« PreviousContinue »
afflicted in body, gave his life a ransom for is over now, and I am once more permitted the soul!"
The above is dated March, 1847.
In May of the following year, we find Mr. Clark at Beaumaris, "much out of health." Here, and in the neighbourhood, he employed himself in walking and riding as much as he was able; and there are memoranda in reference to these excursions, which furnish some of the most interesting descriptions of Welsh character and Welsh scenery.
His physical eye and mental vision had alike a relish for the works of God, while he was far from being indifferent to the doings and the enterprises of men. During his stay at Beaumaris, he "made an engagement with Mr. Griffith, to visit the Slate Quarries at Cal Braich-y-Cefn, a name eminently worthy of the Welsh vocabulary: as to pronouncing it, that is out of the question." Such are his own words; but farther on, he says "I find, on referring to a glossary, that it will dissect thus:
Cal an inclosure, an arm of a ridge, and which, I conclude, from the natural features of the situation, to mean, an inclosure, or settlement, upon a mountain-ridge; or simply, a mountain-side inclosure. After this, we have a most graphic description of the quarries themselves, and of the way in which they are worked; also a sketch of Penrhyn Castle, which he pictures as modern structure of noble and commanding aspect, combining the Norman and Saxon styles of castellated architecture, highly elaborate."
Other scenic descriptions the writer passes over; for however our friend might be interested in nature, and in exploring her secrets, it was now painfully evident that his system was radically diseased; and, as the sequel proved, he was " appointed unto death."
"This day, May 31st,-Did not feel well -kept to the house. The weather has changed from warm and sunny to cold and wet. What a world of change is this! sunshine and gloom, storm and calm.
"A little sun, a little rain,
And then night sweeps along the plain,
It was hoped that the advance of summer might do something for him, which induced him to prolong his stay in the delightful country referred to; and the more so, as he was attended, in all his rambles and in all his illnesses, by his elder sister, to whom he was strongly attached.
But the following will show how the summer opened upon him:-" The whole of June has been passed in the chamber of affliction. A relapse in my complaint, and the unfavourable state of the weather, have obliged me to keep within doors for nearly five weeks. It
to breathe the fresh air, and to look on the beautiful world without. And, oh! it is reviving to the spirits to drink in nature with all the senses, and to feel her magic influence over the sinking powers of life. I may now think of my imprisonment as a circumstance of the past; and, in humble gratitude to my heavenly Father, I desire to record my sense of his gracious dealings with me, in removing me, for a season, from the active duties which attend my residence at home, and preparing my heart, by the subduing hand of affliction, to receive the gracious influences of his Spirit. O happy affliction! that has given me such gracious views of my Saviour!-of the fulness, the freeness, the sufficiency of the redemption that is in Him-that has brought me a willing captive to his love, and enabled me to repose upon Him the happiness of my immortal soul, being fully persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to his charge against that day."
In keeping with the above sentiments are the following, written from Beaumaris to Miss Rebecca Clark, his younger sister:-" I am far from regretting my imprisonment, since it has afforded me a delightful opportunity of increasing my knowledge of divine things. I have been reading, with great care, Fawcet's 'Christ precious to those that believe;' and I never before experienced such a sense of the fulness and sufficiency of the Saviour, and of his fitness for the sinner's every want, for time and for eternity. Let us but realise his presence in our hearts, and we shall find him all and in all to us. I have groped about, and read a great deal upon the evidences of regeneration, and my investigations and meditations, and reasonings have come to This-the evidence of the heart is the only source of dependence, or with which we ought to rest satisfied. Have we joy and peace in believing? If we cannot answer this question emphatically, then let us ask ourselves-Is our faith in the work and justifying righteousness of Christ of that lively, satisfying character which constitutes saving faith, in contradistinction to mere acquiescence, or consent? Do we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity?
