« PreviousContinue »
MISS EMILY PARKER, WHO DIED JUNE 11TH, 1851, AGED 19. [Extract from Dr. Morison's Funeral Sermon.] IN the brief but interesting and instructive career of Emily Parker, we have a fine illustration of the Divine truth and beauty of those words recorded in Prov. viii. 17. She full well knew that Jesus loved her, from the witness of her own spirit that she loved Jesus;-and, having sought him when young, she bore her living and dying testimony to the truth of his promise, "Those that seek me early, shall find me."
In February, 1845, at the tender age of 13, Emily Parker first took her seat at the communion-table, as a member of the church under the pastoral care of the Rev. Dr. Mori
She was one of several young people who then decided for Christ. The Spirit of God had been unusually poured out, at that time, upon the young in the congregation, and particularly in the senior classes of the Sunday-school.
From her earliest years, she had been accustomed to take delight in repairing to the Sunday-school; and, by the arrangements of Divine Providence, some time before her conversion she became a pupil in the schools connected with Trevor Chapel, Brompton, then under the superintendence of our muchesteemed friend, Mr. Henry Dobell.
But, for a season, though she was a diligent and well-conducted scholar, she indicated no special concern for the salvation of her soul. The excellent superintendent, however, whose labours had been blessed to another and senior member of her family, had his eye: fixed upon this intelligent little girl. He saw that she had a mind-that she was peculiarly sensible of any acts of kindness-that she indicated, at times, considerable anxiety of countenance when the closing addresses of the school were delivered. No favourable opportunity of interesting her in the great truths of the gospel was suffered to pass without improvement. She began to be deeply thoughtful. She was alarmed about her spiritual state. Anxious questions were proposed, which were gently and kindly answered.
In this interesting position of mind, Emily Parker was introduced to me,* in the last days of 1844. She was very young, and very timid. But after the dread of meeting a minister upon the concerns of her soul had partially subsided, she opened her heart fully.
I well remember in what strong terms she spoke of her native pride.† She said:
* Dr. Morison.
I write from notes taken at the time.
"The pride of my heart has nearly proved the ruin of my soul. I have been unwilling to see myself a guilty and lost creature. The sin of the heart I have quite, or almost, overlooked. I could not understand what ministers and good people meant when they said that all were great sinners. I was thinking merely of gross outward sins, and never suspected that the great and fatal disease of sin lay in the heart. But God has lately shown me the terrible state of my heart, how entirely I have been without love to him, and how awfully I have been chargeable with secret enmity against his holy character."
I need not say how gratefully I welcomed these promising symptoms; and on requesting her to give me some account of the steps by which God had been subduing her pride, and bringing her to discover the sin of her heart, as a fallen and guilty being, she narrated the following facts:
She said: "Mr. Dobell has watched over my soul with a most tender care. I can never forgive myself for the ingratitude which prompted me so long to make light of his efforts. Such was my pride and depravity, I used to try to shun him when I thought he was about to speak to me in reference to my precious soul. But since I listened to an address from him, some months since, my state of mind is altogether changed. When he began his address, which was upon the punishment of the wicked, my old pride got the better of me, and I said, in my heart, You shall not conquer me by your frightful descriptions of lost spirits;' but he had not proceeded far, when he began tenderly and pathetically to speak of the love of God in giving his only begotten Son to die for ungrateful sinners;-sinners full of enmity against him, who did not love him, who did not call upon him, who lived to themselves, and walked according to the course of this present evil world. I remember well, he paused, and said, very solemnly,
Children, what will you be able to say at the judgment-seat of Christ, if it shall then be found that you have perished solely because you would not accept of God's gift of unspeakable love?' This touched my stubborn heart;—I could brave the terrors of which he had spoken; but the love of God in sending his Son to bleed aud die for sinners, made my soul feel as it had never felt before: tears flowed freely from my eyes, and I think that then and there I put up a prayer for mercy such as I had never offered before."
