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remark which he had made to her upon the subject of the ministry,) "I trust thou wilt still continue to feel a care over me, and mayst thou be enabled to desire my preservation from the dangers and temptations which may attend me in this awful service; and that I only may continue in it if it be really according to the will of my Lord and Master, whom I desire to serve; deeply sensible, as I am, that He alone is sufficient to direct and uphold me, and to give me strength and ability to perform his will."
\To be continued.]
EXTRACT FROM CORRESPONDENCE OF JOB SCOTT.
To W R , Liverpool.
Grange, near Charlemont, 8th Month 31st, 1793.
My Dear Friend,—Thy profession, (which I trust is real) is that of standing open to the discoveries of truth, in whatever way they may be made. If my concern and communications in no degree assist thee, in regard to any such discoveries, they may at least tend to my own relief of mind, and I think I shall run little risk of giving offence to such a man as thou professest and appearest to be. Dost thou seriously doubt the living, sensible influences, openings, and manifestations of Divine truth, to and upon the minds of men? Dost thou doubt whether there is, or may be, livingly and evidently felt, a restraining and constraining operation of Divine power which depends not wholly on any rational deductions or conclusions in the mind t Are we in the hand of God? Do we feel its immediate grasp? Would it form us just according to the Divine will, and prepare us to enjoy God as our supreme consolation, if we submitted wholly to its pressure or influence 1 To me this is evidently, and, as far as I have submitted, as experimentally the case, as any natural thing is evident and experimental. I know it so well, and certainly, to be so, that I am often dipped into deep and living concern and desire, that others may be so redeemed from hindering reasonings, as to come clearly and heartily to believe and know H for themselves. Till a man does believe it, I believe there is great danger of his doing violence to the very seed of the everlasting kingdom; for, until this seed takes root, and obtains some growth, it is often the least of all seeds in the garden of the heart, and therefore, by too many, despised or overlooked, or pretended not to be seen, felt, or discovered. It is too small, low, and common, to be readily acknowledged as the pearl of great price, by the great masters of reason. "Have any of the scribes believed on him ?" &c. "He came to his own, and his own received him not." The Jews knew him not, though professing to wait for him, and expecting his coming about that time. He came little, mean, and low, and seemed to them as a very common and ordinary man, as to ap
pearance, parentage, and connexions. His brethren were with them, and what could be expected from him! And I tell thee, my dear friend, the very power and principle by which he, mean as he seemed, wrought all his mighty works, and overcame all the motions of sin, is in thee, and all mankind. Had he not worked with it, and in it, he had never wrought these works, nor bruised the serpent's head, nor died unto sin. And unless thou workest with, and in it, thy salvation will never be wrought out. Oh! the excellency of faith! It was through living, feeling faith in this holy principle in the heart, that the holy ancients wrought righteousness. All the righteousness which pleases God, profits the soul, or is the righteousness of faith, is in the spring and virtue of this precious word near in the heart. This is the word of faith, which the apostles preached, endeavoring to hring people, beyond the knowledge of Christ after the flesh, to the revelation of him in them, the hope of glory; and this they labored to effect by turning them from darkness in themselves, to the light in themselves, as the alone way of turning them effectually from the power of Satan, bearing rule in them, to the power of God in them, that that might come to bear rule. And were it not for the light and power of God in man, I think he would be likely to remain ever unable to reason rightly about Divine things. Nothing would be Divine in his experience, and religion, if professed, would be no better than a dream.
