(A Journal Extract, Reprinted in Friends' Intelligencer, Vol. XI (1854), No. 29, p. 451.)
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The following extracts from the journal of the late Joseph John Gurney are so full of devotional feeling and sound practical advice, that surely they must meet a response in the mind of every reader of the Intelligencer. - M.A.I.
8th month 8th. This day has been very peaceful and quiet, and I hope profitable. At the morning meeting I endeavoured to examine my conduct in life a little more methodically that I have for some time been accustomed to do, and have several things to not e.
In the sight of Him who called thee to be holy as he is holy, and whom without holiness it is impossible to please, take care never to entertain an impure idea. Dismiss it the instant it occurs to thee. Endeavour to be, in this respect, as an infant; kno wing nothing and thinking no evil.
Be strong in the Lord. Cultivate a close dependence both on the providence and promises of God. Then if thou art blessed with a deep sense that the Lord governeth all things for good, with a certain expectation that "Whosoever liveth and believeth in him shall never die," thou wilt live in quietness and hope, and fear no evil.
Never act from motives of fear contrary to thy judgment. When thou art anxious on any subject, do not magnify evil in the anticipation, and learn to expect good rather than evil. Let the presence of the Lord restrain and counsel thee in thy choice of employment; and, having found thy right place, whatsoever thou doest, do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not unto men.
Give thy mind to one things at a time; nevertheless in all things maintain thy recollection of heaven. For this purpose allow thyself, during the hours of business, occasional short pauses for devotional meditation. Take care also, not to suffer thy time for recreation to be disturbed by the thoughts and cares of business.
Whatsoever is committed to thy care demands thy attention. Be watchful, therefore, not to forget thy lesser memoranda; rather, execute without delay whatsoever can be effected as well at the present as at a future point. Nevertheless, think twice about e verything, in all thy concerned, endeavour to dwell under the direction of the best Guide.
Keep thy secrets carefully; and, in conducting business with any one, be sure to speak no more words than the case requires. Above all things, be strictly honest and upright in all thy dealings. Rigidly adhere to the truth on little as well as great occasions.
If thou art careful never to act except upon good grounds, thou wilt afterwards have no temptation to be otherwise than candid, fair and open in thy communications with me. Let thy light shine therefore; be transparent; let thy neighbour see through thee, that there is no evil way in thee.
"Let thy moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Present thy body "a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God." Sleep and food are mercifully bestowed on thee for the preservation of thy health. Enjoy them, as far as they are required for than purpose; no further. Judge not, lest thou be judged. Never expose the faults and infirmities of other, except for a decidedly good purpose. Let it by thy general rule never to mention what is amiss in thy neighbour to a third person, unto thou hast been faithful in communicating thy sentiments to the individual himself.
Be in love and charity with all. Love "thinketh no evil," and speaketh no evil, "is not puffed up and is kind." Be kind in sentiment, kind in manner, kind in action; yet away with all ostentation. Take care that thy left hand knoweth not what thy right hand doeth. In all things let self be abased. Be willing to suffer for Jesus Christ's sake. His world will be "a lamp unto thy feet and a light unto thy path." Watch for his guidance, follow it with a firm and manly step; dwell deep in the power of his love; live not to thyself, but live as Christ liveth in thee.