Robert Smith.

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

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what is best for me ; when He sees meet in
His unerring wisdom, and when his own pur-
poses are effected. He will release me from
rather a trying and painful getting on. J
desire to be wholly resigned to do or to suffer
His will."

He sometimes said, he was tried with low
times, and that the enemy was even permitted
to bullet him ; yet through all he was favoured
with a hope, which never forsook him, that
when the end came, all would be well, — that
one of the many mansions in his heavenly
Father's house would be allotted him : ad-
ding, that he thought there might be a dif-
ference in these mansions, even as one star
differs from another star in glory ; but no
doubt there was happiness without alloy in all
of them.

For several years the meetings of ministers
and elders were held at his house, which he
said, he considered a privilege, being the only
meetings he had the opportunity of attending";
on one of tliese occasions, in allusion to the
trials that had arisen in our religious Society,
he expressed himself to this effect : — " al-
though I often feel like a worn out instrument,
laid aside as useless, — nevertheless earnest
desires are frequently raised in my mind for
the prosperity of Zion ; and notwithstanding
the many causes of discouragement that pre"
vail amongst us, I am permitted to believe
that the Lord will not suffer Bis blessed
Truth to be trampled under foot : — He is still
with his people, and as they keep humble and
low. He will continue to be with them. The
shout of a King is yet in our camp ; therefore
let us not be dismayed, but thank God and
take courage."

At another of these meetings, being the last
but one at which he was present, he made a
communication of the following import : —
As this is probably the last time I shall
sit with you in this capacity, I feel free
to tell you, that all is well. I have not been
following cunningly devised fables; neither
have I been endeavouring to serve the Lord
for nought : notwithstanding my unworlhi-
ness, my many weaknesses, and short com-
ings. He has richly rewarded me. And I may
tell you, that if you continue to persevere in
faith and patience, in stability of conduct, He
will crown your latter end with loving-kind-
ness and tender mercies, as He is abundantly
doing for me."

In the early part of 18o7, he took cold, and
had a cough that distressed him much, espe-
cially during the night ; at this period, on one
of his sons taking leave of him, and a daugh-
ter-in-law, expressing a hope that he might
have a better night; he replied, he had °no
hope of that kind : — " My hope is in my God,
that he will forgive my sins, — or rather [my



^

belief is] that He has forgiven them ; and I
feel thankful to Him for that."

About a week afterwards, he expressed
himself thus: — " My cough is rather better;
and were it not that I feel often so sickly, and
my relish for food so much declining, I might
perhaps get better of this cold, as I have of
many other colds ; but these feelings preclude
that expectation, not that I know any thing
about it, for, [respecting the issue of the pre-
sent illness,] 1 know nothing ; but this 1 know,
that it is my duty to wait patiently the Lord's
time, which we are sure is the best time. It
looks pleasanter to be dissolved, and freed
from suffering ; but then I desire to be content
and resigned to His will."

He recruited soon after this time, and con-
tinued, though under an increase of bodily
ailments, in his usual state of cheerfulness and
mental energy, till the beginning of 1839;
when from his declining state, it became
evident to his relations and friends, as well
as to himself, that his continuing much longer
in mutability was not to be expected.

In concluding this little tribute to the me-
mory of my revered parent, I think T cannot
do better than introduce the substance of some
part of his own expressions, that were noted
down or remembered, during what proved his
last illness.

On Third-day morning, the 26th of Third
month, speaking of his having passed a more
comfortable night than any he had done for a
long time before, in much tenderness of spirit,
he expressed, how thankful he felt for the
favour, to his Lord and Saviour, adding, —
" If I had taken the medicine they were
urging me so much to take, it would have
been said that it had done it ; but as the relief
has come without any outward means, I es-
teem it a direct interference of the Lord's
hand : He has seen meet to give me a season
of ease from great pain."

Seventh-day, 30lh. — On being inquired of
how he was, he replied, " I am just about as
weak and poorly as I can well be ;" but ad-
ded, " I have a hope — I am favoured with a
lively hope, — that when I have done with
time, I shall have peace forever:" and on its
being remarked that it was a great mercy to
have such a feeling to sustain him ; he said,
" O yes ! and none can tell how precious it is,
but those who feel it."

