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with gratitude. They were refreshing to ber soul, conveying to her that "water" which the Saviour gives, and which “springs up" within us unto " everlasting life:" and the services which are almost peculiar to Methodism were highly valued. The annual watch-night, the covenant-service on the first Sabbath of the year, class-meetings, and love-feasts, were to her always " seasons of grace and great delight.” But these precious institutions of our Church were not substituted by ber for a close and constant walk with God. Her diary affords ample proof of this; and although very numerous extracts from it would extend this Memoir to too great a length, yet a few quotations may be advantageously given.
January 1st, 1823, she writes, “Another year of my short life is gone. How little have I done for my adorable Redeemer. O my God! stir me up to serve Thee better. May this be the year when the very roots of sin shall be destroyed in my heart!”
On April 7th of the same year she observes: “Yesterday I completed my fortieth year, and a precious Sabbath it was to my soul. O that from this day I may never commit sin!”
These records were made seven years after her conversion to God, and they breathe the same love to the Saviour, and the same earnest longings after entire holiness of heart, that were called into existence
ale to Christ' on June 11th in the same on the day of ber espousals to Christ. On June 11th, in the same year, she gratefully records the fact that one of her children had received her first ticket as a member of the Methodist Society, and prays that “the Lord may preserve and keep her for Himself.” And what can be more gratifying to pious parents than to see their children cordially and intelligently unite themselves to the Church of their fathers, and "subscribe with their hands unto the Lord, and surname themselves by the name of Israel.” These are the hope of our churches; and when God's standard-bearers are successively removed by death, how inspiring is it to know that their descendants will grasp the fallen banner, and carry on the conquests of the Cross! This smooths the pillows of departing saints, and makes their slumber3 gweet.
In the year 1830 Mrs. Shepherd obtained the blessing of entire sanctification, and was subsequently appointed the leader of a class by the late Rev. William Toase. January 15th she writes : "Great peace have they that love Thy law. I feel it so. I have long been desiring and praying for the sanctifying grace of God; and last night I believe I obtained the blessing under the discourse of Mr. Roper, while he was explaining the blessedness of the pure in heart.'” She was thus Divinely prepared, by the richer baptism of the Spirit, for the duties of her office: and her fervent prayers were offered that her new class might be "holy; entirely devoted to God.” The year 1832 was one of severe trial to the Methodist Societies in Derby. “The Derby faith,” at that time, obtained great notoriety; and although it is not now intended to revive the discussion concerning that exploded theory, it is instructive to see how this pious woman endured the test to which she was subjected. “My heart,” she says, “has ached with the unpleasant things amongst those who belonged to the Church, and were making such high professions. It has ended in a desertion. When I examine myself, I feel more than ever determined to inquire for the old paths, and to walk therein, as far as God gives me grace and strength.” This was the wiser and safer course. Mrs. Shepherd was not "a reed shaken with the wind.” Hers was a religion of conviction and principle, and she “meddled not with them that are given to change."
Years rolled on, and brought with them many vicissitudes, both in the Church and in the world; but in the midst of all earthly scenes, Mrs. Shepherd was learning the lessons of grace, and “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” In 1838 she says, “ The Lord has been showing me the happy art of losing sight of self, and looking to Jesus alone. I trust I shall be kept humble; then I shall be happy. O when shall I learn that wisdom that shall enable me to live a moment at a time!” Not long before this entry was made she had had some severe worldly trials, but she bore them with Christian meekness. They only left on her a deeper impress of her Saviour's image.
The Centenary year, 1839, was one which will ever be memorable in the annals of our Church. Meetings were held throughout the land, to acknowledge the goodness of God, and the whole of our Israel was “jubilant with song.” Like a true veteran in her Master's work, Mrs. Shepherd participated in the celebration of those services, and rejoiced with exceeding joy. “Last night," she observes, “we had our Centenary meeting, a time I shall never forget. It may be well said, 'What hath God wrought!' O that the Lord would make us 'a thousand times so many more as we are, and bless us, as He has promised!"" And many such prayers are registered in heaven, which will yet be answered, if the people who bear the name of Wesley are only faithfal to the trust they have received.
In 1853, Mrs. Shepherd was called to sustain a severe bereavement. Her husband was suddenly removed from earth to heaven. To her it was a painful and sorrowful event, but Divine grace sustained her. She mourned her loss ; but “not as one without hope," assured that her husband “slept in Jesus ;” and amidst the sorrows of widowhood, her soul prospered. “When I think,” she writes, “ that I am now what I have often looked upon in others, a widow, I am surprised how calm the Lord keeps my spirit under my great loss. Earth is getting strange. The company I most desire to join is in heaven, Lord, stand by, and support me a little longer.” A few years later she writes: "I deeply feel the feebleness of old age. Thank God! I do not regret it. I desire still to bring forth fruit.' I often look around, but can find none so highly favoured. I can truly say my last are my best days."
The following sentences are selected from entries made between 1859 and 1863 :—“I think of all whom the Lord has redeemed and loved, none have so much cause to be thankful as I have. When I look back, and think of the way in which the Lord has led me, I am dumb with shame that I have not brought more glory to Him.” “The love of God that I have enjoyed more than forty-five years seems sweeter than ever. I thank my Heavenly Father that I have not now, in age and feebleness, to seek true religion ; but that it has long been my support and comfort. I have no doubt all will be well. My blessed Saviour will be with me to the end. I feel Him more and more precious.” “What a mercy the Lord has spared me to enter the eightieth year of my life! A long life ;--and I can truly say that I have enjoyed more happiness than many that have lived so long. The Lord has been my portion. He has been my reconciled Father for more than forty-six years.” “I feel the weakness of old age; but my prospects as to the future are brighter than ever before.”
