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

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lowed Christ : they form one link in that chain
of evidence, in mercy continued down, even to
us of the preseut age, through the long liae
of patriarchs, pi-opliets, and believers of every
degree, — that God is most favourably inclined,
to draw near, and to dwell with all who dili-
gently seek Him, — that he will richly reward
them, even in this life, with the lifting up of
the light of his countenance, — that he wdl
dignify all who trust in and obey him, with
the manifestations of his love and power, and
even make them, in one way or another, in-
struments of his glory for the good of souls.

(Extracts to be continued.)

For "The Friend."

The Manchester and Stockport Tract Asso-
ciation have published a very interesting ac-
count of this favoured minister, with the
following title, which shows the sources
whence the information concerning her was
derived : " An Account of the Religious Ex-
perience, and some of the trials of that faith-
ful servant and minister of the gospel, Susan-
na Lightfoot ; with particulars of her last
illness and dying sayings. Compiled from
the testimony given by Friends in America,
and from the minutes kept by her husband,
and an intimate friend, who attended upon
her." This tract has been placed in our
hands by a kind Friend, and we gladly em-
brace the opportunity of laying it before our
readers. Few have been placed in more try-
ing situations, in respect to worldly matters,
than was this dedicated servant in the early
part of her married life — and the light of few,
indeed, have shown with so steady a lustre
under all circumstances. Oh, that it would
please Him, in whose hands are the issues of
all things, to send forth more such labourers
into his vineyard ! —

The account is as follows : —


Susanna Lightfoot (according to the ac-
count given by Friends of Uwchlan Monthly
Meeting, in Pennsylvania, in their testimony
concerning her) was born at Grange, in the
county of Antrim, in the North of Ireland, the
lUth of the First month, (old style,) 1719-
20 : she was descended of religious parents,
professing the Truth, — John and Margaret
Hudson. Her father dying in low circu
stances when she was young, she was placed
out by her mother to earn her living by he
own labour, who nevertheless sought a portion
in the Truth for her daughter, esteeming
the best riches ; and lived to see the desire of
her hiart, in that respect, in a degree accom-
plished: for the tendering visitations of Divine
love being mercifully extended to this, our
dear Fiiend, early in life, she happily closed
in therewith, and witnessed an advancement
in piety and godliness. Such was her love of
the Truth, and zeal for the attendance of
meetings, when young, that she would go
many miles on foot to them ; and being an
honest servant, laboured hard to make up the
time to her employer. In these times, her
cup was often made to overflow with the good-
ness of the Lord to her soul ; which she has
frequently been heard to speak of with ten-
derness of spirit, for the encouragement of
servants and others in low circumstances; and
that the rich and full, who have horses to ride
on, and are blessed both with the necessaries
and conveniences of life, might prize their
time and privileges, and bring forth fruits
adequate to the favours conferred on them.

A dispensation of the gospel was committed
to her to preach, to which she gave up in the
seventeenth year of her age ; and we have
reason to think, she grew therein as a willow
by the water course : for in the exercise
therefore, with the unity of her Friends at
home, she went over to America, with Ruth
Courtney, in the latter part of the year 1737,
and paid a religious visit to Friends generally
on that continent, we believe to good satisfac-

From a

minister and cotemporary,
ho was visiting meetings in Ireland, in the
neighbourhood where she resided, we have
following account of her : — " 1 was ac-
companied by my dear friend, Susanna Light-
foot, then Hatton, to such meetings as she
could get out to attend. The work of the
Lord appeared to me to be deeply rooted in
her : I was much affected with her inward-
ness, fervency, and tenderness of spirit out of
meetings, as well as her awful utterance in

