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THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD ASSERTED.
To the Editor of the Methodist Magazine. Sir, The following miraculous cure of the leprosy is taken from a sermon of the Rev. Cotton Mather's, called “ Things for a distressed People."
D. WATSON. Susanna Arch was a miserable widow, for divers years overwhelmed with a dreadful leprosy, which the physicians, who saw it, pronounced incurable; but from the very time they told her so, a strange persuasion came into her mind, that the Lord would cure her, and Matt. viii. 21, “ Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean," came frequently into her mind, and she found herself enabled to plead this before him in prayer, with some degree of confidence, that, at last she should prevail. She resolved that she would rely on the Lord Jesus Christ, who in the days of his flesh cured all diseases and sickness among the people, and who had still as much power, now that he is glorified in heaven.-She felt many temptations to shake her confidence, but still there came seasonably to her mind suitable passages of Scripture which encouraged her. At one time, that in Mark xi. 22, " Have faith in God." At another time, that in John xi. 40, " Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the glory of God.” At another time, that in Hebrews x. 35, " Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward."
Her leprosy had been accompanied with an asthma, which, for many years had afflicted her, but in the month of November, 1694, she had her asthma removed without any human power; and she took that as a token for good, that she also should be eured of her leprosy; and the miracles which God had done for others enlivened her hope exceedingly.
In December the distemper of this godly woman grew worse and worse upon her; and when her mind was uneasy, those
passages came to her mind: “I know, O Lord, that thou canst do every thing:” and “ Our God, whom we serve, he is able to deliver us."-On Dec. 26, at night, she was buffetted with sore temptations, that her faith for her cure, having proved a fancy, her faith for her soul must be so too; but she cried unto the Lord, "Lord, I have cast my soul and my body on thee, and I am resolved now to cast all my diseases upon thee.” Her mind was hereupon composed, and the next night, putting up her hand to her beal, first on one side and then on the other, she felt a new skin on both sides, which very much amazed her; whereupon she cried
out, “ Lord Jesus, hast thou begun the cure? Thou wilt carry it on.” She then, taking off her head cloth, found the skin gone off her head, and a firm one appearing there; and her distemper, which had extended itself all over her body, from head to foot, in putrifying sores, was in like manner suddenly away,
to the admiration of all who beheld her.
THE GRACE OF GOD MANIFESTED.
MEMOIR OF MARY WRENTMORE. MARY WRENTMORE, daughter of Thomas and Joannah White, was born May 2, 1771, at Croydon, in the parish of Old Cleeve, Somersetshire. Her father, though destitute of an experimental knowledge of real religion, was truly just in all his dealings, and made it his care to avoid every appearance of evil. From him she might have received many instructive lessons, had he been spared to have inculcated upon her tender mind those principles of virtue she had so early imbibed; but, dying when she was about eight years old, and her mother possessing none of those qualifications necessary for the instruction of her children, she, (with her only brother,) was removed to the house of her grandmother, Mrs. Kent, who resided at a little distance. Though Mrs. K.'s circumstances were equal to the respectability in which she lived, she did not permit her young charge to waste her youthful days, without that necessary employment,
which was calculated to prepare her to fill some useful station in future life: and it was to Mrs. K. she was principally indebted for those lessons of industry and fugality which she afterwards found, by experience, to be so beneficial. Here she remained about six years, when Mrs. K. died, leaving an ample provision for her grand children, which, she invested in the hands of two trustees, under whose direction the children were again placed with their mother. But parental authority, on one hand, and filial respect, on the other, being lost by a long absence, they indulged themselves in all the vain pleasures and amusements of their
gay companions, without restraint, until it was considered necessary by the trustees, to remove Miss W. to school. She was now placed under the instruction of Miss Dupee, of Taunton, where she remained one year, and was then removed to Tiverton, under the care of Miss Pearce. Here she continued for several years, (her mother residing in a part of Miss P.'s house,) during which time, her brother was married to my youngest sister.
ter. An intimacy having commenced between our families, I frequently visited Miss W. at Tiverton, and our respect for each other becoming reciprocal, we formed a connection, which terminated in our union, September, 1791. Having previously commenced business for myself
, I was prepared for her reception at Washford Farm, in the parish in which she was born. We received the congratulations of our numerous. friends on the happy occasion; and my dear wife, possessing most of the polite accomplishments, and having from a studious mind, and diligent attention to the instructions she had rcccived, acquired a great share of sense, her company
was courted by the most respectable part of the inhabitants of the neighbourbood where we resided. As I had chosen Miss W. more for her mental qualifications than her personal attractions, (though the latter were truly prepossessing,) I was not disappointed in my expectations of happiness, finding her in every respect capable of administring advice in necessity, support in distress, and consolation under the most afflictive dispensations. Thus were we blest in each other, and needed, or thought we needed, no other good below, not considering that we were destitute of that real enjoyment which centred alone in the God of our mercics. For about nine years after our marriage, we lived in a constant conformity to all the customs and manners of a large circle of worldly acquaintance, seeking no higher enjoyments than those arising from ourselves, our family and our friends : until my dear Mary was alarmed by the sudden death of one of her most intimate companions, with whom she had spent the preceding night at cards. This awful judgment led her to exclaim, “Glory be to God, it was not my lot; had it been so, I must have perished to all eternity. I am determined never more to play at cards.” To this resolution she strictly adhered for some time; but the conviction she then felt of its dangerous consequences, was, alas ! but too transient; for on her refusing to play, she was called a Methodist, an epithet, then too odious to be borne, and to shun which she consented to play by proxy.
