Sixth-day. School, more encouraged than sometimes: got on well with geography-class; visited various poor people,—feeling very useless, but some satisfaction. Oh, it were a sweet thing to do good from the right motive, as a natural effect of love. I fear I do my poor share more to satisfy conscientiousness; and that is a dull thing.
3d Mo. 17th. Faith small, world strong; but this evening something like grasping after "the childly life beyond." A childly life I want. Oh for simplicity, faith, quietness, self-renunciation!
Yesterday rode alone to Wheal, Sister's mine. Gave W.B. tracts for the girls. Thence to Captain N., to get his daughters to collect for Bibles. His nice wife seemed interested; said it was very needful. Many families had not a Bible there; the place a century behind the West. Rode home dripping, but glad that I had not been turned back. Learned part of the 42d Psalm in German.
3d Mo. 27th. What testimony of gratitude can I record to that tender mercy which has drawn near to me this evening? Oh that the "Anon with joy" reception may not be united with the "no root in myself"! I have thought of the Israelitish wanderings, caused by faithless folly in refusing to "go up and possess the land." Oh, that lack of living appropriating faith may not thus protract the period ere my own passage through the spiritual Jordan, the river of self-renunciation, and death of the "old man," into the Beulah of a thorough introduction to the sheepfold! It is easy to say that it would be too presumptuous to venture on the final, full, childlike appropriation of Christ; but, oh, presumption, I do deeply feel, is more concerned in the delay. It is presumptuous to put off, till brighter evidences and clearer offers of mercy, the acceptance of grace to-day.
4th Mo. 14th. The Lord has been kind to me beyond expression. Not rapturous feeling, but calm and peaceful confidence,—though sometimes almost giving way to "the world, the flesh, and the devil," sometimes letting go faith; but, oh, He has been near through all; then when His face has shone upon me, how have I wondered that ever I loved the earth, more than Himself!
5th Mo. 3d. Bristol. On the way to the Yearly Meeting. First-day. Most interesting meeting. I think the connection of evangelical doctrine with Christian worship is often not enough considered. The mere natural unsanctified dread or awe of the Lord's presence is very different from that worship of God which is through Christ our Lord, who has made a way of access for us to the Father, who Himself loveth us. If this be overlooked, there is little essential distinction between Christian worship, and Oriental gnosticism—the delusion of raising the soul above the natural, by abstraction and contemplation of the Divine. This is the distinguishing glory of the gospel, that whereas the children of Israel said to Moses, "Speak thou to us, but let not God speak to us, lest we die," Christ, his antitype, hath broken down for his people "the middle wall of partition," hath abolished the enmity, and speaketh to us Himself as God, and yet as once in our flesh.
5th Mo. 10th. Letter from father, from Niagara. Awful spectacle, and most edifying emblem of His unchanging word of power whose voice is as the sound of many waters.
This evening had a nice meeting; my soul longed for light and life in the assembly.
Of our dear father's safe arrival in Liverpool we heard on our way to the train in the morning, and now we settled in to expect him we had so long lost!
And, after meeting him in London and alluding to conversation with friends who called to see him, she says,—
"But with father the fact of presence, real meeting, actual talk, seemed more engrossing than the thing talked. Oh that I had a really grateful heart to the Lord for these His mercies!"
7th. [Alluding to a meeting at Devonshire House.] It is, indeed, "looking not at the things which are seen," when we really accept with equal, nay, with greater, joy, His will to speak by the little as by the great, or by His Spirit only, when communion of truth is preferred to communication of the true.
5th Mo. 29th. And now that my London experience is over, as to meetings, preachings, prayers, what, oh, what is the result on this immortal spirit of mine, which has on this occasion been brought, as it were, in contact with some of the honorable and anointed messengers, with that which is good? And yet it is possible that contact may not produce penetration, and that penetration may not produce assimilation. I can unhesitatingly say, the first and second have been produced; but then these are but transactions of the time, not abiding transformations; and if these are all? But, surely, it cannot be; surely, when my heart melted within me, especially on Second-day morning, and I heard the word "and anon with joy received it," some depth of central stone was fused into softness; some actual change, effected, that I might not have altogether "no root" in myself. Sometimes predominated a fear that intellectual interest interfered with spiritual simple reception of good, that this would vanish when that was over; sometimes the responsibility of being thus ministered to was truly a weighty thought; for never more than on that morning did I so understand, "Go preach, baptizing." Sometimes I thought that God had indeed brought me to this Yearly Meeting to make me then and there his own; and when I heard of passing by transgressions as a cloud, I was ready to think my own were indeed dissolving as one. I felt strongly the superiority of religion to every other thing, not merely for its external aim, God, but for its internal power on self, how these masterpieces of the human creation were not only made the most of by religion, but that it alone can make any thing of the whole man. How strongly do we feel, when with a clever, talented, irreligious man, that he has a latent class of moral powers which have not been called into action, that on this point he may be inferior to the veriest child; but God, who has made man for himself, has made in every man a royal chamber, for himself spiritually to dwell in; and if this be not reappropriated to him, (which is religion,) his capacity for the Divine is not exercised, and he is not only not made the most of, but his best nature is not even made use of. What a privilege to have intercourse with those in whom the very reverse is the case! What a stimulus to the little mind, to become not equal to the great, but proportionally Christianized—i.e. equally devoted! and this is Christian perfection; not to have arrived at the highest attainment of intercourse with God ever granted to man, but to have the will thoroughly willing God's will. This is, indeed, better far than a mere knowledge of what that will is. But in some whom I have seen, there is a beautiful union of a high degree of this knowing and willing; and these are they to whom it is given to edify the Church.
* * * How shall I enough praise and thank the Lord, who has so condescended to my weak and sinful condition, that though my head perhaps knew all before, and my heart was disobedient, He has so brought me under the mighty ministry of His Word of life, that for a while all seemed melted and subjected, and my heart longed to accept Him and his reconciliation to me on the blessed terms, not the harsh terms, but the privileged terms, of my being reconciled to Him. Oh, what an error to think any thing harsh or hard in the requirements of the gospel! It is a mercy beyond man's conception, that we are commanded, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."
6th Mo. 12th. Yesterday my twenty-third birthday. In the evening a song of praise seemed to fill my heart for the vast mercy shown me of late. God, who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved me when I was dead in sins, has truly begun to quicken my heart.
6th Mo. 12th. Had a note from —— of kind spiritual interest; but I think she mistakes my want, which is more of practical than of theoretical faith. Have ventured to tell her, in a note, what I feel and have felt. I think many who have left Friends, and become more decidedly serious since, remembering that when Friends, the gospel was not precious to them, fancy it is undervalued by the Society. My note is as follows:—
My dear —- will, I hope, believe that I was not disposed to receive her affectionate lines in any other than that spirit of love in which they were written, and in which, I am persuaded, it is the will of our blessed Saviour for His disciples "that they all may be one." Yes, my dear ——, I believe there is not a sentence in thine in which I do not heartily join; and while we are both seeking to believe, as thou says, "with the heart" in Christ our Saviour, "in whom we have redemption, through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," let us say not only, "Here is a point on which we can unite," but here is the one bond of fellowship, which unites the whole ransomed Church, throughout the world, and especially those who love each other, as I trust we do. If we were more willing to let Christ be our all in all, surely we should more realize this blessed truth. Disputations on theoretical differences seem to me like disputes on the principles of a fire-escape among those whose sole rescue depends on at once committing themselves to it, since the most perfect understanding of its principles is utterly in vain if they continue mere lookers-on; while others, with perhaps far less head-knowledge, are safely landed. This, it seems to me, is the distinction between head-knowledge and heart-knowledge, between dead creed and living faith; and every day, I think, more convinces me that it is "with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness." As thou hast so kindly spoken of myself, and thy kind interest for me, may I add that what I have known, small though it be, of this faith, has been all of grace; nor do I hope or wish but that it may be, from first to last, of grace alone. If I love Christ, it is because He first loved me: because God, who is rich in mercy, has shown me the great love wherewith He loved me, when I was dead in sins; nor should I have had one glimpse "of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ," had not God, who "commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shined into my heart. And dark and sad has ever been the view of myself bestowed by that grace which brings salvation, long shining as it were to make my darkness visible; but this do I esteem one of His rich mercies, who will have no rival in His children's hearts, and teaches us our own utter depravity and sinfulness; that we may, without any reserve, fly to Him, "who has borne our sins in His own body on the tree, that we might be saved from wrath through Him." And if it is of grace, that while we were yet sinners, "we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son," it is by grace also, that "being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." It is "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saveth us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." And here I find abundant need to take heed that I "receive not the grace of God in vain;" for truly Christ cannot be ours, if we will not be his. But though I have to lament many a revolt, and many a backsliding, and many a denial in heart of Christ my Saviour, yet the Lord, who turned and looked on Peter, has not forsaken me; the fountain set open for sin has been, I believe, set open for me; and still does He continue to "heal my backslidings, and to love me freely." For the future I have sometimes many a fear, because of this deceitful heart of mine; and at others I can trust it in His hands, whose grace will be sufficient for me to the end,—that end, when I may realize, what I now assuredly believe, that the "gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." And now, my dear ——, are we not one, essentially one, both one in Christ? I know that, uniting in the acknowledgment, and, above all, I trust, in the experience, of the great truths of the gospel, we differ in their applications and influences on subordinate points, and I believe this must be expected to be often the case while "we see through a glass darkly;" but we shall, I trust, "see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion;" and He will keep that which we have committed unto Him against that day. The Lord's "commandment is exceeding broad," and it is no wonder that our narrow minds cannot adequately appreciate the whole, or that, while we believe the same things, we sometimes view them in different order and proportion, often being nearer each other than we are aware. I fear much good is not done by discussing differences; at least, I find it calls up feelings which are not good, and I lose more practically than I get or give theoretically. May the Lord bless us both in our pilgrimage, and guide us in a plain path to a city of final habitation, where we shall not want sun, or moon, or any other thing than the glory of God and the Lamb, to be our everlasting light.