0, dear William! I believe, as firmly as I believe I live, that thou, ere this day, would much more eminently than has yet been thy experience, have come forth as tried gold, and been formed as a vessel of honor and use in the Lord's house, made of beaten gold, and holding the wine of the heavenly kingdom to thy own unspeakable consolation; had thou in early life steadily on till this day, turned to, believed in, and fully submitted to the power of God upon thee, which thou hast, from day to day, felt the presence of. Indeed, I can scarce forbear to marvel, that such a man should doubt the divinity of what he has so long felt livingly striving in him. The whole scope of the Gospel, is Christ in man. His outward appearance, or his coming in that one body, seems to me evidently designed to lead men to a living discernment of, and faith in the Emmanuel state, God with man, and man with God, in the work of salvation. And it seems to me, that if thy mind had not become puzzled, and darkened by reasonings, not simply in the openings of light and impressions of Divine life, thou wouldst now very readily (thy feelings being such as they are) give into and heartily embrace the plain, clear doctrines of the Gospel; Christ inwardly our life, our hope of glory; God working in man; man working in and with God. I think thou would clearly see, that God has determined to hide Divine mysteries from all the prying of
mere human wisdom, and reveal them to the habe in man, that is born of the incorruptible seed. Ah! thou may puzzle, and strive to comprehend, as long as thou canst. The vulture's eye, (though very prying, and therefore comparable to human wisdom,) shall never see these things. But keep only thine eye single to Divine light in thee, and thou shalt assuredly experience its blessed increase, even to a fulness of light. All that need be seen and known of duty and Divine things, shall infallibly be seen and known. But, Oh! have a care thou overlook it not, by raising thy expectations too high. It is that little, low thing in thee, which thou shalt finally confess and acknowledge, is, and all along has been to thee, the very gift, word, spirit, power, and life of God. I am sure thou knowest not what it would have dono for thee, nor how powerfully it would have worked in thee, had thou been rightly turned to it. It wrought mightily in Paul; it worketh mightily in many now, who keep to it, and work with it, as the leaven of the kingdom. It is as possible now, to shut up the kingdom against ourselves, as it was when Christ accused the Jews of doing it. And I scarce know a more effectual way of doing it, than by putting human reason in place of heavenly light and leaven, and relying upon its dictates, undirected by the light. I well know this has too long continued the vail over my mind. The vail is only done away in Christ, inwardly believed in, the hope of glory, I know what I say, and moreover know, as well as I know thy face from another man's, that rightly believing thus on him, and hearkening to his teachings, leads to great and glorious discoveries, and to a very clear discernment of the states of individuals, meetings, and entire stran gers; and that altogether independent of the mere exercise of human reason or information; yea, directly in contradiction to all pre-apprehensions, and to what, judging as a rational creature, (except merely in the Divine openings,) looks most likely to be the case.
This is certain and repeated experience. Those who know it not, may doubt it; and so I suppose they did in every age, yet thought themselves wise, aDd rejected the counsel of God against themselves. But their unbelief shakes not at all the faith of those who know it, as well as they know their right hand from their left. Well, I have said what I well can at this time, and per this sheet. It is off-hand, with no correction; it is confidently expressed, and, in point of sentiment, I am undoubtedly persuaded, what I mean will be found agreeable to truth, whether it is so worded as to bear a critical examination or not. This, indeed, is hard to do; and perhaps little of the Scriptures will be found proof against each kind of treatment and examination. I expect rather thy candor than criticism. I recommend a close and feeling attention, for thy precious soul's sake, to the contents; and, with
a great deal of pure love to thee, and thy dt wife, I now conclude, and am very sincerely t friend, Job Scott
THE WORK AND WAT OF
There is the higher object of ambition. We mi have made this the chief end of living, and har< sacrified to this idol those powers which shon, have been given to the service of the Almightv.
Then comes the still higher aim, the purse:: of knowledge. All these, and many others lit; them, are in themselves good, and to be sou»t' for. It would be a foolish asceticism which shou.forbid men to seek for wealth or knowledge, at the prizes of ambition. More, it is our duty to strive for them in some degree; but they h&oan bad, when we exalt them to a higher pla« than they deserve, make them ultimate objwte oC pursuit and seek them for their own aakes. Thtj are important means of reaching life's great end. and, as such, are to be earnestly striven for Thus, wealth can be made subservient to buildit; ourselves up in virtue and goodness; we can us* it to make those around us happy, to relieve suffering, to promote the public good and thus perfect our own characters. But, whenever we separate it from such uses, when we make it i final end, and seek it, not for what we can do by it, but for what it is, then we are unfaithful to our duty, and then it becomes a curse.
But perhaps these two ways of misdirecting our efforts may not be the most common. It may not be the case that most of us pursue bad objects, or even those which are too limited, and so uuworthy of us; but it more frequently happens that men have no decided, definite object at all; instead of pursuing bad ends, they do not pursue any ends in particular. We can sympathise with Burns, when lamenting the waste of his fine genius, he says, "The great fault of my life has been to have lacked an aim." Perhaps we pass through a long life without ever settling for what we are living, perhaps without even thinking that there was any purpose of God to be fulfilled in our existence. We have never leaked ourselves the meaning of our great endowments; we have journeyed listlessly aloDg, without any decided object, insensible to all the great and lofty which lie before us; we have walked blind-folded through life, unconscious of its high purpose, seeking after this and that which the moment offered to us, led by no fixed principle. Thus each day comes and goes, and bears only an uncertain fruit: we fritter ourselves away on momentary interests, and life becomes meaningless and insignificant. It is to us as it is to the brute, only a time for existence, not living; and each day's setting sun bounds the narrow horizon of our view.
