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Religion in Earnest by John Lyth

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In compiling the following sheets, the Author has discharged what he
felt to be an act, not merely of filial affection, but of Christian
duty. To his deceased and venerated Mother he owes more than words
can express;--a Mother whose consistent example, earnest piety and
frequent effectual prayers, perhaps even more than her oft-repeated
counsels, produced upon his mind, while yet a child, the settled
conviction that religion is the one business of life. But be believes
it also due to the cause of Christ, that an example of "Religion in
Earnest," so pre-eminent, should not pass unrecorded and unimproved.

Those who think the charm of biography consists in startling incident;
or who seek for material to gratify a literary taste, will discover
here little to meet their respective views. We have only to offer them
a simple record of one, whose history possessed no romantic interest,
and who made no pretension to intellectual attainments. But such as
love to trace the development of Divine grace in the human heart,
and to see its power uniformly exemplified in the several phases of
every-day life;--who are willing to learn how much may be accomplished
by decision, simplicity of purpose, and undeviating consistency;--in a
word, how every Christian even in private life, may become a centre of
happiness, life and power, are in this volume presented with no common

The method of arrangement which the writer has adopted has been
determined, partly by his materials, and partly by the desire to
render his subject practical as well as interesting. How far he has
succeeded must be decided by the impression made upon the mind of the
reader. He now commends his work to God, who alone can give success to
every good purpose, earnestly praying that Christ, who was magnified
in the life of his now sainted mother, may be yet more abundantly
magnified in her death.


Stetten, O.A. Cannstatt, Wuerttemberg.

December 27th, 1860.





























CHILDREN." Prov. xiii. 22.

Within the grounds attached to the mansion of the Earl of Harewood,
in the West Riding of Yorkshire, is a substantial and well-built farm
house, furnished with suitable outbuildings, and surrounded by a fine
cluster of fruit-trees. It stands on the side of a hill, which slopes
gently down to the river Wharfe, and commands a prospect, which,
though not extensive, is singularly picturesque. In front, a little
to the right, the ruined fortress of Harewood peeps out of a scattered
wood, which crowns the summit of the hill, and shelters one of the
neatest and trimmest villages in England. On the left flows the
beautiful Wharfe but soon loses itself among the adjacent heights.
Behind, towers the logan of Arlmes cliff, an interesting relic of
druidical skill and superstition; while Riffa wood and Ottley Shevin
complete the beauty of the landscape. A row of trees, protected by a
lofty wall, effectually conceals the house we have mentioned, from
the highroad, which for some distance runs at the foot of the hill and
almost parallel to the river. Formerly there was only a sandy lane,
which passed immediately in front of the house, and winding up the
hill, entered the village between the castle and the church. From this
circumstance the adjoining farm was called Sandygate, but with
the changes that have taken place, the appellation is now almost
forgotten, although the house still retains the name of its original
occupant, and is known in the neighbourhood as 'Stables House.'

Just a hundred years ago, this house was built for the accommodation
of Wm. Stables, a wealthy yeoman, who resided at Heatherwick (now
Stanke), about a mile from Harewood; and who, successful in the
cultivation of his paternal acres, sought to extend his interests by
renting the farm of Sandygate. His removal was however unpropitious to
his domestic happiness; for entering the new house before it was fully
fit for occupation, his wife, already in a delicate state of health,
took cold and died; leaving him with four children, the eldest of whom
was six years old, and the youngest but an infant. Mr. S. is said to
have been a shrewd and sensible man, of strict morals and unbending
integrity; but withal stern and inflexible in disposition, pharisaic,
and a bigoted churchman. His punctuality in the performance of outward
religious duties, and the regular payment of his dues, with now and
then a fat sheep given to the poor, secured him among his neighbours
the reputation of being a good Christian. As might be supposed,
his children were trained with great severity, and educated in the
straitest sect of their religion. Collect and catechism were duly
committed to memory, prayers regularly read in the family, the Sabbath
rigorously observed, a stiff and precise order reigned through
the whole household; but it wanted the charm and life of spiritual
feeling. As the children grew up to maturity, this state of things
was destined to be changed by the introduction of a new and unwelcome
element, which seriously disturbed the never too profound tranquillity
of the old man. Mary, the youngest child, whose mind had gradually
opened to the truth, although so defectively communicated, became
deeply convinced of sin under the ministry of Mr. Jackson, the parish
clergyman; and so painful and vivid were her views of her miserable
condition, that she cried aloud for mercy in the church. Her father
was deeply concerned for her, but, as he was ignorant of spiritual
religion, he was utterly at a loss to understand her feelings. As a
last resource he sent for the minister, but with no better result,
for he too, frankly confessed that he did not understand the sorrow
of which he had been the unwitting occasion. A specimen of this
gentleman's ability to administer spiritual counsel and direction
is recorded in the characteristic autobiography of Richard Burdsall.
"Visiting Mr. Stables in his last illness Mr. Jackson asked him how he
did. Mr. S. replied, 'Sir, I am a miserable sinner.' 'Do not say you
are a miserable sinner,' replied the Reverend gentleman, 'for you
are a good man.' Mr. S. answered, 'O, Mr. Jackson, I am a miserable
sinner.' To this the parson replied, 'if you will be a miserable
sinner you are like to be a miserable sinner,' and so came no more."

Mary was thus left to seek relief and comfort where she could; and
having heard of the Methodists, who held a meeting every Sabbath in
a house about a mile distant from Harewood, she secretly resolved to
attend, if possibly, she might find the hidden peace, which she had
hitherto sought in vain. Here she met with a few humble but sincere
persons, who could sympathise with her state of mind; and from whom
she received such instruction and encouragement, that, not long after
while pleading with God in the secrecy of her chamber, she obtained
'redemption through the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of
sins.' Much to the chagrin of her father, she now became an avowed
Methodist; and was subjected to the petty persecution, which usually
awaits the first in a family that embraces vital godliness. On one
occasion, her father locked her out of the house; and, on another,
threatened to shoot her, but she remained firm to her profession;
until at length, her consistent and steady deportment was rewarded by
the conversion of her two brothers, John and William, and also of two
of the servants. The increased displeasure of the old gentleman was
signally exhibited. Afraid lest Elizabeth his eldest daughter should
also become a Methodist, he resolved at once to free his house from
all possibility of infection. The two servants were dismissed without
ceremony; and the three delinquents banished to a farm, which he had
purchased, at Kirkby Overblow, a few miles distant. These precautions
were useless. The removal of her sister and brothers, together with
the occasion of their banishment, so much affected Elizabeth, that
in fact it contributed to the result it was intended to prevent. So
foolish and vain are the thoughts of men when they attempt to arrest
the operations of the Spirit of God. Isolated and freed from control,
the young converts were now left to obey the dictates of conscience
without further opposition. In their new home they were thrown
more directly in contact with the Methodists, and especially formed
acquaintance with Richard Burdsall, with whose class they at once
connected themselves.

Richard Burdsall was one of those bold and distinctive characters,
whose sterling piety and ardent zeal shining forth from under a rude
exterior, gave such peculiar lustre to the age of early Methodism; and
indicated an agency, specially raised by God, to break up the fallow
ground and clear away the thorns, that the incorruptible seed of
truth might find a soil congenial to its germination and growth. His
conversion, which occurred at the age of twenty, was accompanied by
indubitable proofs of its reality; and instantly followed up by entire
consecration to God. The path of usefulness soon opened out before
him; and in spite of 'fightings without and fears within,' he pursued
it with undeviating integrity to the close of a protracted life. His
shrewdness and originality of thought, quaint and pointed method of
expression, combined with such an intimate acquaintance with the word
of God, that some said he had the scriptures at his fingers' ends, and
others nicknamed him 'old chapter and verse;' and above all, his
known integrity and uncompromising zeal for the glory of God, amply
compensated for the want of cultivation, and rendered him as a lay
preacher so exceedingly popular and useful, that he was repeatedly
solicited to enter a higher sphere, and devote himself to the work
of the ministry. He was twice appointed by Mr. Wesley to the York
circuit, in which he was resident; and in six different instances,
invited to take charge of independent congregations; but, although he
so far yielded to the request of the former as to make the experiment
for nine months, he voluntarily retired, under the conviction that
he was called to occupy an humbler but not less useful sphere. His
labours, which were extended over a considerable part of Yorkshire and
Lincolnshire, were blessed by God to the salvation of thousands. By
day toiling at the vice or the anvil, and by night preaching the glad
tidings of the Gospel, his life was spent,

"'Twixt the mount and multitude
Doing and receiving good"

until, within a fortnight of his death, at the advanced age of
eighty-eight, he delivered his last discourse, and died shouting
"Victory, Victory," through the blood of the Lamb.

At the period of oar narrative Mr. B. resided at Kearby, about a mile
from the Kirkby farm, where he soon became a frequent and welcome
visitor; and by his counsels and example, contributed much to confirm
the faith and piety of its inmates. The two brothers became useful
local preachers, and remained faithful unto death; and with Mary
commenced an intimacy, which, notwithstanding considerable difference
of age and circumstances, was ultimately consummated in marriage. The
story of the courtship is amusing and characteristic. Mary was fair
to look upon, and having moreover the prospect of a handsome fortune,
commanded many admirers. One day when several of these aspirants for
her hand were present, Mr. B. stepped in, and, perceiving how matters
were going, quietly slipped behind her and whispered, 'I mean to have
thee myself'. This abrupt avowal had the desired effect. The blooming
damsel preferred the widower with four children, though twice her own
age, to younger but not more worthy suitors; a decision she never had
occasion to regret.

The engagement thus strangely brought to a crisis, was not entered
into without much serious forethought and prayer. The path of
Providence was distinctly indicated, and there remained but one
obstacle in the way of the proposed union, and that was to secure the
consent of Mr. Stables; which, to quote Mr. Burdsall's own words,
"'to me appeared like asking him for his life'. I was however
providentially helped out of this difficulty; for as I was returning
from preaching one morning, I met him in a narrow lane at some
distance from his own house. When he saw me, he turned round as though
he would not meet me. The lane being strait, he took hold of my mare
and said, 'What are you a riding preacher now'? I answered, 'To be
sure I am, for you see I am upon my mare'. He then said, 'Are my sons
right, think you, when they can go to a public house and drink with
people and pay nothing'? I replied, 'You are not to give credit to
what the world says of us Methodists, or of your sons. I believe your
sons fear the Lord, and are wishful to do what is right'. He said,
'Well, he that endureth to the end the same shall be saved'. I
replied, 'That is God's word, but it will not suit every one'. He then
wished to know whom it would not suit. I answered, 'It will not suit
the unregenerate, for were I to tell sinners, that if they endured
to the end in their sins they should be saved, I should lie; for they
cannot be saved if they do: neither will it suit the self-righteous,
for the word of God says, 'Except your righteousness exceed the
righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter
into the kingdom of heaven'. What I said, seemed to carry conviction
to his mind. He said, 'They say you are a good preacher, I shall come
and hear you'. 'I should be glad to see you', replied I, 'but I fear
your master will not let you come'. We then proceeded towards his
house in friendly conversation, and when we were just going to part
he said, 'They say you are going to marry my daughter.' I answered,
'I doubt they grieve you with, it.' He said, 'Nay, not at all, for
my daughter shall marry whom she likes.' 'You speak very honourably,'
said I, 'if you only stand to your word.' To this he replied, 'I will,
she shall marry whom she likes.' I said to him, 'I will make you
this promise, that I will not marry your daughter for the sake of her
fortune, for I do not believe you will give me any with her. If I can
be assured that it is of the Lord, I will marry her though you turn
her into the street destitute; and, without this persuasion, I would
not marry her though you were to give her your whole estate to do
so: therefore do not blame me.' He said, 'I cannot,' and we parted."
Notwithstanding this plain conversation, Mr. Stables was highly
displeased with the match, and offered to give his daughter an
additional portion on condition that she would not prosecute it;
adding, "If you do, I'll give you sixpence a-week, and you may go
about singing Methodist songs."

