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in Worcester was at this time superintended by the Rev. Joseph Taylor, whose faith and sanctity supplied his flock with overflowing heartfuls of 'living water.'
The following extracts from letters to her youngest sister, Mrs. Richard Smith, of Stoke-Newington, disclose something of her spiritual life at this period :
'MY VERY DEAR MARY,
'Rose Hill, December 19th, 1837.
'You will receive this letter on the first anniversary of our sainted mother's entrance upon her eternal inheritance, and I earnestly wish, my beloved Mary, that we may both get from the ever-accessible Throne a blessing which shall tell upon our experience to the latest period of our own mortal sojourn. This, I think, will be most effectually obtained by a hearty, solemn, unreserved surrender of ourselves, with all the ardour of our affections, and in all our bodily energy, to the working, the will, and the service of God. He has lately been giving me to see, by a light which leads up to the Throne, the possibility of having the Apostle's prayer for the Ephesian Christians answered in my own heart; and I have been enabled to yield myself up unreservedly to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.......'
'Rose Hill Terrace, December 24th, 1839.
'DEAREST MARY, 'Your letter afforded me boundless pleasure; yet while I magnify the grace of our Lord Jesus on behalf of yourself and your servants,* I must press upon you the attainment of a more simple childlike faith in your redeeming Lord.......
'I told you I wanted a blessing on the first anniversary of the day upon which our sainted mother was admitted to "the palace of angels and God." On that day I first felt a trembling confidence in the text: "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,...by the Spirit of our God." I am at this moment unutterably happy in His love; my soul converses with Him continually; I feel that my spirit, soul, and flesh are solemnly, sweetly, and everlastingly devoted to my Father, my Redeemer, my Sanctifier. I feel Him all-pervading, all-consecrating.......
'Tell the servants to continue in the grace of God, and they shall be happier and happier: their knowledge also shall increase. Tell them simply to ask for, and to follow, the guidance of the Spirit. Tell nurse to believe that God can sanctify wholly. Give my kindest regards to Mr. Aitken; beg him to pray earnestly for me. Give my love to Mr. Moore; beg him to pray that I may stand fast in the Lord.
'I cannot help being struck with that paragraph in Mrs. Cohen's letter.'
Mrs. Cohen, of whom mention is here made, was a lovely young Jewess, the mother, at seventeen summers, of the little girl who afterwards became the Baroness Meyer de Rothschild, and grandmother of the Countess of Rosebery. She was a tenderly attached friend of Mrs. Rowley and Mrs. Smith-a love of nearly half a century's duration, increasing in intensity as the final severance between herself and her latest surviving friend drew near. Mrs. Cohen only outlived her friend six months. To return to the life of forty years ago :
'MY VERY DEAR MARY,
'Rose Hill, April 17th, 1838.
I hope, dearest Mary, that you are going onward. I want you to have
* Mrs. Smith, her elder children, and three or four servants had all been recently converted through the ministry of the Rev. Robert Aitken, father of the Rev. W. H. Hay Aitken.
more simplicity: this after all is the grand secret of vital religion. I have tried many ways; been beset on numerous points; passed through dreadful spiritual conflicts: the result of all is-"Simply to Thy cross I cling." ... This morning, while at prayer, my soul was blessed by the sweetest and most affecting assurance of God being my Father that I have ever experienced. I felt almost as if there were no veil of earth or flesh between me and that great Being, Whom indeed my soul does ardently love, and Whose love to me, inspoken and felt, makes me at times long to depart.
'Good Friday was indeed a holy day to my soul. At the Prayer-meetings I felt the shed Blood, and in the evening sermon, preached by my dear father in Christ, from "God forbid that I should glory, etc.," I felt that the world was crucified to me, and I unto the world....
'When I look back upon the last four months, I stand astonished at what my Lord hath wrought in me, and deeply humbled under a sense of the wretched, half-hearted state of spiritual existence in which I had for several years been pretending to serve Him. Mary dear, do not live as I have done, even after I felt freed from the condemnation of the law. I kept to that, but that was all. My energies of affection were not His. My talent, my time, my thinkings were not His! All this, through the infinite grace which is come unto me, in virtue of His blood-shedding, is forgiven; but it comes to my mind in such a way sometimes as to abase me in the dust before Him. I want you to be saved all this, by an earnest, faithful, unreserved dedication of every power, faculty, and affection constantly to Him. It is blessedly possible to belong only and wholly to God!
