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A LITTLE GIRL.
A very little girl, who often read her Bible, gave proof that she understood her obligation to obey its precepts. One day, she came to her mother, much pleased, to show her some fruit which had been given to her. The mother said, the friend was very kind, and had given her a great many. Yes,” said the child, "very indeed ; and she gave me more than these, but I have given some away." The mother inquired to whom she had given them; when she answered, “I gave them to a girl who pushes me off the path, and makes faces at me." On being asked why she gave them to her, she replied, “ Because I thought it would make her know that I wish to be kind to her, and she will not, perhaps, be rude and unkind to me again.” How admirably did she thus obey the command to “overcome evil with good !"
KINDNESS & PEACE PRINCIPLES TESTED.
Perhaps the severest test to which the peace principles were ever put, was in Ireland, during the memorable rebellion of 1798. During that conflict, the Irish Quakers were continually between two fires. The Protestant party viewed them with suspicion and dislike, because they refused to fight, or to pay military taxes; and the fierce multitude of insurgents deemed it sufficient cause of death, that they would neither profess belief in the Catholic religion, nor help them fight for Irish freedom. Victory alternated between the two contending parties, and as usual in civil war, the victors made almost indiscriminate havoc of those who did not march under their banner. It was a perilous time for all men ; but the Quakers alone were liable to a raking fire from both sides. Foreseeing calamity, they had nearly two years before the war broke out, publicly destroyed all their guns, and other weapons used for game. But this pledge of pacific intentions was not sufficient to satisfy the Government, which required warlike assistance at their hands. Threats and insults were heaped upon them from all quarters; but they steadfastly adhered to their resolution of doing good to both parties, and harm to neither. Their houses were filled with widows and orphans, with the sick, the wounded, and the dying, belonging both to the loyalists and the rebels. Sometimes, when the Catholic insurgents were victorious, they would be greatly enraged to find Quaker houses filled with Protestant families. They would point their pistols, and threaten death, if their enemies were not imme diately turned into the street to be massacred. But the pistol dropped, when the Christian mildly replied, “ Friend, do what thou wilt, I will
not harm thee, or any other human being." Not
emid the savage fierceness of civil war, could men fire at one who spoke such words as those.
They saw that this was not cowardice but bravery much higher than their own.
On one occasion, an insurgent threatened to burn down a Quaker house, unless the owner expelled the Protestant women and children, who had taken refuge there. "I cannot help it,” replied the Friend ; “so long as I have a house, I will keep it open to succor the helpless and distressed, whether they belog to thy ranks, or those of thy enemies. If my house is burned, I must be turned out with them, and share their affliction.” The fighter turned away, and did the Christian no harm.
The Protestant party seized the Quaker School teacher of Ballitore, saying they could see no reason why he should stay at home in quiet, while they were obliged to fight to defend his property. “Friends, I have asked no man to fight for me," replied the teacher. But they dragged him along, swearing that he should stand in front of the army, and if he would not fight, he should at least stop a bullet. His house and school-house were filled with women and children, who had taken refuge there; for it was an instructive fact, throughout this bloody contest, that the houses of the men of peace were the only places of safety. Some of the women followed the soldiers, begging them not to take
away their friend and protector, a man who expended more for the sick and starving, than others did for arms and ammunition. The school-teacher said, “ Do not be distressed, my friends. I forgive these neighbors; for what they do, they do in ignorance of my principles and feelings. They may take my life, but they cannot force me to do injury to one of my
fellow creatures.": As the Catholics had done, so did the Protestants; they went away, and left the man
of peace safe in his divine armor. The dames of bigotry were of course fanned by civil war. On one occasion, the insurgents seized a wealthy old Quaker, in very feeble health, and threatened to shoot him if he did not go with them to a Catholic priest to be christened. They had not led him far before he sank down from extreme weakness.
6. What do you say to our proposition ?" asked one of the soldiers, handling his gun significantly. The old man quietly replied, "If thou art permitted to take my life, I hope our Heaveuly Father will forgive thee.” The insurgents talked apart for a few minutes, and then went away, restrained by a power they did not understand. Deeds of kindness added strength to the influence of gentle words. The officers and soldiers of both parties had had some dying brother tended by the Quakers, or some starving mother who had been fed, or some desolate little ones that had been cherished. Whichever party marchea into a village victorious, the cry was, “Spare the Quakers! They have done good to all, and harm to none.” While flames were raging and blood flowing in every direction, the houses of the peace-makers stood uninjured.
It is a circumstance worthy to be recorded, that during the fierce and terrible struggle, even in counties where the Quakers were the most numerous, but one of their society fell a sacrifice. That one was a young man, who, being afraid to trust to peace principles, put on a military uniform, and went to the garrison for protection. The garrison was taken by the insurgents, and he was killed. His dress and arms spoke the language of hostility," says the historian, “and therefore they invited it." During that troubled period, no armed citizen could travel without peril of his life; but the Quakers regularly attended their Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, going miles across the country, often through an armed and furious multitude, and sometimes obliged to stop and remove corpses from their path. The Catholics, angry at Protestant meetings being thus openly held, but unwilling to hurt the Quakers, advised them to avoid the public road, and go by private ways. But they, in their quiet innocent way, answered that they did not feel clear it would be right for them to go by any other than the public usual high road. And by the high road they went