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 Aaron Frame's Journal: 1851

Volume Second 1851
Extracts from Diary, and Letters continued
Transcribed by Martha Giffen

Go to: 1850.

First Month 9th I attended meeting to day but again failed to turn my mind inward to the fountain and source of all good - to that inward exercise of soul which is necessary to come to before acceptable worship can be performed to the Father of Mercies in accordance with his will. I very much fear that the fault is all my own - too much of a lukewarmness and barrenness of soul - not earnestness enough in seeking after the Lord for ability to suppress my wandering thoughts, and centre them on Him who is forever worthy to be worshiped and praised.

[p 23]
30th I felt miserable yesterday beyond expression on account of my extreme weakness in too frequently giving way to my chief besetting sin. O this hasty and foolish temper of mine! When shall I get the victory over it? Sometimes I almost dispair of ever becoming a christian, on account of having so often tried in vain. My resolution is therefore weakened and I labour under much discouragement, unable to think a good thought, as even hope for a better state - and were it always so with me, how desperate would be my fate - but through the tender regard of a long-suffering and merciful Creator I sometimes experience glimpses of divine favour, as was the case with me in meeting to day. I thought I was favoured to feel more humility, and self abasement than I have known for many weeks past, under which I felt a degree of strength and encouragement, and a hope that I may yet be favoured to overcome evil, and obtain the victory over the sin which doth so easily beset me. It is the Lord alone that can help me - of my self - I can do nothing

[p 24]
Second Month 2nd In our Meeting for worship to day I strove in some degree to draw near unto the Lord, but not so earnestly as to succeed in obtaining divine protection against wandering thoughts. In my spiritual stirrings, I was in an especial [madnes] made sensible of the cunning craftiness of the enemy of souls in leading the mind away from the true place of waiting. And my understanding was thoroughly and renewedly convinced that nothing short of a strict watch against evil, and an earnest seeking for divine assistance will avail anything in preserving the mind in that watchful, humble, dependent state which is so essential to the performance of acceptable worship to Him who is a spirit, ever worthy, and who must be worshiped in spirit and in truth, for he will not accept a lame offering, but must have the whole heart without reserve.

Second month 10th After retiring to rest last night, my mind was turned inward to an examination of my spiritual condition as I stood in the sight of my great Creator

[p 25]
And the deplorable state of Esau when lamenting over the consequences of squandering his birthright, was brought to my remembrance - for it is said by the author to the Hebrews, that he found no place of repentance, although he sought it carefully with tears. While thus reflecting on the awfulness of such a state, under fears that it was too nearly applicable to my own, I closed my eyes in slumber, and dreamed that I was extremely ill, beyond hope of recovery. I fully expected that in less than thirty-six hours, I should have to appear before the infinite Judge of “quick and dead” there to “give an account of the deeds done in the body.” With this prospect before me, my mind felt awfully impressed with a belief that I was not prepared for the final change, I sensibly felt that I had lived a life of sin and transgression, and I could neither see nor feel one ray of hope for salvation short of a sincere repentance towards God, and a regeneration of spirit into newness of life. A work which the time appeared too short to accomplish. In this awful, and undone condition I earnestly endeavoured to seek the presence, and favour of a Redeemer. I fervently prayed for mercy and forgiveness, repeatedly exclaiming with the poor publican. “O Lord be merciful to me a sinner.”

[p 26]
and under a sense of the utter insufficiency of all earthly things, I cried “O! what is the little space of time allotted to us here - or even the whole world and its contents, in comparison within an endless eternity. And like Esau, although I cried earnestly to the Lord for mercy, I could find no place of repentance before him. While under this extreme exercise, and anxiety of mind, I awoke from my sleep, and found the near approach of death to be but a dream - but my soul - my spiritual condition appeared to be so nearly the same with that which I experienced while viewing my end near at hand, that the solumn impression still remains with me to day while engaged in my temporal occupation. I can but believe that there is a merciful hand in this, as a solumn warning to me, in giving me to feel in my dream a foretaste of what the awful reality would be should I continue to neglect the offers of redeeming love and mercy to the end - for such a time as this will surely come upon me, except I repent while time and opportunity is afforded me. O that I may be more alive to my eternal interest, and turn my mind inward to hear his voice while it is called to day - and “harden not my heart as

[p 27]
in the provocation” - for “the night will surely come” upon me “wherein I cannot work” I have been engaged in serious thoughtfulness to day - in earnest endeavours to draw near unto the Lord in Spirit. And under a feeling of great unworthiness, I trust I have been favoured with a measure of the tendering - melting influence of divine love. And I have said in my heart - O that I may be more watchful, and continue my endeavours to draw near to the fountain of good, that I may know an increase in inward substance, and experience a change in heart and soul before the time in reality comes that I must go hence to be seen of men no more. I will now read a chapter in the Testament, and then retire to rest.

Third Month 1st Attended meeting to day, which was poor and dry in my own experience I much fear that I am losing ground instead of gaining - remembering that when I failed to be rightly concerned in meetings some years ago, I would feel great condemnation therefore, but of late I am fearful I do not feel so much so - while, at the same time I am often doubtful that I do not feel so much concerned as then.

[p 28]
If this be true, what is to be the end of my pilgrimage, short of death and condemnation? How awful the consideration, to know that I am swiftly passing through life. A life which was given me for the express purpose of preparing for an eternal life, and yet feel that obedience is falling far short of keeping pace with knowledge And if this should continue, and I die in my sins, where Christ dwells I can never go. O! there are times that these considerations cause me to cry mightily unto the Lord for help, and deliverance. To plead earnestly for strength to break the bonds of Satan which bind me, as in the vally of decision. But do I ask aright? as is there a dishonesty of heart, and a clinging to reserves, that I make no progress in spiritual things? O that my soul may be powerfully operated upon - that I may be made willing to surrender all, and yield obedience to his will, and serve and worship him with fervency of Spirit - that in the end, when all visible things are vanishing from my sight - I may be enabled to render my account with joy, and not with grief.