On asking what fruits this new state of mind had produced, she said, "O sir! I found all wrong, nothing right. But the first re
markable effect produced was a greater attention to your ministry, and a sensible delight in listening to the Word. On the very evening of the day when I was so much impressed by Mr. Dobell's address, you preached a sermon just suited to my state of mind. It was full of directions to the awakened penitent: and I seemed to feel that all was prepared for me. I think I then gave my heart to Christ. I seemed willing to give up all for him. I was like that woman of whom Jesus speaks, I loved much because much had been forgiven.' O what a debt, sir, I then saw to be cancelled!"
On asking what had been some of the other fruits of the change, she said, "I seem now, sir, to wish that all might be saved, and be as happy as I am; and I have been trying to speak of God's great love to me, to others; but my courage fails me; and my former thoughtlessness shuts my mouth. But I will try and make known what a dear Saviour I have found." She added, "I feel I do love the people of God. I have no pleasure now in the society of his enemies. And sin, O what a hateful and abominable thing it now seems to me! But prayer strengthens my poor efforts to resist its dreadful power."
After her first approach to the communiontable, I saw and conversed with her again; and on asking her how she felt as she partook of the memorials of her Redeemer's sacrifice, she said, with much feeling, "O sir! my heart was ready to burst with gratitude at the thought that he had taken me into his fold, and given me such a feeling of love to him at his own table. I do hope I shall never be left to deny him, or to bring reproach on his cause. But, O sir! I feel that I can do nothing in my own strength. I used to think I could do anything I pleased; -but now I understand the Saviour's words, Without me ye can do nothing.'"
pay for this diminution of her "first love." She was undoubtedly one of the lambs of Christ's flock; and though, when they wander from his fold, he restoreth their souls, yet it is often with such severe discipline, as to make them feel that it is an evil and a bitter thing to depart from his pastures, and to stray into the forbidden fields of worldly delight.
She returned from the country apparently with recruited health and vigour. Her whole aspect was that of one likely to be spared for many years. But, alas! God had otherwise determined. Scarcely had she breathed the air of London, when she began rapidly, and almost at once, to droop. Her cheek became pale and flushed, her flesh decayed, her vigour was changed into feebleness, and all the symptoms of decline developed themselves. She was considered by her medical attendants as fast hastening to the tomb.
About the middle of last April she was gently but truthfully apprised of her state. The intelligence she received with subdued calmness; and requested that she might be left alone as much as possible, that she might have time to think of her great and coming change. From this moment a mighty conflict ensued, which it was painful to witness. She felt she had backslidden, while in the country; and the great enemy of souls endeavoured to drive her to despair. She had, indeed, committed no gross sin; but she felt that the power of godliness had suffered an eclipse. She had not been so watchful-so prayerful -or so much concerned for the salvation of others, as in times past. She had been less importunate for the salvation of a beloved brother than formerly. The whole spiritual life had suffered detriment. And now she felt she was dying,-that she could not live to show her repentance and contrition. it was then dark-very dark-with her soul! But, in her deep broodings, she said, "Christ is still willing and able to save. I will cast myself at his feet-at his cross-and if I perish, I will perish there." It was the purThere was an intermediate period, however, pose of faith,-it was the resolve of a true in her history, which, for the sake of warning disciple;-she looked afresh to THE CRUCIto young Christians, fidelity compels me to FIED ONE, in all his power, and love, and mention. That period had in it some of the sympathy; and he healed her broken and painful elements of the backsliding spirit. bleeding heart, and filled it again with HimHer health was delicate, and it was necessary self. From that moment her soul had peace; that she should live in the country for the—and more than all its former health and joy enjoyment of open air and exercise. Un- returned. happily, her new associations did not tend to advance her spiritual life. They were worldly, and she fell too much into their sympathies. There was no loss of character,-no deviation from the path of morality;-but there was a deadening of the soul to spiritual things, a marked declension of the life of faith, a rising satisfaction in worldly pleasures and amusements, a looking back to the land of bondage and sin. And dearly did our young friend
This young Christian thus entered upon that career which has terminated, as we shall see, with so much of joy and triumph.
