Robert Smith.

The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

. (page 100 of 154)
Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 100 of 154)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Odura trom blossoms which llie sun's caress
Ualh woke to life in field and wilderness.

The shimmering sunlight f;,ll5
On mount anil valley willi a soller sheen —
And lo I (he orchards, newly clulhcd in green,

Lift up the coronals
Of {lowers briglil.hned — or shaken by the breeK,
Kain fragrant blossonis frum a thousand trees.

The green and lender maize
Pierces the moistened mould, and from the air.
And from the sunshine, galhir strength to dare

The.Miltry summer flays;—
With care the farmer lends tfie fragile shoot.
And hopeful, trusts the future for his fruit.

Out underneath the skv
Where the free winds mu'y toss their sunny eurls.
Frolic the happy children— boys and girls —

While nature smiles, approving, on their play,
And lambs and birds with tliem keep holiday !

All gentle things rejoice
In the calm loveliness around them spread,
Grei n earth licnoath— the blue sky overhead —

And with exultant voice
Pour their thanksgivings lo the Lord of all.
Who marks an empire's or a sparrow's fall.

Then welcome, bonny May,
Willi thy soft sunshine and thy fragrant flowers.
Thy balmy breezes and thy laughing hours —

'J'he glad year's holiday !
With grateful hearts thy presence will we bless,
And in thy gilts rejoice' with lljanklulnoss.



Maihiied, at Friends' Meeting-house, Willistown,
Chester county. Pa., on Fiflh.day, the eleveiuh instant,
Thomas Yahnall, of Edgemont, Delaware county. Pa,
lo ELizABitTH, daughter of James and Hannah Slack,
house, of Philadcipliid, tho former deceased.



THE FUIEM).



269



JOB THOMAS.

In adding to the accounts, prepared ft)r this
volume, of the happy departure of many faith-
ful servants of the l^ord,that of the triumphant
conclusion of Job Thomas, I feel an inclination
to avow that I consider it no liyht employment.
He appears to have been favoured with a more
immediaie manifestation of the glorious slate
which was about to crown his sutiering life,
than is commonly allowed to spirits yet cloth-
ed with mortality. 'I'he veil seemed to be
withdrawn: the beautific vision to be display-
ed. He spoke of what he saw, and was on
the point of possessing; and if it be lawful to
publish an account of condescension so trans-
cendent, of mysteries so sacred, of glories so
infinite, I can hardly believe that admiration
is the only feelmg that should be excited by
the perusal. There is a holy awe, a reveren-
tial dread, that seems to be due from the
awakened mi[id, on being thus, as it were, a
witness of a frail mortal putting on a glorious
immortality : and when we almost see the
omnipotent and righteous Judge dispensing
his re^vard with his own holy hand ; and pla-
cing on the Christian the crown of righteous-
ness ; surely deep self-abasement should pos-
sess the creature, and the heart of every read-
er shiiuld bow before him, who holds these
infinite and inestimable treasures at his will :
and, as a part of that holy will, has made
known that, through the redeeming virtue of
his beloved Son, they are accessible to the
broken and contrite spirit.

But before we survey the conclusion, let us
advert to the j)ath, through which this, our
departed Friend was led to blessedness, so far
as it is known.

His youth, probably, had been tinctured
with some of the vanities incident to that stage
of life; for he has been frequently heard to
lament that he had not been more obedient to
the Lord's requirings in early life. But he
was scarcely known to his surviving friends
in any other capacity than that of a diligent
atlender of meetings for worship and discip-
line, an approved minister, sound in doctrine,
and holding fast without wavering the profes-
sion of the Christian faith. Gospel-love en-
larged his heart, and he had an universal
desire for the salvation of his fellow-creatures.
He was bold in delivering plain truths, and in
the Welch, his native tongue, he was persua-
sive, clear, and fluent. His religious visits,
however, were much confined to Wales; the
meetings of Friends in which principality he
visited several times; and, in the compass of
the Monthly Meeting to which he belonged,
he frequently had more public meetings with
those of other societies.

He once attended, as a representative, the
Yearly Meeting in London; and when in this
great city, his heart yearned towards his nu-
merous countrymen, dispersed within its cir-
cuit. He wished to have a meeting with
them, but as he had not, on leaving home,
asked for a certificate of his Monthly Meet-
ing's approbation of his then travelling in the
ministry, it was judged irregular to convene
one : and his disability of body not long after
supervening, an opportunity did not again
occur.