Fourth month 4th. — This morning, suffer-
ing intense pain in his foot and leg, he said,
" I find it no easy thing to arrive at entire
resignation to the Lord's will under this pain,
though I do sincerely desire it. I cannot
always suppress desires arising for relief in
my own way ; but if patience only holds out
to the end, I will try to struggle on."

In the evening of the same day, he was
seized with a fit of severe pain and "sickness ;
and thinking his end near, he sent for some of
his family who were then not with him: on
one of them asking him how he felt ; he
replied, " I seem to be wading through the
Black river, over which Bunyan says there is
no bridge, and so deep, that poor' Christian
could scarcely keep his head above water;"
adding, " 1 have no desire to get better, but
just to be wholly resigned to his will." The



166



THE FRIENO.



agonizing pain he was *uftering seemed so to
overpower him, that ne appeared unable to
proceed ; at length, after a |)ause, addressing
himself to his children, he said, " you too
must fillow on; — never let go your hold; —
keep to the Rock that never failed any one."

Fourth month 7th. — Since the preceding
date, there was little or no abatement of his
sufferings, and he obtained scarcely any sleep,
but he was enabled to bear them with great
patience. On one of his family, who was
taking leave of him for the night, asking him
if he had any thing to communicate; he an-
swered, " pray for mo, if thou canst, — that 1
may be released, if it be the Lord's will."

The same evening on a message from a
son, residing at a distance, being communi-
cated to him, in which allusion was made to
the crown immortal being in prospect, and the
assurance of its being bestowed on him ere
long, — with that diffidence and humility, which
peculiarly marked his character; he replied,
" there is a hope to be sure, — that sustains."
He then mentioned, that a Friend who had
visited him some years before, had told him of
a certain high professor, who had slated that
he never met with a Quaker who had true
faith, — they had no assurance; hope, or trust,
was all any of them could say. '• But," ad-
ded my (iUher, " that Friend and I thought
we could be content with a humble hope." In
confirmation of this view, allusion was made,
in conversation with one of his ftimily, to an
expression of Samuel Emlen at a time when
he was sick in London ; — " Thanks be to the
Lord, for the hope I have in His mercy ;" on
which Joseph Gurney Bevan makes the fol-
lowing striking remarks : — " It then seemed,"
(says he) " a less strong expression, than pro-
bably through inexperience I then should have
expected, from a man whose whole life seem-
ed devoted to God. 1 have since lived to see,
that it contained every thing, which the self-
abased Christian can desire; and such a
Christian was he." (See Pietij Promoted,
Tenth part, second edition.) At anothei
time, he remarked, that some had trium-
phant deaths; but this was the experience
of comparatively but a few, and was, he be-
lieved, not necessary. One of the lowest of
the many mansions was all he desired ; and
there seemed no cloud to intervene.

.\bout a week before his final close, being
visited by a son from a distance, after speak-
ing of his great weakness and continued suf-
fering, he expressed himself to this effect, —
" It is a great support — an inexpressible
satisfaction, the prospect of peace and rest
when the struggle is over. Nothing to trust
to, but the mercy and goodness of the Almigh-
ty, and being engaged in seeking for resigna-
tion to His holy will. Perhaps this is the
most acceptable state we can attain to, — the
pain and suffering is nothing new, it is the
way of all living."

During the last two days of his life, he
seemed much suid< in exhaustion, and desired
quietude, — expressing but little, and the pow-
er of articulation being impaired, he could
not well he understood ; yet with a little ex-
ception he appeared sensible, and patiently
waiting his appointed time. He was heard



repeatedly to utter, " I want rest, — I want to
be at rest."

In the morning of the 17ih of Fourth
month, 1839, he was peacefully released from
the shackles of mortality. His surviving rela-
tives can humbly rejoice in the full belief,
that through redeeming love and mercy, on
which his hope was placed, his purified spirit
has entered into the joy of his J^ord. He was
aged upwards of ninety, and had been a minis-
ter about sixty-seven years. His remains
were interred in the burial-ground belonging
to Friends at Kinmuck on the 'Z0\.\\ of the
same month.

