Robert Smith.

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

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Can hy the loudest storm.

We too have had a heavy loss in the remo-
val of our dearly beloved Elizabeth Glenny;
— [a grand-daughter who resided with him.]
But I have remembered what Christ said to
his disciples, — " If ye loved me, ye would
rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father."
When we have a well-grounded hope, that
our near and dear friends are centred where
there is no more pain nor sorrow, and consider
the many snares that await us in this pilgrim-
may rejoice in the belief, that they

himself: but what was this for ? that he might
not trust in himself, but in Him who could
raise the dead. He also speaks of filling up
our measure of what remains of the sufferings
of Christ for the body's sake, which is his
church : now I understand this to mean, that
those who are united to Christ, feel the op-
pressed state of the Seed in the hearts of the
people, through the prevalence of wrong
things; and this depression may often be felt,
when no way opens for relief,— nay, even
when we do not see the cause of it. Patience
is then necessary, to wait the Lord's lime for
a change of the dispensation.


are forever safe,

My love to A. H., and tell her, if

she do her duty, she will take good care of
the motherless children.

Aberdeen, First month, 29th, 1823.

To his Son, A. W Young and old

are liable to many ailments, and are removed
at all stages of their-existence ; and as thou
hast well observed, (he consideration thereof
calls upon us to endeavour to be ready. I
felt more need of watchfulness and cir-
cumspection, nor a greater sense of weakness
nd inability to preserve myself,— more need
of Divine aid, than now, when I am grown
old ; so that if the Lord help me not, 1 shall
yet become a castaway, notwithstanding all
my former preaching to others: but thanks
be to the Lord for the hope I have in his

We do feel a great loss in our dear E. G. ;
but how can I mourn ? I loved her dearly, and
being satisfied that she is happy — removed
from all the snares that await us in this pil-
grimage, how can I mourn ? — when I hope
she, whom I so dearly loved, is rejoicing, and
singing hallelujah to the Lord God and the

Aberdeen, Second month 5lh, 1824.
To his Son, A. W. As to my spirit-
ual attainments, I am as weak as a child ;
only through mercy I still retain a confidence
tn the wisdom, power, and goodness of my
dear merciful Lord ; and endeavour to rest
contented in His will. The removal of Mar-
garet Wigham, now in the middle stage of
life, has a warning voice in it. It is cause of
rejoicing to hear that the Lord is preparing
and anointing some of the youth to advocate

His cause. I hope, dear , if he step

cautiously and in fear, and yet faithfully and
honestly, that he will grow in the root, and
bring forth fruit answerable to that growth.
With respect to the depression and discour-
agement which it is thy lot at times to feel, it
is nothing new, and only what all the Lord's
servants at times experience ; and especially
such as are His messengers to the people.
The great and eminent Apostle Paul had his
share; pressed above measure, — despairing
even of life,— had the sentence of death in

Aberdeen, Eleventh month ]2s(, 1627.

To his Son, A. W I often think of

you at , with fervent desires that you

may be preserved, and grow in every good
experience — grow downwards — grow in hu-
mility and love, — be more and more reduced
to nothingness of self. We are never in that
perfect state, unto which we are called, till all
self-esteem is battered down ; there is such a
propensity in human nature to wish to be
esteemed somebody. O ! what a hammering
this propensity takes to reduce it to dust ; and
until this is effected, we cannot so fully esteem
others better than ourselves, and bear one

another's burdens. Blay you be made,

just what the Lord would have you to be, —
true standard bearers and ensamples to the
flock. I often feel a near sympathy with thee
in particular, believing thou hast many heavy
burdens to bear; but the Lord is thy shepherd,
thou shalt not want strength to support in
every exercise. Trust in Him with all thy
heart, and lean not to thy own understanding.

