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deed was truly afflicting to him. He was left with four young children, having previously buried as many; the particular care of whom devolved especially upon him, and being a remarkably fond and indulgent parent, they were much attached to him.
“ He was remarkable for continuing, through his whole life, in the full possession of his mental faculties, and could, with great facility, recollect recent occurrences as well as those which took place in his youth; though the afflictions of his body wore down and debilitated his corporeal functions, insomuch that a constitution, which otherwise appeared to be sufficient to calculate upon one hundred years of existence, was completely worn out short of eighty-seven years; yet this may be said to be a very advanced age at this period of the world.
“ He was a great enemy to Atheism and Deism : his argu. ments and reasonings were powerful, and, I believe, brought conviction to the minds of many of those who had the pleasure of conversing with him thereon.”
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“I was apprentice to William Robinson. Many were the ways and methods I took, in order to get rid of my evil thoughts and melancholy meditations. I frequently used to stretch my. self along upon a bench, viewing and counting the stars; and it often arose in my mind, If there be no Divine Being, whence came those stars? And why ranked in such order? And who made all things? These serious and expostulatory meditations caused me to sigh deeply, and tears to flow down my cheeks, while my soul inwardly cried and said, Oh ! if there be a God, let me know it before it be too late. At last I concluded, that to believe there was a God and a future state, and to strive to obey him, could not hurt me; but if I should die in a state of unbelief, and find a God, my state would be bad, nay, most miserable indeed. Here it pleased the Lord to work upon me according to the riches of his goodness, and under these considerations to beget a desire in me to know him, and a longing to be reconciled to him, and he to me. At length he visited me with a sickness called the pleurisy (being about the age of sixteen or seventeen) in which I continued for some time, in extreme an
guish and torment, both of body and mind. Sometimes a small glimmering hope of mercy seemed to revive me a little : at other times I was almost in despair. Thus I continued for nine days: the fifth and seventh days being exceeding thirsty, I cried out to my mother, and said, Oh! that I could get my thirst quenched for a moment, before I go hence, that I might enjoy a moment's happiness; for I am afraid that if it is not quenched here, it will not be quenched hereafter : (so deplorable was the state of my soul at that time, expecting to die every moment.) My speaking in this manner, made my mother burst into tears, and say, Why speakest thou in this manner ? If that is thy state, what will become of the world ?
66 None but God knew the distressed condition of my poor soul at that time. But here the Lord shewed me that he opens
rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys : that he makes the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water, &c.* For the Lord's anger endureth but a moment, in his favour is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.t Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires. For, he will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth : for the Lord hath spoken it.
“ On the ninth day, between the hours of four and five, I fell into a trance, and so continued until about the hour of three or four the next morning. After my departure from the body (for I left the body) my father and mother, Susannah Robinson and others, who watched me, shook my body, felt for my pulse, and tried if they could discern any remains of life or breath in me; but found none.
6 Some may be desirous to know, whether I was laid out or not: I found myself, when I opened my eyes, laid on my back in my bed, as a corpse is on a board ; and I was told, after I got better, the reason why they did not lay me on a board, was, because my mother could not, at that time, find freedom to have it done : then they sent for Dr. Kearsley, who attended me, to have his opinion. When he came, he felt for my pulse and found none, nor any remains of life in me, as he told them ; but as he
* Isaiah xli. 18. | Psalm xxx. 5. Isaiah xxiv. 15, and xxv. 8.
was going away, he returned again, and said, that something came into his mind to try further; he then desired somebody to get him a small looking-glass, which Catharine Souder, who lived with my father, procured; the Doctor laid it on my mouth for a short time, then took it off, and there appeared on the glass a little moisture; then the Doctor said to them, If he is not dead, I believe he is so far gone that I think he will never open his eyes again ; but I would have you let him lay while he continues warm, and when he begins to grow cold, lay him out.
