning. Nothing but the practical habit of overcoming our own selfishn ess, and of familiarly encountering privations and discomfort on account of others, will ever enable us to do it when required. And, therefore, I am firmly persuaded that indulgence infallibly produces selfishness and hardness of heart, aud that nothing but a | pretty severe discipline and control can lay the | foundation of a magnanimous character.—Lord Jeffrey.
DISCIPLINE IN CHILDHOOD.
Young people who have been habitually gratified in all their desires, will not only more in
come sayings or Inst expressions of MAROABET Vail, daughter of Edmond and Plicbe S. Vail, of Farminyton, Ontario County, State of New York, members of tlie Religious Society of Friends.
She was taken sick the 13th of 9th month, 1850, and after being confined to her bed three months, and suffering very much, we thought she could not continue but a short time. She seemed sensible of her situation; her mind was very much exercised at times. At one time her mother said to her, " my dear, thee has been sick some time, and I am sensible thee has had many serious thoughts concerning thy future happiness. I wish thee to be free in conversing with me." She replied, " I have had my close trials day and night. I have thought from the first that I should not get well. I have fervently desired to see my way clear, and then I am willing to leave this world. At times all is joy and happiness before me} then clouds arise." Being asked why she felt so sensibly she should not recover, she replied, that "when that dear friend had an appointed meeting at the close of our Yearly Meeting, I felt closely visited with Divine love, and saw that I must live a different life, and prepare for death, for I had not long to live." After this ill turn, she seemed much better for a short time and her mind happy, then clouds came and she was deeply exercised, and said, she "feared there was no forgiveness for her. But He who never forsakes his truly penitent children, arose in his own time and administered comfort to my poor soul." Her mother sat watching her during a short slumber. She awoke with a smiling countenance, and asked, " where is father?" Being told he was gone from home, but would soon return, she said: "I dreamed he had returned, and I was told to say to him, ' Father, it is the
Lord's will it should be so. He knows what is best. , Let his will be dove,' and then my heart seemed to overflow with joy and gladness." Then she said, " what a merciful Father we have. He looks on all his children alike. All may return, repent and live."
At another time she said: "I feel perfectly willing and ready to leave this world when the Lord calls." At another time she said: "When in health I could not believe that I ever should have been so willing to leave all earthly things; but now they are to me as empty bubbles. Why do we cling so to the world when in health? Oh! it is wrong to put off the work of the soul's salvation for a sick bed. When you write to J. and M., give my love to them, and toll Maria not to grieve for me. I shall be happy. I have seen and felt my peace made in Heaven, and the Lord has said to me, 'a crown of glory is prepared for thee.' Then do not grieve, but prepare to meet me in Heaven. Oh! how often I have wished we could all go together, but we must wait the Lord's time. That is the best time." After laying partly asleep for some time she called her mother. She asked her what she wanted. In reply she said: "Oh! mother, I thought 1 was in Heaven. Oh ! what a delightful place it is. I was so happy, and thought I was singing, and said if mother could only see me here how happy she would be. Then I called thee and it was all gone." After a short pause, she added: "I have more to tell thee than I have strength to say." She often repeated passages of Scripture, such as " Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled;" and "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." She said they had been a great strength and comfort to her since she had been on a sick bed. The second-day night before her death she seemed in a sweet state of mind, and said: "My room seems full of angels. See how beautiful they hover around my bed." She then asked to have the fourth chapter of John read. She said she had had a scene of the woman at the well when Jesus asked her to give him drink. Third day flighty and part of fourth day; then was perfectly sensible till her close. She was very weak, and could say but a few words at a time, but could understand perfectly. Often said, " I love you all dearly, and should be happy to talk to you more than 1 do if I had strength." Her mother said: "We are satisfied all will be well with thee. Thee has said enough." She said, "yes, all will be well with me." She then called Samuel and Ellen to her bed and said: "You will soon be the only two children left with father and mother. I want you to love each other. Bo kind to your parents, and the Lord will bless you. I wish you to remember what your sister says. I think you will." The same day she told her father she had felt such joy several times to-day, and at first did not know
why she felt so happy; but afterwards remarked, that it was because she was going to leave this world so soon, and was afraid she was too anxious. She said First day night would be the last night, and wanted her father and mother to sit up with her all the time. She remained very sensible. One half hour before she ceased to breathe, her mother felt her pulse, thinking she would not observe it. She said: "I am not going just yet." Then said: "Farewell, all. I shall be happy. You will all come soon," and then seemed to pass away without a struggle, at 11 o'clock on Second day morning, the 4th of Second month, 1851, aged 17 years, 3 months, and 15 days.
For Friends' Intelligencer.
