Anna Shipton.

Tell Jesus : recollections of Emily Gosse online

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BR 1725 .G76 S54 1868
Shipton, Anna.
Tell Jesus










Introduction 5

First Acquaintance 13

The Life of Faith 26

Premonitions 36

Diligence in Service 44

The Patience of Hope 54

Departure 72



My recollections of one dear to us, and dearer still to
God, have no pretension to be termed a memoir.

Out of the many testimonies that Emily Gosse bore
for her beloved Lord, my memory most vividly retains
those which affected my own spiritual life; this has,
therefore, obliged me to write more of myself than I

My acquaintance with her, which was rapidly to ripen
into an everlasting friendship, began only in the last two
years of her earthly pilgrimage ; and I did but gather up
the crumbs from the table at which she feasted with
the King. These have been multiplied as the fragments
of old, and have nourished others; for the Lord com-
manded them to be gathered.

Among many witnesses to the blessing which has fol-
lowed the simple incidents of the following pages, and
induced me to commit them to the press, was a dear
Christian girl, to whom the recital bore a message as
distinct as the angel's commission to the women at the
tomb of the risen Jesus.

A fortnight after I had told her of the value to my
soul of the two words which form the title of my
" Recollections," she said : —

" Last Monday I was asked by Mrs. " (a West

End milliner to whom she was apprenticed) " to take a



bonnet to a lady in Hyde Park. It was required by a
certain hour. Quite unexpectedly to me, when I arrived
at the house the lady desired some alteration to be made ;
and I was requested to go into the drawing-room and
make it there, as not sufficient time remained for me to
return with it.

" The work was beyond my experience ; I was so
nervous, I could not thread my needle ; I was afraid to
touch what our best hands had put together. I knew
not what to do. The servant placed the materials before
me, and explained what was required, and I was left

" All at once the words you said the last time I came
to you flashed through my mind. ' Do not fret : tell
Jesus. Tell Jesus everything ; he will guide and help
you.' I thought, as I looked at the white tulle and
flowers, < Can I ask him to help me with this bonnet ? '
You had told me that Mrs. Gosse had said that she
would ask Jesus to guide her to a pin, if she wanted

" I did tell Jesus ; I asked to be directed in my diffi-
cult task, and also for the lady to be disposed to like
the bonnet when it was finished. Soon I lost all ner-
vousness ; the alteration was completed, and the lady re-
turned, for answer, that it was quite to her taste. Then,
for the first time, I understood the meaning of a l Living
Jesus,' and from that hour I learned the comfort of
telling him everything."

And it was true. After that time there was a vitality
in the spiritual life of this dear child which is often
sorely lacking in more advanced Christians. Without
Jesus, we can do nothing ; with him, all things are
possible. We may darken counsel by words without
knowledge. Vainly of ourselves we set bread before the


hungry. Unless he eat thereof, however much he ad-
mires the feast, it profiteth him nothing.

This early gathered blossom was another seal to the
faithfulness of Him who saith, " Them that honor me I
will honor." The most striking feature of her new life,
in the brief hour of testimony accorded to her below,
was the simplicity of her faith, which enabled her to
realize unceasing fellowship with Jesus, to the joy of
her own soul, and the strengthening and refreshing of

To the faint-hearted, who see little or no result from
their labors, I would say, " Be patient." It was only in
the last days of her life that my helpful friend knew
that in any way she had been blessed to me. I did not
at once use the privilege which she had shown me was
mine ; but, bleeding with her unconscious influence, the
weed was more efficiently taking root, and fulfilling that
for which I had been sent to her. I "kept all these
things, and pondered them " in my heart.

I lacked the realization of that first truth, that the
Son of God, in the glory of the Father, which he had
with him before the foundation of the world, remained
in his high-priestly office the Son of man, touched with
the feeling of our infirmities. And of the perfect hu-
manity of Jesus, which made him still the brother born
for adversity, I knew nothing.

