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

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appears but little of humble thankfulness
among the people here ; their rejoicing is like
madness, and exceedingly childish, ringing of
bells, burning of far-barrels, and dancing
about the fire, like mad people, — drinking
and carousing among the upper ranks, as well
as the rabble. The consideration of these
things, as well as the dreadful carnage
[through war] which has occasioned these
revellings, makes the heart sad. Among the
trading part of the community, much specu-
lation is going on; and I think much risk
incurred. Things are very uncertain, and
the prudent of that class will see great need of
caution ; for even when what they call fortune
spreads a propitious gale, it is wise to take
some canvass in.

" Ye are not of the world, as I am not of
the world," said Christ to his disciples ;
and they that are his disciples now, must
know the separation, and keep in the sepa-
ration from the world, or they will lose
their title. Let your moderation appear unto
all men.

Aberdeen, Finii month, 95lh, 1817.

To . Shall I once more

address my dearly beloved friend ? It is long
since I received a scrap from thy pen, and 1
greatly desire to hear from thee. I am aware
that the care of thy large family, and many
other important engagements, are sufficient
reasons for thy silence ; but I can plead none
of these things, but barrenness and inability to
write any thing worth thy perusal. However,
this I can say, thou art as near and dear to
me as ever, in that fellowship and bond of
union, which, I trust, was formed in the un-
changeable Truth ; and which never will
decay, except we turn away from the foun-
dation on which it is built. Pray for me,
dear Elizabeth, that I stagger not, nor stum-
ble, now when I am old and gray-headed. I
am sensible that I can no more preserve my-
self now, than when I first set out a pilgrim.
I am still a worm. But I have had some inti-
mations to keep in resignation's harbour, until
I be sent for to pass the river ; and on the
other side, I have had a prospect of a fine
country : — through adorable mercy, I think I

may set up my Ebenezer and say, " Hitherto
halh the Lord helped me." It is in my heart
to say to thee, my dear friend, — fear not the
assaults of the enemy : He is strong, in whom
thou hast believed ; and as thou simply reliest
on Him, He will cover thy head in the day of
buttle, and teach thy hands to war, and thy
fingers to fight. Conflicts of various kinds we
must expect indeed, I believe the Lord know-
eth that these are best for us : they have been
the lot of the Lord's servants in every age.
We have an unwearied adversary, who not
only roars about us, but cunningly and softly
whispers in order to draw us aside ; but a con-
stant invariable application to our Captain,
defeats him in all his attempts.

Let us then, dear Elizabeth, hold fast our
confidence, trust in the Lord's mercy and good-
ness, and follow Him faithfully in the way of
His requirings.

Aberdeen, Seventh month 21st, 1817.
To his Son, A. W. — I received thine, con-
taining an affectionate account of thy poor
Mary's indisposition ; we had heard of the
accident, but nothing of what succeeded. I
am glad to hear she is mending, and hope she
will be well before now. It would, however,
doubtless be an alarming and anxious time :
what a favour that your minds were supported
under it in quiet resignation.

Affliction ariseth not out of the dust; and
He who sees meet to permit such trials, in-
tends that we should profit by them ; and, as
John Woolman says, that our ears should be
opened to discipline, and be favoured to see
our precarious standing, how soon and unex-
pectedly a termination to all things here,
with respect to us, may take place : how
needful it is to be always ready. " Pass the
time of your sojourning here in fear," says an

Aberdeen, Fourth month 15tlj, 1818.

To his Son, A. W. — I yesterday received
the mournful intelligence of the removal of
our dear John Robertson, — a loss that will be
much felt, and particularly so by thee ; thy
mother and I do deeply sympathize with you,
and feel our share of the general loss which
the church sustains : we can, indeed, mingle
our tears with yours, and pray according to
ability, that the Lord may make up the loss;
— He can do it.

