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Author: Hitchcock, Elizabeth Arnold
Title: By E. Ben Ez-er
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Title: Elizabeth: The Disinherited Daugheter

Author: E. Ben Ez-er

Release Date: September, 2005 [EBook #8802]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on August 10, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK ELIZABETH ***




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ELIZABETH THE DISINHERITED DAUGHTER

BY E. BEN. EZ-ER




PREFACE


This booklet is little more than a compilation. The materials were abundant
for a much larger book. Elizabeth's divine _experience_ was so striking, so
valuable to the cause of truth, that it has not been essentially abridged.
But the _results_ in biography, though well known to all who knew her, have
been cut down to the smallest dimensions that would allow that brilliant
experience to shine out.

Elizabeth had a lifelong conviction that God required the publication of
His remarkable dealings with her, and in her approach to the river of
death solemnly enjoined it upon her youngest son and executor. His own
convictions also agree with the requirement. Here are obvious reasons:

1. The early history of Methodism has suffered by the dropping out of
many striking illustrations of her power. By neglecting to record them
permanently while well authenticated, they are now beyond recovery. As this
providential work moves on gloriously, making world-wide history, these few
preserved incidents of her early triumph become more and more valuable by
the lapse of time.

2. Providentially this experience is too rare and too far back in American
Methodism to be lost out.

3. The controversy in which this experience was so strong a factor has not
become obsolete. The "horrible decrees" have indeed been very generally
driven from the pulpit, but not entirely. Our work as polemics will not
be finished until they leave the schools and the books, and cease to be
pillows for the multitudes who lull themselves to slumber over the notion
of "sovereign grace and waiting God's time," and cease to goad despondent
souls to despair, with the charge of being "from eternity passed by" as
unredeemed "reprobates."

E. ARNOLD.

_Thousand Island Park_, 1893.



CONTENTS

       *       *       *       *       *

PART I.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHAPTER I.

THAT STRANGE LETTER


CHAPTER II.

ELIZABETH'S ALIENATION FROM THE ANCESTRAL FAITH


CHAPTER III.

THAT ALARMING MESSAGE


CHAPTER IV.

ORDER OBEYED


CHAPTER V.

THE FIERY FURNACE


CHAPTER VI.

GREAT VICTORIES

       *       *       *       *       *

PART II.--THE GREAT WOBK OF LIFE.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHAPTER I.

ELIZABETH AS MISTRESS OF THE "COTTAGE CHAPEL".


CHAPTER II.

RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES AND ENJOYMENTS


CHAPTER III.

ELIZABETH AS AN EVANGELISTIC LABORER


CHAPTER IV.

REMOVAL TO A WILDERNESS COUNTRY


CHAPTER V.

VOLNEY, OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK


CHAPTER VI.

HARDSHIPS OF THE NEW COLONY


CHAPTER VII.

THE QUARTERLY MEETINGS


CHAPTER VIII.

EXTENDS HER LABORS


CHAPTER IX.

AS A CAMP MEETING WORKER

CHAPTER X.

"THE CHAMBER ON THE WALL"

CHAPTER XI.

MRS. ELIZABETH ARNOLD AS A MOTHER

CHAPTER XII.

DOUBLE DILIGENCE


       *       *       *       *       *

PART III.--RETIREMENT

       *       *       *       *       *

CHAPTER I.

HOMES OP EARLY METHODISTS

CHAPTER II.

JOSHUA ARNOLD

CHAPTER III.

SEPARATION

CHAPTER IV.

CONCLUSION





ELIZABETH, THE DISINHERITED DAUGHTER.

       *       *       *       *       *

PART I.

       *       *       *       *       *




CHAPTER I.


THAT STRANGE LETTER.

It was in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The dwelling was a
plain frame structure, spacious, and of the style of that day (the second
story projecting a few inches beyond the first), and was kept painted as
white as snow. It stood in the south suburb of the then little city of
Middletown, Conn., between two hills on the right bank of the Connecticut
River, at the bend called "the Cove." The first break in the happy family
circle was made by the departure of a daughter to another State to engage
in teaching. Few letters were written in those days, and the postal service
was a slow and small concern. But this absent school-teacher had written
with much care and vivacity to the dear circle at home as regularly as the
months came around. But now, for long, anxious weeks, no tidings from the
absent one had reached that saddened home at the Cove. "Why don't we get
a letter from Betsey?" was often asked by the fond parents, the loving
sisters, and thoughtful little brothers; but no satisfactory answer could
be given.

The father would hasten to the city as often as "mail day" returned and
watch for the ponderous stagecoach, but come back more moderately, with a
shadow upon his countenance, and "No letter!" "No letter!" would deepen the
sorrow of the circle. One day the son "Siah" was sent, and in an unusually
short time was seen coming over the hill with a speed so unlike a
disappointed lad that the watchful mother was "sure the dear boy had
tidings." Her lip trembled as she motioned to the father and called out,
"Where's Esther? Where's Sam? Call 'em all in. Siah's coming real fast;
I guess he's got a letter from Betsey!" "How he does ride!" says Hannah.
"Dear fellow, I most know he's got a letter!" "Yis, yis," says little
sharp-eyed Sam; "see, he holds suthin' white higher'n his head." Sure
enough, on comes the rider, flourishing in his hand the long-looked-for
message from the absent one!

It was but the work of a moment for the excited lad to leap upon the block,
throw the bridle over the post, and run in, letter in hand, vociferating,
"Don't ye worry any more about Betsey; she's all safe and sound. See, it's
in her own handwrite." "Yis, daddy, and stuck together with that same red
wax you gin her," says little Sam.

Ruth breaks the seal and finds a large sheet, and closely written. A glance
from the father brings the house to silence, and she begins to read. Never
a letter began with more tender words or in a sweeter spirit; but all
sounds so precise and awfully solemn that the voice of the reader falters;
tears fill the eyes of the mother and sisters; the father turns pale;
little Sam looks frightened and grips his mother's arm, while Josiah sobs
aloud. But the resolute reader moves steadily on, and only breaks down when
she reaches the name, "Your loving daughter and sister, Elizabeth Ward."

These words stung that proud father to the quick. To hear his darling's
name attached to _such_ a letter, and find his cherished plans thwarted
forever, was more than he could endure. He arose in a paroxysm of wrath and
left the house. The mother, watching him, became greatly alarmed, for she
had never seen him so angry.

As the boys lead the horse to the stable the girls take the letter to their
room, where they weep much, pray some, and read over and over again that
strange document.




CHAPTER II.


ELIZABETH'S ALIENATION FROM THE ANCESTRAL FAITH.

Elizabeth Ward was the eldest of six children. She had a tall, straight
form, rather stern and dignified airs, a keen black eye, and a beautiful
countenance, though rather on the masculine order. Her father, Samuel Ward,
was a wealthy farmer and stock grower and a skillful horseman. He had
determined to give this, his eldest daughter, a liberal education, and have
her assist in the instruction of her sisters. She proved so easy to learn,
and showed such aptitude and application in study, that he afforded her the
best opportunities given young ladies in New England at that day. And
in his pride of horsemanship he took much pains to make her a skillful
equestrienne, and never seemed prouder than when riding out with Elizabeth
by his side upon an elegant steed in costly equipage. To carry out
his notions for the perfection of her accomplishments, he sent her to
Pittsfield, Mass., among wealthy and cultured relatives, to devote a year
or two to association with elegant society. And to avoid that horror of the
real Yankee's dreams, "shiftlessness," she was to take up a small select
school for employment. There too, as at home, she must have a splendid
horse at her command, and no cost must be spared to make her equipage, as
well as wardrobe, as elegant as the best. Morning and evening rides must
be kept up for health and recreation, but not less to indulge a doting
father's pride.

She found her new situation very agreeable. Her relatives were educated and
fashionable, and soon became very dear to her heart. Her school consisted
of a suitable number of misses from wealthy families, as cheerful as the
larks and as gay as butterflies. Her opulent friends very readily entered
into her father's plans, and were especially delighted with her experience
and skill in horsemanship; and a sufficient number equipped and joined her
in this healthy movement to insure her the best of company in her morning
and evening rides. And her popularity as an equestrienne fed her pride,
and her gay letters home were full of it, and very agreeable to her proud
father. Nor did the rapid improvement of her associates in this elegant
accomplishment, under her teaching and example, escape the notice of their
fond parents and of their townsmen, and "The way that tall schoolmarm rides
is wonderful!" was spoken by many an observer, and many a young woman
envied the proud troop "their chance to learn how to ride a-horseback."

In the daily excursions of these gay cousins they sometimes passed, on
a retired street, the meeting place of "a new and strange people called
Methodists." Jesse Lee, George Roberts, Francis Asbury, and others, mighty
men of God, had just gone over New England like a thundering legion,
proclaiming everywhere a "free salvation for all, even for John Calvin's
'reprobates.'" They had glorious success, even in cold New England, and of
the fruit of the revivals which attended their labors formed many small but
excellent "societies." One of these was established in Pittsfield.

The sweet and moving singing of these people arrested the attention of our
heroine and her friends as they occasionally rode by; and, pausing in their
saddles to listen, enough of a tune would get into their heads and keep
ringing there to turn their course that way again. Catching a charming
tune, they "must get the words, at least a verse or two." So, from pausing
outside to listen, they grew bolder, tied their horses, and civilly sat
down inside, not only charmed with the songs, but curious to hear the
fervent prayers and testimonies and occasional shouts of this bright-faced
company. When their friends said anything against this people as being
"unpopular," or "despised," these young fashionables would sing them a
Methodist verse or two, and perhaps join in the ridicule by mimicking their
shouts. And yet in their sober judgment they honored these honest and
devout worshipers for their fervent piety and zeal, and wondered at their
rapturous joys. But they were quite mistaken in their confidence that an
occasional attendance upon worship so spiritual was perfectly safe. The
Holy Spirit dwelt with this people. These gay young attendants became the
subjects of mighty prayers and powerful exhortations. Bows, "drawn at a
venture," threw arrows with great force. The Spirit directed one to
the proud but honest heart of Elizabeth Ward, and she was "thoroughly
awakened." Perhaps in the few prayer meetings these young people had
dropped into within the past year they had imbibed more gospel truth than
in all their former lives. But the songs which had so captivated them, many
of which they had learned to sing, had struck those truths into the mind
indelibly, and had so enlisted the moral nature of Elizabeth that the Holy
Ghost had written convicting impressions upon the inner tablet of her
heart. She did not long resist this new "conscience of sins." She clearly
saw and deeply felt that she was a sinner, and on the way to ruin. In more
of desperation than hope she set out to "flee from the wrath to come."