Aberdeen, Third month 5th, 1828.
To his Son, A. W — I have frequently
thought of writing thee, since I received thy
last acceptable letter ; but it is a task now to
set about writing. I am not sorry that thou
seest and feelest the stubborn stutT of which
thy heart is made (as thou expressest it ;) nor
that thou shouldest experience low and doubt-
ing times. These mark the path, I appre-
hend, of most, if not all, who travel from
Babel to Bethel ; at least with respect to my-
self, [I can say,] it is a state I have oflen been
in,— even at the very brink of the pit of des-
pair; but yet the Lord in His mercy has
plucked me back from plunging therein, and
given me renewed hope : and if I am saved
at last, (which I now hope I shall be,) I
must acknowledge that it is altogether of the
Lord's mercies, and to Him belongs all the

I have seen the profitableness of these
proving dispensations; they tend to reduce
into a slate of self-nothingness and humility,
which is the grand point,— the best and safest
state we can be in. Infinite wisdom knows
how to bring us to this slate ; He knows our
nature, and the plunges we need to reduce us,
and bring us into it ; thou needest not be too
much cast down in the process, — but trust in
the Lord, and be watchful, and He will bring
it to pass. There are indeed many tempta-
tions and snares, so that we have great need
of watchfulness ; yea, frequently begging of



the Lord to help us to watch, — for we are
poor watchers without his help.

[The following is slated to be the last letter
he wrote, and may come in here, though of
later date than the next and concluding para-
graph of his journal.]

Aberdeen, Second month aOlli, 182a.

To his Son, A. VV. The expression

of thy sympathy, and the hope thou hast for
me, is truly grateful ; and I may say through
unmerited mercy, 1 am favoured with a hope
for myself, that when this weary pilgrimage
is over, I shall be admitted into one of the
many mansions in our heavenly Father's
house, where the inhabitants of even the low-
est are completely happy. I am a poor thing,
not worthy of the least of the many mercies
bestowed upon me ; but I think I can say in
truth, I love the Lord, and his people, and
often feel solicitous for the preservation of the

few Friends at . I cannot write much,

the little I have now written, has obliged me
to stop and rest my eye, before I could see
where to make a stroke; I must therefore
conclude with the expression of a s.Tying of
our blessed Lord, — " Blessed are the peace-
makers, for they shall be called the children
of God."

Ninth month 17th, 1828. — I am now in
my eightieth year, — a long and weary pil-
grimage : many conflicts, many trying exer-
cises, have attended me ; yet through all, the
Lord has sustained me. It seems as if I had
well nigh finished my course ; I say not I
have kept the faith ; but the Lord has kept
me in the faith : and I feel near and dear to
me His precious cause, which I believe He
engaged me to advocate ; and though day after
day passes over in much weariness of the
flesh, yet by His sustaining love, the bitter is
sometimes made sweet, and what would other-
wise seem hard, is made easy. I feel con-
strained to say, that the Lord is good, — inex-
pressibly good : and I have an unshaken
hope, (which is the precious gift of God,) that
when the conflicts of time are over, I shall
enter a region of everlasting rest, peace and
joy. I leave this as my testimony to the good-
ness of God, (probably the last memorandum
I shall make in writing,) that my children
may see and believe, and be encouraged to
follow Him in the way of His leadings; that
in the end they may have to rejoice in the
Lord, and joy in the God of their salvation,
as doth my soul this day. I sensibly feel 1
have no merit; — 1 am unworthy of the least
of the mercies bestowed upon me ; the love,
grace, and mercy of God through Christ
Jesus, has done ail for me. I do most firmly
believe in the divinity of Christ ; — that God
was in Christ, reconciling the world unto him-
self: — that the Scriptures were written by
inspiration of God, and they give abundant
evidence of the miraculous conception, birth,
life, and death of Christ, and their testimony
is corroborated by the internal evidence
vouchsafed to believers, displaying the glo.
rious mystery, which angels desire to look
into. Finite wisdom cannot indeed compre-
hend the deep things of God ; but the wisdom
from above opens, to those who seek it, what

ry for man to know ; and man ought
to be content with what the Lord is pleased
to reveal, and not strive to comprehend by
the earthly wisdom, things incomprehensible.
True believers, whose minds are mercifully
opened, feel the efficacy of Christ's death in
salvation from their sins. Thus much I think
right to remark, respecting my belief in the
divinity of Christ and the truth of the Holy
Scriptures. Through this faith my dear wile
obtained the victory, and was enabled to tri-
umph over death, hell, and the grave ; as
evinced by almost her last expressions, prais-
ing the Lord with her latest breath. I feel
the loss of her company ; but do not regret
that she is gone before me (as I trust) " to be
Christ, which is far better." She has
left me to struggle a while longer with bodily
infirmities and weaknesses, which she indeed
felt largely in her own experience. A true
sympathizer was she. I have kind and affec-
ionate children and grand-children, who du
ill they can to make me comfortable ; but
younger people cannot enter into the feelings
and infirmities of age. O Lord I keep and
preserve me to the end. Amen, and Amen!