I could not be satisfied without replying to thy kind remarks and inquiries about myself and my hopes; but now, having said so much, I hope thou wilt not think it strange that I cannot argue on things about which we differ. I have not adopted opinions without reflection, and it has fully satisfied myself; but I have nothing to spend in controversy, which I always find does me a great deal of harm. I hope we now know enough of each other to rejoice in each other's joy.
6th Mo. 16th. Last evening alone in the plantation. Sought the Lord. It was beautiful. Was not nature meant by Him to work in concert with His spirit on our hearts? Or is the calming and soothing power a thing confined to sense and sensibility? I suppose the latter, but that religion appropriates these as well as all other faculties and parts of man's nature, and, where he would have praised nature, bids him praise God, his own God in Christ.
6th Mo. 18th. I have thought this summer a time of critical importance for my soul, for eternity. I have felt, and sometimes spoken, strongly, but always, I believe, honestly, unless I have imposed upon myself. Thought I had accepted Christ. I thought He was my salvation and my all. "Yet once more" will the Lord shake not my earthly heart, but also my heaven, my hopes, my expectations, in Him. Will He convict me still of holding the truth in unrighteousness? How else can I explain to myself the pride which revolts from censure, the touchy disposition, the self-justifying spirit, the jealousy of my reputation, the anxiety to keep up my character? How else can I explain the inaptitude for the divine, the unwillingness to have the veil quite lifted from my heart, to display it even to my own eyes? Ah! is it not that there is still a double mind and instability in all my ways, still a want of that simplicity of faith, that humility, and poverty, and meekness of spirit, that can accept the gospel, still the self-righteousness (worse than "I am of Paul") which assumes to itself "I of Christ"? Ah! if I may yet lift my eyes through Him who hath borne even the iniquity of our holy things, keep me, O Lord, from a wider wandering, till Thou bring me fully into the fold, the "little flock," to whom it is Thy good pleasure to give thy kingdom.
7th Mo. 5th. * * * It is useless to conceal from myself that I have felt grieved at some, whom we might suppose grounded in the faith long since, appearing to keep the expression of sole reliance on the mercy of God in Jesus Christ, as a sort of death-bed confession. I know full well that religion must be an actual transformation of soul; but then the ground of our hope that this will be perfectly effected ere we depart, is the mercy of God in Christ, quite as much as our hope of forgiveness of actual sin, and final salvation. Oh, some do separate things too much, as if it were possible to err by too full a reliance on Christ; as if there was a danger that He or we should, by that means, forget the work of grace. Grace is grace throughout, not of works, but of Him that calleth. Still, I believe there must and will be variations in our modes of viewing the great gospel, the "exceeding broad" commandment. May we, as S. Tuke so beautifully said, "know one another in the one bond of brotherhood, 'One Lord, one faith, one baptism;'" without entering into nice distinctions and metaphysical subtleties. And may I, to whom temptations of this kind are naturally so accessible, be preserved in my own spirit from the snares of death, cleansed "from secret faults," kept from "presumptuous sins," and hidden in the Lord's pavilion from the strife of tongues.
7th Mo. 9th. I have been thinking much of the young women at the Union, and yesterday went to see them. A sad spectacle; but they seemed willing and glad to be visited, and I hope to go once a week to read to them, and to teach a few of them to read. Oh that my life were more useful than it is!
7th Mo. 18th. Oh, why was I induced to allow thoughts and reasonings to supplant worship! How they plead their own utility, and how like good is the thought about good! but then the dry, barren, unsatisfied unrest of soul that followed! Strange, that thought employed to so little purpose at other times should pretend to be so edifying in meetings. Reveries on probability, as being a mere relation between a cause and a spectator, or bystander; not between cause and effect. Thought it important touching free will and foreknowledge. God is certain of futurity—we are uncertain. Futurity is certain in relation to God, uncertain in relation to us—probable or improbable in relation to us, neither in relation to God; but neither the certainty nor the probability exists in future non-existent fact, therefore I take it they do not influence the fact. This, perhaps, is profitless; but I am glad to find that thought on this point always tends to confirm what I believe is the true scriptural doctrine in opposition to Calvinism. This was a natural reaction on the minds of reformers from the Romish doctrine of justification by works. They no sooner found that man cannot make his own salvation, than they fancied he could not reject it. They learned that it was freely given to some, and fancied that it could not have been freely offered to all.
7th Mo. 20th. Mere carnal conscientiousness is a poor substitute for love of God. The constant inquiry, "What must I do to keep an easy conscience?" is no proof of high Christian attainment; rather says the Christian, "What can I render for all His benefits?"
7th Mo. 30th. A visit to J. Harvey's corpse. [A poor man whom she had frequently visited.] I have been much concerned about him in days past, and now can a little rejoice in his exceeding joy. An emaciated, sallow countenance, but speaking perfect rest. He spoke scarcely at all for some days. I saw him three days before his death, and could but commend him to one of the "many mansions;" but he could scarcely answer.
A few passages about this period, record Eliza's desire for a friendship with some sympathizing mind out of her own family,—some one whose views, whilst tending to the same point as her own, would yet have the freshness of an altogether different experience. Not that she undervalued home affections, for that would have been quite contrary to her nature, but, after alluding to them warmly, she says, "At the same time, we want a friendship for the rest of our faculties and minds; and it cannot be, I believe, that one family should supply to any one of its members all that it is capable of appreciating and experiencing in the way of friendship." Another entry states, "I have a new friendship with M.B., which promises substantial comfort. Just the thing I have wished for all my life. We have exchanged two letters on each side." This acquaintance ripened into a connection which was afterwards steadily maintained,—although the intercourse of the two friends was principally by letter. That circumstance, however, has caused the preservation of thoughts and sentiments which otherwise would have been unrecorded; and, as the letters offer much of an interesting character, copious extracts from them are hereafter given:
8th Mo. 2d. Letter to M.B.
* * * Surely, whoever is not a true friend to himself and to his own best interests cannot be such to another. Here, indeed, if I may hope to have part or lot in the matter, the thing aimed at is high; but this does not insure its attainment, and there is great cause for care that the humiliating discovery of the discrepancy between the two, does not lead us to lower the one rather than seek to elevate the other. I have a strong belief of the importance of self-scrutiny and honesty with one's own heart, of real willingness to know and feel the worst of one's self, and sincerity of application to the true means of remedy. Perhaps the very sense of deficiency in this particular, makes me believe the more its value; but I dislike what I think to be the false humility of some persons, who, while seeming to claim the blessings of religion, would think it presumption to profess, or even expect, conformity to its standard. The presumption always seems to me on the other side; and yet who is free from it altogether? Very long it takes some persons—of whom I am one—to get through the seventh chapter of Romans. Many a time they get to the twenty-fourth verse, and stick in the twenty-fifth, looking wishfully over the barrier which divides them from the eighth chapter; and yet, if thoroughly willing to know the worst of themselves, they would perhaps find that it is because a part of a man's nature may go so far, while it requires the whole spirit to make this last transition. I think I long for true humiliation in the evidence of my own deficiency here.
* * * * *
I did, indeed, enjoy the Yearly Meeting's Epistle: it is a wholesome one in these days. How refreshing is it in thought, to abstract ourselves from the words and doings of men, and think of that one eternal unchanging truth, which can never be inconsistent with itself and which, though hid from the wise and prudent, is revealed to babes! Here I think the belief of the identity of our own character hereafter, comes in well, and should lead us to consider whether we love truth absolutely, and not only relatively to the circumstances which will not exist then; and whether we can be happy in a land where righteousness and peace forever kiss each other. And may I, without vanity and just in illustration, quote from a rhyme of my own?—
While thus we long, in bonds of clay, For freedom's advent bright, Upbraid the tardy wheels of day, And call the slumbering light,
Do we no willing fetters wear Which our own hands have made, No self-imposed distresses bear, And court no needless shade?
While our departed friends to meet We often vainly sigh, To hold in heaven communion sweet, Communion large and high,
Do we, while here on earth we dwell, Those pure affections show For which we long to bid farewell To all we love below?
For no unhallow'd footstep falls Upon that floor of gold; Those pearly gates, those crystal walls, No earthly hearts enfold.
And if our voice on earth be strange To notes of praise and prayer, That voice it is not death's to change, Would make but discord there.
8th Mo. 10th. Strange vacillations of feeling; at one time on the point of trusting the Lord for eternity, at another, cannot trust him even for time. At one time would cast my whole soul on him; at another, will bear the weight of every straw myself, till I become quite overloaded with them. Oh, what a spectacle of folly, and weakness, and sin! A soul immortal spending all her powers, wasting her strength in strenuous idleness!
