Robert Smith.

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

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


peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; and, after
a season, spoke nearly as follows: — " When
I have gone to meetings and sat down, and
cast mine eyes over the people, — Oh ! how I
have been grieved to see the haughtiness of
the young men, as well as the folly of the
j'oung women, gazing one upon another, as if
there was nothing to do, but just to come to
meetings, to see and be seen. Will not the
Lord visit for these things ! yea, surely he
will, and bring to an account these haughty
sons, and forgetful daughters. I have been
grieved for these things when I have sat in
meetings, as with my lips sealed ; and yet
there is a remnant even amongst the youth,
who are near unto the life ;" but she thought
the number was smaller amongst the young
men than the young women. The same day
she made some remarks concerning the pecu-
liarity of her trials in her youth. In her first
coming forth in the ministry, her lot was cast
in a poor part of the nation as to Truth, many
pulling back, but few or none helping forward.
She was taken as from the milking pail, earning
her bread by the dint of labour and industry,



and called to bear testimony against wrong
things, through many difficulties outwardly, as
well as perils from false brethren, to which
some, even in this land, were not strangers ;
that some of her friends would have had her
keep a journal or history of her life and suf-
feiings, which, had she complied with, would
have been a large one.

'J bird mo. 9th. — This morning spake en-
couragingly lo Peter Yarnall, who had, when
young, forsaken the broad way, and taken up
his daily cross, and who afterwards became a
valuable minister among Friends.

Third mo. 15lh. — A Friend from New
York government paid us a visit, and was
concerned in praysr by her bed-side ; after
which she had feelingly to repeat some of her
experience and sufferings in her first coming
forth in the ministry ; and she also expressed
a sense of the sympathy she had with our said
Friend, in his extraordinary labours amongst
us; upon which she, and all present, were
broken into great tenderness. '1 he Friend
afterwards observed to me, that she was
rightly led, and that her language was to him
intelligible, and tended to his encouragement
and satisfaction.

Third mo. 23d. — My dear wife urged me
to go to the spring meeting, she believed she
might live some weeks, and it would give her
pain if 1 did not go : sundry subjects of great
importance were to be considered of in the
select meeting ; therefore, she advised me,
and a mutual Friend, to go and get down
deep. We went, and I returned home on the
28th instant, bringing with me my beloved
young friend, Nancy Emlen. We found my
dear wife in much the same low state of
health as when I left her. I had, whilst in
town, a letter from our son Joseph, in Ire-
land, with comfortable intelligence. On my
reading it to her, she said, with Jacob of old,
" It is enough ; Joseph is yet alive ;" constru-
ing the passage not only to mean a natural
life, but also alive in the Truth. She had a
hope it was in a good degree the experience
of both her sons ; and she frequently prayed
that it might be more and more their happy
portion.

Fourth mo. 2d. — This morning a commit-
tee of the Monthly Meeting visited our family;
we held our meeting in the parlour; my dear
wife being too weak to bear the exercise
thereof in her chamber. Upon Friends taking
leave of her, she spoke comfortably to them,
to the tendering of all hearts present. This
day, with much difficulty, she gave excellent
advice to a grandson who came to see her. In
the evening, lying in bed, under much op-
pression of breathing, she said, " O ! to be
ready for the midnight cry, behold the bride-
groom Cometh ! go ye forth to meet him,
having oil in your vessels ; — having on the
breast-plate of Righteousness, the sword of
the Spirit, and taking unto us the shield of
Faith, whereby we may be able to quench all
the fiery darts of the wicked !" And a short
time after, on my waiting on her, she said,
" O ! my love ! thou art doing much more for
me in the name of a disciple, than giving a
cup of cold water; mayest thou be rewarded."
After a little pause, she added, " it was no-



thing short of the invisible holy hand that
brought us together, and I hope nothing else
will be able to separate us. VVe have mourn-
ed together, and we have rejoiced together.
I once feared the powers of the earth, the
dark confused powers would have been suf-
fered to part us, but now I think otherwise ;"
and many, yea, very many, were her sweet
persuasives, and exhortations to faithfulness,
and to a deep indwelling with the Lord ; to
mind the pointings of His holy finger ; and
then he would be more to me than she could
possibly be.

