John Lyth.

Religion in Earnest A Memorial of Mrs. Mary Lyth, of York online

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Heworth Road. Often have I changed my abode, supposing each would be
the last remove: yet I tarry. All I want is to move under the smile of
my heavenly Father, and to feel myself under his guiding eye. - Poorly.
Inward conflicts. Went to see a person, who was once a member of my
class; she is still in the way to heaven. We prayed together. Here, at
the throne of grace, I find myself at home. I was at my class, perhaps
for the last time. God bless the dear members."

Graven on the hand divine,
Bid me on Thy strength lay hold,
Look, believe, for Thou art mine;
Jesus makes me humbly bold.
Though Thy courts I may not tread,
Thou art in my mouth, and heart;
In Thy holy book I read,
God in every place Thou art.
With more love inflame my soul,
With more fervent zeal inspire; -
Faith, that can all power control,
Fill the grasp of my desire.
Let Thy word of mercy spread
Freely, all the village round:
Speak to-day, and wake the dead,
Let the lost in Thee be found.

"My friends are gone to the Sanctuary. Looking at myself in the light
of the divine presence, I see imperfection stamped upon all my doings;
and yet, through mercy, I have an interest in the precious blood of
atonement, and long that all around me may enjoy the same salvation.
While now my pen moves upon the paper, move Thou upon the hearts of
the people, who have long been favoured with hearing the voice of Thy
ministers. Arouse the careless; stir up Thy people; and this day pour
out Thy Spirit upon us all; and now, while alone; help my infirmities;
visit me, and give me increase of faith. - Inward conflicts and
wandering of mind have brought me to my knees."

To God I tell my utmost care,
And find my place of refuge there.

"By the help of the servant's arm I got to Heworth Chapel, and heard
a little, but imperfectly. My son Richard came, and conducted me
home. Very faint and sick after I returned; but I know not that I ever
enjoyed a more refreshing sense of God's presence. Glory be to
the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. - Clouds
dark - rainy - trees fading - leaves falling - all things changing here;
but, 'Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail.' O, while I
hold my pen in my hand, let me feel Thy presence in my heart! I have
in Thee a changeless friend. Glory be to Thy name, Thou ever-blessed
God! Give me more love, and knit me more closely to Thyself. - The
day fine. I got to Chapel, and through mercy was no worse. A stranger
kindly accompanied me home, who seems to be an inquirer after truth.
My soul yearned over her, while I spoke a few words to her. O may they
sink deep! In the course of reading, the words, 'Let the peace of
God _rule_ in your hearts' especially struck me. To rule implies
government; I may dwell where I have no power to rule; and the peace
of God must not only be felt, but bring into subjection everything in
my heart, that would oppose itself to the will of God. Praise God, my
spirit longs for this complete subjection."

A star in its splendour attracted my eye,
As softly from slumber I woke;
I thought - as I saw the bright spot in the sky -
'Twas an angel of mercy which spoke -
Of the hope, that brings peace to the labouring breast,
And raises the sorrowful mind.
The sweet'ner of life, and the solace of rest,
In Jesus, the Saviour, we find.
When troubles oppress us, and nature decays,
His light in the darkness is given:
Bright star of the morning, O lend me thy rays!
And guide me safe homeward to heaven!


Alone? no never! that broad eye,
Which fills all space, is here;
My secret thoughts and actions he,
Reveal'd as daylight clear.
I would not from Thy presence fly,
Thee only, would I love;
With greater circumspection try
In Thy commands to move.
If in my heart I aught disguise,
The lurking evil slay;
If aught than Thee more highly prize,
O take it, Lord, away!

"1859. - I concluded the year by reading the Epistle to the
Philippians, and prayer. My soul longs for a richer baptism of love,
I am as well as usual, and my soul pants after God. I feel the word
precious while I read, and thirst for a fuller manifestation of God.
While thus employed, I enjoy sweet peace through Jesus. Here hangs my
hope of heaven; and though I have many a conflict with unbelief, my
heart is fixed."


'The Lord is there!' O happy place!
Where God in Christ unveils His face;
The city and the people bear
His glorious name - 'The Lord is there.'

The house all symmetry within,
The worshippers all white and clean;
How lustrous is the scene, and rare!
It must be so - 'The Lord is there.'

