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AN EPISTLE,

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DEAR FRIENDS P ROMPTED by motives of Gospel love towards

my fellow professors, and by a desire for the exaltation of Christ's kingdom in their hearts, 1 venture to address them on a subject which appears to me to be of the first importance.

I have neither the tongue nor the pen of the learned to employ in this service, but I beliere this ought not to prevent my expressing, in the simplicity of my heart, the exercise I have long been under on behalf of the members of our religious Society; that they may increasingly become a spiritually minded people'; such were the Primiiite Christians ; such, there is reason to believe, were our early Friends: Would it not be well for us to consider by what means we also may be enabled to 6 walk in the spirit.”a with persevering watchfulness. To engage in religious performances with unprepared hearts, would not promote this desirable end; but I would encourage all classes amongst us to be vigilant in waiting for ability to perform the indispensable duties of mental Prayer and Praise : and this not only in religious meetings, and when fainilies are collec

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ted for the purpose of reading the Iloly Scriptures, but that care be taken daily to dedicate a portion of time, to withdraw from our temporal engage. ments; and, even literally, where it may be, to enter into the closet or private apartment and shut the door, that we may be secluded from all outward interruption : such an effort to disengage our minds from hindering things it is believed would prove an acceptable sacrifice in the sight of Him who seeth in secret. And though discouragement might at times be felt, because the flesh is weak;". yet, if there be but a patient waiting for holy help, and a steady perseverance in “ looking into Jesus, < the Author and Finisher of our Faith," there is ground to believe, that a capacity would lve witnessed, to bow acceptably at the footstool of Divine Mercy, and to offer up our petitions for ability to “lay aside every weight and the sin

which doth so easily beset, and to run with paos tience the race that is set before us!”b Should this address obtain general circulation, I trust it will fall into the hands of many, who can testify from blessed experience, that at seasons, when they have retired in a state of dryness and insensibility, light has arisen, and they have been favoured to experience a true hunger and thirst ** after righteousness ;” so that they have been made sensible that the Spirit hath indeed helped their inormities, and made intercession for them.

I do not assert that every rightly exercised mind will, at all times, derive sensible encourage. ment and consolation from this practice; but I fully believe it is nevertheless our duty to place ourselves in a situation the most likely to draw down the divine blessing upon us,

There will doubtless be times, when we shall have the senstence of death in ourselves, that we should not

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( 5 ) “ trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the pture « dead;”d but this will humblé the Creature, and porlis promote our growth in grace, and spiritual adngago vancement, perhaps as much as those seasons center wherein sensible refreshment is dispensed: allow

me, therefore, my dear Friends, to impress upon

your minds the necessity of faithfulness in the e un discharge of so great a duty as that of “ watching

we read that our Blessed Lord 6 spake a parable to this end, that men ought rement "always to pray and not to faint;"e in another reak; place he says “ Verily!. Verily! I say unto you, help whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, in my name, Test “ he will give it you;" "ask and ye shall receive ,

that your joy may be full:"!. And again, “ If

'ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto ol of your Children, how much more shall your HeaIs for “venly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that

sin "ask him :"Surely the encouragement thus held pa out by the highest Authority should strengthen ould

our Faith in his promises. "Let us, therefore, come stil “boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may tifs “ obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of lien

6 need.” 1

To those who thus reverently wait upon the een Lord, I believe it seldom occurs but that a renewal hirst of Spiritual Strength is experienced, and a degree een of ability witnessed to offer up our petitions " unto

“Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to

present us faultless before the presence of his sed

"glory with exceeding joy :"i and who that has

been thus exercised in the opening of the day, but tl would be impressed through the course of it with

a sense of the necessity of endeavouring to che

rislr the Spirit of Prayer; that when he mixes ill with society a holy restraint may be felt, lest

there should be any departure from the paths of

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duty ? This watchful disposition of mind would neither be productive of a gloomy reserve nor preclude the enjoyinent of social intercourse; but would expand our hearts in love and charity towards our fellow mortals, and in desire that we might be preserved from putting “a stumbling " block or an occasion to fall in our brother's

way:"j'who does not see the spiritual advantage that would result from having the mind thus impressed, day by day, with a sense of its duty to God and Man; and, with a conviction, that in order to perform this duty, divine assistance must be reverently waited for

Thus, sensible of the incalculable benefits of retirement, I am anxious to prevail upon Friends to avail themselves of the privilege, to press through the crowd of impediments which may obsruct their perseverance in this important duty; should they even seem, when faith is at a low ebb, like insurmountable difficulties: It is admitted, that, in some situations in life, the time devoted to this purpose, must, of necessity, be short: but if very little time can be prudently spared from domestic or other duties, that little, rightly

spent, may prove as acceptable to the Searcher of : Hearts, as the Widow's Mite which was cast into

the Treasury: Again, Persons in health, by early rising, may always secure a portion of time for this important service, before the occupations of the day commence :- Thus, the Man of Business may be enabled to cultivate the Spirit of Prayer; and if his eye be single,” his whole body will 6 be full of light,” so that his spiritual perception will be quick, and he will the more readily discover the snares which the adversary of man's haypiness is continually laying to entangle the unwary. If this watchful state of mind be che

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(7) rished, devotional feelings, there is every reason to hope, will so prevail in the evening, that sleep will not be given to the eyes, nor slumber to the eyelids, until some time has been spent in reverently drawing nigh unto Him, whose we are, and whom we ought faithfully to serve.

A Mother, whose incumbrances may be many, in attending to her infant charge and to other necessary cares, will find that a few minutes thus spent in reverential awe, at the footstool of Divine Mercy, will not be to her, time lost'; on the contrary, she will thereby be enabled to cast her care on Him, who is "touched with the feeling of

our infirmities,'k and be encouraged to commit the keeping of her soul, with the souls of her offspring, to a faithful Creator

In an especial manner, I wish to encourage diffident minds, who may be tempted to think it almost presumption in them to expect, that the spirit of prayer should be vouchsafed to any so unworthy as they feel themselves to be; may such be animated to begin and persevere in the practice here recommended ; ' for there is no doubt, with me, if they thus present themselves before the Lord, in humility and abasedness of soul, but that the blessing which they seek will be mercifully dispensed.

And, oh ! how thankful should I be if any noininal professor amongst us, who may have forgotten his Heavenly Father, or neglected his duty towards him, days without number, might be awakened to a sense of his dangerous situation: and should any such be so smitten with remorse as to fear that his iniquities will fur ever separate between him and his God, let him not despair, but remember that the Saviour declared, “ I came not to call the righteous but sinners to

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