" In 1742, she married Joseph Hatton, a

inen-weaver. She had twins at her first con-
finement, and had them both to nurse herself.
Robert Richardson, coming to the half year's
meeting at Dublin, collected from a few
Friends about 30Z. for herself and husband,
which enabled them to open a huckster's shop
in Lisburn. Whilst she was capable of at-
tending it, the shop seemed likely to do well ;
but, again having twins, and being obliged to
nurse them both herself, she was prevented

ttending to the business. As soon as she
could inspect the state of her affairs, she
found them neglected and impaired, which


fixed such a weight on her mind, that she
went herself to the creditors, and desired
them to come and seize what was left, hoping
there would be, as yet, enough to pay them,
but thinking there would be little or nothing
over. Hereupon, a Friend in Lurgan, who
had about a three-years' unexpired lease of a
little land, with a cabin upon it, at a moder-
ate rent, out of regard to her, offered her the
remainder of his lease ; which she accepted.
Hither then, in a poor plight, they removed.
When I was in Ulster, in 1749, their time on
this spot was almost expired: I was often at
Lurgan on this journey, passing and repassing,
and I daily went to see her, and always
thought I gut good by it ; I ever found her in
such an excellent frame of mind. Her hus-
band kept two looms going, and she kept two
cows, and they saved a little money ; but see-
ing no prospect of any land to be taken there-
abouts, except at an cxhorbitant rent, they
both concluded, to remove themselves and
children to America ; and while I was there
applied for a certificate : but divers Friends
were so atTected with the thoughts of her
leaving them, that they contributed their cares
and endeavours to get her resettled amongst
them. Yet future trials and troubles were to
attend her. Sometimes she had not a bit of
food for herself or her children, nor a farthing
to procure any ; but when reduced to the last
extremity, and ashamed to make her case
known, sudden relief would come in from one
quarter or other. Besides, she underwent
harsh and severe persecution for that testi-
mony to plainness, against pride, and the vio-
lation of our Christian testimony, which was
required of her as a duty. Through all these
things she grew brighter and more excellent
in her ministry. Her situation continued in
this destitute way, until it was discovered by
Friends of Leinster and ftlunster, on a nation-
al visit. She had then several invitations;
but her way opened for them to go to Water-
ford, whither she was assisted by her friends
to remove herself and family. She left Ulster,
much regretted by the religious part of Friends
in that Province, amongst whom she had been
a bright and excellent instrument. Not one
in those large meetings rose up with that Di-
vine authority and dignity that she did. In
this journey, I was at two Province meetings
in Lurgan, after which Robert Richardson
and I went to see Susanna ; we found many
Friends of the better sort in her cabin ; a
sweet silence arose amongst us ; after which
she preached the gospel to us with such pene-
trating energy, that there were few, if any,
dry eyes present. After her coming to settle
in VVaterford, she visited Carlow, Mount-
melick, &c. &c. A Friend put four guineas
into my hand, and desired me to present her
with them, which I did ; but she refused to
accept them, telling me, she had others offered
before in that journey, hut durst not receive
them, being under no present necessity. Her
children grew up, and many Friends conceived
such an affection and esteem for her, that her
sons were readily taken as apprentices gratis;
and her daughter, or daughters, brought un-
der the care of another Friend, in good cir-



In the year 1759 her husband died, afler
which, a Friend of Waterford dying, left her
15Z. per annum during her life ; and in 1760,
being constrained by the love of Truth, and
having the concurrence of her friends at home,
and of the meeting of ministers and elders in
London, she entered on a second visit lo
America, which for many years had rested
weightily on her mind. In the Ninth month
of the same year she arrived, and visited
Friends' meetings generally throughout that
continent, as far soulh as Charleston, in South
Carolina, and to the eastern parts of New
England, to the comfort and satisfaction of
Friends, leaving seals of her ministry in many
places; and after a labour of upwards of two
years, embarked for England.

In the summer following she visited Muns-
ter Province in Ireland. On the '.ioth of the
Ninth mo., 1763, she was married to our friend
Tlioniiis Lightfuot ; and continuing fervent in
spirit for the discharge of her religious duties,
finished her visit to that nation by midsummer

In the beginning of the Eiglith month,
1764, she embarked at Cork with her hus-
band and family, for the purpose of settling in
America, and a'rrived in the Ninth month fol-
lowing; from which time she belonged to
Uwchlan Monthly Meeting, in Pennsylvania,
whereof she was a valuable member. Beside
other religious services, she was engaged in
the love of the gospel, to visit many of the
meetings of Friends, of that and the adjacent
governments, also the neighbouring Yearly
Meetings: and in the year 1774, went into
New England, with Elizabeth Robinson, from
Great Britain ; in which visits her company
and services were weighty, strengthening,
and establishing to Friends. At divers meet-
ings, previous to the breaking forth of the
American war, she had, in an awful manner,
to proclaim the approach of a stormy day,
which would shake the sandy foundations of
men ; and many of the formal professors of
our Society should be blown away. The last
journey she took was to the Yearly Meeting
at Third-Haven, in Maryland, held in the
Sixth month, 1779, wherein deep wading and
wasting exercise, with feebleness of body was
her lot.

