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MRS. LYDIA DOBSON
Was the youngest daughter of Mr. J. Woodcock, a respectable farmer in the county of Essex, who was dedicated to God in her infancy, by the late Rev. Mr. Reynolds, thenof Clavering, the effect of ■whose ardent supplicationsappearcd in her infant days. Early instructed by her parents to know good and evil, she never could recollect the time when she was not under serious impressions, nor felt an awe of the Divine Majesty, and serious apprehensions of the evil nature and consequences of sin; but these impressions were greatly deepened by the conversation of her mother, who endeavoured to improve the sudden and awful death of a neighbour. She listened to the glad tidings of salvation with peculiar pleasure; and, as a guilty creature, sought1 redemption through an almighty Saviour:—nor did she seek in vain! Having given up herself to the Lord and to his people, by the will of God in early life, she became a member of the church of Christ at Newport, Essex j in which connexion she remained till her marriage with her now disconsolate partner, the pastor of the church of Christ at Chiphill.
Here the Lord broke in upon her domestic comforts in a sudden and trying manner: two lovely children were snatched from her fond embraces in less than forty-eight hours from their being taken ill. This trial, however, she was enabled to endure without a murmuring word; nor did her grief exceed the limits allowed by the great Author of divine revelation; for she sorrowed as one under the influence of hope.
A little before her last illness she was severely tempted to conclude, that either she was an hypocrite, or that there was no God, and the Bible was not true. This temptation she kept in her own bosom: a step too frequent in timesj of severe temptation. Under these dis
tressing circumstances she was led] to cry witli increasing earnestness for deliverance; which our Lord mercifully granted her. She united, with ardent prayer the much neglected duty of close self-examination. "When I examine myself," said she, " by the Bible, and hear you describe the character of a. child of God, I am sure I am not an hypocrite; and if the Bible be true, and there is a God, I am sure my state is safe I" — Reading Mr. Bogtte's Address, prefixed to the New Testament, and hearing a sermon upon Practical Atheism, were the means of breaking the fatal snare of the tempter; and from this time she was no more sad.
Notwithstanding her afflictions, and the many obstructions to the performance of duty, arising, at one time, from her distance from the means of grace, and at others from domestic concerns, her place was never causelessly empty; and during nine years of close connection, I never observed the closet once neglected. She used to say, "1 cannot live if I have no time to be with God."
The disease which terminated in her death made gradual advances; but from the first alarming symptoms she concluded what its termination would be. She saw the sure approach of Death without dismay, and viewed the King of Terrors, and the terror of Kings, as an enemy without strength, and a serpsnt without a sting." "I have such a blessed prospect before me," said she," that language fails to describe it: I long to depart to realize it I" At another time to Mr. Dobson she said," I feel Chri«t so precious; surely, I 011not be mistaken! Give me your opinion f" That being given, she said, " I know 1 hate all sin, — £ know I love all holiness; and I see such a fulness in Christ, and such a glory in all he did and suffered, that if I had a thousand souls, I could leave them all in his dear hands! I have committed mine into his hands a thousand and a thousand times I O what a wonder that he should come to die for Mich a worthless thing as I am! Well may angels desire to look into the wonders of redemption! I bless God for giving his dear Son to die forme, and giving his dear Spirit to bring me to himself!" Mr. Dobson being absent to obtain the best medical assistance, the bre. thren had a meeting for prayer; after which many of them came info the room to speak to her. To one she said, " 1 hope, Mr. C. you have not been importunate for my life. 1 am not unwilling to live, nor afraid to die." Being answer, ed, ■ We h ive been praying, that your Comforts may be continued; and that you and we may be resigned to the will of God, whatever it may be,'— she answered, " That js all 1 wish!" She now became remarkable for abstractedness from the things of time. It was a rare case to hear her converse upon the things of time; she felt so much of the importance of eternal things, that none visited her without being directed to the most important objects ; and the subject ot an eternal state was the principal topic of her conversation.
On the Lord's Day previous to her death, the said, " I am almost impatient to be gone;
"Yet I will stay my Father's time, ".And hope and wait lor Hcavn awhile."
