In The Life of Florence L. Barclay by one of her daughters, there is an account of Florence helping her mother, Maria Charlesworth, with her parish work.
Florrie was ten years old by this time and her beautiful voice and wonderful ear were becoming of real service to her mother, who took her about to her numerous meetings either as accompanist on the piano, or to lead the singing if no instrument were provided. Few women did public speaking in those days, and Mrs. Charlesworth was very much in demand for evangelical meetings of various sorts. It was the day, too, of "revivals", where hymn-singing was made a prominent feature. The "revivalists" would bring with them striking new hymns to tunes that were not to be found in the old hymn-books. Florrie would be taken to these great meetings that she might hear the new tunes; for once heard she could play them perfectly by ear, with correct harmonies, and they could then be taught to Mrs. Charlesworth's audiences.
Florrie also went with her mother to visit the poor, and would climb long flights of stairs to miserable garrets (when the squalor and filth filled her with pity and not a little with dismay) that she might sing to the sick and bring some brightness into their unhappy lives. A loving generosity had been a marked feature of her character from earliest days, and so this service of love pleased her no less than it pleased the poor.
As she grew up her mother would take her about more and more. She would even take her into the factories, where it was very difficult for a Church worker to get a hearing. The factory girls would shout down any visitor who tried to speak to them, and even throw rubbish at them till they were forced to retire. But when Florrie accompanied her mother, carrying her violin, and smiling at the girls in her quite irresistible way, they would keep quiet to give "the little 'un" a chance. Then she would play her violin and sing them hymns, or sometimes songs like " Annie Laurie," and after that they would keep quiet and even gather round to hear an address from Mrs. Charlesworth.
This factory work appealed to Florrie, and at the age of sixteen she visited them, simply accompanied by the parish Bible-woman, to play and sing to the girls and make friends with them. It took a good deal of pluck, for the factory hands were rough customers.
One day she had climbed a ladder up into the topmost room of a sack factory. It had been almost impossible to gain a hearing. As she went down the ladder again one of the girls dropped a large sack through the trap door and completely enveloped her. She found herself in a difficult and dangerous position, but quite fearlessly continued to descend the ladder. Arrived at the bottom, she got out of the sack, rolled it up in a bundle, climbed the ladder again, and, with her merry laugh, threw it back to the girl who had dropped it over her : after that she was a welcome visitor in that topmost storey.
The following book was written by Rev. Samuel Charlesworth after the death of Maria Charlesworth. This transcription was taken from here.
In its Consecration to the services of God through Christ Jesus
A Brief Record of the Work of Mrs. Maria Amelia Charlesworth in the Parishes of Limpsfieid and Limehouse.
Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday, Fleet Street. London. MDCCCLXXXII.
Dedicated to my dear children, Annie Maria Charlesworth, Forence Louisa Charlesworth, Maud Elizabeth Charlesworth, as sharers in the work, and faith, and hope, of their beloved mother.
These brief Memorials of a life dedicated to the service of God from early childhood are not made up of thrilling incidents or sensational narratives, for they are meant to be only a simple record of an earnest, faithful, humble child of God, whose whole life was passed amid home scenes, uneventful and unimportant, except when beheld in the light of eternity, and in connexion with the Gospel of our salvation.
It was a life passed in the path of love and obedience, with a singleness of purpose to follow the example and fulfil the command of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Like Mary of Nazareth, her spirit rejoiced in God her Saviour, and she kept in her heart and pondered over all the things which revealed to her His glorious Person, work, and office.
Like the other Mary of Bethany, she had the calm, confiding, restful spirit which true love engenders, - sitting much at the feet of Jesus to hear His word and learn His will. But she, too, when the time and opportunity came, gave of her best and did what she could in active service to show her love for her Lord.
Also, like Mary Magdalene, she learnt in an especial manner to know the power of His resurrection, and lived and worked under a vivid apprehension of a risen and an ever-present Saviour. Thus Christ dwelt in her heart by faith, for she was rooted and grounded in love. That love was the great motive power of her life, the constraining force of her conduct; she lived in Him and for Him who first loved her and gave Himself for her.
May her example cheer, encourage, and stimulate other dear servants working in the Lord's vineyard.
Memorials of a blessed life
Maria Amelia Charlesworth was born at Clapham the 8th May, 1826. Her father, Mr. Richard Boswell Beddome, was for sixty years an eminent solicitor in the City. Maria Amelia was the eldest of seven children. Her home was one in which the influence of Christian parents was felt in the daily life of every inmate. Her father, from the first commencement of his married life, as the master of a household, made the resolution of Joshua his own rule of conduct in every particular: 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'
Though he had to leave home early - before nine o'clock - family morning prayer was never omitted. His professional duties kept him long in town: he returned too late to see much of his children; but this unavoidable want in their home-life of a father's society was greatly compensated for by the admirable qualities of a mother, who united to loving tenderness and watchful care great judgment and firmness in discipline.
But Sunday was the happy, bright day, when both parents could devote all their time and thoughts to their children, in making it a day of holy occupation and sacred service. No ascetic gloom or religious formality pervaded that home. The Sabbath was truly 'a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable.'
The more leisure breakfast with the dear father, not obliged to hasten off to town; the hymn added to the morning prayer; the verse repeated by each one assembled at the breakfast-table; the after Scripture-reading with father and mother; then the family party all assembling together in the large seat at church; the pleasant dinner, the only one in the week when the father could be present; the afternoon church, and the stroll in the garden; but last, and to the children perhaps the best of all, the evening family reading, when parents, children, and servants, all united in reading the Scriptures, repeating and singing hymns, and then listening to some interesting book. Such is an outline of each Sunday, making that home so bright and pleasant, that each member of it could say and feel, 'This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.' At that time many lawyers were wont to make Sunday their busiest business day, in working up arrears, settling bills of costs, drawing up briefs and deeds. Eminent counsel often appointed Sunday for holding important consultations, at which juniors and solicitors were expected to be present. One leading counsel, then Solicitor-General and afterwards a Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor, on being expostulated with for the practice, answered, 'Is it not written, "Which of you shall have an ass fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath Day?"' Even now, in these days, when so much effort is made to emancipate Sunday workers from their cruel thraldom, many hundred writing clerks are employed by law-stationers the whole of Sunday under pain, in case of refusal, of being dismissed, which, in their case, means family starvation. It is a blot upon the legal profession that copying should thus be thrust upon law-stationers and their clerks late on Saturday, to be ready on Monday morning. Mr. Beddome set his face like a flint against this Sabbath desecration: he would never attend a consultation on Sunday, or glance at a legal document, however urgent the alleged necessity. To this habitual observance of the one day's rest in seven may be attributed the long life to which he attained - eighty-five years, - in the full possession of all his faculties, with a judgment so clear, a memory so good, and sight and hearing so unimpaired, such as few, who laboured mentally as he had laboured for sixty years, are privileged to enjoy.
Such was the happy, God-fearing, God-honouring home in which Maria Amelia was trained for her after-life of consecrated devotion to the service of God. At the age of ten she was placed under the care of Mrs. Umphelby, at Hill House, Belstead, near Ipswich, one of those delightful schools in which the ordinary routine of school-life was blended with the social enjoyments and loving, watchful care of home-life; and in which the religious training and spiritual life of each child was a subject of the deepest interest and concern to the loving instructress, who anxiously watched over the souls thus for a time committed to her keeping, as one who must give account, that she might do it with joy and not with grief.
For nearly fifty years that devoted Christian teacher has carried on her noble work at Belstead, having under her care many of the children of former pupils. From Belstead has gone forth over the wide world a band of admirably trained daughters, the blessedness of whose influence cannot be over-estimated; the last day of account will alone fully reveal the precious fruit resulting from the seed sown in that Beth-el.
Before Maria Amelia left Belstead her dear younger sister, Louisa, for some years her companion there, was called, after a lingering illness, to the Home above; giving on her death-bed sweet and bright evidence of her union to the Lord Jesus, as one of the chosen lambs of His flock.
Such a home-sorrow, doubtless, had its hallowing influence on the heart and mind of the elder sister, in impressing upon her religious character a greater earnestness, a deeper reality, such as a sanctified removal of one member of a family is so calculated to make on the religious life of the survivors.
At the age of sixteen Maria Amelia left Belstead to reside with her parents at Clapham. At this period of her life, as indeed from her earliest childhood, she gave evident tokens of being a child of God, one who was earnestly and faithfully seeking to act up to her baptismal promise and vow, and in all things aiming to be a devoted soldier and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that the routine of daily study in her school-life had been exchanged for the comparative leisure of home, she sought for active work among the poor dwelling at Clapham. She found in Archdeacon Dealtry, who was then Rector of Clapham, a kind and helpful pastor, to accept and direct her as a Sunday-school Teacher and District Visitor, and a collector for the Church Societies of the parish.
After the death of Dr. Dealtry, Mr. Beddome and his family attended the District Church of St. John, Clapham Rise, under the Incumbency of the Rev. Robert Bickersteth, afterwards Rector of St. Giles, and now Bishop of Ripon.
The future work of Miss Beddome was carried on in connexion with that portion of the parish. The very able ministry of Mr. Bickersteth was a source of great profit and pleasure to her, as one who could thoroughly appreciate and enjoy the intellectual sermons of so faithful and gifted a preacher. Most of the sermons she heard were taken down in shorthand and transcribed by her.
Mr. Bickersteth's Bible Classes, Confirmation Classes, and other instructive gatherings of the younger members of the congregation, helped greatly to form that deep and extensive knowledge of Scripture truth and doctrine which in after life gave such efficiency to her own important work.
By her father's permission she invited the young women employed in the linendrapers' shops at Clapham, and in other similar occupations, to come to a Sunday-afternoon Bible Class, held in the dining-room of the house; a class which eventually numbered seventy members, and was made the means, for several years, of much blessing to the many young people who attended it.
The fifteen years thus passed at Clapham, in her own home, surrounded by loving, encouraging friends, proved a period of great usefulness to others, to whom she so diligently ministered, and to herself, as a preparation for the more responsible and arduous duties of a clergyman's wife.
