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6th. William Blakey had a meeting at Westfield. I attended and thought there was something quieting, calming and savoury.
But alas! meetings are become cheap. We have line upon line, and precept upon precept; and plenty makes dainty; but Divine life and power are much wanting.
10th. At our monthly meeting. Altho’ something lively was felt; yet there seemed to be wanting more of that humility and fear which keeps the heart clean, and is a fountain of life that preserves from the snares of death. “Charity suffers long and is kind.” On retrospection, something of this charity I found lacking in my zeal against a selfish, covetous, harddealing spirit, that loves to buy cheap, and sell dear. “When thou buyest aught of thy neighbour, or sellest aught to thy neighbour, ye shall not oppress one another.” Again, it was said, “Thou hast dealt by oppression,-thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbour by extortion: can thine heart endure? or can thy hands be strong, in the day that I shall deal with thee?" Yet this is a spirit very prevalent in our days. Altho’ in scripture, extortion is ranked among the blackest of crimes; yet it has become so common amongst traders and dealers that it seems as if it was hardly thought any harm or crime at all. It has even spread amongst us as a people professing great refinement. But it is so contrary to honesty, to love and unity, that I see not how an extortioner can lay any claim to charity; without which, the apostle says, all is nothing. It is a spirit I have ever abhorred; and my zeal against it may sometimes be too warm. But such is the power of custom, that great evils, long indulged in, become familiar, and at length are thought to be little or no crime.
22d. Heard of the death of Samuel Cooper, aged about seventy, an old school-mate. He owned the ferry opposite Philadelphia; and altho' he had great possessions, and was counted very rich, yet he retired from business, obtained a right amongst Friends, became a much improved man, and was very useful in society, and also open-hearted and kind, in entertaining Friends and their horses. So that he will be very much missed in his neighbourhood, and in society.
28th. An invitation was given to the burial of Sarah Wilkins, a choice, innocent, sweet-spirited, acceptable minister. She has travelled a good deal, visiting families and meetings, and been very diligent in her labours.
She lately had a very severe spell of sickness; but got out again, and was twice at our meeting. Between thirty and forty years ago, being with Joshua Evans visiting families at Evesham and Upper Evesham, I remember well the opportunity with William and Sarah Wilkins. My mind was then turned particularly towards Sarah, although at that time there had not appeared in her much of a religious concern; yet she soon after came forward, and has been a faithful valiant labourer in the Lord's harvest.
25th. I was so poorly with a cold that I almost concluded not to venture out to meeting; but I did go, and was glad I was there. I thought there was an unusual stillness, and something to be felt that was salutary, and savoury to me; and it was a strengthening, comforting season. The savour of life remained with me some time, encouraging to diligence and faithfulness in well-doing.
11th mo. 1st. It is written, “your old men shall
dream dreams.” A few nights ago, I had a remarkable dream, as follows: I thought I was speaking to a vast, great concourse of people, and with a feeling of great animation, life, and power; far greater than I ever experienced. And what seemed the most animating and encouraging was, I thought the people were gathering and flocking to me, in a wonderful, lively, zealous manner;-as if all would come. The feeling, comfortable sense that attended the remembrance of this dream, did me good, and seemed strengthening for some days afterwards.
291h. It opened in my mind, that to meet together and sit down, as the people did in the days of Ezra the scribe, where we read they sat down by the river Ahava, to inquire of the Lord a right way for themselves and their little ones and all their substance,-was a most acceptable disposition, when, and wherever it is done in sincerity. But it is to be feared, sincerity is much wanting; and with many, going to meeting has become a mere customary thing, and is therefore treated with trifling indifferency.
No wonder, where this is the case, that leanness, barrenness and formality abound.
12th mo. 20th. Richard Jordan mentioned a remarkable convincement in the north of England. A man who was considered a very great man in military affairs, and who was then expecting soon to receive an admiral's commission, fell in company with Richard and other Friends, and dined with them. When they sat down to table, a solemn pause was made, in silence, not a word being spo. , ken, yet this great warrior was so reached by the power of Truth, that he burst into tears; and from that time laid down all his weapons of war.
2d mo. 7th, 1813. I wanted to go to Evesham, but
way did not open for it; so I went to our own meeting, and an open, favoured, healing time it was to me, and I believe to general satisfaction.
We sometimes know not what is best for us, or where it is best for us to be; but if we are favoured with best help, all is right and well; and without it, we can do nothing well. “The breath of heaven must swell the sail, or all the toil is lost."
10th. Some observations on the happiness of a humble and serious life, compared with one that is spent in vain pastimes, pleasures, and too eagerly pursuing the riches and honours of this world.
In order to check the inordinate desire after riches, which some of the professors of christianity formerly manifested (and the remarks are equally applicable in this day) Clemens, one of the primitive christians, and an eminent instrument in the hand of God for gathering many into the fold of rest, expressed himself on this wise: “He that troubles not himself with anxious thoughts for more than is necessary, lives little less than the life of angels; whilst by a mind content with little, he imitates their want of nothing.' But those whose minds are taken up with anxious thoughts for the things of this world only, have been compared to Nebuchadnezzar at grass, when a beast's heart was given him-So also says Solomon, “I said in my heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.' " John Wickliff thought all arts which administered to the luxuries of life, were prohibited by the gospel. This seems in accordance with the apostle's words, “Be ye not conformed to this world.” Was this injunction strictly observed, Oh! what stripping work it would make, now in our day, wherein there is so much conformity to the ways, customs, maxims, and manners of this world. Further, Wickliff says, “ The scripture tells us, that having food and raiment, we should be therewith content.
A very favourable account is given of Wickliff's followers and disciples, by Beikner: he says " they were men of serious, modest deportment; avoiding all ostentation in dress,-chaste and temperate,-never seen in taverns, or amused with the trifling gayeties of life: and they utterly despised wealth, being fully content with bare necessaries."
Hence it appears that these first reformers, as well as the primitive christians, took our Saviour's injunction, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” in a more literal sense, than it has been understood by many high professors in latter days. They were also sensible of the truth of the declara. tion, that it would be hard for those that had acco. mulated wealth, and trusted in riches,--had added house to house, and field to field,-to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
The pious William Law expresses himself thus: * The heresy of all heresies, is a worldly mind." And yet, alas! how doth a worldly spirit prevail, although it is so much testified and cautioned against in the scriptures. “Be ye not conformed to this world.' “ Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth.” “Go to now, ye rich men; weep and how] for the miseries that shall come upon you.” How hath it drowned many in destruction and perdition! How stupified and besotted many are, and, as to reli