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There from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in."
In that eternal world of joy." May you and I more ardently desire admission into his presence, where there is fulness of joy; and at his right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore. Amen.
W. T. SYMONS.
MEMOIR OF ELIZABETH HODGE. ELIZABETH HODGE was born at Langore, near Launceston, 1836. From infancy she manifested a mild temper, and inoffensive disposition. Pleasing as these traits in her character were to her parents, they were desirous of seeing her“ walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comforts of the Holy Ghost.” Not anticipating the desired end, without the employment of suitable means, they began at an early period to instil into her youthful mind the great principles of the Christian religion. The father planted, the mother watered, and God gave the increase. When Elizabeth was six years of age, her parents
removed to Launceston, and there became united with the Wesleyan Association, and by the help of God, have thus continued until this day. There being, at that period, no Sabbath-school there in connection with the Association, Elizabeth with her brothers and sisters were sent to the congregational school on the Lord'sday. The benefit derived from the instruction there received was soon apparent. In addition to the marked improvement in her reading, there was an increased desire for reading. Her mind also was deeply impressed with those religious truths, which were so repeatedly pressed upon her attention. The glorious scheme of salvation through Jesus Christ was a theme on which her teachers delighted to dwell, and which she, when returning from school, delighted to rehearse.
The non-existence of a Sabbath-school in connection with the Wesleyan Association, was felt to be alike inconvenient to those members who had children, and injurious to the interests of the society. The parents were anxious their children should assemble for divine worship in the same place, and become attached to the same society as themselves ; but being under the necessity of sending them to other places of worship, to be instructed on the Sabbath, the affections of the children were being weaned from the society with which their parents were united, and being entwined around those societies, at whose schools they received instruction, and under whose ministry they frequentl sat. To remedy this, and to bring into operation another class of human agency for the benefit of the rising generation, the parents of Elizabeth, with others, took active measures for the establishment of a Sabbath-school, which was commenced in May, 1843. Although this school is comparatively of recent date, it has achieved some glorious results. Some of its teachers are reaping their reward in heaven; and some of its scholars have died triumphant in the faith, and are now waving the palm of victory before God, and before the Lamb. who is in the midst of the throne. To God be all the praise !
Although the parents of Elizabeth, with glowing hearts, gratefully acknowledged their obligations for the benefits their children received at the congregational school, they felt it to be their duty to remove their children to the school established in connection with their own society. Accordingly, Elizabeth, and four of her brothers and sisters, were removed to this school. Elizabeth continued therein, first as a scholar, and afterwards as a teacher, until she was called to become an inhabitant of a brighter and a happier world. To the school she was much attached, and her punctual attendance was so praiseworthy, as to be looked upon as a token for good of no ordinary kind.
In the autumn of 1848, protracted meetings for the revival of religion were held. Prayer was heard, the effort was crowned with success, and many inquired, “What must I do to be saved ?" With the excitement of these meetings Elizabeth was highly dissatisfied, and resolved to go no more ; but, contrary to her intentions, she continued to attend. In one of these meetings she saw clearly, and felt deeply, her need of salvation through Christ. To the penitent seat she went, and in the bitterness of her soul, exclaimed, “Lord, save me." By faith she beheld the “ Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” and returned to the domestic circle, rejoicing in God her Saviour; and all took knowledge of her that she had been with Jesus. Twelve years of her brief existence had passed into eternity when Jesus became enthroned in her heart, and she became a member of the visible Church of Christ.
As a member of the Wesleyan Association, she continued to walk worthy of her high calling, until she fell asleep in Christ. Other books were not neglected, but the Word of God was her favourite volume. Viewing the Scriptures as teaching the best way of living, the noblest way of suffering, and the most comfortable way of dying, she perused them with persevering industry, prayerful attention, and beneficial results. After retiring from the family circle, to seek repose in sleep, she oftentimes sat down to read ;
and hour after hour would, sometimes, glide imperceptibly away, and she was then found by her parents “searching the oracles divine," or those books which could instruct her mind, and improve her heart
“ When quiet in my house I sit,
My joy thy sayings to repeat,
Till every heartfelt word be mine.” In the beginning of 1849, she, at the request of the Committee, entered upon the duties of a Sabbath-school teacher. In this capacity she was much respected, and sincerely loved, as the unfeigned sorrow of the officers, teachers, and children, at her death, testified. “Though lost to sight, she is still to memory dear.” She retains a place in their memories; she lives in their affections. Her fond parents gazed upon her lovely form, watched the development of her expanding mind, and delightfully anticipated great comfort from her in future life. They saw her unwavering piety, love to the means of grace, attachment to the people of God; and luxuriated in the prospect of her being a blessing to society, when they should have finished as hirelings their day, and entered into the joy of their Lord. “O, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom 'and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out !” Their anticipations were delusive; their expectations were cut off. She came forth as a flower, and was cut down.
“The fading glory disappeared,
The short-lived beauties died away.” On Friday, 2nd January, 1852, she was at the classmeeting for the last time. That was a time never to be forgotten; it was a truly solemn, and deeply affecting season. The leader's mind was deeply impressed with the fact, that, although the persons then present were chiefly young people, and had been preserved to see the commencement of the new year; yet one or more of those then present might, and probably would, in a few short weeks, pass through the vale of death into a boundless eternity. This truth he, as a dying man, speaking to dying men, endeavoured to press upon the attention of his members. But little did he expect that his fears would, in so short a space of time, be realized. But less did he expect that a person so blooming and so healthy as Elizabeth Hodge, would be the first victim to the stroke of death. From the following class-meeting she was absent. So regular was her attendance, that her absence always produced considerable anxiety of mind, until the cause was ascertained. Her leader was then informed that she was laid on a bed of sickness.
On Tuesday, 6th January, commenced the symptoms of a disease which issued in a typhus fever, and which in less than a month brought her to death, and to the house appointed for all living. From the beginning of her affliction, she had a presentiment that her sickness was unto death, and was very anxious to have a clear evidence of her acceptance with God. To her mother, she said, “I am young, and should like to live; but if the Lord thinks well to take me, I hope he will prepare me for heaven ;'' and then prayed that God would give her grace to be resigned to his will. Although she had, during the three years of her professed discipleship, been sincere in her intentions, and consistent in her deportment, she now deeply deplored not having walked more closely with God. “O, father,” she said, “I have followed Christ at so great a distance.” She then expressed an ardent desire to enjoy a confidence in God, as strong, and a hope of glory as blooming, as many of the departed saints had, of whom she had read. She then wrestled with God in fervent and unceasing prayer, until she realized the utmost desire of her heart. She then experienced that
“Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw;!
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Brings every blessing from above."