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by a long sickness, from personally joining the church with which she was connected in this solemn service, she requested that on the evening of the Sabbath of the more public administration, she, on her bed of languishing, might“ do this in remembrance of” her dying Lord; and, with a heart overflowing with adoring love, she from time to time received the sign and seal of the covenant of redeeming mercy.
She likewise greatly prized the privilege which she possessed, as a Wesleyan Methodist, of enjoying, in its visible exercise, the communion of saints. Her name was not in the “class-book” in vain. Attendance was with her matter of conscience: it was likewise a source of sacred profit and delight. Private prayer, too, and the attentive perusal of the holy Scriptures, were exercises to which she carefully attended. She evidently, and through life, enjoyed much “fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ ;” and this may principally be attributed to her close attention to these various and prescribed duties. She knew, indeed, that the inward life of God in the soul is only to be directly maintained by faith in Christ; but she also knew that attendance on the outward means of grace, whether public, or more select, was positively enjoined; and that there could be no true and efficient spiritual exercises, where there was a wilful neglect of duty.
But Miss Cowling did not pursue her holy and useful course without experiencing molestation from the “adversary, who walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” But to temptation she opposed the shield of faith, and experienced that it could quench the fiery darts of the devil. Soon after the commencement of what proved to be her final affliction, she experienced a violent and very painful assault of inward temptation. The enemy appeared particularly to aim at wresting the shield of faith from her hand: he sought to obscure her mind, and to induce her to “cast away” her "confidence.” It seemed as if her mind had been filled with doubts, sometimes of the reality of the work of grace which she had experienced, then of her own sincerity, then of the faithfulness of her Saviour. But, in the midst of all, she was enabled to maintain a firm hold of Christ as her Saviour. She steadfastly relied on the “exceeding great and precious promises” which God had given, and pleaded them in earnest prayer.
This was as a “fiery trial” to her; but though she was in the furnace, the Son of God was present with her, and not only preserved her unharmed, but brought her forth as gold that is purified.
Before referring to the illness which terminated in her removal from time to eternity, one or two of the memorandums which she occasionally made of her own religious experience may be copied, for the purpose of illustrating her spiritual condition and character.
“ May 22d, 1825.--I feel I am ripening for heaven. Last night the class-meeting was as a Bethel to my soul. Christ is my living Head, my Saviour, Brother, Friend; my Advocate, Prophet, Priest, and
King. Yes, Lord; in all these relations I prove thee to be mine. O may I daily keep hanging on thee! While praying in secret yesterday evening, I had a precious season. It is, indeed, ask, and have whate'er we want.' Blessed be God, I have fellowship with the Father, through his Son Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. My heart is filled with love. O give me more, and still more, of this happy communion !"
“ April 11th, 1828.—'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits ?' It is now seven years since he redeemed my soul from destruction, adopted me into his family, and made me an heir of heaven. And O what love, what care, what mercy, what tender compassion, bave I experienced from that time! Praise the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!' And though, in his unerring wisdom, at the present time he sees good to afflict me, I know that this is for my benefit. In him I have rest; and I am assured that he will do all things well. Should he be pleased to restore me, I shall have learned some useful lessons by the trial; and should he see good to take me to himself, that will be the best time for me which my heavenly Father chooseth.”
“ October 25th, 1829.-Last week the Lord, in his infinite mercy, answered my prayer in a particular manner. If we, in faith, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make known our requests unto God, how certainly do we realize the declaration - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus !' These answers to prayer strengthen my confidence in Him, on whom alone I ever wish to depend. He has given his word of promise to inspire our faith ; and all those desires after holiness and divine enjoyment which he has implanted, if we believe and pray, he will satisfy beyond our expectations. O may I trust in him under all circumstances! Abraham, who is set forth as a pattern to believers, staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. My heavenly Father watches over me for my good, and is attentive to my requests. There is no petition either too small or too great for God to grant. I write this to assist in strengthening my own faith in future, that I may never doubt his power, his love, or his care.”
“December 29th, 1835.-I feel myself the least of all saints; but I am fed with the hidden manna from above. My Saviour dwells and reigns in my heart by his Spirit; and this constitutes an inward heaven. I delight in lying low at his feet; feeling that of myself 'I nothing have, I nothing am.' All is from above.”
Thus happily did life pass along with Miss Cowling. In religion she was decided. The injunction, “ Yield yourselves unto God," she had implicitly obeyed; and, having counted all things loss for Christ, she found more than all in him. Her countenance was cheerful, bearing evident indications of inward spiritual joy; but it likewise bore the impression of devout seriousness. She lived much in the exercise
of heavenly contemplation. “So shall we be ever with the Lord," were words on which she would meditate with unutterable delight. Living in the enjoyment of the perfect love which casteth out fear, she was always happy in God. And the love of God, which filled her heart, appeared in her life in its evident fruits. In her spirit, temper, and general deportment, humility, meekness, gentleness, patience, charity, and every kindred grace, appeared distinctly and brightly. And her light shone more and more unto the perfect day. From the time that she first joined the Wesleyan society, to the day of her death, she was a prudent, zealous, self-denying, exemplary member, a genuine Methodist Christian.
For nearly two years and a half before she died, Miss Cowling was much afflicted. It was soon evident that extensive pulmonary disease existed; but she lingered long, and often suffered acutely. But divine strength was made perfect in her weakness, and she rejoiced in fully experiencing that her Saviour's grace was sufficient for her. During the course of her illness she once observed to her sister, that she felt unutterable thankfulness that, in the morning of her days, she had been led to give herself to God. I look back with pleasure on the past; and I look forward with pleasure to the future. All is bright. Heaven appears open to my view; and, when I look to the grave, I think no more of being laid in it, than of lying on this bed.” And, on May 31st, 1840, about a fortnight before her death, she said, “I find that I am going fast. I am thankful that I am so happy. I have no cloud. Christ is mine, and I am his.