On their marriage, which took place shortly after, Mr. and Mrs.
Burdsall removed to York. The offended father, true to his word, sent
his daughter forth literally destitute; not even permitting her to
take her personal apparel. It was not until twelve months had elapsed,
that any further communication took place. The interview is thus
related by Mr. Burdsall in his own quaint style. "I happened to be
passing near his house as he was going from it; on my calling to him,
he asked what I wanted with him. I said, 'I want to know what place
you mean me to have in heaven?' He smiled, and asked, 'Do you mean to
go there?' 'I hope so,' said I. He then asked me why I had married his
daughter. I told him, because I loved her and thought she would make
me a good wife. I added, 'You know, sir, that I told you before I
married her, that I would not marry her for the sake of her fortune;
neither have I, I do not expect any, the Lord blesses us without any,
and he will still continue to bless us.' He acknowledged the truth of
what I said, and we parted." The fire of wrath was still smouldering
in the heart of the old man, and awakened in the mind of Mrs. Burdsall
feelings of painful anxiety, especially, as it was apparent, that life
was ebbing fast to its close. Mr. B. therefore, a short time after,
addressed a kind but faithful letter to him on the great subject of
salvation, and concluded with these remarkable and expressive words,
"I have no other reason for writing to you, that I know of, than this,
that the sun is going down." This produced no immediate effect, only,
whenever they met, Mr. Stables would say, "You write parables to
me." The allusion however so appositely and wisely put, like an
arrow directed to the mark, had fastened upon his conscience, and was
secretly undermining the strength of long and obstinately-cherished
resentment. The marksman was skilful, but still better, a man of
"fervent effectual prayer." "As a Prince he had power with God and
with men, and prevailed," for "when a man's ways please the Lord He
maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." So it turned out.
Mr. Burdsall says, "One time, as I was returning home from preaching
at a distant place in a very wet cold and hungry state, and as night
was coming on, having to pass his residence, I thought I would call
and see if he would receive me. I knocked at the door, and he himself
opened it. Seeing me he called his eldest daughter and said, 'Here is
thy brother, come and take his horse.' I alighted and went in. He then
accosted me as he had done once before, asking, 'What are you a riding
preacher now?' I answered, 'To be sure I am; for I have ridden from
York to Seacroft, and from thence to your house.' 'Well,' said he, 'I
know you live well.' I replied, 'We do; but I have not lived so well
to day as I might have done; for I feel rather hungry.' He smiled,
and bid his daughter put on the tea kettle. We then entered into
conversation, in which he said, 'You write parables to me, for you
told me the sun was going down.' I answered, 'I did so, and my reason
for it was, I knew I had stirred up your wrath in marrying your
daughter against your mind, and was fearful lest the sun should go
down upon it.' He burst into a flood of tears, and was so melted down,
that for three hours, I was prompted both by his feelings and my own
to speak of the love of Christ to poor sinners. * * * This was a night
to be remembered as my reconciliation with Mr. Stables was at this
time effected." The understanding thus happily brought about was never
after interrupted; and Mr. Stables practically evinced the sincerity
of his feelings by securing to his daughter an annuity for life. In his
last illness, which occurred a few years later, Mr. Burdsall, by his
own request, frequently visited him, and ministered to his spiritual
wants. He died in peace on the 13th of June, 1787.

The first fruits of the union of Richard Burdsall and Mary Stables,
was Mary, the subject of the present memoir--the step-sister of the
Rev. John Burdsall, who still survives. She was born at York, without
Bootham bar, June 19th, 1782. The house which no longer exists, stood
just under the shadow of the old gateway, nearly opposite the modern
crescent, known as St. Leonard's Place.

The foregoing facts, which to some may appear superfluous, are here
introduced not merely with the view of making the reader acquainted
with the antecedents of my honoured mother; but the much higher object
of illustrating the sovereign mercy of God, and tracing the growth of
the religious element in the family. Many a page deeply interesting
and instructive might be written which would unfold the grace of God
in the history of particular families, flowing as a stream of light
from generation to generation, or diffusing itself in the collateral
branches; here swelling as "broad rivers and streams," and there
narrowed down to a single channel. The causes of such alternations
might be profitably investigated, and recorded. The inquiry into one's
ancestry would thus answer a nobler purpose than the gratification of
human vanity, or the recovery of an alienated inheritance; it would
exhibit the influence of the past upon the present, afford important
lessons of encouragement or admonition, and discover our claim
perhaps, to something better than gold or silver "for the good man"
even though he is poor, "leaveth an inheritance to his children's
children." How far the moral character as well as the physical
constitution of a parent may affect the happiness and control the
destiny of his children, is a question, which may be incapable of an
exact and satisfactory solution; but the general fact, notwithstanding
some strange exceptions, (which however may not be altogether
incapable of explanation,) is sufficiently established, that examples
of singular excellence, or notorious profligacy may usually he traced
to seeds sown in a former generation. They are not therefore to be
altogether regarded in the light of isolated phenomena, but as the
result of causes, which may be more or less accurately determined.
At all events, God reveals himself as "a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
generation of them that hate him, and SHEWING MERCY UNTO THOUSANDS OF




What solemn interest surrounds the dawn of immortal existence,--that
precious portion of human life, the first four or five years, which
may be termed the perceptive period, too often treated as a mere
blank, in which nothing is to be attempted; when the soul is all
eye, all ear, continually storing up in an almost faultless memory,
impressions, which go far to mould the future character, and which
reason, so soon as it is able, will certainly use as part of the
material out of which it must form its conclusions! How much of the
future depends upon the kind of influence to which the infant mind is
subjected! Happily for Mary Burdsall these early years were carefully
watched and guarded. The bold and uncompromising character of
her father, and the gentle piety of her mother, secured to her a
combination of influences particularly favourable to the development
of moral and religious feeling. Lessons of truth and love, as yet
beyond the comprehension of the child, were effectively taught by
means of bright and living examples; and hence grace began to operate
with the first unfoldings of reason.

Her earliest recollections were associated with the farm at Sandygate.
When about four years old, her grandfather Stables, now reconciled to
his daughter, proposed to undertake the charge of Mary's training and
education. This arrangement was overruled, providentially as it would
seem; for Mr. S., although strictly moral and religious in his way,
was a stranger to experimental godliness, and only obtained the
knowledge of the truth in his last moments. The occasion of her return
to her parents was probably his increasing age and infirmity, as
the only impression she retained of him in after life was that of
a somewhat crusty and ill-tempered old man, with a huge bobwig,
who always laid in bed. His last words to her, which were vividly
impressed upon her mind, were, that it was a pity she should go home
to be spoiled by Methodism. The few months she spent at Sandygate
were not however without some good and permanent result. Her aunt
Elizabeth, who was scripturally enlightened, and in a great measure
free from other engagements, solicitously occupied herself in
endeavouring to impress her tender heart with divine truth. From
her lips she learned to lisp the Lord's prayer, the Apostles' creed,
several of Watts' divine songs, and in particular the hymn commencing

"How vain are all things here below."

With reference to this period she says in her journal:--"The spirit
of God strove with me when but a little child. One time, I remember,
while repeating my prayers to my aunt, the grace of God shone so
sweetly upon me, I was melted down into tenderness before the Lord;
and it seemed as if the glory of the Lord shone round about me, while
I repeated the well-known hymn

'Glory to Thee, my God, this night.'

At another time, the Spirit of prayer was so poured upon me my sleep
for a season fled. Thus the Lord brooded upon my infant mind. Glory be
to his adorable name!"

Shortly after her return to York she heard the venerable founder of
Methodism preach in Peaseholm Green Chapel; and though at that early
age incompetent to retain any recollection of the sermon, his saintly
appearance made on her imagination a vivid impression, which was
perpetuated through life, and often mentioned in the family circle
with the liveliest feelings of pleasure. On this occasion, the last on
which he preached in York, Mr. Wesley appears to have been in one of
his happiest moods, as he remarks in his journal, "The word was as
fire, and all that heard it seemed to feel the power thereof;" a
circumstance which no doubt greatly contributed to fix the memory of
his features upon the mind of a child so young. And still more so, as
the venerable man, on descending from the pulpit, placed his hand upon
her head, and gave her his blessing. The Rev. J. Burdsall, who
was also present, once communicated to the writer an amusing and
interesting incident, that happened in course of the service, which
illustrates Mr. Wesley's love of harmony, even when, he had lost the
power to create it. It is well known that he delighted to hear the men
and women each take their proper part in congregational singing; but
it seems in this instance, the men in the warmth of their feelings had
transgressed the limits assigned them. Mr. W., whose ear was offended
by the slightest discord, somewhat sharply rebuked them. As this
failed to produce the desired amendment, he stopped again, and said,
"Listen to brother Masterman," who was at that time the leading
singer. Still dissatisfied, he stopped a third time, and said, "Listen
to me," at the same time taking up the strain, but as his voice was
cracked, and broken with age, it afforded such a miserable example as
to excite a general titter.

As a child Mary was distinguished by unusual vivacity of disposition,
and her fondness for fun and frolic often betrayed her into trouble.
At times she was wilful and passionate,--a spirit wisely checked by
her mother, whose discipline was equally strict and judicious. Such
ebullitions were transient, and invariably followed by feelings of
regret and sorrow. Adverting to this subject in after life she said
with deep gratitude, "I had a good mother and father to keep me in,
and restraining grace." On several occasions her life was placed in
imminent peril, and, but for that merciful providence, which specially
watches over the "little ones," she must have fallen a victim to her
thoughtlessness. One of these occurred when she was at school; where,
by some means her dress caught fire; happily the smoke and smell
of burning attracted the attention of her teacher who rushed to her
rescue, and succeeded in extinguishing the flames, but not until
her outer garments were completely consumed. Her education was
very slender, being confined to the simplest rudiments of human
knowledge,--a circumstance she often regretted, although in after
life the disadvantage was in a great measure overcome by diligent and
select reading.

