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presence by myself as I desire ; and I have been guilty of many sins, but I will cleave to my Lord Jesus and lie at his feet, let him do with me as seemeth good."
I put him into God's hands by prayer, and he slept much, yet in the morning I perceived his strength was much abated, and that his memory failed him, repeating often the same things. I told him I was obliged to leave him. God did more than ordinarily assist me in prayer, and in expounding part of Job. xxxiii. My sisters, Esther and Alice, and several other friends and relations were present. There was a solemn parting and a flood of tears. Seldom hath my heart been in such a frame, reflecting on his more than ordinary care of me and prayers for me, when I could not or did not pray for myself. With much difficulty I parted from him about two or three o'clock in the afternoon, Feb. 23; lodged at Rochdale that night, preached at home on Lord's day, at Warley on Tuesday, at Idle on Wednesday, and, immediately after my return home on Thursday night, a messenger came to acquaint me with his death that morning, March 1, 1677. On Friday I went back with the messenger. They told me how he died, just as he had foretold, for he had often said, he thought he should die without much sickness or pain, as it proved. He slept quietly most of the night before, and about break of day called for something to wet his mouth, which while his wife was fetching, he opened his lips twice as if yawning, and breathed his last, without noise, groan, or the least struggle. On Saturday, his funeral was solemnized at Bolton, according to the decent custom of the country.
His son Nathaniel met us there from Ormskirk. Mr. Tilsley, who kept his station at Dean church, preached the funeral sermon in Bolton church, from 2 Tim. i. 12, “ I know in whom," &c. These words, a beloved sister of mine observed, our good father had frequently repeated, and recommended them to him as the subject of his discourse. Mr. Tilsley very cheerfully complied. The day after, being Lord's day, I preached at Cockey chapel on Rev. x. 6, “ There shall be time no longer.” O that it would please God to bring in some soul of our relations to fill up this vacancy, to do our dear Lord some acceptable service !
R. H. passed through a variety of circumstances and dispensations with such equanimity of spirit as I have seldom known, not being lifted up in prosperity beyond what was meet, nor too much cast down in adversity. He bore all his troubles with an invincible courage, for God wonderfully upheld him, and I doubt not sanctified his afflictions for the bettering of his heart; he had a good report of all men and of the truth itself. He lies buried in the middle of Bolton churchyard, with a handsome tombstone over him, and this inscription :
Here lyeth the Body of
of Little Lever, Who had followed the Lord 64 years, in Christian Profession and Practice,
through various Conditions.
There the weary be at rest.
LIFE OF MRS. ALICE HEYWOOD,
OBSERVED AND COLLECTED
BY HER SON, O. HEYWOOD.
ALICE HEYWOOD was born at Longworth, near Walmsleychapel, in Bolton parish, Lancashire, about the year 1594. She was the only daughter of her father, and had four brothers-William, Francis, Hugh, and Ralph Critchlaw. Most of these having been brought to a saving knowledge of the truth while she
was young, she wondered at their zeal, and the frequency of their attendance on religious duties, yet she became more attached to them for their forwardness in the ways of God, though she had little sense of such things as yet upon her own heart. She has often told me," she was as careless, worldly, and froward as any till about nineteen years of age, at which time it pleased God to take to himself her gracious mother, whom she tenderly loved, and for whose death she felt excessive sorrow." This heart-breaking providence was seconded by a heart-convincing ordinance and God's blessing. At that time, there lived a pious young minister at the place, Mr. Joshua Hill, whom the Lord used as an instrument to open her blind eyes, to convince her of her dangerous state by nature, and of the dreadful guilt attending the commission of every actual sin ; so that her heart was overwhelmed under sad apprehensions of divine wrath. She was brought next door to despair, and continued two full years suffering God's terrors
and refusing to be comforted, thinking her condition without parallel, and that there was no hope of mercy for so vile a sinner. That which lay so very heavy upon her heart was, that she had not been careful to follow her dear departed mother's example and instructions in spiritual things, though she had been very observant to please her in other things. It affected her heart exceedingly, that her mother was gone to the grave with tears for her, and had not seen the return of her prayers, and the success of her endeavours for her conversion. There were many concentring causes of her excessive grief, as, the depravity of her nature, the vileness of her sins, her dishonouring of God, crucifying Christ, grieving the Spirit, and ruining her soul, with many aggravating circumstances; these brought her soul to the gates of hell, and her body nigh to the grave. One circumstance I have often heard her relate, that upon that day in which she used to go to Bolton, and be most jocund with her companions, she afterwards withdrew into a little outhouse near her father's, took her bible with her, and spent the whole day in reading and praying and self-examining exercises. There she took her fill of the bitterness of godly sorrow,
and uttered importunate cries for pardoning mercy; her fasting and solitariness being intended as a holy revenge for her former mirth and vanity. Though she had not been addicted to gross profaneness, yet youthful volatileness was ber bitter affliction; for a wounded spirit hath a fruitful fancy to multiply and magnify the smallest circumstances and render them intolerable. When her brothers perceived her continuing too long, some of them came to bring her home, telling her she must have pity on her body, and that God will have mercy and not sacrifice. She answered, “she cared not what became of her body, so that her heart might be brought low enough on account of sin.”
