Robert Smith.

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

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Can bid the sea be still ;
All things His chosen work perform.

All work His sovereign will.
Then rest, my struggling spirit, rest.

For what hast tliou to fear ?
Since He whose power the waves confcst.

Whose word the dead shall hear,
That power will wield to succour ihce.
That word thy comforter shall be.
Friendt' Atylum, neor Frankford.




Of Bristol, was born in tiiat ciiy tiie 10th
of (lie Seventli moiitli, 1747. He was strictly
educated in the profession of the church of
England, which was that of his parents. It
appears, from some account left by himself,
that at the early age of seven or eight, he had
strong religious impressions. They were the
means of exciting in him fervent desires for
deliverance, from the propensities of la lien
nature; which seemed to overcome his best
resolutions, and involved him in distress.
When he was about thirteen years of age, he
was further aroused to a sense of his condi-
tion, by means of a fit of sickness. He beheld
the dreadful consequences of sin, and was
enabled to pray for redemption from its bond-
age. " In my distress," says he, " 1 cried
unto the Lord ; and he heard me, and was
pleased, in degree, to lift up the light of his
countenance upon me." The etii^cts, however,
of tliis visitation do not appear to have been
long percei)tible to himself; and his good re-
solutions, he says, " vanished like a morning
cloud." Nevertheless, it is probable, that the
good seed sown in his childhood and youth,
was never sulfered to perish. His friends, in
their testimony, relate, that he went on under
many deep exercises and trials, and when he
was about seventeen years of age, felt himself
inclined to attend the meetings of Friends in
Bristol. He was tired, as he himself remarks,
of the forms and ceremonies in which he had
been educated, and of a ministry which did
nut relieve his distressed mind. In his at
tendance of our meetings, allhuugh he found
it ditlicult to keep his mind in sufficient sti
iiess, probably from the bias of his education,
as well as from the inherent propensity of the
mind to be in action ; he, nevertheless, felt
much satisfaction; and, at length, he joined
the Society. About this time, he makes this
acknowledgment in his memorandums: " As
to the Divine life, I have this remark to make,
that I should grow more in it, were 1 but more
in the stillness; even until the whole birth
of the Son of God was brought forth in my
soul. Be still, therefore, O, all that is within
rae ; and know the Lord's strength and power
to arise."

To this power, about the time of his be-
coming of age, he apprehended it his duty to
appear in public testimony ; and endeavouring
to continue in the faithful discharge of that
duty, he was enlarged in his gift, and often
exercised in it, in the city and vicinity of
Bristol. He afterwards, at difiereiit times,
found himself engaged to visit Friends in
their meetings in various counties, and, in
some places, in their families. A visit of this
sort in London was among some of his later

In domestic life he was an affectionate hus-
band and a tender father ; but the limits of his
femily did not bound his fatherly care. The
youth in general were objects of it ; and some
of them have had cause to bless the Lord on
his account.

He was long subject to a disease of the asth-
matic kind, which often occasioned him to be
confined at home ; and he had been laid up
with it during the family visit in London. His

final illness seemed at first only a fit of his
accustomed complaint ; but it increased at
length so as to confine him to his chamber,
and, after about ten days of this increased state
of ailment, was the means of conducting him
to his close.

He suffered much pain in his body ; but re-
signation composed and supported his soul.
Previously to this juncture, he had often
remarked the comfortable state in which his
own mind was; and when his family were set-
ting off for meeting, from which bodily weak-
ness was detaining him, he used to observe,
that when he was young he was a diligent
attender. " Go," he would say, " and 1 hope
the Lord will be with you, and give you a
good meeting."

While disease was thus accelerating the
hour of his release, he was at diflferent times
much engaged in prayer. At one time he
prayed for his native city: "The Lord bless
and preserve this city and its inhabitants ; and
draw unto himself thousands and tens of thou-
sands." To a young man who attended on
him, he said, " There is a realily in religion
and I find it so : nor have 1 followed cunningly
devised tables."

