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Mrs. Allen and Miss Clulow being present, united with Miss Pawson and my father in singing a few verses; after which he prayed. The Lord was remarkably present : it was a solemn season never to be forgotten. The hymn referred to, and which may be found in the Supplement to the Wesleyan Hymn Book, page 662, had been a great favourite with my grandfather Pawson, and was used by him as descriptive of his own experience on his death-bed; and was thus endeared to my mother not only by its own intrinsic worth and beauty, but by the most tender and interesting recollections. She often sung it with a faltering voice, both alone, and in company with her most intimate friends, when in a state of such extreme weakness that she could hardly speak so as to be heard; particularly the well known verse :
"O what are all my sufferings here,
If, Lord, thou count me meet,
And worship at thy feet!”
That night she slept better than usual, and all the next day was easier, and dozed much; but she was evidently growing weaker, and life seemed to ebb apace. She conversed familiarly about death, and gave her advice and orders about various things to be done in the family after her decease with as much ease, as if she were only about to leave home for a short season.
After preaching and meeting the bands on Monday evening, March 12th, my father repaired to her room, and found her easy and cheerful. He was very desirous to sit up with her that night; but being unwell, she persuaded him to retire, and as there was no appearance of an immediate change, he consented. My mother cheerfully took leave of him for the night, saying as he left
“I think I shall not go home to-night; I hope to see you in the morning." Having commended her to God in prayer, about eleven o'clock my father retired, leaving her under the care of her sister and Miss Clulow. About twelve o'clock he was hastily called ; but before he reached her bed-side, the happy spirit had fled.
Her departure was at last sudden, unexpected, and almost unperceived, without a struggle or sigh. She could
not speak, but quietly fell asleep in Jesus, about twelve at night, aged thirty-three years.
Though my father had long expected the mournful event, yet when it came upon him thus suddenly at last, he “ felt unutterable things.” The stillness and darkness of the midnight hour added to the solemnity of the scene.
Neither did the return of day bring relief to his wounded spirit. All the children except John the eldest, had been sent from home, being kindly entertained by friends in the town, that perfect quietness might be maintained in the house. Their distress, as one after another they returned home, and became acquainted with the mournful event, added greatly to his own. He was especially affected with the grief of his only daughter, then seven years and a half old, of a most affectionate disposition, and tenderly attached to her beloved mother. She had been spending some days at Miss Hales's, and on Tuesday morning went home to see her mother, being ignorant of the loss we had sustained. Miss Hales having given her a penny, she called at a shop on her way home, to buy an orange for her dear afflicted mother. When she reached home, and found that her beloved mother was no more, she was overwhelmed with grief, ran to her father, fell upon
his bosom, burst into a flood of tears, and wept aloud as if her little heart would break. My father was much moved; and had been more than man, had he not mingled his tears of sympathy and sorrow with those of his motherless girl.
On Friday the 16th of March, the remains of my dear mother were committed to the silent tomb in Christ's Church Yard, Macclesfield; and laid in the same grave with those of Mrs. Hanby, Mrs. Rogers, Ann Cutler, and several preachers' children. Eight class-leaders carried her to the grave ; at the gate was sung, Shrinking from the cold hand of death ;" through the streets, “And let this feeble body fail ;” and at the grave, “Pass a few swiftly fleeting years.”
The funeral service was read by the Rev. Melville Horne. Hundreds upon hundreds of spectators lined the streets. Throughout the solemn service, my dear father experienced the sustaining and consoling power of divine grace.
The circumstances in which he was now placed were
painful. Left with six children,—the eldest only eleven years of
youngest an infant of four months, without wife, without a mother for his children, and as an itinerant minister, having no fixed dwelling place, and frequently called much from home, he mournfully felt his situation; yet he saw and acknowledged the hand of God, bowed with sweet submission to his will, and without a murmur acquiesced in its painful and mysterious appointments.
In a letter to his uncle, the Rev. John Pawson, he thus expresses himself :—“My condition is indeed more afflicting than any former condition of my life. Still I am not left to sink in dejection, nor do the waves and billows go over me.
The Lord is very kind to me every way, and I have every thing my case will admit of to comfort me.
The great confidence in God and comfort my dearer self possessed on her death-bed; the uncommon kindness and tender sympathy of so many friends, both here and at a distance; and, above all, the constant presence and enjoyment of God in my own soul, contribute to support my mind. My reason, and judgment, and faith approve what the Lord has done, as right in all things, and indeed as the very best; yet I feel I am a widowed husband, a parent deprived of a help-meet, and a bereaved friend. In the last of these characters I feel the most. Twelve years' intercourse with my friend, unto whom I always thought aloud, had greatly endeared her to me.