I could say much of my sense of the worth
of our departed friend, but that would only
tend to augment the feeling of regret, and
resignation is our duty. It is the Lord who
has done it, and He never errs. I am forbid
to mourn, — the dear man is released from a
tribulated pilgrimage, to enter a land of rest,
in the Lord's time, will, and wisdom. The
great Head of the church, whose power is
infinite, can prepare and appoint officers in
His house, and qualify them for the offices to
which he appoints them. The cause is His;
let us trust in Him to support it. He can save
by many or by few, — can make a little one
equal to a strong nation ; — He can guide, and
often does condescend to guide, his little ones,
(who have no might of their own,) as with His
eye ; pointing out their way for them, and

strengthening them to walk therein. May we,

dear , ever carefully mind His motions,

and follow faithfully, though in the way of the
cross. Thou wilt need Divine direction, even
in thy outward concerns, that thou may not be
overburlhened with the cares of things apper-
taining to this life ; for truly, if we can get
the needful accommodation for the body, with
that it is best to be content.

Sixth month 29th, 1818. 1 am lame and

weak, but still able to get to meetings, which
I esteem a favour. Indeed I have much to be
thankful for, and no cause to complain. The
infirmities of age may reasonably be expect-
ed ; but the Lord has been very good and gra-
cious to me, far beyond my deservings. I am
often humbled and thankful in commemorat-
ing His unmerited mercy ; and if He will
be pleased to preserve me, the few remain-
ing days I have to stay, from dishonouring
Him or his cause, I shall forever praise Him.

Aberdeen, Fourth month 21bt, 1819.

To his Son, A. W.. 1 send along with

this, William Penn'sKey, for 's perusal;

it is an old book, but contains what we believe
in doctrinals, in little compass ; in reading
which he may see, that a belief in Christ, by
a measure of His Spirit manifested in our
hearts, as a reprover, instructor, leader, and
comforter, was from the beginning and still is
our principle. This is what our predecessors
[in religious profession] found and were con-
vinced of, were settled and centred in, — and
they found it to be light and life : and so far
was it from leading them to disesteem the
great propitiatory sacrifice, that it gave them
clearer and more satisfactory views of its
efficacy, than they ever could attain by all
their researches, till they embraced this pre-
cious principle of light and life. By it the
Scriptures were opened to their understand-
ings, and the mystery of redemption unfolded
to their view ; and this principle is our princi-
ple still, notwithstanding the many weaknesses
that appear among us for want of attention to
it. If J. M. does not believe herein, he is not
of us : and perhaps he had better join himself
to that society, with whose views he can more
unite. But I love him, and feel for him; and
I much wish that he would turn his mind
more inward, and have less dependence on his
own understanding, also in simplicity receive
the engrafted Word, and walk in the light of
it ; and then he would come to have fellowship
with Christ and with his servants, — then
would he indeed know the blood of Christ to
cleanse him from all sin.

Aberdeen, Sixth month 24th, 1819.

To his Son, A. W. Thy account of

the Yearly Meeting was pleasant and reviving;
and so many Friends remembering us poor old
worn out bodies, was and is grateful ; and
raises a hope, that unworthy as we are, the
Lord has not cast us out of remembrance :
even thy description of thy own stripped and
poor state of mind, is to me not discouraging.
I have often experienced dispensations of this
kind, and even now my stale is very similar —
a mind tossed and perplexed, because I cannot
get it staid and centred where I would


willingly have it to be, on the one great ob-
ject : but former experience of the gracious
goodness and long suH'ering of my dear Lord,
makes ine hope, and try to adopt the lan-
guage of the psalmist, — " Why art thou cast
down, O ! my soul, and why art ihuu disqui-
eted within me; hope thou in God, for 1
shall yet pjaise Him, who is the health of my
countenance and my God." The ways of
God are incomprehensible ; indeed I some-
times think, that man (the workmanship of His
holy hands) is an incomprehensible creature ;
and the mystery of godliness — the mystery
of redemption is great and deep ; — and the
dispensations that the all-wise God sees meet
to make use of for its acconlpli^hnlcnt are
wonderful, and often at the time they are
operating upon us we cannot comprehend
their usefulness: yet as they are patiently
abode under, in a humble trust in Him, who
alone can carry on the work, they do not fail
to accomplish that for which they are intend-
ed. To humble us and keep us humble, re-
quires Almighty power; — such is our fallen
nature, and self in its workings so subtle, that
it needs a great deal to subdue it thorougiily.
I have felt it so with respect to myself: and 1
fully believe many humiliating cunllicts are
absolutely needful for us, — but perhaps not to
alt alike ; I may need more of these than
some others : the desire of my heart is, liiat
the Lord may not spare, till lie make me
just what He would have me to be.

" Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and
lean not to thy own understanding ;" and
there is no doubt with me, but all will be

Aberdeen, TwelRli month 23d, 1820.

To his Son, A. W It is certainly

safest to be in a little way [of business] these
times : may the Lord be thy counsellor, an^
give thee contentment with food and raiment,
and enable to live so loose from the world,
that thou mayst be ready to answer his re-
quirings in alf things, during ihy slay in this
thy pilirrimage. I feel much satisfaction in
liaving'given the Lord's work the preference.
and laboured in my small measure while I
had strength; for verily we have but a day:
now when I am useless, (and indeed I was
always a poor creature,) He has given me a
hope in his mercy, which is an anchor — a
comforlabic anchor to my poor mind, for
which I hope I am thankful ; and if He pre-
serve me to the end from dishonouring His
cause, I shall praise Him forever.

For "Tbe Friend."

The following extracts from the unpublished
journal of Mary Berry, a minister of our Soci-
ety, who resided on the Eastern shore of Ma-
ryland, have been selected for the columns
of "The Friend." It maybe profitable to
consider the mode in which her concern was
shown for those who held their fellow-crea-
tures in bondage. She joined in no associa-
tions with others, nor spent her strength in
idle declamation; but in the love of the gospel


she visited the objects of her solicitude ; and
a blessing seems to have attended her labours
in a very remarkable manner.
Extracts from the Journal of Mary Berry;

particularly relative to her labours with

those who held slaves.

Second month, 1780. — After our Yearly
Meeting, a concern revived which had attend-
ed my mind for several years, to visit the
families of Friends within our own Quarter,
and some meetings and families on the VV es-
tern shore. I laid the subject before our
.Monthly .Meeting, and having their concur-'
ronce, obtained a minute to proceed as Truth i
might open the way. My mind was led to
the other side of the Bay; and John Barllett
giving up to bear me company, we lefi home
the .5th of Eleventh month, 1779, my husband
going wilh us to attend the Meeting for Suffi^r-
iiigs. We lodged that night at brother Joseph
Berry's, and the next at Robert Geoige's,
near Chester river. The following morning
we went to Rockhall, took boat and crossed
the Bay to Baltimore, in eight or nine hours,
being, if [ remember, about thirty-five miles.
We reached that place about eleven o'clock at
night, and lodged at our kind friend's George
Matthews. Being under exercise, and much
dejected in mind, on account of the service
before me, and my not having a woman
friend for a companion, I dreamed that as I
went on my journey, a woman friend of that
meeting gave up to bear me company, wh(mi
L believed I had never seen before. Her per-
son and dress were so described to me in my
sleep, that I knew her when I saw her in
meeting, — although I said nothing to any body
about the dream. The next day was the
Quarterly Meeting of ministers and elders
held at Gunpowder, which my husband and I
attended. It being about sixteen miles, it was
a pretty hard morning's ride, after our fatigue
in crossing the Bay. We had a quiet com-
fortable time with a few Friends there, until
towards the latter part of the meeting, a pros-
pect presented of tiie ditl'eronce there was
between a pillar properly fixed by the master
builder, which would bear a great weight, and
those not properly hewed, squared and fitted
by him ; and what danger the building is to
be exp'ised to from such.

Not finding 1 could get rid of my exercise
without opening it, I ventured to express a lit-
tle of my feelings. Our friend, Ann Moore,
being there, who was a member of that Par-
ticular Meeting, she rose almost as soon as I
sat down, and expressed herself to the same
import, but more clearly and pertinently. My
husband and I went home with her after the
meeting, and made it our lodging whilst
attending the Quarterly Meeting. '1 he Quar-
terly Meeting was a low and suffering season,
as was the General Meeting on First-day ;
where a mixed multitude was gathered. It
was found hard work to come to the still
waters of Shiloh, that run softly to the re-
freshing the weary travellers. In the Quar-
terly Meeting for business I handed in my
minute; and the woman Friend I had seen in
my dream, seemed under some exercise after
it was read. This I observed, and remem-