The daily life of one whose eye is single is full of
light, and cannot fail to speak for God. " They shall
not labor in vain, nor bring forth for trouble : for they
are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their off-
spring with them." But of the times and seasons when
this shall be manifest knoweth no man. We walk by
faith, not by sight. It is enough that he has said that
our labor for him shall not be in vain. Prayer is


answered, we know ; but there is no promise as to man-
ner or time. God's way is the safest; God's time is
the best.

The dews of many a night of weeping, and the
scorching breath of many a furnace fire, passed over the
Word of Life in my soul before I entered into its
power ; therefore, while we watch and pray, let us hope
in God. " Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the
precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it,
until he receive the early and latter rain ! "

Dear reader, if you know Jesus as your Saviour, be-
ware lest Satan beguile you to believe that you have one
want or care too minute for the consideration of the
God of the whole earth. All things were made by him
and for him.

Soon after I began to observe this truth, I was sit-
ing, in a time of weakness and loneliness, on the sea-
shore — a stranger in a strange place. It soothed me
to watch the tide, as it ebbed, sweep away or deposit
some stray shell or weed upon the strand ; and I mused
on the mission of some of the treasures that, in its
mighty tide-work, the sea brought or left behind.

It was an evening in autumn ; and not a loiterer was
left on the shore, excepting a nurse and two young chil-
dren — the elder a fine boy of about four years old.

The child looked wistfully at me. I smiled at him,
and he returned it. In a few minutes I felt a light
touch upon my arm, and his blooming cheek was laid
on my knee, as he earnestly gazed in my face with a
expression of loving sympathy. Perhaps he had some
sick one at home, and knew the power of his sweet
smiles. No matter, God sent him.

We talked together like old friends, and my heart
lost its loneliness beneath the loving ministration. At


length lie started off beyond my reach. I watched him
eagerly seeking among the weeds for shells. One after
another he held them to the light, casting aside each
one that was broken, as unsuitable for his purpose.

At last his busy fingers held up one which gave him
satisfaction, and after examining it carefully, he pol-
ished it with his coat, and then, with a triumphant
smile, advanced and laid it on my knee ; then, stepping
back a few paces, he evidently enjoyed my unfeigned
delight. " For you," he lisped out — " only for you
— all for you," as if I might doubt my right to his

Amid tender words and kisses we said farewell, and
my little God-sent messenger reluctantly obeyed the call
of his nurse, and followed her.

The shell lay in my hand ; my soul had risen like a
lark above the clouds ; and, with a glad " Hallelujah,"
I praised the God of the whole earth.

Again the little fellow was at my side, breathless.
He gave an anxious glance at the shell, and then looked
coaxingly in my face, while he said, " You will not give
it away, will you ? " I assured him I would keep it
and prize it for his sake. The child was gone, and I
saw him no more.

I do not own many treasures ; if I have any, I count
that fragile shell among the choicest of them — a token
from my heavenly Father's hand. His baby minstrel
had tuned my heart to songs of gladness : his music, the
lisping words of a child ; his instrument, a tiny trans-
parent shell, that not a wave could break without his
will. I went on my way rejoicing.

Such an incident is puerile to those who have not
cherished the remembrance of sadness and tears which
manifested the soothing hand of the compassionate God-


man, while he whispered, " I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee."

Some few years ago a remarkable trial for murder
took place in Paris. The facts were briefly as follows :
A man who had lived unhappily with his wife deter-
mined to poison her. Long he waited his opportunity
of administering the deadly powder. One day, during
their dinner, while serving, the husband mixed the poi-
son in his wife's food ; but, when he had done so, he
could not endure to see her eat it, and, making some
excuse, he arose and left the table. During his absence
from the room, and before the wife could partake of the
food, her eye was attracted by a spider, which let itself
down by its thread from the ceiling upon her plate, over
which it crawled. Disgusted at the sight, she could not
eat her portion ; but thinking that, as her husband had
not seen it, it would not affect him, she changed their
plates before he re-entered the room. The man ate, and
in a short time was seized with cramp, and every symp-
tom of poison was evident. The woman was taken into
custody on suspicion of having poisoned him. She
declared her innocence, and, on being questioned, related
the circumstance of the spider, which caused her to
change plates. The husband, struck by the wonderful
work of a little spider in staying his hand from murder,
confessed all, and died.

