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Full text of "Memoirs of Martha Laurens Ramsay, who died in Charleston, S. C., on the 10th of June, 1811, in the 52d year of her age"

IL-WDodsonSc. 



( AT THE AGE OF 17.) 



AtneTicaii Sunday School Uraon Philadelphia. 



MEMOIRS 



MAETHA LAURENS RAMSAY, 

WHO DIED IN CHARLESTON, S. C. 
ON THE 10th OF JUNE, 1811, IN THE 52d YEAR OF HER AGE. 



EXTRACTS FROM HER DIARY, LETTERS.. AND 
OTHER PRIVATE PAPERS. 



BY DAVID RAMSAY, M. D. 



The experimental part of religion has generally a greater influence 
than its theoi-y.— iir«. Howe's Posthuraowi Letter to Dr. Watts. 



EEVISED BY THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLICATION OF THE AMEBICAJf 
SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION 



PHILADELPHIA: 
AMERICAN SUNDAY-SCHOOL UNION, 

NO. 146 CHESTJSTJT STREET. 



//4/- 



T>;, 



IB 



Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1845, by 
the American Sunday-school Union, in the clerk's office of the 
District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 



^- 12 4 



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PREFACE. 



The manuscripts which gave rise to this 
publication were found among the private 
papers of their author, Martha Laurens 
Ramsay, after her death, and were unseen 
by every human eye but her own, previous 
to that event. The first mention she ever 
made of them was in the full view of 
death, and only three days before its fatal 
stroke. She then designated the drawer in 
which they were deposited, and at the same 
time requested, that after they were read 
they might be kept as a common book of 
the family, or divided among its members 
They appeared, on perusal, to be well cal- 
culated to excite serious impressions fa- 



PREFACE. 



vourable to the interests of religion ; for 
they were a practical, experimental com- 
ment on its nature and salutary effects, even 
in this life ; its tendency to promote human 
happiness, and its sovereign efficacy to 
tranquillize the mind and administer con- 
solation under afflictions, disappointments 
and trials. They exhibited an example 
which teaches more compendiously and 
forcibly than precept the value of piety and 
the comfort of submission to the will of 
God. In this view of the subject, it be- 
came an interesting inquiry, how far it 
would be proper to withhold them from 
that more enlarged sphere of usefulness 
which would result from their publication ? 
In determining this question, recourse was 
had to the opinions of the Rev. Drs. Hol- 
linshead and Keith, under whose ministry 
the writer of the private papers, now pub- 
lished, had sat upward of tvventy years, 



PREFACE. 5 

and to whom she was intimately know^n. 
They strongly recommended the publica- 
tion as well calculated to do good. Their 
opinions, and the reasons of them, were 
given in the subjoined letters.* 

* A letter from the Rev. Dr. Hollinshead to Dr. David 
Ramsay. 

Charleston, S. C. July 1, ISll. 
Deak Sir : — The perusal of our much esteemed 
Mrs. Ramsay's papers, has awakened in me many 
pleasing, though painful reflections. The loss of 
such a friend, and such a member of our church, 
is unspeakable. Her example, while she abode 
with us, was a living lecture on the importance of 
the human character in every part it has to act 
upon the stage of life, and eminently recommended 
the maxims and habits of our holy religion as^ 
worthy of all acceptation. The devout reflections 
of her retired hours exhibit a mind impressed with 
the great realities of its eternal interests, truly 
solicitous to improve in godliness and virtue, and 
highly favoured at the same time with an intimate 
intercourse with heaven. Permit me to say, that 
I think the publication of these devout exercises 
of her heart, with a sketch of her life, might con- 
tribute much to the establishment and comfort of 
many pious exercised Christians, who walk in fear 
1^ 



PREFACE. 

In publishing to the world the private 
religious exercises of an individual, it 
seemed a thing of course that some ac- 

and darkness, for want of knowing how others 
have been affected in scenes of trial like their 
own. It would be read with interest and improve- 
ment by Christians in every situation, whether of 
prosperity or affliction. It would be peculiarly 
gratifying to a numerous circle, to whom every 
memorial of their beloved departed friend will be 
precious. In presenting it to the community, 
which I think no person can so well do as your- 
self, you will perform an interesting and acceptable 
duty to society, and embalm, at the same time, the 
virtues and the memory of a most amiable Chris- 
tian. Your undertaking this will gratify many 
others as well as. 

Dear sir, your truly sympathizing 

and affectionate friend, 

W. HOLLIXSKEAD. 



A Utter from the Rev. Dr. Keith to Dr. David Rufyisay. 
Charleston, S. C, June 28, 1811. 
Dear Sir: — The manuscripts which you were so 
good as to leave with me, I now return with my 
cordial thanks for the favour of having them sub- 
mitted to my perusal. 



PRE FACE. 7 

count of that individual should be given 
at the same time ; for, without some such 
knowledge, many of the reflections of the 

I have read them with that close attention, with 
that lively interest, with that melancholy pleasure, 
which have been naturally excited by the circum- 
stance of their relating to a person who stood high 
in my esteem and regards as a Christian and a 
friend while living, and whose precious memory 
my heart is disposed ever to cherish with the ten- 
derest mingled emotions of affection and regret. 

From the earliest period of my acquaintance 
with Mrs. Ramsay, I have considered her as a lady 
of a very superior mind; of dispositions eminently 
benevolent, friendly, and generous ; and of those 
various and valuable accomplishments which 
could be derived only from the best education, 
from an assiduous attention to the most proper and 
effectual means of improvement, and from a long 
and intimate intercourse with many of the first 
characters in her native country and in Europe. 
She was, however, still much more honourably and 
happily distinguished by the grace of God, by 
which, in her early years, her heart was renewed 
and sanctified, and under the influence of which, 
through the succeeding course of her life, she ex- 
hibited, in the view of all attentive and judicious 
observers, a bright and attractive example of the 



8 PREFACE. 

writer would be comparatively uninterest- 
ing, if not unintelligible. It was there- 
fore resolved to prefix to the manuscripts 

temper and conduct of a real Christian. But it re- 
quired that delineation of the sentiments, feelings, 
and exercises of her heart, which her own pen has 
drawn, for her own use in her most secret trans- 
actions with her Saviour and her God, to enable 
even her most intimate friends to see her character 
displayed in its brightest and most amiable beau- 
ties : in her deep and unaffected humility ; in her 
undissembled and uncommon sense of sinfulness 
and un worthiness ; in her remarkable self-denial in 
respect to worldly interests and enjoyments ; in her 
strong and steadfast faith, trust, and hope, and 
quiet, sweet resignation, under the most painful 
disappointments, afflictions, and trials ; in the fer- 
vour of her devotions, in the closet as well as in 
the family, and the sanctuary, and at the table of 
the Lord ; in the overflowings of her benevolence 
and charity toward all around her, according to 
their respective circumstances, and in the ardour 
of her affections, especially to her own family and 
peculiar friends, expressed in her many prayers 
for them, and her often renewed solemn resolutions 
to do every thing within her power, by a conscien- 
tious, faithful, cheerful performance of every per- 
sonal, relative, and religious duty, for promoting 



PREFACE. 



some general account of the author, as far 
as was necessary to throw light on their 
contents. The publication of these private 



their temporal, spiritual, and eternal interests and 
happiness. 

Truly, "her walk was close with God," and 
"her light shone brightly before men." 

The impressions made on my mind by the 
perusal of these Memoirs of Mrs. Ramsay, and 
extracts from her Diary, &c., have irresistibly led 
me to wish and earnestly to desire that they may 
be permitted to appear in print. To withhold such 
papers from the public, would be to deprive many, 
very many, into whose hands they might come, of 
a most pleasing entertainment and a rich benefit. 
To her family and friends, in whose hearts she 
still lives, the volume would be a most welcome 
and precious memorial of what she was in her- 
self, and of what she was to them ; while to an 
extensive circle of readers, fond of books of this 
description, it v/ould afford the desirable means of 
becoming acquainted with the excellent and ami- 
able character, with the eminent Christian virtues 
and attainments, of one who adorned every rela- 
tion which she sustained, and filled with dignity 
and usefulness every sphere of life in which she 
moved. 



10 PREFACE. 

papers was the original design, the publi- 
cation of the life of their author only se- 
condary and incidental, as an introduction 



Thus, " she being dead, would continue to 
speak" forcibly and persuasively, it is hoped, to 
the children of the world, in favour of the divine 
and blessed Saviour, to whom she lived and died; 
and more especially to the disciples and friends of 
this Saviour, she would speak with the best effect 
in the way of instruction, encouragement and con- 
solation, relative to the various scenes of duty and 
trial, in which they may be called to be followers 
of her, and of all like her, " who, through faith 
and patience, inherit the promises." 

Under the influence of these and similar reasons, 
you will, I trust, yield to the call of duty, and con- 
sider yourself as rendering an important service 
to the public, and a due tribute of praise to the 
God of all grace, by consenting to publish these 
valuable papers as soon as may be practicable. 

In all Christian regards, including a tender sym- 
pathy towards yourself and your dear children, 
under every trial, and especially under this pecu- 
liarly heavy affliction, Mrs. K. cordially joins with, 
Dear sir, your sincere and 

affectionate friend, 

Isaac S. Keith. 



PREFACE. 11 

to the effusions of her heart, which had 
been put on paper solely for her own pri- 
vate use. God grant that their publication 
may be the means of exciting in others, 
and especially the connections and friends 
of their author, the same lively sentiments 
of fervent rational piety with which she 

was animated. 

David Ramsay. 

Charleston, S. C, July 15, 1811. 



MEMOIRS. 



Martha Laurens Ramsay was born in 
Charleston, S. C, on the 3d of November, 
1759. She was the daughter of Henry Lau- 
rens and of Eleanor Ball, and was born in the 
ninth year after their marriage. By the 
father's side she was of French extraction. 
Her great-grand-parents were born in Ro- 
chelle, and suffered in the famous siege of that 
place. They were Huguenots or Protestants."^'" 
Being, by the revocation of the edict of Nantz, 
compelled to leave their native country, they 
came to America in the latter end of the 
seventeenth century. Her maternal ancestors 
emigrated from Devonshire in England, and 
settled in South Carolina about the same time. 

In the first year of her hfe she had the 
smallpox so severely that she was supposed 
to be dead, and upon that supposition her body 

* A history of this interesting people has been pre- 
pared and published by the American Sunday-school 
Union. 

2 13 



14 M E M I R S O F 

was actually laid out preparatory to her fune- 
ral. It was placed by an open window, and 
Dr. Moultrie coming in, pronounced her to be 
still alive, — probably revived by the fresh air. 
Under other circumstances she would shortly 
have been buried, as was then commonly 
done with persons who died of the smallpox 
in that year of extensive mortality. A valu- 
able life was thus providentiallj' saved for 
future usefulness. 

Martha Laurens early discovered a great 
capacity and eagerness for learning. In the 
course of her third year she could readily read 
any book, and, what is extraordinary, she 
could read it in an inverted position, Avithout 
any difficulty. As very trivial circumstances 
in one's childhood serve to show the disposi- 
tions and habits which afterwards appear in 
the outline of the mature character, we cannot 
refrain from recording the following anecdote. 

Martha was walking with a httle cousin of 
hers, when they came to a wet place which 
was too wide for them to jump over. As they 
stood consulting together — half disappointed 
and half glad at their dilemma — a sailor ap- 
peared. At that time children had a dreadful 



MRS. RAMSAY. 15 

idea of sailors, (perhaps from the popular 
stories of impressments and piracies which 
were then so current,) and when the two little 
girls saw a sailor coming towards them, they 
were not a little alarmed. He very kindly 
took Martha up and carried her quietly across 
the wet place, for which service she cur- 
tesied and thanked him. He then went back 
for the other little girl, but before she was half 
over she cried and struggled with so much 
violence that the sailor took her back, and left 
her where she was at first. There she stood 
lamenting her folly until help came from an- 
other quarter. Good manners never fail to 
secure the respect and friendship of others. 

An amusing incident, which occurred when 
she was but three or four 3rears old, serves to 
show how much mischief and suffering may 
result from a single act of indiscretion or in- 
justice in a teacher: — 

The mistress of the school to which Martha 
was sent, was an ill-natured, waspish person, 
and one day in a moment of irritation she took 
her doll away and threw it out at the window. 
The little girl was of course much grieved at 
this treatment, and took it so much to heart 



16 MEMOIRS OF 

that she could not, for a long time, approach 
the woman, or even hear her name without 
crying. Not being disposed to tell why she 
cried on these occasions, she was accustomed 
to say — " I am crying because sister Nelly's 
dead ;" this was a sister she had lost some 
time before the affair at school. 

Miss Laurens often said, in after-life, that it 
gave her great sorrow to think how often she 
had told this untruth. So common was it that 
it grew into a proverb among her playmates, 
when any one cried without knowing exactly 
for what, to say — She is crying for sister 
Nelly. 

In youth her vivacity and spirits were exu- 
berant. Feats of activity, though attended 
with personal danger, w^ere to her famihar ; 
great exertions of bodily labour ; romantic pro- 
jects ; excesses of the wildest play were pre- 
ferred to stagnant life ; but from all these she 
could be turned off in a moment to serious 
business. As she grew up, the same activity 
was exerted in acquiring the useful and orna- 
mental parts of female education. She very 
soon obtained a grammatical knowledge of the 
French language ; a considerable eminence 



MRS. RAMSAY. 17 

in reading, writing, arithmetic, English gram- 
mar, geography, and the use of the globes. 
She even acquired a considerable acquaintance 
with geometry* and mo.thematical science. 
At the same time she was indefatigable in 
cultivating an acquaintance with books ; and, 
by means of abridging, transcribing, and com- 
mitting to memory, was very successful in 
retaining much of what she read. In accom- 
plishments and the ornamental parts of educa- 
tion, she excelled, and in the exercise of them 
took great delight. 

In the eleventh year of her age she sus- 
tained an immense loss by the death of her 
excellent mother ; but this was in some mea- 
sure made up by the maternal care of her 
good aunt,- Mary Laurens, the wife of James 
Laurens, whose sound judgment, refined man- 
ners, and eminent piety, well fitted her for 

* Among her private papers has been found, accu- 
rately drawn by her hand, the first plan of the present 
circular church, in the city of Charleston, but without 
the western projection afterward added by others. This 
preceded the elegant plan of the ingenious architect, 
Mr. Mills, and was introductory to the motion which 
ultimately terminated in the adoption of the circular 
form. 2* 



18 MEMOIRSOF 

training up her orphan niece for both worlds. 
To her care, and to that of his brother, Henry 
Laurens committed the charge of his two 
daughters, while he went to superintend the 
education of his sons in Europe. There he 
continued till the end of the year 1774, when 
love for his country brought him back to its 
defence against the aggressions of Britain. 
Thus, while God in his providence deprived 
Miss Laurens of the instructions and example 
of her natural mother, He raised up another 
friend, who performed the maternal duties 
with signal capacity, fidehty and affection. 
Though she was deprived of the company of 
her wase and virtuous father, for almost the 
whole of that interesting period, which ex- 
tended from the eleventh to the twenty-second 
year of her age, she continued to receive let- 
ters from him. As a specimen of the style 
of this correspondence, we insert one or two 
of the letters addressed to her when she was 
twelve years of age : 

" Philadelphia, August IS, 1771. 

"ilij/ dear est P at sy,^ remember my precepts ; 
be dutiful, kind, and good to your aunt ; learn 
* Or Patty, a familiar substitute for Martha. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 19 

to prevent (or anticipate) all her wishes and. 
commands ; you can do so if you please. God 
has blessed you with sufficient abilities. Let all 
your reading, your study, and your practice 
tend to make you a wise and a virtuous woman, 
rather than a fine lady ; the former character 
always comprehends the latter ; but the modern 
fine lady, according to common acceptation, is 
too often found to be deficient both in wisdom 
and virtue. Strive, then, my dearest girl, to be 
virtuous, dutiful, affable, courteous, modest ; and 
be assured that you will become a fine lady. 
Set God before your eyes, my dear child ; 
pray to him ; place your whole confidence in 
him, and strive to do his will ; so shall you 
never be dismayed." 

" Wfstminster, May 18, 1774. 
" My dear Patsy., — I have recollected your 
request for a pair of globes ; therefore, I have 
wrote to Mr. Grubb to ship a pair of the best 
eighteen inch, with caps and a book of direc- 
tions, and to add a case of neat instruments, 
and one dozen Middleton's best pencils, mark- 
ed M. L., directed to your uncle, who will 
deliver them to you. When you are measur- 
ing the surface of this world, remember you 



20 MEMOIRSOF 

are to act a part on it, and think of a plum- 
pudding, and other domestic duties." 

The pleasantry about the plum-pudding 
had its effect. Miss Laurens made a pudding 
before she began to make use of her globes, 
and profited by the hint, that the knowledge 
of housewifery was as much a part of female 
education, as a knowledge of geography. 

These paternal instructions were calculated 
to forward the virtuous education of a beloved 
daughter, growing up with fair prospects of 
an ample fortune ; but in and after 1775, he 
Avarned her of the probability that his estate 
would be forfeited, and that her father and 
brother in arms would lose their lives, and 
that she must prepare to maintain herself by 
her own exertions. The reasons of these ap- 
prehensions, and the deportment which he 
wished her to maintain, should they be real- 
ized, will be seen in the following letters : — 

" Charleston, S. C, Feb. 29, 1776. 

" My dear Dcmghter, — When I look around 
me and behold increasing preparations for civil 
war ; every man seeming bent and determined 
to carry those preparations into execution to 
the last extremity ; when, therefore, I consider 



MRS. RAMSAY. 21 

our estates in this country as being on the 
very precipice of bankruptcy, how can I for- 
bear lamenting, what will become of my dear 
sister, what will become of my dear Patsy 
and Polly, in case of my brother's death. Not 
only tears, but irresistible groans accompany 
this afflicting inquiry ; after a moment's pain, 
I console myself by this reply: *God will 
take care of them — that God who led your 
ancestors through a cruel persecution, and 
through a wilderness a hundred years ago, 
and you through ten thousand dangers, will 
not forsake your sister nor your children. 
Your brother will do well, and be made the 
guardian of your fatherles-s children after you 
are slaughtered.' My dear child, I could fill 
pages with accounts of causes for lamentation ; 
but alas, what good fruit would such accounts 
produce ; I will not grieve your young heart 
by a recital of afflictions which are the por- 
tion of age, and which I ought to bear alone. 
Nevertheless, it is my duty to warn you again, 
as I did in my last letter, to prepare yourself 
for a reverse of fortune — prepare for the trial 
of earning your daily bread by daily labour. 
This, whether it be matter of affliction, whether 



22 MEMOIRSOr 

it be a subject for grief or not, will, according 
to present appearances, be your portion. My 
love for you constrains me to give you timely 
notice. I have done so with an aching heart 
and overflowing eyes. Methinks 1 hear you 
reply, ' But, my dear papa, why will yoti 
make a sacrifice of your fortune, and hazard 
the happiness of your children ; labour day and 
night to earn poverty for yourself and them.' 
I answer briefly, ' It is the will of God that it 
should be so, and he gives me resolution to 
concur in and to submit to his will.' Now 
act your part well, my dear ; love God, and all 
things will work together for your good. I 
would proceed and advise you how to act, but 
you are in an excellent school. You learn 
your duty every day from sensible and pious 
friends. Follow their counsel and you will 
be happy. 

" What money I now have in England, is 
devoted to the service of your uncle, aunt, our 
brothers, yourself and sister. I do not know 
that I shall ever be able to add one penny to 
that small stock. It will be wisdom, it will be 
piety, and a proof of gratitude in your elder 
brother and you, to consume as little as possi- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 33 

ble, in order that there may be more for the 
service of your dear imcie and aunt, and for 
the little ones who cannot help themselves. 
It would please me, it would rejoice me, to 
hear that you had cheerfully entered upon 
your new scene of life ; that you earned as 
much every day by your needle as would 
pay your daily expenses." 

" Charleston, S. C, Aug. 17, 1776. 

" My dear Daughter, — Your brother will 
tell you a great deal of American news, and 
particularly of the escape we have had from 
enemies who talked of nothing less than eat- 
ing us up. 

"All the mischiefs which have happened, 
and all that shall still happen to the contend- 
ing parties, are to be charged to wicked and 
foolish counsellors. I pray God to raise up 
wiser and better men, who may devise means 
for effecting a friendly intercourse between 
Great Britain and these now ' United, free, 
and independent States,' and for promoting 
the mutual happiness of both parties. It is 
not impossible, but that the separation, lately 
announced, may produce great benefit to both. 
I am persuaded you will not give offence to 



24 MEMOIRSOF 

anybody, by interposing your opinions con- 
cerning these matters ; to relate to you what 
has happened, cannot be amiss, which is all I 
mean. You will in silence submit the future 
progress and final determination to the wise 
order of that superintending Being, who holds 
the scales of justice in his hand ; who never 
fails to help those who confide in him and do 
right ; who hath set bounds to the bared arm 
of the mightiest monarch on earth, as he hath 
to the seemingly irresistible power of the 
ocean. ' Hitherto shalt thou come, and here 
shall thy proud waves be stayed.' Your part 
will be to join with the sons and daughters of 
piety, and pray incessantly for peace — peace 
to all the world, especially to the country in 
which you reside, and that to which you 
more particularly belong ; and 5''0U will lament 
that it is your father's unhappy lot to be en- 
gaged in war, in civil war, God's severest 
scourge upon mankind. 

"I have no doubt, my dear daughter, but that 
you will take every advantage which the 
country you are in affords for the improve- 
ment of your mind and your address. The 
latter is of more importance to a lady than is 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 25 

sometimes thought ; to you in particular your 
friends should recommend it. God knows 
through what scenes you are to pass. If, in- 
stead of affluence, (of which you had lately a 
prospect, and to which you have still a just 
claim,) if servitude is to be your portion, 
quahfy yourself for an upper place. Fear 
not servitude, encounter it if it shall be ne- 
cessary, with a spirit becoming a woman 
of an honest and a pious heart ; a woman 
who has not been affectedly nor fashionably 
religious. 

" I need not tell you to be dutiful to your 
uncle and aunt ; to love and reverence them 
as tender parents. They may be reduced to 
very great straits. There my heart is most 
wrung ; but I must forbear ; the subject over- 
powers me ; God, in whom 1 trust, will pro- 
tect you all. Adieu, my dear daughter ; write 
as often as you can, and in some measure les- 
sen the anxiety which arises from the uncer- 
tainty of your being restored to your faithful 
friend, your affectionate father, 

Henry Laurens." 

These anticipations were not fully realized, 
but the expectation of them had a direct ten- 
3 



26 MEMOIRS OF 

dency to assist in forming the solid education 
of the person to whom they were addressed. 

Miss Laurens, in her twelfth year, began to 
be the subject of serious religious impressions. 
She was well instructed in the great gospel 
mystery of salvation by the atoning sacrifice 
of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world. And 
there is good reason to believe, that at a very 
early period she was brought by the grace of 
God cordially to accept of salvation freely 
offered, though dearly purchased. 

In the fifteenth year of her age, in conform- 
ity to the advice of Dr. Doddridge, and in a 
form of words recommended by him, she pre- 
pared, and solemnly executed an instrument 
of writing, called by her, with great propriety, 
"A self-dedication and solemn covenant with 
God." In the Old Testament, we several 
times read of the rulers, priests, and people 
among the Jews solemnly covenanting before 
God, to renounce their transgressions and to 
adhere to his service. In the ninth and tenth 
chapters of Nehemiah there is a particular ac- 
count of a covenant to this effect, drawn up in 
writing, and ratified by the names and seals 
of the persons who consented to it. Whether 



MRS. RAMSAY. 27 

in addition to these examples from Holy Writ, 
and the recommendation of Dr. Doddrids"e, 
there were any particular circumstances, 
which, at that time, induced Miss Laurens to 
enter into this written engagement to be the 
Lord's, is unknown. It is believed that she 
kept the transaction secret from all the world, 
and that the paper in question, now thirt}^- 
seven years old, was never seen by any hu- 
man being before her death.* At the time of 

* The original writing is preserved in the family, and 
IS naturally regarded with much interest. We copy it 
for the benefit of those who may not have access to 
such a form of self-dedication. 

"Thursday, Dec. 23, 1773. 

" Being tJds day fourteen years and seven weeks old. 

" I do this day, after full consideration, and serious 
deliberation, and after earnest prayer for the assistance 
of Divine Grace, resolve to surrender and devote my 
youth, my strength, my soul, with all I have, and all I 
am, to the service of that great and good God, who has 
preserved and kept me all my hfe until now, and who 
in infinite compassion has given me to see the folly of 
my ways, and by faith to lay hold on a dear Redeemer, 
and obtain peace to my soul through his precious blood. 
Martha Laurens. 

" A self-dedication and solemn covenant with God. 
" Eternal and unchangeable Jehovah ! Thou great 
Creator of Heaven and Earth ! and adorable Lord of 



28 MEMOIRSOF 

the execution of this writing, she was in the 
very spring-time of life — in possession of ail 
the comforts which wealth could bestow, and 

angels and men, I desire, with the deepest humihation 
and abasement of soul, to fall down at this time in 
thine awful presence, and earnestly pray that thou wilt 
penetrate my very heart and soul with a suitable sense 
of thine unutterable and inconceivable glories ! Trem- 
bhng may justly lay hold upon me when I, a sinful 
worm, presume to lift up my head to thee, presume to 
appear in thy majestic presence on such an occasion as 
this. 

Who am I, O Lord God, or what is my house ? 
What is my natui'e or descent, my character and de- 
sert, that I should speak of this, and desire that I may 
be one party in a covenant, where thou, the King of 
kings and Lord of lords, art the other. I blush and am 
confounded, even to mention it before thee. But, O 
Lord, great as is thy majesty, so also is thy mercy. If 
thou wilt hold converse with any of thy creatures, thy 
superlatively exalted nature must stoop, must stoop 
infinitely low ; and I know that in and through Jesus 
the Son of thy love, thou condescendest to visit sinful 
mortals, and to allow their approach to thee, and their 
covenant intercourse with thee. Nay, I know that the 
scheme and plan is thine own, and that thou hast gra- 
ciously sent to propose it to us; as none untaught by 
thee would have been able to form it, or inclined to 
embrace it even when actually proposed. To thee, 
therefore, do I now come, invited by the name of thy 
Son, and trusting in his righteousness and grace : lay- 



MRS. R A M S A Y. 29 

had as brilliant prospects before her as any of 
her sex in Carolina. The only serious afflic- 
tion she had then met with, was the loss of 

ing myself at thy feet with shame and confusion of 
face, and smiting upon my breast, I say with the hum- 
ble publican, ' God be merciful to me a sinner.' I 
acknowledge, Lord, I have been a great transgressor. 
My sins have reached unto heaven, and mine iniquities 
are lifted up unto the skies. The irregular propensities 
of my corrupt and degenerate nature have, in ten thou- 
sand aggravated instances, wrought to bring forth fruit 
unto death. And if thou shouldst be strict to mark 
mine offences, I must be silent under a load of guilt, 
and immediately sink into destruction. But thou hast 
graciously called me to return unto thee, though I have 
been a wandering sheep, a prodigal daughter, a back- 
sliding child. Behold, therefore, O Lord, I come un- 
to thee. I come, convinced not only of my sin but of 
my folly. I come, from my very heart ashamed of my- 
self, and with sincerity and humility confess that I 
have erred exceedingly. I am confounded with the 
remembrance of these things ; but be thou merciful to 
my unrighteousness, and do not remember against me 
my sins and my transgressions. Permit me, Lord ! 
to bring back unto thee those powers and faculties, 
which I have ungratefully and sacrilegiously alienated 
from thy service, and receive, I beseech thee, thy poor 
perverted creature, who is now convinced of the right 
thou hast to her, and desires nothing in the whole 
earth so much as to be truly thine ! Blessed God ! it 
is with the utmost solemnity that I make this surren- 
3* 



30 M E M I R S O F 

her mother. This had taken place three 
years and seven months before, and the keen 
sensations occasioned thereby must, in the or- 
der of myself to thee. Hear, O heavens ! and give 
ear, O earth ! I avouch the Lord to be my God. I 
avouch and declare myself this day, to be one of his 
covenant people. Hear, O thou God of heaven ! and 
record it in the book of thy remembrance, that hence- 
forth I am thine, entirely thine. I would not merely 
consecrate unto thee some of my powers, or some of 
my possessions, or give thee a certain proportion of my 
services, or all I am capable of for a hmited time ; but 
I would be wholly thine, and thine for ever. From 
this day do I solemnly renounce all the former lords 
which have had dominion over me ; every sin and 
every lust, and bid in thy name an eternal defiance to 
the powers of hell, which have most unjustly usurped 
the empire over my soul, and to all the corruptions 
which their fatal temptations have introduced into it. 
The whole frame of my nature, all the faculties of my 
mind, all the members of my body, would I present 
before thee this day, as a living sacrifice, holy and ac- 
ceptable unto God, which I know to be my most rea- 
sonable service. To thee I consecrate all my worldly 
possessions ; in thy service I desire to spend all the re- 
mainder of my time upon earth, and beg thou wouldst 
instruct and influence me so that, whether my abode 
here be longer or shorter, every year and month, day 
and hour, may be used in such a manner as shall most 
effectually promote thine honour, and subserve the 
scheme of thy wise and gracious providence ; and I 



MRS. RAMSAY. 31 

dinary course of things, have been nearly- 
worn off by time. The engagements thus 
solemnly entered into by Miss Laurens were 

earnestly pray that whatever influence thou givest me 
over others, in any of the superior relations of hfe in 
which I may stand, or in consequence of any pecuhar 
regard which might be paid me, thou wouldst give me 
strength and courage to exert myself to the utmost for 
thy glory. Resolving, not only that I will do it my- 
self, but that all others, so far as I can rationally and 
properly influence them, shall serve the Lord. In this 
course, O blessed God ! would I steadily persevere to 
the very end of my life, earnestly praying, that every 
future day of it may supply the deficiencies and correct 
the irregularities of the former, and that I may, by 
divine grace, be enabled, not only to hold on in that 
happy way, but daily to grow more active in it. 

" Nor do I only consecrate all that I am and have to 
thy service, but I also most humbly resign and submit 
to thy heavenly will, myself and all that I can call 
mine. I leave, O Lord, to thy management and di- 
rection all I possess and all I wish ; and set every en- 
joyment and every interest before thee, to be disposed 
of, as thou pleasest. Continue, or remove what thou 
hast given me ; bestow or refuse, what I imagine I 
want, as thou, Lord, shalt see good ; and though I dare 
not say I will never repine, yet I hope I may venture 
to say, that I will labour not only to submit but to ac- 
quiesce ; not only to bear what thou doest in thy most 
afflictive dispensations: but to consent to it, and to 
praise thee for it, contentedly resolving, in all that thou 



32 M E M I R S F 

in unison with her subsequent conduct through 
hfe. Of the sincerity of the transaction, on 
her part, on a view of all its circumstances, 
no doubt can exist. 

appointest, my will into thine, and looking on myself 
as nothing, and on thee, O God I as the great eternal 
all, whose word ought to determine every thing, and 
whose government ought to be the joy of the whole 
rational creation. 

"Use me, Lord, I beseech thee, as the instru- 
ment of thy glory, and honour me so far, as either by 
doing or suflering what thou shalt appoint, to bring 
some revenue of praise to thee, and of benefit to the 
world in which I dwell; and may it please thee, O 
my Creator! from this day forward, to number me 
among thy peculiar people, that I may no more be a 
stranger and foreigner, but a fellow-citizen with the 
saints, and of the household of God. Receive, O 
heavenly Father ! thy returning prodigal. Wash me 
in the blood of thy dear Son , clothe me with his per- 
fect righteousness, and sanctify me throughout by the 
power of thy Spirit ! Destroy, I beseech thee, more 
and more the power of sin in my heart ! Transform 
me more into thine own image, and fashion me to the 
resemblance of Jesus, whom henceforward I would 
acknowledge as my teacher, and my sacrifice, my in- 
tercessor, and my Lord ! Communicate to me, I be- 
seech thee, all needful influences of thy purifying, thy 
cheering, and thy comforting Spirit ; and lift up the 
light of thy countenance upon me, which will put the 
subliniest joy and gladness into my soul. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 33 

In the year 1775, James Laurens, his wife 
and two nieces, Martha Laurens and Mary 
Eleanor Laurens, (afterward the wife of Charles 

"Dispose my affairs., O God! in a manner which 
may be most subservient to thy glory and my own 
truest happiness ; and when I have done and borne thy 
will upon earth, call me from hence at what time, and 
in what manner thou pleasest ; only grant that in my 
dying moments, and the near view of eternity, I may 
remember these my engagements to thee, and may 
employ my latest breath to thy service ; and do thou, 
O Lord, when thou seest the agonies of dissolving 
nature upon me, remember this covenant too, even 
though I should then be incapable of recollecting it. 
Look down, O my heavenly Father, with a pitying 
eye upon thy languishing, dying child : place thine 
everlasting arms underneath me for my support ; put 
strength and confidence into my departing spirit ; and 
receive it ta the embraces of thy everlasting love ! 
Welcome it to the abodes of them that sleep in Jesus ; 
to wait with them that glorious day, when the last of 
thy promises to thy covenant people shall be fulfilled in 
their triumphant resurrection, and that abundant en- 
trance, which shall be administered to them into that 
everlasting kingdom, of which thou hast assured them 
in thy covenant, and in the hope of which I now lay 
hold of it, desiring to live and to die as with my hand 
on that hope ! 

" And when I am thus numbered among the dead, 
and all the interests of mortality are over with me for 
ever, if this soleron memorial should chance to fall into 



34 MEMOIRSOr 

Pinc]vne3%) went to Enorland. Martha Laurens 
was received on her landing- by her elder bro- 
ther, John Laurens, from whom she had been 

the hands of any surviving friends, may it be the means 
of making serious impressions on their mind. May 
they read it not only as my language, but as their own ; 
and learn to fear the Lord my God, and with me to put 
their trust under the shadow of his wings for time and 
for eternity ; and may they also learn to adore with me 
that grace which inclines our heart to enter into the 
covenant, and condescends to admit us into it, when so 
inclined ; ascribing with me and with all the children 
of God, to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy 
Ghost, that glory, honour, and praise, which is so justly 
due to each divine person for the part he bears in this 
illustrious work. Amen. 

" Lord I am thine, for ever thine, 

My soul doth cleave to thee ; 

My dearest Lord, be ever mine, 

I '11 have no love but thee. 
" Henceforth I am not mine, but God's for ever. 
"Martha Laurens. 
"I had fallen, shamefully fallen, and broken the 
solemn covenant engagements in so dreadful a man- 
ner, that none but lie who is holy and true, who hath 
the key of all hearts, who openeth and no man shut- 
teth, could ever have restored me ; but through the 
unbounded and astonishing measures of His grace, I 
was awakened to a sense of my vileness and ingrati- 
tude ; made to feel more bitter pangs than ever ; and 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 35 

for some years separated. Being older, he 
had taken great dehght in forwarding her edu- 
cation, and particularly in forming her mind 
to be superior to the common reverses of life, 
and the groundless fears of some of her sex. 
To ascertain whether his labors had been suc- 
cessful or not, he bribed the postilion to drive 
very rapidly, and at the same time, without 
discovering his views, narrowly watched her 
countenance, to observe w^hether there were 
any changes in it expressive of womanish 
fears, at the novel scene, so totally different 
from all her former travelhng in the low, flat, 
stoneless country of Carolina. On the termi- 
nation of the experiment to his satisfaction, he 
announced to his unsuspecting sister his con- 
gratulations, that "he had found her the same 
Spartan girl he had left her." 

after much struggling and many entreaties from my 
compassionate Redeemer, I renewed my violated vows 
in the most solemn manner, not only privately, but 
pubhcly, by giving up myself to him in the ordinance 
of the Holy Supper, before near three hundred persons 
at St. Werbrough's, December 25, 1775. 

" Solemnly again, April 7, 1776, and more solemnly 
and with more affecting circumstances than ever, May 
26, 1776." 



86 M E M I R S F 

In 1775, when Miss Laurens left America, 
she destroyed all her private papers, (as it was 
supposed,) except the act of self-dedication, 
just mentioned. These were numerous, though 
the last of them were written before she had 
completed her sixteenth year. They chiefly 
consisted of devotional remarks on passing 
events ; statements of the religious exercises 
of her mind ; a diary, and extracts from books 
she had read. This destruction she often re- 
gretted, but consented to it, from the prospect 
of an itinerant life, during her exile from home, 
and still more, from the unsettled state of her 
native country on the commencement of the 
revolutionary war. These papers, as above in- 
timated, were supposed to have been destroyed, 
but it seems that some portion of them were 
committed to Mrs. Elizabeth Brailsford, an 
intimate friend of hers in England ; to whom 
apphcation was made for them. In her reply 
to the application, Mrs. Brailsford says of the 
manuscript — " They were given me many 
years since, by my late much loved friend, 
dear Mrs. Ramsay ; but under such injunc- 
tions that no human eye but my own should 
ever see them, that I never thought myself at 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 37 

liberty to show them, even to my beloved mo- 
ther, and I can scarcely think myself justified 
in doing what I now do. Yet the very close 
relation in which you were united to her, 
makes me particularly anxious to comply with 
your request ; and I trust if her pure and 
highly exalted spirit now beholds me, she does 
not disapprove this act." 

As these religious exercises and devout me- 
ditations furnish the best evidence of the state 
of her mind at that most interesting period, 
between the sixteenth and nineteenth years of 
her life, we insert them here, although they 
will interrupt the narrative for a few moments. 



I. 

Self-abasement, with Resolutions to Walk more 
worthily. 

What a poor, lukewarm, unprofitable, un- 
worthy disciple am 1 ! 

How cold and deficient my duty toward God. 
How mingled with sin my charity toward men. 
Well may I cry out for quickening grace and plead 
for sanctification. When shall my light shine be- 
fore men, and the gospel be glorified by my con- 
4 



38 MEMOIRSOF 

duct. Oh how unlike I am the blessed Jesus, my 
Redeemer and my pattern. His blessed feet were 
continually carrying him about to do good, but 
alas, mine are prone to wander in the ways of folly. 
I am all self-abasement, and can hardly bear the 
review of my most exemplary days. My past life 
has been one continued course of impiety, and ray 
most [holy things have been unrighteous. What 
shall I say then, or whither shall I flee for mercy, 
but to the great atonement; to the blood of the 
Redeemer, by which alone 1 can obtain forgiveness 
for the iniquities which I have committed in 
thought, word, and deed. 

