« AnteriorContinuar »
MEMOIR OF MRS. ELIZABETH FELVUS : BY HER HUSBAND, THE REV. RICHARD FELVUS. ELIZABETH CALVERT was born at Keighley, November 6th, 1806. Her mother, a devoted woman, died when Elizabeth was very young. Her venerable father, who has been associated with Methodism full half the period of its existence, and whose character and influence have essentially served that cause, still survives. The daughter was, therefore, trained to attend the Wesleyan ministry; and the regularity of the family's attendance, though residing a considerable distance from their place of worship, had the effect of rendering her an example of punctuality at the house of God. Perhaps there was as little manifestation of evil in her temper and behaviour during her youth, as occurs in any of our fallen race. She was wont to attribute much of good, received at that period, to the frequent presence of Wesleyan Ministers at her father's house. In few dwellings have they been more cordially hailed, during any part of the last fiveand-forty years. She was taught to venerate them. She used to say, “I never heard them evil spoken of in the presence of my father, without his interposing a salutary check upon the conversation. If at any time a Preacher himself thoughtlessly reflected on a brother Minister, my father always maintained a perfect silence, or said something in favour of the absent party.”
In the eighteenth year of her age she was convinced of the guilt of original and actual transgression. A sense of sin, a fear of hell, and a hope of mercy, induced her earnestly to seek the Lord. Her deliverance from the burden of iniquity, and introduction into the family of God, were clear and distinct. To one of her father's servants, who knew the way of God, she often went to tell her distress of mind, and seek spiritual counsel. After several months of godly sorrow, and while engaged in prayer with several of her friends who had met for the purpose under a neighbour's roof, she received power to take hold of Christ and the blessings of His cross. She continued to kneel, and to express her gratitude to God, until her strength was exhausted. Shortly after this, for the first time she knelt with her parents at the table of the Lord. Her sacred joy on this occasion, and the evident pleasure it gave her father, rendered it a season of which she loved to speak. By her mother she was first
VOL. VII.-FOURTH SERIES.
invited and taken to class. The members were, mainly, persons engaged in her father's works. They hailed her appearance among them; and, when at the close of the meeting she appealed to her mother with the inquiry whether her name might be entered, there was a burst of joy from all present. All her subsequent fellowship with them justified this pleasure. None more regularly attended ; none brought to the meeting a larger amount of Christian principle or pious feeling.
In August, 1827, she was married to one who now mourns his inexpressible loss. If a “prudent wife is from the Lord,” he must see the Divine hand in this precious gift. After making all allowance for the superior estimation in which departed relatives are held, he is convinced that a person less blamable, or more adapted to sustain her new relation, is seldom seen. Many of his colleagues in the ministry (some of them of high standing and long experience) have spontaneously borne the same testimony. He is not aware that she ever made him an enemy; while nothing was more evident than that in every place she increased the number and confidence of his friends.—None could thoroughly and intimately know her without remarking the fervency of her devotions. She knew the way to God, and delighted to approach Him as a “ Father who seeth in secret.” From hallowed retirement she often returned with a mind so evidently full of quiet satisfaction, and with so much of heaven upon her countenance, that there could be no doubt as to the blessedness of the engagements she had just left. A copy of the holy Scriptures, which came into her possession at the period of her conversion as a present from her father, bears tokens of her diligence in reading the word of God. Communion with heaven promoted a cheerful and happy frame of mind. Her guilt was removed; her conscience was at rest ; she cherished love to God, and good-will toward all her fellow-creatures. She thoroughly enjoyed the more private meetings of her church; and her attendance was such as pleased and encouraged the people. In these, however, she rarely took any part, beyond the relation of her experience at class. A constitutional timidity restrained her from engaging in prayer in the bearing of others, except at home and in the cottages of the poor. Yet in the gift of prayer she by no means “came behind.” The main thing, or that which will bring all other qualifications for successful pleading, is a thorough conviction that God is near, and really to be spoken to; and in this she seemed to excel. She was an attentive hearer of the word of God. She bad attained an unusual success in the habit of fixing the attention. On the Sabbath evening, she loved to recapitulate the truths she had heard during the day in the house of God. The extent to which she succeeded, proved that she had been there with the most wakeful attention of mind.
At Radcliffe she found that the Minister's wife had usually met a class in her own dwelling. The house was the property of Mrs. Bealey, (the use of which that most generous lady had for many years given to the Bury Circuit,) and the members were mostly young females
employed in her works. In these circumstances Mrs. Felvus found it difficult to refuse the appointment of Class-Leader. Her diffidence compelled her to hesitate for weeks; and it was not until she saw that no other person could be found, and that the spiritual interests of the members were likely to suffer, that she consented to occupy that important position. It was easy to perceive, for hours before the weekly meeting began, that with her a preparation of heart was already proceeding. Had she been as unfit for the office as she thought herself, the kindness and frankness of her manner, her concern for the members, and her attention to them in the intervals of meeting, would have tended, by the blessing of God, to secure their spiritual prosperity. At York, in 1834, she was seized with violent paroxysms, which continued so long as to threaten her life, and resulted in permanent weakness of the chest. As her sufferings increased, so did the point and frequency of her declarations of satisfaction with the dealings of God. When sorrow was expressed at seeing her in extreme languor and pain, she looked upward and said,
“ ) what are all my sufferings here,
If, Lord, Thou count me meet
And worship at Thy feet?” In several places she was employed in distributing religious tracts ; in taking part, as Collector or Secretary, in Missionary Associations ; and in conducting meetings of young persons belonging to the senior classes of Sunday-schools. But her heart and exertions were most engaged in efforts for the relief and comfort of the poor. Seldom have calamities, resulting from disasters at sea, fallen so thickly upon a population, as upon the people of Hull, during her residence in that port; and so effectually did she aid the efforts there made for the support of many widows and fatherless children, as to receive an expression of approval signed by the Mayor and other inhabitants of the town. At Bradford and Rochdale she took active part in estabblishing Clothing Societies. Her toil in the former case injured her health ; but, as it evidently served the poor, and the cause of God, she felt abundantly rewarded. With her, attention to the poor was not an act, but a habit. She visited them at their houses, prayed with their families, and manifested a special and untiring interest in their welfare. In the Walworth school-room, on New-Year's day, 1846, she was surrounded and blessed by more than a hundred of the poorest of the people, to whose comfort she had ministered.
It is due to mention a different example of her Christian sympathy. Many remember her attention to an excellent servant of Jesus Christ,
—the Rev. Philip Garrett,—during the last six months of his life. In the summer of 1842 his friends saw that he was rapidly declining. Mrs. Felvus was his nearest neighbour; and she seemed to set her heart upon smoothing the last stage of his journey to the grave. She watched the progress of his affliction, devoted much time to innumerable services of Christian love, and multiplied the comforts of the