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“Farewell !—a word that must be, and hath been :
A sound which makes us linger; yet-farewell !" "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
ASHTON-UNDER-LYNE. MRS. OGDEN was born at Mile Hill, Bolton, July 31, 1795. Her parent were both religious persons, and were among the earliest members of the Methodist New Connexion in Bolton. They regularly attended public worship at the old chapel in Howell Croft. John and Anne Healey set before their children a good example, and laboured hard to "train up their family in the way they should go." Being in easy circumstances they were able to afford their children a tolerable education. Maria, their youngest child, the subject of this memoir, was, like many other young people prone to evil. Parental discipline had frequently to be used in order to restrain her youthful follies. From a child she was remarkably fond of reading; in fact it was almost her only recreation; and all her leisure moments were spent in this way. History, biography, travel, with works of fiction, were eagerly read by her; the latter unknown to her father, who, being á strict man, would have punished her severely if he had discovered the habit in which she then indulged.
Although strictly brought up, Maria was naturally fond of worldly pleasures, and often longed for amusements of which her parents did not approve. When about fifteen years of age, without the knowledge of her parents, she was persuaded to accompany a female friend to the theatre. The first part of the drama pleased her much. She was excited, and for the time gratified with what she saw and heard, but during the latter part of the en. tertainment her conscience began to trouble her. To use her own words, “I could scarcely sit still, I was so miserable; not only because I had disobeyed my parents, but from the thought that I, the child of many prayers, should be seen in such a place. My remorse was so great for the sin I had committed that my pleasure was over for that evening. To add to my dismay, before the play was finished a fearful thunder-storm came on. The vivid flashes of lightning, the rolling thunder, and my uneasy conscience made my position a most unenviable one." She resolved, if permitted to reach home in safety, to confess all to her parents, ask their forgiveness, and never enter such a place again. This vow she rigidly kept, and by great watchfulness was enabled to escape the snares which were frequently laid in her way;
It is not to be supposed that one so much under religious influences, who saw religion exemplified daily in home-life, and knelt regularly at the family altar, could long resist the strivings of God's Spirit. Maria was frequently agitated by the thought of sins unforgiven. Her conscience, at this time being tender, did not fail to remind her that she was living to herself, instead of consecrating her time and talents to the Redeemer. She had often deep convictions of sin, and was at many times distressed at her state of mind, but as often these impressions passed away, leaving her more unhappy than she was before. Instead of confiding in some members of her family, or in some Christian friend, she grew reserved and silent about spiritual things, and thus her good desires ended in disappointment.
At this critical time in her life the Rev. John Atherton, a young minister of great zeal and ability, came to reside at her father's house. Not only in his public ministrations was he acceptable to the people, but in the private means of grace, and in his social visits among the flock, he was highly esteemed. In the pulpit he was solemn and fervent, making known the great truths of the Gospel with becoming gravity and earnestness. In
the private means of grace he was tender and true to his Master's interest by speaking good of His name. And in his social visits, particularly to the poor, he was ever genial and kind, interesting himself in the welfare of his people, thus proving himself a “good minister of Jesus Christ.“
Brought into daily contact with this devoted man, and seeing much of his inner life at her home, Maria timidly made known to him her difficulties, her failures, her disappointments, her self-righteousness, her despair of erer reaching heaven, or of understanding the plan of salvation at all. With great tenderness and solicitude he advised her, and directed her to the " Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.” For some time she was in darkness and doubt, despondency would arise in her mind, cosflicting fears would trouble her, Satan would torment her, and but for ber pastor's gentle teaching and guidance she would probably have given up at for lost.
In this state of mind, when seventeen years of age, she, in company with her brother (the late John Healey, of Bolton), and a female friend, went to a love-feast at Bury, then part of the Bolton Circuit. She can best express in her own words her feelings at that time. She says :
“Whilst in the love-feast I was so wrought upon by God's spirit, and so sure that I had passed from death unto life, that I was constrained to get up to tell the people that I had not a doubt of my salvation. It was the first and only time that I had ever courage to speak in a love-feast."
And now having“ believed with her heart unto righteousness," and found Christ to be her Saxiour, she at once gave her heart and hand to tie Church. Feeling her own weakness, and anxious to grow in grace, she availed herself of every help that the Church could afford. Casting aside every broken end, reed trusting only in the atonement for salvation, sbe began to realise the “ blessedness of those whose sins are covered, and to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity." Knowing what her besetting sin was, she carefully guarded againstit, and by daily self-examination was enabled to see clearly the defects in her character. Praying earnestly that the Spirit of God might show her her real condition in His sight, her prayer was answered, her mind was enlightened, and her faith increased. Living up to the light she had received, more light was communicated, thus, step by step, she slowly advanced in Divine things, taking heed lest in an unguarded moment she should tall.
Finding her temptations to be numerous and her strength as yet small, and having tried before to serve God in her own strength and failed, she found that she must do something or adopt some plan, in order that ber soul might be nourished and fed. She, therefore, laid aside a portion of every day for private prayer, and for the regular study of the Scriptures, choosing the precepts, prayers, and promises of the Bible for her daily support. This was her regular habit, until failing health forced her to gire
With all the peculiar workings of her mind, while undergoing the change from nature to grace, we are unacquainted, but it is sufficient to state that her after life was a clear manifestation of the change that had been wrought within her.