“ This they told me, when I returned into the body; at which time I inquired, why so many sat up with me, not knowing that they thought me dead. Upon hearing me speak, they were all very much surprised, the second time I spoke, they all rose out of their chairs, and when I spoke the third time, they all came to me. My father and mother inquired, how it had been with me? I answered and said unto them, I thought I had been dead, and going to heaven ; and after I left the body, I heard, as it were, the voices of men, women and children, singing songs of praises unto the Lord God and the Lamb, without intermission, which ravished my soul, and threw me into transports of joy. My soul was also delighted with most beautiful greens which appeared to me on every side, and such as never were seen in this world ; through these I passed, being all clothed in white, and in my full shape, without the least DIMINUTION of parts. As I passed along towards a higher state of bliss, I cast my eyes upon the earth, which I saw plainly, and" beheld three men (whom I knew) die. Two of them were white men, one of whom entered into rest, and the other was cast off. There appeared a beautiful transparent gate opened ; and as I and the one that entered into rest, came up to it, he stepped in; but as I was stepping in, I stepped into the body. When I recovered from my Trance, I mentioned both their names, at the same time telling how I saw them die, and which of them entered into rest, and which did not. I said to my mother, 0 that I had made one step further; then I should not have come back again. After I told them what I had to say, I desired them to say no more to me, for I still heard the melodious songs of praises ; and while I heard them, I felt no pain; but when they went from me, the pain in my șide returned again, for which I was glad, hoping every stitch would take me off, and longing for my final change.
After I told them of the death of the three men, they sent to see if it was so; and when the messenger returned, he told them they were all dead, and died in the rooms, &c. as I told them ; upon hearing it, I fell into tears, and said, O Lord, I wish thou hadst kept me, and sent him back that was in pain ; after which I soon recovered from my sickness.
“ The third was a negro, named Cuffe, belonging to the widow Kearny, whom I saw die in the brick kitchen, and when they were laying him on a board, his head fell out of their hands, when about six inches off the board; which I saw plainly, with the other circumstances of his.being laid out, &c. for, N. B. the walls were no hinderance to my sight. Though the negro's body was black, yet the soul was clothed in white, which filled me with greater joy than before, as it appeared to me a token of his acceptance; which has brought to my mind that text of seripture, which says, Likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance.* And if joy over one sinner that repenteth, what must there be over many?
“ Though I was filled with more joy upon seeing the negro on his way to happiness, yet I was not permitted to see him fully enter into rest ; but just as I thought myself about to enter into rest, I came into the body again.
6 Some time after my recovery, the widow Kearny, the mistress of the negro man, sent for me, and inquired, whether I thought the departed spirits knew one another? I answered in the affirmative, and told her, that I saw her negro man die, whilst I was a corpse. She then asked me, Where did he die ? I told her, in her brick kitchen, between the jamb of the chimney and the wall, and when they took him off the bed to lay him on the board, his head slipped out of their hands : she then said, so it did; and asked me, if I could tell her, where they laid him: I informed her that they laid him between the back door and the street door: she said she did not remember any thing of that; I told her he laid there whilst they swept under the window, where he was afterwards placed : she then said, she remembered it was so, and told me that she was satisfied, and had reason to believe, what she often thought, that it was so.
• Luke xy. 7.
“ These men, upon inquiry, were found to die at the very time I saw them; and all the circumstances of their death, were found to be as I related them. As some may be desirous to know how, and in what shape, those dead appeared to me; I would satisfy their desire, by telling them, that they appeared each in a complete body, which I take to be the spiritual body, separated from the earthly sinful body. They were also all clothed, the .negro and the person who entered into rest, in white, and the other, who was cast off, had his garment somewhat white, but spotted. I saw also the body in which each lived when upon earth, and also how they were laid out; but my own body I did not
The reason why I neither saw my own body, nor entered fully into rest, I take to be this, that my soul was not quite separated from my body, as the others were ; though it was so far separated, as to see those things, and to hear the songs of praise before mentioned.
“ Now some may think that the dead know not each other; to whom I say, did not Dives know both Abraham and Lazarus, though afar off p»
Extract of a letter from the Rev. Joseph Proud, to a member of
the Church in Philadelphia, dated near Birmingham, England, December 9, 1816.
“You will, my good friend, be gratified to hear that the doctrines gain ground and spread in our United Kingdom of late, much more than some years past. I have a better opportunity, than
many, of being acquainted with the success and progress of the cause in the kingdom, as by the general conference in 1815, I was chosen and appointed as the missionary minister, to visit the various societies in the different parts of the nation, to disseminate the doctrines, confirm and encourage the brethren, and establish other societies as the way might open. Consequently, by travelling, I am enabled to gain information as to the success of the cause, and I rejoice to find that it is constantly upon the increase.
* Luke xvi. 19, &c.