Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

W. & F. G. CASH, 5, BISHOPSGATE STREET WITHOUT.

1853.

KF6712

HARVAR
UNIVERSITY
LIBRARY
46*-153

30697

BRIGHTON:

PRINTED BY ARTHUR, WALLIS, AT HIS LETTER-PRESS, LITHOGRAPHIC, AND

[merged small][ocr errors]

PREFACE.

THE “Memoir of Elizabeth Fry,” in two Volumes, edited by her daughters, has been extensively circulated in this and other lands; and rarely has any religious biography been perused with so general and so deep an interest. More brief notices of her life have also emanated from other pens: and it might seem superfluous again to depict her character, or to rehearse the circumstances which marked

those arduous labours, in the service of Him who "went about doing

good,” to which, under the constraining influence of His love and

power, she devoted every talent committed to her stewardship.

There are, however, many by whom a memorial of Elizabeth Fry, more compendious than that which has been published by her daugh. ters, would, perhaps, be welcomed with pleasure and read with readers, to whom the voluminous “ Memoir” may not be conve

instruction. A work which might embrace more exclusively the records of her own experience, and of her religious and philanthropic

engagements, appears, in the estimation of some of her most intimate

friends, to be required, as filling up a chasm still left in the circle of

niently accessible.

To venture on such an abridgment has not been contemplated

without a serious conviction of the delicacy and importance of the

task; and had not a special request from her daughters, (the Editors of her life,) in conjunction with other members of her immediate

family, encouraged the Compiler of the following pages to undertake

the work, it would not have been attempted.

But various considerations have additionally stimulated the Com

piler to add another to the several sketches of the Life of Elizabeth

Fry. A prominent one is suggested by the fact, that her character

and her sentiments have been represented by individuals, widely

differing in religious opinion, both from her and from each other;

and they have (in consequence of the varying mental complexion to

which habit and circumstances impart a colouring peculiar to each)

given, to their picture of Elizabeth Fry, a tinge which has prevented her from appearing, as she was, consistent in her language, her conduct, and demeanour, with the principles which, from conviction,

she was early led to adopt, and to which, through life, she steadfastly

adhered. This, it must be confessed, is calculated to induce the impression that, in Elizabeth Fry's life, there was evinced a compro

mise of principle; and it proves that whilst her ardent admirers exhibit a dazzling portrait of her piety, her loveliness, and her philanthropy, they fail, in degree at least, to depict her in the light

of truth-in her meek and lowly garb of deep humility, treading with watchful circumspection and fear, the cross-bearing path of the

blessed Redeemer.

Drawn by the attractions of heavenly love, her steps were directed

into a course untried and new; and the service that was designed for her became gradually manifest, as she followed, in simple faith,

the guiding light of the Holy Spirit : and whether it led her into the presence of monarchs, into association with princes, or into the

company of the wise and learned,—whether she was brought into

communion with fellow-disciples who, whatever might be the form

of their christian profession, were pursuing with her the same

heaven-ward track, or surrounded by the votaries of a thoughtless

world incapable of responding to the deep sympathies of her spirit,

in all situations, and under every circumstance, she was enabled to

maintain, with holy consistency, the dignified character of her high vocation, as a minister of Christ in the Society of Friends; adorning

the doctrine of God her Saviour; being an example to the believers

in faith, in patience, in meekness, and charity; raising in the hearts

of thousands, among the varied classes of the people, a reverent

acknowledgment of that divine influence, which constrained her to

gather immortal spirits to the Fountain of life and peace. Yet how few, among the many who have extolled her deeds of

mercy

and love, were prepared to penetrate the veil that concealed, from the

gaze of the world, the working of that heavenly power, through

which alone she became instrumental in directing a resistless moral

force against the dominion of sin and misery, which strengthened

« PreviousContinue »