[p 29]
First day - Third Month 23rd When I first took my seat in meeting to day, I thought I sensibly felt the influence of Divine love in my heart, as a light shining in a dark place. I endeavoured to close in with it, and succeeded in dwelling under its tendering, contriting presence for some time. But by my failing to watch as closely against the intrusions of the enemy of souls as I should have done, I in great measure lost that precious feeling before the meeting closed, and was troubled with wandering thoughts as at other times, without sufficient strength to resist them. Yet during this afternoon, as I have been silently reading and reflecting, I have been favoured with tender feelings and strong desires have been begotten that I may yet, even at this late day, and hour, become an exemplary christian It appears to me essentially necessary that it should be so, not only for the sake of my own wellfare both here and hereafter, but also for the eternal well being of my interesting family of dear little children who are committed to my care, and whose course of life may much depend on my suitable precept, and exemplary walk before them. The station of a parent surely

[p 30]
incurs a responsibility beyond what the generality of parents appreciate or concieve. Well persuaded I am that except parents submit themselves to the government of the Prince of peace within their own hearts, they are not properly qualified for directing their precious offspring to that source from which all peace and happiness flows for as no man can accurately point out the way to a traveler which himself has never traveled, as known - no more can a parent direct his child to a course of life which himself has never yet experienced. Or as the traveler on a barren desert at the point of starvation, would be incapable of dealing out bread to his hungry fellow pilgrims, so also are those who lack spiritual substance within themselves, incapable of administering spiritual nourishment, and consolation to the hungry souls of their fellow beings. For how can a man impart to another that which himself doth not possess? Or how can he instruct his brother, or child in the way of righteousness, while he has no evidence within himself of its existence?

[p 31]
Sixth Month 6th In a freak of ambition in order to test my abilities in roofing with laped shingles, I nailed on forty-one hundred to day on the roof of a barn which I am building for George Cattell. Gursham Mott - Richard Binns, and Henry W. Covington attending me. The building is forty feet wide, by fifty-six in length and the said amount of shingles roofed a fraction over half the surface In consequence of my constant engagement at this building on weekdays, and nursing my brother William on First days, who is sick at his home in Martinville, I have spent but little of my time at home for several weeks past -, which is a great trial and privation to me, for I love my family, and desire to be with them, but circumstances at present unavoidably prevents it. I was filled with feelings of sorrow, and solemnity while at Martinville on a First-day a few weeks since, on account of a young man about nineteen years of age being drowned there, while playing with his comrades in the river, and more particularly so as the circumstance occurred through

[p 32]
an act of disobedience to the expressed wishes of his parents They had given him privelege, as appears, to visit his cousins near town, provided he would attend meeting with them when the usual hour arrived - but on coming near the meeting house, and finding themselves late, they proceeded to the river from whence he never returned alive. I stood on the shore for several hours, in company with his parents, and many others, who were anxiously watching the searchings for the lost boy - but we waited in vain, for the body could not be found, nor was not for several days after. This, I thought should be a solumn warning to all children, and young people, to be very careful not to disobey their parents, nor take advantage of the privileges which through love and kindness may be granted to them. The parents of this unfortunate boy perhaps never thought of his taking advantage of their indulgence by neglecting that which they enjoined upon him, and going elsewhere, until the sad reality was presented to them - then how awful must have been their feelings. Their son was not only lost to them, but lost through disobedience to their special directions, gone to receive the reward of his deeds never more to return.

[p 33]
Sixth Month 26th I am now attentively nursing my dear wife, who has been complaining for several days past, and now appears to be dangerously ill. She was taken with symptoms of dysentery about the 18th ?- and on the 22nd was confined to her bed on account of the birth of a young son - which, however was not attended by an increase of the former symptoms till yesterday about noon, when the disease began to develop itself in the form of bloody flux with alarming violence. As the severity of her illness increased, she became earnestly concerned relative to her critical situation, and for the salvation of her immortal soul - and much of her time has been employed in supplication to her heavenly Father that he would be pleased to forgive her sins, and favour her with peace of mind Frequently exclaiming - “O Father! forgive.” Sometime yesterday afternoon, on my approaching her bed-side, she said to me - “O what shall I do? My dear! What shall I do? I have not lived in this world as I should have done.” On my expressing a belief that she had never been very wicked - she replied - that the worst thing appeared to be

[p 34]
her negligence in the duty of turning her mind inward unto the Lord. That she had not been as faithful in that respect as she ought to have been and especially in meetings for divine worship. During the afternoon she was frequently heard to say, in a low melodious tone - “O! what shall I do? O Lord! be merciful to me a sinner.”? And more than once, when the little twins would come in her sight - she would say - “O! them dear little children, what will become of them? O! if I am only spared to get well, we will join hand in hand in leading them to God O! if I am only spared to get well, I will live a different life from that which I have lived.” Early this morning, after expressing doubts of her recovery, she continued “O! what shall I do? I cannot see my way clear. My heart feels cold and hard. O Lord have mercy on me! If I am only permited to get well I will certainly devote the balance of my time to the service of the Lord.” Then turning to me she said - “And I want thee to help me too, that we may go hand in hand in training these dear little children up in the right way.” Frequently during the day, she was

[p 35]
engaged in a similar manner, often praying that she might be forgiven; and be favoured to see her way clear to the mansion of rest and peace before the solemn period should arrive when she would be called from works to rewards. On my saying, that I had often thought, if she should be taken from me, I did not know what would become of me or how I should get along with the children - she replied - that if I done as I ought to do, there would be a way made for me. Adding - “O! them dear little children. I have often prayed for them that they might be preserved in the right way.” After school closed this evening, the children coming into her room when she called them to her, and tallked to each of them separately, telling them that she did not know whether she would be permited to stay with them much longer or not - but it appeared most likely she would have to leave them soon, and if she should be taken away, she wanted them to be good children, and mind what their father said to them, with much more good advice adapted to their age - and concluded by saying that she wanted them never to forget the advice she was then giving them. Her countenance, and manner of expression during the