Much might be recorded of the success of her work at Clapham, still remembered by many now resident there, after the lapse of twenty-five years; but such details would enlarge this brief memoir beyond the limits which it is intended it should occupy: suffice it to say, her life was one of earnest, devoted labour, for the most part of quiet routine, as a diligent parochial worker in Sunday Schools and among the poor.
One important feature in this period of Miss Beddome's life must not be unnoticed. Her mother had four unmarried sisters, devoted Christian ladies, who for many years had lived at Clapham; but when Miss Beddome was ten years of age removed to Ryde in the Isle of Wight, and became active members of the congregation of St. James, then under the able ministry of the Rev. Waldo Sibthorpe, before his refined intellectual mind became clouded by Romish errors. Intercourse with these dear relatives was a source of great pleasure to her. A bond of very strong love and sympathy existed between the maiden aunts and their young niece. Their mature judgment and deep spiritual apprehension of divine truth helped to strengthen and mature her Christian character. The house at Ryde was a second home to her, where perhaps she felt less restraint in conversing on religious subjects than in her own dear home; for even in the truest Christian house-holds, there is sometimes an absence of perfect freedom in the interchange of thought between children and parents. Not from any want of love and confidence, but from a strange, undefined feeling of reserve in telling forth the secret communings of the soul; a reticence often not felt or manifested towards those holding a less intimate relationship.
The memory of those dear aunts was sweetly embalmed in the after-life and work of their young relative: two of them lived to within four years of the termination of her own earthly pilgrimage.
A few words must also be said about the other members of the family of Miss Beddome. Her Christian parents and her deceased sister, Louisa, have already been mentioned. A brother, Arthur, after passing through the five years of an articled pupil's apprenticeship to his father, preferred the preaching of the' Gospel to the practice of the Law; and having graduated at Oxford, was ordained to the holy office of the Ministry, and died six years before his sister, after a brief life of great usefulness, in which the welfare of the young was especially an object of his deepest interest and thoughtful care. No effort, no self-denial, was too great in his endeavour to benefit young lads in their moral growth and spiritual life; his soul seemed to be absorbed in the desire to consecrate his energies to that purpose. Obedience to the Saviour's command, 'Feed My lambs,' was the object of his life. Another brother, Thomas, a young man of great promise intellectually and spiritually, shortly after graduating at Cambridge went on a tour to Palestine and other Eastern lands; but having been too much exposed to heat and fatigue, an attack of low fever was induced, under which he sank before he could be removed to England, dying at Bellagio on Lake Como. He was, in an especial manner, the dearly loved son of his aged mother; who was the next of the family group to enter into the joy of her Lord. One sister and two brothers are now the only survivors of that family so lovingly united together on earth, the aged father having been called to enter into his rest at the age of eighty-five years, only two months before the death of his daughter Maria.
At the age of thirty-one years Miss Beddome exchanged the happy home on Clapham Common for the Rectory-house of the beautiful village of Limpsfield in Surrey, as the wife of the Rector of that parish; one who had been associated with the home at Clapham from his own early child-hood, and had known his bride from infancy. As he watched the development of her beautiful character and life of usefulness in his constant intercourse with the family, especially on Sunday, he learned to esteem her highly, both for her own great worth and for her work's sake.
Not far from Limpsfield, in the lovely village of Nutfield, lived her sister-in-law, Maria Louisa Charlesworth, whose name is so well known, and whose memory is so cherished as the author of Ministering Children and many other works written for the young. Intercourse with a dear relative of such a kindred spirit to her own, and with the aged mother living with her at Nutfield, gave an added charm and interest to the life at Limpsfield; while the society of the parish and neighbourhood yielded many valued Christian friends and fellow-helpers. Few parishes in England could compare with Limpsfield in its natural beauties of scenery and its social advantages of cultivated and warm-hearted residents.
The life there was an expansion of the life at Clapham in the enlarged sphere of an agricultural parish, having an area of twenty-two miles circumference. Here her active, loving spirit had full scope both to plan for herself and to act out her schemes of benevolence. A sense of greater responsibility made her look to, and depend more earnestly and steadfastly upon, the strength and guidance of Him who is the Almighty and the Allwise. The young men of the village soon called forth her interest. There was no Sunday-evening service in the parish church, and their late stroll to a service held in a schoolroom in a distant hamlet was productive of harm. A Bible Class was opened in a large room at the Rectory, and some thirty members soon rewarded the effort. This class for ten years was attended by much blessing in the reformation and conversion of many who have continued consistent Christians, now grown up to manhood and fathers of families.
While Mrs. Charlesworth was at Limpsfield, during a visit at St. Leonards, she was led to attend some Drawing-room Meetings for Scripture exposition by Lord Radstock. What she then heard was greatly blessed to her spiritual growth in grace by a fuller impartation of the light of the Holy Spirit. Her spiritual life seemed to receive a fresh impulse in a more vivid realisation of the personal presence of the Lord Jesus with His people; and in a keener apprehension of the reality of the unseen things of Christ, producing a closer walk with God in all the routine of daily life. This change - or rather, advance - in her spiritual state, gave a more intense earnestness to all her work, as work so especially done for the Lord; and a corresponding blessing flowed forth upon all her efforts. Her face shone with a new light, a brightness of joy and peace was reflected in every feature. It became truly 'as it had been the face of an angel.' The devout fervour and holy beauty of expression which, for twenty years, her countenance bore, was so striking, that it used to be often the subject of remark by strangers, and doubtless added to the persuasive force of her addresses. Having a very clear, distinct voice, of peculiar sweetness and earnestness, she could be distinctly heard by all when speaking in a large hall to a thousand people.
Her life and work at Limpsfield was of a varied character. Her Young Men's Class came first both in importance and interest, because the fruit was so apparent. Next the farmers' wives and daughters were gathered to occasional meetings at the Rectory, and visited in their own homes. Then the Mothers' Meetings, and - though last, not least - the week-day and Sunday schools, all had a share of her time and energies: so she worked on now, not only for the Lord but with the Lord. His felt presence was the abiding sunshine of her life; a sunshine which dispelled all clouds of disappointment and iscouragement, because the work was not hers only but the dear Master's also: for had He not said, 'Lo, I am with you alway?' Leaning on Him, His grace was sufficient for every need. She had learned the need for that inquiry made by Christ of Peter, 'Lovest thou Me more than these?' and of that seemingly harder saying, 'He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.'
It would take a volume to record the life and work of the twelve years spent at Limpsfield, yet it was only the ordinary routine of a pastor's wife devoted to her calling; except that in her case it was not the husband, the parish, or people only, who required her, but the Lord. There was the secret of her power, her success - the Lord needed her; and so working for Him, and with Him, and by Him, there came the rich blessing, and with it the peace, and joy, and confidence.
And now the faithful servant was called to another sphere. Circumstances led to a removal to a large East London parish. A greater contrast can hardly be conceived than that presented between the wide commons clothed with purple heather and fragrant gorse, the cornfields and meadows, the sweet village nestling beneath the lofty, wooded Titsey Hills, nearly 1000 feet high, and the streets and lanes of Limehouse. The population also of the parishes was as great a contrast. But the servant had her eye on the Lord and Master. She saw Him in the crowded factories, alleys, and courts, as clearly and really as in the sweet village, country lanes, or meadows. His fields were, to her eyes, as white unto the harvest in Limehouse as in Limpsfield. Soon a Men's Bible Class was formed; then the factories were explored and taken possession of at all convenient hours for Scripture reading, hymns, and prayer; the mothers' meetings, sewing-classes, the Sunday school, the many who daily crowded to the Rectory for relief or hospital orders, - the Lord Jesus was seen in all, and His felt presence made even the desert of Limehouse blossom to her as a garden of sweet flowers; the wilderness of streets, lanes, and courts, became as a vineyard, or orchard, with rich promise of much fruit.
Oh! the magic of that word, 'Love for Jesus, - love for souls!' how it transforms the revolting to the lovely, the distasteful to the sweet!
A short time after coming to Limehouse the Rector's wife was sitting alone at her tea, her husband being absent at some meeting - perhaps her thoughts were involuntarily turning to that sweet village and delightful Rectory home in Surrey - when a cab drove up, and two ladies, strangers, alighted, and, with a cheery greeting as though old friends, sat down to share the evening meal. They were visitors from the far-off West-end, members of noble families, come to the East-end to do all that their hand might find to do for the Lord. They had been wandering in back-streets, losing their way amid mazes of brick and mortar, and took refuge in a dirty cab with a drunken driver. But such incidents were of very light moment to them, of too frequent occurrence even to be mentioned, only the recounting their adventures amused the downcast Rector's wife, and the merry laugh and earnest tones of the speakers cheered her up; and they, too, she found, had the dear Lord and Master ever with them, therefore they feared not, and were not confounded or dismayed. Oh, how little the fashionable, frivolous world of London dreams that some of its noblest, some of its most gifted ones, thus turn with joy and zest to the East of London courts and alleys and factories for their sources of delight and pleasure! The Court drawing-room, the theatre, the ball-room, the concert-room, are to them as nought, - they feel not the presence of Him whom they love there; but they do have His presence, and know its blessedness, in the crowded night-school, or mothers' meeting, or mission-class, of the worst portions of East London. Angel visitants they are among the sin-sick and perishing. Thus from the Upper Ten Thousand, daily, many workers, at all hours, go joyfully on their mission of love and mercy to the lowest and worst districts of the vast city.
This unexpected visit gladdened the heart of the East London Rector's wife; kindred spirits thus met, in the sympathy of Christian love, to labour for their one Lord. Henceforth, for twelve years, Limehouse work was shared by many such fellow- helpers, noble in the truest sense of the word. Limpsfield had also its portion of such workers; but then they worked in a lovely country parish, with all its attractions, - these worked amid scenes that were gloomy, dirty, and forbidding, until the Master's presence had thrown a charm over all. 'Forasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.' Faithful followers in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus, if the eye of any of you should read this simple record, know that your sympathy and co-operation cheered the life of toil and suffering of her of whose work they are a scant memorial, - that you enabled her to rise and meet the difficulties and discouragements of an almost overwhelming, crushing load of work, because she recognised in you the messengers of the Lord Jesus, sent to comfort and help her on her rough and weary way.
