Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

pleased to take her away, he would deliver her from all her fears, and give her a happy departure. She often af. terwards visited the grave, and always preserved a lively sense of the affecting scene.

“ Though no views of evangelical truth had hitherto opened on her inind, yet even during her juvenile days, she frequently retired, for prayer, to a particular closet where she could not be observed : and in all her little troubles found relief in pouring out her requests unto God. When she grew up, and was introduced into the world, the continued to pray that the inight marry into a serious family. None kept up more of the ancient dignity and decency than the house of Huntingdon. With the head of the family she accordingly became united. Lady Betty and Lady Margaret Hastings, his lordship's sisters, were woinen of fingular excellence. .“In this high estate she maintained a peculiar seriousness of conduct. Though sometimes at court, and visiting in the higher circles, fhe took no pleasure in the fashionable follies of the great. In the country she was the lady bountiful among her neighbours and dependents; and going still about to establish her own righteousness, The endeavoured, by prayer and fasting, and alms-deeds, to commend herself to the favour of the most High and most Holy.

“ The zealous preachers, who had been branded with the naine of Methodists, had now awakened great attention in the land. Lady Margaret Hastings happening to hear them, received the truth as it is in Jesus from their miniftry; and was some years after united with the excellent Mr. Ingham, one of the first labourers in this plenteous harvest. Conversing with Lady Margaret one day on this subject, Lady Huntingdon was exceedingly ftruck with a sentiment she uttered, “ that since she had known and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for life and salvation, she had been as happy as an angel.” To any such sensation of happiness Lady Huntingdon felt that The was as yet an utter stranger. : “A dangerous illness having soon after this brought her

upon a who had been her mindrined strong him, and Lady Margaretearnest defire,

to the brink of the grave, the fear of death fell terribly upon her, and her conscience was greatly distressed. Hereupon the meditated sending for Bishop Benson, of Gloucester, who had been Lord Huntingdon's tutor, to consult him, and unburden her mind. Just at that time the words of Lady Margaret returned strongly to her recollection, and she felt, an earnest defire, renouncing every other hope, to cast herself wholly upon Christ for life and salvation. She instantly from her bed lifted up her heart to Jesus the Saviour, with this importunate prayer; and inmediately all her distress and fear were removed, and she was filled with peace and joy in believing. Her dilorder from that moment took a favourable turn; she was restored to perfect health, and, what was better, to newness of life. She determined thenceforward to present herself to God, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which she was now convinced was her reasonable service. .“ On her recovery, she sent a kind message to Messrs. Wesleys, who were then preaching in the neighbourhood, that she was one with thein in heart, cordially wishing them good speed in the name of the Lord, and assured them of her determined purpose of living for him who had died for her. : “The change thus suddenly wrought on her Ladyship, became observable to all, in the open confeffon she made of the faith once delivered to the saints, and in the zealous support the began to give to the work of God, amidst all the reproach with which it was attended. i “ To the noble circle in which Lady Huntingdon moved, such professions and conduct appeared drous strange; but she had set her face as a flint, and refused to be ashamed of Christ and his cross. There were not wanting indeed some who, under the guise of friendship, -wished Lord Huntingdon to interpose his authority; but, however he differed from her Ladyship in sentiment, he continued to shew ber the fame affection and respect. He desired, however, the would oblige him, by conversing' with Bishop Benson on the subject, to which the readily , acquiesced.

* The bishop was accordingly sent for, in order to reasodi with her. Ladyship respecting her opinions and conduct. But she pressed him so hard with articles and homilies, and so plainly and faithfully urged upon him the awful Tefponsibility of his station under the great Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, that his temper was ruffled; and he rose up in haste to depart, bitterly lamenting, that he had ever laid his hands on George Whitfield, to whom he imputed, though without cause, the change wrought in her Ladyship. She called him back; “ My Lord," said she, “mark my words, when you come upon your dying bed, that will be one of the few ordinations you will reflect upon with complacence.”. It deserves remark, that Bishop Benfon, on his dying bed, sent ten guineas to Mr. Whitfield, as a token of his favour and approbation, and begged to be remembered by himn in his prayers. .“ Lady Huntingdon's heart was truly engaged to God, and she refolyed, to her best ability, to lay herself out to do good.' The poor around her were the natural objects of her attention. These she bountifully relieved in their necefficies, visited in sickness, conversed with and led them to their knees, praying with them and for them. The late Prince of Wales, one day in court, aked a lady of fashion, Lady Charlotte E. where my Lady Huntingdon was, that she so seldom visited the circle. Lady Charlotte, replied with a sneer, I suppose praying with her beggars.” The Prince shook his head, and said, “ Lady Charlotte, when I am dying, I think I shall be happy to seize the skirt of Lady Huntingdon's mantle, to lift me up with her to Heaven." ;