There, from beneath the threshold, teems
The tide of truth in living streams;
And those who drink the waters, share
Eternal life - 'The Lord is there.'

The crystal waves spread deep and wide;
Salvation rolls upon the tide;
So copious is the flood, we dare
No longer doubt - 'The Lord is there.'

The healing virtue never fails;
For all 'who will,' it still avails;
Within the city brought, they wear
A kingly crown - 'The Lord is there.'

The glory of the Lord is seen,
His voice is heard by all within;
The tribes of Israel are _His_ care,
Who reigns, the Lord for ever there.

"While reading and meditating on Ezekiel's vision, my spirit was
refreshed; and in the evening, while praying with my servant, my soul
rejoiced in God my Saviour. Tears of joy ran down my eyes, and my soul
overflowed. - Six years my dear John has been in paradise, and I am
still endeavouring to urge on my way; feeble, yet pursuing. Praise God
for the encouragement I feel. Jesus is all the world to me; there is
nothing in my estimation equal to Him; - nothing I desire in comparison
of Him. - In the world there appears to be a glorious movement towards
God. The latter-day glory hastens on. India is quiet, and China opens
her arms to the truth. In America, Scotland, and Wales, the Spirit is
descending plenteously. O praise the Lord, for He shall reign; 'the
government shall be upon His shoulder.' - Walked as far as Heworth
Chapel, and called upon Miss C.; she asked me to pray with her, being
herself an invalid. Cause of gratitude, being my longest walk this
year. The present circumstances of my children call for earnest
persevering prayer. Let Thy Spirit help me. - The beauties of inanimate
nature have this week exhibited the finger of God in the rising bud,
and opening flower. May I, to whom is given, an intelligent mind,
while beholding these works of Thine, be drawn into closer union with
Thyself. Yea, while my hand directs the pen, let my soul assimilate to
Thy likeness: make me one with Thee. Glory be to God, I feel there
is union, for God is love: but enlarge and fill my soul with all Thy
fulness. - This afternoon the young clergyman visited me, and made
inquiries after my spiritual welfare. My heart clave unto him; and
after he had prayed, I heartily wished him success in his ministry.
Tidings have reached me, that my son John is going as a Missionary to
Germany: may it be of the Lord. My soul is exceedingly drawn out in
prayer that it may be so; and that it may be a blessing both to
him and the people among whom he is about to labour. - I am this day
seventy-seven years old. How quickly time departs! I lack words to
express the manifold mercies of my heavenly Father during the past
year. One above all, is the return of my Missionary son, after
twenty-one years' absence; and his, and his family's kindness. Bless
the Lord, O my soul. - Felt impressed to go and visit Mrs. M - , whom I
visited once last year; went, and had a happy interview.

Hallow'd is the hour of prayer,
When the Spirit helps me there;
When the soul is drawn above,
Borne on wings of faith and love;
Then, released from earth, I rise
Far beyond the starry skies;
See, in Christ's atonement free,
Life for all mankind, and me.

"Mrs. C. called, and kindly took me to Class. I gave out the hymn my
Eliza sang the day before she died, and prayed with them. - I have been
led by the Spirit of God to my knees, and find it no vain thing to
wait upon the Lord. I am urged to look after my petitions, and feel it
good to be thus reminded. - Mrs. Hartley called to bid me good-bye. I
felt it very good while we prayed together. On her return to the city
she was taken very ill, and sent a request by my daughter, that I
would pray for her. I will. Felt blest in doing so. - My two sons are
going to widely distant localities, but in their Master's field. Oh!
how my heart longs that they may be richly endued with power from on
high, and made abundantly useful among those with whom they mingle,
and that many may be the saved of the Lord. John Arthur and David are
also, this day, going on the Lord's errand. O bless the lads!
Make them wise to win souls to Jesus. My soul longs for their
prosperity. - Nine of my dear grandchildren took tea with us. For these
and all the rest my soul earnestly longs, that we may be an undivided
family above. I was blest while praying with them. - My dear son John
and his wife, with five children, left us on their way to Germany,
hoping to reach London this evening. O Lord, prosper Thou his journey
to yonder land! I feel deeply for him. O bless him, Lord!"

Oh! what a world of care,
Anxiety and grief!
How multiplied our sorrows are!
Where shall we find relief?

