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step towards bettering the state of the poor, is assuredly to know what that state really is; and this, by persons who have judgment and feeling to improve their condition, and have the power to be instruments to its improvement. This state of the poor will be best known by seeing them in their own houses, and hearing from themselves the affecting detail of their sufferings and privations. Temporary pressure may be met by temporary aid; but permanent prosperity must be promoted by the encouragement of every good habit and disposition, and by raising the poor from a state of abject depression, so that each, in their common way of living, may claim a share of the industry of others, and their own industry be brought into action.
* 5th mo. 19th. I must rise earlier. I am now in good health, so that early rising might be seasonable and every way salulary. It is at present, however, I believe, a duty, and must be attended to.”
In 1819 it was my precious mother who first proposed my leaving England, and this she was led to do from an expression of countenance she observed in me, when a friend mentioned a person being wanted in Russia for girls' schools on the system of mutual instruction. She made every arrangement for this step with the utmost cheerfulness and alacrity, talked with interest of the new field of occupation, &c.; and I could not imagine the separation would be very painful to her; not from any previous marks of want of affection, because of her love I had had continued and strong proofs; only I thought her expansive benevolence had so far conquered her natural feelings as to
render her able to make any sacrifice which she deemed likely to promote the public good. When, however, the parting hour drew near, the struggle was so difficult, and her sufferings so acute, that I have often wondered how I could tear myself from her, and why I did not abandon the enterprise. After these emotions had subsided, she accompanied me to the vessel, and finally separated from me with the meek and peaceful submission of one who counted her Lord's will more to be desired than all earthly comforts.
8th mo. 19th. Two days ago a letter was received, giving the information, that Johnson from Sierra-Leone would, with his wife, return to Africa in about two months. The subject of leaving this country for that coast is thus brought very near home, and has introduced my mind into close inquiry, as to my engagement there. The subject was presented to two honourable friends whose judgment I value, and a proposal made by them, that such of the ministers and elders as should attend Monthly Meeting this week, should have the subject presented to them for their united judgment and feeling. This is satisfactory to my own mind, and now my heart's desire is, that heavenly wisdom may guide them, and that I may be saved from either taking any unauthorized step, or any premature one; and saved also from withholding any sacrifice required at my hands. I think I truly desire to know and to do in this thing the will of my heavenly Father. Only let my beloved friends and myself see clearly what is right, and it shall be well. I cannot recede, because of any change of feeling, as to the sense of duty, for my heart still turns to Sierra-Leone. If the matter be
thought premature, I expect still, on a future day, to go there. But Thou, O Father of the whole human family! Thou canst prepare my way, and make darkness light before me, and rough places plain. What feels most painful is the want of a companion like-minded, as to religious concerns, with myself, and of the same society. This may not be necessary, yet, on some considerations, it seems very desirable; but I am willing to go alone in this respect, if my friends are willing to unite with my view of going to these poorest, lowest, weakest, most neglected, and most oppressed of all the human race-to be employed in leading them to ascend the first steps, as to outward knowledge, and to point them to the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, and the misery of the world.
“I am sensible, that in many minds, even where the desire for the attainment of the truth is often earnest, this entire renovation of the will, the understanding, and the affections is far from being so easy of attainment, as it may at times be conceived to be.
“9th mo. 17th. I have been reading this morning the distressing accounts of sufferings from the Scilly islands, and longed for the time when the feeling of brotherhood shall so bind people of various countries together, that when they suffer greatly in one place, help should immediately be extended.
“Oh! that truth and sincerity might more fully prevail in the world. May we be careful to promote it everywhere. And, Othat the Society which has been called out from outward forms, may be enabled to support the testimony given
them to bear in the life. To forbear to use a language unfelt, is not everything.
“My present situation is such as to demand the deepest gratitude, and yet is felt, at the same time, to be awful, affecting, and trying. It is a cause for gratitude that I am suffered to be so far a steward for the heavenly Master, as to send out to various places messengers of good, in little selections from the Holy Scriptures; also other tracts of various kinds, either alone or in concurrence with others. It is a great favour to be permitted, in conjunction with other agents, to aid the poor by means of the Bettering Society in this town: good appears to flow through that institution into various channels. And it is a great favour to see that concern for the poor, and for the general good of society is gaining ground. These and many other causes claim my gratitude to the Father of mercies, and Fountain of all goodness. It is a great favour that my friends have so far sympathized with my prospect of visiting Africa, as to leave me at liberty to go there, and affectionately to feel for me. And now, though some anxious thoughts have attended this prospect, I trust, arduous as the engagement may be, that apprehending the cloud and the pillar of fire to move that
way before me, there will be strength given to follow the leading, in simplicity and sincere fidelity.
“ 10th mo. 19th. It was my intention to accompany some missionary friends, going to SierraLeone this autumn; but the time of their sailing was unexpectedly so long delayed, that I felt the time would be too short for me to accomplish what I wished before the ensuing rains; and that season I believe it is not right for me to encounter
if it can be avoided. Feelings of anxious solicitude have been present with me, while seeking to attain to a full and clear decision. My fervent hope is, that He who, in infinite wisdom and goodness 'controls all, yet forces none,' will overrule these apparently embarrassing circumstances for good. Strongly as the attraction to Africa has been felt, and yet will be, it may for the present give way to claims about home, which indeed are powerful. I earnestly desired that I might be found in the appointment of Providence, wherever that might be, and not have the unhappiness to choose my own ways.'
" At present it feels to be my duty to be still, without looking much to the future, as to this matter. A more favourable season may present; and if so, I trust it will be seen at the time; but life is wholly uncertain, we know not what shall be on the morrow.
“Before the close of the year, I went up to London to converse with some missionaries leaving for Sierra-Leone, on the reduction of unwritten languages, particularly African. Whilst I was there, it was proposed that an experiment on this subject should be made in England on individual Africans wbo might be in our country. This proposal did not at the time take much hold on my mind, it appeared so improbable that we should meet with persons suitable for teachers among the poor Africans generally seen in our country. Soon after, having heard of a vessel just arrived in the Docks, in which were African sailors, some kind friends accompanied me to the ship. From a few we saw, we selected two who were willing, and apparently intelligent, and, although not natives of the