Phoebe Palmer



CHAPTER VI.

Restive Influences Anticipated.


But I venture to assert that, in the moral progress of mankind, woman has been God's most efficient agent, the co-worker with his providence in those remarkable events which have changed the fate of nations, brought light out of darkness, and given impulse and direction to the souls of men, when these sought to advance the cause of righteousness.

AUTHOR OF DISTINGUISHED WOMEN

We cannot resist the conviction that the restraining of the gift of prophecy, as given to woman in fulfillment of the promise of the Father, involves far greater responsibilities than has been, or perhaps may be, apprehended. We should wonder if restive influences, whose tendencies would be to dissuade the mind from an avowed recognition of the doctrines of this work, should not come pressing upon the reader; but, if so, let the source from whence these restive feelings emanate be carefully noted. The subject of which we treat stands in vital connection with the salvation of thousands; and, if so, may we not anticipate, that he whose ceaseless aim it is to withstand the work of human salvation in every variety of form, will, as an angel of light, withstand the reception of truth on this subject?

Again we repeat that it is our most solemn conviction that the use of a gift of power, delegated to the church as a specialty of the last days has been neglected — a gift which, if properly recognized, would have hastened the latter-day glory. We believe that tens of thousands more of the redeemed family, would have been won over to the world's Redeemer, if it had not been for the tardiness of the church in acknowledging this gift. We believe it is through the workings of the Man of Sin, whose aim it is to withstand the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom on earth, that this deception has been accomplished. We believe that he who quoted Scripture to our Saviour has in all deceivableness quoted Scripture to pious men — men who would not wickedly wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction, but who, from a failure in not regarding the scriptural mode of interpretation, by comparing scripture with scripture, have unwittingly followed the traditions of men, and have thereby been guilty of the egregious error of making the inspired teachings appear contradictory, and of withstanding the workings of the Holy Spirit in accordance with those teachings, in the hearts of thousands of the daughters of the Lord Almighty.

We believe that the attitude of the church in relation to this matter is most grievous in the sight of her Lord, who has purchased the whole human family unto himself, and would fain have every possible agency employed in preaching the gospel to every creature. That He whose name is Faithful and True has fulfilled his ancient promise, and poured out his Spirit as truly, upon his daughters as upon his sons, has been demonstrated in a manner so extraordinary that we have actually hesitated in giving many of the facts which we have on hand. But why hesitate? Cannot God take care of his own work? So we conclude. Surely it was not necessary for Uzzah to steady the ark. We shall therefore proceed to lay before the reader instances in confirmation of the fact that God as truly pours out the spirit of prophecy on his daughters now as on the day of Pentecost.

We will introduce to the reader Mrs. Mary Taft, formerly Miss Mary Barritt, the talented lady of the Rev. Dr. Taft, author of Memoirs of Eminently Holy Women. We have before us the Diary of this extraordinary woman. If the criterion by which we may judge of a divine call to proclaim salvation be by the proportion of fruit gathered, then to the commission of Mrs. Taft is appended the divine signature, to a degree preeminently unmistakable. In reviewing her Diary, we are constrained to believe that not one minister in five hundred could produce so many seals to their ministry. And not only from her own recordings do we learn of her eminent success, but from various other sources. We were in company, since we commenced the preparation of this volume, with an eminent minister, formerly a resident of England, who was well acquainted with this extraordinary servant of the church; and he informs us that, of those who had been brought to Christ through her ministrations, over two hundred entered the ministry.

From her journal we find, in her visits from place to place, that many hundreds were won over from the ranks of sin to the service of the Saviour through the persuasive power of the Spirit's utterances as they fell from her lips. She seldom opened her mouth in public assemblies, either in prayer or speaking, but the Holy Spirit accompanied her words as they fell upon the ears of the people, in such a wonderful manner that sinners were convicted, and, as in apostolic times, were constrained to cry out, from the disquietude of their souls, "Men and brethren, what must we do to be saved?"

Some may be disposed to question, and speak of the scenes we may portray as unwarrantably exciting; and in like manner, or somewhat similar, may we conceive, will guilty sinners again be alarmed, or, in other words, excited, when the light of the Spirit, unhindered by human interventions, shall dart upon the mind, and all in whose hands God has put a two-edged sword, shall be permitted to wield it under the Spirit's dictation.