Our lov'd ones come, and glad we are
To see their smiling face;
But brief these transient visits are,
And _then_, the last embrace.

"Mrs. Nightingale came to meet two women in distress for their souls.
They wept sore, and found encouragement. I felt it good to mingle my
petitions with their's. [This was the commencement of a class at her
own residence, conducted by Mrs. N., and formed especially for my
mother's accommodation. Up to this time she was nominally a leader,
but since her removal to Heworth, she had but very occasionally been
able to ride down to the city, and mingle in the communion of saints,
a privilege, the loss of which she had deeply felt. The provision thus
made was therefore a source of unspeakable comfort. Mrs. Nightingale
says, "We found her at the appointed time, but oftener before, sitting
in prayerful silence, waiting upon God. At such times her countenance
was most heavenly; lit up with a light and glory, which bespoke
her relation to, and hidden life with, her divine Lord. It was our
privilege, when she was able, to listen to the words of wisdom and
instruction which fell from her lips. Her deep acquaintance with the
word of God, and the holy unction with which she spoke, caused those
present to say, 'This is none other but the house of God, and this is
the gate of heaven.' Love to God and the souls of men burned brightly
on the altar of her heart. This was seen in the deep interest she
took in each member of the class, and in her prayerful concern for
the members of her own family. 'God is giving me answers to my prayers
both on behalf of my children and grandchildren,' she would say. But
there were aspirations of soul after higher forms of spiritual life,
which could only be realized in the fruition of the divine presence.
For increase of years she made but little allowance, so that, whilst
her love to God and heavenly meekness became increasingly apparent to
others, her diminished energy was sometimes to herself the occasion
of painful conflict and introspection."] Before I awoke I thought a
letter was put into my hands, the contents of which were 'Through much
tribulation ye shall enter the kingdom." The Lord giving me power, I
will fight my passage through. - Through the intensity of the weather,
and my own increasing indisposition, I have been compelled to keep my
bed; but prayer has been the life of my soul; - the only sure refuge in
trouble. Much drawn out for my dear John, who, we expect, is this
day holding an important meeting. - The year is quickly passing into
eternity. It tarries not, nor waiteth the hurried one to free. Defer
not, for the moment will soon pass away. Now touch the golden sceptre
while it is called to-day. Believe, believe in Jesus, who gave His
life for _you_. Accept the rich gratuity, for He hath purchased you."

"1860. - Although not able to sit up to welcome the new year, it broke
upon me with these words -

Jesus shall all my powers possess,
My hopes, my fears, my joys:

and thus my heart resolves. Yes, Lord, the dying embers of my life are
Thine. I thank Thee, Thou dost not cast me off in my old age. 'My soul
shall magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoice in God my Saviour.' - A
few days ago, my mind was filled with uncertainty respecting two
members of my family; however, I laid the case before the Lord, and,
to my surprise and grateful acknowledgment, in a day or two there
was an opening in each case. Reader or writer, think not highly of
thyself, others were praying as well as thee. - My first thought this
morning, 'I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with
"loving kindness have I drawn thee.' A very cheering letter from my
son Richard. Praise the Lord for such information, both from
heaven and earth. - A beautiful sunny morning. Grant that the Sun of
righteousness may rise upon me with healing in His wings. Let Him
heal, and form my soul anew. This is my chief desire. I do thank Thee
for peace, but O enlarge my heart, and fully fit me to behold Thy
glory! - A quiet Sabbath morning. I am sitting alone. The sun shines
brightly upon me, and all nature seems to join in hallowed harmony.
May my soul, capable of far greater powers, be expanded to receive far
richer influences from the great source of my being - the inexhaustible
fountain of all blessedness. My soul drinks of the living stream.
Praise God for these small draughts. Enlarge and fill, and enlarge for


See a flower of lovely hue,
Dipp'd in beauty bright, at Spring,
Blasted by a wind that blew,
Ere it passed its blossoming.

Such is man, in best estate;
Like a flower he buddeth forth,
Till some unexpected fate
Brings him to his mother earth,

Such a shadow of a shade,
Human life, a moment, is:
Now we live, but soon conveyed
Past all life's uncertainties.

Blooming youth and wither'd age,
Infant charms and ripened years,
Death assaults with equal rage,
Unappeas'd by prayers or tears:

Then, the closely wedded pair,
Soul and body sadly part;
Yet to meet again - but _where?
Seek the answer in thy heart_.

