Imágenes de páginas

our Heavenly Father entrusts us with for our use and comfort ; and fearing that, if sold, he might fall into the hands of those who would not be animated by such considerations. I hope that we shall all continually aim at pleasing God in all things, ever keeping an eye on eternity, knowing not how soon we may have to give an account of our stewardship.'

But important as she deemed the cause of suffering brutes, more important did she regard the cause of suffering humanity. Accordingly, when on a collecting tour for the Wesleyan Foreign Missionary Society and also for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, she received a subscription to be appropriated to either at her discretion, without hesitation she devoted it to the former, making this explanatory record : 'We felt we must of course give the preference to the work of saving souls.'

A few extracts from the journal of Miss Berger will notify the almost unvarying tranquillity and success which that lady and her associates were permitted to enjoy for the next few years :

March 9th, 1833.- Reading this morning Psalm lxxxi. 8-10 : “ Hear, 0 My people, and I will testify anto thee : 0 Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto Me....I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee ont of the land of Egypt: open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it,” a sweet light Aowed into my mind, whereby I saw that a quiet attention to God was my path; that anxiety about earthly things was needless ; that God's all-sufficiency claimed my entire dependence; that I had only to ask and have ; and that it is a great evil to immerse the soul in passing occurrences, as they often, equally with grosser matters, obstruct the progress of the life of God.

November 14th.— Yesterday was the anniversary of my spiritual birthday. Omy God! I may surely say on the twentieth anniversary of that ever-memorable day when Christ was first revealed in my heart as the hope of glory, In blessing Thou hast blessed The; but how inadequate are words to express the salvation imparted! "O, may my poor remains of breath teach the wide world Thy love!”-—March 2nd, 1834.—The chapel, like the worship-room, on Wednesday had more persons in it than could comfortably be accommodated; and many were obliged to remain standing ontside.--July 3rd, 1835.Returned to Walden from Homerton after an absence of nine weeks, during which we have seen much of the Lord's goodness in many respects, especially in conferring His grace upon four of my dear nephews. Surely His work shall not end hero |--November 15th.-The Lord's-day. Old Master H- (eighty-one years of age) found the Lord, while I was reading Mr. Moore's sermon on the Rich Man and Lazarus.'

Scarcely had the year 1836 commenced, when death made its first inroad upon the godly band with which Miss Berger had so long and blessedly been identified, removing its oldest member, and filling the hearts of the survivors with a sense of irreparable loss. A cloud received her out of their sight ; but as viewed by the high-soaring faith of the workers whom she had left below, it was a chariot of triumph and glory.

Of most respectable family connections, Mrs. Taylor gloried more in the fact that her mother was one of the early Methodists, and that she herself had been received into Class by John Wesley. To her excellent spirit and life, her daughter, Mrs. Webster, paid a just and beautiful tribute in this Magazine for March, 1841, the conclusion of which may here be fittingly transcribed : 'When her spirit was almost released, the words quivered on her lips, " The word of His grace shall bear as safe through.” A friend in the room said, not thinking she was heard, “If she could say a word more to as”; when the dying saint made an effort, “Trust in Jesus for mercy and grace, more and more.” These were her last words.'

But the cloud had a further mission to fulfil to this honoured family: having, at intervals, fore-announced its coming in prophetic shadow, it darkly fell upon them in April, 1840, leaving Mrs. Webster and Miss Berger to carry on the God-appointed mission at Saffron-Walden. Mr. Taylor was

man of ready wit and much devotion to God, his whole life being in harmony with one of his own quaint utterances : 'We may write over our hearts, This house is let ; for we have our blessed Jesus residing there, and there is no room for lodgers. When the devil finds you won't walk in a wide way, he will try to make the narrow way so narrow that you can't walk in it.'

Miss Berger wrote the following simple record of the death of this good


man :



• April 20th, 1840.-Between two and three o'clock to-day, dear Mrs. Webster's father-in-law was gathered to God. Last night these words rested sweetly, yet forewarningly, on my mind : “Happy soul, thy days are ended, etc.” On quitting the chamber of death, my mind was unspeakably comforted by that Scripture : "As ! prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”'

The period between the loss of two of her fellow-labourers in the Gospel, and that of a still dearer and more helpful associate, was of great importance and interest in Miss Berger's life, as it brought to her the joy of harvest' in a very large degree. Many anxieties, however, bore heavily upon her, but her cheerful submission transmuted them into gold. Dead to self, and alive to duty even in its most exacting forms, Miss Berger, with her · Naomi,' ventured upon the responsibility of baving engraved four Scripture pieces, which had been designed and drawn by the deceased Mrs. Taylor. The Broad and the Narrow Way; the Resurrection of our Lord ; the Power of Prayer, as illustrated by Jacob's vision, by the overthrow of the prophets of Baal on Carmel, by the prevalence of Israel over Amalek, and by the destruction of Sennacherib’s host, form the subjects of these pieces. Considerable originality and beauty in the design, exquisite skill and finish in the engraver's work, aptness of Scripture-quotation and appropriate passages of poetry, some of which were composed by James Montgomery expressly for the purpose, combine to make these emblematic representations' a very interesting and profitable study. The financial liability involved in this venture was not trifling; and the labour undertaken by the ladies in securing subscribers was very great. However, complete success rewarded faithful prayer and effort : all the copies were sold, and to the present day, in many houses of Essex and other counties, the sets' continue to tell their allimportant story, and to perpetuate the mission of their godly projectors. London, Sheffield, Manchester, Lynn and many other towns were visited in the prosecution of this mission by the two ladies, whose quaint but neat attire, and thrilling testimony for Jesus, in the Love-feasts and other means