Oh that from this time forward I may be more 
zealous in the service of my God, and walk more 
worthy the vocation wherewith I am called ; adorn- 
ing the doctrines of God, my Saviour, in all things, 
and having my outward behaviour strongly expres- 
sive of the inward state of my mind ; not making 
the customs and manners of a corrupt and sinful 
world the rule by which I walk; but trying myself 
by the New Testament, the words of Jesus, and 
the divinely inspired apostles; and living with a 
constant regard to death and judgment. How 
short is time I How long is eternity I yet, alas, 
how is my mind occupied by the things of time, 
how careless of the things of eternity. Now, dear 
Jesus, show thyself with power, and work a great 
deliverance for me, that in thee I may become 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 39 

strong-, and have fortitude to walk contrary to the 
way of the world ; to take up my cross and follow 
thee. Amen. 



II. 

A Day well spent. 
Blessed be God for this day's entertainment. 
How sweet is the society of lively Christians, 
when we meet together and spend the hours, not 
in idle chit-chat about dress or weather or such un- 
profitable themes, but in mutual exhortation or en- 
couragement. How comfortably have I passed 
this day. In the morning I was at the sanctuary, 
heard the word of salvation, and sat with pleasure 
under the teaching of the gospel. When I returned, 
met with dear fellow-members, and adored together 
the name of Jesus our Lord. In the afternoon I 
visited serious friends, and entered on the delight- 
ful subject, talked of redeeming love and Christian 
meekness ; and again this evening met with ac- 
quaintance of the same mind, and renewed the de- 
lightful converse, and now, at night, I have been 
blessed in my retirement, and had great enlarge- 
ment in prayer both alone and with my servant. I 
cannot close a day so distinguished for spiritual 
mercies, without holy elevation, without a song 
of praise, nor sleep till I have rendered thanks. 
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is 



40 MEMOIRSOF 

within me praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, 
O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. I will 
praise the Lord while I live ; yea, while I have any 
being, I will sing praises to my God^ My heart 
is fixed, O God ! my heart is fixed, and through 
time and eternity 1 shall he thus employed ; sing- 
ing songs of everlasting triumph and loud hallelu- 
jahs to the slain Lamb, the purchaser of all our 
hopes, and ground of our rejoicing. 



in. 

Preparai^on for an Hour of Trial. 
I AM now going into gay, worldly, and, I even 
fear, that I shall meet with profane company. Oh 
that through grace I may have courage to show a 
becoming spirit, and, remembering the honourable 
name which I bear, may I not be ashamed to act 
as a Christian, and to let religion tincture every 
word and action. O heavenly Father ! now shed 
abroad in my heart thy Holy Spirit, and let nothing 
but holiness proceed out of my mouth. Enable 
me so to demean myself, that all may take know- 
ledge of me that I have been with Jesus. Let the 
law of kindness dwell upon my tongue ; and teach 
me to discountenance sin in the very spirit of hu- 
mility. Show me the effectual moments, the pro- 
per opportunities for speaking in defence of the 
gospel, for glorifying the name of Jesus, and give 



MRS. RAMSAY. 41 

me a heart to embrace them. Let not the fear of 
singularity make me a babbler; but if I can bear 
no innocent and useful part in conversation, keep 
me silent. Let the remembrance of my solemn 
vows be ever before me, and enable me, this day, 
to stand fast in the covenant of Christ, joyfully 
confessing him before men. Hear me, God ! for 
thy mercy's sake, and have pity on a poor frail 
creature. 



IV. 

Jin Jld of Conirilion with Hopes of Restoration to 
Divine Favour. 
I HAD fainted unless 1 had believed to see the good- 
ness of the Lord. My feet had wellnigh slipped, 
and I was bowed down with sorrow. Satan has 
distressed me with his vile suggestions. Doubts 
and fears have perplexed me, and I have been sore 
oppressed by my corruptions ; yet blessed be my 
compassionate High-Priest, my merciful Saviour, 
who hears me from the very depths of wo, and 
though I am now in darkness, gives me hope that 
I shall still see him; that his mercy is not clean 
gone for ever; but that I shall yet rejoice in the 
Lord, and go forth with strength, conquering and 
to conquer. I now sigh and mourn before him, 
because of my transgressions, which have sepa- 
rated between me and my God. I cry out with 
4* 



42 MEMOIRSOF 

earnestness, How long, O Lord, how long. "When 
shall I see thee as I have seen thee in the sanctu- 
ary. When shall my prayer be heard, and I be 
permitted again to attend thee in the sanctuary. 
When wilt thou visit me with the gracious visits 
of thy love. When shall I enjoy thy glories, thy 
gracious, thy refreshing, comforting presence, as I 
have heretofore done when the candle of the Lord 
shone "bright upon me, and when I lived as it 
were at the very gate of heaven ; yea, even in the 
bosom of my Jesus, which is the very heaven of 
heavens ; where bliss unspeakable abounds. I can- 
not forget these times, these seasons of inexpressi- 
ble rejoicing; and as the thirsty hart panteth for 
the reviving stream, so panteth my soul after thee, 
even after thee, the living God, who alone can give 
me comfort, and send me relief in this day of trial. 
Surely it is sin which has drawn this dreadful veil 
over my heart; shut out the cheering rays of his 
countenance ; grieved the Holy Spirit, and made 
my beloved to depart from me, and leave me thus 
comfortless. His love is still the same; but I 
have changed ! I have grown lukewarm and care- 
less ; I have backslidden, and wandered in the 
ways of folly; I have been idle, and have not im- 
proved the means of grace. I have been self-in- 
dulgent, and allowed the flesh too much of its own 
way. I have not been so watchful as I ought. 
With shame and confusion of face do I reflect on 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 43 

and confess these things; and with the deepest 
self-abasement cast myself at the foot of the cross. 
I lay myself under the droppings of the blood of 
Jesus, and hardly daring to look up, I cry. Lord, 
be merciful to me a sinner, a grievous sinner ; my 
crimes are of the deepest dye, and my sins of more 
than scarlet hue ; I am the most ungrateful crea- 
ture in the whole house; yet may I not hope for 
mercy, and still plead the merits of that Saviour I 
have so basely injured? I can offer no argument 
but the greatness of my sin and the extent of his 
love; I know that to be amazing and unbounded, 
and, therefore, I will not despair; but humbly 
trust that there is forgiveness with him, and that I 
shall be again admitted into communion with my 
dear Lord, and tied so fast to him as to have no 
power to depart. 



V. 

Preparation for Self-examination. 
I DESIRE now to try myself; to search my spirit; 
and, therefore, 1 devote this week, through God's 
grace, to extraordinary retirement, prayer, fasting, 
and meditation ; if so be that the Lord will be 
gracious, and assist me in my self-examination and 
devotion, and re-visit me with his free salvation. 
Without Christ I can do nothing; I therefore cast 
myself at his feet, and beg him to strengthen and 



44 MEMOIRSOF 

direct, and so to lead me through the rugged road 
of life, that I may at length obtain the full fruition 
of immortal bliss, and be made partaker of never- 
ending glory ; though now I have my gloomy 
fears, and pass through dangerous deeps, and dis- 
mal snares. 



VI. 

Longing for Death. 
Death, where is thy sting? Grave, where 
is thy victory 1 To me thou hast none. I often 
look forward with impatience to the hour when 
thou shalt set me free, and long to be touched by 
thy cold hand ; it is but a little while since, and I 
could not bear the thought of eternity. Now the 
time seems tedious that I am detained a prisoner 
here; sick of the world, and all its unsatisfactory 
enjoyments, I often cry to my beloved in the long- 
ing of desire, Come quickly, come quickly, for I 
long to be with thee. How slow the minutes roll ; 
how leisurely the hours move, which keep me from 
my God. " 1 long for evening to undress." I long, 
earnestly long, for the day of my dissolution, 
which will deliver my imprisoned soul from its 
confinement, and leave it free from every clog of 
flesh and sense. Each change in my spiritual life 
increases this ardent longing. Is the sky clear, 
and does the sun shine bright] have I sweet com- 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 45 

munion with the Saviour, and ravishing foretastes 
of the unutterable, inconceivable bliss, purchased 
for me by his blood and merits'? How do I lan- 
guish for the full fruition of those immortal joys, 
which are now bestowed by measure, and pant to 
behold him face to face, whom now I see but 
darkly, even in my most exalted moments. 

Am I drooping under desertion,] venting my 
complaints, because of the absence of him whom 
my soul lovethl Oh then, indeed, I long for that 
blessed time, when sin shall have lost its power, 
and no more separate between the Saviour and my 
soul ; when I shall no more grieve the Spirit, and 
provoke him to depart; but shall have done with 
doubts and fears, with sins and sorrows, and shall 
be put into the full possession of heaven and hap- 
piness. I shall be victorious over hell and the 
grave. Having these comfortable assurances that 
1 shall be happy, and finding all things below but 
bubbles, toys, and trifles, I have grown tired of this 
world, and long to be in a better, even the world 
above, where my Forerunner reigns, and where I 
hope ere long to reign with him in glory. 

Haste, Lord, and bring me to the day 
When I shall dwell at home ; 
Come, O Redeemer, come away, 
Jesus, quickly come. 



46 MEMOIRSOF 

VII. 

The pleasures of Communion with God; Humiliation 
for unworthiness of such a Privilege ,• Resolutions to 

seek after its Continuance. 

Sweet are the moments spent at the foot of the 
cross, while there I sit, and sing, and mourn, and 
love. 

I would not exchange one such hour, for ten 
thousand years of worldly enjoyment. The utmost 
heights of earthly pomp; the honours of royalty; 
the treasures of both the Indies ; the adulation of 
the multitude; nor health, nor friends, nor any 
thing of terrestrial bliss, though it were to last for 
ever, could make me happy in the absence of my 
God, or recompense me for the loss of his favor. 
But, with the light of his countenance, and the 
comforts of his Spirit, having no where to lay my 
head, sick and forlorn, mean and despised, perse- 
cuted and defamed, I could rejoice with joy un- 
speakable and full of glory. What nonsense would 
this seem to a man of the world; but the believing 
soul well knows what I say. Those who have 
once tasted that the Lord is gracious, and found 
refuge from sin and Satan, in the bleeding wounds 
of Jesus, can witness to this truth, that his love 
surpasses knowledge, and is better than life itself. 
The cross ! the cross ! Oh this is all my glory ; the 
only ground of my rejoicing; by the death of the 



MRS. RAMSAY. 47 

Son of God, life is purchased for me, and in his 
prevailing- name, I have free access to the throne 
of grace. I can go and spread before the Father 
my M^ants, and my complaints; tell him of all my 
distresses, my conflicts, my trials, and my weak- 
ness ; and from the fulness of his Son derive a 
sufficiency of strength for the day of temptation. 
I can plead his own word, his precious promises, 
and rest secure upon them. I can ask the influ- 
ences of his grace, beg the consolations of the 
Holy Ghost, and show him my need of comfort. 
Oh, I love to sit at the feet of Jesus, till my heart 
melts, and till my eyes run down with tears. I 
love to look on him, till they grow dim to outward 
objects, and till I am wholly taken up with the 
things of faith. Sometimes I am so lost in the 
height, and breadth, and length, and depth of love 
immeasurable, that I seem dead to the world, and 
have no thought of any thing in it. I forget the 
things of time, and my spirit solaces itself in the 
foretastes of eternal joys; but alas, these seasons 
last not long. 

Too soon my joys decay, 

Too soon my sins arise. 

Too soon I find myself groveling midst the clods 
of earth, and the wheels of love turning heavily. 
This makes the chains of sense hateful to me ; and 
nothing gives me pleasure that does not increase 
my growth in grace. I hate all company, all 



48 MEMOIRSOF 

amusements, all business that diverts my mind 
from spiritual things, and draws it from God. 

I delight in those means which I have found 
most beneficial, and wish to observe every rule 
which has a good effect upon my spirit. My Sa- 
viour has often been pleased to manifest himself in 
my hours of prayer, and my soul has been caught 
up to celestial heights, even to the throne of God, 
while I was in the lowest posture of reverence be- 
fore him. He has often met me in my retirements, 
and made solitude so delightful to me, that I love 
to remain whole days shut out from the world. He 
has graciously refreshed me at his table, and pecu- 
liarly in my after-retirement, made himself known 
to my enraptured soul in such a manner as words 
cannot describe, or tongue declare, for it is inex- 
pressible, and only to be felt. Be astonished and 
wonder, my soul, that thou, the vilest creature 
in the world, the very chief of sinners, and a hell- 
deserving wretch, should ever be able to enjoy 
such a day, or feel the transports that thou hast 
done. Blush, that after this thou hast ever grown 
cold, lukewarm, and have even now so much rea- 
son to mourn, because of unbelief and hardness 
of heart. 

Be ashamed of thy careless and unchristian life, 
and humble thyself in the presence of the Lord 
because of thy transgression. Call upon every 
thing within thee, to exert itself in the service of 



MRS. RAMSAY. 49 

thy Redeemer; walk more by faith and less by 
sight; divest thyself of all unnecessary concerns ; 
unlade thyself of vanity, and worldly-mindedness ; 
be more frequent and earnest in prayer, and live, 
as it were, continually before the cross ; so shalt 
thou feel thyself renewed in strength, and giving 
to the Saviour an undivided and sincere heart; he 
will not only frequently visit, but even take up his 
abode with thee, confirming thy love, increasing 
thy faith, and carrying thee from one degree of 
strength to another, till thou art made perfect in 
him. 



VIII. 

Disgust at Frivolous Conversation. 
How disgusting these vain visits to my sin-sick 
soul. While they examine and talk of laces, 
dresses, ornaments, and finery, I wish to converse 
with the hillocks of mortality, to know the full 
meaning of that sentence, " 'Tis the body of the 
curse," and remember that we should not have 
needed clothes if sin had not deformed us, and 
made covering necessary for the hiding of our 
shame. Dear Jesus, faithful friend, when they are 
telling of the agreeableness of this party, that set, 
and the other amusements, I long to get away from 
among them, to sit at thy feet, to hear thy precious 
voice, and have communion with thee. They know 



50 MEMOIRSOF 

not the import of these words, " I in them, and thou 
in me, that they may be made perfect in one." 
They know not the pleasures of the way, or the 
sweetness of thy love, but fondly dream of bliss in 
fleeting enjoyments. They pursue a shadow and 
grasp at a phantom. No, dear Christ, nothing be- 
low thyself can satisfy an immortal soul, or give 
it content. There can be no comfort but in thy 
favour; the whole circle of worldly delights will 
prove themselves, in the end, nought save vanity ; 
and sooner or later never fail to give their followers 
vexation of spirit. 

No, 'tis iu vain to seek for bHss, 
For bliss can ne'er be found, 
Till we arrive where Jesus is, 
And tread on grace's ground. 



IX. 

Delight in the Company of the Pious, and in the 
expectation of heavenly Happiness ,• Love to Jesus, 
and Longing to he with him in Heaven. 
O MY God ! minutes come quickly, but mercies 
were more swift and quick than they. I looked 
for sorrow, and behold joy; for vain conversation, 
and behold heavenly society; for trifling and 
levity, and behold reproof, exhortation, and edifi- 
cation. Thus it is that thou graciously dealest 
with me, hearing the prayers of thine unworthy 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 51 

creature, and blessing her when she least expects 
it. Oh how I love the company of pious souls ; 
and to join in praising the name of Jesus; but 
if this be delightful, these imperfect services so 
pleasant, what must it be to meet with the blessed 
society above, where, without sin, and free from 
interruption and clog, without fetters, and without 
cloy, I shall join with angels and archangels, and 
with all the company of heaven. I shall laud, and 
magnify his glorious name ; evermore praising 
thee, and saying. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of 
hosts, the whole heaven is full of thy glory. Glory 
be to thee, Lord. How charming to tell to listen- 
ing seraphs the wonders of redeeming love ; and 

With transporting joys recount 

The labours of my feet ; 
to rehearse my trials, conflicts, and temptations, 
and in harmonious strains, 

T ' ascribe my vict'ry to the Lamb, 

My conquest to his death. 

Faith looks forward with delight to this happy 
period, and my soul stretches her wings, and 
wishes to be gone. Wo is me, that I am con- 
strained to dwell in Mesech, and have my habita- 
tion in the tents of Kedar. Oh that I had wings 
like a dove, for then would I flee to the haven of 
eternal rest, to the bosom of my God. 

He is altogether lovely, the chief of ten thou- 
sand, fairer than the fairest, and the only fair. 



52 MEMOIRSOF 

The fondness of the most enraptured lov^er, the 
tenderness of the dearest friend, is perfect hatred 
compared with the love of Jesus ; all the ideas 
that we can form of things sweet, amiable, and 
engaging, are mere deformity to the beauties of 
Immanuel. 

His winning charms are sufficient to captivate 
the most unfeeling breast, and warm the coldest 
heart. Was ever adamant so hard as mine, or 
flint so stubborn 1 Was ever ice so cold, or affec- 
tions so frozen] yet the heavenly Bridegroom 
overcomes. His persuasive energy is irresistible, 
and the marks of love graven in his hands and 
feet speak to my inmost soul. Jesus, my beloved, 
thy name gives joy to my desponding heart, and 
cheers my drooping spirits. Jesus ! harmonious 
sound, life-giving word, again and again will I re- 
peat it with fresh delight, and exult in my know- 
ledge of this name. Let heaven and earth re- 
echo with the sweet name of Jesus ; and let the 
hosts on high and saints below join hearts and 
tongues to celebrate it. Teach me, ye tuning 
seraphs, ye cherubim, ye angels near the throne, 
ye martyrs, ye eminently pious, who, having 
escaped the pollutions of the world, and, through 
the blood of the Lamb, gained the conquest, now 
cast your crowns, adoring at his feet; teach me, 
oh teach me, some of your sweet hymns, that I 
may bear my humble part in this immortal song. 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 53 

Happy souls, how I envy you ; you have escaped, 
are free from sin and interruption ; you behold him 
face to face, and are strengthened to bear the full 
blaze of his glory ; you have done mourning, and 
wetting your couch vi^ith tears ; and now triumph 
in the bliss of Sion. Doubts and fears are over, 
and you are safely landed on the wished-for shore ; 
you have now no intervals of dulness and depres- 
sion ; no need of sleep or food ; no interruption 
from the flesh; but serve your God, without hin- 
drance, and in the perfection of holiness; you have 
no tempting devil, no deceitful heart, no alluring 
world ; your warfare is finished, your race is run, 
and you have found rest for your weary feet. 

Highly favoured of the Lord, I long to join you ; 
1 long to take my place at your feet, and to leave 
this vale of tears, this thorny wilderness. Come 
quickly, dear Saviour, quickly come, and bear me 
to thy blest abode. Earth is a tiresome place: I 
am quite sick of it, and long to be with thee; yet 
would I not repine, or be impatient; but resignedly 
do thy work, and wait thy will. Increase my trials, 
so thou increase ray faith ; and welcome crosses, so 
thou sanctify them. Yet, it is but little that I 
can do for thee ; and my utmost services are not 
worth the name; therefore, I plead, that thou 
wouldst hasten thy coming, and deliver me from 
my bondage ; yet a few more weary steps, and I 
hope my feet shall rest upon the everlasting hills ! 
5- 



54 MEMOIRSOF 

and when the awful, though wished-for moment 
arrives, be thou then with me. Put thine ever- 
lasting arms underneath me, for my support; give 
strength and confidence to my departing spirit; let 
the recollection of the firm covenant between us, 
then sustain me, and in mercy gild the dark valley, 
and brighten the gloomy shadow ; enable me, a 
poor, weak, undeserving sinner, to do honour to 
religion, in that last finishing scene, and to glorify 
thee, dear Lord, with my expiring breath. 

Then I shall with thee remain, 
Partner of thine endless reign ; 
Then thy face, unclouded, see, 
Find my Heaven of heavens in thee. 

AMEN. HALLELUJAH. 



X. 

Contrition for Levity, Trifiing, ^'c. 

May 28, and 29. 

Under dreadful pressure from the commission of 
two flagrant crimes. 

My anguish, distress, and misery, are greater 
than I can express ; and no ideas can be adequate 
to what I feel, for the shocking levity, trifling, 
idleness, and even deceit of the foregoing day, 
dear Lord, pity a contrite soul, and heal my broken 
bones. Compassionate Redeemer, forgive my 
guilt, and comfort my poor wounded spirit. 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 55 

Oh what a wretched sinner I am ; what an 
abuser of mercy. Good Lord, I am ready to faint. 
Pity, pity, I beseech thee. 



XL 

Temptation resisted and turned to Advantage. 
What a dreadful trial this is. I have had a 
hard conflict to-day. I have sinned, I have griev- 
ously sinned, and Satan takes the advantage of my 
distress, and tempts me not to pray, and cry for 
mercy, because, says he, you are too bad, and you 
have abused mercy too much, ever to be forgiven. 
But, my Jesus, I have tasted too much of thy 
marvellous sweetness, to forget it, and leave thee 
so easily. No, I cannot do it. I lay myself at 
thy feet; and if I die, I am resolved it shall be 
there, even before the cross. I know that I de- 
serve everlasting damnation; but this thought, 
though dreadful, does not pierce me so deeply as 
my vile ingratitude to my soul's best friend. I 
start at the view of myself. Is it possible ? Three 
days ago, and I thought 1 could have gone with 
thee to prison and to death. Three days ago, and 
I had an answer for every doubt, for every enemy ; 
my sky was clear, and my cup run over with joy ; 
now every thing oversets me, and I lie in darkness 
and gloomy night. My trembling heart hardly 
dares speak to its injured Lord ; and Satan strives 



56 MEMOIRSOF 

to discourage it more, and more, and even to make 
it despair; but blessed be God, yes, I will bless 
my God, for it is he that does it. The devil has 
not been able to keep me from a throne of grace, 
with all his subtlety; and I have been kneeling 
there with shame and confusion of face. I have 
not been able to say one w^ord, but only show my 
Jesus a wounded, broken, contrite spirit. 

Dearest Lord, despise not my polluted sacrifice, 
but give some look of kind compassion to a 
mourning soul. I am all filth, and guilt, and un- 
cleanness. My soul is covered with leprosy ; but 
1 know that if thou wilt, thou canst make me 
clean, and restore me to peace and comfort. 

Let me humbly plead with my Lord, and 
earnestly implore his pity. I am a helpless, un- 
done sinner, that, without a glance from thee, or a 
cheering ray, must sink into despondency. 

Dear, kind shepherd, for thine own name, and 
for thine honour's sake, recall a wandering sheep, 
and bring me to feed again in the sweet pastures 
of thy love. Oh magnify thy grace in me, a poor 
silly creature ; and be thou glorified by my conso- 
lation. I thank and adore thee, sweet Jesus, for 
any rills of comfort, any glimpse of relief, to my 
distressed mind. Show me again the reviving 
light of thy countenance; let me once more enjoy 
sweet communion with thee, and my trembling 
soul find refuge in thy bleeding wounds. Help me 



MRS. RAMSAY. 57 

to walk more circumspectly, and never to spend 
another day in so foolish, vain, and w^orldly a 
manner, seeing its dreadful consequences are the 
wounding of my own soul; offending- my dear 
Lord ; grieving the Holy Spirit, and filling me full 
of sorrow, darkness, and indevotion. Oh, give me 
strength from above, to walk more closely with 
my God. 



XII. 

Comfort in Resignation. 

My soul, be of good courage, wait on the Lord, 
and he shall strengthen thy heart; let not the 
howling of the savage beasts, which rove about 
this forest, affright thee, nor the pricking of the 
thorns, v/hich grow thick throughout the way, de- 
ter thee from thy duty ; thou shalt not have one 
more trial" than is necessary, nor shall the cross 
ever be heavier than thou canst bear. 

Jesus will support me through all the dreary 
wilderness ; nor ever leave his pilgrim comfortless, 
unless for a season, if need be, that my faith and 
patience, being tried, may be found not wanting; 
and that being purified, as with fire, I may be 
counted worthy to receive the end of my faith, even 
the salvation of my soul. Sometimes it is dark 
enough v/ithin, and the thick clouds of unbelief 
almost intercept my sight ; but I call to mind my 



58 M E M O I R S O F 

past experiences, and remember the old loving 
kindnesses of my Lord. I think on Christ's un- 
bounded love, and rest with sweet delight upon 
the gracious promises. I often enjoy inexpressible 
rapture, in the contradiction of my own \Yill, and 
in the midst of distress, am enabled to sing songs 
of triumph. 



xm. 

Commimio7i with God under Disappointments. 
A LITTLE time ago, I met with a considerable 
disappointment, and in a matter too that lay much 
upon my heart; but I shall never forget the com- 
fort I received. I shut myself out from the world, 
and, in bitterness of spirit, fell low before my Sa- 
viour. I poured forth floods of tears before him. 
I showed him my rebellious heart, ready to repine, 
because things went not as I would have them. 
My dear Master gave me a look of kind compas- 
sion, and with ineffable sweetness smiled gra- 
ciously upon me. Nature was subdued; grace 
triumphant. I left him not, till my whole soul 
was melted to resignation ; and I went forth from 
my chamber, cheerful and easy, without a single 
wish, but in subserviency to the divine direction, 
and desiring nothing but that God's will may be 
done in me, and by me, and upon me. I find such 
happiness in this state of mind, that it is my ut- 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 59 

most ambition to attain an entire submission to the 

decrees of Providence, so that I may receive, M'hat 

to my short-sightedness appears evil, with the 

same thankfulness as the most desirable things in 

the world; and even accounting it all joy, that I 

am thought worthy to suffer, knowing that nothing 

happens by chance, and every dispensation, if my 

own stubbornness prevent it not, will work for my 

eternal welfare, and every cross be made a step to 

glory. 

'Tis my happiness below, 

Not to live without the Cross : 
But the Saviour's love to know, 

Sanctifying every loss. 

Trials make the promise sweet, 
Trials give new life to prayer, 

Trials lay me at his feet, 
Lay me low, and keep me there. 



XIV. 

Panting after God, and Delight in him, as the Su' 
preme Good. 
As the reviving stream to the thirsty hart; as 
the soft, nocturnal dews to the parched herbage ; 
and as plenteous showers after long drought in 
summer ; so, dear Fountain-head of refreshment, 
and infinitely more, are the emanations of thy love 
and the waterings of thy grace, to my thirsty, dry, 



60 MEMOIRS OF 

and parched soul ; thou art my retreat from the 
burning sun, and the shelter of my defenceless 
head. 

To thy bosom do I flee for refugee, from the hell- 
ish darts of Satan ; and hide myself in thee, from 
all my ghostly enemies. 

While I abide with thee, I am secure, nor fear 
to be molested by the most potent foe ; but, alas ! 
fool that I am, my unsteady feet are ever apt to 
stray, and wander in temptation's flowery paths. 

Through the prevalence of temptation, I leave 
my Lord, enter into the world, defile my robes, fill 
myself with mourning, and drink deeper of the 
bitter cup of shame and remorse; it is astonishing 
to myself, that after receiving from thee the bread 
of life, and drinking large draughts of living water, 
I should ever forsake thy bosom, and leave my 
hiding-place. Lord, I love trials, I love crosses, 
for they send me near to thee. Passing through 
the fire and water, through torrents of distress, and 
floods of tribulation, are indeed my sweetest mo- 
ments, for then I forget the world, and derive my 
happiness and comfort from thyself alone, my un- 
changeable and never-failing friend. In the day 
of affliction thou dost cheer my fainting soul, and 
revive my drooping spirits. When I am ready to 
sink under the load of grief, and am enveloped 
with deep gloom, my heart and my strength are 
ready to fail, he supports me in the dark hour, and 



MRS. RAMSAY. 61 

darting through the thickest clouds, with the sun- 
beams of his love, calms my troubled mind ; gives 
light, and joy, peace, and consolation, which the 
world knows nothing of, and which I would not 
part with for thrones of royalty, and sceptres of 
dominion. 

Mistress of the universe, without Christ I should 
be miserable ; with him, no state can be adverse ; 
for the soul that is made one with Jesus, and lives 
in daily communion with him, has health, friend- 
ship, honour, wealth, pleasure, and satisfaction, 
more and greater than the warmest imagination can 
conceive^ or the most fluent tongue describe. 

Weak of body, sick in soul, 

Depressed at heart, and faint with fears : 
His dear presence makes me whole, 

And with sweet comfort cheers. 

Thou, of love, the fountain art, 

Freely let me take of thee, 
Spring thou up within my heart. 

Rise to all eternitv. 



XV. 

Bread of Inability io resist Temptation ; Trust in God, 

and Supplication for Strength in time of Need. 

I AM often much distressed by fears of apostasy. 

This dread upon my mind keeps me very low, and 

I often weep at the very apprehension of it. I cry 

6 



62 MEMOIRSOF 

(lay and night to my God, and importunately 
wrestle with him for preserving grace. I expect, 
unless there be some wonderful intervention of di- 
vine grace, soon to meet with sore temptations. 
The fear of reproach, and love of creatures, so 
easily beset me, that I am sure nothing less than 
power from on high can enable me to stand ; my 
situation at present is peculiarly happy ; 1 am in 
a dear family ; my uncle and aunt are patterns of 
piety, and every one in the house, to all outward 
appearance, is a real Christian. Here I am encou- 
raged in devotion, and my pious resolutions meet 
with applause [approval] ; but, oh, what should I 
do, if I were in an irreligious, or even lukewarm so- 
ciety ; how could I bear to be laughed at for my pre- 
ciseness, and to be ridiculed for my strictness to 
hours of prayer ; how would my poor heart stand it, 
if I were surrounded with gay company, and from 
morning to night heard nothing but worldly con- 
versation. Do I not find, whenever I go out, 
the world too apt to engross my thoughts, and steal 
on my affections 1 What should 1 do if my nearest 
connections and dearest relatives were gay and 
fashionable, and did not live up to the strictest 
doctrines of the cross"? If left to myself I must 
undoubtedly fall ; and unless Christ has pity on 
me, I must infallibly backslide. Dear, tender- 
hearted Shepherd, hear the groanings of a trem- 
bling soul; and let not my importunity offend 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 63 

thee ; my immortal interest is at stake, and nothing 
but thy strength can be sufficient to redeem it from 
destruction. I rest and depend wholly upon thee, 
for I know that of myself I shall ever be prone to 
wander. 

Dear Jesus ! hear, in pity hear me ; after such 
solemn covenanting; such awful transactions; 
such rapturous endearments, let not earth or hell 
tempt me to violate my vows, nor the united force 
of men and devils have powder to break the bonds, 
which tie me to thee. Oh let me never perjure 
myself, never deny or forsake my Lord, for with 
whom else can I find equal happiness, or what 
shall recompense me for the loss of thy favour. 

Oh, my Redeemer ! I am willing to take up the 
cross ; to go with thee to prison and to death ; to 
bear shame, reproach, contumely, loss of fortune, 
reputation, and even life itself, for thy sake, but 
not able to .do the least of them. It is thou only, 
who hast worked in me the will, that must give 
me the power. Send down upon me thy heavenly 
benediction; strengthen me from above. Oh let 
me hear thy gracious voice declaring, that strength 
shall be equal to the day; then will I rejoice, and 
leaning on thine all-sufficient grace, go forth con- 
quering, and to conquer ; let thine arm be my sup- 
port, and grace my shield ; thy spirit my guide 
and director, and for thy mercy's sake, perfect 
thine own work in the soul of thy willing servant. 



64 MEMOIRSOF 

XVI. 

Vanity of the World., and Joy in the Saviour, 

Let not, Lord, my wandering mind. 

Follow after fleeting toys ; 
Since in thee alone I find 

Soli-d and substantial joys ; 
Joys, that never overpast. 
Through eternity shall last. 
Lord, how happy is the heart. 

After thee, while it aspires, 
True and faithful, as thou art. 

Thou shalt answer its desires ; 
It shall see the glorious scene. 
Of thine everlasting reign. 

How comfortable is it, thus to enjoy my Saviour; 
how much more satisfactory and substantial is this 
bliss than that to be gained by a few minutes idle 
conversation, or those trifling employments, which 
have lately occupied my mind. Lord, show me 
more of the vanity of the world, and my great need 
of thee. 



XVII. 



Contrition for misspent Time., and Resolutionn to 
improve it in future. 

September 5. 
Time is short; how seasonable then is the advice 
of the apostle : " Use the world as not abusing it, 
for the fashion of this world passeth away." 



MRS. RAMSAY. 65 

When I look back, and consider how often, and 
how long, I abused the good gifts of God ; not re- 
ceiving them with thankfulness, but employing 
them solely for the gratification of my sinful and 
corrupt desires, I am filled with the deepest horror, 
and mourn, with heartfelt grief, my vile ingra- 
titude. 

When I review the hours and days, the months 
and years, of sin and folly, which have passed over 
my guilty head, and reflect on the amazing, un- 
paralleled iniquities which I have committed ; re- 
collect the gracious opportunities, which I have 
misimproved; the numberless sermons and conver- 
sations of pious friends and godly ministers, 
which I have slighted ; the strivings of the blessed 
Spirit, which I have resisted, and withal the con- 
tinuance of distinguished mercies on so unde- 
serving a wretch, my very knees smite together, 
with trembling and confusion, and I grow pale 
with sorrow and regret. It is astonishing to my- 
self that I have been so long spared ; that I have 
yet a day of grace ; and I cannot but behold my- 
self as a miracle of mercy. 

I shudder at the very thoughts of what would 
have become of me, if God had stopped me in my 
career, and cut short my days, as I justly merited, 
but a year, or a year and a half ago. I was then 
in the very height of folly, in open rebellion against 
the majesty of heaven, and running headlong to 
6* 



66 M E M I R S O F 

destruction. I had backslidden, forgotten my first 
love, and was ten times worse than ever I had been 
in my life. Adored be the divine love, which had 
better things in store for me, and which by amazing 
and powerful, though in general secret and invisible 
means, called me to himself again, and has gone 
on, fulfilling his own work in my heart till now, 
through grace, I can rejoice in, and long for that 
hour, which then I dreaded, even to think upon. 

Oh that I could now redeem the time ; since it 
is impossible to recal the precious moments which 
are gone, bearing on their wings nothing but the 
black account of my transgressions ; may I endea- 
vour to retrieve my past misconduct, by my future 
vigilance. Oh ! that I could spend one day well ; 
one day wisely and without waste of time. Oh ! 
how much of this invaluable and precious blessing 
is spent ; not merely on things unnecessary, but 
on things hurtful, and which fetter my feet, and 
hinder me in my progress. 

What a great portion of my time is devoted to 
sleep and meals; to outward adorning; to provi- 
sion for the flesh ; to vain visits ; to unprofitable 
conversation ; to idle curiosity ; and ten thousand 
other trifles, which too often occupy the greater 
part of the day. 

What an important work have I to do, and how 
little time to do it inl Oh that I may make my 
calling and election sure. I do not know, but my 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 67 

journey may be nearly finished, and in a few 
weeks, perhaps a few hours, the awful summons 
may arrive, and warn me to quit this tenement of 
clay, and to appear before the great Judge of quick 
and dead. Oh that I may be found ready, sincerely 
penitent, and humbly contrite; and when the so- 
lemn register of all my secret, as well as outward 
sins is opened, may they be found crossed by his 
precious death and merits. 

Awake, awake, O my lethargic soul ! Sleep no 
longer on the brink of a precipice. Content not 
thyself with having done something, but press 
forward continually, with thy utmost power. Make 
the most of the short span allotted thee, and never 
rest satisfied with any thing short of perfection. 
Yet a little while, and that cry shall sound in 
thine ears: "Behold the Bridegroom cometh;" 
watch, that thou mayest be ready to meet him, to 
meet him with joy, and to be received by him into 
mat everlasting kingdom, prepared for thee, by his 
love, before the foundation of the world. 

My God and my strength, thou wilt shortly 
come with power and great glory, to judge the 
world, and to separate the sheep from the goats; 
make me diligent, and prepare me for thy coming; 
and grant that I may be one of those, who will sit 
on thy right hand, and dwell for ever with thee, in 
the mansions of unfading bliss and ever-growing 
pleasure. 



68 MEMOlllS OF 

XVIII. 

On the Lord'' s- day. Thanksgiving for restored 
Health, and renewed act of Self-dedication tu God ; 
with Prayer to he enabled to act worthy of the 
honourable name of a Christian. 

Sunday. 

This is the day which the Lord has made : I will 
rejoice and be glad in it. The Sabbath and service 
of the Lord shall be the joy and solace of my soul. 

I will pay my vows now in the sight of all thy 
people, and enter into thy courts with thanksgiving 
and praise, for the wonderful mercies vouchsafed 
me throughout my life; particularly for thy late 
mercies of comfort on a bed of sickness, restora- 
tion from the brink of the grave, and an agreeable 
and safe journey. Lord, here I am. Receive this 
renewed oblation of myself to thee; not indeed, 
for the merit of it, but for the sake and worthiness 
of my dear Redeemer. T 

Help me this day, and all the days of my life, 
to walk worthy the honourable name I bear; and 
may I never be ashamed of the faith of Christ cruci- 
fied ; but as a good soldier and servant of the Lord 
Jesus, fight manfully under this banner against the 
world, the flesh, and the devil. Compassionate High 
Priest, give me, I beseech thee, continual supplies 
of strength from thine ov/n unbounded fulness : and 
in thine outer court this day, let me be greatly re- 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 69 

freshed and strengthened to go on my way. Oh let 
this Sabbath be to me an emblem of the eternal 
Sabbatism, which I hope ere long to enjoy, with 
all the faithful, in thy glorious kingdom. 

Oh give me a glimpse of thy countenance, and 
reveal thyself to my seeking soul, through' the lat- 
tice of divine ordinances. Banish every worldly 
thought, and drive from me all vain ideas. 

Come, Holy Spirit ! come ; Oh come, and cleanse 
my heart; prepare it for the reception of my divine 
guest; set it totally free from all earthly solicitude; 
and make it a fit habitation for the ever glorious 
Trinity. 

O thou, who standest knocking at the door, 
with joy to thee I open ; come in and sup -with me; 
come in, and take up thine eternal abode, and let 
me ever dwell in thee, and thou in me. 



XIX. 

