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We have already seen, was formed by a long period of time, during which an association of the particular friends there was some hope that their son and adherents of that eminent preach might be alive, and the grief which er. Mr. Hodge « used the office of a they suffered when they were at last deacon well ;" sustaining it with great obliged to consider it as a melanchcly fidelity and reputation to the day of fact that their only child was no more, his death. On his side, as well as can better le supposed than describon that of his wife, a regard to reli. ed. It is of more importance to regious comfort and improvement had mark, that their distress, great as it a gorerning influence in the choice was, never sunk them into dejection which they made of each other as or despondence, never brought from partners for life, and experience fully them any unavailing or unchristian demonstrated, that on both sides a complaints, but was borne with a vise and happy choice had been resignation truly Christian, and a formed. Seldom has religion appear. fortitude truly exemplary. Mrs. ed to more advantage in the conjugal Hodge, who had both hopes and fears, relation, than in that which subsisted in regard to the real piety of her son, between Mr. and Mrs. Hodge. For told the writer of these memoirs that nearly forty years they were emphati. she had passed many an hour in mus. cally “helps-mete” to each other in ing on what was probably his eternal Christian duty, and in their journey state. “After all,” said she, “it to the heavenly rest. “They walked must be left entirely with a sovereign before the Lord in all his ordinances and holy God; but I may, must, and and commandments," with a blame do hope, if I get to heaven, to find lessness of which the examples are him there.” rare.
. The death of her daughter, who Coming together with a very small was her first child, she has been portion of worldly property between heard to affirm, gave her very little them, they had to provide for their disturbance. “I had been married subsistence by their own efforts. eleven years," said she to an intimate These efforts were mutual, strenuous, friend, “and had no child. Nor was I aud constant; and by the smiles of very anxious on the subject, till on a Providence, such was their success certain occasion, I was much interestin business, that they were able not ed in seeing an infant devoted to God only to live in a comfortable and re- in baptism, in our church. I was putable manner; but to show a most then forcibly struck with the thought, amiable example of hospitality, to that a Christian parent possesses an perform numerous acts of charity and unspeakable privilege, who gives birth liberality, to be among the foremost to an immortal being, and is permitin the support of the gospel, and, af- ted to give it away to God, in this his ter all, to remain possessed of a hand. instituted ordinance. On the spot I some capital.
fervently prayed for this privilege, if This pious couple had two children, it should be consistent with God's a son and a daughter. The daugh- will to grant it; and I solemnly vow. ter died in infancy ; but the son lived ed that if it should be granted, I to grow up, to receive a liberal educa. would, by his grace assisting me, tion, to study physic, and to give unreservedly devote to hin the child promise of future usefulness to the which he should give me. My world, and of comfort to his parents. prayer was answered, my vow was But these expectations were soon performed, and my child was taken blasted. During the revolutionary to God, all within a year.” war, he went to sea, on a voyage of During the life of deacon Hodge, enterprize, with a number of other bis house was constantly open for the promising youth of the city of Philadel. reception of all evangelical clergymen phia, and no certain information was who visited the city. The cordial ever received afterwards, either of welcome which always met them them, or the vessel in which they there, and the pleasure which they sailed. The probability is, that all both gave and received, made them were buried together in the bosom of love to resort to this happy dwelling. the ocean. The anxiety which Mr. To many of them it was, for several and Mrs. Hodge experienced through years, a home, to which they went
with as much freedom as they would have felt in going to a house of their own. Such, indeed, was the deep interest which both Mr. and Mrs. Hodge took in every thing that re. lated to the church, such their emi. nent piety, and such the influence of their opinion upon others, that their sentiments on many interesting subjects, were asked by their clerical visitors, and are well known to have had weight in several important pub. lic concerns.
The house of deacon Hodge was also remarkable as a place in which religious associations, and assemblies of various kinds, were frequently held. Pious conferences, prayer meetings, and the exhortations of the ministers of the gospel to as many as the house and yard could contain, were here always welcome, often witnessed, and in many instances eminently blessed.
A general outline has now been exhibited of the life and habits of this pious couple, for a long series of years. Harmony between themselves, active attention to necessary worldly business, with a singular beneficence, charity, and piety, rendered them shining examples of practical and primitive Christianity.
Deacon Hodge died A. D. 1783. By his will he left the use of nearly his whole estate to his wife during her life, and at her death, made it a fund for the education of poor and pious youth for the gospel ministry, in the college of New Jersey. Mrs. Hodge bore the loss of her husband, not indeed without keen distress, for all her feelings were remarkably acute, but yet with such a becoming and sweet submission to the divine will, as was extremely amiable and instructive. She cherished a fond remembrance of her husband through the whole remainder of her life, on all occasions she honoured his memory, often spoke of him with tenderness, and yet, after her first sorrows, nerer with much apparent emotion, but in the same manner in which she would have mentioned a dear absent friend, whom she shortly expected to meet again. Happy spirits ! ye are now united, never more to part.