But Limehouse, too, had its own noble workers for the Lord. A band of seventy Sunday-school teachers and superintendents, and many teachers in the week-day evening schools and classes, gathered round the Rector and his wife. Most of them were engaged in business occupatiops, employing their whole time from early morning until late in the evening, the hours of Sunday being the only time for rest, and yet they gladly gave up those sacred hours to the Sunday school, or to the ragged evening school, or the Bible class, and that with such cheerfulness and diligence that no stranger could imagine the self-denial, the labour involved. One dear friend, resident in the parish from her childhood, had given up the whole of her life for thirty years to the work of superintending mothers' meetings, and the Sunday school, and visiting the sick, having no thought or interest above that of thus labouring for the Lord, so that it became the one chief object, the one great desire of her life. Many artisans, also, would take classes, visit the sick, or otherwise devote any spare time they had in the Lord's service. This unostentatious, self-denying devotion to the Lord's work is a very beautiful feature in East London life.
Very much might be recorded of Mrs. Charlesworth's work during the twelve years of her residence at Limehouse. It had its affecting incidents, its tales of woe, its sorrows, its joys, its encouragements and discouragements; and had she been spared to write an account of her experience, it would have been a record of great interest and usefulness: but he who writes this brief memoir dare not undertake the task, he feels it better to limit his notice to her life and work in general rather than in detail.
In the parish were several large factories, employing in all six or seven thousand hands. The young women working in these were wont, at their meal-time, to sally forth into the street, walking arm in arm in wide-spread rows singing and talking boisterously, and often profanely, so as to create much annoyance and disturbance. Mrs.Charlesworth yearned over these poor stray ones; she saw the employers and obtained permission to come to the factories during the hours of dinner and tea to talk to the workers. At first she met with the rudest reception and most noisy interruption, for the meal-time was an hour of freedom and independence, when the workers were left to themselves, and they resented any interference. In one factory for making sacks, the women were often violent, not only in abuse but in pelting their visit[?] sacks and tin cans would be thrown down-stairs after them. But the love which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, has such a softening, winning power when patience has had her perfect work. Gradually the better disposed of the men and women became listeners, then earnest hearers, and then would join in the hymns and kneel at the prayer, until at length some fifty or sixty would sit quietly round the now loved and esteemed teacher or her fellow-helpers, and eagerly drink in the words of truth and of life. The work grew in its importance and deepening interest. A mission house was opened for classes for the factory-workers and for gatherings for prayer and praise, and where any disposed to do so might come and consult with their teachers: much blessing followed. There were several instances of conversion, many more of reformation. The street where most of the factories were became quite altered in its appearance. The mission house was as a Land of Goshen, or as a city set upon a hill. Bible classes, evening instruction classes, prayer-meetings, and a believers' meeting, grew out of this factory work, carried on for ten years. A junior partner in one of the factories was dying at the West-end of London; he had been so impressed with the efforts made by Mrs. Charlesworth in his factory, that he sent to her to come and visit him on his death-bed. Her visits were blessed to his soul's comfort. By his will he left her £200 in trust to aid in carrying on the mission work in the factories of the parish.
In the early part of her life at Limehouse, Mrs. Charlesworth became associated with the noble band of Christian workers connected with the Mildmay Conference Hall. From them she received the most efficient aid, having one lady helper to reside in the mission-house and assist in factory work and in visiting the poor. A great debt of gratitude is indeed owing to those kind, devoted fellow-helpers, whose earnest, diligent labours were so blessed, and so lightened the burden which she had taken upon herself. He who writes these words of acknowledgment cannot refrain from bearing his grateful testimony to the work of the Mildmay Association, and also to the Society established by Mrs. Ranyard for supplying Bible-women and nurses to work amongst the poor and sick. Also to the East London Mission and Relief Committee, for providing funds to carry on sewing-classes, - a system of charitable aid which worked most effectually in the parish, supplementing the mothers' meetings; and his grateful thanks are due to two ladies who for ten years have most kindly superintended the sewing-classes in Limehouse. Only one sphere of Mrs. Charlesworth's work has been described, but the whole was in its details as various as multitudinous:- Mothers' meetings, weekday evening schools for young men and young women, Bible classes, a girls' Sunday school, a Sunday afternoon Bible class of working men, a temperance association, a Sunday evening ragged school. Most of these efforts originated with her, and were supported by funds which she collected from benevolent friends not resident in the parish. Nor were her labours in the Lord's service limited to Limehouse; she was frequently solicited to give addresses at drawing-room meetings in London and the country, or to take some part in the meetings at Mildmay, which were to her always seasons of great refreshment and delight. The Conference Week at Mildmay was her gala week of the year. Also, on her summer visits to the sea-side, her first object seemed to be, not how can I best rest and recreate myself after those many months of East London labour, but what can I do here for the Lord, how can I win souls for Him? One labour of love especially dear to her was a ladies' Bible class held at the house of an eminent medical man at Clapham, her native place, so sacred to her in childhood's memories. She always came back to the Rectory refreshed and cheered by that social gathering around her of dear, sympathising Christian friends. It was then hidden from her that the sweet home of her childhood was to be the place where her spirit would wing its way to the realms of immortality and light; that the physician in whose house she held those meetings would soothe her last days of suffering, and that some of the beautiful wreaths placed upon her coffin would be the loving gifts of the friends so gathered around her to listen to her Bible teachings. Yes, the dear Lord had need of her in the inner place of His sanctuary. Faithfully had she served in the outer court of the tabernacle, while He had been making her meet for the holy place, even for His presence, to share in His joy, His glory.
The following is one of Mrs. Charlesworth's addresses spoken at the Mildmay Conference, 1874, as taken down in shorthand:-
'Let us, dear friends, read together the passage that stands at the head of our paper:'
'" Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." - i Pet. ii 5.'
'My first impression, on looking at the subject chosen for us to-day, was that it was a difficult one; but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that we could not have had a more profitable one for us as workers, because there is nothing we more long for than to know more of Jesus, and this verse, with its context, leads us direct to Him.'
'I can only attempt to take up a few of the thoughts suggested, and would first speak a little on what is called here "a holy," and, a little further on, " a royal priesthood." The passage seems to begin at verse 4: "To whom coming, as unto a living stone," &c. We shall find it most helpful, before looking at "spiritual sacrifices in detail, to see what our spiritual life must be before we can perform the functions of the holy priesthood. "Am I,", we should ask ourselves, "living as a priest, so separated in my daily life as to be always in the holy place, and separated for Him?" I think Christian life is so clearly put before us here: "To whom coming." The first step is coming to Christ.'
'As we look back to the day of our spiritual birth, and realise the blessing we then began to know, and try to make it plain to others, we speak of receiving - coming - believing - looking; they just mean one and the same thing.'
'Perhaps another thought that is behind the word "coming," is that it is a continual act of life. It is not said of believers that they have come, but that they are "coming;" and do you not think, without going back, knowing that we are His for ever - as a child dwelling in his father's house in every fresh need knows what it is to run to him for help, and in every fresh joy for sympathy - it is our constant privilege, while abiding in Jesus, to come again and again, as need arises, and get a fresh sight of His face and a fresh taste of His love? I like to feel, when going to take a class, that I may come afresh to Him for His help; and surely, whenever we do thus come, we find a fresh fulness, an inexhaustible Fountain, always something more to be got from our Lord.'
'It is instructive to notice how the different aspects of Christ's work are expressed in the different words and figures used in the passage.'
'Connected with the idea of priesthood is the figure of a building: "Ye also, as lively stones;" He the chief Corner-stone upon Whom all the living stones are built. It is a beautiful thought that we are part of the building of God, and by having come to Jesus, the new life of Jesus is communicated to us; so that it is no longer my life by which I am to live, but life in union with the Son of God. We cannot have too much of that. Then we see the place we have in the world - just the place Jesus took, "disallowed of men." We must remember that we cannot come to Jesus and receive His life, without expecting to share His reproach. "As He is, so are we In this world." But oh, to know that in Him we, too, are chosen of God and precious -'
'" So dear, so very dear to God,|
Dearer I cannot be;
For in the Person of His Son
I am as dear as He."
'We just share with our Master in being "precious" to God. Wonderful thought! We should not dare to express it if Jesus had not given it to us.'
'We are also reminded what from union to Him we are to be - "lively," "living stones;" though part of the building, never an inanimate part.,
'Now we come to what seems to me to indicate the next part of the Lord's work. First, there is "coming;" then, living - and is it not a joyful thought that however feeble the beginning of life may be in the new-born soul, directly it is laid upon Jesus it has living powers? But then follows the building up. "Ye are built up." He is to build us up. What a wonderful privilege, to be put into His hands, and not in anything left to ourselves!'
'We may carry out this thought of building, and gain many lessons. How much chipping off of corners is required before the mason can fix the stone in its place! So Jesus has to take each of us, and just make us what He would have us to be. When we can trust Him to do it all, we have peace. It was a new life in my own experience when I realised this. We have all mourned over short-comings, stumblings, but when we come to see that Jesus has to take us into His hands just as we are, - and make us chosen vessels fit for the place He has designed, we may quietly commit all to Him. He does the work in His Church as a whole and in each separate member; and what a rest to know that He undertakes not a part, but all our spiritual raining!'
'Should we not realise more power in offering " spiritual sacrifices," if we left the building-up of ourselves entirely in His hands as the great Master Builder?'
'There are some very teaching words in the fourteenth chapter of Leviticus. We need not go into the first part of the type - which answers to the "coming " - because no one has a right to take her place as a worker who is not able to say, " My sins are washed away." The blood, we read, was to be sprinkled on the leper seven times. I take that as equivalent to what is done in the sinner's first coming to Christ; but I want to go on to that part which seems analogous to the being "built up." The priest was to present the man before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and take some of the consecrated oil and put it upon the tip of his right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. Notice (verse 17) it is said, "to be made clean" - though before there was cleansing - and read in connexion Eph. v. 26. Don't you see how beautifully Christ's work on the individual soul of the believer - the cleansing of sanctification - is typified? He takes each soul apart, as it were, and presents it before God, and touches ear, and hand, and foot with the anointing oil. My ears must henceforth be deaf to the world and open to His sweet voice; my hands must be separate from sin and used in His service; my feet must no longer walk in forbidden paths, but in His holy ways. Do we not say with David, " I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shalt enlarge my heart?" As His love comes in more and more, other things are put aside; and just as we put ourselves into His hands, so we shall know the power of this thorough consecration.'
