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tenderest regard on earth, in the conversion of her soul, and in “keeping her by his power, through faith unto salvation,” I shall at least have attempted to evince the gratitude which I feel for this distinguished mercy and goodness; and secondly, that the exemplification of the power and grace of God towards my dear friend in her last moments, may be blest to the comfort of desponding saints, and operate to the conviction of impenitent sinners. Should these considerations be deemed sufficient to jus. tify the publication, your compliance will confer a favour on,
· ANNA Dow, the subject of this memoir, and late the object of my earthly joys, was born in the town of Newark, New Jersey, Feb. 25, 1766. By a pious widowed mother, she was early instructed in the principles of the Christian religion; and although she was a stranger to inward piety in her youthful days, such was the sweetness of her temper and disposition, and such the correctness of her moral deportment, that she was loved and esteemed by all who knew her, and considered an ornament to the circle in which she moved.
We were united by the sacred ties of wedlock before either of us had attained the age of twenty-one years, and in this union our souls were blended together. Soon after our marriage, God was pleased in his infinite mercy to bring me into the covenant of his favour and love, and I became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. My dear companion bad a great veneration for God and religion, and was frequently under general convictions, as to the importance and necessity of a change of heart. Under these exercises she would be much engaged with God in prayer for an evidence of her acceptance, but for several years she made no public profession of religion. I often thought that she enjoyed a measure of inward peace and comfort, but that her modesty, and the unworthy views which she entertained of herself, kept her from casting in her lot with the people of God. Her respect and regard for the ministers of the gospel of all denominations were great, and as my house was now opened for Methodist preaching, and a home for the itinerant ministers, they experienced her: kindness, in all the little offices of domestic attention which she had it in her power to render; and long before she became a member of the church, she was esteemed by them as a sister in the Lord, and I have no doubt, that in the memory and affection of many of those servants of God who survive her, she still lives.
About sixteen years ago it pleased God, in an unusual manner, to pour out his Holy Spirit on our village, and revive his languishing cause. (Would to heaven it might now be repeated !) On this occasion, several persons were awakened, converted to VOL. VI.
God, and added to the church. Now it was, that my beloved partner obtained so clear an evidence of a work of grace in her soul, that with all her timidity and tenderness of conscience, she ventured to unite with the Methodist society at Belle-Ville, and continued to ornament her Christian profession, until she was called to join the church triumphant in Glory! She loved the means of grace, and ordinances of religion; and while her health admitted, was a constant attendant on the class and prayer meetings, as well as public preaching,—nor did she fail to reap the advantages of those gracious privileges, being often on those occasions melted into tenderness, and overwhelmed with a sense of the love and presence of God.
For the last seven years of her life, she was a subject of much bodily indisposition. An abscess near the joint of her left wrist, occasioned by a trifling injury, proved a source of continued affliction, and excruciating pain. She suffered several severe operations, till at length the joint of the wrist was rendered useless, and the hand withered. This affection, it is believed, communicated with the system, and laid the foundation of a pulmonary disease, which terminated her life ; and during every stage of this protracted, and complicated affliction, her Christian philosophy and lamb-like patience were such, as to attract general notice and admiration.
In the month of October last, I was under the necessity of being absent from home for several weeks on public business. I left her apparently in her usual health, but no doubt she had been imperceptibly declining for some time. On my return in the latter part of November, I discovered she was rapidly sinking under the ravages of her complaint; but to my inexpressible comfort, I found, that her increased affliction had been abundantly sanctified, and that her soul was happy in God. She detailed to me, some peculiar visitations of joy and peace, which she had recently experienced in answer to prayer, and I have no doubt she was then a subject of that “ perfect love which casteth out fear,” as she had for some time been breathing after an entire conformity to the will and image of God. Death to her had now lost its terror, and when Satan assailed her 6 he found nothing in her.” She did not appear at this time to apprehend that the hour of her departure was so near at hand, nor had I an idea that in the short space of two weeks, I should experience the heartrending stroke of separation! She expressed an opinion, however, that there was a probability of her expiring in one of those severe paroxysms by suffocation, which was an appendage of her disease, and manifested a cheerful willingness either to live or die as it might please her heavenly father ; but for the last eight or ten days of her life, she entertained only one sentiment on this sub
ject, which was, that there was no probability of her recovery, · and that the moment of her dissolution was drawing near. On this impression all her subsequent arrangements and conversation were predicated; and she expected every succeeding day would be the last. Unwilling to excite the tender sympathy of her children, she privately informed the servant where she would find the sheets, and other articles which she had laid aside, to be used at the time of her death, and exercised the greatest firmness and presence of mind in every thing she said.