A long time had not now elapsed before we were visited by an afflictive Providence in our own family. Our eldest daughter, (then about six years of age), being at school in the village in which we lived, was suffered to go, unattended, into an adjoining room to warm herself, and putting her foot on the grate, her clothes caught fire, and before necessary assistance for extinguishing the fire could be procured, she was so much burnt that her life was despaired of. This severe stroke very much affected the mind of my dear Mary, and tended to awaken those convictions which had for some time past almost lain dormant. For, on receiving the intelligence she exclaimed, “This is the vengeance of heaven for our sins; the Lord is determined to punish us for our rebellion !” During the time of this affliction a neighbour, Mrs. Danan, a member of the Methodist society, frequently visited and assisted my dear wife, while engaged with the child. Of her my wife took every opportunity of inquiring into the conduct, principles, and discipline of Methodism; and, being much pleased with the account she received, she resolved, if the Lord spared the life of the child, and again raised her up from this affliction, to devote her body and soul to the service of God. She now began to use private prayer, and as she always possessed a great taste for reading, she began to read those books which tended most to inform her mind on religious subjects, such
as Alleine's Alarm, Baxter's Call, the Saints' Everlasting Rest, &c. which were lent her by our dear friend, Mr. Symons, who, on hearing of her decp convictions, had kindly visited her, and administered suitable consolation to her distressed mind. Being now clearly convinced of her fallen state by nature, and transgressions against God, she earnestly longed for a deliverance from the bondage of sin; but, through the long continuance of that affliction, which had been, under God, the means of producing the concern she felt, she was deprived of the aid of those means of grace, which would most probably have been conducive to her relief. She fully determined, as soon as she could leave the child, to join herself to the Methodist society, which then met at Dragon, the resielence of Mr. Symons, about a mile from our house ; but knowing my prejudice, and fearing the opposition she should meet with from me, she did not make known her intentions; and the first Sanday she was released from her long confinement, she accompapied me to church, as an inducement for me to go with her in The evening to hear Mr. Shrouder, the junior preacher in the Taunton circuit. When the service was concluded, she accepted of an invitation, (with others of her worldly companions,) to Miss Evett's, a young lady with whom she was intimately acquainted; and, having paid particular attention to the discourse she had heard at church, she began to expatiate on its beauties, and the necessity of its being reduced into practice. This unusual conversation subjected her to the ridicule of the company, who, laughing at her, said they feared she would soon become a Methodist : to this she replied, that previous to her coming there she had intended to unite herself to the Methodists, and their present treatment had only had the effect of making her more fully decided in favour of the Methodists. And, rising from her seat, she told them she intended hearing a Methodist preacher that evening, and took her leave. She was followed by several of the ladies, who, begging her pardon, said, if she would return with them, they would accompany her to the meeting; but all their intreaties or inducements were in vain. She came home, and informed me of the circumstance, and requested me to go with her to hear Mr. Shrouder, which I positively refused to do, adding, that I hoped a few more such visits would restore her to her reason. But nothing could divert her from her intention, and she went away alone. Though I had refused to accompany her at her request, I soon followed, telling her I was not going for the purpose of hearing the Methodists, but to convince the company she had left how much I thought her insulted by them. As we entered the house, Mr. Shrouder was reading his text, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, “ Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate,” &c. The subject being so applicable to hersell, she, for some time, considered that Mr. S. must have been
informed of her conduct that evening, and, being much pleased, she invited him to our house. From this time she became an earnest seeker of salvation by Jesus Christ ; and having united herself to the Methodists, she regularly attended the means of grace in use among them; and it was at a prayer-meeting she found the pearl of great price, even the forgiveness of her sins by faith in the Lord Jesus. Having obtained mercy herself, she could not be satisfied with enjoying it alone, and she ardently longed for me to partake with her of the blessings of pardua and peace. But the fear of losing the good will of my old companions, kept me long in opposition to her, and I frequently joined with others in persecuting and laughing at her; and one evening, on her going to the meeting, I threatened her, with an oath, to sell every thing I possessed, and leave her. But none of those things moved her; shecontinued steadfast in the faith, ceasing not to pray for her most bitter persecutors. And I now praise God, that her prayers in my behalf were not unavailing; for, yielding to her entreaties, I attended a quarterly meeting, held at our dear friend Mr. Symons's, and there I felt that conviction which was followed by my obtaining a sense of the favour of God. This was a matter of great rejoicing to my dear Mary; and, being now of one heart and mind, we encouraged each other in espousing that cause, which had formerly appeared in so despicable a view. Mr. and Mrs. Symons became our most sincere friends, and we received much assistance from their conversation and advice. We were persecuted and despised by those who had previously esteemed us, But " what things had been thought gain to us, those we counted loss for Christ; yea, doubtless, and we now counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.” Being made partakers of the blessings purchased by the blood of the Lamb, we ardently longed for the salvation of our fellow-creatures. We received the preachers at our house, and, in conjunction with Mr.Symons, first introduced preaching at Washford, in the year 1800. There being a few pious persons there, we soon formed a society, and rejoiced to see many of our neighbours not only pleased, but profited, under the preaching of the gospel by the Methodists. A young lady, Miss Gooding, one of my dear wife's most intimale friends, was led by her example to hear the preachers; and in hearing she believed with her heart unto righteousness. Their friendship was now strengthened by the ties of grace, and they reposed a mutual confidence in each other, which neither time nor distance could abate: and Miss G. still continues to be an ornament to her profession, and to the church of God.
But an unerring Providence soon saw fit to remove us om these blooming prospects, to a distantand barren country. My term on VOL. XLII. Arril, 1819.