"'Looking unto Jesus!' This is the posture of my soul. Yea, I long
after God. I have been peculiarly drawn out In prayer for several
members of my family, with great sweetness In my own soul. Glory be to




When the shadows of evening begin to fall, it is not difficult to
prognosticate that the night is at hand; and, admonished by the
increasing gloom, man, wearied by the tolls of the day, gladly looks
forward to the hour of repose. Universal nature shares in the feeling
of presentiment. The cattle seek the shed; the birds fly back to their
nests; and the gentle flower folds its delicate petals, as if for
sleep. Is It wonderful that as life closes in, especially when
protracted to a good old age, the human spirit should feel an
instinctive consciousness of approaching dissolution? or that the aged
Christian, after long and patient endurance in his Master's service,
should joyfully anticipate the hour of _rest?_ Yes, REST, not death;
"For whosoever liveth, and believeth in me," saith the Saviour, "shall
never die." Christ has tasted death for him, and the bitterness, which
is the reality of death, is passed away. His stedfast faith prevents
the dawn of a brighter day, and what matters it, whether his sleep
continue but a few hours, or be protracted through a period of
centuries? The body can be sensible of no difference, and the spirit,
transported far beyond the regions of dream-land, enjoys a happy and
conscious existence in the presence of Him, who died, "That whether we
wake or _sleep_, we might live together with Him." Mrs. Lyth looked,
nay longed for the time of her departure; and as the hour drew on,
seems to have had some pleasant premonitions of its approach. About a
month before it occurred, she writes, "My first thought this morning

'We soon shall be landed, for death is in view,
Almighty protection shall comfort us through;
Released from our prisons, to heaven we fly,
Exchanging all sorrows for mansions on high.'"

"A few days of beautiful spring weather permitted her to enjoy an
occasional walk, which was generally made subservient to some higher
purpose than that of mere refreshment. Thrice her steps were directed
to the Sanctuary, opportunities which she richly enjoyed. Of one of
these she says, "I enjoyed the privilege of meeting my friends at the
lovefeast, and hearing them speak of the power of grace to save; but
my poor body is very feeble."

This short respite, however, excited in her mind no fallacious
expectation of a much longer reprieve; and more than once she
expressed her conviction, that, as the summer advanced she would be no
better. The weather suddenly changed; and the prevalence of north and
easterly winds, accompanied with rain, confined her to the house. To
use her own expressive language, "June enters weeping, and yet (10th)
remains in tears." This circumstance elicited almost the last effort
of her poetic pen.

"Fairest month of summer's Trine,
Why dost thou remain in tears?
Ask not. 'Tis the will divine;
This shall dissipate my fears.
He, who ruleth in the sky,
Knoweth what His creatures need;
He can every want supply,
Trust Him, and His promise plead.
Clouds may wear a frowning brow,
Blasting winds may sweep around,
He, who reigns above, knows how
Best to make his love abound.
Then, I'll cast my every care
On my promise-keeping God;
Honour Him by faith and prayer;
Rest upon His faithful word.
Should the cloud continue still,
Thou for ever art the same,
All the workings of Thy will
But proclaim Thy glorious name."

The last entries of her diary, which with a solemn significance just
fill up the volume, we give in full.

"June 11th. - I expected to have received my ticket, but no one came, I
clearly see no dependance can be placed upon the creature. On Thee,
O Lord, let all my confidence rest! Glory be to God, though I am an
isolated one, I am not left alone. I do feel drawn, after God, I have
given myself to Him, and He is chief in my affection.

19th. - My seventy-eighth birth-day. I had intended writing, but the
Lord saw otherwise. I was in bed three parts, of the day, and on the
20th very ill, having taken cold.

21st. - Thursday the longest day. I am very feeble, but have taken my
pen to acknowledge the goodness of God to me for so long a period. At
noon we had an awful thunderstorm, during which my soul was calm and
peaceful. This is the Lord's doing. I felt sweet trust and confidence
in my Almighty Saviour. Afterwards I received my ticket at the hands
of the Rev. Thos. Nightingale. On the ticket there is written, 'I
have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with everlasting
kindness have I drawn thee.'"