And, uniting in her character and conduct a masculine mind with female tenderness, my loss is incalculable. Besides this, uninterrupted harmony and increasing mutual esteem cemented us more firmly every year; and we have often, (Ah ! busy meddling memory !) in the course of the last year, expressed to each other our gratitude to God for increasing satisfaction in each other. “ All on earth is shadow."
My poor body is a little shattered. I shall endeavour to take care of my health. I am resolved to die to the world and sin, to live to God, and to exert all my strength in his blessed work. The education and instruction of
my chief recreation, and God my only portion. I bless his name for a perfect freedom from anxiety: I live now, and leave to-morrow.
There is a God, and He is my God;—and there is a providence, in which I am interested. Adieu, my dear uncle and aunt. Continue to help me by your prayers; and do write to me, and love me still. I hope I shall never forget that I am one of you." To his friend Edmondson, he says,
“ I am now a widower. You, my dear brother, know the heart of a widower. In God alone can I hope for support and com: fort adequate to my necessity. Hitherto he has helped me; and though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, and love and serve him. I am now endeavouring to be composed and cheerful. I have six children; and to them my life and health are more important than ever. I hope, for their sakes, God will preserve me a little while; but for them, I too should long to be dissolved and to be with Christ and the redeemed. My sister Pawson is with me, and will remain for some time. A more suitable person I could not possibly find. She is clever and managing, and feels an interest in the children, which could not be expected from a stranger. Thank God for every alleviation of my distress. It is all of grace." To another intimate friend, the late Rev. Samuel Taylor, from whom he received a most sympathizing and consolatory letter, he says :
“My faithful, affectionate wife, the tender mother of my
six children, and my bosom friend, is taken away at a stroke. Nature and friendship feel unutterable things; and sometimes I can scarcely believe it real. However I must not,-I am not disposed to—complain. God has been with me, and his abiding presence comforts my heart. The Lord hath done it, and I am dumb before him. If this stroke be judicial, it is merciful, for I deserve to be damned. But I regard it as a part of my Heavenly Father's great plan for my good. Besides, this is an embryo state: my dearer self has burst the shell, and entered into full life; and I shall do the same as soon as it shall please God to say, Come up
hither. While she was with me, nothing on earth except the service and enjoyment of my God, was necessary to my comfort, but to see her happy. Now, she is happy indeed. Still I mourn. None but myself can estimate my loss. My dear wife made no glare in public, but shone in private and domestic life. O for resignation. I think I am resigned; but so many things bring to my recollection what I am bereaved of, that I fear lest I should offend the Lord by too much sorrow.
You know the heart of a widower, and can judge what must be my feelings.”
In his diary, he thus expresses his views and feelings on this mournful occasion :
"I am now deprived of the greatest earthly and creature comfort I ever enjoyed, and I painfully feel my
loss. But I must not complain. It is the Lord's doing. He had a right to take away. Painful as the trial is, I see it is at once my duty and my privilege to be resigned.
“I wish to improve this dispensation of providence by humbling myself before God for my former omissions in my relative capacity. Often did I omit what might have been useful to my dear wife. I neglected to improve by her
company and conversation as I might have done. I never knew any person in whose society I could improve my own mind so much as in hers. Her mind was masculine, and her thoughts and reasoning just and accurate; yet she had the delicacy and tenderness of her sex. I am distressed on account of these omissions. Lord, have mercy upon me.
“I desire to thank God for such a blessing for nearly twelve years. We lived together in peace and harmony, , and our greatest earthly blessing was to promote each other's well-being. Though I am bereaved, God forbid
. I should be unthankful for past enjoyments."
March 17.-If I am bereaved, I am bereaved. But shall I find fault with God? Shall I murmur or complain? Has the Lord injured me ? No: he has but exercised his own right. HE GAVE, and he has taken away. And though he slay me, yet will I trust in him, love him, and serve him. My dearer self is torn from me; but she is with HER God and MINE; and we shall meet again in glory,
- Sun. 18.-A mournful day. Attended the church in the morning. In the evening, Mr. Morley preached a funeral sermon on the occasion of my dear wife's death. A solemn season. The congregation was large, and the people much affected.
“Sun. 25.—Preached at Chinley, Chapel, and Buxton. Extremely weak, low, and dejected; yet graciously