After the afternoon-service, she said to Mr. Dobson, "What do you think now > — is there any prospect of my recovery f" Being an. swered, ' Ciod is all-sufficient;' — she said, " Ves; he can bring to the grave, and can raise up-again; but how glad should I be, could I s'ip out of time into eternity !" — Being asked if the prospect of an" approaching change was attended with d^tiessf — she answered, "Not in the least; only I have a little dread respecting the agonies of death; but none on account of the consequences: the evetlaatmg arms of God are underneath me, and 1 have no fear that lie will
fail to support me in the trying moment!" In this happy frame of mind she continued till the following Wednesday; on which day she gave the most minute directions respecting her funeral j andcontinued in her cheerful and resigned frame till six o'clock in the_ evening, when the servant assisting her to rise, the imposthnme upon her lungs broke, which brought on a suffocation. Being asked if she could still trust in an unchanging Friend, — she said, " I cannot con-' vtrse now; but my mind is comfortable :" and at nine o'clock fell asleep in Jesus.
OnftiiU. J. D.
Of Kington, Herefordshire, wh» died Sept. i, 1804, aged seventy, three, had been, till about twelve months before his death, a notori. ousdrunkard. In his illness, which was the dropsy, he was convinced of his awful state as a sinner before God; and acquainted the kind friends who visited him with the feelings of his mind, and his earnest desire for their prayers. A short time before his death, he read one of Mr. B—'} Village Sermons; which was so blessed to him, that with the gratitude of one whom a kind hand had saved from destruction, he glorified God, declaring he enjoyed peace and pardon, thro* the blood of the cross; and uttered so many sweet observations, expressive of the operations of the Holy Ghost in his soul, that the Christian visitors felt their heart* burn w ithin trrem. The last words he was heard to speak, and which he uttered with uncommon joy, were, *' Is this Heaven's gate f" And soon, it is hoped and believed, had an abundant entrance ministered to him into the kingdom of our I.ord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
MRS. MARV PODMORK,
Of Southwark, died Oct. I, 1804, aged 70. She had been called by grace upwards of forty-three years, being at that period persuaded by an intimate friend to hear Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Romaioe, and others, whose preaching became the happy means of bringing herfrom darkness to marvellous light. She had, from her youth, been moral, having received good instructions from her pious mother, who attended the ministry of Mr. Davidson, of Bock, ing; so that she had frequent opportunities of hearing the gospel; but until now she had never felt its transforming power and influence. She attended, at successive periods of her life, the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Hitchen, Mr. Trotman, and Mr. Smith, of Eagle-Street, and joined the Baptist church under his care; from which she was dismissed to Mr. Button's church, where she continued to the time of her death. She was favoured with a remarkable good state of health, not having a day's illness for near the first 2$ years of her married state; but, about that time, in Sept. iRoi, she was suddenly seized with a violent pain in her <>.~de, from which she recovered, but was never so well as before; for nature appeared gradually to decay.
On the 19th of June, 1804, she was seized with the illness which ended in tier death. At the beginning of her illness she was under great darkness and distress of mind. She greatly feared she had for many years deceived others and herself: she would not sutler one word of comfort to be spoken to her, and seemed givtn up to despair. In this situation many prayers were poured out to God on her account, which were soon graciously answered. On Sabbath Day, August 5, she appeared very weak in b-dy, but quite serene and happy in her mind; and said, " Underneath me are the everlasting arms;" and further, " the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing," Ac.
"Yes," said she, lifting up her hands, "for ever—for ever."— To some friends that came to see her, she said, "God lias been my refuge for more than forty years past. How miserable should 1 be if I had now a refuge to seek I He will not leave me now in the hands of Satan."
Sabbath morning, Aug. 16, she said, " I would not have this called Death; it is not dying, but entering into life; it doth not yet appear what 1 shall be; but when Christ, who is my life, shall appear, then shall 1 also appear with him in glory. He has blotted out all my trans, grestions as a thick cloud ; —the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin."
Thursday morning, the 30th, she desired the 4<th Psalm to be read, and was greatly affected with the love of Christ to his church, and especially with the queen being pre . tented to the king, in gold ofOphir; which she understood as the type of Christ's righteousness.
The next day she said to her husband, "1 wish I could tell you what I have enjoyed from this Psalm (the 1 ■ 8th); but this I can say, this whole Psalm, the 91st and the 116th, have at different times been made very sweet to me. Ohl I wish I could tell you what have been my meditations for these two months past!" On a relative saying he hoped they should meet in Heaven, she replied, " Yes."
"The a we, with all in glory.