Many were the sweet experiences that she had of her Saviour's love. Her sick-chamber was to her and others, "the house of God, and the gate of heaven." On being asked by a friend if she was resigned to the will of God, "Yes," said she, "for he doeth all things well." Seeing her afflicted mother in tears, she said, with an air of cheerfulness: "It is unusual to shed tears at a wedding; and daughters ordinarily leave home when they
marry ;-but I ain about to be married to the Lord of glory, who is my husband;-the chariots are all preparing to convey me to the skies; pray for me, dear mother, but do not weep; and do not pray for my recovery; I long to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.'"
To a friend who was much affected in perceiving the rapid progress of disease, she said, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourself. I am far happier than you are, and would not exchange places with my beloved Queen; yet my pains are more severe than you can imagine; and I should be impatient, but that my Saviour stands by and supports me."
Her whole soul seemed filled with praise; both when awake and when asleep, she was singing, as her enfeebled strength would permit, some appropriate hymn expressive of her spiritual desires. Nor was this thankful spirit repressed by the acuteness of her sufferings. She often said, "I have not one pain too many!"
To a friend that was praying with her, she said, "How good my heavenly Father is to me! he has not permitted my cough to trouble me while you were pleading with God on my behalf."
Her gratitude for every little attention paid to her was a remarkable feature. Her soul seemed full of love to all around her. Nothing escaped her most grateful acknowledgment. This was the more striking, as her natural disposition was petulant and selfsufficient. Her father-in-law told me, on the day of her funeral, that in all her long illness of sixteen weeks, he had "never heard a single murmur or complaint escape her lips."
About a month before her decease she said, with much composure, "I feel with respect to myself, that all is settled. I have only to wait ny Father's time. The only work he gives me now to do is to suffer, which I trust, by his grace, I shall be enabled to do with patience."
She greatly prized the visits of pious and praying friends; and if they missed but one day, she would say, in a loving spirit, "The praying dears have not been here to-day."
A most solemn conviction had seized upon her spirit, that she was bound to speak with great affection and fidelity to her unconverted friends. It is hoped that some of them will never forget the agonizing spirit in which she sought to bring them to Christ. She would say, "Now, do seek to become acquainted with your own heart; and believe me you will find it to be deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." She often asked to pray with them; and would wrestle in supplication for their salvation. She would entreat for them that they might find that Saviour whom she loved above all. Then she would follow up her entreaties and prayers,
by presenting them with some appropriate volume as a memorial of her love; and generally the book presented was suited to the character of the person to whom it was conveyed. Those books had been treasured up from her earliest attendance at the Sundayschool; and they were now to be labelled and directed to the circle of her young friends, who were to receive them after her death. She performed this part of the task with great neatness and precision. And as her young friends look on these memorials of her regard, may we not hope that they will think of that Saviour whom Emily Parker loved, and who made her so happy in a dying hour?
One pleasing feature was the spirit of prayer which obtained, even in her sleeping moments. So much was prayer an element with her, that she would pour forth her heart, in the most elevated and correct strains, when her senses were locked in slumber. She had rapturous visions, too, of the invisible world, conversed, as she thought, with angels and glorified spirits; and seemed to be familiar with heaven ere yet she had quitted these regions of mortality. Who shall say that such visions are not, at times, granted to those whose hearts and hopes are in full sympathy with the glorious regions of immortality?
I shall never forget the interview I had with her about ten days, or rather more, before her death. She was but a mere shadow of existence. But the countenance shone with a heavenly radiance. She was delighted to see her pastor. (He would have seen her much more frequently but for his infirm state of health.) The joy, for a season, almost overcame her. Soon, however, she recovered her equanimity; and, without a single interrogation, began to speak of her joy, and to pour forth her gratitude to God. "This," said she, "has been a blessed affliction. What a mercy it is that bodily sufferings cannot prevent the inward peace of the mind! How good God is to me! I have great pain, but he imparts the joys of his salvation; and I am not suffered to have one gloomy hour. People think themselves very happy in getting to this Exhibition; but happy as the Queen is in seeing the fruit of her royal husband's plans, I would not exchange positions with her." She spoke of death with entire composure; and of her hope of eternal life as a thing settled, and beyond the reach of a doubt. I left her sickchamber with a feeling of gratitude to God, who could combine so much outward suffering with so much mental tranquillity and peace.