When about eight years of age, the development of her early religious
feelings received a partial check through the pernicious influence
of a servant girl, who perceiving her love for singing, taught her,
without the knowledge of her parents, a number of foolish songs. Two
years later she gave decided indications of serious thought. She began
to take pleasure in being alone, and acquired a remarkable love of
solitude, which characterized her through life,--a feeling which
was strengthened by reading an article in one of the early "Arminian
Magazines." Sometimes she would steal off to the cottage of a pious
old churchwoman of the name of Halifax, who lived at a short distance
from her father's house; and listened with delight, while the good old
lady read to her out of the Psalms, and talked about heavenly things.
On one of these occasions she was so deeply affected by a sense of her
sinfulness and accountability, that pointing to the cat which lay by
the fireside, she exclaimed, "I wish I was that cat;" and when asked
why, replied, "Because it has not a soul to save." The old lady
gently rebuked the foolish thought, and, shewing her its wickedness,
endeavoured to lead her to Him, who said, "Suffer the little children
to come unto me." Not long after she began to meet in her father's
class, and received her first ticket at the hands of the Rev. Francis
Wrigley, at that time Superintendent of the York circuit. By weekly
intercourse with the people of God, her aspirations after divine
sources of happiness gradually strengthened until she was twelve years
old, when they assumed a more definite form; although, in consequence
of her tender age, her views of evangelical truth were necessarily
crude and defective; for she still "spake as a child, understood as a
child, _reasoned_ as a child," It was during a few days' visit to her
aunt Elizabeth, who now resided in the suburbs of York, having married
Mr. J. Hawkins of that city shortly after her father's death, that she
became so unhappy on account of her sinful and miserable condition,
that she could not refrain from much weeping. The thought of entering
eternity without a change of heart filled her with alarm. Every
looming cloud had a voice which spoke of the judgment to come; every
unpropitious event awakened painful forebodings. Her fears, which were
the genuine fruits of divine influence, were further aggravated by
the popular excitement of the times. France was threatening war
with England, and the prevailing apprehensions of the multitude
communicated themselves with double force to the heart of the
sorrowing child. "What," thought she, "if they should come now, and I
should be killed in my sins." Indeed her trouble increased to such
a degree that her aunt was grieved, imagining that her mother would
think she had been unkindly treated. She therefore resolved to take
her home. On the way a number of circumstances occurred which
to Mary's childish imagination were pregnant with evil, and
prognosticated nothing less than the day of general doom. The city was
in a state of unusual commotion, a report had gained ground that
the invader was at hand, some foolish person had caused the massive
portcullis of the city gate to be let down, several recruiting parties
were parading the streets, two of these she met, and the shrill blasts
of a few mounted trumpeters, together with a dense and portentous
cloud, which just at the moment spread itself upon the horizon,
completed her dismay. She reached home in tears. Her mother, whose
solicitude was awakened, inquired the cause. She replied, "Mother,
I can't tell you, but nothing in this world will make me happy."
Suspecting the real state of her feelings, her mother conversed kindly
with her, and administered suitable consolation, but in vain. After
committing herself to God in earnest prayer, she retired to rest with
the conviction, that she was the greatest sinner in the world; but the
next morning, which was the holy Sabbath, broke upon her with healing
in its wings. She awoke with the words in her mind,

"What a blessing to know that my Jesus is mine."

Her soul was immediately filled with a calm sweet joy, which she was
unable to describe. She arose from her bed, and went to the house of
God, her heart still glowing with these newly awakened emotions; and
while on her way thought within herself, "O that I had a voice that
would reach to all the world, I would tell them how happy I am."
This occurred on the 12th of February, 1795. But the transport of her
feelings, after enduring for a season, at length subsided; yet
not without leaving a permanent though perhaps not easily defined
impression. It may be asked was this conversion? was it genuine? and
in a child so young? We answer it would be very difficult to prove
that it was not. One thing is certain, that from this time there was a
settled purpose to serve the Lord, which spite of fluctuating feeling
and periods of wintry coldness was steadily kept in view; ever and
anon gathering strength until it ripened into maturity. The sapling,
because it bends to the breeze is not therefore destitute of life;
unless it be torn up by the roots, or scorched and withered by the
noon-day sun, or absolutely frozen by the winter's cold, it will
gradually wax and grow until its massive trunk is able to bid defiance
to the storm. Conversing on this subject with one of her children at
a late period in life, when her judgment was matured, and her views
of divine truth rendered more clear by her approximation to a better
world, she said, "I lost my peace because I grieved the Lord by a
trifling disposition, but the Lord did not leave me;" then, employing
the language of the lamented David Stoner, she added, "I have been
converted a hundred times." To another of her children, after using
similar language she said with peculiar, emphasis, "I have been aiming
to please God all my life, _I can say that_." Her conviction was that
the work was real, but that at the time, she did not understand the
nature of it; and hence from causes clearly ascertainable, it was as
in many similar cases, soon overshadowed by circumstances of doubt.
The truth is, children are just as capable of _experiencing_ the
grace of God as persons of riper years; but they are not capable of
_defining_ their feelings, or of _understanding_ the great doctrines
of salvation,--and for this very reason, they are more liable to be
subjected to fluctuations both of feeling and purpose. It would be
well if some older people, who do not take the pains to obtain a clear
and intelligent view of the religion they profess, were not equally
unstable and from the same cause; if there was no occasion for the
apostolic admonition, "Be not _children_ in _understanding_; howbeit
in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men." The feelings
of children, when employed about the great subjects of religion and
eternity, are not lightly to be discouraged, even when mixed up with
much that a maturer judgment must condemn; they should be fostered
with solicitous care. The tender plant requires gentle culture; touch
it not too rudely lest you check its development; watch it carefully;
support its weak and fragile stem; tenderly remove what is injurious;
and give it plenty of scope, that it may put forth its young fresh
leaves; and it will bloom by and by with all the richer fragrance and
beauty. "Forbid them not," cries the Saviour. Let them come with their
first fruits, and lay the offering of their childhood unsullied by
unholy communion with the world at the Master's feet. Let them come
with their cherry lips, and sparkling eyes, and loving hearts. Let
them come before age has curdled their blood, and the pleasures of
life have blunted the keenness of their susceptibilities. Let
them come, let them come. The Saviour welcomes their approach. The
fragrance of the sacrifice they bring is precious in his sight, and
while he folds the little ones in his arms, he lifts his eyes to
heaven, and "rejoicing in spirit, says, I thank thee O Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and
prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes, even so Father, for so it
seemed good in thy sight."

Providentially Mary Burdsall was under judicious direction, and
retained her religious purpose although she lost the sweetness of her
enjoyment. Her experience assumed that unsettled phase which often
characterises the earlier stages of youthful piety. Now miserable
from a consciousness of having grieved the Spirit of God, and again
hopeful, confident, and happy. Sometimes she was driven even to
despair, and admitted the thought that the day of grace was past for
ever. One day while in this state of feeling she overheard her father
conversing with a friend on the awful case of Francis Spira,[Footnote:
"Francis Spira an advocate of Padua, Ann. 1545, that being desperate,
by no counsell of learned men could be comforted; he felt, as he said,
the pains of hell in his soule, in all other things he discoursed
aright; but in this most mad. Frismelica, Bullovat, and some other
excellent physicians, could neither make him eat, drink or sleep; no
persuasion could ease him. Never pleaded any man so well for himself,
as this man did against himself; and so he desperately died. Springer,
a lawyer, hath written his life."--_Burton's Anatomy of Melancholie_.]
her mind was filled with great horror, and she was constrained to
seek refuge in prayer. While she was pleading with God the words were
applied, "Turn ye at my reproof," and the snare was broken. During
this period of mental conflict she steadfastly maintained her
connexion with the church; and thus escaped that total loss of
spiritual feeling, into which many, in similar circumstances, plunge
themselves by withdrawing from the circle of religious influence.
Her exceeding volatility of temper, which was the cause of her
instability, often occasioned her bitter reflections; and as it was a
source of trouble to herself, excited the anxiety of her mother, who
frequently said to her, "There's a wide world will tame thee." Her
own words in reference to this stage of her history were, "They never
turned me out of class, but from my thoughtlessness and giddiness,
I am sure, I was not a proper Methodist." Still the struggle between
grace and nature was secretly going on; and every new proof of her own
weakness but contributed to strengthen and establish her resolves.

About this time she became acquainted with Miss Barrett, afterwards
Mrs. Zech. Taft, from whose counsels and example she derived much
advantage. Her first introduction to this excellent woman occurred
while on a visit to her uncle Mr. Wm. Stables, who had succeeded
to his father's farm at Sandygate. It seems her uncle and aunt were
invited to meet Miss B. at a social party at Harewood, but being
otherwise engaged, it was agreed that Mary should go in their stead,
accompanied by her aunt's sister. As she left the house her uncle
said, "I hope they'll convert thee." On arriving at the place where
the party was assembled she found a room full of strangers, and
among them Miss B., to whom she was specially introduced as Richard
Burdsall's daughter.

This secured her a kind and hearty reception. After tea followed a
Prayer-meeting in which petitions were particularly offered on her
behalf. Her pride was wounded and she thought within herself, "If
they would but pray for themselves it would be all very well;" but
notwithstanding this revulsion of feeling the impression made by this
interview was not only salutary, but indelible. She felt and wept
much, and from this time gave herself more diligently to the study of
the word of God and prayer. Subsequently she had many opportunities
of meeting with Miss B. in York, and the spiritual benefit which she
derived from these interviews led to a permanent friendship.




Have you ever witnessed a glorious sunrise? Have you ever seen the orb
of day go forth as a bridegroom to run his race, arrayed in robes of
crimson, and purple, and gold? Then nature has taught you the lesson
that early opportunities are the brightest and best. Golden are the
early hours of morning, when the mind is most vigorous, and the powers
of nature, refreshed by sleep, are in full play. Golden too are the
days of early youth, before the heart is saddened by vanity, and the
spirit pressed down by the accumulating cares and responsibilities of
life. Let them be diligently improved, and they cannot fail to bring a
rich and profitable return. Therefore "in the morning sow thy seed."

Mary Burdsall was not indifferent to these opportunities. In the
beginning of life she formed the habit of early rising. She rose with
the lark and sang as merrily. She cultivated a taste for reading and
reflection; and although the natural vivacity of her disposition was
a constant snare in her path, she never lost sight of the purpose
she had formed of living for God. In secret she communed with her
own heart, and, the better to secure her growth in grace, commenced
a diary, which, with two or three short intermissions, occasioned
by sickness, was continued until within a week of her death.
Unfortunately a considerable portion of these manuscripts, including
a period of several years just preceding and following her marriage,
were destroyed by her own hands. What remains, is however no small
proof of her diligence and perseverance, as they extend to twenty
quarto volumes containing about 5,000 pages. They contain, besides
the record of her inner and outer life, copious summaries of the
discourses she heard; numerous extracts from books, especially of
passages calculated to impress the heart or direct the life; and an
extraordinary amount of original verse; for from the first she appears
to have adopted the practice of putting her thoughts into rhyme,--a
practice which when unaccompanied by true genius is generally a
profitless waste of time; but which in her case was made a valuable
means of personal edification, as well as of administering counsel,
consolation or admonition to others. Few events of public or private
interest, in her own family or in the circle of her acquaintance,
could pass without provoking her ready pen. Subjects poetical and
unpoetical were alike constrained into measured lines; which, if
not always remarkable for rhythm, were at least rich in evangelical
sentiment, and pervaded by deep spirituality of thought. Some of these
productions are inserted in this volume, in the order in which they
occur in her diary, not because they possess any literary merit, but
as eminently characteristic of her habits of thought and feeling. In
fact they are transcripts of her own heart, and she seems often to
have preferred this method of expressing her fervid emotions to the
use of cooler prose.