In this state of alarm, she walked alone to the Methodist prayer meeting,
made known her convictions and purposes, and sought instruction and help.
She returned from that meeting feeling that she had almost entered a new
world. Gospel hope, now for the first time in her life, began to spring up
in her heart. She had settled the question of submission to her Maker, and
began to seek Him with purpose of heart, resolved to confess and forsake
her sins and seek pardon and peace in Jesus Christ. Still, as to several of
the counsels of her new religious instructors she was undecided, because
not yet convinced. They advised her to seek the Lord "by prayer and
supplication." To "ask," to "knock," to "call upon Him," and especially to
"cry unto the Lord with her voice." But she had been taught from infancy
that "none but the elect should pray; nor even they until regenerated by
sovereign grace;" and that "no woman should pray or speak in a public
assembly." But a heart overwhelmed with a crushing sense of sin at length
broke out, almost against her decision, and cried, "God be merciful to me
a sinner!" and such hope of relief sprang up while she prayed as to settle
the question of prayer; and thence on for weeks all the relief she found
was in prayer and confession; a few crumbs of comfort to encourage her to
persevere in seeking; for she began to wonder why she had not found peace,
when she had sought so long and tried to give up all for Christ.

One day, in the retirement of her room, her mirror revealed a gayety of
apparel that struck her as unsuitable for a poor, guilty sinner. The
fashions of that day were very profuse in ornamentation; and as she saw
herself in the glass, her eyes red and heavy with weeping, and yet her
attire as gay and vain as if prepared for a ball, she felt sure that her
mode of dress had all this time been a hindrance to her; and she then and
there concluded to reduce all to plainness, much like the people who had
led her to penitence. The pride of dress and equipage seemed now to be
about the last idol to give up, and, all of her own counsel, she did the
work very thoroughly; and as to her abundant jewelry, the result of her
spontaneous zeal was rather ludicrous. "Determined that it should never
prove a snare to any other poor soul as it had to her," she passed it all
under the hammer until there was nothing left but unseemly lumps of gold
and silver; the precious stones were utterly demolished.

From that work this hitherto gaudy maiden came out as plain as a Quakeress,
and hastened to the Methodist prayer meeting. Seeing her thus evidently
taught of the Holy Spirit, they took hold of her case with new courage as
she bowed with them crying for mercy. The prayers of the early Methodists
were something wonderful, and this broken-hearted penitent drank into their
wrestling spirit. They claimed for her the "exceeding great and precious
promises," with mighty faith; she claimed these promises with them. They
took hold on Jesus; she put her hand with theirs into His with a strong and
steady grip, and He accepted her.

The conversion of Elizabeth was instantaneous, and exceedingly clear and
powerful, and its assurance overwhelming. Her long night was at once turned
into day, and that clear daylight was also a blaze of glory. Her joy was
ecstatic. Her tall form, which had been gaudily adorned, but now attired
for the meek and lowly Saviour, was at times prostrated by divine power,
and her regenerated soul filled with the rapture of heaven. Night and day,
for weeks, her only relief from ecstasy was by settling into solid
peace, thus alternating from the quiet valley of "peace that passeth
understanding" to the glory-crowned hilltops of "joy unspeakable."

After a sufficient time had elapsed to demonstrate the genuineness and
unfading glory of her experience, Elizabeth wrote home a plain account of
it, concealing nothing. This was the astounding and alienating letter that
so stirred up things at the Cove.




CHAPTER III.


THAT ALARMING MESSAGE.

The Wards, at the Cove, continued to be much troubled over Elizabeth's
letter. Had a note or a messenger announced her serious illness, or her
elopement or sudden death, the first pang would have terminated in some
sort of relief, or at least a breathing place; but this letter was
suffocating, and the dense fog seemed to grow darker as it stretched into
the future. "A religious fanatic!" "A Methodist lunatic!" "Has our darling
set out upon such a life?"

"I'm afraid it will kill your father; it struck him dumb. I can't draw him
into any conversation about her; and he is so angry!" Thus the troubled
mother would talk and cry. The sisters and brothers listen to her, and,
without comprehending "the prospect so awful in Betsey's future life,"
would keep dumb, like "daddy," and cry, like "mammy."

Finding no relief at home, Mrs. Ward consulted their aged parson, "Priest
Huntington," and placed the ominous letter in his hands; and he took the
troublesome document home for professional analysis. It is not to be
supposed that the Holy Spirit left this letter to pass through such a
crucible alone. The experience it told was substantially His work, and
the hand that wrote it was not wholly without His guidance; and now the
cultured mind which examined it was that of a logical analyst, however
strong his prejudice. The old parson was struck with its simplicity
and soundness, and hastened to the Cove to "pronounce Miss Elizabeth's
experience genuine, and even wonderful," and that he believed her to be
"one of God's chosen vessels to bear witness of His sovereign grace."

So favorable an opinion from such an authority greatly relieved the
apprehensions of the family; all but the incensed father, who would neither
talk nor allow others to talk to him about the absent one for several
weeks.

All these were not only precious weeks to Elizabeth, but lengthened out a
most valuable epoch of her life. At length the wily parson succeeded
in getting to the stormy heart of this enraged and unhappy father, and
portrayed in glowing colors the clearness of Miss Elizabeth's "effectual
call" and "blessed hope," and managed to bridge over "that awful slough of
Methodism" by descanting gravely upon some of the "mysterious leadings of
sovereign grace." "And now, if our dear lamb of the Saviour can be rescued
from those deluded people and carefully instructed in 'the doctrines of
grace,' what an ornament she would be to our church with such a brilliant
experience, and such 'a burning and shining light!'"

Whether the hard heart of that father relented, or whether, weary of
brooding over his disappointed hopes of a worldly sort, his pride saw
prospect of indulgence in another direction, we leave it for subsequent
events to determine. The kind parson was successful, and Elizabeth was soon
ordered to return home.




CHAPTER IV.


ORDER OBEYED.

The order to "close up her school and return home" did not disguise the
anger of the father over the radical change in Elizabeth's religious
condition and associations. But she had ever yielded unquestioning
obedience to that father's commands; and so with all practicable dispatch
she now prepared to comply with the stern and precipitant demand.

It was painful to be suddenly torn from her agreeable relatives in
Pittsfield; for, although she had departed far from their notions of
doctrine, dress, and usage, and fully adopted the principles and spirit of
a new and despised people, they had never reproached her for her religion,
but, deeply impressed with the genuineness of her experience and sweetness
of her Christian spirit, had regarded and treated her with tenderness and
respect.

It was not easy to bid adieu to her pupils who clung to her with much
affection. But it was the hardest parting from the church which had led her
to the Saviour. But here, too, grace triumphed, and she spoke rapturously
of meeting that dear people "where parting will be no more;" and, catching,
as if by divine suggestion, a strong presentiment, she declared her
impression that even in this life they should enjoy each other's society
again--"even in this blessed place, where my sins were forgiven and I
have received such valuable lessons and enjoyed such glorious seasons of
communion with God and His people. Pray for me!"

"We will continue to pray for you, dear sister; and we too hope that our
heavenly Father may so order your lot that you may meet with us again in
the place of your espousal to Christ; but let us so live that we may all
meet in glory." And then they broke forth into song:

  "Amen, amen, my soul replies;
  I'm bound to meet you in the skies,
  And claim my mansion there!"




CHAPTER V.


THE FIERY FURNACE.

Elizabeth's reception at her father's surprised her by its coolness and
reserve, as if she were a stranger or a visitor.

At once a happy thought struck her with great force: "If my religious
profession puts such a distance between me and all my father's family, the
throne of grace must, if possible, unite us." So, before retiring for the
first night's rest, she asked and obtained authority to set up a family
altar, and for some months at least one of that family enjoyed freedom of
spirit and tenderness of heart.

Parson Huntington visited her with much paternal kindness; and although, in
presence of her joyous piety, he often seemed embarrassed, yet he remained
true to his first conclusion as to the "effectual character of her call and
blessed hope." But the promised "teaching" found her a less tractable
pupil than he had hoped and led the father to hope. She ever treated his
instructions with profound respect, but seemed to be a dull learner. Alas,
that she was all the while imbibing more than they or she supposed! Still,
the predestinarian aliment did not set well on her palate, or nourish her
young and tender graces of spirit. Her father sought to confine her to that
sort of diet--at home, at church, everywhere; for his only hope of rescuing
her from Methodism seemed to center in a thorough course of Calvinian
instruction, excluding with rigid surveillance everything Arminian.

But she longed for the food her soul had fed upon with such relish and
profit; and, after a while, hearing that the little Methodist society of
Middletown held noon class meetings, not far from the church which she
was required to attend, she often managed to slip out during part of the
intermission and go and commune with that humble few in class meeting. This
fellowship, with a diligent attention to closet devotions and Scripture
study, and conducting family worship, kept up a subdued but living piety.

