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THE

WESLEYAN-METHODIST MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1847.

BIOGRAPHY.

MEMOIR OF MRS. WOOD,

OF GROVE-HOUSE, MANCHESTER :

BY HER SON, PETER WOOD, M.D. MRS. Mary Wood was the third daughter of Daniel Burton, Esq., of Rhodes-House, near Middleton. She was born at Manchester, March 28th, 1782. Our information respecting her earlier years is very limited; but her eldest brother, Mr. Burton, states, that they were marked by an extraordinary thirst for reading, and love of the truth; by a decided surrender of her heart to the Lord; and by a diligent use of all the means of grace. I am glad, however, to place on record a very satisfactory account of her conversion to God, furnished by her brother, Mr. George Burton :

“ My sister Mary was happily converted to God, March 20, 1801, when about eighteen years of age. This divine change was principally effected through the instrumentality of her brother James, afterwards the Rev. James Burton, Wesleyan Minister,) who was himself converted early in February of the same year. It seems that, in a very few days after her brother's conversion, during the five o'clock morning prayer-meeting in Oldham-street chapel, the Lord graciously spoke peace to her mind, and her soul was made unspeakably happy in the conscious enjoyment of God's favour." With this change her sphere of usefulness commenced : she began to attend the prayer-meetings at the village of Rhodes; and, during one of these, “ three females found mercy, while she was imploring the divine blessing on their behalf. One of them said to her, "Do you believe that I shall be saved ?' She answered, 'Yes; and why not just now ?' The penitent took encouragement, crying out, “I do believe!' and was immediately made happy in the love of God.”

On the 19th of the following June, my mother addressed a letter to her brother James, in which she said, “ The Lord is reviving his work in

my for which I adore him. Last Saturday night we went into the wood, and prayed under that tree to which you and I were partial. The sun shone upon us between the trees, and the place appeared awful beyond expression. We found it good to be there, and believed the Sun of Righteousness sent forth a gleam of light upon our souls. I firmly believe Miss H. then obtained pardoning mercy : her joy was

VOL. III.FOURTH SERIES.

soul;

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THE

WESLEYAN-METHODIST MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1847.

BIOGRAPHY.

MEMOIR OF MRS. WOOD,

OF GROVE-HOUSE, MANCHESTER :

BY HER SON, PETER WOOD, M.D. Mrs. Mary Wood was the third daughter of Daniel Burton, Esq., of Rhodes-House, near Middleton. She was born at Manchester, March 28th, 1782. Our information respecting her earlier years is very limited; but her eldest brother, Mr. Burton, states, that they were marked by an extraordinary thirst for reading, and love of the truth ; by a decided surrender of her heart to the Lord; and by a diligent use of all the means of grace. I am glad, however, to place on record a very satisfactory account of her conversion to God, furnished by her brother, Mr. George Burton :

“My sister Mary was happily converted to God, March 20, 1801, when about eighteen years of age. This divine change was principally effected through the instrumentality of her brother James, (afterwards the Rev. James Burton, Wesleyan Minister,) who was himself converted early in February of the same year. It seems that, in a very few days after her brother's conversion, during the five o'clock morning prayer-meeting in Oldham-street chapel, the Lord graciously spoke peace to her mind, and her soul was made unspeakably happy in the conscious enjoyment of God's favour.” With this change her sphere of usefulness commenced : she began to attend the prayer meetings at the village of Rhodes; and, during one of these, “ three females found mercy, while she was imploring the divine blessing on their behalf. One of them said to her, "Do you believe that I shall be saved ?' She answered, “ Yes; and why not just now?' The penitent took encouragement, crying out, I do believe !' and was immediately made happy in the love of God.”

On the 19th of the following June, my mother addressed a letter to her brother James, in which she said, “The Lord is reviving his work in

my for which I adore him. Last Saturday night we went into the wood, and prayed under that tree to which you and I were partial. The sun shone upon us between the trees, and the place appeared awful beyond expression. We found it good to be there, and believed the Sun of Righteous

usness sent forth a gleam of light upon our souls. I firmly believe Miss H. then obtained pardoning mercy : her joy was

VOL. III.FOURTH SERIES.

soul;

B

6

greater than she supposed was possible to be enjoyed on earth; and we walked home, our footsteps unperceived, and our minds elevated, and dead to all below. We might then have called to witness the heavens, the angels, and the God of all, that we did love Him with supreme delight. Since that time we have enjoyed much of his presence : he particularly blesses us when we meet at the appointed times, to pray with each other. I thank you for the caution you

have given me, and sincerely wish to take your advice. While I am writing, my soul cleaves to God, and earnestly cries, “ What comes from Thee I will receive with praise. I will give attention to no voice but Thine, nor take a step but when I am following Thee.' The Lord help me to keep this resolution, for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen." And he did indeed help her to keep this resolution to the last moment of her life. For forty-two years she maintained an unblemished Christian character; and during the whole of that period she remained an exemplary, firm, and cordial member of the Wesleyan church : her attachment to its system of doctrines and discipline never wavered ; neither the storms of adversity, nor the breezes of prosperity, could move her.