A few examples of the entries made when she was fifteen will suffice
to show what were the aspirations of her early youth:--

"This is the last day of 1797. O may I this day put off the works of
darkness, and put on the armour of light: and begin a new life with
a new year,--Lord, help me this day to live to Thee. Let Thy love be
shed abroad in my heart. Inspire the spirit of prayer. Let my few days
be spent in praising Thee, the Giver of all good gifts. Loose my heart
from every earthly object, and let my affections be set upon Thee
and things above. Lord, pardon my coldness, and help me in future
to double my diligence to make my calling and election sure.--During
service my mind was very much troubled; but glory be to God, He gave
me, in a measure, a praying spirit; and I trust He will answer His
own. Spirit's prayer. Lord, speak the answer to my heart _now_.--Went
with Miss Barrett to the Poor-house. She exhorted from, 'I believe in
the communion of saints, and in the forgiveness of sins.' After that
I went with her to the select band; she then came home, and slept with
me. The Lord blessed my soul in her company.--My mind is troubled;
but do Thou, who in every temptation makest a way for Thy people to
escape, deliver my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thee.--I
went with Miss B. to see some sick people. One man was mourning for
redemption in the blood of the Lamb; but, before we came away, he
rejoiced in the God of his salvation.--Lord, keep me from the vanity
of this alluring world. May I love Thee supremely. The Lord blesses
my soul greatly. Blessed be His name, He reproves me; may I take the
reproof.--A gleam of love was let into my soul at the meeting; but
after, I felt very dull and stupid.--I think I am willing to be any
thing, or nothing, only give me to feel Thy love in my heart. Do,
Jesus, increase my faith, but let it be now. Help me, I pray Thee, to
live as in Thy sight all the day long.--Called to see Ann F. We went
up-stairs and prayed together.--I have had more of the presence of
God the last few days. The Lord be praised. I want to have my evidence
made very clear. O shine on my soul, and make the darkness light
before me; that I may greatly triumph in the God of my salvation.--I
heard Mr. Simeon at Belfrey Church; it was a gracious time of
refreshing from the presence of the Lord.--Miss Barrett spoke at
Clifton. The power of the Lord was evidently felt. As it was a very
wet night we went into a barn, but it filled so fast, we returned into
the open air. Miss B. prayed that God would stop the bottles of heaven
for a few minutes; and, glory be to His name, He answered her request.
The Prayer-meeting continued some time, and several souls were brought
into liberty.--I gave way to a light spirit, which has done me much
hurt.--Lord, pardon me for giving way to lightness of spirit; help me
in future to redeem the time, and to take due care to prepare myself
for the great day.--O, Jesus, rouse me from my sins, and give me to
wake up after Thy likeness. Do fill me with Thy love. Let it flow into
my poor disconsolate soul, that I may serve Thee with all my ransomed
powers.--O let not my heart be set on the creature more than Thee; but
let me give myself to Thee without reserve. I go to school; Lord, help
me to learn the lessons of Thy grace as well as arithmetic. Drive this
dulness, both of body and soul away; that I may learn with speed
and delight.--Thou knowest, Lord, that I have not lived adorning my
profession; let the time past suffice, and let me begin to glorify Thy
name. Lord, save me from flattery, for Christ's sake. Amen.--January,
1799. Began to meet in band with Sarah B. O Lord, give us one spirit
with Thyself. I want, O Lord, to love Thee supremely above all beside;
give me, I pray Thee, the victory over myself."

These extracts bear, no doubt, the impress of childish thought; yet
they indicate that she had already formed large views of the nature of
inward religion. In her estimation it was a blessed reality of which
she might have a "clear evidence," and which could only reach
its perfection in the "likeness of God." Its principle was love,
controlling the most secret motions of the heart, and regulating the
minutest details of daily practice. This religion she proposed to
herself as the purpose of life. For this she earnestly prayed, and to
help her resolutions, she sought and cultivated the society of such as
were excellent in the earth. The select character of the associations
she formed was, perhaps, one main cause which contributed to her after
proficiency. She once mentioned to the writer, as a matter of profound
gratitude to God, that she had always mingled among religious people,
and only remembered one week in her whole life which had been spent
among persons not professing godliness. She lived and breathed in the
pure atmosphere of prayer and love, where the Holy Spirit loves to
dwell, until she became one spirit with Him.

The chosen companions of her youth were such as already enjoyed, or
like herself were seeking, the experience of divine truth. Among other
early acquaintance was Miss Nodes of Skelton Hall, afterwards the wife
of the Rev. Dr. Newton. This lady had recently become a Methodist,
and burning with all the fervour of first love frequently came to Mr.
Burdsall for counsel and encouragement: Her first interview with
Mr. Newton occurred at Mr. Burdsall's house in the following manner.
During the sittings of the District-meeting, Mr. B. had invited the
Revds. Messrs. Needham and Newton, with some others, to dinner; and
sent an invitation to Miss Nodes to come and join them: to this Mrs.
Nodes objected; but promised to call the next day and apologize. She
did so in company with her daughter, just as the party were about to
kneel down to prayer, and they were consequently invited in. After
prayer a hymn was proposed, which was sung by Mr. Newton and Miss
Burdsall, who had a clear and melodious voice of considerable compass.
Miss Nodes then remarked, that at Skelton they had to live by begging,
as they only had preaching occasionally; and if one of them would
go over and give them a sermon, it would be a great charity. Mr. N.
immediately promised to accompany Mr. Burdsall the following day;
and from that time commenced an acquaintance which resulted in their

In many cases, and very commonly in the case of young persons, who
have been religiously trained, the process by which the mind reaches
the assurance of faith is very slow. "The going forth" of the Spirit
"is prepared as the morning." The first streaks of dawn bring a degree
of comfort, for there is promise of day; but the clear and unclouded
light of the Divine favour is yet distant. The doubtful twilight,
however, continues to expand and brighten, until at length the sun
peeps above the distant hills, or bursts through the morning cloud,
and all uncertainty is banished in a moment. It was thus with Mary
Burdsall. Two years later we find her still seeking the indubitable
witness of the Spirit. The work of grace was slow and deep. She

"Father met our class; when he spoke to me I could not forbear
weeping. O that I could weep my sins away. J.T. and B.M. prayed and
mentioned me by name. This touched my pride. Oh! for simplicity!--In
the forenoon I went to Pavement church to hear dear Mr. Emmington. His
text was, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?'--A searching discourse.
O Lord, revive Thy work in my soul; probe me to the bottom.--I feel
a very hard heart; but, Lord, a touch, a look from Thee, can break
my heart of stone. O melt me into love.--Alas for me! I seem quite
barren, but is there not a cause? Yes. Lightness of spirit, love of
the creature, pride, and dislike, are sins that so easily beset me. I
am overcome by them. But, O God, Thou hast all power, now resume Thy
right. Let the powers of hell no more prevail.--In the class father
asked me, if I ever went to pray; I answered in the affirmative; but,
Lord, Thou knowest I am not so much in earnest as I was some weeks
ago.--Father called upon me to pray; I did not refuse, but have since
been tempted to believe I should be a greater hypocrite. Lord, make me
a Christian indeed in whom there is no guile.--Lord give me to enjoy
the reality of Christianity, I want to be thine. God help me to give
up my own will. Bless him whom I have given up with a very great
growth in grace."

[This entry refers to an attachment which met with the disapproval of
her parents and was relinquished in the spirit of filial obedience.]

"Just before tea, Mr. Spence asked me if my heart was right; I could
not forbear weeping. 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' What an
enemy is a light and trifling spirit!--I was grieved because I had
disobliged my mother. O for a meek and quiet spirit."

The particulars of the next two or three years are only to be gathered
from a few scanty notes attached to a small pocket Bible, in which she
had carefully noted the sermons she heard with the impressions made on
her own mind. The greater part of these are written in short-hand, and
consequently useless. But such as are intelligible prove that she was
in the habit of weighing the words of the preacher and applying them
to her own heart. Some expressions seem to indicate that the clouds
which had so long overshadowed her spirit were beginning to disperse
and give place to a serene and sunny sky. We quote a few examples.

"Oh! how happy was I!--I did not hear to profit, I was troubled in
mind. I felt it.--I long to find my all in God.--I felt the love of
Jesus precious.--I am answered.--Blessed, heart searching doctrine!--A
telling sermon but I was unmoved; how hard am I.--He like some of
his brethren harps at the gown and cassock.--I felt much
softened.--Memorable!--Alas! I profit little by all I hear; surely it
is because my faith is small. Ah. me! how long? how long?--A precious
discourse to me. He preached my experience.--The solution of the text
was a gratification, while I heard profitably. He made a very droll
remark when describing those 'who make their belly their God;' he said
'they make their kitchen their temple, their cook and butcher their
priests, and their belly their God.'--I felt my soul blessed and
encouraged while hearing of sin being destroyed, with an earnest
longing for its accomplishment. I felt the burden of indwelling sin
very heavy; O when shall the happy period commence that God shall be
all in all.--I staid the communion for the first time; how solemn!
I was humbled and melted down exceedingly.--O how infinitely short I
fall of walking with God! The love-feast was immediately after; the
master of the feast was there: I felt his presence and spoke.--Mr.
Sutcliffe's farewell sermon; may the Lord bless and reward his labours
in this place."

The most important memorandum is a collection of rules for the
regulation of her own conduct, adopted about the year 1805; and these,
we do not hesitate to add, were written not merely with pen and ink,
but impressed by the Spirit of God upon her memory and heart, for
those who knew her will be able to recognize in them the key of her
after life. They are as follow:--

"1. Let me rise early.

2. Never let me trifle with a book with which I have no present
concern; in applying myself to any book, let me endeavour to recollect
what I may learn by it, and then beg suitable assistance from God.

3. Never let me lose one minute of time, nor incur any unnecessary
expense, that I may have the more to spend for God. When I am abroad
let me be desirous of doing good; let me have in readiness some
subject of contemplation and endeavour to improve my time as I go

4. Let me endeavour to render myself agreeable and useful to all
around me; by a tender compassionate friendly behaviour; avoiding all
trifling and impertinent stories; remembering that imprudence is sin.

5. Never let me delay anything, unless I can prove that another time
will be more fit than the present; or that some more important duty
requires my immediate attention.

6. O may I never enter into any long schemes about future events, but
in general refer myself to God's care.

Direct me virtue's happy course to run,
And let me be instructed by thy Son,
In every station say "thy will be done."

7. O that I may be delivered from the least inclination to judge my
neighbours; and that henceforth I may find fault with none so much as

To these are added several extracts from the general rules of the
Methodist Societies; particularly those which refer to the use of
time, the government of the tongue, reading the Scriptures, private
prayer, and abstinence.

The standard of Christian character at which she aimed was high;
and perhaps this very circumstance contributed to delay the happy
experience she sought. She looked at herself instead of looking
directly to Christ. She contrasted her own deficiencies with the exact
obedience required by a perfect law, instead of simply casting herself
upon the blood which justifieth not the righteous but the sinner,
which believeth in Jesus. The simplicity of salvation by faith was
long overlooked, but at last the snare was broken; and about the
close of the year 1805 she obtained the deliverance she so earnestly
desired. We here quote her own words.

"While alone at Mrs. T.'s, the Lord was graciously pleased to visit
me with a manifestation of his love; increasing my faith, and applying
these words with power to my mind; 'The word is nigh thee, even in
thy mouth and in thy heart.' I had such a view of the willingness
of Christ to save by faith as I never had before. Notwithstanding, I
think, if I had been better acquainted with the way of salvation,
I should e'er now have been able to claim the blessing through the
merits of Christ. But it is so simple I overlooked it; and thought
myself wiser than I was. Now I begin to see with the Psalmist how
ignorant I am, even 'as a beast' before the Lord; but blessed be His
glorious name, I feel my confidence is in His mercy: yet I feel myself
the most unprofitable of all His hands have made, and wonder why to me
this boundless love."