Fourth mo. 5th. — Between twelve and one
this morning an alarming change took place
with my dear wife ; she being in great pain,
said : " O may the staff still accompany the
rod ! as the servant of the Lord said, ' thy rod
and thy staff comfort me ;' and, may 1 say
with Job, ' shall we receive good at the hand
of the Lord, and shall we not receive evil:' "
and after a season of sore conflict and suppli-
cation, that the best help might be near to
support, she had to say, " Glory ! glory !
glory ! be given to him who alone can re-
lieve the poor and the needy ;" and with
hands uplifted, she triumphed in a heavenly
song.

Fourth mo. 6th. — Her friend, Nancy Em-
len, remarks as follows : — " Our honourable
friend, is, to all appearance, drawing near to
the conclusion of this life : her weakness is so
great she can scarcely speak, nevertheless, at
times, a Divine power gives supernatural aid,
and animates her to expressions, with a
strength marvellous in our eyes ; tending to
the praise of, and confidence in that holy help
through which we are enabled to do all things
whatsoever his wisdom appoints us to do. She
has just borne the following testimony, in lan-
guage that I cannot do justice to, but the pur-
port was, — " The Lord will search Jerusalem ;
he will thoroughly search the Quakers ; he
will blow away the chaff; but the wheat, — Oh,
the weighty wheat ! he will gather into his
holy garner. It seems to me that many of the
better sort amongst us are hastening to the
grave. I do not repine at afflictions, for how
small are they to His who suflered for us all,
even in that trying moment, when he said :
' My God ! my God ! why hast thou forsaken
me '/' The pure in spirit shall see God ; I do
not call myself one of them; but I have often
been burthened with impurity — with impure
spirits that bring darkness into meetings. O
the professors of Truth ! how often have I
thought of their great privileges ; how often
have they been called unto, and watered, but
3et remain unredeemed ! — there is such impu-
rity about their spirits ! If these refuse, they
will be rejected, and others brought in : many
will be taken from the tail of the plough, and
from the milking pail : — The Lord will have
his table filled. He will have a people that
will stand for his great name. He will not
own the high-flying Quakers: No, No ! He
is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity in
Jacob, or transgression in Israel, with any
degree of allowance ; but he will take care of
his little ones. O Lord! lake (hem into thy
bosom, and lead them safely along, even thy
visited children, both in this country and in



40



THE FRIEND.



the land of my nativity, and in England ; and
when thou gi%est^then) a word to speak, let it
be spoken according lo thy command." After
some time, asking for a Friend, she said: —
" Anne, my dear ! I had something to say to
thee about the city, whose folly 1 would not
call iniquity, but 1 believe, upon strict exami-
nation, it may be called the iniquity of laying
out their dead. It has been a burthen to me
many times of late; when I have been there,
I have wondered at the pomp and vanity, and
for no good purpose at all, but to be buried
with the mouldering body. I don't doubt but
it would amount to pounds ; and how much
better would it be to throw the money into
some poor Friend's family, than use it so. I
did not know but I should have mentioned it
at the Yearly Meeting, but I got enfeebled,
and I prayed it might rest upon some others,
that it might be done; if not then, at some
other time;" and she hoped the Friend would
mention it if it was on her mind. The Friend
replied, it had often been a burden to her.
To which she added : " O ! I had it to say to
thee, and perhaps it will be a spur to thee."
In the afternoon, she mentioned some of the
words of Amos, viz. : " I was no prophet,
neither was I a prophet's son, but I was a
herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit ;"
" low employment :" " but," — alluding to the
passage in Hannah's song of thanksgiving, she
said, — " the Lord raiseth up the poor out of the
dust, and lifleth up the beggars from the
dunghill, to set them among princes. When
I have been sitting in the high gallery among
Friends, I have wondered at it ; there were
none of my predecessors that I ever heard of
did appear in the ministry, except my dear
mother, before I had a being, as I was inform-
ed ; and some said I got her gift. John Hunt
prophesied of me, before he knew me, in the
meeting I belonged to, that there was there,
who would not be concerned for purse nor
scrip, neither two coats, but would go forth
and publish the glad tidings of the gospel."
At another time she said, " I believe I have a
great deal to go through before I am released ;
for what cause I know not. May I be pre-
served in patience ; whether it be on my own
account, or to strike a fear in the beholders, I
cannot tell ; but this I know, that a death-bed
is a searching thing ; it is then that the grass-
liopper liecomcs a burthen, and if so, what
must great sins be ?"