Grateful .Acknowledgments for renewing Grace, and 
an Ascription of every Jlttainnient and Blessing to 
free, unmerited Grace. 

What has God wrought ] my soul! look, 
and love, and wonder I How am 1 changed ! How 
different are my thoughts, my views, my pursuits, 
from what they were! and blessed be God that 
I can say, how different is my practice. I now 



70 MEMOIRSOF 

love what I hated, and abhor what was my former 
delight. Adored be grace. Not unto me, Lord ! 
not unto me, but to thy free and unmerited good- 
ness be all the glory of my salvation. I had neither 
power nor inclination to part with earth, or seek 
for heaven; but grace has done the work; con- 
vinced me of sin, and made me in love with holi- 
ness. It has shown me my own inability to every 
good thing, and my need of so all-sufficient a Sa- 
viour as Jesus is. 

Grace ! 'tis a sweet, a charming theme, 
My thoughts rejoice at Jesus' name ; 
Ye angels dwell upon the sound, 
Ye heavens reflect it to the ground. 
I was quickened by grace, when dead in tres- 
passes and sins ; by grace, alone, I stand ; by grace 
only do 1 make any attainments ; and without grace 
I am nothing; can do nothing but sin. The build- 
ing was begun by grace, and the topstone shall be 
raised with shouting, Grace, grace unto it. Through 
time and eternity, grace shall be still my theme : 
now, in time, I can only lisp its praises : then, in 
eternity, when my stammering tongue is unloosed 
in a nobler, sweeter song, I w'ill sing its power to 
save, and join with all the nations of the ransomed, 
in echoing and re-echoing through the vast ex- 
panse of heaven, the wonders of redeeming grace., 
and in ascribing to the Lamb, the blessing, honour, 
and glory due unto his name. 



MRS. RAMSAY. ii 

Oh what immortal joys I felt, 

And raptures all divine, 
When Jesus told me 1 was his. 

And my beloved mine. 

Blessed Saviour! I adore thy wonder fal good- 
ness, to so undeserving a sinner, to so vile a rebel ; 
any hope of pardon, any interval of 'peace, was 
more than I could possibly merit or expect at thy 
hands ; and yet thou hast given me a full assurance 
of forgiveness, and often refreshed me with sensi- 
ble manifestations of thy good-will towards me. 
Praised be thy name. 

I charge you all, you earthly toys, 
Approach not to disturb my joys ; 
Nor sin, nor hell, come near my heart. 
Nor cause my Saviour to depart. 



These fragments of the recorded exercises 
and meditations of Miss Laurens, show the 
depth and spirituality of her religious emo- 
tions, at that early period of her Christian life. 
And they should lead those of the same age, 
who constitute the older classes in many of our 
Sunday-schools, and many of whom have pro- 
bably enjoyed higher advantages of religious 
instruction than shs<| could command — to re- 



^ 



72 M E M I R S O F 

fleet on their relations to God and anothei 
world, and to seek without delay a better por- 
tion than earth or time can give. 

When, at a later period, Miss Laurens was 
about to leave England for a residence in France, 
she destroyed most of the papers she had 
written. Two only are known to have escaped 
the flames, and these are well worth preserv- 
ing. They were written, as the dates show, 
at the age of seventeen and eighteen. 

A Supplication for a Beloved Relative. 

Bristol, June, 1776. 
My heart has been rather bowed down to-day, 
and through the prevalence of unbelief, I have a 
hard struggle to keep from sinking. My dear 
aunt's extreme weakness makes me truly appre- 
hensive on her account; and oh, my stubborn 
will, it can hardly hear the thoughts of letting her 
outstrip me and get to heaven first ! Oh, if it 
should please the Lord to remove her hence, what 
a severe stroke will it be to my loving heart ; may 
he give me grace, if such is his good pleasure, to 
lie down, in humble submission at his feet; but, 
my God ! if I may plead with thee, and if the 
earnest wish of my soul is net contradictory to thy 
all-wise and gracious providence, which I would 
not for ten thousand worlds desire to subvert. 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 73 

spare, Oh spare her ; direct the physicians, herself, 
and attendants, and in mercy hear the supplications 
of her friends, of me, thine unworthy supplicant. 
Bless the waters, the change of air, or whatever 
she shall be ordered. Without thy blessing, no- 
thing will avail ; therefore, by humble and diligent 
prayer, would I seek it, in the name and for the 
merits of my dear Redeemer. In thy hands are 
the issues of life and death ; thou canst bring back 
again from the gates of the grave ; canst say to the 
violence of disease, hitherto shalt thou go and no 
further ; and with one powerful word, canst recruit 
exhausted nature, and give new strength and vigour. 
I well know that thou art able, and as fully am I 
convinced, that thou art willing to grant this peti- 
tion, if it will be for the good of thine handmaid, 
and of us her affectionate friends ; therefore, with 
the most steady faith, I desire to pray, and without 
wavering to come unto the throne of grace. If thou 
doest for me this thing, I will adore and praise 
thy love for ever, and for ever; if not, in the 
deepest affliction will I sing unto thee, and amidst 
surrounding distress will proclaim thy goodness. 
O my Lord, be thou with my dear friend; place 
thine everlasting arms beneath her; give her 
strength and confidence in thee under all her trials ; 
manifest thy presence unto her in so sweet and 
delightful a manner that she may forget all her 
pains, and lose all her sorrows in the enjoyment 
7 



74 MEMOIRSOF 

of thy love; revive her drooping spirits with the 
cordials of thy grace; wean her more than ever 
from the world, and engage to thee the chief and 
choicest of her affections. Teach me, I pray thee, 
the way in which I ought to go ; direct me to every 
tender, kind, and Christian action, and assist 
me now to show my gratitude for her unparal- 
leled goodness to me for so many years, by doing 
every thing in my power to serve and comfort her. 
Bless also my beloved uncle ; sustain his mind in 
every time of trouble, and let not the sight of his 
dear sickly wife prejudice his own health and in- 
crease his disorder : but let all his care be cast on 
thee. 



A Beligious Exercise at Home, when Providentially 
Disappointed of an opportunity for Public Com- 
munion. 

In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost : O Lord, I am thine by every tie of 
nature and of grace : thine by a daily surrender : 
and I desire at this time particularly to acknow- 
ledge and rejoice in my dependence on thee : I 
have tasted such an abundance of comfort in thy 
paths, and have found them so peaceful aud so 
pleasant, that it does not appear to me that any 
thing in the world could tempt me to leave them: 
but instead of being high-minded, my God! I 



MRS. RAMSAY. 75 

would fear and watch over myself with a godly 
jealousy, lest through the abundance of that con- 
solation which thou hast vouchsafed me, I should 
be filled with vain confidence, slide into carnal 
security, and feel, sooner than I am aware of, a de- 
clension from the ways of grace. Behold, there- 
fore, O Lord I 1 come as a beginner in religion, a 
babe in Christ, humbly beseeching thee to forgive 
all my sins : to pour into my heart the gift of the 
Holy Ghost: and to enable me to abide steadfast 
in my calling, till thou shalt deliver me from all 
danger, and fix me as an immovable pillar in thy 
eternal kingdom. Bind me to thyself more 
strongly. Lord, than ever: ratify my vows in 
heaven, and seal my pardon there: this day, I 
hoped to have publicly commemorated thy love, 
O sweetest Jesus ! and professed myself the disci- 
ple of thy cross; but since thy providence hath 
otherwiseordained, condescend to accept from this, 
my retired chamber, the utmost desire of my heart 
to praise thee, and devote itself for ever to thy will. 
Satisfy the longings of my soul with that bread of 
God which is the life of all who eat it, and let 
there be such a spiritual participation of thy 
blessed body and blood, that I may dwell in thee, 
and thou in me, and that having life, I may have 
it more abundantly. 

Show me that thou art an all-powerful God, and 
that where thou art pleased savingly to manifest 



76 MEMOIRS OF 

thyself, there is heaven, there is a temple, there an 
altar, there divine communion ; and while thy ser- 
vant, in an humble dependence on thy promises, with 
a bended knee and with a contrite heart waits upon 
thee, reveal thy mercy and thy loving-kindness, 
and overflow her soul with the cleansing and re- 
viving streams of thy redeeming grace. Say unto 
me, ''^ I am thy Salvation.'''' Drive doubt and un- 
belief away, and banish all my fear; make me to 
know that / am thine, and that nothing shall ever 
separate me from thy love, divert me from thy 
service, or finally prevent my admission into the 
realms of unchangeable felicity. 

Martha Laurens. 

Teignmouth, July 6, 1777. 



After her removal to France, she either 
discontinued writing, or destroyed what she 
wrote, for no papers of any consequence have 
been found among her manuscripts, as written 
during the subsequent seven years of her 
residence in Europe. 

During the first years of the American re- 
volution, and for a short period after its termi- 
nation, Miss Laurens resided in various parts 
of England, improving her mind, and prepar- 
ing herself for meeting the contemplated loss 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 77 

of her father, brother and fortune, by the events 
of the war, and, at the same time, doing every 
office of love to her afflicted uncle, Mr. James 
Laurens. She afterward continued the same 
kind services to him for several years in 
France. In 1784, he was released by death, 
from a long, protracted, painful complaint, un- 
der which he had suffered for the last ten 
years of his life ; and his surviving friends, 
with pious sacrilege, stole for him a grave, in 
which they deposited his remains. 

With this event there is associated a singular 
instance of an impression being made on the 
mind by an event which, at the time, could not 
have been known to the individual by any or- 
dinary method of communicating intelligence. 
It is thus.stated: — When Mr. James Laurens 
died in Vigan, his niece, Martha Laurens, was 
with her father in England. She started out of 
bed, and declared that her uncle was just 
dead ; and at her request the day and hour 
was committed to writing, by Miss Futerell. 
In the ordinary course of the posts between 
the two countries, inteUigence of his death 
arrived, and the day and hour of it precisely 
corresponded with what had been recorded as 



78 MEMOIRS OF 

aforesaid in England. There is nothing in this 
occurrence, or in a similar one* hereafter to 
be mentioned, to prove any thing more than 
that the Creator of the mind may, and some- 
times does, cause it to receive impressions by 
extraordinary means. 

Mr. James Laurens having no children of 
his own, proposed to leave the bulk of his 
estate to Miss Laurens, his faithful nurse and 
affectionate niece ; but she peremptorily re- 
fused the acceptance thereof, to the deteriora- 
tion of the reasonable expectations of her 
brothers and sister. The will was framed 
agreeable to her wishes ; but the testator, in 
addition to a child's share, left her a specific 
legacy of five hundred pounds sterling, de- 
clared in his will to be "a token of his friend- 
ship for her ; and as an acknowledgment for 
the services she had rendered to him and his 
family, and for her good and gentle conduct 
upon all occasions." 

While Miss Laurens resided in England, 
she formed an acquaintance with many per- 
sons eminent for their piety, and particularly 
with the Countess of Huntingdon, by whom 

* See page 90. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 79 

she was very much noticed. She highly 
prized the company of such persons, and from 
them received both pleasure and improvement. 

After the treaty of France with Congress, 
in 1778, and particularly the rejection in the 
same year of the offers of Great Britain, for a 
re-union with her late colonies, the situation 
of the Laurens family in England was un- 
pleasant. Henry Laurens was at that time 
president of Congress, and had officially con- 
ducted the correspondence of that body with 
the British commissioners, which terminated 
in a rejection of their offers. Miss Laurens 
was often obliged to hear her native country 
abused, and to read and hear her beloved fa- 
ther calumniated as a fomenter of the disputes 
between Britain and her colonies ; and as an 
aspiring, ambitious man, wishing to rise to 
consequence at every hazard ; but, taught by 
his sage advice, and her own good sense, she 
shunned all political controversy. Unable to 
render her suffering country any other service, 
she daily offered up her fervent prayers in its 
behalf. 

Mr. James Laurens, his two nieces, and 
their aunt, or second mother, finding it expe- 



80 MEMOIRSOF 

dient to leave England, passed over to France, 
as we have seen, and lived there till the re- 
estabKshment of peace. During the greatest 
part of this period, of six or seven years, and 
the whole of the time of their residence in 
England, they weft almost w^holly cut off from 
their usual means of support, for their property 
was in America, three thousand miles distant. 
War raged, and the Atlantic ocean rolled be- 
tween them and it. In this forlorn situation, 
they found ample occasion for all the comforts 
of that religion which they professed. The 
greatest economy was necessary. A residence 
in Vigan was preferred on account of the 
cheapness of living. There Miss Laurens 
spent her time usefully to her uncle, profitably 
to herself, and as pleasantly as straitened cir- 
cumstances, anxiety for her friends and native 
country, then the seat of war, would permit. 
She had many opportunities of improving her 
mind by reading and conversation, which she 
diligently improved. She and the family of 
her uncle received great civilities from the 
French, for the same reasons that they re- 
ceived slights from the English. But never- 
theless, they had all abundant scope for the 



MRS. RAMSAY. 81 

exercise of faith, patience, and trust in that 
Being to whom they had committed all their 
concerns. Love to their Father in heaven, 
and love and harmony among themselves, 
sweetened their frugal repasts, and took away 
the bitterness of the cup of affliction from 
which they were obliged deeply to drink. 

In the year 1780, Miss Laurens's father was 
taken a prisoner, and confined on a charge of 
high treason in the Tower of London, and his 
life staked on the success of the American re- 
volution. If that had failed it would have 
been easy to have convicted him of the crime 
with which he was charged, and not easy to 
have saved him from the penalty annexed to 
it. The disorder of her uncle became daily 
worse, and required unceasing attention by 
night and by day. Charleston was taken by 
the British ; Carolina was overrun by their 
armies ; remittances were not only rendered 
impossible, but the loss of their whole capital 
extremely probable. The alarms of her father, 
at the commencement of the war, seemed to be 
on the point of being realized. About the 
same time, intelligence was received that her 
dearly beloved brother, John Laurens, had 



82 M E M I R S O F 

fallen in battle. Under this complication of 
distresses, she found the wisdom and comfort 
of having secured a friend in her Maker, by 
a solemn covenant entered into with him in 
the morning of life, in the full enjoyment of 
health, and in the fair prospect of every 
worldly blessing. From this source she drew 
much consolation, and bore up under every 
trial, trusting in Him to whom she had, in a 
most solemn manner, consecrated herself. In 
due time the clouds of adversity began to dis- 
perse ; the prospects of America brightened. 
Her father was discharged from confinement, 
and, after a separation of seven years, she 
joined him in Paris, and presided over his 
domestic concerns, while he assisted in the 
negotiations which terminated in peace and 
the acknowledged independence of the United 
States. The transition from the nurse's cham- 
ber, in a remote country place, to the head of 
the table of a minister plenipotentiary in the 
metropolis of France, was great and sudden. 
But her Bible was her companion and coun- 
sellor. She read it by day and meditated on 
it by night. It had taught her to bear adver- 
sity with patience, resignation, and fortitude ; 



MRS. R A M S A Y. 83 

and now kept her from the intoxication and 
folHes, which are too apt to grow out of pros- 
perity. 

About this time, Miss Laurens received from 
her father a present of five hundred guineas. 
For some years before she had been obhged 
to hve in restricted circumstances, from the 
impossibility of receiving supplies. To make 
up for this suspension of her father's usual 
liberahty, he gave her the above-mentioned 
sum at once. Of this she appropriated only 
a small part to her own use. With the sur- 
plus she purchased one hundred French Tes- 
taments — which was the whole number then 
to be had — and gave them away among the 
poor, in and near Vigan, and also established 
a school for the instruction of the youth in the 
same place, engaged a master to preside over 
it, and constituted a fund to defray its annual 
expenses. There is reason to believe that the 
institution continues to this day, for the funds 
left were fully adequate to its support in that 
part of France, where the expenses of edu- 
cation and living were then astonishingly 
low. 

As an illustration of the firmness and deci- 



84 MEMOIRSOF 

sion which characterized Miss Laurens, we 
have been furnished with the following anec- 
dote : — 

When she was abroad, a gentleman of lati- 
tudinarian sentiments paid his addresses to 
her, and a plan was laid to bring about a forced 
marriage. She was resolved to escape the 
snare, and went to her aunt and told her that 
she was about to conceal herself, but did not 
wish her to know where, so that if she was 
questioned on the subject she might truly say 
she did not know. She laid her plan wisely, 
and succeeded in secreting herself. Her aunt 
was interrogated, and with a charged pistol 
pointed at her head was told to reveal the 
place of her concealment. She simply rephed 
that she did not know, and her character for 
truth was such as to leave no doubt of her 
ignorance. The plan of her lover was de- 
feated, but his resentment was deadly. He 
swore vengeance upon the head of any one 
who should marry Miss Laurens. Some 
years afterwards, the lover happened to be in 
the same house. Mrs. Ramsay (as she then 
w^as) saw him and made some excuse to retire, 
but her husband and her former lover passed 



MRS. RAMSAY. 85 

a very pleasant evening together, never sus- 
pecting each others relation to Mrs. R. 

The restoration of peace to Carolina, in 1783, 
pointed out the propriety of the return of the 
inhabitants. Miss Laurens, with her aunt and 
sister, arrived in Charleston in 1785, after a 
long absence, comprehending something more 
than the whole period of the American revolu- 
tion. Their joy on finding their native coun- 
try at peace, and raised from the humble rank 
of a dependent colony to that of an independent 
nation, was inexpressible. Now, for the first 
time, after leading an unsettled life for ten 
years, they found themselves at home. 

On the 28d of January, 1787, Miss Laurens 
was married to Dr. David Ramsay, and, in the 
course of .the ensuing sixteen years, became 
the mother of eleven children. Of these, eight 
survived. 

Mrs. Ramsay now displayed the same vir- 
tuous habits, and the same energy of character, 
in taking care of her children, in promoting 
her husband's happiness, and making a well- 
ordered home his chief delight, that had for- 
merly distinguished Miss Laurens in acquiring 
useful knowledge, and discharging the duties 
8 



Ob M E M I R S O F 

of a daughter, a sister, and a niece. Soon after 
she became a mother, she studied with deep 
interest most of the esteemed practical treatises 
on education, both in French and Enghsh, that 
she might be better informed of the nature 
and extent of her new duties. The object she 
proposed to herself was to obtain, for her chil- 
dren, health of body and a well-regulated 
mind. To secure the former, they were from 
their birth daily washed in cold water, and, 
throughout the whole period of infancy, per- 
mitted to expose themselves with uncovered 
feet, to wet and cold, and all the varieties and 
sudden changes of Carolina weather. To favour 
the latter, they were taught to curb their tem- 
pers ; to subject their passions to the supreme 
dominion of reason and religion ; to practise 
self-denial ; to bear disappointments ; and to 
resist the importunity of present pleasure or 
pain, for the sake of what reason pronounces 
fit to be done or borne. She suckled all her 
children without the aid of any wet-nurse ; 
watched over them by night and day ; and 
clung to them every moment of sickness or 
pain. They were the subjects of her prayers 
before they were born, and every subsequent 



MRS. RAMSAY. 87 

day of her life. With one exception she 
devoted them all to God in baptism,* pubHcly 
in church, at a time when private baptisms 
were common; for she rejoiced in every pro- 
per opportunity of declaring to the world her 
firm belief of the Christian religion, and her 
respect for all its institutions. As soon as they 
were capable of receiving religious instruction, 
she liberally imparted it; and early taught 
them their miserable and corrupted state by 
nature ; that they were born into a world of 
sin and misery ; surrounded with temptations, 
and without a possibility of salvation, but by 
the grace of God, and a participation in the 
benefits procured for sinners, by the atoning 
sacrifice of Jesus Christ ; and at the same time, 
that Godwas the hearer of prayer, the ten- 
derest of fathers, and the best of friends to all 
who put their trust in him. She early taught 
them to read their Bibles. That this might 
be done pleasantly, she connected with it Mrs. 
Trimmer's prints of Scripture history ; that it 

* This being an historical fact, stated in the original 
oiography, the Committee of PubHcation retain it as 
such, but without expressing any opinion on the sub- 
ject of baptism. 



88 MEMOIRSOF 

might be done with understanding, she made 
them read, in connection with their Bibles, 
Watts' short view of the whole Scripture his- 
tory, and, as they advanced to a proper age, 
Newton on the Prophecies, and such books 
as connect sacred with profane history, and 
the Old with the New Testament ;* so that the 
, Bible, though written in periods widely remote 
from each other, might appear to them a uni- 
form, harmonioQS system of divine truth. Of 
this blessed book she enjoined upon them daily 
to read a portion, and to prize it as the stand- 
ard of faith and practice ; as a communication 
from heaven on eternal concerns ; as the word 
of God, pointing out the only way to salvation ; 
as a letter of love sent from their heavenly 
Father to direct their wandering feet to the 
paths of truth and happiness. From it she 
was taught " that foolishness is bound in the 
heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall 

[* Among modern publications designed to aid pa- 
rents in the religious instruction of their children on 
these points, may be mentioned the Unioji Bible Dic- 
tionary, Scripture Guide, Biblical Antiquities, and the 
voluminous library of Scripture biography, published 
by the American Sunday-school Union.] 



MRS. RAMSAY. 89 

drive it far from him." She therefore, on 
proper occasions, used the rod, but ahvays 
with discretion and judgment, sometimes with 
prayer, often with tears, but never with anger. 
She was well acquainted with the plans of 
Rousseau, and other modern reformers, who 
are for discarding the rod and substituting con- 
finement, and other visionary projects in its 
place ; but considered them all as inferior in 
efficacy to the prudent use of the rod ; and 
believed that nothing injured the temper less, 
or more effectually promoted the proper end 
of punishment in young subjects, than cor- 
poral pain, applied judiciously and simultane- 
ously with the offence ; and that the modern 
substitutes for the rod often nourished a sullen 
obstinacy of temper, without mending the 
heart or practice. As her children advanced 
in years, she conducted her sons through a 
course of education fitting them to enter col- 
lege, and with the help of a tried and accom- 
plished friend, she carried her daughters at 
home through the several studies taught in 
boarding-schools. In every period of her adult 
age, whether married or single, when, from 
accidental circumstances, she was the head of 
8* 



90 MEMOIRSOF 

the family, and in health, she daily read to her 
domestic circle a portion of the holy Scrip- 
tures, and prayed with them ; and frequently, 
on particular occasions, with one or more indi- 
viduals of it, and regularly, every Sunday, 
with her young white and black family, in 
addition to catechetical instructions given to 
both at the same time. In case of a temporary 
separation, extraordinary deliverance, provi- 
dence, misconduct, or even of a quarrel among 
her boys, she would take the parties and pre- 
sent them with herself before the throne of 
grace, and in a solemn address to their com- 
mon heavenly Father, and her covenant God, 
state all the circumstances of the case, and im- 
plore of him, by his grace, to give them the 
temper, disposition and views, which were 
suitable to their situation and condition.* She 
prized prayer as the courtier does a key, that 
at all times gives him access to the presence 
of his sovereign; and in all the important 

* It is remarkable, that from and after the time Col. 
John Laurens was killed in South Carolina, August 
27th, 1782, his sister, the subject of these memoirs, 
then in Vigan, never put up a prayer for him, though 
she was previously in the habit of praying frequently 



MRS. RAMSAY. 91 

transactions of her life, resolved on nothing 
till she had previously sought direction of God 
respecting it. She might be said to live a life 
of prayer, for she incorporated it with her daily 
business, and was so habituated to its constant 
practice, that prayers frequently constituted a 
part of her dreams. Believing most tho- 
roughly that God's providence extends to every 
event and every circumstance of the life of 
every human being, and subscribing to the 
doctrine "that it is as absurd to expect we 
shall arrive at virtue and happiness without 
prayer, as it would be for the husbandman to 
hope he shall have his usual crop, though he 
bestow none of his usual labour and industry ;" 
she practically conformed to the apostolic 
precept, "pray without ceasing," and daily 
brought before her Maker the cases of herself, 
family, friends, neighbours, and sometimes of 

for him ; and his death was unknown to her for two or 
three months after it had taken place. She mentioned 
the fact, without pretending to account for it, and add- 
ed, that she several times wondered at her omission of 
that usual part of her duty, and resolved to retire for 
the purpose of praying for her brother ; but that in 
every such case, some sudden call or other unexpected 
event interposed to prevent her doing so. See page 77. 



92 MEMOIRS OF 

strangers, whose situation was known to be in- 
teresting. 

She was a constant and devout attendant on 
divine service ; regularly recorded the text, 
and occasionally made a short analysis of the 
sermon. These memoranda, with pious no- 
tices of passing providences, prayers, and 
other rehgious exercises and records of the 
state of Mrs. Ramsay's mind, on important 
occasions, were entered by her in books in the 
form of a diary, but with considerable chasms. 

As the progress of her Christian hfe ma}'- be 
traced more distinctly in these brief records 
of her daily experience, than by any other 
means within reach, extracts are subjoined, 
embracing a period of ten or fifteen years, 
though at long intervals of date. 



EXTRACTS FROM MRS. 

Saturday, July 16th, 1791. My feet had well- 
nigh slipped, through the prevalence of my easily 
besetting sin, nevertheless I laid me down to 
sleep, rejoicing that I had not utterly fallen. Lord, 
make me at all times watchful. 

17th. Lord, may this be a sanctified Sabbath ; 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 93 

a day to be remembered for holy resolutions and 
enabling grace. lam weak; oh when shall the 
time of full strength come. In all the great trials 
and lesser vexations of life, may patience have its 
perfect work, till I lie down where the wicked 
cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. 

19th. I thank God for the ease and cheerful- 
ness of this day; and that, in spite of secret 
griefs and spiritual conflicts, my soul and body do 
both sweetly repose themselves in the God of my 
salvation. 

SOth. O day, blackened with sin, and spotted 
by transgression ! How long, O Lord, how long! 
when shall I advance in the spiritual life, and not 
thus wound my peace and disgrace my profession. 
I thank God that my heart aches. Oh let it never 
be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. O 
my God, how lately hath thine afflictive Provi- 
dence been wringing my heart with a twofold an- 
guish — the loss of my sweet baby, and the consi- 
deration of those sins which required this chas- 
tisement ; and yet, how prone am I to return to 
folly ! Oh for the grace of true repentance, and of 
unfeigned resignation ! 

27th. The two last days have been days of 
mournful walking. Oh how does the remembrance 
of my sweet Fanny press upon my memory ; and 
how good is God, that though cast down, yet my 
heart is kept from murmuring, and aches more for 



94 



MEMOIRS OF 



my sorrow-causing sins, than for the sorrow itself. 
Thanks be to Christ, who has purchased a heaven 
for us, where we shall be without sin, and of 
course without sorrow. 

28th. Lord ! make me ashamed of my sins, and 
give me a holy fortitude to resist; and let me be 
making continual war against them, till grace 
shall conquer, and death set me beyond their 
reach. 

29th. O power of sin, how great art thou ! 
Lord, give me strength ! 

30th. My heart is ready to break, under a sense 
of sin, and to cry out, ' I shall one day fall by the 
hands of these mine enemies!' O thou great deli- 
verer, Death, how pleasant is the thought that thou 
wilt free me from this body of corruption ! Hold 
thou me up, O Lord, that all the days of my ap- 
pointed time I may walk very humbly and mourn- 
fully, under a sense of mine iniquities. Cleanse 
thou me from secret faults, and let no open, or pre- 
sumptuous sin, get the better of me. Lord, I am 
weak; strengthen me; I am bowed down under 
thy chastisement ; yet so much lighter is it than 
my guilt, that I am filled with wonder at thy com- 
passions and long-suffering. 

August 4th. easily besetting sin, when 
shall the time come, that thy power will be broken, 
and my poor soul find rest ! Lord, make me dili- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 95 

gent, in self-examination, and let not any sin have 
dominion over me. 

5th. In six and in seven troubles, I have found 
thee, Lord, my help. Forsake me not now, O 
my God ! I am most unworthy. Lord, even to 
lookup unto thee ; yet to whom. Lord, should I go, 
but unto thee, who hast the words of eternal life, 
and the keys of universal Providence. Unto thee, 
commit I my ways ; and on thee, as from whom 
alone can come help, do I cast my cares. 

12th. Here I still remain a monument of for- 
bearing mercy. Oh, infinite compassion, that I 
should be out of hell ! O Lord, the pressure of my 
sins is indeed very great! Oh for thy mercy's 
sake, deliver me. I am weary of my life, because 
of my daily sins. And whereas, I ought to have 
made progress, despair is sometimes ready to 
overcome me, through the power of sin. Lord, 
help me, enable me to endure to the end. Lord, 
abandon me not, for I grow weaker and weaker. 

15th and 16th. Truly, the pressure of guilt is 
upon me, and I feel astonished that my bed has not 
this night been made in hell. wretched me ! 
when shall I be delivered from the body of this 
death, and from the power of this sin? Oh, how 
it cleaves to me, how it besets me, how it conquers 
me, and then leaves me almost in the depths of 
despair! Lord, I tremble, and my soul is sore 
pained within me. Surely these repeated rebellions 



96 MEMOIRS OF 

are forfeiting all thy mercies, and I need dread, 
lest all sorts of bereavements happen to me. 1 
need be in horror, lest the worst of bereavements 
happen to me; even that I be bereaved of the light 
of God's countenance, and damnation be my por- 
tion. Oh vilest and most complicated of sinners 
that I am ! Terror and dismay take hold upon 
me. Oh if men knew me as I am known to 
my God, I should be trampled under foot; the 
church would disown me ; the greatest sinners 
would abominate me, my husband, that loves and 
thinks well of me, would wonder at me and mourn, 
and I should be hated of all men. Lord, have 
mercy upon me ! Christ, have mercy upon me, a 
most miserable sinner, and let any thing happen to 
me, rather than I should be easy in this dreadful 
evil state of sin. O Holy Spirit, strive with me ! 
O gracious friend of sinners, intercede for me. 
O merciful Father, have pity upon me, and give 
me power against sin, and more and more broken- 
ness of heart, because of it. Lord, I can hardly 
endure the view of my own heart, yet forbid that 
it should be hidden from me. Jesus, Lord, I fly 
to thy cross ; for sorrow taketh hold of me, and 
yet so weak am I, that I have no power against the 
very sins which do so pierce me through. 

October 19th. As this day, Lord, is stained 
with sin, so let it be marked by the deepness of 
my repentance. Let the blood of Jesus cleanse 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 97 

me from my defilements; and the grace of thy 
Holy Spirit prevent me from such repeated falls, 
and save me from falling finally. Oh, sins 
against vows — sins against light, how do they 
pierce my heart! Surely, Lord, there are none 
that do eat of thy bread, who lift up their heel 
against thee, like me. Lord, save me, or I perish ! 
Oh ! I would not let thee go ; but alas, alas, how 
often do I act as if I knew thee not, much less as 
if I cleaved to thee ! Lord, have pity on a sinner ! 

November 2d. Alas, Lord, how wretched am I, 
while the desire of my heart is, I trust, truly turned 
to thee ; yet I often fall into such sins as bring 
horror upon me. O my God ! I am weakness 
itself. Strengthen me by thy grace, and preserve 
me from secret faults and from presumptuous sins, 
and enable me to walk watchfully. 

Lord, I recommend myself to thee, in the pre- 
sent intricacy of several of my worldly concerns. 
I bless thee for thy counsels and chastenings; 
give me wisdom and prudence in all my walk, a 
resigned temper, and an humble mind, and enable 
me, pondering all these things in my heart, and re- 
membering thy former loving-kindnesses, and thy 
tried faithfulness and compassions, amidst the 
storms of inward temptation and outward troubles, 
to have my heart at peace, being stayed upon thee. 
Lord, if any heavy trial is before me, help me to 
go through it with becoming fortitude, and with 
9 



98 M E M O I R S O F 

great meekness ; and walking by faith and not by- 
sight, may 1 humbly and patiently wait the great 
unfoldings of thy providence. 

Lord, assist me in my preparations for the so- 
lemnities of the ensuing Sabbath. Break my heart 
down under a sense of sins, and then enable me to 
look to Jesus. 

5th. Lord, I thank thee, who art a God that 
givest as well as takest. I praise thee, that 1 
have one child in heaven. Lord, have mercy on 
those which remain on earth, and in thine own 
good time and way bring them also to the kingdom 
of thy glory ! Lord, help me in the time which is 
before me, to walk in an humble, strict, and watch- 
ful manner, and not by any indulgence in sin to be 
laying up sorrow for my wretched self! Jesus, 
hear and help a sinner, who casts herself on thee ! 

10th. Lord, be pleased to give me repentance 
for the sins of this day, and power against all sin; 
but especially against that which thou, O God, 
seest, and my own heart knoweth, to be my easily 
besetting sin. Lord, suffer me not to fall into pre- 
sumptions, and by thy great mercy keep me from 
the dominion of any sin. O friend of sinners, have 
pity on me, and make me dread sin above all 
things, and walk with holy fear, at a distance from 
all the occasions of it. Lord, save me or I perish I 

21st. Lord, fill me with shame for the sins of 
this day, and deliver me from the power of sin ! 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 99 

liord, my soul loveth thee, and I groan under this 
hody of corruption ; make thy grace sufficient for 
me. 

25th. My husband set out for Columbia. I 
pray God bless and preserve him. The same day, 
my dear little Patty fell into the parlour fire ; but 
by God's good providence I was enabled to snatch 
her out, and smother the flame, before she had re- 
ceived any considerable injury. May God's good- 
ness deeply affect me, and may I show forth his 
praise in a holy life. Lord, pluck her as a brand 
from everlasting burnings, and make her thine own 
child. 

December 28th. In all my soul perplexity, 1 
would come to God ; he is a tried refuge, and has 
brought me in spite of sin thus far. O my good 
God, forsake me not now ; but be my very present 
help in trouble ! To thee do I pour out my soul, 
and from thee do I expect and look for that succour 
which I so greatly need, and which none but thou 
canst afford. Lord, I cast myself on thy mercy in 
Christ. Strengthen thou me, lest I faint or utterly 
fall away. 

August 12, 1794. Many people are ill just now, 
and deaths frequent ; and although the reigning 
disorder is said to be confined to strangers or peo- 
ple who live irregularly, yet when so many are 
sick, and dying around us, it is a call to all, to 
gird up their loins, to trim their lamps, and to be 



100 MEMOIRS OF 

in readiness. Lord, make me at all times ready ; 
that so thy coming, under "whatever circumstances 
and at whatever hour, may be a matter of joy, and 
not of terror, to my poor soul. Oh be pleased to give 
my dear husband judgment and steadiness of mind, 
in the duties of his profession, and preservation from 
the dangers of it. My gracious Saviour, be thou 
pleased to deliver me from being under the domi- 
nion of any sin ; and grace most particularly to 
watch against the assaults of my easily besetting 
sin ; that so this iniquity may never be my ruin. 

IGth. Alas, my soul, on a review of the 
week past, how little cause have I for rejoicing; 
my dear Sabina has been brought through her 
weaning at a critical time, beyond all my expecta- 
tion, and is healthy and thriving ; the rest of my 
children and family well, when so many are sick, 
dying, or dead, around us; but what have I ren- 
dered to the Lord for all these benefits? It has 
been a week marked by folly and stained by sin. 
I have been careless in all my duties, and have 
fallen into sins, over which I have again and again 
mourned, and into which I had hoped never to fall 
again; and now, O my God, if thou shouldst 
be strict to mark what is done amiss, how should 
1 abide ! I desire to apply to that grace, which is 
my only refuge. O Lord, accept and pardon me 
in Christ ! Enable me, all the remainder of my life, 
to walk under an humbling sense of sin, so as al- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 101 

ways to have a broken and contrite heart ; and, O 
my God ! as the thing which I desire of thee above 
any thing- else in the world, and what thou alone 
canst give, be pleased to save me from the power 
and tyranny of sin, and grant me inward and out- 
ward sanctification, as a means of avoiding sin. 
Enable me to keep the resolution which I now 
make, to perform daily self-examination, with more 
diligence and strictness than I have lately done, 
and constantly to meditate on the awfulness of 
making a religious profession, without a daily se- 
rious care, to be holy in thought, word and deed. 

18th. With bitterness of spirit, 1 desire to hum- 
ble myself before the Lord, under a recollection of 
all my past sins, and more especially, of the sins 
committed since I have devoted myself to him, and 
chosen him to be my God. Oh, these are the sore 
burdens, the grievous distresses; after having 
known the goodness of the Lord, so repeatedly to 
rebel against him. O my heavenly Father, be 
pleased to give me more wisdom and more grace 
for the future ! My soul panteth after holiness, and 
the most earnest desire of my heart is, to cleave 
more diligently to the way of thy statutes. I would 
wish to be more diligent in self-examination; more 
watchful to prayer ; more steady in resisting temp- 
tation; more attentive to providences, and more 
careful in the instructions which 1 give my dear chil- 
dren, and in the example which I set before them. 
9* 



102 MEMOIRS OF 

Lord, I am not sufficient for these things ; but hold 
thou me up, and I shall be safe, and my feet shall 
not slide to fall. 

23d. On a review of the last week, I find that 
my mind has been much exercised in spiritual 
things; that I have been more earnest in private 
prayer, and sought my God in the watches of the 
night ; and yet I cannot perceive an increase in 
sanctification, according to my desire; nor ihat 
strength against sin, which my soul pants after. 
O my God, be pleased to give me holiness ! 
Enable me to go on, to serve my blessed Saviour 
fully, and to walk with that uprightness, that uni- 
formity, that heavenly-mindedness, which I owe to 
him who has bought me with so great a price, and 
whose mercy and love toward me is so great and so 
constant. Oh that I could hate sin, not only in my 
judgment but in my practice, by avoiding it and 
every thing that leads to it, in thought, word, or 
deed. Oh how happy are they, whose warfare is 
ended, and who have an everlasting period put to 
all their sins and sorrows and temptations, and 
are safe in the new Jerusalem. Hold thou me up, 
O Lord, and I also shall be safe ; but if thou 
leave me but a moment to my own wretched and 
sinful propensities, I perish and am undone. 

September 22, 1794. Mrs. Petrie died of a six 
days' illness ; having been married to Mr. George 
Petrie only twelve days. God grant that no such 



MRS. RAMSAY. 103 

awful and awakening providence as the removal 
of a young person, so lately full of life and health 
and strength, should pass without some serious 
improvement; some earnest desire to have my 
loins girt and my lamp burning ! 