[p 36]
interview manifested strong solicitude for their present and eternal welfare - and the children were much tendered and broken into tears. Sometime during the evening, I remarked to her that I still entertained a hope that she would recover To which she replied, that she had a choice in getting well, but only that she might more fully devote her time to the service of the Lord, and be better prepared for such a time as this. Adding - “For I am determined if I am favored to recover to devote my time more fully to His service than I have heretofore done . The 27th for the most part was spent, apparently in quietness, and retirement of mind. She expressed but little during the day, except some advice in the morning to her eldest son, Amasa - requesting him to be a good boy, and remember his Mother, and her advice to him when she was gone - reminding him that he was the eldest child, and endeavourd to impress on his mind a sense of the obligation that was resting upon him, as the eldest, to set a good example to his brother and sisters She seems much weaker to day than formerly, and the violence

[p 37]
of her disease remains unabated. I therefore feel fearfully apprehensive respecting her recovery, and mourning and sorrow rests weightily on my mind. In this situation I walked out to the stable, and while holding my horse to water, I prayed earnestly to the Lord that He would be pleased to spare my dear companion to me a little longer, not only for my own comfort and consolation, but to assist me in raising our dear little children who need a mothers care. That if He would be pleased to grant this my earnest petition, and try us just this once more together that I would most assuredly endeavour to serve Him the remainder of my days. It is written that the spirit of the Lord is “quick and powerful” and so it felt to me on this memorable occasion - for instantly - as in the twinkling of an eye - the words “It shall be so” seemed to strike in the depths of my soul, and was as surely, and understandingly sealed there in answer to my prayer, as I ever understood a grant to an outward request. And notwithstanding every outward symptom appeared to point to my dear wifes speedy dissolution. Yet I could but believe what I felt to be true - and at the same time deemed myself

[p 38]
utterly unworthy of so great a favour. The language of my heart is - how can so vile a sinner as I who has never yet done one good thing - but living in continual rebellion against the spirit of the Lord most high - now thus find favour in His sight - and receive this great blessing at His hands? But He is a long-suffering and merciful Father, who inhabiteth eternity. “He maketh his sun to shine on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” His ways are infinite, and unfathomable, as much higher than the ways of finite beings as the Heavens are higher than the earth. O! the thankfulness of heart I feel for this unmerited evidence of His love, and tender regard. May I ever be faithful to Him in the performance of my solumn obligation now renewedly entered into, and live devotedly to Him in soul and spirit as I have pledged myself to do. And woe is me if I do it not.

28th The object of my special care and anxiety shows no symptoms yet for the better Her exercise of mind still continues without the desired evidence of divine favour Sometime during the day while in a doze, she dreamed that she was at work

[p 39]
in her kitchen, and on opening the front door with a bucket in her hand, she saw a white dog with a sneaking look lying on the edge of the porch. She walked to him and put the bucket over his head, and awoke. After relating the dream to me, she said, that her first thought on awakening was, that she would get well. Yet she did not place full confidence in dreams, and it might not turn out so. I then felt a freedom to relate to her the substance of my exercises yesterday, and the evidence I was favoured with that she would recover. But expressed a word of caution against trusting too much in it - that I was but a poor, weak, unworthy creature she well knew - liable to err - and be deceived. But if it shoud be so how very thankful we should be, and what a solemn obligation would rest upon us to use our utmost endeavours to fulfill our covenant which we had made with a covenant keeping God. To this she assented in much brokenness of spirit, and expressed a belief that ifshe should recover - woe would be unto us if we did it not.

29th My dear Talitha still appears to be in a very critical condition. A cold clammy sweat on the surface, and other symptoms unfavorable. She

[p 40]
passed through much exercise of mind this morning early - and earnestly supplicated that she might be favoured to enjoy even one glimpse of His precious countenance. That she might have an assurance that she would be admitted into theHeavenly mansions of rest and peace when done with time. As I was reading the fifth chapter of Matthew to her, when I had read as far as the fourth verse - she repeated - “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” - and added - “O! I am very poor in spirit, indeed, but whether rightly so is with Him who knoweth all things. I have not felt the spirit of prayer as much as I desire, but I have uttered many sighs, and groans, which I do hope He will hear, and favour me with His sweet presence. I feel that His shadow is very near, but I cannot feel His presence enough to give me an assurance that I will be accepted of Him.” On my telling her that day was just beginning to dawn, and that it was First day morning - she said - “O yes! And what will another week bring forth? I have often thought when Seventh day evening came - that now another week was gone - that my time was that much nearer its final close - and what the occurrence

[p 41]
of another week might be, I knew not And at such time I have had some favoured seasons, when the love of God has flowed into my soul - and even this spring I have had times of serious thoughtfulness when my heart has been tendered before the Lord, in beholding the works of his holy hands. O! I have passed some sweet mornings this spring. I do not remember a time in my life when they were more so than they have been sometimes this spring The early dawn of the mornings are solumn and precious times. I have listened to the little birds singing their makers praise, and thought how much better they were than myself.“ She then again broke forth in supplication to her Heavenly Father, that He would be pleased to have mercy upon her, a poor weak creature. That whether she lived, or died - was restored to health - or saved from distruction - it was all of His mercy - and earnestly plead for an assurance of her acceptance before being called away to be seen of men no more.

On my asking her if she felt that she loved her Saviour - she replied - that she did in some degree, but not as fervently as she sincerely desired. That she felt a spirit of forgiveness toward all that had ever wronged her - but could not feel that flow

[p 42]
of love towards all that she so much desired to experience. Sometimes during the morning, her son Thompson coming into her room, she called him to her, and asked him if he wished to go to the funeral of a little boy who had deceased lately - telling him that he and Amasa might go if they wished - adding “but don’t go merely out of curiosity, but reflect seriously and remember that he was not much older than you, and none of us know how soon we may be laid in the grave, like him, and we ought all to strive to be prepared against the time shall come. 30th “My dear compaion is very weak this morning - weaker than at any previous time - and her other symptoms are also more unfavorable. The Docter was here this morning and pronounced her case, at least, a doubtful one. My faith in her recovery, therefore almost fails me - a faint hope being all that is left to comfort me. I cannot see that she has one - No! - not even one favorable symptom - but all outward signs seem to indicate inevitable death. O! the sorrow of heart I feel on her account, not only under fear of our final separation, but because of her inability to