We will give some passages from the Memoirs of Mrs. T. And let the reader mark these recordings closely, and ask himself whether we might not hope for a return of the success of apostolic days if there might be a return to the simplicity of the principles of Christianity as in the days of its infancy, when every possible agency was earnestly recognized and employed which might be subservient towards meeting the spirit of the command, "Preach the gospel to every creature."

Mrs. T. was powerfully converted to God when about thirteen years of age. Speaking of several weeks' painful conviction previous to her conversion, she observes,

My sorrow was so great that it drank up my spirits, and my mother remarked to many that during this period she never saw a smile on my countenance." After her translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, her joy was great; and she longed to spread far and near the fame of Jesus' saving power. At this early age, she says, "I felt much concern for the happiness of my neighbors, and took every opportunity of talking to and praying with them. I saw clearly that poor sinners were exposed to the most tremendous danger through sin, and felt particularly desirous of preventing their ruin; hence I took every opportunity of inviting them to hear the word of God preached, and felt very thankful when the preacher spoke to the consciences of the people, and faithfully warned them of their danger, while he directed the mourners in Zion to the wounds of a crucified Saviour, and pointed them to 'the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world,' and endeavored to build up believers 'in their most holy faith.'

Wherever these were wanting, I conceived the end of preaching to be lost, and felt much pain to sit under such discourses, however fine or eloquent, insomuch that I frequently wept, when under the word, to see the people careless, inattentive, and unconcerned, or to hear the preacher use expressions, or speak in a style, which I knew the people could not understand. I kept wishing and praying, as I went to hear sermons, that God would come with his servant, that he would give him purity of intention, a single eye to his glory, and enable him to preach a present and free salvation; that he might preach 'repentance towards God, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and also holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord;' and that he would do it in plain Scripture language, that the people might all understand. I wished the way to heaven to be made as plain from the pulpit as it was in the Scriptures, that a wayfaring man, though a fool as touching human knowledge or scholastic learning, might not err therein.

I not only attended all the means of grace, and began to exhort the people from house to house, and many times with tears told them the danger they were in, and exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come, but I began to pray in the prayer meetings. The first time was one Sabbath evening. After several had sung and prayed, one of the class leaders called upon me to pray. I did so; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon me in an extraordinary manner, so that I entered upon the spirit of my duty, not of praying merely, but of exhortation. I faithfully warned sinners of their danger, and exhorted penitents to come to God through Christ. I continued from this time to assist in the prayer meetings, and very frequently gave a word of exhortation from a verse of a hymn, from any providential occurrence in the neighborhood, or from what came immediately from above, just as the Spirit of the Lord led me.

Several persons came to me at my father's house, to inform me of the good they had received in the meetings I had attended; and numbers came to invite me to different places to pray with the sick, to talk with others about their souls, and to hold public meetings, so that I had frequently to go two, three, or four miles, with a few friends, in the evening, to attend to these requests.

About this time I suffered from a quarter I did not expect. The superintendent preacher, Mr. C., told some friends that, unless I immediately gave over exhorting and praying in meetings, the next time he came he would put me out of the society. The cause of his speaking thus was as follows: Christopher Lister, a local preacher, was appointed to preach at Gisborn, a village in the Colne circuit; and I had to hold a meeting at Rimmington, two miles distant, at the same time. The day following Mr. Lister went to Mr. Collins, and told him he went to Gisborn, but had no congregation, except some old women and children, all having gone after the female preacher, adding, 'If you don't stop her, I shall give up my place.' Mr. O. replied, 'I will stop her the next time I am in Colne.' But to the honor of this good man, Mr. Lister, be it spoken, that, when he saw the arm of the Lord made bare, and sinners brought to God in every direction, he declared to some friends that he should ever think it an honor to sit behind me when speaking, in order to snuff the candles for me; and he continued in this mind to the day of his death.