Soon after her return home, a fit of illness
contributed much to the breaking of her con-
stitution ; but the balm of sweet peace of
mind was still her comfort and support. She
recovered, so as to get abroad again to her
own and many other meetings about the coun-
try, and to the Yearly Meeting in Philadel-
phia, though in a weak state of health. The
last meeting she atlcnded was the select meet-
ing at Uwchlan, the S'th of the First month,
1781, under increasing weakness of body, but
to the comfort of Friends then assembled.

She was an excellent example of steady
waiting upon the Lord in silence, and out of
meetings solid and grave in her deportment,
instructive and weighty in conversation, watch-
ful over her own family for their good, bear-
ing her testimony against wrong things in
them, as well as others ; of a discerning spi-
rit ; and when her lot was cast in families as
well as meetings, was often led to feel for and

sympathize with the hidden suffer
Having passed through the deep waters of
afliiclion herself, her eye was not unused to
drop a tear for, and with others in distress,
either in body or mind, and she rejoiced in
comforting and doing them good.

ed- 1 beneficent Providence, and full of hoi3e of a
glorious immortality, as they are daily filling
up the measure of social and religious duty.

The letter alluded to is taken from the Me-
moir of John Pcmberton, compiled for the
sixth volume of the Friends' Library, and
which occupies over a hundred pages of that
valuable work. It is as follows.

For " The Friend."

A letter written by John Pemberton while
in England, conveys valuable counsel on the
prosecution of trade, and presents an instance
of integrity, and scrupulousness of conscience
in using the property of another, worthy of
imitation. For want of regarding the limita-
tions which the Truth would prescribe, if
faithfully listened to, many lay the foundation
for inextricable difficulty, when adversity
overtakes them ; but the watchful disciple of
Christ, pursuing his honest avocation with an
eye to tiie glory of God, has good ground to
believe, that he will be preserved, and that
His blessing who provides for the ravens, will
attend himT — Men are variously qualified for
the pursuits of trade; some are capable ol
managing much more extensive concerns than |
others, and perhaps be no more cumbered or
involved in a worldly spirit ; yet great riches
and great trade have always been a burden to
the heavenly-minded Christian. When men
fall into embarrassment, it can often be traced
to a covetous disposition, not satisfied with
such a proportion of business, which a due re-
gard to their ability and the counsel of divine
Wisdom would have limited them to. They
may also neglect their business, as they ne-
glect other duties, and indulge in expanses
which their means do not warrant ; all which
would be regulated, and the consequent per-
plexities avoided, were they sincerely concern-
ed to live in accordance with the Divine will,
and scrupulously to regard the requisitions of
strict justice. He who knows the end from
the beginning, and what is proper for his ra-
tional creatures, in all their various conditions,
would restrain the grasping, avaricious spirit,
and guide his children with reference both to
their present and future welfare. " Godliness
is profitable to all things, having promise of
the life that now is, and of that which is to
come." Some men in large and profitable
trade, despise the concerns of the man of small
business ; and not unfrequenlly measure his
importance and their own, by the amount of
trade in which they are engaged; while to place
himself upon a level with the great trader,
the small capitalist is tempted to engage in
enterprises which neither his means nor skill
would justify. But how often are the condi-
tions of men reversed !— the great man of this
world, or his children, reduced to poverty,
while he who pursues business on Christian
principles, and governs his life by the hope of
eternal salvation, has his basket and his store
blessed and moderately increased, so that he
wants nothing, and often has wherewith to
feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Such
attain the summit of terrestrial happiness-
peaceful in the enjoyment of the favours of

"Sunderland, Fourth month 22nd, 1786.