'I think this is a beautiful type, because it gives us the secret of strength. The oil is the emblem of the Spirit's power - the power of the Holy Ghost in each of us for daily life. Just as we come to the blood of Jesus for daily cleansing, so we should each lay hold of the power of the Spirit for daily life. The Spirit cannot come into unclean hearts, so the oil and the blood always go together. Perhaps the reason why some of the Lord's dear children fail to realise more of the power of the Holy Ghost is that they stop at the beginning, and do not realise the continual application of the blood in daily life.'
'I would remind you that exactly the same course was followed in the consecration of priests as in the cleansing of the leper. The sons of Aaron were types of this "holy priesthood" mentioned in Peter. See, then, what was done as recorded in Exod. xxix. 20, 21. Now do you not think it possible that we may be realising, as believers, the blood of Christ sprinkled on the conscience, but not on the ear, and hand, and foot? To me it was a great help to see that there was power in this blood for my daily life if I only trusted Christ for it.'
'If then, as we see, before we can offer spiritual sacrifices we must be priests, it is well to remember - as we learn from Exod. xxix. - that, when the anointed priest stood at the door of the Tabernacle, the first thing he saw was the altar of burnt-offering. With blood on his garments, he went in, but before he passed on to the golden altar there was the the laver in the outer court, between the altar and the holy place, in which he was to wash his hands and his feet. "When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation," the Lord said, "they shall wash with water, that they die not" (chap. xxx. 18-21). Recollect also what the Lord said to Peter: "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet," - i.e. the cleansed ones still need the cleansing power of Christ's blood in their daily walk. Many praise God for pardon of sin, and mourn hopelessly over shortcomings. Oh, do not let us be afraid to trust Jesus with these! He is able to make all grace abound towards us.'
'Let us not allow ourselves to be hindered by any preconceived views of theology, but just trust Jesus for all things, believing that He stands engaged to make us holy. How beautifully we are reminded in our "Te Deum" of what spiritual worship should be: "To Thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy. Lord God of Sabaoth: Heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory." Like David, we give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness:" The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge Thee." Then, after praising Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the loving work done for our salvation, it goes on to say, " Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin."'
'Perhaps He is saying to some here who have sung these words, "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" Very often we look at self and think, "I am too unworthy, too weak, too unfit for such a blessing?" but the more we see of His power, the more we expect from Him. It will ever be true, "In my flesh dwelleth no good thing," but we must not confuse the flesh with the new spiritual life we have in Jesus.'
'When blind men (Matt. ix. 28) were asked this question, they did not hesitate, but gave a hearty Amen. They said unto Him, "Yea, Lord." That is the response Jesus should always get from us, and He will answer (verse 29), "According to your faith be it unto you." If we just put our unworthy selves into His hands, we shall know what it is to be built up, to be kept from falling. Do not misunderstand me; it will not be that we shall have more power in ourselves, but we shall learn how much He is able to do for us.'
'There is this difference between justification and sanctification; justification is like walking on a broad table-land protected on all sides; sanctification is like climbing on the narrow ledge of a mountain, where the least false step is dangerous; there is a height above, and a depth below. With a good guide, it is not for you to sit down and mourn that you have no power. Your only safety is, not to look forward or backward, but just cling to your guide's hand, and go on, step by step. If it is true, then, that the Lord Jesus is holding our hand, may we not venture to pray to be kept "this day without sin;" and if that seems too much, can we not say, 'Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep me " this minute, and then the next minute, and so on?'
'But if we fail, let us not sit down and helplessly mourn over our imperfection, but gaze more on "our King of Grace," and the more we look to Him, the more we shall be built up by Him.'
'In conclusion, I can only just touch a little on the detail of what the spiritual sacrifices consist. If we realise that we have blood upon us, we must be wholly the Lord's. Truly giving ourselves to Him, He gives us back even to ourselves better than we were before. He takes us as we are, to make us what we ought to be. What hymns of praise may we sing even here! Oh, Jesus! Thou art all to me - all for life, all for service. Then we bewail less our weakness, for we glory in His strength.'
*OUR BODIES we present as a living sacrifice (Rom. xii. i). We are apt to think our bodies hindrances; but if the Holy Ghost makes them His temple, and they are consecrated to Him, He who has formed them to be the dwelling-place of our souls can take them - not in the way, perhaps, we expect, but in His own way - and use them altogether for Himself. Though poor and weak, they may yet, through Jesus, be made holy, and full of life, and acceptable to GOD. "The body is for the Lord, and THE LORD for the body" (i Cor- vl 13). We must never let our bodies stand in the way of service. Every part of us - hands, lips, our powers of intellect and affection, all that is included in "body, soul, and spirit," - belongs to the Lord. Of course, this implies that we are thoroughly separated from the world - that our dress, our surroundings, everything connected with the needs of the body, eating and drinking, are all under His guidance.'
'Then MINISTRY TO THE SAINTS (Phil iv. 18). The Lord accepts that as a pleasant sacrifice. Now, I suppose the word "sacrifice" implies the idea of giving up something. The more I see of Jesus and all He has done for me, the more ready I shall be to give up for Him, And let us, in seeking to fulfil this ministry to the saints, not do it to a few alone, because they are pleasing, but to all, because they are His. Some valuable words on this subject were given us in a paper in Woman's Work, rebuking us for being at times too abrupt - turning away from some who might be needing help, to others who attracted us more. Let us seek to avoid this, and be willing to give help wherever we can, and learn to speak a kind word wherever we can, because they belong to Christ Perhaps, in our busy lives, we have not thought enough of bearing the burdens of dear fellow-workers, and have not given them all the sympathy we should.
'Praise is another spiritual sacrifice (Heb. xiii. 15). It was beautifully typified by the incense offered on the altar. See Psalms 1., cxvi.
'Doing good and communicating, also mentioned in Heb. xiii. This, I suppose, includes the general doing of good to all, as well as to the household of faith.
'Souls won for Christ are spoken of in Rom. XV. as a sacrifice. This subject comes home to all our hearts. The Gentiles, in a mass, represent every individual brought to Jesus, each one causing refreshing to the heart of GOD. What a privilege, to be sharers with the Lord Jesus in His joy when He presents such before GOD - 'we as sons of Aaron, He the great Aaron! In Ps. xl. 3, He connects the sacrifice of praise with this joy. It is very encouraging that the Lord will use more than anything - more than speaking - a life of praise. A praising Christian is sure to be a successful Christian - sure to be used of the Lord in winning souls.
'Lastly. Our lives, if need be, must be a sacrifice unto the Lord. Though not living in days of persecution, if we would faithfully serve God, we must not think too much of our lives, because there are many places where work cannot be done with out the sacrifice of health. Take, for example, Africa, and many places even in our own land. If God calls us where our lives are likely to be spent and worn out in service, do not let us hold back. If we know what it is to experience the power of being risen with Jesus, we shall know, too, that in many things we must die with Him - not wantonly sacrificing ourselves, but just putting life, as well as all besides, in His hands, and willing to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.
'I cannot leave the subject without a thought on those wonderful words (i Pet ii. s), "Acceptable to God." Is it not a high honour that even we poor, feeble women may offer, through Jesus, spiritual sacrifices that shall really please God? If any are inclined to turn away doubtfully, saying, "My faith is so weak," let me remind such of the Apostles' prayer, " Lord, increase our faith," and of His answer to them (Luke, xvii. 5, 6). He directed them to use what faith they had. And, dear friends, what have you? The indwelling Spirit of a mighty God. Oh! what manner of people ought we to be in holiness of life. May God help us to trust the Lord Jesus, the Great Master Builder, as we have never trusted Him before! Then we may go into the Holy place as a Holy priesthood, and there we shall enjoy Christ as he is unfolded to us in the secret place of the Most High. We shall find Him at the golden altar in the incense of His intercession, feed on Him at the pure Table, recognise Him in the Ark and Mercy Seat, and [?] Great High Priest, and trusting Him more and more, we shall be able to offer to God spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord.'
The labours of twelve years in an atmosphere like that of Limehouse, with its mineral factories, stagnant canals, and thick fogs, had told upon a constitution not at any period robust. For many months great bodily weakness, shortness of breath, and tendency to sickness after food, were signs of the failing strength of the body. Doctors spoke of nervous exhaustion and absolute want of perfect rest and pure air. It was hard for the worker to cease her labours of love, but she felt it was the Lord's will - the Lord's ordained cessation; she knew not then it was already the Lord's call to enter into His presence. A house was taken in the country. Limehouse and its labours of love were resigned, but on the stipulation that the factory and mission work should go on still under her superintendence. The Lord willed otherwise. On her way to the new country house she lingered at the dear home on Clapham Common, occupied by a beloved sister, and there, after one week of suddenly increasing illness, she fell asleep in Jesus. She had in health a dread of death, in its physical form; she longed to live until the Lord came, but mercifully, at the last, this dread entirely passed away, and all was peace. So the faithful soldier and servant entered into the joy of her Lord, leaving a blessed, fragrant memory wherever her earthly pilgrimage had been passed.
'Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me|
A living, bright reality;
More present to faith's vision keen
Than any outward object seen;
More near, more intimately nigh,
Than e'en the sweetest earthly tie.'
The following extracts from the Reports of the first and second years of Mrs. Charlesworth's mission work, will, in her own words portray the character of her work:-
'Our Mission House, 14 Dod Street, was opened on the first of January this year (1872). By the kindness of friends we were able to build a small addition to the room on the ground-floor, making a Mission-room able to accommodate about ninety people. It is not so large as we require, and as we have a good piece of ground at the back, we still hope in time to have a larger room, but we did not feel justified in going beyond our funds. It is a very bright, pleasant room, and the whole house has been the greatest service to us, and we hope a centre of blessing in the neighbourhood where it is situated. Through the winter twelve weekly classes were held there, and our Soup Kitchen and Weekly Sick Dinner were the means of helping many needy and suffering ones.