October 6th. My sister Pinckney died, having 
been generally delirious from Friday; and her 
speech so thickened, that though she attempted it 
in the intervals of reason, she never could make 
us understand what she wished to say to us. Miss 
Futerell and myself were constantly with her; but 
my heart is too full to write on this subject. Lord, 
thou knowest my groanings, and my sighings are 
not hid from thee; commiserate thy poor, sinful, 
suffering creature ; and fill me with humility and 
resignation under this exceedingly heavy stroke of 
thy providence. 

13th. Having had continued sickness of body, 
and a mind full of grief; though I trust entirely 
submitted and resigned to the Divine will, and de- 
siring to find life, health and peace in the cross, 
on the second of November I became so seriously 
ill as to fill all about me with apprehensions for 
my life ; in which state I remained for two days ; 
and for five more, in a state of very deplorable 
weakness. It pleased Him, however, in whose 
hands are the issues of life and death, to raise me 
from the bed of languishing ; and upon the whole, 
my general health is better than it had been before. 



104 MEMOIRS OF 

Oh that by all means God may draw me to him- 
self; and neve* cease striving with me till I am 
wholly his. 

November 21st. Dr. Ramsay left me to go to 
Columbia. I thank God he was not called to this 
duty at the time I was so extremely ill. May 
God bless and take care of this dearest and best 
of friends ; and return him in health and safety to 
me. 

February 7th, 1795. Out of the depths have I 
cried unto thee, Lord, and thou hast heard and 
helped me. Out of the depths now I cry unto thee 
again, O my God ! Let not my grievous sins 
stand as a separating wall between thee and my 
soul ; but for the sake of Christ, my atonement and 
intercessor, hear thou me and help, for from thee 
alone can help come. I am in straits, trials, and 
perplexities of soul and of body. My outward 
affairs can only be helped by thy providence ; my 
spiritual troubles by thy grace. Creatures can 
neithet-understand nor assist me; to thee, there- 
fore, the Giver of all good, and the Source of all 
consolation, do I come, and humbly commit all m_y 
cares to thee, who carest for sparrows ; how much 
more for thy redeemed ones. Surely I have found 
thee a prayer-answering God, and that in some 
very remarkable instances ; and whereas I might 
have been in hell, and there deserve now to be, 
instead of being here, I have reason to say, hither- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 105 

to hath the Lord helped me; and yet my wicked, 
faithless heart, dares to doubt if he will yet help 
me. my good God, whose providence is over 
all thy works, and whose long-suffering is infinite, 
punish not this faithlessness of thy poor, broken, 
and bruised reed, by leaving me to myself; but 
add this to all thy former loving-kindnesses, to 
hear me in the requests which I now offer unto 
thee, and send me a gracious answer, according 
to my singular necessities. Calm, O Lord, the 
tumult of my thoughts ; compose my disturbed 
mind ; and make me lowly and resigned before 
thee, as becomes so great a sinner. If thou art 
pleased to answer my prayer, and yet that it should 
be in a way of affliction, let it suffice me that the 
Lord reigneth ; and may not a murmuring thought 
come across my breast ; but looking unto Jesus, 
who, for my sake, endured the cross, may I also 
meekly submit. Shouldst thou answer me accord- 
ing to my wishes, oh let it be in mercy, not in 
judgment; and let this renewed instance ^f thy 
kindness and condescension draw my heart nearer 
to thee, in faith and holiness, than it has ever been. 
Lord, I leave my case, my sorrows and difficulties, 
before thee; pleading only the merits of the pre- 
cious Saviour; to thee, O my Jesus, are all my 
sighings known; and my groanings are not hid 
from thee. 

March 1st. Lord, I come before thee again with 



106 MEMOIRS OF 

my perplexities ; oh let not my importunities of- 
fend my God ; but do thou be pleased this day, for 
Christ my Redeemer's sake, to hear and to help 
me, and to give a gracious answer to those prayers 
which I shall offer in thy house and at thy table. 
Lord, give me a quiet mind and a resigned temper 
in whatever thou shalt be pleased to order. May 
no doubtings or unbelief on my part offend my 
God ; but may I now most remarkably find thee, 
the God who wilt perform for me this thing which 
I so much desire. Lord, be pleased to remember 
thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
made me to hope. Let not the Lord be angry witli 
his poor creature, who so earnestly pleads with 
him now to manifest himself to her soul as her 
God, by answering her present request and suppli- 
cation. Lord, I am thine, save thy servant, and 
if it be compatible with thy divine decrees, grant 
the desire of my heart, which thou knowest, and 
by this manifestation of thy providence, clear up 
my d^k skies, and restore peace to my troubled 
soul. 

11th. Maya good and merciful God turn off 
my heart from folly and unbelief, and be pleased in 
great mercy to quiet my spirit and to force me to 
confess that he is the wonder-working God. De- 
liver me, O Lord, from consuming care; clear 
up my darkened skies; be pleased, O my gra- 
cious and condescending Father, to relieve my 



MRS. RAMSAY. 107 

mind from its present perplexity; to fit me again 
for usefulness, and to grant me, if it be thy blessed 
will, a gracious and speedy answer to prayer. 

27th. Since the 27th of January, my mind has 
been more exercised both from outward pressure 
and inward conflict than I can ever recollect it to 
have been since I gave myself to be the Lord's ; 
most particularly the 7th of February, The 1st 
and 11th of March have been extraordinary days, 
both of agony of spirit, and of prayer to God. On 
the 14th of April, from the extreme distress I was 
in, I felt as if heart and flesh, Vv^ithout any bodily 
indisposition, were both going to fail ; and nothing 
but the support of the everlasting arm, and the 
pouring out of my complaint with groans and tears 
and sighs into the bosom of Him, who was once 
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, kept 
me from sinking. Oh, who but the Maker of my 
frame, and the former of my spirit, could ever 
know what I underwent on this awful day ! Had 
I turned to any creature, none could have under- 
stood my case, much less could they have helped 
it; but I turned unto the Lord, my often tried, oh 
that I had not to add my often provoked, friend ; 
and he said unto me, deep as seemeth this mire, 
thou shalt not sink in it. I will make a path for 
thy poor wearied feet, that thou mayest get out ; 
nevertheless, because of thy sins against light and 
love and gracious manifestation, it must be with 



108 MEMOIRS OF 

sorrow, and with suffering, and with toil. On the 
15th I had a very remarkable answer to prayer, a 
partial lifting up, and tokens for good vouchsafed 
me, that I should be helped through, and that he 
who made the sun to stand still for Joshua, would 
bring me quite through ; smce then I have been 
v/aiting for the full accomplishment of that desire 
of my heart, which I believe the Lord will grant 
me, though the favour has been deferred ; yet, alas, 
alas, I have not wailed as one so suffering and so 
helped ought to have waited. I am defiled with 
sin; I have left off to walk so softly before the 
Lord as I had done before this aid was granted 
me, and now I am in a plunge again ; and my 
skies, which seemed to be clearing away, are now 
obscured by clouds and darkness. Wo is me, for 
fear I have sinned away God's mercy, and am 
fearful about the manifestation of his power; his 
all-sufficiency, his tender compassions, which day 
and night I have been looking up to him for; yet, 
oh no ! let me not add to my other guilt the guilt of 
unbelief! The Lord has caused me to pray ; he will 
answer the prayer of my petition ; he hath caused 
me to hope, the strength of Israel will not fail me. 
Merit of mine own could at no time be the plea for 
gracious favour or providential mercies ; and now 
what time I am afraid, and my heart doubteth and 
trembleth within me, I will lean on Jesus ; I will 
trust in him ; I will believe that for the sake of this 



MRS. RAMSAY. 109 

dear Saviour, my God will perform for me all this 
thing which I hope for from him ; and I will there- 
fore cast all my care on him who careth for me, 
both for my soul and my body. My soul waited 
upon God ; upon the bountiful God ; from him is 
all my expectation, and in him is all my trust; O 
Lord ! keep me watchful and prayerful. 

June 2d. I can no longer say the skies are dark- 
ening, for they are so darkened that I see no light ; 
and I am ready to call myself desolate, forsaken, cast 
oif by God, yet I dare not murmur : I am not in hell, 
where I deserve to be. Instead of poring on my 
disappointments, vexations, and sufferings, I would 
endeavour, in this dark dismal night of trial, to 
praise the Lord that there is a haven of rest pre- 
pared for the weary ; and to lament my sins, which 
make such deep sorrows necessary to my sancti- 
fication. my Saviour, put out thy helping 
hand, and keep me from sinking in these deep 
waters; let the billows, instead of overwhelming 
me, make me cleave closer to the cross ; and, O 
my compassionate Father ! if it be not thy will 
to grant me the prayer, which I believed thou 
wouldst have done, having had my heart so drawn 
out to pray ; yet at least keep me from being over- 
whelmed by temptation, and from being so entirely 
depressed as to be useless and worthless in that 
state of life to which thou hast called me. If I 
may not record that the Lord hath heard, and 
10 



110 MEMOIRS OF 

granted my request, at least enable me to know 
and feel that he hath given brokenness of heart; 
and let me not dare, while under the frowns of his 
providence, to sin against him, lest a worse thing 
come upon me, and my soul be ruined. Lord, do 
thy whole will; teach me to do, enable me to suf- 
fer whatever thou shalt see fit, and at last give me 
rest from all trouble and all conflicts, in the peace- 
ful grave, and the bosom of my Saviour. Lord, 
search my heart and try my reins : deliver me from 
every evil way, and lead me to life everlasting. 

Thou art God Almighty; I will act faith upon 
thine omnipotence ; I believe, that in spite of all 
the difficulties which appear to me, thou canst do 
that which I require of thee; I believe also, thou 
wilt, if it be right and proper; and in every case, 
I desire to lie down in the dust before thee. 

June 5th. Lord have mercy on me, a poor, tem- 
pest-tossed wretch, groaning under the burden of 
sin, and held in bondage by sorrow. O thou 
good Physician, heal my soul ; compose my spirit; 
pardon my sins ; hear my prayer ; but, above all 
things, give me the spirit of sanctification; a de- 
sire to improve by every providence that besets 
me; and a mind at all times and in all things 
resigned to thy will. With thee, O God, is all 
power and wisdom ; I am all impotence and folly. 
Be pleased, therefore, O my God, to order all my 
affairs for me, and to be a very present help to me 



MRS. RAMSAY. Ill 

in this time of need. Give me a sound judgment, 
that good understanding which belongs to all them 
who fear thy name and do thy commandments. 
Be thou praised, O my God, for past favours; 
and let them be sweet encouragements to me, still 
to wait upon my God, and to cast all my cares 
upon him ; in the greatest agonies of my spirit, 
great is the consolation I experience, in pouring 
out my heart before him, and seeking counsel at 
his hands, who giveth wisdom liberally, and up- 
braideth not. Let this day be a day of prayer and 
holy waiting on thee ; and let the approaching 
communion Sabbath be a blessed day to me ; a 
day in which God will draw nigh to me, as he 
does not unto the world ; in which the death-stroke 
may be given to my most easily besetting sin ; and 
I may know thee to be in very truth my reconciled 
Father in Christ, and be able to add ^Lnother hitherto, 
to my past experiences. O thou that hearest 
prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come ! O thou 
that hearest prayer, unto thee, most particularly, 
should those come, who have often found thee a 
prayer-answering as well as a prayer-hearing God ! 
Lord, let the remembrance of the especial times in 
which I have found thee such, be as a cordial to 
support my drooping spirits, and revive my dying 
faith. I believe in the Father, the Son, and the 
Holy Ghost. I desire to renew, at this time, my 
often broken covenant, and beseech the Lord to 



1 12 M E M I R S O F 

make me from this time forward, to the conquering 
of my last enemy, and bidding farewell to sin and 
sorrow, more closely his than ever, and to enable 
me to walk holily, humbly, soberly, and uprightly, 
as becomes a professor of the gospel of Christ. 

10th. Let God be praised for all his mercies. 
Let his holy name be glorified for the blessings of 
the last Sabbath, when I was enabled to call upon 
him with my whole heart, and to find some conso- 
lation and support to my burdened mind in the ex- 
ercise of faith and prayer. Oh, what in the present 
perturbation, conflict, and uneasiness of my spirit 
could support me, but those divine consolations 
which, from time to time, the Lord is graciously 
pleased to bestow upon me. How long, Lord, 
how long hast thou appointed, that I shall labour 
under this perplexity ! Lord, not my will but 
thine be done ; only be pleased to give me the 
spirit of submission and humble waiting upon thee, 
that so I faint not ; neither let go my confidence in 
thee, the God of hope. Lord, having again re- 
newed my covenant with thee, give me a heart to 
enjoy the privileges of the covenant; and with 
holy boldness to draw near the throne of grace ; 
and, looking up to Jesus, the great mediator of the 
covenant, by prayer and supplication, to make 
known unto thee all my requests. Lord, I spread 
before thee all my wants ; unto thee I pour out all 
my complaints ; be graciously pleased to attend to 



MEMOIRSOF 113 

the sorrowful sighing of thy poor creature, and, 
according to the riches of thy goodness in Christ 
Jesus, to perform for me those things which I have 
so long and so earnestly desired of thee ; and for 
which I am still calling upon thee, by day and by 
night. Above all things, O Lord, give me grace 
to walk holily ; to avoid temptation ; to keep in 
the path of duty and of watchfulness. Hold thou 
me up. Lord, and so shall I be safe. 

June 10th. Holy resolutions, which I desire to 
enter into this day. 

To watch more against my easily besetting sin ; 
and frequently in the day to ask myself what I am 
about in this respect. 

To be more diligent in reading the word of God 
with meditation. 

To have my thoughts under better government ; 
saying frequently to them, " whence comest thou, 
and whither goest thou ]" 

To watch against indolence; remembering that 
the Christian life is a warfare, and that the king- 
dom of heaven must be taken with a holy violence, 
and cannot be obtained by the slothful. 

To watch against extravagance and self-indul- 
gence, and to endeavour to walk more usefully than 
1 have hitherto done. 

To remember the vow which I have lately made 
unto the Lord ; and to be looking up to him, with 
a holy desire, for the time when I shall be permit- 
10* 



114 MRS. RAMSAY. 

ted, with songs of thanksgiving-, to pay unto the 
Lord this vow, and to record his mercy- 

11th. Oh, wretch that I am, who shall deliver 
me from the body of this death ! Immediately 
after holy vows and godly resolutions, I have 
committed grievous sins, so that I am in horror, 
and dread, and fear lest I should sin away all 
God's mercy. Alas, Lord, I am so vile and 
wretched, that I am now afraid almost even to 
pray ; yet nothing else can do for me ! Lord, I 
am so vile, that I am a terror to myself! O my 
God, for the sake of Christ, have pity on me, a 
miserable sinner ! Oh, wash me in his precious 
blood ; cleanse me from my renewed and aggra- 
vated guilt; and be pleased to give me thy Holy 
Spirit, to enable me to be more watchful for the 
future. Lord, 1 tremble under a sense of guilt ; 
and am so frightened at my own folly, that I am 
afraid of thy judgments, and seem ready to give up 
all for lost. Lord, have mercy upon me, a most 
miserable sinner ; and pardon me, I earnestly be- 
seech thee. Purify my sin-defiled and spotted 
soul. Save me from despair. Enter not into 
judgment with me, for I can hardly abide the con- 
demnation of my own conscience ; oh, how much 
less the severity of thy justice ! Suffer me not, O 
Lord, to go on in any course of sin : and let this 
renewed experience of my wretchedness and weak- 
ness make me seek more earnestly for that grace 



MEMOIRS OF 115 

by which alone I can be kept from falling into the 
greatest sins here, and into the depths of hell here- 
after. 

21st. Dr. Keith's text. Prov. viii. 32 : "Now, 
therefore, hearken unto me, O ye children ; for 
blessed are they that keep my ways." To hearken 
to Christ, includes attending to his providences ; 
attending to his precepts ; worshipping him with 
the heart ; by an open profession ; by a suitable 
conversation ; the blessedness of keeping his ways ; 
peace and joy in believing God's comfortable pre- 
sence with them through life and at death, with a 
joyful eternity; serious address to sinners and to 
professors. Dr. Hollinshead's text. Luke viii. 
18: "Take heed, therefore, how ye hear." This 
duty includes a constant attendance on the means 
of hearing, with preparation of the mind before 
hearing. We should hear with meditation, with 
prayer, with profession, and with an endeavour to 
bring forth fruits answerable to our advantages, 
arguments for this careful attention ; when faith- 
fully administered it is the word of God, and we 
must give an account to God for our improvement 
or misimprovement of gospel opportunities. Ad- 
dress to the young on the advantages of early 
religion. 

22d, Monday. My mind is at present, and has 
for some days been in a state of awful conflict. I 
am waiting upon God for a mercy which I have 



116 MRS. RAMSAY. 

sought so long and so earnestly that I cannot but 
think God has drawn me to pray for it. By the 
morning dawn, in the watches of the night, at 
noonday, and at evening tide, I am still at the 
throne of grace; besides, many a thought sent 
thither in the course of every hour, while at the 
necessary avocations of my situation. Now the 
promises of God ; his merciful manifestations ; his 
tokens for good make me hope and rejoice ; again, 
my sins plunge me into despair, and I am weary, 
faint, and comfortless ; in the present moment my 
heart fainteth within me, and my spirit is exceed- 
ingly troubled. Succour me! O Lord, succour 
me, for I greatly need thine aid ! Behold an hum- 
ble, broken-hearted supplicant acknowledging her- 
self unworthy of the very crumbs of thy mercy ; 
yet trusting in thee for extraordinary displays of 
mercy. Send thy reviving grace, for I am per- 
plexed. O my God, keep me from sinful mur- 
murings and distrust ; make me patient in tribu- 
lation ; and carry on within me the work of sanc- 
tification ! Lord I be pleased to grant me the de- 
sire of my heart, which I mean to ask with a holy, 
not a sinful impatient importunity ; and my soul 
shall praise thee with joyful lips. 

26th. Prepare me, Lord ! for all events that 
may be before me, whether comfortable or adverse. 
I am in great darkness ; be pleased to enlighten 
me. I lack wisdom ; O Thou who upbraidest 



MRS. RAMSAY. 117 

not, be pleased to give liberally, and according to 
my great necessity. Be thou my counsellor by 
day and my instructor by night; give me that 
blessed knowledge vphich comes from thy teach- 
ing ; let me sit at the feet of Jesus, and learn his 
will ; learn to know it, learn to do it, and learn to 
bear it. Wonderful have been thy dealings with 
me for some time past. Thou hast answered 
prayer; but oh, in how different a manner from 
what I expected ! Nevertheless, there has been such 
astonishing admixtures of mercy with judgment, 
that I can only love, admire, and praise. While 
thou hast punished mine iniquities, and by the 
very methods of granting my request, brought my 
sins to remembrance and made my flesh tremble 
for fear of judgments; thou hast given me faith, 
held up my goings, and made my soul rejoice in 
thy salvation : and now. Lord, what shall I say 1 I 
desire to notice thy providences ; to bless thee for 
thy mercy of yesterday, when so great a burden 
was taken from my mind ; and I will hope that thy 
goodness will speedily put an end to the remaining 
troubles under which I labour, and do all that for 
me, which my soul could expect from such extra- 
ordinary beginnings of favour, and which it never 
could have prayed for so earnestly, if thou hadst 
not enabled me. Answer me, O my God, in 
mercy and not in judgment; and let me not lose 
thy blessings, either from not asking, or from ask- 



118 MEMOIRS OF 

ing- amiss. thou great Searcher of hearts, 
known unto thee are all my thoughts ; send out 
thy light and thy truth, and let them teach me; 
and make all my thoughts, all my desires, and all 
my prayers such as thou wilt graciously approve. 
Accept and answer for the sake of Christ Jesus, 
that great mediator between God and man, in and 
through whom alone I have any confidence in 
drawing nigh to thee. 

July 3d. Desiring to redeem time for sacramen- 
tal preparation. Much exercised about sins com- 
mitted since the last month, and my heart very 
low; when, on serious examination, I find that I 
have fallen again and again into sins repented of, 
suffered for, and solemnly covenanted against ; so 
that I am ready to say, I shall one day fall by the 
hands of this mine enemy; nevertheless, I think 
and hope that sin becomes every day a greater bur- 
den to me; that I am never at rest in the commis- 
sion of it, and that I am more than usually afraid 
of its indwelling power, and cannot pass even a 
few hours without looking to Jesus, and longing 
for pardon and sanctification ; yet alas, alas ! this 
is not where I ought to be. I have been many 
years a professor ; God has been wonderfully gra- 
cious both in spiritual and temporal affairs ; and 
instead of having just life enough to be grieved 
at sin, and desirous of holiness, I ought to have 
made great advances in sanctification, and to have 



MRS. RAMSAY. 119 

been eminently pious, instead of being saved as it 
were by fire. I ought to be able to say, "I have 
fought the good fight." Lord, be thou pleased to 
pardon all my deficiencies ; to fill me with grace, and 
to enable me very much to improve at this time. 
Oh, meet me this day in thy courts ; may I be filled 
with the spirit of prayer, and have my heart very 
much disengaged from this world. I desire at this 
time particularly to notice God's providential deal- 
ings with me; more especially some remarkable 
incidents which have happened to me within three 
years: to glorify God for his judgments, and to 
rejoice in the manifestations of his mercy. I have 
lately received some especial favours, which 1 de- 
sire gratefully to remember, and to show forth my 
thanksgivings with my lips and by my life ; with 
respect to some other concerns, God is leading me 
by a way that I know not ; but I am persuaded it 
will be the right way ; yea, I cannot but think that 
having done so much for me, so unexpectedly, so 
compassionately, he will fulfil ere long all my de- 
sire, and make me to know that he is a wonder- 
working God. Oh that this may be a day of great 
devotion with me; may God bless the minister 
who is to preach, and provide for every seeking 
soul that which shall be most suitable for it. 

July 5th. Dr. Keith's text. Isaiah xlv. 24 : 
" Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I right- 
eousness and strength." Reviving words to souls 



120 MEMOIRS OF 

ready to sink in despondency under a remembrance 
of past sins, and consciousness of present weak- 
ness. Christ is the Lord, in whom we have this 
righteousness and this strength. Our righteousness 
as bearing what we had deserved, standing between 
offended God and offending man. He saves us 
not only from the guilt, but the power of sin ; he 
gives us strength for all our work, and all our war- 
fare ; the Christian life is a constant warring ; a 
life of diligence, activity, self-denial, resistance of 
temptations, corruptions, evil inclinations, which 
we could never accomplish in our own strength; 
address to the unconverted, to seeking souls, pro- 
fessed disciples. 

12th. Dr. Keith's text. Psalm Ixv. 12: "Thy 
vows are upon me, O God ! I will render praises 
unto thee." Vows of dedication of property or 
persons allowable under the gospel as well as un- 
der the law, having never been forbidden; but this 
was not the point of view in which he meant to 
treat the subject; but of that religious acknowledg- 
ment of God to be our Lord, and dedication of our- 
selves to be his people, which was the duty of 
every one. Particular seasons suitable for the 
making and renewing such vows; times of dedi- 
cating ourselves or our children by baptism,* and 
of coming to the table of the Lord ; times of special 
affliction ; example of Jacob when he left his fa- 
* See note on page 87. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 121 

ther's house to go into a strange land ; times of 
especial mercy and deliverance ; example of David, 
when he penned the 116th Psalm; exhortation to 
those who have already taken the vows of the Lord 
upon them in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper ; 
to those who keep back from a dread of giving up 
the world and being bound to walk more strictly ; 
to those who keep back from a fear of not perform- 
ing their vows, and of falling off. The first are in 
an awful state, the latter have every thing to en- 
courage ; exhortation to all ; for all have in some 
degree the vows of the Lord upon them. "Who, 
but at some period of their lives, in some time of 
awful affliction, some threatened stroke upon their 
property, their reputation, their dearest relations, 
have called upon God, and promised to devote 
themselves to him, if he would but help them. 
Who, but in some threatening danger by sea or by 
land; some severe fit of illness; some sore pres- 
sure of mind or body, have, at some period of their 
lives, in some way or other, taken the vows of the 
Lord upon them; nay, every day's mercy calls 
every day for gratitude ; and, above all, the gift of 
God's Son, and the offers of salvation, particularly 
binds us to it. A very excellent sermon, and most 
particularly suited to the state of my mind. I de- 
sired and attempted in the evening to take a survey 
of God's mercies to me, both spiritual and tempo- 
ral ; of my many broken vows ; to beseech of 
11 



122 MEMOIRS OF 

Christ to undertake for me, from a sense of mine 
own inability to keep holy resolutions ; with holy 
shame and indignation did I complain to my God 
of the prevalence of my easily besetting sin, in 
spite of all the vows 1 had made against it; most 
earnestly did I pray to God to take me then, to re- 
move me that very night, rather than I should live 
to be the bond-slave of corruption, or that this ini- 
quity should be my ruin. 

I desire to renew a vow, which I made some 
time ago to the Lord ; namely, if the Lord would 
grant me a certain favour, which I have for some 
time desired of him, (I hope according to his will, 
because I have been most wonderfully drawn to 
pray on the subject; and when my heart was 
bursting with grief, I have felt such inward conso- 
lations, and received such tokens for good as could 
only come from God,) which favour I also desire 
of him, as far as I can know myself, with sincere 
resignation and wishes to submit to his will, if he 
should be pleased to disappoint me: the vow I 
have made, and made in the anguish of my soul, 
is this : if the Lord shall be graciously pleased to 
perform this thing for me, I will keep two days of 
thanksgiving in every year, so long as I shall live : 
on each day giving to the poor, and endeavouring 
to find out some proper object, thirty dollars. 
Lord, all my goods are nothing worth, and all my 
life ought to be thine, Vv'hether thou grantest or 



MRS. RAMSAY. 123 

whether thou withholdest: but I desire to do this, 
if thou shalt give me the opportunity, as an ex- 
pression of gratitude : a bond upon my own heart 
to remember the Lord's mercy : and a means of 
drawing my heart nearer to thee. In addition to 
this, I desire to keep two days of humiliation in 
every year on set days; to sit mournfully before 
the Lord of Hosts, and to humble myself for those 
sins, which have been as a separating cloud be- 
tween God and my soul, and may have been the 
means of keeping me so long in a state of dark- 
ness, perplexity, and anxiety, known only to my 
poor sorrowful heart, and to the Maker of my frame. 
Lord, have mercy on me, a most miserable sinner; 
and make every path of duty plain and straight 
before my feet. What time I am afraid, I will call 
upon God ; even upon God, that performeth all 
things for his people ! Oh may I be one of them. 

19th. .Dr. Keith's text. Psalm Ixxvii. 7, 8, 9 : 
"Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be 
favourable no more 1 Is his mercy clean gone for 
ever 1 Doth his promise fail for evermore ? Hath 
God forgotten to be gracious 1 Hath he in anger 
shut up his tender mercies ]" 

Introduction. The frame of David's mind, when 
he penned this Psalm ; the anxious inquiries of the 
people of God, whenever his dispensations to them 
or dealings with them do not correspond with their 
desires; these despairing, gloomy thoughts arise 



124 MEMOIRS OF 

from the judgment of sense, the weakness of faith ; 
or from taking only a superficial view of the Lord's 
doings; judging of things according to their pre- 
sent appearance, without adverting to what may 
be their final issue. We are permitted to be in this 
frame, to discover to us the corruption and weak- 
ness of our own hearts ; for the trying and exciting 
our graces, and for the glory of God. When in 
this situation, either from the pressure of outward 
trial, or the anguish of spiritual distress, we should 
be encouraged to trust in God, and to persevere in 
prayer, following the example of the woman of 
Canaan, instead of saying, why will God so long 
refuse the desire of my heart] we should say, why 
should 1 not continue to wait upon God, who will 
assuredly grant me the spiritual blessings I ask ; 
and even not refuse me the temporal mercies I wish 
for, if they be for my good 1 Great encouragement 
to parents to pray for the salvation of their chil- 
dren, or of any near and dear friend, who is much 
on their hearts. Persevering prayer can do won- 
ders. The longer we have waited for any especial 
mercy, the more delightful will it be to find God 
performing all things for us. When God hath 
heard the prayer of our petition, and granted it in 
some measure, we should cheerfully acknowledge 
it, and have a new song in our mouths, even the 
praises of our God, saying, "Who is like unto 
thee, Lord! among the gods; who is like unto 



MRS. R A M S A Y. 125 

thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing 
wonders." 

This sermon was wonderfully suited to the state 
of my mind, and the situation of my affairs. I have 
been more than usually enlarged in prayer for our 
ministers the past week ; and I felt this morning 
as if God had indeed sent me, by our valuable Dr. 
Keith's mouth, a word in due season ; may God 
strengthen his hands and establish his heart, and 
return sevenfold into his bosom his labours of love 
among us. May he find God to be to him, as he 
described him to us this morning, by way of en- 
couragement to prayer, the Father of mercies, and 
the God of all consolations; his God in covenant, 
who overruleth all things for the good of his peo- 
ple, and will make all things work together for 
their best advantage. Oh that I could have faith 
and patience to wait the issue of every trial, and 
not to judge of the Lord's dealings by the anguish 
of the present moment, remembering the example 
of Job; for who, said Dr. Keith, could have 
thought what designs of mercy the Lord had for 
•this man ; had they beheld him deprived of his 
property, bereaved of his children, smitten in his 
flesh, persecuted by his enemies, censured by his 
friends, and even his God writing bitter things 
against him ; and yet the latter end of this man 
was to be better than his beginning. 

Dr. Hollinshead's text. 2 Timothy iv. 7: "I 
11* 



126 MEMOIRS OF 

have fought a good fight; I have finished my 
course : I have kept the faith." A retrospect of 
our past lives, a useful employment, particularly 
proper and pleasing in the close of life, if we have 
the testimony of a good conscience, that we have 
fought the good fight. To fight the good fight, im- 
plies a life of holiness, according to the rules of the 
gospel : not building on any wrong foundation or 
setting up decent morality in the room of Christian 
holiness: it implies also a progression in sanctifi- 
cation: not to progress is to decline: to fight the 
good fight includes also perseverance to the end. 
Address to those who have entered the lists, and to 
those who have not yet begun the warfare. 

31st. My soul is exceedingly sorrowful and 
weary, because of sin. Oh, that I had wings like 
a dove, that I might flee away and be at rest ! I 
hoped that through grace I had walked more care- 
fully, more warily of late, and trusted that, at this 
season of solemnities, I should be enabled to praise 
God, for having made a better progress in religion ; 
but, alas, within a few days I have fallen oflf; 
ceased to resist with vigour the assaults of my 
easily besetting sin : and my soul is full of trouble 
and darkness; yea, my God, whom I have of- 
fended, hideth his face from me, and I am troubled. 
O Lord ! have mercy upon me, and either give me 
power against sin, or full pardon, through Christ, 
for all my past offences, and a speedy entrance into 



MRS. RAMSAY. 127 

that world, where I shall never sin. Lord ! I 
am faint and weary ; I loathe and abhor myself. 
Oh, compassionate my case: help me by thine 
Almighty power, and let sin never so reign in me 
as that I should quietly obey it. 

August 3d. Yesterday was a sacramental Sab- 
bath. In the morning I felt my heart so bowed 
down under a remembrance of past sins, and more 
especially of sins recently committed, that I was 
ready to set myself down as a vile hypocrite, fit 
only for damnation, ripe for hell, and so utterly 
unworthy of eating with the children of God, that 
I thought I must have stayed at home, in sorrow, 
and tears, and despair: however, with a trembling, 
fearing, aching heart, I went; Dr. Hollinshead's 
sermon was a very excellent and extensively en- 
couraging one; but, alas, 1 fear I have more need 
of having my heart broken, than of having it 
comforted ; for truly I am a great sinner ; when I 
considered my broken vows, my faithless engage- 
ments ; that I continue on sinning against mercy, 
against love ; sinning at this particular time, when 
I am waiting on God for answers to prayer; and 
when every power of my soul ought to be engaged 
in his service ; when I felt that my sins are not 
trifling ones, such as the weakness of human na- 
ture, or the strength of temptation might palliate ; 
but that I am a wretch, deserving of more wrath, 
and temporal and eternal chastisement, than any 



128 MEMOIRS OF 

creature ever was, who had ever received one-half 
the mercies from God that I have ; I was afraid to 
make any more resolutions ; afraid to hope that 
ever I should be better ; and in the dread of my- 
self, the inability which I feel to walk perfectly 
before my God, even for one week ; the dread of 
being a prey to temptation, and the bond-slave of 
corruption as long as I shall live, I could only wish 
that God would be graciously pleased just to save 
my soul from hell ; among the many mansions which 
are in his house to appoint for me the very lowest, 
and to remove me from this state of conflict and 
warfare, where I am so often foiled. O my Sa- 
viour I be pleased to hide me in thy bosom ; I am 
more weak and more wicked than any thou didst 
ever undertake for ; and if thou leave me one mo- 
ment to myself, I am lost for ever. O dear Sa- 
viour ! heal my backslidings ; bring back my wan- 
dering feet, and have pity on the poorest wretch 
that ever came before thee ! Above all things, keep 
me from ever being contented in any state of sin ! 
Oh, deliver me from being contentedly guilty. 

September 7th. Three things I have particularly 
desired of the Lord at bistable yesterday: 1st. 
That my easily besetting sin might receive its 
death-wound ; that I may never be under its domi- 
nion ; or that of any other sin ; yea, rather than I 
should ever live in the voluntary indulgence of any 
sin, that it would please God to remove me from 



MRS. RAMSAY. 129 

time to eternity, if I might but have the lowest 
seat in heaven, where I may see his face and never 
sin. 2d. The thorough conversion of a very near 
and dear friend, with such an interference of Provi- 
dence in some particular concerns of theirs as may 
be to me, if it be his blessed will, an evident an- 
swer to prayer. 3d. That my dear husband may 
be preserved from worldly entanglements, and 
enabled so to manage his earthly affairs, that they 
may never interfere with his heavenly business ; 
and more especially, that we may rather be satis- 
fied with a smaller portion of this world's goods, 
than to run the risk of being greatly involved. In 
pouring out my heart before God, these things 
were particularly on my mind, and I hope pre- 
sented through my gracious Intercessor and Medi- 
ator with some degree of fervour, of hope, and of 
trust in God ; but something also is necessary on 
my part, and I desire grace to be enabled to avoid 
the occasions of sin, more especially of the sin 
over which I have so much mourned, and against 
which I did at that time so earnestly pray. May 
I call myself to a daily account what indulgence 
I have given to this iniquity ; what self-denial I 
have exercised concerning it; and never leave 
watching and praying, till God has granted me 
some victory, or removed me from the land of con- 
flict. For the second petition I will strive and 
look to Christ for help, to walk holily and up- 



130 MEMOIRS OF 

rightly, that so those who love me may see nothing 
in me, to hinder them from entering on a religious 
life. For the third, my wish is to manage my 
family affairs with discretion; to avoid extrava- 
gance; to make no unnecessary demands on my 
dear and affectionate husband, that the desire of 
largely supplying my wants or wishes may not 
be a snare to him, to make him engage in large 
schemes for riches, and to this I feel particularly 
bound by my father's having been permitted to 
give us so small a portion of his fortune, compared 
to what he had declared to be his intention, and 
on the strength of which I lived less frugally in 
the first years after my marriage than I should 
have done ; but who, Lord ! is sufBcient for these 
things; not I, a poor, weak, wretched creature, 
whose daily experience is an experience of prone- 
ness to folly and backsliding. At thy feet, there- 
fore, O my crucified Saviour ! do I fall. Wash 
me in thy precious blood. Graciously grant me 
the pardon of my past sins, and send into my heart 
the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, that those things 
for which I have no power, may, through help ob- 
tained from heaven, be performed in me and by 
me. 

Sunday, January 3d, 1796. Let me not receive 
especial favour of the Lord, and fail, as I have too 
often done, to record it. My God gave me on this 
day such manifestations of his grace, his power, 



MRS. RAMSAY. 131 

his all-sufficienc)'-, as ought never to be orgotten. 
Exercised with inward conflicts and with sorrow 
of heart, under which I have groaned for near 
eleven months past, and which from some peculiar 
circumstance have exceeded, in kind and continu- 
ance, all the other sorrows of my life, without any 
alleviation in outward appearance, I drew near to 
that God, who has supported me from sinking al- 
together, and from time to time has granted me 
such refreshments of grace as have kept me from 
utterly fainting under the pressure of this affliction, 
so grievous, so complicated, so inexplicable to any 
but him unto whom I have daily poured forth my 
complaint ; yea, and sought him also, in the night 
season. Some additional causes of sorrow had 
happened to me within the last week, which had 
been also causes of driving me nearer to my only 
helper and comforter, though with much admixture 
of sin and unbelief on my part. I had been seek- 
ing of God, the directions of his providence, and 
the teachings of his good Spirit, with deep humili- 
ation and with earnest desire through the whole 
week ; with fervent supplication, again making 
known unto him the requests which I have so long 
and so often presented unto him ; yet with my 
whole soul desiring also submission to his will in 
whatever way it should declare itself. On the 
Sabbath morning, my soul panted after God ; and 
after conformity to him with inexpressible desire ; 



132 MEMOIRS OF 

and thus I went to the sanctuary, and there Jesus 
made himself indeed known unto me in the break- 
ing of bread, and in such manifestations of his 
presence as I rejoice in having experienced ; but I 
cannot describe them in any suitable manner ; 
nevertheless I will record them to the glory of 
God's grace, and as memorials against my heart, 
should it ever be so treacherous as to forget them. 
Having poured forth my soul unto God, and be- 
sought him that he would either give me the desire 
of my heart, or bow my will entirely to his will ; 
granting that I might in very deed and in very 
truth be the Lord's, whatever should be denied me, 
I felt such an annihilation of self, such a swallow- 
ing up of my will in the will of God, that my soul 
lay, as it were, prostrate at the foot of the cross. 
It lay meekly and sweetly at the feet of Jesus, 
saying. Lord! not my will but thine be done. 
Lord, let thy will be done in me, and by me, and 
upon me. This I know I have often said, and said 
sincerely ; but then I have said it painfully and 
with conflict; but now, I said it with inexpressible 
sweetness of acquiescence, cheerfully giving up 
all to God, though in that all was comprehended, 
that for which I had been praying for many 
months, and believed myself praying according to 
the divine mind, on account of the very great draw- 
ings out of my heart to pray in the way I did, and 
which I could only account for as coming from 



MRS. RAMSAY. 133 

God. Now, thought I, what is the Lord about to 
do; he is either preparing me for an answer to 
prayer, or by some rough, though right way, to 
draw me nearer to himself. As yet in every re- 
spect I walk in darkness, not knowing what the 
will of the Lord is, excepting this, that I am as- 
sured of his loving-kindness from the communion 
which I have had with him and with his Son Jesus. 
I felt in this way all the Sunday, and all the Mon- 
day; on Monday evening, through Monday night, 
and on Tuesday morning, I felt the same resigna- 
tion, yet with some degree of trembling, from 
something which had happened, expecting very 
soon to be called to the trial, which I had so long 
dreaded ; but on Tuesday the will of God was in 
some degree manifested to me, and I received such 
assurance about the affair which has so long per- 
plexed and bowed me down, that I could hardly 
believe what I heard ; and now God, who has done 
so much for me, will not leave his work unfinished. 
No, I believe that the Almighty God, who has so 
far answered prayer, will perform for me the whole 
desire of my heart. Oh may I not forfeit the con- 
tinuance of his mercies, by forgetting this season 
of his loving-kindness; but may I feel my heart 
more strongly drawn than ever to the Lord ; may 
I remember the vows I have made to him in the 
days of my sorrow ; lament my mercy-deferring 
12 



184 MEMOIRS OF 

sins, and walk in holiness before him all the days 
of my life. 