In the estimation of the world he would
have been accounted a poor man ; and his
habitation was certainly mean. It was a
small farm-house in Caermathenshire : such
as, on this side the Severn, would be called a
cottage ; retired and sequestered, but not far
distant from the public road ; and nearly mid-
way between Llandovery and Llandllo. Yel
here he was hospitable, and gladly received
his friends; of which hospitality I can testify
from experience. His means of support arose
not only from the trade of a shoemaker, but
from the occupancy of a small farm. About
the year 1797, near his own dwelling, he was
thrown from a young horse, and received so
great an injury on the spine, as at length to
occasion the deprivation of voluntary motion
in every limb. His head, only, remained
subject to his will. This he could still turn,
whilst he was beholden to personal assistance
for his removal from his bed to his chair, for
any slight alteration of position in it, and in
short, for almost every common function of
the body : the free performance of which,
though it is scarcely observed by the healthy
and vigorous, constitutes much of the comfort
of animal life. But his body, thus deprived
of motion, was still sensible to pain : and
much, very much, of this positive affliction
was added to the negative one of total help-
lessness. He used to be fastened, rather than
to sit in a chair, and his body and legs were
nearly in one strait and stiff line ; with his
useless arms lying before him, and his bowels,
or some other of the interior parts, often
grievously aliected with violent pain: to
which his worn and pallid countenance gave
ample testimony. Yet his mind seems to have
been unimpaired. He received much comfort
from the visits of his friends, especially of
such as he esteemed alive in the truth ; he
kept up religious meetings in his house, and
often laboured in them in doctrine, for the
edification of those who were assembled with
him ; and he dictated some epistles.

It was my lot to see him three times during
this trying confinement. The first time was
in 1802, in company with several others, and
among the rest a ministering Friend, on her
way to embark at Milford, for a religious visit
in Ireland. As I remember, he was at that
time very lively in his spirit, and imparted
much encouragement to the travelling minis-
ter ; but I am not quite sure whether it was
at this, or at a succeeding visit that I was
particularly struck, if not edified, with ob-
serving how steadfastly his mind seemed to be
anchored in Christ ; and hearing how clearly
and fully he spoke of that confidence.

Thus suffering, and thus supported, he con-
tinued about ten years. At length, towards
the beginning of the Eighth month, 1807, his
symptoms of disease increased, and on the
15th of that month, being considerably more
indisposed in bodily health, he called his wife
and son to his bed-side ; and with a pleasant
countenance, spoke to them in the Welsh lan-
guage, nearly as follows : — Ho inquired of
them, whether they had any thing to say to
him ; " for," said he, " the blessed hours are
approaching ; yea, and before this night I
shall have escaped in safety, where neither



trials nor troubles shall come. Be content,
and do not grieve alter me; for I am setting
off to endless joy, to praise Him who has
brought me patiently through the whole of
my troubles, and inexpressible afflictions. —
Support me, O Lord, for these few minutes ;
for I am nearly come beyond the boundary of
lime, to a boundless eternity. — I am now near
giving you the last farewell ; but lake warn-
ing, and be dailj' on your watch, for, in the
hour you do not suspect, death, namely the
king of terrors, will como to meet you, who
will make no difference between one or the
other. But in the strength and love of Jeho-
vah, you will not fear death ; if you seek him
whilst he is to be found, and serve him with a
willing mind and an obedient heart ; for his
paths are paths of peace, and his ways are
ways of pleasantness. O, piay continually
to the Lord, to draw your designs and affec-
tions from off earthly things, and to estab-
lish them upon things heavenly and ever-
lasting.

" My hope is in the mercy of him, who has
washed me in the fountain set open for the
house of David, and the inhabitants of Jeru-
salem : not through my own merits, but
through the merits of the crucified Immanu-
el, who died for the sins of all mankind. And you
who have to remain a little after me, give the
praise, the reverence, and the honour to him;
and supplicate day and night before his throne,
until you have certain knowledge that you
have been baptized with the baptism of the
Holy Spirit ; which was sealed by the blood
of the everlasting covenant. Uemember, it is
not an outward baptism that will serve ; which
is but the practising the old shadows. Know
also, that it is not the profession of religion
Ihat will do; but one that is pure and unde-
filed before God. This will conduct you in
safety to the everlasting habitations.