'We opened the house with a Prayer Meeting. It was well attended by the members of the Bible Classes, and many earnest prayers were offered for the Lord's presence and blessing on all the work to be carried on in the house. In looking back on the last six months, we can indeed praise God, that, notwithstanding some discouragements, arising chiefly from trials in connexion with agents employed, we have seen a gracious answer to these prayers; and wherever any real work for souls is being done by the power of God's Spirit, we must not be surprised if Satan tries, from time to time, to hinder or mar the work.'
'The Working Men's Bible Class is held on Sunday afternoon, from 3 to 4.30. There are about ninety members, the attendance generally between forty and fifty. This class is composed chiefly of believers. It is quite unsectarian; we have many Churchmen from our own congregation, also a goodly number from Booth's Christian Mission, a Wesleyan, and some Independents and Baptists. We meet on the one ground of union to Christ and the desire to study His Word; and here, I believe, is one great secret of the blessing we have had. See Psalm cxxxiii.:- "There the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Over some we have had indeed cause to rejoice, as through the Bible Class they have been led to Him Who is their life. One instance:- A man looking ill and worn entered the class one Sunday; his dear wife had been brought very brightly to Christ at our Sewing Class. When her husband, who had been laid up long at the workhouse infirmary with a broken limb, was again at home, she begged him to come to the class. I remember his sad, worn face - still weak and lame, stricken down with poverty from his long illness, and not knowing the One Who can give joy in the midst of suffering; but almost at once the Spirit of God began to strive in his soul. I believe he was awakened the first Sunday he came among us, and his interest was great in the Bible Class. He said afterwards he used to long to come there every day, and would have liked to have spent his dinner-hour each day at the Bible Class, had it been held daily. He went to work, but very soon serious illness was manifested. Consumption, which cuts off so many of our poor, ill-fed people, had taken hold of him, and I was sent for to his sick-room. I found him sitting by the fire with his Bible, very anxious about his soul; but not knowing Christ, and clinging to the hope that by his prayers he might be accepted at last. I think that day he began to understand that a holy God cannot look unon a sinner, and that till hid in Christ there [/] no salvation; but he was specially helped by a visit from a Christian working man, a member of the Bible Class, whom I asked to visit him.
'His wife said, "Since ---'s visit he has been so happy; it seemed to help him to see Christ as his Saviour." From that time his growth in spiritual life was very perceptible, and his simple resting on Jesus left no doubt as to his state. He had such a love for the Bible, and when quite confined to his bed and in great suffering, he would read long portions, and delighted to talk of what he read and found in the newly-opened treasure-house of God's truth. How eagerly he used to listen and join in every prayer offered by his dying bed; and though in great poverty and suffering, his bodily needs were hardly ever alluded to, - I think never by himself; his soul's need and his Saviour were the one subject he spoke of. I cannot speak of his death-bed as one of joy, but it was peace and simple trust. Sometimes he lamented that he had not known his Saviour sooner, as he looked back on a life without God, and he brought tears to the eyes of his faithful wife as he added, "Then I should have been a better husband to you;" which, however she could not have him say. I was sent for when he was dying, but, though I followed the messenger directly, his spirit had departed. His wife told me that he was looking to Jesus, and the last intelligible words were, "Jesus, come!" and now we believe he is before the throne, praising the Lamb. The working men at the Bible Class have often gladdened my heart by their kind Christian sympathy for each other in times of trial and need. The special wants of any in sickness were always remembered in prayer, and their care for each other was often substantially shown. They proposed to have a box for collecting on Sunday, and for this first year they voted the money should go to the Bible Society, and they have voluntarily made collections to help each other in special cases. We have a weekly evening class for them, for teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic; those who attend having coffee provided at a small charge. The class is closed with the Bible and prayer. We have not had a large attendance, though it has been valued by the few who have come regularly; but we hope to extend it more generally next winter.'
'The Sewing Classes were held three afternoons in the week, for ninety women during the winter, and for a smaller number during the spring months. It was a great blessing, both spiritually and temporally, to our people. The women were paid sixpence an afternoon for their work by the East London Mission and Relief Committee, and the grant has been renewed this winter, [?] women were, a large portion of them, widows; the others had sick husbands, or the husbands were out of work. When we began the class in January, we felt sadly the deadness and carelessness of the women; many had not been in such a class before, and seemed to have no thought of spiritual things. We prayed earnestly for the outpouring of the Lord's Spirit that these dead bones might live, and the answer was graciously given. One afternoon, when the twenty-third Psalm was being explained one of the women was aroused, and went home to pass a sleepless night of anxiety about her soul: the next day she was able to trust Christ as her Saviour. At the next meeting a kind friend came from the West End to address them, and while she was speaking, nine or ten were awakened, and most of these were, we believe, truly brought to Christ as their Saviour. It was delightful work reading and explaining the Word to them after that: how earnest their attention! and then one and another found peace in believing. Their faces became quite altered - so peaceful and happy; one especially, though in great want and trial, had such a look of chastened joy; and the tone of the class was altered - such earnest attention, very few remaining careless, and in some the change of life so marked. Our sewing-mistress found the difference in the way the work was done.'
'The Mothers' Meeting connected with our Bible Mission was held one afternoon in the week. About seventy mothers were collected by our Bible-woman from the streets immediately around the Mission House. Some of the mothers belonged also to the sewing-class, and this meeting shared in the blessing which came upon that class. We were reading Genesis, and the dear women took such deep interest in their Bible teaching; and I found some especially interested by a plan suggested at one of Mrs. Ranyard's superintendents' meetings, that a subject should be given on which they should find texts for the next meeting. Some would bring me many texts, and they made an effort to learn the texts and say them to me; and sometimes one special text had to be found, and it was pleasant to be stopped in the street with - "Oh, I have found the text you were speaking of at our last meeting." And again, in one of our large factories, as I was going through to speak to the girls at work there, the bright familiar face of one of my dear mothers turned back from the counter where the out-door hands were being paid, with the words, " I think I have found that verse at last." But it did not stop with mere interest; we saw with one and another the anxious, tearful face, seeking Christ, and not resting till she could say, "I can trust Him now as my Saviour." I will give one instance. The winter before last a poor creature was brought to me by my Bible-woman in great destitution, hardly any clothes, and in great need of food, and very anxious about her soul. We clothed her, and assisted her with the occasional help of the soup and bread distributions. She joined my mothers' meeting, and I had several conversations with her. She was an elderly woman, ignorant and unable to read, but evidently seeking Christ, and I often noticed her earnest attention during the Bible reading; but she was very quiet, and said little. She always sat in one place near me, but never worked, as she was too poor to pay for the work. One day this spring I called her name and missed her; she was so regular that I was surprised, and said, " Where is Maria?" " Oh, ma'am, she is very ill; she has been knocked down in the road by a cart and run over." I went to the house where, from kindness of feeling, she was allowed to live without paying rent, and found she had been taken at once to the Poplar Hospital. The next morning I went there and asked to see her. I found she had broken her collar-bone. The surgeon said, though in itself a slight accident, at her age the shock had been too great, and she was dying; that she was unconscious, and that it was quite useless for me to see her. But I pleaded hard for admittance, and he at last said, " Well, you can see her if you like;" and I was shown into the ward. I went up to her bed; her eyes were closed, and she was breathing heavily. The nurse said, "Mrs. J, here is a lady come to see you." She opened her dying eyes and fixed them on me. Instantly they were lighted up with a bright look of recognition. "Oh, ma'am, is it you?" I said, "Is Jesus with you?" I shall never forget her reply. She looked so earnestly at me and said, " I know I'm washed, - I know I'm forgiven." Oh! how blessed it was to hear this her last testimony to her Saviour! She assented joyfully when I asked again if He was near her, and I repeated the verse from Isaiah, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee," and then prayed. She seamed to follow every word, with her hands folded, responding at the end.'
'I had heard her last words. The next morning I sent a friend, being unable to go, but her ransomed spirit had departed to be with Him who had loved her, and washed her from her sins in His own blood.'
'The Prayer Meeting is held on Wednesday evening after Church, some coming to the Mission on their way home after the service. Our average attendance has been about twenty-five; some of the men from the Bible Class, and the women from the Sewing Class, Mothers' Meeting, and sometimes some of the factory girls who have been awakened at their Bible Class. I believe this meeting has brought down blessing upon all our classes. Sometimes we had touching requests sent in for prayer, both for spiritual and temporal need; and some most gracious answers were given, and we often had to praise Him at the next meeting for prayer answered.'
'The Girls' Classes. In the street in which our Mission House is situated are some large factories, where hundreds of young women work as machinists: probably in Dod Street there are 800 women and girls so employed, and in the near neighbourhood probably from 1000 to 2000. Feeling deeply the need of these poor girls, congregated together at the most susceptible age, with little home restraint to help them, we opened classes for them directly our Mission House was ready. We assembled large numbers to tea on several occasions, having plain Gospel addresses given afterwards. They listened with deep interest, and our subsequent weekly Bible Class was well attended, several souls were awakened, and we had much to encourage us. As I now close this Report in the spring of 1873, I must add, though it does not properly come into our Report for 1872, that we have been able, with God's blessing, greatly to extend our work among the girls by means of a Christian Institute opened for them at our Mission House, and a resident Missionary, herself acquainted by personal experience with factory work. She visits their workrooms in the four large factories close to us, and receives them daily at the Mission House for prayer, visiting them also at their own homes. We have had a great blessing among them this last winter; and have had the joy of seeing some nine or ten, we believe, truly brought to Christ. I shall hope to give full particulars of this work, with the account of the Funds for the Christian Institute, in the Report for 1873.
'The work is full of blessing and encouragement. A spirit of prayer is poured out among our people, and many are awakened to think of their spiritual need. We only want funds to carry on the work still more effectually. I should like, if the Lord sends us the means, to buy our Mission House, it being in so good a situation for the work among the factories, to enlarge the Mission Room to nearly double its present size, and to build over it some rooms which would enable us to provide a home for some of our girls. I feel the need of this for our Christian girls who are away from their parents, that they should have a sheltered Christian home in which to lodge; and I believe such a home would much extend the work among the factory girls in this East End, where so large a proportion of the young women are thus employed. We commit this work to the Lord, feeling assured that if it be His will it should be carried on or further extended, He will send us the needful funds.'
