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THE WIFE OP TAF REV. J. C. COCKLE, B. D. OV BIRMINGHAM.
Toe subject of this Memoir was brought under the influence of a divine principle at a very early period of her life. The means of her conversion were out of the ordinary course, and the fact is full of instruction. She had no religious companion or adviser, and no work on scriptural principles excepting the Liturgy fell in her way. It was simply by study of her Bible and fervent prayer that she was led by degrees into correct and scriptural views of the gospel method of salvation. Two particulars must be recollected here, first, her intellectual powers were much beyond her years. So quick and powerful was her capacity when she went to school, at the age of eleven, that her governess, after the first trial, never once prescribed her task. She always exceeded the usual limits, and would often repeat eight or ten pages of the regular school exercises after a single perusal. And, secondly, ber prayers were entirely from the heart. Through life she was most decidedly opposed to all deception and formality in her religious ex
declared if her appearance before the clergyman was indispensable, she must give up the design, for she felt convinced that she should not be able to repeat even the Lord's Prayer in bis presence. Her kind governess, however, soon convinced this gentleman of her pupil's proficiency and due preparation, and she accordingly received her ticket for admission.
At fifteen she was taken from school, partly to make way for her younger sister, but chiefly on account of the great assistance which her mother promised herself from her care in superintending the education of her two daughters, still younger, who remained at home. Brought under the domestic roof, she was, alas! equally as before, without a religious guide, and could derive no benefit from what she heard at the place of worship which she attended with the family. She had learnt too much from her Bible, and was too discriminating in her judgment, to acquiesce in erroneous statements of divine truth, or feel any relish for mere moral sermons. Her constant observation was, and with no ordinary degree of surprise, that she never heard a minister whose discourses were in agreement with what she read in her Bible. At this period the ministry of the only clergyman * in her native town who preached the everlasting truths of “ the glorious
During the three years she was at school, there was a confirmation at the parish church, and though only twelve years old, her governess selected her as one of the young ladies to be confirmed. When the examining clergyman saw her, he suggested (for she was little of her age) that she had better wait for a future opportunity. Miss W. immediately observed that she had not a pupil in her school who was better prepared, and as it was inuch her own wish, she was desirous to have her admitted. Here, however a difficulty arose. This young disciple was shy and diffident in the extreme, insomuch that she
* It is a gratifying consideration that other faithful and zealous ministers have since come forward in this vast population, who are labouring with acceptance and success; and it is humbly hoped that as new chapels are opened, under the patronage of a Diocesan ever active and indefatigable in the promotion of genuine piety and true benevolence, their number will continue to increase.
gospel of the blessed God," was might derive instruction ; till at much decried, and his chapel re- length there was not, that I am garded as a proscribed place. She aware, any important point of doctook, however, the first opportunity trine wbich she did not cordially of attending St. Mary's Chapel, and embrace in the sense in which it is listened to what she heard from the maintained by the Articles and pulpit with an interest and warmth Homilies of our Church, and ac of feeling not easily described. I cording to the interpretation of our forget the immediate subject of best divines. Nothing, however, discourse on that occasion, but the was admitted on the authority of impression upon her mind never any name however celebrated, and left her. Every word and senti- there were some points on which ment of the preacher were in strict she hesitated long : it was only by unison with what she had been comparing spiritual things with previously taught of God, and met spiritual, in a diligent and daily with in her Bible. No sooner study of the Holy Bible and the had she returned home than she teaching of the Holy Spirit, that she addressed herself to her father, at was guided into all truth. She that time doatingly fond of her. preferred studying the scriptures “ Papa,” she said, “ you must not without any human aid, but whenobject to my going to St. Mary's. ever she had recourse to a comI must go whenever I can: I have mentator, the family Bible of the found there, what I have long been late Mr. Scott, which she greatly seeking, a preacher whose every admired, was her favourite resort. sentiment and expression agrees For some years before her marwith what I have learnt from my riage in January 1822, she was a Bible.” From this time she at great invalid, and as she spent tended at that higbly privileged much of her time alone, she fresanctuary as often as circumstances quently wrote down her reflections. would permit, though from her Quires of these were consigned to extreme diffidence and shyness, she the flames when she quitted her was perhaps hardly known to a father's house; but we have found single member of the congregation. a few since her death on loose Often in her different illnesses she scraps of paper, which escaped has walked from her father's house burning, and they exhibit a faithful to St. Mary's, a distance of a mile portrait of her truly Christian and a half, in such a state of de- character. These consist of rebility, that she sat the whole service flections chiefly on the anniversaries and returned home without having of her birth, a few poetical effusions, heard a word of the seriuon.