The last scene was in perfect keeping with all that had preceded it. On Lord's-day, the 8th June, it was obvious to all that her end was approaching. For a season she was unconscious;-but on Tuesday, the 10th, mind partially returned. She had had some
slight apprehension of the dying struggle; but finding the sweat of death on her brow, she said, "I know what it is," and without a particle of the anticipated tremor, wiped the cold perspiration from her face, looking with the benignity of an angel on all around her. At one o'clock on the morning of the 11th, she was asked if she would like a particular friend to be sent for. She said, "Yes." Being asked what message should be sent to him, her reply was, "Tell him I am now in death's cold embrace, but I am safe in the arms of Jesus, and on my road to heaven."
At half-past four o'clock, after a whole night of dreadful physical conflict, sustained by the most perfect religious peace, Emily Parker fell asleep in Jesus, aged nineteen years and one month.
Can you then doubt the eternal and blessed truth which Christ utters in the text, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me"? Can you aflirm that aught but Christianity, vividly realized in its most precious truths, could have produced such a character, or such a death-bed, as we have portrayed? Can my dear young friends hear of such a life, followed by such a death, without determining to surrender themselves, without delay, to Christ? Does not a voice from the peaceful tomb of Emily Parker say to many a youthful listener to the Word this evening, "Be ye also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh"? The great deception with multitudes is, that they are hoping, by and by, to give attention to the concerns of the soul. Now, dear friends, let me solemnly remind you, that there is nothing future in the provisions of Divine mercy for guilty sinners. If you should deter nine to repent tomorrow morning, or when you retire from this sanctuary, I can hold out no hope that the repentance would avail. It is a present
salvation from sin and guilt you need; and it is a present salvation that is offered to your acceptance. Now you may be healed. The great Physician is here to heal every poor sinner that applies to him. Fall down at his feet, then, and let your prayer be, "Lord, save-I perish." Believe in Him-take hold of Him by faith, and you shall be saved.
Trevor Chapel Sunday-schicol children! another of your former companions has entered heaven. Will you not determine to follow her, and to meet her hereafter in the bright region of peace? The Saviour who loved her, and whom she loved, and who has taken her to himself, is as willing to take you to the bosom of his love as Emily Parker. Give that throbbing heart of yours to Christ, to purify it by his precious blood, and to make it the temple of the Holy Ghost. Will not the young in general, who have listened to the details of the evening, cry unto God, from this time, "My Father, thou art the guide of my youth" ?
Happy parents, though now bathed in tears, who were blessed with such a child! Yield not to undue grief; for it is well with the child-well for eternity. Behold "the maid is not dead, but sleepeth." She is in high consciousness and bliss with her Redeemer, in her better part; and as it respects her sleeping dust, he will, at the appointed time, bid it rise. You shall soon meet her, a glorified spirit in heaven; and she who was so grateful for all your kindness on earth will welcome you into everlasting mansions. One question, and I sit down. Is there one member of the family to be a missing when Christ makes up his jewels? Does any heart forebode such a catastrophe? Welcome the foreboding, and while it is yet day, and while Christ is waiting to be gracious,-go to the cross, and there devote yourself to the all-compassionate and omnipotent Friend of sinners.
PROSPERITY AT HOME."
DEAR SIR, Those of your readers who were not previously acquainted with the fact, have doubtless been much gratified to learn, from Mr. Knill's letter in last month's Magazine, that a "series of efforts" at chapel-building have been put forth in Gloucestershire during the past year. Having reference to the new places built, or building, at Cheltenham, Gloucester, Kingswood, and Wottonunder-Edge, our friend writes, "Even Middlesex can show nothing like this." He will be delighted to find Middlesex can show twice
as many new places within the same period: -City-road, Bethnal-green-road, Tottenham, Egham, Southgate-road, Bedford New Town, Caledonian-road, Clapton; in addition to these, all "spacious and elegant" chapels, and opened since May, 1850, with the excep tion of Clapton, which is progressing, there have been four erected during the last two years, in the suburbs, on the Surrey side of the river; and in the last Report of the London Congregational Chapel-Building Society, our friend will find the following paragraph:"The entire number of new Congregational
HACKNEY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, AND SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL.