Wedded life, perhaps more than any other, is a test of character; but
when entered upon "reverently, discreetly, soberly, advisedly, and in
the fear of God," contributes in a higher degree not merely to
earthly enjoyment, but to that which is the great end of life, human
salvation. The constant action of two wills, thus intimately brought
into contact with each other, must either inflame or mould the spirit,
just in the degree in which it is subjected or not to the influence
of divine grace; and where both parties are _governed_ by Christian
principle, the effect is mutual happiness and advantage. Nature is
subdued, and grace brought into full play. The sorrows, difficulties,
and temptations of life are lightened by reciprocal help and
affection; the inheritance in heaven is pursued with greater zest
because of united effort and encouragement; while the constant
discharge of the respective duties of husband and wife serves for the
development of the mind that was in Christ. Hence the Apostle Paul
speaks of the marriage state as a great mystery, representing the
union of Christ and his church. But marriage has reference to another
and not less important object, the training of a "holy seed." The
union of parents is intended to secure blessings upon, their children,
and where the divine requirement is prayerfully attended to, there may
be expected to be a fulfilment of the gracious promise,--"I will pour
my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring."

In the prospect of assuming the responsible relation of wife, Miss
Burdsall thought and felt deeply. Her first anxiety was, that she
might find in her husband one who would help her in the way to heaven;
and the next that she might be able to discharge the duties of her new
station with efficiency and fidelity. The predominating desire of her
heart was to find her happiness in God, and to be conformed in all
things to his will. Two days before marriage she writes:--

"I feel this day my soul aspires heavenward, and my greatest bliss is
derived from Emanuel's side. Glory be to God, I feel I love him, but
long for more conformity to his will."

Mr. Lyth, who had solicited and won her affections, was the son of a
respectable farmer residing in the neighbourhood of York. Originally
designed for agricultural life, he had forsaken the plough to
undertake a flourishing business, which had been commenced by an elder
brother lately deceased: and being early converted to God, under the
ministry of the venerable Sutcliffe, the proposed union was every way

The marriage was solemnized on the 18th of February, 1806, in the
parish church of Holy Trinity, York; and so far as the principal
parties were concerned with intensely religious feelings. Indeed Mr.
Burdsall's loud and hearty responses to the prayers superseded the
functions of the clerk, and somewhat astonished the officiating
minister. The wedding dinner was spiced with the presence of the
Rev. Samuel Bardsley, whose portly person, and beautiful simplicity
contributed not a little to the amusement of the younger guests: and
the same evening, the good old man preached an appropriate sermon,
selecting for his subject, the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. Mrs.
Lyth's own feelings in relation, to this event, and during the first
few years of wedded life, are best expressed by herself.

"Memorable day! I gave my hand to John Lyth at Hymen's sacred altar.
I endeavoured to do it _by faith_, as well as I could; but felt
extremely stupified. We went to spend the day at Newton upon Derwent.
With me it passed more pleasantly towards the close, indeed, while we
were conversing about God on our way home, I found it truly good;
but when we came in sight of lay new habitation, the sensations that
seized my mind are better felt than I can describe. It is now six
weeks since I began to wear the matrimonial chain. I have clasped it
without one thought of regret, and through grace I hope I ever shall;
yet am conscious of my own incompetency to fill up the sphere I have
entered. Oh! my God, help me, help me. I bless God my mind is drawn
to seek my heaven in Jesus, although my earthly comforts are ready
to ensnare me: yet having been taught to know the uncertainty of all
transitory things, and that

'The fairest things below the sky
Give but a flattering light,'

I would, through grace strengthening me, give God my undivided heart.
Lord, here I am, take me, and possess me wholly.--Glory be to God my
soul lives. I feel 'drawn by the lure of strong desire' to choose
God for my portion. The last week has been one of trial, but I am
constrained to believe the Lord doeth all things well.--We arrived in
Scarbro' after being much favoured during a showery day; but praise
belongs to our heavenly Benefactor.--We took a walk to the church
and castle; where my dear John unfortunately lost his watch. After
searching for it in vain for nearly an hour, and thinking of returning
home, providence led him to the place where he had dropped it. Surely
it can be esteemed no other than the gift of heaven, since it had lain
an hour exposed to the public crowds that resorted thither.--The day
was fine, and we spent it in sitting a little in the house, and in
walking upon the sands and among the rocks, seeking for shells, the
beauty of which, with the wide ocean, and surrounding prospect, made
me wish for the pen of a scribe and the imagination of a poet; but I
found wishing to be a vain employment.

"About a quarter past eight in the morning my Eliza was born. Blessed
be God he graciously supported me in the trial. O that mother and
child may be devoted to Thee, thou God of infinite compassion. Give me
more grace that I may walk unblameable in thy sight, and before
those over whom thy providence has place me. Teach me to order my
conversation aright, and to keep myself unspotted from the world. O my
God, I have nothing to offer for all the blessings asked; but help me
to be thy devoted servant from this moment.

"1807. My dear husband has made a purchase, which is to me a source
of anxiety; but Lord, Thou knowest,--Thou rulest over all, help and
direct. O let us in all our ways acknowledge Thee, that thou mayest
direct our steps. Keep, O keep us from being a discredit to Thy cause;
and in this particular set us right.--I am left alone with my infant,
who begins to steal my affections more than I ever thought of. O
God, take my poor heart, lost a creaturely attachment be too strongly
rooted within my breast. Lord, Thou knowest me altogether, and the
secret springs of my affection, cleanse me from all defilement; purify
me from all my sins, and let me this moment yield myself entirely to
Thee; and as Thou deignest to visit dust, visit me.--Time glides away;
eternity approaches; and yet, alas! my mind fluctuates as the wind. O
my God, shall I never be firmly grounded upon Thyself. Come, 'Desire
of nations,' save me from anxiety respecting worldly things; let all
our temporal affairs be under Thy management, and our happiness centre
in doing thy will.

How vainly have I sought in things beneath
To place a confidence, which faithless earth
Can never recompence! O firmly fix
My soul on joys above the smiling skies;
Let Jesus' love inspire, and fill my heart.

God bless my dear companion. Settle and fix his affections on
Thyself,--the supreme good. Let every faculty of his mind be at Thy

"1808. Twelve o'clock at night. Lord, my mind aspires heavenward. Let
heaven, I beseech Thee, come into my soul. Let the radiance of Thy
love fill me with light and life divine. Give me sensibly to feel and
know, that Thou art reconciled to me, without Thy grace, effectually
undone. I feel something within my heart, is it the effect of Thy
love? If it is, let it more powerfully affect my soul, that I may live
in constant readiness to take my flight to yon bright realms above.
But is that bliss prepared for me? O let me feel it. This afternoon my
brother Richard died. Alas! how uncertain are all sublunary things!
He was just entering life, and lo! he is snatched away. Surely the
all-wise 'I AM' saw evil gathering, and kindly removed him to a
happier clime, safe from impending danger. Well, my Richard is gone;
while I, four years older, am yet alive. Mercy, that took him, spares
me with the same gracious design; 'not willing that any should perish,
but that all might have everlasting life.' May that blessed end be
answered in my poor soul, which without Thy enlivening presence feels
an 'aching void' which the whole world cannot fill.

"This day has been a day of affliction, but it drives me to the Lord.
My dear husband and children are entwined about my heart. Lord, help
me to give them freely up, and do Thou take, and possess me whole."

The following lines were addressed to a valued friend:--

Whitehead, awake! and sweep the lyre again
With touch seraphic to a Saviour slain;
A Saviour, worthy of sublimest verse,
A Saviour's love too mighty to rehearse;
The purest theme that ever fired the tongue,
Gave life to genius,--harmony to song;
Fill thy enraptured soul with thought divine,
And pour its fulness on the glowing line.

"1809.--Have had a tooth drawn. O that the dire root of sin were as
effectually taken away, never more to disturb my happiness; and that
pure perennial peace might succeed,--I have been visiting the sick:
but oh! how inadequate to the responsible task! O my God awake my
drowsy powers, and fit me for every sphere I have to fill in life.--I
feel more heartfelt joy in leaning upon Christ than anything else;
yet it is hard work to keep the mind disentangled from worldly cares.
Things needful to me, seem the most dangerous, and what I am most
liable to be ensnared by. In visiting some infirm people my soul was
deeply affected, when I considered their age, and ignorance, and my
own inability to instruct them. How great is the ignorance of mankind!
O that God would apply some word spoken by his poor dust."

During the time the Rev. A.E. Farrar was stationed in York, her
aspirations after purity of heart reached a crisis, and she was
enabled by faith to claim the promise; "Faithful is he that calleth
you, who also will do it." For some time her convictions were so clear
and distinct, that to use her own words she "durst not say she had
not received the blessing." But this happy experience--the Christian's
highest privilege on earth--was soon interrupted by doubtful
reasonings; still her conscience was

"Quick, as the apple of an eye,
The slightest touch of sin to feel."

As an instance of her conscientiousness we mention a circumstance
which took place somewhere about this time. A farmer, who owed my
father a considerable sum of money, had been repeatedly importuned for
payment, but without effect; and it was at length given up, as a
bad debt. One Sabbath morning, while she was sitting alone, he
unexpectedly called to settle his account. She said, "We have nothing
to do with receiving money on a Sunday; it is the Lord's day, and we
do not think it right." "Well," replied the man, holding the money in
his hand, "you might as well take it while you have the chance of it."
But neither argument, nor expostulation, could induce her to touch the
forbidden notes. The man therefore pocketed the money, and went away;
but not without an admonition on keeping holy the Sabbath day. No one
eventually loses anything by the maintenance of principle, and the
debt was honestly discharged the following week.

The solitary record of the year 1810, is contained in the following
lines, which may be regarded as expressive of her own feelings.

Jesus, Thy glorious name shall still
My musing thought and tongue employ;
Whose presence doth creation fill.
Be Thou my portion and my joy.

Jesus! blest source of all my hope,
In whom my spirit finds its rest;
Whose precious blood, inspiring thought!
Hath purchased heaven to make me blest.

Where can a mortal language find,
To tell such love when angels fail?
"God did so love the world," and died,
That love by justice might prevail.

Drawn by this love, a witness I,
That God to all the Saviour gave;
Who willing are, may testify,
He can unto the utmost save.

"1811.--I thank God for the blessed privilege of hearing the ministers
of righteousness, but lament their word makes so little impression
upon my heart. I seem a forgetful hearer, or as one that hears the
word with joy, but little fruit appears to perfection. Yesterday,
irritated by some frivolous cause, I was thrown off my guard, and
grieved the spirit of God. This occasioned a sense of condemnation,
and though now the Lord blesses me, I cannot forgive myself. O that
I again enjoyed the sanctifying influences of His Holy Spirit! Until
this is the case, I shall be whirled about by my enemies within. Lord
make me more in earnest, that I may never rest till again the sweet
power of sovereign love has possession of my heart.--I rose early to
attend the prayer-meeting, and receiving grace from Him whose birth
we commemorated, I fancied my hill stood strong; and that I should
be able to rise above everything I might have to try me: but alas! I
again proved my own weakness. My little charge were some of them sick,
others cross, all wanted me; so that all my graces were put to the
test. O that I had more patience, that I might sit 'calm on tumult's
wheel.' Lord, Thou knowest me altogether, I would not be a hypocrite,
neither wound Thy cause by impatience; Thou hast promised strength for
the day, and I am determined to cast my whole soul on Thee;--to have
Thee for my Saviour. At the lovefeast much was said respecting family
prayer. I bless God. This duty is my delight."