Shall cheerfully relate
To another she said, "Oh! what shoutings, what heavenly greetings, will then be at that general triumph, ant church-meeting I"
On Tuesday morning, Sept. 4, it being said to her, "You are stilt waiting for the kingdom and coming of your dear Lord," — she replied, "Yes — he w ill come by and by; his time is the best; and then I shall appear -with him in glory; the Lord waited long to be gracious to me; it is my duty now to wait for hun ; I shall go out wirh joy. and be led forth with peace."
On the 24th of Sept. thinking of her wedding-day, the 30th of Sept. she said, " J hoped that it would he my coronation-day, in which the queen would be presented to the King, in gold of Ophir."— She departed this life Oct. the i>t, when, without a sigh or groan, she sweetly slept in Jesur.4 -Pi'
REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS PUBLICATIONS.
A Spring Day; nr, Confrmplatinns on several OctuTrtwett tchirh tmtutafltf strike the Eifr in that delightful Itemson. 8ro. 6*. boards.
Tin: book of Creation is n volume of •divine ins-rrnriion. The aulliorof these Contemplations hath commentril <»n many of its pages in a manner, if not satisfactory to the critic, yet certainly highly gratifying to the serious Christian, especially in the retirements of rural life. He hath expounded the hook of Nature, by the volume of Itcrclation, In n manner somewhat analogous to the Apostle's explanation o[" the Mosaic rites. It may he said of this author, as it was of Coeeeius, that he finds (Jhrhrt everywhere, and in every page leads his reader to reflection! always sensible and pious, if not always strictly appropriate and just. The principal subjects are Creation,— Morning, — The Lark, — A Sheepfold,— The Sun, — Ploughing, — Sowing, — Corn,— A Wood,— A Brook,— Fishing,— Iters, — A Swallow,— Evening: — whirh are embellished with some very pretty designs enslaved on wood. Thai the reader may not rest wholly in cur opinion, we shall give, us a specimen, the second Contemplation, which is oue of the shortest.
On the Singing of a Lift.
"What pleasant sound is (hi* salutes my ear so earl) I while I lisien, I perceive it is a l*art, newly sprung from the turf, where he had reposed during the darkness.
"Anxious, as it were, to be the first of all the terrestrial creation in cvprcssing its thankfulness to the great Creator, and Upholder of all, for his kindness during the night, it pours forth its lirtk' grateful soul in rapturous strains of melody; swelling the anthem of -praise with still more and more luirmonious notes, the nearer it approaches the sky.
"This delightful bird, above most of the feathered tribe, is truly worthy of my imitation, and that in various points of view, \ttiile 1 am ravishcri with ifs tone, may I accord with the little charmer, in expressing my gratitude I" the bonmiful Creator of all! which I am ten thousand times more bound to do that) this cheerful songster.
'* How may 1 be put to shame with the early gratitude of this little crea
ture, which enjoys so little in comparison of what T do, who am still so unthankful! No house nor vault sheltered it from the liawk during the night; while 1 slept in my house with doors shut against any who might molest either my person or goods!
"It is now descended from its irrial excursion, and is silent for a little, gathering a scanty meal on yonder spot, but know s not where to find its next repast; while I have provision, not only for sundry meals, but, perhaps, for some months. Led only by instinct, it gathers a few corns tor the present; while I have reason (o direct me, not only how to provide lor the present, but also for future wants. It enjoys but a short temporal life; while I not only enjoy the same, hut aUo hope to inherit life eternal.
"No songster of the grove soars so high as the Lark, anil none sits lower. This is truly picturesque of a saint, and teaches me this excellent lesson, That thi' higher I arise in holiness and in likeness to <iod, the more humble I ought to be, calling myself, with tire apostle of the (ienliles, " less than the least of all saints." ^I'.ph. iii. 8.) — "Knowing that it is only grace that mak'cth me, or any, to differ from another." (i Cor. Iv. 7.)
"The Lark has a long heel, which Is one reason that it docs not sit on ttfe spray. So a believer, while he is here, hath a long heel, which keeps hint humble, "even the iniquity of his heels, which' compass him about." — (Ps. xlix. 5.) The songsters of the grove will not sit on the ground, but perch on some clevaled station, like the men of the world, who scorn the humble disposition of the saints,and sit high in their own estimation.
