Brief Memoir of the Widow Sister Anna Rosina Church, who departed at Petershall, March 12th. 1841.
I was born Feb. 2, 1756 at Neustadt in Silesia, during a very distressing & troublous period. My Parents before my birth resistedin Lauenburg, but from there they were obliged to remove to Neustadt, having lost their all, by means of a fire, which consumed the greater part of the town. When I was only a few weeks old, my Parents were obliged to flee with me in the midst of winter, by occasion of the following circumstance.
The Roman Catholics (for some reason which I do not know) had determined to set fire to the town. My Father standing at his door was accosted by two Priests, who requested him to hold.
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My Father at first had no wish to live in a Congn, but during my Mother’s last illness, having to fetch my brother home from a distance, & passing through Gnadenfrey, he remained there one Sunday, & attended the Chapel. During the service it was impressed upon his mind, that this was the place for him; He therefore determined to oppose it no longer, & on his return home, gave my Mother no little joy by telling her he would now go to the Congn. She then sent my brother to Gnadenfrey to Br. Cowley, who treated him as his own son, & taught him his business. After my Mother’s departure, my Father settled all his affairs, & removed to Gnadenfrey, taking me with him. I lived in the Sr’s house,
where I spent 6 happy years. I still in my old age, can look back with
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despised my weak endeavors, but has graciously accepted my feeble efforts to promote his cause.
I felt much to leave Gnadenberg, & all my dear friends there, but particularly Br & Sr Holische. They went several miles on our way to Herrnhut, & When they left us, commended us to our Lord’s gracious leading & protection.
At Herrnhut we were married Oct. 9. 1706. After our marriage my husband was ordained, & I was accepted an Acolyte at the same meeting. Having received the necessary instructions from the U.E.C. & after taking an affectionate leave of the Congn. at Herrnhut, we set out, accompanied by the prayers & good wishes of the Congn. Our journey was a distressing one. We arrived at Barby on the 20th having traveled 3 days & 3 nights in an open wagon in deep snow, & frost so intense, that our clothes were frozen stiff on our backs.
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This laid the foundation of a severe cold, which brought on violent Erysipelas. We set out however, again, I traveled 5 days & 6 nights without intermission, to Wesel. Here I felt a considerable degree of fever from the effects of the cold.
Our next Stage was Arnheim, where we experienced a gracious preservation from our Lord. The fore axle of our carriage having broken, we were dragged several yards close to the sloping bank of the city moat, but were extricated from our perilous situation by the soldiers on duty.
We rendered heartfelt thanks to our Lord for this merciful Preservation. From here I arrived at Zeist in a high fever, & my right eye quite closed up. We rested here from Octr 30th till Novr 6th, & then through the goodness of our Lord were enabled to proceed to London, though I had not yet quite recovered, & felt much inconvenience
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from my eye still being closed up. Here we spent 3 months enjoying the unremitting kindness of the Brn & Srs many of whom had known my husband from a child.
After much delay, & having once been in imminent danger of being drowned in following the vessel to Gravesend by a boat, we at length, on the 14thFeby 1787 set sail for Jamaica. During most of this voyage, we had to experience the truth of that declaration, that through much tribulation we must follow our Lord. This was in some degree owing to the circumstances unavoidable in such a case. But the chief cause of our sufferings arose from the character & conduct of our Captain. He had made fair promises, but kept none of them, nor did he permit us to enjoy our stipulated rights. In short, he was a man whose heart was an enmity with God, & who could not therefore
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be expected to favour, or forward his cause, or to shew any kindness to those engaged in it. This we had painfully to experience during our voyage of more than 10 weeks.
At length the wished-for moment arrived when we saw our destined land, but here our trials were not ended. We found on enquiry, that the ship would have to put into several ports, & might be yet some weeks before it reached Black River, when we were to land. We therefore determined to seek some other conveyance, & were obliged to hire a canoe to carry us round the Island. This part of our voyage which lasted 6 days, was both perilous, & most fatiguing, but at length we reached the place of our destination.
