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CONSISTING PRINCIPALLY OF
Extracts from Journals and other Writings
SOCIETY OF FRIEND
PRINTED AT THE SCHOOLS OF INDUSTRY,
AND SOLD BY LONGMAN AND CO. PATERNOSTER-ROW, LONDON;
FOR my own future benefit, and for theirs too into whose hands it may fall, I am induced to commit to writing the following review of my days, now in the 66th year of my age: for since we are launched on the ocean of life, our principal care ought to be to steer our course through it to the port of rest, and unmixed felicity, though it were through all kinds of hardship and self-denial; since, if we fail of this at last, it is then too late to amend it.
Could all the pleasures and advantages of this life be attained and enjoyed perfect and unmixed to its period, even so they would be no compensation for the loss of happiness in a future and immortal state. But those pleasures and advantages never can be so enjoyed by any one, unless his passions and inclinations are subject to the government of God, who alone ought to govern his creatures, and who discovers his will, to the humble attentive mind.
Indeed the temporary enjoyers of the good things of this life, may shew a face of pleasure to ignorant spectators, while they seem to float, without interruption, in the midst of gratifies tions and amusements: yet a secret
often felt by them, as it were gnawing at the latent root of their exaltation and grandeur.
It is the universal and impartial regard of Omnipotence, which rebukes them for letting loose the reins of their lusts or eager inclinations, designing thereby their timely reformation for their everlasting good.
It often opposes the ambitious and proud, in their career with the unwelcome discoveries, that they are roving in other pursuits than those that heaven designed for them and not applying their precious time and talents to the great and good purpose for which they were given. Sometimes it displays the beauties and benefits of rectitude, deserted by them; and sometimes the horror and sad consequence of persisting in the neglect or violation of duty, thus discovered on the one hand, and counteracted by them on the other.
Hence too generally, disliking the check to present ease and pleasure, such as are intrusted with the means of doing good, and helping others on their way, turn their attention from this omnipresent monitor, this faithful bosom friend. They fly to tempting varieties, to soothing deceptions, to amusing recreations; they bear their heads aloft among the envying multitudes, and seek to drown his salutary admonitions in splendor, noise, flutter, intemperance and dissipation.
Many such I have known, who are now gone to their long homes, whom in my younger years I envied.
I have been so foolish as to transfer my envy from them, after they disappeared, to their vain and short-lived successors; many of whom are also gone, and so will the rest ere long. And then what follows those that have left their heaven behind them, who assuming to themselves the direction that was due to God, have refused the reverence and obedience of his laws? Ah then the enviers and envied, like the blind led by the blind, fall into one abyss. Unfit for the regions of pure love to God and each other, of perfect peace, of joy unspeakable and full of glory,* they are de barred from admission into them. Separated in the course of justice, plunged with the vast and innumerable hosts of rebellious and execrable spirits, all their bitterness, envy, resentment, eager desires ungratified, unceasing vexation and anguish descend with them, with infinite increase in an unbodied state.
A sensual earthly mind is too much vitiated to relish the pure joys, or to suit the society of the spirits of the just made perfect. Goodness is painful to the wicked, being so contrary to the depravity of their nature. Heaven would be no
heaven to them.
* Pet. i. 8.