"I know, my dear Rebecca, you have had very similar feelings upon this subject with myself. Ever since we began to love spiritual things, and to observe the outward ordinances of religion, we have desired to have our hearts conformed to the image of our Maker, and to live under a satisfying proof of his favour; and I apprehend the reason we have not attained to that eminent privilege of the believer is, because we have not been careful to hold close and regular communion with God our Saviour. It is in the exercise of this communion that our faith is strength
ened, and our love increased and perfected. As we learn more of Him, of his great love, and of his infinite perfections-our Own righteousness is cast away, and we are led to rely solely upon Christ, who is made unto the believer" wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."
Let us, then, seek frequent opportunities of prayer and communion with Christ; and let us not rest satisfied until we feel that inward peace which "the world can neither give nor take away."
It was thus that our friend examined into his religion, and watched its growth-and thus did he embrace entirely the wroughtout salvation of the cross. Nor did he fail to give evidence, that the piety of the heart throws a portion of its spirit over everything else. On the 11th of July, 1848, he left Beaumaris, on his return to Dronfield, and "through mercy arrived safe at home." And here we may notice some of his musings on home! We do so for their chasteness and sanctified beauty:
"There is a deep meaning in the word HOME. To those especially who love domestic life, it has a charm, an influence over all the tender passions and gushing springs of the heart. A temporary absence, under the most favourable circumstances, is often sufficient to rouse our sympathies; while under the reverse of these, our hearts are doubly touched with the sacred fire of attachment-we long to be at home. Thus it was with the noble poet, who, having wilfully severed all domestic ties, became a voluntary wanderer in foreign lands. His seared heart was still susceptible of a native influence, which he had not the power entirely to subdue; and so he exclaimed
"How sweet to hear the watch-dog's howl and bark
Bay deep-mouth'd welcome as we draw near
How sweet to know there is an eye will mark Our coming, and grow brighter when we come!' But, oh! there is a still higher sense in which the word HOME has an attractive sound; and that is, when it falls upon the ear of the Christian. To him it implies the end of all his cares-the realisation of all his hopes. His spirit is constantly aspiring after it, for his affections are there; his treasure is there; the object of his soul's desire, his Saviour, is there; and in anticipation of the joys that await him when he shall reach his inheritance, he welcomes each period which lessens the distance, while he exclaims
"Here in the body pent,
Absent from Him I roam,
These closing sentiments were now be coming literally his own; for it was evident
that his decline had fully set in, while his longings after his heavenly home became more ardent and pure. Rich and sweet, from this time was his fellowship with God; and, as embodying the current thoughts of his mind, we may here offer his musings on the 103rd Psalm:-" Bless the Lord, O my soul."
Bless Him for life and being.
Bless Him for sense and reason, and all the faculties of the mind.
Bless Him for the immortal, the imperishable part of thy nature—the germ of thy eternal life.
Bless Him for birth in a Christian land, under the Christian dispensation.
Bless Him for Christian parentage, whose are the promises-" To them, and to their children."
Bless Him for the word of eternal life, "which is able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Bless Him for the fellowship of the saints, and the comforts of Christian communion.
Bless Him for the unrestricted exercise of thy conscience in matters relating to thy soul.
Bless Him for the privilege of worshipping thy God under thine own vine and fig-tree, none daring to make thee afraid.
Bless Him for the gift of gifts-the highest, noblest, fairest gift; even the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ-" in whom thou hast redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of thy sins."
Bless Him for "a good hope, through grace, of an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven."
It is thus that the brief but interesting journal of our friend closes; but, with a heart overflowing with gratitude, he still sought, through various media, to minister to the wants of others. It was his pleasure to do this-his highest pleasure, next to fellowship with God, and a more direct preparation for heaven.
On one occasion, a friend was speaking to him of his liberality, when he replied-"Have you forgotten? It is Occupy till I come."" Even to the last day of his life he was engaged in devising means whereby he could benefit his fellow-creatures; and there are many who, on this ground, live to bless his
For some time prior to his decease, his intercourse was almost entirely confined to his family circle; and to them it was increasingly evident that he was fast meetening for the skies. On a friend inquiring how he was, he gave this reply-" Pretty well; I was just contemplating the foundation of the believer's hope. Oh! what a sure foundation it is!" On the same inquiry being put
on a later occasion, the answer was-" "My heavenly Father is, one by one, taking out the pins of the tabernacle."
solemn revival meetings (Mr. Kirk, from America, being one of them), Annie M'Turk was one of the twenty-five young people who were added to the church under the pas. toral care of the Rev. J. A. James, in Carr's lane, as the joyous results of those extra ministerial efforts.