The house of Mrs. Hodge, after the death of her husband, was the same hospitable mansion as before, the
same place for sacred conferences, and meetings for prayer aud religious improvement. One of these meet. ings was held weekly at her house till a short time before her death, and was, as she acknowledged, a valuable substitute for the privilege of public worship, from which her in. firmities at that time often detained her. For many years after the death of her husband she likewise continu. ed the business of shop-keeping, to which she had long been accustomed. He had left her an easy maintenance, independently of any exertions of her own. But she continued in her for. mer occupation from considerations, which manifested equally her benev. olence and piety, and her good sense and knowledge of human nature. The income from her shop, which was considerable, was almost wbolly applied to charitable uses, aud seme. times she even added to it from her other resources. Thus, though she did not labour for her own subsistence, she had the satisfaction of providing more extensively than she could otherwise have done for the poor, the friendless, and the pious : and wbile she performed an impor. tant duty, gratified highly the feelings of her heart. But she also well knew the effect of habit on herself. She knew that having long been accustomed to fill up a large portion of the day with active business, sbe would be likely to feel the want of it, both in body and mind, when it should be discontinued. According ly, when her infirmities at last com. pelled her to relinquish her employ. ment, she declared that she regretted it, principally because she found it unfavourable to her religious state. “ You are very fortunate, madam," said a friend to her pleasantly, “very fortunate, indeed, in having no care or anxiety about the world ; no busi. ness to take up your time or atten. tion ; nothing to do from morning till night, but to read, and meditate, and pray, and converse with your friends." “ For all that,” answered she, “I have not half so much con. fort, not even in religion, as when I was bustling half the day behind the counter. I need more variety than I now get. I become moped and stu. pified for the want of something to rouse me. Beside all this, vain, fool.
ish, wicked, and vexatious thoughts be useful. They will be closed with are almost constantly working their an attempt to give the most striking way into my mind, because I have features of her character. so much of that time, which you talk Among the natural powers of her of, for meditation. And, in addition mind, sbe was most of all distinguishto all, I become lazy and indolent, ed by that faculty which has been deand do nothing as I ought to do. No, nominated common sense, and of which I was a great deal better off when I it has been truly said, that “though had some worldly business to which no science, it is fairly worth the sevI could attend moderately. It did en.” Except on the subject of religme good in every way. i must get ion, she had read but little ; and in along as well as I can, now that I am what is usually understood by mental incapable of business, but I find it no improvement, she had made no gicat advantage, but the contrary, to be progress. Her powers of judging without it.” It is believed that this and distinguishing were naturally was the language of truth, of nature, strong, and these she had improved of experience. Those who have led a by thinking much, and observing busy life, should contract their busi- accurately. Hence she seldom gave ness as age advances, but they will an opinion which did not deserve to seldom find it beneficial, even to a be heard with respect, and which was life of religion, to be wholly unemploy. not proved by experience to be just. ed in worldly concerns.
This was the source of the influence Mrs. Hodge had three attacks of an which she possessed, and which was apoplectic or paralytic kind, within singularly great. Often has the wri. the last sixteen years of her life. But ter of these sketches remarked, that she wonderfully recovered from them, she was a striking example of what and possessed all her faculties, in a solid sense, sterling integrity, and degree of vigour beyond what is usual. sincere piety will effect, without the ly seen in persons of her age, till advantages of refined education, great about two years before her death. wealth, or even of that sex which Then her decay became rapid and usually claims the highest respect. visible. On the 16th of Dec. 1805, It was his belief that for many years, in going to bed, she was seized with her opinion had more influence in a fit. Medical aid was used to re- the large religious society to which store her, and she recovered so far she belonged, than that of any other as to know and speak to those who individual in it. Yet it may be rewere about her, especially to the pas marked with truth, and the truth is tors of the church to which she be much to her honour, that she did not longed. In the course of the evening, appear to know the influence that she they both, at different times, prayed possessed. She was truly diffident with her, and she appeared capable of and unassuming, and never intruded joining in the service, at least for a her opinions upon others, nor deliverpart of the time. But her mind was ed them as if she supposed they were evidently in a broken, wandering, and important." enfeebled state. Still, however, it She possessed great sensibility, and seemed to draw to the centre which strong passions, which caused her mahad so long attracted it. Help, ny a sore conflict. Yet the united inLord Jesus help; come Lord Je. fluence of religion and good sense, sus, come quickly,' were sentences had given her as a habit, a remarkathat she often repeated. She had a ble self-command; so that she was succession of slight paralytic affec.
capable of managing, with a happy tions during the night, and early in address, the most refractory spirits of the morning, fell asleep in the Loril, others. She could remain self-pos. expiring without a sigh, a struggle, sessed and silent, till the time for or so much as the motion of a single administering reproof was come, and muscle.
then give it with the most complete Few persons in the city of Philadel. effect. Many examples of this were phia had so extensive a religious known to her acquaintance. acquaintance as Mrs. Hodge. To Kindness and affability were dis. them these memoirs will be interest. tinguishing features of her character: Ing, and to others a part of them may They rendered her company unusual.
ly agreeable and pleasing; so that conversion and piety of a native Afrieven the young and the gay sought it, can woman, whom her husband had and were often delighted with it. purchased, and whom she had assid. They could not but admire in her a uously taught the principles of relig. strictness of piety, united with a ten- ion. This woman died at last in derness, an attention, and a desire to Christian faith and triumpb, uttering, give pleasure, which they seldom in broken English, sentiments that tound. To the last she was visited would have adorned the lips of the by the young as well as by the old. oldest and best instructed saint.
