The Journal


Sunderland P. Gardner, Part Seven

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Seventh month 4th. - I am this day fifty-five years old, and have spent the week, including to-day, in hard labor preparing to leave home on Second-day next to attend Scipio Quarterly Meeting to be held at De Ruyter.

I am now advanced beyond the meridian of human life; I can look back upon the past and see its pains, its pleasures and its sorrows in review. The years of my childhood are fresh; I see my father in the first strength of his manhood, and my mother in the loveliness of her youth, both eagerly engaged to provide for and instruct my infant helplessness. The years pass on; an increase of family brings an increase of care and anxiety, of hope and fear; I see them rejoice when their desires are answered in the obedience of their children, and grieve when those children falter in duty. I observe that the increase of labor and anxiety is making its mark on the brows of those whom I had seen rejoicing in the strength of younger years. Time moves on, and with the anxious heart I see the weight of years and toil and care make them bow, their faces turned toward the earth; still the years pass, and I see her smitten - that dear mother, - her pallid cheek, the tiresome, wasting cough; we grieve as we see the slow but sure work of the destroyer; the years still pass, she is gone! My father yet lingers to console me and encourage me in the path of duty.

I see what is past, but wisely a curtain veils the future from my view.

Seventh month 5th. - I left home to attend Scipio Quarter to be held at De Ruyter.  Stayed with my brother E. W. Gardner's Jr., in the village of Canandaigua; next morning took the cars for Syracuse, from there I took stage twenty-nine miles to De Ruyter. I arrived late in the evening, and put up with that worthy elder, Stephen Bogardus, Edward Eldredge having joined me at Cayuga, and Joseph Head and some others at Syracuse.

Third-day, at two in the afternoon, was held the meeting of ministers and elders, which was small, but a season of favor.

On Fourth-day the Quarterly Meeting was pretty well attended by other people besides Friends, and my heart seemed largely opened in gospel service to the reaching of many states present; after meeting several persons sent word they wished to speak to me, and when I came near, one of them gave me his hand, saying, "God bless you! I am glad to find one man that knows the truth and is not afraid to declare it." They appeared to have been reached, and may they be faithful to the convictions of truth.

At 6 o'clock in the evening had an appointed meeting in the village about one and a half miles from Friends' meeting-house, which was well attended. A favored time.

Eighth month 1st. - Labored hard this day, and in the evening was taken with severe chills, with pain in my lungs and difficult breathing. I had appointed a meeting to be held at West Walworth the next day (First-day), but judging from my state of health matters looked rather doubtful. The subject passed before my mind but gave me little uneasiness, as I had always been favored to attend the meetings I had appointed even when as far as human foresight could go it seemed impossible.

Next morning, however, I with my wife and kind neighbors, George Fritts and wife, attended Macedon meeting at the usual hour, in which I had satisfactory service, and in the afternoon we were at the appointed meeting in West Walworth, which was well attended and the people were attentive. But it was rather a trying exercise for me; professors as well as others appeared to be very much outward in their views of religion; there were many spiritualists present, and the word was close to the several states as they opened before me. But it is seldom I meet with such intense darkness as seemed to cover the people generally; however, it was thought by the Friends present that we had a favored meeting. Returned home at ten o'clock in the evening quite unwell, and got little rest during the night.

Ninth month 6th. - Attended the funeral of Elizabeth, wife of Zachariah Shotwell. It was a large and favored meeting; the Methodists put by their meeting and generally attended.

10th. - Attended the funeral of Humphrey Hart about twenty-four miles from home; he was a stranger to me and not a member among Friends, but desired a Friends' meeting on the occasion of his burial. I had considerable service in the meeting, but it was a day of deep-felt poverty of spirit, almost painfully so, but oh, my soul, trust thou in the Heavenly Shepherd!

17th. - Attended the funeral of Mary Warren, daughter of Nathaniel Warren, aged nearly twenty years, who died suddenly with but little warning that her close was near. She was a sweet-spirited girl. Oh my soul, be thou also ready!

18th. - Attended the funeral of Elizabeth Lundy at Waterloo; she had been a consistent Friend, and made a peaceful close. The meeting was held at Friends' meeting-house at Junius. The Junius meeting was once large and flourishing, but by removals, deaths and desertions there is no meeting of Friends held here now.

20th. - Attended the funeral of Zachariah Shotwell at Macedon. A large, solemn meeting. The Methodists put by their meeting again and attended. The savor of heavenly goodness was evidently felt in this meeting.

Tenth month 5th. - Attended the funeral of two children of a man by the name of Lattin (not Friends), at Farmington South; a favored meeting.

Upon seeing these children both in the same coffin, as if calmly sleeping, beautiful in death, the query arose in my mind, Have these lived in vain because they have been taken away in their infancy? The answer seemed to be, No; dost thou suppose the flower, though not succeeded by fruit, has bloomed in vain? Even when it is faded and has fallen to the ground, do we not remember its beauty, and have we not been benefited by its health-giving influence? Our lives have been made the better for it. So with these infants; their sojourn was short, but they were here long enough to bring out our attachments by the sweetness and innocence of their lives, and to waken our love to something higher than earth, and now they are called back by Him who gave them, before the stains and corruptions of this world had polluted their pure spirits; surely they have not lived in vain.

12th. - Attended the funeral of a daughter of John H. Robinson, at his dwelling-house in the city of Rochester. It was a large, solemn meeting, in which I was enabled to set forth the doctrines of the reign of Christ with clearness and as adapted to the different states present. May it not be as water cast upon a stone, but as a nail driven in a sure place. I do not approve of holding funerals in the dwelling-house if a meeting-house is convenient, for it frequently occurs as in this case, that I probably do not see more than half of the people convened.

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