When I heard that I was to be turned out of the society for praying, and exhorting sinners to turn to Christ, I felt it exceedingly. I counted the cost, but concluded to obey God rather than man. I valued the having my name among God's people, but I thought more highly of its being enrolled in the book of life; and I believed, if I did not occupy the talent God had given me, he would blot it out of his book. Therefore I durst not desist, and with a degree of painful anxiety waited my expulsion; but before the preacher came in his regular turn, he was ordered from his circuit for immorality of conduct, and he has since come to an untimely end. Here I saw the providential interposition of my heavenly Father, and I fully believed he would stand by me through life.

Soon after this another preacher came to my father's to desire I would give over speaking and praying in public, to which I replied, 'I will, if you will answer for me at the day of judgment for the one talent God hath given me;' but he went away saying, 'That I cannot do.'

Some time before this, when reading the Scriptures, I have seen such light in them as I had never done before. While the Lord, by his Spirit, hath immediately said, 'You must speak from that,' I have risen up, thrown down the book, and have thought, 'I will not look at it again for a month.' O, the astonishing mercy and long forbearance of God, to bear with my unfaithfulness! I did not now, nor ever have since, wondered much at the conduct of Jonah. Notwithstanding, I was still much prejudiced against women's speaking, not understanding the Scriptures, or the custom of the Oriental nations in not admitting of mixed companies; yet I durst not forbear altogether, though I many times attempted to run from the presence of the Lord, or to shun the work he had assigned me.

When Mr. L. Harrison first came into the Colne circuit, his prejudice against women's speaking was very strong, and he spoke quite freely against it at several places. My mother thought it best to have a little friendly conversation with him. For this purpose she went to the chapel house where he lived, and, among other things, asked him how he understood that passage of Scripture, 'Help those women that labored with me in the gospel.' He replied, 'My wife helps me when she sweeps the house, makes the bed, mends my clothes, &c.' She replied, 'Mr. H., is that the gospel? Then I have done with you, if that be your gospel.'

Soon after this we had a love-feast at Colne, in which I spoke at large my religious experience, and my whole mind relative to what I had suffered on account of my call to speak and act for God. Such an unction rested upon me, and such a divine influence accompanied what was said, that nearly the whole congregation were in tears. Mr. W. Sagar went to Mr. H., and said, 'It is at the peril of your soul that you meddle with Mary Barritt. God is with her; fruit is appearing wherever she goes.' From this time Mr. H. became my firm friend and advocate; and afterwards, when he traveled in the Bradford and Redford circuits, he sent for me, and prepared my way to the utmost of his ability.

After this, that dear woman, Ann Cutler, now in glory, came to our house, and asked me if I thought I had any business at home; to which I abruptly said, 'I think I have none any where else, excepting on Sabbath days.' The reason of this was, the Sabbath day preceding I had walked to Ackrington, a distance of ten or twelve miles, and arrived there about nine o'clock, and found a large congregation waiting for me, to whom I spoke with much freedom and power, after which Ann Cutler broke out in prayer. We had a day never to be forgotten. The people assembled again at one. I spoke, and afterwards Ann Cutler spoke: we continued till five. Several were liberated, and others went away in distress. We began again at seven, and continued till midnight. The arm of the Lord was made bare, numbers were wounded and healed. The glory of God was in the midst.

Rev. Mr. Thomas Shaw accompanied me to Garragill, a place in my brother's circuit. On our way we had many blessed seasons at several places, where we stopped and held meetings: Barnard Castle was one of them, where much good was done. He delivered me to the care of John Walton, a very pious man and useful local preacher. We had several powerful meetings before we left Garragill: many were awakened, and several saved, especially on the Sabbath day. On Monday we arrived at Hexham, where my brother received us gladly, and the more because he would have Mr. Walton to preach for him that night, who said he had no objection, provided he would let his sister go with him into the desk to speak after he had done. My brother hesitated, for he had never heard me himself: he said I might go into the singing pew, and speak and pray there. Mr. W. preached in a most powerful manner, after which he requested me to address the people, which I did. While I was engaged, the Holy Ghost descended in an extraordinary manner, insomuch that the whole congregation were in tears. He gave out for me to speak at five in the morning, when we had a large congregation, and much good was done.