8th Mo. 16th. Very busy making things tidy, and resolved, almost religiously, to keep them so. I think I would not, for any consideration, die with all my things in disorder. Disorder must be the result of a disordered mind, and not only so, it reacts on the mind and makes it worse in turn.
8th Mo. 18th. People do not say enough of the need of consistency, when they speak of trusting in Providence instead of arms. It was consistent in William Penn, but it would not have been consistent in his contemporaries, who took the Indians' land for nought. Providence is not to be made a protector of injustice, of which arms are the fitting shield. Oh that consistency, earnestness of character, were more valued!
8th Mo. 23d. Some true wish, may I say prayer, that Christ may now, now, blot out as a cloud my sins, even on his own terms, which, I am more convinced, do not consist of things required of us to give in exchange for his mercy, but are a part of that mercy, a part of that redemption. Yes, when sin becomes thoroughly a burden, as sin, then we see that grace would be indeed imperfect, if it was not to be a deliverance from the power, as well as the punishment, of sin; and if we ask for grace, and yet cherish sin, truly we know not what spirit we are of, we wish not for complete salvation while we are asking for it. Mercy is a broader thing than our most earnest prayers suppose; yea, it is "above all that we can ask or think."
8th Mo. Letter to M.B.
* * * How little it avails to know the theory of wisdom and folly, right and wrong, etc., just so as to occupy only the perceptive and reasoning faculties! What we want, what the world wants, I think, is the Christian version of the present so fashionable idea of earnestness, or, as I have thought it may imply, consistency of character. We get ideas and opinions in a dead way, and then they do not pervade our characters; we have but half learned them; they have influenced not our feeling, but only our knowing faculties, and then perhaps it had been better not to have known the way of truth. A full response is in my heart to the difficulty of keeping things in their right places, neither can I at all agree to the idea "that where the love of the world perverts one, the fear of it perverts ten;" at least, understanding the world to mean "whatever passes as I cloud between the mental eye of faith and things unseen." Many a time has the book-shelf and the writing-desk been made a substitute for the oratory. As to friendship taking this place, surely the whole idea of a Church is based on that of Christian fellowship in its strict sense. Be it ours to know what that means, and then, if our love to Christ is the main bond of union, while that continues, we shall love him the more rather than the less on that account. But I know that friendship includes various other elements, and may we be sensible that if these are made the main things in our esteem, not only our faith, but our friendship too, becomes debased.
Respecting the seventh and eighth chapter of Romans, a believe I agree with thee; but lately I have had stronger feelings than I used to have about the distinction between defective religion and infant religion. The full feeling of our corruption must certainly precede the full reception of the Christian's joy; and I believe we ought not to be too anxious to reduce to regular theory what is so much above our finite understandings as the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Still, I think there is, when it goes on as it ought to do, unobstructed, a completeness in all its stages. There may and ought to be a perfect infant, then a perfect youth, then a perfect man, and I don't know how to apply to the advanced stage only; that blessed declaration which I sometimes think expresses the sum of Christian liberty, "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Still, it will be quite time enough to reason about this when we have attained such an entirely childlike state; nor, I suppose, shall we be long in discovering the privilege of which we shall then be in possession—"Of such is the kingdom of heaven." Then, doubtless, we shall be furthest from reasoning at all.
We have been much interested with the last volume of D'Aubigne. The imperfection of all the instruments is strikingly shown. Luther's obstinate transubstantiation or consubstantiation doctrines, Melancthon's timid concessions to the Papists, and Zwingle's carnal warfare, ending in the tragedy of Cappel, and, as it seems, in the long delay of the establishment of the Reformation in Switzerland. D'Aubigne appears very sensible of this inconsistency: even the loss of Ecolampadius by a peaceful death he represents as a happy encouragement to the Church after the blow it had received; but I don't think D'Aubigne a thorough peace advocate. He makes so much distinction between the Churchman and Statesman, that I fear he would allow of mere rulers and magistrates taking up arms on merely secular affairs, though he does not wish the Church to be defended by such. I should like to know thy impression of the early Christians' opinion on war. Neander allows that a party objected to it, as in the case of Maximilian, A.D. 229; but says that very sincere Christians were soldiers in the Roman army, till Galerius required all soldiers to take part in the heathen ceremonies.
8th Mo. 26th. Oh, how shall I set forth His tender compassion, who has blessed me this evening with, I was going to say, the abundance of peace and truth? Oh, how near He has been, helping me to cast my all on Him, helping me to leave the things that are behind, yes, and the things that are before too, as far as self is concerned, and commit my future way and safety to Him! When His love has been made known, how have I been grieved by fears of future folly, fears, too, that have been grievously fulfilled. What a pretest this for harassing myself with fears that it will be so again! But, oh, these fears are very far from that fear which the Lord will put into His children's hearts, that they shall not depart from Him. They have no preserving power over me; they are "of the earth, earthy," and solely come from distrust of that grace which is ever-sufficient; from a desire to have a share myself in that victory which is Christ's alone. Oh, if my incessant regards were to Him alone, He would take all care on Himself. "He is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever," and His faith is "the victory which overcomes the world." Humility, true watchfulness, and self-distrust are diametrically opposed to this careful spirit: their language ever is, "I am nothing, Christ is all."
8th Mo. 27th. Changed indeed; not any light to be seen in my dark heart. Yet I look up, I trust singly, to Him from whom it came yesterday; and thither may I look till again the day break. Can I say, in full sincerity, "more than they that watch for the morning"? Alas that I am so versatile! Christian and worldling within a day. Oh for a deeper sense that I am not my own,—that I have no right to disturb the sanctuary of my own spirit when God has made it such,—that there is no other way than whole-hearted and honest-hearted Christianity to attain the heavenly kingdom!
9th Mo. 9th. Letter to M.B.
* * * Our wily foe finds every thing which produces strong emotion and commotion of mind a good opportunity for trying new temptations, and, at any rate, tries hard to keep us from committing all to a better hand than ours. I feel quite ashamed of the measure of his success with me; but surely we want a new sanctification every day,—a new recurrence to the grace that will set "all dislocated bones," as J. Fletcher calls unsanctified feelings and affections. I was much pleased with this comparison, which I found in his life the other day. I think it is an admirable exemplification of the uneasiness and pain of mind they cause. But how very uncertain our frames of feeling are; sometimes thinking there is but one thing which we have not quite given up to God, and sometimes, with perhaps correcter judgment, lamenting, "all my bones are out of joint." May we, my dear M., encourage each other in seeking help of Him who received and healed all that had need of healing.
9th Mo. 20th. Finished most interesting review of John Foster's life. * * * Foster was a very deep thinker. He thought the boundary of the knowable wider than the generality do. This may be; but I fancy he does not always admit sufficient weight in his arguments to the manifest relations and actings of the unknown upon the known. He was Calvinistic; this, joined to a strong view of the moral perfection and benevolence of God, led him to the natural result of denying eternal punishments. Could he have seen more of the essence of a human spirit, as he doubtless now sees it, I venture to think that that mysterious personality, by virtue of which man may be said to choose his destiny, i.e. to embrace destruction, or to submit to be saved by the Saviour in his own way, that the perception of this personal image of God in man might vindicate the Divine perfection and benevolence, and make it evident that our "salvation is of God, and our destruction is of ourselves."
10th Mo. 2d. Oh to be permitted any taste of that grace which is free—ever free; which brings a serene reliance on eternal love; which imprints its own reflection on the soul! Oh, be that reflection unbroken by restless disquiets of mind; be that image watchfully prized, and waited for, and waited in.
10th Mo. 5th. Some sweetness in thinking how much akin is "having nothing" to "possessing all things."
10th Mo. 14th. Talk with James Teare on the immorality of drinking. Query:—Is it per se a sin to drink a little? He does not affirm it in pure abstract, but says that no action can be purely abstract; and that as to uphold an immoral system is immoral, as the drinking system is immoral, as moderate draughts uphold the drinking system, and, in fact, cannot be drunk by the community without giving birth to drunkenness—ergo, moderate drinking is an immoral practice. He does not at all judge those who do not see it; only says they ought to accept light and knowledge, and he cannot doubt what would then be the result.
10th Mo. 17th. The above talk with J. Teare was a great satisfaction to me; we went that evening to his meeting, and after two hours of deep interest in a crowded meeting I signed the pledge, with a hand trembling with emotion. I could not trust myself to tell S. that the pleasure he expressed was but a faint reflection of mine. I have been expending two days in a letter to the Friend on "Distillation," which I ardently hope to get inserted.
11th Mo. 3d. Last evening sweetly realized in some degree being in the Lord's own hands; and this morning again enabled to cease from my own vain attempts and trust the Lord. Oh, the folly of the long trials I have made to do something, when I come before Him! It is all in vain. If I am ever saved it will be His doing, His free grace; and this moment can I call Jesus my Saviour. On Fifth-day I read Barclay's fifth Proposition—pleased and satisfied almost entirely with it.
12th Mo. 5th. I have got my letter inserted in the Friend; the editor says my zeal has carried me too far as to means; he agrees as to the evil of the system. Oh that it were seen as it deserves! But how talk of abolition by law, and keep spirit-merchants in the Church? [See Friend, vol. iv. page 232.]
12th Mo. 11th.—Letter to M.B.
