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have known his terrors for sin, and bis judgments and deep condemnation for transgression; and therefore cannot but mourn over the giddy, wandering, incautious youth, that are running headlong into that liberty, which is bondage to the true seed; and which, even in the height of enjoyment, never did, and never can satisfy the soul. For our Maker has so fashioned the immortal soul, that nothing short of the enjoyment of his divine presence can satisfy it. Earthly riches, honours, and pleasures, can no more satisfy the soul, even here on earth, than the warmth of a candle can thaw the frozen mountains : for this is not our home; and unless we live so in this world as to feel the presence of Him, without whom we must be eternally miserable, we shall as certainly be miserable here on earth also, as the mountains will remain frozen, when once they are so, till thawed by the rays of the sun. For what can a little gold or silver, a little ease, or honour, or a little short-lived carnal pleasure do toward the happiness of an immortal, never-dying soul? What can the company of the merry, and the gay, add to the real comfort of a spirit, that is swiftly bound to the regions of endless eternity ? For God will bring every work into judgment; and render a reward according to our works ; according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil.
So that however the young man, and young woman, may think to rejoice in their youth, and let their hearts cheer them in the days of their youth, and walk in the ways of their own hearts, and in the sight of their own eyes; yet let them know and remember, that for all these things God will bring them into judgment. Therefore, dear youth, be persuaded to turn your backs upon all the allurements and temptations of this wicked world, now in season; for now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation ; now, the spirit of God is striving with you, for your reformation and salvation. But if you go on in those gra. tifications and delights which grieve his holy spirit, that thus strives with you, he may be disposed to give you up, and leave you to your own corrupt inclinations ; for he has said that his spirit shall not always strive with man. And Oh! how deplorable will be the case of those whom he forsakes! The consideration of these things, ought seriously to impress all your minds, now in your young years; for the longer you stand out, the harder it will be to give up to the requirings of truth. The cross is never easier borne, nor to better advantage, than in early youth; and he that goes on in rebellion against all the precious visitations which God bestows upon him in his youth, most commonly grows hard and insensible in old age, and dies either in deep condemnation, or gross insensibility. Oh! may not this be your doleful end ! but may you improve the present moments; serve God with all your hearts ; live soberly; love serious company; keep close to Friends' meetings, on first-days, and other days. Keep to strict plainness, both in language and dress. 'Tis the
way of the cross, and that is the way to the crown. Christ himself loved plainness, and lived in it; and so do all his nearest followers. Despise it not, dear friends, nor fear them that do despise it; but in all things obey the dictates of the light, that you may rest forever in a mansion of never-ending bliss.
“ Children obey your parents in the Lord.” This is an absolute duty and well pleasing to your Maker. Therefore be obe. dient. We are your real friends,
JAAZANIAH BARRETT. Uxbridge, 9th month 17th, 1783.
To the Heads of Families, both men and women Friends, at Rich
mond, New Hampshire.
Having been for a considerable time under some degree of mournful exercise, on the account of our so seldom having the company of any Friends from your particular meeting, at our meetings for discipline, we have of late had it under serious consideration, especially since our late exercising visit among you, to write to you in brotherly love, in order, if it may be, a little to stir up the pure mind amongst you : and living desires for your everlasting welfare being felt at this time, we hereby salute you, and in christian affection beseech you, to stand open in
your minds, individually, to receive the word of exhortation, as at this time flowing from a real unfeigned desire and concern for your best interest; earnestly wishing your hearts may be touched, as with a live coal from the holy altar, and your spirits reanimated, and engaged to meet together with your exercised brethren, to wait to feel the quickening influences of him, who is the resurrection and the life;" thereby to be enabled, in true humility and awful reverence, to worship aright before him who is the author of our being, and to transact those important concerns which are absolutely necessary in the church militant.
