Lady Hazlerigg

The Life And Testimony Of Lady Hazlerigg

Gospel Standard 1869:

A Short Memorial Of The Late Lady Hazlerigg

My dearest mother was born Feb. 17, 1784, and departed to her rest in Jesus Oct. 25, 1868.

In her earlier days she knew not the Lord, though she was not without some convictions which made her envy at times the beasts that perish. She was left a widow when still young, and survived my father about fifty years; and she had to experience a widow’s trials and sorrows.

In her 65th year, in 1848, the Lord of her peace began to work effectually upon her soul. She was convinced of her state as a sinner, and as a lost sinner felt her need of a Saviour such as Christ is. In due time the Lord was pleased to comfort her. As her own letter to me expressed it, she was enabled to lay hold of Christ as her righteousness, and to view God in Christ as her Father. From this time, though often tried, and having to pass through many conflicts with indwelling sin, she was generally of a hopeful turn of mind; never being suffered to any great extent to cast away her confidence. God was pleased to do great things for her, and sweetly guide her, little by little, into his blessed truth; and those who knew her will be able to testify of the sweet humility and childlikeness of spirit so graciously bestowed upon her. Her heart was ever open to receive in love the true children of God; and though often chilled by what she saw amongst persons professing godliness, she retained her warmth of affection to the end to those who belonged to Christ. She loved to have them about her in her last afflictive illness; to them principally her heart cleaved, and she desired by them to be conveyed to her resting-place in the grave. On one occasion, when seeing myself riding to do the Lord’s work, these words dropped into her heart: “Where thou goest I will go; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” This determined her to live at Leicester, and provide me a home.

At one time she was much exercised upon the doctrine of election. She wanted to be rightly instructed, but felt perplexed. She consulted a professed minister of the gospel, who informed her that God elected on the ground of the foreknowledge of faith in the elect. This did not satisfy her mind; but during the following night the Lord sealed instruction upon her. He spoke these words sweetly into her heart: “You believe because you were elected; you were not elected because you believe.” This settled the matter; the truth was made plain. The Lord also showed her that she was a daughter of Abraham, a believer in Jesus. This was a very sweet sealing time to her soul. Indeed, the savour upon her spirit produced by this manifestation was perceptible to others.

The Lord, at times, in his great goodness, was pleased to instruct her even by dreams. She often referred to one in which it seemed to her there were two rings on her fingers; one mere tinsel which she wanted to retain, but could not, it seemed to flee away from her; one pure gold, with a jewel in it; this she was enabled to preserve in spite of everything. This jewel to her was her faith in Christ. She has told me that afterwards, in times of temptation, she has caught herself almost unconsciously putting her thumb upon the finger where the ring was, as if to preserve it.

My dearest mother for a time attended the ministry of the late Mr. Chamberlain, and I believe profited considerably by it. Not seeing the ordinance of believers’ baptism, she joined his church, and continued in communion with the people until Mr. Chamberlain was finally laid aside by infirmity. From this time she either attended at Trinity Chapel, Alfred Street, or on my own ministry in a neighbouring village. She greatly profited under various sermons she heard. Indeed, I have heard her speak of good and profitable times under most of the ministers she was allowed to listen to. She was so favoured by the Lord with a spirit of humility in the things of God that if she did not seem to profit, she was inclined to impute it to something in herself. Indeed, I have known her, if the minister was bound and could not get on so easily in his work as usual, solemnly examine herself to see whether her own state might not in some degree be the cause of it, through a grieving of the Spirit of God. The savour of some sermons and the texts from which they were preached seemed to abide with her, more or less, almost all her days. I might give many instances, but will merely mention Ps. 106:4,5: “Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. O visit me with thy salvation,” &c. Also Luke 1:46,47: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Also one of the last she ever heard, 1 Cor. 6:6-11: “But ye are washed,” &c. To this last she would at times sweetly allude on her death-bed, laying a peculiar emphasis on the words, “But ye are washed.”

About five years ago my mother had a most alarming attack of fainting, so that her life seemed to hang by a thread; but the Lord was most gracious to her soul. The frame of her mind seemed best represented by the lines of Toplady’s, which she often quoted:

“Lord, it is not life to live,

If thy presence thou deny: 

Lord, if thou thy presence give, 

’Tis no longer death to die.”

