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MRS. SARAH SAVAGE.
HER BIRTH, EARLY PIETY, AND MAR
SARAH, the eldest daughter of the Rev. PHILIP HENRY and CATHERINE his wife,* was born August 7, 1664, at Broad Oak, in Flintshire. Of her eminently pious parents nothing need be here said—their praise has long been in the churches.†
It is not surprising that, at this distance of time, but little can be stated as to the early period of her life. The discovery of an unusual degree of amiableness, connected with mental energy, secured particular attention to her education.
*See Appendix, Note A.
See Philip Henry's Life, and Matthew Henry's Sermon on the death of his mother, appended to it.
She was taught to read by the Rev. William Turner, who, prior to his admission into the University, resided at Broad Oak for instruction. Her learned father, by the aid of a grammar which he compiled for the purpose, in English, instructed her, when only six or seven years old, in the Hebrew tongue, and she went so far in it, as to be able readily to read and construe a Hebrew Psalm.
She also, while young, wrote outlines of the sermons she heard preached; and her diary frequently mentions the comfort and edification she experienced in reviewing them. This custom was continued to old age, and many volumes are still extant, no less proofs of her industry and neatness, than valuable specimens of ministerial skill and fidelity. She preserved in writing, likewise, her honored parent's stated Expositions in the family, and used them, through life, in her private perusal of the Scriptures.
Through the divine blessing, promised to a religious education, the means used for her spiritual welfare were not in vain, for her parents witnessed, in the years too often sinfully employed, a devotedness to God, which could not fail to promote their veneration and love to the great author of saving mercy.
Noticing, when seventy years of age, the period alluded to, she thus expressed herself:
Afterwards Vicar of Walburton, in Sussex.
"I was conceived in sin, and brought forth in iniquity; yet a kind providence took care of me, and preserved me safe through the perils of infancy. My great Creator and Benefactor endued me with understanding, reason, a capacity to learn-but infinite goodness gave me early advantages by religious parents, such as, I am ready to think, the whole world can hardly produce the like. I was betimes taught my catechism, and other things proper for my age. I had excellent examples. Religion was set before me in the clearest, and best light. Secured, by privacy, from so much as seeing the corruptions the world abounds with, for the first twenty years of my life, I do not remember to have heard an oath, or to have seen a person drunk. But still, this was but negative religion-the free grace of God, in infinite mercy, took early hold of me, and brought me to feel something of the powers of the world to come."
It is well known how careful Mr. Henry was to give serious youth* an early introduction to the Lord's Supper. We, there fore, find Mrs. Savage, in her sixteenth year, a guest at the sacred table, and the time was a time of love." Several years afterwards, the recollection was pleasant.
The compiler cannot help commending, especially to his juvenile readers, a sermon by the excellent Dr. Doddridge ed "The young Christian invited to Communion:" an admirable specimen of holy reasoning;and, Matthew Henry's Communicant's Companion."
Sabbath, May 23, 1697, she writes, "I cannot but remember that upon this day, now seventeen years ago, I first gave up my name to God in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. There, through his goodness, I found great sweetness. I trust the knot was then tied, and the bargain made which will prove an everlasting covenant, never to be broken. Amen."
Henceforth her papers record increased anxiety that, by departing from iniquity, she might adorn the gospel. She was far from being satisfied with even a devotional attendance at the feast,' she aimed to manifest the reality of her faith by zeal for 'good works,' and so, with well doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
How much soever practical godliness may, by some soaring religionists, be decried as too earthly to attract their notice, or as too legal to interrupt their piety, the humble Christian will not object to meet, in this connexion, with the substance of one of Philip Henry's sermons on the important subject. It is introduced from Mrs. Sav age's copy, and as it, very probably, was her frequent companion in the closet, it may, on that account, appear the more interesting. The text is Psalm 1, 23, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God."
"There is a question-Psalm cxvi, 12. "What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits?" These words are an answer to it. Two things you must render-Praise-A well ordered conversation.
1. Praise. Be inwardly thankful in heart. Be outwardly thankful in word. This is our rent-to be paid daily-according as. our receivings are. He that doeth this is said to glorify God, that is,
Pleases him. Glorifies me. Does the thing that I delight in. The prayer of the upright is his delight. But he hath more delight in their thanksgiving than in their prayers, because therein they do not seek themselves, but wholly his glory.
Glorifies me-that is, gets me a good name among men.
2. Besides this; another duty is to look to our conversation. Those that have received mercy from God should be very careful about their conversation.
You have all reason to feel weight from God's benefits; are you willing to know what you shall render?
DOCTRINE. Though thanks giving be very good, yet thanks living is a great deal better.
What is to be done that our's may be a well-ordered conversation? Two things are of great concernment.
Our conversion. Are we new creatures? born again? Are we passed from