On her last birthday, April 6th, 1864, Mrs. Shepherd made this brief entry in her diary : “I want to get ready for the change which must soon come." In May: “I never felt so happy in God as at present.” And on October 2d, the month in which her last illness commenced, she writes : “Satan tries hard to shake my faith; but I go to my stronghold. I had a blessed season at my bedside this morning: I could say with Peter,' Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.' I shall soon see Him as He is. I love to think of the many dear friends who are looking out to welcome me. I have no fear but that all will be well.” This was the last entry, and it forms a worthy close of so cheering a record. A few weeks after this was written, her happy spirit had winged its flight, and her right hand had forgotten its cunning.
Mrs. Shepherd's illness continued about three months. She met her class for the last time on October 5th. On that occasion she Was so enfeebled, and oppressed with shortness of breath, that she had to rest three times between her home and the vestry. Her sinking into the arms of death was gradual and easy. She was not called to suffer much pain; and the spiritual consolations which she had enjoyed through a long and useful life, were abundantly vouchsafed to her in the last days of her earthly career. She frequently expressed herself as being “upon the Rock," and repeated the hymn,
“Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
At other times she gave expression to her feelings by repeating those well-known lines of the Rev. Charles Wesley :
"Jesn, Lover of iny soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the tempest still is high :
Till the storm of life be past ;
O receive my soul at last!".
On Christmas Day, at her express desire, all her children being gathered around her, she and they partook of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. It was a memorable and solemn occasion; and her own ejaculations were fervent and touching. She looked with inespressible emotion upon the little assembly in her chamber, and her responses to the prayers offered in their behalf were audible and earnest.
During one of the visits paid to her by one of her pastors, she said, “I am here yet. O what a blessed season I had last night! I seemed to be in heaven, and thought all was over. When I awoke this morning, I was surprised to find myself still on earth.” She lingered a few days longer, and then " the mortal affliction was past." She died without a struggle, and gently entered into rest, on the morning of Thursday, January 12th, 1865, aged eighty-one years ; and her remains were interred in the new cemetery on the following Monday.
We have now traced the Christian experience of Mrs. Shepherd through a life protracted much beyond the ordinary term of human existence. We have seen her in affliction and in health, in solitude and in society; when blessed with all the comforts of married life, and when passing through the sorrows of widowhood. We have seen her in her prime ; have observed her in the maturity of her strength; and have marked her as she finally sank beneath the weight of fourscore years; and when, ripe as a shock of corn for the garner, she was gathered to the mansions above. And through this long series of years we have seen the same steadfastness of purpose and the same steadiness of pursuit. Her whole life, from the time of her conver. sion to the day she passed to heaven, seemed to say, “ This one thing I do." And the great effect of the whole is to show the value and preciousness of true religion : not a mere profession, but a power which renews the heart and rules the life; a religion which ever guides the perplexed spirit in "the dark and cloudy day," and
as she final shock And ta of purime
supports the fainting soul when all human helps fail. A few words more, however, may be necessary to complete this sketch.
The selections we have made from her diary unsold the source and progress of her hidden life; her conscious interest in the blood of the Atonement; her high and holy enjoyments ; her daily walk with God. Her attention to the practical duties of godliness also requires a brief notice. On this subject much might be said ; for she was a woman "well reported of for good works,” who had “ brought up children," who had “ lodged strangers," who had “washed the saints' feet," who had “ diligently followed every good work.” For many years she was a Missionary collector, and gathered considerable sums for the evan. gelization of heathen lands. She rendered effectual service to the Dorcas Society, in providing clothing for the poor ; and she had the pleasure of receiving a testimonial from the ladies of that Society for the aid she had afforded to it. She also assisted the efforts made to reform the drunkard and to reclaim the most depraved, When misfortune overtook any whom she knew, as it sometimes does Even the most provident and careful, Mrs. Shepherd was always ready to lend a helping hand; and what she could not supply from her own resources, she solicited from others. In this way she has often soothed the sorrows of the aching heart, and furnished food to the hungry, and a home to the destitute. The extent of her labours of love is not known here; but her record is on bigh, and “ the day will declare it.” She was a Methodist from conviction and choice. The class-meeting was highly valued by her, and she treasured up her Society-tickets with scrupulous care. As tokens of her long and unbroken connexion with the Church of God, they had, to her, a peculiar charm and value. They brought vividly to her remembrance the privileges of other days, and were a cherished proof of her union with those who loved the Saviour, a union wbich she wished to be perpetuated for ever. The name of “ Mary Shepherd” inscribed upon each of them brought to her mind the eminent men who had had the rule over the Church," who had spoken unto her the Word of God, and whose faith " she was anxious to “ follow, considering the end of their conversation : Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” Thus loving the ministers of the Lord Jesus, she was ever ready to attend them in affliction; and had the happiness to cheer the last hours of some whose names and memories are still gratefully preserved. For many years she made it a matter of duty to meet the new preachers on their arrival in Derby; and, when required, her house always afforded them a hospitable home.
Now that her day of labour is ended, and she has entered into rest, her memory will not soon perish. Her pious deeds will live, and the effects of them will be long felt. “The memory of the just is