« PreviousContinue »
impressions in favor of Sunday Schools and Unions, as will lead to increased activity and zeal in this cause.
Joseph Butterworth, Esq. M.P. the active and devoted friend of Sunday Schools, took the chair. The various resolutions were proposed and seconded, or acknowledged, by the Rev. Messrs. Hillvard, Campbell, Slatterie, Dubn, Allen, James, Upton, John. son, Blackburn, C. Hyatt and Fennell, and Messrs. C. S. Dudley, J. Coombs, Marriott, Lloyd, and Jones.
We regret exceedingly that our limits compel as to exclude an extract of the animated addresses which were delivered on this occasion. They breathed the spirit of love, union, and energy; they incontrovertibly proved, by solid facts, the benefits of Sunday Schools, and, we trust, have produced such impressions as will never be forgotten.
Of MARY WESTON. MARY WESTON, the subject of this Memoir, lived in Kidderminster. She entered the Sunday School belonging to the Old Meeting of that place in the year 1806, when about fifteen years of age. She had not attended long before it pleased God to own, and bless the pious endeavours of the teacher for her spiritual and eternal weliare; previous to that time, she used to spend ber Sabbath evenings rambling in the fields, or some trifling diversions, but the grace of God had now made such a change in her heart, that she was diligent and serious in attending all the means of grace, as well on other days as on the Sabbath. Though she had not only herself to maintain, but an aged father and mother, who almost relied upon her labour for support, yet she would rise up early, and sit up late, to enjoy these pri vileges slie now so highly valued. Her attachment to school was evident from her constant, and regular attendance, al. ways taking care to be there before the teachers. She was blessed with a retentive memory, and was anxious to store it with divine knowledge. In less than a year and half she learned the whole of the Assembly's Catechism, with all the Proofs, and many of Dr. Watt’s Divine Songs. She listened with marked attention to the advice and conversation of her teacher, and the effects the important truths produced on her mind, appeared in her hatred to sin, her fear of offending God, and her great love of prayer. She was much impressed with God's omnipresence, and when tempted to do anything that was displeasing to him, her mind was powerfully struck with the solemn words, "Thou God seest me." She would frequently call on her teacher for private and spiritual conversation, inaking, with tears in her eyes, the important inquiry, What must I do to be saved ? When told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, she replied, Lord help me to believe. She had such a deep sense of sin as to doubt of obtaining pardoq,
but upon being told that God was rich in mercy to all who call upon him, and that he'would bestow his grace upon those who asked it, her fears were dispelled, and she was enabled through grace to rejoice in God her Saviour. Though in perfect health, her mind was much impressed with the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, and the solemnities of a future day of judg. ment. With great earnestness would she beg not to be removed from hence till she could read her title clear to mansions in the sky, or till God had made her meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light. Nor did Mary pray for herself alone; the eternal welfare of her parents lay very near her heart, and was the subject of her frequent prayers. This valuable girl continued in the school for several years; the teachers observing with pleasure the attainments she made in knowledge, together with her consistent and humble deportment, solicited her assistance in instructing the junior classes; she clieerfully acceded to the request, and conducted herself in a manner worthy the imitation of other Sunday School teachers. In June 1813, she broke a blood vessel, which was attended with alarming symptoms, and seemed to threaten her life, but it pleased God to bring her out of this affliction, as gold seven times purified. To a female friend who was absent from home at the time, she said, I have been extremely ill, and thought I should have died; but the promises of God were precious to me, I found his grace all sufficient. Scriptures so suitable to her case were im. pressed on her mind, and so sweetly flowed from her lips, that her friend for a moment could only view her with silent astonish
She was perfectly resigned to the will of God, and resolved by his grace assisting to live a life more and more devoted to him. She felt that in all her afflictions nothing could be intended by the author of our being, but her good and his glory.
On the subsequent December she was enabled to dedicate herself solemnly to the service of God, by making a public profession of religion, earnestly desiring to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith she was called, with all lowliness and meekness.
One of her former teachers being about to leave Kidderminster for a season, Mary requested permission to write to her, and last November she sent the following letter wbich is here inserted, as it will at once shew the humility of her mind, the simplicity of her manner, the grateful emotions of her heart for the establishinient of Sunday Schools, and her ardent desire to be submissive to the will of God.
“ Honored Madam,- It having pleased the Lord in his divine providence to lay bis hand ofatlliction upon me his unworthy dust, í feel a desire to write a few lines to you, my dear instructor in the Lord ; indeed it has been good for me, that I was, through grace, taught to seek the Lord in the early part of my life, for if I had no God to fly to in my atiliction how unhappy should I now .be, but I desire to rejoice in the God of my salvation, that he has given me a peaceable mind; I feel a heart's desire to be submis
sive to the will of my heavenly Father, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Though sometimes I feel a fear which brings me into sorrow, but thanks be to God for the gift of his dear son; in leaning upon Christ there is a balm for every wound. When I look back on my past life, there is nothing I can bring before God but what is imperfect. Sin is mixt with all I do; I love the Lord because he first loved me; it was he who found me in the wilderness, and brought me to his fold to weep, and to rejoice with his dear people. At this present time it has pleased the Lord to bring my body in a very weak state, but I hope, trusting in my heavenly Father, as the outward man decays the inward man will increase day by day. It was his good pleasure to lay me aside from my employment on the third of August, since that time I have not been able to do any work; to all human appearance the Lord is bringing this tabernacle of clay near to the dust; from dust I came, and unto dust I must return. O that my soul may be prepared for that solemn change which must take place sooner or later. It is of his mercy that I am not consumed. I often think of the good advice I have had from you, my dear teacher in the Lord, and try to profit by it. I remember when I thought it a task to learn the Assemblys Catechism, but now I bave reason to bless God that I was taught it. I hope the Lord will bless you, and every Sunday School teacher. I feel thankful that he bas provided Sunday Schools, and that I was permitted to attend one; I hope I can say it has been good for my soul. Jesus Christ says, I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep; he has been a kind shepherd to me, unworthy as I am. He has kindly protected, preserved, and blessed me in my affliction. I have reason to be thankful to the most high God, that he has abundantly provided for me, that he has opened the hearts of the people of God to feel great kindness towards me. I desire to thank the Lord for that,and every blessing, knowing it comes from his bountiful hand. I hope this affliction will be sanctified to my soul, and the souls of my dear parents, and to all about me, viewing it as the land of God. I beg you to pray for me and mine, and I know you will, and believe me to be
Your humble and obliged servant, Kidderminster.