During the whole of his affliction he was never heard to murmur. His confidence in God was unshaken. He often spoke of the happiness he felt, resulting from a clear knowledge of his acceptance with God; and de- This beloved daughter was born in Birlighted to dwell on his title to "the inherit-mingham, June 12, 1817. Nature had gifted ance of the saints in light." The glories of her with a lovely exterior, she was beautiful the New Jerusalem, and the perfect happi- to look upon, and grace had rendered her, ness of the redeemed, formed a theme, on as the sequel of her history may testify, a which he chose to muse; while, on the other "polished stone, both useful and brilliant!" hand, warnings and encouragements were Her character while it partook much of what addressed to all who approached him. The was modest, retiring, and unpretending, was night preceding his dissolution, on being marked for activity, sprightliness, and promptasked if he thought he should rest, he replied, ness, in whatever was useful, benevolent, or "Rest! I am looking forward to an eternal desirable to be attained; and with these rest!" qualities it may be truly added, that she ever cultivated humble thoughts of herself. She was an early riser; an untiring Sundayschool teacher; and was ever ready to aid in every good work within her own sphere. She was one of that little circle of young people who were instrumental in carrying instruction to boatmen and their wretched, poor, neglected wives and children, at the waterside of one of the canals in Birmingham. This labour of love led eventually to the erection of the "Boatman's Chapel," where schools are nobly supported, and the glad tidings of the gospel of Jesus Christ are preached to an attentive and interesting class of people in that neighbourhood every Sabbath day.
Little was it thought that that rest was so noar at hand. Yet it was so the last words he was heard to utter, a few hours before the spirit took its flight, being, "All is well !"
Thus died, in comparatively early youth, the subject of this memoir-rich in this world's goods, but richer in grace-a Christian-the deacon of a Christian church, who, though young,
66 used the office of a deacon well;" and who to a most exemplary life has added the testimony of a triumphant
His remains were followed to the family vault in Dronfield Church on Saturday, the 1st of December, 1849; and on Sabbath evening, the 9th, his funeral sermon preached to a large and deeply affected audience, by the Rev. J. H. Muir, of Queenstreet Chapel, Sheffield, from the words in Matthew, 16th chapter and 25th verse: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
There is much to be gathered from the history of one removed at the age of thirty from the highest worldly prospects; but to the Christian who ponders this same brief history, another Voice speaks, and turns the dying exclamation into a living one-" All is well!"
J. H. M.
THE much-loved subject of the following brief memorial was once Annie M'Turk, a beloved dutiful daughter; a loving and affectionate sister; a sincere and warm-hearted friend.
Her pious mother's care and holy training were early blessed, if not to the decision of her character, yet to the thoughtfulness of her mind, which was remarkably matured in the year 1839. When many holy men of God met in Birmingham to hold a series of
May it not be written of Miss M'Turkshe was "diligent in business-serving the Lord?" and may it not be inferred that such a vigilant cultivation of these active and passive Christian graces were eminently calculated to fit her for that honourable position which God, in his overruling providence, had destined her to occupy? In the year 1843 she became the wife of the Rev. J. B. Coles, and on that auspicious day when smiles and tears so mingled in the family group, did she quit her parents' roof, and with her devoted, pious husband (self-consecrated both) for that glorious enterprise, the missionary work. As soon as circumstances permitted, they sailed for India. There this interesting, happy couple laboured devotedly, successfully, and consistently in three dif ferent cities. They were first located at Mysore, but very shortly the Directors of the "London Missionary Society," finding Mr. and Mrs. Coles so efficient in the work, removed them to Bangalore, and from thence, after a few years, to Bellary. And now follows the mournful catastrophe which happened so soon after their residence at Bellary. Climate, and intensely fatiguing travelling, with an unusually hot season, made sad and disastrous inroads upon Mrs. Coles's delicate
frame. To her anxious mother, and to friends, she had from time to time given intimations of chest affections, hæmorrhage of the lungs, &c., so that fever and debility found in her an easy prey. But here her bereaved and weeping husband shall, in his own touching manner, take up the thread of the narrative, and portray the death-bed scene of his "beloved Annie."