"The Lark w ill not assemble with any hilt those of its own tribe, except incase of winter's extremity; and even not then, unless for the purpose of gathering .1 liitle food. — So a saint only finds pleasure in the company of saints: "These arc ihey whom l>c makes hi* companions, and in them be places all his delight." (Ps. xvi. 2.) And tho' he is often necessitated, from the affairs of human life, to associate wHh the men of the world, vet these may lie said to have his actions alone, but ths? saints his affections. To the former he will only imparl the common occurrences of life; but, to the latter, the thing" concerning his soul: with the one he associates through necessity, hut with the other thro' real choice.
"The Lark, too, like a disconsolate mourner, for the loss of the pleasant season*, gives up with its song in winter, ant] assumes a chirping note) yet, even then, it is remarkable for being as fat, if not falter, than when it rejoiced in the cheerful morn of Spring. So a (taint, when under spiritual rlOMds in the winter of desertion, hangs by, as it were, his harp on the willows (1'sa. exxxvii. i) and falls a mourning, ins'ead of singing the sweet songs of Zion: yet, even then, he may be growing inwardly, though outwardly.he cannot perceive it; and may be as fat, and full of sap, as when he saw that his mountain .stood strong, Ps. xxx. 7.— For it is one thing to grow in sense aud manifestations, and another thing to grow in faith and patience; anil when his sun comes from under the cloud, shall have reason to sing with the i'salmisf, " It was good, for me that 1 was afflicted;" and to say, " Lord, thou hast done all things well.'' Ps. «xix. 71. Mark vii. 37.
"The Lark, too, as has hecn already observed, is not only (lie earliest songster, but is often heard by the nocturnal traveller, at small intervals thro' the summer night, making low harmonious notes. Just so, a saint doth not only praise his Maker early, hut often, with the sweet singer of Israel, prevents the dawning of the morning (Psa. c\ix. 147): — yea, even at midnight rises to give thanks unto him (Psa. cxix. 6;) and meditates, on him in the watches of the night. Ps. lxiii. 6.— Like David, he not only experiences the loving kindness of the Lord hy day, but his songs are also with him by night, Ps. tlii. 8.
"The Lark, too, has often been known, when flying from the rapacious hawk, to take shelter in the bosom of man. Just so a sinner, when the eyes of his understanding are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, to see his wretched and undone sla'e by nature; the condemning seatence of the law, and the wrath of tiVd ready to fall on his guilty head, flies to the nrm Christ Jesus, who is "as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest," (Isa.xjt.xii. z.) the only refuge.
"Ungrateful man, through an unfeeling heart and wanton cruelty, may give up the innocent bird to the will of
its enemy: but will the compassionate Jesus ever give up to vengeance the soul who hath lied to him for refuge ?— No: for he hath said, 14 Him that Cometh to me, 1 will in nowise cast out," John vi. 37; and, "whosoever bclieveth on him shall not be ashamed,"— Rom. ix. 33; and, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb; yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Isa. xlix. 15.
"Christ, in cflecl, saith to such a soul, what David once said to Abiatbar, when he tied to him from the sword of his enemy, " With me thou shall be iu safe - guard." 1 Sam. xxii. J3."
The Laity's Direciory/ur 1805. y£.
Tuts Tract, published by the Roman Catholics, contains the Calendar tof their church; a list of Plenary indulgences; an account of the French Mission, of Pekin, in China; the Life of Bishop Gifl'ard; a List of Chapels (of which there are nine iu London; Catalogue of Catholic. Rooks, and various other articles calculated to promote their cause in this country.
We should not have noticed this Tract, had it not been on account of the numerous schools for youngpersons in different parts of the kingdom mentioned in it, the terms of which are, in general, very moderate, and may pro'oibly induce some Protestant parents, who have a greater concern fur the polite than for the religious education of their children, to send them to these seminaries. That pretended candour, or properly indifference about religious sentiments,which so generally prevails, may, we fear, incline careless Protestants to commit the instruction of their offspring to Popish teachers : — an event we must sincerely deprecate, as fraught with incalculable mischief to future generations, and, pcrhftps, with ultimate destruction to the Protectant cause.
Nothing can be further from our wish than persecution on account of religion; hut, at (he same time, it behoves us to he on our guard; aud when we perceive that there are.»»ii<« 11 schools for young gentlemen, and trnxnli) for young ladies, besides nine emigrant religious orders*, wo think it our duty to say, we should watch>against the growth of Popery,