A Letter To Thomas Godwin – March 25th, 1851
My dear Friend, Thomas Godwin
I would have answered your kind and friendly letter before, had not my time been so much occupied.
I have been down to Stoke, to pay the last mark of respect and affection to my poor dear mother. She died early on Thursday morning, the 13th. I left home on Monday, slept at Exeter that night, and reached Stoke Tuesday evening. I found Mrs. Isbell better than I expected, and more calm and collected.
On Wednesday morning her remains were committed to the earth. She was buried in the new cemetery at Plymouth (Dissenters’ side), and Mr. Isbell performed the ceremony. He did it very well, reading 1 Cor. chapter 15, and making some remarks on her character, etc., closing with prayer. It rained nearly all the time, and therefore we were not long at the grave.
My mind was in a whirl from the time that I heard of her death; and what with so much traveling, I was so confused that I could not realize that she was dead. Indeed I seemed hardly able to believe it, until I saw the coffin, with her name on the plate, let down into the grave. She was in her 79th year, and had suffered much from rheumatism in her hand and limbs. Her last malady was influenza and bronchitis, from which she suffered much.
Mrs. S., whom I think you know, has a good hope of her—indeed, has no doubt of her state. She knew more of her feelings and experience than anyone, as my poor mother was much attached to her, and could converse more freely with her than almost anyone else. She had once a sweet manifestation of the love of God to her soul, on which she seemed to hang, but was for the most part much pressed down with a sense of her unworthiness, and fears of being deceived, and being a hypocrite. She was always to me a most kind and affectionate parent; and I do not recollect that we ever disagreed once in our lives.
When I left the Establishment, she felt it, but said her house was open to me, and that I might go and live with her. And I can assure you, I have sometimes wished I had done so, and thus lived a quiet obscure life, without the troubles and trials which I have had in occupying a more prominent place; but God has fixed the bounds of our habitation, and it is folly to think of carving out our own path.
The weather being so wet and cold, made the journey more trying, and has made me feel quite poorly and out-of-sorts. My poor mother’s death will be much felt by Mrs. Isbell, who was much attached to her.
I baptized three persons here last Lord’s day, and hope the Lord was with us.
All here is labour and sorrow. Our own sins, and the sins of others, will always make it a scene of trouble. “Oh, you hideous monster, sin!” What a mighty power it has—a power which grace alone can subdue. It seems sometimes subdued, and then rises up worse than before. Well may we cry out—”Oh, wretched man that I am!” etc.
Yours every affectionately,
J. C. P.