But at length her clandestine attendance of class meetings was discovered,
and father and parson were highly indignant, for they saw their cherished
hopes blasted, and, in their mortification, severer discipline was decided
upon. "She must be closely watched and confined at home; her favorite horse
taken from her; her conducting of family worship suspended; her familiarity
with her sisters" (who somewhat sympathized with her) "much abridged." The
kitchen maid was dismissed, and the tall, delicate Elizabeth was driven to
the drudgery of kitchen and washroom, and ordered to "be quiet and diligent
as a servant," under charge of having proved herself "unworthy of a
daughter's place in the family!" To this servile toil Elizabeth submitted
without a murmur, and patiently plodded on, her strong constitution and
heroic courage and steady faith bearing her up. But the accusation of
"ingratitude and disobedience" was so false and severe as to be very
depressing to her spirits. And, never having been inured to hard labor or
parental censure, these double tribulations were almost crushing; and to
help her courage she kept up the low, almost inaudible hum of the sweet
tunes she had so loved to sing among her chosen people, and, thus
abstracted, toiled on week after week.

Such patience proved provoking, especially as what could be detected of the
tunes, in the snatches heard, indicated to her father's enraged feelings a
stubborn attachment to that people from whom he was trying to wean her; so
even this little comfort was sternly denied her; and, while strength was
gradually giving way under her heavy burdens, she was compelled to toil on
in silence. Under all these sore trials not only her angry father but the
evil one kept up the accusation of "stubborn disobedience."

At length she broke down under her burdens and troubles. Health, courage,
and joy in the Lord gave way together. For the drill of Parson Huntington
in Calvinian theology for nearly a year past now came up, enforced by the
instructions of childhood, with fresh power; and she began to suspect
that she was one of the "ordained reprobates," "passed by and doomed from
eternity to endless ruin!" The whole system of "free grace," impartial
atonement, and the Spirit's assurance, in the light and joy of which she
had exulted for months in Pittsfield, and been so comforted in these
subsequent months of hardship and false accusation, strangely faded before
these childhood and recent instructions; and gradually this pupil of
Augustine and Calvin sank into the doctrinal abyss of the "horrible
decrees." Nor would her broken and depressed spirits allow these sudden
conclusions to affect her as abstract dogmas. They struck her, by Satanic
power, like lightning, as terribly personal realities. "I, even I,
Elizabeth Ward, have been awfully deceived! I am one of the reprobates! I
have preferred my father's commands to God's favor! I have committed the
'unpardonable sin!'"

How unaccountable is desponding unbelief! how ingenious and active under
diabolical management! The Holy Spirit quoted to this poor, despondent girl
"the precious promises," but she "refused to be comforted," and hastened to
pass them all over to "the elect." He called to mind her rich experiences.
They seemed to her far off in clouds of dim dreamland, and she called them
a reprobate's delusions, "sent" on purpose to make her "believe a lie that
she might be damned." He called her attention to the blessed word, to
prayer and praise. She promptly swept all such observances away from
reprobates to the ransomed "few," and, gnashing her teeth in anguish, sank
to _utter despair!_

We will not attempt to describe a conscious reprobate, "passed by" and
"ordained from eternity" to all eternity a lost soul! Such was the dark,
dank night that settled down upon Elizabeth as she sank under her burdens,
her temptations, and cruel, wicked unbelief. In this dismal, hopeless "hell
upon earth" she pined away for weeks and months, utterly shrinking from
Bible reading, prayer, song, or religious conversation, and studiously
guarding against religious reasoning, and even thought, as abominable for a
"reprobate."

It is not easy, in this age of religious liberty, to understand or
apologize for such intolerance as Mr. Ward and Parson Huntington exhibited
toward this innocent Methodist girl. But it should be remembered in
charity:

1. That that age was about a century nearer the long period of persecution
than this.

2. That a stern and terrible system of religious doctrines prevailed
throughout New England at that day, not fruitful in charity, nor respectful
toward any faith that differed from it.

3. That Methodism was new there then, and generally misunderstood, and such
of its features as were correctly read were intensely hated--even such as
are now admired and revered.

4. That parents, especially fathers, were then allowed by public opinion to
hold more control over the consciences of their children, and variations
from ancestral faith, and even ancestral error, not so frequent as now.




CHAPTER VI.


GREAT VICTORIES.

Seven months of despair had now worn slowly away. This poor supposed
"reprobate" had all that time been buffeted by Satan without mercy. She had
wasted to a skeleton. Her large, sharp eye had become heavy and lusterless,
and her ruddy cheek pale and sunken, and every expression sad and hopeless;
and the "enemy of all righteousness" got into a hurry to secure his prize,
and brought all his arts to bear upon the suggestion of suicide!

Such a temptation aroused her to a sense of her real danger--no longer the
victim of ingenious devices to harbor gloomy forebodings, but a wretched
sinner, about to destroy soul and body in hell, on the verge of destruction
to character, and all good influences by an act of her own! Desperately,
in spite of her dread of prayer, she cried to God against that dreadful
temptation, and instantly she had full victory over it. The eyes, long
dried in the desert of despair, were moistened with tears of wonder and
gratitude. Astonished at such a clear answer to prayer, she prayed again
for deliverance from Satan's power and all his enchantments, and they fled
away like the shadow of a cloud. Her dungeon flamed with light, before
which the horrible decrees also vanished, falling into line, and following
their author to the land of darkness, never to trouble her more.

The light shone on, more and more; and although at dead of night, her room
seemed to her to shine above the brightness of the sun at noonday; and the
doctrines of free grace seemed to flash about her with transcendent glory,
until investing her entire being. She knew she was not a reprobate; for God
had heard her desperate cry against that greatest of sins. She saw in God's
own light the blessed assurance that Jesus died for her and for all; and in
driving away the enemy and the dense cloud of error, that had long shrouded
her dungeon in Egyptian darkness, she clearly saw glorious demonstrations
of divine clemency in store for her. She deplored her unbelief, and humbly
sought forgiveness and full restoration; and there, and then, by faith in
Jesus, she accepted Him again as her Saviour.

Instantly her raptures returned, with more than their former power and
glory, and she went off into a perfect gale of ecstasy. Such sounds had
never been heard in that mansion before, and the family hastened to learn
the cause. There lay the wasted form upon what they thought to be the bed
of death. Her thin arms were stretched upward, and her pale hands came
together with frequency and energy quite remarkable. Her countenance seemed
lighted up with an unearthly glow, and her words were ready and full of
heavenly felicity, and uttered with a strength and sweetness of voice quite
beyond her power. All these evidences, added to the fact that their tender
and anxious questions remained unanswered, and their presence and weeping
seemed entirely unnoticed, struck them as demonstrations that "the angels
had come for poor, dear Betsey," and that in her triumphant flight from her
cruel sufferings "she had already passed beyond them, and would never speak
to them again."

After some time, however, she seemed to them to have been brought back
by their lamentations and self-accusations, and, hushing them to silent
attention, she assured them that this was "not dying," but "living, and
preparing to live," by a return of her first love and a glorious victory
over temptation and error.

From that blessed night her convalescence was much more rapid than anyone
had thought possible. Peace of mind is a marvelous restorer, especially
when despondency has driven health away.

On a beautiful morning, a few weeks after, Elizabeth was agreeably
surprised by an unexpected announcement made at the door of her room. She
had had remarkable liberty that morning in conducting family prayer, which
by consent of her parents she resumed soon after her recent victory. Her
father came to her door, and, in a voice which sounded so much like the
good days gone by, announced his plan for "a short ride." Her own horse was
at the block; and as the strong arms of her father placed her in the saddle
the noble beast gave signs of joy over her returning health.

The horseman by her side, in the ride of that and several following
mornings, seemed agitated by conflicting emotions, yet making special
efforts to be social and attentive. O, how she enjoyed those morning rides!
Yet now and then she felt, though she could scarcely tell why, that a
strange agitation, embarrassed her father's spirits. Was he trying to
muster courage to acknowledge his wrong in persecuting her? Was he really
"under concern" for his own soul? or was he unhappy because she was not
more gay and worldly? It was useless for her to conjecture; he was a
reticent man, and allowed no one to meddle with his thoughts.

She had now nearly regained her usual strength, and the time drew near for
her to attend church. One morning, after a pleasant ride of unusual length,
drawing near home, the father broke out in tremulous tones: "Now, Betsey,
you won't go with the Methodists any more, will you? I can't allow it--no
more at all. I command you to have nothing more to do with that people."

They had reached the block, and the agitated girl hastened to her room, and
most of the day and evening she was seeking the "wisdom that cometh from
above." She easily settled all questions but one. She saw clearly what
system of doctrines she must subscribe to and advocate and exemplify; what
means of grace she needed and must have and honor by her attendance; and
she knew where her heart centered, and where her covenant vows must be
taken and fellowship cultivated and enjoyed. All was plain as noonday
except her father's commands and her duty to him. This last problem she
laid before the Lord; and no sooner was it fully committed to him than the
Holy Spirit quoted the filial duty with a peculiar emphasis to her heart:
"Obey your parents in the Lord." "He that loveth father or mother more than
Me is not worthy of Me."

Her line of duty was now fully decided, cost what it might. Saturday
morning they were again in their saddles, and side by side, beginning a
long ride in silence. Elizabeth was desirous of telling her story and
kindly explaining her views of duty, and, obtaining permission, she began
at the beginning and rehearsed the dealings of God with her up to that
hour. She then declared her filial affection and her readiness to obey
implicitly in all matters where duty to God and conscience would permit.
Finally, she appealed to her father "not to hinder or embarrass her, seeing
the Lord had so marvelously rescued her from the power of the enemy and
snatched her from the very jaws of death and ruin."

All this time the stern man had kept silence. They were nearing home. He
opened his mouth and firmly told her that he "should at once and finally
disinherit her if she went to Methodist meeting again!"

No more was said. Elizabeth that day looked upon all the familiar objects
about that dear old home of her childhood as no longer hers in any sense.
Her pets, especially her noble horse; her home, in which she was born and
reared; the sick room, where she had suffered unutterable horrors and
gained such memorable victories; her own dear room, where she was finally
to spend that, her last night, as having any right there. She came, at
last, late in the evening, to sweet slumbers in the "peace that passeth
understanding."