The day before his departure, he expressed
himself to this effect : " I believe it right to
tell you my faith. I have been a sinner, and
have gone into many follies in my childhood ;
but, by the love of God in Christ Jesus, I have
been enabled to come, as a poor trembling
penitent, to Him, who is the friend of sinners
and by thus coming, and abiding under thi
power and operation of his Spirit upon my
soul, trusting in him, and not in my own
righteousness, I am what I am. And I am
persuaded, that neither death nor life, no
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor
height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate me from the love of
God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The day on which he died, taking leave of
a friend, he said, " I find I have enough to do
to bear the pains of the body. It is well for
me that I have done my work ; and I have a
full assurance that all is well. Farewell.
Give my love to Friends." A few minutes
before his close, he was again engaged in
supplication, after which, at the age of about
sixty-two, on the 30th of the First month,
he quietly resigned his spirit. — Piety

Promoted, Part X.

Fur •■ The Friend."

(Continued from page 277.)

" Not long after the foregoing visit, he felt
an engagement of mind to visit Friends of Bal-
and Philadelphia, in the time of the
yellow fever. ' The concern,' says he, ' lay
with such weight upon me, that my life was
given up to the Divine proposal, and the fear of
death was taken away. The call was hasty
to set out in a few weeks, to be in time to at-
tend the yearly meeting at Baltimore. Under
these weighty impressions, I often retired in
silence : and at several times, when I sat down
in the evening with my family, my mind was
weightily impressed to declare to them, that I

felt the call of Truth to us, to be more loosen-
ed from the lies of nature, and all our transi-
tory enjoyments, and to be earnestly engaged
to seek after heavenly entertainments, — dura-
ble comforts — riches that never would leave
us, nor fade away.' And before the time
arrived for setting out on this contemplated
journey, his wife was suddenly removed bv

"About two weeks after the death of his
wife, having obtained the concurrence of his
Friends, he ' look a solemn and affectionate
leave of his children, relations and neighbour-
ing friends,' and set out for Philadelphia,
having David Baily for his companion.

" He went pretty directly to Baltimore, and
attended the several sittings of the yearly
meeting; and after it concluded, feeling an en-
gagement to visit the families of Friends in
the city, he communicated his prospect to
some 1-riends of the ministry, and afterwards
laid his concern before the ministers and el-
ders of that place, for their sympathy and coun-
sel respecting that weighty undertaking. Ob-
taining their unity and encciuragement, and
being accompanied by suitable Friends, he
visited most of the families in the city : — in
which he remarks, they ' were evidently

" Leaving Baltimore, he proceeded to Phil-
adelphia, where he continued, till after the
yearly meeting there. In the intermediate
time, he received the small po.x, by inocula-
tion ; and having an ulcer in one of his eyes,
(which afterwards proved to be a cancer,) and
a film in the other, he submitted to several
painful surgical operations ; and, was some-
times reduced very low, both in body and in

" He, notwithstanding, spent a considerable
portion of his time in visiting the meetings
and families of Friends about the city. In
these opportunities, it appears, he was con-
siderably engaged in ministerial labours, and
that his services were, generally, well re-

" From the yearly meeting in Philadelphia
he returned home, taking meetings in his way,
in time to attend the yearly meeting of Virginia
held at Black Water.

"After this journey, while of bodily ability
he spent much of his time in attending his own
and visiting neighbouring meetings. And al-
though, the beforementioned ulcer in his eye,
became a large and painful cancer, which re-
duced him to extreme debility many months
before his death, yet he continued zealously
and actively engaged for the promotion of the
cause of Truth. He was several times engaged
with committees, under the appointments of
the yearly and quarterly meetings, and fre-
quently, from apprehensions of duty, visited
sundry meetings within the limits of our own
yearly meeting, and in Carolina.

