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Franklin County: Eliza R. Stouffer to Mary Polly, February 20, 1863

In this letter to Mary Polly, Eliza Stouffer relates her views on religion and her sincere wish that Mary Polly share her views.

February 20th 1863

Chambersburg, Pa.

My dear friend Mary Polly

wishing unto you, the abundant grace of God, that he may strengthen and enlighten you still more and more according to your need, For he knows our wants, and has promised in his word that he will not cast off those that come unto him with an upright heart,

I was much rejoiced when I received the letter, and found it was from you, we had not heard any thing from you for a long time, I often times wished myself in your company a while, Jacob and I had made up our minds if there would be sleighing roads we would go down to see you, but that time did not come, so we have concluded now to wait, untill the roads and weather gets better, I am rejoiced to hear through your letter, that you have not laid aside yet this one thing needful, and are desiring to Know the truth, and learn of Christ, For he says come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, These are very encouraging words for a poor distressed soul, and much more, he says that he will draw nigh unto them, that draw nigh unto him, Oh what encouragement to all, we may be where we will, he is no respecter of person, all that live righteously are accepted, he has also promised that he will send us his spirit, and that shall lead us into all truth, is this not a comfort, that he will not leave us in the dark, but will teach us the way that he would have us go, but we must forsake our own will, make ourselves loose from every thing that is a hinderance to us in this pilgrimage here, for the time will come when we must leave all, and give an account of our stewardship here, let us try to make

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good use of the talent that is given us, for we have to render an account of the same, and I would advise you dear friend, not to get weary in well doing, for I believe if the Lord has given you more light, there will be more required of you, do not get discouraged if you are opposed in your views of the scriptures, but search deep, and pray to God, for an enlightened spirit. you may be the means to bring others to more light For I think there is no danger, that we can be too careful on this point, for the way is discribed as a narrow one, and that many shall strive and not be able to enter in. Is not this enough to make us uneasy, for fear we might be found wanting, and live too light minded and careless, we should not rest untill we have found peace & favour with God.

I think I can feel for you, when I first began to get uneasy and think over these things more seriously and searched the scriptures, I soon found that I never lived up to the scriptures, and what is required of me. I had no rest. I spoke of it to my friends, they said, why if I believe thus, I condemn all my fore fathers, I had to tell them, I believe the scriptures requires this and I must have them were they are, and try to obey the word of God, for it will be that word, that will Judge me at the last day, and if we let ourselves be Judged by the word, we will not come into Judgment. The word requires much of us, not alone going to church, or be a member of a church to receive baptism and the Lords supper. There are many other commands, that are so explicitly commanded, namely to love our enemies do good to those that hate us, and have peace with all men if possible

Christ commanded many things that we cannot do, without having christs spirit, and if we have his spirit, he will teach us how we ought to live. we might be striving all the days of our lives about the mode of baptism, and forget the most impertant part of his teaching he tells us many things, which I Know you have often read, namely

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to come out of the world, and separate ourselves from all ungodlyness to live sober and rightiously in this present world, these few words are full of meaning. if we obey the same, take no part in unrightousness but rather reprove them, and let our words that are yea, be yea, and nay, be nay, and in our whole walk and conduct, show, that we are born of God, and try to walk, as he walked, and follow the example he has set, This is worth striving for, And this is the guide, that he has given, which should be strictly observed, much more, than the mode of water baptism, that is only done once, but this is a daily work. every day we must try to bury this old Adam, and rise with Christ in newness of life, This takes a daily striving, for our nature is currupt and in our flesh, there is nothing good, and then we can only understand the Apostle Paul, when he says, in the flesh, there is nothing good, When I would do good, evil, is present, we learn to Know, that we cannot do it of ourselves, and that we have need of a saviour, and mediator, to intercede for us, and it is only then, that we can give God the honour, and not take it to ourselves. Knowing that we cannot of ourselves, think a good thought, much less perform a good deed.

With this will draw to a close, and commit you, to God and his protection, he Knows our wants, and will not turn a deaf ear unto them that deligenly seek him write soon again if you feel so. I could read your letter very well, and was very good, for so little as you say you write.

If you see Rebeckah Johnston, tell her that I often think of her too, and would be very glad to receive a letter from her too, and hear how she is getting along still,

Let us all try to prepare, while we have yet time and oppertunity, for none of us Know, how long we may yet be permitted to be in the land of the living,

I wish you could be here, again sunday we have meeting in the school house close by us. It is there every four weeks and also every four at the meeting house that makes every two weeks at one of the places

so with this will close, and remain your sincere friend and well wisher

Eliza Stouffer

Mary Polly

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