At Hexham, and in the circuit, the Lord was with me: many souls were brought into liberty. We had a good time at Braistywood; but a more glorious work broke out in Dallogill: in one night, thirty-six souls found peace with God. It was very late when I went to rest, and had not retired more than one hour before I was called up to pray with the distressed, who had gone part of the way home, but had returned, their agony of soul being so great that they could not proceed.

After speaking at Greenhow Hill one Sunday morning, many cried out for mercy, during which I was suddenly moved by the Spirit of the Lord to look up: when upon the hay loft I saw several young men leaning upon the beam, particularly one who was laughing. Immediately I was powerfully moved by God to pray aloud, in the following words, three times: 'O God, bring down that laughing sinner!' when, suddenly, his face gathered paleness, and in an instant he fell down among the people, cried aloud for mercy, and continued in such distress that he could neither eat, drink, work, nor sleep, till Tuesday morning, when he followed us to Pately Bridge Chapel, where the Lord graciously spoke peace to his soul, and soon after called him to preach the gospel.

Went to Whitby on Thursday, where I labored at night: we had a good season. A young woman cried out for mercy. The people seemed affrighted; but the Lord vindicated his own cause. Four or five obtained pardon that night, eight or ten the next night, still more the following evening, and on the Sabbath very many more. On Tuesday we had a very powerful time. It was estimated that over one hundred were liberated in one week. After this, the Lord abundantly blessed the labors of good Messrs. Brown and Vasey, insomuch that there were three hundred added the first quarter, and in the next quarter two hundred more.<
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About this time she received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Fenwick, from which we will give an extract.

"God himself has sent you, like the great Wesley and the great Whitefield, namely, as a blessing to the nation. Nevertheless, you will have great need of the faith of Abraham, the resolution of a Joshua, the meekness of a Moses, the strength of a Samson, the patience of a Job, the head of a Solomon, the zeal of King David, the love of St. John, the determination of St. Paul. My prayer is, that God may put on you his whole armor, causing you to comprehend, with all saints, what is the length, breadth, depth, and height of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, and to be filled with all the fullness of God. Remember not a few eyes are upon you, some for good, but not all. Let Christ be your all and in all; and in one word, let him be your finished example. I remain your everlasting friend, brother, and servant to command, in the peaceable gospel of the Son of God."

Felbeck, near Pately. Here I spoke twice. There were many who cried for mercy, and afterwards found liberty through the blood of the Lamb. While here, about four o'clock in the morning, our room door was suddenly opened, and Mrs. Weatherhead and Mrs. Malthouse, and, soon after, several others, came in, crying aloud for mercy. Mrs. James Rydal, a most pious and useful woman, and very active in our prayer meetings, was with me. We continued praying with the penitents till six o'clock, when several of them found peace with God, and rejoiced exceedingly.

From thence, in company with a number of friends, we went to Minskip. We spent a very profitable afternoon in conversation and prayer. At intervals I prayed much that the Lord would show me what he would have me speak from that evening. Mr. Malthouse had sent through the village and to Borough Bridge to inform the inhabitants that I would speak that night at seven. The evening was fine and clear — scarce a cloud could be seen on the sky. A large concourse of people had assembled. We began with singing and prayer. I then read the hymn commencing, —

'He comes! He comes! the Judge severe
The seventh trumpet speaks him near.'

On coming to the lines, —

'His lightnings flash, his thunders roll —
How welcome to the faithful soul!' —

instantly a flash of lightning blazed through the place, and then followed a peal of thunder that shook the whole building. Immediately numbers cried out for mercy, as if the last day was come. The vivid lightning and thunder continued the whole night. Numbers were awakened that evening, and many found peace with God.

My next. journey was to York. I traveled round the circuit more than once, and God was with us of a truth. At Wighill the Lord wrought a glorious work: a large number of souls were saved, both old and young, rich and poor. On the Sabbath a magistrate, together with a clergyman of the Church of England, came to hear me, purposing to put a stop to our proceedings, in case they found it to be true, what they had heard about disorderly meetings. What they thought and felt while I was speaking I know not; but in the midst of the service, a mob being outside of the door, making a noise, the magistrate sent a message to this effect — that if they did not quietly disperse, or cease from disturbing the congregation, he would have them taken up, and committed to prison.