Early Sunday morning she was plainly attired and slowly walking toward her
beloved church, a plain chapel in a part of the city of Middletown near two
miles from the Cove. There she feasted upon the word and publicly gave in
her name as a probationer in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

From that moment she was afloat--out on the broad sea of life, without
a home; a disowned, disinherited girl! She left home this morning, a
comfortable, stately, dear old home of wealth, elegance, and affection. She
must not return to it to-night. She was but yesterday an heiress. To-day
she is poor, a wanderer in the earth. But she has at last a church-home,
and her life really begins to-day. Father and mother have cast her off for
her religion, but "the Lord hath taken her up." She is not without friends.
Several doors are open for her. Almost before she knows she is homeless she
has resumed her work of teaching and has a delightful home in a Methodist
family.

Thus favorably situated for study, she takes up the doctrines of the Gospel
as believed and taught by the Methodists, and makes rapid proficiency.
Her pastor, one of the flaming heralds of early Methodism in New England,
furnished her with the best of reading, and all her associates in the
studies and active work of Zion wondered at the rapid progress of the
disinherited girl. Little could they realize how vividly those doctrines
shone in her heart as she came out of the "fiery furnace," and how
intensely interested she now was in principles which had cost her so much,
yet were worth, in her account, infinitely more, and well deserved to be
studied and propagated.

A young man belonging to the Methodists of that city now enters into our
narrative. He is above the ordinary size, about twenty-eight years of age,
and some four or five years before this was clearly converted under the
preaching of Bishop Asbury. He also is a teacher, and a very sound, logical
student of Methodist doctrines and usages.

It is not many months before it is noticed that a mutual attachment seems
to be springing up between this young man and Elizabeth, above the ordinary
sympathies of teachers and church classmates. And as they had been
acquainted from childhood, and fully understood each other's history and
families, and were members together of a society of plain people, they did
not consider a long courtship necessary. They were both of Yankee stock,
both escaping from Calvinism and ardently attached to Methodism, both
studious and competent to teach, and loved to teach, and both were active
workers in the church they ardently loved.

So Joshua Arnold, aged twenty-nine, and Elizabeth Ward, aged twenty-one,
were united in holy matrimony in the charming month of May, the last
year of the eighteenth century. Thus closed the maiden life and homeless
loneliness of the disinherited daughter.

She had been ruthlessly turned out of a stately mansion which she loved as
her birthplace and childhood home, disinherited from her rightful heirship
to several thousands, and disowned by her family, whose well-being she had
faithfully labored to promote, and all for no fault of hers, but wholly
for a matter of conscience and principle. But in less than a year she was
settled in life in a home of which she was mistress, with a worthy husband,
of church membership and affinities like her own, and in the free enjoyment
of church privileges and holy fellowships, for which her persecuted soul
had "panted as the hart panteth for the water brooks."




PART II.


THE GREAT WORK OF LIFE.

       *       *       *       *       *




CHAPTER I.


ELIZABETH AS MISTRESS OF THE "COTTAGE CHAPEL."

One of the most natural consultations of the newly married couple is the
plan of their first house. How chatty and cheery a pair of newly mated
birds appear, in counsel over their nest-building! This schoolmaster and
mistress are home from their toil and care for the day, and are again
devoting an evening to the scheme of their first dwelling. It is not a
large or magnificent concern, but it has already been neatly draughted,
carefully considered, and builders' estimates footed up. All seems to be
about right; but Elizabeth has gone off into a brown study. Her countenance
betrays unusual agitation, and her pensive eye is filled with tears. Her
husband supposes she is thinking of the mansion from which she has been
spurned, as contrasted with the humble dwelling they are planning, but she
hastens to correct the mistake and assure him that her musings were in the
opposite direction entirely. "I was thinking of our dear people, and how
much they need in this suburb of the town some place to hold meetings in.
And this thought struck my mind almost like an inspiration: Why not extend
our plan up high enough for an 'upper room' for meetings?" This notion,
carefully considered, not only in these consultations but in the prayers
that closed them, impressed them both as a divine suggestion. The house was
built accordingly. An outside staircase gave access to the upper story,
which was all finished off in a rough, cheap manner for a chapel, and
immediately and for a few years was occupied by the Methodist people of the
south part of Middletown and of the farms adjoining, for prayer meetings,
class meetings, and occasional exhortation and preaching.

Among the church privileges which had cost this disinherited daughter so
dearly few ever equaled in sweet enjoyment this cottage chapel arrangement.
She no longer had to steal away and snatch a few minutes once or twice a
month to associate with the advocates of free grace, as she once did, nor
be shut entirely away from their beloved society, as for nearly a year, in
that terrible season of persecution and despair. The church she loved came
to her door. Her home echoed their prayers, songs, testimonies, and shouts.
She lived, toiled, ate, and slept under the shadow of the hallowed "upper
room," so often, like the one in Jerusalem, "filled with the Holy Ghost."
She knew, as no one else could, how much such privileges had cost her, but
still insisted that they never cost a tithe of what they were worth. Nor
was the gratification of this ardent lover of Methodism the chief result of
this chapel arrangement. There the Church found asylum from persecution;
and if we may estimate the value of such a refuge from the alarm of the
enemy it must have proved a precious boon. Often were the pious band
obliged to come early and lock themselves in to escape the fury of the mob,
which would curse and mock without. But sometimes, unable to reach them or
seriously to annoy them by their howlings, they would vent their spite
upon the premises. Now it would be by breaking windows. Again, finding the
windows guarded with thick board blinds, they would tear down fences, fill
the well with wood, etc. In several instances it came out in one way and
another that some attendant of the "standing order" furnished the rum that
stimulated the rabble to make these attempts to drive off these "deceivers
of the last days, that should deceive the very elect." But "the more they
afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew;" so that in a few years
the place became "too strait for them." Even members of the mob of one
meeting would be "awakened" while listening for something to mock, and
scarcely able to restrain themselves, while with their comrades they would
come early to the next meeting, get fastened in with the pious and the
penitent, and, making humble confession, seek and find salvation, and
become lively members of the church they had persecuted.

Who can estimate the amount of good done in that "upper room" at the dawn
of the nineteenth century? "When God writeth up his people" of how many
will it be counted, "This man was born there?" Who can stand on the hill
where once stood that unpretending home with a "meeting house" on the top
of it, and look over to University Hill, crowned with those Methodist halls
of science and art, and see no connection between the humble seed-sowing
and the waving harvest?

Soon after the supersedure of this chapel loft Mrs. Elizabeth began to
reckon her work nearly done in Middletown; and, a good offer being about
that time made for their valuable situation, she began to hope and pray for
the accomplishment of a cherished longing to live near the place of her
spiritual birth.

Mr. Arnold had followed two lines of business from his majority: Teaching
through the long winters of New England, and coast trading summers. He was
brought up a farmer, but fancied that he had but little genius for that
vocation. After his marriage and settlement he shortened up his summer
sailing, giving himself time during spring and autumn to cultivate, or at
least plant and reap, his rich little place.

With the growing cares of the family the wife and mother was desirous to
"get him away from the water" and settle down upon a farm. As they pondered
the question, and committed it in prayer to Him whom they trusted to "set
the bounds of their habitations," they seemed to hear in gentle whispers,
"Ye have compassed this mountain long enough;" "Arise, for this is not your
rest."

So they concluded to sell out their first home, bid adieu to the beloved
church at Middletown, and try to find a home somewhere near Pittsfield,
Mass.




CHAPTER II.


RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES AND ENJOYMENTS.

The religious ecstasies experienced by Elizabeth in Pittsfield during her
young convert days had impressed her very deeply, and left a pleasant
notion of a paradise upon earth. It was a sort of dreamy vision of the
glory of Zion at her best. It had come to her many times in the intervening
years with marked force. It was not the picture of wealth, or ease, or
luxury, or any worldly good; but the notion of a settlement near the place
where she first found pardon and peace to her soul, and where she could
enter again most heartily into those rich fellowships and rapturous
enjoyments which she then found, heightened and intensified by a deeper and
broader experience, maturing now for near a decade.

But Providence seems to have had other and higher designs, and evidently
guided her course to the indulgence of these blissful fancies. In a short
time they had purchased and settled upon a rich farm, of moderate size,
upon the Housatonic River, in Lenox, near Pittsfield, Mass.

Precious, indeed, were now her privileges. The word was ably preached
and was a feast to her soul. Her church associates were all that she had
desired, and much more numerous than she had expected, and they were living
all around her. She was also near her beloved relatives, and that sacred
place where she first found the Saviour, precious to her soul.

  "There is a spot to me more dear than native vale or mountain;
  A spot for which affection's tear flows freely from its fountain.
  'Tis not where kindred souls abound, though that on earth is heaven,
  But where I first my Saviour found, and knew my sins forgiven."

She was greatly blessed in all these privileges. It seemed, indeed, "a
heaven to go to heaven in." But still she found emotions of loneliness, at
times, which she could not explain--an indefinite fear lest she become so
filled and satisfied with these religious luxuries as to lose sight of
stern diligence in the Master's work.




CHAPTER III.


ELIZABETH AS AN EVANGELISTIC LABORER.

Rejoicing greatly with "the ninety and nine," the pious zeal of Elizabeth
wept over "the lost sheep in the wilderness," and she longed to go out
among the mountains as a personal coworker with the chief Shepherd and
bring them to the fold. In fact, her ideal of the destitute regions she
had dreamed of was substantially answered by territory near her home, and
providentially brought to her notice.

On "Washington Mountain" were several neighborhoods of irreligious settlers
at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Our itinerant ministers had
occasionally passed; over the foothills and given off a message or two
among these neglected inhabitants, but in the main they were destitute of
Gospel truth and the means of grace. Elizabeth had not been more than
a year or two in the adjoining valley before she more clearly saw that
evangelical labor, as well as religious privileges, had providentially
called the family to their present location.

True, she was a woman, and the Master had chosen "men to preach," and
"women to guide the house," and win souls in a quiet manner. But she could
attend faithfully to household affairs, and also do something as a private
member to lead sinners to Jesus, even though miles away on the dark
mountain; for she was an expert rider, very spry and strong, and only
thirty years of age, and had a fleet, easy horse that could climb those
slopes and fly across those table-lands and be back home in a few hours.

