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people shall take unto Himself His great power, dethroning Satan, and exalting the Church in the fullest possession of all His promises. Then shall our eyes behoid THE King in His beauty. Then shall we inhabit the land now so very far off, and, until then, may the Lord Himself be the help of His chosen, and of your humble servant in Christ,
CHARLES WATERS BANKS. 1, Portland terrace, Hackney.
* An Abundant Entrance.
A MEMOIR OF ELIZABETH ROOTS, OF HARVEL, MEOPHAM, KENT.
BY RICHARD BAX, PASTOR OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH, MEOPHAM.
How much easier and pleasanter it is to peruse a well written gracious obituary of a departed saint, than it is to write one. Yet, “in all labour there is profit.” And this is a kind of labour which has ofttimes been made very profitable, both to saint and sinner. God's saints are ever interested in those things which relate to spiritual experience, and are always glad to read a faithful testimony of the power of Divine grace in the heart, that so they may compare notes with those whose ransomed spirits have passed into the regions of unclouded light, and everlasting rest and glory. Nor is there anything wrong in this pleasant exercise, for the spouse of the Canticles was directed in like manner by the great and good Shepherd, Bridegroom, and Beloved, Himself, when thus He spake “ If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." Cant. i. 8. There is a right and proper use to be made of the Christian experience of a believer, and there is also an improper use which is often made of those experiences of a Christian, which cannot without great impropriety of language, be called Christian experience. To recount the various weaknesses, sins, and failings of the believer, cannot possibly result in any good save in those instances where the triumphs of grace are made more illustrious by a faithful and unvarnished relation of the same. But who is sufficient for these things ? For, “ who can understand his own errors ? And if, at times, even the most eminently spiritual of the household of faith, cannot distinguish the actings of the flesh from the strivings of the Spirit, nor resolve their state into a sound judgment, how can it be expected that one should be so acquainted with the heart of another as to write a sermon of his or her experience, the actings of the Divine life in the soul ? "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. ii. 11). When we converse with others respecting things spiritual and Divine, and their apprehension and experience of the same, we are obliged to trust to their veracity and judgment of spiritual matters, testing the same by the unerring Word of God, and whether the statement fall with life and savour upon our own spirit, accompanied with the power of the Holy Ghost. Beyond this we cannot go. And hence it is of the utmost importance that we
thus “try the spirits whether they are of God." The apostle laid down as an incontrovertible, discriminating, precious, spiritual, and vital truth, that “he that is joined unto the Lord, is one spirit.” where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” to speak one to another, of the things which we have tasted, and handled, and felt of “the good word of God.” There may be great diversity of state and condition between the conversing parties, but still as they both are taught by the self-same Spirit, (if they be Christians indeed,) a spontaneous fellowship of feeling and spirit, will spring up between them. The beloved apostle John, recognises and asserts the same experimental fact, when thus he writes, “ That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son JESUS CHRIST." 1 John i. 3. But this was not the only reason why John wrote these things unto them, for as he immediately adds, " that your JOY may be FULL.
With these reflections, a few_particulars of one who was but a babe in grace, when she fell asleep in Jesus, shall be now introduced for the edification of those who search into this EARTHEN VESSEL for spiritual treasure.
ELIZABETH Roots was born October 16th, 1842, her parents being moral, honest, industrious people, belonging to the agricultural class. Though at that time her parents did not, we presume, know anything of spiritual experimental religion for themselves, yet they sent their daughter Elizabeth to the Sunday School connected with the Baptist Chapel, Meopham. She continued in the school for some time, but whatever impressions she may have received there, they were not of an abiding character, but were lost in the “vânities” of childhood and youth.