" Now the lime of my dissolution draws
nigh — for me to go to the place where I have
been these two nights. The Lord himself
came to meet me; and took me with him to
the height of heaven ; among myriads of his
holy angels ; where his saints were before him,
and will be forever !

" Behold, now I give up the spirit : and lo !
my comely companions, coming to hold my
head above the waves of Jordan. Behold !
the gates of heaven open, and the Lord him-
self with arms stretched out to receive me to
his mercy. I hope that you, who are behind
will follow me thither. Success to the gospel
from sea to sea, and from the river to the end
of the earth : also to my dear brethren ; that
they may persevere in their faith to the end of
their days, and then their rest will be with
the Lamb, where no pain nor affliction will
come.

" Behold, the blessed time is come, for me
to depart in peace with every one, with good
desires for every one, and forgiving every one.
Receive my last farewell, and the Lord bless
you with the blessings of Mount Zion !"

Having uttered these expressions, he soon
quietly breathed his last. The end of this
man was peace ! — Piety Promoted, Part X.



270



THE FRlEJfD.



For " The Friend."
BAHNABY NIXOX.

The Meeting for Sufferings of Virginia
sanctioned the printing in 1814, of " Ex-
tracts from the Manuscript Writings of Bar-
naby Nixon, deceased;" portions of which it
is believed will be interesting to the readers
of" The Friend."

" He was born about the First month, 1752.
His parents were Phineasand Mary Nixon, of
Perqueinons county, North Carolina ; who, in
the management of their children, were care-
ful to restrain them from evil.

" He was sober and religiously inclined, in
early life, and as he advanced in age, he grew
in religious experience, and received a gift in
the ministry; in the exercise of which, he
manifested much sincerity and zeal. He was
exemplary in the attendance of religious meet-
ings ; and in his manner of living, he was so
abstemious, as wholly to decline the use of
flesh, as an article of food. Notwithstand-
ing, we believe, that this particular singularity
is not generally incumbent on Christians, yet
as his practice was founded on conscientious
scruples, and accompanied with evidences of
sincerity, we doubt not, according to the judg-
ment of the apostle, Rotn. xiv., that his sin-
cerity was accepted in the Divine sight. And
as his conduct, in this respect, was influenced
by a full persuasion in his own mind, so he
manifested a desire that others might walk by
the same apostolic rule.*

" The support with which he was evidently
favoured, through some dispensations, peculi-
arly trying, may lo considered as an evidence,
not only of the sincerity of his heart, but of
the fatherly regard, and watchful providence
of Him whom he had endeavoured to serve."
The account adds, he was scrupulous, zeal-
ous, and diligently engaged in active services.
He endured afflictions with fortitude, and when
verging towards the close of life, he was en-
abled to look forward, with humble confidence,
and animating hope, to that state of being to
which he was approaching.

" In the year 1778 he married Sarah Hun-
nicutt, daughter of Robert and Sarah Hunni-
cutt, of Prince George County, Virginia ; and,
not long after, leaving his former residence,
settled within the limits of Burleigh Meeting,
among the relations of his wife. In these
important transactions, it appears that he was
influenced by an earnest desire to act under
Divine consent, and that he apprehended he
was favoured with it. That his proceedings
in relation to marriage, were not conducted
with that levity, which is too often indulged
on such occasions, appears from the following
relation, which he gave: 'When we sat
together, to converse on the suliject, our
minds were overshadowed with Divine love ;
our hearts were softened, and our spirits con-
trited to the Divine will. We were sensible
that the ownings of Truth were with us in our
undertaking.' On the subject of his removal,
he said, ' I believed that if I moved, without
Divine approbation, and settled myself, where
it was not my business to work, I then should

• Iitt BTcry man be fully persuaded in his own mind.



wither and die as to religion : so live and die
miserable. This brought me under deep con-
cern, day and night, in humble prostration of
soul, imploring Divine counsel. At length, he
that seeth in secret, favoured me with a belief
that it was his will I should move, — which
settled in peace. But 1 felt so nearly united
to Friends, and closely attached to the meet-
ings, where I had often been refreshed with
overshadowings of that love, which cements
the members mto one living body, that it was
a close trial to be outwardly cut off, by receiv-
ing Friends' certificate, (which was readily
granted to me,) and to be joined to another
body of Friends, and become a member of
other meetings, where I had not felt this
growth of harmonizing unity in Truth's cause.

