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the widow," hastened to become her helper. The event has fully proved that her's was not that common and contemptible mixture of mawkish sorrow and childish superstition, which, assuming the semblance of devotion's flame, dances its little month over the grave it came to consecrate, ther fades with the fading recollection of its cause. No! from that lone hour to the last of her life, Margaretta Nicholas appears to have thought and felt and acted as became a christian; and it is her's now to record it in the anthem which she sings that the affliction which pierced her young and widowed heart, though grievous for the time, was made abundantly productive, through the blessing of the Highest, of “the peaceful fruits of righteousness.” Even then, though no professor of the religion of the Saviour, she had the courage to rebuke the lasness of many who bad been far better taught, and rested the defence of her móre rigid conduct and unbending views, on the written word of God. Thus early did she brave the “trial of cruel mockings," the common brand of that “cloud of witnesses," with whom she now associates!
Her return to the bosom of her family occured during the erection of this little church. From that hour you were witnesses of her manner of life. You saw the lustre of those excellencies which had endeared her youth to many, chastened and brightened by the hope of immortality. Yet her's at first was a faint and lingering hope. It was but gradually that her views of the gospel of salvation be: came so clear and fixed as to minister solid peace. Meanwhile she was sedulous in the pursuit of christian knowledge. Her reading was principally confined to the most useful class of books: her attendance on the public ministrations of the sanctuary, was devout and regular: and occasionally she so far overcome the scruples of a peculi arly sensitive and retiring disposition as to unfold at least a portion of ber difficulties to some few christian friends,
But we cannot give the history of her religious life, short as it was, and imperfectly as it was scanned through the veil which her modest diffidence threw around it. It is enough that all the diffidence of a nature so very retiring did not unfit her for the conflict of the christian. On that she calculated; she made up her mind to brave it; and rarely has a character fallen under our notice that could boast so much decision and such cool discrimination, as we know to have been evinced repeatedly by her in the course of her brief profession.
“Cruel mockings” attended her at home, as well as in that city of the south: but these she endured, “as seeing him who is invisible.” The seductions of a more fashionable and liberal religion were presented to allure her: but her independent spirit collected from the bible the faith she was to follow, and mocked at the magic of a name. We might note the firmness with which she made her first profession of that faith; the respect she always manifested for the various regulations that guard the order and discipline of the churches; the unfeigned humility with which she always bowed to the authority of those scriptures which were from time to time suggested with a view to mould her course: but who can recount the half, or even the hundreth part of the excellence which every day will unfold in those whom God's good spirit makes fruitful in exery work of righteousness!
A thousand recollections crowd upon my mind, a thou: sand anecdotes might be recorded here, which afford such confirmation of a truly christian character, as must put to
the blush the proudest pretensions of a thousand modern "talkatives.” But these must be reserved for the comments of that day, when a cup of cold water given to a disciple shall meet its notice and its recompense at the proper hand.
From the time at which she became known as Mrs. Fletcher, her lot was assigned her in a distant county. We know nothing of the manner in which she spent her time, during the year that saw her seperated from most of her christian friends, and altogether deprived of the ministrations of the sanctuary. Doubtless she felt the privation keenly: doubtless she submitted to it as became a christian.
But it was not the purpose of the Father of mercies to expose his child long to the sorrows and temptations of a state like that. The time of her departure was at hand. A cold which she took, when availing herself of some case úal opportunity of attending public worship, on an unfavorable day, at an unfavorable place, appears to have been the messenger sent to hasten her departure.
Her last illness was long and painful. Such indeed was its violence during the latter stages, that she was seldom self-possessed for many hours together. Yet generally, we are assured, her heart seemed to point to the Saviour whom she had followed, even during the wildest ravings of her fancy. And on him she would often call, and on one or two far distant christian friends, when in the extremity of her pain she knew none of those around her.-But all her hours were not of this dark hue. And when in full possession of her mental powers, and sufficiently free from pain to converse with ease, her conversation still gave testimony to the value of her hope, and to the blessa
ed reality of her christian character. "It is peace,” yes, "it is peace,” was the message which she sent to her distant christian friends, by one who hopes to know the value of such a blessing—yes, it is peace;" and as she made up her little message, she mingled with it her tears. But thine, Margaretta, were not tears of bitterness!
Her's was indeed an interesting death-bed. It was mournful, yet pleasing to hear the lovely sufferer feelingly bemoaning the imperfections of her life; while she spurned the consolations which friends would have her draw from the irreproachable and even exemplary course she had pursued, and profess that all her hope was in the cross of Christ.--It was cheering to remark how sanctified affection prompted her to employ her little remaining strength in attempting to promote the salvation of her friends. O, who could withstand the interesting pleader, when with that wasted hand grasping the arms of some near relatives, her countenance all radiant with the hope of heaven, she with a feeble voice besought them to think of their salvation !-Nor may we numberit among the smallest consolations of that scene, that the mere reading of God's word would stay the wanderings of her mind, when nothing else could fix it; and that one of the songs of Ziion would soothe her chafed spirit, and compose her troubJed countenance to a look of sweet complacency in the midst of racking pains.
When her last moments drew nigh, she was fully aware of her situation. Only three short hours were appointed her, after she recovered from that wandering state with which so many of her days had been afflicted. She felt that her end drew righ. And at that interesting crisis she was left, like Bunyan's pilgrim in the valley of the
shadow of death, to tread the fearful path alone. There was none to pray with her: there was none to animate her. And, like the pilgrim, laying aside every other weapon, she filled up the measure of her journey with one incessant prayer.--Thus did she go down into the waters of that Jordan, calling on her dear Redeemer. And still as she went on, they, whom she was leaving on these mortal shores, could hear that much loved name pronounced in a fainter and still fainter voice; till at length the fashion of her countenance was changed, and — Sister Margagetta! where was then thy spirit!
Her prayer was heard: the arms of tender and everlasting mercy bore her safely through: and just on the shores of blissful immortality, angels and ministers of grace stood ready to give her fond welcome to the realms of light. Then all was peace, my friend! I have seen thee often, when clouded skies or winter's cold could not restrain thy footsteps from this house of prayer: I have seen thee weep when an appeal had reached thine ears, founded on the joy that circulates through the ranks of those same ministering spirits, if one sinful creature but consents to bow to the requisitions of the Saviour. And I have witnessed thy determination, humble but decided, to give that joy to heaven, by choosing the reproaches together with the triumphs of the cross of Christ, and setting thyself scrupulously to obey his word. Thou hast thy recompense! thou hadst. it at that hour when angels descended to conduct the. stranger to the presence of her God.
Yes, I record it in the hearing of this multitude, that she who did not hesitate to obey the word of God, without being detered by the current of fashion, or seduced by the blandishments of those sophistical religionists who claim