For " The Friend."
TENDER COUNSEt.

(Concluded from page 159.)

A second thing that lies upon me to warn
you of, my dear friends, is to watch against
ihe spirit of this world, lest it drink up your
spirits too much in an eager pursuit after the
things of this world, which happens to some,
to their great hurt and damage ; and the snare
lies deep and hidden, under a subtle covering.
For whereas it is the duty of every man to
care for his family, and to be diligent in the
calling God hath set him in, and to improve
such opportunities as God pleasetli to put into
his hands; here the subtle enemy works to
make the care immoderate, to ^rn the dili-
gence into slavery, and the improving oppor-
tunities which God gives him, to a finding and
searching out of opportunities, sometimes by
indirect courses, and sometimes to the preju-
dice of his neighbour ; and all to try to satisfy
a greedy desire after the heaping up of
treasure in this world, and through the ear-
nestness of the affection that kindles daily
more and more, till a man comes in time to
have the increase or decrease of these things
to be the objects of his joy or sorrow ; and
then he is miserable : for joy or sorrow are
the highest faculties of the mind, and ought
to be fixed on the highest objects, and not
upon transitory things under the sun. But
alas ! how are many cast down at losses, and
lifted up at profits and gains. Oh ! my
friends, take heed of this fickle, uncertain
state ; for while some have too much set
their minds upon the things of this world,
they have erred from the faith ; and placing
their trust in uncertain riches, when these
have taken their wings and fled away, their
hope hath gone with them. Therelbre, I
beseech you, dear friends, have a care of suf-
fering your spirits to be sharpened and set on
edge about these outward things ; and take
heed of enlarging your trades and traffics
beyond your ability, and beyond your capa-
city: for both these evils have been the ruin
of some. For every one that hath ability,
hath not capacity for great things; and every
one that hath capacity, hath not ability : and
where either of these are wanting, such ought
to be content with such low and mean things
as they are capable to manage, and able to
reach, and not to bear themselves too much
upon the one, and then seek, by indirect
means, to make the other answerable ; for no
man knows the issue beforehand : and there-



fore, even in these things, every one ought to
wait to know the guidance of the Lord, and
to be subject unto his will, though in a cross
to their own. As the apostle said of them that
spoke in this manner, (Janjes iv. 13.) We will
go into such a city, and ci.ntinve there a year,
and bvy and sell, and gel gain, (which were
lawful things in themsehes;) yet saith he,
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will : so
he that saith, I will increase my trade, and
enlarge my adventures, that my gain may
thereby be enlarged ; even in this he ought to
say. If the Lord will.

Oh ! friends, wait to feel the governing
hand of God in these things, to govern you in
your affairs, that so He may be acknow-
ledged by you the Lord of earth, as well
as heaven ; the Ruler of your trading and
dealings, as well as of your religion and pro-
fession.

Therefore, the ways to prevent all such
miscarriages, are to be taken notice of; and
in the first place, that none run themselves
into necessities by indirect courses, as by an
overcharging themselves in trading; nor in
over-buying more tiian Ihcy are able to com-
pass ; nor by suretyship, which makes a sup-
posed debt, though uncertain, and therefore
more dangerous, because it may come upon
you at unawares, before you are prepared for
it. These things ought, in wisdom, to be pre-
vented before-hand.

The next thing that lies upon me, is in
respect to such as have been brought up and
educated among us, and are grown up, and do
make profession (>f the same way and truth in
which they have been educated : that all such
may take heed that they rest not in a bare
form of the Truth, without having regard to
their inward travail of soul, and to their
growth in the power of godliness. For the
snares of their souls' enemy lie deep in this
matter, and his working is to draw their minds
into the world, whilst their bodies, and their
public profession, remain among Friends; and
to keep them at ease and liberty from the
daily cross, and from the crucifying power, by
which they should travail to subdue that na-
ture in themselves which is grown up in their
youth, as well under this profession as any
other, where the power is not minded dili-
gently : and by this means many are and re-
main unfitted for the testimony of Truth,
wanting to be rooted and grounded in it,
through an experimental warfare in their own
particulars. For, my friends, 1 say unto you
in the words of the Lord, Except ye he horn
again, ye cannot see the kingdom of God : and
if ye cannot see that, what availeth it what
you see ? for all sight, vision, and opening of
things, will not save nor deliver your souls in
the day of trial that will come upon you for
the trial of your faith ; and then if your faith
be such an one as stands in words and terms,
though never so true, yet it will fail you ia
that day, and you will not be able to stand.

