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of her friend; at the same time thinking that her union with the society could not be of any long continuance; for when she had told them, which she intended to do, how she had quenched the Spirit, and how she had backslidden from God, both in heart and life, she believed that they would very soon exclude her from among them.
She found class-meetings to be particularly useful. Her convictions were deepened, and her desire for a present salvation became more ardent. The ministry of the word also came with greater power; as the day of her deliverance drew nigh, her distress increased. She earnestly longed for salvation, but sometimes seriously doubted whether she should ever obtain it. In this state, on one occasion, she opened her mind to her brother, who kindly sympathized with her, and said, “There must be Something in you, which perhaps you do not know, that keeps you from obtaining that peace you so much desire.” “He asked me," she says,
if I could believe that Christ died for me ; and how I expected his love to be revealed. I said, “By some passage of Scripture being powerfully applied to my mind.' Then,' said he, you are determined to be blessed in your own way, or not at all.' Very many arguments he used to show me that I must leave the manner in which the blessing should be communicated to the Lord; and his arguments were instrumental, in the hands of God, after we parted, of bringiug me to the foot of the cross, crying, 'Thy will, O Lord, be done ! save me, for the sake of Christ, in thine own way. It was then, when I was entirely stripped of self, that the blood of Christ was efficaciously applied to my sin-sick soul; and then I felt there was no other name given under heaven by which a sinner can be saved.
Our guilty souls are drown'd in tears,
With eyes and heart overflowing with inexpressible gratitude, I retired to rest about eleven or twelve o'clock, and in the morning rose rejoicing in his love."
November 23d, 1800, was the happy day of her espousal to Christ ; the day when she found the pearl of great price; a pearl which she never lost, and which constantly enriched her in the house of her pilgrimage, and which she carried with her into the paradise of her Lord.
The enemies of spiritual religion dread its introduction into any of their families, as much as they would that of some infectious disease. Indeed it must be admitted that it is extremely contagious; and that when it once gains admittance into any town or village, or family, it is very difficult to turn it out. In spite of every effort, it spreads. So it was in Mrs. Gordon's family: her brother Samuel was first brought under its influence; then herself, and her mother, and every other member of the family, one alone excepted. And it will continue to spread; for it is that leaven which shall leaven the whole lump.
In the year 1802 she became the wife of Mr. Alexander Gordon, who has been for more than thirty years a Class-Leader and Local Preacher, and an influential member in the Dudley society, whose house has always been open to receive the Wesleyan Ministers, and who, in reference to the enlargement of the work of God in Dudley and its vicinity, has often both devised and executed liberal things. She did not bastily enter into this union. It was previously a subject of much thought and prayer ; and few have ever approached the altar more deeply impressed with the importance of the solemn compact, and whose hearts were more directly under the influence of the most gracious feelings. He who sanctioned the marriage union with his presence at Cana, was. eminently present with her on the day of her marriage. "I found his lose," she says in her diary, "on that day to be sweeter than life, and more to be desired than any thing which life can afford.” A union thus preceded by much prayer and meditation, and solemnised under a deep sense of the divine presence, could not fail to obtain the benediction of the Most High,
From the papers she has left, it is evident that she faithfully cate chised herself in secret, and “ kept her heart with all diligence." If at any time she thought she had been impatient, or peevish, or in any other thing had departed from the example of her Lord, which she wished at all times to copy, she deeply humbled herself before God. Entire deFotedness to him she above all things desired. She saw a beauty in boliness, which charmed her, and which led her earnestly to pray that she might be sanctified throughout body, soul, and spirit, and be filled with the fulness of God.
In May, 1811, she was appointed to the office of a Class-Leader, as the successor of the excellent Mrs. Badley, who removed from Dudley. She entered upon this office with much fear and trembling. She knew it to be one of solemn importance, and which required an intimate knowledge of the human heart, an acquaintance with the devices of Satan, and clear and distinct views of God's salvation, both in regard to its plan and its fulness. She knew also, that in order to the successful performance of the duties of this office, it was necessary that she should unite Christian zeal and Christian patience; great firmness and decision, with the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Indeed so important and responsible are the duties of this office, that no one ever entered it aright who did not enter it under the influence of feelings similar to those of which she was the subject. From the time she took the charge of a class, their spiritual interests lay near her heart. She studied their several cases, and administered such counsel, admonition, reproof, or encouragement, as to her appeared best calculated to promote their salvation. Under her care the class prospered ; and she had the happiness of seeing an increase both in the number and piety of its members.
At this time, and for some time after, the work of God greatly prospered in the Dudley Circuit. The revival was like the gentle dew, and not like the mountain torrent. It was gradual, and in general unattended with that noise which is frequently the accompaniment of revivals of religion; but it was genuine, and its effects were generally permanent. Many who, during that period, entered into the Methodist society have already finished their course with joy; and some yet remain who are looking for the mercy of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Two things greatly contributed to this prosperity. First, the inconvenience we were put to, through the enlargement of our chapel. On the Sabbath morning we had no place in which we could preach, except the club-room of a public house. This led us, when the weather was favourable, to preach in the market-place. Every Sabbath evening we were accommodated with the use of the Presbyterian meeting-house; and one evening in the week with the use of the Baptist chapel. This gave a more general diffusion to Methodist doctrine than it ever had before. Many who had been accustomed to hold Methodism and Methodist Preachers in contempt, had their prejudices removed, and they both heard and received the truth. The second thing which greatly aided in the good work, was the unity which prevailed throughout the whole Circuit. The people seemed to be of one heart and one mind, and especially the leading and most influential members of the societies, one of whom was the late Mr. Webster, of the Brades, a Local Preacher of deep and ardent piety. He was a man of popular and useful talents, of a most amiable spirit and temper, and of a steady burning zeal, which led him punctually and faithfully to fulfil his duties both as a Local Preacher and Leader ; and his labours were much owned of God.