In one or another of these ways, how many lives are wasted 1 And yet there is action enough, there is enough strong will and earnest effort. If we walk along some busy street, how much in earnest does each one seem, as he passes by you! His whole heart seems intent upon something; and one would think that it could only be a worthy object that had such power over him. Look at some great city: what fierce competition, what passionate efforts, what mighty labors does each diy witness within its limits! And yet, in all that mass of passion, and desire, and labor, how little is turned to its true object! how few are mindful of that great destiny which they might grasp!
To us all, the question comes up with solemn meaning, are you pursuing the true object of life? If our consciences tell us that we are not, it is no light thing we are doing. It is that we are living on to no purpose; that we are cumbering the ground; that we are defrauding God of the service due him, and our own souls no less of what they might be. We cannot shuffle off our destiny; it clings to us, though we deny it. God does not ask whether we will accept or not, but places it upon us. It in no way diminishes our guilt, that we do not acknowledge it to be our duty, whether through thoughtlessness or wilful choice of the wrong.
Our character never stands still; it is being moulded by our thoughtlessness and idleness as well as by our earnest work. It is our destiny, and if we live unmindful of it, we incur the terrible guilt of living in vain; and living here in vain, we have left undone that work which is to fit us for the future and eternal world. These other objects of momentary interest, to which we have sacrificed it, will die away; the trifles which we have substituted in the place of life's real object will perish; but we still exist, and the results of our negket exist with us. We have set in motion a train of consequences, whose bitterness only eternity can fully unfold.
All nature rebukes us for our ingratitude. Every thing around us is laboring on, gratefully and reverently, in the work it was created to accomplish. The river moves on with ceaseless flow toward the sea; the plant sileutly grows upward ; the different tribes of animals fulfil eaoh its appointed office. They never exist in vain: they all are doing God's will, and glorifying him by their service. And shall man, whom he has made only a little lower than the angels, shall he prove faithless to his high destiny?
But it may be that some are ever too deeply impressed with the grandeur of the work we have to do; instead of passing it by in stupid indifference, they may almost despair of accomplishing so exalted a destiny. They may say, "The work is indeed glorious, but man can never finish it. Who can be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect.
Thus, overcome by the feeling of the infinity of the work to be done, some may be almost in
clined to give over their efforts in despair. But is this the effect which it should have upon us? Man can indeed never finish it; life here is but the beginning. Our destiny, then, is an eternal work; but, as surely as our destiny has no end, our life must be eternal too. We can never finish our work, never cease laboring on it, and therefore never cease to exist. How can we be so ungrateful to God, who has set this mark before us, as not to strive to approach unto it? How can we murmur, how be anything but thankful, for our aspirations after things above us, our longings for more than we are, our reachings forward into the infinite distance beyond? For they are all prophets of immortality. Mountains may accomplish their purpose, the everlasting hills may crumble, the rivers may wear their channels through, the solid earth shall perish, Bun and stars fade away, for they may all finish their appointed work: but man shall ever live; for he is ever doing and his work has no end.
What motives we have then to strive after the accomplishment of this great object? Life is in vain without it; it is not life. We must prove ourselves worthy of our high privilege; our every act and thought must be made to move harmoniously, subject to the attraction of this great central piece; we must turn neither to the right hand nor to the left; our eyes must look straight forward. Did you never feel a new revelation of this momentous fact ? has not your heart burned within you when you mused on this lofty object of life? have you not sometimes felt it come to you as a new inspiration of the Holy Spirit? Let it not be a mere transient emotion, a bright vision, a gilded cloud, which the rough winds of actual life sweep away; but let it hallow the humblest of your duties; let it consecrate even them to the service of God. Let the glorious aim of life, and man's destiny throw a portion of their splendor around the meanest of our labors; and then earth shall become heaven to us, and we shall be indeed sons of the highest.
S. A. S.
In meetings for discipline, there are those who, knowing much of the outward rules which Truth has led our Society to adopt, are not careful to act in the life, in the liberty, in the sweetness, in the dignity of it; but suffer their mere adherence to its rules, without subjection to the power in which they were set up, to mar, at times, the beauty, the benefit, and the glory of these meetings; which should be religious meetings, and would often be made meetings of worship to those whose minds arc rightly engaged. Surely the authority of these meetings is not the mere book of Extracts, nor does their excellency consist in a mere mechanical compliance with what is there laid down; nor docs much talking in favor of any point, prove that the sense of Truth is that way, though it may prove that the sense of the majority leans so. J. Bahclay.
