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Her conversion and growth in grace
At the age of fifteen she yielded up her affections to the Saviour, and took her stand at the foot of the cross. There was nothing very marked or peculiar in her conversion. Her convictions of sin were deep and pungent, and it was a long time before she obtained any relief. When light and peace did dawn upon her mind, it was not the sudden blaze of noon, but the twilight of morning gradually brightening into day. I recollect well the first conversation I had with her after this event. She felt an earnest desire to draw near the Saviour, and to place herself at his feet-to tell him, in the hearing of the world, that she was determined to be his follower. Yet she shrunk from so holy an approach, and felt oppressed under a view of her own exceeding unworthiness. Her appearance at this time was uncommonly interesting. Her form was slender and delicate, and her features bore an expression of unusual feminine sweetness. A pensive air rested upon her countenanee. She was naturally taciturn, retiring, and diffident. She had come to speak with her pastor upon the concerns of her undying soul. The tear of contrition glistened in her eye, and the day-star of hope had shot its first glimmering rays athwart her darkened mind. It was observable at this early stage of her religious course, that she had caught a view of the beauty of holiness, and was panting after the perfect image and likeness of Christ.
I wish to be particular in stating that Anzonetta possessed no uncommon intellectual endowments : neither in the commencement of her religious course was her mind illuminated by any extraordinary manifestation of the divine Spirit. And on this very account her history is far more instructive and valuable. For the spiritual attainments she made are within the reach of the feeblest Christian I am addressing. That same blessed Spirit which conducted her step by step up to the very summit of the holy mount, from whence her disencumbered soul winged its way to the regions of celestial light, is now ready and waiting to conduct each one of you to the same elevated point of holiness. 6. For the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” His promise is, “open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."
Anzonetta's growth in grace was rapid and uninterrupted. Perhaps few in the present age have, in the short period of three years, attained such high maturity in all the
Her attention on religious worship.
Christian graces as she exhibited. There are two assignable causes which we are confident exerted no inconsiderable influence in contributing to these results.
The first was this. At the very outset she placed her standard high. She “hungered and thirsted after righteousness.” Her soul was animated with an all-absorbing desire to become like unto the Son of God in purity and holiness. She looked not to Christians, but to Christ for a pattern. She understood the meaning and felt the force of the declaration, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Secondly, The object for which she lived and laboured was to be holy. With her the great business of life was to be a Christian ; to stand approved in the sight of God. Whatever were her engagements at any time, she never forgot that she was acting beneath the all-searching eye of God, and living for eternity. She had now “become as a little child.” She was ready to sit down at the feet of Jesus as a learner. She daily read her Bible with a meek and childlike spirit, lingering over every verse to extract its full and entire m
meaning She greatly prized the privilege of going to the house of God. She was not satisfied with barely conveying her body there. Her thoughts seemed all withdrawn from the world and fixed upon divine things. She joined in the service with a fervour and engagedness which showed that all the faculties of her soul were absorbed in holy contemplation. No slight obstacle would keep her away from the sanctuary, when its sacred doors were opened. She regarded every sermon or lecture which she missed of hearing as an irreparable loss, and the silent musings of her heart, when necessarily detained from the courts of the sanctuary, were,“ How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts. My soul longeth, yea, even panteth for the courts of the Lord.”
What she heard on the Sabbath was treasured up as a subject for meditation throughout the following week. It was the food upon which her soul was to feast, till she was again permitted to enter the sanctuary, and receive a new supply of the bread of life. In listening to sermons, she seemed to have no other object in view, but her own spiritual improvement. And so in all her intercourse with her Christian friends, the only motive which appeared to influ
Seeking the Lord daily.
ence her, was to receive or communicate good. She never allowed herself to utter the language of censure. She seemed to have no feelings toward her fellow-beings but those of unbounded kindness. It was her unceasing aim to walk so as to please God. Every thing was made subordinate to this.