"Dear friend D, S. — The disreputable
and unjust conduct of , I am per-
suaded, must give thee and every sensible ju-
dicious Friend, much pain : not only unjust in
betraying the confidence placed in him, and
making use of the property of others without
their knowledge or consent ; but very incon-
sistent with the holy, pure principle we pro-
fess, which leads to self-denial ; and those
whose minds are bounded by this principle,
do experience it to limit, respecting worldly
pursuits : though, lanicntable it is, that many
among us are burying their talents in the
earth, and eagerly grasping afler worldly
treasure. The Lord, in great wisdom, some-
times sees meet to blast the expectation of
these, that others may be warned to guard
against the snares of the woild, and an ambi-
ious craving mind. Religion leads to a pro-
per industry ; but it teaches to avoid surfeit-
ing cares, and that our chief concern be to lay
up treasure in heaven — to seek above all, the
peace and favour of God ; which must be by
loving him with all our heart, and being faith-
ful to the manifestations of his light, grace
and truth.

When I was at N , and lodged at

-'s, I was often uneasy, and at divers times
spoke to him respecting the multiplicity of his
engagements, urging him to bring his affairs
into a narrower compass : though I did not
apprehend he was so variously engaged, or in
so deplorable a condition. But, as it proves,
that while at his house, both before I entered
Scotland, and since my return, I was enter-
tained at the cost of others, and not eating his
bread ; I am most free, to calculate, as nearly
as I well can, what it might amount to, and
request thou wouldst present the sum to the
assignee, to be joined to what may otherwise
arise towards paying his creditors. Thou
knowest that we, as a religious society, have
always pleaded for just dealing, equity, and
truth. And as I came from my native land
under a sense of duty to Almighty God, and
from love to mankind, to promote, as the Lord
might see meet to enable me, righteousness
and truth in the earth, so I wish to manifest,
by my conduct, in all respects, that I am sin-
cere. If this is not thought sufficient, please
to add, and I will repay thee.

" Thy affectionate friend,

" John Pemberton."

The amount thus directed to be paid to the
assignee, was seven pounds ten shillings ster-

Seventh and Cdrpenlcr Streets.



NO. 5.


Price two duUais per annum, payable in advance.




Ttie Impropriety of

The Committee appointed to examine and re-
port upon a printed Sermon, entitled " Tlie
Law ot'Gud with respect to Murder, preach-
ed in the Second Presbyterian Church in
the City of Philadelpliia, on the 2iid of Jan-
uary, 1S42, by Coniehiis C. Cuyler, D. D.,
the Pastor ol'said Church," report, tha
They have attentively read and considered
the Sermon referred to them, and proceed to
lay before their constituents the rejections to
which it has given rise, 'i'he committee are
aware that several clergymen of Philadelphia
have made the subject of capital punishment,
the theme of pulpit discussion ; but as the
various discourses, except the one now under
review, were addressed to particular congre-
gations, and as oral lectures may be misquoted
and misunderstood, it would neither be proper
nor fair, to make them the subjects of written
criticism. But as the sermon bearing the
above title, has been formally laid before the
■ world ill print, it is within the legitimate
scope of commentary from this body. Besides,
as a gospel minister has chosen to discuss the
foundations of a human law, and to arrajo-n
the principles, if not the motives, of those who
are opposed to its continuance, it is necessary
that his arguments be canvassed, in order to
see if the body by whom your committee are
appointed, should proceed further in the pro-
secution of the object for which they were
organised. If C. C. Cuyler's views be well
f.)unded, the Committee of Twenty-five should
at once be dissolved ; because, forsooth, the
sermon places them in an attitude of bold defi-
ance to Divine authority. It is, therefore, a
duty to ponder the positions of this discourse
— a duty, which, it seems to your committee,
this body could not choose to forego.

