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Thomas Wentworth Higginson (search for this): chapter 11
person, and while weeping hysterically, she confessed that she had wilfully slandered the dead girl. The friend departed on his homeward way. Such, said Mr. Whittier, was the leading of the Inner Light. Claflin's Recollections, p. 31. There is clearly but a narrow step between these marvels and the alleged facts of spiritualism about which his placid old mother was so interested that she never failed, whenever I called there, to look up from her knitting after a while and say, Friend Higginson, hast thee heard anything lately about these spiritual communications of which I hear? the place where I then resided having been the scene of some reported marvels. Whittier also approached them in a guarded way, but without any very positive interest. He wrote once to Mrs. Fields, in regard to a poem she had sent him :-- The poem is solemn and tender; it is as if a wind from the Unseen World blew over it, in which the voice of sorrow is sweeter than that of gladness — a holy fear
Angelina Grimke (search for this): chapter 11
bound by the usages of his Society, the following anecdote, as told by Mr. Pickard, is suggestive. On the night before the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in 1838, in Philadelphia, as an antislavery headquarters, there occurred the marriage of Angelina Grimke to Theodore D. Weld, both being afterwards prominent antislavery reformers. Miss Grimke was a South Carolina Quakeress, who had liberated her own slaves, and was thenceforward known far and wide as an antislavery lecturer, but her proposed Miss Grimke was a South Carolina Quakeress, who had liberated her own slaves, and was thenceforward known far and wide as an antislavery lecturer, but her proposed husband was not a Quaker. At the time of her wedding, Whittier, who then edited the Freeman, was invited to attend; but as she was marrying out of society, he did not think it fitting that he should be present at the ceremony. He nevertheless reconciled it with his conscience to escort a young lady to the door, and to call on the wedded pair, next day, with a congratulatory poem. Pickard's Whittier, I. 235. This fairly indicates the hold his early religious training had upon him, when the
Marcus Antoninus (search for this): chapter 11
ll be. And then the unescapable sense of sin in thought and deed, and doubtless some misconception of the character of God, makes the boldest of us cowards. Does thee remember the epitaph-prayer of Martin Elginbrod? Here lie I, Martin Elginbrod; Have pity on my soul, Lord God, As I wad do were I Lord God An’ ye were Martin Elginbrod. I think there is a volume of comfort in that verse. We Christians seem less brave and tranquil, in view of death, than the old Stoic sages. Witness Marcus Antoninus. I wonder if the creed of Christendom is really the glad tidings of great joy to all people which the angels sang of. For myself, I believe in God as Justice, Goodness, Tenderness --in one word, Love; and yet, my trust in Him is not strong enough to overcome the natural shrinking from the law of death. Even our Master prayed that that cup might pass from Him, if it were possible. Pickard's Whittier, II. 651-53. He said once to Mrs. Claflin:-- The little circumstance of deat
William Claflin (search for this): chapter 11
years. When asked as to Quaker variations from the ordinary grammar, he replied, according to Mrs. Claflin:-- It has been the manner of speech of my people for two hundred years; it was my moth train, no storm could keep him back. He used to cite the following instance, written out by Mrs. Claflin, of the trustworthiness of such guidance:-- I have an old friend, he said, who folloiend departed on his homeward way. Such, said Mr. Whittier, was the leading of the Inner Light. Claflin's Recollections, p. 31. There is clearly but a narrow step between these marvels and the alight pass from Him, if it were possible. Pickard's Whittier, II. 651-53. He said once to Mrs. Claflin:-- The little circumstance of death will make no difference with me: I shall have the sahe thought that His great heart of love is more moved than mine can be, and so I rest in peace. Claflin, p. 22. This is in harmony with his lines in The eternal Goodness --lines which are oftener
Martin Elginbrod (search for this): chapter 11
sin in thought and deed, and doubtless some misconception of the character of God, makes the boldest of us cowards. Does thee remember the epitaph-prayer of Martin Elginbrod? Here lie I, Martin Elginbrod; Have pity on my soul, Lord God, As I wad do were I Lord God An’ ye were Martin Elginbrod. I think there is a volume of coMartin Elginbrod; Have pity on my soul, Lord God, As I wad do were I Lord God An’ ye were Martin Elginbrod. I think there is a volume of comfort in that verse. We Christians seem less brave and tranquil, in view of death, than the old Stoic sages. Witness Marcus Antoninus. I wonder if the creed of Christendom is really the glad tidings of great joy to all people which the angels sang of. For myself, I believe in God as Justice, Goodness, Tenderness --in one word,Martin Elginbrod. I think there is a volume of comfort in that verse. We Christians seem less brave and tranquil, in view of death, than the old Stoic sages. Witness Marcus Antoninus. I wonder if the creed of Christendom is really the glad tidings of great joy to all people which the angels sang of. For myself, I believe in God as Justice, Goodness, Tenderness --in one word, Love; and yet, my trust in Him is not strong enough to overcome the natural shrinking from the law of death. Even our Master prayed that that cup might pass from Him, if it were possible. Pickard's Whittier, II. 651-53. He said once to Mrs. Claflin:-- The little circumstance of death will make no difference with me: I
