« PreviousContinue »
A general outline has now been exhibit. she also well knew the effect of habit on ed of the life and habits of this pious cou. herself. She knew that having long been ple, for a long series of years. Harmony be- accustomed to fill up a large portion of tween themselves, active attention to ne. the day with active business, she would cessary worldly business, with a singular be likely to feel the want of it, both beneficence, charity, and piety, rendered in body and mind, when it should be them shining examples of practical and discontinued. Accordingly, when her primitive christianity.
infirmities at last compelled her to relinDeacon Hodge died A. D. 1783. Br quish her employment, she declared that his will he left the use of nearly lis she regretted it, principally because she whole estate to his wife during her life, found it unfavourable to her religious and at her death, made it a fund for the state. “ You are very fortunate, madam," education of poor and pious yo'lth for said a friend to her pleasantly, “ very the gospel ministry, in the college of fortunate, indeed, in having no care or New-Jersey. Mrs. Hodge bore the loss anxiety about the world; no business to of her husband, not indeed without keen take up your time or attention; nothing distress, for all her feelings were re. to do from morning till night, but to read, markably acute, but yet with such a be. and meditate, and pray, and converse with coming and sweet submission to the your friends." “ For all that," answered divine will, as was extremely amiable she, “ I have not half so much comfort, and instructive. She cherished a fond not even in religion, as when I was bust. remembrance of her husband through ling half the day behind the counter. I the whole remainder of her life, on all need more variety than I now get. I beoccasions she lionoured his memory, of. come moped and stupified for the want ten spoke of min with tenderness, and vet. of something to ro!ise me. Beside all after her first sorrows, never with much this, vain, foolish, wicked, and rexatious apparent emotion, but in the same man. thoughts are almost constantly working ner in which she would have mentioned a their way into my mind, because I have dear absent friend, whom she shortly ex. so much of that time, which you talk of, pected to meet again. Happy spirits! ve for meditation. And, in addition to all, I are now united, never more to part, become lazy and indolent, and do nothing
The house of Mrs. Hodge, after the as I ought to do. No, I was a great deal death of her husband, was the same hos. better off when I had some worldly busi. pitable mansion as before, the same place ness to which I could attend moderately. for sacred conferences, and meetings for It did me good in every way. I must prayer and religious improvement. One get along as well as I can, now that I am of these meetings was held weekly at incapable of business, but I find it no ad her house till a short time before her vantage, but the contrary, to be with. death, and was, as she acknowledged, a out it.” It is believed that this was the valuable substitute for the privilege of language of truth, of nature, of expepublic worship, from which her infirmities rience. Those who have led a busy life at that time often detained her. For many should contract their business as age advears after the death of bier husband slie rances, but they will seldom find it be. likewise continued the business of shop. neficial, even to a life of religion, to be keeping, to which she had long been ac. wholly unemployed in worldly concerns. customed. He had left her an easy Mrs. Hoxlge ball three attacks of an maintenance, independently of any erer apoplectic or paralytic kind, within the tions of her own. But she continued in last sixteen years of her life. But she her former occupation from considera. wonderfully recovered from them, and tions which manifested equally hier be possessed all her faculties, is a degree nevolence and piety, and her food sense of vigour beyond what is usually seen in and knowledge of human nature. The persons of her age, till about two years iicome from her shop, which was con before her death. Then her decay became siderable, was almost wholly applied to rapid and visible. On the 16th of Dec. charitable uses, and sometimes she eren 1805, in going to bed, she was seized acided to it from her other resources. with a fit. Medical aid was used to Thus, though she did not labour for her restore lier, and she recovered so far as own subsistence, she had the satisfaction to know and speak to those who were of providing more extensively than she about her, especially to the pastors of could otherwise have done for the poor, the church to which she belonged. In the friendless, and the pious; and while the course of the evening, they both, at she performed an important duty, gratis different times, prayed with her, and she fied his?ly the feelings of her heart. But appeared capable of joining in the service,
at least for a part of the time. But her mind tory spirits of others. She could remain was evidently in a broken, wandering, self-possessed and silent, till the time for and enfeebled state. Still, however, it administering reproof was come, and seemed to draw to the centre which had then give it with the most complete effect. so long attracted it. “Help, Lord Jesus! Many examples of this were known to help; come Lord Jesus, come quickly," her acquaintance. were sentences that she often repeated. Kindness and affability were distinguishShe had a succession of slight paralytic ing features of her character. They ren. affections during the night, and early in dered her company unusually agreeable the morning fell asleep in the Lord, ex- and pleasing; so that even the young and piring without a sigh, a struggle, or so the gay sought it, and were often demuch as the motion of a single muscle. lighted with it. They could not but ada
Few persons in the city of Philadelphia mire in her a strictness of piety, united had so extensive a religious acquaintance with a tenderness, an attention, and a as Mrs. Hodge. To them these memoirs desire to give pleasure, which they selwill be interesting, and to others a part dlom found. To the last she was visited of them may be useful. They will be by the young as well as by the old. closed with an attempt to give the most Her benevolence and liberality have alstriking features of her character. ready been mentioned. Many will feel