After our arrival, many, & among the rest some medical gentlemen, expressed their assurance that we could not survive the fatigue & exposure, to drenching rain at night,
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and scorching sun by day, which we had undergone. But the Lord had determined otherwise. He graciously supported my mind under all these trials, & gave me the assurance, that he would preserve us, though in the midst of danger. “Bless the Lord, O my Soul, & forget not all his benefits.”
We remained in Jamaica about 5 years. Here we had many heavy trials, & much sickness, notwithstanding which we should have wished to remain longer then, – but my dear husband’s health imperatively demanding a change of climate, we were obliged to return to England. In looking over the time spent in Jamaica, I see numberless instances of my Saviour’s long suffering & loving-kindness to rejoice over & be thankful for, & also many many shortcomings of my own to mourn over; but I trust that our labors there were not altogether in vain. Our Lord blessed
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them to come, & we had reason to hope, that a few see? the heed in good
When we first returned to England we could not help feeling a little anxious about our future lot, not knowing whether any situation would be open for us; but here our Lord mercifully provided for our wants. Just before we arrived, Br Verney had departed at Wyke, & we were appointed to serve that Congn as interim. Here we spent some truly happy months, to the just refreshment of both soul & body.
Our next appointment was to Gomersal, where we resided 7 years, during which time all our children were born, (with the exception of one still born son in Jamaica.)
I can truly say that we considered these dear children as precious gifts from our Lord, & determined from Him earliest infancy, to bring them up for him, fervently that they might
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be devoted servants & followers of Christ. One of our children departed here, aged 11 weeks. This was a great trial to us, but we were enabled to resign her into the Lord’s hands, & to say with Job, “The Lord gave & the Lord hath taken away.” The time we lived with this dear Congn was always remembered by us with gratitude to our Saviour, for the love & confidence which we were favored to feel from our Brn & Srs, & a large circle of friends not in connection with our church. From Gomersal we removed to Mirfield. During our stay there, the Chapel was built & the Boys School commenced. After living here 2 1/2 years, we were called to serve the Congn in Pudsey, where we remained 1 1/2 years. From thence we went to Ockbrook, & served that Congn 2 1/2 years. In Bedford we lived 4 years. Here we were truly happy, & lived in peace & harmony with the
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Brn & Srs. The kindness & sympathy which they showed us, during the illness & at the departure of our Son, will always remain deeply impressed on my heart. He was indeed a dear Son to us, & gave promise of being a useful member of our Church.
His amiable disposition gained for him the love of all who knew him. It was a severe stroke to part with one so beloved, but, it was the Lord’s doing, & he had a right to claim that which he had only lent for a season. His age was 16 years.
From Bedford we went to Dukinfield, & after residing there 1 1/2 years, removed to Devonport. The 7 years we lived here were a season of trial, but mercy was still mixed in our cup; for we enjoyed much love & kindness, both from members of our flock, & friends not in our connection.
The next 4 years were spent in serving the Congn in Leominster,
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where we lived in true brotherly love with the Brn & Srs.
In 1823 we removed again to Ockbrook. After Br Liley’s happy departure my dear husband was appointed one of the Provincial Helpers. He accepted this office in simple reliance on our Saviour’s gracious assistance, & his confidence in our Lord was not put to shame.
In 1829 our eldest daughter was called to the Mission in Antigua, &
was married to Br J. Coleman. My fervent prayers frequently ascend to the throne of grace for them & their little boy born in 1831. May the Lord bless them & set them for a blessing.
In Sept. 1836 a complaint from which my husband had suffered for some years, increased rapidly, & on the 17th the Lord called his redeemed soul out of time into eternity. He departed gently, confidently trusting that his Saviour would receive him in mercy, for he felt assured, (according to his own
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words,) that his pardon was sealed with the blood of his Lord & God.