" I have often been much concerned to see
some Friends, so lightly remove their habi-
tations ; who yet profess to be led and guided
by the Spirit of Truth ; but do not appear en-
gaged to seek its directions: concluding that
their own wisdom is suthcient to guide them
in such important concerns. Can such as
these feel that they are converted from the
government of the spirit of this world, lo the
obedience of Christ, and say by their exam-
ple, that they are purchased by him, and now
are not their own? — I firndy believe, that
those who are truly redeemed out of spiritual
Egypt into the kingdom of Christ, — as they
continue faithful, move only as they are di-
rected by Divine wisdom, in such matters of
importance. For their own wisdom must be
kept down, and the ' wisdom which is from
above,' be depended on, and waited for. And
then they are led and guided by an Almighty
and unerring hand, to advance the testimony
and cause of righteousness ; and are not for-
saken, (I can truly say,) and left, as sheep
without a shepherd, to stray in wild nature
over the world. Thanks be to the God of
Love ! who first loved me, and brought me
into his love, and enabled me truly to say, that
I have often sought his favour, and to know
his will; saying in secret resignation, shall I
do this, or shall I forbear ? Then I have
found acceptance with him, and he has been
pleased to gather into the streams of that uni-
versal love, which niaketh glad his whole
heritage."

" Before I was twenty-one years of age, in
qualifying as an executor to my father's will,
after taking the affirmation Friends commonly
use, as the law directs, I felt my inward peace
so much destroyed, that my mind was brought
into serious thoughtfulness on the subject :
believing that a Christian spirit would not
require such a ceremonious form of words, to
bind us to our ' yea' and ' nay :' ' for whatso-
ever is more than these, cometh of evil.' —
If these words comprehend no more than yea
or nay, why should they be used ? I liave often
been pained to see some, taking the affirmation
in a light, airy manner, saying, ' I do solemnly,
sincerely declare,' without the appearance of
solemnity of mind in themselves, or in those
about them. The more I felt after this
subject, the more I thought it would not
be right for me to lake it again. And,
though I have been presented for refusing,
yet I never was fined, neither have I ever



taken the affirmation, since the first uneasi-
ness about it.

" In speaking of the trials, which he, in
common with his friends, encountered during
the revolutionary war, he says: ' my heavenly
Guide showed me, that I ought not lo be
driven into any activity by a spirit of fear,
when otherwise I should not have thought the
requisition right ; (although there might be
an appearance of great sufferings;) believing
that there was a higher Power, than was in
the spirits of threatening men: and that it
was my duty and greatest interest to obey
that high Power which giveth the spirit of
love, and of power, and also giveth sound
judgment, to discern what is right in his sight.

" Oh ! how wonderfully I have known this
Heavenly Power to bear me up, above being
brow beaten, and put out of countenance, by
the proud looks and haughty stations of men.
I have seen great sufferings, loss of time and
property too, by slavish fears. But if I am
on the Lord's side, why should I fear men, so
as to hide my property or myself from them?
Let me show that the love I have for all men
overcomes fear."

" In the year 1782, and before he had ap-
peared in the ministry, he felt a concern to
visit a Preparative Meeting, held at Thomas
Sadler's, in Brunswick County. And, al-
though he at first put it off, and had many
reasonings against it, he was, at length,
induced to give up to the little lively manifes-
tation of duty. He accordingly attended the
meeting, accompanied by Joseph Butler. Of
this visit he gave the following account : —
' Truth opened our way for labour in the
meeting far beyond our expectations; and a
great change was wrought in m\' feelings. I
went from home, weeping, and strewing my
tears under the burden of the cross; and I
returned, crowned with peace, and the Hea-
venly Father's love.'