From an early period of Mrs. Coles's last illness she had a strong impression that she should not recover; and she frequently intimated to her husband, and other friends, that such was her opinion. However, for a time she seemed to be improving, and great hopes were entertained that the power of the disease was subdued. But it soon manifested itself again with increased force. Suitable measures being promptly adopted, a speedy and favourable issue of her sickness was looked for; but her strength was by this time greatly reduced, and the mind sympathised with the body in its weakness.
On the evening of Saturday, June 22nd, she fully expected that her end was near; she desired to see and embrace her dear
children, which wish was gratified; she gave them what she supposed to be her last blessing; she also spoke to some of those who were near her, and sent messages to others, as she then thought, for the last time. She said she was very desirous to see Mr. Enoch, the native pastor, in the morning, and to send by him her last message to the native church, especially the female part of it. The whole of that night seemed to be one of severe conflict. Satan appeared to have taken advantage of her extreme weakness to distress her soul. Through the hours of that night how earnestly did she wrestle with God in prayer, for the light of His countenance, and the comfort of His presence! She also fervently besought the Lord to bless her husband, to prosper his work, to be the God and Father of her children. During the ensuing week she continued in a similar state, and often spoke of her expected death, though occasionally she spoke of the probability of her recovery. She frequently expressed her anxiety that her patience might not fail under this affliction, and said she hoped that if she should be raised up again it would be for greater usefulness. Her anxiety that the discipline of her heavenly Father might be sanctified to herself and her husband was very apparent. She said on one occasion, "If I should be spared, we must live more entirely to the glory of God than we have done." She frequently requested her husband to read portions of Scripture to her, and pray with her. At her desire Mr. Wardlaw also visited her for the same purpose. These devotional exercises seemed to afford her great comfort; the more so, as, from
extreme debility, she said she was often unable to pray herself.
Her friends had not been led to suppose there was any imminent danger in her case till Lord's day, June 30th. On the forenoon of that day she seemed to her husband, who was sitting by her bedside, to be rapidly sinking. Mr. and Mrs. Wardlaw were soon in attendance, and it was thought by all present that the hour of her departure was at hand. Under this impression Mr. Wardlaw asked her, "Do you, dear sister, enjoy peace of mind?" "Yes, oh yes!" was the reply. "Is Jesus precious to your soul?" "Yes, he is precious, he is very precious, without him I should have no-" She would have added hope. Catching the word, Mr. Wardlaw said, True, none of us could have any hope but for Jesus and his precious blood; but you find," he continued, "that that does give you hope-good hope?" She replied, "Yes, all my trust is in Jesus: he is all in all to me."
Being asked whether she had any anxiety as to the issue of her illness, she said, "None at all:" she could quite leave it with God; she was willing either to depart or remain, and would not wish to choose for herself. She added, "God is too wise to err, too good to be unkind."
She subsequently revived, and on the following day, Monday, seemed much better than she had been for some time. She spoke of her dear relatives in England, and entertained the idea of being able before long to seek a restoration of health in a temporary change of climate; but her heavenly Father had determined otherwise. He had already designed her removal to a better country, that is, a heavenly, where sickness and sorrow are unknown.
Very dangerous symptoms soon began to show themselves. On Tuesday evening the medical gentleman then attending her said there was no hope of her recovery, and for some time every moment was expected to be the last. Her strength reviving a little, she proposed that a hymn should be sung; and those who watched around her, joined, as well as their feelings would allow them, in singing
64 Glory, honour, praise, and power," &c.; which she had been accustomed to sing frequently with her dear children.
Some time afterwards her husband asked her, "Have you any fear in the prospect of death?" She replied, "No, none at all."