THE Forty-eighth Anniversary of this Society was held on Wednesday, the 25th June, at Union Chapel, Islington.
After prayer by the Rev. E. Mannering, James Glode Stapelton, Esq., the Treasurer, took the chair, and called on the Secretary to read the Report. A resolution for its adoption, and for filling up vacancies in the Committee, was moved by the Rev. H. Allon, and seconded by W. Leavers, Esq.; and the Rev. J. Stoughton, of Kensington, then preached on the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which it is the object of the Institution to make known. The Rev. C. R. Howell closed the service with prayer.
The Report stated, that during the last six months there had been fourteen students in the Seminary. Three were about to leave the Institution, having completed their studies; two of whom were shortly to sail for Tahiti in the "John Williams,"-Mr. Lind, who had been educated as a Missionary student for the London Missionary Society, without charge; and Mr. Spencer, who has offered himself to that Society, and been accepted. Mr. Spencer is the twelfth student who has proceeded from the Seminary to foreign missionary stations under the auspices of the London Missionary Society. The classical and theological exeminations were conducted by the Rev. R. Redpath, A.M., who bore testimony to the assiduity and zeal with which the students are prosecuting their several studies, with every prospect of many of them becoming wellfurnished and useful ministers of the gospel.
About £150 has been appropriated to the propagation of the gospel in the rural districts. There is a balance due to the Treasurer of £74.
ON the 6th May, this interesting service was held, when the Rev. Dr. Morison preached in the morning, and the Rev. John Stoughton in the evening. On this occasion, the balance due for the building and fittings was entirely cleared off. The chapel was commenced in 1846, and opened in 1847. It cost very nearly £1500, and it is now free from all encumbrance. It is a beautiful little chapel,
quite a model of elegant simplicity. We congratulate our excellent friend, the Rev. William Ellice, on the success which has attended his energetic efforts in the rural village where Divine Providence has cast his lot.
POVERTY OF MINISTERS.
(To the Editor of the Evangelical Magazine.) DEAR SIR,-Amongst the readers of your excellent journal, there are doubtless many rich persons of various denominations. I would hope that there are some of this class to whom it would be only necessary to propose a charitable plan, to ensure the exercise of their liberality. The poverty of many devoted ministers, both in the Establishment and out of it, is a great scandal to the church of Christ; and the mental suffering endured from this cause, by men of a liberal and learned education, is terrible in the extreme. When reflecting on this subject lately, a plan occurred to my mind, which, if reduced to practice, would in many instances greatly ameliorate this unhappy state of things. Let the rich Christian in any particular locality inquire who of the worthy ministers of the neighbourhood is in straitened circumstances, and regularly remit to him, half-yearly or annually, such a contribution as his conscience tells him he can afford. If these communications were anonymous, there would be a beautiful exhibition of delicacy, eminently worthy of the gentleman and the man of feeling, and, what is more, a happy correspondence with the injunction of our blessed Saviour,-"Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth." How often in such a case would the sanctified intellect of the preacher be released as if from fetters, and exert itself with new life and vigour in the service of his Lord and Master! How often would the prayers of the closet comprehend fervent addresses to heaven in favour of the unknown benefactor! Let those generous souls in whom the love of Christ burns with a zealous flame, act on this suggestion, and assuredly the blessing of God shall be upon them.
Yours very respectfully,
ON Tuesday, June 17th, the Rev. John Wesson was ordained to the pastorate of the Independent church, Bawtry, Yorkshire. The introductory sermon was preached by the Rev. Samuel Mc All, of Nottingham; the confession of faith was received by the Rev. Joseph Muncaster, of Gainsborough; and the designation prayer was offered by the Rev. Professor Falding, M.A., of Rotherham College; the services of the morning being concluded by a charge to the newly-ordained