(To be concluded.)



NORTH CAROLINA V. M. EPISTLE.

The following savory epistle, has been for-
warded for insertion in " The Friend," by a
venerable and beloved member of the meeting
which issued it.

From the Yearly Meeting of Friends, held at
New Garden, Guilford County, North Car-
olina, in the Eleventh vwnth, 1841.
To the Quarterly and Monthly iMcetings.
Dear Friends. — Having been again permit-
led to assemble for the purpose of investigat-
ing the state of the subordinate meetings; we
have been painfully affected with the various
departures from our testimonies and discipline,



as brought to view by the answers to the que-
ries. We believe that when any wilfully
neglect the assembling of themselves for the
performance of the solemn and incumbent duty
of worshipping the F'ather of spirits, they
will not experience a growth in the Divine
life, but instead of participating in the strength
which is derived from the united exercise and
travail of soul amongst those who are met in
the name of Christ, they lay themselves open
to the temptations of saian, and the deadening
influence of the spirit of this world, which lieth
in wickedness. Not only are these defective
members sustaining great loss themselves, but
their example often has a pernicious influence
on others, especially their own children. The
meetings to which they belong, perhaps in
many instances already small, aie still further
reduced by their absence ; discouragement is
thereby administered to the few faithful mem-
bers; and their indifference to the all-import-
ant work of vital religion, causes the way of
Truth to be lightly spoken of, and the feet of
the honest inquirers to stumble.

We have felt deeply concerned at this time,
that those who give rise to the complaints so
often brought up, may be aroused to a proper
sense of the consequences which must result
to them from the neglect of their duly, and
be induced to devote a portion of their time,
both on First-day and other days of the week,
in presenting themselves before the Lord in
the assemblies of his people. The period is
fast approaching, when every earthly gratifi-
cation must fail ; and to have the assurance in
that solemn hour, that having loved the Lord
our God with all the heart, soul and strength,
manifested by a life of dedication to his will,
the salutation of " well done, good and faithful
servant," if addressed to us, will then be felt
to outweigh all the treasures and pleasures of
this fading world.

Blay all of our dear Friends, receive the
word of exhortation, to double their diligence
and fervour in the discharge of their duty ;
and although when assembled, poverty and
weakness may bs the clothing of their spirits,
yet, as they endeavour humbly and reverently
to wait upon the Lord, we believe he will not
be unmindful of them, but in his time, which
is to be waited for, will appear to the consola-
tion of their weary, panting souls, and admin-
ister a portion of living bread, by which they
will be strengthened 'to run and not be weary,
lo walk and not faint,' in the way which He
casts up for his children.

The want of love and unity, wherever it ex-
ists, destroys the strength of a meeting, and
disqualifies the members for the [iroper main-
tenance of the discipline, and a harmonious
labour for the honour of Truth, and each
other's welfare. The enemy first seeks to
divide, that he may scatter the fluck. May
Friends be engaged to apply in humility to the
Repairer of breaches, in order to have every
thing removed which would lay waste the fel-
lowship that subsists amongst the true follow-
ers of Christ.

The education of our children is also a sub-
ject of primary importance ; and when parents
are walking in the Truth, they will feel bound
to bring them up in the nurture and admoni-



tion of the Lord, watching over and restiain-
ing them from the corrupt fashions and ways
of the world, and inculcating a love for read-
ing the Holy Scriptures, and the writings of
our ancient Friends. We fear the religious
and guarded instruction of the youth, and
giving them a proper portion of school learn-
mg, is not sufficiently attended to by many
parents and others; and we feel bound to
press the importance of it upon all ; that when
the language is heard, " what hast thou done
with the lambs committed to thy charge ?" we
may be clear in His sight, having done what
we could. And where any are unable to
school their children. Monthly Meetings
should take due care to have such children
provided for, by giving them a proper portion
of school education. It is the desire of this
meeting, that Quarterly and Monthly Meet-
ings may keep alive to this subject, and en-
courage and assist their members wherever it
may be needful, to stir them up to faithfulness
therein.