and some portions of a diary, parIn the year 1806, my corres. ticularly in the year 1818, a year pondence with her commenced, and in which she was greatly tried. I soon found from her letters that Her last illness, which continued she was cordially attached to the near four years, appears to bave Redeemer, and a conscientious and been the consequence of greatly enlightened believer in the leading disturbed nights in the nursing of doctrines of the gospel, some points her first and only child. On the indeed there were on which she evening of the 8th of January last, requested information, and it was the sixth anniversary only of her my pleasing task, for a succession marriage, she complained of being of years that I remained at a dis worse than usual ; and though she tance, to lead her mind into correct appeared the next morning at and scriptural views of divine truth, breakfast, the pain she suffered or recommend her to those evan- soon confined her to the bed gelical writers from whom she from which she never again rose for more than a few minutes ignorantly remarked, that she was in the evening of each day. Her sure she would die because she was disorder was of a very lowering always praying. The difference depressive nature, and her sufferings she now experienced was a source so great that she could not bear to of great disquiet to her in the converse 'or engage in religious earlier part of her illness. Not exercises for long together. The that she doubted her security in intervals of pain, however, were Christ, but she bitterly lamented seldom unimproved. She was de her departure from the close walk lighted to hear a few verses of she had once maintained with him, scripture at a time, and to join in and which now deprived her, as she prayer as long as she could keep up thought, of the delightful seasons her attention. Speaking of her she had known in her former sufferings she said they were very illnesses. And might she not judge great, much greater than she could rightly on this interesting topic ? ! express, but she hoped she was not The children of God, we know, impatient under them. “What," though they are chastised for their she added, “are my sufferings in transgressions and backsliding, are comparison with those of my dear never finally deserted by him. “If Redeemer. What a wonderful ex his children forsake my law, and pression is that respecting his agony walk not in my judgments; if they in the garden--His sweat was as it break my statutes, and keep not were great drops of blood falling my commandments, then will I down to the ground.” At another visit their transgression with the time she observed, “How deficient rod, and their iniquity with stripes. are we in regard to our love of Nevertheless my loving-kindness God; how infinitely short do we will I not utterly take from him, fall of the love he requires and nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." merits from us! I have been à Great allowances were no doubt to great sinner. I have acted the be made for this tried believer. part of Martha instead of following The delicate state of her health, in the example of Mary. I have been connexion with constantly recurtoo much occupied with my house- ring interruptions from domestie hold concerns.” She adverted to concerns, in a small inconvenient this again at a later period of her house, and generally with only one illness, adding, that she had verified female servant, not only occupied the scriptures in St. Paul's words. her time and abridged her closet “ She that is married careth for the retirements, but subjected her to things of the world, how she may so much fatigue, that it disqualified please her husband.” The whole her from deriving the benefit she of this scripture was indeed but too had formerly experienced from descriptive of her case. Before them.. her marriage, when she had the Unspeakably anxious to discover entire command of her time, she the real state of her mind, and the lived near to God, and when she foundation on which she was was laid on a bed of sickness God now resting her hopes, I frequentwas near to her. She enjoyed the ly enquired—Whether she found uninterrupted smiles of his recon- herself able to exercise faith in ciled countenance, and experienced Christ, and her answer was unithe sensible comforts of his adorable formly the same, or in terms of presence. This was so much the similar import—that she had nocase, that in one of her severest thing in herself to trust to—that she illnesses, when she was brought to had renounced self, and was relying the very gates of death, a near only and altogether on the merits relative in attendance upon her and atonement of Christ. On the
Saturday preceding her death, after remission of agony could be obtain. engaging in our usual exercise of ed for many hours. Her mind, prayer, I asked her if she would however, still retained its self-poslike to receive the Sacrament with session, and she seemed gratified by her sister and myself, on the fol- the prayers in which we engaged lowing morning. Knowing her from time to time. At length great objection to the too common towards morning the pain subsided, practice of administering this holy her breath began to shorten, and rite as a formality on a sick bed- nature's dissolution appeared to be a sort of passport to heaven, I was fast approaching. About two hours desirous, at least in the first in- before her death, whilst her sister stance, to leave it to her own choice. and I were standing by her bed She replied without hesitation, that side, she spoke to us for some she should very much like it. We minutes in the most impressive accordingly commemorated toge- manner. She thanked her sister ther the dying love of our dear for the many attentions she had Redeemer, as I then little expected, paid her in former illnesses as well for the last time. She appeared to as the present, and said she was be greatly comforted and delighted afraid she had not been sufficiently on this occasion, but was not dis grateful. She