'God is my record how I long after you all! I wrote to E-- what I thought right. How she will take it I know not, but I will speak while this tongue and this hand shall be above the sod.'
'MY VERY DEAR MARY,
'Rose Hill, May 21st, 1838.
'I do not say I stand in doubt when you do not write, and yet I entertain an uncertainty which is annoying. Nor do I presume to think that you cannot do as well without my poor encouragements and advice as with them; but these intercommunica tions do mutually strengthen and comfort, and then the assurance that all is well is better than the hope of it....
'I am peacefully and determinately following on to know Christ. Variable in modes of manifestation, the same Spirit still works essentially the same things, and leads me on in simple trust in the Saviour of sinners. Buffeted sometimes by the enemy of all good, but enabled in the end to triumph in Christ, thus much have I learned to my comfort: when these assaults begin, to keep to steady resistance; and the general result of these battles is a firmer hold upon the fidelity of my Master.
'Our female Prayer-meeting is doing good. It has been blessed hitherto, and if we are faithful who have the conducting of it, God will do the rest. It has hitherto fallen to my lot to lead it, but I shall have help for the future, as four or five more have undertaken to assist me, and we shall act in turn. I have kept it generally fifty minutes, and this tires nobody, and we manage in this time to get seven to pray; so that this variety and the shortness of the prayers keep up the interest of the meeting. There is nothing so chilling as long, dry prayers.
Farewell; be simple and fervent of heart, and God will help you on wonderfully.
'Yours for ever,
'A. M. E. ROWLEY.'
After the gift of more abundant life came, of course, the trial of its strength. It came in one of the most painful ways her deep mother-love could know. The following fragments of letters will sufficiently explain this:
'MY BELOVED MARY,
'Rose Hill Terrace, June 6th, 1838.
'A few lines from a sick-room are all I can manage. E--is lying ill of a fever, no one being able to say how it will terminate. My tears are too much my meat, yet am I trying to cast my care where alone my help is.......Pray for us and the dear child. O, Mary, it is my only girl!'
'MY BELOVED MARY,
favourable turn of the fever, but she is Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for O God! teach me to feel " Thy will Still, still, she is my only daughter. Tell dear Mr. Aitken
'This is the day we looked to for a worse. The doctors say they fear she will sink. me!...I do not murmur; but, O! I deeply mourn. be done"; for I do say it. to pray for me.'
'The last month has been to me a season of great mental exercise and much, too much, depression of spirits. Yet I thank God that, in looking back upon it, I can say I did not, even in my most agonized moments, charge Him foolishly. I might, perhaps I ought to, have rejoiced in this tribulation, but I have not yet attained to that.......I committed the child to Him Who has a better and a dearer right in her than I, to restore er to take. Which it will be, God alone knows! It shall be which He pleases, and I will be satisfied.'
The messenger of death passed by her home, to enter six months later and take her youngest boy. What her feelings may have been in this sorest sorrow of her life there is no record left to show. Mr. Taylor, her former Pastor and Class Leader, with whom, since his removal from Worcester, she had sought in correspondence a continuance of the counsel and sympathy which had so largely ministered to her soul's health, writes as follows: '2, Grosvenor Street, Manchester, 'January 5th, 1839.
'MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
'Your afflicting letter of last night has given me great concern, and most truly do I sympathize with you and Mr. Rowley under this bereavement. I had apprehensions as to the result, because when there is one flower fairer than the rest, experience and observation tell us that the blast will soonest wither that one. To this day, when I look back on certain events, I am obliged to look up for the grace of resignation. The Divine sovereignty affords consolation. His is a wise and merciful government. He foresees the evil to come, and takes away from, and saves our children to heaven. True, they are partakers of depravity through the Fall, but it is equally true that the Free Gift has come upon them through Him Who tells us that they are subjects of His kingdom.
'Express to Mr. R. and all the family my affectionate condolence. I shall not cease to pray for you.'
Mr. Taylor's first letter to Mrs. Rowley, after leaving Worcester, dated Manchester, September 7th, 1838, contains the following suggestive obser
'You are bound in duty to point out to Mr. these defects, and as you can and would do so better than any others who were present, this capacity increases your obligation. I write this, accompanied by prayer, that you may do it soon, and successfully. Kind observations of this sort would do many of us Preachers good, and if the more kind and observant of our people will not point out to us our defects, how can they expect of us similar fidelity?
'I feel personally obliged by the part you took in the Leaders' Meeting case, and am truly glad of the success. I believe, from all I have heard of Mr. - —, that were you to point out things to him, and when he appears to need advice or caution, give it, he would profit by your doing so, and so would others.'