The use of ardent spirits, as a drink, and the
giving it out to others, is a practice fraught
with the most dangerous consequences; and
to find by the reports, that it prevails among
many of the members of this religious Soci-
ety, professing as we do, and having had for
so long a time a testimony against it, has
raised painful apprehensions, that those who
give way to it, must be lost lo a right sense
of religious obligation, and the concern of
Friends for its total extermination.

It is our judgment, that Friends should
affeclionately labour with those who give way
to this practice,' and endeavour to dissuade
them from it, lest their tender ofl&pring be-
come victims to the destroyer.

We would also affectionately exhort all our
members to keep to their own religious meet-
ings, and not lay waste our testimonies to a
free ministry and ihe spirilualily of the gos-
pel dispensation, by frequenting camp-meet-
ings, and the worship of other denominations,
where persons officiate for hire, and support a
round of ceremonial performances.

And in the administration (f the discipline,
it is our desire that Friends may seek for
Divine wisdom, labouring to restore oflenders
in the spirit of meekness; and where their
labours do not produce a right sense of error,
and the offender is not reclaimed, they should
maintain our testimonies, and guard against
receiving superficial acknowledgments, that
weakness and blindness may not overtake
them.

F'inally, dear Friends, gird up the loins of
your minds, watch and be sober, that you may
be able to fill up the measure of suflering and
duty allotted by the Captain of our soul's sal-
vation, and be instrumental in your day in
spreading his kingdom in the earth.

Signed on behalf of the Yearly Meeting
aforesaid, by

Aaron Stalker,
Cleric to the vtceting this year.

PRINTED BY JOSEPH &. WILLIAM KITE,
Seventh and Carpenter Streets.



^m® i^iBiimsriD



A RELIGIOUS AND LITERARY JOURNAL.



SEVENTE-DAV, ELEVENTH IKEOHTH, 5, 1842.



irO. 6.



EDITED BY ROBERT SMITH,

PUBLISHED WEEKLY.

ice two doUais per annum, payable in adea

Sub:*criptioi]9 and Payments received by

GEORGE W. TAYLOR,

NO. 50, NORTH FOURTH STREET, UP ST.4IRS,

PHILADELPHIA.



Tlie Impropriety of
CAPITAL PUNISHMENTS.

(Report of Committee continued from page 34.)

But in order to show more conclusively the
point at which we aim, that the safety of the
community will not be endangered by a repeal
of capital punishment, let us attend to a few
historical facts. Several Greek writers in-
form us that it was abolished with perfect
success in ancient Egypt for half a cenlury.
By the Porcian law of Home, it was ordained
that no citizen should be put to death for any
crime. The effect was, that Rome became
more moral and less sanguinary. The Em-
press Elizabeth, of Russia, did not inflict the
penally of death during the whole period of
lier administration. Catharine 2d, imitated
her example, and became so well persuaded
of the pernicious results of capital punishment
that she gave orders for abolishing it in the
new code of her empire. Howard tells us,
that in Tuscany capital punishments were
taken away for twenty-five years. During
that time crimes of every description were not
only diminished in number and atrocity, but,
we are informed, four murders only were per-
petrated throughout the dukedom. The
punishment was revived in IT'J-'i, through the
arbitrary will of Napoleon, and incorporated
in his penal code for Italy in the year 1806,
in opposition to the unanimous views of the
magistrates, and the sentiments of nearly all
the enlightened jurists of the country. In
Denmark, where executions seldom occur,
women guiltv of child murder were sentenced
to the spin-houses for life. This doom, he
assures us, was so much more feared than
death, that the crime became much less fre-
quent. So far is it from the fact, that the
death punishment inspires fear and terror, the
spectacle of capital executions hardens the
heart, and blunts the edge of the natural sen-
sibilities. In Dymond's Moral Essays, there
is a narrative in striking illustration of the
truth of this remark. The body of a man
^vho had been executed for uttering counter-
feit bank notes, was delivered to his friends
for interment. While the blackened corpse
was lying on a bed before them, they carried
on, with the uttnost tranquillity, their desper-



ate business. The oBicers coming upon them
suddenly, the widow of the executed man,
crammed a bundle of the bills into the movtli
of her deceased husband for more cffLxtual
concealment. It is well known that the day
of a public execution is always, with the mul-
titude, a day of revelry, drunkenness and
depravity ; and that the place of execution
itself is often the scene of one or more mur-
ders. Of 167 English convicts under sen-
tence of death, it was ascertained that 164
had attended public executions. So captivated
indeed are mankind with the mode of death
which is sanctioned by law, that persons in-
tent upon suicide are found, for some time
after an execution, to adopt strangulation by
hanging, as the best mode of terminating e,\-
istence.

