His faith was of the simplest kind—the Parable of the prodigal son, contains his creed. Discarding what are commonly called “plans of salvation,” he believed in the light “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” and that if people would follow this light, they would thus seek “the kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and all other things needful would be added thereunto.” He was a devoted member of the Society of Friends, in which he held the position of elder, during the last twenty-five years of his life. That peculiar doctrine of the Society, which repudiates systematic divinity and with it a paid ministry, he held in special reverence, finding confirmation of its truth in the general advocacy of Slavery, by the popular clergy of his day.
When he was quite advanced in years, and the Anti-slavery agitation grew warm, he was solicited to join an anti-slavery society, but on hearing the constitution read, and finding that it repudiated all use of physical force on the part of the oppressed in gaining their liberty, he said that he could not assent to that—that he had long been engaged in getting off slaves, and that he had always advised them to use force, although remonstrating against going to the extent of taking life, and that now he could not recede from that position, and he did not see how they could always be got off without the use of some force.
His faith in an overruling Providence was complete. He believed, even in the darkest days of freedom in our land, in the ultimate extinction of Slavery, and at times, although advanced in years, thought he would live to witness that glorious consummation. It is only in a man’s own family and by his wife and children, that he is really known, and it is by those who best knew, and indeed, who only knew this good man, that his biographer is most anxious that he should be judged. As a parent, he was not excessively indulgent, as a husband, one more nearly a model is rarely found. But his kindness in domestic life, his love for his wife, his son and his grandchildren, and their reciprocal love and affection for him, no words can express.
It was in his father’s household in his youth and in his own household in his mature years, that was fostered that wealth of love and affection, which, extending and widening, took in the whole race, and made him the friend of the oppressed everywhere, and especially of those whom it was a dangerous and unpopular task to befriend.
The tenderness and thoughtfulness of his disposition are well shown in the following incident: Upon one occasion, his son received a kick from a horse, which he was about to mount at the door. When he had recovered from the shock, and it was found that he was not seriously injured, the father still continued to look serious, and did not cease to shed tears. On being asked why he grieved, his answer was: “I was just thinking how it would have been with thee, had that stroke proved fatal.” Such thoughts were at once the notes of his own preparation and a warning to others to be also ready.