« ForrigeFortsæt »
DIED, at Hulme, Manchester, February 18th, 1855, in the fourteenth year of her age, Sarah Beckett Marsden,- a child of lovely promise. Her earliest days were marked by an affectionate regard to the wishes of her parents, by great docility and sweetness of manner, and by the exercise of much selfdenial respecting things that seemed very desirable to herself. She loved the cause of God; a religious training, doubtless, leading her to value it before her heart became powerfully affected by Divine truth. Yet the gracious operations of the good Spirit were observable in her outward conduct; for she was amiable, submissive, forgiving, ready to do any act of kindness for others, even to her own hurt. She was remarkably prompt and energetic in duty. This was seen in her annual Missionary collecting for the " Juvenile Offerings," in other local efforts, and in her occasional employments in behalf of the poor and sick.
Her health would not admit of the exertions she wished to make. Latent disease preyed, for two years before her death, upon her frame; and medical skill was almost unavailing. During this time, her mind seemed to be gently drawn to a more serious consideration of Divine things. She had obtained permission from the Rev. W. H. Taylor to attend a class which he had formed at Patricroft, during ber temporary stay in that neighbourhood; and she was present at several of the meetings, in which she appeared much interested and profited. But her feeble health compelled her to discontinue attendance on these services; and shortly afterwards she
returned home. It was not, however, until th week of her life, that her disease assumed an al ing character. That week, commencing on Lord's day, was one of intense and uninterri suffering : yet she was enabled to glorify God. first words, on recovering the power to speak, several hours of great agony, were these,
“ Should pining sickness waste away
THY WILL BE DONE!” This she repeated with great emphasis. Aj and again, and again, her language was,will be done.”....“ The Lord is my Shepherd.” “ He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Though I walk through the valley of the sba of death, I will fear no evil.”.... “He will save He does save me. My Saviour.”.... Her mind evidently, quite engaged on heavenly things. “W is that hymn,” she inquired,
" that has a v beginning,
Jesus, vouchsafe a pitying ray ?'" The hymn was repeated to her, and she appeare enter into its solemn meaning. At another t she requested the fourteenth chapter of St. J might be read to her; and, after an interval, cal for that appropriate hymn,
“God of all consolation, take
The glory of Thy grace."
waiting frame. She very often desired prayer to be made in her behalf by those in attendance, and earnestly joined in the petitions offered. Once, almost in an agony of fervent pleading for a present blessing, she referred to the memorable words of Christ, which sustained her confidence: “I know He will; for I read the other day, 'Whatsoever ye ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.""
She often appealed to the Saviour with a truly childlike trust. Once she said,—“Father! Father! but immediately added, “I don't know how to pray to the Father, unless I ask for mercy and thankfulness.” To instruct her by means of a simple but matchless example, the Lord's Prayer was recited, and each sentence commented upon in a few words, up to that favourite passage, "Thy will be done.” This she said twice over, with much feeling; and then seemed to rest in the contemplation of God. Henceforth her mind was kept in perfect peace. No earthly thought distressed her, excepting that one of leaving her beloved parents, brothers, and sisters. Soine days later, however, she was enabled to bid each farewell, with great serenity, resignation, and lore.
On the Thursday she tried to sing one verse of the hymn,
" Jesu, Lover of my soul,” &c. : but the voice that once charmed had lost its power, and the fingers that had contributed their aid were now motionless by her side: it was her last effort, and one that will never be forgotten. An almost
seraphic sweetness enriched that now feeble vois as it uttered the lines,
“Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life be past ;
O receive my soul at last." It was said to her, “This is a storm of afflictio for you, my love." "It is,” she answered.
“ Bu God can save you out of it." “Yes, He can,” sh rejoined.
But she was called to suffer yet more. Stron convulsions for hours together seemed to threate immediate dissolution ; but again and again sh revived, to tell of the goodness of God, and to spea His praise. . She would say, " Never mind: it i again over. He helps me to bear it; and He wi help me, mamma.
“ Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.”
His wonders to perform!” The day but one before she died, was one of muel pain ; but her confidence in God never forsook her She looked to Jesus, and was saved from all fear Many were her pious remarks throughout that day Once she calmly repeated, in conversing with he papa,
“ If Thou shouldst call me to resign
What most I prized, it ne'er was mine;
Thy will be done !"
and whispered, “That is for you and Ma, when I am gone."
The last great conflict was drawing near. During the Friday night, one of the most terrible struggles of human agony was endured. It seemed more than exhausted nature could sustain, continuing for some hours. The anguish, mental and spiritual, as well as bodily, was extreme. Prayer only gave relief,-frequent, fervent prayer. It was mortal combat with the grand adversary. The sufferings of Christ were mentioned to the dear dying child, and prayer again offered. At length she waved her arm, as in token of triumph, when she sank into repose. It appeared like rest, indeed, after victory. On awaking, she said, impressively, “ I am now going to heaven.” Again, to her papa, after about an hour and a half of continuous silence, she solemnly declared, “ Papa, I am going to heaven.” During Saturday, many were the precious words she uttered, all indicative of the sanctifying change the Holy Spirit had wrought in her now hallowed soul ;sweet expressions of confiding love, of solid peace. It would be impossible to relate them all: for as she drew nearer the closing scene, fresh manifestations of Divine love sustained her sinking yet agonizing frame ; and she would break out anew in the language of strong faith. She delighted in the promise, “I will never leave thee, I will never forsake thee.” Occasionally, beautiful verses appeared to express the thoughts passing within her mind. So, more than once she quoted,