In company with others of a quarterly
meeting's committee, he visited sundry meet-
ings and families within the compass of the
lower quarter. In the performance of this
service, the slates of some whom he had vis-
ited, drew from him the following remarks:
'Oh that man would learn to keep humble;
for what hath he to be proud of ? The righteous-



nes3 of 7nan, is as tilihy rags ; and llie right-
eousness of God, is not at man's command, but
is to be humbly waited for. Man is formed
and upheld by the Creator, and his appearance
is soon gone, like a shining bubble on tlie wa-
ters. I have often liumbly desired that 1 might
be kept as submissive to the Creator, as the
clouds, which he raises and fills with water,
when he pleases, to pour forth showers on
the earth, and then pass into nothingness

" ' As we passed from one house to another,
in this dependent state, waiting for the over-
shadowing of the Father's love, desiring to

sonic had got many accounts, old and now,
against some of their friends, which had never
been settled, or blotted out of their minds by
the forgiving spirit of charity. These things
produced shyness, and obstructed brotherly
treedoms, and harmonizing love : so that they
could not feel united for the prosperity of
Truth, and for watching over one another for
good. And some, knowing that they had
given cause of uneasiness to their brethren,
were willing to find something to charge their

"I considered, in my deep afilictions, when
I could not sleep, that the Creator of man is
Oumipotent, and that he permits afflictions for
man's future hap|)iness ; that all things may
work for the good of those that truly love and
fear him. The Lord's prophets passed through
many afflictions and troubles : and Christ, our
holy pattern, ' was a man of sorrows, and ac-
quainted with grief;' and fell the agonizing
pains of death. He submitted to the Father's
will in them, saying, ' not my will, but thine
be done.' So, when 1 haxe been enabled to fol-

brethren with. Parents had mfused their pre-
judices into the minds of their children. And ! low the example of Christ, in submitting to
when they assembled for Divine worship, the | the cross, I liave found hard things made
^_ faithful to its niovings, and believing that I faces of each other, revived the ' aughts' they I easy : — my mind quieted in sweetness, and
it would bathe last time I should have the j had against each other. These, not being borne up above pain, to rejoice in tribulations;
like opportunity, we often met with times of i prepared to receive the heavenly anointing, ' and behold the mysteries of heaven revealed
great favour: being enabled to searcii the their minds were entertained with the failings | to my understanding. This is much better
camp, as with lighted candles, and bring hid- of their brethren. Corrupting food ! for any ' than the operation of opium."
den things out of darkness. to feed upon the faults of others. These (To be concluded.)

"As Daniel was engaged to thank and things stagnate the circulation of life in meet-
praise the God of his fathers, who revealeth ings, and may be compared to the foxes, which
the deep and hidden things,— (he knoweth spoil the precious vines.

what is in the darkness and the light dweileth u And as I endeavoured to be faithful, in
with him,)— so I wish not only to praise him, | this plain way of labour, I felt an increase of
in word, but that my life, and conduct, may ■ ■ "•• •

praise him to the end of my time.'

" In another visit which he performed, un-
der a similar appointment, it appears that he
was particularly impressed with the necessity
and beauty, of unity and harmony among
Friends. On this subject the following remarks

were made,

"This state will evermore be blessed with
the circulation of life from member to mem-
ber. They arc engaged in breathing [men-
tal prayer] for one another, and they partake
one with another, to the rejoicing of each oth-
er's hearts. But we find a breach of this uni-
ty prevents the heavenly blessing. For ' if
thou bring thy gift before the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath ought
against thee, leave there thy gift before the
altar and go thy way ; first be reconciled to
thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.'
So we need not expect our offerings to find ac-
ceptance, until we do our part of the work of
maintaining love and unity. When we have
faithfully done our dnty, in the Divine sight,
then we'find acceptance. And, ' if thy broth-
er shall trespass against thee, go and tell him
his fault, between thee and him alone ; if he
shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
But if he will not hear thee, then take with
thee one or two more, that in the mouth of
two or three witnesses, every word may be
established : but if he neglect to hear them,
tell it to the church.' See the beautiful order
established to maintain love and unit}', and
be qualified to say. Lord, forgive me my tres-
passes, as I forgive them that trespass against
me. So, we may find, that all hard thought
one against another, ought to be removed
before we can be rightly prepared for Divine

" But it appeared to me, that Friends had
been much behind-hand, in this needful work
of maintaining unity : — that they had felt some
dislike to one another's conduct ; and for want
of taking timely care, to discharge themselves
of their uneasiness, they had, from time to
time, laid up these things in their minds, till

For " The Friend.'