* * * Nothing, I think, loses by its foundation being tried. We see that in yet higher things it is needful and right often to try whether principle is firm; and, though sometimes we may tremble lest faith should fall in the trial, perhaps it would be more just to fear lest the trial should merely show it already to have fallen. What thou sayest about laying aside reasoning is very true; but how hard to do so! Saul's armor doubtless it is, as says the little tract. How easy, comparatively, to let any want go unsatisfied, rather than that imperious reason which urges its claim with so many good pretences, which tells us truth will always bear investigation, and that if we cannot explain by our small faculties experiences in which the highest mysteries are involved, the experiences must have been fallacious! How different is this sort of voluntary and almost presumptuous self-investigation from submitting all to the unerring touchstone! It is, indeed, very instructive to observe that our Saviour's rejoicing in spirit was not over the subjects of some wondrous apocalypse, or over those endowed with miraculous power, but over "babes;" and that in the same way His lamentation was not that the Jews had refused His offers of any thing of this kind, but that they "would not" be "gathered" by Him as "chickens under their mother's wing."
It was the fault of my obscure expression, that when I spoke of my "painful reason" I did not make it apparent that I meant it of the faculty of reason, which has been a very unquiet occupant of my mind for some years past, and which has led me to the conclusion that our mental atmosphere, the whole system of feelings, affections, hopes, doubts, fears, perplexities, etc., is one which it is dangerous needlessly and wilfully to disturb. When once we have carelessly wrought up a storm it is not in our own power so quickly to lay it, and the poor mind is almost compelled to endure passively the disturbance till these unruly elements spontaneously subside, or something better interferes for its help. Surely, if there has been any resting-place given us, if our eyes have ever seen the "quiet habitation," we ought to fear the excitement of any thing which, naturally breaks the equilibrium. I believe some people think imagination the unruly member among the mental parts; but with me it is the aforesaid offender decidedly. I hope I do not tease thee about teetotalism: it lies near my heart, and has done so for a long time; and though I too find it an effort sometimes to give up an evening to a meeting of that sort, it is such a comfort to be able to do any thing to show on which side I am, that I think I ought not to mind that.
1st Mo. 4th, 1847. Yesterday, and the day before, gently blest in spirit with having things placed more in their right position in my heart than for some time before. One evening I had toiled long in vain, could not overcome a sad sense of spiritual deficiency. It occurred to me that this might be the very best thing for me: then I opened my heart and welcomed it; and, oh, how did a smile of compassion beam upon me, and the grace that would not be purchased came in full and free! But it is infinitely important to watch for more.
Thus experiencing both "how to be abased" and "how to abound," she learned to be satisfied with poverty, and recognized in barrenness, as well as in richness of joy and love, a guiding and purifying grace, leading on to the perfect life in Christ.
1st Mo. 10th. Letter to M.B.
* * * Oh for that simple faith which thou speaks of as mastering mountains of difficulty, and that not by might or power, but by its intrinsically victorious nature! I have sometimes been struck by the way in which this is asserted in the text, "This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith." It is taken for granted that there will be a contest and a victory; but if there is true faith the world will certainly be overcome: I mean provided the faith is held fast. It may be abandoned, or foes within may betray the citadel; but it will not otherwise yield to pressure from without. May we, if possible, encourage one another not to let go that small, and, it may be, famishing and almost expiring confidence, which hath, not only is promised, great recompense of reward. I little thought to come to any thing so encouraging when beginning a sort of lamentation over myself. But really there is so much that is deceptive in the deceptive heart; so many things, even our humility, that we once thought of the right kind, turn out to have been some refined manifestation of spiritual pride, that we may daily find, at least I do, that the question "Who can cure it?" follows its judgment as "desperately wicked," with emphasis full as great as that of "Who can know it?" is prompted by the discovery that it is "deceitful above all things."
* * * Job Thomas's death-bed has long been an interesting one to me; and I think his parting address, especially seeing it is a translation from Welsh, conveys remarkably the impression of a mind beginning to be shone upon from the other world. On the other hand, death-beds of opposite characters, such as "Altamont" in Murray's Power of Religion, carry a no less convincing evidence of the dark realities to come. When my father was in America he was much interested with hearing from a friend, a female connection of whom had lived in the house with Tom Payne, some account of the last hours of that wretched man, who appears to have become so fully sensible of his fatal errors as to have written a recantation, which some of his infidel friends destroyed. The account they gave to Cobbett was entirely false; as the friend related that he expressed to her the greatest sorrow for the harm that he had done, and, on hearing that she had burned some of his books, he expressed a wish that all had done the same.
[Footnote 2: For a farther account see Life of Stephen Grellet, vol. i. p. 163, Amer. edit.]
* * * Total abstinence, as well as many other good Causes, and the good cause, have lost a noble advocate in our honored and lamented friend J.J. Ghirney. It is hard to reconcile one's mind to so sudden a summons; so little time for his sorrowing friends to receive those ever valuable and precious legacies, "dying sayings." We have heard of nothing of that kind; and perhaps he was not conscious of the approach of death at all. So much the brighter, doubtless, the glad surprise of the transition. Oh, how one longs for permission to look in at heaven's opened door-way after the entrance of such souls!
1st Mo. 23d. To-day, writing rhyming Irish, appeal. It got the upper hand and made me sin—so unhappy about it. When I believe sincerely desiring to offer it up to the Lord's, will, I grew easy to continue it. Perhaps it was a selfish and self-pleasing influence, but I think not so. I felt very glad afterwards to be able to ask to have all my heart consecrated by the Lord's spirit; and I do believe that to rectify, not extinguish, the beat of oar facilities, is religion's work.
This appeal on behalf of the poor Irish was never made public. It had occupied her thoughts very deeply, and, had she seen fit to publish it, might have been an auxiliary to the material efforts on behalf of the sufferers in which she, in common with many others at that period, was warmly engaged.
Many visits to poor people. In some I felt able to talk to them of heavenly things. I believe it is right to speak in love and interest, but never to out-strip our feelings. "I was sick, and ye visited me," refers to a duty; and surely, when we are blessed with a knowledge of the way of salvation, and feel anxious for the salvation of others, it is right to do our endeavors; at the same time well knowing that God only can touch the heart. I believe that indifference and indolence do much shelter themselves under pretence of leaving God's work to Himself. I have often learned salutary lessons in doing my little.
2d Mo. 19th. I have been musing upon "my sorrow was stirred." Can it be that every heart is a treasury of sadness which has but to be stirred up to set us in mourning? Is it proportionate to the amount of evil? Does a certain amount of evil necessarily bring a certain amount of sorrow soon or late? Do we suffer only by our own fault, unless a grief is actually inflicted upon us? I think not. There may be mental storms, over-castings of cloud in the mind's hemisphere, independent of the exhalations from the soil.
2d Mo. 23d. Letter to M.B.
* * * The truth is, that I was once fonder of reading than of almost any thing else. * * * I don't know how to tell thee about the strangely sad impression that has followed, that "this also is vanity." I know it is our duty to improve our minds, and I wish much that mine had been better cultivated than it has been, and yet some utilitarian infirmity of mind has so often suggested, "What use is it?" while I have been reading, that my zest for the book has been almost destroyed, and the very thought of the volume has been saddened by remembering what I felt while reading it. So that what E. Barrett says of light reading is true to me of Schiller and some others:—
"Merry books once read for pastime, If we dared to read again, Only memories of the last time, Would swim darkly up the brain."
I hope these feelings are not infectious, or I certainly would not inflict on thee the description. But do not take this as a general picture of me. It is a morbid occasional state of things; consequent, by reaction, on the exclusiveness of aim with which those things were followed. I learned sooner than I suppose many do, the earnestness, coldness, reality of life; and there has come an impression of its being too late to prepare for life, and quite time to live. However imperfectly, I have learned that to live ought to be to prepare to die; but, without stopping to describe how that idea has acted, a secondary purpose of being of some use to others has. I might almost say, tormented my faculty of conscientiousness. Don't suppose that this is any evidence of religion or love. I believe it rather argues the contrary. Every attempt to do good ought to spring naturally from love to God and man; not from a wish merely to attain our beau-ideal of duty. Now, though I so much like reading, I did not seem able to make any use of it; for strangely confused were long my ideas of usefulness, and there has followed many a conflict between these two unsanctified tendencies. Perhaps they have done some good in chastening each other and chastening their owner. Do not think I prospered in either, for I have, as I said, a poor memory; and then I wanted to see fruits of my labors, and spent a great deal of time in making charts; one of the history of empires, one of the history of inventions and discoveries; the latter, especially, was not worth the labor. I have had a taste of many things, and yet, to speak honestly, excel in hardly any thing: the reason of this is partly a great want of order. I never attempted any thing like a "course of reading:" but, when I began a book, the book was the object more than my own real improvement. I read often D.E.F., before I had read A.B.C., and so grew confused, and then, if it is to be confessed, the childish pride of having read a book was not without its influence. Poetry in modern times has certainly become diluted in strength and value; but, though I have not at all a large acquaintance, I think there are many good modern poets. I much admire Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality," as well as many of his shorter and simpler pieces—"The Longest Day," for instance. There is a great deal of good instruction, as well as deep thought, in his poetry; but there is not, I think, very clearly an evangelical spirit; indeed, the "Excursion," which is beautiful, is unsatisfactory to me in this respect. Longfellow I think not clearly influenced by religious principle, but I do not see any thing contrary to it. Some of his short pieces are like little gems,—so beautifully cut, too. Elizabeth Barrett's [Browning] deep thoughts, rich poetical ideas, and thoroughly satisfactory principles, when they appear,  make her a great favorite with me and with us all. Even her fictions, though so well told, are not wrought up, or full of romantic incident; but the tale is plainly used merely as a thread on which to string rich thoughts and lessons. How much this is the case with the "Lay of the Brown Rosary!" Even the sad pieces, such as the "Lost Bower," end generally with a gleam of light, not from a mere meteor of passion or sentiment, but from a day-spring of Christian hope. Perhaps I am too partial, for I know that taste, which in me is particularly gratified with E. Barrett, will influence our judgment. Some of Trench's poems, too, I think, are worth learning; his "Walk in the Churchyard" I particularly like.
