« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
ing raised higher in the bed, he seemed to doze a little, as if lying more easy than he had for some time before; and thus drew his breath shorter and shorter until he quietly expired, as if falling into a sweet sleep. He departed this life on the 23rd day of the 1st month, 1780; being in the thirty-second year of his age; and, we doubt not, is entered into rest.
It resteth on my mind to add something concerning my dear brother, whose exemplary life and conversation preached loudly to those that knew him. He was beloved by Friends and all who were acquainted with him. He often exhorted the children to live in love and quietude; and was concerned that his neighbours might live in unity; being a lover of harmony himself, both at home and abroad, as well knowing that without it the prosperity of Truth would be obstructed; and if he thought any one had aught against him, he could not be easy until it was removed.
He was serviceable in church affairs, and concerned that the work of reformation might go on in its proper channel;—that there might not only be an outward conformity, but that all parts of our conduct and conversation might correspond therewith;—and he was deeply exercised in concern that Friends might bear a faithful testimony to the Truth we make profession of, now in this time of outward trials. I well know he was often a silent burden-bearer on these, as well as on many other accounts; and was always more in substance than in show.
He was of a meek and quiet spirit,-a loving and faithful husband,-a dutiful and obedient son,-a tena der and affectionate father, and a truly kind and helpful brother. I sensibly feel the loss of him, and he will be greatly missed in this family, as well as in more public services in the church.
What more shall I say, so to set forth his hidden worth that others may be excited thereby to a humble, steady walking, in an inward labour of spirit; that so our souls may be prepared for our final change! And then, whether in life or death, we shall be ready to obey the Lord's call.
Eli Yarnall's testimony concerning ISAAC SHARP
Having unity with the foregoing testimony concerning this my dear deceased friend and cousin, I find freedom to add a few words concerning his services in the church; for the reason before-mentioned, -that others may walk in the footsteps of the flock of Christ's companions and follow him, as they have such for example; so that when the alarming proclamation is sounded, “Steward, give up thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward,” the pangs of a death-bed may be mitigated, by haying a well-grounded hope of entering into that rest which is finally prepared for the righteous. This was the case with this our dear friend, as appears by his own expressions: “ I have a living faith that there is a place of rest prepared for me."
He was a diligent attender of our religious meetings, both for worship and discipline; in the latter of which, he was very serviceable; being truly united in spirit with the faithful labourers for the prosperity of Truth, and the honour of God. His sentiments
when offered were seasoned with meekness and submission, rather preferring the judgment of others.When nominated for services, being loth to excuse himself, he submitted thereto with diffidence in a sense of his own inability: but, I believe, through Divine assistance, he never failed to perform them to the satisfaction of his brethren. Being for some time chosen as clerk to our monthly meeting, he was well qualified for that weighty service: also in labouring for the restoration of those who had deviated from the rules of our discipline, he manifested great tenderness in a plain, sincere manner; pressing the necessity of that true repentance which would be manifested by amendment of life, and would excite them to a diligent attendance of meetings for Divine worship; being himself an experimental witness of the benefits arising from such meetings.
I believe he may justly bear the character of a watchman on Zion's walls; being careful that the enemy might be guarded against in every appearance. He was also much concerned lest any whose hearts have been truly touched, should (for want of patiently abiding under the humbling hand and duly trying the spirits) mistake imagination for revelation, and follow the heat of their own spirits into inconvenient things; and thus, for want of being established on the immutable foundation, by their instability bring dishonour to the Truth, and a burden on faithful Friends: being also himself an example of care to walk in that middle path which shuns extremes.
His corpse was accompanied by a great gathering of Friends and others, and decently interred in Friends' burial ground at Middletown on the 25th of 1st month; on which occasion we were favoured
with a solemn meeting, the spring of gospel ministry being opened in a very powerful and efficacious manner, to the tendering of many hearts.
MEMOIR Of the last illness and death of Rebekah Sharpless.
Soon after our beloved friend, Rebekah Sharpless, had written the foregoing testimony and account of her deceased brother, she was taken ill of the same disorder; in which she lay fourteen days. The tender and near affection, not only of her relations but of several other friends, engaged them to attend on her with the utmost diligence and care, so that no endeavours might be neglected that could tend to lighten her affliction, or alleviate her bodily distress, which she bore with wonderful patience and resignation of mind. During her illness, she dropped many weighty expressions; such of them as could be remembered being taken down in writing, are to the following effect.
'On the 30th of the 1st month, 1780, a friend who was sitting by her, on remarking that she was likely to have a great load of the disorder, said he hoped she was not terrified about what might be the event. She answered, “No: I am resigned: I have been wonderfully preserved in resignation.” The same day, another friend speaking to her concerning the state of her mind, she replied, “ It has been more my desire to feel His presence who is strength in weakness, than to live."
On the 3d of the 2d.month, towards evening, being under much bodily affliction, it pleased the Lord in his unerring wisdom, for the trial of her faith and patience (and perhaps not for her sake only) to hide his face and withdraw his presence during the nightseason: in which, the unwearied adversary, the accuser of the brethren, was permitted to assault her as on every hand. She signified in substance, that her dwelling seemed as amongst fiery spirits;—that she was fixed and bound as in the anguish and portion of the miserable;—that she looked around, but saw no redemption;—and that she was ready to despair of mercy, and to fear that her residence was to be there forever. Her exercise and conflict of mind that she might be restored to a state of acceptance, was great beyond description. A friend who was present, being under deep sympathy with her, and concern that she might be preserved in stability and patience, looking unto the Lord for deliverance,had some expressions to arise in his mind, which he dropped by way of encouragement. She said, his words felt good; but her help was not in man. After some time, she signified that she believed it was as he said,--a trial of her faith and patience; and that she felt a degree of faith and hope that she should be again raised out of that state; also that she yet felt love to her friends. Towards morning, she uttered divers pathetic sentences with much ardour and weight, setting forth what she had seen and felt in that season of deep probation: and added, “ I have seen wonderful things which I am not-now able to express.” Awhile after she said, “I feel myself like the dry bones in the open valley, which had neither sinews nor flesh, yet were raised up and became an army of living instruments.” She felt much anxiety to know the cause of her deep affliction, and said she had overhauled all her past conduct, and things which