AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL FRAGMENT FROM JESSE KERSEY.
Friends' Intelligencer, Vol. 11 no. 11 (6th month 3rd, 1854), page 167.
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In my early and tender years having had my education among Friends, there
was a respect felt for the Society, which grew with my growth, and strengthened
with my strength. Having also, as a consequence of the pious care extended
to me by my parents, been brought to reflect upon the nature of right and
wrong, there was an attachment formed in my mind to religion and religious
characters, hence I was led to reflect upon the conduct which I saw among
men and to judge and divide between the good and the bad, observing that
Friends were a sober and regular people and that their conversation was innocent
and not mixed with profane language. It had an effect that was very grateful
to my feelings and inclined me to believe that if there was any people who
were to be accounted the Lord's people these must be they. Advancing along
towards manhood my mind was powerfully acted upon and brought under great
weight, and feelings of condemnation. I sought relief by mingling with gay
and cheerful company, but it was all in vain, there seemed to be a burthen
of distressed and melancholy feelings that I saw no way to get clear of.
In this tried state my mind was opened to see that man was a fallen and
transgressing creature, and that this was my case, that I never could be
relieved or happy without sincere repentance and the merciful forgivings
of a gracious Creator. My mind sunk into humility, I confessed to God my
sins and implored forgiveness, and in time I felt myself freed from my burthens
and I thought I found something like a secret covenant of love and tenderness
over my mind. I read the Holy Scriptures and coming over that passage where
it is said a measure of the Divine Spirit is given to every man to profit
withal. I now began to see that it was by this Heavenly gift I was made unhappy
in a transgressing state. Thus one thing opened after another. By looking
into the writings of Friends, it was clear to me that they believed the same
with the Apostles and first promulgators of the Christian doctrines and religion.
I read several of their journals with great satisfaction. My capacity for
coming to a correct judgment increasing, I became convinced that Friends
were the people who had been Divinely raised up to spread the true doctrines
and principles of the Christian religion among mankind. I believed, too,
that I was called to the ministration of those principles among my
fellow-creatures. I engaged in the work with an humble reliance upon Divine
Providence, and in full confidence that I should have the countenance and
hearty cooperation of my fellow-professors of the same faith. This I enjoyed
to a consoling amount with many whom it has pleased the Almighty to remove
from works to rewards, men and women who were blessed instruments in their
day in the church of Christ,
22nd of 5th mo. 1825, in the 57th year of my age.