[p 43]
enjoy peace of mind, and feel an assurance of her Saviours love and pardon. She is engaged in supplication frequently - says she feels nothing but love to all mankind. That she can freely forgive all that ever harmed her. That she is willing to leave her precious family, and all else dear to her in this world. And that she feels at times that her Saviour is near - even so near as to experience her heart filled with love, patience, and kindness Yet she cannot feel that assurance that would give her peace of mind, and a confidence that she will enjoy happiness hereafter. And at times finds it very difficult to keep her mind stayed on the Lord, or even to seek for help. That it seems to her sometimes that the enemy has such a strong hold that she cannot “get him rooted out” - and often prays earnestly to her Heavenly Father that He would be pleased to condescend to favour her with an evidence that she would be happy in the world to come. Frequently during the day she requested a portion of the Holy Scriptures read. After which - and a pause of retirement of mind - she would break forth in supplication unto the Lord, that He would be pleased to favour her with His holy presence at

[p 44]
last, and give her an evidence that all would be well with her in the end Sometime this afternoon she called Amasa to her and requested him to be a good boy, and help his father when she was gone, and not grieve and disobey him - and that she wanted him to remember his poor Mother when he could see her no more, nor forget what she had said to him in her last moments. Observing her beckon to me, I placed my ear near her. When she said in a low tone of voice, “This is an awful time - but I don’t want thee to be too much discouraged - my dear - but trust in the Lord and He will help thee. Take good care of my poor - dear - little lambs, and try to keep them in the right way.“ Soon after adding that she could freely trust her dear husband and children to the Lord, and willingly leave all that was near and dear to her in this world, if she could only be favoured with that assurance which she so ardently desired.

In the evening while mother sat near her, she took her by the hand, and said - “Mother! I want thee to forgive me for all my misses towards thee.” In answer to her reply “that she had nothing

[p 45]
to lay to her charge.” She said - “I fear I have not used thee just as I ought to have done at all times and I feel willing to acknowledge it, and ask thee to forgive me.

Seventh Month 1st Some of our friends coming in last evening to have the care through the night, I retired to rest early, and rose at two in the morning, and on examination found that my dear wifes symptoms had changed for the better. And although she is still very weak to day, her indications continue more favourable Her father coming into see her this morning, she took him by the hand, and said - “Father! - I want thee to take warning by me, and try to prepare for such a time as this - for thee is now becoming advanced in life and may soon be called upon to give an account. I want thee to endeavour to reduce thy business into a smaller compass - for thee is too much cumbered with the things of this world, I fear. Thy mind is too much taken up with it. And what will it all profit thee when thee comes to a sick and dying bed. I do hope thee will take warning in time, and not put it off till it is too late.”

Sometime during the forenoon, at her request, I

[p 46]
read the first chapter of the apostle James, after which she said but little during the balance of the day - but was retired in mind, and apparently exercised, frequently uttering sighs, and moans.

2nd Talithas symptoms still continue more favorable, but she is very quiet, saying but little to any - and appears to be in a retired seeking state of mind. We concluded this morning to name our infant son - “John T” - after his grandfather But it now appears doubtful whether he continues with us long, as he is very sick to day with his mothers disease, and will have to rally soon if he recovers.

5th Our little boy died yesterday forenoon, and our neighbour and friends met at nine o’clock this morning in order for the funeral. Our school teacher, and my mother are both quite ill to day with the same disease, and some of the children are also complaining. Talitha continues to improve slowly, appears thoughtful, and thankful for being thus favoured. She was preserved in calmness on hearing of the death of her babe, and also at the parting opportunity - saying - she “believed it was better off.”

[p 47]
9th The sick of my family are at least no worse, and my dear wife, I think gradually improves. Our cousin, Robert P. Loadd, having been very ill for a week or more past, and on hearing to day that he was near his close, I went this afternoon to see him. I found him sinking fast. His limbs cold to his body - and a cold perspiration settled on his brow. I took him by the hand - when he called me by name, and said - “How art thou.” After replying, I continued - “I see thou art very poorly.” He replied - “O yes! - I am called away as in a moment - unexpectedly - very unexpectedly. “ I was informed that when the Phisician told him * {*on the morning before his disease} that there was no prospect of his recovery. He exclaimed “Can it be possible? Can it be so? I had never thought of anything else but to get well. I did not expect it would have taken me off. On one of his sisters asking him shortly after, if he felt prepared to go, he replied, that he did not - but hoped he would be before his departure. Near the same time he also said, that at various times whilst in health, and engaged in his temporal business he had felt the necessity of a preparation for death

[p 48]
and sometimes come to the conclusion that he would take up his cross, and endeavour to prepare for such a time as this, but had put it off and neglected doing so - till “now the time was near at hand, and the work yet to do* {*He died at nine o’clock the same evening}. The situation of my own family rendering it improper that I should be absent long, I bid him farwell and returned, under a very solumn and thoughtful state of mind, for I sensibly felt what I had seen and heard, to be an additional warning to us who are favoured with a little longer time to prepare ourselves, to earnestly endeavour to do so before this awfully trying hour overtake us. O! the awful consideration of being laid on a sick, and dying bed, without peace, or reconciliation with God. There is no terror in existence that could possibly equal this. The conciousness of a sinful life staring us in the face. Darkness and condemnation resting heavily upon us, obscuring every ray of hope. Death with the summons in his hand standing at the door. And a never ending eternity of misery and woe, gaping over us ready to swallow us up. O! why do not all take warning in time, and turn to the