. From this time she daily became worse, but appeared growing in grace, and gradually ripening for glory. Her minister, the teachers, and many other christian friends visited her frequently, and uniformly found her enjoying peace and serenity of mind, the effects of a good lope. She felt Christ to be the rock of ages, on him alone she depended for salvation, and was enabled lo look with composure, and even pleasure on her emaciated haods and arms. These sentiments composed her mind, and inspired her heart with joy; nor was this joy the effects of agitated spirits, or ductuating passions, but the result of a calm reflection on her state; as not having on her own righteousness which is of
N the law, but clothed with the righteousness of Christ which is by faith.
During her long and painful affliction, no expressions of murmuring, fretfulness, or even of impatience escaped her; on the contrary, she possessed much gratitude for the blessings she enjoyed, such as having affectionate relatives to nurse her, and kind christian friends to visit her. She said sometimes it did her good to see the people of God, though she was unable to talk much to them.
In the morning of the 26th of January, she strictly charged her sister to live in the fear of the Lord, and requested her not to be alarmed, saying, Jesus Christ is now coming to fetch me, go and call Mrs. · (naming a pious neighbour who had spent much time with her.) As soon as she entered, she looked earnestly at her for about a minute, with a sweet smile upon her countenance, then exclamed, “O come," endeavouring to stretch out her arms to receive her, “ Come, come, O come to Jesus Christ. He is a tree of life. Come, come, O come,” then calling the names of several of her friends, she said, "tell them all to come to Jesus Christ."
She then sent for a near relative, and exhorted him in the most affectionate manner to reverence the Sabbath day; intreating him to seek an interest in that Saviour whom she now found so precious. After that she gave him her new quarto bible which she had taken in by numbers, and had bound. His feelings overcame him and he wept aloud. Upon which she said I am disturbed, and should wish to have the room quiet, but in a few minutes her former tranquility of mind returned, and she took an affectionate leave of all her family and friends. Throughout her illness the adversary of souls was kept at a distance from her till about four o'clock the last afternoon, when she had a sharp conflict with the enemy, but it was short. Afterwards she clasped her hands together, and with a benign smile said, "All is well, Jesus is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. I know, I know," (when the shortness of her breath prevented her proceeding), one who was standing at her bed-side said, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.' She replied “Yes, yes.” She lay silent about an hour, momentarily expecting her departure, when on a sudden she faintly exclaimed, “Will you, will you, will you?"-Upon being answered Yes, I will, she said, "Tell, tell, teli, (naming the friend to whom she wrote the above letter), I am gone to, I am gone to my heavenly Father;" and in a few minutes after, she entered into that rest which repaineth only for the people of God.
Thus died in the twenty-fourth year of her age, this valuable young person, a fresh instance of encouragement to all friends, and teachers of Sunday Schools. My friends, the work is ar duous, the discharge of it important and difficult; but if you endeavours are crowned with success, how rich the reward ; and bumbly depending upon God's blessing, you have every thing to hope from his power and goodness, for he has declared, .That is due time ye shall reap if ye faint not.'
EXTRACT from the Eighteenth ANNUAL REPORT of the
THE young are a most interesting portion of the community. They are the hope of families, of our country, aud of the Church of God. They are coming forward to fill those places in civil and religious society which we occupy at present but from which we must ere long retire, worn out by age, or cut down by disease, and hurried prematurely to the grave.-If they are neglected ; if they are suffered to grow up in ignorance of God, of Christ, and of their own hearts, and to follow the bent of their corrupt inclinations, without the benefit of salutary discipline, it must fare ill with themselves, and with that society in which they are destined to act a part. They will enter upon life without armour to resist its temptations, and without qualifications for performing its duties. "They will commence the journey through time to eternity, not aware of the dangers in their way, nor prepared for avoiding them ; ignorant of the path which leads to happiness, and indifferent to all that concerns their everlasting welfare; ruining themseives by their irreligion and vice, and by their example corrupting and ruining others.
If, as good citizens, we wish well to the country which gave us birth ; it, as Christians, we love the prosperity of Zion, and feel any portion of anxiety that her citizens may abound, and flourish in holiness and zeal, when we shall be numbered with the dead; still more, if we cherish in our hearts any genuine affection for the young, and desire not merely their temporal good, but their eternal salvation,we shall watch with the most solicitous care, over those of the rising