[ocr errors]


of grace held, were long remembered amongst Methodist traditions of those places.

Notwithstanding the extra strain involved by this undertaking, the regular evangelistic duties connected with Saffron-Walden and its neighbourhood were not neglected. Visitations were made to preaching-places established years before, and in each of them cheering testimonies were given by numbers of persons to the fact that they had been brought to God through the instrumentality of these ladies. In carrying on this work Miss Berger often found it agreeable to her to read, instead of preaching, some such compositions as : Ambrose’s Looking unto Jesus, Last Words of Dr. Payson, Whitefield's Invitation to the Devil's Castaways, The Dreadful Prayer-meeting, and Chepstowe Jack, which she designated 'a very solemn tract.' Night and day she was, throughout this period,' zealously affected always ' in a good cause. In order to devote herself the more undistractedly to the service of Christ, she became an Annuitant of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, which she felt quite free to do, as her fortune, now much reduced by her benefactions, was not needed or expected by any of her relatives, all of whom were in affluent circumstances. However, she experienced a blessed disquietude, arising from a growing conviction that she ought, and an ardent desire that she might, yet do something more for Saffron-Walden, which should benefit that town long after her entrance into eternal resto How this conviction and desire resulted we will shortly show.

Miss Berger was the subject of various premonitions that death was again about to visit her home; but whether to remove herself or her friend, she could not surmise. In either case, there was constant readiness, almost desire, for the visit. Selections from Miss Berger's letters and journal will give some idea of her experience in the interval, and illustrate other matters mentioned above :

* April 20th, 1840.—Feeling our situation, as now left alone among our people, I was greatly comforted by these words :

“Jehovah, God the Father, bless,

And Thy own work defend !” which were immediately followed, in my recollection, by these lines:

“When Thou wilt to work proceed, Thy purpose firm none can withstand,

Frustrate the determined deed,

Or stay the Almighty hand.” September 6th.-Learning that five out of the eleven unhappy Sabbath-breakers drowned this day week were to be interred in Hackney churchyard, I, with several friends, distributed tracts to the people assembled ; and we have good reason to believe

! that this labour was not in vain.

April 12th, 1841. Sheffield, Easter Monday.–At the Manor Band-meeting I felt a most gracious influence steal over my soul and captivate all my powers. It was " the love of God shed abroad” in my heart. Yesterday I felt the kindlings of this love ; to-day I feel the blaze. —January 14th, 1842.—Was making a bonnet for a poor deaf woman who attends our meetings, when these words came to my mind, " Inasmuch as


Memoir of Charlotte Sophia Steigen Berger.

ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."

-February 3rd.-Have borne, by letter, a testimony for God to all the elder branches of my family; and have so far satisfied my conscience. May He Who dwells between the cherubim condescend to own and bless this poor endeavour, for Christ's sake.

-April 30th.—Assaulted by the powers of darkness yesterday, before I engaged; but was astonishingly helped both in the afternoon and the evening, as indeed I have been for many weeks past. During the night season also, I experienced sweet spiritual feelings; and when I awoke, these words rested on my mind: "Satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord."-June 20th.-Feeling my faith severely exercised with regard to the work here, I spread our circumstances before the Lord, Who graciously dispersed my doubts. -August 14th.-Heard Dr. Dauben twice. The discourses, extraordinary for talent and effect, were to us the ministration of the Spirit.] -August 15th.-Spoke at Ilford; and had a very blessed time. It seemed as if the heavens were opened. On our way thither we stopped in the forest, pleading with God, as the pony grazed, that we might have a glorious day.- -November 5th.-I felt much blessed as we were going from house to house yesterday on the Lord's errands, and ty labouring the while to make a bold, steady and hearty venture of body, soul and spirit on those great words: "can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." On retiring to rest I was awed by a consciousness of the presence of God.January 3rd, 1843.-In the Watch night and Covenant services we enjoyed an antepast heaven. I have resolved, in God's strength, to give myself, this year, more to private prayer and self-examination.--May 12th.-I am brought back from the gates of death: may my added days be entirely Thine, my adorable Redeemer, Who hast so far raised and rescued me from the grasp of pain, and hast shown me what I owe to Thee as my Deliverer from eternal suffering. Tremendous thought! how powerfully did it impress my mind, after those sleepless nights, with a feeling of greater compassion than ever for sinners. I have been singularly comforted through the whole of this affliction, by sounds as of a worshipping host blessedly near to me.--July 1st.-We have fresh matter for praise this morning, having received an official intimation that the Preachers in the Cambridge Circuit will regularly visit Saffron-Walden, which is to be placed on the Circuit-plan.--November 12th, 1845.-Returned this evening from a visit to Sheffield and Manchester; and have to sing of journeying mercies, of good health and suitable weather, for the accomplishment of our enterprise, and of having been into the Lord's garden, both natural and spiritual, to feast our eyes and hearts with the blessings of nature and grace. We are placed under weightier obligations to more entire dedication of ourselves and all we have to our gracious Lord.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


