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and wife,-salute Aaron Wills and his wife, cousin Samuel Stokes and wife, and others who ask for us. Farewell.
To Robert Willis.
Mountmelick, Ireland, 3d mo. 15th, 1772. Dearly united friend, fellow-labourer, and companion in the hope of the gospel,—we very dearly salute thee;-having frequent remembrance of, and deep sympathy with thee, in thy stepping along.
It is with grateful acknowledgment to the Preserver of men, we may inform thee, we are in health; and our lives, in the pure seed, as yet for a prey.Though deaths are oft, and trials very many, yet He in whom wisdom and knowledge remain, is still near; and I hope will be near thee, in all thy journeying, -to divide the way for thee through clouds and thick darkness.
Dear Robert, be encouraged in thy service. My spirit unites, and feels with thee therein, that the Lord owns thy labours of love to his heritage;—and he will still own, as we gather deep in the gift to him, waiting for his work to come up in the mystery, with the true stamp and seal.
Hoping, if the Lord will, to see thee at London, shall conclude with affectionate nearness, thy little, younger brother in the love of Truth.
TO THE MEMORY Of Thomas Ross, of Wrightstown, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, who departed this life at Holdgate, near York, in England, the 13th of the
2nd month, 1786. Composed by his son. Thus ends the man, who, privileg'd to pass,
The destin'd date of three score years and ten, Devoutly spent the gracious loan in praise,
And ardent labours for the souls of men. Through many a bitter conflict, sorely won, From strength to strength, victorious, hast thou
pass’d, But light etherial gilds thy setting sun,
And heaven rewards thy labours at the last. Oft, in sweet converse, have I heard thee say, “The end crowns all,"—then add, “May God
sustain, And keep me in the true and living way,
Nor let me lose the Christian in the man.'
Thy erring feet out of the narrow path;
Confess'd thyself to be the child of wrath.
Was like the ocean, toss'd by furious storms; But, near the port, thy sky was all serene,
And not a cloud thy peaceful mind deforms. Faith, half absorb'd in vision, hails thee home,
And bears thy soul aloft from guilty pain; Lost in the glorious hope of bliss to come, A blest communion, and an endless reign.
He who sustain'd thee through life's stormy sea,
And rais'd thy drooping head above the wave, Now, in the needful hour, revisits thee,
And shows himself omnipotent to save.
Praise, the sole, universal theme above,
Thro' all the boundless realms of light and love. Sometimes, with pitying, retrospective eye,
Downward, on sinful mortals wouldst thou look, And oft, methinks, I almost heard thee cry,
Pardon them, Lord, or blot me from thy book. Not sway'd by pride, from thy own sphere to move,
In thy own measure only did'st impart; Content to render to the God of love,
That grateful sacrifice-an humble heart. But who can tell what pains thy virtues cost ?
What days of penitence, and nights of pray'r? Right hands cut off, right eyes pluck'd out, and lost?
Rich trophies these and only won in war! The world, -the flesh,--and satan in the van,
Great principalities and powers, suppress'd, Too great, alas ! for feeble, fallen man,
Did not, O Lord, on thee the burden rest. Aided by thee, see the poor pilgrim move,
In slow gradation, thro' the humble vale; Tho' to detach and draw him from thy love,
See all the powers of darkness him assail. And often, sore beset on every side,
No ray of light to lead the eye to thee, Distress’d, dejected, and without a guide,
The Christian waits, thy saying pow'r to see,
Not like the world, -thy meliorating treat, –
Thy wine put forth, at last, is ever best;So may our hearts with cheering ardour beat,
To gain an entrance at the port of rest. And such an heart was thine, to whom the muse
Would consecrate this pledge of filial love; Thy soul refining, as refin’d thy views,
From flesh releas’d,—triumphant soar'd above. Methinks, I saw thy guardian angel stand,
Prepar'd to waft thee thro' the etherial road, Rejoicing to fulfil the high command,
And introduce thee to the throne of God. 'Tis thus, indeed, thy end is amply crown’d,
Tho' sown in tears, thy crop is reap'd in joy; Fled are thy sorrows,-heal’d is every wound,
No fears torment thee, and no cares annoy. That praise which here delighted—there transports,
And elevates thy soul to raptures high, When seen the order in the spacious courts,
Of Him, whose throne is fix'd above the sky. There pleasures pure, and wonders ever new,
In sweet succession open on the soul, And unremitting streams of bliss shall flow,
When these inferior subjects cease to roll. But, while I contemplate the exalted theme,
Oh! let me not forget my station here; Nor yainly cherish the delusive dream
Of conquests won, and victry, without war. Pain is the harbinger of endless joy,
And death, the gate that opens to the skies, Affliction is the school of the Most High
To teach the fool,--and-wiser make the wise, -
To rouse the soul that, o'er the yawning pit,
In dreadful slumber, wastes the present hour,To awe the bold, -and make the proud submit,
That all may praise, and wonder, and adore. But while devoted to a father's name,
The muse, this humble tribute would bestow, Oh! may my life be found as free from blame,
My thankful heart, with equal ardour, glow. That, when the curtain is about to drop,
Which opes the wonders of the future scene, My joyful soul like his, may rest in hope,
And on the eternal Rock of ages, lean.
Thomas Ross was a native of Tyrone, in Ireland, and came to America when a young man. He settled in Bucks county, where he became a member among Friends, and for many years was acceptably exercised in the ministry. His preaching is described to have been lively and edifying. But his religious labours were not confined to these public services; for he was frequently concerned to impart counsel and admonition in a more private way, especially to young people, for whom he manifested a paternal solicitude, that their attention might be directed to that all-sufficient grace in the heart, and that by constant watchfulness and prayer, they might be preserved from the vanities of the world, and from all the dangers to which they were exposed. He went to England in 1784, on a religious visit. After spending about two years in this engagement, he died near York, in the seventy-eighth year of his age. An interesting account of him is preserved in the memorials concerning deceased Friends, published in Philadelphia, in 1821.