(To bo concluded.)

For" The Friend."

The following lively and instructive exhor-
tation is taken from an Epistle of Stephen
Crisp's, printed in 1680. It was published as
a tract by the Manchester and Stockport Tract
Association, under the title of" Tender Coun-
sel, to all who have believed the Truth to
exhort them to faithfulness. 1st. In taking
heed not to settle down in a formalilt/ without
the power. 2d. To take heed the spirit of
this world does not drink up their spirits. 3d.
iNot to trust too much to education."

Our late beloved friend George Jones, it is
understood, a short time before his death, de-
sired a copy of this tract to be presented to
each member of his Monthly Meeting. To
those who knew this dear Friend, while in this
country, an additional interest will be given to
it, as, by the request, he in some degree made
it his own exhortation.

Dearly beloved Friends, — I am drawn forth
to visit you all with an Epistle of tender ad-
vice and counsel ; and especially you, my
dear friends, among v. hom I have travelled in
this and other nations. Oh I the remenibrance
of the glory and power of God, that hath
appeared amongst us in days past, dolh much
allect my soul at this time, knowing the Lord
is the same to them that do hold fast the things
they have heard and learned from the begin-
ning. And my spirit is exercised among you,
caring and i)raying for your stability and con-
tinuance in the Truth, that ye may be pre-
served blameless unto the day of His coming,
armed with power, and furnished with wis-
dom, and prepared with every good gift of the
Spirit, to stand against the wiles and subtle
workings of the devil your adversary, who is
upon his watch, which way he may destroy
you, and spoil you of the lot of your inherit-
ance, prepared for you in Christ Jesus our

Lord : and for this purpose dolh he set all his
subtlety at work, and dolh instigate many
whom he hath already caught in his snares,
and sets them as snares to catch more of you,
that by their example, ye that do yet stand,
might also fall from your sledfastness, and be
a prey unto him.

Therefore, my dear friends, gird up the
loins of your minds, and put on the whole ar-
mour of light, then you will see round about
you, and which way soever the enemy comes
to assault you, you will be prepared to resist
him. For your sufficiency is in the light, and
in the truth, which the devil is out of; and if
your eye be kept single to Truth in your in-
ward parts, it is not all the deceit of the devil,
and all his instruments, can beguile you, but a
certain sense will be given you-of liis myste-
rious workings.

And, my dear friends, I would not have
you forget that there are many ways to weak-
en and to darken you, which must all be
watched against ; therefore walk circumspect-
ly, keeping your eye in your Head, wailing to
feel your strength renewed daily. For be
assured, your trials and temptations will be
renewed, and if you be destitute of the hea- \
venly daily bread, there w ill be a daily weak-
ening, which will appear by your being over-
come by such things as once you had a power
to stand against, which is a great grief to
behold in many.

And now I have to warn you of a few things
that have for some time lain upon me to send
among you, which I do in faithfulness recom-
mend to the pure Witness of God in all con-
scieiicts; not as if 1 judged any: but this I
must lell you, there is One that judgeth, and
will give an answer in every one I hat listens
to him, by which he may know how far any
of these things have prevailed upon him. And
he that judgeth, will also by judgment deliver
them that are caught in satan's snares, if
they do hearken and submit to his leadings.

First. — Take heed, nij dear friends, of hold-
ing the Truth in a bare formality, satisiyiiig
yourselves that you have for a long time owned
the way of Truth, and under this consideratioa
sit down at ease, as to the inward man, unac-
quainted with the inward travails, either for
yourselves or others; unconcerned whether
the noble plant grows, either in yourselves or
in others. Oh ! my friends, this is a danger-
ous stale ; more dangerous than my tongue or
pen can declare: therefore consider how thy
poor soul is beguiled in this condition; for, in
the first place, thou art deprived of that daily
enjoyment which others do enjoy in waiting
upon the Lord; they feel his refreshing pie-
sence, which either fills them with joy and
comfort, or else opens their understandings in
the light of a certain knowledge of, and testi-
mony against, such things as yet stand in the
way, and hinder the joy of his salvation from
them. But thou that siltest in a dry formali-
ty, without an inward travail upon thy spirit,
thou knowest neither of these things, but ^^
gnest on in the dark, not knowing whilherSfl
thou goest ; and so in the length of lime, thou ^
being such a stranger to the work of Truth in
thyself, it grows to a question with thee,
whether others do witness any such powerful