She was most strict and conscientious in seeking the Lord daily in her closet. She had stated and regular seasons for retirement, and nothing could induce her to forego these opportunities of sweet and solemn converse with her heavenly Father. She was in the habit of rising very early, and she rose to pray;
“ The morning,” says her mother in a communication to me, “ the morning never dawned upon her sleeping couch. It ever found her on her knees before the mercyseat. She always rose before the morning light, and lit her lamp that she might peruse the sacred page, and hold converse with the God she loved. She had a race to run, and a prize to win, and she never slackened her course till her hand clasped the crown of glory. This had been her practice ever since she first began to seek an interest in Christ. No severity of weather would prevent her spending hours in her closet, and when remonstrated with reference to the exposure of her health, she would reply, with a sweet smile, . Do not allow any fears to disturb you on that account: my health is in no danger. And I find
mind prepared in the closet for all the duties of the day. Every day I discover much in my heart that is wrong, and needs to be brought under the subduing power of divine grace. I have every day much to praise the Lord for. Besides, my little Sunday-school children daily need the prayers of their teacher. And you kpow that ту friends and relatives, and the church, must not be forgotten. To think over all these subjects, and bring them in a suitable manner before the mercy-seat, requires some little time.'”
Her mother remarks still further, that—" If any particular employment required her attention early in the morning, she rose earlier than customary on that morning to secure some time for her closet; and after the work in which she had been engaged had been accomplished, she again retired to hold further converse with God. If at any time doubts disturbed her mind, or cares interrupted her peace, she sought relief in her closet. If she had new subjects for
Anzonetta's sympathy for the poor.
praise, she retired to pour out in secret the offering of her soul to God.”
I have been thus particular in specifying some of the means through which Anzonetta sought the influences of the divine Spirit, that you, my beloved hearers, may go and do likewise. We are told that, “ They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength-that they shall mount up with wings as eagles—that they shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.” In her case there was a most eminent fulfilment of this promise. Her progress in the divine life was astonishing. She became a most exalted and heavenly-minded Christian. And yet her humility was so great, that she never thought that she had attained any thing more than the lowest stage of Christian experience.
While she daily went on from strength to strength, her heart burned within her to do something for the immortal souls of her fellow-creatures. She had often prayed for them. She now felt that she wished to do something for their benefit. Her natural timidity previous to her sickness frequently prevented her from speaking to her young friends, whose salvation lay very near her heart. There was, however, a powerful and eloquent appeal emanating from her consistent heavenly walk and conversation. The earnest desire of her heart also found many vents, notwithstanding her natural timidity, through which they burst forth. She resided in the family of her Aunt D- It often devolved upon her to superintend and direct her young cousins in their juvenile studies and employments: and she never failed to seize upon every opportunity to tell them of the love of Christ, of the ruin in which they were involved by sin, and the need they had of repentance and divine pardon.
The poor and the ignorant shared her tenderest sympathies. She spent many of her leisure hours in visiting the abodes of wretchedness, threading her way up narrow passages to the dark garret—or descending into the dismal cellar, to carry some little article of food or clothing that would contribute to the comfort of the sick and dying, and above all, to tell them of Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life.” Imagine a young, delicate female, scarcely having as yet attained her seventeenth year, shrinking almost from her own shadow, and yet led by the love of souls to
Visits to the poor.
enter the tenements of want, and to sit down amid all the filth and squalid wretchedness that are often found in those abodes, to read a tract—to entreat the wretched inmates to think of their never-dying souls, or to lift up her voice in the midst of them in prayer to her heavenly Father,-and you will have it in your power to form a correct idea of the depth and sincerity of Anzonetta's desire to benefit those for whom Christ died.
These visits brought to her notice so many objects that needed pecuniary relief, that she found it utterly out of her power to extend to them the required assistance, and often felt greatly pained to know what to do. In order to increase her ability to meet those numerous demands on her charity, she retrenched every unnecessary expenditure, and appropriated the avails to this object. She had a stated annual allowance : and she found that by retrenching every thing ornamental, and using great economy in the article of dress, she could save from what was usually expended in this way, an amount that would enable her to dry up many tears and spread the signs of joy over many sorrowing countenances.
It was her delight to go on these errands of mercy. A brief extract from the letter of a friend who sometimes accompanied her on these visits, will illustrate this part of her character.
She loved to bend her steps to the abodes of poverty and wretchedness. During the fall of 1831, she led me to the apartment of an aged coloured woman. As she invited me to accompany her, she said,
66. We will converse with her upon religion, for I am not sure that she has the right Christian faith.'
“We soon found to our joy, that Catherine was an old disciple, and had fully learned the way of salvation by Christ. She talked freely, narrated the history of her religious experience, told of her many trials, and of the support religion had afforded; spoke of her great love for the Bible, and how she had learned to read, aster having arrived at an adult age. She dwelt particularly upon the happiness she enjoyed in communion with her Saviour, of the full confidence she reposed in him, and that she looked forward with delight to the day of her death, because she then hoped to see him, not through a glass darkly, but face to face, and to be changed into the same image.'