To a friend slighted in love, she writes--

Alas my friend! what can I say to cheer?
What sound is sweet to a distracted ear?
Turn from the creature, disappointed, turn:
Lament your folly,--deeply humbled mourn,
Your disregard of Him, who died to gain
Your worthless heart, and bid you love again.
O! turn to him, who gave himself for you,
Your love, your heart, your life, are all his due;
No fickleness or change in him is known,
_He_ loves and will for ever love his own;
Here place your treasure, and here find your rest,
Make God your all, and be for ever blest.

"1812.--Through grace I am resolved on the side of virtue. I have
peace in God, and a growing desire to imitate him in my daily walk;
but no marvel if all my best actions need purging from their dross. I
seem all pollution; yet my soul lays hold upon the Saviour, who alone
is able to purify my nature. On February 3rd, my sister Anna died,
eleven years old. I was called to witness the pleasing, painful, awful
scene. While kneeling by her bed, after a paroxysm of extreme agony,
as she had a moment's respite, my mother said; 'Ask her if she is
happy to lift up her hand.' She did instantly and said, 'A kiss,' and
so turned recollectedly to each, with a smiling countenance, while
her dying lips were but just sensible of the impression; then after
another short struggle she sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. So I alone am
left to tell it."

1813.--After adverting to a number of painful circumstances, she
adds:--"Praise God, the seizure of my own body, though by far the most
painful of these occurrences, has been the greatest blessing. On the
first attack I was stupified--but the Lord liberated me and supplied
grace in the hour of need. Thus have I experienced how suddenly
the Lord can take away the choicest of all blessings, health. Being
through mercy again restored, my soul derives its happiness from God.
I see before me broad rivers and streams springing from that
fountain, whence all solid comfort flows; but great weakness, much
unfaithfulness, many omissions and errors in myself. Lord increase my
faith, that I may enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus. For some
time I have met in band with Mrs. W. We have had many precious seasons
together.--A circumstance occurring which was misconstrued, put me
suddenly out of temper, and caused me much pain of mind, besides
displeasing others together with my dear partner. O my God, but for
Thy blood, I should lose all hope of eternal happiness; yet blot not,
I beseech Thee, my name out of the book of life; but if ever my heart
went with my words, I entreat Thee,--

"Chase this self-will through all my heart,
Through all its latent mazes there."

"1814.--Reflecting on the past--my mercies and ingratitude, my
warnings and neglect, my privileges and non-improvements, my
affliction and restoration to health, Thy love, O God, in ten thousand
instances, and my small affection, I wonder why I am still the object
of Thy care, but I see the cause in Jesus' blood. There the reason
lies. O might I here my nature lose, and gain the Infinite."

Musing on the loss of her children, three of whom had died in infancy,
she writes:--

Blest mother! thus to yield to God
The gifts so lately given;
Blest babes I for you have cross'd the flood,
And safely 'scaped to heaven.

I have been very much harassed with temptation of an awful kind,--to
blaspheme the blessed Spirit. My God, preserve me. I shudder at the
thought, and have necessarily been driven to God in prayer.--I have
to praise God for temptation; for seeking refuge in Jesus, my only
defence against my enemy, I have a firmer confidence in Him as my

Whither, O whither, should I go?
To Thy blest wounds I flee;
No refuge can I find below,
My help is all in Thee.

"The illumination! a crowded city! many devices! The face of the
people seems to speak peace, but Thou, Lord, seest the heart. Set my
heart right.--As the clock struck three I was awoke with the words;
'Put on the helmet of salvation and the weapon of all prayer.' For a
time fear crept over me, lest my husband and child, both from home,
should return ill; but as I meditated, the passage occurred; 'All
things work together for good to them that love God.' I was instantly
delivered; and all I could titter was, Glory be to God. As I lay
praising and praying, these lines arose in my mind.

If time is so precious, and death on the wing,
Oh! shelter me, Jesus, secure from his sting;
Now open the fountain, and wash out my stain,
That to live may be Christ, and to die may be gain.
This, this is the honour to which I aspire,
The grace to attain it is all I desire;
Oh! fill me with heaven, through faith in Thy blood,
Then crown me with glory, and lift me to God.

I have had a precious morning--arose a little before five, and spent
an hour alone. God was with me. Glory! Glory!"

"How time hurries on! Another year has almost stolen away. Where am I?
What am I? Thus much of time is gone; how much fitter am I for heaven?
I pause,--am alone,--but 'Thou God seest me.' On my knees, I ask Thy
mercy, and implore Thee to be mine for ever. Precious Jesus! I feel
Thee willing to save me, and a sweet confidence Thou wilt save me.
O! the sweetness of union with God!--My mind is troubled about the
future. Sensible of my own weakness, my children's welfare awakens my
concern. O my God, take charge of my little ones. While attempting to
instruct them to-day, my two little girls seemed affected. O let this
be the beginning of Thy fear in their hearts, that shall never, never,

Her anxiety on behalf of the salvation of her children was intense.
Her efforts were commenced with the first dawn of intelligence,
and continued with unremitting ardour until they were rewarded
with success. By timely instruction and caution, by counsel and
expostulation, by warning and reproof, by a godly discipline, by
frequent letters in which the "one thing" was never forgotten; by
prayers and supplications mingled with tears, as they knelt alone at
her side; by intercessions offered day and night in secret on their
behalf; by enforcing the punctual observance of religious duties, such
as reading the word, family devotion, and public worship; and by her
own pure example, she never ceased to train them in the way that
they should go. But her chief strength lay in ceaseless and effectual
prayer, which was urged in the spirit of him who said, "I will not let
Thee go, except Thou bless me." Is it wonderful, if her children and
grandchildren are found walking in the truth? For many successive
years, she was accustomed to address to each a few lines on the
anniversary of their birth. These were always replete with godly
counsels, and wisely suited to the age and circumstances of the
individual. The periodical effusion was anxiously looked for, and
highly prized. To our young imaginations, the productions of her pen
glowed with all the fire of Milton, and flowed with all the softness
and melody of Spenser; and if a riper judgement has robbed us of
the pleasing fancy, it has been at least replaced by the grateful
conviction that they were the overflowings of a mother's heart, and by
the blessing of God, contributed in a great measure to give an early
bias in favour of religious truth. A specimen written at this time is
here inserted.


Unuttered feelings glow within my heart,
Ah! in what language can I paint them best?
That you, my darling boy, may know a part,
Unconscious of what fills a mother's breast.

Childlike and innocent your actions are,
No thought of guile as yet within your breast;
Alas! the wily foe, not lurking far,
May soon corrupt and desecrate your rest.

Might I unveil the snares, that scattered round,
Beset your path from childhood to old age;
But Love allwise, in mystery profound,
Has hid in darkness all the varied page.

Be it sufficient, grace is ever nigh;
If in the path of rectitude you tread,
No ill shall harm you; you will soon descry
The tempter's snare, however deeply laid.

Choose virtue, Richard, shun the path of vice,
Let not ungodly youth your mind ensnare;
Take this wise caution, "If they would entice,
Consent thou not;" be sure that sin is there.

Walk with the wise, that you may wiser grow;
Let age teach wisdom, hear it with respect;
It can in time forwarn, and danger show,
Where you no secret mischief may suspect.

In useful learning all your youth engage;
From simple knowledge of your mother tongue,
Proceed to figures; then, from stage to stage
Pursue each science, though the way be long.

By knowledge learn your ignorance to know,
Nor dream you have the height of wisdom gained;
No greater proof of ignorance below,
Than loud to boast of what we have attained.

Read useful books--the Bible most prefer,
In it your Maker's will is clearly shown;
Then bend your humble knee in secret prayer,
That faith may make its precious truths your own.

If tales of fiction should themselves present,
Too oft injurious to the mind of youth,
Throw them aside; and sacredly intent
On your improvement, follow after truth.

When you require relief, be history true
Of your own land, and other lands perused;
This will instruct, give entertainment too,
While neither time nor talents are abused.

Thus, in your youth, redeem the fleeting hour,
That you in future life may useful be;
By word and deed as far as in your power,
To stem the torrent of impiety.

Remember, as your present life is spent,
Future reward or punishment is due;
Oh! then improve the precious moments lent,
And everlasting life shall wait on you.

"Praise God, I have a partner desirous of joining heartily in the
Christian warfare; often are we blest while we pour out our souls
together before the Lord, O for a closer walk with God."




That stage of life which immediately precedes a ripe age, when man is
in the full vigour of his strength, is not unfrequently like an April
day mingled with sunshine and shower. The care of a rising family,
and the accumulating interests of business and society, bring constant
alternations of joy and sorrow; designed by God to soften and
fructify the heart, which might otherwise become too callous under the
scorching blaze of the world. Happy is it, when these kindly workings
of a sublimer providence, cause the graces of his spirit to shoot
forth like "the tender grass springing up out of the earth by clear
shining after rain;" and when the experience acquired in seasons of
vicissitude, is treasured up in the heart for future use. Mrs. Lyth
had her April weather preparatory to the summer of her usefulness, as
will appear by further extracts from her journal.

"1815--My father Lyth left us to join the disembodied throng. The last
fortnight of his life was chiefly spent in prayer. I believe he died
penitent. Thou best of Beings! prepare me for the approaching trial.
In the fire may I lose nothing but sin. Fortify my mind, and let
patience have its perfect work, that by no pain I may fall from Thee.
Here I call to mind, that Thou hast brought me through six troubles; O
leave me not in the seventh. Let me again prove Thy faithfulness.

"I scarcely know how the last fortnight has escaped. O the rapidity of
time! well might one say, 'O time than gold more precious, more a load
than lead to fools.' I am thankful, all my solid happiness is derived
from God; and though I have many earthly comforts I can say, 'All
my springs are in Thee.' I long to drink more freely of those living
fountains, and to draw constant supplies from the inexhaustible
fulness of the ever-blessed and adorable Jesus. Oh! it is sweet to
meditate on this loved theme. Rising into God we lose ourselves, and
seemed wrapped up in Deity.--Having met with a little disappointment,
my mind is in some degree unhinged; I have been begging of God to
undertake the matter, and overrule all for the best, which I hope has
been the case; yet I find it hard to give up my own will. Lord, help
me. I accompanied my father and mother to see cousin Hannah, who is
apparently declining. Her prospects in life were exceedingly bright,
but happiness is not in them, as there can be no enjoyment without
health. What a mercy, afflictions spring not out of the dust: I am
again called to experience it. Our apprentice, servant maid, and
Eliza, are all in the scarlet fever. Better than I could expect
considering the pressure upon me, I am constrained to say, judgment is
mixed with love. May we lose nothing but dross, and shine brighter for
being in the furnace.--I am informed by letter that cousin Hannah
is no more,--it says nothing how she left this world. I long to
know--will to-morrow inform me? I purpose to be at her funeral, if
God give leave. O Thou, who wast to the Israelites both a pillar and
a cloud, if Thou go not up with us, suffer us not to journey; for Thou
knowest my heart, I wish to please Thee.--We went to Kirkby to the
interment of my late Cousin, who, I am informed, died happily. Nearly
her last intelligible words were, 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God.' So she closed this mortal scene, and left her
blooming prospects, fair estates, and all the bright anticipations of
youth, for the lone silence of the tomb.--I feel more endeared than
ever to the invisible world, being warned as I believe, by some
departed friend, to give diligence. I am also reminded by the death of
my cousin how vain are all things here below. Perhaps it was her kind
spirit--who can tell?"