bering the description I had of her in my
sleep, waited in quietiiess to see how it would
end. I had seen her in the meeting of Uiinis-
ters and elders, and observed her there ; hut
now my dream came fresh into my mind.
After some time, she signified her williiignesa
to bear me company on the visit, if Friends
were free. There appeared no objection,
she being of an orderly life, and in good unity
wilh Friends. She was a cheerful spirit, and
helpful to me on many occasions, and I have
felt her in the deeps wilh me. We went back
after the meeting on First-day wilh George
Matthews. The Meeting for Sufferings was
held the next day at his house. That meet-
ing over. Friends generally departed, except
my husband, who stayed a day or two till he
saw us on our way in the family visit. My
companion coming, we visited the families of
Friends generally at Baltimore, and divers
others. We found great openness ; visited
about twenty families that week, beginning
the 13th day of Eleventh month. Went on
Seventh-day evening abcut four miles out of
town to John Cornthwaite's, and had a sitting
in his family. The next morning he accom-
panied us to Elkridge, about ten miles. We
attended meeting, where I was dipped into
such deep poverty, and a weight of sleep
attended my mind, I thought I was not worthy
to sit in the assembly of the people. I lifted
up my head to see how others looked, and
whether I could perceive any traces of the
heavenly dew that refreshes the faint. A
young man sat just before me in a profound
sleep. I expected he would have fallen on
the floor, he nodded to such a degree. I sat
still some lime, till cny very bones trembled,
and then stood up and spoke to him. I found
it had a tendency to rouse him ; and he, I be-
lieve got not much more sleep at that time. I
then found my mind engaged towards those
who had the cause of Truth measurably at
heart : I hoped that they might do their duty
in faithfully warning such professors of their
danger, without fear of ofiending those who
cause the way of Truth to be evilly spoken of.
We visited the families of Friends belonging
to that meeting, — a friend going with us. Se-
veral of the members held slaves ; which I
was not sensible of before I sat in their fami-
lies. I had no fieedom to ask anything how
they were circumstanced, and was so great a
stranger, I did not remember to have seen any
of them before, except the Friend who went
with us as a guide. I was greatly exercised
at times when I sat down in some families,
seeing divers negroes about them, least I
might be mistaken in my judgment between
the free and the slaves. But as I attendee)
to that invincible Guide that never fails, I
found it made clear to my understanding,
so that I was enabled to speak to their condi-
tions, and was not suffered to be deceived. An
instance or two I may mention. As I went to
one house, I felt a great exercise come over
me. As I rode through the plantation, and
seeing the place look well, as if it might be-
long to a wealthy farmer, I found something
within me, that wanted to ask the Friend that
went wilh us, if there were any slaves there.
But I felt something prohibit my asking any



questiun. When we readied ihe door, the
woman of the house came cut, whose cnun-
tenaiice took with me : she appeared glad to
see us. She invited us in, and proposed to
have our horses put up. '1 his I felt no incli-
nation for, and desired that something might
be given to them as they stood ; which was
granted. The man came in, invited us to
pull otr our riding cloaks, and stay to dinner.
Not feeling easy for this we sat down. We
had not sat many minutes before I felt great
exercise come over me, and had no freedom to
ask for his family. He, his wife and child,
sat down. My exercise was great, even to
trembling, which he observed, and set his
eyes upon me as sharp as a hawk, as ihu say-
ing is. It passed through my mind several
times, there are slaves here. 1 spoke to him
as things opened in great plainness. He ap-
peared to stout it out, keeping his eye fixed
upon me; but at length his countenance full,
and he looked down and seemed affected. Af-
ter the sitting, he spoke with a degree of
affection, and pressed us to stay longer. I let
him know lime would not admit it; but re-
quested him to look into his situation, for 1
believed things were much out of order. Jf 1
was not mistaken, he not only strove against
conviction, but burdened his wife's mind, who,
I believed, was convinced of the iniquity of
holding slaves. He confessed that it was so,
and that I had spoken to his condition in
several respects ; and he believed I had not
had information from any. He thought, if
we would stay awhile, we would be belter
satisfied, as well as himself. I weighed it a
little, — and was afraid it would end m contro-
versy, and therefore left him; which after-
wards gave me some uneasiness. I was
informed afterwards that he was under the
care of a committee of that meeting, who
expected that he must be disowned.

