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was in her last conflict, unable to speak, but I believe quite sensible. Her look was calm and serene, and her eyes fixed upward, while we commended her soul to God. From three to four the silver cord was loosing, and the wheel breaking at the cistern ; and then, without any struggle, or sigh, or groan, the soul was set at liberty. We stood round the bed, and fulfilled her last request, uttered a little before she lost her speech : • Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God.'” He performed the funeral service himself, and thus feelingly describes it: “ Almost an innumerable company of people being gathered together, about five in the afternoon I committed to the earth the body of my mother to sleep with her fathers. The portion of Scripture from which I afterwards spoke was, I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. It was one of the most solemn assemblies I ever saw, or expect to see, on this side * eternity."
* The epitaph which her sons placed upon her tomb-stone is remarkable. Instead of noticing the virtues of so extraordinary and exemplary a woman, they chose to record what they were pleased to call her conversion, and to represent her as if she had lived in ignorance of real Christianity during the life of her excellent husband.
This is the inscription:Here lies the body of Mrs. Susannah Wesley, the youngest and last
surviving daughter of Dr. Samuel Annesley.
Mrs. Wesley had had her share of 'sorrow. During her husband's life she had struggled with narrow circumstances, and at his death she was left dependent upon her children. Of nineteen children she had wept over the early graves of far the greater number : she had survived her son Samuel, and she had the keener anguish of seeing two of her daughters unhappy, and perhaps of foreseeing the unhappiness of the third ; an unhappiness the more to be deplored, because it was not altogether undeserved.
Among Wesley's pupils at Lincoln was a young man, by name Hall, of good person, considerable talents, and manners which were in a high degree
In sure and stedfast hope to rise
The third stanza alludes to her persuasion that she had received an assurance of the forgiveness of her sins at the moment when her son. in-law Hall was administering the sacrament of the Lord's Supper to her,- See vol. i. p. 291.
prepossessing, to those who did not see beneath the surface of such things. Wesley was much attached to him; he thought him humble and teachable, and in all manner of conversation holy and unblameable. There were indeed parts of his conduct which might have led a wary man to suspect either his sanity or his sincerity ; but the tutor was too sincere himself, and too enthusiastic, to entertain the suspicion which some of his extravagancies might justly have excited. He considered them as “ starts of thought which were not of God, though they at first appeared to be;" and was satisfied, because the young man
“ was easily convinced, and his imaginations died away.” Samuel formed a truer judgement. “ I never liked the man,” says he, « from the first time I saw him. His smoothness never suited my roughness. He appeared always to dread me as a wit and a jester : this with me is a sure sigu of guilt and hypocrisy. He never could meet my eye in full light. Conscious that there was something foul at bottom, he was afraid I should see it, if I looked keenly into his eye.” John, however, took him to his bosom. He became a visitor at Epworth, won the affections of the youngest sister Kezia, obtained her promise to marry him, fixed the day, and then, and not till then, communicated the matter to her brother and her parents, affirming vehemently that “ the thing was of God; that he was certain it was God's will ; God had revealed to him that he must marry, and that Kezia was the very person." Enthusiastic as Wesley himself was, the declaration startled him, and the more so, because nothing could be more opposite to some of Hall's former extravagancies. Writing to him many years afterwards, when he had thrown off all restraints of outward decency, he says, “ Hence I date your fall. Here were several faults in one. You leaned altogether to your own understanding, not consulting either me, who was then the guide of your soul, or the parents of your intended wife, till you had settled the whole affair. And while you followed the voice of Nature, you said it was the voice of God.”
In spite, however, of the ominous fanaticism or impudent hypocrisy which Mr. Hall had manifested, neither Wesley nor the parents attempted to oppose the match : it was an advantageous one, and the girl's affections were too deeply engaged. But to the utter astonishment of all parties, in the course of a few days, Mr. Hall changed his mind, and pretending, with blasphemous effrontery, that the Almighty bad changed His, declared that a second revelation had countermanded the first, and instructed him to marry not her, but her sister Martha. The family, and especially the brothers, opposed this infamous proposal with proper indignation ; and Charles addressed a poem * to the new object of his choice, which must have stung her like a scorpion whenever the recollection
* TO MISS MARTHA WESLEY. When want, and pain, and death, besiege our gate, And every solemn moment teems with fate, While clouds and darkness fill the space between, Perplex th' event, and shade the folded scene, In humble silence wait th’unuttered voice, Suspend thy will, and check thy forward choice;
Yet, wisely fearful, for th’ event prepare,