For Friends' Intelligencer.
St. Joseph's County, Indiana. I have been a reader of Friends' Intelligencer for some time, and am much pleased with it. We live very remotely from Friends, and cannot get many of Friends' writings, and have no meeting near. I have noticed a piece in Friends'Miscellany—"David Cooper's Meditations on Death,"—which, I think, if thou wilt publish in thy paper, it would have a wider circulation, aud be useful.
Very respectfully, thy friend,
H. R. P.
TUOUGIITS ON DEATH. ( Written by David Cooper, near Woodbury, New Jersey.^
Every period or portion of time has its employment; the most useful and necessary is that which tends to prepare us for the succeeding. The activity, and the busy scene of childhood and youth, fit us for the life of action allotted to young men, and tbe energies of manhood are employed to provide and lay up a store against the winter of life, or old age, when we can no longer labor; so that then, being provided with things needful, we may bid adieu to the active world, and prepare for our great and last change.
I seem to be marshalled in this class. Mine appears to be the serious and awful business of declining age: for though years have not whited my head, yet my infirmities tell me that I am old, and point at the grave. How oft has it gaped upon me when I have been tottering on its brink, and my faltering tongue ready to call for my winding sheet! How often have I been trembling on the verge of eternity, when the thin partition seemed ready to open upon me! yet I have been snatched as it were from the jaws of death, and my portion of time lengthened out. Iam still numbered with the living; and, while one friend drops here, and another there, I am yet continued in time. Thus, in addition to my days, can anything be more rational, —can anything be more awfully necessary, than serious thoughts, and an industrious preparation for my long and endless home? Let me ever indulge these reflections, that pour themselves upon me, in my solitary and lonely hours.
When I view the rest of mankind around me, and consider that as we are fellow-possessors of time, so shall we be joint-heirs of eternity,—and that we all have the same occasion to prepare for that hour which is so awfully approaching. But I am often surprised to think that rational creatures should be so regardless of the end for which they were created,—the important and awful end for which time is given,—as to be playing with straws and trifling with feathers; while the momentous concerns of eternity are disregarded. I
Eternity! astonishing and tremendous sound; Eternity I — Eternity! Where does that word reach? Where shall I send my thoughts to find its extent? If I stretch my views through myriads of ages, I shall be no nearer its limits. If I reach through as many thousand years as there are grains of sand on the globe, and that number multiplied into itself, I shall be no nearer its end than when I began. And what have we, poor pensioners of a moment! who are but of yesterday, and may even be gone to-morrow,—what have we in readiness for this state of unmeasurable duration? Is tbe last moment of our time hero, to fix our happiness or our misery forever, without a possibility of our condition being reversed? Ah! can the thought enter the stoutest mind, without striking the deepest awe?
And is this awful, endless eternity so seldom, in our minds, that it occupies the least of our thoughts, while the bubble of life engrosses the whole of our attention? A bubble indeed! a feather! yea, less than a feather in one scale— when the whole creation of God is not equal to eternity in the other. What pains and labor do we bestow to acquire the good things of this life, which we can enjoy but for a moment, and which are more uncertain than the variable wind! Yet what anxiety and uneasiness, when we meet with disappointment in the pursuit of them, or when stripped of those we had in possession! What folly can be compared to this! What stupidity can equal it! So anxious to provide for an hour in laboring to procure things that we can in no wise give to ourselves—and so wholly unconcerned in securing to ourselves the happiness of eternity — ever-during, never-ending eternity! And what is this life that we are so fond of?— a shadow !—a bubble, which a breeze will soon destroy. What so uncertain—so little to be depended upon, as life? Wherefore do we centre our hopes aud desires upon it, and prize it above all things? Why centre all our cares upon that which may end with the present moment; and think it not worth our concern to provide for that permanent duration, which never ends, when nothing is more certain than our final change?
And why are we so terrified at the thoughts of death? What is it that we are so afraid of? Wherein doth its terror consist? Doth it not argue great weakness to form such ideas of a stranger we have never seen, and of whom we have no personal knowledge? Nor have any that have ever seen him, given us this information. Tbey are images of our own fancy—bugbears of our own creating. Perhaps, when we come to see for ourselves, we may think him the most agreeable messenger—our best friend—a redeemer from prison, and a deliverer from captivity. This we are sure of, that it is a door which opens for our release, and through which we must step out of this prison, from under this load of human
life; and if it is not a pleasing release, it is our own fault. The scene beyond the curtain can only terrify those who are conscious they have not acted as they ought on this stage of being.