Many of us who live in cities and populous places, surrounded by many of our own religious profession, where we can enjoy social intercourse with them, and besides and beyond this privilege, meet with them in our assemblies for Divine worship, where the united anthem from kindred hearts may be offered to the Father of lights and of spirits—and where, also, there are spirits upon whom the anointing oil has been poured, and the call given to go forth and preach the Gospel of life and salvation,—some of us, thus situated, do not appreciate these favorable circumstances and influences, which if rightly improved would be helps to us iu our heavenward journey or progress.
But let us compare our situation with very many others, scattered through our land, where the number making profession with us is very small, and they feel themselves like "one of a family and two of a tribe"—and where, when they meet for religious worship, they are only as "the two or three."
Some of these often feel their responsibility, in standing thus boforo the world, as professors of that spiritual religion which the early fathers of this Society so conspicuously held forth—and of that spiritual worship, which needs no outward form nor ceremony, neither vocal words nor sounds to render it well pleasing to the all-seeing one—by whom the widow's mite was accepted.
Toward such as these a stream of Gospel love and sympathy has been felt to flow—and a willingness also to extend to them, through the medium of the Intelligencer, a word of encouragement to hold on their way—although at seasons their loneliness may feel like that of "the pelican in the wilderness, or the sparrow alone on the house top," still the declaration remains true " that not one of these is forgotten before God—and although it may often seem to them that the gathering of the " two or three," is but a feeble offering to the great Jehovah—and there may not always be that evidence of vitality which only can kindle the fire upon the altar—yet cease not thus to assemble, and to pour out your prayers to Him who answered the supplication of the prophet Elijah, and the fire came down from Heaven and consumed the sacrifice. But where ate our sacrifices ?—are they brought and laid upon the altar ?—are the things called for from us by the inspeaking word relinquished, and obedience rendered thereto, so that there is something brought by us upon which the Divine blessing may rest ?—even as it did upon the few barley loaves and small fishes which a little lad had with him, and which, with the bleising, were made sufficient to feed the assembled multitude. This blessing rests and will rest upon all who hunger and thirst after righteousness,—who, not by the lip and tongue only, ask for daily bread; but are willing to labor for that which will sustain the soul in its efforts of obedience to the inward law.
Is it a small thing to gather into little companies, as an acknowledgement of our allegiance to the King of kings and Lord of lords ?—certainly not. It evinces our belief in the declaration of Jesus, that they who worship the Father must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Each one of these small assemblies would shed a light around, if held in the authority of truth—giving evidence, that they who seek for themselves the fountain of all good, have no need that any man should teach them—but that in the stillness of all flesh the still small voice is heard; faithfulness to which would produce in the appointed season the fulfilment of another promise, that "Judges would be raised up as at the first, and counsellors as in the beginning"—and this would be the ministry "which is not of man, nor by man," but in the demonstration and power of the spirit, would it flow forth—to the help, comfort and strength of others who are seeking the way to Zion.
If this state of things was attained to by individual faithfulness and watchfulness, there would be no room for any lamentation, nor belief that the former days were better than these— nay, verily. W.
THE NEW KEY.
"Aunty," said a little girl, " I believe I have found a new key to unlock people's hearts, and make them so willing; for you know, aunty, God took my father and my mother, and they want people to be kind to their poor little daughter."
"What is the key?" asked aunty.
"It is only one little word—guess what?" But aunty was no guesser.
"It is please," said the child; "aunty, it is please. If I ask one of the great girls in school, 1 Please show me my parsing lesson V she says, * Oh yes,' and helps me. If I ask, 'Sarah, please
do this for me?' no matter, she'll take her hands out of the suds. If I ask uncle, 'please,' he says 'yes, puss, if I can;' and if I say 'please,' aunty"—
"What does aunty do ?" said aunty herself.
"Oh you look and smile just like mother, and that is the best of all," cried the little girl, throwing her arms round her aunty's neck with a tear in her eye.
Perhaps other children will like to know about this key; and I hope they will use it also, for there is great power in the small, kind courtesies of life.
For Friends' Intelligencer.
The world is ever teeming with beauty. In every scene or situation a sensitive mind can discern sources of admiration. Every object, however insignificant, teems with interest, and if properly estimated is calculated to inspire the mind with noble subjects of contemplation, leading the heart to acknowledge the presence of the great Original in all his handiwork. The delicate shrinking flower and the sublime cataract equally attest the power that made them is divine. The scenery of nature, so replete with beauty, wilh grandeur and sublimity, is doubtless intended bj the Author of all good to contribute to the present and future happiness of man, by affording subjects of meditation and enjoyment; but. in order to appreciate fully these sweet influences, he must look beyond the objects presented to his natural eye, " through nature up to nature's God." Then will his heart be enlarged by the contemplation of the beautiful, and his spirit renewed in love and reverence for the bounteous Giver. When the mind is oppressed and fettered by the many cares of time, how grateful it is to retire awhile from the busy haunts of men, and in the solitude of nature enjoy communion large and high with the Universal Architect; and we can return to duty with hearts bounding with gratitude, and renewed strength to conquer every tendency to murmur.