The ant, the spider, the limpet on the rock, the moat
that dances in the sunbeam, have each their assigned
place; and He who created them can use them for his
own will and pleasure. He formed the mysterious
chords within us, that thrill or sadden beneath a touch,
discerned by none but himself. Nor is he who rules the
worlds unmindful of the least want or sigh of the soul
that he has died to save.


" Casting all your care upon him," does not imply
such concerns as the natural intellect may decide on as
fit occasions for faith and prayer. It necessarily in-
cludes whatsoever can burden, or tempt, or grieve a
child of that Father who declares that the very hairs of
our head are numbered.

Prove the blessed truth of faith in Jesus. Give him
the first place in your heart and counsels ; soon you will
feel that you cannot do without him in the least matter,
and every occasion of going to him will result in new
manifestations of his love and faithfulness. Only try

Whate'er thy sin, whate'er thy sorrow he,
Tell all to Jesus; he who, looking where
The weary-hearted weep, still draweth near
To listen fondly to the half-formed prayer,
And read the silent pleading of a tear.
Lose not thy privilege, O silent soul!
Pour out thy sorrow at thy Saviour's feet.
What outcast spurns the hand that gives the dole?
Oh, let him hear thy voice! To him thy voice is sweet.

I am greatly indebted to Mr. Gosse for permission to
extract from his narrative, " the last days on earth " of
his beloved wife. 1

I also acknowledge the affectionate testimony of one
who knew her worth, and walked with her in an un-
broken friendship for nearly twenty years. Among the
cups of cold water, given because we belong to Jesus,
may he remember her heart-cheering sympathy in this
feeble effort to bear witness to the experimental bles-
sedness of fellowship with God in Christ Jesus, not
only for ourselves and for the church, but before the
world. It is committed to him whose blessing can

1 "A Memorial of the Last Days on Earth of Emily Gosse. By
her hushand, Philip Henry Gosse, F.R.S."


alone cause it to speak for him, and to him oe all the

I have but gathered one ear of the precious grain of
Emily Gosse's harvest ; sowing and reaping, we shall
rejoice together.



"The memory of the just is blessed."— Pro v. x. 7.

I was still groping in the twilight of spiritual dawn
when I first met Emily Gosse. She appeared to me
then, as she lives in my memory to this hour, as one of
God's epistles, known and read of all men, whose influ-
ence, through the love therein written, leaves the reader
nearer heaven than it found him.

I had passed from death unto life, though I was not
peacefully resting on the infallible testimony of the
Word of God that it was so. I was seeking for assur-
ance from the ever-varying testimony of feeling, encum-
bered by errors and superstitions, and only a little while
before had I even known the way of salvation. I ac-
knowledged that Jesus, the only begotten Son of God,
was the Saviour of sinners, and that therefore, knowing
myself a sinner, I might lay claim to redemption from
eternal death through him. But I was seldom able to
say, "My Saviour." That he had saved me from the
doom of the scorner, I could understand ; but as my
Saviour from sin, as the Good Physician, as the coun-
sellor of my daily difficulties, as the risen, living Jesus,



the companion and friend of my life, I had not then
beheld him.

Until I met Emily Gosse, I had never seen a child of
God following the Lord fully, in happy, cheerful confi-
dence ; nor witnessed Christ and his glory in the life of
man or woman, as the one sole object of their existence.
The sight of it in her won my heart to desire the same
happy path of single-eyed service. I remember with
what silent delight I watched her unconscious testimony
for him, who was ere long to be realized in my soul as
my own living, loving Lord !

I had arranged to pass the last summer months of
that to me eventful year in the near neighborhood of old
friends, pleasant to me after the flesh, but in nowise
adapted to lead me on the heavenly road, on which,
though blindfolded and lame, I had set forth.