She was even afraid of being restored again, lest she should again sin against the Lord. The Lord also gave her these words:

“Yes, I to the end shall endure, 

As sure as the earnest is given.”

She would often say to us, “And I have received the earnest.”

She spoke very sweetly to those about her, and said she felt able to leave all and give all up to Christ, Christ all in all, having the preeminence. Eight hands, right eyes, all must go for him. It was very sweet to converse with her, the fear of death and undue care about others were so greatly subdued, as though she could leave her all where she left her soul.

She had prayed much on the Tuesday before this illness, to be enabled to glorify the Lord. Hymn 643 had been very sweet to her the previous Lord’s day. She said she felt to love all the Lord’s dear people, and desired to send her love to all who asked after her, and likewise wished me publicly to return thanks for the Lord’s goodness to her. From the date of this alarming attack, my mother seemed constantly to bear about in herself a sentence of death. She lived from day to day as one who felt that at her age death must before very long be conflicted with.

On the 2nd of last July she was taken with that which in spite of partial rallyings proved to be her last illness. At first she was somewhat dark in her mind, and felt the want of the Lord’s presence; but on the day following the Lord sweetly visited her. She signified that death would be only going to a Father; and, as she gently whispered to me, she “need not fear that.” He also told her he would provide for those she left behind; and so she said she “need not be concerned, though anxieties would come in.” She told me she was half dozing at the time. “I slept,” she said, “but my heart waketh.” When my brother, sister, and myself were all around her, she seemed much affected, and lifting up her hands said, “I have but one wish to make.” We listened intently; she continued, “That we may all meet in heaven.”

On the 19th my mother had a day of remarkable refreshment from the Lord, and called me to her bedside at night to have a few words of prayer and thanksgiving for the Lord’s mercies to her, and the refreshment he had given.

From this attack my mother partially and temporarily rallied; but the blow was unquestionably struck which was destined to carry her to her grave.

About the 20th of September my mother became very ill again, and from this time to the end of her days on earth there was a progressive failing of the vital powers, accompanied with much pain, and extreme restlessness, which she bore with sweet resignation to the Lord’s will, often speaking of the Lord’s goodness to her in taking down her earthly house so gently. On Sunday night, the 27th, she was very ill, and being unable to rest in bed, sat up in her chair. She then made me sit by her, and tell her the text from which I had been speaking, Heb. 12:22-24. The part which most struck her was that about “the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of Abel.” This was sweetly blessed to her in the night afterwards.

She saw and felt how the blood of Abel called to God for vengeance, but that of Jesus for pardon, love, and peace. She was brought to a sweet resignation to the Lord’s will, and a willingness to leave all, and be with Christ, as far better.

It was about this time that she called me to her bedside, and whispered, “I do not think death will be my loss.”

On Oct. 1st she became very much worse, indeed in the greatest peril. For a time she seemed in some anxiety about her state, and asked me if I was sure she was right.

I said to her, “What is your hope built upon?” Her countenance brightened as she replied, “On Jesus, the Son of God.” She told me the thought of the glory of heaven almost overpowered her. “O the great sinner I am,” she cried, and wondered how she could be fit; but then suddenly, as if recollecting herself, exclaimed, “O the fitness is in Jesus! He is seen, not me.” Then she cried out, “My Father, my Father in Jesus Christ.” She said, too, she was willing to depart and leave all, though she still had some anxieties for us.

On Oct. 2nd my mother became still worse. I sat up with her the night preceding, and towards morning, after getting into bed again, she gently called me to her, and whispered, “The Lord has just said to me, ‘It is well with the righteous.'” She was filled with joy and peace with God. She repeated one of her hymns so feelingly, 422nd: “Who can describe the joys that rise?” &c.

She said she could then repeat all her hymns as feeling them. She felt she could not sleep for thinking of these things. She spoke of the cross of Christ, and said it broke her heart to think of his love to her. She wanted to cry, but not tears of misery; for she ought rather to laugh than cry. She said it would be but going home. She continued in a very blessed frame of mind most of this day. When the physician came to see her, and asked how she was, he was quite startled by her reply, “O I am better.” And when, in some astonishment, he said, “Why, Lady Hazlerigg, to hear you speak we should think you were quite well,” her gentle answer was, “But is it not better to be getting nearer home?” Even our anxieties for the body could not restrain her from testifying of the Lord’s truth and goodness to her, and the needs be of a real religion in a dying hour.