On Wednesday of the week preceding that of her death, she talked but little, but what she said evinced that her mind was much engaged with God. She said to a friend, “I hope it may please the Lord to give me an easy passage out of this world.” Thursday she said to her physician, “Ah doctor! you thought to raise me, but you were mistaken.” In the evening, observing her devout aspirations, I said, my dear, your soul is breathing after God, to which she bowed her head, and appeared much engaged. Friday morning she directed that I should be called up about four o'clock to talk with her. She expressed a concern lest she should become impatient, and added that the adversary would not let her alone: he tells me, said she, that I if I was a child of God, I would not be permitted to suffer so much. I reminded her that Satan dared to assail the innocent Jesus himself, and that he in his last conflict "poured out strong cries and tears to God, and was heard in that he feared,” and that God would unquestionably hear her prayers, and deliver her from this temptation, repeating at the same time,
When Satan appears to stop up our path,
That heart cheering promise, the Lord will provide. She was immediately delivered from the assault, and never complained of temptation afterward. She was very much oppressed all the morning, and laboured hard for breath; but in her greatest extremity, she made the utmost effort to suppress every thing which might have the appearance of complaining, and would frequently say, “I hope I do not murmur.” She suffered much during the following night, and on Saturday morning appeared as if she would not survive the day. About ten o'clock her distress, arising from difficulty of breathing, greatly increased, and she asked with much composure, whether this was not death; appearing anxious, if it should be the will of God, to take her everlasting flight; but God saw fit to spare her a little longer, and for purposes which in part we afterwards realized. During the afternoon she spoke largely of the goodness of God, particularly in the gift of his only begotten Son. This expression, His only Son, she repeated, and appeared to dwell on it with singular pleasure, lamenting that she had made such small returns of gratitude for such great goodness and love, and that she had lived so little to! the glory of God; but she observed, it was not of works, that
's God only required that she should give herself to him. This she
said she had fully done, together with all her children, adding, that she hoped she would have the satisfaction to say in heaven, sé Here Lord I am, and the children whom thou hast given me.” Sunday morning, having slept but little the preceding night, and taking little or no nourishment, she was much exhausted ; but weak as she was, she exerted herself to admonish her children and friends, particularly those who were strangers to religion ; extorting from them promises, that they would seek the Lord, and urging her importunities by observing, that they proceeded from her dying lips. To me she said, observing my grief, “Don't weep over me, our hearts were indeed entwined about each other, but they must be sundered, and it is best for me to go first, because I can best be spared.” Afterwards, placing her hand on my head, she exclaimed, “God bless you, my dear, add seals to your ministry, and give you a crown of Glory !" On Monday she was very ill, and said but little. Tuesday until one o'clock her sufferings were indescribable, but God was with her, and she was perfectly resigned. She had now passed through her last pang of distress, and God was about, in answer to her prayers, to give her an easy passage to her heavenly home. She said to her neice, “ My dear, a great change has taken place;" intimating, that she had done suffering, which was the case, for she became perfectly · easy, and as she had slept but little for near a week, she inclined very much to doze. It was observed, however, that she resisted this inclination, and wanted to keep awake, evidently intending to meet death in the full exercise of her mental powers. She had sat erect in her bed for several days and nights, her complaint not permitting her to lie down, and this position it appears she intended to retain as long as she could, in order it would seem to evidence the firmness and composure of her mind. At thrée o'clock Wednesday morning I was called up. On approaching her bed she said, “I want you to talk to me to rouse me up." I hope my dear, said I, your soul is still happy in God. She attempted to reply, “ I feel nothing---nothing her voice faultering, I added, nothing contrary to love; in which she acquiesced by a nod. I then repeated the hymn,
“There is a heaven of sweet delight,” &c. She seemed to participate in every word, and was quite cheerful. I observed to her, when Mr. Wesley died, he said, “The best of all is, God is with us;" she replied in broken accents, “ that is .. best of all.” She was now within less than two hours of her dissolution, and yet such was her strength and firmness, that she sat erect without any support, and refused to have any, nor would she suffer any one to convey to her lips, the little liquid moisture which she required, but did it with her own hand to the very last drop she took, which was but a few minutes before she ex
pired. Observing her breath to shorten very fast, and that she still retained her perfect understanding, and being convinced that she knew her soul was in the act of leaving its clay tenement, I repeated the following lines of one of her favourite hymns, which she used to sing with peculiar interest.
The world recedes, it disappears,
O grave, where is thy victory?
O death where is thy sting! She appeared to make every sentiment her own, and bowed her head to let us know, that she realized what was there expressed. Soon after she lost the power of retaining her position, and was gently eased down by her friends, and at a quarter after five o'clock on Wednesday morning, the 11th of December, 1822, without a spasm, a struggle or a groan, she left the shores of time, and “an abundant entrance was ministered to her, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Thus lived, and thus died, one of the most excellent of women. May I be favoured with a double portion of her evangelical spirit, and may my last end be like hers.
Her worth and graces best were known,
'Twas her's to soothe a husband's grief,
For worth like this, departed now!
But why distress'd? or why complain ?
From pain and sorrow, tears and care,
Seek God, for He's a sun and shield,