Page images

der that reaches from earth to heaven; but if- we gain only one step now and then, we get a little nearer to the open door which is to receive all who walk and not faint.

The people are riding about in their fine coaches, tashish shining with varnish and silver, and appear to enjoy themselves. Perhaps some have laboured hard to obtain them; but if they would abridge their unnecessary trappings, and relieve the widow and fatherless with the money they cost, it might be a means of laying up a store for themselves far more precious, in the day that soon or late will overtake them.

2d mo. 12th, 1815. This is the last winter month; aud a wintry prospect pervades the face of the earth by reason of a snow that fell last evening: and yet the weather is beautiful and calm for the season. Ere long we shall see the watery carpet dissolved, and spring with its cheering influence will soon be here. How many who saw the last, are now no more! and whether I shall see another, is to me unknown; as my time is almost clipped of its wings. Indeed, the harp, if not hung on the willows, appears to be unstrung, and the sweet melody of love sounds low, as if sitting on the banks of Jordan's stream mourning for Jerusalem, and the sweet peace of social harmony. There are heights and depths to pass over in our walk through this thorny vale; and what a happy state, to arrive at such a resigned frame of mind, as in faith and patience to bear all these changes with unruffled quietness!

Oh! what a precious thing is love and harmony in families! I have always loved my dear children, as a mother; but frailties and blindness more or less

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

lurk in the human composition, and the feet of the mind are apt to swerve imperceptibly to the right hand or to the left. Perhaps it is all right that a scourge falls on us when we think ourselves whole, in order to make us retire within, and let a deeper examination take place, that we may be properly humbled and flee to the house of prayer for safety. Through my life, I have sought peace and endeavoured to pursue it with all men; but the root of bitterness has oft sprung up, that would lay waste all social happiness.

At home there is again a pleasant sound of peace,of peace with the nations; and may it spread universally. The contrary principle has cost me heart-rendings and tears; but I'll leave the subject; though this I know that love is a sovereign means to smooth the rough seasons of probation. Oh! how we ought to strive to live in it through all! If love prepares the feast, a little is enough; if otherwise, to bear one another's burdens is often our lot.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

4th mo. 28th. O my Sarah, that thou were here to enjoy the sweets of renewed nature;—to behold the green grass and variegated flowers bursting forth, and to see the products of the earth smiling around; if indeed thou canst take delight in aught that is so transient. And why not admire the gifts which so bespeak the marvellous and bountiful hand of Almighty wisdom and goodness, displayed in all his works? They may indeed attract the attention of the passing traveller for awhile, and produce a glow of gratitude and delight to the thoughtful mind; but in a little time the picture is changed, and they are gone! What an emblem of the spring-time of man,

his summer and his autumn fading into old age; when the “ sound of the grinding” becomes low, and “ the pitcher” is about to “ be broken at the fountain,” or cistern, the heart, because “the dust shall soon return to the earth as it was, and the spirit unto God that gave it." And yet these objects of sense, how they steal away the affections, and absorb the attention of mortals, diverting them from the main point for which they were created, and thus preventing them from looking through and over them to the Creator and Giver of all.

But amidst this profusion of attracting objects and delights, is it not wisely ordered that a mixture of bitters is infused, in order that we may see the failure of human happiness on this side the grave?Happiness is our desire; but oh! how we blunder in the way we take to attain it! What a wonderful composition is man! His will, how hard to be disciplined! Even when lying under adverse and heavy pressures of affliction, what a struggle to get free from self, and sometimes by that struggle we get the more entangled and wounded.

It is wise, while in fulness and plenty, to remember that a time of scarcity may come.

We dont know what changes may take place, as respects ourselves. It is good and right for those who have plenty to look out and feel for those in straitened situations. How many who are called from works to rewards, having gathered a superfluous store of this world's goods, might even then make the heart of the poor widow, or those who are wading under difficulties, to rejoice with a donation of what they can no longer enjoy! But the rich too commonly leave their wealth to the rich, not remembering that “ blessed is he that considereth the poor." Well, this life is not long; and if the poor, like Lazarus, become prepared at its close to be happily landed in Abraham's bosom, it is no matter. But this subject has often pained me, that man should become so glued to the gains of this fleeting world, as to shut out tender feelings, proper feelings for his brother man.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

5th mo. 28th. Nathan Hunt was at our meeting to-day, and the Quarterly meeting begins to-morrow. I attended the meeting, though I felt very weak.Nathan arose with these words: “ Died Abner as a fool dieth?" and he had doctrine for the rich and the poor; and for the weary traveller who sitteth alone and keepeth silence, under mournful circumstances. I think he said all that was necessary to lead men to seek their true interest. The house was nearly full, the meeting held long, and he was on his feet most of the time.

I feel like a pilgrim; old, feeble and tottering, but it is good to be humble, and I desire not to murmur. My faculties, as well as my body, are on the decline; and ere long I shall be silent, when gathered to my fathers and my departed kindred. A solemn consideration! a serious view!

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

9th month 25th. We had Nathan Yarnall at our meeting, and he spoke encouragingly to those who were as the dry bones, or felt themselves so, as if their hope was lost. He also mentioned the words of Jesus to his disciples, “ If I go not away, the Comforter will not come: but if I go away,

I will

pray the Father, and he will send the Comforter, that he 1, may abide with you.” So there is a time of deser

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tion and poverty needful for us, and as we abide in u the faith and patience, the time of refreshment will


I am conscious of being very poor; but this I know that love is the balm which heals and smooths the rough passage of life. I always strove to live and walk in love and harmony among all with whom I have had concerns, through life; but the contrary principle rules in unregenerate minds and keeps them in bondage as in the region and shadow of death.

3rd month 3rd, 1816. How natural to wish for an alleviation of bodily or mental afflictions! and a dear friend is sometimes longed for in such seasons that we may unburden and lay the load a little upon.But is it generous to lay a weight on such sympathetic minds? I would say, no. Therefore I will try to bear my allotted portion of trials with cheerful it firmness. But weakness is mine, both of mind and body; and apparently I am drawing near the verge of time. My life seems to hang as on a single thread. I look for a change daily. My age makes it certain that a few more days at most will terminate a seventyfive years race; and then I shall go the way of all flesh, leaving my near and dear children in an inhospitable clime: but I shall leave them under the care and notice of an Almighty Father who sees and knows all things, and orders them according to his infinite wisdom and mercy. His ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts.

There is a reward promised to those who make the widow's heart rejoice. I often feel myself as a lonely widow; but find the balm of sympathy in some of my dear children. They know how to bear with

« PreviousContinue »