[p 49]
Lord and find mercy while opportunity is afforded them? Why do not I take warning? Why have I not done so long ago? I have time after time stood by the bed-side of my intimate friends and beheld them pass out of time into eternity and felt deeply the great importance of being prepared for the approaching awful crisis - and would then feel resolved to redouble my diligence in striving to do so - but O! forgetful and procrastinating man, who loveth ease better than sacrifice and the things of time and sense more than the fear of God. He seeth himself as he really is - as when he beholdeth his natural face in a glass - and then turneth away and soon forgeteth what manner of man he is. I at times feel the great necessity of seeking for mercy and forgiveness at the hands of a merciful Father whom I have long grieved, but how easily and unexpectedly the mind is often led astray - and how apt to forget and lose the precious sense of divine favour, and again indulge in the same chief beseting sin as before Surely there is a power which, if sufficiently sought after, and adhered to, can enable me to avoid this but I can find it not of myself, but it is of Him alone who is able to do all things for those who put

[p 50]
their trust in him. O the many sufficient warnings I have been favoured with - and yet allowed them to pass too easily away. I sincerely hope and desire that what I have lately known both inwardly and outwardly, may sink deep in my heart, and prove an enduring substance that will never be forgotten, nor fade away. 13th Talitha is still improving slowly. The rest rather better, except dear little Melissa, who was taken with dysentery in its most malignant form on the night of he 9th - and Tacy commenced with the same the next morning. Through my own efforts for their relief, Tacy soon improved, but Melissa grew worse. I done all I could for her till yesterday, when I become so affected myself with the same disease that I thought best to submit her case in charge of the Doctor. She appears to me to be very dangerously ill - is threatened with ulceration of the bowels, and suffers extremely almost constantly. But she is very patient, and obedient - takes all that is offered to her willingly, and cheerfully - saying - she wants us to cure her. There is one rule which I strictly observe with her, and which I think should be carefully adhered to in the treatment of all children

[p 51]
and that is - I am careful to practice no deception. I always tell her what I am about to give her. If it is medicine, and disagreeable to the taste, I say so, but dwell particularly on the object in giving it. I strictly avoid stating that anything is agreeable to the taste, if it is not. I am careful to tell the child the honest truth in all cases. By persuing this course with her, she places full confidence in my judgment, and actions, relying upon all I say as true - and the consequences is, she submits to every thing I require of her readily, and with a confident hope that it will prove for the best. This appears to me to be the only right course to persue with all children, and was I to persue any other than this, I should feel that I had not only come far short of my duty towards them, but had criminally wronged them by a deceptive practice in my endeavours to make them believe that which they would repeatedly find to be untrue - thus lowering their confidence in me as a truthful, and exemplary parent - and saying in effect - come thou and do likewise. A right parental concern for the best wellfare of a child, in the most important sense, will never decieve it under any circumstance whatever.

[p 52]
7th Our dear little Melissa is still very bad, apparently on the decline. She suffers much, and sleeps but little. Feeling much fatigued from continual nursing, and loss of sleep during a few of the last weeks, I retired to a private room this afternoon in order for rest, taking the volume of the “Friends Library with me containing Thomas Wilsons journal. After reading the early part of his life, up to the time of his apearance in the ministry together with the account which he gives of the spiritual growth in the meeting of which he was a member, I was brought to reflect seriously in contrasting it with the lukewarm condition of our religious meetings at the present time. And while thus reflecting I was made sensible of my own weak, and barren state, and also in some degree that of my brethren. A measure of the Spirit of Truth appeared to be present with me, and under a sense of my many shortcomings, and long neglect to close in with the offers of redeeming love and mercy, my heart was tendered before the Lord insomuch that my tears flowed freely, and I was enabled to pray earnestly, that

[p 53]
I might be favoured with ability to lay by “every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset me and run with patience the race that is set before me.” I felt the divine presence to be very near at the time, causing me to see things beyond the capacity of the unenlightened mind to comprehend - and O! the beauty I saw in holiness. The comfort, and happiness of the true christian life. And above all, how joyful the close of the obedient servants pilgrimage, having a well grounded hope that when this tabernacle of clay faileth, the immortal part will be received into the realms of everlasting blessedness, nevermore to be removed. I experienced it to be a time of favour. A time of a renewal of my covenant with the Lord, that if He would be pleased to favour me with His holy presence, and strength to resist evil, I would do my best to serve him in the way of His requiring. O! I sincerely hope that I may be faithful and never rest from my strivings, till I feel an evidence that “judgment is brought forth unto victory” - till I feel that the “old man is cast out with his deeds, and the new man Christ Jesus” created within me. A most desirable state, but not easily attained to.

[p 54]
23rd Our little twin daughter continues very dangerously ill. We have very little hope that she will recover, or even live many more days. I have felt, and still feel very anxious that she might be restored to health - that we might be permited to raise them both to mature age. They are so exactly similar in every respect, naturally so affectionate and kind. So warmly attached to each other, and to us - and we to them, that they have become interesting to us beyond expression, and to part with one or both of them, or see them separated for all coming time, is a prospect exceedingly sorrowful to contemplate, but I fear will have to be endured. It is surely right to love our children, but possibly we have become too much attached to these - have idolized them too much - have felt too much of a secret elation at times, on account of the beauty and rarity of a pair of little girls so completely similar to each other in all respects. If this is really the case with us, may it not be a mercy in

[p 55]
disguise should they be taken from us. In my great anxiety, and solicitude that our dear suffering one might be restored to health I have at different times attempted to pray to the Great Giver of every good and perfect gift, that her life might be spared, but my mind has each time been immediately arrested with the query “What for?” - which in pure honesty of heart I could not answer - and therefore could proceed no further - but was compeled to admit that it is the Lord alone that giveth, and although He may be pleased to take away His name is still forever blessed.