“ During my Lord Huntingdon's life she warmly espoused the cause of God and truth, though her means of usefulness were necetlarily circumscribed, and her family engagements occupied much of her time and attention. On his demife, she was left the entire management of her children, and of their fortunes, which the improved with the greatest fidelity. Become her own mistress, the resolved to devote. herself wholly to the service of Christ,' and the souls redeemed by his blood, Her zealous heart embraced cordially all whom she esteemed réal Christians; whatever their denomination or opinions might be, but being herself in sentiment more congenial with Mr Whitfield than the Mr. Wesleys; The favoured those especially who were the ministers of the Calvinistic persuasion, according to the literal sense of the articles of the Church of England. And with an intention of giving them a greater scene of usefulness, the opened her house in Park-street, for the preaching of the gospel, supposing, as a peeress of the realin, that The had an indisputable right to employ, as her family chaplains, those ministers of the Church whom she patronised.' 'On the week days her kitchen was filled with the poor of the flock, for whom the provided instruction; and on the Lord's day the great and noble were invited to spend the evening in her drawing-room, where Mr. Whitfield, Mr. Romaine, Mr. Jones, and other ininisters of Christ, addressed to them faithfully all the words of this life, and were heard with apparently deep and serious attention." : Here' the author mentions the various exertions of Lady Huntingdon in the propagation of the gospel, which we are compelled to omit, and then adds: ..“ Lady Huntingdon now became the open and avowed patronefs of all the zealous ininisters of Christ, especially of those who were suffering for the testimony of Jesus. Mr. Romaine, on his being turned out of St. George's Church, received particular tokens of her favour; and though till then unknown to her, I was honoured with her expressions of kindness and approbation, when as yet a young man, I suffered such perfecution from Bishop Hume, and the University of Oxford, and was so unjustly dispoffeffed of my cure in that city. : “ Though Lady Huntingdon devoted the whole of her substance to the gospel, yet it is not a little surprising, how her income fufficed for the immensity of expense in which she was necessarily involved. Her jointure was no more than twelve hundred pounds a year; and only after the death of her son, a few years preceding her own, the received the addition of another thousand. She often

VOL. II. No. 5.

involved herfelf in expenses for building chapels, which the found it burthensome to discharge. But the Lord brought her always honourably through her engagements, and provided a fupply when her own was exhausted. :

« To the age of fourscore and upwards the maintained all the vigour of youth; and though in her latter years the contraction of her throat reduced her almost wholly to a liquid diet, her spirits never seemed to fail her; ind to the very last days of her life, her active mind was plan, ning ftill greater and more extensive schemes of useful. ness, for the universal spread of the gospel of Christ.

“ Lady Huntingdon was rather above the middle size, Her presence noble, and commanding respect; her address fingularly engaging; her intelligence acute; her diligence indefatigable, and the constant labour of her thought and correspondence inconceivable. Never, was creature apparently more dead to all self-indulgence, or more liberally disposed to supply the calls of the gospel. I believe, during the many years I was honoured with her friendship, she often poffeffed no more than the gown she wore. I have often said, she was one of the poor who lived on her own bounty, but her most distinguishing excellence was, the fervent zeal which always burned in her bosom, to make known the gospel of the grace of God; which no disappointments quenched, no labours flackened, no opposition discouraged, no progress of years abated : it flamed strongest in her latest moments. The world has seldom seen such a character--thousands and tens of thousands will have reason, living and dying, to blets her memory, as having been the happy inftrument of bringing them out of darkness into marvellous light; and multitudes faved by her instrumentality, have met her in the regions of glory, to rejoice together in the presence of God and of the Lamb.:

“ But it may be said, was the a perfect character? No. This is not the lot of mortals on this fide the grave. When the moon walketh in her brightness, her shadows are most visible. .

“ Lady Huntingdon was in her temper warm and farr

« AnteriorContinuar »