The separation from this friend, with whom I had lived 50 years within one month, was indeed a heavy trial to me, but my Lord enabled me to look forward with joy to the time when we should meet in his presence to live with him forever. Soon after his departure, I removed with my dear daughter Sarah
to Fulnec, where I still enjoy her love & care. I have here also received much kindness from the Brn & Srs & particularly from those living in the Srs house.
May our Saviour bless & reward them for all the love they have shewn to me
his poor child. In my old age it has often towed me down with gratitude & humility before our Lord, where I have heard from one or another, that my
dear late husband & myself were remembered in love by the Brn & Srs in the different Congns which we have been favored to serve, & that notwithstanding our many faults and
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weaknesses, our labors were owned & blessed by our Lord. It is my frequent & fervent prayer that our Saviour would continue to shower down his blessings upon all the Congns.
And now in my 84th year, I feel it my greatest privilege to have such a friend as my Saviour to turn to with all my wants, & am waiting here for the time when he will call me home to Himself, & suffer me to thank him in a happy eternity for all his mercies. I would conclude this short review of my Lord’s dealings with me, in the words of one of our verses: –
Thy mercy & thy faithfulness
Dear Lord are daily new;
But who can tell them to thy praise,
Upon a close review.
Could I exalt thee worthily,
For thy unbounded grace,
Displayed in various ways to me,
My lauds would never cease.
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Thus far her own.
Our beloved Mother was now looking forward to & hoping for a speedy dismission from her earthly tabernacle, but in patient submission to the
will of God. Her desire was not however granted till 2 years after the
above was written.
Her stay in Fulnec was but short. Her daughter having in the month of Decr 1839 received & accepted a proposal of marriage from the S. Br Joseph Waugh, who was appointed assistant Minister at Peterhall, she accompanied them to that Congn where they arrived on the 17th Jany. 1840. At first she seemed averse to leaving Fulnec, where she had hoped to lay down her burdened tabernacle, after her labor should be at an end. But the thought that her beloved daughter’s usefulness might be hindered by her refusal, made her give the subject the most serious consideration. She was at this time directed to a passage of Scripture, which
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set her mind at rest, & made her decide on going with her daughter. It was this, Ex.23.20; “Behold I send an Angel before thee, to Reep thee in the way, & to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Viewing this as an intimation of the Divine will on the subject, she entered with cheerfulness &alacrity on the preparation for the journey of 150 miles; nor did she once during the three days which in occupied, make the slightest complaint of fatigue.
Here in Peterhall she soon felt at home, & seemed comfortable & happy. No one attended the means of grace more regularly, when able to do so, & few could more truly appreciate, or more fully enjoy those means. Circumstances prevented the possibility of her becoming much acquainted with the members of this Congn, but the following will show that she was deeply interested in their welfare. “I am grieved,” said she one day to her Son, “that I cannot attend Chapel, & I am sorry thatset her mind at rest, & made her decide on going with her daughter. It was this, Ex.23.20; “Behold I send an Angel before thee, to Reep thee in the way, & to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.” Viewing this as an intimation of the Divine will on the subject, she entered with cheerfulness &alacrity on the preparation for the journey of 150 miles; nor did she once during the three days which in occupied, make the slightest complaint of fatigue.
Here in Peterhall she soon felt at home, & seemed comfortable & happy. No one attended the means of grace more regularly, when able to do so, & few could more truly appreciate, or more fully enjoy those means. Circumstances prevented the possibility of her becoming much acquainted with the members of this Congn, but the following will show that she was deeply interested in their welfare. “I am grieved,” said she one day to her Son, “that I cannot attend Chapel, & I am sorry that
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I cannot visit the Brn & Srs in their houses, but our Saviour knows how often I have prayed for them, that he may give them every needful gift & blessing, & He, I am sure, will not put my confidence in him to shame.”