Therefore, dear friends, sink down in lowli-
ness and humility, and wait to feel the power
revealed in you, and join your minds to it in a
living faith, that you may come to experience
every vain thought and exalted desire, and
every idle word and evil action to be judged



THE FRIEND.



167



by the pure judgment of Truth, and a subdu-
ing of that nature that lusteth unto disobe-
dience of the righteous law of God in your
hearts: and as that nature is kept under the
daily cross, it will weaken and die daily in
you, and the weaker it is made, the more you
will feel of the powerful quickenings of the
Word of God in your souls, and a tender life
will spring up in you, to your great comfort,
that will be lender of the glory of God, and of
the honour and reputation of your profession.
And as you join herewith, you will be ac-
quainted with the travails of the true Zion,
the mother of us all, who brings not forth but
through deep exercises; and although this
will take you off from the delights and pleas-
ures, and loftiness of this world, yet the end
will repay all j'our sorrow ; for this will bring
you to know the worth of Truth, and teach
you to set a value upon it, and upon every tes-
timony of it, beyond all transitory and fading
things ; whereas others, who have lightly
come by their profession, will lightly esteem
it, and lightly let it go again. Therefore my
concern is, that you might be wise unto salva-
tion, and for that end do I send this to you,
that ye might be brought to try your foun-
dations, every one in yourselves, before it be
tried for you ; for then it will be too late to
come to the true foundation, or at least will
be through greater hardship. Wiien the cry
at midnight is heard, and the time of entrance
Cometh, it will be loo late to buy oil to your
lamps ; and then such who have a lamp, and
no oil, will be shut out. Therefore prize your
time, and examine what reason you have in
yourselves to make profession of the name and
way of God, more than that you were edu-
cated therein, and brought up to it by your
parents, guardians, or masters. Have you
ever felt the heavenly virtue of it oversha-
dowing your souls? And if you have, do you
retain and keep the savour of it still upon
your spirits? Do you feel yourselves possess-
ed with tliat awe, fear, and reverence of the
Lord's presence, which the Lord's people felt
in the beginning of their day, and the faith-
ful do still feel? Is the inward enjoyment of
the life of Truth a greater joy to you than all
your outward enjoyments? If so, then you
will not sell it, nor part with it, for any thing
in this world: and the testimonies, which
such do bear for the Truth, will not be tradi-
tional, but from a sensible convincement in
themselves ; so that they will be able to say,
" These things have we received from the
Lord, and they are the testimonies of God
manifest to us in the light of his Son, Christ
Jesus, in whom we have believed."

Oh ! friends, how will this drive back the
storm of temptations that will come, both in-
wardly and outwardly, in a time of trouble?
How many are there, who for want of this
assurance in themselves, have been brought
to great questionings and doublings, and
knew not whether to go backward or forward ?
and many have halted and staggered, and
some have fallen and risen no more, to the
ruin of themselves and others. Therefore,
my dear friends, trust not to the resolutions of
your own spirits, without a sense of the pow-
er, nor to a receiving of the Truth by your



education, but all wait to be made living and
true witnesses of the rising of the power in
your own hearts, and of the carrying on of the
work of the power in yourselves, to the rege-
nerating of you, and bringing you to that
birth that trusteth in nothing, but in the Lord
alone, and hath him for its support in the
greatest exercises. Then shall ye stand and
remain, and be a generation chosen of God, to
bear his name and testimony, and to commit
it to the next generation.

While Friends are looking to the power of
God, as their guide and leader iu all these
things, and their design is simply God's
glory, the clearing their own consciences, and
the good of their brother, they will not be dis-
couraged in their undertakings ; for they
know the power will certainly come over
whatsoever opposeth it: and this will keep
your minds quiet and free from disturbances,
when you see men and parties rise against the
power, knowing that the power is an everlast-
ing rock. But as for those things that appear
against it, they are but for a season, in which
season patience must be exercised, and the
counsel of wisdom stood in, and then you will
be kept from staggering or from scattering,
by all the fair shows the spirit of opposition
may make.