Peaceful is the Sabbath morn,
Glad I welcome its return;
Now Thy presence I implore,
Come, and never leave me more.

It was hoped by her friends that, with the return of milder weather,
her strength would rally; but from this time it gradually declined.
Her occupations were pursued as usual, but her weakness became daily
more apparent; and, every now and then, intimations fell from her
lips, that her "time was short," and her "work nearly done." To those
around her it was evident that she was standing ready, and waiting
for the coming of her Lord. This was particularly observable in the
promptitude and fidelity with which she addressed all who came to the
house, in terms of exhortation or warning, as if she was afraid of
losing a single opportunity of speaking for her Master. Earth with its
comparative trifles was fast receding from her view, and her spiritual
vision occupied with the solemn and momentous scenes into which
she was so soon to enter. Her daughter, who, for the purpose of
ministering to her requirements, occupied the same bed-room, was often
awoke, in the stillness of night, by the voice of thanksgiving and
prayer; for, not content with making melody to the Lord in her heart,
she gave vent to her overflowing feelings in singing and praise.

On Thursday, the 28th, the decrease of her strength was such that,
although no danger was apprehended, it was deemed advisable to call
in medical aid, which afforded her a momentary relief. But disease was
insidiously working to an unfavourable issue, and that day she plied
her needle for the last time. On Saturday the doctor instituted a
minute examination of her lungs, and pronounced the case one of the
worst forms of bronchitis; yet still held out the hope of recovery, - a
hope in which she evinced no sympathy, for, though from the nature of
the complaint able to talk but little, she spoke of her affliction,
not only without apprehension, but with joyful anticipation. To
the doctor, when he informed her of her danger, she expressed her
confidence that "to die would be gain," and urged upon him the
importance of living always in a state of preparation for death. He
had no sooner left the room than, turning to her daughter, with a look
of ecstacy, she said, "I am going home, Mary." In consequence of her
extreme debility, the difficulty of her breathing and expectoration
occasioned her much suffering, which she bore with exemplary patience;
and when it was referred to, replied, "It is all right." At another
time when an allusion was made to her sufferings, her reply was,
"Patient the appointed race to run." Her daughter read to her the
beautiful hymn, commencing, "The God of Abraham praise," to which she
listened with great attention, and on coming to the lines,

"He calls a worm His friend,
He calls Himself my God,
And He shall save me to the end,
Through Jesus' blood;"

she exclaimed, with her eyes raised to heaven, and her hands uplifted,
"Glory! glory!"

During the night her daughter, who watched by her side, overheard her
say, "My heart and my flesh faileth, but God is the strength of my
heart, and _my portion for ever_," emphasizing the last words. It was
whispered -

"And above the rest this note shall swell,"

when she instantly took up the words, and with a heavenly smile
completed the stanza,

"My Jesus hath done all things well."

The same tender solicitude for others, especially those of her own
family, which had ever characterized her, was still manifest in her
utmost weakness. "Twice," says her daughter, "during those few anxious
days, while I was standing by her bed-side, she looked at me tenderly,
and said, 'The Lord bless thee, and keep thee; the Lord make His face
to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His
countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.' On telling her I was
going to write to my brother John, she replied, 'Give my kindest love
to him and Susie, and tell them to keep the _one point_ in view. To
one who was ministering to her wants she said, with great earnestness,
'Oh! when one comes to the verge of another world, of what avail are
all things else, if we are not on the sure foundation? My whole care
is to be ready - quite ready.'"

The rapid decay of her strength seemed to produce no corresponding
impression upon her mind, which, up to within a few hours of her
departure, retained its wonted vigour and clearness of perception. Her
utterances were carefully weighed, and she grasped the full force of
the words which were spoken to her; hence, when her daughter asked if
she could say

"Not a cloud doth arise
To darken the skies,
And hide for _one moment_ the Lord from my eyes;"

she replied, "I can't say _that_." "But," mother, "you can trust Him
in the dark?" Her ready answer was, "I _can_ do that."

On Tuesday morning, July 3rd, the day preceding her removal, for some
hours she appeared rather better, and on being lifted up in bed, she
asked for her spectacles, the Bible, and also the hymn-book, from

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Online LibraryJohn LythReligion in Earnest A Memorial of Mrs. Mary Lyth, of York → online text (page 19 of 21)