25th My dear Talitha has so far recovered as to be able to assist me in taking care of our poor suffering child, for which favour I trust and believe I feel thankful I have thought of late, that was I alone now, under my present weight of care and anxiety, without a partners help and sympathy, I should feel the burden to be almost insupportable - for I find it enough to bear both in body and mind, favoured as I am with her assistance. While siting by the bed of our dear afflicted one this evening, and deeply

[p 56]
sympathising with her in the severity of her sufferings, I was permited to feel a measure of the humbling, melting presence of the Lord - and sincere desires, and prayers were begotten in my heart that I might recieve pardon for my past transgressions and be enabled to live very near the Lord for time to come. I have seldom been given to see so much beauty in holiness as has sometimes of late appeared, and I earnestly and prayerfully hope that I may not lose sight of these evident tokens of divine regard, for it assuredly is the Lords doing in mercy to my poor sinful soul, utterly unworthy as it must appear in His sight. I feel resolved to strive hard to draw near unto the Lord in spirit, and for ability to serve Him in sincerity of heart. What a precious and glorious state is that of the new born christian who continually dwells in the presence of the Lord, and delights in His service above every other thing. I have ardently hoped that these trying summer days which I am spending in nursing my afflicted family, may eventually prove to be the most profitable days of my life, for if the soul is thereby brought through a sense

[p 57]
of its own nothingness, to feel the need of a Saviour, and to ultimate salvation, all is then gained that is worth living for.

27th My mind is clothed with mourning and sadness this morning, not only on account of the sufferings, and probable dissolution of our dear Melissa, but because of my proneness to impatience with the restlessness of some of our elder children. It is very desirable that quietness should be preserved in order that the dear afflicted one may be rendered as comfortable as possible, but could I only maintain a feeling that would enable me to reprove more calmly, and with a voice indicative of tenderness and love, rather than a harsh or peevish tone. Such a course would be much more satisfactory to myself, and less productive of hurtful consequences to their susceptible minds. Melissa is much weaker than formerly together with other symptoms more unfavourable However hard I find a state of submissiveness to arrive at, I entertain no hope of her recovery, but fully believe the time not far distant when she will be removed

[p 58]
to a happier home than ours. He alone who is the wise disposes of all things can restore, or remove as seemeth good in His sight - and trying as it may be to the affectionate part to surrender one so dearly loved, yet I fully believe it my duty to strive for reconciliation in faith and confidence that the Lord the righteous Judge, and disposes of us all knoweth what is best for us.

Eighth Month 4th Our dear little sufferer is still with us, but very weak and emaciated. Her peculiar pitiful moan which she has uttered day after day for near four weeks past - has now become faint and tremulous, and her nervous twitching and other symptoms indicate the near approach of death. As it is evident that she must go, I do hope she may be favoured to depart without much more suffering. I have stood by the death bed of many suffering ones, but never one who so constantly suffered for such length of time - and through all - although a child but three years old, she has shown nothing but affection and kindness

[p 59]
to those about her, and manifested an unusual degree of patience and submission in every respect. The impressive sense which I have had of her innocency, and pure child-like simplicity sinks deep into my heart, and is beyond expression She is going hence to Him who gave her, to an everlasting home of innocency and happiness, and will surely compose one of thenumber to which Christ alluded when he said “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” And again “Verily I say unto you, that except ye be converted and become as a little children ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God.” The near and dear attachment which I feel towards her, causes the prospect of our final separation to be heart rending in the extreme, yet knowing that our loss will be her eternal gain in a state of fixed happiness forever, I am striving hard for a feeling of submissive thankfulness to Him who giveth, and who taketh away - and in sincerity to say -”Blessed be his Holy name.”

[p 60]
Eighth Month 5th Those pitiful moans of our beloved child are no more heard this morning - but have forever ceased - and instead thereof silence, and solemnity seems to reign over all. When Tacy awoke, and discovered the absence of her little twin sisters bed, she earnestly inquired “where is Melissa” - and repeated the query several times before I could sufficiently suppress my feelings to give her an answer. She quietly passed away at two last night without a struggle or much additional suffering - and although we keenly feel our loss because we dearly loved her yet our sorrow is mingled with joy in believing that she is beyond the reach of misery, and that her present abode is one of happiness and peace far exceeding that which we poor mortals are capable of bestowing upon her. We can but look back upon the days of her sojourn with us, and call to mind the many passing events in connection with her active and innocent life, with feelings of intense interest and affection. Yet as those minglings are no more ours, but have forever passed away, is it wisdom in us to dwell

[p 61]
too tenaciously upon them? It seems to me we should not give way to passionate grief, but rather strive to loose our hold on her earthly existence, and acquiesce in the ordering of an all-wise Providnece, who has taken her to Himself from a world of temptation and trial - perhaps in mercy - for we know not the extent of evil that she might have yielded to in time to come, nor that she would ever again have been so well prepared.

Evening - Our friends and neighbours met at three oclock this afternoon in order for the funeral - and since returning home I have felt sorrowful - and a flow of love in my heart toward our dear absent one far beyond expression. A full belief - or even a certain knowledge that she is in the full enjoyment of everlasting rest and peace although preciously consoling - cannot allay the stream of tender love which involuntarily flows from a heart so nearly and dearly attached.

There is that which can rejoice in believing that a dear departed one is happy forever, and yet sensibly feel the yearning bleedings of the severed cord of natural affection.

(The following was written in 1851)

[p 62]
After our dear little Melissa’s death, and the recovery of the balance of my family, I again turned my attention to my brother William, who by this time had become able to ride out some, but was not in a condition to recover without further medical treatment. I therefore took him to a Phisician several miles distant, and stopped at Flushing on our return, where I attended meeting, it being First day the 10th of the month. I experienced it to be a poor dry meeting, and it appeared to me to be so to all present, but perhaps this was owing to my own deficiency, for when we are poor and destitute within ourselves, we are incapable of judging the spiritual condition of others - as it is written -”First suffer the beam to be removed out of thine own eye, and then thou canst see clearly the mote that is in thy brothers eye.”

On the 17th I attended our own Meeting in company with my dear wife - the first time we had been there together since her severe illness. I sensibly felt the great obligation we were under to our merciful Father in heaven for thus favouring us again to accompany each other to our religious meeting, and desires were present with me that

[p 63]
we might value this precious privelege more than we ever had done, and strive earnestly to draw near unto Him in spirit, and be strengthened thereby to serve Him more faithfully than in times past.

On the 22nd I visited a sick cousin, who in speaking of his situation, said, it was the severest illness he had ever experienced, and such an affliction was well calculated to bring a person to serious thoughtfulness - that it appeared to him very dangerous to put off a preparation for death till thus overtaken, for the pains of the body were then enough to bear without distress of mind. That to be laid on a sick and dying bed without an assurance of divine acceptance was truly an awful situation to be placed in.