August 23d. Eleanor and myself taken with the 
fever. I had it moderately, but our dear Eleanor 
was like to die ; she was brought low, indeed, and 
our hearts were filled with anguish on her ac- 
count; but it pleased God to give efficacy to the 
means used for her recovery : a fourth bleeding, 
more copious than three preceding ones, seemed 
to relieve some of the most 'distressing and alarm- 
ing symptoms she laboured under. I did not hide 
her danger from her; and have since repeatedly 
urged to her the propriety of devoting to God the 
life which he redeemed from the grave. Gracious 
God, enable me not only to teach her, but also to 
walk unblameably before her, that my precepts and 
example may be in unison ; and may she and all 
our dear children be the Lord's in deed and in 
truth. 

January 29th, 1797. I no longer note the texts, 
because my eldest daughter does, which I think a 
good means of fixing the Scriptures in her memory. 

November 29th, 1797. Since the death of my 
dear little Jane, which happened the last day of 
July, after two months of anxiety and suspense, I 
have been in great weakness of body and sadness 
of mind. Daring the last three weeks of her sick- 
ness, I was deeply exercised in soul. Some very 
especial sins and failures in duty, were set home 



MRS. RAMSAY. 135 

on my conscience, and in her sickness I felt the 
rod due to my departures from God, and the un- 
evenness of my walk. 1 endeavoured to seek the 
Lord, by deep contrition, confession of sin, repent- 
ance, faith and prayer. I sought the Lord, by 
day, and spent almost every hour of the night, that 
1 could spare from nursing, prostrate before him, 
taking hardly any bodily rest. I thought if the 
life of the child should be granted me, it would be 
an evidence that the Lord, for Christ's sake, had 
forgiven me those things, which, with so many 
tears, and with such brokenness of spirit, I had 
bewailed before him ; and there were appearances 
of her recovery; but, alas, how vain were my 
hopes. My child was taken, and I was plunged 
into the double sorrow of losing a most cherished 
and beloved infant, and of feeling the stroke, as a 
hiding of the Lord's face, and a refusal to be en- 
treated by so great a sinner. Lord, I desire to be 
humbled, and to acknowledge thy rightful sove- 
reignty over me and mine ; to lay my hand upon 
my mouth, and my mouth in the dust before thee, 
and to say. Righteous art thou, O Lord, in all thy 
ways, and just in all thy judgments ! Any thing 
that is not hell, is too good for me; and therefore, 
I desire not only to submit, but to admire the grace 
that leaves me untouched in any part. From the 
death of this baby, to the present hour, my body 
has been in a state of great weakness ; and with 



136 MEMOIRS OF 

regard to the soul, I have walked in darkness. My 
will is brought into humble submission to the Di- 
vine will, but I have had none of those sensible 
manifestations of the Divine presence and consola- 
tions of the Spirit, which, at some seasons of afflic- 
tion, have enabled me, not only to bow before the 
Lord, but even to rejoice in tribulation. Other trials, 
of a temporal nature, I have also undergone at this 
time, and even now many things seem to be going 
against me ; yet I would endeavour to hope in the 
Lord, and to stay myself upon the rock of Israel. 
Make me, O Lord, a true saint, that I may fly with 
confidence to the refuge of thy saints ! Hold thou 
up my goings, that my feet may not slip, and hide 
me under the shadow of thy wings till these ca- 
lamities be overpast. I desire, O Lord, to devote 
myself to thee, to beseech thee to be my covenant 
God and Father in Christ ! Enable me, my 
God ! to walk as under the bonds of the covenant, 
and in all times of trouble and sorrow to take hold 
of covenant consolations, and to remember that all 
shall work for good to those who trust in thee. 
Help me to look back to past experiences ; to call 
to mind thy former answers to prayer ; and to trust 
that thou, who hast helped me hitherto, wilt not 
now forsake me. Support me under the late de- 
nials of answer to prayer. Show me any unre- 
pented sin ; discover to me any indulged or hidden 
iniquity, which may have provoked thee to hide 



MRS. RAMSAY. 137 

thy face from me; and give me that true re- 
pentance, which consisteth, not only in confessing 
but in forsaking sin. Lord, thou knowest my pre- 
sent wants and necessities; the burdens of my 
spirit, and every inward grief. I desire to be care- 
ful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and 
supplication to make known my requests unto thee. 
Grant, or refuse what I imagine I want, as thou, O 
Lord, shall see fit ; only grant that, at all times 
and in all seasons, I may walk as becometh a true 
Christian. O thou merciful High Priest, who art 
touched with a tender compassion for our infirmi- 
ties ; thou who makest intercession without ceasing 
for thy redeemed ones, look upon me in this time 
of trouble. Thou knowest my groanings, and my 
sighs and tears are not hid from thee. Hear me 
from heaven, thy dwelling-place, and when thou 
hearest, have mercy. Suffer, O Lord ! no trial to 
befall me, from which thou wilt not make me a 
way to escape ; and make me know, by renewed 
experience, if it be thy blessed will, that nothing 
is too hard for the Lord ; that his ear is not heavy 
that it cannot hear, nor, his hand shortened that it 
cannot save. Make me to dread every sin, which 
might be as a separating wall between my God 
and my soul. O my God, if it be thy will, remove 
the pressure under v/hich I labour, or give me that 
thorough resignation of mind, which it becometh 
the creature to exercise towards its Creator. 
13* 



138 MEMOIRS OF 

O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I give myself 
up to thee, to be, and to do, and to bear whatever 
thou shalt see fit for me during my journey through 
life ! Renouncing all self-go verment, I desire to 
have my will swallowed up in the divine will, and 
to submit myself to the rightful authority and the 
merciful disposal of the majesty of heaven, su- 
premely desiring nothing but salvation for me and 
mine, and persuaded that God will order all things 
better for me than I could for myself. Yet since, 
Lord, thou dost not only permit, but encourage 
us to come nigh to thy throne of grace, and to 
spread our wants before thee, permit a poor worm 
to claim this privilege, and to relieve her sorrows 
by pouring them out before thee, and beseeching 
the interference of thy mercy in her present con- 
cerns. Doth God care for sparrows, and will he 
not care for his people 1 Thou dost care, O Lord ! 
And my faith and hope are in thee, that now, even 
now, my God, thou wilt show that, though for 
some months past thou hast appeared to hide thy 
face from me, to reject me, and cover thyself as 
with a thick cloud on account of my transgressions, 
thou wilt no longer break thy bruised reed, but 
that for me, even me, most unworthy, there shall 
be a gracious revival — a merciful and providential 
lifting up. 

Shall not the Judge of the whole earth do right? 
Oh yes, he will. Shall not he, who freely gave 



MRS. RAMSAY. 139 

his own Son for us, deal kindly by his redeemed 
ones "? Oh yes, he will. Be not, therefore, cast 
down, my soul, neither be thou disquieted 
within me, for I shall yet praise him, who is the 
light of my countenance and my God ; yea, I will 
even now praise him, for whether he gives or takes, 
he is still ray God ; and, seeing the whole, while I 
see only in part, will always do better for me than 
I could for myself. 

Resolutions made at this time : 

To watch against my easily besetting sin. 

To read the word of God with more meditation. 

To lift up my heart to the Lord, whenever 1 
awake in the night. 

To encourage religious conversation in the fa- 
mily on all fit occasions, particularly with my be- 
loved Miss Futerell. 

To be more watchful and earnest in inward and 
ejaculatory prayer. 

To be much in prayer for my dear husband, and 
to endeavour to be to him a useful as well as a 
loving wife. 

To endeavour to see the hand of God in every 
thing, and to undertake nothing without a depend- 
ance on, and a seeking of his blessing. 

Not to let a spirit of indolence get the better of 
me in the education of my children; and in this 
matter, may God most especially help me; for I 
find, when any thing presses much on my mind, I 



140 MEMOIRS OF 

am very apt to be listless and inactive in the duty 
which I owe them. 

February 3d, 1799. So far as I know my own 
heart, I think I desire resignation to the divine 
will, more than I desire any earthly good. I 
have some temporal affairs pressing on my mind, 
and am hanging on Providence for the events of 
the two ensuing days. Yet I trust, that a desire 
to live to God, and to grow in grace, are still 
greater anxieties with me than any worldly con- 
cerns ; yet the Lord, who knoweth our frames, and 
considereth of what we are made, and is well ac- 
quainted with our different temperaments and con- 
stitutions, sees that I am not wholly devoid of 
agitation ; but I trust, he also sees that it is of that 
chastened kind, and in that degree not inconsistent 
with sincere piety, and trust in himself. Indeed I 
hope I may even say that I feel holy joy in God, 
and a thorough conviction that he will do all things 
well. Hitherto he hath helped me, and he will 
not now forsake me. He hath cared for my soul, 
he will not be unmindful of my lesser concerns. 
He hath prepared my heart to pray, he will surely 
hear my cry. I am so ignorant, even of what 
would be good for me, that it is my glory to put 
my trust in his wisdom ; so weak that I rejoice in 
his power; so blind that I am thankful to be 
guided by him. If h'e chooses to grant that which 
I desire, to his praise shall it be recorded. If he 



MRS. RAMSAY. 141 

withhold it, still will I joy in my God, and be 
satisfied that it is just as it should be; only, O 
Lord ! while the suspense lasts, be pleased to keep 
me from unprofitable dejections ; to preserve me in 
an evenness of mind and cheerfulness of temper, be- 
coming a Christian, and worthy a follower of the 
Lamb. Bless my very dear husband ; point out 
to him the path of duty ; make all his way plain ; 
bring him through these worldly perplexities; 
make me a comfort aud blessing to him and to his 
children, while my life is prolonged ; and so help 
him in his difficulties and trials, that he may say, 
this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in 
our eyes. O Lord, I commit all to thee; thou 
knowest my groanings ; thou seest my heart ; my 
trust is in thee ; my case is cast upon thee. I will 
hide me under the shadow of thy wings, until these 
calamities be overpast. Thy mercy hath been of- 
ten experienced, it will not now fail me. What 
time I am afraid, I will call upon thee. In God is 
my trust; in his hands are the hearts of all men. 
I will not then fear what man can do. May he 
enable us to be just and upright to all, and not per- 
mit any to oppress and be hard to us. 

March 14, 1801. O my God, I desire this day, 
not only solemnly to renew my covenant with thee, 
that covenant which has so long been all my sal- 
vation and all my desire ; but also to open my 
heart to those consolations which it affords, and 



142 MEMOIRS OF 

particularly at this time, as having- all my concerns 
for time and for eternity in thine hands ; and to 
look up to thee for that direction which my circum- 
stances require, and which none but thou canst 
suitably give. As it is a time of perplexity and 
difficulty with me, let it be also a time of faith and 
prayer. Known unto thee, O God! are all my 
ways, and unto thee do I commit them. Let thy 
Providence protect me; let thy good Spirit guide 
me, that in the issue of these events, I may see 
cause to admire thy grace and goodness, and to 
add another Ebenezer to my past sweet experi- 
ences of thy fatherly care and overruling wisdom ; 
and to chide my heart, that it should ever, for a 
moment, doubt thy compassion, or despond under 
thy merciful chastisements. Bless, oh bless my 
dear husband ; give him the light and direction 
which he needs ; be thou his strong tower of de- 
fence in every time of trouble ; enable me to be a 
comfort to him, during our joint pilgrimage on 
earth, and give us finally to be made partakers of 
those eternal joys, in the hopes of which our light 
and momentary afflictions, by thy supporting 
grace, may be calmly and steadily borne, so long 
as thou shalt see meet to continue them. Lord, 
who givest liberally to those who ask, and that 
without upbraiding, give us the wisdom, prudence, 
and discretion so especially necessary to us in our 
present affairs. Help thou us, and so shall we be 



MRS. RAMSAY. 143 

helped ; leave us not, neither forsake us, for in 
thee is our trust. 

March 5, 1802. On looking- into this book, I see 
it is near a twelvemonth since I have noted, in 
writing-, any of the Lord's dealings with me; yet 
surely my heart, with g-rateful remembrance, looks 
back on many tri-als gone through; on many mer- 
cies received. In all the perplexities of our situa- 
tion, how good has God been, not oidy to hold our 
souls in life, but to give the enjoyment of vigorous 
health to my dear husband and family, that we 
have neither had the additional expenses nor the 
additional anxieties of sickness to our other cares; 
and in the midst of cares, how graciously have I 
been supported and assisted ! In times of greatest 
need, how has God helped! He has first, by his 
grace, helped me to a contented and cheerful mind, 
and then by his providence wonderfully supplied 
my returning wants. When I have hardly known 
how to turn under outward pressure and difficulty, 
and when all human refuge seemed to fail me, the 
Lord has shown that he cared for me, and enabled 
me to pour forth tears of thanksgiving, after my 
tears of supplication. Nor will he now leave and 
forsake me. My faith and hope in him are 
grounded on his own precious words of promise, 
and my sweet and long experience of their truth. 
My God has not taken care of me so long to leave 
me to perish at last, either by my own folly, or by 



144 MEMOIRS OF 

the hands of others. He will humble because it is 
for our good ; but in due time, he will lift me up 
again. Yesterday I was full of thought and care. 
No provisions in the house ; sundry little domestic 
debts of absolute necessity to be paid. My dear 
friend and husband full of business in the way of 
his profession, but no money coming in. I was 
reading the Bible; my mind wandered to the 
state of my finances ; and I thought with my house 
full of dear children, what am I to do : I answered 
to myself, put your trust in God, try to make out, 
by some exertion of your own, without perplexing 
your dear husband; and even if some sharp pinch- 
ing should be before you, be satisfied to bear it; it 
will be for the good of your soul. What do you 
read your Bible for, but to fetch from it instruction 
and consolation, suited to all your circumstances. 
Presently my husband called me, and gave me a 
sum more than sufficient for the immediate wants 
of the day, and the payment of those domestic 
debts, which lay heavy on my mind ; saying, at 
the same time, "This money has come from a 
most unexpected quarter, indeed from a man who 
had even said he would not pay, and now at this 
early hour of the morning ; when I was not 
thinking of it, he has brought this money." And 
now let an infidel call this a lucky chance, if, when 
he had no money to provide for a large family, 
an unexpected supply should come to his hands; 



MRS. RAMSAY. 145 

but let me fall down and worship before the Lord, 
and say, thou, that hearest and answerest 
prayer, unto thee, in every necessity of soul and 
body, will I come ! This is but one instance of 
manifold interventions of Providence, which I 
have experienced, and which, although not writ- 
ten down in books, are deeply engraven on my 
heart, and treasured up in my memory ; and, O 
thou, who hast been pleased to provide necessary 
food for my family, vouchsafe, also, to feed our 
souls with the bread of life ! I trust to sit down 
to-morrow at thy table. Oh give the meat which 
endureth unto everlasting life ; enable me to feed 
by faith in my heart on the precious body and 
blood of my dear Redeemer, the purchaser of 
every mercy, spiritual and temporal. Be also with 
my dear husband, on this sweet and solemn occa- 
sion ; be with my dear Miss Futerell ; and, al- 
though absent in body, may she have spiritual 
communion with her dear Saviour, and with his 
people. Be with my dear children, dispose their 
young hearts to receive divine truth, and may 
they, by thy restraining providence, and by an 
early conversion, be saved from youthful follies, 
and made pillars in the temple of our God. 

June 1, 1803. Some sore disappointments have 
happened to us in temporal matters within a fort- 
night past, and from quarters most unexpected, 
especially by my dear husband ; but what then % 
13 



146 MEMOIRS OF 

Is the Lord's hand at all shortened, that it cannot 
save ; or his ear heavy, that it cannot hear 1 Oh 
no. Be pleased, our gracious God ! to keep 
us from separating sins, and to enable us, by hum- 
ble prayer and faith, to make our supplications 
known unto thee ; and then, though every door on 
earth should appear to be shut, thou wilt open the 
very windows of heaven in our behalf, and pour 
down blessings in such measure and manner on 
us, as shall be most for our good and thy glory. 
Lord, thou knowest how mournfully I am now 
sitting before thee ; but oh ! let not earthly anxi- 
eties eat out the heart of spiritual duties ; let not 
my poor soul starve, but feed me with the bread 
of life, however pinched, however perplexed, how- 
ever hedged up and uneasy my ways may be in 
other matters. O my heavenly Father ! my past 
experience teaches me to rely on thee. Thou wilt 
clear up this darkness, thou wilt dissipate this 
providential cloud, and enable me to say again, 
the Lord hath helped me. Oh, give me resigna- 
tion and humility to wait thy time, and be satisfied 
with thy way. Oh, help to maintain a cheerful 
conversation before my dear husband, that I may 
be a help and no hindrance to him. 

Lord, hear and help thy poor, afflicted, bowed- 
down, and tempest-tost servant, and make all these 
things work for good to my poor soul. 

June 5, 1803. Lord, how shall I praise theel 



MRS. RAMSAY. 147 

Wherewithal shall I come before God, the God of 
my mercies ? My soul is filled with thankfulness, 
and my mouth with praise. Oh, now let my life 
be holiness, and let me remember the vows of the 
Lord, which are upon me. In the day when I cried 
unto thee, thou heard est me, and strengthenedst 
me with strength in my soul. When my spirit 
was bowed down under the pressure of worldly 
affliction, thou hast supported me, thou hast en- 
abled me to cast all my care on thee, and thou 
hast relieved that care ; in the hour of extremity 
thou hast appeared for us, and when our way 
seemed hedged up with difficulties, thou hast 
manifested thy gracious Providence, and made us 
to receive, as an especial answer to prayer, what, 
under other circumstances, our thoughtless hearts 
might have received as an occurrence in the com- 
mon course of things. Let this favour never be 
obliterated from my heart ; let me record it to thy 
glory and my comfort ; and when I look back on 
my last writing, and on this, let me feel, truly 
God is good to Israel ; and let me most earnestly 
desire to be upright in heart. Lord, go on to help 
us ; to help my dear husband. Have we not only 
received earthly good at thy hands, but have our 
souls also been fed with the bread of life, and 
our hearts made joyful with the cup of salvation 1 
Oh that in the strength of such provision, we may 
go on our way with diligence and alacrity ; and 



148 MEMOIRS OF 

seek to grow in grace, and to have our conversa- 
tion as becometh the gospel of Christ. 

September 25, 1805. Pressed by care, sur- 
rounded by difficulties, and in sore perplexity 
from some domestic circumstances, I come to thee, 
O my God ! who hast commanded us to cast all 
our care on thee, and to draw nigh to thee in every 
time of trial. To thee, O my heavenly Father ! 
have I long since devoted myself, and I now de- 
sire to renew the dedication. To call thee my Fa- 
ther, and to be submissive; to call Christ my 
Saviour, and trust in his mercy; the Holy Spirit 
my comforter, and to rejoice in his consolations. 
Lord, thou knowest all m.y desire, and my groan- 
ing is not hid from thee. Oh let my sorrowful 
sighing come before thee, and hear thou the prayer 
of the afflicted. In every event, O Lord, make me 
to remember that I have sworn, and that I cannot 
go back, and that having chosen the Lord for my 
portion, and desired him above earthly good, I 
must be satisfied with all that ho appoints, and 
never murmur at what his will permits. Only, 
Lord, do thou be pleased to bear me up, for I have 
no strength to be resigned, except thou give it me; 
therefore, I look up unto thee for that calmness 
and submission, which I desire to feel under every 
trying circumstance. Dark as my situation now 
seems, thou hast but to say, " Let there be light," 
and there shall be liffht. Since it was not beneath 



MRS. RAMSAY. 149 

thy condescension to create me, to save me, and 
hitherto to preserve me, it will not be beneath thy 
condescension, now to help me according to my 
necessities ; thou wilt either send relief, or give 
grace to bear. Oh, give me humility to suffer 
what thou shalt appoint, and wisdom to know how 
to act according to the necessity of my situation. 
Let thy Spirit teach me ; let thy Providence assist 
me ; make me to know the path of duty, and dili- 
gently to walk in it ; suflfer me not to grope about 
in darkness, nor to be a prey to the restlessness of 
my own spirit ; but give me some gracious direc- 
tions to point out to me the right way of duty and 
of safety. O Lord, help me, for I am very weak ; 
and my only hope and trust is in thee. 

November 1, 1805. "Be still and know that I 
am God." I desire, O Lord ! to be still, and to 
know that thou art God ; so to know it as to be 
quiet before thee, and even to preserve a holy 
cheerfulness, seeing the same word which pro- 
claims thy sovereignty, and commands our sub- 
mission, says also, " God is our refuge and 
strength, a very present help in trouble ;" and 
surely I have often found thee so ; and now, al- 
though my worldly concerns be not so as nature 
could desire, and every outward aspect is gloomy 
and cheerless ; yet let this be all my salvation, all 
my desire, all my comfort, that there is a covenant 
well ordered and sure ; the God of the covenant 
13* 



150 MEMOIRS OF 

an unchanging- God. I therefore come, and bring 
my burdens to the foot of the cross. He who 
died for me, will never leave nor forsake me ; and 
in every event will order matters so as shall be 
best for my soul's salvation, which is always the 
greatest concern. In temporal things, what time 
I am afraid, I will trust in him ; I will make 
known to him by prayer and supplication, my re- 
quests, with thanksgiving for past mercies, and a 
holy confidence for what is to come. I am noAV 
preparing to draw near to his holy table in a few 
days. Let not earth keep out heaven ; let not 
spiritual duties be cramped, or spiritual joys hin- 
dered, by anxious cares for this world. Fed by 
the bread of life, let me be strong to run my race 
of duty, or of suffering; and drinking of the wine 
of heavenly consolation, let my sorrowful spirit 
be comforted, and all my concerns be trusted with 
him, to whom with joy and confidence I have 
trusted my soul. The Lord can clear the darkest 
skies ; nothing is too hard for Omnipotence. Per 
plexed as my dear husband's affairs seem ; humble 
and painful as seem my own ; let the Lord but 
speak, and he shall be relieved ; let him but order 
and I shall be succoured. Do I know God to be 
so able, do I trust in him as my God, and shall I 
not be satisfied that his will will concur with his 
power, if it be right for us 1 I desire to be so. 
Pardon, Lord ! my sinful reluctances to bear 



MRS. RAMSAY. 151 

the cross ; and whenever my spirit is disposed to 
rebel or murmur, give me such a view of my hell- 
deserving sins as shall keep me very humble, and 
strike me into a holy silence before thee. Lord, I 
leave my wants and my desires with thee, and in 
my present great trials, more cut off from outward 
comfort than I have ever been before, I desire to 
draw the nearer to thee, the all-sufficient God. 

November 2, 1805. "For I will remember mine 
iniquity, I will be sorry for my sin." Forsake 
me not, O Lord, my God ! be not far from me ; 
" Give ear unto my cry, and hold not thy peace at 
my tears." Our worldly affairs are very much per- 
plexed. My dear husband is pressed by creditors and 
disappointed by debtors. All these things pressing 
upon feelings naturally irritable, and meeting with 
a constitution much enfeebled, make it very ne- 
cessary, and very comfortable for me to draw near 
to God, the friend of the friendless, the hearer of 
prayer, the helper of the distressed. I desire at 
this time to draw near to him in a penitential con- 
fession of sin, and to have sin brought to my re- 
membrance. This I hope will be one means of 
mitigating suffering ; for now. Lord, after all that 
is come upon me, " This is less than my iniquities 
deserve ;" will keep down repining, and especially 
by considering that these chastisements may be 
the very means by which my heavenly Father sees 
fit to keep me in " the right way." Lord, I call 



152 MEMOIRS OF 

upon thee for help in my outward trials ; but I de- 
sire earnestly to seek deliverance from sin. Lord, 
help me to provide for my children, help me to 
teach them the way of salvation, and give them 
grace to seek it for themselves, and to devote 
themselves to God in early life. If thou permit 
me, Lord, to draw near to thy holy table to-mor- 
row, I will carry with me my outward burdens, 
sorrows, and wants ; I will cast them at thy feet. 
I will pray thee to support me under them ; to 
give me some suitable and convenient relief from 
them, and say, "Thou who feedest me with thy 
flesh, and cheerestme with the wine of the covenant, 
wilt not refuse for me and my household, what 
shall be needful for us." I will also carry the 
heavy load of my sins ; I will say. Here, Lord, 
is the cause of my sorrow, here was the cause of 
thy suffering. O thou, who hast carried our sor- 
rows, and borne our iniquities, deliver me from 
this burden ! Pardon the follies of my youth ; the 
sins of my riper years ; the hourly transgressions 
of my life ! Let me never complain of the burden 
of suffering, while I remember my multiplied ini- 
quities, but rather wonder at the Lord's grace and 
long suffering, and admire his goodness, who by 
the chastisement of his love is driving me to hea- 
ven, when, by the strokes of his wrath, he might 
long since have driven me to hell. 

November 24. I have been endeavouring, for 



MRS. RAMSAY. 153 

some time past, to walk in penitential humility 
before God ; and as it is a day of adversity with 
me, to make a suitable improvement of it, by mak- 
ing it also a time to consider. Blessed be God, 
that it has been with me a good time ; a time in 
which I have found it good for me to draw near to 
my God by contrition ; for I trust he hath drawn 
near to me in a way of mercy ; supported me in 
outward trials ; and given me strong desires after 
holiness. He hath also shown me providential 
favours, and from day to day supplied our return- 
ing wants, and smoothed some of my outward 
difficulties. My soul desires to praise him for the 
past ; to be satisfied for the present ; and to trust 
him for the future. He will not leave me nor for- 
sake me. I am filled with self-reproach, that hav- 
ing God for my Father, I should ever give way to 
gloomy apprehensions. Lord, I commit all to 
thee ; thou knowest my spiritual necessities ; thou 
knowest my outward pressures. I desire to be 
still, and trust in thee, my ever present help in 
time of need ; and with myself I commit to thee, 
at this time, those for whom I am particularly in- 
terested. Help my dear husband. Bless my dear 
children, present and absent, and others whom I 
desire now particularly to intercede for. Bless 
our ministers, and reward them for their faithful 
labours. May Dr. Keith enjoy the consolations 
with which he endeavoured to comfort mourners 



154 MEMOIRS or 

on the past Sabbath. Help me at all times to trust 
in thee, and at all times to praise thee ; and help 
me every day to do the business of the day, ac- 
cording to my best ability ; and supply me by thy 
mercy with that measure of knowledge, improve- 
ment and strength, which may enable me to do 
my duty in that state of life to which thou art 
pleased to call me. 

25th. Lord, whatever else I want, let me not 
want the joy of thy salvation ; if it be thy blessed 
will, let not my spiritual sky be darkened, but 
favour me with the light of thy countenance. 
Under much outward trial, I have lived happily, 
and walked cheerfully, because thy face did shine 
upon me ; but I feel now under some spiritual de- 
jection, some inward darkness. O my Father! 
if it be only for trial, and to teach me my depend- 
ance upon thee, I desire to submit, and to rejoice 
in the very hidings of thy face, if they keep me 
humble and train me up for glory ; but I am afraid 
of sin. Search me, O Lord ! and try me, and 
enable me to try myself, and to see if there be any 
allowed evil way in me, that I may resist it, and 
lead thou me in the way everlasting. Let no un- 
repented guilt, no cherished iniquity, no neg- 
lected duty cause thee to hide thy face from me, 
or separate between my God and me. Lord ! 
I cannot do without thee ; thou hast called me to 
do without many that I loved. I have endea- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 155 

voured to bow the head and bend the heart, and 
as the streams failed me, to drink deeper of the 
fountain. Great has been the trial, great the effort; 
but I have leaned upon my God. I have supported 
myself against his cross, who, for my sake, was 
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. 
Strengthened by him I have borne my griefs, and, 
without flagging, done the duties of my station ; 
but if I have not the light of God's countenance, 
wo is me, I am undone. Lord, I cannot do with- 
out thee. I would not do without thee. Oh, have 
mercy upon me, and whatever else thou withhold- 
est, withhold not thyself. Pardon my sins, and 
give me grace against them. Be my God, and 
the God of mine. Bless my dear husband, and 
our dear children. * * * 

None of them that trust in thee shall be deso- 
late. Is this so 1 why then are my hopes faint, 
and my spirit cast down within me 1 Father and 
mother hast thou taken from me ; the grave covers 
the most of those with whom I kept up much in- 
timacy; and various providences have changed 
the hearts of some who yet remain. The conflict 
with affliction is great ; my husband is under trials 
and straits, which make my heart ache for him, 
and for myself, as tenderly feeling and sharing in 
all his griefs. My children, though in many re- 
spects sources of great delight to me, cause me 
also much anxiety for their souls, and for their 



156 MEMOIRS OF 

future temporal welfare. The Lord hath said by 
his experienced servant, " None of them that trust 
in thee shall be desolate." Surely, Lord, I trust 
in thee for soul and for body, for time and for 
eternity. Le me not then be desolate. Save me 
from all sinful anguish of spirit, and leave me not 
desolate. Thou wilt do all that is good for my 
soul. Oh let me be satisfied with whatever hap- 
pens to the body ; it is at present a pained body, 
the companion of an anxious mind ; yet, O my 
God, I desire to say most sincerely, not my will, 
but thine be done. I trust in thee ; Oh leave me 
not desolate. Help me to remember the days that 
are past, in which thou hast been my helper ; and 
therefore still to shelter myself under the shadow 
of thy wings. Support my drooping mind. 
Chase away sinful anxieties. Oh leave me not 
desolate, for, renouncing all other hopes, and all 
other helps, I desire to trust alone in thee, who 
hast ten thousand ways by which thou canst send 
help ; and, with regard to troubled thoughts, hast 
but to sa}^. Peace, and they shall be still in every 
event, however painful to nature. Lord, thou 
knowest all my desire, and my groaning is not hid 
from thee. If this desire, and these groanings are 
for things which may be profitable for myself, and 
the persons concerned, oh, for Christ's sake, grant 
them ; but as I am weak, and sinful, and erring, 
let me cry for nothing importunately but salvation. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 157 

Salvation for myself and for those who are near 
and dear to me as my own soul ; and O Lord ! 
let the joys and the hopes of this salvation, keep 
thy poor servant from being desolate. 

Jfay, 1806. "Lord, teach us to pray;" and 
when the Lord teaches us to pray, what a delight- 
ful and holy employment is it ] How is the soul 
supported, strengthened, comforted by thus draw- 
ing nigh to God, with a prepared heart. Teach 
us, Lord, to pray ; by thy grace, this shall be the 
prayer of faith. Teach us to pray by thy provi- 
dences ; this shall be the prayer of humble de- 
pendence on God, and quiet submission to all his 
appointments. When troubles assail us, this is 
the time to pray ; for God has promised to answer 
those who call upon him in the time of trouble. 
Teach me then, Lord, to pray without ceasing, in 
the house, and by the way, at times of leisure, 
and in the midst of business ; and having my 
heart softened, comforted, and quieted, by often 
drawing nigh to thee ; in the midst of adverse 
circumstances, inward conflicts, and outward 
trials, may my soul still find its happiness in thee, 
and never yield to unchristian dejection or com- 
plaining. 

"Ye are the light of the world." If this is 
said of Christ's disciples in general, how defec- 
tively must they walk, who are not at least the 
light of their own families. my God, give me 
14 



158 MEMOIRS OF 

grace so to walk before mine as to bring no re- 
proach on the gospel, which I profess. Let my 
dear husband find in me a Christian friend ; my 
children, a faithful instructor, reprover, and guide ; 
and all of my household, while they witness my 
imperfections, witness also my faith, my hope, 
mj sincerity, my desire and endeavour to walk 
uprightly. 

Tuesday. O thou, who givest songs in the 
night, be pleased in the midst of gloomy fears, 
and providences of distressing aspect, to give me 
a holy cheerfulness in thee, and the assurance of 
faith, that after thus long helping, thou wilt not 
now leave me. Salvation is of the Lord ; the sal- 
vation of the soul, and the necessary supports for 
the body; my trust then shall be in the Lord for 
both. Fulness of grace is wdth Christ, for the 
poor soul ; and for the supplies of the temporal 
life, the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness there- 
of. Suffer me not, therefore, O my God, to de- 
spair or hardly to doubt while there is liberty of 
access to the fountain of all-sufficiency ; a fountain 
from which my soul has often been refreshed with 
liberal streams, and my bodily necessities supplied 
in surprising times and ways. Oh, that these re- 
membrances and a firm trust in God might keep 
me calm and submissive under the troubles which 
now assail me. Oh that the thoughts of death, 
which, from the many warnings I receive, ought 



MRS. RAMSAY. 159 

to be always present with me, might so engag-e 
my attention and desire to gird up my loins and 
to trim my lamp as to serve as a counterbalance to 
the anxieties which possess my soul ; yet in some 
respects I ought to be anxious, seeing the cause 
of my anxiety is not so much for myself as for 
those connected with me ; but then I would have 
this anxiety, instead of drinking up my spirits, 
keep me near to God in prayer, for his help, to 
enable me to help them, and to do every day with 
diligence the duty of the day. My heavenly Fa- 
ther, my Father in Christ, I cast myself on thee, 
and now that I am afraid, I call upon thee. 

" And be ye not of doubtful mind." These are 
the very words of Christ himself, and include, I 
think, both a command and promise. Lord, give 
me grace to observe it as a command, and to re- 
joice in it as a promise ; for, in the keeping of thy 
commandments there is great reward, and thy pre- 
cious promises are the sure support of mourning 
souls. In what trouble hast thou ever failed me 1 
Creature comforts, earthly dependencies, have 
failed me ; but thou hast ever been to me the faith- 
ful God ; the helper tf the helpless ; my refuge in 
every new distress. Multiplied have been my 
distresses for some years past, and with much ado 
have I laboured not so to give up under the pres- 
sure of affliction as to be a dead weight to my hus- 
band, and useless to my children. Great has 



160 MEMOIRS OF 

been God's mercy to enable me to struggle with- 
out repining, and with a heavy load at heart to 
preserve a cheerful countenance, and live an active 
life ; now my troubles seem heavier upon me than 
usual, my heart more sick, my bodily strength 
more impaired, and now it is that I desire not to 
be of doubtful mind. How many times has the 
Lord helped in days of great distress; and is his 
hand at all shortened 1 is his power lessened 1 is 
he not the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever 1 
Be still, then, my soul, and banish doubt and un- 
belief. I am a poor changing creature ; often re- 
turning to sin and folly, often declining from the 
steady path of holiness, and often from the sure 
and comfortable path of quiet waiting upon God ; 
but he is the Lord, and changeth not ; he abideth 
faithful and cannot deny himself. My trust is in 
his mercy, not in my deservings. Therefore, with 
all the burden of my care, I cast myself on him ; 
with all the perturbations of a mind open to his 
all-seeing eye, I bow at his mercy-seat, and hum- 
bly trust that, making known to him all my wants 
by prayer and supplication, not forgetting thanks- 
giving for support under past sufferings and resig- 
nation under present trial. The Lord will provide, 
not for me alone, but for those nearer and dearer 
to me than myself. Lord, be with my dear hus- 
band and children. Known unto thee are their 
respective tempers and necessities. Send mercy 



MRS. RAMSAY. 161 

suited to each. More especially may thy convert- 
ing- grace be with the children ; and whatever else 
awaits them, in this vale of tears, let their souls 
live before thee. 

Is any thing- too hard for the Lord 1 No ; then 
if I am not helped in my present emerg-ency, not 
the Lord's power, but his will must be the cause 
that I am not. Be still then, my soul ; be still. 
He is God Almighty; and his will shall concur 
with his power, if it be for thy good. Lord, I 
am tempest-tossed, agitated, turmoiled, hardly able 
to bear up under the heavy load of expected trial, 
nor could I in my own strength. 1 therefore turn 
to thee, my God and Saviour, and earnestly crave 
thy help. Support my mind during the anxieties 
of suspense, and fit me for which soever way thy 
will shall be pleased to manifest itself. The un- 
believing lord said, "If the Lord would make 
windows in heaven might this thing be." But I 
know, O Lord, that if thou wilt but speak, it shall 
be done, and this trial shall pass from me. All 
hearts are in thy hand ; the heavens above and the 
earth beneath are thine. Thou hast many ways 
more than we can imagine, by which relief may 
come ; and I desire to have faith in God, and to 
trust in his providence, to appear for me, in this 
time of great perplexity and painful anxiety; but 
I desire, O Lord, also, to be submissive, and to 
bear the trial, if it must come, like a Christian, 
14* 



162 MEMOIRS OF 

and to do all I can to soften it to those about me, 
by my gentleness, my cheerfulness, and my hu- 
mility. Yet the Lord not only does not forbid, 
but he allows us to call upon him in the time of 
trouble ; now, then, Lord, I lift up my eyes, 
and I stretch out my hands unto thee. Open some 
door of hope, some door of relief. In this our 
time of great necessity, exercise thy forbearance 
and thy compassion ; and although in all that we 
feel, and all that we fear, thou dost punish us less 
than our iniquities deserve, add this, Lord, to 
thy many manifestations for us in times of diffi- 
culty, that the rod which hangs over our head 
may, by thine interposing providence, be removed. 
Oh, for Christian composure ; oh, for a child-like 
submission, a calm and humble frame, or that, at 
least, inward conflict may not unfit me for out- 
ward duty. Lord, I leave all with thee, and that 
in the name of Christ, the only way to the Father, 
and the only medium of mercy, whether spiritual 
or temporal. 