O Friends ! may your minds be livingly impressed with a sense of the benefit, the real benefit that is received by the truly exercised pilgrim, in being thus given up, and in spirit devoted to the service of the Lord and of his people: and may you understandingly contemplate, and solemnly ponder in your hearts, the real, substantial enjoyments, that are therein witnessed by Zion's true travellers, the exercised labourers in the Master's vineyard. But, alas! it is a mournful truth, what a worthy ancient of our society expressed in days past: “ Whatsoever is not experimental is disputable.” For, if we dwell in an unconcerned state, and do not feelingly experience the reality of these things, we are liable to grow more and more insensible respecting them, till, at length, when we hear of them, we may consider them as imaginary, delusive, and unsubstantial; and may look upon that lively zeal and engagement which ought ever to accompany the mind of a Christian, for the support of good order in the church, as a following of cunningly devised fables. May your minds be more ennobled, and your spirits baptized into a deep feeling of the necessity of these things, now in season; for this is your time, your day and opportunity, which, when once gone, is gone forever, no more to be recalled. Therefore, dear friends, “ to-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts,” but give up to his service. Walk circumspectly before him in all your conduct and conversation, remembering your time is short, and your adversary, the devil, is continually seeking whom he may devour.
Oh! how peedful it is to be sober and vigilant; as often as may be, gathering together unto one place, to wait and worship together, and sympathize with one another, witnessing “how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity;" true, inward, heart-felt unity. Indeed, it is like the ointment that is poured upon the crown of the head, and descends to the skirts of the garment. Here it is that, “as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the countenance of a man his friend." And you may observe in the outward, in regard to a natural fire, if the wood or brands are separated, and kept asunder, the fire goes out, and neither light nor heat is longer preserved in them; and instead of being bright and shining, blackness and darkness ensue among them: but, when put properly together, although the fire may be almost gone out in each stick, brand, and coal, how soon they begin to collect strength, and increase light and heat. Yea, although there may not be a single spark of fire remaining among them, (which we trust is not your case,) yet, if put in a proper position, and due nearness, and then a live coal be put among them, how soon will the breath of the outward air enkindle the fire among them? How will it catch and pass from one to another, among the brands and wood, till a great flame is produced; and great heat, light, and shining brightness are the consequence; whereby even persons and things at a considerable distance receive an influence, and are warmed, and even thawed by it. So also is it in a spiritual sense; experience has taught and confirmed it. Religious people, by neglecting to assemble together, grow cold and dim. Love decreases, both to God, and one another. Indifference and lukewarmness take place, and the fire of true devotion is gradually extinguished. This is found to hold good, in a great degree, as to the neglect of meetings for church discipline. But by rightly gathering together, and waiting to witness the live coal from the altar, they are often, by the breath of life breathing upon them, re-enkindled. Heat, light, and heart-tendering love and affection are increased among them. A lively, yet welltempered zeal, for the maintenance of that lovely order and regularity which the gospel requires, prevails in their minds; and, by the lively exercise of their spirits, those who are afar off from a living acquaintance with these things, by coming and sitting among them, and observing the weightiness of their spirits, and the brightness of their examples, are sometimes benefited, and enabled to glorify God in the day of their visitation.
Come, dear friends; though we are sensible there is too little of this holy flame of light and life among us, yet let us press forward in good earnest, and we shall find that he that made us, will not be wanting to favour us with his life-giving presence, to our unspeakable consolation, uniting us in the bonds of christian fellowship, and celestial endearment. And then, Oh! how shall we be often drawn together, by those cords of love, which are ever strong in proportion to our engagement to serve God in our day and generation.
We observed with sorrow, that too many of the dear youth among you, were too unlike what truth and our christian testimony require, both in their outward appearance, and the disposition of their minds; and sensibly perceived that your hands were, by some means or other, very weak in regard to labouring for a reformation in your own, or one another's families; and perhaps your minds are almost discouraged. It is our real desire that you may be strengthened and encouraged to arise in the little might that may be afforded, and endeavour to repair the waste places, and build the decayed walls; not only every one in, or against his or her own house, but also to assist one another in an earnest labour, to make a stand against the further outgoings of your tender offspring, as well as to seek and labour with them for an amendment, and return to the true fold, and to an orderly conduct and conversation.
Great need, yea, very great there is, for such a united, as well as individual labour. Be encouraged, dear friends, to enter into it. And may you feel an openness and nearness to receive, and unite with the labours of each other, in so good a work. Guard against prejudice with all your power. But yet where you see one another really in a fault, admonish the offender in fear and meekness; and let none among you be above the kind admonition and rebukes of a friend. Let the time past suffice, and endeavour now to press forward ; striving to redeem the time; for indeed, much needs redeeming, that has not been spent to the best advantage. Yet, peradventure, you may still be favoured to do much more for the good and preservation of