A letter received about this time from the eminently devoted Bramwell says, 'Your way is open. Numbers receive the power. O, go on as your strength will permit, and the Lord Jesus be with you. I have some serious reflections that your time will be short, and I think shorter than mine. You do more work in less time, consequently will sooner fulfill your task. If I did more for God, I might go with you. Amen. I am still convinced that the Lord would have us feel and labor like Paul, and leave all annoyances in his hands. Numbers will never be saved without great efforts in the instruments. But, O, how mysterious is this! notwithstanding, let us pluck them as brands from the burning, to draw to God the next generation.'

Some time after this, I went to Leeds, at the earnest request of the Rev. Mr. Mather, now in glory. The Lord was with us; many were awakened and brought to God. One forenoon the power of God came down among us of a truth; souls were crying out for mercy in eight or ten different places in the chapel. The friends believed there might be fifteen or twenty brought into liberty. Mr. Mather was filled with the power of God, and said he would vindicate such a meeting as that, at the Market Cross, if he was called to it. Glory be to God. Several that were brought to the Lord at this time have since been useful laborers in the vineyard of Christ.

My brother brought his family to Colne, and I supplied his place on the Whitehaven circuit. The arm of the Lord was made bare in a wonderful manner, so that when he came back there were one hundred and eleven added to the society, and several more afterwards. At one village in the circuit, there were three clergymen of the Church of England came to hear, the eldest of whom sat in the chair before me while I spoke, and said Amen heartily. Another of them had been a persecutor of the Methodists in that part, but said afterwards to one of our friends, that if what he heard was the Methodists' doctrine he was sorry for what he had said, and hoped no one should hear him speak against them for the future. My brother met me at Brampton. I had a most glorious time at Cockermouth; many were awakened and brought to God, especially a young man, who is now in the traveling ministry.

At Stockton much good was done; five, if not more, were brought into the liberty of the children of God, three of whom became preachers of the gospel. I then accompanied Rev. Mr. Vasey to Whitby, and the Lord was with us; we saw souls saved every night for a considerable time, and for several mornings in succession some obtained the blessing of entire sanctification. God was with us of a truth. One night one of our friends was going through Church Street, between ten and eleven o'clock, and heard the people at prayer in almost every house. On Sabbath evening two found the Lord to save from the guilt of sin; but on Monday night the power of God came down like unto a mighty rushing wind; eight or ten found the love of God, and some backsliders were healed.

Soon after this I rode to Buxton, and spoke from Daniel v. 27, 'Thou art weighed in the balances, and found wanting.' The chapel was crowded to excess; both rich and poor, all appeared eager to hear the word. Among the number was a Peer of the realm, who had a star on his breast. He was very attentive, and the cries and distress of the people were very great: we continued till near midnight. This season I can never forget; my soul was filled with the fullness of God; there was indeed a shaking among the dry bones; several were saved; and some time after, I received a letter, informing me that more than twenty had joined the society, who had received good at that time. All glory to God and the Lamb!

At Mansfield I labored in the Calvinistic Chapel, with liberty and power. The reason of my speaking in this chapel was, it was much larger than ours, but it was far too small to contain all the people. The dissenting minister freely gave me his pulpit, expressing his satisfaction afterwards to our friends. The Lord reward him. Many wept, and some were blessed. Glory be to God, souls are turning to him in this place.

Went to Macclesfield, having been invited by the Rev. Mr. Marsden, Mr. Heywood, and others: We had some gracious times in the country villages, especially at Lower Ease Chapel. I could speak from no passage but this — 'Come and see.' The chapel was crowded, and as I spoke, the power of God descended, so that many wept much, and in the prayer meeting many cried out for the disquietude of their souls. As I was describing the human heart, a course of sin, and the burning lake, many attended to the invitation, and were enabled to 'come and see' a sight they never saw before, namely, their own sinful and wicked hearts; others were enabled to believe in Jesus as exhibited upon the pole of the gospel, and were set at glorious liberty.


