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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:06:09
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  As it is common for Friends on such a visit to have entertainment free ofcost, a difficulty arose in my mind with respect to saving my money by kindnessreceived from what appeared to me to be the gain of oppression. Receiving agift, considered as a gift, brings the receiver under obligations to thebenefactor, and has a natural tendency to draw the obliged into a party withthe giver. To prevent difficulties of this kind, and to preserve the minds ofjudges from any bias, was that divine prohibition: "Thou shalt not receive anygift; for a gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous"(Exod. xxiii. 8). As the disciples were sent forth without any provision fortheir journey, and our Lord said the workman is worthy of his meat, theirlabour in the gospel was considered as a reward for their entertainment, andtherefore not received as a gift; yet, in regard to my present journey, I couldnot see my way clear in that respect. The difference appeared thus: theentertainment the disciples met with was from them whose hearts God had openedto receive them, from a love to them and the truth they published; but we,considered as members of the same religious society, look upon it as a piece ofcivility to receive each other in such visits; and such receptions, at times,is partly in regard to reputation, and not from an inward unity of heart andspirit. Conduct is more convincing than language, and where people, by theiractions, manifest that the slave-trade is not so disagreeable to theirprinciples but that it may be encouraged, there is not a sound uniting withsome Friends who visit them.


上 述季会的规模都很大,每次开会时间约八小时。我想在这种讨论会务的大聚会中,不应当轻易发言;除非我们有了适切的准备,且充分明白我们所要陈述的是什么, 则我们的发言非但无法促进会务,反将成为会务的阻碍,叫那些肩负繁重工作责任的人更增重担。如果我们心里有自私观点或党派成见,我们就不配为主工作。如果 我们对会务有明确见解,且心中有适切催促,觉得应该发言,就须避免无谓辩护或重复的话。许多人从遥远地方前来,召开一次会议确非轻易之事,每一与会的人都 应当谨慎小心,尤其是遇着聚会延长六七个钟头,大家还须赶路回家的场合,更当爱惜时间。三百分钟加起来就是五个钟头,倘有人在三百人的聚会中浪费一分钟, 姑不论所产生的其他恶果,他已经好像是无理地把一个人监禁五个钟头了。这会结束后我即回家。

近 来我心受感动,甚盼望前往访问新英格兰一带朋友,刚好又有机会和我亲爱的朋友安得鲁斯彼得结伴同行,于是我们向我们的月会取得了证件,于一七四七年五月十 六日动身。我们赶上了在长岛举行的年会,会中有从英格兰来的朋友诺定昂;从宾夕尼亚来的格力菲德,霍金珍尼和赫逊依利沙伯;从撒斯特来的安得鲁斯雅各;这 些人当中有的很有讲道的才能,藉着主的恩泽,我们有了好些有益的聚会。会后诺定昂,格力菲德和安得鲁斯前往罗德岛,我们则继续访问在长岛一带朋友们的聚会 处,全能者的仁慈帮助我们在工作上都很顺利。

在 我童年时代发生的另一件大事,是有一回我往邻居家去,路上看见一只知更鸟坐在它的巢中,当我走近时它飞开了,但因巢中有一群小雏,所以它飞来飞去,不肯远 离,而它发出的啼声更表示对小雏的无限关怀。我拿石子投击它,有一块石子击中了,它坠地而死。起初我高兴自己投掷石子的准确,但一会儿忽觉得又恐怖又懊 悔,因为我杀害了一只在哺乳幼雏的无辜小动物,我想这些幼雏必因无哺乳之母而死亡!一阵痛苦的思想之后,我爬上了树,把一巢幼雏都弄死了,心想这样总比叫 它们饿死好些。我继续走我的路,但好几个钟头脑中不能想别的,只记得我杀害那可怜母鸟的残暴行为,心中十分苦恼。

  Thus time passed on; my heart was replenished with mirth and wantonness,while pleasing scenes of vanity were presented to my imagination, till Iattained the age of eighteen years, near which time I felt the judgments of God in my soul, like a consuming fire, and looking over my past life the prospectwas moving. I was often sad, and longed to be delivered from those vanities;then again my heart was strongly inclined to them, and there was in me a soreconflict. At times I turned to folly, and then again sorrow and confusion tookhold of me. In a while I resolved totally to leave off some of my vanities, butthere was a secret reserve in my heart of the more refined part of them, and Iwas not low enough to find true peace. Thus for some months I had greattroubles; my will was unsubjected, which rendered my labours fruitless. Atlength, through the merciful continuance of heavenly visitations, I was made tobow down in spirit before the Lord. One evening I had spent some time inreading a pious author, and walking out alone I humbly prayed to the Lord forHis help, that I might be delivered from all those vanities which so ensnaredme. Thus being brought low, He helped me, and as I learned to bear the cross, Ifelt refreshment to come from His presence; but not keeping in that strengthwhich gave victory, I lost ground again, the sense of which greatly affectedme. I sought deserts and lonely places, and there with tears did confess mysins to God and humbly craved His help. And I may say with reverence, He wasnear to me in my troubles, and in those times of humiliation opened my ear todiscipline.

  By day I was much amongst people, and had many trials to go through; but inthe evenings I was mostly alone, and I may with thankfulness acknowledge, that in those times the spirit of supplication was often poured upon me; under whichI was frequently exercised, and felt my strength renewed.


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