Happiness! O, happiness, our being's end and aim; wherein centres all our hopes, all our wishes and pursuits! But, alas! the fatal mistake of our choice; we bound it by this world, and entail it upon ourselves through endless duration. Mistake, indeed ! to think, that souls created for the joys of heaven, should be satisfied with the dirty delights of earth; be contented in prison—easy in captivity—or happy in banishment from their destined home. But so it is. Misery, which above all things we wish to avoid, like infatuated creatures, we seek with greatest ardor; and while its chains are chafing our limbs, please ourselves with the fancied possession of happiness. So fond are we of this life— so attached to this world—that the joys of heaven have no allurements in them. Though we know we must die, we will not think of death. Notwithstanding all things sound the awful alarm, J we scarce believe ourselves mortal. The longlived oak and the lofty pine, the durable cedar and the beautiful elm, arc daily dropping into dust—and the animated beings which nature is constantly handing into life, industrious time is melting down, and sending as into the mint again. Thus we see things gravitating to their end ;—nature is a continual scene of revolution; every thing is upon the wing of change. How, then, can we expect permanent happiness on earth? or is there any thing here below, worth our anxiety, our esteem, or our attachment? Wherefore, then, do we refuse to look toward eternity, our fixed and durable home?
Although, in our considerations, we may discard the thoughts of death, yet we know it must visit us ere long, and open to us a new scene. How dare we, then, omit providing for so awful a guest! Will he neglect to come, because we are not prepared? No; he will surely come; and our omission will make him doubly terrible. Oh! the horror and gnashing of teeth, when conscience joins the potent foe, and, in our hearing, informs how constantly he has been whispering in our ears that the king of terrors was at hand, and reminding us of the necessity of making preparations for his reception; and how we had slighted bis kindness, and mocked at his admonitions. Then, Oh! then, we shall see, with the Preacher, all below the sun to be vanity and vexation of spirit, and that there is no profit in any thing but what produces self-approving thoughts. Then shall wc see that the smiles of conscience, on a retrospect of our past lives, would be of more value than legions of worlds. Then shall we see what stupid and infatuated creatures we have been, without the least shadow of excuse; and how terrible will conscience appear when we remember how often we have refused
him audience, and turned him over till to-morrow; but now to-morrow is no more. What we might have easily prevented, now admits of no remedy or cure. Time, that magazine of events, which we so lavishly squandered away, is to us exhausted. We are forced on a journey, without a penny in our purse;—nor is it possible to borrow.
Oh! the necessity—the awful necessity and importance of providing for this tremendous scene! How shall we account for the conduct of mortals who know this, and are as sure as they have a place and being, that this awful scene, or period, will overtake them: yet, shocking to reflect on, are running on, headlong, like the horse to the battle—snuffing up the wind, and crying ha! ha! in pursuit of their lusts and momentary gratifications. Momentary indeed! for the sting, the envenomed sting which these leave, soon annihilates all their sweets. This, their constant experience, loudly declares; yet, such is the stupidity of mortals, that they continue repeating the experiment, with ardent expectations of extracting sweets from wormwood and gall: and yet, while they are expending their hopes and wishes on the transient, uncertain, and fading things of this world, the most delicious honey lies at their feet unnoticed, though offering itself to their taste, and suited to appetites which were given to reach after and feed upon things eternal, permanent, and unchangeable. These are plants of that soil where happiness grows, and is only to be found affording sweets which neither tongue nor pen can describe.
The path that leads to the mansion of bliss, is calm, resigned, and humble: in this path the mind is brought into a state of acquiescence with the dispensations and the will of heaven, and into a cheerful and steady observance of his precepts who called us into being, and whose allsustaining power preserves us these few hours from mixing again with our mother earth. On his almighty arm the whole creation leans and is supported. His all-seeing eye is constantly surveying his rational creatures and taking cognizance of their conduct. He beholds the inmost intentions and secret desires of mortals. He knows them that love, fear, and obey him—gratefully acknowledging his goodness, and seeking opportunities to serve him, and to do good to his creation. It is these who sow the seeds of joy, and reap the balm of the harvest of peace;— peace in life and in death; in joy and in sorrow; in prosperity and in adversity;—a peace which the world cannot give, neither can it take away. This is indeed a continual feast. Oh! the sweet and self-approving thoughts which abound in the hearts of these dedicated children. It is a treasure of more worth than all the glory and glitter of this world, and all the sensual pleasures here to be eojoyed, even if there was no hereafter. But when eternity—awful and tremendous eter