November. " I will sing unto the Lord a new 
song, for he hath done wonderful things for me." 
Yesterday was a day of peculiar weakness of body 
with me, and my mind was also much affected. 
I attended the funeral of Mrs. Nowell, in whom 
I had considerable interest; saw my old friend, 
Mrs. Brailsford, in considerable suffering, and had 



MRS. RAMSAY. 163 

a meeting with Mrs. Joseph Ramsay, for the first 
time, since the death of her two daug-hters. 

On the evening- of this day, December 21, 1806, 
I also received a mercy, an answer of prayer, al- 
most next to miraculous — a sum of money exactly 
suited to a particular engagement I had entered 
into for the first of January, with more of trust in 
the Lord than of outward certainty about it. This 
sum of money coming to me so unexpectedly, 
with regard to the quarter from whence I received 
it, overcame me perhaps even more than some af- 
flictive circumstances have done ; for I felt as if I 
had no strength remaining in me, and as if I 
should faint and die from the mingled emotions 
of surprise, gratitude, and awe. Oh, let the 
Lord's name be praised, and let all that is within 
me bless his holy name. I have waited on the 
Lord, by humiliation, by fasting, by prayer ; and 
let this instance of his goodness, added to so 
many others, encourage me still to wait upon him. 
I am in great perplexity, in many respects, and in 
many respects a woman of a sorrowful spirit ; but 
1 will cast my burden on the Lord, and trust that 
he will help and direct me in all my way ; and 
particularly assist me and give me the leadings of 
his providence, and the teachings of his Spirit, in 
what lies before me. 

June 2, 1808. My dear husband, who is cer- 
tainly a true believer, and a great noter of Provi- 



164 MEMOIRS OF 

dence, having- received two dollars from a casual 
patient, said to me, " Here are two dollars which I 
have just got by chance." I said, thank ye ; but 
do not, at this time, when we are in such want of 
money, say that any comes by chance. He smiled 
with his usual kindness, and said, I only meant 
that I got it from a passing and not a stated pa- 
tient. About two hours after he sent me up twenty 
dollars, just after I had been earnestly praying 
that the Lord, from the storehouses of his mercy, 
would send some supply to my necessities and 
those of my family, which were very great ; and- 
covering the twenty dollars was the enclosed pa- 
per,* which I will keep with this note on it, to 
remind me of the great goodness of my God, and 
this his most seasonable answer to those prayers 
and supplications, which I was making before 
him, with thanksgiving for past mercies, and 
humble trust in his goodness, through my dear 
Saviour's merits, for the relief of my temporal 
wants, or the supplies of his grace to keep me 
quiet and humble, under losses and crosses. 

June 20, 1808. It is of the Lord's mercies we 
are not consumed, because his compassions fail 

* The enclosed paper, covering the twenty dollars 
referred to, contained these words : 

" Twenty dollars, not sent by chance, but by God. 
An unexpected volunteer payment of a doubtful old 
debt." 



MRS. RAMSAY. 165 

not. At about ten o'clock last night, while the 
wind was blowing tempestuously, from a threat- 
ening thunderstorm, but without rain, the cry of 
fire from our next neighbour's was given, and 
threw our whole street, but particularly our family, 
into great consternation; the wind high, our 
house of wood, and joined to that where the fire 
was said to be. There was every thing to alarm 
us that there could be in a matter of that nature ; 
from the cries and tumult so near us, and nothing 
left to do but to call on the God who has so often 
been our helper, and to make what haste we could 
to save our linen, and most portable articles, be- 
fore the confusion and heat would become too 
great. God, who is rich in mercy, has been bet- 
ter to us than our fears, and we remain here shel- 
tered from inclemencies, a collected family, with 
every thing about us as it was before the alarm. 
The fire was not at Mrs. Crawley's, but at the ad- 
joining tenement, which yet is under the same 
roof with her. From the dry situation of these 
wooden buildings, with their appurtenances, no- 
thing but a timely discovery, before the fire had 
arisen to a great height, and while the neighbour- 
hood was yet up and awake, could, in a human 
point of view, have saved the three wooden houses, 
so nearly connected. How great then should be 
my gratitude, that where the wit and strength of 
man, in less than fifteen minutes, could have 



1 66 M E M O I R S O F 

availed nothing, the mercy of our God has pre- 
vented the awful calamity, and allowed us to sleep 
in peace and safety, after such a threatening 
destruction. May the recollection of this good- 
ness keep my heart quiet and submissive under 
the various cares that, at present, torment it, and 
while I am excited to labour diligently in my fa- 
mily and station, whatever anxieties assail me, 
may this, and the many other gracious provi- 
dences I have experienced, silence my fears, en- 
courage my hopes, and enable me to go on, 
trusting in that God who at all times has cared for 
me, and will not now leave or forsake me. 



In returning to our narrative, we will con- 
template the character of Mrs. Ramsay as it 
appeared in the daily routine of social and 
personal duties. 

She generally spent a considerable part of 
the intervals of public worship, in catechising 
and instructing her children and servants ; in 
reading with them the Bible and other good 
books, particularly " Burkitt's Help and Guide 
to Christian Famihes." In performing this 
duty, she placed her children around her, and 
read alternately with them verses in the Bible, 



MRS. RAMSAY. 167 

and Watts's Psalms and Hymns, or sentences 
in other religious books, so as to teach them at 
the same time, by her example, the art of 
reading- with emphasis and propriety. The 
exercise was occasionally varied by reading in 
the same manner the New Testament in Greek, 
with her sons, and in French with her daugh- 
ters. 

From the seventeenth year of her age, she 
was a regular, steady, and devout attendant on 
the communion. In this she found so much 
comfort, that she regretted absence from it, as 
a serious loss. She possessed herself of the 
names of the new members admitted to the 
church from time to time, and recorded them 
as brothers and sisters in Christ, who broke 
with her the bread of life, at the same table 
of their common Lord ; and prayed for each 
individual of them, whether she had any per- 
sonal acquaintance with them or not, and took 
a particular delight in rendering to them, and 
her other fellow-communicants, every kind 
office in her power ; for she had high ideas 
of the communion of saints among themselves, 
as being conjoined into one mystical body of 
Christ, throughout this world, and partly in 



168 MEMOIRS OF 

heaven, all united under one common head, 
and bound to each other by peculiar ties. 

Mrs. Ramsay was uncommonly economical 
of her time. She suffered none of it to be 
wasted. By rising early, she secured the most 
valuable portion of it for devotion and business. 
A reasonable part of every day was spent in 
religious exercises ; much in reading well- 
chosen books, and also in copying original 
papers for her father and husband. She 
wrote very fast, and, at the same time, a round, 
distinct, legible hand. Her father pronounced 
her to be the best clerk he ever employed ; 
and it is well known to his contemporaries in 
business, that he had many, and that several 
of them were very good ones. In addition to 
many minor services in copying, she tran- 
scribed for her husband his History of the 
American Revolution, Life of Washington, 
Review of the Progress of Medicine in the 
Eighteenth Century, and the early part of his 
Universal History ; nor did she desist, till she 
had trained her daughters to do as she had 
done. 

Mrs. Ramsay was also much engaged in 
the manual labours of house-keeping. In 



MRS. RAMSAY. 169 

every kind of female employment she was 
very expert, and despatched a great deal of 
business in a little time. In reading, writing, 
and working, she was equally expeditious, and 
in each department performed as much as 
could reasonably be expected from one who 
was exclusively employed in that alone. 

The amount done in every case was not di- 
minished by the extremity of heat, in a Caro- 
lina summer. On the contrary, she often im- 
pressed on her children, that steady, constant 
hght work, under cover, diminished the sensa- 
tion of heat, while it was increased in the case 
of a hstless, complaining, unemployed person. 

In teaching, Mrs. Ramsay possessed more 
than ordinary resources, and took more than 
ordinary pains. For her first children, she 
compiled an English grammar, being dissatis- 
fied with what had been written by Lowth, 
Ash, and others ; but when she became ac- 
quainted with Lindley Murray's writings, she 
laid aside her own compend, and received his, 
as throwing new hght on what before was ob- 
scure. She taught her children to read such 
books as she pointed out to them, with care 
and attention ; and repeatedly, too, until the sub- 
15 



170 MEMOIRS OF 

Stance, not the words, of what they read, was 
imprinted on their minds. This she preferred 
to loading the memory with long extracts, com- 
mitted verbatim. That they might be exer- 
cised in this more profitable way, she prepared 
questions on the most interesting portions of 
ancient and modern history ; particularly, 
Asiatic, Roman, English, and bibhcai history. 
These they were expected to answer from their 
general knowledge of the subject ; but, with- 
out committing the answers to memory. She 
has left behind her three packets of historic 
questions of this kind, which formed her text 
book, in examining her children, when reading- 
historical works. 

Nothwithstanding her multiphed engage- 
ments, Mrs. Ramsay found time to write many 
letters to absent friends. In these she was 
grave or gay, as the subject required. In 
writing letters of consolation, to persons in 
affliction, she excelled. In other cases, where 
fancy was admissible, the sprightliness of her 
imagination gave a brilhancy to trifles, which 
imparted to them an interest of which they 
seemed scarcely susceptible. As Mrs. Ramsay 
did not keep copies of her letters, a selection 



MRS. RAMSAY. 171 

could only be made from the originals in her 
domestic circle. The following effusions of 
the heart are extracted from familiar letters 
written by her to her daughters, when only 
absent, for a few days, on short excursions to 
the country, in the vicinity of Charleston, and 
are without date or address. 



" On Sundays I always think of you more earn- 
estly than on other days. All that regards you 
regards me ; but what regards your religious con- 
cerns deeply interests me. I hope, my dear child, 
in the midst of business or pleasure, never forgets 
that she is born for eternity. Never omit praying 
to God ; and if you would live safely or happily, 
never content yourself with the devotions of the 
morning or evening ; but often, in the course of 
the day, send up the prayer of the heart to God. 
This maybe done in company; in business; in 
the midst of innocent pleasure ; and is a delight- 
ful exercise of the heart, and a great guard on the 
conduct. Oh, how happy should I be, to have 
you, my darling child, thus to live in the fear of 
the Lord all the day long." 

" I suppose you will keep church at home, as it 
does not look weather fit for travelling. I always 
think of you with more than common tenderness 
on Sundays. I think the serious observation of 



172 MEMOIRS OF 

the Sabbath is not enough attended to, even 
among professing families ; but, in other cases, 
it is often a day of the greatest folly, because 
a day of the greatest leisure. In proportion as a 
respect for that day is lost, and its institutions are 
neglected or carelessly attended to, in the same pro- 
portion will the religious principle decline, and 
the practical concerns of eternity be carelessly 
managed. As a parent, then, full of anxiety for 
my children, in every respect, but most of all for 
their eternal interests, I cannot but regret every 
Sunday which I think they spend in a manner not 
the best calculated to promote those interests, and 
feel it my duty to warn you never to forget, that 
the Sunday is not common time, and, according to 
existing circumstances, to do all that you prudently 
can, not only to observe it yourself, but to make 
a conscience of not being ashamed of such ob- 
servance." 

" God bless you, my dear child ; may you all 
love your dear father ; love me ; love dear Miss 
Futerell ; love one another. While the social af- 
fections thus fill your hearts, you will never be 
very bad children ; but the moment you perceive 
yourself deficient in these sacred feelings, dread 
the encroachments of vice, in some form or other ; 
make a solemn pause, and ask yourself. What am 
I about] where is my conduct tending] and 
pray to God to guide your feet into the right way, 
by keeping your heart from evil." 



MRS. RAMSAY. 173 

" As the eldest, I write to you, to entreat you to 
remember the laws of hospitality, and be kind to 
Mr. Montgomery;* to remember the laws of grati- 
tude, and be assistant to your very dear and valua- 
ble friend, Miss Futerell. A great deal, my child, 
depends on your good example ; on the observa- 
tion which the younger children make ; whether 
you curb your temper ; whether you begin wisely 
to observe those laws of self-denial, which will 
make you happy to yourself and pleasant to those 
about you. I persuade myself I shall hear good 
accounts of you. If I do of you, I shall of all 
the rest." 



" I beg you never to make any excuse for writ- 
ing badly to me, because the time spent in writing 
the excuse would have enabled you to do better. 
Besides, errors excepted, you really write a pretty 
letter, and I delight to hear from you." 

" Mrs. P. has joined the church to-day, and I 
believe another sister of Mrs. P. Happy those 
who, in affliction, look to the Lord to be their com- 
forter, and do not slight his chastisements, by re- 
newing their pursuits after happiness in a world 
where it never can be found ; but so far as we im- 
prove it, as a state of preparation for a better state 
of existence, then its prosperities will not de- 

* A sick young gentleman, who came to Charleston 
for his health, but died at Baltimore, on his return home. 

15* 



174 MEMOIRS OF 

lude us, and its very tribulations shall give us a 
cause for rejoicing." 

" I have felt more about P. and E. to-day than 
the rest of you. Such Sabbaths as they now are 
passing would, without great care, soon tend to 
weaken in their minds the obligation to keep the 
Sabbath-day holy. Such Sabbaths as you are pass- 
ing would impress on your minds the necessity, 
when we are distant from places of public wor- 
ship, for calling our families together, and beseech- 
ing God by his presence to make our houses sanc- 
tuaries for his service." 



"I felt it very solitary in church on Sunday 
without you. But we had excellent sermons. I 
did not go out anywhere ; and not having my 
morning Bible readers, my noonday catechumens, 
or my evening hymnists, I had more than usual 
leisure to read and pray for myself, which includes 
every one with you ; and I tried to make a good 
use of it." 



" I am very much mortified at being deprived 
of the horse when I most want him. But what 
wise person ever frets, and what fool ever mended 
any thing by so doing. I shall comfort myself 
by saying, 'if I do not go out, I shall do the 
more work at home.' " 



MRS. RAMSAY. 175 

"Mrs. H. is dead. These breaches in our con- 
gregations are felt by those, who know the value 
of religious characters ; and make them earnestly 
pray, that others, from among our young people, 
may be raised up in their place, to keep up the 
honour and credit of religion in the world, and to 
set an example to those who shall come after them. 

"Poor Mrs. S. is very much burnt; poor little 
S., scorched ; but you will be shocked when you 
come to learn the particulars and know how near 
they were perishing. What a lesson never to 
sleep without committing our souls to God in 
Christ; for we can never know in which world 
we shall awake." 

" I do not know whether you have read Robert- 
son's America. In this doubt, I have sent to the 
library for Anquetil, or the first volume of Rollin, 
an author who, although prolix, and in some de- 
gree credulous, ought by all means to be read. I 
could wish you, before you proceed much farther 
in history, to read Priestley's lectures on that sub- 
ject, which I think you will find very useful. 
Bear always in mind, that he is a Socinian ; for 
his principles tincture every thing he writes. Profit 
by his science, while you lament his errors in di- 
vinity, and hang on the only hope of everlasting 
life set before you." 



"I send Plutarch, and would have sent some 
other very pretty books, if it had not been for 



176 MEMOIRS OF 

your prohibition. So will not write to me ; 

I must tell him, Mr. Richardson places the writ- 
ing of his three most successful and admired 
works, to his having- been employed, when under 
eleven years of age, to write letters for some 
young ladies to their friends and admirers. I am 

afraid at the rate goes on, we shall never see 

a Pamela from his hand." 

On the Sunday preceding the pulling down the 
old white meeting-house, to erect in its place the 
present circular church, an appropriate sermon was 
preached by Dr. Hollinshead. The circumstances 
of the case were stated in a letter, from which the 
following extract is made : " Some foolish girls 
laughed at the parting sermon. Some feeling ones 
cried, and many of the old standards were very 
much aflfected. I was among this number ; but 
my feelings were rather pleasurable than other- 
wise ; for I confess the pulling down a decaying 
edifice, to build a more convenient and hand- 
some one, made me think of the pulling down of 
the decaying body of a saint, by death, to build 
it up anew, without spot or blemish ; and although 
nature feels some regret at parting with our old 
bodies, as well as with our old churches, it is a 
regret chastened with a cheerful and glorious hope 
of a resurrection unto life eternal ; but this is a 
very serious letter for such young correspondents, 
yet, I hope not more serious than their well in- 
formed mind will relish on a serious occasion." 



MRS. RAMSAY. 177 

On the departure of Miss Futerell for England. 
" If you do not all feel very sorrowful, I pity you ; 
if you do all feel very sorrowful, I pity you. Yet 
I wish you all to be sorrowful, for it is in our cir- 
cumstances a sacred duty as well as a tender feel- 
ing ; and, to you young ones, may be an initiatory 
lesson on the vanity of human life and human 
hopes ; and teach you to set your hearts there, 
where true and unchanging joys are only to be 
found." 



Written nine days after the death of her father^ to 
her husband. 

Charleston, December 17, 1792. 
My very dear husband, — You have doubtless 
heard, by this time, that I am fatherless, and will 
feel for me in proportion to the great love you 
have always shown me, and your intimate know- 
ledge of my frame, and the love I had for my dear 
departed parent. Never was stroke to an affec- 
tionate child more awful and unexpected than this 
has been to me. I had heard from my dear father, 
that he was somewhat indisposed, but not confined 
even to the house ; however, last Tuesday and 
Wednesday week I was seized with so inexpres- 
sible a desire to see him, that nothing could ex- 
ceed it, and nothing could satisfy it, but the going 
to see him. Accordingly, on Wednesday noon, 



178 MEMOIRS OF 

very much against my family and personal conve- 
nience, I set out with faithful Tira and little Kitty, 
and slept that night at Mrs. Loocock's ; the next 
morning- it rained, but I could not be restrained. 
I proceeded to Mepkin, and arrived there at one 
o'clock, wet to the skin. I found my dear father 
indisposed, as I thought, but not ill. He con- 
versed on indifferent matters ; seemed very much 
delighted with my presence; told me I was a 
pleasant child to him, and God would bless me 
as long as I lived ; and at twenty minutes before 
eight o'clock, retired to rest. The next morning, 
at seven o'clock, I went to his bedside ; he again 
commended my tenderness to him, and told me 
he had passed a wakeful night ; talked to me of 
Kitty and of you ; had been up and given out the 
barn-door key, as usual. At eight I went to break- 
fast. In about ten minutes I had despatched my 
meal, returned to him, and thought his speech 
thick, and that he wavered a little in his discourse. 
I asked him if I might send for Dr. McCormick ; 
he told me if I desired a consultation, I might ; 
but that he had all confidence in my skill, and 
was better. I asked him why his breathing was 
laborious ; he said he did not know, and almost 
immediately fell into his last agony ; and a bitter 
agony it was ; though, perhaps, he did not feel it. 
At ten o'clock, next day, I closed his venerable 
eyes. Oh, my dear husband, you know how I 



MRS. RAMSAY. 179 

have dreaded this stroke ; how I have wished first 
to sleep in death, and therefore you can tell the 
sorrows of my spirit ; indeed they have heen, in- 
deed they are, very great. I have been, and I am 
in the depths of affliction ; but I have never felt 
one murmuring- thought ; I have never uttered one 
murmuring word. Who am I, a poor vile wretch, 
that I should oppose my will to the will of God, 
who is all-wise and all-gracious ; on the contrary, 
I have been greatly supported ; and if I may but 
be following Christ, am willing to take up every 
cross, which may be necessary or profitable for 
me. Our dear children are well. Eleanor comes 
to my bedside, reads the Bible for me, and tells me 
of a heavenly country, where there is no trouble. 
Feeling more than ever my dependence on you for 
countenance, for support and kindness, and in the 
midst of sorrow, not forgetting to thank God that 
I have so valuable, so kind, and so tender a friend ; 
I remain, niy dear husband, your obliged and 
grateful wife. Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



Mrs. Ramsay to Mrs. Keith, when travelling in tha 
Northern States ivith her Husband, the Rev. Dr. 
Keith. 

Charleston, Septembers, 1808. 
My dear Mrs. Keith, — As my letter is only 

meant to express the feelings of my heart for Dr. 

Keith and yourself, I request you will give your- 



180 MEMOIRS OF 

self no anxiety about answering it. I shall re- 
joice to hear of your welfare through other chan- 
nels, and shall not expect any direct communica- 
tion till the time when Providence shall return you 
safely to your old habitation, and I shall again 
enjoy those intercourses of affectionate Christian 
friendship, which have so often delighted and 
warmed my heart. 

Miss S. was so good as to allow us the reading 
of your very affecting letter, wherein you give an 
account of Mrs. W.'s renewed afflictions, and of 
your first meeting. She has, indeed, been closely 
disciplined in the school of suffering ; and one 
cannot read of her grief, but with a weeping eye ; 
but I think it was a kind Providence that sent Dr. 
Keith to her just at that time, and I make no 
doubt, she will sing of this mercy, and I hope 
also of many others in the midst of the apparent 
frowns of her heavenly Father, and under the 
gracious, though, for the present, painful chastise- 
ments of his hand. I have tenderly participated 
in the happy and Christian meeting with Dr. Keith's 
relations, and in all the well-merited respect and 
affection, which you have received through all 
your journey ; and I have been proud in my heart 
to say, well, this is our minister; these are our 
friends ; in short, my dear Mrs. Keith, you have 
■been in all my thoughts, in all my prayers; and 
no day has passed that we have not spoken of you 



MRS. RAMSAY. 181 

in the family, more or less. Our city has been 
most uncommonly healthy, and yet there have been 
several remarkable deaths, from which we may 
learn and fear, and be mindful of our blessed Sa- 
viour's admonition to us, always to watch. Among 
these, may be numbered Mr. M., who, after a very 
few days' warning, was, about a fortnight ago, called 
from time to eternity. By his death, a new breach 
is made in a family which has lately experienced 
severe bereavements; and yesterday the remains 
of that picture of strength and health. Dr. B., were 
committed to their parent earth with great funeral 
solemnity, and amidst an amazing concourse of 
spectators. His illness was but of three days' 
continuance, and I believe no apprehensions of 
danger were entertained for him, till within a few 
hours of his dissolution. His youngest child had 
been ill for some time, and died about twenty-four 
hours after its father. May you, my very dear 
friends, continue to experience the guardian care 
of our God and Saviour through the remainder of 
your journey. May you be happy in his presence ; 
and having enjoyed a full measure of temporal and 
spiritual blessings, may you return safe and satis- 
fied ; you, my dear Mrs. Keith, to a circle of fond 
relatives and friends, and you, my honoured pas- 
tor, to dispense again, to your attached people, 
those instructions of wisdom and piety with which 
16 



182 



MEMOIRS OF 



they have been so often delighted and edified. 
From your affectionate friend, 

Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



The following letters were addressed to 
Miss Elizabeth Brailsford. They are without 
date, but from circumstances appear to have 
been written in England, and consequently 
between the sixteenth and twenty-sixth years 
of her age. These letters are arranged in the 
order in which they were received. 

My dear B. — What do you think of my beg- 
ging your acceptance of a pack of cards 1 Yes, 
I do, indeed, and sincerely hope you may under- 
stand so well how to manage them as to be a con- 
tinual winner. Those who play with these cards 
seek to gain, not heaps of shining dust, but an in- 
heritance incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth 
not away. Oh, may we learn wisdom from the 
children of this generation ; and not suffer their 
care for things temporal to outdo ours for things 
eternal. See how the gambler gives up his time 
and talents, and neglects his sleep and meals to 
gratify his ruling passion; and shall we, who 
have so glorious an object to engage our affections 
as the precious Saviour, and whose highest aim 
should be to love and serve him ; shall we, I say, 



MRS. RAMSAY. 183 

fold our arms in shameful inactivity and be con- 
tent with our low attainments 1 May g-race for- 
bid, and may the desirable end in view animate 
our zeal, enliven our hearts and stir us up to 
greater dilig-ence. It often makes me tremble to 
behold the unutterable ardour with which worldly 
persons pursue their beloved amusements, and 
with how much languor I follow him whom I ac- 
knowledge as the Sovereign of my heart, and pos- 
sessor of my warmest passions. I reason with 
myself thus : surely he whom my soul loveth is 
infinitely more estimable than the idol of these 
deluded mortals ; and if I were as much in earnest 
in my pursuits as they are in theirs, I should act 
as consistently as they do. Then am I bowed 
down, and my spirits droop ; sorrow overwhelms 
me ; I go mournfully ; and am ready to cry out, I 
am no Christian, no child of God, till the conde- 
scending Jesus speaks this comfortable language 
to my soul : " Fear not, thou trembling worm. I 
am thy salvation ; I have loved thee, and will love 
thee ; I hear thy groanings, and thy complaint is 
not hid from me. I bear the imperfections of th}'- 
best services, as well as the guilt of thy worst 
sins ; thy restlessness, because thou lovest me no 
more, and thy desires to love me better shall be 
accepted as an evidence cf thy sincerity ; be not 
faithless, but believing; pray without ceasing, 
and leave thy cause in my kind hands ; the men 



184 MEMOIRS OF 

of the world have nothing to resist ; every thing 
co-operates with their inclination, and, therefore, 
is their way, for the present, easy. Thou hast 
mighty enemies to oppose ; the lust of the eye, the 
lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are all in 
league with thy wicked heart against thee ; yet, 
fear not ; look unto me, the Captain of thy salva- 
tion. Though thy foes be many, they shall not 
overcome thee ; for I have undertaken for thee, 
and I will bring thee safely through. When these 
lovers of the world, having had their good things, 
and enjoyed the portion which they have chosen, 
are shut out of my kingdom, then shalt thou ap- 
pear with boldness in the glory of thy Lord ; and 
having passed through floods of conflict, and 
seas of tribulation, and thy robes being washed in 
the blood of the Lamb, thou shalt no longer 
mourn thy frailty and lament thy deficiencies ; but 
for ever thou shalt serve me perfectly and enjoy 
me fully." 

Oh, may we no longer be ungrateful to so kind 
a Master; but with our whole soul and strength, 
renounce the world and follow him ; may he shed 
abroad his love into our hearts, begetting love in 
us, and so captivate us with his matchless beauty, 
that we may be crucified to the world and all its 
follies. Draw us, thou loving Saviour, and we 
will run after thee. Reign thou the unrivalled 
sovereign of our hearts, and let nothing tempt our 



M R S. R A M S A Y. 185 

souls to wander from thee. Oh, feed us, day by 
day, with the bread of life, and let the heavenly 
food diffuse new vigour and alacrity through all 
our members, that thus strengthened and refreshed, 
we may go on rejoicing in our way to Sion, and 
with holy transport praise continually the God of 
our salvation. 

I hope, Brailsford, you will excuse the length 
of this scribble. I have unwarily enlarged my 
limits, and I fear have trespassed on your pa- 
tience, but the adorable Redeemer and his pleasant 
paths are themes so delightful, and to converse 
with you an employment so agreeable, that I did 
not know how to lay down my pen. 

I think Mason deserves at least the appellation 
of a pious writer ; and though his style is by no 
means elegant, yet the sweet comfort and spiritual 
instruction which many of his writings contain, 
make them worthy to be read by all those who are 
in pursuit ftot of the shadow but the substance. 

I should have no good idea of any professor who 
could not delight in a sermon, however excellent, 
that was not delivered with the embellishments of 
oratory, or like any book which was not dressed 
with the graces of fine language. A diamond, 
though unpolished, possesses intrinsic worth ; and 
gospel truths, however expressed, are highly valu- 
able, and will be relished by every sincere Chris- 
16* 



186 MEMOIRS OF 

tian, even from the lips of the most unlettered 
memher. 

I shall see you in about an hour's time, or per- 
haps sooner ; till then, adieu. Receive the most 
affectionate greetings from yours, 

M. Laurens. 



Till now, my dear girl, I never knew how 
much I loved you; the loss of your company 
pains me exceedingly, and I lament your absence 
with unfeigned regret. From my first acquaintance 
I have been attached to you, and every month has 
beheld you growing in my esteem ; but in the last 
week which I spent with you, you have entirely 
finished the conquest, and imprinted on my soul 
your beloved image, in characters so indelible, 
that neither time nor absence can ever erase them. 
How often since the 31st of July have I wished 
for my Brailsford ; never have I beheld a beautiful 
prospect, but I thought with how much more 
pleasure I should enjoy it, if you were with me, 
and with what satisfaction we should join in ador- 
ing the Divine hand, which so bountifully clothes 
the earth with elegance, and enriches it with 
plenty for the conveniency and delight of unde- 
serving man. 

As we are generally willing to believe what we 
wish, I cannot help thinking that my dear Eliza 
feels for me, in some deg-ree, what I do for her; 



MRS. RAMSAY. 187 

and that I have at least some little part in her ten- 
derest affections. 

I trust, too, that our regard for each other is 
founded on a noble basis ; and that, united by- 
Christian bonds, our friendship will be eternal. I 
glory in an intimacy with one who seems so sin- 
cere a lover of the Lord Jesus, and with whose 
conversation I have been so often delighted and 
refreshed ; and the very thought of our treading 
together the narrow way that leads to bliss, re- 
joices me beyond expression. How much reason 
have I for thankfulness, that at a time when my 
heart is peculiarly softened, and I have an utter 
disrelish for all worldly company, God has blessed 
me with a friend, who will not despise me for an 
attachment to religion, but rather encourage and 
assist me in my progress. I recollect, with a mix- 
ture of joy and sorrow, some moments that we 
have spent together, when free from intruders, and 
could with pleasure transport myself to the dear 
little room. 

Yet, dear friend, though mountains lie between 
us, and a vast extent of land separates our mortal 
frames, do not our souls hold intimate commu- 
nion ! They do. 

Absent in body, not in mind, 
Our souls continue one. 
Shall I not add : 

While each to each in Jesus joined, 

We happily go on. 



1 88 M E M I R S F 

If in Jesus, it must be happily; what thoug-h for- 
tune fail, friends forsake, and enemies triumph, let 
us walk together in Jesus. 

We cannot sink with such a prop 
As bears the world and all things up. 

Oh ! Brailsford, what unbelieving hearts must 
we have, if we ever distrust a gracious Provi- 
dence, or indulge anxiety a moment. Who has 
upheld us from our mother's womb, and who pre- 
served us in each changing scene of life from va- 
rious dangers ! Who but the same God, who is 
still kind, and whose compassion extends far be- 
yond our utmost thoughts, far, far beyond our 
deserts. 

Let us not fear them, but confide in him whose 
promise never fails. The Rock of Ages is our 
security, Jesus our advocate, and the Spirit our 
guide and comforter. 

Each trial and distress loses its unpleasing as- 
pect, regarded as the messenger of good to our 
souls, as the mark of our adoption, and our privi- 
lege as heirs of heaven. In Jesus, then, let us 
still go on ; it will, it must, it cannot fail of being 
happily for us. 

To view him bearing his cross w^ill sweeten 
ours, and make it pleasant. He having finished 
his work, and gained the victory for us ; as our 
forerunner he is gone to prepare for us places, in- 
finitely glorious, and sufficiently delightful, to 



MRS. RAMSAY. 189 

counterbalance every troublesome incident, and 
each difficulty we may meet with in the rugged 
road of life. 

My dear Brailsford, — It gives me great con- 
cern to be so long without seeing you ; but as no- 
thing save the weather prevents me, I will not 
complain ; for I think to be angry with the wea- 
ther is but an oblique murmuring against him at 
whose command the winds blow and the rains 
fall. I hoped that your dear mamma's spirits are 
not greatly depressed, and I especially trust that 
my dear Brailsford, to the honour of her Christian 
character, exerts her every influence in the service, 
and to the comfort of this dear mamma, and that 
her very countenance tends to dissipate melan- 
choly. Am I not saucy to dictate to you, who 
are far more capable of instructing me 1 I hope 
you do not deem it so, since I mean not to teach, 
but merely, according to the sentiment of the wise 
man, " As iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the coun- 
tenance of a man his friend," to speak freely to 
my much esteemed Eliza, and in compliance with 
the precept of the apostle, "To exhort her to love 
and good works ;" besides, my dear, it serves the 
double purpose of setting me on my guard ; for 
since the death of our pious friend, till the last 
evening, a thick gloom has hung around my 
brow ; and very much unfitted me for every rela- 



190 MEMOIRS OF 

tive duty ; but prayer and reflection have taught 
resig-nation, and blessed be God that it is with a 
degree of sweet experience that I sing, 

Trials make the promise sweet, 
Trials give new life to prayer, 

Trials lay me at his feet, 

Lay me low and keep me there. 

To a blessed perfection are they indeed arrived, 
who can number their sweetest moments among 
the times of their sharpest trials ; and v/ho, in the 
deepest night of affliction, can rejoice in the God 
of their salvation. 

My highest ambition is to have my will lost in 
the will of a kind, unerring God ; and under every 
dispensation to lie as a submissive, humble child 
at the feet of a compassionate father ; to be made 
one with Christ, and simply to follow the Lamb 
whithersoever he leads, since we may rest assured 
that the end of the journey, and the kingdom into 
which we shall enter, will sufllciently compensate 
for all the troubles of the way. I beg pardon, my 
dear friend, for having detained you so long ; but 
when once I begin a conversation with you, I 
know not where to end. Burn, I beseech you, 
this scrawl as soon as you have read it. My un- 
cle and aunt, my dear friend, are neither of them 
well ; methinks I see your friendly bosom heave 
with sympathetic sorrow. I shall be particularly 
obliged to you for the Archbishop of Cambray's 



MRS. RAMSAY. 191 

Dissertation on Pure Love, and will take great 
care of the book. 

My love to your mamma and Susan, and believe 
me, your ever affectionate M. Laurens. 



You will rejoice to hear, my dear Brailsford, 
that I have had the most abiding sense of my own 
nothingness, and lived in the most happy nearness 
to my covenant God and Father, ever since I left 
Bristol. I do not know that I have been one day 
straitened in prayer, or backward in duty. The 
candle of the Lord hath indeed shone bright upon 
me, and the precious Saviour hath manifested his 
pardoning love and merciful acceptance in a most 
wonderful manner to my soul. I had for a long 
while before been walking in darkness and dis- 
tress, longing for a return of such days as I had 
once experienced ; and crying out in bitterness of 
spirit. Oh that it were with me as in times past, that 
the shadows would disperse and the reviving light 
break in upon my benighted soul ; at length I 
submitted myself wholly to God ; acknowledged 
that his hand was not shortened that he could not 
save, nor his ear heavy that he could not hear; 
but it was my iniquities that had separated be- 
tween him and my soul, and brought me thus low. 
I bowed at his feet, desiring to be filled with re- 
signation, and enabled to declare him righteous 



192 MEMOIRS OF 

m all his ways and just in all his judgments, 
even though I should go mourning all my days. 
I hated myself because of all my vileness, and 
resolved, before the Lord, that if I could not find 
comfort in him, I would never, never seek it in 
any thing besides. I set myself more diligently 
to read the word of God ; lived as much as pos- 
sible in silence and retirement, endeavoured un- 
waveringly to fix my eye upon a bleeding, loving, 
sin-atoning Jesus ; and without ceasing, said unto 
him, for thy passion's sake restore my comfort ; 
yet not my will, but thine be done. I would not 
follow thee merely for the loaves and fishes, but 
be content to partake also of the wormwood and 
gall; and, oh, my dear B., when he had thus 
humbled me, made me to suffer for sin, and brought 
me to the foot of the cross, he gave me in a mo- 
ment that which he had so long withheld, and sa- 
tiated my longing soul. From that time I have 
been in a most desirable frame, day by day, enjoy- 
ing sensible communion Avith him whom my soul 
loveth, and filled with abundance of heavenly con- 
solation. My conscience has been made very ten- 
der, and I am more than ever fearful of grieving 
the Spirit of God, and falling into such a course 
of folly as shall provoke him to depart ; yet withal 
I have a thorn in my flesh, something to keep me 
from being puifed up with these large measures 
of comfort. Whenever pride begins to rear its 



MRS. RAMSAY. 193 

head and swell its haug-hty bosom, I think of that 
levity which tinctures all my actions, and makes 
my behaviour oftentimes very unworthy the pro- 
fession of a Christian. I am now striving and 
praying most earnestly against a trifling spirit, and 
hope, through the grace of God, that my labour 
shall not be in vain in the Lord. From my first 
conviction I loved my Bible, but it is now become 
most peculiarly precious to me. I esteem it in- 
deed, " as a bundle of myrrh, and a most delight- 
ful nosegay." The contemplation of its divine 
truths engages me to live much in prayer ; and 
the more I pray, the more disposed I find myself 
to search and study the Scriptures. Assist me, 
my dear fellow traveller, to sing the praises of that 
Jesus, who has thus wrought wonders for me, and 
brought me out of great darkness into his mar- 
vellous light. 

Rejoice with me, that I, who am le.ss than the 
least of all saints, and utterly unworthy the least 
drop of comfort, should be thus blessed with 
the plenteousness of God's love, and satisfied with 
large draughts of living water. 

I was reading, a few mornings ago, the third of 
Hebrews, and I resolved in my mind to mention 
it to you the first time I wrote. It appears to me 
one of the most expressive paintings of the dread- 
ful nature of an evil heart of unbelief in the whole 
Bible; and to contain enough to incite us to a 
17 



194 



MEMOIRS OF 



continual praying, that that cursed sin may not 
hinder us from entering into the rest prepared for 
the people of God. 



My dear Brailsford, — With regard to our 
journey, the hand of God, that kind and bountiful 
hand, which from the first moment of our lives 
has been showering upon us innumerable benefits, 
was still over and with us to guard and to guide. 
It was well worth being detained a few days in 
Bristol, to have the roads in the agreeable state 
which we found them ; and I think I may learn 
from henceforward never to murmur at any disap- 
pointment, but to believe that every particular cir- 
cumstance is ordered for some wise and good end. 
I am happy to inform you, my dear aunt's amend- 
ment is answerable to our most sanguine expec- 
tations. I hope that breathing this fine air for two 
or three months, will give her as much health as 
her delicate constitution will admit of. My dear 
uncle is in much the same state as when he left 
you ; friendship interests itself in all the concerns 
of the beloved object, and makes its cares and 
pleasures her own ; to you, therefore, there needs 
no apology for treating particularly on the health 
and affairs of my dearer halves ; on the contrary, 
should I neglect them, you would be disgusted with 
my ingratitude and banish me from your esteem. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 195 

From the window where I sit, I behold cloud- 
topt hills and lowly valleys, rural cottages, and 
pretty chirping birds, which form a pleasing va- 
riety to charm the senses and fill the heart of every 
susceptible creature with sentiments of love and 
gratitude to the beneficent Creator. Our parlour 
commands a view of the sea, and as the wind has 
been pretty high, I have had an opportunity of 
observing the awful w^orks of Nature, while the 
swelling billows, with an angry roar, dash them- 
selves against the submissive sand. 