Among the natural powers of her mind their loss, and, ungrateful as the world is, she was most of all distinguished by that many will long remember with gratitude faculty which has been denominated the benefits she conferred. common sense, and of which it has been she was remarkable for sincerity. There truly said, that “ though no science it is was nothing that she abhorred more than fairly worth the seven.” Except on the dissimulation or hypocrisy. She could subject of religion, she had read but not endure it in others, and she stood at little; and in what is usually understood the greatest distance from it herself. She by mental improvement, she had made loved to bear and to speak the truth in all no great progress. Her powers of judging its simplicity. On some occasions, the and distinguishing were naturally strong, frankness and explicitness of her manand these she had improved by thinking ner gave offence. Such instances, how. much and observing accurately. Hence ever, were not numerous; for though she she seldom gave an opinion which did not would never speak what she did not be. deserve to be heard with respect, and lieve, she was often silent, when she dif. which was not proved by experience to fered from the sentiments of others, and be just. This was the source of the in- when she thought that speaking would fiuence which she possessed, and which do no good. But her silence on many was singularly great. Often has the wrisuch occasions was eloquent, for it was ter of these sketches remarked, that she not easy for her countenance to conceal was a striking example of what solid any sentiment that she strongly felt. sense, sterling integrity, and sincere piety i n domestic life she was indeed a bright will effect, without the advantages of re. example. Intent on doing good in this, fined education, great wealth, or even of which is the principal sphere of female that sex which usually claims the highest usefulness, and having always a small respect. It was his belief that for many family of her own, she brought up a numyears her opinion had more influence in ber of orphan or destitute children, rethe large religious society to which she ceived several female boarders into her belonged, than that of any other indivi. house,* and made it a charitable asylum dual in it. Yet it may be remarked with to others who had once seen better days. truth, and the truth is much to her ho. Many of these, especially the youth, renour, that she did not appear to know ceived the most essential benefit from the influence that she possessed. She her example, her conversation, her inwas truly diffident and unassuming, and struction, her admonitions, and her never intruded her opinions upon others, nor delivered them as if she supposed they were important.
* The last of these was the aged and She possessed great sensibility and amiable widow of the late Rev. Dr. Finstrong passions, which caused her many ly, whose company and conversation a sore conflict. Yet the united influence were the principal carthly solace of Mrs. of religion and good sense had given her, Hodre in 'he last years of her life: And to as a habit, a remarkable self-command; whom the writer here begs leave to dediso that she was capable of managing, cate these memoirs of her dear departed with a kappy address, the most refrac- friend.
prayers. A domestic incident on which she ance of hope.” On the contrary, she had loved to dwell was the conversion and frequent doubts and fears, and great piety of a native African woman, whom anxiety about her spiritual state; though her husband had purchased, and whom never, after her first exercises, did she she had assiduously taught the principles sink into any thing like despondency. She of religion. This woman died at last in was often searching her heart, questionchristian faith and triumph, uttering, in ing and examining herself, to ascertain broken English, sentiments that would whether she was truly a disciple of have adorned the lips of the oldest and Christ; and this continued to the very best instructed saint.
last. Few christians have ever more The piety of Mrs. Hodge was indeed fully renounced themselves than she, eminent, but its peculiar characteristic and expected salvation as the purchase was humility. Those who had heard of the Saviour, and the free gift of God much of her did not always find their through him. The idea of human merit expectations realized, when they became in the sight of God was the abhorrence acquainted with her. They found that of her soul. Some of the poor whom she she was not one of those who anticipate relieved, would sometimes suggest that continually and with confidence the hea- her abundant charities would render her venly joys, who are raised by this above the favourite of heaven. Such intimations all fear of death, and who seem to be she always received with manifest dis. rapped into a better world while they re- gust, and it is believed never failed to main in this. A person who, from what reprove the parties who gave them, and he had heard of her, was led to believe to endeavour to convey juster notions of that she possessed something of this the manner in which we must be recomcharacter, after a short acquaintance, mended to God. She panted ardently offered to present her with a handsome after holiness and inward conformity to copy of Mrs. Rowe's Devout Exercises of the divine law, but a clear sight and a the Heart. Her reply to him was this: “I deep sense of her remaining depravity, know something of that book, sir, and I made her abhor herself, and cleave to thank you sincerely for offering it to me. the perfect righteousness of Christ, as But I must say that it is a book which the only foundation of her hope. Newton's does not suit me. I wish I was more like Letters, and Owen on Indwelling Sin, Mrs. Rowe than I am. But her exercises were, next to the holy scriptures, the were so far superior to mine, and her books which she most delighted to read. descriptions of them are so strong, that, Thus has an imperfect sketch been to tell you the truth, they rather discou. given of the character of this excellent rage me than help me. If you please, let woman, of whom a man who had seen the book be given to Mrs. — I think much of the world, was heard to say, as it will exactly suit her.” In this there was he followed her corpse to the grave, “ 1 no affectation, to which indeed she was would rather be Mrs. Hodge than Buoa stranger. She believed that others had naparte.” Beyond all question, her life made attainments far beyond her own, was more enviable, her death more hap. attainments which she wished to make, py, and her eternal destiny infinitely and mourned that she wanted; but to more desirable, than that of any unsanca which, as she believed she did not pos- tified hero, patriot, or sage, whose actions sess them, she would make no preten- or whose wisdom have furnished the sions. There were some considerable theme of the poet's song, the materials of portions of her life, and many short sea- the historian's volumes, and the objects sons scattered through almost the whole of emulation to a blinded world, “Blessed ofit, in which she rejoiced and triumphed are the dead who die in the Lord; yea in God her Saviour. But as a habit she saith the Spirit for they rest from their did by no means possess the “full assur- labours, and their works do follow them."