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OBITUARY OF MARY ANN FOSTER.
change of heart. She was deeply attentive while I laid before her the verities of our Holy Religion, on which we conversed for a considerable time. I directed her to read the Bible, which teaches all things necessary
for us to know, and to pray that God would explain and apply its truths to her mind. She promised to do so ; and I believe she did. She was increasingly attentive to what she read and heard, and also to the duty of prayer. Indeed for prayer she was always ready, when we approached the family altar; nor do I once remember her to have forgot her private prayers. On one occasion, perceiving that her mother and myself were in trouble, prompted by a tender affection, she came to me, and kneeling down, laid both her hands on my knee, and then repeated her
prayers, after which she rose, and went away. This incident made a deep impression on our minds, and had a happy effect. On another occasion, when conversing on prayer, she said, that she was almost constantly praying. I asked, if she ever felt her mind comforted, and her affections drawn to love Jesus Christ. She said, that she did. I told her that it was the Holy Spirit of God, who was at work with her soul, and that to his grace we are indebted for every thing good and happy. I encouraged her to hearken to his teachings, and to pray that he would lead her into all saving truth. Frequently she would come to my loom, when at work, to unbosom her mind to me on spiritual things, and to receive advice suited to her state.
About Easter, 1820, her health began to decline fast. She one day took my hand, and put it on her forehead, that I might feel what a cold sweat rested on it. Wishing not to discourage her, I endeavoured to change the subject, when she east such a look on me, as I shall never forget. It was such a sorrowful smile as seemed to say,
“ I hear a voice, you cannot hear,
Which cries, I must not stay;
Which beckons me away."
ANN, I know not whether you will get better or not ; it is of great importance to be ready.” “O father,"
66 I had rather die than live.' I asked, “ What are your reasons for saying so ?” She replied, « If I die, I shall go to heaven.” I said, “ On what grounds do you think so ?” She replied, “ I have read, that Christ died for sinners, and I believe he died for me, and I know I shall go to heaven.” I said, “ And can you look up to God as your reconciled FATHER through Christ ?” She replied, “ I can.” I exhorted her to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and in nothing else. She smiled, and said no more at that time. She possessed a lamb-like patience, during the remaining period of her affliction, which at last was very heavy. In the evening of the day on which she died, she said to me, while raising her a little in bed, “O father, I am very ill.” I said, “My dear, look unto the Lord, and he will enable you to bear it.” She said, “ I will.” I said, “Heaven wilt be a recompense for all you suffer, if you are going there ;” to which she replied, “ Yes.” These were the last words she uttered, before her spirit took its flight to the palace of angels and of God.
3. Died, Dec. 11, 1821, aged 21, Miss MARTHA REYNOLDS, daughter of the Rev. John REYNOLDS, of Deptford. From her earliest youth, she was remarkable for her amiable and affectionate disposition, and other domestic virtues. Since she arrived at years of discretion, her parents can recollect no one instance of undutiful conduct; nor her brothers and sisters one in which she preferred her own pleasure or advantage to theirs. Indeed her neglect of self was carried too far; it often led her to exertions beyond her strength, and made her much too careless of her health. This she lamented in her last illness, and even looked upon it as a sin. She always said too little upon her religious experience, yielding, it is to be feared, to those suggestions of the Tempter, by which he often persuades young beginners in religion to hide the goodness of the LORD. But her increased seriousness, her diligent peruşal of pious books, (the most remarkable parts of some of which she committed to memory,)
OBITUARY OF MISS MARTHA REYNOLDS.
and her views on religious subjects, as disclosed, especially, in her letters to a friend for whose spiritual interest she was deeply concerned, all concur to prove that the Spirit of God had effectually touched her heart. Her experience, however, was not marked by those keen and distressing apprehensions on account of sin, emphatically termed the wounds of the sword of the SPIRIT; for it pleased Him who best knows how to deal with his creatures, to draw her by the cords of his love.
About the middle of Nov. 1821, in consequence of a cold, the symptoms of a former severe illness, from which she had never fully recovered, returned with increased malignity; and it was soon too evident, that she was in a rapid decline. She was removed to her brother's house at Stoke-Newington, when it was hoped that the aid of medicine, and change of air, might afford at least a temporary relief. These expectations at first appeared to be realized. There was every symptom of returning health ;-but, alas ! the dispersing clouds had but unveiled the face of the setting sun, which brightened the hopes of her friends for a moment, and then sunk beneath the horizon. Although she had not any presentiment of her approaching dissolution, she seemed to be quite detached from all earthly things. She earnestly exhorted the servant who attended upon her, to beware of slackness in religion; and lamented that her own life had not been more entirely devoted to God, adding, “ If I get better, I hope I shall be useful to the cause of Christ."
