The Memoirs of

Sunderland P. Gardner

(Journal, Part Three)

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14th, First-day. - A satisfactory meeting. I was exercised in a public testimony. The text taken was Isaiah 18: 16: "Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation." A figure referring to the revelation of Jesus Christ in the soul. My friend William Clark appeared in solemn, humble supplication, which seemed to reach the witness in the people, and many could say Amen.

21st, First-day. - A very large meeting; I went to meeting in my usual state of poverty with a desire to be silent, but endeavored to stand resigned.  Soon, however, the difference between faith and a mere nominal belief opened to my view, and finally I found it necessary to communicate it to others from these words: "What shall we do, that we may work the words of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him who he hath sent" (John 6: 28,29), stating that a true belief in Christ was only produced by the revelation of God, which is his own work.

28th. - A very large meeting to-day - many strangers being present. I took my seat with a desire to remain silent, but an exercise came upon me in such a manner that I found it necessary to give it expression, which I did from these words: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord." Showing that the death alluded to had no reference to the death of the body - for that, no doubt, was designed in the creation to be dissolved and returned to its kindred elements when its work was done; but the declaration referred to the state of the soul, dead in trespasses and sin. Having partaken of the forbidden fruit, there is a consciousness of the loss of innocence and peace - the clothing of the Father's love is forfeited, - this is the soul's death. Yet the soul is not annihilated, only cold and lifeless, and if repentant may, by the drawing of the Father's love, be again brought under the influence of "Christ the power and wisdom of God," and thus raised into newness of life.

It was a satisfactory meeting to me. May I keep in a state of humble dependence upon my Heavenly Father, and be prepared to say with the Psalmist, "His mercy endureth forever."

29th. - Attended the funeral of John Lawrence at Friends' Meeting-house in Mendon. He was not a member of any Society, but had the reputation of being an exemplary man.

The meeting was largely attended by members of other denominations, who appeared to be edified and profited by the opportunity, some of them expressing themselves to that effect.

I was called to speak from the words: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." I held forth that this is in substance ever addressed to sinners, and that the "kingdom of heaven" is in every soul that is reconciled to God; hence a state that may be known in a measure in this life.

It was a season of instruction, but a feeling of poverty covered my mind most of the day.

Sixth month 4th. - A comfortable meeting to-day, but not so satisfactory to me as at some other times; though I thought it to be a favored season to others.

8th. - Mid-week meeting. David Adams from De Ruyter attended to-day and had acceptable service.

10th. - Our Yearly Meeting of Ministers and Elders held to-day; it was a season of renewed visitation to the comfort of our hearts. We had the company of John Hunt from New Jersey, Joseph Foulke from Pennsylvania and Richard Cromwell and Elizabeth Leedom from New York.

11th. - First-day public meeting very large. John Hunt had a seasonable and instructive offering in the Gospel which was truly edifying to many, but it was too sound to suit the libertarian spirit which prevails to a great extent in this day. Many appear to want pillows sewed under their armholes (Ez. 13: 18), that they may rest easy in their sins. J. Hunt's ministry was powerfully directed against all wrong and skepticism.

We had a favored time to the end of the Yearly Meeting. It is truly a great favor for which we ought to be grateful, when so large a body of Friends come together and go through with the weighty matters pertaining to the church, and not one thing occurs to break the harmony and good order which should characterize a Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, but all speaking the same language, minding the same things.

Such was the Yearly Meeting of Genesee in 1854.

Seventh month 3d. - Left home with Elizabeth Leedom, my wife and little granddaughter to attend our Quarterly Meeting at Hamburgh.  Arrived there at evening very much wearied with the journey, especially Elizabeth, who was almost exhausted.  We had an excellent meeting, although on Fourth- and Fifth-days an individual who was not a member was tedious in communication; but I was glad Friends were patient. Some labor in the ministry was required of me in the public meeting on Fifth-day; the people appeared to be edified and some seemed to be reached and tendered in a remarkable manner. After I had left the house a young woman sent for me to return and see her; accordingly I went back and saw her weeping. I saw her condition and advised her to be faithful to the witness of truth in herself which could "lead her into all truth." She was very much tendered, as were also some others; I felt to call them to come to Christ - not to sectarianism.

After meeting went across the Niagara River to Bertie, where my health was very poor, suffering a good deal of pain in my side and hip; my granddaughter was also very sick. We were kindly cared for by our friends of the families of Henry and Jacob Zavitz. The young people also were very attentive and kind, as well as staid and exemplary in their deportment. How I should rejoice to see all our young Friends manifest a similar interest in the best things; how soon would the waste places become as fruitful fields! In much weakness I attended their meeting on First-day, which was a comfortable meeting.

On Second-day our friend, Henry Zavitz and his daughter accompanied us to the Niagara Falls, where we could see the river broken in its passage from the level of the upper lake country to the level of Lake Ontario. It is wonderful to see the chasm which the water has worn through the rocks for about seven miles to pass from Lewistown to their present location. It must have taken thousands of years.

It is now seldom that we see the Indian pass this way; he has been driven from his birthright - gone from his hunting-grounds and given place to the white man. He no longer throws his offerings of tobacco into the angry waters to appease the spirit which he imagined presided over them. He no more shall pursue his game and eat the products of the chase upon the banks of that far-famed river. No - his struggle is over; the last echo of the war-whoop has died away in the distance - his home and the home of his venerated fathers is occupied by strangers who scarcely know of the race they have supplanted and whose lands they occupy. They have been overcome in battle, and finally forced to wander in helpless want, until they are mostly sleeping with their warrior ancestors, leaving but few traces that such a people ever lived.

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