That worthy and excellent father in (he
the precious ointment; and my heart was filled church, l^aac Penington, in an essay on the
ith gospel doctrines : so that 1 had to drop principles and doctrines of our Society, thus
sentence, and then to wait to feel strength ^ interestingly concludes :— May ue all

of body to speak another ; and endeavoured to ^ ^^^^^^.^^^ j„ ^ead the precepts of this faithful
arouse the meeting, both by precept and ex- L„ibe, " instructed unto the kingdom of
ample, that we might endeavour to find some ^gg^g^,, -^ ^^^ measure of the same Spirit in
place in our Friends minds, to pour forth our iyj^j^.^ ^g .^gg ^q eminently taught; that thus
concern for each others preservation. torL^.g „, witness with his spirit that thev are
surely brotherly freedom ought to be used ^f q^^ . a^j j^at as a householder,—"
among Friends. It is a badge of discipleship,
and where freedom cannot be used, there is a
state of bondage.

" The meeting held long, and it was a solid
time of renewed visitation."

The subjoined remarks of this
Friend on the subject of opiates, are well
worthy the consideration of those, who, hav-
ing given up the practice of stimulating
liquors, have been led to the use of the mind-
enfeebling narcotic, opium, either in its dilu-
ent or gum preparation. It weis said b)' a
worthy elder of our Society, who was an ex-
tensive practitioner of medicine, that the use
of this drug was much more general than was
commonly believed ; and its effects he deeply

" After this my affliction increased, so that
I many times did not get out to meetings. Dr.
furnished me with opium pills, and ad-
vised me to use them, that my pain should not
keep me from sleep. I asked him whether it
would not benumb my sensitive faculties; but
he thought it would not. I found it lessened
the sensation of pain ; so that I could lie still,
and feel disposed to sleep, which was very
comfortable to nature. But, on strict exami-
nation, the pain still remained, and the dis-
ease not likely to be removed. I found also,
that my ideas were not clear. It had a ten-
dency too to lessen all concern or anxiety
about things, either present, or any future
state of being. Therefore, I could not feel
free to make much use of that which stupefies
the talents given me, ' to work out my sal-
vation, through tribulation, fear, and tremb

workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word aright" — he bring-
eth forth out of his treasure things new and

" We testify to no new thing, but to the
truth and grace which was from the begin-
ning; which was always in Jesus Christ, our
Lord and Saviour, and dispensed by him in all
ages and generations, whereby he quickened,
renewed, and changed the heart of the true
believers in his inward and spiritual appear-
ance in them, thereby destroying the enemies
of his own house, and saving them from them.
For indeed there is no saving the creature,
without destroying that in the creature vxhich
brings spiritual death and destruction upon it.
Israel of old was saved by the destroying of
their outward enemies ; and Israel now (the
new Israel, the inward Israel) is saved by the
destruction of their inward enemies. Oh!
that people could come out of their own wis-
dom, and wait for God's wisdom, that in it they
might come to see the glory, the excellency,
the exceeding rich virtue and treasures of life,
that are wrapped up in this principle or seed
of life ; and so might receive it, give up to it,
and come to partake thereof.

" And as touching doctrines, we have no
new doctrines to hold forth. The doctrines
held forth in the Holy Scriptures are the doc-
trines that we believe. And this doth further
seal to us our belief of this principle, because
we find it a key by which God openeth the
Scriptures to us, and giveth us the living sense
and evidence of them in our hearts. M'e see
and have felt in it to whom the curse and
wrath belongs ; and to whom the love, mercy,

peace, blessings, and precious promises be-
long; and have been led by God's Holy Spirit
and power through the judgmeiils to the mer-
cy, and to the partaking of the precious pro-
mises. So that what should we publish any
new faith, or any new doctrines for ? Indeed
we have none to publish ; but all our aim is to
bring men to the ancient principle of Truth,
and to the right understanding and practice of
the ancient apostolic doctrine and holy faith
once delivered to the saints. Head notions do
butcausedisputes; but heart-knowledge, heart-
experience, the sense of the living power of
God inwardly, the evidence and demonstration
of his Spirit in the inward parts, puts an end
to disputes, and puts men upon the inward
travail and exercise of spirit by that which is
new and living, which avails with God. Now
whereas many are offended at us, because we
do not more preach doctrinal points, or the
history of Christ, as touching his death, resur-
rection, ascension, &c. ; but our declaration
and testimony is chiefiy concerning a princi-
ple to direct and guide men's minds thereto ;
to give a plain account of this thing, as it
pleaseth the Lord to open my heart at this
time in love and good-will, to satisfy and re-
move prejudices where they may be ; thus it
is in brief: —