When of sufficient age Elizabeth left home for domestic service, and continued in her situation as long as her health permitted, but at length the insidious foe-consumption-compelled her to relinquish servitude and repair home, where she hoped to regain her former health and strength. All that a mother's fond solicitude, with limited means, could do was done for her daughter ; but the creature's desires were not to be realised in this way. God's purposes respecting this straying one were soon to be unveiled in the deathbed scenes that followed. Elizabeth, like all other of God's children before they are “ renewed in the spirit of their mind,” plainly manifested that “the carnal mind is enmity against God,” and hence she had no love for His ways nor to His people. She was moral, but not spiritual. Poor girl, she seemed to be unaware of her dangerous condition, naturally and spiritually. Her mind and heart were alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that was in her. She was opposed to attending any place of worship, both before and for some time after her illness commenced. On one occasion her mother, who is now a member of the Baptist church at Ryarsh, under the pastoral care of John Jull, asked if she would accompany her to chapel, when she received for an answer, “ You go where you please, and I will go where I please.” The anxious mother then asked, “ Would you like to die?” to which Elizabeth replied, “ No." This faithful, affectionate dealing of the mother with her daughter's soul seemed to rouse her from her spiritual torpor, for soon after she manifested great concern for her future safety in the world to come, being in great trouble about her state as a sinner before God; and while her mind was gradually awakening to the unspeakable worth of her immortal soul, her health was gradually declining, so that she began to lose hope of recovering again. Now her fears of death became sore, and harassed her mind exceedingly, knowing as she did that she was not prepared for that great and solemn change. Who can fully estimate the anguish of a mortal spirit while in such a frame of mind ? Hoping for the best, but fearing the worst.
About this time it was her lot to spend a short time with a family of very promising children, one of whom, though of a tender age, proposed a prayer-meeting among themselves, and invited Elizabeth to engage in prayer with them, which, however, she declined, adding, “ I cannot pray; I do not know how." Upon this representation the dear child herself knelt down and prayed with such exquisite tenderness of feeling, comprehensiveness of petition, and appropriateness to their several circumstances, making special allusion to the case of Elizabeth, that a deep and lasting impression was produced on her mind, and to which she ofte alluded, exclaiming, “I wish I could pray like little Harty.” Every week now told rapidly upon her departing health, her emaciated body plainly and solemnly reminding her that she was drawing near to the grave, and soon, very soon, her spirit would “return unto God who gave it.” In this condition she was visited by an esteemed brother, whose occasional ministerial services have been greatly owned by the Lord, who spoke to her in a very serious, searching, solemn manner, asking whether she felt herself to be as great a sinner as others ? to which the poor girl replied, “ No." However, after this brother left, she began to reflect very deeply upon the things that had passed between them in conversation, when it occurred to her mind that she had not properly explained her meaning, and remarking that, what she intended was, she had not been permitted to go such lengths in actual transgression as many had; but before God she felt herself to be as the chief of sinners. But so tender was her conscience in the truth at this time, that she felt very unhappy in mind, lest she had unwittingly deceived a dear servant of the Lord. Now, she was brought into fellowship with the poor publican in the temple, crying, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” Frequent and earnest were her petitions to God now, that He would pardon her sins. Prayer now was the only means of obtaining relief for her burdened spirit.
Many and bitter were her reflections now for her past irreligious conduct and temper, concerning attendance at the publicministrations of God's truth, and the various ordinances of Divine worship; may others profit by her folly.
By this time Elizabeth had become so weakly and feeble that she was obliged to remain within during the greater part of her time, and ofttimes, indeed, was confined to her bed. An aged brother, retired from business, and a deacon of the Meopham church, was constant and frequent in his visits to her, and who read, prayed, and conversed with her from time to time, as to the foundation of her hope, and her prospects beyond the grave, from whence none ever return. The visits of this dear brother were very highly esteemed, and were of great service to the sick, but seeking child of Lord. Often did poor Elizabeth express the pleasureshe felt in Mr. Crowhurst's visits to her, observing, “ I always feel so happy to hear his voice, and listen to his footsteps up the stairs." It was about this time that the writer of this memoir began regularly to visit the now sainted sinner. Knowing full well how little dependence is so be placed in deathbed repentances generally, I was exceedingly anxious to know just how she regarded herself as a sinner against God. Various and many were the questions and weighty truths addressed to her, as in the fear and presence of God; and it was no small comfort to find that all her hopes could be expressed in the beautiful language of Watts
" A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On thy kind arms I fall :