now again adverted posed to say much at the time, to the characters of Martha and wishing rather to be left awbile to Mary, and lamented that she had her own uninterrupted meditations. too much resembled the former. In the evening, however, on seeing She then addressed her sister with a pious friend, she observed to her great feeling and affection respect“I wish you had been here this ing her child, charging her to bring morning. Oh! we had such a her up in the fear of God,-hoped delightful season. We bave been she would be a second mother to receiving the Sacrament together, her, instil right principles into her and I was much rejoiced and com- mind by little and little, as she forted.” Being now comparatively could bear it, teach ber to obey her free from pain, she could hear the father, and attend to what she herScriptures read, and attend to occa- self said to her. She concluded sional prayer with less distraction with exhorting us to comfort and She was delighted also, to have support each other. On a former some of her favourite hymns read occasion, she had expressed her to her, particularly those of Newton hope that we should meet again in and Toplady. Though she had not heaven, and had been particularly strength to sit up in bed for many earnest respecting her child's adopminutes together, yet her medicines tion of religious principles, that she appeared to have the desired effect, might join us in the realms above. and her mind was calm, and at I now again asked her if she was times cheerful, till a little after looking to Christ, and could exereight o'clock in the evening of cise faith in him. She immediately Tuesday, the 29th January, when replied, “O yes, I have renounced waking from a short doze, she rang self, and am looking entirely to her bell with great violence, and on Christ. My whole dependance is hastening into the room, we found on Christ.” Soon after, whilst her her in the greatest agony of pain, sister was kneeling by her bed side, and expecting immediate dissolu- she said to her, “You must pray tion. Medical aid was procured for me: I have not words, but my with all expedition, but it was only heart will go with you.” Hearing to remove the pain from one vital my step, she fixed her eyes upon part to another. The night was me with a look of feeling and exindeed a night of suffering, and no pression, which I can never forget. I immediately knelt down, and we It has been no part of my object, joined in prayer together for the in this imperfect sketch, to furnish last time. Through this night of a panegyrick on the Christian suffering, I had frequently at inter- graces of the dear departed, many vals engaged in prayer, both for of which she possessed in an eminent her and with her, as I thought she degree. I am rather desirous to could bear it, and it was with great enforce the caution which her case reluctance that I quitted her side as so powerfully suggests to believing long as life remained, but her wives and mothers, in the view attendant thought that our pre- both of humanity and religion. I sence might disquiet her last mo- would affectionately exhort such to ments, and on this suggestion we beware how they endanger their left the room. Hearing a slight own valuable lives by too great moaning not long after this, I stept anxiety for the preservation of their to the bed room door, and imme- offspring. Circumstances render it diately returning, I knelt down probable that the child of this with her dear sister, and repeated devoted mother might not have the commendatory prayer at the been reared under any other fosterclose of the office for the visitation age than her own. Disinterestedof the sick. We had scarcely risen ness and self-denial were prominent from our knees, when the nurse features of her character ; but it entered the room to inform us that may be questioned whether it be she had breathed her last. Thus the duty of a parent to hazard her did our dear sufferer quit this mor- own life for the doubtful preservatal scene with the form of sound tion of her child. Still less should words prescribed by that church, domestic engagements and family whose liturgical services she so cares be suffered to encroach upon the much admired, and of which it was retirements of the closet, or occupy the grief of her heart whenever that portion of our time which our circumstances deprived her in the heavenly Father justly claims as his public congregation. She died on own. The subject of the preceding Wednesday morning, the 30th Jan. observations deeply regretted her in the forty-third year of her age, inadvertency in this respect, and On the Sunday after her interment, though a merciful God did not the respected minister of St. Mary's suffer his whole displeasure to arise, preached a very impressive and but visited her latter moments with consolatory sermon, from the words a sense of his returning favour, and of the Apostle, I Cor. iii. 21-23. the calm tranquillity of peaceful “ All things are yours; whether resignation and confidence in his Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the saving grace, the hand that writes world, or life, or death, or things this will not have been uselessly or present, or things to come; all are unseasonably employed, if one pious yours, and ye are Christ's, and parent shall be thereby recalled to a Christ is God's.” He considered sense of duty, or rescued from a this as an inventory of the believers' state of fatal security. Time is privileges; but as time would not ever on the wing, and the place that allow him to go over the whole, he now knows us, will soon know us should select one as most appro- again no more for ever. “What- . priate to the present occasion, viz. soever thy band findeth to do, do it death ; and he proceeded to show, with thy might; for there is no with his usual judgment and inge- work, nor device, por knowledge, nuity, in what respects this “last nor wisdom, in the grave, whither enemy” becomes the privilege of thou goest.” every true believer.