Oliver Wendell Holmes (search for this): chapter 11
r fronded palms in air; I only know I cannot drift Beyond His love and care. This is only a versification of what he wrote in a letter, in his eightieth year. The great question of the Future Life is almost ever with me. I cannot answer it, but I can trust. It is perhaps the natural outcome of a somewhat shy and self-withdrawn life that Whittier should have described himself in verse more frankly than any other of the poets, thus concentrating into one utterance of words what others, Holmes for instance, might distribute over a hundred scattered talks. He has never done this, however, with undue self-consciousness, but simply, frankly, and with an acute and delicate comprehension of his own traits. His poem My namesake, written in 1853, is the most elaborate of these delineations, and was addressed to his young namesake, Francis Greenleaf Allinson, of Burlington, N. J. These are some of the many verses:--And thou, dear child, in riper days When asked the reason of thy name,
Celia Thaxter (search for this): chapter 11
dily at work at her table, yet always hospitable, losing sight of no cloud or shadow or sudden gleam of glory in the landscape, and pointing the talk often with keen wit. Nevertheless, the idleness of it all palled upon him. It was Sunday, too, and he longed for something which would move us to higher levels. Suddenly, as if the idea had struck him like an inspiration, he rose, and taking a volume of Emerson from the little library, he opened to one of the discourses, and handing it to Celia Thaxter, said:-- Read that aloud, will thee? I think we should all like to hear it. After she had ended he took up the thread of the discourse, and talked long and earnestly upon the beauty and necessity of worship — a necessity consequent upon the nature of man, upon his own weakness, and his consciousness of the Divine Spirit within him. His whole heart was stirred, and he poured himself out toward us as if he longed, like the prophet of old, to breathe a new life into us. I could see
John Woolman (search for this): chapter 11
have never felt like quarrelling with Orthodox or Unitarians, who were willing to pull with me, side by side, at the rope of Reform. A very large proportion of my dearest personal friends are outside of our communion; and I have learned with John Woolman to find no narrowness respecting sects and opinions. But after a kindly and candid survey of them all, I turn to my own Society, thankful to the Divine Providence which placed me where I am; and with an unshaken faith in the one distinctive dnfirming the truth of outward Scripture by inward experience; when smooth stones from the brook of present revelation shall prove mightier than the weapons of Saul; when the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, as proclaimed by George Fox and lived by John Woolman, shall be recognised as the only efficient solvent of doubts raised by an age of restless inquiry. In this belief my letter was written. I am sorry it did not fall to the lot of a more fitting hand; and can only hope that no consideration of
Jesus Christ (search for this): chapter 11
not in schools of theology; not in much speaking and noise and vehemence, nor in vain attempts to make the plain language of Quakerism utter the Shibboleth of man-made creeds: but in heeding more closely the Inward Guide and Teacher; in faith in Christ not merely in His historical manifestation of the Divine Love to humanity, but in His living presence in the hearts open to receive Him; in love for Him manifested in denial of self, in charity and love to our neighbour; and in a deeper realisat times who do not see that the hour is coming when, under the searching eye of philosophy and the terrible analysis of science, the letter and the outward evidence will not altogether avail us; when the surest dependence must be upon the Light of Christ within, disclosing the law and the prophets in our own souls, and confirming the truth of outward Scripture by inward experience; when smooth stones from the brook of present revelation shall prove mightier than the weapons of Saul; when the doct
hittier's meditative and spiritual poems, but the very texts and preludes which are prefixed to them, one feels the immense advantage enjoyed by those brought up in the Society of Friends, as to a simpler and therefore more sacred use of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, than was possible to those trained in the more rigorous and severe methods which prevailed so largely in his youth among the evangelical sects. His citations of passages are superb in their discrimination; the words of Ezekiel and Esdras seem greater and profounder than those of his verses that follow; and yet this is no truer of them than of the prefatory prelude taken from St. Augustine, or George Fox, or the Hymns of the Brahmo-Somaj. This is as it should be; that the poet's gift should show itself even in the texts of his sermons; yet no one who had not learned to reverence the Inward Light as the Society of Friends did, could follow it, even to the selection of good texts. He was a firm but liberal Quake
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