• My Jesus to know, and feel his blood flow,
'Tis life everlasting, 'tis heaven below.'” On Friday, June 14th, about four in the morning, she became much worse. Taking hold of her sister's hand, she said, “I shall soon go; but Christ is precious. He never was more precious than he is now." She, however, revived a little, and lingered a day or two longer. On Saturday afternoon she said, “I shall soon be more than conqueror, through the blood of the Lamb. No fears, no doubts. All is bright!" In the evening, taking leave of three of her young friends, she said to them, “ Cleave to Christ, cleave to Christ!" One of them added, “And follow your example.” She instantly rejoined, “Not mine, but Christ's.” During the night she suffered much, and could sometimes scarcely be distinctly heard. About six in the morning of Sunday, June 16th, she raised her arms, clasped her hands, and, with a countenance full of joy, she said, “I am going to Jesus. I am happy; for
I have found the ground wherein
Sure my soul's anchor may remain,
Before the world's foundation slain;
She attempted to recite another verse, but the power of articulation failed; and her mortal life thus closed with the solemn expression of her abiding confidence. “Blessed,” indeed, “are the dead which" thus “die in the Lord.”
MEMOIR OF MISS NANCY HOLLAND,
OF KERRIDGE, NEAR MACCLESFIELD:
BY MR. J. D. BROCKLEHURST.
The object of the writer of such a memoir as is now presented to the reader should be, to set forth, for the improvement of the living, the excellences of the beloved and pious dead,—to trace the course of action to its principles, in order to magnify the grace of God, and exhibit the effects of true religion on the heart and life. How important, then, are memoirs like these! Through them many a sorrowing penitent has become acquainted with the way of salvation ; and many a sincere Christian has been quickened and encouraged by these mementos of departed saints.
The following is a record of one who was comparatively “little and unknown,"—of a retiring, humble disciple of the Lord Jesus; but distinguished for piety.
Miss Holland was born February 10th, 1809. At a very early period of her life she had many strong religious impressions; but, like too many young persons, she resisted them. When about nineteen years
of age she read that immortal book, “ The Saints' Rest," by Richard Baxter; and was led, by the perusal of it, to search her own heart; and, on beholding its “deceitfulness and wickedness," she renounced all complacency in her own goodness, she felt herself a guilty and condemned sinner in the sight of God, and gave herself up to reading the word of God and prayer. She had not long employed these divinely-appointed means before her experience proved their success. Whilst meditating on those encouraging words,“ To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” light broke in upon her mind : she saw the way of simple faith in Christ; she believed" with the heart unto righteousness ;” and God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into her heart, crying, “ Abba, Father.” Her conversion to God was sound and scriptural.
She wished very much to join the Wesleyan society, being convinced both of the propriety and advantages of such a union. For a time, circumstances prevented this ; but no sooner were the hinderances removed, than she became a member ; having maintained the beginning of her confidence without wavering. Thus she solemnly and publicly avouched the Lord to be her God; and sought, from that time, that her entire deportment should be such as “ becometh the
Gospel of Christ.” And, perhaps, there have been few instances, in private life, in which the Christian character, in all its loveliness, has been more clearly displayed. It may not be unacceptable to review some of the traits in the character of our sainted friend; and these will be gathered partly from personal acquaintance, and partly from her own diary.
She possessed, in an eminent degree, “ the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” “ To speak evil of no man, to be no brawler, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men,” was a law engraven upon her heart, which she ever faithfully obeyed. Seldom, if ever, was she known to speak a hasty or unkind word; but “in her tongue was the law of kindness.” Humility and love were seen in her very countenance; and her actions proved that this was a faithful index of the mind. She thought of, and did, the things which are “ lovely, and of good report."
She displayed the greatest regard for the Scriptures, and private devotion. She not merely read, but also meditated on, portions of the word of God day by day. And five times a day she entered into her closet, to hold communion with Him“ who seeth in secret ;" that is, on rising in the morning, at nine and twelve A.M., at six P. m., and on retiring to rest in the evening. She aspired after the high privilege of holding unclouded and uninterrupted communion with the Triune Deity. In the closet she had manifestations of “ the glory of God," as seen “in the face of Jesus Christ;” and, when she came forth from that sacred spot, she found her spiritual strength renewed, her views of the divine perfections enlarged, her hopes of a happy immortality brightened, and her desires for purity of heart and meetness for glory increased.
She manifested the most intense interest in the public services of the sanctuary. Slight indisposition, the visit of a friend, or the sign of rain, was never allowed to prevent her from going to “ the place where prayer is wont to be made;" but she was glad when they said unto her, “ Let us go up to the house of the Lord together.” And on the evening of almost every Sabbath she recorded her feelings while engaged in the public worship of God, and observations on the discourses to which she had listened.
It is worthy of remark, that there is not one of these records which does not contain an expression of warm gratitude to God for the mercies and privileges of the Sabbath: she seemed ever to regard that holy day as emblematic of “the rest which remaineth for the people of God."
She paid strict attention to the duties of self-examination and selfdenial. Her diary abundantly testifies that she kept her heart with all diligence, that she regularly and minutely examined the workings of her mind. By this important exercise she was relieved from uneasy apprehensions about her state, and was enabled to “have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man." And she carefully observed the duty of self-denial. Though it would be absurd