Of the Rev. Mr. Pawson, who was about that time President of the Wesleyan Conference, she says:

We arrived at Mr. Wade's, of Sturton. Here, for the first time, I met that venerable man of God, Mr. John Pawson. On my entering the room he rose up, and turning to Mr. Wade, said, 'Now, sir, you can dispense with my labors, since Miss B. has come; I will return to Leeds.' Mr. W. stopped him short, saying, 'Miss Barritt is come, and I am glad to see her; but it is your appointment, and I insist upon your keeping your place;' upon which he sat down. Soon after Mr. W. began to make inquiries relative to the great work in Nottingham. I related some particulars which had come under my own notice. Mr. Pawson listened, and soon tears began to steal down his venerable face.

After tea prayer was proposed, and Mr. Pawson said, 'Miss B. will pray with us.' I did so, and felt my heart much enlarged and blessed. Mr. P. prayed afterwards, and we had a good season. His prejudice against woman's speaking melted away as snow before the midday sun, and from this time he became my firm advocate and friend. He preached to us that evening with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. Next morning he took Mr. W. aside, and insisted upon a promise that he would bring me to Thorner, to meet him inn month's time, to which arrangement I consented. According to appointment, I met this aged and venerable servant of God, and spoke for him; he being present, we had a good time. In the afternoon several souls were savingly brought to God; in the evening meeting, also, some received good to their souls, and were enabled to rejoice in God their Saviour.

On Sabbath morning I spoke at South Kelsey, and the power of God was present of a truth; it was a time of general conviction; the most hardened were led to tremble with Felix, under the mighty power of God, and several cried, aloud for mercy, yea, roared out by reason of the disquietude of their souls; some obtained pardon, and several a sense of sanctification by faith in that blood which cleanseth from all sin. I never was witness to a more glorious work, considering the number of people.


And here we must close our review of the labors of this daughter of the Lord Almighty. What we have given from her journals present but a limited view of a long life spent in labors abundant. These recordings, of nearly two hundred pages, are every where interspersed with such amazing scenes of Pentecostal power, so similar to those we have here condensed and presented to the reader, that we have found it difficult to make our selections. And as our eye has glanced over the account of hundreds saved, we have wondered at the slowness of men's hearts in believing the things that are written, and in observing the signs of the times, and our hearts have in holy anticipation said, O that there were some noble, unflinching spirit of the present time, as in the age of Justin Martyr, who, in contending for the truth with Trypho the Jew, maintained that the latter days were indeed come, specifying as his argument "that both women and men were seen among them who had the gifts of the Spirit of God, according as Joel the prophet had foretold; for by this expression, Manassah Ben Israel tells us, all their wise men understood the times of Messias."

Though Mrs. T., in the prosecution of her work, had so many glorious conquests, she had also many crucifying conflicts. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord; but every one that is perfect shall be as his Master. If it was for envy that the Master was delivered, it is not surprising that one who, by her usefulness, through the power of the Spirit which rested upon her in such an eminent degree, should have brought multitudes together, and thus attracted the attention of the populace, to the neglect of some public teachers, who perhaps were less intent on securing the agency of the Spirit to give efficiency to their labors.

But though Mrs. T. was not left to pursue her victorious course without feeling that she was withstood, and too often were these restive influences from sources where she would fain have looked for sympathy, yet there were not a few of the more noble minded both among the ministry and laity who were rejoiced to witness the honor that the Lord had conferred on this daughter of heaven, in that she had been made so abundantly successful in winning souls to Christ. It is ï thus we see an eminent minister, who had been called to the highest post of honor within the gift of the church to which Mrs. T. belonged, earnest in enlisting her services. We see occasionally, among her auditory, a Peer of the realm, magistrates, and other persons of rank, We see clergymen of various denominations, and one of these, (of the Established Church of England, with his clerk,) who, though despoiled of his congregation by the engrossing desire of the people to hear the gospel proclaimed from the persuasive lips of this modern Mary, leaving his deserted church, not to warn his people against this infringement on ordinary church usage, but to hear for himself, and encourage, by his presence, any instrumentality which God might, employ in winning men from sin to holiness. We see also that her correspondents were from among the most useful and honored ministers in the denomination to which she was attached.