" First ; That which God hath given us the
experience of (after our great loss in the lite-
ral knowledge of things) and that which he
hath given us to testify of, is the mystery, the
hidden life, the inward and spiritual appear-
ance of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
revealing his power inwardly, destroying ene-
mies inwardly, and working his work inwardly
in the heart. Oh ! this was the joyful sound
to our souls, even the tidings of the arising of
that inward life and power which could do
this! Now this spiritual appearance of his was
after his appearance in the flesh, and is the
standing and lasting dispensation of the gos-
pel, even the appearance of Christ in his Spi-
rit and power inwardly in the hearts of his.
So that in minding this, and being faithful in
this respect, we mind our peculiar work, and
are faithful in that which God hath peculiarly
called us to, and requireth of us.

" Secondly ; There is not that need of pub-
lishing the other as formerly was. The his-
torical relation concerning Christ is generally
believed and received by all sorts that pretend
to Christianity. His death ; his miracles; his
rising; his ascending ; his interceding, &.C., is
generally believed by all people ; but the mys-
tery they miss of, the hidden life they are not
acquainted with, but alienated from the life
of God, in the midst of their literal owning
and acknowledging of these things.

" Thirdly ; The knowledge of these, with-
out the knowledge of the mystery, is not suffi-
cient to bring them unto God : for many set
up that which they gather and comprehend
from the relation concerning the thing, instead
of the thing itself, and so never come to a
sense of their need of the thing itself, nay, not
so far as rightly to seek after it. And so many
are builders, and many are built up very high
in religion, in a way of notion and practice,
without acquaintance with the Rock of ages,
without the true knowledge and understanding


of the Foundation and corner stone. My mean-
ing is, they have a notion of Christ to be the
rock, a notion of him to be the foundation-
stone ; but never come livingly to feel him
the rock, to feel him the foundation-stone,
inwardly laid in their hearts, and themselves
made living stones in him, and built upon
him, the main and fundamental stone. Where
is this to be felt but within? And they that
feel this within, do they not feel Christ within?
And can any that feel him within, deny him
to be within the strength of life, the hope of
glory ? Well, it is true, once again (spiritu-
ally now, as well as formerly literally) the
stone which the builders refused (Christ with-
in, the builders of this age refuse) is become
the head of the corner, who knits together
his sanctified body, his living body, the
church, in this our day, more gloriously than
in the former ages and generations, blessed
be the name of our God.

" Fourthly ; The mystery, the hidden life,
the appearance of Christ in Spirit compre-
hends the other; and the other is not lost or
denied, but found in it, and there discerned or
acknowledged more clearly and abundantly.
It was to be after it, and comprehends that
which went before it. Paul did not lose any
thing of the excellent knowledge of Christ,
when he said, ' Henceforth know we no man
after the flesh ; yea, though we have known
Christ after the flesh, yet, henceforth, know
we him no more.' If he did not know Christ
after the flesh, how did he know him ? Why
as the Father inwardly revealed him. He
knew him in his Spirit and power. He knew
his death inwardly ; he knew his resurrection
inwardly ; he knew the Spirit, the virtue, the
power of it inwardly ; he knew the thing in
the mystery in his own heart. Oh ! precious
knowledge ! Oh ! the excellency of this know-
ledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ !
What is the outwardly most exact literal
knowledge without this? But what then? Do
I now deny or slight the outward ? No ; 1
have it here, and I have the inward feeling of
the Spirit of life, how it dwelt in him, how it
wrought in him, and of what wonderful value
all his actions and obedience were, in and
through the virtue of this Spirit. Was Abra-
ham's offering his son so precious in God's
eyes? Oh I then what is this? Never was
such a body so sanctified, so prepared ; never
such a sacrifice offered. Oh ! the infinite
worth and value of it 1 For by the inward life
and teaching of God's Spirit, am I taught and
made able to value that glorious outward ap-
pearance and manifestation of the life and

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 106 of 154)