So, in the name and fear of the Lord, this cultured woman began among the
rough settlers of Washington Mountain as a religious visitor from, house
to house. At first her visits were between 1 P.M. and sunset; but as the
people became awakened, and gathered in groups, requiring more exhortation
and wrestling prayer, she spent more time with them, frequently mounting
her boy behind her for company, and always reaching home before she slept.
Local preachers and exhorters followed up the work. The circuit preachers,
by an occasional visit, gathered the lambs into folds, and thus the fields
were cultivated, while this pioneer woman searched out other destitute
groups and introduced them to Gospel privileges and blessings.

In this rapid riding and visiting, as a true shepherdess, hunting up the
lost, she cautiously occupied mostly fair afternoons, and on an average,
in moderate weather, only one or two afternoons a week. But in a few years
even that amount of time, well employed, produced glorious results. Her
work in this line was somewhat like that of a modern "Bible reader," only
that it was much more rapid. What would her father have thought, when
teaching his proud daughter horsemanship, if he had been told what use she
would make of it?

What a contrast between the riding done by this woman now, and a dozen
years ago in the same county! In skill, and speed of movement, and grace
of attitude she is much the same; but how different her dress, her
countenance, her aims and hopes! Her father then was proud of his darling;
now, how mortified and angry would he be could he see her spring to her
saddle and start off toward Washington Mountain, in search of souls! "God
seeth not as man seeth." Then he beheld the "proud afar off," but now
"giveth grace to the humble," and crowneth her labors with divine approval
and success, while he giveth to her heart the "peace that passeth
understanding," and the sweet promise that "they that turn many to
righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever!"

What Mrs. Elizabeth did to save souls on the mountain was only in the line
of extraordinary labors, and was not made an excuse for neglecting any of
her ordinary church duties. As before observed, her visits being mainly in
fair weather, and only once or twice a week, except in times of revival,
she counted them as many people do one or two weekly recreations, not
allowed to interfere with anything else.

Indeed, they did not satisfy her own zeal for extraordinary work. She
scattered some of the young people of the mountain among the Methodist
families of Lenox and Pittsfield as domestic help, greatly to their
advantage. She invited her church associates to her house for extra prayer
meetings, for the special benefit of serious persons from the mountain and
other neglected neighborhoods nearer her home, thus bringing them under
strong religious influences. Of course all the young laborers from the
mountain, working for families not too far off, would want to attend such
meetings and see their kindred, and their employers would encourage them
and lead them to faithful cross-bearing on such occasions.

She even set up a private school for neglected children, and her church
classmates put some of their own children into it "to help leaven it," as
she suggested, and it became, in answer to their united prayers, a revival
school. One family[1] who thus assisted her had two little boys converted
in her school, right among the ragged, ignorant children, and they grew
so strong in the work of these daily prayer meetings that one of them[2]
became an able itinerant minister, and the other,[3] in the wilderness to
which both families subsequently moved, became a class leader, having
for several years some of these same schoolmates (then, like himself, in
midlife) in his class, and even Mr. and Mrs. Arnold themselves and several
of their children! So glorious are often the compensations of true zeal,
even in "the life that now is."

[Footnote 1: That of Thomas Hubbard.]

[Footnote 2: Rev. Elijah B. Hubbard.]

[Footnote 3: Jabez Hubbard.]




CHAPTER IV.


REMOVAL TO A WILDERNESS COUNTRY.

How mysterious are the leadings of Providence! The most inviting scenes,
the happiest state of society, the richest farm lands, the best educational
facilities, sometimes fail to content even good people who live not to get
rich, but to fulfill their mission in the service of their "generation by
the will of God."

The young man marked by the Redeemer for a Gospel herald is not the only
sort of Christian who feels uneasy in the crowded nursery, and groans to be
torn out and transplanted on some bleak hillside where, shaken by fierce
winds, his roots may strike deep, his branches spread wide, and he bear
much fruit.

Families have thus caught the emigrating spirit in sufficient numbers to
form clans of pioneer evangelists, and torn themselves out of little Edens
to found colonies in dreary moral deserts; and as "the kingdom comes" with
more rapid strides such single-eyed emigrations will become more frequent.




CHAPTER V.


VOLNEY, OSWEGO COUNTY, NEW YORK.

We are now suddenly introduced into a new country of heavy timber. The
people have settled near together, and yet so thick are the woods, and so
small the clearings, that nearly every family is alone, and cannot see out
in any direction but by looking up toward heaven, a habit they learned
before settling in these woods.

It is a Massachusetts colony from Lenox, Pittsfield, and Washington
Mountain. These people came here for two purposes: to "get land for their
children," and to "take the new country for God and Methodism." But the
last object was first, and ever held its rank.

As you call around upon these detached families you find them thoughtful,
intelligent, and decidedly religious; although each family is alone in the
woods, they are not very lonesome, for familiar sounds reach them almost
every hour of the day. The deep-sounding cow bells, the dinner horns, the
ring of the ax, and the thunder of the falling tree keep them in happy
remembrance of their brethren and of their diligence and success, and often
wake the anticipation of the coming Sabbath, when they will blend their
songs and prayers around the mercy seat.

And now the longed-for Sunday morning has dawned. The woodman's ax lies
still, the dinner horn hangs upon its peg, and no treefall breaks the
sacred silence. The half-burned "backlog" is buried in ashes on the broad
stone hearth, and the door of each log cabin is simply shut--it needs no
lock--and from every direction all the people are seen approaching a large
log dwelling in a small clearing of central situation. It is the newest
house in the settlement, as its occupants have been here only a few weeks.
But they are well known in the colony, and have cordially "opened their
doors" and "provided for the meetings."

Joshua and Elizabeth Arnold are once more in their much-loved relation to
Methodism, the master and mistress of the "cottage chapel." And now, as the
meeting hour draws nigh, you see the people entering this little clearing
by two or three footpaths and two highways, a few in wagons and sleds drawn
by oxen, but mostly on foot. They are plainly but neatly clad, and every
requisite of becoming Sabbath decorum is plainly to be seen in both adults
and children, and even in young men and misses. The family chairs are
occupied by the aged and the ailing, while most of the people sit upon
benches without backs. The singing is superior, both in the structure of
the tunes and the fullness and sweetness of voice of most of the singers.
Such tunes as China, Mear, Northfield, Windham, Exhortation, etc., set to
our most solid hymns and sung with the understanding and in the spirit,
have never been excelled, and probably will not be in this world. The
preaching also is excellent, and the hearing corresponds. Tears are
abundant, and responses neither scant nor misplaced, and impressions deep.

At the close of the public service nearly all "remain for class meeting."
The speaking is clear, direct, and candid; the singing spontaneous, brief,
and spirited. When the class meeting closes, hand-shaking and shouts close
the scene, and most of the people return immediately home.

No tobacco smoke has polluted the air of the place. No gossip or worldly
talk has profaned the sacred day. Such as by distance, feebleness, or any
other cause would be likely to fail of coming back to the late afternoon or
evening meeting are led, if possible, to remain and eat with the family.
From half a dozen to a dozen usually accept of the cordial invitation, and
find a strong evangelical influence in the very atmosphere of this place of
worship.

At the closing meeting in the latter part of the day some fruit usually
appears from the personal labors bestowed upon guests between meetings;
thus putting the divine seal upon the hospitality and influence of the
cottage chapel.

The picture of this day is substantially the description of the Sabbaths of
years at this meeting place.




CHAPTER VI.


HARDSHIPS OF THE NEW COLONY.

It is no small undertaking to reduce heavily timbered lands to farms,
especially where there are few, if any, kinds of timber of any market
value, as was the case in the Oswego wilderness subdued by this
Massachusetts colony and others who settled in with and around about them.
All the land had to be cleared twice, and much of it three times, of some
tons per acre of encumbrances. First, the trees must be felled, cut up,
rolled into heaps, and burned to ashes. Then the huge stumps must take
a few years to decay, and then be torn out, piled up in heaps, and also
burned. Last, but not always least in labor and cost, a burden of stones
had to be drawn off from portions of most of the farms and piled in
heaps or wrought into walls. But our colonists were sober, diligent, and
persevering, and under their cheerful toil the wilderness was reduced to
fruitful fields. The temporary log houses and stables soon gave place to
comfortable buildings; and the "clearings" met as the woods disappeared
before the ax.

The log chapel dwelling, sacred though it was as God's house and heaven's
gate, was one of the first to disappear. A goodly frame house was just
covered and its floors laid, but no partitions set up, when it was
gloriously consecrated by a most powerful quarterly meeting.

This was in the summer of 1823. Rev. Goodwin Stoddard was the presiding
elder, a mighty man when fully aroused. Sunday evening he preached in the
new house during a fearful thunderstorm, and seemed girded like Elijah
running before the chariot of the king. While Jehovah spake in the clouds,
and for a long time the heavens seemed to be "a sheet of flame." He also
spake by his servant, and the response from the people was in tears and
sobs, groans and shouts; and at the conclusion of nearly every sweep of the
preacher's wonderful flights could be heard above the whole a shrill shout
from the hostess, followed by a tornado of amens! When the sermon closed
the storm ceased, and the "slain of the Lord were many." Memorable night!
The people found neither slumber nor weariness, and when the morning dawned
very few had not found a brighter dawn.




CHAPTER VII.


THE QUARTERLY MEETINGS.