workings, yea or nay ; for every thing that is were disarming thee against the day of battle,
not expeiimeiital, is liable to question. As he that he might ihe more easily overcome thee :
that never saw, knows not what seeing is ; and | but now thou seest thou art fallen, when others,
he that never smelt any thing, knows not what' being tried with the same temptations, stand
smelling is; so he that through long continu-'and abide in their testimony ; and so mightest
ance in this formal manner of going to meet- j thou also, if thou hadst waited upon God in
ings, continues still unacquainted with the diligence for the renewing of thy strength,
power, will at last be easily made to question Alas ! miserable man or woman what wilt
whether there be surh a power or not : and in i thou do? thy cloak is now pulled off, thy fig-
this state the dark power will work insensibly, ' leaf profession is rent, and thou hast but two
and prevail upon thy spirit, and fit thee for his ways, to wit, to turn thy mind from the object
own purpose, and will minister a secret liberty jof thy delight, to the Truth, which thou hast
into thy mind, even as to the form itself by 'sold for it, and by repentance, and through
degrees, and so will make thee unfit to stand judgment, to wait to see if God will be merci-
in some sliarp trial that will come to try thee,!ful to thee, and to give up now at last to that
either in having something, or parting with 'work thou so much before slightedst ; or else
something, which may be had or parted with ' to take the other way, and that is, to go on in
if thou wilt turn thy back on Truth. And j thy rebellion against the light of Christ Jesus,
when this time of trial comes upon thee, then and add sin to sin, until the custom of sin

the strength and advantage that the enemy
hath gotten upon thee in the time of thy luke-
warm, loose profession, is made manifest;
then thou art in great straits for a season. If
the temptation and trial comes in parting will
any thing, which thou lovest, for thy profes-
sion sake, as thy wife and children, thy liberty,
thy money, thy cattle, thy house and land, or
what else may be dear to thee. Oh ! how doth
self work to save itself, and loth it is to part
with the name and reputation of a friend of
Truth, and as loth to part with any of these
things for the Truth's sake, not feeling the
hundred fold in this time, which Christ spoke
of, nor the life everlasting neither.

And now the form will not support in the
hour of this great triiil, but the consultings of
flesh and blood are grown strong for want of
living in the daily cmss ; and that nature cries
aloud in the ears of thy soul, which thou hast
indulged and sufF.^red to live; and if thou con-
siderest the truth, and weighest the testimoiiy
of that agninst thy own will and desire, then
thou easily seest which is of most weight with
thee : for a false weight, and false balance,
and false judgment, is got up in the time ol
thy careless profession : and then the old de-
ceiver comes in, and tells thee, thou seest no
evil in it, or at least, not so much as on the
contrary side ; so that of two evils, it is wis-
dom to choose the least : and such like rea-
sonings fill thy mind, till at last thy will being
strong, and thy understanding darkened, thou
takest up a resolution to hazard thy soul, and
to part with thy dry withered testimony,
which thou hast for a long time borne without
life, and embrace the price that is bidden for
it, as Esau and Judas did, and so sellest the
Truth which thou once followedst, and deliv-
erest it (as much as in thee lieth) into the
hand of its enemy, to be reproached and
trampled upon. And this is the fruit and
effect of a long carelessness and remissness,
which thou thoughtest once would never come
to this; and when Ihe servants of the Lord
have declared what sad effects such negligence
would produce in time, thnu hast been apt to
bless thyself, and to reckon thou wouldest
never run so far out, as publicly to bring re-
proach upon the way thou professedst. But
alas ! thou little knewest that thy soul's ene-
my was all that while but preparing ihee
against the day of thy greatest trial, and as it

may take away the sense of judgment, and so
thou mayst grow to a fleshly ease, and give
over caring for thy future well-being, and, like
the beast that perisheth, set thy heart upon
the things of this life for a little season, and
then Cometh the end ; and thou who wast once
called of God to an inheritance in his light,
must now have thy portion in the utter dark-
ness : and thou that wast once called to have
been a vessel of honcjur, art now become a
vessel of wrath fitted for destruction. Oh !
my soul Ijinents the condition of such, and I
should rejoice if any of these careless profes-
sors of Truth might be awakened before it is
too late. But, however, I am thus far clear
of their blood, and if they perish, the fault
will be their own.