Her benevolence and liberality bare The piety of Mrs. Hodge was inalready been mentioned. Many will deed eminent, but its peculiar characfeel their loss, and, ungrateful as the teristic was humility. Those who world is, many will long remember had heard much of her did not al. with gratitude the benefits she con ways find their expectations realized, ferred.
when they became acquainted with She was remarkable for sincerity. her. They found that she was not There was nothing that she abhorred one of those who anticipate continu. more than dissimulation or hypocrisy. ally and with confidence the hearenly She could not endure it in others, joys, who are raised by this above all and she stood at the greatest distance fear of death, and who seem to be from it herself. She loved to hear rapped into a better world while they and to speak the truth in all its sim. remain in this. A person who, from plicity. On some occasions, the what he had heard of her, was led to frankness and explicitness of her believe that she possessed something manner gave offence. Such instanc. of this character, after a short ac! es, however, were not numerous; for quaintance, offered to present her though she would never speak what with a handsome copy of Mrs. Rowe's she did not believe, she was often si. Devout Exercises of the Heart. lent, when she differed from the Her reply to him was this : “I know sentiments of others, and when she something of that book, Sir, and I thought that speaking would do no thank you sincerely for offering it to good. But her silence on many such me. But I must say that it is a book occasions was eloquent, for it was which does not suit me. I wish ! not easy for her countenance to con-was more like Mrs. Rowe than I am. ceal any sentiment that she strongly But her exercises were so far superior felt.
to mine, and her descriptions of them In domestic life she was indeed a are so strong, that, to tell you the bright example. Intent on doing truth, they rather discourage me than good in this, which is the principal help me. If you please, let the book sphere of female usefulness, and hav- be given to Mrs I think it will ing always a small family of her own, exactly suit her.” In this there was she brought up a number of orphanno affectation, to which indeed she or destitute children, received several was a stranger. She believed that female boarders into her house, * and others had made attainments far bemade it a charitable asylum to others yond her own, attainments which she who had once seen better days. Ma wished to make, and mourned that ny of these, especially the youth, re. she wanted; but to which, as slic ceived the most essential benefit believed she did not possess them, from her example, her conversation, she would make no pretensions. her instruction, her aclmonitions, and There were some considerable porher prayers. A domestic incident tions of her life, and many short seaon which she loved to dwell was the sons scattered through almost the
whole of it, in which she rejoiced and * The last of these was the aged and triumphed in God her Saviour. But amiable wiriow of the late Rev. Dr. as a habit she did by no means pos: Finley, whose coni pany and conversation sess the “full assurance of hope." sere the principal earthly solace of Mrs. On the contrary, she had frequent Hodge in the last years of her life: doubts and fears, and great anxiety And to whom the writer here begs leave about her spiritual state ; though to dedicate these memoirs of her dear never, after her first exercises, dia departei fricad.
she sink into any thing like despon
dency. She was often searching her perfect righteousness of Christ, as heart, questioning and examining ler. the only foundation of her hope. Newself, to ascertain whether she was tou's Letters, and Owen on Indwelltruly a disciple of Christ ; and this ing Sin, were, next to the Holy continued to the very last. Few Scriptures, the books which she Christians have ever more fully re- most delighted to read. nounced themselves than she, and ex. Thus has an imperfect sketch been pected salvation as the purchase, of given of the character of this excel. the Saviour, and the free gift of God lent woman, of whom a man, who through him. The idea of human had seen much of the world, was merit in the sight of God was the ab. heard to say, as he followed her horrence of her soul. Some of the corpse to the grave, “I would rather poor, whom she relieved, would some be Mrs. Houge than Bonaparte.” times suggest that her abundant Beyond all question, her life was charities would render her the fa. more enviable, her death more hapvourite of Heaven. Such intimations py, and her eternal destiny infinitely she always received with manifest more desirable, than that of any w. disgust, and it is believed never fails sanctified hero, patriot or sage, whose ed to reprove the parties who gave actions or whose wisdom have furthem, and to endeavour to convey nished the theme of the poet's song, juster notions of the manner in which the materials of the historian's vol. we must be recommended to God. umes, and the objects of emulation to She panted ardently after holiness a blinded world. “Blessed are the and inward conformity to the divine dead who die in the Lord ; yea, law ; but a clear sight and a deep saith the Spirit, for they rest from sense of her remaining depravity made their labours, and their works do her abhor herself, and cleave to the follow them.”