As this sermon has been selected for publi-
cation, it is right to presume that it contains
* all the Scriptural grounds of opposition to a
repeal, — that it embodies the whole biblical
argument of our opponents. If then it should
» be found that there is nothing in the sermon
which can prove a stumbling-block to the sin-
^ cere and pious Christian, nothing contended
for that it is not capable of the easiest and

most satisfactory reply, this body would feel
emboldened by the belief that the Bible is
with them, to increased activity, to stronger
and more decided efforts in their benevolent

C. C. Cuyler, in his preface, announces the
reasons which induced him to preach upon (he
subject, — a subject which he admits " has
very seldom been discussed in the pulpit."
He says, " it was in consequence of a slreim-
ovs effort to obtain the repeal of all those sta-
tues of the Commonwealth which contain the
penal sanction of death." He goes on to ob-
serve, that he was " deeply persuaded that no
human legislature had any control over the
subject so far as the crime of murder is con-
cerned, and that the repeal of the law would
be offensive to God, and unsafe for the covimv-
uity." His objects then in the preparation of
this sermon were two-fold. He wished to
convince his hearers, 1st. That the rescission
of the law imposing death vovld be offensive
to God : and 2d, that it xeoidd be unsafe to the

That which C. C. Cuyler has treated last,
the committee beg leave to consider first ; not
because it is of primary consequence, for no-
thing, the committee think, can be placed in
competition with the commands of deity; but
because they would first remove every con-
sideration which might cloud the clear con-
clusions of the mind on the principal question.
They would bring to the biblical problem an
unbiassed and unprejudiced sense of right and
truth, not swayed on the one side by a partial
or spurious benevolence, so denominated by
the doctor; nor on the other by a reflection
which is more likely to aflfect the mental
equilibrium, that the retention of the death
punishment is essential or important to the
public safety.

Now the committee have no wish to inti-
mate that C. C. Cuyler, in stepping aside
from his accustomed path, did more than what
he sincerely and honestly conceived to he a
duty. As no motive but a good one can be
imputed to him, they will not throw back any
part of what he has, in the ardor of his feel-
ings, erroneously ascribed to this body.
Among the Romans a civic crown was the
reward of him who saved the life of a single
citizen, but the crown that some are disposed
to yield to us for the honest eflwrt to save the
lives of numbers, is the crown of contumely
and disparagement. The profession and cha-
racter of C. C. Cuyler exempt him from every
arraignment of motive, intention, or act.
What may be said in the progress of these
strictures, will refer only to the abstract
opinions of one, whom, personally, we would
reat with all proper respect.
The question, whether this punishment may

be repealed with safety to the community, is
one for which C. C. Cuyler's studies have not
qualified him, so accurately and comprehen-
sively to judge, as that which is embraced in
his text. We entirely agree with him that it
is not proper for man to legislate against the
revealed will of God. " His mind clearly
made kno« n," he justly observes, " is an end of
all debate." (p. 25.) The difficulty consists
not in yielding assent to this unquestioned
truth, but in ascertaining what are the revela-
tions of His will. But before we seek to
know this, in regard to the shedding of blood,
let us examine the arguments by which the
idea is sustained, that a repeal would be fol-
lowed by consequences so calamitous and
frightful as to endanger the social security.
We profess not to be of those who would
rudely tare away the moorings or remove the
restraints by which society is guarded; nor
would we cut asunder those bonds which hold
the social edifice together. We would by all
judicious, certainly by all moral means, mul-
tiply and strengthen these outworks.

We subscribe to the truth of C. C. Cuyler's
remark, that the present times are sadly defi-
cient in religious morality, and that " so fre-
quent and enormous have been the abuses of
trusts, that history scarcely furnishes a paral-
lel." (p. 28.) But does not the fact that these
violations of honour and honesty go almost

unwhipped of justice, at least afford


iive evidence that our penal law, as it now
stands, is unsuited to the present age? Cir-
cumstances have greatly changed since the
criminal code was revised, with a view to
adapt it to the state of mankind. Is it just to
consign to imprisonment the petty thief who
perhaps under the pressure of want, appropri-
ates to himself an article of necessity, while
subtle fraud and covert villany which bring
extensive ruin in their train, may be refined
into a science, and practised under a thousand
disguises, with impunity? Is not this losing
the sense of right? Is it not confounding the
grades of crime? "Well may we exclaim with
Cato, "The private thief spends his life in
chains, the public plunderer glitters in gold
and purple." But the condition of the world
is different, in other respects, from what it was

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 13 of 154)