I hope soon to see you in Teignmouth ; but 
should the decree of Providence appoint another 
lot for you, believe me, I shall ever be tenderly 
solicitous about your welfare ; your temporal, but 
especially your spiritual concerns will ever lie 
near my heart, and I shall never cease to entreat 
a merciful and prayer-hearing God, for the sake 
of our dear Saviour, to grant you abundance of 
grace, to strengthen you with might by his Spirit 
in the inner man, and so to lead you here with his 
counsel, that hereafter he may receive you into 
those mansions of unfading bliss, which he hath 
prepared for every true believer. 

That the blessings of God may ever attend you, 
is the constant wish and prayer of your affection- 
ate friend, M. Laurens. 



196 MEMOIRS OF 

To Mrs. Wilson. 

My dear cousin, — I send you the book, Dod- 
dridge's Rise and Progress of Religion, which I 
promised, and which I beg you will accept as a 
token of my affection. I think it a most excellent 
treatise, well calculated to awaken those who are 
careless about their soul's salvation, and full of 
heavenly comfort for those who are in trouble of 
mind, body, or estate ; you are very much on my 
heart and in my thoughts, and my earnest prayer 
to God for you is, that he may support you in all 
your trials, and so sanctify them to you, that in 
the end you may have reason to bless him for 
what at present seems most bitter and severe ; and 
to say, "It is good for me that I have been 
afflicted, for now have I learned thy word." With 
sincere Christian sympathy and friendship, I re- 
main your affectionate M. L. Ramsay. 

October 22, 1790. 



Note to Miss Julianna Hazlehurst. 

April, 1811. 
My dear JULIANA, — Will you oblige me so far 
as to lend me the Memoirs of Miss Elizabeth 
Smith. This book is not in the library, which is 
the cause of your receiving this little note of en- 
treaty from your admirer, and affectionate friend, 

M. L. Ramsay. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 197 

To this an answer was returned, but by mistake ad- 
dressed to the daughter Martha, instead of the mo- 
ther of the same name, which occasioned the follow- 
ing note : 

To Miss Hazlehurst. 

I SHALL never again be able, my dear Juliana, to 
reproach my daughter, M. H. L. R., for writing a 
careless note, and still more careless hand, since 
her discriminating neighbour has seen no differ- 
ence between her performance and mine, in either 
style or penmanship. 

From your favourable opinion of Miss Smith's 
Memoirs, I shall read the book with a preposses- 
sion unfavourable to impartial judgment, so much 
am I influenced by the opinion of those I esteem 
and love. I am, dear Juliana, your affectionate 
Martha, Senior. 



To Miss Hazlehurst. 
If, my dear Juliana, the contents of the annexed 
note, (an acceptance on the part of the Rev. Dr. 
Kollock, of an invitation to breakfast the next 
morning,) joined to the pleasure your company will 
give us, have any weight with you, I request you 
will breakfast with us. Dr. Kollock was the first 
person who mentioned, Elizabeth Smith to us with 
tender encomium. You have known how to ap- 
preciate her merit ; and I believe so sincere has 
17* 



198 MEMOIRS OF 

been your admiration of it, that in the most valu- 
able circumstances of her life, you are imitating 
her example. I hope I shall feel that you are as 
obliging to those you love, as she was, by your 
permitting me to introduce a person on whom ma- 
ternal care has been so well bestowed, to a gen- 
tleman, (Dr. Kollock,) so capable of valuing 
female merit. I remain your affectionate 

Patty. 
April 9, 1811. 

— ♦— 

To Miss Hazlehurst. 

If you are not acquainted with Bishop Taylor's 
writings, I am persuaded you will find many 
things in the book (Taylor's Holy Living and 
Dying) which I send you, which will be pleasing 
to your intelligent and pious mind. The devo- 
tions for solemn festivals are, I think, very pa- 
thetic, and show him to have been a man deeply 
exercised in religious matters. If they contribute 
to edification or consolation, I shall rejoice to have 
thought of the book and of you at the same time. 
From your affectionate friend, 

Martha Laurens Ramsay. 

April 12, 1811. 

— « 

To Miss Sproat. 

Charleston, January 10, 1794. 
My dear Miss Sproat, — The wish you express 
in Mrs. Keith's letter, that I should write to you, 



MRS. RAMSAY. 199 

is of that nature, that I cannot refuse to comply 
with it ; and were my ability to say any thing to 
the purpose on the subject, equal to my feelings 
and sympathy on the sad occasion of your sor- 
rows, I should not write in vain ; but alas, in such 
mournful seasons as you have experienced, vain is 
the help of man. None, but the hand which has 
smitten, can heal, and God, that has cast down, 
can alone raise and support the afflicted and de- 
jected soul. Yet I know it is our duty to weep 
with those that weep, and our privilege to draw 
nigh to the throne of grace for others as well as 
for ourselves ; I hope I have not failed in this 
duty, or in the exercise of this privilege with re- 
gard to your family. You have been very much 
in my thoughts and on my heart, and, by day and 
by night, I have not ceased to make mention of 
you in my prayers, that God would be your refuge 
and strength, a very present help in trouble. Per- 
haps we never feel so much of the goodness of 
God as in times of deep affliction, when they are 
accompanied by that sanctifying grace, which I 
trust has had, and will continue to have its opera- 
tion under the great and repeated bereavements 
which you have met with, and are still lamenting. 
When the soul, with deep humility and sincerity, 
is brought to say, I will bear the indignation of 
the Lord, because I have sinned against him, and 
to lament that evil of its nature and those trans- 



200 MEMOIRS OF 

gressions of heart and life, which make chastise- 
ments necessary, either to call us to repentance or 
to quicken us in our way : Then is the light of 
God's countenance ready to rise upon it, for he 
doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children 
of men, but sendeth afflictions in mercy to his 
people, that they may search and try their ways, 
and turn again to their God, who is only waiting 
for this return to show them how gracious he is, 
and what tender compassions are found in his 
heart. When our earthly comforts fail, then we 
feel the blessing of having a heavenly and never- 
failing friend, who is with us, and watching over 
us at all times ; but whom we are too apt to forget 
in what we call the day of our prosperity, and 
never truly to turn to, till repeated and sore dis- 
appointments have taught us the vanity of all 
earthly expectations and created good. Then, like 
the prodigal, dissatisfied with our husks, and our 
far and desolate country, we turn our faces Sion- 
ward, we call upon God our Father, and desire to 
be fed with that bread which cometh down from 
heaven ; and this is the Lord's opportunity ; it is 
to bring us to this humility of spirit, this broken- 
ness of spirit, this fitness to receive divine com- 
munications, that he sends us those afflictive 
Providences, which force our consciences to a 
stand, make us examine and try our ways, and 
lift our hearts as well as our hands to God in the 



MRS. RAMSAY. 201 

heavens. Then it is that God makes us feel his 
all-sufficiency to support and comfort us ; to bring- 
good out of evil ; and by his divine presence and 
consolations, makes up to us all our earthly losses, 
and heals our bleeding hearts ; and thus it is, dear 
Miss Sproat, that I hope you v^^ill be enabled to 
sing of mercy, as vv^ell as judgment. Great have 
been your trials, but great, also, has been the ad- 
mixture of divine compassion. You have good 
hope through grace, for the dear friends, who by an 
awful Providence have been taken from you, that 
they are not lost, but gone before. Your dear and 
honoured father particularly was ripe for glory, 
and is gone to receive the reward of his pious 
labours. And in the midst of your tears for your- 
self, your heart should feel some joy for your 
friends, that they have an everlasting period put 
to all their sins, and sorrows, and temptations 
here below, and have their souls full of holiness ; 
their hearts filled with joy, and their mouths with 
the everlasting praises of that God and Saviour, 
who hath brought them safely through their pil- 
grimage and fixed them in the new Jerusalem, be- 
yond the fear of falling ; and now what remains 
for us to do, but with faith and patience to follow 
those who are now inheriting the promises. God 
gives us line upon line, and precept upon precept, 
but perhaps no precepts sink so deep in our hearts 
as those which come in the form of crosses. We 



292 MEMOIRS OF 

hear good sermons, we read good books, but whole 
years of hearing and reading do not teach us so 
much of the vanity of the creature, and of our de- 
pendence on God, as the running dry of one spring 
of earthly enjoyment, and we hardly ever feel this 
the wilderness world which, in reality, it is, till 
some of our comforts fail or forsake us, and we 
begin one way or other to feel very much alone in 
it ; then we turn to God, and desire to find in him 
that rest to our souls, which we can find in no- 
thing else. I am no novice, my dear Miss Sproat, 
in the school of affliction. I have known outward 
trials and inward pangs ; and I pray the great 
Captain of our salvation, who himself was a man 
of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, to give us 
both such a sanctified use of our respective 
crosses, that we may be the better for them in 
time, and praise him for them through all eternity. 
I trust the heavy cloud of your bereavements 
has burst with some blessings over us here. Our 
worthy Mr. Keith appears to have been affected 
and touched to very good purpose ; and has given 
us not a few such sermons since the visitation on 
your city, and the deaths in your family, as show 
his mind to have been most piously exercised, and 
of which he will see the blessed effects when he 
comes to find out more perfectly in heaven, than 
he can or than it would be right for him to know 
on earth, the souls whom he has edified, strength- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 203 

ened, and comforted by his faithful labours among 
us. I have, by one circumstance or other, been 
much less with your dear sister than I could have 
wished ; but I am happy to say that God, in whom 
she believed, has graciously supported her under 
her pressures of mind and great bodily weakness ; 
and has enabled her to glorify him by a calm and 
Christian resignation to his will ; and I trust he 
will bring her out of this furnace as gold seven 
times purified. My dear Miss Sproat, I pray God 
to bless her and you and the remaining branches 
of your family; and feel my heart particularly 
drawn out for the little baby left in your care, that 
you may be a mutual blessing to each other ; and 
I remain, with great sympathy and affection, yours, 
Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



Charleston, Sept. 13, 1796. 
My dear Miss Sproat, — I feel myself under 
the awful necessity of being the bearer of heavy 
tidings to you; and I confess that I shrink so 
much from the task that I have hardly resolution 
to hold the pen. Nevertheless, in cases of duty 
we must not confer with flesh and blood, but en- 
deavour to act with firmness. Need I keep your 
mind any longer in the anguish of suspense ? Our 
pious friend, your sister in the flesh, our sister in 
Christ, our dear Mrs. Keith, shall I say she is 



204 MEMOIRS OF 

dead, or with more Christian propriety express 
myself by saying, she who has long lived the life 
of faith on earth, now lives, as our hope and be- 
lief for her in Jesus is, the life of vision and glory 
in heaven 1 She who but a few hours ago was im- 
bodied in flesh, troubled by sin, depressed by 
weakness, is now a glorified spirit, free from sin, 
free from sorrow, and has for ever done with the 
evils of mortality ; it is so, indeed, my dear Miss 
Sproat. At five o'clock this morning, your dear 
sister bid farewell to sin and sorrow, after an ill- 
ness (supposed to be an affection of the liver) not 
deemed dangerous till within these eight days. 
Mr. Keith and the little girl lately taken under 
their protection had both been sick for some time. 
Mrs. Keith was complaining, but not enough to 
alarm her friends, till about the time I have men- 
tioned above. From the day she was thought 
seriously ill she has declined very rapidly, and for 
some part of this time her ideas suffered consider- 
able derangement. Nevertheless she has given 
such testimonies of her confidence in God, of her 
trust in and dependence on her Saviour, even in 
the dark valley of the shadow of death, as are 
highly consolatory to us who have witnessed 
them. As long as she could speak she spoke for 
Christ, and when she had no longer the power of 
utterance, with any degree of ease, she gave signs 
of joy, and short answers expressive that the pro- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 205 

mises which we whispered in her ear were savingly, 
preciously, comfortahly applied to her heart. And 
now, my dear Miss Sproat, what shall I say to 
you ? I feel disposed to say to you, in the midst 
of the sorrows of nature and the bemoanings of 
sisterly affection, Rejoice in the Lord, and again I 
say, Rejoice. Let the thoughts of her bliss, of the 
glory with which she is now surrounded, of which 
she is now possessed, enable you not only to sub- 
mit, but even to rejoice in this tribulation ; and 
may the Spirit of grace and consolation bring 
such promises and gospel supports to your recol- 
lection as may be suited to your case, and which, 
did I feel myself equal to the undertaking, I could 
but suggest ; He only could apply. I should say 
something of our very dear friend Mr. Keith. Oh, 
he behaves under this trial like the affectionate 
friend, the tender, bowed down, bereaved husband ; 
yet like the exercised, the experienced, the esta- 
blished Christian. I trust he has learned many a 
useful lesson from our departed friend, and I hope 
he will now be enabled to put them in practice. 
You will excuse me from writing more at length ; 
I feel myself too much overcome to be able to do 
it. May God support and comfort our dear Mr. 
Keith, Mrs. Spencer, you, my dear Miss Sproat, 
and all most intimately interested in the dear de- 
ceased ; and sanctify this stroke of his providence 
to many in the congregation, who have been wit- 
18 



206 MEMOIRS OF 

nesses of her zeal and sincerity in the service of 
our dear Lord and Master ; that, in addition to the 
good she has done while living-, she, though dead 
in the flesh, yet living in our hearts, may still 
speak to the glory of God and the good of souls. 
With my sincere prayers for you, my dear Miss 
Sproat, I remain with sympathizing regard, your 
friend and servant, 

Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



To Miss M. E. L. Pinckney. 

" That it is better to go to the house of mourn- 
ing," is not only one of those assertions which, 
coming from the pen of inspiration, we are bound 
humbly to receive as truth ; but I believe, dear 
Mary, the experience of every feeling heart, which 
has gone on but a moderate w^ay in the journey 
of life, will testify, that by the occasional sadness 
of the countenance the heart is made better ; and 
that sympathy with our fellow-creatures is not 
only grateful to them, but useful to ourselves. 

I went early into the garden to breathe fresh 
air, and delight myself wdth the fair face of na- 
ture, and to cut some sweet flowers for my sweet 
Fan and you. None of your cousins are yet 
stirring, and I thought I would write a little note 
in their stead. The tone of my mind has framed 
the style of my letter. We are going this morn 



MRS. RAMSAY. 207 

ing- to attend the funeral of our dear respected Mr. 
Coram; and this evening or afternoon our poor 
Jack will be carried to his last earthly home. As 
we ought to learn good from every thing, I hope 
I shall profit by the lessons of to-day, and not only 
rejoice in the many sunshine days of my life, but 
to make a good use too of a cloudy one. It seems 
a long- time since I have seen Fan and you. I 
think your cousins, as well as myself, would be 
delighted if you were to come early and drink tea 
with them. Darling Sabina, with all her youthful 
spirits, has shown so much feeling for poor Mrs. 
Coram, as makes me love and admire that sweet 
elasticity of her virtuous mind, thus accommo- 
dating itself to passing circumstances, more than 
I can express. Adieu, dear girls, and believe me 
tenderly yours, M. L. Ramsay. 



EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS WRITTEN BY MRS. RAM- 
SAY, TO HER SON AT PRINCETON COLLEGE.* 

From Martha Laurens Ramsay, to David Ramsay, 
Junior, at Princeton College. 

Charleston, May 7, 1810. 
The first thing I did when you left me, dear 
David, was to retire for a few moments to your 

* Many of the same kind, written by her on a pre- 
ceding similar occasion, were unfortunately destroyed 
in 1782, when the college was burned. 



208 MEMOIRS OF 

chamber, and relieve my labouring heart, by com- 
mending you solemnly and affectionately to the 
good providence of our heavenly Father. I com- 
posed myself as soon as possible, and set about 
my accustomed domestic duties. Soon after. Dr. 
Abeel came in ; he passed a parting half hour 
with us, and began his journey the same evening. 
I should be glad that my wishes and my hopes 
about the perfect recovery of this excellent and 
interesting man, held at all equal pace. But I 
confess that I wish more than I dare hope. 

While I was in your chamber, I discovered the 
little treatise (Dr. Waterhouse's Lecture to the 
Students of the university at Cambridge on smok- 
ing Tobacco) which your father had requested you 
to read, and which, in the main, I approve of so 
highly that I have given away half a dozen to 
persons in whom I am much less interested than 
in you. I sent it after you by Coony, who says 
you received it safely. I hope its contents will 
not be lost upon you, nor the book itself lost by 
you. While we were in church, on Friday after- 
noon, there came up a severe thunderstorm ; and 
while Mr. Palmer was in the act of praying for 
you and your fellow-passengers, the flashes of 
lightning and peals of thunder added not a little 
to the solemn feeling of many persons in the 
church, interested most tenderly in the fate of the 
mixed multitude on board the Pennsylvania. 



MRS, R A M S A Y. 209 

I shall be counting the days till I hear from 
you. It will be no disappointment to me, or ra- 
ther it will give me no pain, to learn that you have 
not entered the junior class ; to whatever class 
you belong, do your duty in it. Be respectful to 
your superiors, live affectionately with your equals ; 
make yourself a party in no broils, but mind your 
own business ; give dignity to the Carolinian 
name ; write to me accurately on every subject 
which concerns you. Be not ashamed of religion ; 
read your Bible diligently; it will not only make 
you wise unto salvation, but you will find in it 
excellent directions for your conduct in the affairs 
of this life. Your grandfather, Laurens, used to 
say, if men made a good use of only the book of 
Proverbs, there would be no bankruptcies, no fail- 
ures in trade ; no family dissensions ; none of those 
wide-spreading evils which, from the careless con- 
duct of men in the common concerns of life, de- 
solate human society ; and I can assure you, the 
more you read this divine book, the more you will 
love and value it. I long to hear from you, and 
with tender affection subscribe myself your friend 
and mother, M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

May 14, 1810. 
I NOW write to you, dear David, to thank you 
for your letter from on board ship, which I received 

18* 



210 MEMOIRS OF 

the day before yesterday ; and which was highly 
acceptable both to your father and myself. 

If your father and I were not very loving and 
very industrious people, we should feel very soli- 
tary at present. John, David and James at a dis- 
tance ; the rest out of hearing ; and all the young 
ones away. These circumstances make a great 
change in our household, and one which needs 
both love and labour to make it tolerable. There 
is now no polite attention at the long table to wait 
till a . servant is disengaged. Even slow-paced 
Jack is more than we want at our lessened board, 
I now long very much to hear from you ; it seems 
to me a great while since we parted ; and if you 
knew the delight your ship-letter had given your 
parents, as a mark of attention, affection and home- 
love, I am sure it would make your heart happy. 
My anxiety that you should behave well, and 
make the very best use of your collegiate oppor- 
tunities, is very great. But I thank God, I feel 
much of the cheerfulness of hope. I know you 
have good abilities, quick apprehension ; I trust 
you will not be indolent, and that a manly shame 
(to be ashamed to do wrong is a manly feeling) 
will prevent your adding yourself to the list of the 
Carolinian triflers, whose conduct has brought a 
college, such as Princeton, into disrepute. I hope 
you will feel a laudable pride in inheriting your 
father's literary reputation in the college where he 



MRS. RAMSAY. 211 

received an education, of which he has made so 
excellent an use ; yet an education much below 
what you may receive at the same institution, from 
the great improvements made in every branch of 
science since his time. I hope absence will not 
weaken your affection. Continue to love us ; the 
more you love your father and mother, the more 
you endeavour to oblige them, the wiser, the bet- 
ter, the happier you will be ; and at some future 
period, when standing in the relation of a parent 
yourself, you will have sensations unknown to all 
but parents ; the consciousness of having been a 
good son will fill you with inexpressible delight. 
God bless you, my dear son ; your father joins in 
love to you, with your faithful friend and mother, 

M. L. Ramsay. 

From the Same to the Same. 

June 13, 1810. 
An open candid disposition endears a young 
person much to his friends, and must make him 
very comfortable to himself. That sort of reserve 
which arises from a consciousness of having 
wasted the time which ought to have been devoted 
to study ; and being consequently unprepared for 
answering any questions proposed ; or from a sul- 
len unyielding temper, which shrinks from inves- 
tigation, except when proceeding from tutors and 
masters it cannot be avoided, is a reserve so un- 



212 MEMOIRS OF 

lovely that I witness it with pain, and I do most 
earnestly beseech you to strive against such a 
temper, which, if unresisted and unsubdued, will 
show itself on a thousand occasions besides that 
specified above. Even an incorrect answer, if 
given in an amiable tone of voice, indicating- a de-' 
sire to be set right if found, in error, is preferable 
to silence, or to an unwilling reply, even if a cor- 
rect one. God has given you an excellent under- 
standing. Oh, make use of it for wise purposes ; 
acknowledge it as his gift; and let it regulate 
your conduct and harmonize your passions. Be 
industrious ; be amiable. Every act of self-denial 
will bring its own reward with it, and make the 
next step in duty and in virtue easier and more 
pleasant than the former. 

I am glad you like your room-mate. I hope he 
is one who will set you no bad example, and with 
whom you may enjoy yourself pleasantly and in- 
nocently. I delight to hear every thing about 
you, and you can have neither pleasure nor pain 
in which I do not sincerely and affectionately par- 
ticipate. 

Eleanor and I drank tea with jVunt Laurens, last 
evening. Frederick, fourteen days younger than 
William, was learning frudus and carnu, with 
such earnestness, in order to be ready for Mr. 
Moore against the next day, that I could hardly 
believe it was my wild nephew. Mild John was 



MRS. RAMSAY. 213 

in a corner smiling, and helping Frederick when- 
ever he seemed to be at a loss. 

The girls all send their love to you. Mrs. 
Coram is constant in her inquiries after you ; so 
are many other friends. It is a charming thing to 
be beloved. God bless you, my very dear child ; 
may he watch over your youth, and keep you 
from shame. I embrace you with an overflowing 

tide of affection. 

Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

July 18, 1810. 
From the tenor of your last letter, it may be 
fairly inferred that you are dissatisfied with the 
strictness of a collegiate course ; and if you 
should not go through a collegiate course, what 
then ? Can you go through any virtuous course 
without economy, industry and self-denial ? Can 
you fit yourself for usefulness on earth, or happi- 
ness in heaven, in any other way than doing your 
duty in the station in which God has placed you ? 
And if your chief ambition is, without caring 
whether you are as wise, or good, to wish at least 
to be richer than your father or mother, will not a 
diligent attention to collegiate studies and duties 
be the readiest method to fit you for such emi- 
nence in whatever profession you choose, as shall 



214 MEMOIRS OF 

enable you to attain this golden treasure. I assure 
you, many young men with less means than you 
have or are likely to have, (for nothing really ne- 
cessary or comfortable, I trust in Providence, shall 
be wanting- to you,) have felt it a great privilege to 
go through a collegiate course, and have afterward 
come to be eminent, respectable, and wealthy. 

I would never wish my judgment to be warped 
by my feelings, especially by offended feelings, 
to do any thing harsh. I would rather even have 
it blinded by such affection for my dear children, 
as would make my tenderness overstep perhaps 
the exact bound of maternal prudence ; both ex- 
tremes would be best avoided. " Give me thine 
heart, my son," is the language of Scripture; 
and where there is any heart worth giving or worth 
having, I believe it is seldom refused to the au- 
thors of our being. Hie protectors of our infancy ; 
to the father, whose fond ambition it is to see his 
son distinguished in life ; the mother, who, with a 
throbbing heart and moistened eye, is continually 
addressing the throne of heaven for the welfare of 
her dear child ; and to the sisters, ever ready to 
reciprocate the tender charities of domestic endear- 
ment, and ever cheerfully sacrificing something of 
their own convenience for the advancement of 
their brothers. I pray God to bless you, and to 
give you grace to make a good use of an under- 
standing, which I am sure you possess, to give a 



MRS. RAMSAY. 215 

right bias to energies and sensibilities, which, 
wrongly directed, will make you foolish and mise- 
rable. With sincere prayers for your improve- 
ment in wisdom and virtue, wishing you an 
aifectionate heart and industrious habits, I remain 
your faithful friend, your tender mother, 

M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

Aug. 26, 1810. 

Dear David, — I am at present undergoing a 
very severe affliction, and have for a fortnight past 
been so much occupied and agitated, that I have 
let one post after another pass without writing to 
you. You know however all my mind toward 
you ; have my precepts and opinion upon every 
subject which can materially interest you; and 
whether I write or am silent, my maternal love, 
my tender anxiety for my son, for my dear hus- 
band's namesake, can never be for one moment a 
matter of doubt to you. 

Miss Futerell, expects to embark for Liverpool, 
on her way to London, the day after to-morrow. 
Business of importance, and the desire of being 
with her mother, become aged and infirm, is the 
cause of her voyage. She has been attempting a 
return to England for many months ; but the ob- 
structions to an intercourse between that country 



216 MEMOIRS OF 

and ours made it impossible to get a passage, but by 
some very roundabout way. Your father is more af- 
fected on this occasion than it is common for men to 
manifest. With regard to myself and your sisters, 
need I describe our situation ] Miss Futerell is 
bowed down with grief at our separation ; and I 
think this is a grief in which you will, to a cer- 
tain degree, participate ; she loves you with a very 
warm affection, and entertains such an opinion of 
your heart and understanding, that she is often 
saying, I expect great things from David ; she w^ill 
hardly ever allow me even to express a fear of 
your doing ill ; and declares, however such fears 
may intrude on the heart of a mother, and espe- 
cially of a Carolinian mother, I have no cause for 
it. Yesterday she said to me, "I am going to 
leave you, and it is mournful to me to leave you 
burdened with care on so many accounts ; but 
keep up your spirits ; repose your hope in God ; 
particularly, do not be uneasy about David ; he 
will do well. Exhort him to be industrious ; not 
to be contented with low attainments, and all will 
be well ; much good seed has been sown by you, 
and I think it has fallen on good ground. He 
knows the truth ; he has imbibed sound principles ; 
from time to time in his life he has thought very 
seriously ; he will do you no discredit ; and he 
will become a valuable member of society." I 
pray God, my dear son, her predictions may be 



# 



MRS. RAMSAY. 217 

true ; she has always been a kind friend and ad- 
viser to you and to your brothers and sisters ; and 
is, I believe, as deeply interested for you all as it 
is possible for any but a mother to be. I hope you 
will now recollect all her admonitions of love, and 
profit by them. If you were a little older, had 
well profited by your education, and we could 
meet the expense, I should have no objection to 
your accompanying this dear friend ; and while 
she was transacting her business, that you should 
be taking, before you settled down in life, a survey 
of that world of wonders, London. 

Your vacation is now at no great distance. I 
hope you are not trifling away this prime of your 
days, content with such attainments as will excuse 
you from censure ; but emulous of ranking with 
the most studious, most prudent, and most virtu- 
ous of your companions. I wish I could inspire 
you with a' laudable ambition, and with feelings 
that would make you avoid any unnecessary in- 
tercourse with the bucks, the fops, the idlers of 
college ; and think that the true intention of going 
to a seminary of learning is to attain science, and 
fit you hereafter to rank among men of literary 
and public consequence. Our intention is that 
you shall spend the vacation with your uncle in 
Baltimore. You will be at Philadelphia in pass- 
ing. You will be kindly treated by your uncle 
and his family, and you will find enough to amuse 
10 



218 MEMOIRS OF 

you in Baltimore, which is said to be the third 
city in the United States. At some future oppor- 
tunity you may visit New York and Boston. But 
in order to accomplish all, or any of these pur- 
poses, you must be frugal, and not attempt to vie 
in wasting- money with the sons of rich planters, 
who only g-o to college for fashion's sake, and 
whose lives are as useless as their expenses. 
Your father is absent on a visit to Mr. Todd, and 
from the message brought, I fear his visit will be 
too late to be of any avail. It will be an additional 
grief to Miss Futerell to leave Mrs. Todd under 
affliction, and a heavy affliction to Mrs. Todd to 
part with such a friend at such a time. With all 
.a mother's heart, I remain, dear David, yours, 

M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

September 11, ISIO. 
Dear David, — I wTote to you not long ago, 
telling you of the departure of my dear Miss Fu- 
terell. Her absence makes every thing desolate 
to me, and your sisters more than sympathize with 
me, for in addition to mine they feel their own 
sorrow. I have in them, however, this consola- 
tion : that by every act of their lives they show 
how much they have profited by her advice and 
example. Never were parents more blessed than 
your father and I in daughters ; and I hope God 



MRS. RAMSAY. 219 

will return seventy-fold into their bosoms the com- 
fort they give to ours. Your time of vacation is 
drawing- on. I trust you are not losing your time 
for study, and that as you grow older you are re- 
sisting every propensity to idleness or folly of any 
kind. Your judgment must be well informed. 
You have lived from infancy within the sound of 
good advice ; and although some dispositions are 
restive under any advice that clashes with their 
present gratification, I flatter myself you have a 
more ingenuous disposition, and that no effort on 
the part of your parents and friends, to make you 
wiser and better, will finally be lost upon you. 

Could you know my anxiety about you, inde- 
pendently of nobler motives, I think even a spirit 
of compassion for an afflicted friend would make 
you conduct yourself wisely. In the course of a 
life, not yet very long, I have seen many young 
persons, with every possible advantage for culti- 
vating their talents, improving their minds, and 
becoming estimable members of society, lost to 
themselves, a disgrace to their friends, plagues to 
society, or mere ciphers in it, from indolence, a 
slight manner of pursuing their studies, smokino-, 
drinking, an excessive love of finery, of triflino- 
company, or some similar evil indulged in, be- 
tween the age of fifteen and twenty. Oh, how I 
shudder, and what a death-like faintness and op- 
pression seizes my poor heart, at the thoughts of 



220 MEMOIRS OF 

how I stand, in the persons of sons, exposed to 
such a calamity. With bended knees and stream- 
ing eyes, I pray my God send me help, and ward 
off such a stroke. I have also seen those who, 
with very scanty means and almost under every 
possible disadvantage, have, under the smiles of 
heaven, been friends, money, advice to themselves, 
and have risen to shine as lights in the world. 
Others again, I have seen, who, not having to 
struggle, like these last, constantly against wind 
and tide, and supported only by their own efforts, 
but situated like yourself under happier circum- 
stances, have repaid the labours of a father and 
the tender exertions of a mother, by doing their 
part well, and returning home from their different 
seminaries of education, just such as their parents 
could wish. O my God, grant that this may be 
the case with us ; preserve David from every evil 
way ; give him grace to make a good use of the 
powers thou hast given him; and let him not 
waste the morning of his days in any trifling pur- 
suit, or disgrace it by any thing vicious or ignoble. 
Dr. Keitli gave us, yesterday, an excellent ser- 
mon on these words : " Who can understand his 
errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults." 
We ought, dear child, to take great pains to un- 
derstand our errors. W^e have every one, by na- 
ture, some secret error, some constitutional defect 
or vice. In childhood, the advice or authority of 



MRS. RAMSAY. 221 

parents may restrain it ; still it is there ; as we 
grow older, we must watch for ourselves, restrain 
ourselves, look up to God for help, while we ex- 
ercise such acts of self-denial as shall break the 
bias and keep it from producing a vicious habit, 
which, alas, may become too strong for us, and 
be our curse and our master as long as we live. 
Persons, about your time of life, are apt to think 
themselves very wise, and to pay very slender 
attention to the advice of their superiors. This is 
a ver}'' great error ; as by such conduct they not 
only deprive themselves of the experience of those 
older and wiser than themselves, but they appear, 
and really are, very unlovely in their tempers, to 
those who reprove or advise them, whether parents 
or others. At your time of life every false appear- 
ance of pleasure is taken for a reality, and the re- 
straints of virtuous industry and hard study a bur- 
den too heavy to be borne. May God give you 
wisdom to understand your errors, and a manly 
resolution to resist every temptation to evil ; make 
you lovely in your temper, diligent in the pursuit 
of useful science, and enable you, by conciliatory 
and engaging manners, to make friends to your- 
self among the wise and good wherever you go. 

I will do all in my power for my dear children, 

and must then leave the event to God and their 

own exertions. I hope they will reap the benefit 

of my labours when I shall be quietly resting 

19* 



222 MEMOIRS OF 

from them. I hope you will always look on Dr. 
vSmith, not only as president of the college, but 
as a very dear friend of your mother, and so ac- 
customed to youth as to know every twisting and 
turning of their hearts, and capable of giving them 
the best advice. When you go to your uncle's, 
tell me all about them ; you know they are strangers 
to me, though relations, except himself; and from 
your uncle I received such brotherly aifection as 
entirely gained my heart. 

Dr. Waddel has much trouble from the increased 
number of his town boys. The Charlestonians 
carry their idleness, their impatience of control, 
their extravagance, their self-consequence with 
them wherever they go, and even the best of them 
are, in general, far inferior to what, with their 
quick capacities and lively imaginations, they 
might be, if they would make the virtuous endea- 
vour. I remain, with great affection, your friend 
and mother, Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

November 7, 1810. 
Dear David, — The number of my letters should 
be no rule for you ; you know well the state of my 
health and of my affairs, and that every letter I 
write is in the time stolen from sleep or business, 
for my eyes do not permit my vv^riting in the even- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 223 

ing, my only season of leisure. Since your sis- 
ter's departure, I have still more to do, witli less 
spirits for performance ; and during the last month 
every housekeeper in the interior of the city has 
been kept in a state of alann from the dread of 
fire, increased by the dry state of every thing 
about us, from the long want of rain. Surrounded 
as we have been by danger, I thank God we are 
yet safe. I hope you are doing yourself credit, 
and preparing yourself for future usefulness in 
life. I feel a deep and gnawing anxiety about 
you. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen! ah, what im- 
portant years are they in a young man's life ! How 
unformed is his judgment ! How false his views 
of most things ! What but heavenly guidance 
can steer him safely through the perils to which 
he is exposed from within and without ; and yet 
what an age of confidence, of self-conceit ! How 
seldom is the eye turned to Heaven, or the ear open 
to the admonitions of experience, wisdom, or 
friendship! Even the remonstrances of science, 
the reproofs of paternal authority, the counsels 
and entreaties of maternal tenderness are scarcely 
heard amidst the turbulence of youthful passions, 
and incitements to irregularities. 

My tears flow and my heart aches, while, with 
the mingled emotions of hope and fear for you, I 
thus pour forth its sensations. You are now far 
from me ; I can no longer direct your individual 



224 MEMOIRS OF 

actions ; I can only g-ive you good advice in gene- 
ral, and pray to God for you. One great guard of 
youthful virtue is industry. Be then industrious, 
and employ every moment of your time to some 
valuable purpose. I long to hear from you. I am 
with sincere affection, your friend and mother, 

M. L. Ramsay. 

From the Same to the Same. 

November 21, 1810. 

Dear David, — T am filled vrith extreme anxiety 
by your long silence. It is very mortifying to a 
parent, so tenderly attached to a child as I am to 
you, to think that, in the leisure of a whole vaca- 
tion, you have written but once. I have only 
heard of you, if I may so express myself, nega- 
tively. Your cousins, Charlotte and Sophia, who 
have written to Kitty and Sabina, express their 
regrets, and those of their parents, that you are not 
with them, nor, from the advanced state of the 
vacation, likely to be so. 

I feel a stronger wish than I have a hope, that I 
may have been deceived in the opinion which you 
know I have often delivered to your father, that a 
boy of fifteen had better be at a grammar-school 
than among juniors at college ; and when he de- 
clares that, with your good sense, your knowledge 
of your situation, as one of a large and not rich 
famil}^, and the necessity of your own exertions 



MRS. RAMSAY. 225 

to enable you to maintain an honourable standing 
in society, he feels confident you will never act 
materially wrong, — I can only reply, I pray God 
you may be right. I shall rejoice in having 
judged erroneously ; but when a boy does not 
write fully, freely and frequently to his father and 
mother, the poor mother's heart cannot help feel- 
ing a trembling anxiety that all is not right with 
her son. 

Your time for improvement will be quickly 
past; if it is not improved, you will find your- 
self grown up with the pride of what you call a 
gentleman ; you will have no patrimony to lean 
upon; your natural talents will be of compara- 
tively little consequence to you, and you will have 
no talents so cultivated and ready to be brought 
into action as to make you capable of building up 
a fortune for yourself; and of all the mean objects 
in creation, a lazy, poor, proud gentleman, espe- 
cially if he is a dressy fellow, is the meanest ; and 
yet this is generally the character of young men 
of good family and slender fortunes, unless they 
take an early turn to learning and science. I 
could wish to write you many little local and do- 
mestic matters of news or amusements, but terri- 
fied as I am by hearing nothing of you, — nothing 
from you, and interpreting this, no news from a 
cherished son, as bad news, my mind is quite out 
of tune for any thing of the lighter kind. I was 



226 MEMOIRS OF 

SO much attaclied to my father, and to the uncle 
and aunt who brought me up, that I lived in the 
habit of the greatest intimacy with them. Your 
sisters can hardly enjoy a girlish note, or a party 
of pleasure, unless mamma shares in it, or knows 
all about it ; and this is so generally the case with 
virtuous and affectionate children, that wherever 
there is silence, I dread lest there should be also 
mystery. I shall rejoice to find it otherwise in 
your case ; and longing to hear from you, and 
committing the guidance of your youthful steps 
to that God to whom I pray for you by day and 
by night, I remain, dear child, your most affec- 
tionate friend and mother, 

Martha Laurens Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

March 5, 1810. 
Your letter of November 19 contains this sen- 
timent : " A collegiate course is not very neces- 
sary to eminence in a profession." Contrast this 
with the follov/ing extract from a letter, dated 
Willinglon, June 30, 1807. 
"I WOULD not omit going to college upon any 
consideration, for I believe it is very difhcult for a 
young man, who has not had a collegiate educa- 
tion, to get into an extensive practice of any pro- 
fession." Contrast "The necessity of spending 
much money in order to maintain as genteel a 



MRS. RAMSAY. 227 

Standing in college as is necessary to be respect- 
ed," with " Dear mother, I am now a very reputa- 
ble member of society, I am made very much of 
by Dr. Waddel, and am beloved and respected by 
all the good boys in the school." 