We went next to an ancient Friend's house,
who appeared to be hciid of the meeting. I
thought there could be no slaves there ; but
had not sat long before it opened on my view,
he has discharged them in part, and holds
back a part. I sat under my exercise some
time, being afraid to speak, lest I should be
mistaken ; but finding some strength, I spoke
as things opened. When I got up to be gone,
the woman told me it was I ho case with her
husband — he had set snme of them free, but
kept some of the younger in bondage. It was
cause of humility and thankfulness that I was
preserved from erring in judgment. At other
places were they had set them free, the spirit
of freedom seemed to breathe in their fami-

Tenth month, 1780. — I lately returned from
our Quarterly Meeting at Cecil, which was
measurably fiivoured with best help. The
gospel spring opened towards those of other
societies, a large number of whom were there,
which I hope tended in some degree to hum-
ble, though too much loftiness prevails, and
inattention to the principle of equity and jus-

Next day was a meeting appointed for the
blacks, a great number of whom were present,
free and bound ; and much labour was be-
stowed for their good, 'i'enderness appeared,

especially among the slaves, who, I suppose,
felt most the burden of hard task-masters,
who neither see nor feel their groans. Surely
for oppression and violence the land mourns.

that the inhabitants would obey the call, to
let the oppressed go free, and deal their bread
to the hungry. Many poor blacks, if they can
have some meat once or twice a week, are
pretty well off, whilst their oppressors live on
dainties, and yet can hardly give them a
pleasant word, whilst they are toiling in the
field to support them in luxury and pride.
Aliis for those who oppress the poor, and live
deliciously on their unjust gains. It may be
as a worm that never dies, to the feeling of
some, when they awake out of their lethargy;
and who knows how soon that time may over-
take some !

Second month, 1781. — This winter visited
the families of Friends belonging to Cecil
Monthly Meeting, vvith some others; about
thirty-five families. A man and woman
Ft lend went vvith me from our meeting. It
was a laborious season to my spirit, yet
measureably supported with best help, beyond
what I could reasonably expect. Great open-
ness appeared in many. Divers had still slaves
in possession ; though held in trust. In some
few fan ilies of members, the masters still
continued them in bondage. It was a strength-
ening tiitie to me in some of these families,
and great tenderness appeared. They ex-
pressed a willingness to do what Friends
should advise, except a few, who continued
obstinate. I understood that one, not a mem-
ber, set all his free in a few days afterwards.
Some time since my return, my husband re-
ceived account, by letter, from a friend, of
near seventy negroes being set free (thirty-
four of whom belonged to one person) by indi-
viduals not members of our Society, but who

1 was drawn to visit. I thought I never saw
more clearly the need of liiithful labourers, in
order to help the weak and wavering, and to
strengthen the hands of those that hang down.
I returned home, taking the families at Queen
Ann's on my way, experiencing that peace of
mind that results from doing our duty, and
which the world can neither give nor take

1782.— I left home on the 29th of Third
month, 1782, with a man and woman Friend.
I got to Solomon Charles's, in Dorset county,
that night, and next day to Thomas Coch-
cane's, at the iron works, in Worcester coun-
ty, about twenty miles. Called at a great
man's house, in the Church of England pro-
fession, and dined, having some little acquaint-
ance with him. Had a sitting with him and
his wife, and two or three others, somewhat
relieving to me, tending to break down the
partition wall and lofty structure of man's
invention. I felt something in him that strove
against the witness for some time ; but tow-
ards the conclusion, he was brought into ten-
derness, and acknowledged to the truth. He
si|»nified he was under great embarrassments
with the entangling things of the world ; that
it was against his inclination to keep in bond-
age, and that he was drawn from that he much
desired to experience. I told him I believed
his slaves were his greatest hurt; and whilst

he kept them in bondage, against the express
connnand of the King of kings, he would not
experience rest.

1784. — (About Sixth month.) — I found my
mind engaged for the good of my Friends uni-
versally, and visited divers families in our
neighbourhood and some miles distant, flhet
generally with a kind reception, unless from
one or two, who did not seem to understand
the nature of my visit — imagining that I was
going to lay about me in regard to their
slaves. But I did not find that my business ;
but rather to draw their minds after an ac-
quaintance with that principle, which would,
if yielded to, set all things right, make them
examples in their day. and shine in their
generation. In one family, the master seemed
to be of pretty high notions — he was willing
to hear mc, he said, if I would not say any
thing about his slaves. He could not part

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 56 of 154)