The benevolent Howard mentions that in
Amsterdam there had not been one himdred
executions in a century, while in the city of
London, from the year 1749 to 1771, there
were six hundred and seventy-eight, or nearly
thirty in a year. During the reign of Henry
VIII., when the law of England was exceed-
ing bloody, it is related by Hume, upon the
authority of Harrison, that the incredible
number of seventy-two thousand persons suf-
fered on the scaffold. This enormous number,
makes a sacrifice of two thousand criminals a
year. In Belgium, since the year 1829, the
practice of capital punishment, though per-
haps not legally abolished, has been in disuse.
The statistics of the kingdom show, according
to an official tabular statement, that the crime
of murder has, in consequence of this humane
administration of the law, most amazingly
diminished. Without descending more into
il, it may be generally asserted upon the
clearest and most indubitable proof, that crimes
most prevail where the death punishment is
most resorted to, and that in proportion to the
leniency of the criminal code in a community,
is its exemption from crime. We are con-
ducted then to the conclusion, that C. C. Cuy-
ler's theory is unfounded — that his apprehen-
sions for the safety of society if not wholly
visionary, have been indulged upon most par-
tial and inadequate grounds.

But that we may not rest solely upon our
own reasoning, and such facts, as very little
research enables us to array, we propose to
adduce a species of evidence which C. C.
Cuyler seems to consider as most worthy of
reliance — the opinions of learned men and of
authoritative writers. The distinguished per-
1 whose names we shall cite, whatever no-
lion may be entertained of this body or its
committee, he will not lightly denounce for a
partial or spurious philanthropy. Erasmus,
in 1520, nearly a century before the settle-
ment of North America, boldly controverted



the propriety of capital punishments. " Let
there be no rubrics of blood" said Lord Ba-
con, a hundred years later. A sensible and
pointed English writer of the eighteenth cen-
tury, remarks, " if a legislature propose laws
like those of Draco, written in the blood of his
fellow-citizens, he must seal them with his
own, like Lycurgus, if he would escape the
the reproach of cruelty." Jeremy Bentham,
one of the greatest minds of the last age, was
in favour of abolishing capital penalties. In
the year 1783, he applied to Dr. Forde, then
ordinary of Newgate, for his opinion on the
efficiency of executions. Dr. Forde was de-
cidedly in opposition to their continuance, both
on the score of utility and of Divine authority.
The enlightened and candid ttiind of Sir James
Mackintosh, led him to a similar conclusion.
He infortned the grand jury of India, when he
announced his intention to retire from the
judicial seat, which he had occupied for seven
years, that since his arrival at Bombay, the
punishment of death had not been enforced in
a single instance by that court. He proceeded
to observe, " two hundred thousand persons
have been governed for seven years without a
capital punishment, and without any increase
of crimes. If any experience has been ac-
quired," he pointly says, " it has been safely
and innocently gained." Dr. Dodd was
against it, and wrote an able essay in defence
of his opinion. Dr. Johnson observes, " the
gibbet indeed certainly disables those who
die upon it from infesting the community; but
their death seems not to contribute tnore to
the reformation of their associates than any
other method of separation." He adds,
" The frequency of capital punishment rarely
hinders the commission of a crime ; but natu-
rally and commonly prevents its detection ;
and is, if we proceed only upon prudential
principles, chiefly for that reason to be avoid-
ed." The Marquis Beccaria, who wrote
about three quarters of a century ago, con-
tends for the removal of the death punighment .
in every case, except a political one, where
from the power and connections of the offend-
er, his continued existence may endanger the
security of the nation. " If the experience of
all ages," he continues, " be not sufficient to
prove that the punishment of death has never
prevented determined men from injuring soci-
ety ; if the example of the Roinans ; if twenty
years reign of Elizabeth, Empress of Russia,
in which she gave the fathers of their coun-
try an example more illustrious than many
conquests bought with the blood of their sons;
if, I say, all this be not sufficient to persuade
mankind, who always suspect the voice of
reason, and who choose rather to be led by
authority, let us consult hutnan nature in proof
of my observations." In the year 1793, a



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