"Have you peace through the blood of Jesus?" "Oh yes! perfect peace." "Are you able to resign yourself and all that is dear to you into the Lord's hands ?" "Yes, all is right." "Are you quite satisfied with the Lord's dealings with you, or do you wish
that anything in your circumstances had been ordered otherwise?" "I am quite satisfied, because I know that all has been done in infinite wisdom and love." "Do you realise the comforting presence of the Saviour ?" "Yes, Jesus is with me, and supports me." "He will be with you through the dark valley; he has said, he will never leave nor forsake those who trust in him." "I know it; he will be with me to the end."
On being asked by her husband if she had any reluctance to leave him and the children, she said, "No; you have been very dear to me, but I can trust you in the hands of
That night passed away, and the hope was not altogether abandoned that she might yet be raised up again; but as the following day advanced, it became increasingly apparent that the hour of her departure could not be far distant. She, however, seemed for a time to suppose that she might perhaps recover. Her husband said to her, “Although with God nothing is impossible, and therefore, if it is his will, he can raise you up again, yet the doctor says there is no hope of it; but I trust that this does not alarm you." "No," she said, "I have no fear of death." "What, then, is the ground on which you can look at death without fear ?" it was asked.
Because, though I am a sinner, I know that
the atonement of Christ is sufficient to remove all my sins, even if they were much greater than they are," was her reply. "Are you looking to Jesus ?" she was asked. "Yes, to him alone," was her answer.
Having, at her own request, received some personal attentions which conduced much to her comfort, she said, "Now, since everything is prepared for me to die in comfort, I wish to have nothing to distract me;" and she appeared as if fully prepared to meet the summons. She desired her husband to offer prayer, in which she joined with intelligence and correctness. Subsequently, Mr. Wardlaw besought the presence and blessing of the Lord for the dying saint. She seemed to be much refreshed and benefited by these exercises of devotion; and again and again did she lift her heart to God, and pour forth her supplications for herself, her husband, her children, and her relatives. After a brief interval of repose she said, "I am now longing to be gone; heaven seems very near, and I wish to be there." She then appeared to have a vision of expected glory, which she was not able fully to describe, though she attempted to do so. As she expressed a wish to see her children again, they were brought to her: she addressed a few words of counsel to the two elder, and took leave of them. When asked if she wished to send any message to her relatives in England, she
said, "All I wish is that you should give my love to them, and tell them I hope they will meet me in heaven." She added, "Give my love to Mr. James (formerly her pastor); and tell the ladies of the Working Society that they are engaged in the same-" She was unable to finish what she had begun to say; but the purport seemed to be an exhortation to perseverance in their efforts for the aid of missions.
She wished that a hymn should be sung, and herself began that very appropriate one"Rock of ages, cleft for me."
Her voice trembled, through physical weakness, and she could not proceed far with it. She clearly recognised the few friends around him to take a little rest. She said to him, her; and looking at her husband, begged "Do not be cast down on my account. I am going now to heaven, and you will follow me before long." Her strength gradually diminished-she was already treading on the banks of Jordan. When asked if she felt any pain, she replied, "None at all. I am very comfortable-quite happy, quite happy!" Thus she fell asleep in Jesus on the morning of July 4th, in the assured hope of everlasting life. Let me also die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like hers. Her remains were interred the same evening in the mission burying-ground. On the evening of the following Lord's day the Rev. J. S. Wardlaw preached a discourse, adapted both to console and to edify, from Psalm cxvi. 15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Mrs. Coles, although she had beome the mother-the fond and watchful mother-of three interesting children, and with her own health so delicate, was nevertheless one of the most devoted missionaries' wives in the native schools. Wherever they resided, she never lost sight of this-the very work whereunto she considered God had called her. There are not wanting proofs of this, sent by her to her native town, and in the possession of a friend, of specimens of fancy and plain needlework, done, under her immediate superintendence, by little sable fingers, so exquisitely wrought that they might vie with any performance of any well taught juvenile sempstresses in favoured Britain! So that Mrs. Coles did all in her power energetically to help forward that most desirable scheme of raising a native agency for India's conversion to God. In the strictest sense it may, indeed, be said, "For this she lived, and for this she died;" and this she was never more ardently seeking to promote than when death overtook her. She then seemed more busy at her post, as if some vivid presentiment of her approaching death were secretly whisper