Earthen Vessel 1894:
The Late Mrs. J. W. Banks
Anne Maria, the beloved wife of John W. Banks, was born at Westbury Leigh in the second decade of the present century. Her parents, William and Mary Applegate, were godly people, and members of the (then) Particular Baptist Church at Westbury Leigh, though the father of deceased would often walk into Trowbridge (five miles) in order to hear the late John Warburton.
The subject of this sketch attended regularly the old Baptist Chapel in her native village, and always bearing a scrupulously moral character and a devotional and reverent demeanour in the house of God, was frequently used to become a member, as they told her “she was quite good enough”; but being thoroughly conscientious, and not having experienced a change of heart, she respectfully declined their overtures.
About fifty years ago Miss Applegate changed her name to that of Nash, came to London, and entered into business in the vicinity of Old-street. After a few years, like Zaccheus, there was a desire created in her heart to “see Jesus.” Her footsteps were led to hear J. A. Jones, C. W. Banks, James Wells, and such good men. Being deeply concerned about her soul’s welfare she got no rest of mind till one Sunday afternoon, while walking through Old-street, close to St. Luke’s Church, the words came with great power, like an audible voice, “Thy sins are forgiven thee.” This circumstance was never erased from the mind. Even in the latter days of her life, when memory failed and reason was dethroned, the mention of this text was like a reviving cordial to a bruised mind. Only about two weeks before the vital spark fled, she said to me with a sweet pathos, “Shall I ever hear His voice again? “Yes, you will hear it presently, more sweet, more loud!” She was baptized by the late J. A. Jones, and continued her membership at “Jireh” till about five years ago, when, being greatly blessed under the ministry of Mr. Mitchell, she joined the Church at Chadwell-street.
Sunday afternoon, January 14th, she quietly, peacefully, painlessly fell asleep in Jesus.
John Waters Banks
The Funeral Service
The following account is written by a brother beloved and inserted at the special request of many earnest, loving friends. Deceased being well known and highly esteemed for many years in the London and suburban Churches of truth for her amiable disposition, Christian conversation, and practical help, is worthy of more than a mere passing observation. The Lord mercifully and kindly watched over her providentially for eighty-two years, dealt tenderly with her in her last hours and at last was well laid in the grave. Our brother says:—“The neighbourhood of Park-street was somewhat aroused on Friday, Jan. 19, caused by the funeral of Anne Maria, the beloved wife of John W. Banks. Within the residence in the room abutting the hall, lay, ‘just as translated,’ with a smile of peacefulness, the mortal remains of the departed ’till He come’ in a solid oaken casket. Round the bier were gathered a number of those who knew and loved her—members of the family, ministers of the Gospel, and other devout friends. The one and only sister left being so much like the departed that, as we looked at her and heard her voice, visions arose of happy hours spent at No. 18, with the large-hearted woman whose soul had so recently been called home. And, as one stood there thinking, the scene came before the mind’s eye of the sweet rest of the gentle spirit of her, whose tabernacle was being reverently tended, when it was first ushered into the presence of that eternal choir, and bearing for the first time the glorious anthem, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory, and hononr and power unto the Lord our God.’ The reverie, however, was soon broken, as the company were called together, and ere the journey to Nunhead commenced, a solemn prayer was offered by Mr. Samuel Banks. The Amen was said, and the ministers (Messrs. Mitchell, Sears, Holden, and Lynn) entered the first carriage, and Messrs. Abbott, Hodges, Fricker (deacons), and Licence occupied the second carriage, the hearse came next, followed by four mourning coaches with relatives. Arriving at the cemetery, the first part of the service was conducted in the chapel, where Mr. Mitchell announced Dr. Isaac Watts’ great hymn—
“Give me the wings of faith to rise
Within the veil, and see
The saints above, how great their joys,
How bright their glories be.”
Mr. F. C. Holden followed with appropriate portions of Scripture. As soon as the notes of inspired hope had died away, Mr. R. E. Sears delivered an address full of sypathy, closing with a note of jubilation. The departed, he declared, was a precious woman, and having gained the haven, there was more cause for rejoicing than sorrow. She had fallen asleep and had entered the city where there was no more sorrow. The husband had had a charge from God to take care of the dear one whose remains were now to be taken to the grave; he had faithfully and affectionately discharged the trust before comitted to him, and he (Mr. S.) was glad, on visiting the departed three days before her death she had an unclouded vision and knew him perfectly well. Brother Banks quoted two lines of the hymn—
“When I can read my title clear,
To mansions in the skies.”
She clearly and distinctly finished the verse—
“I’ll bid farewell to every tear,
And wipe my weeping eyes,”
adding, “How beautiful! How nice!”
Just as Mr. Sear had finished telling the incident, the sun shone forth, pouring its rays on the coffin, filling the chapel with a peculiar springtide appearance and beauty. The telling address finished, Mr. John Hunt Lynn offered prayer, and the hymn,
“Hear what the voice from heaven proclaims
For all the righteous dead;
Sweet is the savour of their names,
And soft their sleeping bed,”
having been sung, concluded the service in the chapel.
The long procession was re-formed and wended its way to the grave where the sacred dust was consigned to its last resting-place till the resurrection morn. Mr. Mitchell, her pastor, gave a most suitable oration at the grave, and after singing—
“Why do we mourn departed friends
Or shake at death’s alarms?”
Mr. Mitchell concluded the service with prayer.
Among others present were Mr and Mrs Cornwell, Mr Burbridge, Mr and Mrs Haslop, Mr B. Woodrow, Mr and Mr Crispen, Mr and Mrs James, &c.
C. B. B.
Anne Maria Banks (?-1894) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. Her parents belonged to a local Strict Baptist church where she was brought up as a child. After removing to London as an adult, she was brought to realize her salvation in Christ. She was married to John Waters Banks, was baptized by J. A. Jones and continued as a member of “Jireh” till 1889. She transferred membership to the church meeting at Chadwell-street, under whose ministry of Mr. Mitchell she was richly edified.