My Jesus and my all." In answer to my enquiries as to the beginning of her soul trouble, she told me that after she was confined to her bed, she began to reflect upon the past, and how unfit she was to die, and stand before the throne of a holy God. Then it was she saw and felt herself to be a lost and ruined sinner, and that her sins became an intolerable burden, and the pains of hell gat hold upon her. The fear of being cast into hell, constrained her to cry mightily for mercy, and to look for the same through the cross of Christ. O how eagerly did she drink in the precious tidings of sovereign grace, through the rent vail of a Saviour's flesh! She told me she did did not fear death, could she but be assured by the Lord himself, that all her sins were blotted out. Having conversed with her for some time, she desired that I should read and pray with her before leaving. At her request, I read 42nd Psalm, as being expressive of her state, and the fervent breathings of her soul for the friendship of God. At a subsequent visit, she told me that the 14th chapter of John, had been made a great comfort to her mind, filling her with joyful hope that Jesus would not “cast her out,” but, finally receive her into His everlasting kingđom of glory. She appears to have lain awake nearly all the night following her reading the above portion of Scripture, and so precious were her meditations concerning the pity, tenderness, love, and faithfulness, of the dear Redeemer as revealed in that chapter, that in the morning she told her mother she could repeat the whole of the chapter. As the disease progressed, her bodily sufferings increased also, at one time her legs were much swollen, and her body sore and tender, through her confinement to her bed, but still she bore all meekly and patiently, at times expressing her grateful sense at the Lord's great kindness to her. When referring to this one day, she said to her mother, “How merciful God is to me, at one time my poor body was so sore, but now that my legs are bad my body is better.” Her mother replied, “ Yes, my dear, it will soon be over,” to which the dear sufferer said, “ Yes,
"They die in Jesus, and are blessed;
How kind their slumbers are !
And freed from every snare.' At another time she said to her devoted parent, “ As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God;" to which her mother made reply, “ Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Elizabeth joined in by expressing her hope that such should be her blessed and eternal portion.
Being very happy in her mind at this time she spoke to her brother James, who lay very near her heart, and said how she wished she could see a spiritual change in him, and that he might experience what she felt; for, “ What is life? It is but a vapour.” About three weeks before her departure out of this life, a Christian young man from Halling, a member of the Ryarsh church, spent a whole day with her, conversing about the precious things of God's glorious and infallible salvation to every heir of mercy. This was a day of feasting and rejoicing to Elizabeth. During the week following this visit I saw her again, and could but notice her rapid growth in grace, for whatever lingering suspicions I might have entertained before, they could find no place in my thoughts now. She could express her various exercises of mind in language so perspicuous and intelligent at this time that seemed more like conversing with one who had been long in the way of faith and peace. One circumstance ever encouraged me in my visits to her, viz., the heavenly freedom with which I could address the throne of grace on her behalf. Doubtless the Spirit, who knew the desires and wants of his dear saint, assisted me as king for those things she needed, and of expressing the longings of her heart. On this subject her mother remarks, “She has often said, how much she enjoyed Mr. Bax's visit, she did so like to hear him pray.” “ The days of her mourning” were nearly ended, and soon she was to “ run up the shining way," and enter through the pearly gates, and walk the golden streets, where the Lamb is seen face to face, and where His servants shall serve Him in his presence for ever and ever. A little while before her end came, she began repeating and singing the whole of that sweet hymn
" Ah! I shall soon be dying,” and when she had finished, she said, “I am so happy ; come, Lord Jesus, come quickly." After which she exclaimed, “O mother, I can see the blessed angels beckoning me to the skies.” And soon after this she said, with great joyousness of soul, “ O mother, I can see the blessed Jesus with outstretched arms, ready to receive me.” And then she sang the hymn
" There is a happy land, far, far away," Not long after she sang the whole of a Sunday-school piece, entitled, “Shall we meet beyond the river"? This she desired should be sung over her grave, at the funeral. Her thoughts were now wholly taken up with "the glory that was to follow." At one moment, while so employed, she broke forth in the ardency of her spirit,
" One day amidst the place
Where my dear God hath been,
Of pleasurable sin.” The great Shepherd mercifully preserved her from the violent assaults of Satan, so that in her dying moments she had but little else to do than to “sing of goodness and mercy." Almost her last words were, “ PRECIOUS JESUS ! PRECIOUS JESUS,” and having breathed for about ten minutes longer, she was “ absent from the body, and present with the Lord” “ Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” And thus fell asleep in Jesus, Elizabeth Roots, aged twenty-four years, Nov. 21st, 1866.
At the request of the departed, the writer preached a funeral sermon from aer chosen words, Phil. i. 23, latter part, to a numerous congregation.