But it is not unusual for sons in the gospel to grow far wiser than the more eminent fathers upon whose labors they have entered. It was thus in the days of the devoted Pawson, Mather, Blackborne, Vasey, Marsden, Bramwell, &c. And it is only thus that it may be apologized for, that the devoted Mrs. T. was not on one occasion recognized as a fellow-helper with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Taft. By way of advising or reproving some gainsayers under circumstances of this description, the Rev. Mr. Pawson writes, —

It is but too well known that religion has been for some considerable time at a very low ebb in Dover. I therefore could not help thinking that it was a kind providence that Mrs. Taft was stationed among you, and that by the blessing of God she might be the instrument of reviving the blessed work of God among you. Perhaps there never was a time when the Lord so greatly condescended to the curiosity of mankind, in order to do them good, as at the present. He has been pleased to raise up and send forth all sorts of instruments. Men almost of all descriptions — poor men, rich men, learned and unlearned; and if he is pleased to send by a woman also, who shall say unto him, 'What doest thou?'

As to myself, I have long thought it more difficult to prove that women ought not to preach than many imagine. Let any one seriously consider, (1 Cor. xi. 5) 'prophesieth with her head covered.' Now, prophesying there has generally been understood to mean preaching. If, then, the women never did preach at all, why did the Lord, by the apostle, give these instructions respecting their heads being covered or uncovered? I seriously believe Mrs. Taft to be a deeply pious, prudent, modest woman. I believe the Lord hath owned and blessed her labors very much, and many, yea, very many souls have been brought to the saving knowledge of God by her preaching. Many have come to hear her out of curiosity, who would not have come to hear a man, and have been awakened and converted to God. I do assure you there is much fruit of her labors in many parts of our connection. I would, therefore, advise you by no means to oppose her preaching; but let her have full liberty, and try whether the Lord will not make her an instrument of reviving his work among you. I am an old man, and have been long in the work; and I do most seriously believe, that if you do not yourselves hinder it, God will make Mrs. T. the instrument of great good to you. Take care you do not fight against God. Many will come to hear her every where, who will not come to hear your preachers. Let these poor souls have a chance for their lives; do not you hinder them.


To this letter of advice is added a short note from another minister of honored memory — the Rev. J. S. Pipe. It reads thus:—

From a long acquaintance with Mrs. Taft, I most heartily unite with our honored father, Mr. Pawson, in beseeching you not to hinder her exercising her talents among you; for I most assuredly believe that God has called her to declare the glad tidings of salvation to the world, and that he has already honored her in the conversion of multitudes.


The estimation in which the labors of Mrs. T. was held by ministers of other denominations than her own, may be gathered from notes similar to the subjoined, which we find interspersed throughout her journal. "Mr. Child, the Calvinist minister, would have me speak in his chapel. He is a most precious man of God. This venerable servant of Christ, as soon as I had done speaking, said, 'The Lord has certainly stepped out of his common way this night, in order to do you good. The truths you have heard, if not properly improved, will surely rise up against you in the last day.' He then begged, in the most tender and affectionate manner, that they would all begin to seek the Lord. This was one of the best seasons of my life. The Lord was very present to many; some felt his healing influence, and others experienced his cleansing grace."

From the review we have given of Mrs. Taft's labors, we presume none will question but she had received a commission from the Head of the church for the great work in which she had been so abundantly successful. Of many honored ministers of her day, who were her correspondents, and who gratefully availed themselves of her labors, and whose letters to her have been published, we see the names of the Rev. Messrs. Mather, Pawson, Hearnshaw, Blackborne, Marsden, Longden, Vasey, Bramwell, with many more well known as among the more eminent ministers of her time.

As we trace the onward and upward pathway of this devoted daughter of the Lord Almighty, it is inspiring to see her evident increase in holy faith and courage. No faltering marks her career, no misgivings in regard to the divinity of her call, but the yet more confirming assurances of the Holy Spirit that she had been divinely aided and directed in her labors.