'Soup Kitchen and Invalid Dinners. We were able through the winter (1871 and 1872) to supply a large number of families with a good dinner of soup and bread weekly, which in the cold season, when work was scarce, was a great help to many; and by the kindness of one lady we were able to give a weekly dinner of roast meat and potatoes to about twenty-five sick people for about two months. To the sick, and those recovering from illness, these dinners were a great comfort.'
'Blankets. I found many of our deserving poor had no blankets at all last winter. Our loan blankets were only about twenty, and some of them very old. We were able, by the kindness of friends, to increase the number to fifty-five, and those to whom they were lent were very grateful.'
[pages 46 and 47 missing]
'...the East of London, so much sin, sorrow, and suffering. The great scarcity of work, the difficulty of helping those who, through long weakness, brought on by want, have lost the power to help themselves. The drunkenness which in other cases leaves many helpless children to starve. These things cast down and discourage, yet there is a bright point of view; where the simple Gospel of Christ really reaches the heart, we do find the poor are lifted from the dunghill, and among these suffering and tried ones we often see a preparedness to receive the glad tidings which is not to be met with in more favoured places, and with glad hearts we can praise Him who came to seek and save the lost. One added cause of thankfulness is that the Lord inclines many of His children to help us who are working among these crowded alleys and courts, so that hereafter he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.'
The following is a letter written by Mrs. Charlesworth to the Members of the Working Men's Bible Class on one occasion when she was not able to be with them at the opening of the year:-
Text for the New Year, 1879. 'In everything by prayer and supplication with thanks-giving let your requests be made known unto God. And the Peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.' - Phil. iv. 6, 7.
'My Dear Friends,'
'As I am away from you for two Sundays this month, I am going to write you a New Year's letter, to send you a New Year's text, and give you a few of my thoughts for you all at this season. I have been very glad to see many more of you attending the Bible Class; I shall be glad if our number increases, and our many absent members return, as I am sure the more regularly you can attend the more blessing you will get from the study of God's Word. I meet you now at half-past three on Sunday afternoons, as I open our large Girls' Sunday School, of which I am the Superintendent, at three o'clock. If we begin our class punctually at half-past three, we can always close at 4.30, which will give you good time to get home for an early tea before your evening services. I think that most of you are regular attendants, either at our own church or at some other place of worship; but should there be any members of the class who have not joined themselves regularly to any church or chapel, I would say to you, that if you wish to have a blessing from the Lord, you must seek to meet with His people in the house of prayer, and let your habit be to go regularly to one place of worship, - begin the New Year by seeking God's blessing in His house. Have also a family altar established in your own house - those of you who are parents - gather your family together, at least once a day, to read God's Word and to pray, and this habit of family prayer will bring a blessing, not only upon your own souls, but also upon the souls of your children.'
'My text for you for the New Year is on the Peace of God. You will remember, perhaps, that I told you at one of our Bible Classes that there are different kinds of peace mentioned in the Bible, that there was a difference between peace with God and the peace of God. Peace with God is one of the first steps in the Christian life. If you know the crimson stain of sin, and feel yourself a sinner in the sight of a Holy God, if you long to be free from all that defiles, then you will realise what it is to come to Christ for pardon, and rejoice when you know that He has washed you whiter than snow. When, being justified by faith, you will have peace with GocL I hope that none of you will rest content till you know this peace, till you can praise Jesus for His precious Blood, and can feel He died for you.'
'But for those who are the Lord's children, who have trusted Christ for pardon, and are accepted for His sake, there is yet another precious gift waiting, and that is, the peace of God of which our New Year's text speaks. This is the peace which reaches to our daily life, and which we begin to understand when we find that we may trust our God to take the whole care and government of us. The same Jesus who said, "Thy sins are forgiven thee," said, "Rise up and walk;" and He does this still for His people. He not only pardons sin, but He gives us grace and strength to walk the Christian life. "To as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God." It is a wonderful thing that He can make saints and heirs of glory out of poor, wretched sinners, and bring a clean thing out of an unclean.'
'This peace of God rules the heart and mind of those who have it; it is connected with sanctification, as peace with God is connected with justification. Peace with God we have when we are justified by faith; and it is as we learn to trust God for strength in daily life, to walk with Him day by day in the paths of holiness, as He leads our feet in the ways of His commandments, that we have that peace of God which is able to keep our hearts and minds. The heart is the seat of the affections; and when the Christian's heart is kept by the peace of Gody Jesus will reign in that heart as its King, the wild storms of human passion will hear His voice and be still, and there will be a great calm in the heart where Jesus is King. Then this peace of God keeps the mind. There are many perplexing questions which trouble the mind, many anxious thoughts that perplex the head, difficulties we cannot solve, doubts that harass, but it is the Christian privilege to cast all these on the Lord, and to say, "It is enough my Father knows;" and amid the cares which press in the daily life, we hear the voice of our beloved Lord saying, " I would have you without carefulness, for your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things."
'"Tis enough that Thou wilt care, - |
Why should I the burden bear?"'
'When thus we trust the Lord Jesus every day and every hour, we know what it is to have the peace of God keeping our heart and mind through Christ Jesus. Now, my friends, I think some of you will say, "How am I to get this peace?" Our New-Year's text tells us: "In every thing, by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made known unto God." Thus, you see, prayer is the medium through which we are to get the peace of God, because it is those who walk with God, and abide with Him in the daily life, who have this peace; and the way in which communion and fellowship with God is kept up in our present life is by prayer, - by prayer we get nearer to our Risen Lord, by prayer we tell Him all we feel, by prayer we clasp hold of His guiding hand, and through prayer the Holy Spirit breathes His power into the waiting soul. My dear friends, I cannot wish a better wish for our Bible Class, and for myself as your teacher, than that we all, in our Christian life, may this year know more and more of this peace of God, which is so glorious and blessed that it passes all understanding; yet the Lord can reveal it to us by His [?] "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." And for any of you who are seeking Jesus and cannot yet feel sure that He is your Saviour, may you not rest till you have peace with God, and can rejoice with us in the hope of the glory of God and in that great salvation which Christ died to give us.'
'Believe me, 'Your faithful friend and Bible Class teacher,'
'M. A. Charlesworth.'
In the ensuing year, the members of the Bible Class presented Mrs. Charles worth with a very beautiful, costly photograph album, containing most of their portraits, accompanied by the following letter:-
'To Mrs. Charlesworth.'
'We, the undersigned members of the Limehouse Working Men's Bible Class, respectfully request you to accept the accompanying album, as a small token of our esteem and regard for you as our Bible Class teacher; and at the same time to tender you our grateful thanks for the uniform kindness and Christian love that has characterised all your self-denying labours amongst the working men of Limehouse and their families.'
'In requesting you to accept this humble gift, we sincerely hope that it may please Almighty God to grant you many years of health and strength to continue your devoted work for the Lord in Limehouse.'
'We remain, dear Mrs. Charlesworth, Yours faithfully,'
(Signed by thirty-five members) January 1880.
After Mrs Charlesworth's death, brief 'In Memoriam' notices appeared in some of the periodical publications issued by Societies with which she had been connected. The following appeared in the January number of Women's Work for 1882, written by a friend who had known her intimately in her work at Limpsfield:-
Shining Light and Ripened Grain.
A MEMORY OF MARIA AMELIA CHARLESWORTH.
'On the morning of November 7th, 1881, the Lord Jesus Christ gently said, "Come up higher" to one of His dear children, and Maria Amelia Charlesworth, wife of the Rev. Samuel Charlesworth, Rector of Limehouse, London, E., having served her own generation by the will of God, fell [?] her death the Mildmay Association of Female Workers has lost a beloved vice-president; the poor of a large district of East London a true friend, who sacrificed health and life in their service; and the Church of Christ on earth a most devoted labourer and successful worker.'
'Of all our Bible emblems applied to the life of a child of God, these two - Shining Light and Ripened Grain - seem to us most fitly to describe her life and work. That radiance and fruitfulness were the most distinguishing characteristics of this dear servant of the Lord, all who came in contact with her will readily admit. We believe, therefore, that it will be to the glory of our Lord and Master that we should endeavour, by a brief sketch of her life and labours, to show how bright was the light, how abundant the fruitfulness, and, therefore, how gloriously full and free is the Source from whence they were derived.'
'As our readers trace with us how, wherever the "Master placed her, there Mrs. Charlesworth was used to guide many feet into the way of peace, there her hand was enabled to sow in many hearts the seed of eternal life, surely it will awaken praise, and help those who deeply mourn her death, to feel that, while a valuable and, as we should have thought, a necessary life has been cut short, still the Master has not erred, the grain was fully ripe, and therefore, of course, the sickle was put in "immediately;" the whole body was full of light and, therefore, the time had indeed come for her to pass beyond all earth's shadows to the presence of the King.'
'Maria Charlesworth was born at Clapham, May 8th, 1826. While yet almost a child she began her life of service as a Sunday-school teacher and cottage visitor, under the then rector of the parish. Archdeacon Dealtry. With her it was truly a first giving herself to the Lord to receive inward life, and then to His Church to render outward service; therefore, in reviewing her labours, we find no touches of an unconsecrated hand, no energetic warring after the flesh to mar the service of forty years. True, the light needed to be increased and purified, the blade had to be succeeded by the ear, and that by the full corn in the ear; but from first to last it was the light of Christ that was reflected, the life of Christ that was manifested. As she grew older she began to hold at her father's house a Bible-class for young shop-women; this class came to number about seventy members, great blessing attended it, and it is believed that many were won to the Lord.'
'After her marriage she lived for twelve years in the lovely village of Limpsfield, in Surrey; filling there, to its utmost circumference, that wide circle of duties that belong to the wife of the rector of a large country parish. Her Mothers' Meetings and her Bible-classes for young men were specially blest to the definite conversion and building up of souls; but also in every cottage of a widely scattered village she was known as a friend who had always leisure and sympathy for the poor, and to whom nothing seemed difficult or impossible that was likely to be a true benefit to them.'