On the 24th we attended meeting with our three little girls, and made some calls in the afternoon. On our return home in the evening my feelings were deeply affected as we passed the graveyard where our dear little absent daughter was laid. Such was my strong attachment to her, that I can but daily, and hourly think of her. I can but dwell on her tender affection and innocence, and deeply

[p 64]
sympathise with her in her sufferings - although I know she is now beyond them, in a state of happiness and peace far surpassing all that this world can afford. I have lately written my feelings relative to her suffering and death, in rhyme, which , while representing the yearning of the heart of a parent towards a child, also shows too much of the passionate weakness of human nature. It appears to me that where the mind has experienced a thorough change from a state of nature, to that of grace, and is purely spiritual - really feeling that this is only a trancient place of sojourn, it would not so tenaciously cling to the earthly existence - but so it is with me - a flow of love so fills my heart at times that I can but mourn her absence. I fear, beyond the bounds of christian fortitude. Ninth Month 7th Attended meeting - a number of strangers present on their way to Yearly Meeting, amongst whom was William Kennard who was very acceptably engaged in the ministry. My feelings and best judgment have been put

[p 65]
to the test these few days past on account of the conduct of my two apprentice boys. One of them has been with us for several years past and was a very orderly good boy till within the last few months - he - and the other hand, who has only been with us during the summer, became inclined to be away from our boarding place too much at night. I knew not where. I was punctual in reminding them that such a practice was contrary to my wishes, and in labouring with them time after time, in order to convince them of the impropriety of their conduct, but without the desired effect. They still persisted in disregarding my advice till finally I told them, I was unwilling to take the responsibility of their disobedience any longer - that they would either have to abandon the practice or I would be under the necessity of discharging them. Finding the practice still continued, although more secretly, on the morning of the 4th I told them that the time had come that there must be a change. They must agree to do better, or find employment elsewhere. One of them decided that he would go rather than comply with my

[p 66]
conditions - but the other acknowledged that they had been runing about at night more than was best - and he had concluded to quit it and do better in future, if I would look over the past. The feeling which his acknowledgment produced could do no other than accept his good resolution, and I encouraged him to stay and endeavour to do right. But the other was too obstinate to retract, and went away. After being gone several days, and applying for work at different places without success, he came back this afternoon, and offered to comply with my requisitions if I would permit him to return. After a feeling interview on the subject, I forgave him, and consented to try him again, hoping for the best.

Tenth Month 5th I thought I was favoured in our silent meeting to day more than at some other times. The good presence of the Lord was felt to be near, and if I was only more attentive and faithful, I believe I might more frequently be thus favoured both in and out of meetings. My feelings during the afternoon were those of thoughtful soberness, inclining more to silent meditation

[p 67]
than to an indulgence in conversation.

Our Yearly Meeting closed on the 12th of last month, the business of which was transacted more harmoniously than at some former times. The Representatives reported an agreement on names for clerk and assistant this year which has not been the case but once before since 1845.

Talitha attended the most of the time, taking little Tacy with her as she seems bereaved and lonely since her little sister’s death, whom she often speaks of in a very touching manner. I have felt desirous at times since she left us that I might dream of seeing them both together in health as they once were. A few nights since, this desire was gratified by being permited to imaginarily see them playing together, and enjoying each others company just as they used to do. My mind was impressed with the belief that Melissa had recently recovered from a very severe illness, in which she was reduced almost to the point of death. While I was looking upon them with delight, and reflecting on her unexpected recovery, my heart was filled with thankfulness therefore, and a convicting impression of mind followed that her being reduced so low was permited in order for my good, that I might see that I had not those

[p 68]
dear little lambs, to whom I felt so warmly attached at my disposal. And also to show me that notwithstanding I loved them dearly, and greatly delighted in them, yet they were not mine, but only lent to me by the great Giver, to whom the praise alone was due, and not in any degree attributable to myself. I felt humbled, and thankful under this just rebuke, and rejoiced, not only that my dear little daughter was again restored, but that through her illness, and restoration, I had learned a profitable lesson. When I awoke, and found it but a dream, I was sorrowful, yet viewed it full of instruction - for I have frequently feared that I dwelt too much upon them, without enough considering the source from which all blessings come, and attributing to Him all the praise, without reserve

Eleventh Month 14th Myself and wife, and little daughter Tacy arrived at home this evening from Columbiana county, having been absent about two weeks. We paid a number of visits there in the time besides attending Salem, and Springfield Quarterly Meetings, and several of their branches, some of which we found to be quite small, and apparently not as much alive to the cause of Truth as would be best.

[p 69]
The Wellsville and Cleveland Rail-Road was in the course of construction through the south side of this county, the western end completed as far as Hanover Station. Talitha having never before seen a Rail-Road Car, I felt a desire that she might enjoy a ride on them. We therefore got on at Rochester and took a ride to the end of the road, and back, a distance of five miles. As we were returning from Salem to Augusta on the evening before we intended starting home, our horse became frightened at a large boulder by the road side, and turning suddenly round, broke one of the axles, and one shaft of the carriage - the repairing of which detained us till four oclock last evening. Our Quarterly Meeting being held at Short Creek tomorrow, which we wished to attend, we were compeled to drive long after dark last night, in order to reach home to day. In addition to the detention already mentioned, we missed our way this forenoon, causing us much anxiety, and extra travel - which together with my previous besetments tried my irritable temperament severely. And had I have borne it with becoming fortitude, the retrospect might now have added to my encouragement and comfort,

[p 70]
but by too much giving way to an impatient, murmuring mood, I lost spiritual strength, which I believe my dear wife was sensible of at the time, and which I now sorely regret, and sorrowfully lament. This is one of my principal weaknesses and chief beseting sins, to withstand which, requires strict watchfulness and care, together with a close adherence to the great Helper of the weak and helpless. Truly may it be said that “he who trusteth not in the Lord under affliction but yielded himself a prey to the stirings of his own nature, wasteth his spiritual substance, and cometh to want in the midst of plenty.”