3d Mo. 25th. Letter to M.B.
* * * But, oh, I do believe that if people did but accustom themselves to view small things as parts of large, moments as parts of life, intellects as parts of men, lives as parts of eternity, religion would cease to be the mere adjunct which it now is to many. * * * I am convinced that till it be made the one object of our earnest love and endeavors, till we have an upright heart, till the leader of the fir-tree points direct to heaven, and all lateral shoots not merely refrain from interfering, but mainly grow in order to support, nourish, and minister to it, we shall never have that perfect peace, that rest of spirit, that power to "breathe freely,"—conscious that we are as if not all that we ought to be,—which constitute the happiness of a Christian. But enough of this: don't think I pretend to any such attainment, though I can sometimes say, "I follow after."
I much admired that part of Jane Taylor's "Remains" which describes her cheerful and unmurmuring acceptance of a humble quiet life, and her dislike of mere show and machinery in benevolence. I do not think the best public characters are those who accept formally, and for its own sake, a prominent station, but those who, following their individual duty, and occupying their peculiar gifts, are thereby made honorable in the earth. To them, I fancy, publicity is often an accident of small moment; and they who walk in the light of heaven mind little whether earthly eyes regard or disregard them. I do not, however, covet for any one whom I love a conspicuous path. There must be many thorns and snares.
4th Mo. 4th. Much interested with Hester Rogers's life. The Methodist standard of holiness is full as high as Friends'—viz. the gospel standard. Struck with the accordance with G. Fox's experience. He was asked if he had no sin, and answered, "Jesus Christ had put away his sin, and in Him (Jesus) is no sin." This was a young man. He grew much afterwards, doubtless, in faith and knowledge. What would be thought of a person, especially young, who should profess so much now? Is the gospel changed? It is, or we lack faith in its principle. We do not perseveringly seek, determinately seek, to know for ourselves what this high attainment is.
Nice visit at the Union on First-day. Congregation enlarged, notwithstanding substitution of Bible for Tract, and very quiet. Cornelius, a helpless sick man, seeming near death, melted my heart with his talk. I felt quite unfit to be called a "sister" by such a saint.
4th Mo. 10th. "To have had much forgiven" is, I can joyfully yet reverently record this evening, my blessed portion; and in the sense, which as a cloud of warmth and light now dwells in my heart, of the loving-kindness and tender mercy of God in Christ Jesus, I have been ready to say, in effect, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name," "who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies." How is all given me gratis, without money and without price! Nothing is mine but confusion of face for my oft-repeated rebellions.
Oh, it is not that we can get salvation for ourselves; it is that we hinder not, refuse not, turn not from, but accept, wait for, pant for the free gift of our Saviour's grace. "To Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly," the work belongs. He can cause that even as sin hath reigned, so shall grace reign; and that as death hath triumphed, so shall spiritual and eternal life triumph also. Amen and amen.
4th Mo. 17th. How short-lived were the feelings I recorded at the close of last week! I believe an earnest talk with a chatty caller on minor matters, recalled my heart that same evening from its happy abiding-place. I have thought of the words, "Jesus Christ the end of your conversation," and fear he is but a by-end of mine. It is hard to analyze our feelings: perhaps when discomfort from excitement and discontent is greatest, my sin is no greater than when in listless apathy and earthly-mindedness my thoughts are bounded by the seen and the temporal.
5th Mo. 24th. A solemn warning from Uncle R. on Fifth-day did me good. I was blessed with some degree of ability to use the words, "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit," and though I feared to add, "Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord of truth," in its full sense, yet I have felt how precious were the words, "as unto a faithful Creator." Oh, does He not say in these days, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it"? Is His hand shortened at all? Can we not have faith in our principles?
The following lines were written about this, time, in allusion to the marriage of her eldest, sister, and the funeral of John Wadge, an old and valued friend of the family. It was hoped that the cactus which had belonged to J.W. would have blossomed in time for the wedding; but the first flower only opened a fortnight afterwards, on the morning of his own funeral: and when, in a few years, the marriage of the beloved writer of the lines was so speedily followed by her own decease, the striking appropriateness of these touching verses could not fail to be remembered.
TO A CACTUS FLOWER.
Firstling blossom! gayly spreading On a long-nursed household tree, What unwonted spell is shedding Thought of grief on bloom of thee?
For a morning bright and tender They had nursed thee glad and fond; Nay, the bud reserved its splendor For a funeral scene beyond.
Who shall tell us which were meeter,— Marriage morn, or funeral day? What if nature chose the sweeter, Where her blooming gift to lay?
Set in thorns that flower so tender! Marriage days have poignant hours; Thorny stem, thou hast thy splendor! Funeral days have also flowers.
And the loftiest hopes man nurses, Never deem them idly born; Never think that deathly curses Blight them on a funeral morn.
Buds of their perennial nature Need a region where to blow, Where the stalk has loftier stature Than it reaches here below.
Not like us they dread the bosom Of chill earth's sepulchral gloom; They will find them where to blossom, And perhaps select a tomb.
Yes, a tomb; so thou mayst deem it, With regretful feelings fond; Not a tomb, however, seems it, If thou know'st to look beyond.
10th of 7th Month, 1847.
8th Mo. 8th. We alone. Pleasant and quiet schemes have arisen (partly from reading Pyecroft, partly from having felt so much my own deficiencies) for thoroughly industrious study, and for keeping, if possible, externals and mentals in more order. Order, I believe, would enable me to do much more than I do in this way, without lessening those little "good works" which my natural, unsanctified conscience requires as a sedative; (alas that this is so nearly all!) but I have got such an impression of selfishness in sitting down to read to myself, that this, added to unsettlement from company, etc., almost puts study out of sight.
8th Mo. 16th. Letter to M.B.
* * * Though not only inability for, but even natural repugnance to good thoughts is often a prominent feeling, let us not think this a "discouraging experience." What will be discouraged by it, except that self-confidence and self-reliance which are the bane, the very opposite, to the idea of faith? Surely it is for want of such a feeling, and not because of it, that faith is feeble. It is because we try to make those good thoughts and holy feelings of which Thomas Charles says so truly, "we are no more capable than we are of creating worlds." I hope I do not presume too much in writing thus. How little can I say of the blessings of a contrary state! But how much would my heart's history tell of the exceeding vanity and folly, and may I not add presumption, of attempting to do what Divine grace alone can do! How many a painful and gloomy hour might have been cheered by the Sun of Righteousness, but for my obstinacy in trying to light farthing candles! But I believe there are generally other obstacles at the same time. We will have some beloved indulgence, some pleasures, of which perhaps the will is the chief sin, and which, if but willingly resigned, might be reconsecrated for our use and enjoyment; and then darkness and gloominess of mind follow, and we light matches and farthing candles to comfort us, while these very resources keep us back from seeking the radical remedy. How easy it is to write or tell the diagnosis of such a case! but to be reconciled to the true mode of treatment, the prognosis, as doctors say, there is the difficulty, while I doubt not Cowper speaks the truth:—
"Were half the breath thus vainly spent To heaven in supplication sent, Your cheerful song would oftener be, Hear what the Lord hath done for me."
I have been much interested with Thomas Charles's life; such an example of spiritual-mindedness, faith, and love. Dr. Payson's death-bed is indeed a deeply interesting history. How we should all like to choose such an one! and yet, if but prepared to go, whether we depart as he did, or as poor Cowper, how true are the words of the latter, "What can it signify?" I have often thought these words very significant.
Of phrenology I have heard such conflicting opinions that only my own small experience would satisfy me of its general truth. I think only very weak minds need be led by it to fatalism. The very fact of so many propensities and sentiments balancing each other seems to show that the result is to be contingent on some other thing than themselves, as the best-rigged vessel on an uncertain sea, in varying winds, is under the control of the helmsman and captain, and may be steered right or wrong; and surely no vessel is built by an all-wise Hand which cannot be steered aright with grace at the helm.
8th Mo. 19th. Solemn thoughts yesterday in reading that solemn tract, "The Inconvenient Season." In visiting I met with another affecting illustration of the unfitness of old age for beginning religion, in the senseless self-righteousness of poor old Mary N. She says every night and morning the prayers she learned when a child, which she evidently thinks an abundant supply of religion,—saying, "if people only do the best they have been brought up to, that is all they can need; and she never did any harm to any one." Then there was poor Alice, who, notwithstanding her rank Calvinism, seemed refreshing in comparison. She knew she could not do any thing for herself; it was all grace; but then, "whatever I am, or whatever I do," she said, "I am safe, unless I have committed gross sin, which I never shall." Then poor M.L., whose only fault, she seems to think, is not having learned to read, though she knows she is a great sinner, but then as good as says she never did any thing wrong. It was a sweet change to E.S., with her thankful and trustful spirit, and poor S., with his deep experience in the things of God. "It is a long time to suffer," he said, "but the end must come, the time must wear away. I hope I shall have patience to the end, and I have great need to ask that the Lord will have patience with me. I hope I shall be fully purified before He calls me away." He spoke solemnly on the tares and the wheat, as showing the mixture of good and evil growing together; that our being outwardly among the righteous will not secure our not being tares.