In some closing remarks, on one occasion, she says,
In Yorkshire Dales, extending from Ripon to Bainbridge, Reeth, and Richmond, the Lord enabled me to gather the harvest in handfuls, and every where he gave me fruit. I might add many things also with respect to my convictions, views and feelings, and conduct, relative to my public work. Suffice it to say, that the Almighty, in a most extraordinary manner, removed my scruples, answered my objections, and thrust me out into his vineyard. Indeed, nothing but a powerful conviction that God required it at my hand, and that I should lose my own soul if I did not endeavor to save the souls of others, could have supported me in it. Added to this, the Lord gave me souls in almost every place, whenever I stood up in his name before the people. And more especially did he thus encourage me on occasions when almost overwhelmed with the magnitude of the work. This wonderful condescension and stupendous love of Christ to me, deeply humbles my soul before him.

And shall I slight my Father's love,
Or basely fear his gifts to own?
Unmindful of his favors prove?
Shall I, the hallowed cross to shun,
Refuse his righteousness to impart,
By hiding it within my heart?

No; though the ancient dragon rage,
And call forth all his hosts to war,
Though earth's self-righteous sons engage,
Them and their god alike I dare;
Jesus, the sinner's friend proclaim—
Jesus, to sinners still the same.


And again, as she was about to leave a people among whom she had labored, She says,
I can take this people to record that I am clear of their blood. I trust I shall ever endeavor, by the grace of God, to keep this in view. It was not man, nor the praise of man, which induced me to call sinners to repentance. I never did, and I hope I never shall, pay much regard to their praise or dispraise, to the smiles or frowns of breathing worms, so that God's name may be glorified, sinners saved, and I be clear when God judgeth the world, having finished the work he called me to do.


Though abundant in labors, Mrs. T. was a most devoted wife and affectionate mother. Few seemed to enjoy the sweet satisfaction of these social relations more than she. The heart of her husband safely trusted in her; and he was prone to say, "Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all." He was ever in perfect sympathy with her in her work, and of this the affectionate heart of Mrs. T. had a most grateful appreciation. From among the last records of her pen before us, we will transcribe an interesting memento corroborative of this. Her husband, with herself, having been invited to the charge of a people in the place of her nativity, she says,
Some of us wept for joy at our first interview, and a few of us agreed to meet statedly at the throne of grace, for God's special blessing upon our appointment and labors. My soul is truly alive to God; blessed be his holy name. My earnest desire and prayer is, that souls may be saved. Truly can I say that this is more to me than any thing else. Were it not for this, none would hear my voice in the house of God. It is not, and never was, because I was willing to be seen and heard that sinners have been called to listen to my voice. It is because I love and pity them, and long that they should be saved. And in trying to save souls, my own soul is watered, and my joy much increased, and, best of all, I feel the approbation of God the Holy Spirit in this. I travail in birth for souls. Lord, give me many souls in every place on this circuit.

'I cannot willing be
Thy bounty to conceal
From others, who, like me,
Their wants and hunger feel.
I'll tell them of thy mercy's store,
And try to send a thousand more.'

I know my conduct herein has been rendered vile in the esteem of some; this I must leave to the Judge of all: let it be my business to guard against prejudice. Thank God, I feel free now. What a mercy my husband is of the same mind with me, as touching my public work, and he encourages me in it! So was Mr. Fletcher, though a clergyman of the Church of England, with respect to the labors of his good wife; he never hindered her, or laid any stone of stumbling in her way, but, contrariwise, encouraged her.

In the midst of all, God hath given me his approving smile, and a blessed consciousness that I was acting under his divine sanction and influence, and, with purity of intention, designing only to promote his glory among men, and the real good of my fellow-creatures. These have been my constant support under powerful temptation, fierce persecution, and severe affliction.

In addition to this, the Lord has graciously raised me up friends, the remembrance of whose kindness and attention is engraven on my heart in indelible characters; and he has given me very many living epistles of evangelical truth, 'seen, and read, and known of all men.' Many of these God hath appointed to occupy very important offices in his church, several of whom are traveling preachers, while others are laboring for God, in a more limited sphere, as local preachers. These are my letters of recommendation, written as by the finger of God. These I expect to be my crown of rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus
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