aracter commands and retains respect, for consistency in a right course ; and never loses its reward. My mother was an example of this; and her life affords abundant ground for encouragement and confidence to those who are left behind, and who are travelling in the same path to heaven. A spirit of humble dependence on God, in the exercise of prayer, breathes through her diary for this year (1801):

“ August 5th. I have experienced precious moments while in private : prayer has been no more my duty than my delight.” August 13th.-- In temporal concerns I think it absolutely necessary to implore the divine assistance. God has this day regarded my prayer,

which affords me an assurance that he is still mindful of me.' Thus early did she experience the efficacy of prayer, on which she further remarks in later life :-“ The eloquence of prayer consists in the fervency of desire, and the simplicity of faith. What unparalleled goodness in God, to give not only what we ask, and abundantly more, but to reward even

prayer itself! How frequently are we rewarded, even in this life, by special answers to our prayers ! and we are assured that hereafter we shall be rewarded openly, before saints and angels, by the acknowledged approbation of God himself.”

My mother's love for the holy Scriptures was also remarkable, and early manifested. In the same diary, for 1801, the following passage

-“ August 15th.-In meditating upon the word of God, I was much blessed: in every chapter I read, I found something new; and was surprised to see what I never recollected to have seen before, though I had read the Bible through." This blessed book was her constant companion, even unto death.

My mother carried her religion into practical life, and especially made it her guide in the contemplation of marriage. My uncle remarks, that she “refused every offer of a mere worldly connexion;" and hence ensued her happy union with my honoured and venerated father. This was solemnized at the collegiate church, Manchester, April 5th, 1803.

I deeply regret to state, that my mother destroyed all documents relating to herself, except the diary already mentioned, and one extending from 1818 to 1821. How these escaped the general

occurs :

destruction, is unknown. From the latter diary I find that, in 1818, she was earnestly requested to become a Class-Leader in the Wesleyan church ; which request she resisted until the following year, though not without a struggle, as subsequent quotations from the diary will prove :

December, 1818.—My mind is pained at the remembrance of having lost many opportunities of doing and receiving good. How often have those who were anxious for my spiritual welfare solicited me to unite in fellowship with some of my own sex, for the purpose of leading them on in the paths of happiness ! But I have resisted their entreaties; and now opportunity, which is the flower of time, is gone by.” My mother was at this period laid aside on the bed of affliction. Her diary continues : “My condemnation, on this account, is very great: had I consented to the entreaties of those who were watching over my soul for good, the peace of God might have been as a river, and my righteousness' as the waves of the sea.' It is my

determination to take up the cross, however heavy, when called by God and his church.” My mother could say, with David, “Before I was afflicted, I went astray;" and her salutary, though bitter, experience taught her to add, “But now will I keep thy word." Though she had thus resolved no longer to shrink from duty, the trial of her faith was still severe, when the time for acting arrived. In her diary she says ::

“ Oct. 10th, 1819.-After resolving, in the strength of the Lord, to be more useful in my day and generation, a particular friend, in the course of the day, proposed to me to begin a class-meeting in my own neighbourhood, Ardwick-place, Manchester. This suggestion immediately brought to my mind the vow I had made, to take up my cross when properly solicited; but, as this friend was not sufficiently authorized to urge the subject, it did not impress me much. I tremble to hear it named; and yet I am persuaded that the Lord can, and does, make use of very weak instruments to promote his glory.” Here the adversary of her soul was ready with a remedy, to ease her troubled conscience; and in this respect she seemed to be “ignorant of his devices;” but her diary continues :

“Nov. 28th.—The pride of my heart keeps me from acting according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit ; and a fear of betraying my ignorance and weakness often prevents my using the little grace and light and power already communicated; and which, by exercise, might become vigorous and useful.”

“Dec. 6th.—My mind is greatly oppressed by the entreaties of some Christian friends, to meet them once a week for spiritual improvement: they do not know my weakness; the Lord knows it. May he direct me by his Holy Spirit! I would not grieve him by refusing ; yet I fear to bring a disgrace upon the cause, by taking any office without suitable qualifications.” It is thus often found that they who, from a persuasion of unworthiness and inability, are the most reluctant to engage in the performance of the more public duties connected with the church, are, nevertheless, the most qualified to undertake them; while an eager haste is frequently a mark of total unfitness. On December 22d, the snare was happily broken, and the tempter, who had so long and so grievously harassed her, was foiled. She says, “I was enabled this day to take up my cross, and begin to lead a class. I was humbled on account of my deficiency; but the Lord

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