" He performed, as companion to our friend
James Ladd, a religious visit to Friends of the
lower parts of North Carolina. In an account
which he left of this visit, he expressed the
following sentiments : ' When the Lord's ser-
vants are kept humble, under the holy anoint,
ing, they believe the time is hastening for all
old things to be removed :' when ' the ele-
ments will melt with fervent heat,' and these
earthly tabernacles, must all pass away ; and
the righteous, ' according to the promise,'
look for the coming of new heavens, where
their spirits will ascend to God, who gave
them. Oh ! what manner of people ought
we to be, in all manner of holy conversation
and godliness I What diligence ought there
to be, that we may be found without spot and
blameless! What boldness then is felt in the
cause of Truth I The fear of displeasing man
is then overcome. In feeling these things, I
have many times thought I might truly say,
as a servant formerly did, that it was good
for me that I was afflicted : for before, I
went astray; hut after I was afflicted, I
learned his statutes, so that 1 have been
enabled to sing of his mercies, and also of his
judgments."

(To be continued.)



THE rBIEJTD.



271



For '■ The Friend."
DAILY UE.VDIXG THE SCKIPTUUES.

It is certainly one of tlie objects of " The
Friend," to leud its readers into the love of
the Holy Scriptures; and the occasional inser-
tion of essays elucidatinj; the history and cus-
toms of the ancient Jews, the geography and
character of their country, and the animals and
plants alluded to in the Bible, will tend to
draw the attention of the young mind to the
Scriptures themselves and increase an interest
iu thein. The Bible Society has made great
efforts to supply, at a low price, an excellent
edition of the iSible, and to encourage its dif-
fusion and reading in all parts of the Society,
and there can be no doubt their efforts have
been extensively eff.;ctual. Very many fami-
lies have adopted the practice of daily reading
aloud a chapter or twi> when they are collect-
ed either in the morning or evening — a prac-
tice that ought to be encouraged and promoted
universally. We need never be afraid of be-
coming too well acquainted with the Holy
Scriptures; our love for them ought to be
induced in ciiildhood, and strengthened as we
advance in life. They are a treasure to the
Christian pilgrim, the full value of which he
will perhaps not be able to estimate, until he
realizes the glories which shall be hereafter
revealed, and of which they contain so many
unfailing promises and lively descriptions. But
notwithstanding the efforts made to induce the
daily reading of the Bible, it is to be feared
some among us are yet very negligent of this
duty. Their necessary avocations are per-
mitted to interfere, and deter them from
taking sufficient time to remain together to
read a portion in a solid, reverent manner, and
to pass a few minutes in solemn introversion
of soul before the Lord, witnessing the spirit
of prayer to cover them, under which they
may ask a blessing upon themselves and the
lambs He has committed to their charge in
the wilderness of this world. Those who ne-
glect this daily duty, sustain great loss, and
their children also suffer from their negligence.
These seasons of presenting ourselves before
the Lord, renew I he spiritual strength, and
are a very proper commencement of the day.
None should regard it as a loss or waste of
time, however urgent they may think their
worldly concerns. Our lime and ourselves,
and all that pertains to us, belong to the Lord,
and to Him we are bound to offer the first
fruits of all we possess. Were he to us " the
chiefest of ten thousand and altogether love-
ly," we should delight to wait upon him, — to
look to him for spiritual bread, — to pray to
him as the Spirit gives utterance, for preser-
vation, — for a knowledge of his will, and for
the help and guidance of his blessed Spirit in
the way everlasting. The more richly the
Spirit of Christ dwells in us, the more we shall
be concerned to improve every outward means
conferred by Him, for the aid and further-
ance of the soul in that holy way ; and next
to the unspeakable gift of his Spirit, we should
prize the Holy Scriptures, and endeavour to
profit by them, and to lead our children into a
love of them, and a knowledge of the all-im-
portant truths which they contain.



From the rise of the Society, we have had
the aid of many eminently gifted ministers of
both sexes in preaching the gospel of life and
salvation, through whom many were quicken-
ed, convinced of the Truth, and iiistrucled m
its doctrines and testimonies. By those the
children were directed to Christ within them ;
they were reproved for their transgressions
and disobedience, and invited and persuaded
to yield to Him, that they might know Him
to become their Shepherd to lead and to feed
them, and their Bishop to teach and to over-
see them. But a large number of those faith-
ful pastors and teachers have been taken away
to tiieir everlasting reward, and comparatively
tew are raising up to take their places. The
number of ministers to travel abroad in the
work of the gospel is greatly reduced — many
meetings are without any, and now but rarely
visited by those who belong elsewhere. 'J'liis
is one outward souice of help and instruction
that is much withdrawn from some sections
where there are many young persons growing
up. We doubt not that the Lord can supply
all our needs in his own way ; but we must



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 100 of 154)