9th Mo. 2d. Went to see a poor woman at the Workhouse; she is full of joy in the hope of heaven, and possession of the present mind of Jesus. I said, "Many wish for it who have it not;" she said, "Perhaps they are not enough in earnest: it costs a few groans, and struggles, and tears, but it is sweet to enjoy it now." Could the stony heart in me help melting, seeing her exceeding great joy?
Pleased with the sweet spirit that was in poor Alice, her trust, I think, in Christ alone, amid all her (as I think) mistaken thoughts of the church, sacrament, certain perseverance, &c. &c. I did not argue, but wished for us both the one foundation.
Of a peculiarly sensitive disposition herself, Eliza's heart abounded with sympathy for the trials and sufferings of the poor. She was a welcome visitor at their cottages, where her kind and gentle though timid manner generally found access to their hearts; and whilst herself receiving lessons of instruction at the bedside of the sick and the dying, she was often the means of imparting sweet consolation to them.
In her desire to promote the spiritual welfare of others, she wrote two tracts, which were printed by the York Friends' Tract Association. The first is entitled Richard Nancarrow, or the Cornish Miner, and traces the Christian course of a poor man whom she had frequently visited, and who had claimed her anxious solicitude as she watched his slow decline in consumption. In the second, entitled "Plain Words," she endeavored to convey the simplest gospel truths in words adapted to the comprehension of even the least educated. She was warmly interested in the Bible Society, in connection with which, for some years, she regularly visited a neighboring village, besides attending to other objects of a similar character nearer home.
9th Mo. 10th. Letter to M.B.
* * * Setting our affection above is indeed the first thing of importance; and yet how utterly beyond our own power! We are so enslaved to sense and sight till He, who alone is able, sets us "free indeed," that things around us can take that disproportionate hold on our hearts which makes work for the light of heaven to reduce things to their proper proportion in our view. I have thought often of the text, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Oh, how much that implies, both of love and joyfulness to be aimed at in our service of our heavenly Father on earth. How high a standard! Can we hope ever to attain it? Surely we are to ask it, not as a millennial glory for the world only, (if at all,) but also as our own individual portion. It is more to be lamented that we do not realize this than that we do not realize Foster's idea of the world to come, in which we, yes, we, our very selves, will be actually concerned. But I believe the two deficiencies are more connected than we are sometimes aware of; and perhaps the joys of a happy death-bed, the foretaste of heaven, of which we sometimes hear, are as much connected with the completeness of religious devotedness, often not till then attained, as with the nearness in point of time to a world of purity and joy. How striking is the earnestness shown in John Fletcher's "Early Christian Experience," in seeking mastery over sin, not as "uncertainly," or as "beating the air," but as one resolved to conquer in the might of that faith which "is the victory;" and how wonderfully was his after-life an example of "doing the Divine will as it is in heaven"!
9th Mo. 17th. Distress in the country great. What will all issue in? Surely in this, "the Lord sitteth on the flood; yea, He sitteth King forever." Oh! if He be King in our hearts we shall not be greatly moved. There is comfort to the Christian, immovable comfort, in having his affections, his patriotism, in heaven. My own heart, I ardently hope, is not a totally devastated land. There is a rudiment still there which God looketh upon, and perhaps, though I know it not, his eyes and his heart are there perpetually. It is not meant to remain a rudiment: oh, no; as "sin hath reigned, even unto death, so grace should yet reign, even to eternal life."
9th Mo. 27th. Perplexed about Irish knitting, because it is slave-grown cotton. It does not seem consistent to buy it; and yet I don't know what to recommend.
9th Mo. 30th. Another month is at an end. Oh that I knew whereabouts I stand in the race! "'Tis a point I long to know." Sometimes I have joy of heart, and then I tremble lest it be not rightly founded; sometimes tenderness of heart, and then I fear it is only natural feeling; sometimes fervent desires after good, and then I fear lest they are only the result of fear of punishment; sometimes trust in the merits of Jesus, and can look to Him as a sacrifice for sin; then I fear lest it is only as an escape from danger, not deliverance from present corruption; sometimes wish to fulfil actively my duties, then these same duties have stolen away my heart. Oh, how do I get cumbered with cares and many things, entangled with perplexity, or elated with cheer! I think I have honestly wished to be fed with convenient food. Oh to be at the end of the race, or so near it as dear E. Stephens, by whose bed of pain and joy I could not but mingle tears. But why thus? Surely, O Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of thy poor creature. Thy help must have been with me when I knew it not, or life had been quite extinct ere now. Extinct it is not; and for this will I bless Thee, even that I am not yet cast out as an abominable branch, though so unfruitful. I fear it can be only by much tribulation that the enemy of my own house will ever be quelled; and perhaps salutary pains are sent, in the very perplexities of things which might be more ensnaring if all went on smoothly. I have declined more cotton goods from Ireland, and asked for woollen, which is one burden gone.
10th Mo. 7th. I believe study and taste must be kept very subordinate to duty. Enough, yea, heaven is this, to do my Father's will, if it were but as it is done in heaven—all willing, loving, joyful service! Oh to be more like my Saviour! Surely I love Him!
10th Mo. 20th. If Martha should not have been cumbered with the outward attention to Christ Himself, cares for others on plea of duty can never be enough excuse for a peaceless mind. "They which believe do enter into rest." Oh for rest this hour in Jesus' bosom!
10th Mo. 21st. This book will present no fair account of my state if I write only in hours of comfort. I have passed through dark and sinful days—no hope, no love. I thought I must have wearied out the Saviour—that He had given me up for lost. Perhaps some self was in the feelings described in my last, and so this faithless sorrow came to teach me what I am. Oh that nothing impure might mix in the consolation which has visited me last evening and this morning, when the gracious regard of my all-merciful Saviour has been witnessed, some blessed sight of "the water to cleanse and the blood to atone." Oh, how fervently I wish to be kept by faith in Him, in still deepening humility!
11th Mo. 27th. What would be my present condition but for the unchangeable faithfulness of my God and Saviour? Ah! how well may He say, "Thou hast destroyed thyself," and yet how constantly add, "but in me is thine help." Yes, though we ofttimes believe not, yet "He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself;" and so, where there is any thing of His own left in a wandering heart, again and again returns, "upbraiding not," or else only in accents of the tenderest love: "O thou of little faith!" Often have I admired not only His great love as shown in the main features of redemption, but, if such a word is allowable, His minute loving kindness. Kindness—such a tender regard for the comfort and peace of the soul. Oh, the spiritual sorrows are far more from ourselves, our own wilful work, than from Him whose language is, "I the Lord do keep it, lest any hurt it."
12th Mo. 4th. Yesterday, in going to Plymouth with father and mother, read in my Testament of the Prodigal Son. Had no time to read before setting out, and was dull. Thought it no use to take out the book; but, oh, such a sweet contrition came over me, such a sense of being invited to return to my Father's house, such a soft and gentle peace!
1st Mo. 15th, 1848. On the First-day before N. and F. left us, we had a sweet address (in meeting) from Uncle Rundell, on the grace which had been his "morning light, and which he trusted would be his evening song;" ending with his hope that all would be willing to "bear the cross," that finally they might "wear the crown," for it is the end that crowns the action. We thought it a farewell-sermon; and the joyful assurance in which it was uttered is precious to think of. On Third-day he walked with me in the meadow, but on Fourth-day sickness confined him to bed, and on Fifth-day he had lost all power of standing. Since then, he has been a patient helpless invalid, and constant and most interesting has been our occupation by turns, in waiting on him, gathering up his really precious words, and witnessing the yet more precious example and evidence of all-sufficient grace. Never may this season be forgotten by me, though not privileged to witness its close. To visit F., I left home in the First month, after a farewell to our precious uncle, which is not to be forgotten. He asked me if I was going the next day. I said yes, and that I was very sorry to leave him. He said, "Well, as thou art enabled, pray for me." I said, "And I hope thou won't forget me." He replied, "It is not likely." In the evening, as he sat by the fire, and spoke of my going to N. and F., he said, "Desire them, as they are enabled, to pray that I may be favored with patience and resignation to the end." When I said I must try to bid him farewell, hard as it was, he said, "May the Lord go with thee. Keep to the cross; despise not the day of small things. The Lord may see meet to employ thee in His service, and I wish that every gift that He dispenses to thee may be faithfully occupied with." A loving farewell followed, and I left—doubtless for the last time—our honored patriarch.
At Neath I spent more than three weeks, enjoying the great kindness of my brother and sister, and the beauty of the country, then dressed in its winter garb, and the feeling of being in some measure useful. I was also blessed, at the beginning of my visit, with more than a common portion of spiritual blessing; and I think the first meeting I was at there was a time never to be forgotten—silent; but my poor soul seemed swallowed up of joy and peace such as I had never before known, at least so abidingly. The calmness and peace, and the daily bread, with which I was blessed in my little daily works and daily retirements for some days, make the time sweet to look back on, but grievous that I kept not my portion, and again wandered from mountain to hill, forgetting my resting-place.