Business required my presence in London, previously
to taking possession of my apartments. While there, a
lady, almost a stranger, called, and requested, as a per-
sonal favor, that I would accompany a young relative to
the coast, partly with a view to change of air, but more
particularly to give her and a friend the opportunity of
meeting with Mr. Gosse, for the purpose of studying
the world of wonders beneath the waters, for which his
interesting works had prepared them. To this day,
when my eyes rest upon an aquarium (for never since
that year have I seen those mysterious sea-flowers in
the crystal pools of their own rocky homes), I retrace
the links which drew me nearer to the great Creator of
their beauty, and read therein, not only tokens of his
infinite wisdom, but a message of love known only to
him and me.

My plans were made, and very pleasant plans they
seemed. They had been formed without any reference


to the will of the Lord in the matter. I knew, by the
hearing of the ear, that he taketh heed of the fall of
the sparrow, yet I honored him not by believing that he
setteth the bounds of the habitation of the feeblest
child of his family. I had not disregarded my prox-
imity to the means of grace, in my settlement in my new
abode ; but I had equally sought to be near my friends.

I at once declined the invitation to the coast, and that
so decidedly, that the lady could no longer press it, and
we parted. The Lord was guiding, though blind eyes
saw it not. On the eve of my quitting London the
lady returned, more urgent in her request than even
before. Perhaps she had prayed that it might be
granted ; certain it is, that the Lord's purpose of infi-
nite love was in it ; for suddenly, without being able to
assign any cause for the change in my feelings, all my
former disinclination to her proposal vanished. With-
out any further objection, I consented to accompany her
young friends to Ilfracombe, whither they were going
for the purpose of studying the zoophytes, in which
pursuit they were deeply interested.

In place, therefore, of returning to my self-chosen
nest, I went forth, and continue up to this day a pil-
grim, whose only home is in heaven.

It was a dreary and fatiguing journey, and its ter-
mination offered nothing to compensate for much that I
had given up to undertake it. I felt weary and lonely,
as every living soul must be, apart from the changeless
peace which is found in Jesus only.

The second week of our stay had closed, and I was
ardently longing for the time of our departure ; but my
heavenly Father had ordained it all, and had guided
me, though I knew it not. It was at this juncture that
he sent to my side the wise and tender minister of good


tidings, in the wife of the Christian naturalist of whom
I was hearing so much.

As soon as I saw the face of Mrs. Gosse, I longed to
know her better. She was fair, and appeared more
youthful than her years, from her small delicate fea-
tures, and the artless, childlike smile which lighted her
countenance when animated. I have seen it literally
sparkling with joy, when unexpectedly brought into
contact with those who loved her Lord, or when recog-
nizing some expression of his ever watchful care.

Whether the Lord veiled the state of my spiritual life
from her, I know not. I listened to her with unmixed
pleasure, though I hardly dare aver that I was fed.
But I marked her steps, and they chimed sweet music ;
the bells proclaimed "Holiness unto the Lord." There
was much new and strange to me ; some intermediate
tones seemed lacking in my soul for perfect harmony
between what I had received and that which I beheld
in her.

Anticipations of a home undisturbed by sin or sorrow,
where I could forever behold Jesus, had often filled my
heart with gladness. I read that he was gone to pre-
pare a place for his people, and had promised to come
again and receive them to himself. These thoughts
brooding in my soul became more tangible, as I saw her
daily rejoicing in the expectation of the return of the
Lord Jesus, with the assurance of faith born only of
the Spirit.

But how could I rejoice in the coming of the Lord,
when I was not at all sure that he was coming for me ?
I felt, for the first time, the power of the life of a child
of God, walking with him in cheerful, childlike confi-
dence in his love. I yearned for that good land which
she possessed, though I was not at all convinced that


her blessed inheritance was — could be — for one so
unworthy — for me, such a sinner !

I had never seen the simplicity of faith which ever
walks in heavenly humility. Not the humility of ser-
vile fear, which the world recognizes in sighs and
groans over the old Adam's utter corruption ; but the
trustful gaze fixed on Jesus, that says, " Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am
chief ; therefore my hope is in him. He is my strength,
and the lifter up of my head." Such a posture of soul
better glorifies the Lord of life than when our eyes rise
no higher than self, forgetting that we were created for
his praise.