The mission of flowers, is to cheer the rugged road of life; to whisper hope when the spirit is weary, and point to realms of purer joy.
They are messengers of love and renewed vigor to the poverty-stricken, whose enjoyments are few and limited. To the Christian they speak of heaven's high promises.
All things have a mission to fulfil; some are small, others great and arduous; but whether great or trifling, each is alike meritorious if well performed.
But what among the visible works of God can compare with beauty of mind; that intelligent power given us as a sacred trust to guide aright and fit it for immortality; not one great in its own estimation, cultivated and well stocked with knowledge, for the purpose of achieving fame and honor in the world, but a mind whose sense of accountability is deep and firmly fixed; its thoughts pure and unsullied; whose aspirations ascend in sweet and holy faith to heaven, and that is content to perform its mission where no loud acclamations proclaim success; but the sweet reward of patience and of duty performed amply repays the sacrifice.
Here is beauty that never fades; here is true nobility of sonl; and the world, though seemingly so frivolous and superfluous, will acknowledge and esteem the brightness of such rare and precious examples wherever found.
"Let ours be the mission-work of heaven,
Thus the mission of all things beautiful is, to prepare the soil of the mind for the growth of that bud of grace which in the summer of eternity becomes a flower of glory. M. J. W.
Ephraim Tomlinson was attentive to little intimations of duty, and thereby attained to a state of great perfection. True, why did he not discover the tree was not his before he took it up 1 This circumstance shows that the mind of a good man may sometimes be occupied with other objects, and, for a short time, be off its guard. But when it returns to its reflections, it makes all the atonement in its power for its past wanderings and deviations. The man mentioned in Scripture, who was brought to a just sense of the corruption of his heart, in his departure from the path of rectitude and peace, says, "If I have wronged any man, I will restore him fourfold."
THE MORAL SENSE.
A few months ago we published th« journal of Ephraim Tomlinson. The perusal of it revived the recollections of several aged friends, who knew the old man in the days of their youth, and the following story was related :—Ephraim Tomlinson, on walking through the woods, discovered a young applc-trco growing wild. It occurred to him, that, as it had the appearance of thrift about it, it might become of use were it transplanted to his own farm. He marked the spot, went for his grubbing hoe, and having carefully dug up the tree, shouldered it, and walked homewards. On the way, a thought took hold of his mind :—this tree is not mine—I have taken it from ground that does not belong to me. He felt uneasy with the transaction—and returning to the spot, he replaced it as well as he could, in the position it stood in before.
Such scruples as this may seem to some people liko being more nice than it is necessary to be; but it is frequently owing to such discriminations between right and wrong, as relate to small concerns, that the mind of man is preserved lively in the practical knowledge of moral obligation. All the deviations that present, in the history of human crimes and corruptions, however wide and extensive, and involving in their consequences the utmost misery, devastation, and wretchedness, have resulted from small beginnings. Little departures, in little things, prepare the mind for greater, till at length the moralj sense is overpowered—tho mind is familiarized to acts of encroachment and aggression, adopting selfishness for the governing principle; the light that once shone becomes obscure—and great is the darkness that ensues.
EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNAL OF J. COMLY.
The figurativo description of the temptation and fall of the first pair, is found to be a sad reality in tho experience of every one that acta contrary to what he knows to bn right, and may be perceived by a careful attention to the workings of the mind, in which the plausible reasonings of the flesh, or animal cunning, are suffered to blind the eye of the mind so that it becomes evil, and then the whole body becomes filled with darkness. On the contrary, if the power of choice in the exercise of free-will, is used to resist the first motion or inclination of the animal propensities to go beyond the known law or will of God, then the yoke or cross being laid thereon, the mind is preserved in peace. The animal or earthly nature is regulated and governed by the divine law, and harmony and peace prevail. Here the doctrine of the cross and self denial is applied to the first motion, which, if indulged, would lead to sin. Here is realized the death of Christ, essential for every one to know, "for in that he died, he died unto sin once, but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." This being experienced, man knows a walking "in the spirit, and the lusts of the flesh have no dominion over him." As Paul, he keeps his body under; he dies daily to every motion that would arise in his earthly nature, and lead him into the bondage of sin. Here the watch is maintained, and the dominion is maintained in the life, and spirit, and power of God, ruling in the soul and producing the fruits of righteousness and peace. Here the discovery is plainly made that the origin of evil is in man, and that sin is the transgression of the law of God; for where there is no law, there is no transgression, consequently no sin, no evil. Where there is nothing to show man what is to be denied in himself there can be no self-denial. But if any man is willing to be a disciple of Christ, the light and law of God given to man for his salvation, he must deny himself, take np his cross and follow Christ as the light makes manifest. This comprehends his whole business.