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MEMOIR OF MARY ANN HANSON, OF BURY.
If you should think the following account to be worthy of a place in the "Juvenile Companion,” its early insertion will gratify many in our Sunday-school and congregation. The substance of the memoir was read to a numerous and deeply affected congregation, after a few remarks had been made from the 9th verse of the 119th Psalm.
Dear Sir, yours very respectfully,
Mary Ann Hanson was the daughter of reputable, honest, and industrious parents. She was born in the town of Bury, Lancashire, on the 16th of February, 1834. She was blessed with a remarkably happy and cheerful temper. From her infancy she was remarkable for her strict adherence to truth, and uniform obedience to her parents.
She was very early the subject of serious impressions. When she was about nine or ten years of age, the late Mrs. Riley, then Miss Hacking, was in the habit of meeting a number of young females, for the purpose of praying with them, and giving them religious instruction. Mrs. Riley was succeeded by Mrs. Chatterton, in this good work. The labours of these pious females were, through the blessing of God, made very useful to many: Mary Ann was a diligent attendant at these meetings, and it is believed that they were made very useful to her.
About June, 1847, she began to feel most keenly, that she was a guilty sinner in the sight of God, and that unless she obtained the pardon of her sins she must perish. She earnestly sought the forgiveness of her sins, by praying to God for Christ's sake to grant her the joy of salvation. On two Sunday evenings, at the prayer-meeting after the public service, she broke through her usunl reserve and timidity, and went to the penitent form, in the character of a sinner seeking mercy. On the first of these occasions she felt some encouragement; on the second, she was relieved of her burden, and felt a measure of consolation ; she was for sometime occasionally beset with doubts and fears, but she continued to look to her Saviour, who always proved himself to be her deliverer.
She now felt that it was her duty to become a member of the church. She desired to receive spiritual instruction and to enjoy the benefits of Christian communion. She, therefore, began to meet in class—that is, to attend weekly meetings, held by members of the Methodist Churches for spiritual improvement. This was in July, 1847. Her age was then between thirteen and fourteen years. Her attendance at the class-meeting was very regular; perhaps, she never was missing, unless prevented by indisposition, or by imperative duties at home; or, very rarely, some interesting meeting of a religious or moral character might attract her attention. She gained the esteem and affection of the members of the class. In speaking her experience there was a beautiful mixture of humility, meekness, confidence, and gratitude. Her conduct was such as became her profession of religion. It was praiseworthy and exemplary. She had a strong attachment to the Sunday-school, and the chapel. It was always a cross to her to be absent, even when necessity required it. She could say, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth."
She manifested an earnest desire for Scriptural knowledge. How blessed it is when, in the family circle, there is a freedom in speaking of spiritual and divine things. Mary Ann was in the habit of asking her kind and pious mother questions about divine things. Sometimes the subject would be too difficult for her mother to explain. In order to remedy this defect, she prevailed upon her parents to purchase a Bible with marginal references, that by means thereof she might obtain more perfect knowledge of the divine will. Having obtained this help, she diligently availed herself of opportunities for searching the sacred oracles, till she became able to assist her mother in solving Scripture difficulties. We believe her great end in desiring an acquaintance with divine truth was, that she might be made wise unto salvation, and be useful in her day and generation.
Her class-leader thinks, that it was at the last meeting she was able to attend (it was little expected at the time that it would be her last) that he was led to remark, that “all true Christians enter into covenant engagement with God. That when they seek the Lord, and give themselves to him, they promise and intend to live to him whilst life should last.That God on his part has promised and covenanted, that he will be their God; and that they shall be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty.” Mary Ann was asked, “ was not this your intention and engagement when you sought the Lord, and gave yourself to him ?” She answered, “it was." She was also asked, “Do not you still intend, by the grace of God, to live to Him whilst he spares you in this world? The answer was unhesitating and decisive, “I do!" The same questions were put to the other young members, and the same answers were given by them. It was a solemn time to all present; it was, I believe, on the 12th of September, a little more than five weeks before her death. The week following she was absent from her class through affliction; and the day after that, was Friday the 20th of September, when she became confined to her bed. On the Wednesday night following she was praying and praising God. Perceiving that her mother heard her, she called to her and said, “Mother, I am so happy, the Lord can bless on a sick bed," and made other remarks to the same effect. The following Wednesday she suffered severely; she sat up for some time, but was obliged to seek ease in her bed. When she was in bed she began to pray audibly and earnestly, and soon after exclaimed,“ Glory! glory!" several times. A kind and pious neighbour, who was present, said to her, “Mary Ann, you are happy.” She answered “It is good for me to be in this bed : I could not have believed that any person could have been so happy as I am, and endure what I suffer.” Her mother was dangerously ill at this time. She asked the friend before alluded to, whether she thought that her mother would recover; her friend answered, “I hope she will, but it will not do for you to repine.” Mary Ann replied, “I will not."
