Page images

willing service to Christ now sanctified all did he allow others, in his dwelling, to his engagements; and he maintained the speak evil of the absent, especially of the Christian character, in its integrity, stead. ministers of the Gospel. He was never fast unto the end.

heard to speak disparagingly of a sermon. He always took a deep interest in the At home he was much beloved by his spiritual welfare of young people, the family, over whom he had great influence, members of his class, and the loved ones at ruling by the gentle force of Christian kind. home. His scholars at the Sabbath-school ness. Twice every day he gathered all his will not soon forget his sound and practi- family around him for worship, and this he cal advice, his pathetic and faithful appeals continued to do with upbroken regularity to their reason and conscience, and those throughout his Christian course. His encouraging exhortations to a life of piety prayers were always marked by a rich uncwhich were the outgushing of a renewed tion, and a solemn and impressive fervour; heart and a joyful spirit.

and, in answer to his intercessions, showers He had a retiring disposition, and an of blessings came down upon his children. undemonstrative manner, which strangers His love for God's Word must not be might mistake for coldness and reserve; overlooked. It was truly sweeter to him yet his attachments were warm and true, than honey or the honeycomb. Each day and by those who knew him best he will was marked by a serious and attentive long be remembered for his Christian perusel of its contents; its promises were geniality and cheerfulness.

to him exceedingly precious. He was, in His punctual attendance on all the an important sense, a man of one Book ; means of grace was exemplary. He did and yet he found great pleasure and profit not neglect the Sunday-morning prayer. in reading onr denominational literature, meeting, the band-meeting, or the love and enjoyed with a keen relish what was feast; and though he “studied to be quiet, solid, good, and pure iu general publications. and to do his own business," avoiding all He was often tried in the farnace of unnecessary display, yet he delighted" to , affliction, and his faith and patience were do good and to communicate." He was severely exercised ; yet no repining word not distinguished by commanding talents, was known to escape his lips. The yet he was always found in his work, habit of prayer, and of “watcbing there. carnestly and steadfastly labouring in his into with all perseverance,” braced his own sphere, as a Sunday-school teacher, soul for service and for suffering. During class-leader, and prayer:leader. He dis- the last ten years he suffered severely from charged the onerous and responsible duties dyspepsia and asthma, yet his temper was of a class-leader for thirty-five years, with never soured by his almost ceaseless pain. acknowledged fidelity and great success,- At length the closing scene, which he no fewer than six classes having been suc- hal long anticipated, came. He had no cessively formed out of the one which he fear of death, because he had endeavoured led. His labours were thus abundantly to live every day as if it were his last. To blessed, in the building up of Christ's one of his family, who called to see him people; and his heart was often cheered two days before his decease, he said that he by the affectionate esteem and sincere thought this illness had come to take him attachment of thosc who met with him. away; but, he added, “You all know that

He had “ a good report of them that are it will be all right;" and, comforting his without ;” and many instances might be weeping wife and children, he said, " The cited of the respect paid to his character Lord will provide. He is too wise to err, by worldly men who were associated with and too good to be unkind. I know him in daily toil. His quiet, decided where I am going.” And then his face answers to their captious questions, and was lit np with a gleam of heavenly not seldom his discreet silence, were pro- light; and with faltering voice he gave ductive of much good.

the loved ones his last blessing. Thus, He lived under the influence of that with his lamp trimmed and burning, be “charity” which “suffereth long and is received the summons of his Lord to that kind," and which "thinketh no evil.” “good home” of which he had often He was never known to speak evil of any spoken; and, with those that have gone one, but always put the best constrnction before, he now casts his crown at Jesu's on any report which he might hear in feet, "lost in wonder, love, and praise." jurious to any person's character, Nor



[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]





BY THE REV. SAMUEL TINDALL. The memoirs of those who "sleep in Jesus” are amongst the most precious treasures of the Church. They exhibit the riches of the grace of God, and thus minister to the comfort and encouragement of His people who are waging war with the adversary, and still struggling on the battle-field of life. The subject of this sketch was worthy of a place amongst the records of the pious dead; and her name and deeds will long be had in remembrance by those who knew her.

The late MARY SHEPHERD was born at Spondon, on April 6th, 1783. Her maiden name was Holbrook. When about nineteen years of age she left her native village, and went to London. Shortly afterwards she entered into the service of Lord Mount Edgcumbe; and, subsequently, into that of Lord Dudley. She had been in the employ of these distinguished families for some years, when the death of her father occurred. He had suffered much for many years; and, at his decease, left a widow with six children, of whom Mary was the eldest. During the time she remained in service, she commanded the respect and esteem of her fellow-servants, and enjoyed the confidence of the families in which she resided; and it was her good fortune to receive many substantial tokens of the approbation of her noble employers.

The year 1812 was an eventful one to Miss Holbrook. In that year she was united in marriage to the late Mr. Shepherd, and came to reside at Derby. This was the turning-point in her course. She entered upon

the duties of married life with carefulness and industry ; and from that time became a regular attendant upon the WesleyanMethodist ministry. Some time, however, appears to have elapsed before she became a member of the Society; and many struggles ensued ere she fully yielded to the power of saving grace. At length, a brighter day dawned upon her, and joys to which she had hitherto been a stranger sprang up in her heart. She found the pearl of great price. VOL. XIV,-FIFTH SERIES.

3 D

Mrs. Shepherd was brought to God under the ministry of the late Rev. Joseph Taylor, and received her first ticket of membership from his hands in June, 1816. She recognised Mr. Taylor as her spiritual father, and solicited something written by himself as a memento of the benefit she had received under his ministry. This wish was readily complied with; and Mr. Taylor gave her a few verses of his own composition, in which he expresses his gratitude to God for making him the instrument of her conversion, offers some pious counsels as to her future conduct, and concludes by breathing a prayer for the final happiness and re-union of herself and family in the world beyond the grave. Since that day the faithful minister of the Cross and his spiritual child, together with some members of her family, have met in that state where there is no more curse," and their voices have swelled the anthems of the redeemed who are“ before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple.”

Some time after her conversion, Mrs. Shepherd commenced a diary of her Christian experience, which she kept with some regularity for nearly forty years, making the final entry only a few months before her decease. A friend who has read the manuscript observes, "it has proved a refreshing occupation to peruse a record so simple, earnest, and devout, relating to the long and active pilgrimage of one who was so greatly respected."

From the diary referred to, it is plain that she was anxious, first of all, to keep her own heart" with all diligence," remembering that “out of it are the issues of life.” Personal piety seems to bave been her first and highest object; and for the cultivation of this she was constant in her attendance to closet-devotions, keeping the sacred flame alive by daily“ watching unto prayer.” She was deeply concerned also for the spiritual welfare of her family. In labouring to bring her children and household to Christ, she was most exemplary; and letters found since her death, addressed to those who should sur. vive her, show her intense anxiety, and evince her maternal yearnings, on this point.

Although Mrs. Shepherd was known to be very benevolent to those who needed temporal aid, her diary seems to have been written on the priuciple enjoined by our Lord: “When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth : that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” There is scarcely an allusion to her acts of charity in her papers, although she was ever ready to listen to the cry of distress, and exemplified "pure religion and undefiled,” by “visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” as well as by " keeping herself unspotted from the world.” She loved the cause of God, and delighted to repair to “ the habitation of His house, and the place where His honour dwelleth.” The ordinary means of grace are often spoken of by her

« PreviousContinue »