This perhaps was the happiest period of her life. Young, intelligent, in good health, in comfortable circumstances, with numerous friends, and a mind at peace with God, what more could she desire ? Life for her, at this time, was a joyous thing; but a time was approaching when her religious principles would have to be tested. Many trials were in store for her, in the shape of adversity, affliction, and bereavement. Her young life was about to be clouded with much of earthly sorrow, but her trust in the Lord was abiding; she knew in whom she had believed, and could trust her whole future with Him, and if necessary submit to the chastening of the Lord.”
Before she was twenty years of age she was united in marriage to Mr. John Ogden, of Ashton-under-Lyne, and for many years they continued to
reside in Bolton. As a wife she was submissive and obedient to her own husband,” fulfilling every duty that devolved upon her to the best of her ability. In this new relationship she found plenty to do and plenty to think about, for a numerous family soon claimed her attention, and to " bring them up in the fear of the Lord,” was her chief anxiety, as a mother she was at all times tender-hearted and loving, but at the same time maintaining proper discipline when necessary. She was energetic and firm when occasion required in the administration of correction to her children. She would listen to no petty quarrel, nor show more partiality for one than another; in fact, she governed them by the law of kindness and firmness combined, and thus gained the respect and esteem of all her children.
Whilst living in Bolton she regularly attended Ebenezer Chapel, and was favoured with the old friendship of many of the ministers now deceased; amongst whom were the Revs. T. Allin, John Harrison, and the devoted David Barker. The latter visited her often, and was made a great blessing to her.
In course of time, owing to depression in trade and other causes, the family removed to Ashton-under-Lyne to reside permanently.
Here Mrs Ogden at once joined the class conducted by the late Mr. James Dean. He was well qualitied for the position he held as leader, gaining the affection of his members and making their interest his own. Mrs. Ogden being a stranger in a strange place, required sympathy and encouragement; he gave her both, and became her friend in every sense of the word, and remained so until his death.
Many were the trials that beset her path about this time, and frequently she had to “trust God where she could not trace Him." The religion that bad supported her in youth and in prosperity was even more valuable to her now in middle life and in adversity, for the claims of a large family and only a small income made her poor as regarded this world ; but she still continued rich in faith, though struggling with difficulties; and as her responsibilities increased so her confidence in God became stronger.
She had at many times to endure the bitterness of bereavement, in the loss of her infant children, One after another were committed to the grave, wbile the mother's heart was rent with anguish for her little ones. The consolations of religion, however, were vouchsafed to her in the time of Deed, and were her only comfort.
In the year 1831 another trial awaited her in the removal of her youngest son (the Rev. James Ogden) from his home, to enter upon the regular duties of the ministry. The mother's heart dreaded the separation. Though willing to make a sacrifice, and sacrifice it was in many respects, for the Church and for her Redeemer, she could not all at once bring her mind to it. A powerful temptation was presented to her, that if he complied with the invitation given she would suffer pecuniary loss. She has often spoken to the writer about her feelings at this time, how she was tempted and tried by the wicked one, perplexed and harassed by many fears, in danger of losing her trust in God, but ultimately gaining the victory. By wrestling prayer with God, and a quiet submission to His will, she was enabled to leave all her affairs in His hands, knowing that He would do all things well. As far as her means would allow she was a liberal supporter of the Church to which she belonged. She did not believe in a religion that cost her nothing. She would make a sacrifice at any time to give, providing she could not afford to give without such a sacrifice ; but give she must in some degree.
To the poor she was kind, laying aside a little for charity when she met with tuose who were in need, and though she had not much to give, the little she could spare was cheerfully given, and as gratefully accepted by the recipients of her kindness.
One poor fellow to whom she had given a trifle weekly for a length of time, he through bad health being unable to work, brought her a beautiful nosegay as a proof of his gratitude. With tears in his eyes he offered it to her, thanking her for her kindness to him in the time of need.
Her second son, now in America, whom she had been the means of leading to Christ, says in a letter to his sister, “ If there is anything good in my character I owe it all, under God, to my mother's excellent training. The teaching I received from her in youth will never be forgotten.'
For the ministers of the Gospel 'she had a sincere regard, particularly for those belonging to our own denomination. If uncharitable persons were disposed to speak disparagingly of them, as they sometimes did in her presence, she would defend them to the utmost. Though of a mild temper and not easily provoked, she would grow warm and animated in the defence of the absent.
To the Rev. C. J. Donald and the Rev. T. D. Crothers she was much attached. To the former for his kindness in visiting her family at a time of great affliction and poverty. His words and prayers together, though she was at that time walking through the valley of humiliation, caused her grateful heart many times to sing for joy.
Whilst on a visit to Bolton, which lasted some three or four months, in the summer of 1860, she had the privilege of hearing Mr. Crothers preach regularly at the chapel in St. George's Road. She has often referred to the time as being one of great spiritual profit. Words in season fell from his lips, and her soul fed on “fat things."