About a fortnight before her decease, her father questioned her respecting the state of her mind, and her prospects as to ? another world. She then told him that she was not afraid to die-she felt assured, that if she was called hence, she should go to heaven.
On the Monday and Tuesday before her departure she was much easier. On Tuesday she was able to read, whilst seated in bed, the whole of a small good book, entitled the “Scottish Wanderer.” In the evening she was able to sit up, and said, I had intended reading much in the Bible to-night, but I feel that I cannot. She expressed an expectation that she should go to Brunswick chapel again; the Wesleyan Association Chapel in Bury, is called Brunswick chapel. When she was easier, there appeared something of the love of life. accompanied with perfect resignation to the Divine will.
On the Wednesday before her death, her bodily state was much worse, but her soul was very happy. For some time, she, and those about her, thought that she was going to depart; but, on having taken a little gruel, she revived. She then said, “Mother ! mother! you should not have given me this, for I thought we were doing nicely, and that I was going ! She was then helped to turn on her side, and said,
“Press forward, press forward, the prize is in view;
A crown of bright glory is waiting for you,"— and for me, she added emphatically. She then prayed the Lord to give her faith and patience during the short time she had to stay. She then repeated the following verse.
"O what a joyful meeting there, in robes of white arrayed : Palms in our hands we then shall bear, and crowns upon our head." She then exclaimed, “ Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through the blood of the Lamb! all through Jesus! all through Jesus !" Then she shouted “ Glory! glory! glory," till she was quite exhausted.
On Friday she said, “I wish all the world were as happy as I am." She repeated the verse on her last quarterly ticket: “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," and added, “If I had the Bible I could show you a great number of precious promises."
In the evening she became much worse in body, and her affectionate parents were then brought to relinquish all hopes of her recovery. About eleven o'clock, her mother being beside her in bed, praying in a low tone, Mary Ann said, "Mother come nearer, I cannot hear you." She then kissed her, and began to praise the Lord; after which she said, # Mother, you are good, but you are not so good as God. God is better than you. Religion is good to live with, I am sure it will be good to die with.” She thanked God that she had ever been led to a Sunday-school. For an hour or more she continued to express herself in such a rapturous strain of praise as was truly astonishing. Her mother desired her to speak with less vehemence, or she would be so exhausted as not to be able to get any sleep. She replied, “ Mother, I don't think I shall sleep any to-night; I can praise the Lord all night.” Shortly after, she seemed to be praying, after which she motioned to her mother to look at the top of the room, and said,
“ Angels beckon me away,
And Jesus bids me come." During the night she repeated the following, with two or three verses more of the same hymn
“ Praise God for what He's done for me;
Glory to God, I'm not in hell." On the day of her departure she spoke very little. In the evening she rose out of bed, which she accomplished without help. Whilst seated, and leaning on her mother's arm, a change was perceived to take place; she was then placed in bed; she then sobbed slightly twice, the wheels of life ceased to move, and her redeemed spirit entered into the joy of her Lord. She died about half past 9 o'clock on Saturday evening, the 10th of September, 1850, in the 17th year of her age.
CHRISTMAS MISSIONARY OFFERINGS. I WISH now to address a few words to the forty thousand Sunday-school scholars, belonging to the Wesleyan Methodist Association. I understand that the Rev. Joseph Townend has consented to leave home and friends for the cause of Christ; exchange old England, and all it endearments, for Australia,--that continent, peopled with souls