The establishment of Methodism in Kempsey, about this time, happened on this wise Mr. and Mrs. Rowley had taken a small house in the village, the kitchen of which was thrown open for a Sunday-evening service. The congregation soon overflowed into a sitting-room. a sitting-room. Outgrowing that, an adjoining cottage was taken, its inner walls removed, and the whole modelled into a pretty little chapel. Two bedrooms from the dwelling-house were finally pressed into its service as unique but highly commodious galleries.
This was not the only centre of village Methodism largely indebted to the same generous hearts and hands; while in Worcester they were in the van of every movement for its spiritual and material prosperity. The chapel debt was, principally by Mrs. Rowley's exertions, reduced by nearly three thousand pounds. Bishops and other Church dignitaries, with various county magnates, were astonished by a letter or a call asking a donation for the Methodist chapel at Worcester; and such was the force of her spiritual enthusiasm, or the magic of her personal influence, that in no case was her appeal in vain.
(To be concluded.)
SERMON PREACHED ON BEHALF OF THE THANKSGIVING FUND, IN CITY-ROAD CHAPEL,
ON SUNDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 1ST, 1878:
BY THE REV. J. H. RIGG, D.D., PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE.
THE present movement is, indeed, one which will not be dependent for its success on any one class of our people, or on any one province of Methodism. Our Appeal is made to the whole of our Connexion, including all classes of our people. Our wealthy men will not be wanting; they never have been in any of our great movements. Already, indeed, some notes have been sounded among our wealthier brethren in London surpassing in generous elevation anything previously known among the same class in the metropolis, if not in the Connexion. For this we 'thank God, and take courage.' But our middle classes, so far as respects pecuniary ability, will also do their part. Our Ministers, never behind on such occasions, although it be one of themselves who says so, will not do less generously than in former times. And our poor people contributing their 'mites' will, as heretofore, do, at least in some instances, 'more than all' the rest. In this sense, as well as in the more specifically spiritual sense-and this sense is certainly included within the scope and meaning of the passage,-the Body will make increase of itself
in love," according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,' 'by that which every joint supplieth. And as the means and ability of the Methodist people, on the whole, were never, on any similar occasion of appeal, so great as they are to-day; as our Body was never so large, our adherents were never so numerous, and assuredly we had never, as a Connexion, greater reason than at the present time for gratitude and hope and noble enterprise-so, I feel persuaded, the response to our appeal will be generous to-day as it was forty years ago, in the Centenary year; as it was fifteen years ago, in the Missionary Jubilee year. Freely we have received, we shall freely give. We shall do not unworthily of our position and duty as the second great Church of this Empire, of which the influence has recently grown and extended beyond all former precedent, and before which, in every part of this country, is now, as never heretofore, placed by the hand of God open doors which no man can shut, if we do but advance in time-doors leading to the occupation of spheres where our agency is sorely needed, and where a large and precious harvest will surely follow our labours.
The movement of which I have been speaking, my brethren, is commended to you by the Conference as a commemorative movement—a movement commemorative of the condition of peaceful consolidation and of harmonious and powerful organization into which, 'by the good hand of our God upon us for good,' our Connexion has been led: a condition which was typified, which was symbolized, by the united Conference, both pastoral and representative, that held last August so memorable a Session-fruit of a century of spiritual advance and organic development, and presage of peaceful and harmonious progress, as we cannot doubt, for untold years to come.
This congregation knows full well that a century has just passed away since the erection of this holy house in which we are worshipping. This sanctuary marked an epoch in the development of early Methodism. Up to that time, the meeting-rooms of our fathers had been small, incommodious, obscure. But this was a noble house, was a large and beautiful temple. It seems to us a noble fabric to-day. How grand, then, and how impressive must it have seemed in the eyes of our fathers! It was an outward and visible sign that Methodism had already gained, and was prepared to hold fast, a position of distinct and permanent organization-a denominational individuality in the land. On the margin of London's great population, for London was a vast city even a century ago; on the edge of that immense network of ancient and venerable parish churches and famous meetinghouses-meeting-houses often more famous than the parish churches, and themselves already beginning, a hundred years ago, to be venerable with ageWesley planted a chapel larger and more elegant than almost any of the meeting-houses, and not less commodious than many of the best parishchurches. This was a great and significant fact—a fact greater, perhaps, and more pregnant with consequences than Wesley himself knew. In connection with this temple provision was made for all the spiritual functions of a fully