At this time she was in the enjoyment of vigorous health, and remained 80 until she reached her seventieth year when an attack of paralysis in the summer of 1865, which rendered her speechless for several days, and put her life in great jeopardy, so weakened her constitution that from that time her health visibly declined. The last ten years of her life were years of extreme suffering, borne with exemplary patience. No murmuring word ever escaped her lips, though the pain in her head was at times so great as to affect her reason. Yet in her lucid intervals she was very graciously sustained and comforted. He who had been the guide of her youth did not forsake her now when she most needed Him. She knew in whom she had believed, and where to go for comfort. The religion that had been he only support in youth, in prosperity, in the time of health, in middle age, in the period of adversity, was quite sufficient to sustain' her in her last affliction.
In the summer of last year she received a severe shock by the intelligence that one of her daughters had died suddenly when alone in the house, under very painful and distressing circumstances. This
was one of the greatest of all her troubles. She could not say all at once “ Thy will be done,” but was at length enabled to do so. Speaking of the event to her daughter, she said, “ It is harder for you to bear than it is for me, for I shall not be long after her. I shall soon see her again, where there will be no more parting." Her words were soon fulfilled, for in six short months she too had passed away,
To the Rev. H. T. Marshall, her own pastor, she was tenderly attached. Though she never had the opportunity of hearing him preach, still bis occasional visits to the house, with his genial manner and pleasant conversation, cheered her; his fervent prayers for her and her family were & means of grace to her.
In the month of November, after appearing a little better than usual, unfavourable symptoms set in, and she rapidly altered for the worse. Though able to converse a little, it was with great difficulty she could make herself heard, but when she could speek it was to assure her daughter, who waited upon her, " that all was well.” She spoke with more animation tban could have been expected, considering her weak state, of the beautiful home to which she was going. On being asked if she would like to see her minister, Mr. Marshall, she replied, “Not to-day, he will be busy preparing for to-morrow (Sunday). I would not have him disturbed on any account; his work is too important for that. Tell him that the promises of the Bible rise up in my mind, comforting me much. I feel that I am not forsaken in this time of need."
Thus calmly waiting for the summons that was to take her home, lay this aged disciple, her faith triumphant even in the “ valley of the shadow of death.” Shortly after she became unconscious, and on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 22, 1874, without a struggle or a sigh, she quietly fell asleep in Jesus, aged seventy-nine years. She had been a true and consistent Christian for sixty-two years.
Death has once more visited our ranks, and taken from our midst our firmly-attached friend, Mr. Benjamin Mellor, of Woodhouse Hill, Hunslet, in the Leeds Second Circuit.
He was born, and spent his earliest years, in the neighbourhood of Elland. Born of parents in very humble condition, he was not favoured in the matter of education as are the children of the poor in these days Indeed, he grew to man's estate with
only a very elementary acquaintance with the art of reading and writing. To his honour, however, be it mentioned, that he perseveringly applied himself to the acquisition of these important branches of learning, so as to be able to keep his books and accounts with a degree of neatness and accuracy that occasion much surprise.
He early entered into the service of Mr. Hirst, paper manufacturer, of Bradley Mill, near Elland, who had also a branch establishment at Low Road, Hunslet. In this employment he first served in a very lowly capacity, till, when he settled in Hunslet, by his sterling integrity and modest maner, with a willingness to comply with his master's requirements, he so won the favourable opinion of that gentleman that he was promoted from one position to another, and at length was admitted to a share in the business, of which he ultimately became the principal partner.
Soon after settling in this neighbourhood he became a worshipper in our old Bethel Chapel, and remained steadfast in his attachment to the end of life. He took part in promoting the erection of Hunslet Road Chapel, of which he was one of the original trustees, and in the welfare of the cause connected with it he has always manifested great interest. He was also a trustee of Dewsbury Road Chapel, the Bethel School, and the Hunslet Carr estate. In the welfare of all these he had a lively interest, but special mention should be made of Hunslet Carr. His attachment to this cause was very great, and was manifested by his frequent visits to the school to encourage the teachers and scholars by his presence and kind words on various occasions, by his liberal gifts from time to time, and in many other ways.
Had he lived a few years longer there can be no doubt that he would have rendered liberal assistance to the projected new chapel at this place, the erection of which he anticipated with great earnestness. Indeed, shortly before his death, in conversation with his wife, he said, " If the friends do not begin to build a chapel soon I will build one myself.”
Some years ago he joined in Church-membership, but, for some reason or other, after a while retired from that position. The writer has frequently urged upon his attention the importance of outward and visible union with the Church, and on one or two occasions he met for Christian fellowship in the class of which our friend Mr. Alderman Blackburn is the leader, and he had fully made up his mind, a few days before his last illness, to join the membership of the Church with his wife. But, alas! he was not permitted to put this resolve into execution. Four or five months ago, when visiting Harrogate, he was seized with a severe cold, which hung upon him for some time; but for the most part it seemed to pass away, and he was restored to the enjoyment of his ordinary health, so much so that he entered for the second time into the marriage relation on the 4th of