Page images

“ Cast

gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” Thus, my dear friend, thou, who art called into this line of labour in the vineyard, and hast received suitable qualifications for the work, being also providentially disentangled from the cares of this life, “Be sober, be vigilant." “Whatsoever thy hands find to do, do it with thy might.” thy bread upon the waters.” Be not discouraged at the appearance of things. “He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."

Thy friends here are tolerably well in health, except dear Martha Routh, who at present is but poorly as to the body; the other part of the compound in that good woman, is, I believe, always improving. John Routh and his sister visibly grow older, but still move a little about; she (I hope both of them) seems wisely attentive to improve the golden sands, that so her measure may be

eompletely filled up. Through great mercy, we live in true unity, which I hope will never be broken.

Believe me to be invariably, thy sincere and affectionate friend,


Letter XXIII.


3d Mo. 22, 1788. Being, contrary to my expectation and endeavours, prevented from attending the ensuing Monthly Meeting at

of which I was the more desirous, for the same reason that I hoped, and still hope, thou wilt be there ; I find freedom, and that, I trust, after having maturely considered it, with a desire to do right, to communicate to thee what passed in my mind, long before I knew or expected that would have happened which prevents me.

It hath not been usual with me to think beforehand of the affairs likely to come be

fore such a meeting; but the mention made by the friends of

-, of the application of a certain person to be admitted a member of our Society, occurred again and again to my mind, and connected with it the parable of the leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” It was hidden; but its operation, though secret, was gradual and progressive, till there was a total assimilation. « Till the whole was leavened,” the process was from within to without; the exterior part was the last affected, the last whose appearance was altered ; but though the last, it was as completely changed as the rest ; " the whole was leavened.”

This seemed to convey instruction to my own mind, as setting forth the prior necessity of an inward change, for the proper regulation of the outward deportment. I thought, too, it might be applied not improperly to the case, nor, perhaps, unprofitably to the consideration of the party alluded to. I do not doubt his having been sensible of the secret influence of the Divine principle in his own conscience, or that his judgment has

been measurably convinced by the testimonies he has heard borne to the truth, as professed by us as a people. I as little doubt the sincerity of his desire to be considered as one believing in the same principle, and desirous to walk by the same rule; but, rather than he should desire a premature admission, I hope he will not be offended, if I recommend to his serious consideration, whether there is yet that thorough conviction, that perfect harmony of faith and practice, as would justify the conclusion that “the whole” is leavened: for, as he that believeth will not make haste, so a waiting for the right time, when perfect unity will be experienced, will not retard his growth in the truth, nor lessen the tender regard of his friends towards him, or the peace of his own mind.

I desire to be as brief as possible. I have nothing but good-will in my heart towards him, and if, under the influence of that Wisdom which alone, in such cases, is profitable to direct, Friends shall admit him a member of the Society, I shall freely give him the right hand of fellowship, and desire to be his

companion in the regeneration and in newness of life.


Letter XXIV.


Manchester, 10th Mo. 4, 1789.

My dear Friend,

I cannot let slip this opportunity of conveying a few lines to thee, by the favour of our truly valuable friend Martha Routh; and though such is the present barrenness and poverty of my mind, that I hardly seem able to form a sentence, yet, presuming upon thy charity, and the terms of our friendship, (for better and for worse,) I will first begin at home, and acquaint thee that all my family, and thy friend, are favoured with health ; and it is, and I hope always will be, inte. resting and grateful intelligence to me, to hear the same account of thee and thine.'

Please to give my love to all thy family,

« PreviousContinue »