Her soul-troubles were so great and her doubts so many, that several experienced persons took great pains to comfort her, but almost in vain. Mr. Hill, who was the means of her being cast down, laboured much to raise her up, lest she should be swallowed up with over-much sorrow. He had a tender regard for her, and sometimes, in company, would have pointed to her, and said, “this is one of my lambs," which expression wrought wonderfully on her. Ah! thought she, what am I, that any of God's messengers should own such an unworthy wretch, and that I should be called a lamb, who am more like a wolf, and deserve not to come into Christ's fold among his people ? She had many self-abasing and self-condemning thoughts, and was as nothing in her own eyes. If she perceived that any thought or spoke well of her, it rather humbled her than lifted her up, because she thought she was not so good as they took her to be, and that if they knew how vile she was they would not praise her, for none had so bad a heart as she supposed she was burdened with. Among her spiritual helpers, her brothers contributed much, especially the youngest, who was more endeared to her because of being nearer her own age, but especially because of having experienced similar distress of mind.
When God had thus betrothed my dear mother to himself in righteousness, judgment, loving-kindness, and mercies, he provided for her a suitable partner, my dear and honoured father, of whose piety and sincerity she had undoubted evidence. She has often said, “ that was the principal object of her choice, and that her heart was more endeared to him as an heir of the same grace of life, than for any other endowments.” They were first contracted, and then married (as I remember having heard them say) by good old Mr. Horrocks, that celebrated light and precious instrument of good, to whom she had a strong attachment. No sooner was she engaged in that relation and in the world, but behold a Gad, a troop, yea, an army of troubles assaulted her, the Lord seeing good to cast her down first that he might raise her up; as he had dealt with her in spiritual, so in outward things. One of the first trials she had was the death of her first-born son, the greatness of which affliction, scripture, and experience may testify. Yet this was but the beginning of troubles, for the Lord exercised them with embarrassment from debt, occasioned by my father's suretyship for others ;* at the same time there was a very grievous famine in the country. She often pathetically related those troubles and kept a due sense of them all her days, that her soul might be humbled in her prosperity. In these straits, the Lord raised them up many christian friends who were very tender and affectionate, and were instrumental in giving them comfort and encouragement, amongst whom I have often heard her mention her own father-in-law, (after whose name I was called) as a special means of their support. He was indeed eminent for piety, and as amiable for natural disposition. He often spake affectionately to her, and acted the part of a faithful friend in strengthening her hands in God, and helping her as if she had been his only child, he told her that they should be equal sharers in comforts and crosses, and that whilst he had any thing she should not want. But at length the Lord removed this stay also, taking him by death to himself, who was so great
See the Life of Mr. Richard Heywood.
a help to her ; yet about the same time, God graciously delivered them out of their pecuniary difficulties. These are but left-hand blessings, yet they are to be observed and recorded to the glory of God, and the encouragement of those that fear God. O how good are these mercies with a blessing !
She was a woman of sorrows, which she bore with unshaken fortitude, and incredible patience, cheerfulness, and self-denial, for she had a speedy remedy for every malady—that was pray
Oftentimes when her heart was as full of anxieties and fears as it could be, and she ready to be swallowed up, she was wont to go to the Lord, open her case, and state it to him in secret prayer, and thereby found present relief and future success. She was very conversant with the Lord alone, in humble retirement she practised self-conference, meditation, and the recollecting of sermons she had heard, whereby she had obtained a notable facility in remembering; for though, from age, her natural memory had decayed, yet she had the spirit of remembrance, and would mention much of what she had heard many years before. It was her constant course in the night when she lay awake, to revolve them in her mind, and rivet them there, so that in her I have often observed the truth of that maxim, “a good heart helps a bad memory."
Her earnest desire, and constant care were, to wait at the posts of wisdom. She had taken great pains to hear sermons. She was, (as it were) the centre of intelligence for knowing the time and place of week-day sermons. She thought it a great affliction to miss any opportunity for the good of her soul. She moved in religious duties and ordinances as in her proper element, and hath often said, “ she was never right but when she was reading, hearing, praying, meditating, or conferring." She loved to breathe in a religious air, and thought she could never be weary of God's service. There was scarcely a week wherein she spent not one day or more in the communion of the saints, especially among her own sex who kept up seasons of conference and private fasts. She was conversant with saints, not only about home, but in adjacent parishes, where she had many intimate associates who dearly loved her. She might truly say, she was a companion to all that feared God; for she had the right hand of fellowship in many churches, and her praise was in the gospel far and near.
She was exceedingly pitiful and tender-hearted to the poor, and used not only to deal out her bread to the hungry, but pour out her soul for them. Many a time hath she given money, clothes, and victuals to such as were in want, and often prevailed with my father to employ poor persons in a time of scarcity,