Our beloved Mother was in the habit of saying with respect to herself, “I am
no longer of any use here below, what can I do.” We reminded her that she
could still in her retirement from active service, pray to the Lord on our behalf & that of others. “Oh yes,” she said, “I always remember you all.” It was
evident from many things that her prayers were not confined to us, they em-
braced the whole human race, the whole Church of God on earth. But, being most firmly attached to the Church of the Brn, when the Lord had manifested Himself in a saving manner to her soul, & in which she had spent 50 years in active service, it is no wonder that the cause of God there was most frequently the theme of her
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conversation, & the subject of her prayers. There was one department of our Church, in which she felt, till the last, the strongest interest; the Missionary field – Jamaica in particular. She never ceased to remember & to love the Black population there. The very mention of the Island was sufficient to call forth
all her energies. At such times a ray of holy joy & delight would light up her countenance, & it was to her as if living over again those days long passed away. Oh what songs in highest strain – will the ransomed sing in heaven – With thanksgving &c.
She was in general favored with good health, & was delighted to feel that she could make herself useful. The hope was cherished, that though already far advanced in years, she might still be spared some time longer. She begged however, on this being mentioned, that no one might pray for her continuance in life, as
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she desired to depart. The fulfilment of this desire was nearer than any of us supposed. The last winter tried her much, especially during the intense frost. Her cough & general weakness increased towards the middle of Feby, still there was nothing calculated to alarm her relatives, – but from this time she gradually grew worse, & was sometimes confined to her room. On Sunday the 7th of March, she found herself unable to rise from bed. She had thought much of the subject of the Holy Comn; & the day before said, “How sweet it would be to go & keep the Communion tomorrow with our Saviour”! At her own request
the Comn was administered to her by Br. Seifferth, who solemnly commended her in prayer to the Lord with reference to her departure, now apparently approaching. On Tuesday the 9th she seemed considerably better & on Wednesday sat up for some time, but on Thursday she felt much worse;
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or as the subject of particular reflections. She loved to hear verses repeated from our Hymnbook, & seemed to derive especial comfort from a hymn repeated to her just after she had been crying out – “Dear Lord, how long”; –
& such expressions. It was this: “Lord my times are in thy hand” &c On the day previous to her departure, there was an evident change in her manner. She had always been affectionate & kind, towards her children, but now seemed doubly so, holding out her hand & looking to kindly at them as they came into her room.
On the 12th she felt feverish & listless, her hands & feet were much swollen & her face flushed, but her mind perfectly clear & collected. Perceiving how much she suffered from difficulty of breathing, her Son reminded her of the Apostle’s words, “Our light affliction” &e – & Said he hoped her mind was fixed on the unsure things of another world.
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“Yes,” she replied, “when my weakness suffers me to think; but I am well assured of His faithfulness.” About half an hour after this, she requested to be helped up, & placed in her chair, that she might feel the rays of the sun, then shining brightly in at her window. She sat about a quarter of an hour, saying the sun was warm & pleasant. She then returned to bed, but as she was settling herself in bed, her daughter observed that her head sunk down a little, & on looking more closely at her, perceived that her eyes were fixed in death. She still continued to breathe for a minute, & then departed in the gentlest manner,
the only difference in her appearance being, that no motion was perceptible.
Her redeemed soul had gone to the arms of her Saviour. Much might be said as to the character of our beloved relative, as a wife, a mother, a friend, a Christian,
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and we should feel it difficult to convey to others the sense which we entertain of her worth in all these characters. But on this subject we cannot even enter, being prohibited by her own express & reiterated desire. We can only say that we cherish her memory with the deepest affection & veneration; that we bless the Lord for the grace bestowed upon her, & exemplified in her public & private capacity; & that while thankful for the example she has set us, we
have often prayed that a double portion of her spirit might rest upon us. Her record was on high, & we humbly yet confidently [?] she was received then with the commendation – “Well done, good & faithful servant &e –
Her own expression in relation to this, shortly before her departure was: Here is a sinner, who would fain Through the Lamb’s ransom entrance gain! –
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her age was 81 years […]