She afterwards accompanied her brother and sister to their new home at Ipswich.
From a letter to one of her sisters.
Ipswich, 3d Month.
My mind has been so full of you to-day that, though it is First-day evening, I must spend a few minutes in this way before I go to bed. The thought of father's going homewards to-morrow and seeing you all, seems a stirring up and drawing tight of the interests and connecting bonds of our scattered race. Oh, I do dearly love you in my inmost heart,—though some of my letters may seem as if I had lost some home affections to root amongst strangers; but surely the new scenes of life which I have witnessed, since that cold frosty morning when I left you, have tended to make me value more than ever that precious treasure of household love. Oh, what were life without it? a wilderness indeed! and well is it worth all the pangs which it may cost us in this cold world. It is cheering to think of them as caused by contact of something warm within, as with the cold without; and far better it is to bear, than to be cooled down to the temperature of earth's raw air. Thou wilt wonder perhaps at my writing in this way; but with me, though I may seem cold and dull in the common way, there comes a day, every now and then, when I find
"New depths of love, in measure unsuspected, Ties closer than I knew were round my heart."—
And though they are saddened by many a regret for neglects and omissions and commissions toward you all, and that old petrifying selfishness which only grace can cure, I would not be without such days, and almost thank "each wrench which has detected how thoroughly and deeply dear you are." I can hardly tell you what the thought of leaving N. and F. is to me, but this dark day begins to shadow itself.
* * * Poor dear old A.G.! What a change from her dark corner to everlasting day!—but not less from a kingly palace, if we knew the truth; and her shadowy abode had more light than many a palace, if we knew the truth of that too.
She remarks in her Journal, after her return home:—
I stayed at Ipswich three weeks after the birth of my precious little niece, Frances Elizabeth; rejoicing in her daily growth, and calm trustful fearlessness—a lesson which nothing ever preached to me so loudly before. Respecting my spiritual state at Ipswich, I would say that great blessings, and I would fear great ingratitude, must be acknowledged. Some evening hours in my chamber were exceeding sweet, and some meetings solemn indeed. * * * I returned in rich and flowing peace. Many a lesson I had through my four months' absence, but none like that which awaited my return. My father met me at Plymouth; we reached home about eleven o'clock at night, and went at once to the chamber, where four months previously I last heard the voice of my uncle, and, though he still breathed, I was not to hear it again. He had sunk gradually for weeks, and now, though his lips moved a little, a word could not be heard. His face was sunk and pallid, his breathing uneasy, and his eyes were closed. After a short time we left, and at four o'clock in the morning, without a struggle, his spirit passed quietly away to his "eternal inheritance." "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever." I never, I believe, shall forget how forcibly came to my mind, as I sat beside his lifeless form, the words, "To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living," and my thoughts turned on many a solemn and blessed trust implied in them.
Her uncle, Samuel Rundell, died on the 4th of 5th Month, 1848, at the age of eighty-five. In the Annual Monitor for the following year is a short Memoir of his life.
It had been for some years a frequent occupation with Eliza, together with her sisters and cousins, to spend the long winter evenings with her aged uncle and aunt, and after the decease of the former these attentions were more constantly needed by the survivor. It was striking to notice Eliza's cheerful alacrity to relinquish, when her turn came round, her favorite pursuits, often for some weeks together, in order to comfort and enliven the declining days of this aged relative.
7th Mo. —th. My mental condition a quiet but not painless one. I had been much favored, though in pain and trouble, amidst which I had a kind note from J.T., who says, "When at Liskeard, and since, I have believed that it might be said unto thee, 'The Master is come, and calleth for thee;' and I wish, if thou hast been made sensible of this, it may be thy very earnest concern to sit at His feet in great humility of mind, that thou mayst hear from season to season the gracious words that may proceed as out of His mouth. It may be that in the ordering of His gracious designs, He may see fit, as He has done with many others, to allure thee and bring thee into the wilderness; but I have no doubt that He will also give thee vineyards from thence, and thou wilt be made sensible that indeed it is His own right arm that has and will bring salvation unto thee" Though at present incapable of feeling as I have done, yet, being desirous of finishing up my Journal, I must acknowledge that great and gracious have been the dealings of my heavenly Father with me, causing me to rejoice in Him who has done for me "exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think," chiefly in the way, which I have found a very blessed way, of enabling me to give up my own will to His, and to be subject in things little and great to Himself. As far as I have known the yoke of Christ, it is indeed a sweet and easy yoke; and the chiefest sorrow which I have found during my endeavor to bear it has been from my aptness to throw it off. The worst of snares are the most secret.
We are now quietly and unexcitedly at home; and I wish industriously to do my little duties, and follow my little callings: of these the Workhouse women supply one of the most satisfactory to myself. They are a sad sight; but I feel that my small labors with them are not rejected, but desired, and I hope to a few at least they may be of some use. On First-days I now first read a short tract, then read in the Testament two or three chapters, verse by verse, with the women, then hear them say hymns,—which three or four learn gladly: this fills the hour. And once in a week I like to go in and try to teach those who cannot read. I have much felt, lately, that it is vain to try as a mere satisfaction to conscience to do these things, because we ought: it must be from a better motive—true keeping of the "first and great commandment," and the second, which "is like unto it." No busy doings at home or abroad will ever do instead.
8th Mo. 5th. 7th-Day. I must in thankfulness record free and great mercies this week. First-day was a happy one. In the morning rain and a cough kept me at home. I read the crucifixion and resurrection in different Evangelists, and cannot tell how meltingly sweet it was. Surely I did love Jesus then because He had first loved me. Sundry sweet refreshing brooks have flowed by my wayside, and some dry lonely paths I have trodden, (since,) but think He who is alone the foundation and corner-stone, immovable and undeceiving, has become more precious. Oh, how shall I be enough careful to trust him alone? I have got on a little with Gibbon's Rise and Fall, and have begun Neander on the Emperors, finished one volume of Goethe with L., and begun Milton with M., and English history with R.
9th Mo. 2d. The week tolerably satisfactory; but how truly may we say, "A day in thy courts is better than a thousand"! This evening's unexpected, unsought, unasked, free, gratuitous mercy has made the last two hours worth more than some whole days of this week. Oh, how kind is He who knows how to win back and attract to Himself by imparting ineffable desires after what is good, even to a heart that has grown dry and dead and worldly! I have thought that some measure of our growth in grace may be found in the degree in which our carnal natural reluctance to receive Christ back into our vessel, come how He may, is diminished. How full of significance is the inquiry, "To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Blessed revelation; and well is it for those who feel ready to adopt the prayer, "Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord," if they know the way of its coming. Oh, how does its acceptance presuppose an experience of something of the kind, so awfully set forth as from Omnipotence Himself!—"I looked, and there was no man, therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me." Yes, it is when He sees that we have no human expectance or confidence left, and are, as it were, at our wits' end; it is then that His own arm brings salvation, that He says, "Stand still, and see the salvation of God; for the Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Oh, how great the condescension which has given me a glimpse of "so great salvation"! But I have remarked that it never has been in answer to any questionings or searchings of my own. Some great perplexities I have had lately, being so unable to satisfy myself how far religion or its duties should be the act of ourselves—so confused about prayer, etc. Difficulties, hardly capable to be put into words, put me in real distress; but the good seems to be revealed, if I may use such a word, to another part of me; or, as I. Pennington would say, "to another eye and ear than those which are so curious to learn." The Lord grant that I may at last become an obedient and truly teachable child; for that faculty, whatsoever it be, that asks vociferously, seems not to be the one which, as I.P. says, "graspingly receives," but is rather a hinderance to its reception.
10th Mo. 14th. Outwardly, the chief variety in my experience has been an interesting visit with my mother at Kingsbridge and Totness. A solitary walk in the garden at Totness, on First-day afternoon, I think I can never forget. No sunshine—though not mere darkness—was upon me during nearly all the week: yet I wondered to find that at Kingsbridge, though visiting was a constant self-denial, in withdrawing me from the earnest search in which I was engaged, I got on more easily than common, and felt much more love than usual to my friends. The first gleam of sunshine did not come through any man's help, but in my lone matin the day after our return. I tried to cast my care on God, and on Seventh-day morning was favored with a blessed evidence that He did care for me. Since then it has not been repeated; but earnest have been my cries in secret to my heavenly Father, whose mercies indeed are great; and my lonely hours have been employed mostly in seeking Him, having little taste for reading of any general kind. One morning in particular, at Trevelmond, in the plantation, waiting for my father, was my heart poured out to God. Calmness has often succeeded; and then I dread the coming of indifference and coolness. Oh, this is surely the worst of states! I had rather endure almost any amount of anguish.
Yesterday, the probability that my course on earth may be short occurred forcibly. I recurred to the words quoted by J.T., "The sting of death is sin," with encouragement to hope for "the victory." However, the future is not my care. May I be the care of Him whose care the future is, and then——
10th Mo. 22d. At home with a cold, and may just record my poor spirit's lowness and poverty amid, as I trust, its honest desires to become wholly the Lord's. "Ye ask, and have not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts," is surely true of spiritual food. We should desire it that we "may grow thereby," not from mere spiritual voluptuousness; and, oh, in my own desires for the will of God to be done, how often have I not known what spirit I was of! How often have I been tenaciously standing on the very ground that I was asking to have broken up and destroyed! A short lone meeting in the parlor, blest chiefly with humiliation, and this I would regard as a blessing.