(To be concluded.)

For " The Friend.'


The following is from the journal of that
valiant for the Truth, Samuel Bownas, who
through watchfulness and faithfulness, had
attained to a measure of stature above many
in his day, in that excellent gift which it had
pleased his divine Master to confer upon him ;
and is the substance of the exercise of his
mind at different times and different places,
suited to the various states of the people where
his lot was cast. — " '1 he meeting was very
quiet, and we sat a long time in silence, which
put me on examining my conduct, and look-
ing back to see how it was with me ; but
finding no uneasiness for anything I had done
before, to cause me to be thus shut up, I came
lo this conclusion and resignation, that I was
but a servant and could of myself do nothing;
secretly praying that the Lord would give me
patience, not to be uneasy, if he had nothing
for me to do, and if he had, then I was ready
and willing to do it. Thus I settled down,
diligently waiting for Divine direction. In a
"ttle time a word came with life, and I stood
up with it to the effect following ; ' The Lord's
time is the best time, and let us not grow
uneasy to wait for it ; for when he opens none
can shut, and when he shuts none can open ;'
enlarging on this subject a little more. We
had a ver\' glorious meeting, in which I was
largely opened, in sundry branches of the
doctrine of Christ ; and I had not very often

^ 159

seen greater tenderness than was at this time
amongst the people; for the war with the
Indians, had humbled them to such a degree,
that Truth had a very great reach upon them
indeed, and the meeting ended well. Imme-
diately I found an uncommon and weighty
concern to request the ministers to come
together, which they very readily complied
with, and they were a considerable number,
but not all thoroughly baptized into the work.
My companion was very prettily opened and
we had a very suitable service amongst them,
and saw clearly the reason why we were so
shut up in silence. Some of them were got into
an extreme of preaching and praying, and
would continue meetings to an unseasonable
length, likewise preaching and praying at
table ; which gave great uneasiness tu some
sensible Friends amongst them, but they could
not redress it until this opportunity. They
themselves saw they were wrong in doing as
they had done ; and got out of this extreme,
which was a degree of ranterism, being attend-
ed with a spirit of opposition against the order
of Friends in Monthly and Quarterly Meet-

Upon another occasion he states : " At this
meeting I was Divinely opened with fresh
matter, setting forth the service of a spiritual
ministry, which was free from all contrivance
and forecast of the creature, in preparing itself
with former openings, or beautiful collection
of texts or sayings from books or writings, all
which gatheringswould bring death ; and could
be no other, in the best and most favourable
construction, though well looked on by some,
than the ministry of the Zc^er, under pretence
of the ministry of the Spirit, which is a decep-
tion of the highest nature."

At another time he says : " I had a concern
to caution the ministers in their travels, not
to meddle with diflerences, so as rashly to say
this is right or that is wrong, but to mind their
own service, guarding against receiving any
complaints of Friends' unfaithfulness before
meeting, which I had found very hurtful to
me ; for such information without a careful
watch may influence the mind to follow it,
rather than the true gift. I had also to
caution the ministers in their travels, not to
be hard to please with their entertainment,
but to show themselves easy and contented,
with such as poor Friends could let them
have ; and to guard against carrying stories
and tales from one place to another ; and that
as soon as their service was done to retire
home again ; for some by staying too long
after their service was ended, had hurt them-
selves, and been an uneasiness to the Church.
I had likewise to caution against appearino'
too often or too long in our own meetings ; but
that the ministers should wait in their gifts,
for the Spirit to put them forth ; and carefully
to mind their openings, and not go beyond
bounds, for if we do, we shall lose our interest
in the minds of Friends, and our service will
be lost : always guarding against seeking after
praise, or saying anything in commendation
of our own doings ; neither to be uneasy when
we have nothing to say. Likewise to take
care at large meetings not to be froward, or
too long, because a mistake committed in such

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 59 of 154)