These meetings, held in the summer season upon these premises for near a
dozen years, were greatly enjoyed by Elizabeth and the family. The circuit
was large, and most of its two or three dozen appointments would be
represented at what they called the "quarterly visitation." For two or
three hours before noon on Saturday the people were pouring in from all
parts of the circuit, and some from adjoining circuits. Besides what would
consent to sit down to dinner, "lunch" was freely distributed, which very
few refused after a long ride or walk. This lunch business was very handy,
and not unpopular. No plates were used; the people in house or yard took in
their hands the cold meats, biscuit, cheese, and doughnuts, while pans of
milk and pails of water, provided with tin cups, were set conveniently.
After the Saturday sermon the preacher in charge distributed the guests
among the hospitable homes of the society. But as the Quarterly Conference
was yet to be held the local preachers, exhorters, stewards, and class
leaders, and usually their families, either stayed there or, perhaps, a few
of them, at the nearest neighbors'.

However scattered during Saturday night and Sunday night, they had a
rallying time at the place of meeting before starting for home Monday,
when, by more or less delay, time wore on, and the "lunch" came around
again. Fifty to a hundred meals, and two or more general lunches, were not
remarkable at the cottage chapel; while for lodging, divided bedding and
shawls scantily covered upon beds, benches, and floors, the women and
children in the house, and a little new hay divided among the men and boys
in the barn, made their rest somewhat tolerable.

At this distance of time and custom one would be sure that the hostess,
after such a siege, would be worn down, nervous, and melancholy; but those
who understood her best could have borne witness to a change of spirits, if
any, in the opposite direction. As early as Monday on ordinary occasions,
and Tuesday after the great quarterly visitation, the brick oven was sure
to turn out its usual supplies for the family.

Nor could the holding out of strength and spirits be credited principally
to a good constitution; but while much was due to the pious joy with which
she did all, more, perhaps, is to be laid to what her Yankee friends called
"faculty." Solomon's temple was not more accurately prepared than this
housewife's arrangements for receiving and caring for her meeting guests.
Nor was she less skillful in selecting and directing such youngerly women
from among the guests as she needed for helpers and waiters. Her stock of
aprons was marvelous, and the dispatch with which she equipped her corps
and clothed their ruddy countenances in smiles was only equaled by the
speed with which everything was finished in time for meeting call, and her
"girls" and herself in their places in good time. And whatever woman in
the meeting did not do her part of the praying, speaking, singing, and, on
occasion, shouting too, that woman was not Elizabeth Arnold.

When Zion's hospitable entertainers shall be acknowledged before assembled
worlds, and all their liberality and painstaking in the spirit of their
Master, who fed the multitude, shall be mentioned to his glory and their
credit through his grace, will not the humble name of Elizabeth Arnold be
spoken with the honorable mention of that host of noble, patient toilers
who fed the people, that they might thus detain them under the influence of
Him who stood waiting to feed them with the bread of eternal life?




CHAPTER VIII.


EXTENDS HER LABORS.

After about a dozen and a quarter years the Arnold place lost the meetings
both of the circuit and of the society.

The changes of business and travel left the place quite one side, and
the meetings had been gradually removed to more central and convenient
locations. Mr. Arnold had been called by the church to hold meetings as an
exhorter, and had sought out some destitute neighborhoods as his chosen
field. It was natural and appropriate for his wife to accompany him.

They were both good singers, and had sung together a third of a century.
They were ready speakers and mighty in prayer, and in the quiet way of lay
workers they went from house to house, and to a family in a place they
presented the great salvation in conversation and psalm, and commended the
people to God in prayer.

It was not long before they collected in congregations; and while the
"licensed" exhorter, who really "preached many things to the people in his
exhortations," always led the meetings, the real exhorter followed with
cutting appeals. This destitute region was thus visited occasionally for
several years, and this couple had the honor of being its successful
pioneers in Christian evangelism. In a central position has long stood a
Methodist Episcopal church, and members of its society, fifty years after
these humble labors, acknowledged them in the hearing of the writer as the
means of their salvation.

Elizabeth was now between fifty and sixty years of age, was no longer the
nimble rider, but somewhat heavy and clumsy; she preferred the carriage
seat to the saddle, but still in her numerous visits to the sick and such
as she could bless by religious calls she continued her old method, as
being more independent. Many wondered at the ease and skill with which a
woman of her age and size would spring on and off and manage her horse.
She would modestly reply, "My dear father taught me how, and I have always
liked it."

She early became a skillful nurse, and was for many years a diligent
visitor of the sick, especially among the poor and the ignorant. Her saddle
horns were hung with budgets of medicinal herbs and little comforts, and
she would find out the sick and suffering, and administer both to their
physical and spiritual wants, and return to her household duties almost
before her family knew she had been gone.

About this time a new field of labor was providentially opened to this
Christian worker. The Presbyterian and Baptist churches in that town began
to employ "evangelists" to hold "revival meetings" of a new order; but when
the people appeared to be thoughtful, and they got them into the "anxious
meetings," they found it almost impossible to get them to praying or
the church to praying for them directly and earnestly, especially the
sisterhood of the Presbyterian church; so the deacons and elders, in their
strait, begged Mrs. Arnold to "come over into Macedonia and help." Much as
she had suffered in her early religious life from predestinarianism, she
never was a bigot, and so she, like Paul, "gathered assuredly" that the
call was of the Lord, and "without gainsaying" went and helped them
publicly and from house to house as best she could. The result was that
during the balance of her active life she was urged into and did much of
this inter-church work in their periodical revivals, and obviously with
good effect.

But, grateful as were these churches for such help, and encouraging to
her heart as the fruit appeared, she ever labored in these Calvinistic
associations under more or less embarrassment. To be at once true to her
principles and true to interdenominational courtesy left her rather a
narrow platform to work upon; but, limited as it was, she would not
transcend it in either direction. When, however, she could find revival
work within reach among her own people she ever gave such calls the
preference; and from their arrival in the new country down to the
retirement of infirm old age, more than a quarter of a century, "Sister
Arnold" was known for many miles around as "an excellent revival laborer."

Several allusions have been made in this narrative to her shouting; but
it should be understood that she was not in the habit of "shouting before
getting out of the swamp." The order of her work was solemn, steady,
earnest, and in mighty faith; but when the struggle was over, the victory
gained, sometimes that solemn countenance would become suddenly luminous
and her shrill shouts would pierce the very heavens. These loud
exultations, however, were indulged in in no meetings but those of her own
people, and grew less frequent as age crept on, giving place to tears of
joy and whispers of praise.




CHAPTER IX.


AS A CAMP MEETING WORKER.

When health and distance would permit, Mrs. Elizabeth could be depended
upon as a tent holder and laborer at every camp meeting. She had a superior
tent, and it was in its place and order from the first to the last hour.

It was a little odd that Mr. Arnold had very little camp meeting zeal, when
his wife had so much. He would go when entirely convenient, enjoy a few
sermons and some pleasant conversations with friends, when he "must go
home, see to things, and regain the rest he had lost." "Mother and the
children were sufficient to see to the tent, and enjoyed such mode of life
better than he did."

With her the camp meeting was neither a place of recreation nor weariness.
Its single object was to save souls. True to this purpose, she forecast for
weeks to obtain as tent guests thoughtful persons of honorable character
whom she could bring and hold under the influence of the meeting until they
were converted.

For one meeting a Presbyterian deacon, who lived in a neglected
neighborhood, was induced to bring his children and near a dozen more, all
young people nearly or quite grown, and stay through the meeting. Of course
these guests would help stock the tent, and would feel bound in courtesy to
attend the meetings of the tent as well as preaching at the stand, and the
good deacon have to do his share in conducting these tent meetings. When
the deacon returned home he carried with him a beautiful flock of the
Saviour's lambs; and while the most of his own children joined his church,
several miles away, the rest of these lambs were gathered into a Methodist
fold at their own schoolhouse, the nucleus of a church which now has a good
church edifice and has long had a prosperous existence. It is worthy of
remark that to this day this church is next neighbor to the one founded
soon after upon the work of the exhorters before alluded to.




CHAPTER X.


"THE CHAMBER ON THE WALL."

The active part of the married life of Joshua and Elizabeth Arnold was
over forty years. During that period their house--as may be inferred from
preceding pages--was the ever welcome home for the itinerant preacher.
The presiding elder and the preacher in charge often met there to counsel
together. The junior preacher, who was usually a single man, made it one
of his homes, where he came to rest and study. The "best room," with its
fireplace, bed, table, etc., was occupied more by the preachers than by
all other company, and was known as "the preachers' room." Both circuit
preachers frequently passed a night there together in their rounds; but the
senior, having a home somewhere, would speak of this as the junior's
home, and of himself as "his guest," as well as the guest of the family.
Sometimes all three of the itinerants would meet there for days at a time.
Such were seasons of great joy all around, and of some little pleasantry,
although cautiously indulged in in those days.

On one such occasion, as the three preachers and the family were sitting
around the large fireplace on a winter evening, and conversation had
about quieted to a lull, one of the elders hunched the junior, and with a
significant wink suggested to him to ask counsel of Sister Arnold, who was
busy sewing by the candle-stand. Now the said junior was a very promising
boy of nineteen, but, withal, a little too boyish to quite suit the ideal
of this grave woman. So while he stated the question she listened with her
attention mostly upon her work. "Mother Arnold, I have, as our Discipline
requires, counseled with these my seniors upon a very important question."
She glances at him very slightly. "It is the question of marriage." Another
glance, which is enough to wilt a boy of ordinary courage, and instantly
her eye is on her work again. He rallies, however, and begins again: "I am
advised by several to marry, and am thinking seriously of doing so. I now
desire your advice." Slowly her spectacles mount to her forehead, her keen
black eye seems to look right through him, and she slowly and gravely
replies, "Well, my advice is, that you wait until you get to be a man." The
effect of such a shot may be better imagined than told; not only there,
but elsewhere, as long as he stayed on that circuit. He did wait, and in
waiting made a more judicious choice, and one of the sons of that wise
marriage is now one of our bishops.

Severe as this sounds, it was a word in season, and fully met the approval
of the senior brethren, and of the junior himself, who greatly venerated
her, and ran a very successful, although short, race, and left an excellent
influence behind him.

Eternity alone will fully declare how valuable were the counsels of this
"Aquila and Priscilla," who in this itinerant's home took many a young
"Apollos" and "expounded unto him the way of the Lord more perfectly."

