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Past and Present
An “Elect Lady,”

The person to whom this scriptural epithet is here most deservedly applied, was a member of the first society to which I belonged; by which I mean, not only the society in the town where I was converted, but its characteristic composition at the time I joined it, and for some years after—a society remarkable for its numbers, considering the then population of the town, its usefulness, its peacefulness, and fervent piety,—but a society, which after some years, was fated to pass through a severe ordeal, and to be sadly racked and scattered by Politics, by Irvineism, by Mormonism, by Millerism, and by a number of untoward circumstances that shall be left unmentioned, so as almost to lose its identity. For, though there is now a flourishing Wesleyan interest in the city to which the town has grown up, yet few of the members of the original society remain, A few, however, do remain.1 And among the rest, at the date of our writing, the lady in question. She has continued steadfast amid all the storms and all the changes, and contributed more than any one person, in some of its seasons of greatest prostration, to keep the cause from totally sinking. So great is the good that may be done by a pious lady.

We are often challenged for examples of the entire holiness we teach ; and it must be confessed there are too few on whom its defenders might boldly fix as proofs of the truth of their doctrine. But she was one who might have been pointed out with the utmost confidence. The writer saw her at the moment she sprang up from the midst of a camp-meeting “ praying circle/’ which they were in those days, and otherwise called “ the ring,” exulting in the pardoning mercy of God. He was acquainted with her while yet unmarried,—when in the conjugal relation —and during the continuance of her long widowhood. He knew her in very moderate circumstances, and in wealth and plenty; she was the same cheerful, humble, heavenly-minded creature in all eircnmstances. She had, there is reason to believe, a good natural disposition or temper ; and she had been rendered still more amiable by a superior moral and intellectual training; but her excellencies were principally the fruits of grace divine. I shall never forget the joy of countenance with which she bounded up from her knees at the time of her conversion, to which I have referred; and, after giving glory to God, the alacrity with which she commenced praying and labouring with the still unpardoned penitents around her. From that time she went steadily on. She never seemed to falter, or stumble, or even to lose ground. She is supposed to have been, instrumentally, the salvation of her husband. And after he was taken from her, being left in somewhat affluent circumstances, she was “ full of alms-deeds.” Often was her generosity imposed on. Although she might have excused herself on the ground of very delicate health, yet she literally “ went about doing good.” In whatever company she was, she was useful. He never knew a person whoso completely united gravity with cheerfulness; and who contrived to do so much good with so little of ostentation or eccentricity. She never spake ill of an absent person. There was nothing sour or morose about her; her piety was bland and inviting. Though a person of groat endowments, yet she never presumed to preach. The good she accomplished was in visiting awakened persons from house to house, and gathering them together in classes, which she met with great acceptability and profit; in praying in the prayer meeting, for she had a most lovely and powerful gift in prayer; and by collecting the poor and neglected of her own sex, in some by-part of the city, and labouring for their edification, by reading a sermon, and superadding exhortation and prayer. Nor was her labour in vain in the Lord. He has no doubt many hundreds of souls will bless God in heaven for the good done them through the instrumentality of this angel of mercy.

The writer remembers with gratitude how often his heart was cheered by intercourse with her, to go on in his arduous toil, during a very trying time, which happened at a somewhat advanced period of his ministry, when appointed to the place of his spiritual birth. He was about to say that “take her all for all, he ne’er will look upon her like again.” But why should he say that? The grace of God is sufficient for all; and what she was enabled to be by the grace of God, all may be. May the earth be filled with such Christians. Amen, and amen.

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