Does marriage, like the features of a fair and lovely face,
Lose all its sweet attractions, when age comes on apace?
Do soothing acts of kindness and words of comfort go,
When troubles are assailing, and pleasure's cup is low?
No, surely heav'n design'd it more to ameliorate
The _lonely_ state of humankind, when first He form'd a mate.

"1816.--I went to the School-room; and never did my eyes behold a
scene so pleasing:--boys and girls in different parts of the room
crying for mercy; while others were rejoicing in God. 'Out of the
mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast ordained praise.' I longed for
the salvation of my three children who were all there, but I had no
power to take any active part; my mind seemed paralized.--In the
midst of our afflictions God has not forgotten us. Our Waller [an
apprentice] has obtained mercy, and Eliza's heart is touched. O
that God would save all our family. I have had some 'seasons of
refreshing;' but not enjoying the sanctifying influences of God's
Spirit, I have felt a disposition to be discontented with the
arrangements of Providence respecting the health of my children. I
daily mourn this inbred corruption but not sufficiently, or I should
be more in earnest to get rid of it. At present I feel a longing for
the blessed liberty which many express. O may I share in the baptism
which is now so gloriously shed upon this city.--The fifth day I have
spent in my new habitation; all is confusion, and must remain so for
some time to come. This would be a matter of little moment, if my mind
were not distressed by the affliction of my Eliza. So I find every joy
has its sorrow. Lord, as Thou knowest what is best for me and mine,
give me patience, and let every dispensation of Thy providence be
sanctified.--We opened our new shop. The first customer demanded
credit, and the second took up her money with her goods, and went
away with both. Providentially it was restored. We have now made
a fortnight's trial, and have great cause of thankfulness for the
prospect of success. The last few months have been full of toil and
anxiety, but thank God, I can say:

'While blest with a sense of His love
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus but dwelt with me there.'

I have been aiming, though feebly, to give God my heart. It is good
to come to the Lord in private; it is there I find my greatest
enjoyment.--For several nights I have suffered much pain; as much
I think, as my patience could endure. In one of the paroxysms, the
passage was continually in my mind, 'The wise shall inherit glory.'
Throughout yesterday found it very sweet. I am in part deprived of the
public ordinances, but find solid happiness in breathing my wishes to
the Throne, and derive sweet solace from Him, whose smile creates my
day.--Find in private with my God, I gain the most substantial peace;
at least I have not learned the noble art of being ''midst busy
multitudes alone.'--Our servant was taken dangerously ill. I think I
did not feel any disposition to murmur; but want firmer reliance on
the power of God, whose promise never fails. Have lately had some
blessed meetings with my God, perhaps preparatory to this trial."

"1817. To-morrow, two criminals are to suffer death for the crime of
murder. How awful from an earthly judge to receive the last sentence
of the law! but how much more so to hear from Thee that final
sentence, 'Depart ye cursed!' O, my God, let the cry of the prisoners
come up before Thee.

In pity bow Thy gracious ear,
Incline the sinner's heart to prayer,
And draw him to Thy Son,
Through whom, though vile he is, Thou wilt
Remove the blackness of his guilt;
Oh! let it now be done.

Thou Friend of sinners, if I may
Approach, O give a heart to pray,
And let Thy Spirit plead.
But few the hours _he_ has to live,
O give repentance and forgive,
Forgive the bloody deed.

At intervals have found it good, yea very good, while upon my knees;
indeed I must say my happiest moments have been there. Why am I ever
remiss in this duty, which brings me more solid peace than anything
beside? There, I converse with God; there, behold His glory; there,
forget self; there, get love to cover faults; there, assimilate to the
image of God. This week has been marked by the affliction of my two
youngest children. How painful to a mother to see them suffer! yet
Lord, Thou knowest, I would rather see them droop and even die, than
that they should live to rebel against Thee, and shut themselves out
of Thy kingdom. O my God, on my knees, I present them all to Thee.
Bless them with grace and understanding, and save them for ever.--I
have had to grapple with rheumatism. It is painful, but what in
duration, when compared with eternity? Nothing. May my soul, evermore
fly upward. What need in health to prepare for sickness! There is then
plenty to do to hold fast whereunto we have attained.--Cousin John
Stables has exchanged life for immortality. His last words were, 'I am
going to heaven, I know I am.' Blest knowledge in the hour of death!
but more exalted, they who daily live with the assurance 'I am Thine',
centering in God their hope and wish,--My dear little Hannah died,
aged twenty weeks. A sweet smile rested upon her countenance. O
Death! how art thou robbed of thy terrors, when infancy smiles in thy
presence! Have not been at my class for a long time in consequence of
ill-health: to-day I might have gone, but with shame confess, I forgot
the time. O Lord lay not this sin to my charge. My heart would not
displease Thee; my soul delights in Thee, and derives its happiness
and peace from God my Saviour: no merit in myself, but Christ is all
in all.--I would this evening offer Thee my heart; give me sincerity
O God, and let me know the sacrifice is accepted. I am under deep
obligation to Thee for having so far removed the pain from which I
suffered May ease be gratefully acknowledged by me, and let my life
show forth Thy praise. I bless the Lord for all the good I possess,
and am constrained to say, it is all divine. Have begun to read Locke
on the Understanding. Lord enlarge my capacity.--Enjoy better health
than for several months; for this may my soul be truly thankful. It
is good for me that I have been afflicted; I have learned to value
my mercies as the gift of heaven. My anchor is in Jesus; from him my
peace perpetually springs. I now feel he is my God. Yet the secret
motions of my heart concur with the enemy of my soul to bring me into
bondage, I long for victory. When will the happy moment arrive? Have
lately thought the Lord has something for me to do; I would not
bury my talents in the earth; but do Thou Lord, who knowest my
insufficiency, direct my way. Glory be to God, I am blest while
calling to mind his innumerable mercies. It is like lifting up the lid
of a casket to expose the jewels contained therein to the
light of the sun, whose radiance they reflect, and whose heat
they attract.--How sweet to be at the throne of grace! Have had great
freedom with the Lord while interceding for a fallen friend, over whom
I lament. O that God would reclaim the wanderer. My soul is sweetly
drawn out after more of the image of God, for to the present I have
but little imitated my Lord. God help me in my life to display every
feature of his character. My dear cousin Ann is, I fear, sinking, so
true is it, 'Man cometh up as a flower,' and is cut down; but she is
happy in God. This is cause of thanksgiving. Many of the excellent of
the earth are retreating behind the veil. May I work while it is day.
What a poor slothful soul I have been, when heaven shines so bright
above me. Now I feel resolved to work. Jesus, Thou seest my heart, aid
me that I loiter no more. A full salvation is what my soul aims at;
but ah! how grovelling and low are my desires! language is too poor
to express my poverty, when seen in the light of the Sun of

O! when shall I from sin set free,
Bask in the light of Deity?

Expand my heart and fill the wide expanse.--While Mr. Haswell was
preaching, a woman cried out, 'Bless the Lord; bless the Lord O
my soul.' I trust she was under divine influence. Mr. H. gave out;
'Praise God from whom,' &c. I began to suspect the power of God was
more eminently present than I imagined: this led me to seek after
it in my own breast, and to long for a more powerful manifestation.
Praise God, I could say,

'Lo! God is here, let us adore.'

On my return home, I met the judge with his retinue returning from
court, lighted by torches. How solemn! But what, when the Judge of all
the earth shall descend from heaven with a shout and with the trump
of God! At His bar must I appear, and conscience that staunch witness,
give its unimpeachable evidence for or against me, O that Jesus, the
sinner's friend, may then sustain my cause. Praised be His name; faith
springs up in my heart, and encourages me to believe that I shall
receive the crown of life. Blessed hope!--Mrs. ---- breakfasted with
me. We had a truly blessed morning--our conversation was in heaven.
During the day I have been troubled with evil reasoning. When shall
this body of death be destroyed, and Christ be all in all? Visited
Miss D. in the asylum. She seems in dark despair; I got her to her
knees, and found it precious to my own soul.--Glory be to God I dare
believe. Keep me till I am fully saved. Am watching my William in the
measles; Richard has just recovered. What a mercy I am in health to
attend them; yet am afraid my too anxious care for them has checked
my zeal. Through mercy my soul lives to-day; I feel a divine appetite,
and am looking for the appearance of my Lord to the destruction of
all the carnal mind.--At Stockton lovefeast, the Lord opened my mouth,
both in the Chapel, and at a neighbouring house; I was constrained to
speak. May the imperfect hints thrown out be as bread cast upon the
waters, and what I said amiss the Lord forgive. The peace of God ruled
my heart.--The mournful tidings of Cousin Mary's death has reached us.
The day before, she was up sewing. How sudden a transition from time
to eternity! Although at the funeral, I cannot learn how she died. How
my heart is oppressed! She has left a fine smiling boy unconscious of
his loss, and her father, whose displeasure she had incurred by her
marriage, unreconciled. How my feelings are ploughed up! The training
of my children occasions me great solicitude. How shall I safely
steer, where so many make shipwreck? Without Thy direction and
influence, I too shall miss my way. Come then, thou heavenly Wisdom,
teach me to imbue their tender minds with truth, that the impression
may remain in riper years.--Another parliamentary election. O my God
elect me 'through sanctification of Thy Spirit.'--My mind suffers
keenly in consequence of a conversation with ----. Thou, Lord, knowest
exactly where the error lies; let it be discovered. If I am in the
wrong make me willing to retract. I want to be a Christian in deed
and truth.--It was impressed upon my mind to call upon Miss M. H., and
urge her to seek salvation, having long been a hearer of the Gospel.
I scarcely knew how to break through, as I had no particular
acquaintance with her. However, passing by the same day, providence so
ordered it, that she sat facing the door. I passed, but remembering my
impression, mustered courage and returned. After inquiring about her
health I told her my errand. She was affected, and said she had a very
hard heart. I replied, 'It is not too hard for God to soften.'
With much fear I undertook the charge of Miss Bentley's class, in
consequence of her indisposition, but trust the Lord will soon restore
her to active usefulness. The more willingly I offer myself to the
Lord, the sweeter communion I find with Him.--Repeated my visit to
Miss M. H., I believe in obedience to the influence of the Spirit
which constrained me--not intending to call at that time. I found her
sincerely seeking salvation, and endeavoured to point her to the Lamb
of God. My own soul was blessed while thus engaged. How shall I praise
God for His love to a worm?--Called again, when she told me she
had received a visit from the Lord. She durst not say her sins were
forgiven, but felt encouraged.--Having to pass through some things of
a trying nature, I felt fully resigned, and the throne of grace easy
of access. Keep me at Thy feet, O God, that I may rise in Thy likeness
and in all things do Thy will.--Mr. Moore remarked in his sermon,
'Happy is the man of one book;' my heart replied, So he is, for in all
I read, I find no book so sweet as the Bible; yet there are some which
are precious, and which I value as a treasure.--Another distinguished
mercy. After another attack of cramp the Lord has been pleased to
restore to me the use of my hands, which have been locked from three
o'clock in the morning until evening. May I never forget the Lord's
mercy towards me, but studiously labour to be found of Him in peace,
that when the awful crisis arrives, I may be ready."