27th I have been labouring under discouragement at times for a week or two past on account of feeling the “strong man” to predominate within me, and my spiritual strength too weak to understand him. The loss which I sustained on my return from the north has never yet been restored. Sorrow of heart therefor has frequently been my portion, and desires have been raised that I might experience forgiveness, and a renewal of strength, but as yet evil is present with me and overruler all, and I, a helpless creature in the absence

[p 71]
of help superior to my nature, can do no good thing.

Twelfth Month 5th A weighty concern rests on my mind relative to my spiritual condition in the sight of Him with whom I have to do. I well remember the solemn covenant entered into with my Creator during my dear wifes illness, that if He would be pleased to spare her life a few years longer, I would surely devote the remainder of my days to His service. And now feeling my great weakness, and inability to do so, is the cause of my great concern - for I fear that “woe is me” if I do it not. My natural proneness to evil is so strong as to render resistance impossible without divine assistance, which now appears to be withdrawn O! I feel myself very poor and miserable, utterly unworthy of divine notice, and far alienated from the presence of the Lord, whose goodness, and mercy I have sometimes felt to be near me. “The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand - they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck. My strength faileth because of the perverseness of my heart - and who can deliver there from.

[p 72]
7th My brother Williams health has been very gradually improving since my last notice of him, but he is not yet able to do much towards supporting his family, who are at this time in a helpless condition - his wife having been for some weeks past unable to walk from the effects of inflammatory rheumatism. I spent a part of yesterday, and last night with them, and have made arrangements to furnish them with flour as they are in need, and have no means to obtain. Lydia Ellis, who has been our school teacher for sometime past, having returneed home in order for further qualification, I have employed a young man, a member of our Society by the name of Gibsen Binns, to teach our school this winter.

On account of the interest which I have taken in the support of a Friends school, or from some other cause, our last Monthly Meeting added my name to the primary school committee, and I was much interested in mingling with them in a visit to a school lately, taught by Martha Wilson in a log schoolhouse near Nathan P. Halls. She appeared to be a meek exemplary young woman, well qualified for the place. I was brought to feel while there

[p 73]
the great importance, and value, of thus supporting our own schools in the different neighborhoods - that the innocent lambs entrusted to our care may be kept in the fold, and away from the many temptations, and hurtful things which abound in the mixed schools. Parents cannot be too careful in guarding their children against corrupt influences in their tender years. It said that first impressions are the most lasting which there is abundant evidence of, as there are but few old persons who cannot remember the events of their childhood much more distinctly than those of later years. Hence the necessity of using all diligence to shield our children from temptation and exposure. We know it to be their proneness to imbibe evil much more readily than good, and that their associations, and books, while receiving their education has no small share in forming the character, and determining their course through life - on which their happiness, both temporal and eternal, greatly depends. These are my feelings and sentiments on this subject briefly expressed,and the concern on which my motives rest in erecting a schoolhouse on my own premises, and employing a teacher at a continual pecuniary sacrifice which I feel to be an insignificant consideration in comparison with the best welfare of my children in the best things.

[p 74]
First-day evening, 14th I have spent the chief part of this afternoon in perusing the “Friends Libraries,” and meditating on the many good things therein contained And in comparison therewith, I feel myself very poor and destitute of any good. Yet I feel strong desires, as I also did in meeting to day, that I may strive, still more earnestly to gain the ascendancy over my proneness to evil thoughts and actions. I have felt increasing obligations resting upon me since the renewal of my covenant with the Lord, while under deep affliction and distress, but through unwatchfulness, and the weakness of human nature, I have fell far short of performing my duty towards Him, as I then felt resolved to do. At times, when I have endeavoured to draw near unto the Lord with sincere desires for good, help and strength has seemed to be near - but at other times - although equally desirous, no ability was present to reach beyond my own concievings And again, at other times an entire withdrawal of every good thing [has] been my sad experience - not even a good desire felt - nor hope and confidence enough to raise my eyes towards Heaven - nor sufficient strength to resist an evil thought, or control a roving mind.

[p 75]
While thus bereaved, I have endeavoured to pray for help - but could not. I have sought for ability to plead for mercy - but could find none - and I have said in my heart, surely this is an awful state, if a preparation is ever known for everlasting happiness, it must be by crying mightily unto the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, and a deeper indwelling of soul and spirit with Him than ever heretofore. Should I be snatched from this state of existence as in a moment of time, I would have no excuse to plead in the presence of the final Judge. Ample time has been allowed. Many warnings have been given. The Lord is not lacking on his part, but is long- suffering, and of tender mercy The fault is all within myself - in my own selfish nature. I know of a truth that of myself I can do nothing. I certainly know that except the Lord helps me, I am incapable of doing any good thing, or of taking one step towards the Kingdom of Heaven. Then O! Father of mercies, wilt thou be pleased to be near and have mercy upon me, and purge my sinful heart from corruption. Be pleased to break down my selfish nature that occupies the ground so.

[p 76]
strongly. O! enable me to obtain the victory over sin and death before inevitable distruction overtakes me. I sensibly feel that the world and all things therein are as nothing in comparison with the immense value of my immortal soul. O! help mine infirmities, and favour me with ability to turn my back upon them and seek enduring substance that will reach beyond the grave.

On the 16th, 17th, and 18th of this month, mercury ranged from ten, to fourteen degrees below zero on each morning respectively.

31st Another year is near its close, during which many sorrowful events have occurred Many whose prospects were bright for long life this time last year now be mouldering in their graves - amongst whom our dear little Melissa is one. Year after year passes away, each bringing us all still nearer to our final close. I have been spared to see the close of this year, while many of my fellow beings who were equally hopeful, and healthy twelve months ago, now inhabit an endless eternity. These are awful considerations. Solumn beyond expression. Time is uncertain. Death is sure And the close of another year may find my fate seated

[p 77]
even as theirs May I strive unceasingly to preserve my present solumn covering, and seek more earnestly to feel an assurance of mercy.

Go to: 1852.

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