But while nothing Mr. and Mrs. Arnold did for the meetings at their home or
anywhere excused them from personal activity in those meetings, no pains
or expense in entertaining the preachers were ever a substitute for the
regular support of the Gospel by prompt and liberal payment through the
stewards.

But beyond the regular "quarterage" they appreciated the need of
"presents." And probably, in the forty-two years of their active business
life together, seldom, if ever, did a Gospel minister make a pastoral visit
at their home and go away without carrying with him some little token of
the veneration and love there cherished for his holy office and work, or
of remembrance of his lone family, so much of the time deprived of his
presence, and of many delicacies which he had among his people far away.
The "fatted calf," lamb, or fowl would in many places be dressed for his
feasting, while the family at home, in some inferior quarters, were having
rather dry fare, if not scanty fare; the thought of which would often mar
the pleasure of his most sumptuous entertainments.

Economical, not to say penurious, stewards demanded an "account of
everything given to the preachers;" but Mrs. Arnold insisted that besides
salary matters presents were needed, and it was the privilege of that house
to give them at pleasure, and the left hand must not know what the right
hand conferred. Often the minister himself knew nothing of it until some
one of his family searched the box of his carriage seat, which they were
not slow to do when it came from certain parts of the circuit--some article
of provision for the table, common and plenty enough in the cellar or dairy
of the farm, but not certain to be flush in the parsonage; some tidbit or
condiment to humor a delicate appetite; some choice fruits or knickknacks
for the children; some material from the sheep or flax of the farm spun by
her own diligent fingers to be made up in the lonely parsonage for the wife
or children, or underwear for the man of God. When the minister's family
was within reach of this very busy mother in Israel she would often relieve
the loneliness, and sometimes the wants, experienced in his "long rounds"
by her visits to the sacred rooms, which in those early years of Methodism
were oftener parts of some kind member's home than a regular "parsonage"
or "rectory." So when the weary itinerant would return and find that his
family had not been entirely neglected in his absence he would take new
courage to pursue his toilsome way.

As already intimated, Mrs. Arnold usually made the "junior preacher" of the
circuit an object of motherly care. He was generally a single man in those
early days, and often scarcely out of his boyhood. Many a worn garment was
overhauled and repaired; many a pair of new warm socks or mittens was laid
with new underwear upon his pillow.

Although for several weeks of the year he and his horse had made the Arnold
place a pilgrim's rest, never was a dollar paid the place for board, nor
was the circuit permitted to charge him a farthing upon his salary for that
or the presents he had received in that welcome home.

The junior preacher seldom served the same circuit more than one year of
his apprenticeship. When he left this, his favorite home of rest, of study,
and of repairs, the parting scene brought tears from all eyes; and long did
the echo of those loving adieus ring in all ears, especially as uttered by
that matronly voice, "Do well, and farewell. God bless you!"




CHAPTER XI.


MRS. ELIZABETH ARNOLD AS A MOTHER.

Eight children were given to this pious couple--five sons and three
daughters. Two of the daughters were recalled between the ages of two and
four. Lovely and much loved, they were still resigned to Him who demanded
their return, and that, too, without a murmur.

The remaining daughter and all the five sons were converted in the morning
of life and joined the Church so dear to the parents, and the two younger
sons became ministers of the same, and all the six lived to advanced age.
The writer once overheard Mrs. Arnold answer the anxious inquiries of a
young mother who had several little ones she was yearning to see early
saved: "O, sister, it is all of the Lord. But it is true that He has
wonderfully blessed our family altar, the visits of our dear ministers, and
the meetings in our house for many years. And as you are a mother, and seem
anxious to learn a mother's duty and privilege, I will frankly give you my
experience. I did not play much with, our children, nor caress them much. I
hadn't time, and I didn't wish them to be babies too long nor waste much of
their precious morning of life in play. I did not flatter nor praise them
very much. I was afraid of fostering pride. But I have instructed them in
our glorious doctrines with diligence and all the skill I could command.
But their early salvation and lifelong piety and usefulness seemed to be
laid on my heart by divine power, and the spirit of prayer for them was one
of the abiding influences of the Holy Ghost. God had plainly answered my
prayers for my brothers and sisters till they were all converted, and would
not my heavenly Father answer my prayer for my own offspring? O, sister, it
was no task for me to pray for my children. My life was in it.

"When I fed them I prayed the Lord to give them the bread and the water of
eternal life. When I took off their garments I asked the Lord to strip them
of sin; and as I clothed them, that He would clothe them with the garments
of salvation. When I laid them down to sleep I prayed that they might be
fully prepared for the bed of death, and to sleep at last in Christian
graves. And when I took them up from their slumbers, how earnestly I prayed
that they might have part in the resurrection of the just! And, my dear
young sister, I was not content with prayers for my children, nor with our
family prayers with them; but as they grew old enough I took each one to my
own little prayer room with me, and poured out my soul for that one. And
I seldom retired to my pillow until I had "tucked up" my sleeping little
ones, given them a word of counsel, and offered a prayer for them; and
I had no trouble in getting their wakeful attention. I assure you, dear
sister, that a Christian mother's advantage just here is very great. Don't
let any hurry or weariness rob you of that hold upon the hearts of your
children."




CHAPTER XII.


DOUBLE DILIGENCE.

Mrs. Elizabeth Arnold was a very busy woman. During the forty-two years of
her mature active life she could almost be said to have accomplished double
work. Both her conscience and her nature seemed to be all alive to the
rules of our Discipline: "Never be unemployed;" "Never be triflingly
employed." Her large size, large brain, and preponderance of bilious
temperament seemed to call for much sleep and moderate motion. But her
motions were quick and efficient, and her sleep could not have averaged
over six hours in twenty-four. But eighteen hours a day could not satisfy
her longing for "the improvement of her precious time." So she managed,
when alone or not engaged in reading or conversation, to keep up what at
a little distance might be taken for mere humming, but what was really
intelligent singing, simultaneous with the most active work of her hands.
It might begin with a hymn, but would glide on beyond into her own words of
praise or prayer in impromptu music. This free, original singing was the
settled habit of her most driving business hours, and was not annoying to
others. But how those black eyes would sparkle and those florid cheeks glow
with heavenly light as her whole soul seemed absorbed in this spontaneous
singing, while the work of her hands went briskly on, leaving in speed or
finish no mark of absence of mind or false motion.

But this was not her only method of doubling her diligence. Her experience
and wisdom brought her many inquirers after the truth, and demands upon her
conversational powers were many and imperative. Yet those busy, provident
hands, long acquainted with needles, seemed to make them fly and click in
about even race, with the mind and the tongue, "Diligence in business,"
"singing with grace in the heart," and "conversation seasoned with grace"
mingled in her methods of "redeeming the time."




PART III.

_RETIREMENT_.

       *       *       *       *       *




CHAPTER I.


HOMES OF EARLY METHODISTS.

From the earthly point of observation how sad is the breaking up of
Christian homes! The genuinely hospitable homes of the early Methodists
were peculiar. There were elements in their hospitality which do not quite
find their equal in our day. The old circuit system set everything in
motion. Not only were the "circuit riders" circulating everywhere, but
quarterly meetings, "two days' meetings," and even regular circuit
preaching, whether on a week day or Sunday, stirred up the people. And
as they were scattered in residence, and traveling was slow, every
comfortable, hospitable Methodist residence became not only a free stopping
place, but a house of entertainment, where both soul and body found
refreshment, and the one just as free and cordial as the other. The guest
did not embarrass the host or hostess, for nothing but plain fare was
expected; and as to spiritual refreshment, he left a blessing behind him,
and with rekindled joy went on his way rejoicing. So also it was when his
turn came to entertain.

The homes of the early Methodists, especially in the country and in the
rural villages, were much more permanent than in this day--not rented,
but mostly owned by their occupants--and every year seemed to add to the
sacredness of these hospitable old abodes. The trees, the watering
trough, the well sweep, the plain old buildings, the very ground, seemed
consecrated to God and his cause.

But the kind host and hostess "have finished their course" and been called
up higher. The honored old place is honorable no longer. The tenants or new
owners, or, worse still, ungodly children, have desecrated everything. The
old-time guests pass it with a sigh. The hill, the brook are there, but the
aged horse looks in vain for the welcome open gate and watering place, and,
drooping his head, walks slowly by in sadness. Ministers and church people
tread that yard no more. The very ground seems backslidden. Sabbaths have
fled. Prayers and praises are no longer echoed. That light is put out, and
"how great is that darkness!"

The time came for Joshua and Elizabeth to yield to infirmity, and retire
from active life. The hard work of the new country told seriously upon even
strong constitutions. Some of the members of their society older, and some
even younger, than themselves had yielded and gone.

For long, happy years they had kept up an establishment of an unusually
hospitable order for even a cordial church and a free, social age. They had
been more able, more willing, more zealous, and had more "faculty" for it.
But old age came on then earlier than now. The "threescore years" of which
they had so long sung had already gone by. Their younger sons were away
in the itinerant ministry. The old farm was too broad for their age and
infirmities, and they found the order given to Daniel, "Go thou thy way:
... for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan.
xii, 13), appropriate to their condition, and allowed an elder son to
remove them to town, under his care, and near church. In this retirement
they enjoyed choice church privileges. Several of their old-time friends
had collected in and near the place, among whom were a few of their old
Massachusetts classmates and, above all, the aged and excellent local
preacher[1] who was praying for Miss Elizabeth Ward in Pittsfield when she
was converted, and who had for so many years lived near the family and had
preached in their house nearly or quite as much as all other ministers. He
and his venerable companion had retired there, too, with one of their sons.

[Footnote 1: Rev. Thomas Hubbard.]

But besides these retired neighbors, their retreat being but five miles
from their old farm and whilom cottage chapel, several of the village
residents had long been camp meeting and quarterly meeting associates.
So, with a dutiful son and near-by church, this superannuated couple,
surrounded by congenial society, surrendered their beloved public life and
sought an evening of rest, in which to ripen for heaven.