You stated some time ago, that had four 

hundred dollars a year ; we know that, from his 
mother, who said this covered every expense; 
you have received money in the same proportion, 
and rather more. You now talk of spending one 
hundred dollars for clothes. Your wardrobe must 
be unnecessarily costly or miserably laid in, and 
you know that you have no pretensions to waste, 
from the idea that it will not be felt by your pa- 
rents. You are well aware that it is with much 
exertion we provide what is comfortable, and have 
no money to throw away. What a weak mind 
you must have, and how much have I been de- 
ceived in its texture, if you suppose that foppish 
clothes and foolish expenses, or what you call "a 
genteel appearance," will make you respectable ! 

I feel more pride, more consciousness of being 
a lady, by having every thing about my person, 
the persons of my children, my household, in the 
plainest style of decency, than I possibly could 
by endeavouring to cover our moderate circum- 
stances by a tinsel veil of finery, which would de- 
ceive no one, and only show the shallowness of 
my understanding. 



228 MEMOIRS OF 

With prudence, one hundred dollars will g-o a 
great way; without it, ten times the sum will be 
like water put into a sieve. A gentleman, lately 
returned a graduate from Cambridge, informs me 
he never spent three hundred dollars a year at col- 
lege. A lad, son to perhaps the richest parents in 
Carolina, with only one brother to divide the in- 
heritance, wrote to request his mother, that let 
him solicit ever so earnestly, his parents would 
never furnish him with more than five hundred 
dollars ; for that sum would enable him to do 
many foolish and many generous things, and all 
beyond it would be shameful dissipation, to which 
he knew he was too much disposed, and therefore 
requested temptation might not be administered 
to him. 

Mr. T. S. Grimke assured me, that with four 
liundred dollars one might live well at New Ha- 
ven, and purchase many books ; but why multiply 
examples ] The real expense of boarding and tui- 
tion in colleges is a matter well known from 
printed statements ; it is easy, therefore, to calcu- 
late what beyond it is necessary for the clothing, 
pocket-money, and conveniences of a young man, 
who does not go to college to be a fashionist, to 
sport various changes of apparel, to drink, to 
smoke, to game, but to lay in a sufficient stock of 
knowledge, and to attain such literary honours as 
may be the foundation of future usefulness — a for- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 229 

tune to him. With reg-ard to your spending- a 
couple of succeeding years in Charleston, I will 
oppose all my influence to so mad a scheme. You 
should rather spend them in the Indian country, 
and learn the rugged virtues of savages, than in 
the desultory, dissipated habits of Charleston. I 
flatter myself your last letter was written under 
the transient impression of some juvenile folly, 
which is already dissipated, and that your next 
letter will be more judicious, better reasoned, and 
in every respect more worthy yourself. I feel 
deeply anxious about you ; your long silence, the 
silence of Dr. Smith, after having been my corre- 
spondent for so many years, all perplex me. I cast 
you and all my cares on God; praying him to 
give you wisdom, and to grant me support in 
every event. Pause, and consider what you are 
about ; a few wrong steps are easier trodden back 
than many. • May God take care of you. Your 
aflfectionate mother, M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 

March 11, 1811. 
Dear Child, — Your last letter was written in 
a strain of aflfection and good resolution, which 
gave me great pleasure ; and I hoped would have 
been followed up by more such. I have been con- 
fined for upwards of a month by indisposition, 
20 



230 MEMOIRS OF 

and have only left my house within ten days to 
attend your uncle's sick room. 

It has heen almost impossible to collect money, 
and with great difficulty your father has procured 
such a fifty dollar bill as will pass in the northern 
States, which I now send. For the present, I 
avoid all remark, advice, or other matter ; for it is 
so near closing of the post that I fear losing the 
opportunity. May God bless you, my dear son, 
and make you a son of comfort and honour to 
your dear father, and your most affectionate mo- 
ther and friend, Martha Laurens Ramsay.* 

* If any should object to the propriety of pubUshing 
these private confidential domestic letters, the editor 
apologizes, by observing, that the importance of their 
contents, as cautions to youth remote from their pa- 
rents at seminaries of learning, and also to parents, as 
models for corresponding with their absent sons, and 
discountenancing their juvenile follies, outweighs, in 
his opinion, all minor considerations. 

In justice to the youth to whom these letters were 
addressed, it is declared, that he has never incurred 
any college censure, nor has he ever been charged with 
any immoral conduct ; that his standing in his class was 
always and now is reputable, and his prospect fair for 
obtaining the degree of A. B. before his eighteenth 
year is completed ; and that the friendly monitions of 
his mother were not so much reproofs for what had 
taken place, as provisional guards against what might 
take place in future ; and that there is good reason to 



MRS. RAMSAY. 231 

Mrs. Ramsay's sister, Mary Eleanor Pi nck- 
ney, departed this life in 1794, and in the 25th 
year of her age, leaving two daughters and a 
son. These naturally excited the tenderest 
feehngs of their affectionate aunt. As they 
grew up, an interchange of kind offices almost 
daily passed between them. To accommodate 
herself to her young friends, their aunt laid 
aside the superiority which age and relation- 
ship gave her, and, placing her nieces on the 
footing of daughters, mingled with them as 
equal friends, and exchanged notes with them, 
which were frequently written with a pencil, 
and most of them without dates. From these 
the following are selected, as a specimen of 
the playfulness of her imagination, and an 
evidence of the overflowings of her love, 
wishing to impart cheerfulness and communi- 
cate happiness to all around her. 

believe that these letters, in concurrence with other 
moral causes, have had the desired effect of confirming 
him in the steady pursuit of knowledge and virtue. 

The letters were, at the request of the editor, to 
whom their contents were unknown, promptly sent to 
him from Princeton, in July, 1811, though the intention 
of publishing them was communicated in the same let- 
ter which asked for their transmission. 



332 MEMOIRS OF 

To Frances Henrietta Pinchiey. 
You shall not be jealous, dear Fan, about not re- 
ceiving a letter from me, after such a sweet, feeling 
note as you have vrritten me. Cherish, my darling 
niece, those w^arm sensibilities for your fellow- 
creatures, and notwithstanding the various ills that 
" flesh is heir to," they will yield you more plea- 
sure, in going through life, than ever they will pro- 
duce you unmingled pain. I am really proud of your 
note, and think how happy I am in daughters both 
at home and a little way off. I feel less grieved 
that you do not flatter me with the hopes of a visit 
this evening, as Eleanor and Patty are going to 
Mrs. Jones's ; and will, I dare say, make you a 
fly, or perhaps, a long teasing musquito of a visit. 
Well, I do love Sunday on many accounts ; and, 
as William, in the anticipation of his pocket-mo- 
ney, often says to me. When will Saturday come ? 
so I, besides rejoicing in the religious blessings 
of the Sunday, often say. When will Sunday come ? 
Good-by, dear Fan. Tell Mary to turn that naughty 
cold out of doors, or I will not send her any flowers 
for her bow-pot, for I shall be afraid that smelling 
those sweet roses too much has hurt ber delicate 
nerves, and made her feel as if she had a cold. 
From your affectionate, M. L. Ramsay. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 233 

From the Same to the Same. 
I REGRET, dear Fan, that you should think it 
late when you left us, if it implies that you found 
the evening tedious. I was in hopes you had 
been amused in your corner, as we were in ours ; 
and 1 believe on our side the chimney, we felt 
sorry for the signal of "more house." I have just 
dismissed my scholars, and feel a little like a tired 
old schoolmaster, so you must excuse this short 
note. I hear Patty capering about in the hey- 
day of youth and freedom from care, so I refer 
you to her for something amusing, and conclude 
with my love to dear Frances and Mary. From 
their friend and affectionate M. L. Ramsay. 



To Mary Eleanor Laurens Pinckney, 
Pray, dear Mary, put the two sprigs of migno- 
nette in a wine-glass full of water by themselves, 
and place them near you, that when the gentle 
zephyr wafts their fragrance to your delighted 
sense, you may think of your flower-loving and 
niece-loving M. L. Ramsay. 



To F. H. Pinckney, 

Dear Fan, — Patty requests I will tell you she 

is so busy planting a tree, she cannot answer your 

note any other way, than by making me a Pat's- 

20* 



234 MEMOIRS OF 

paw. I shall be very much mortified if you do 
not drink tea with me this evening-. It is by no 
means cold ; and if you wish that sweet bloom to 
continue in your cheeks, you must let it some- 
times meet the wholesome breeze. My love to 
Mary, and longing to see you both, I remain, dear 
girls, your attached and affectionate 

M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 
How comes it, dear Fan, that you cannot oblige 
your cousins by joining their party to-morrow 
evening] Patty's face is so much lengthened 
since she received your note, that she looks a pro- 
per Lady Doleful; lest therefore we should think 
you mean to monopolize the beauty of the family 
to yourself, let your compliance with your cousin's 
wishes dispense some portion of smiles and good 
looks among them. Yours, with great love, 

M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 
Dear Fan, — Mr. Ogilvie called, 'm propria per- 
sona, yesterday morning, to request I would hear 
his oration this evening. Can I do less than ac- 
cept the invitation of Mr. Ogilvie, especially as 
he assures me it is what he thinks his best ora- 
tion, and will feel himself honoured by my pre- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 235 

sence? Your cousins tell me you have some 
thoughts of going', and I shall feel particularly 
happy, that it should so happen, that on one of the 
few occasions when it suits me to go into public, 
my dear niece should be with me. Pray come 
early, and you must also consider yourself as in- 
vited for to-morrow, when we shall endeavour to 
have Polls for Skylarks, Bonds to detain Nightin- 
gales, and some sweet singing-birds to enliven 
the evening ; but it will be no evening to me with- 
out my Frances and Mary, so come and oblige 
your affectionate aunt, M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same. 
Dear Fan, — You have made me feel almost as 
curious as a young girl with your " I know what 
I could say." And pray. Miss Fan, what could 
you say 1 Not that you are envious, I hope. Re- 
member what we have in hand, you still have in 
hope, and do not laugh at old folks. Here is 
Patty in a peck of troubles ; her Mercury has 
dropped, by the way, the note she sent with mine, 
and she fears its falling into the hands of some 
curious decipherer, who will perhaps discover 
more in it than it means. I comfort myself with 
the thought, that it will be found on your own 
floor, as it was put within mine. I have holiday 
to-day, which is the reason why you have two 



% 

236 MEMOIRS OF 

notes. I really long to see you, and I love you 
with all my heart, only you must spare a bit of it 
for dear Mary. I remain your affectionate 

M. L. Ramsay. 



From the Same to the Same, with a Fancy Name. 

Dear Girls, — Your cousins have deputed me 
to entreat you will favour them and Dr. Ramsay 
with your company to Haddrell's this morning. 
They wish for you both ; but if dear Fan is afraid 
of her sweet complexion, or has any other real or 
imaginary fears, pray, Mrs. Molt, do you come at 
once, breakfast with your cousins and be off, and 
let Fan come at her leisure, and dine with poor 
King George, who, either from love to dear mam- 
my, or some other cause, has determined on stay- 
ing at home. Now, you young people, who are 
always making me one of your party, do not let 
me have written in vain. You will have the plea- 
sure of pleasing the whole noble race of Shen- 
kins, and among the whole race who loves you 
more than Martha ap ShenkinsI 



We now return to our biographical sketch, 
from which we need not be again diverted. 

We have spoken of Mrs. Ramsay'' s habi- 
tual improvement of time, and her ways of 



MRS. RAMSAY. 237 

gaining odd hours or moments ; for which pur- 
poses, with few exceptions, she decHned all 
visits in the day, as destructive of her plans for 
making every hour turn to the best account. 
When the business of the day was ended, she 
indulged her social habits. 

The number of books she read was astonish- 
ingly great, and her memory uncommonly 
strong in retaining the substance of their con- 
tents. She could recite nearly the whole of 
Young's "Night Thoughts" without book. 
Psalm and prayer books were to her unneces- 
sary ; for their contents were imprinted on her 
mind. With the Holy Scriptures she was 
intimately acquainted, and could readily quote 
or turn to any text or passage bearing on any 
present subject of conversation. The Latin 
and Greek classics she had read in transla- 
tions, at a very early period. By catching 
from her brother, by studying occasionally his 
Latin grammar and books, and by the aid of 
an accurate knowledge of the French lan- 
guage, and the general principles of grammar 
as applied to the Enghsh and French lan- 
guages, she laid such a foundation, that when 
she became the mother of children, for their 



238 MEMOIRS OF 

sakes she ran over the Latin and Greek class- 
ics, in the short method recommended by Mr. 
Locke, so as to make her a profitable instructor 
to them in these languages. With the same 
views she began and to a considerable extent 
prosecuted the study of botany. From the 
same versatility of genius and habits of in- 
dustry, after she was married, she read with 
attention most of the practical writers on medi- 
cine that are usually put into the hands of 
medical students, and studied with particular 
interest such of them as treat of the diseases 
of women and children. In times of general 
sickness, when her husband was full of busi- 
ness, she frequently shortened his labours in 
studying cases of pecuhar difficulty, by run- 
ning over his books and finding similar cases ; 
and collecting in one view, for his inspection, 
the opinions and practice of standard medical 
authors on diseases of the same nature. She 
was familiar with most of the modern works 
of genius, taste and imagination, written in 
the Enghsh and French languages, and enjoy- 
ed them. In soHd learning she was not defi- 
cient. Locke's Essay on the Human Under- 
standing, Watts' Logic, Improvement of the 



MRS. RAMSAY. 239 

Mind, Philosophical Essays, and other works 
of science, were the studies of her youth. To 
these, as she grew up, she added natural and 
civil history, biography, astronomy, chronolo- 
gy, philosophy, voyages, travels, &c. In di- 
vinity, she read much of what was practical, 
but rarely looked into any thing that was con- 
troversial. A few fundamental doctrines, such 
as free salvation by the atoning sacrifice of the 
coequal Son of God, and sanctification by the 
Spirit, she considered as essential and worth 
contending for ; but disputes on minor, unes- 
sential points she considered as injurious to 
peace, harmony and the best interests of re- 
ligion, and she would not waste her time in 
studying them any farther than making up her 
opinion on particular points, from what ap- 
peared to her own mind to be revealed in the 
word of God. If that was silent, or did not 
decide for or against any opinion or practice, 
she took no farther pains in its investigation. 

Though she highly delighted in the effu- 
sions of genius and elegancies of fine writing, 
she found great profit and pleasure in reading 
the plain, but substantial, practical works of 



240 MEMOIRS OF 

some of the old divines of the seventeenth, 
and early periods of the eighteenth century. 
Baxter, Flavel, Boston, Owen, Alleine, Drelin- 
court, Henry, Burkitt, Watts, and Doddridge, 
and some others of the same stamp, were her 
favourite authors. These she read with at- 
tention, and underscored with a pencil such 
passages as were most interesting. From 
Henry's Exposition of the Scriptures she 
made considerable transcripts, which have 
been found in packets of her writing. She 
felt a particular interest in the prosperity of a 
family in Charleston, descended from the 
famous Thomas Boston, of Ettrick, in Scot- 
land, author of a book entitled, " The Crook 
in the Lot, or the Sovereignty and Wisdom 
of God in the Afflictions of Man :" from the 
reading of which she had received much com- 
fort and benefit. Owen on Indwelhng Sin, 
and Flavel on Providence, and on Keeping 
the Heart, she repeatedly read. Among her 
papers has been found the following abridg- 
ment of the last-mentioned work, made by 
herself, and written with her own hand : — 



MRS. RAMSAY. 241 

To keep the heart, is carefully to preserve it 
from sin, which disorders it, and maintain that 
spiritual frame which fits it for a life of commu- 
nion with God ; and this keeping of the heart in- 
cludes in it these six acts. 

1st. Frequent examinations of the frame of the 
heart, turning- in and examining how the case 
stands with it. 

2d. Deep humiliation, under a sense of soul 
disorders and heart evils. 

3d. Earnest prayer to God, for heart-purifying 
and rectifying grace, when sin hath defiled and 
disordered it. 

4th. The imposing of strong engagements and 
bonds upon ourselves, to walk more accurately 
with God, arid avoid the occasions whereby the 
heart may be induced to sin. 

5th. A constant, holy jealousy over our own 
hearts ; and, 

6th. A realizing sense of God's presence with 
us, and a setting the Lord always before us. 

To keep the heart is hard work, constant M^ork, 
and the most important work. The honour of God ; 
the sincerity of our profession ; the beauty of our 
conversation ; the comfort of our souls ; the im- 
provement of our graces, and our stability in the 
hour of temptation, are all wrapt up in, and 
dependent on our care and sincerity in heart- 
work. 

21 



242 MEMOIRS OF 

Motives for keeping the Heart. 

1st. The studying and keeping the heart helps 
the understanding in the deep mysteries of religion. 

2d. It preserves it against the infection of dan- 
gerous errors. 

3d. It is one of the best evidences of sincerity. 

4th. All ordinances vv^ould be fruitful, sweet 
and comfortable, if our hearts were better kept. 

5th. Acquaintance with the heart furnishes a 
fountain of matter for prayer. 

6th. By keeping tlie heart, the decayed power 
of religion will be recovered among professors. 

7th. By diligently keeping the heart, we shall 
prevent and remove scandals and stumbling-blocks 
out of the world. 

8th. A heart well kept will fit us for any condi- 
tion God casts us into, or any service he hath to 
use us in. 

9th. Diligently to keep the heart would ex- 
ceedingly sweeten the communion of saints. 

10th. By keeping the heart, the comforts of the 
Spirit and the precious influences of all ordinances 
would be fixed and much longer preserved on the 
soul than they now are. 

Look over these ten special benefits ; weigh 
them in a just balance. Are they small matters'? 
Is it a small thing to have thy weak understanding 
assisted ; thine endangered soul antidoted ; thy 
sincerity cleared ; thy communion with God sweet- 



MRS. RAMSAY. 243 

ened 1 Is it a small thing to have the decayed 
power of godliness revived ; all fatal scandals 
removed ; the communion of saints restored to its 
primitive glory, and the influences of ordinances 
abiding in the souls of saints ] If these be no 
common blessings, no small benefits, then surely 
it is a great duty to keep the heart with all dili- 
gence. 

Special Means for keeping the Heart. 

Means 1st. Would you thus keep your heart as 
hath been recommended, then furnish your hearts 
richly with the word of God, which is the best 
preservative against sin. 

2d. Call your hearts frequently to an account, 
if ever you mean to keep them with God. 

3d. Take heed of plunging into such a multi- 
plicity of earthly business as you cannot manage 
without neglecting your main business. 

4th. Carefully observe the heart's first declen- 
sions from God, and stop them there. 

5th. Take heed of losing the liveliness and 
sweetness of your communion with God, lest 
thereby your hearts be loosed off from God. 

6th. Habituate thy heart to spiritual medita- 
tion, if thou wouldst have it freed from base bur- 
densome diversion. 

Words of consolation to those who are plying 
heart-work, groaning and weeping, in secret, over 
the hardness, pride, earthliness and vanity of their 



244 MEMOIRS OF 

hearts ; fearing and trembling- over the experienced 
deceitfulness and falseness of them. 

1st. This argues the heart to be upright and 
honest, whatever thy other gifts and abilities 
may be. 

2d. God would never leave thee under so many 
heart-troubles and burdens, if he intended not thy 
real benefit thereby. 

3d. God will shortly put a blessed end to all 
these troubles, cares and watching. The time is 
coming when thy heart shall be as thou wouldst 
have it; when thou shalt be discharged of all these 
cares, fears and sorrows, and never cry out, " Oh, 
my hard, my proud, my vain, my earthly heart," 
any more ; when all darkness shall be banished 
from thy understanding, and thou shalt clearly 
discover all truths in God, that crystal ocean of 
truth ; when all vanity shall be purged out of thy 
thoughts, and they be everlastingly, ravishingly 
and delightfully entertained and exercised upon 
that supreme goodness and infinite excellency of 
God, from whom they shall never start any more, 
like a broken bow. And, as for thy pride, pas- 
sion, earthliness, and all the other matters of thy 
complaint and trouble, it shall be said of them, as 
of the Egyptians to Israel, " Stand still, and see 
the salvation of God." These corruptions thou 
seest to-day ; henceforth, thou shalt see them no 
more for ever; when thou shalt lay down thy 



MRS. RAMSAY. 245 

weapons of prayers, tears and groans; and put on 
the armour of light, not to fight, but to triumph in. 

Lord, when shall this blessed day come 1 How 
long, how long, holy and true 1 My soul waiteth 
for thee ; come, my beloved, come ; oh, come 
quickly, and deliver me from this body of sin and 
death. 

Rules to keep the Heart from Distractions hy vain 
Thoughts in Times of Duty, 

Help 1st. Sequester yourself from all earthly 
employments, and set apart some time for solemn 
preparation to meet God in duty. O my soul, 
leave trifling; now be composed, watchful and 
serious ; this is no common work ; it is God work, 
soul work, eternity work. Pause a while upon 
thy sins, wants and troubles ; keep thy thoughts 
a while in these, before thoti address thyself to 
God. 

2d. Having composed thy heart by previous 
meditation, presently set a guard upon thy senses. 

3d. Beg of God a mortified fancy; when thy 
fancy is more mortified, thy thoughts will be more 
orderly and fixed. 

4th. If thou wouldst keep thy heart from these 
vain excursions, realize to thyself, by faith, the 
holy and awful presence of God, in duties. 

5th. Maintain a praying frame of heart in the 
intervals of duty. 

6th. Endeavour to engnge isnd raise ti;y rifTeo 
UP 



246 



MEMOIRS OF 



tions to God in duty, if thou wouldst have thy 
distractions cured. 

7th. Mourn over the matter to God, and call in 
assistance from heaven, when vain thoughts as- 
sault thy heart in duty. 

8th. Look upon the success and sweetness 
of thy duties as very much depending upon the 
keeping of thy heart closely with God in them. 

9th. Look upon it as a great discovery of the 
sincerity or hypocrisy of your hearts, according 
as you find them careful or careless in this matter. 

10th. It will be of special use to keep thy 
heart with God in duties, to consider what influ- 
ence all thy duties have on thine eternity. 



To this is subjoined the following impressive 
prayer and act of contrition : 

"28th August, 1795. And now, having lately 
read this little book of Mr. Flavel's, on Keeping 
the Heart, with great attention, and endeavoured 
to fix in my memory the above rules, may God 
enable me to profit by them, to labour to keep my 
heart with all diligence, that so I may have an 
evidence to my own mind that I am in earnest 
about religion ; and that, whenever my Lord shall 
come, he may find me thus watching and thus 
praying. Lord, I am weak, I am vile, I am a poor 
backsliding creature, often wandering, turning 
back to folly and relapsing into sins, over which 



MRS. RAMSAY. 247 

I hoped I had gained some power. Oh, hold thou 
me up ; watch for me, and so shall I be safe. Oh 
keep me from sin, or remove me from the land of 
sinning. O thou who searchest the heart and 
triest the reins, thou knowest that sin is my great- 
est burden ; and yet, alas, too often I fall into it ; 
so that sometimes I am ready to despair, and my 
soul is filled with the anguish of remorse and re- 
pentance; and j^et I am not cured. sweet 
Jesus, help. O Friend of sinners, save. I know 
that it is an evil and a bitter thing to depart from 
God ; and yet I am bent to backsliding. None can 
help but thou, O Christ. Trembling I come to thee, 
whom I have so often offended; yet to whom 
should I go, but to thee, who alone hast pardon 
and eternal life for such a wretch, such a rebel, 
such a daily, hourly offender as I am ?" 

" Lord, my hands hang down from faintness in 
the way of duty, and my feet go lamely in the 
path of holiness. Oh, let thy grace deliver me 
from every weight, especially from my most easily 
besetting sin ; that so neither any hidden iniquity 
nor presumptuous transgression may ever have 
dominion over me." 



From this strict discipline of the heart, ob- 
tained by the means before mentioned, conse- 
quences resulted which were not contemplated. 



248 MEMOIRS OF 

In attendance on the communion and other 
rehgious exercises, the subject of these me- 
moirs seldom had any wandering thoughts. 
What was begun with a view to religious im- 
provement, extended to other matters. From 
habit she acquired such complete command 
over her thoughts, that she could fix them by 
an act of her will on science or business as 
well as on religion, so as to confine them to 
their proper object, for the time, without inter- 
ruption. 

In discharging relative duties, Mrs. Ramsay 
was exemplary. As a child, she had a high 
opinion of parental authority ; and to it she 
conceived herself as owing implicit obedience 
in every case not plainly inconsistent with the 
duty due to God. It was therefore a standing 
order to her servants, without a moment's de- 
lay, and without announcing the circumstance, 
to call her, not only from business, but from 
her most private retirement, whensoever her 
father called for her services. She had no 
scruple of doing that for him on Sundays 
which she had scruples in doing for her- 
self. She reasoned thus: "Children, obey 
your parents in all things, for this is well 



MRS. RAMSAY. 249 

pleasing to the Lord,"* is a divine com- 
mand. The same authority which enacted 
the fourth commandment also enacted the 
fifth, and the minor duty should yield to the 
major. Never was there a daughter more de- 
voted, attached and obedient to her parent 
than she was ; and her conduct flowed, not 
from instinct, accident, or example, but from 
principle. In the same manner she had de- 
termined what were her conjugal duties. She 
was well acquainted with the plausible reason- 
ings of modern theorists, who contend for the 
equality of the sexes ; and few females could 
support their claims to that equality on better 
grounds than she might advance ; but she 
yielded all pretensions on this score, in con- 
formity to the positive declarations of Holy 
Writ, of which the following were full to the 
point, and in her opinion outweighed whole 
volumes of human reasoning. "In sorrow 
thou shalt bring forth children ; and thy desire 
shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over 
thee."t "Wives, submit yourselves unto your 
own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the hus- 

CoL iii. 20. t Gen. iii. 16. 



250 MEMOIRS OF 

band is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the 
head of the church; and he is the Saviour of 
the body. Therefore, as the church is subject 
unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own 
husbands in every thing."* In practice, as 
well as theory, she acknowledged the depend- 
ent, subordinate condition of her sex ; and con- 
sidered it as a part of the curse denounced on 
Eve, as being "the first in the transgression. "t 
The most self-denying duties of the conjugal 
relations being thus established on a divine 
foundation, and illustrated by those peculiar 
doctrines of revelation on which she hung all 
her hopes, the other duties followed by an easy 
train of reasoning, and were affectionately per- 
formed. In this manner, the subject of these 
memoirs used her Bible as a system of practical 
ethics, from which she acquired a knowledge of 
her true station, and also deduced such excel- 
lent rules of conduct in life as might be expect- 
ed from correct principles. To illustrate this, 
in detail, might excite a smile. Suffice it there- 
fore to observe, in general, that these reasonings, 
from, scripture, on the condition and duties of 

*Eph.v. 22— 24. 1 1 Tim. ii. 13,14. 



MRS. RAMSAY. 251 

wives were not imposed or even suggested to the 
subject of these memoirs. They were entirely 
her own ; and had such a practical influence 
on her opinions, that she received the atten- 
tions of her husband as favours, and was in 
the habit of subscribing herself in letters to 
him, his "obliged and grateful wife." These 
seed-ideas expanded into principles of action, 
which led her to make all her conduct subser- 
vient to her husband's happiness. To this end 
she gave up every separate scheme, and iden- 
tified her views and pursuits with his, and 
arranged all her domestic concerns so as most 
effectually to promote his comfort ; anticipated 
his wishes, alleviated his cares, charged herself 
with the education of her children, the manage- 
ment of her servants and family affairs, so as to 
leave for him little else to do than to follow the 
bent of his own inclinations, with as complete 
exemption from the burden of domestic cares as 
was possible ; and in addition assisted him, as 
far as was in her power, in his professional 
labours and studies. Like her father, who 
seldom slept more than four hours in the twen- 
ty-four, she slept very little, and that so lightly 
that the least noise awoke her. She was 



252 MEMOIRS OF 

therefore the first to receive professional mes- 
sages in the hours allotted to repose. After 
getting the necessary information, she so ar- 
ranged matters that these unseasonable calls 
were attended with the least possible inconve- 
nience to her husband. In copying for him, 
and tracing through a variety of authors any 
subject on which he occasionally asked her 
aid, she shortened his literary labours. Such 
were the principles and conduct of a wife who 
had read Mary Woolstoncraft's Rights of 
Women, but who had studied her Bible with 
care and attention, as the standard of faith 
and practice. 

As a parent, who had brought children into 
a world of sin and misery, she considered her- 
self as bound, in common justice, to do every 
thing in her power for their comfort in passing 
through it. She thought no pains too great, 
no sacrifices too hard, provided her children 
were advanced by them. In addition to her 
steady attention to their education, she exerted 
herself to keep them constantly in good hu- 
mour ; gave them every indulgence compati- 
ble with their best interests ; partook with 
them in their sports ; and in various ways 



MRS. RAMSAY. 253 

amused their solitary hours so as often to drop 
the mother in the companion and friend ; took 
a Hvely interest in all their concerns, and made 
every practicable exertion for their benefit. 
From the Bible she was taught, " Fathers, 
provoke not your children to anger, lest they 
be discouraged."* On this text she often 
commented verbally, and every day practically. 
From it she drew several rules of conduct in 
her behaviour towards her children. As a 
child, she was for implicit obedience, but as a 
mother, was very moderate in urging her pa- 
rental rights, and avoided, as far as consistent 
with a strict education, every thing which 
might " provoke her children to anger." Un- 
der this general head she considered as for- 
bidden, unnecessary severity, sarcasms, and 
all taunting, harsh, unkind language ; over- 
bearing conduct, high-toned claims of supe- 
riority ; capricious or whimsical exertions of 
authority, and several other particulars calcu- 
lated to irritate children or fill them vdth ter- 
ror. On the other hand, she considered pa- 
rents as required by this precept to curb their 
own tempers ; to bridle their passions ; to 

* Col. iii. 21. 
22 



354 MEMOIRS OF 

make proper allowances for indiscretions and 
follies of youth ; and to behave toward their 
offspring in the most conciliatory manner, so 
as to secure their love and affections on the 
score of gratitude. These and several other 
rules of conduct in the discharge of relative 
duties were not taken up at random, but de- 
rived from reason and reflection, and especially 
from an attentive consideration of the pre- 
ceptive part of the word of God. Happy 
would it be for society if all its members used 
their Bibles for similar purposes. 

The reader will by this time expect to be 
informed that a person so industrious in busi- 
ness, with such moderate views of worldly 
enjoyment, and so devoted to God and active 
in his service, would be crowned with a large 
proportion of temporal blessings. But this 
is not always the case. With her, prosper- 
ity and adversity alternated. Good and evil 
followed each other in succession. For seve- 
ral of the last years of her life, in addition to 
long-continued and frequent attacks of painful 
disease, (sufficient to have laid by a less active 
person,) she had to struggle with restricted cir- 
cumstances. From several unpropitious events 



MRS. RAMSAY. 255 

perplexing embarrassments resulted. From 
whatever source they originated, Mrs. Ram- 
say had no agency in producing them, nor any 
ground for self-reproach as being in any way 
accessory to them. The battle is not always 
to the strong, nor the race to the swift ; nor is 
success in the pursuits of life invariably the 
effect of industry, economy and moderation 
in expenses. Respecting these things there 
is an overruling Providence. The continuance 
or the interruption of health, the power to get 
or retain wealth, come from God. 

The subject of these memoirs was neither 
the first nor the last of the favourites of Christ 
whom he has led to heaven otherwise than by 
a path strewn with flowers. God does not al- 
ways suffer his children to pass through life 
without afflictions and sorrows, lest they should 
forget that this is not their abiding city ; lest 
their desires after the heavenly inheritance 
should be cooled or extinguished. These ap- 
parent evils have a certain, though to us a 
secret connexion with our future and most im- 
portant destinies. They are necessary Hnks 
in the chain conducting from earth to heaven, 
and make us quit our eager grasp of the one, 



256 MEMOIRS OF 

and fix our affections on the other. The 
storms of adversity, in this Kfe, will make us 
enjoy, with a higher relish, the unclouded se- 
renity of that which is to come. In her case, 
the result, though painful to her feelings, was 
highly favourable to her improvement in the 
Christian virtues of patience and resignation. 
No doubt exists of her now wearing a brighter 
crown, and enjoying a greater harvest of hap- 
piness, as a reward for having borne her re- 
verses of fortune and also long-continued pain- 
ful diseases, not only without murmuring, but 
with cheerfulness. In sickness and adversity 
she was the same self-possessed, unrepining, 
submissive, satisfied Christian she had been 
in the days of her heahh and prosperity, and 
was discontented with nothing but her heart. 

Her maxim was, not to complain of God, but 
to God. To him she went with all her bur- 
dens and cares, and sweetly reposed on his 
Almighty arm. Her unabated confidence in 
her Maker ; her unconditional submission and 
cheerful resignation to his will, took away 
from adversity its gloom, and threw over it a 
cheerful fight. The workings of her mind, 
under these pressures, as recorded in her 



MRS. RAMSAY. 257 

manuscripts, prove her high attainments in 
the Christian hfe, and were probably one cause 
of them. In all her distresses, the burden of 
sin lay heavier on her mind than the burden 
0/ outward troubles. She was much more 
reconciled to death as closing the scene of her 
sinning than that of her suffering. She found 
great satisfaction in reading Drelincourt on 
Death and Watts' World to Come. Shortly 
before her last sickness, she brought to her 
husband and requested him to read, a speech 
delivered a hundred years ago at the grave 
of a pious person by the Rev. Mr. Peter 
Sterry, which is preserved in the 352d page 
of Watts' World to Come. In it she had 
underscored the following sentiments as ex- 
pressive of her feelings, with respect to the 
contemplated approaching commitment of her 
body to the grave, and its consequent dis- 
solution therein : " We do for ourselves and 
for this our dearly beloved in the Lord, accept 
of thee, O grave, and readily deliver up her 
body to thee. It is a body that hath been 
weakened and wearied with long affliction and 
anguish ; we freely give it unto thee ; receive 
it, and let it have in thee a quiet rest from all 
22* 



258 MEMOIRS OF 

its labours ; for thus we read it written of thee, 
'There the wicked cease from trouUing, and 
there the weary are at rest.' 

" But we know thee, O grave, to be also a 
devourer, and yet we can freely deliver up the 
body unto thee. There was in it a contracted 
corruptibility, dishonour and weakness; take 
them as thy proper prey ; they belong to thee, 
and we would not withhold them from thee. 
Freely swallow them up for ever, that they 
may appear no more. 

" Yet know, O grave, that there is in the 
body, considered as once united to such a soul, 
a divine relation to the Lord of life, and this 
thou must not, thou canst not dissolve nor 
destroy. But know, and even before thee 
and over thee be it spoken, that there is a 
season hastening wherein we shall expect it 
again from thee in incorruption, honour and 
power. 

" We now sow it unto thee in dishonour ; 
but expect it again returned from thee in 
glory. We now sow it unto thee in weak- 
ness ; we expect it again in power. We now 
sow it unto thee a natural body ; we look for 
it again from thee a spiritual body." 



MRS. RAMSAY. 259 

The life of Miss Carter was one of the last 
books Mrs. Ramsay read ; and she indulged 
the pleasing anticipation of speedily forming 
an acquaintance with a woman of her fervent 
piety and great attainments. But of all the 
inhabitants of heaven, she longed most for 
the acquaintance of Dr. Watts, whose divine 
songs, most of which she had committed to 
memory, had administered much to her com- 
fort by night and by day. 

From the first moment of her last sickness 
she had a presentiment that she would not 
survive. This gave her no alarm. She made 
preparations for and arranged the circum- 
stances of her funeral, with the same calm- 
ness and self-possession she would have done 
in the days of her best health, when preparing 
for a journey or voyage. She directed that 
her funeral should be private ; her coffin plain 
and without a plate; that Dr. HolHnshead 
should perform his ministerial duties on the 
occasion in her own house, before a few of 
her most particular friends. After she had 
given these directions, her disease seemed to 
yield ; but she insisted that her feelings con- 
vinced her to the contrary. She suffered 



260 MEMOIRS OF 

grievous pains in sundry periods of her last, 
illness. To assist her in supporting them, she 
dehberately surveyed her manifold sins as the 
procuring cause of all pain, and also ^took a 
distinct view of the sufferings of Christ, and 
then asked herself, Shall not I, who have so 
grievously sinned, quietly submit to pain, 
which I deserve, since the innocent Jesus 
suffered so much for me ? On the last day 
but one of her life, she lay for some considera- 
ble time in a warm bath. While there she 
directed the following hymn, from a collection 
of hymns presented to her by the Countess 
of Huntingdon, to be read to her. 

When languor and disease invade 

This trembling house of clay, 
'Tis sweet to look beyond our cage, 

And long to fly away. 

Sweet to look inward and attend 

The whispers of his love ; 
Sweet to look upward to the place 

Where Jesus dwells above. 

Sweet to look back and see my name 

In life's fair book set down ; 
Sweet to look forward and behold 

Eternal joys my own. 



RS. RAMSAY. 261 

Sweet to reflect how ^ace divine 

My sins on Jesus laid : 
Sweet to remember that his blood 

My debt of suffering paid. 

Sweet in his righteousness to stand, 
Which saves from second death ; 

Sweet to experience day by day 
His Spirit's quickening breath. 

Sweet on his faithfulness to rest, 

Whose love can never end ; 
Sweet on his covenant of grace 

For all things to depend. 

Sweet in the confidence of faith 

To trust his firm decrees ; 
Sweet to lie passive in his hands 

And know no will but his. 

If such the sweetness of the streams, 

What must the fountain be, 
Where saints and angels draw their bliss 

Immediately from Thee 1 

She repeated the last two lines of every verse 
with eyes directed to heaven, as expressive 
of their coincidence with her views. She 
had frequently, in the course of her sickness, 
given animated exhortations to her children 
and others to make choice of God for their 



262 MRS. RAMSAY. 

portion, and also particular directions how to 
manage the family after she was gone. About 
four o'clock, p. M., June 10, 1811, she asked 
her husband and children if they were wilhng 
to give her up. They evaded the question ; but 
she in direct terms informed them that she 
had sometimes felt a repugnance to death on 
their accounts, but assured them that God had 
now made her entirely willing to give them 
all up ; and, in about an hour after, expired. 



THE END. 



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