From the beginning of this illness to the end she never seemed carried away, as we were at times, by undue hopes. She felt it was for death, and often said warningly to others, “What should I now do if I had to begin to seek the Lord?”

October 3rd. My mother, being a little better today, seemed rather depressed than elated by it; and said this was not like getting nearer home. Before going to sleep for a short time at night, she had these words given to her: “For we, as sons in Christ, are made; As pure as he is pure.” She remarked that she was apt to forget this, and look too much to self.

Oct. 4th. My mother, again much worse, called me to her, and asked, “Is there such a hymn as this: “Jesus, lover of my soul, Jesus crucified for me?'” adding, “These words have just revived me. What did he not suffer for me? and I so impatient under suffering!” I would here remark that my mother, so far from being impatient, was, as one of her attendants said, a pattern to us; but she was afraid that the wearying restlessness caused by her disease might have something of impatience about it.

Oct. 5th. My mother said she wanted to weep because of the Lord’s goodness to her. She also said, “Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.” “Jesus wept” was a word sweet to her.

Oct. 6th. She asked my sister in the night whether there was such a word as this, which expressed her feelings: “Hangs my helpless soul on thee.”

Oct. 8th. My mother said to me that she was hanging between life and death, waiting the Lord’s will. “God,” said she, “is love; but only in Jesus. In him is my fitness.” This thought of her fitness in Christ has been a great relief to her, and had much sweetness. This morning, when lying awake, she said she was very happy, thinking over her hymns.

I may here remark that my dear mother had for some years been in the habit of committing to memory such hymns as particularly struck her. In her hymn book there are sixty marked as thus learnt by her. The last was Berridge’s: “How watchful is the loving Lord!” Verses of this and other hymns so learnt by her were made very precious on her death-bed, and two lines of one were again and again, with much power and feeling, repeated by her, chilling, I confess, our hope of her recovery: 

“He comes to set my spirit free,

And as my day my strength shall be.”

She also read her Bible through once a year for the last 11 years, and the good Lord often blessedly instructed her in so doing. Her last reading was Isa. 38: “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death.”

My mother being better, I attempted to fulfill a part of my engagement at Gower Street, from the 11th to the 14th of the month; but on my return found her worse again.

During the night of the 15th, she sat up in her chair, and had some conversation with my sister and myself. She said to us, “Weep not for me.” She told us she had had a dream during the earlier part of her illness, but she must not tell us it then; we could not bear it now. She afterwards told it me. She had time after time one night seen herself laid out at the foot of her bed, all in white; and, what had always struck her, so peculiarly white. She said to me, she desired in all things to say, “Thy will be done;” but felt, being so far on her journey, it would be rather hard to return. She was content, nay, desirous to depart; and could leave all earthly cares. She seemed at one time to wish to be left alone to die; but said the Lord was teaching her to walk by Scripture rule, and she saw it right to use means, and the capability of relieving the body was the Lord’s merciful dispensation.

Oct. 17th. I had a sweet conversation with her. She told me she had caught herself saying yesterday, “Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly.” She felt it was going home. “Home! There is something sweet in the thought of home.” She had been enabled during the night to recollect the whole of one of her hymns, 422nd. She repeated it to me so sweetly; it was a sermon. When she came to, “The purchase of his agonies,” she said there she “felt overcome, to think of having pierced the Lord of glory.” She wished me to go to London again, and do the Lord’s work, and leave her with the Lord. “The soul,” she said, “is safe; and as to the body, you have done all you can for that. I shall be your crown in the day of judgment.”

She repeated these lines with much unction:

“For sinners, Lord, thou earnest to bleed, 

And I’m a sinner vile indeed.

Lord, I believe thy grace is free “ 

She paused, and said, “Yes, free. O magnify that grace in me. What should I do but for free grace?” She spoke of watering free grace with tears, and again and again spoke of the Lord’s goodness in making her journey home so easy. She told me she had nothing to plead but this: “God be merciful to me a sinner, for thy dear Son’s sake.” She spoke most sweetly and instructively to me about going to town; indeed, there was a surprising dignity and authority in her words, considering the wonderful sweetness and gentleness of her character. She begged, nay, almost commanded me not to think of her, or neglect the Lord’s work on her account; for a man must leave father and mother for the Lord’s sake. “Jesus,” she said, “stayed at Jerusalem, and left his mother when about his Father’s business; and he committed her at last to John, and I had committed mine to a greater than John.”