Hardly could aged people be happier or more quiet and free from worldly
care. The storms of life were past; the crowd of business, the rush of
labor, the study of complicated lines of duty--all these have gone by like
a storm, and left a great calm. Still they find some little to do with what
little strength they can command and the limited income left them.




CHAPTER II.


JOSHUA ARNOLD.

No life experience of Elizabeth would seem at all complete without a
chapter giving a somewhat connected view of her _companion_, near a half
century by her side, in her toils, liberality, and church work. Did she,
when driven by persecution from her father's house, take up, under stress
of calamity, an inferior associate for life? Let us see. If, as many claim,
the wisest matches are founded on contrast, this must have been _par
excellence_. For if we except their large size and mutual endowment
of sound common sense, there was very little natural similarity. In
Connecticut the farms of the Arnolds and the Wards joined, and yet they
were not intimate as families, for there was, for that day, too great
disparity in property and style. Both were moral and intelligent, but the
large Arnold family on the hill, though in comfortable circumstances, did
not train in the same "set" with the elegant establishment at the Cove.

Of the numerous family (of almost giant size) of Ebenezer and Anna Miller
Arnold there were only two sons. Ebenezer, among the eldest, had the
ancestral name, took to a mariner's life, was a few years a sea captain,
and lies at the bottom of the ocean. Joshua was the youngest of the family,
the almost idol of his parents, and of a house full of lusty sisters, who
vied with one another which should teach him most and secure most of
his confidence. So he lived on until nearly thirty a bachelor. Such
opportunities as were afforded the common farmers' boys of New England in
the eighteenth century young Joshua diligently improved, and became a close
student, and well qualified as a teacher of common schools of his day. His
specialties were mathematics, penmanship, bookkeeping, business science
and forms, and navigation. And he continued to do more or less in this
profession until fifty years of age. He was converted among the first
fruits of Methodist labors in that part of New England.

Then, every Methodist studied closely into her doctrines, and this young
man became qualified to state clearly, and ably defend, all that was
peculiar to that Church. The cast of his mind was logical, candid,
patient--he was never inclined to hasty conclusions. He loved to dig
deep, collect strong evidence, and wait till conclusions were sound and
inevitable.

His brethren soon marked him for the ministry, and so advised; but, with
his great modesty and high opinions of a divine call, he was not then, and
never was, satisfied that he had such an essential individual commission.
Without a full consciousness of duty in the line of that awful
responsibility, this pious young man refused to look in that direction. He,
however, cherished a high sense of the honor involved in the confidence
of the Church, and felt impelled to lay himself out to do his best as a
private member.

Under the ministry of such able Methodist preachers as Asbury, Jesse
Lee, and George Roberts, young Joshua had imbibed the main doctrines of
theology, and set out in earnest to "search the Scriptures," both "for
correction" if wrong, and for confirmation in the truth he had received and
experienced. Thus fairly started on the King's highway of truth, he became
profoundly interested in Bible study; and continued both the study and the
intense love of it through life. He dug in this mine more than a third of a
century without any human commentary, and found, to his great joy, that
the poet had struck it: "God is his own interpreter, and He will make it
plain." So diligently did he search for the "interpretation of Scripture by
Scripture," that he largely learned the doctrinal Scriptures by heart,
and also book, chapter, and verse; and to family and friends he was "both
concordance and commentary."

Near the middle of his experience and biblical research Mr. Arnold was
urged, almost driven, to take license to exhort, and more publicly divulge
some of the treasures of his years of study. He had thus "improved in
public" (as exhorting was then called) but a year or two when his brethren,
finding more of the expository than hortatory in his discourses, urged that
his proper office was that of a local preacher. But to this he had two
objections: lack of a distinct call, and a settled fear that the Church was
growing too numerous a secular ministry; so he utterly refused.

For the balance of his active life, as health and opportunity permitted, he
"preached many things to the people in his exhortations," always laying
for them a solid doctrinal foundation, and plentifully using Scripture
language, both accurately quoted and wisely applied, and book and chapter
usually given. His appointments for exhortation never lacked attendants or
interest; and when called, as he often was, to "supply the appointment" of
a circuit preacher, the substitute was not met with wry faces nor spoken of
in frowns. Yet his highest apparent successes in speaking, if estimated by
the excitement, were his brief speeches in love feast, not boisterous, but
invariably stirring the deep of the heart of the meeting.

Joshua Arnold's singing was no way superior in kind and had no marked
defect, unless it was that time sometimes yielded to sentiment. But the
amount of psalm singing done in a half century by this peaceful man was
certainly marvelous. The leading of most of the hymns in the social
meetings was a very small proportion of it. Whenever he found a psalm,
a hymn, or a chorus that struck a chord in his devout heart he laid it
carefully away in his retentive memory, and it was instantly called up when
he wanted to sing it.

But what was most noteworthy in his singing was that his happy heart, and
soft, sweet voice, and abundant store of pious psalmody kept him singing
wherever and whenever he could with propriety.

Mr. Arnold was the opposite of a business sharper. He was a moderate,
patient toiler, but traded no more than he was obliged to, and always with
frank, honest words, and very few words. He hated extortion, avoided debt,
and threw nothing away in interest or in lawsuits, and was both careful and
skillful in maintaining a good influence. Like his wife, he was economical
and liberal; and the Christian liberality of their home knew no bounds but
the limit of their means; nor was that limit dreaded, nor often, if ever,
found, when it embarrassed the case on hand.

As Joshua Arnold was no ordinary man, so his _personnel_ was rather
peculiar: nearly six feet in height; large, but not fat; wore a shoe of
size number twelve, and hat size seven and a half. His eye was blue, large,
and mild; forehead broad and high; nose long and straight; lips long and
thin; mouth and chin small and delicate; hair brown, fine, straight, and
complexion florid. His motions were moderate, and temper very steady and
mild.




CHAPTER III.


SEPARATION.

But this aged couple were to share their joys and sorrows in their
retirement but a few years. Joshua was the first called away. He died in
his seventy-seventh year, in peace with God and all men. Just before
his speech failed one of his sons inquired how long he had been in the
Methodist Episcopal Church. His answer came slowly but firmly: "Fifty-two
years ago I said to this people, 'Whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my
God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.'

  'The word hath passed my lips, and I
  Shall with thy people live and die.'"

And the good man had the desire of his heart.

Elizabeth was now a widow, and had nearly reached her "threescore and ten
years." She was not much bent with age, though "compassed with infirmity."
She still found some little to do among the sick, the poor, and the
perishing, and was not gloomy or desponding in her loneliness. She wrote
much to her scattered children, who were too distant to be seen often, and
her letters breathed the spirit of heaven.

When possible to attend the preaching of the word she was "not a forgetful
hearer," but kept up her old method of prayerful abstraction. She had
during her whole religious life followed it. She would early enter the
meeting as if she saw no one and go solemnly to her seat, and either kneel
or cover her face for a time, and thence on until the voice of the opening
service aroused her would be absorbed in devotion. As long as able to
attend, her voice was heard in prayer and class meetings; and many came to
her room for counsel and help in their experience.

It was marvelous to see what a change retirement and its quiet had wrought
in the spirit and manner of this woman. The drive and hum of busy life were
over; a heavenly calm had ensued--solemn, serene, peaceful--no agony of
prayer, no ecstasy of spirit, no shouts of transport, no fiery trials. Her
infirmities accumulate, but still she rejoices in sacred, hallowed peace.
She becomes a cripple, almost confined to her bed, and continues so for
years; but her mind retains its strength and serenity, and her whole heart
rejoices in God, her immovable Rock.

The last decade or more of her life was marked as a continual feast upon
the holy word of God. She learned what her blessed Saviour meant when he
quoted and sanctioned that Scripture, "Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," and also, his
promise that the Holy Comforter should quote to the faithful such passages
of the word they had studied as their circumstances might require.

So every day, and usually oftener, the Lord would give her a "passage to
feed upon," "day by day her daily bread." On the last day that she could
speak her pastor's wife inquired after her "passage for that day," and she
instantly quoted Josh. i. 5, and Heb. xiii, 5, "I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee."

Just before her speech failed her she called to her a daughter-in-law and
gave her a minute account of her graveclothes, which had been ready for
several years, and she found everything as she had described them. Thus, as
"a shock of corn fully ripe," she was at length gathered home. She died in
Fulton, Oswego County, N. Y., in August, 1865, in the eighty-eighth year
of her age, and in the seventieth year of her religious experience, and
is buried by the side of her husband in Mount Adna Cemetery, where they
together await the resurrection of the just.




CHAPTER IV.


CONCLUSION.

The "disinherited" Elizabeth was never restored to her rights and heirship
as a daughter. As old age came upon that rigid father he partially relented
and doled out a few hundreds to her where his other children had their
thousands.

He even sent to Massachusetts for her to visit him on his deathbed and
counsel him concerning salvation, and pray with him; and he indulged some
hope under her prayers; but he made no confession of his wrongs to her, nor
amends for his injustice.

Her two brothers and three sisters all credited their religious experience
to God's blessing upon Elizabeth's prayers, counsels, and life; but only
one of them ever undertook to restore what the father had taken from
Elizabeth's right and given to her, and she did not do it until she was
about to die without issue. With one voice they freely condemned her
disinheritance and the persecutions she had had to suffer. But when, their
souls being "ill at ease" under the remembrance of her wrongs, they spoke
to her on the subject (for she would not introduce it), they would simply
repeat, "Father so willed it, and you know, dear sister, that no one could
ever turn him."

All became church members, and so lived and died, but all in Calvinian
communions; while all of Elizabeth's children became Methodists, and two of
her sons, as we have seen, itinerant ministers. She and her pious husband,
as before stated, were industrious, economical, and liberal, and Agar's
prayer, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," was their prayer, and with
its answer they walked happily and usefully through life, "serving their
generation by the will of God," and passing in peace to their reward.

THE END.





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