Letter to ——.
I am tempted to spend a few lonely minutes in thanking thee for thy truly kind salutation, advice, and encouragement; though I fear to say much in reply. I hope and trust thou art not altogether mistaken in me: in one respect I know thou art not,—that I have seen of the mercy and love of a long-suffering Saviour, whom I do at times desire to love and serve with all my heart; and not the least of His blessings I esteem it that any of His children should care for me for His sake. I dread depending on any, even of these, which, as well as the fear of man, I have found does bring a snare; and as far as experience goes, I seem to have tasted more of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" than of the "tree of life;" which, however, I would fain hope, "yielding its fruit every month," has some for the wintry season of darkness and of frost. Yes, my dear friend, thou hast rightly judged in this also, that the winter is sometimes very cold, and the night very dark. May thy desires for me be accomplished, that these may indeed work for my good; much as the utter absence of feeling would sometimes tempt me to think it the result of that worst of all sentences, "Let her alone;" to which the added memories of many a "mercy cast away" are very ready to contribute. Am I in this repining? I hope not; for every day brings fresh cause to acknowledge that because my enemies, though lively and strong, "do not quite triumph over me," therefore I may still trust that He favoreth me. It is seldom that I write or speak in this way of myself. May we learn more and more of the utter insufficiency of any earthly thing, or of any power of our own to do what is essential for our salvation, and then, when we hang solely and entirely on the Lord Jesus, we shall be safe. Of this I feel no doubt or fear:—the fear is of having confidence in any thing besides, of spiritual pride, of self-sufficiency. Yes, I find self has many lives, and the very sorrows and humiliations of one day, if we do not beware, may become the idols of the next. "We have eaten and drunk in thy presence:" can such a language ever be used in vain-glory, while we remember "the wormwood and the gall," which we now see to have been administered in fulfilment of His own words, "Ye shall indeed drink of my cup"? Indeed, it seems to me that nothing is too high, too good, or too pure for Satan to make use of, if he can but get us and it into his hands. May the Lord be pleased to rebuke this devourer for our sakes, and give at length to the often-desponding heart to know that Himself hath promised, "when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it," and that the "God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet."
12th Mo. 4th To the same.
* * * I am sorry for thy physical state, yet doubtless it is but the inverted image of a counterbalancing mental good, which is, or is about to be, perhaps to signify that
"God doth not need Either man's works or His own gifts; who best Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best; They also serve who only stand and wait."
It is surely not for the value of the service itself, that He calls for it so long and so repeatedly, till at last the iron sinew gives way: no, but for the sake of bending the iron sinew itself, and when it is bent in one direction, I conclude He does not mean to stiffen it there, but would have it bend perhaps back to the very same position as at first it was so hard to bend it from, with this one wide difference, that in the first case it was so in its own will, but now in His will. Perhaps thou thinkest I am darkening counsel: I do not wish to do so, but write just how things have happened to me in my small way. Ought we not to be willing to be bent or unbent any way? and if a bow is to "abide in strength," it must be unbent when it is not wanted. But as we have all different places to fill, and different dispositions and snares, and besetments, we must not measure ourselves among ourselves.
It is indeed very good, as thou sayest, to be sometimes alone, and at times I trust I have found it so; but it has its dangers also, especially to me, who am perhaps more apt to make self of too much importance than to shrink from "due responsibility and authority." Indeed, this latter word belongs not to me at all, and if I may but keep life in me, (or have it kept,) well indeed will it be. Oh, till we have grace enough willingly to do the smallest matters, thankfully to "sit in the lowest room," meekly and patiently to be put out of our own way, and see our plans and intentions frustrated, and find ourselves of small account or value in the Church or in the world, yes, till we have grace enough to forget self altogether, "content to fill a little space, so thou art glorified," I know not where is our claim to be followers of Him "who made Himself of no reputation." I am very far from this. Couldst thou have seen how much hold the many small duties of my lonely week have taken on my mind, how little time I have found for the purpose for which we both value solitude, and how much my "lightly stirred" spirit has been hurried about from one object to another, I fear thou wouldst scarcely think even this note other than presumptuous. Oh, how should I be rebuked by the thought,
"One thing is needful, and but one: Why do thy thoughts on many run?"
12th Mo. 30th. To-day ends the week, and to-morrow the year. Very unfit am I to speak of it as I would. I have felt very happy on some occasions, yet I have feared lest what should be on a good foundation is yet but built of "hay and stubble." If so, who can tell the fierceness of the fire that burns between me and my wished-for rest? There is no way to true safety but through it; and, oh, to part with all combustibles is very hard; but why waste a thought on the hardness, could it but be speedily and simply done? My old difficulty—what is duty when the sensible help of grace is out of sight—renews its strength. Doubtless to wait for it, and perhaps ask for it also; but how? Oh that I had crossed the great gulf from myself to my Saviour! Oh that I were in His hands and out of my own!
2d Mo. 3d, 1849. I have been sorely tried with apparent desertion and darkness; "yet not deserted" is my still struggling faith; and some consoling thoughts have visited me of days still I trust in store, when, "as one whom his mother comforteth," the Lord will comfort me. Dear J.T.'s counsel has seldom been absent from my thoughts; but, manifold as have been my heavenly Father's instrumental mercies, I never was more impressed with the absolute need of His immediate preserving care.
"Can I trust a fellow-being? Can I trust an angel's care? O thou merciful All-Seeing, Beam around my spirit there."
And not less here, in this shady vale of life, than in the deep of death. Oh, how desirable, how infinitely sweet, to sleep in His arms, on His bosom! An early translation, if it were His will, would indeed be a blessed portion; but I do not expect such indulgence, and desire not to wish it. It is enough if I may know that "to live is Christ," and that to die will at length be "great gain."
2d Mo. 13th. Seldom does any appeal to my heavenly Father seem more fitting than this, "Thou knowest my foolishness;" and, oh, may His arm of mercy and compassion be one day revealed.
3d Mo.—th. Letter to ——.
* * * Oh, how desirable it is to be willing to be made of much or of little use!
"And careful less to serve thee much, Than to please thee perfectly:"
and, very far back as I feel in the race, and insensible of advance, I think we may be encouraged to believe that we make some approaches to the "mark for the prize," if we have a clearer and more desirous view of the yet far-distant goal. "Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty, they shall behold the land that is very far off," must have been addressed to one still "very far" from the promised land. Thus I scribble to thee the musings with which, in my now shady allotment, I try to encourage myself to hope; and which perhaps are as incorrect as the lament which the beautiful spring will sometimes prompt, "With the year seasons return, but not to me." It would, however, be most ungrateful to complain. To live at all is a great favor—an undeserved and unspeakable favor; and though it be a life of pain and weariness, and even grief, may it never become a life of thankless ingratitude! We who have tried our heavenly Father's patience so long, dare we complain of waiting for Him?
4th Mo. 13th. Letter to M.B.
* * * However high be the capacity of the mind, it is humiliating to find what small things can distract it, if its anchor-hold be not truly what and where it ought to be; and who does not find the need of this being often renewed and made fast? The little experience I have had, that even a life comparatively free from trial, except as regards its highest significance, "is but vanity," and the belief that it is so infinitely surpassed by another, has much modified to me the feeling of witnessing (might I venture to say of anticipating?) the transition for others or for myself. I nevertheless cannot say much from experience; for it has not yet been my lot to lose one of my own intimate or nearly attached friends, except where the course of time had made it a natural and inevitable thing; and I know there must be depths of sorrow in such events only fathomed by descending to them.
4th Mo.—th. Letter to M.B.
What a privilege it is to be permitted to expect and look for a better guidance than our own judgment or inclination, even in the small things of our small lives; small though they are, compared with the great events which are ruled by our heavenly Father's will, how much is involved in them as far as we are concerned! and we need not measure the controlling care of Providence by the abstract greatness or littleness of any event. Compared with His infinity, the fate of an empire would be not more worthy of His care than the least event of our lives; but it is love—the same wonderful love that can comfort and bless the dying-pillow of a little one, in which we want more practical faith for our safe conduct through this uncertain life. Did we live in such a faith, it would be sweet and easy to die in it.
4th Mo. 30th. Bristol. Yesterday was a memorable day to me; the evening meeting found me very sad and burdened; when I thought I was made sensible of something like an offer from One who is infinite in power and love, to take this burden away, to bear it Himself, and to do in me His own will. There seemed something like a covenant set before me, that all this should be done for me on condition of my acquiescence with and subjection to that supreme will, that I should refuse neither to suffer His own work within me nor to do His manifested will. It may be that I stamp too highly what was most gently and calmly spread before my heart. It may be that the relief, the peaceful calm, which followed my endeavor to unite with this precious proposal, was a mistaken thing; but I believe not. Strikingly in unison with all this was the evangelical and practical sermon of S. Treffry which followed, and my feelings in returning home and sitting down alone for a few minutes to seek a confirmation, were like a seal to all that I had heard in meeting. This morning I am far from rich or lively, but seem bound neither to doubt nor to complain; but only and constantly to endeavor to submit every thought of my heart to my dear Saviour's will; and thus, after many a tossing, I have been enabled to say,