'Yours affectionately,

'Saffron-Walden, March 22nd, 1847.


'We have often carried your case to the Throne of Grace this winter, long before the rising of the sun. We find the early morning the best time for devotion, and are frequently calling upon God, for ourselves and friends, between the hours of four and six. I have been very ill of late, but trust that I have not lost the benefit of the affliction. It has laid me low in the dust of self-abasement, and brought me into closer union with Him Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.



[ocr errors]

'July 23rd, 1847.-We are brought over the mountainous difficulty with regard to the engravings. To the gracious Hearer of prayer be the praise for enabling such feeble worms as we are to perform this difficult enterprise, engaged in at the dying wish of a dear parent !-December 25th.-Musing upon the glorious advent of my Saviour, these words expressed my feelings: "Praise flow for ever, if astonishment will give thee leave."--August 28th, 1848.-We called at Chapmore End, and were glad to find that the cause of God was still carried on there. We found the good old gentle

man, who first received us into his house to proclaim the Gospel, still living, and that to God. He told us of many signal answers to prayer, particularly of the conversion and call to the Ministry of his only son, Everard Vigis. His only daughter has also been brought to God; and her son and daughter are both serving the Lord. The blessing extends to children's children. Glory to God in the highest !--December 5th, 1848.While walking to Islington our minds were kept in prayer and peace ; and we were gladdened to see a large bill announcing the opening of a convenient and comfortable market for cattle, to take the place of cruel Smithfield.––February 6th, 1849.-We spent the day in abstinence from food, and in prayer for the revival of God's work. Between seven and eight o'clock in the evening a person in whose house we have twice held meetings called upon us and signified her desire, with that of her husband, to join the Society. — March 9th, 1851.-In answer to deep and long concern and prayer, we have been blessed with a revival during the last three weeks ; and the slain of the Lord have been many.

January 5th, 1855.-In keeping the appointed Fast to-day my soul has received a fresh impetus towards heaven." A review of past failings has filled me with shame, while the memory of the Divine clemency and patience excites within me profound astonishment. I am filled with deep concern for more humility and love.- -February 13th, 1857.-Spent three hours in prayer, and, though feeble in body, had a very blessed season.

September 27th, 1858.-What I have thought desirable for years, but had recently ceased to hope for, as everything seemed to make against it, is now, in its commencement, come to pass. We have secured a plot of ground suitable and intended for a chapel-site. If the chapel should be built at a future day, surely we may exclaim, “What hath God wrought!”

[ocr errors]


Saffron-Walden, Essex, Dec. 23rd, 1858. *DEAR ES,

'Sixty-seven years had rolled away on the 15th of this month since my eyes first beheld the light of this world. Looking ba on those years, and forward to the two or three which may yet remain to me, I have not been able to make ap my mind to the purchase of a new satin dress, as you desire. I should have few, if any, occasions on which to wear it ; and on the other hand, the spiritual necessities of tens of thousands of our fellow immortals make strong claims upon all that I can possibly give with a view to their amelioration. Therefore I have devoted your kind present to the British and Foreign Bible Society.

'I remain, your affectionate sister,


[ocr errors]

June 26th.-Mr. Berry, from Richmond College, commenced last week a course of special services, which have been attended with blessed results, several conversions haring taken place, and one backslider having been recovered. - November 13th.Thanks be to God, that our lives have been prolonged to this remarkable year, 1859, when revivals of religion are multiplying and spreading in different directions, and their astonishing and delightful results are becoming the topic of conversation in every section of the Church of Christ. - August 7th, 1860.-We were informed this morning that a Home Missionary Minister is appointed to Saffron-Walden. May the appointment be for the glory of God, Who has in a remarkable manner sent us the portion of the Minister's income, which we have promised to pay this year. -April 7th, 1861.-I have been laid aside since February 19th, and, as the result, have become more familiar with death and eternity. The promises of God have been to me a firm foundation of rest, and also powerful wings raising me high above fear. Having been able fully to commit all my interests into the hands of my Heavenly Father, I have proved the blessedness of His all-comprehensive words, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” (2 Corin. thians xii. 9.) May 13th.-As I arose this morning before six o'clock, and was

« AnteriorContinuar »