"1819. I am still in a weak state of body, unable to attend to my
family. O Lord, support my mind. Feel resolved to cast my soul on
Jesus; and although I have to struggle to retain my hold, _will_ hang
on the Crucified."

This year was one of severe personal affliction, which continued
for several months. At one time little hope was entertained of her
recovery, and none that she would ever again be restored to active
life. Medical aid seemed utterly unavailing; but the Lord had chosen
her in the furnace of affliction, and by these means, inscrutable at
the time, was refining and fitting her for remarkable usefulness. At
length when the process was complete, contrary to the predictions of
physicians, and beyond the expectations of her friends, she was
given back again to her family, and the church. In reference to this
affliction, she says, in a letter to one of her daughters:--

"Your brother Samuel is put out to nurse; he is a delicate little boy.
I am at Mrs. F.'s out of Walmgate Bar, for the benefit of my health;
if it please God to sanctify the means. In some respects, I am better,
but yet very feeble; however, I am in the Lord's hands, and have been
for a long time his prisoner. I wish to keep my cause in his hand.
Poor Samuel! I every day expect to hear, that he has escaped to glory.
My weakness reconciles me to his loss, for the righteous Judge of
all the earth cannot but do right. Dear Mary will discover from my
writing, there is an alteration in me. To tell you the truth, I can
scarcely recollect how to spell; my memory is so much impaired by this
affliction. But thank God, I have the full use of my reason, and my
soul longs to awake after the image of God. Friends are very kind in
visiting me which makes the days pass more pleasantly. I ride out when
the weather is fine, but am able to walk very little."

On her recovery she writes:--

"I would raise my song of gratitude to my God, who, I am confident has
restored me in answer to prayer, though I am still very weak. During
my affliction my mind has been variously exercised; sometimes I could
cast myself with all my concerns upon God; at other times was much
depressed; once in the multitude of my thoughts within me, it was
suggested, as if a voice spoke to me, 'What things soever ye desire,
when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.'"

I thank Thee for the comfort given,
When agonized with pain;
The love infused--the taste of heaven,
That cheered my heart again;
In answer to the faithful prayers
Of many a fervent soul,
Disease retired--for mercy spares,
And makes the sinner whole.



CLEAR SHINING AFTER RAIN."--2 Sam. xxiii. 4.

God doeth nothing in vain. Cloud and sunshine, stormy winds, and
steeping rains, have each their appointed purpose; and in their season
contribute to bless, and refresh the earth; that it may bring forth
its increase for the service of man and beast. You have often seen,
how after a shower in the cheerful spring-time, the green meadows
have suddenly put on a fresher and livelier hue; and the tender grass
seemed to grow before your eyes. Just so, in the higher economy of
grace, seasons of trial and affliction have their definite design;
only here the effect is not determined by an irresistible law; but
suspended upon the conduct of man. The heart must be open to receive
the genial influences, which are thus mysteriously communicated;
the will must submissively bow under the dispensations of an allwise
Providence; and, especially, seasons of affliction should be seasons
of earnest prayer. Then will they be followed by a marked increase of
spiritual life and power. Mrs. Lyth benefitted by her afflictions; and
although she more frequently mourns over her own unprofitableness, her
growth in grace is clearly apparent in her journal, which we resume.

"1820.--Although I have the victory I cannot yet say the old man is
dead; some seeds of peevishness yet remain to be destroyed. Praise
God, I hate the garment spotted by the flesh. 'All peace, all love,'
is the desire of my heart, and the longing of my soul.--A day of
fasting and prayer; but separation from every thing that defileth is
what is pleasing to the Lord. May this be my continual abstinence.
Amen.--Not able to procure a substitute to meet my husband's class, I
ventured myself, sensible of my own unfitness, and earnestly begging
God to speak by me. One person went out, but whatever was the cause,
thank God, I felt that my work was with the Lord.--Went to see poor
old Sarah; found her confined to her bed but happy in the Lord: nature
was fast sinking. I wished her to have a nurse, but she thought she
could do alone, as she had a candle, and the Lord was with her: left
her, but found means to procure a nurse for the night.--A few days ago
I was awoke with the words, 'What shall I do for thee?' My answer was,
'Lord, that I may live more fully to Thee, and for Thee.' Unutterable
sweetness filled my soul, and now, while I write, I feel it still.
Glory be to God, His love is ever new. To walk with Him, transcends
all earthly enjoyment.--During the last week I have learned my own
weakness. Unaided by divine grace, I have no power to check trifling
conversation among professors; especially such as are older than
myself. Teach me how to act, when to speak, and when to be silent.
To-day felt it my duty to visit a neighbour, and met with a more
favourable reception than I expected. He has long been ill, and is now
in trouble. I told him that I had come to bring him good news,
that 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;' and while
conversing with him on the necessity of an interest in the Redeemer's
blood, in order to forgiveness, he seemed to listen with attention.
May the Lord make him a witness of the saving power of the Gospel,
Some little matters, which require a patient and forgiving spirit,
have occurred to fill up my character as a Christian. Lord, help
me and give me that spirit which in Thy sight is of great
price.--Thirty-eight years old! How short the time appears! yet how
varied the scenes through which I have passed! and how different the
views I have had. Praise the Lord. With respect to the soul, I have
clearer views than ever. My feet are upon the rock. When I look over
my life, how blotted it appears! am lost in astonishment, that God,
who made all things, and upholds all things by the word of his power,
should stoop to such a wretch as I. O the depth of the riches of His
mercy to me!--I have received a letter from Cousin Ann, in which she
boldly confesses the cleansing blood. Hope it will prove a lasting
blessing to me; feel ashamed that I have not more openly acknowledged
what the Lord has done for my soul. By this omission, have clipped the
wings of my faith, and encouraged a diffidence, which I long to have
removed; have hesitated upon the plea, that I would wait and see
whether the work was genuine or no. O my Saviour forgive, and
condescend to teach one of the dullest scholars in Thy school.--Have
found the five o'clock prayer-meetings very profitable, and cannot
be thankful enough that I have health to go. At the prayer-leaders'
Lovefeast, said I could give up all for God, but have since asked
myself, Is this true? Lord, Thou knowest it is the desire of my heart
to give myself to Thee without reserve: accept the offering. I feel
Thee now pouring in Thy ineffable peace. My soul has but one object,
inward and outward holiness. O make me quite clear.--The intercourse
is open between my soul and God, but yet I have had to struggle for
it. O save me fully. This is what I want. Last Tuesday I felt I could
not doubt. Stamp me, Saviour, with Thy seal, and keep me ever Thine. I
again met Mrs. G.'s class. I feel myself more fit to sit at their feet
and be taught; but O Thou, who usedst clay to open the eyes of the
blind, use me for Thy glory.--Some keen things uttered by a relative
have wounded me to the quick. I feel innocent, yet, Lord, how little
I can hear! Give me the love that hopeth all things, endureth
all things, which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the
truth.--Kirkby. I am reading Fletcher's Life. How it excites holy
desire! My earnest aspiration is after perfect love. When shall it
once be? Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.--We went to Ribstone to
see Mrs. R. but did not pray at the close of the visit; my mind was
wounded on this account. The Lord pardon all my offences.--Cousin and
I found it good to pour out our souls before God, alone. At first my
mind felt hard; but by and by, the veil was drawn aside, and I enjoyed
a sweet manifestation of the Lord;--a settled peace but no overflowing
joy. My earnest wish is to be quite clear, for I am more than ever
convinced of the reality of the blessing. The cleansing power of God
puts us in a capacity to 'grow in grace,' and live to the glory
of God.--We walked to Barrowby, and took tea with Miss H. She is a
friendly girl, possessing the advantage of a polite education, but
wants the main accomplishment--vital godliness: she wept while I
talked with her. O that it may not pass away as the morning cloud! On
our return we had a blessed meeting with our God. I felt the power
to cast myself by faith upon the Lord; but still do not perceive the
direct witness of the cleansing blood: am resolved not to give up the
point until I obtain my suit.--I left Kirkby,--a place so congenial
to my inclinations, secluded from scenes of noise and excitement,--and
had a pleasant journey home, where I found all well. Praise
God.--Returning from the Lord's house, a beautiful rainbow attracted
my attention, and preached a second sermon to me; putting me in mind
of the covenant which the Lord had made with His people.--I am aiming
to keep the prize in view. I see lengths and breadths before me;
and my heart, thank God, is bent to pursue that which to me is most
desirable, viz., holiness. But I need stronger faith to enter in by
the blood of Jesus. Union with Him is sweet. This makes one thirst
for more. Many temptations assault me, but the reading of Fletcher's
Polemical Essay on Christian Perfection has been of advantage to me. I
am learning the method of bringing to God those evils and besetments,
which seem to be the main hindrances to my progress. I have much cause
of humiliation before the Lord, and wish to attain that sweet spirit
of abasement, which not only confesses its unworthiness, but _feels_
willing, that others should be preferred before me. I have need of
vigilance; my enemy is ready to seize upon the least advantage. To
Thee, O God, my soul looks up.--A dream, I had this week, powerfully
impressed me with the necessity of being faithful with our relatives,
and of living near to God ourselves. Private prayer has been
profitable, but do not know that I was ever so much beset with
peculiar temptation. Since I have become acquainted with the devices
of the enemy, have found another errand to the Lord.--Spent the
forenoon with some of the friends of God, and the poor. On attending
one of the women's prayer-meetings, find my name, has been omitted,
but believe it is for the best.

'Make me little and unknown,
Prized and loved by God alone.'

Last night I was troubled in my sleep, but it was sweetly suggested;
'God is our refuge--a very present help in trouble.' Glory be to God
for His promises; may I hang upon them more firmly than ever. To-day
my soul has been drawn after God; but when shall I be able to say
with Mr. Wesley, 'Now I have lived a day.'--Find patience a grace.
I especially need, both with respect to myself, my children, my
domestics, and the world. Had not the sacred Scriptures declared 'ye
have need of patience,' I should be more ready to reason with the
enemy than I am. But the word of God is a strong tower against
the assaults of the devil; here the righteous find a refuge and a
hiding-place.--What a poor unprofitable creature I am! Lord, I cast
myself upon Thee. Save a helpless soul, that feels no merit but in
Jesu's atoning blood."

"1821. Am ashamed to acknowledge I have felt a little impatience,
because my hands through stiffness, occasioned by cramp, have refused
to perform their ordinary duty. Forgive me, O my God; nor ever let me
repine at any of Thy dispensations to a worm, loaded with benefits as
I am. I seem a poor piece of useless lumber, but Thou bearest with me.
Let me ever live to Thee.--Although I usually sleep well, last night
I lay awake for some time, but my meditations were sweet; they turned
upon Peter's advice to those who had received like precious faith,
viz.; 'Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to
knowledge temperance, and to temperance PATIENCE,' &c. I have felt its
influence to-day. Praise the Lord for so divine an admonition; my soul
needs it.--The debt of gratitude I owe to Thee, 'O Thou Preserver of
men,' I feel glad to acknowledge, though I am unable to pay. Glory be
unto Thee for Thy renewed mercy to a worm. Help me to repeat my vows
to Thee, who hast graciously protracted my life, and through another
seeming death delivered me. Let the babe, thy love has given me, be

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