'It was in the course of this period of her life that she experienced a great increase of that joy of the Lord which is strength, through the firmer grasp, by a matured faith, of the present power of our risen Lord as Conqueror of Sin, and our indwelling Source of strength to do or to bear the whole will of God; so that she was carried through many trials and cares with a radiance of peace and joy plainly visible from that time forward to all who knew her, and which excited remark even from those who were ignorant of its source. That radiance never afterwards left her, and was one reason of the peculiar attraction she exercised over those to whom she spoke and with whom she pleaded. Jesus Himself was the joy of that loving heart, and His name ever brightened her whole countenance.'
'On her husband becoming Rector of Limehouse, the peaceful country home so dear to her was left, and she entered upon a sphere of constant and exhausting labour during the last twelve years of her life. Of these labours we have not the space, nor indeed sufficiently accurate knowledge, to speak in detail. She herself was ever more ready to tell her friends of work that needed to be done, or of blessing that the Lord had vouchsafed, than of her own share in the work accomplished, her own instrumentality as the channel of that blessing. Nevertheless, could our readers go amongst the factory girls of that district, they would find that she had laboured untiringly for their benefit, had won her way into the hearts of many of the wildest and roughest among them, and that she had led many a precious soul to Jesus. The same might be said of her ragged evening classes, her men's Bible-classes, and her mothers' meetings; none lacked the true tokens of success from the Lord - changed hearts, changed lives, and changed homes.
'Not only could our dear friend touch the hearts of the lowest and poorest, but her frequent drawing-room addresses to ladies were much valued, and proved of highest benefit; whilst the workers of the Mildmay Association lovingly and gratefully remember the helpful words she spoke to them at some of their quarterly meetings. On one of these occasions, after speaking on the subject of Spiritual Sacrifices, she said:-
'"Our lives, if need be, must be a sacrifice unto the Lord. If we would faithfully serve God, we must not think too much of our own lives, because there are many places where work cannot be done without sacrifice of health. If God calls us where our lives are likely to be spent and worn out in service, do not let us hold back. If we know what it is to experience the power of being risen with Jesus, we shall know, too, that in many things we must die with Him. Not wantonly sacrificing ourselves, but just putting life, as well as all besides, in His hands, and being willing to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth."'
'Here we have the key to her life and work. When God placed her in Limehouse, He did call her to labour at the cost of health and life: but the crowded mission-room, the vitiated atmosphere, the garret devoid of every article of furniture but a wooden table and a pot of paste, and from whose wretched floor the half-made match-boxes, spread out to dry, had to be carefully moved to give her even space to kneel beside the sick or dying - all these, and the far more depressing sight of awful sin and wickedness, never caused her to relax her efforts; day after day, night after night, steadily, perseveringly, and with a calm knowledge of the probable cost to herself, she spent her life, and she spent it "very gladly."'
'None but herself knew how complete that expenditure had been till her health gave way entirely; even then it was hoped that complete rest might restore her, and arrangements were made for her to leave Limehouse. But He who knoweth our frame, saw that no repose was deep enough to rest her weary body, save the sleep that He giveth to His beloved, and that only in "the rest that remaineth for the people of God" could that yearning heart cease from its labours. Therefore it pleased Him, after a brief time of severe suffering, to receive her unto Himself.'
'Her last day on earth was spent in listening to her favourite hymns, sung to her by her three daughters; her last connected words, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds." Then followed a night of unconsciousness, when the spirit withdraws itself into the innermost chamber of its earthly tabernacle, and there, in the case of a true believer, meets its beloved Lord, and silently passes forth with Him. Thus, in the early morning, Maria Amelia Charlesworth entered into the joy of her Lord.'
'She died at Clapham; her body was laid to rest in Limpsfield Churchyard, followed to the grave by a large number of true mourners from Mildmay, Limehouse, and Limpsfield.
'And now, leaving her own works to praise her, as they will continue to do for many a year, wherever she was known, and her Lord to praise her with His own "Well done" when He cometh, we pass on to say a few words as to the source of her light-bearing and her fruitfulness, in the hope that where one fruitful ear has been reaped and garnered, there many like unto it may appear; and where one lamp has been carried into the heavenly sanctuary, there others lighted from it may shine out upon the darkness.'
'The secret of her shining was the "single" or "clear" eye. "If thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light." Jesus had touched her eyes, and looking up to Him she saw everything clearly, and therefore the seen things of earth, which clog and delay and hinder so many of us, were unreal to her in comparison with the reality of things heavenly. To these realities she was ever keenly alive; first things were truly first with her; work for souls, spiritual interests of every kind, had always the prior claim on her heart and time - all else might wait, but not the business of the King. Her eager attention was at once gained, her delighted interest secured, by any good news of the kingdom. Clearness of spiritual vision gave such a directness of aim, and such a single-hearted simplicity to her desires, that she was spared much of the hesitation and perplexity felt by more dim-sighted workers, and was therefore able to be hopeful and cheerful, facing the greatest difficulties and discouragements with a childlike buoyancy and confidence that greatly contributed to her success in dealing with them. Her eyes looked straight on; and, looking unto Jesus only, she caught the full light of His countenance, and could shine because He shone with so direct a radiance upon her.'
'The secret of her fruitfulness we find in the words, true now of the disciple as they were of the Lord, "If it die it bringeth forth much fruit." In Christ she died to self; He Who was crucified for her became the crucifier in her, and held self in the place of death upon the Cross. Hence that absence of self-consciousness; that death unto self in its many subtle forms; that freedom of action that comes from wearing the yoke of Christ, that made her fruitful in every good work, and rendered her, not only the grand worker to be missed, but also the sympathising, gentle, and holy woman to be warmly loved and most deeply mourned.'
[Note added by the Editor. - 'It seems scarcely necessary to add to this beautiful "In Memoriam" of our departed sister, and yet we like not to omit to mention the testimonies that have come in from other quarters. One may suffice as expressing the feelings of many. Miss Whately, writing from Cairo, says:- "I cannot tell how shocked I was to see dear Mrs. Charlesworth's honoured and loved name among the list of deaths. To her it is surely gain unspeakable, but she was so needed, and we don't get others raised up to fill such places. That sweet, bright, calm face - we shall see it no more in the gatherings at the Conference rooms. . . . So those two noble sisters have been united, in less than two years, in the Eden above. How the store in Paradise is growing!" Our readers will remember the "In Memoriam" of Maria Louisa Charlesworth, which appeared in the February number of last year! Mrs. Charlesworth wrote this, and one little thought when reading it that her own earthly record was drawing so near its close. Let us "be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises."']
During the whole time of Mrs. Charlesworth's work at Limehouse, "The Christian" had appreciatingly countenanced her eflTorts and given her warm support, being the medium of many generous contributions to her mission funds. The following 'In Memoriam' notice, inserted in that journal, contains a brief outline of the close of her life on earth:-
'The late Mrs. Charlesworth.'
'We record with deepest regret the comparatively early removal of Mrs. Charlesworth, the devoted wife of the Rev. Samuel Charlesworth, rector of Limehouse. The following is a brief memorial of this beloved Christian worker in the Lord's vineyard.'
'Maria Amelia Charlesworth was born at Clapham on May 8th, 1826, and lived there up to the period of her marriage in 1857. From her childhood's days she devoted herself to the Lord's work as a Sunday-school teacher and district visitor of the poor. For many years she held a large Bible Class for young shopwomen at her father's house on Clapham Common, numbering more than seventy members. Archdeacon Dealtry was then the valued rector of Clapham, under whose wise and loving counsels she delighted to engage in any work for the benefit of the poor and their children.'
'On her marriage, she transferred to the work of her husband's parish at Limpsfield all the loving zeal and energy she had put forth at Clapham. There her Bible Class for young men was a work greatly blessed, many happy conversions being the reward of her labours. A mothers' meeting, the Sunday-school, and the farmers' daughters and wives, also called forth her prayerful interest.'
'After twelve years of labour in that large agricultural parish, she removed to the greatly larger sphere of Limehouse, where among the thousands of poor in the neighbourhood she found ample scope for her desire to serve the Lord in winning souls for Christ. The many factories in the parish, some containing the very roughest, wildest young women, were a scene of labour she delighted in, visiting them during meal-hours to read, and pray, and sing with the workers, hundreds of whom never entered a place of worship or had any care for their souls. The artisans were gathered in large numbers to her Sunday afternoon Bible Class. Bible classes for young women, schools for the waifs and strays in the parish, and her mothers'meetings - all occupied her from early morning till late at night.'
'Twelve years of such labour in an impure, foggy atmosphere, told upon her strength, and eventually a constitution, not naturally strong, succumbed under such an incessant, laborious strain.'
'During the last five or six months of her life she suffered greatly from pain and weakness, but no one could induce her to relax. She would say, with a bright smile, "No; I must go on labouring [?] dear Lord while He gives me time and strength: for if I do not work for Him, life would lose its chief joy and interest." And so the faithful servant went on, until within ten days of her departure. The last week was one of great suffering, but she delighted to have her children in her room to sing her favourite hymns, joining with them when freedom from pain or mental wandering allowed. Her last distinct utterance was the first verse of the hymn - " How sweet the name of Jesus sounds."'
'Sunday week, the closing day of her life, was indeed a holy day, occupied almost throughout with hymns and Scripture-reading and prayer. And thus she entered into the rest and joy of her Lord.'
'By her own express wish her remains were laid to rest in the peaceful churchyard of the beautiful village of Limpsfield, among the poor for whom she had so devotedly laboured during the twelve years of her life passed there.'
'A large concourse of relatives and friends, many of whom from Mildmay had been her loving fellow-workers, together with more than one hundred of the parishioners from Limehouse, mingled with the inhabitants of Limpsfield, crowded the church, and gathered around the grave.'
'The coffin was borne down the quiet village to the church, and afterwards to the grave, by the weeping members of her Men's Bible Class. In the church was sung a hymn, so descriptive of her character and life -
"Bless'd are the pure in heart,|
For they shall see our God,
The secret of the Lord is theirs,
Their soul is Christ's abode."
'At the grave after the service one of her favourite hymns, "Shall we gather at the river?" was sung by some two or three hundred voices.'
