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To Friends' in America or elsewhere, from
JAMES RIGBIE. Whereas, through the goodness and favour of the Almighty Father and Preserver of men, which have been renewedly extended to me, under bodily infirmity, in the decline of my life;—whereby I have been instructed and assisted to adore his merciful compassion, and great loving-kindness towards weak and fallible creatures - I have been favoured with fresh light, to see the bewildered state which is brought on through a want of attention to our holy Guide, who freely furnishes even the disobedient with ability to submit to the operation of his holy Power, that subjects the will of the creature, purges out the dross of nature, and perfects the work of sanctification. Feeling myself, at this time, and for some time past, as a brand plucked out of the fire,in a degree of deep thankfulness to the Lord for his adorable mercy, am I constrained to give this forth for the information of my beloved Friends, wherever it may come to be heard, or read;—acknowledging that in time past, for want of humbly watching, in the gift received, against the weaknesses of my natural part, I was led to give too much way to the subtil whispers of the enemy; and thereby to prefer my own judgment, in some respects. This gradually brought me into a light esteem and disregard of the seasonable advice and solid admonition of my friends; contrary to that meekness, or humble, teachable disposition wherein our true safety, as self-denying followers of holy Jesus, consists; and whereby the unity of the one ever blessed Spirit, in the bond of peace, is maintained. By which means, my understanding
became darkened, and my mind led away from the path of innocent simplicity;-having also sometimes given way to expressions, out of the right line; and in some parts of my conduct towards others, deviated from that brotherly love and patience which become the followers of Christ,—to my own very great loss in the best things; and causing a long, painful burden of sorrow and distress to others who were labouring from time to time, to seek my restoration to that state of unity with the living members, which, through renewed mercy, I am again favoured to see and feel, is a most endearing, precious band.
And therefore, I do hereby condemn my deviations,—desiring and humbly hoping it may be as a warning to others, to keep in a lowly, watchful state; to prefer plain, honest dealing, to all flattery and unskilful pity; and to keep a heart and ear open to the wholesome counsel of their fellow-members on all occasions.
Thankful for the restoration I have witnessed, and in tender love and affection to my beloved friends, wheresoever my name or case has been known, do I freely give, and sign this;—with fervent desires that grace, mercy, peace and unity may increase, through faithful obedience to the Divine principle of Light and Truth in all,—and be witnessed to diffuse like the holy dew, throughout every branch of the church.
Signed at Deer Creek, in Harford county, Mary· land, the 2nd day of the 6th month, 1788.
In a memorandum made by George Churchman, in relation to the preceding acknowledgment and restoration of James Rigbie, he says, “ It was joyful to find him sensible of his former mistakes, and thus to become again restored into near fellowship with Friends. It was also remarkable in his latter days, that he clearly saw and fully manifested by words and conduct, that he esteemed those to have been his best friends, who for Truth's sake had been the most firm and faithful in endeavouring to reclaim him from his deviations; and that a contrary conduct was like foolish pity, or daubing with untempered mortar.' This honest confession, as well as his acknowledgment, may be instructive to others in like situations, as also encouraging to those who are concerned to extend a christian care on their own or · the church's behalf, toward delinquent or backsliding members."
Having made repeated efforts to obtain a biographical account of the life of James Rigbie, without the desired success, we have nothing more to add, except that he continued in unity with Friends to the, close of his days; and died at his place of residence near Deer Creek in Maryland, in the 1st month, 1790, aged about seventy years. Job Scott, in the course of his religious visit attended the meeting held at Deer Creek at the time of the funeral, and was extensively and livingly engaged in an impressive testimony to a large gathering of Friends and neighbours assembled on the occasion.
FOURTH MONTH, 1839.
LETTERS AND BRIEF NOTICES OF
CHARITY COOK. In collecting the few scraps of information occasionally met with, concerning Charity Cook of Bush river, South Carolina, and afterwards of Ohio,-it is not to be expected that much interesting or connected matter can be exhibited. A principal object in thus bringing her name into remembrance, is, to record what little notices we have found of this worthy Friend, in a hope, or rather with a wish, that a more ample and regular account of her dedication to the cause of truth and righteousness, and of her extensive labours for the benefit of mankind, may be furnished by others more fully acquainted with the history of her life and religious character.
She was a native of Manoquasy, in Frederick county, Maryland, where was formerly a considerable settlement of Friends, and a regular meeting held, being a branch of Fairfax monthly meeting. How long it has been discontinued, we are unable to say; but at the distance of eighty years ago, 'Truth was said to be " at a low ebb there, through the conduct of some unfaithful professors." In 1772, the meeting was visited by John Churchman and a committee of the Quarterly meeting. It is a mournful reflection, that the light of gospel Truth should become obscured through the unfaithfulness and degeneracy of those who make
profession of it; and that the testimony to the purity of spiritual worship should fall, as to the ground.
The first religious visit of Charity Cook to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, appears to have been in the year 1787. In this visit Rebecca Fincher from Carolina was her companion. Among the notices
of their ministerial labours, the following memoran. dum made by James Hamton, shows the character of their religious service. 6 9th mo. 4th, This day at our monthly meeting we were favoured with the acceptable company of Charity Cook and Rebecca Fincher, ministering Friends from South Carolina. They were favoured in their public testimonies with a degree of animating life and power. The youth were earnestly encouraged to press forward through the many difficulties attendant on human life. They were admonished, not to be anxious in the pursuit of riches; but “having food and raiment therewith to be content;' having the pleasures and honours of this world tarnished in their sight." To which James Hamton adds this appropriate reflection: “The goodness of God in thus qualifying his servants and sending them forth to water and revive the drooping plants, appeared to me to call loudly for our grateful acknowledgments. I feel very desirous for myself, that the instruction received may not be as seed cast upon the stony ground.”
At the Yearly Meeting held in Philadelphia, they were both acceptably present; also Zachariah Dicks and Ann Jessop of North Carolina just returned from England, and Ellenor Ballard from a remote settlement of Friends in Virginia, with a number of other strangers. During the course of business, Ellenor Ballard and Charity Cook were several times enga