No one ever delighted more in the unity and prosperity of the church than Mrs. Gordon. Disunion among Christians her soul abhorred; and when at any time discord found its way into that lovely society, she deeply deplored it, and did wbat she could to expel it. So very remarkable was she for this, that an intelligent lady, who had many opportunities of observing her spirit and temper, gave her the name of “ the woman of Tekoa ;" for never did this woman desire more the reconciliation of David and Absalom, than Mrs. Gordon desired the Christian union, and peaceful co-operation, of the people with whom she was united.
During this period of prosperity there were two things which created some painful apprehensions in the mind of Mrs. Gordon, as they did in many others. The first of these was, Lord Sidmouth's Bill; a Bill which, had it passed, would have annihilated Methodism; but which ultimately led to a considerable enlargement of religious liberty. The excitement, when petitions were preparing against it in Dudley, exceeded every thing I ever witnessed, except at a contested election. In little more than nine hours one thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine
persons signed our petitions in the Dudley Circuit. Such was the zeal of some poor but pious women, that they went to the coal-pits, and brought their husbands to the chapel to sign. “Yo mun sign,” said one of these good women to her husband. “But I conno write,” he replied. * Nerer mind that,” she rejoined ; “yo con write it in figures.” She knew that John could reckon up his week's wages, and she therefore could not understand why he could not sign the petition. Queen Esther scarcely rejoiced more in counteracting the murderous designs of Haman, than Mrs. Gordon did in the defeat of that mischievous Bill.
The second thing alluded to, which excited painful apprehension, and which threatened not only to injure but utterly to destroy some of our societies, was the establishment of various Lodges, under the names of Druids, Loyal Britons, Koights of the Wood, Odd Fellows, and Friendly Odds, &c. Into each of these the members were initiated by an oath of secrecy, accompanied by various rites which were at once ludicrous and contemptible. Many members of the Methodist society, and some Class-Leaders and Local Preachers, had entered one or other of these Lodges, whose meetings were held in public houses, sometimes till one or two o'clock in the morning, and were mere meetings for ale-house conviviality. To permit the existence of this evil in our societies, was tacitly to consent to the extinction of the spirit of piety: so it was considered by the Preachers then stationed in the Dudley, Birmingham, and Wednesbury Circuits. In the Dudley Circuit separation from all those Lodges was made an absolute condition of membership with us. Thus this plague was at that time stayed; in which few, if any, rejoiced more than the subject of this memoir. From the time this evil was put away, the societies prospered more abundantly.
In the record of her experience, written at different periods, we have an instructive and encouraging developement of the Christian character in the closet, in the family, in the church, and in the world. We witDess her spiritual conflicts, and her victories; her deep humiliation because of her unworthiness, and her holy exultation because of the abundant mercy of God in Christ Jesus; her earnest desire for an entire conformity to her Lord ; her pity for the ungodly; her tender and ardent solicitude for the salvation of all her children ; and her zeal for the enlargement of the kingdom of the Redeemer.
In the year 1822 it pleased God to remove from her a beloved mother, and in 1823 a beloved daughter. She deeply felt these bereavements, especially the latter. In reference to them, she says, " The last year I was called to witness the death of my mother, who died in faith. She left this world of woe calm and serene as the setting sun in autumn. But since then death bas removed my much-loved child, Sarah Sidney." The sufferings of Sarah were long and severe ; but, in the midst of all, though not quite thirteen years of age, she could rejoice in God her Saviour. “When death was making inroads on her frame, her mind was happy in the God of her salvation. W.th humble, cheerful, gratįtude may I ever remember thy fatherly chastisement in this affliction and death. Thou hast done all things well.”
Though most graciously supported under this dispensation, and humbly resigned to it, yet as a sword it went through her heart; and it is believed by those who knew her best, that its effects were coeval with her life. It gave a more pensive tone to her spirit and feelings, and seemed to connect her more intimately with the spiritual world, of which her beloved child was a happy inhabitant, and to which she felt herself approaching. She indeed sorrowed, but she also rejoiced. Her child was taken from her, and she mourned; but the Lord had taken her to himself, to be a partaker in his joy, and her heart was glad. Besides, she knew that the time was not very remote when she should again embrace her Sarah, in the presence of her Lord, and with her fall prostrate before him in adoring love.
From this time she appears to have been increasingly spiritual. She, like many others, through death received an additional degree of spiritual life. So true is the language of the poet,
“For us they sicken, and for us they die.” She repined not, nor charged God foolishly. Perhaps she loved the child too much. Who can tell but it had already begun to draw her supreme love from her God; and that the lines of Parnell were not appropriate?
« Long had our pious friend in virtue trod,
But now the child half-wean'd his heart from God;
But God, to save the father, took the son !" " As a father pitieth his children, even so the Lord pitieth them that fear him ; " and therefore either withholds or removes that which would injure them.
Her class, the poor, the afflicted, and the members of her own family, enjoyed her principal attention. To the poor she administered relief, and with them and the afflicted she deeply sympathized and fervently prayed; whilst over the members of her class she watched as one who must give account. The spiritual interests of her own family lay near her heart, and she had “no greater joy than to see her children walk in the truth.” This joy was especially great when her son, her only son, gave decided proof of his conversion to God, which was soon followed by his devotion to the Christian ministry. The writer of this memoir well remembers with what sacred delight she related to him her feelings in reference to both these most important and interesting events. The last entry in her diary refers to the last of these, when her son entered. upon the itinerancy. “ August 30th, 1827. This is an eventful day in our family. Our dear and only son John set out from his comfortable