The Memoirs of

Sunderland P. Gardner

Journal, Part Four

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Fourth month 17th, 1855. - Attended the funeral of Joseph Sheldon, an elder by whom I had lived as a neighbor for over forty years.

Our friends are taken away one after another - and the fact seems to address to us this language: "Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."

The meeting was the largest I ever attended on a funeral occasion.  I had to bear a close testimony from the words: "Man finds death in the error of his ways."

It was thought to be a season which would long remembered by some as a visitation of divine favor.

First-day 22d. - A large and favored meeting.  There were more than usual present on account of the funeral of Sarah Hoag, a niece of mine, and daughter of Daniel and Hannah Hoag.

She had been a great sufferer from consumption, and was rejoiced in the prospect of a release from her sufferings. She was fearful at times that she should not be sufficiently patient to the end, and was very considerate and thoughtful about her preparation for a change, and queried with me if I thought it would be well with her. At one time near her close, when she became very weak in body, a man came and told her it was necessary for her to be baptized with water (he being a close Baptist); when I came again she informed me what the priest had said, and remarked that it had hurt her feelings, at the same time asking my opinion upon the subject. I replied that I thought she might rest easy on the matter, as water baptism was only a form and could have no effect on one's spiritual state, upon which she seemed to be satisfied. I have often thought that it needs great care on the part of those who visit and converse with the sick lest zeal should sometimes outrun knowledge.

First month 2d, 1856. - Our Quarterly Meeting for business to-day, was a favored season.

My mind was much exercised in the public part of the meeting, and finally I was released by communicating what seemed to be required, commencing with the following words: Jesus told his disciples what kind of evidence would convince the world that they were his followers. "By this," said he, "shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

He did not call them to any particular set of doctrines or forms, but taught them that true worship must proceed from the soul that is clothed with and sustained by the love of God.

9th. - Attended the funeral of Elijah P. Quinby at Junius.

17th. - Attended the funeral of Harriet Hoag.

Third month 3d. - Attended the funeral of a son of Henry Bunnell, Junius.

Fourth month 13th. - Attended the funeral of a son of Edward Sheldon, Farmington.

Fifth month 1st. - Attended the funeral of Matthew Rogers, Galen. Favored season.

Fifth month 8th. - A son of Wm. Durfee, about two miles north of Palmyra; a favored meeting, very different from the one I attended in the same house a year ago.

Fifth month 10th. - Attended the funeral of Mary Quinby, widow of E. P. Quinby, at Waterloo. I had considerable labor in the line of ministry, which appeared to be well received, but it was not as satisfactory to me as at some other times; the well did not spring up to overflowing to such a degree as I have at times witnessed, but I desire to be preserved in patience under every allotment, that I may feel that it is the same merciful Father that watches over us for good when we suffer need as when we abound.

Four months ago I sat with the bereaved widow and her children who deeply lamented the loss of a tender father; to-day their mother was laid by the side of her husband whose death she felt so deeply. She awoke the family in the night and stated to them that she should continue but a short time; she complained of no pain, only shortness of breath.  She commended her spirit to God, and calmly passed away in less than three hours from the first alarm. O my soul, be thou also ready, lest the pale messenger come upon thee as a thief in the night!

16th. - A son of Matilda Griffin, Macedon Center. Small meeting, but a comfortable season.

Fifth month 31st. - Angeline Ramsdale, wife of _____ Ramsdale, and daughter of Henry U. Underhill. The meeting was largely attended by different classes of professors, and others. I felt during the first part of the meeting like an empty vessel, but my heart was opened in secret prayer. At length my good care-taker blessed and brake bread for me to hand to the multitude, and I believe we were all filled. A large number of our Orthodox Friends were present.

Eighth month 24th. - Attended a meeting at half-past ten in the morning in the Methodist meeting-house, Canandaigua, which was much to my satisfaction. They were very kind in consenting that their own regular meeting should be conducted after the manner of Friends; it was an instructive season in which truth gained the victory over error. The subject was: "Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated," and "The elder shall serve the younger," which led to many subjects of interest to man.

29th. - The funeral of Addison Smith; the meeting was large and solemn. I took my seat in a hungering and prayerful state, and my Heavenly Father answered my prayer by breaking and blessing the bread of life to my hungry soul, and then life arose and strength was given to stand up with these words, "That which makes manifest is light." The truth seemed to flow in a living stream.

31st. - First-day, a favored meeting; I was concerned to speak on the nature of spiritual worship and the work of the Gospel. My mind had been burdened for some time with a sense of the machinations of some persons and their endeavors to injure me, which I am well aware they are trying to accomplish by the means used only by the lowest, darkest states, but in this meeting my spirit was favored to be elevated beyond their reach, and I found a resting place where no enemy could come.

Having for time a prospect of a meeting with the prisoners in Auburn State prison, and the necessary arrangements having been made, I left home on Seventh-day, 27th of Ninth month, 1856, taking the cars at Shortsville, thence to Cayuga, and from there by steamboat six miles to Union Springs, where I stayed the night with my kind friends Edward and Catherine Eldridge, and made arrangements for an appointed meeting at the Friends' meeting-house at three o'clock in the afternoon of next day.

First-day morning, 28. - Started with Edward Eldridge and wife for Auburn, where we arrived at half-past eight o'clock. While waiting in the prison before meeting I was very much stripped, almost to depression. At nine o'clock the chaplain told me to follow him; we passed into the chapel of the prison, where the prisoners were all seated in good order, - I should judge between seven hundred and a thousand, beside a number of citizens who came in on the occasion. The chaplain immediately read a chapter in the Bible, and after making a few remarks sat down, and all remained in silence for some time; at length my mind was introduced into exercise, and prepared to sit with the prisoners where they sat.

The opportunity was satisfactory to me, and I believe it was to them; some of them appeared to be very much tendered during the communication, and when I sat down some said, Amen! I had cause to rejoice in yielding this little service. After I closed the chaplain told them they had heard the gospel preached to them that day, and he hoped they would long remember it and profit by it.

In the afternoon attended the appointed meeting at Union Springs to good satisfaction; the next morning returned home and found my family well, for which I feel thankful.

Tenth month 1st. - Attended the funeral of the wife of Seth Beals; she was not a member among Friends, but requested a Friends' Meeting on the occasion of her burial. A solemn and satisfactory meeting.

2d. - Attended the Quarterly Meeting at Mendon. The Yearly Meeting's committee appointed to attend Farmington Quarter was present. Nicholas and Margaret Brown and John Watson had acceptable service. It was a satisfactory meeting.

5th. - A large and favored meeting - many strangers present.

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