The drowsiness which had from the first attended her disorder, much increased during the last days of her life
e; so that she said but little : in ill her waking intervals, however, the motion of her hands and lips indicated that she was engaged in fervent prayer. She several times repeated that verse of her favourite hymn, which begins thus,
“ In suffering, be thy love my peace,” &c.; and often said, with more energy than could have been expected from her extreme weakness,
“O may we never parted be,
On Sunday night, December 9, her sister said, '“ I hope, my love, you now find your feet set upon the Rock of ages.” She answered, with confidence, 66 Yes ;” and soon afterwards, with her hands and eyes uplifted, said, “ I thank thee, O my dear REDEEMER,” which she often repeated. The whole of that night was spent in prayer and praise ; but from her excessive debility and difficulty of breathing, only detached sentences could be understood. Upon her sister's giving her a little wine, she expressed her gratitude to her, and then, raising her eyes, said,
“ Unnumber'd blessings from thy hands,
I every hour receive.” At another time she said, “My dear sister, I now see that my affliction, from beginning to end, has been intended for my good : 'tis mercy all.”
On the Monday morning, being informed that her father had arrived, she was much pleased, and said, “ I long to see my dear father ;” but immediately she sunk into a stupor, which continued till late in the afternoon. As soon as she could be spoken to, her Father said, “I trust, my dear, you have a good hope through CHRIST.” She answered, “Yes. Her pulse intermitting about half past twelve, the alarming symptoms returned, and every breath became shorter. Her agonized father said, “Tell me, my dear child, once more, have you a bright evidence of your acceptance with God?” She again answered, “ Yes ;” and whilst he was by prayer committing her spirit into the hands of Him who gave it, she fell asleep in JESUS.
THE JUVENILE NATURALIST,
FOR MARCH, 1822.
(From “ Time's Telescope for 1822.") “Those trees which, in the last month, were budding, now begin to put forth their leaves ; and the various appearances of Nature announce the approach of SPRING. Yet is this delightful season often retarded by cold and keen winds, and “blowing weather.'-The melody of birds now gradually swells upon the ear. The throstle, second only to the nightingale in song, charms us with the sweetness and variety of its lays. The linnet and the goldfinch join the general concert in this month, and the goldencrowned wren begins its song. The lark, also, must not be forgotten :
THE JUVENILE NATURALIST,
The cheerful lark, mounting from early bed,
With sweet salutes awakes the drowsy light;
Earth seems a mole-hill, men but ants to be ;
The further up they climb, the less they seem and see. “ Those birds which have passed the winter in England now take their departure for mor northerly regions. The fieldfares travel to Russia, Sweden, Norway, and even as far as Siberia. They do not arrive in France till December, when they assemble in large flocks of two or three thousand. The red-wing, which frequents the same places, eats the same food, and is very similar in manners to the fieldfare, also takes leave of this country for the season. Soon after, the woodcock wings its aërial voyage to the countries bordering on the Baltic. Some other birds, as the crane and stork, formerly natives of this island, have quitted it entirely, since our cultivation and population have so rapidly increased.
“On the 20th, the vernal equinox takes place, and all nature feels her renovating sway, and seems to rejoice at the retreat of winter. The general or great flow of sap in most trees takes place in this month; this is preparatory to the expanding of the leaves, and ceases when they are out : accordingly, birch is tapped for its sap to be converted into wine, and the maple, in North America, for its juice, to be evaporated for sugar; every 200lb. of sap yielding 10 lb. of very good sugar. The gooseberry and currant bushes now show their young leaves; the ash its grey buds; and the hazel and the willow exhibit some signs of returning life in their silky enfolded catkins.
“Our gardens begin now to assume somewhat of a cheerful appearance. Crocuses, exhibiting a rich mixture of yellow and purple, ornament the borders; mezerion is in all its beauty; the little flowers' with silver crest and golden eye,' daisies, are scattered over dry pastures; and the pilewort is seen on the moist banks of ditches. The primrose, too, peeps from beneath
"The leaves of honeysuckles are now nearly expanded : in our gardens, the buds of the cherry tree, the peach, the nectarine, the apricot, and the almond, are fully opened in this month. The buds of the hawthorn and of the larch tree begin to open; and the tansy emerges out of the ground; ivy-berries are ripe ; the coltsfoot, the cotton grass, wood spurge, butcher's broom, the daffodil in moist thickets, the rush, and the spurge laurel, found in woods, are now in bloom. The sweet violet sheds its delicious perfumes in this month.
“ The barren strawberry, and the yew tree, are now in flower, and the elder-tree begins to put forth its flower-buds.
"Much amusement may be derived in this month, as well as in the last, from watching the progress of worms, insects, &c. from torpidity to life, particularly on the edges or banks of ponds.