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a sense of the absolute necessity of a Saviour, to cry out in the language of the second.
* O my friend, it is a Saviour that we want; pray that the Lord may make thee more sensible, of it than thou hast ever yet been: pray that the film may be removed from thine eyes, that so thou mayst be brought to cry out, A Saviour, or I die.' Oh! this must be thy cry and mine, and the cry of every one that would know true peace.
“ The Lord is witness to the silent breathings of my soul, that thou with myself may not stop short of this true peace and the enjoyment of it, which can only be known in humility of soul, wbich is the great door to heavenly virtue. Oh! for that passive lowliness of mind that can say, • Lord, not my will, but thine be done. This is the pearl of great price; let a sense of its value fill our souls, and then with what earnestness shall we be led to seek for it! Farewell.
- 66 W. T.”
To G. C.
*** Lowton, 4th mo. 12th, 1813. * I hope I shall be enabled, by Divine Grace, to see things through the right medium, and to set no greater a value upon ioy earthly connexions, than they really deserve. I am aware, that the best preservative against inflation, is to have a right view of ourselves. So long as we retain this view, we run no risk of being deceived by those marks of distinction that the world may confer upon us. That light which makes known evil, if it shine in the soul, will still discover to every individual, the same deplorable state that was manifested to one of old, when he exclaimed: • From the sole of the foot, even unto the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores. .
,“ But how difficult is it to keep in this very humbling view of ourselves! Humility does not grow spontaneously, as some vainly imagine; there is nothing like it interwoven in our nature, nor is it ever found to exist in the best natural dispositions. There is, indeed, a counterfeit spe. cies to be met with, a sort of bashfulness; but this will not preserve. True humility is of Divine planting, and must be watered with self-denial: it is an emanation from the Deity, illuminating the mind with views of His adorable greatness, and of its own nothingness. May we, by giving heed to the teachings of Ilim who is near, (and who is willing to communicate every needful thing) become daily wiser in the things that make for peace.
“ W. T.” To M. C.
“ Warrington, 5th mo. 9th, 1813. * Thy situation in life has enabled thee to view the endless vicissitudes of fashion, and the ruling follies of the day, on a larger scale than I have been able to contemplate them: but, in the least conspicuous situation, there are great blemishes to be seen: the taste of mankind is too depraved, and the state of morals too universally corrupted, to escape the notice of the most superficial observer. But whilst we express our astonishment at the effects, it may not be difficult to discover the true cause, of this state of moral turpitude, in which so large a proportion of society seems to be immersed. One of our sceptics would soon give us the reason; mankind, he
would say, are not yet arrived at a state of perfect civilization; man is too volatile, and does not reflect on the impropriety of such and such propensities, which are unphilosophically. termed vices. Is any one seized with a desire of taking from his neighbour his lawfully acquired possessions ? he has only to recollect, how injurious to society the system of invading another's property would be, if universally adopted; and being convinced, he calmly desists: is he filled with improper desires ? let him think on the mischief that must be eventually produced by indulging such a passion : and they will tell you, that reason again triumphs over nature: or, if a person is subject to violent sallies of passion, reason, by reminding him that he acts inconsistently with his native dignity, will again prove a sufficient corrective.
“ It would be difficult to determine, whether folly or presumption is most conspicuous in this way of thinking; for my own part, I cannot think that the great prevalence of vice is owing to the weakness of the understanding of man, or to any Aatural defect in his intellectual powers : if this were the case, it would only be necessary to state to him the probable effects of evil; and, from prudential motives, he would yield a perfect obedience to truth. But, ah! the wound lies deeper than the brain, and must have something more powerfully applied, ere a cure can be wrought.
6 The true cause of the present corrupt state of society, is a want of the fear of God in the heart, a holy filial fear in the inward parts of the mind; where this exists in a person, he does not enter into nice calculations on the advantages of virtue, and the disadvantages of vice; he does not wait to see how far the balance preponderates in
favour of the one, before he ventures to renounce the other; but having received the truth simply, in the love of it, he acts with implicit obedience to its dictates : he does not say, like the scéptic, I choose to be virtuous, for, to the Christian, it is more than a mere matter of choice; he acknowledges at every opportunity, his inability, or even will, to do good, and that if it were not for the restraints that are imposed on his passions, by an awful dread of the majesty of his Creator, and of the responsibility of the situation in which he stands, there is no enormity which he would not he found to commit, nor any virtue, however trifling and insiguificant, that he would be able to practise.
• There is a saying left upon record, wbich was spoken by the Redeemer of men, and which, though it has almost universally obtained the assent of professing christians, is rarely found to make a deep impression on the mind. : Without me ye can do nothing'. It but rarely occurs, I say, that we make a formal denial of this great truth; yet it also as rarely happens, that we receive, with a full and entire conviction, the divine admonition. Oh! that we could be persuaded to put away all our own strength, which we have sufficiently proved to be a broken reed, a staff that is of no defence. This I consider as the first step towards the kingdom of heaven, to know ourselves poor, and blind, and naked, and defenceless : until we are stripped of our own armour, we can never put on the whole armour of God. This is indeed a blessed state to be in, . to feel ourselves lost and undone, for then is the Good Shepherd near, to raise up and heal the wandering soul, and to restore it to His everlasting fold.
The infirm state of W. Thompson's health caused considerable anxiety amongst his friends, and made them feel desirous that some inore suitable employment than that he had relinquisherl, and not requiring much bodily exertion, should be found for him. With this view it was proposed to hiin, to undertake the office of schoolmaster at Penketh, near Warrington; the school-room belonging to the Society. of Friends, and nearly contiguous to their meeting-house there, being then unoccupied. In the following reply to this proposal, bis humility caused him to underrate his own abilities; for the event justified the behief of his friends, that he was well qualified for the undertaking.
. To. G. C.
• Lowton, 5th month 16th, 1813. “ The plan to which thou hast so earnestly · requested my attention, must be considered as a proof of disinterested benevolence. The idea of my slender abilities and inexperienced address, being employed in the discharge of so important an office as the presiding over the education of youth, is in no small degree humiliating. But I shall not express all that reluctance which I feel, lest that which is spoken from sincerity, should be mistaken for affectation. I conceive there is a certain sphere of duty in which every one may move, if not with satisfaction to himself, at least with usefulness to his fellow creatures.
“ The various gradations of society we may trace from the highest to the lowest ; and a small share of discernment is sufficient to perceive, that, like the parts of a complicated piece of machinery, they are strictly dependent on each