For they that enjoy the life and substance,
and feed daily of the bread which comes down
from heaven, have a quick sense and discern-
ing of things that are presented to them, and
do know them that are of the earth, by their
earthly savour, from those that are of the
heavenly, with their heavenly savour. They
know what feeds the head, and the wit and
carnal reason, and what will nourish the
immortal soul ; and so come to be fixed, and
are not ready to feed upon unsavory food, nor
to be easily tossed, nor to be troubled at evil
tidings, nor cannot be drawn after one thing or
man by an affection, nor set against another
man nor thing by a prejudice : but the true
balance of a sound judgment, settled in the
Divine knowledge, according to the measure
that the Father has bestowed, keeps such
steady in their way, both in respect to their
own testimony and conversion, and also in
respect to their dealing with others.

Oil ! my dear Friends, in such doth the
Truth shine, and such are the true followers
of Christ, and they are worthy to be followed,
because their way is as a shining light, shining
on towards the perfect day. And in this sure
and steady way, my soul's desire is, that you
and I may walk, and continue walking, unto
the end of our days, in all sobriHy, truth, jus-
tice, righteousness, and charity, as good exam-
ples in our day, and comfortable precedents
in our end, to them that shall remain. That
so we may deliver over all the testimonies of
our Lord Jesus unto the succeeding genera-
tions as pure, as certain, and as innocent as
we received them in the beginning; and in
the end of all our labours, travails, trials, and
exercises, may lay down our heads in that
sabbath of rest that remains always for the
Lord's people.

This is the breathing desire that lives in
me, for you who have believed in our Lord
Jesus Christ ; in whose name, and in a sense



of his power, and of the life he hath revealed
in every member of his whole body, I salute
you all, and bid you farewell.

Stephen Crisp.



Education and District Schools.

The subject of education is now forcing
itself upon the notice of the Society of
Friends in a more important point of view
than any in which it has betbre been present-
ed. A revolution is going on in our slate in
reference to it, which seems likely to sweep
away, in its progress, all those valuable and
useful schools, under the care of Friends, and
taught by members, which had their origin in
the religious concern of our worthy fore-
fathers, and were founded and supported by
their liberality. The gradual and silent man-
ner in which this change has been going for-
ward, kept it very much out of sight for a
time, until the languishing state of many of
our schools in the country led to an inquiry
into the cause ; and the entire suspension of
others has since opened the eyes of Friends
to the dangers which threaten them.

The fact that our members have to con-
tribute, in common with other citizens, to the
support of the district schools for public edu-
cation, is made an excuse by some, (I am
sorry to be obliged to say it,) (or withdrawing
their support from the schools under the care
of the Society, and exposing their children to
the liability of injury from the corrupting
influence of indiscriminate associations. It is
a painful reflection that motives of pecuniary
interest should operate to produce such an
effect, among a people who have always be-
lieved that a religious and guarded education
is among the first duties which parents owe
to their children. Of what value is the smalt
amount of money which it costs to educate a
child at a Friends' school, when put in com-
petition with the advantages offered on one
hand, and the danger to morals, and manners,
and religious principles which are presented by
the other ? It has been found too, by those
who have been willing to make a fair and
candid experiment, that the literary advantages
enjoyed by the pupils at Friends' schools, are
so much superior, as to give them a decided
preference over the public District Schools,
even though the attendance at these cost
notiiing, because the children learned so lit-
tle at them, except what they had better never
know, that their lime is in great measure
lost.

But even if the literary advantages were on
the side of the District Schools, (which they
evidently are not,) that would not be a good
or sufficient reason why a Friend should disre-
gard the religious concern which Society has
so long felt for the education of the children
of Friends, in a manner consistent with our
principles and testimonies, in schools under
the care and control of members, where their
morals may be watched over ; their infant
minds imbued with a love for our religious
profession, and shielded from the contami-
nating effects of bad examples. What would



Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 62 of 154)