I so feebly apprehended the high-priestly office of
him who was exalted for the remission of sins, that I
thought I had still something to do, and that perhaps
for years, to test my sincerity, before I could live with
Jesus in the same sweet familiar intimacy as my new

She was a wise mother in Israel ; she did not cavil
at my crude opinions, nor combat my errors. She did
not argue points of difference, which would have arrayed
my dominant pride and obstinacy against her; neither
did she appear amazed at my ignorance. Her aim was
to show Jesus in his love and loveliness.

The love of God in Christ beamed through her words
and life, like sunshine melting away the clouds of
prejudice, and dispelling gradually my fleshly dread of
irreverence in taking advantage, with the freedom of ac-
cess which she enjoyed, of that door into heaven which
the precious blood-shedding had opened (John x. 7, ;
Heb. x. 19-22).

It was pre-eminently Jesus that she preached, his
beauty, his loving-kindness, his tender mercy ! And


though that happy, happy day had not then arrived
when I could exclaim, " This is my Beloved, and this is
my Friend ! " yet, by the blessing of God, I count her
insensible influence among the many cords of love that
won my weary, roving heart to find its rest in him alone.

While Mr. Gosse and my young friends were explor-
ing, with the ardor of naturalists, the treasures of the
deep with the drag-net, or rambling over the rocks of
the picturesque beach, I was, from inability to join
them, generally within doors, or sitting on the shore
not far from our lodgings.

There I occasionally met Emily, who, like a good
householder, brought out of her treasures things new
and old from the store of Christ's fulness.

Yet all this time she had a mother's eye upon her
young son, whom she carefully watched in his amuse-
ments and companions. Many a lesson might nurses
and governesses have learned from her. In clear char-
acters might be read on all she did and said, " As for
me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Our interviews were always brief, generally inter-
rupted, and not unfrequently prevented altogether. I
remember that this caused me to feel irritated and dis-
appointed, as the natural wilfulness of my character
desired more of her society than the Lord saw fit to
accord me.

Besides this, I was selfish, and she was unselfish ; I
longed to keep her all to myself, while she sought only
to be about her Father's business. She loved to wander
among the groups assembled under the rocks, or among
the bathers, distributing her tracts, and dropping a
word elsewhere for her dear Master when opportunity
offered ; while I would have chosen her to sit by my


All this was not without its lesson. After those days
were gone, I murmured against myself that I had prof-
ited so little from them. Doubtless, the Lord's set time
was not fully come. He who had found me in a desert
land, and in the waste, howling wilderness, was leading
me about, and instructing me, and — blessed be his
name ! — keeping me as the apple of his eye.

So, day by day, Emily G-osse went on her way, sow-
ing beside all waters. The joy of harvest-home is re-
served for the great ingathering. For myself, it was
only in more entire seclusion from the outer world, and
in deeper affliction, that I learned the mystery of the
new birth in the promise, " Because I live, ye shall live
also;" the Lord himself, without human instrumental-
ity, leading me into the truths which delivered me out
bondage into his glorious liberty. Certain it is, that,
when the King had brought me into the full secret of
his presence, and had taught me the endearing relation-
ship of the "Father," my happy friend was resting
from her labors.

I saw Emily working for Jesus ; I did nothing ; how
could I when I only believed at distant intervals that
my sins were forgiven ! How could I tell of the faith-
fulness of a covenant God, when I was so often doubting
his word, and dishonoring him by unbelief of his
truth ?

And yet when I rejoiced in the assurance that the
Good Shepherd had indeed snatched me from the pit, I
wept to think I had never won a soul for him who had
done so much for me. My thought was, if I knew him,
and really loved him, I could work for him — not until

In one of those seasons of depression when too ill to
quit the house, these temptations especially assailed me.


That day I listened to a lesson from the lips of my new-
found friend, which I have ever since been learning ;
that the subjection which leads us to accept the position
the wisdom of the Lord assigns us, is our reasonable
service. Long-suffering, and meekness, and patience,
are fruit, though often unacknowledged by any but him ;
fruit accepted for Christ's sake, for it is the growth of
his Spirit.

Emily had a peculiar faculty of illustrating her sub-

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Online LibraryAnna ShiptonTell Jesus : recollections of Emily Gosse → online text (page 1 of 6)