'The sun shone forth brightly upon the whole scene. Many lovely wreaths of white flowers covered the coffin, placed there by loving hands; a holy atmosphere of tranquillity pervaded the sacred spot. This closing scene of her beautiful, noble life seemed to be bathed with heaven's light, and to have breathed around it heaven's peace. It spoke of life, not death; of heaven's joy, not earthly sorrow. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." (Dan. xii. 3.)'
On the Sunday following Mrs. Charlesworth's death funeral sermons were preached in the Parish Church. The following brief outline of them appeared in one of the local journals, a reporter of the paper having been present.
'On Sunday last sermons, having reference to Mrs. Charlesworth's death, were preached in the Parish Church, Limehouse. The church was filled at both services with large and attentive congregations.
'The Rev. J. F. Kitto, M.A., rector of Stepney, preached in the morning, taking for his text I Cor. XV. 57, 58. "Death," said the preacher, "is the common heritage of man; and on every side, and at all times, the evidences of death could be observed. Death was a terrible thing to the man who had not the hope given him in God's blessed book, and the bravest man might tremble when called to face a future which was quite unknown to him. But it was not so with the Christian. Death, as revealed in the Gospel, was a desirable thing, and the Apostle pointed out to his followers the fact that God had given us the victory over death. That day they were mourning the loss of one who had endeared herself to them all. They knew more of Mrs, Charlesworth's life and work than he did, and therefore it would be out of place for him to do more than draw some lessons from the secret of her success in her work for the Lord. He would mention three sources of her success. One was that she was strong in Christ - she could do all things through Christ, who strengthened her; another was her life of holiness and purity; and a third her perfect self-denial. It did seem strange that the purest and best, and those that seemed most useful, should be so soon taken away. But it was true, nevertheless. The Master comes into His garden to gather His lilies. His pure, spotless flowers, just as the man who owns a large garden visits it, and culls for his use its choicest products,"'
'The evening sermon was preached by the Rev. A. S. Melville, B.A., the curate of the parish church. He took his text from the lesson for the evening, "Thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan. xii. 13). After stating that Daniel was one of those characters which stand out boldly in history, and arrest our attention, Mr. Melville went on to say: "There can be no reasonable doubt but that the rest promised to Daniel was that quiet which all the saints of God have when they are 'freed from the burden of the flesh,' which also rests in kindred earth till the dawn of an eternal day. Perhaps the Old Testament seer had not the same clear view of the future as the Beloved Disciple had when he heard the statement, which has come home often since with comforting power to hearts bowed down by sorrow, 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours.' These considerations naturally lead me to speak of the life of her whose remains some of us followed to their last resting-place yesterday. She has entered into that rest into which Daniel has entered; and, like him, will stand in her lot at the end of the days. The few words that will fall from me will be those of one who looked on for upwards of two years. The inner life can be known only to a few - and to her God; and it contains much that is too sacred to be spoken of by every one. The one motive which prompted our departed friend's every act for the welfare of others, in this parish and elsewhere, was the glory of God, as the result of a deep love to the Saviour. Whatever else may have been wrong, the heart was right. I have known many kind hearts, and many filled with a Saviour's love; but none more so than that which ceased to beat last Monday morning. No tale of sorrow or suffering was heard unmoved. And her great desire to benefit the souls and bodies of those around her might be seen in the numerous works which she superintended or carried on. Her Girls' Sunday School, her Working Men's Bible Class, her Sunday School for Ragged Children, her work among the factory hands, all testified to the existence of this desire. And how often have the fatherless and widow been visited in their affliction! The little Ragged School children were provided with many articles of clothing to protect them from the winter's cold. The needy women who came thronging to the Mission-room were sure of being, supplied with some nourishing food for themselves, and those depending on them, when work was slack and times were hard. The poor and helpless were sought after and cared for, and they could offer no recompense except grateful hearts; but the reward will come at 'the resurrection of the just'. There was one feature in the character of our friend which I must not omit to mention, for it is a very singular feature, and one which few can lay claim to, and that was, that during all my varied intercourse with her about parochial matters I never heard her utter a harsh word about any one. We can scarcely realise that she has been taken from us, and is now at rest. The voice that used to arrest the attention of those who attended her meetings is hushed in the silence of the grave. The heart that was so full of sympathy has ceased to beat The lips that refused to frame an unkind word are motionless. She spent largely, and was herself spent early, in the Master's service. She has entered into her needed rest, and will stand in her lot at the end of the days. We do not sorrow, my brethren, as those who have no hope. Living or dead, the saints are united to each other, because united to a common Saviour. 'A few more years shall roll' - perhaps not even years - and we too shall rest, and stand in our lot beside those who have preceded us into the presence of the Saviour."'
The following sermon was preached in the the Church of St Anne, Limehouse, by the Rev. Samuel Charlesworth on the last Sunday of his ministrations there.
'For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' - I Cor. iii. 11.
'My dear Christian friends, when about twelve years since I for the first time occupied this pulpit, I took for my text the verse which I have just read; and now on the last Sunday of my ministry among you, I again choose that same verse to gather from it a few parting thoughts as my last words of loving exhortation to you.'
'But I would, first of all, explain to you why I have taken such a responsible and important step as the relinquishment of the charge of this parish.
During the last two years my health and strength have greatly failed, and I felt this failure to be an intimation that a younger and more vigorous man was needed to fulfil effectively the duties of this large parish. But as I had the help of two such kind and able fellow-workers, I thought that I might continue the incumbency until the erection of the new district church of St. Peter's, a church assigned to this parish, with a liberal endowment, by the Bishop of London at my request eleven years since. About six months ago, my dear wife, who has been such an able fellow-helper to me in this parish, fell ill; and her illness assumed so serious a form that, under medical advice, I found it necessary to take a house for her and our children in the country. As her illness increased, I felt that I could not be separated from her during the coming winter; and I therefore two months since, with her approval, applied to the Bishop of London for permission to resign my charge here. This was immediately granted in words of kind sympathy and regret. However, in God's providence, the arrangement thus made with the hope of restoring my wife to health, or at least of prolonging her valuable life, was unavailing. Her illness increased rapidly; four weeks since, on Saturday evening, she attended the last meeting at her Mission-house for which she had strength, and a fortnight afterwards she entered upon her eternal rest.'
'I cannot address you at such a time as this, and under such circumstances, without bearing testimony to her noble life and beautiful character. You are witnesses, my brethren, how lovingly and devotedly she has laboured among you, for the good of the souls and bodies of those committed to our charge; but few of you perhaps really know the full extent of her labours. They were to her labours of love; she lived to work for Christ, and delighted in His service. She was instant in season, out of season; willing to be spent in the Lord's service, if only she might win precious souls for Him, and do good to the poor and young of this flock.'
'My work was distinct from hers. She felt that the parish was large enough to give to each of us a separate area. She therefore selected that character of work which she could carry on irrespective of my personal co-operation; leaving me more free for the services of the Church, the superintendence of the week-day schools, and the visitation of the sick and infirm.'
'And now her work and labour of love is ended, and she has entered into the joy of her Lord; but the results will long endure in this parish, the fruit will be gathered in many years to come. Gratefully do I acknowledge all the help she has received from so many of you, dear Christian friends, whom she animated with her spirit, her zeal and love. In speaking of what she has done, I would not overlook the self-denying, devoted labours of others, some of which extend over a longer period and embrace a wider range than her work has included. To all of you, my dear Christian friends - the superintendents of our Sunday schools, our Sunday-school teachers, the managers of our week-day schools and the teachers therein, to those who have had the care of our Sunday evening Ragged school, and to all others who have been so helpful to me in the parochial and ministerial work of this large parish, especially to my valued fellow-helper in the work of the ministry who has been so great a comfort to me in this season of heavy trial - to all of you I do, from my heart, render my most grateful thanks, praying...'
[pages 74 and 75 missing]
'During the twelve years that I have ministered unto you, my brethren, I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified; and in seeking out for my fellow-helpers in the Gospel, I always sought to have associated with me those who would thus preach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
'In these days religion has many foundation-layers, men who are proclaiming to the world another Gospel than that of the Bible. The most to be dreaded of such unwise builders is the scientific rationalist, who lays his foundation on human knowledge from observation and experience. Demonstration is to them the only test of truth. From such teaching spring Atheism, Deism, and Rationalism, the various forms of infidelity which utterly ignore the miracles of the Bible, the work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the influence of the Holy Spirit. On the lips of such teachers a universal benevolence is substituted for a divine, discriminating love, and a material or physical evolution and natural adaptation of things for creative power, wisdom, and design.'
'Then there are the foundation-layers of Romish doctrine and ritual, - men who put the sacraments before the Lord who ordained them, and who assume and ascribe to priestly functions the power and authority belonging only to God. The outcome of such errors is a covert holding of the doctrine of transubstantiation, and a belief in the efficacy of the sacraments to cleanse and save, apart from the faith of the recipients. Confession and priestly absolution are the stubble put upon this foundation.'
'Other layers of a false foundation are men who would preach the Gospel through sensual attractions, turning their Sunday schools into exhibitions of works of art on Sunday and their churches into concert-rooms; destroying the spirit of our noble Liturgy by ritual eccentricities or musical extravagances. Alas! my brethren, there are many such builders of their foundations upon sand. God grant that this dear Church and congregation may ever be preserved from the wood, hay, and stubble, of such teachers; that the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ may be held and taught here in all its fulness, freeness, and simplicity.'
'One parting word, dear brethren, as to our own foundation: the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone.'
'For twelve years we have worshipped together in this grand earthly temple, made with hands. Our Church services have grown upon me year by year in their beauty and appropriateness, through your responsive appreciation of their power and utility, in their own simple fervour and scriptural conformity. Earnestly do I beseech you to hold fast to this form of sound words and doctrine; be not allured by ritual or musical attractions, on the one hand, or, on the other, by the unsettling, unwise extravagances of evangelistic teachers (so called) who substitute excitement for sober truth and sound doctrine, and sentimental enthusiasm for practical godliness and faith. Let the foundation of your religious belief be the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of Grod which taketh away the sin of the world, - the Son of God, Who, in dying, died for you, and Who, in rising again, gave the assurance of your resurrection to newness of life. May your names all be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that it may be said of you by the Lord, "And they shall be mine in that day that I make up my jewels."'
This signature was in the research of my parents, together with a photocopy of this book:
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