Speaking of her many temporal comforts, she said, “I have a Dives’s portion, but not a Dives’s spirit; a beggar at the door might have that.” She said she wanted to have no will, but for hers to be swallowed up in the Lord’s. She was full of pity for her carnal relatives. All bitterness seemed taken out of her heart. She felt she could pray for them, and knew nothing was too hard for the Lord.

In much anxiety, but feeling constrained even by her own wishes, I again went to London; but on Tuesday, the 20th, I received a telegram to say how much worse she was, and, by the physician’s directions, to call me home immediately. I found out afterwards that my mother wished me to be telegraphed for to come home after the evening service. She still wished the Lord’s work to be done, though nature could not but make her feel it was sweet to have me with her again. I sat up with her through the night, which she said was to her a very peaceful one, although she had little rest. She told me in one of our conversations about this time some things in her former experience, how once she was much tried as to whether she had been sufficiently convinced of sin; when these words dropped into her heart: “Envy, malice, hatred.” She pleaded guilty, and felt that all these evils dwelt in her flesh. When she first came to Leicester, she used to grudge herself the bed she lay upon, remembering that the Lord Jesus had not where to lay his head. Once, as she was in her own room, and much tried, she walked across it, saying, “I can bear this no longer; I must go back;” when these words dropped into her heart: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” She more than once asked me if I knew of any of the Lord’s poor who were ill and wanted comforts, for she wished to share with them the temporal mercies the Lord supplied her with.

During the night of the 21st she had these words: “My times are in thy hands.” She wanted patience to wait the Lord’s time, but thought the gracious Saviour would not tarry much longer.

22nd. This was one of the sweetest times I almost ever spent with my mother. Too ill to lie down in bed, she sat up in her chair. I felt a great inclination come over me to pray with her, though it seemed she was almost too ill and worn out to attend to it. Still I knelt down, and the gracious Lord poured upon our hearts a Spirit of supplications, and we once more united our prayers at the throne of grace. She was sweetly revived in spirit, and quoted a verse of Toplady’s which had often been sweet to her:

“Yes, I to the end shall endure,

As sure as the earnest is given; 

More happy, but not more secure, 

The glorified spirits in heaven.”

The gracious Spirit had led to words in prayer exactly meeting the exercises of her heart. She was tempted to think she should not hold out to the end. After this, with her dear head resting on one of my hands, she went off into a calm, placid slumber, and said after it the Lord had given her a verse:

“And when in Jordan’s swelling 

May I be helped to sing,

And pass the river telling

The triumphs of my King.”

She seemed very happy; said a light had again broken in upon her soul, and an obeying light too. She wanted to do God’s will. She awoke out of another short slumber, and whispered to me, “All is light within spiritual light.”

23rd. Though my mother was better again this morning, these words, which were with me, prevented much exhilaration of hope:

“Faith has an overcoming power; 

It triumphs in the dying hour.”

And also these, expressive of the songs of those in heaven who praise God:

“In such unutterable strains

As none in fettering flesh attains.”

After this she again became much worse.

24th. This was a most solemn day and the last but one of my dear mother’s earthly pilgrimage. In the afternoon I read to her Toplady’s hymn: “A debtor to mercy alone.” At the last verse especially her countenance brightened up, and her spirit evidently responded to it. I then read Medley’s, hymn 173rd: “Jesus, before thy face I fall,” &c. She said this was one of her favourite hymns.

Shortly afterwards we thought she was dying. She fell into a state of half unconsciousness to and abstraction from the things around her. It was the time of Jacob’s trouble; the conflict of her soul was evidently tremendous. We stood around her bed as spectators, but could not be partakers in one of the most solemn struggles with the powers of darkness. No language of mine can possibly describe what took place before our eyes; the horror with which the temptations of Satan were repelled, the glory which beamed in my dear mother’s countenance as she lifted up her right hand and pointed to heaven, or clasped her hands in an ecstacy of prayer. I must say no more. After an hour and a half of what appeared a dying struggle, to our astonishment my mother opened her eyes upon this outer world again, and was enabled to explain in some degree what we had witnessed. I give her own words. She wanted to be absorbed in God, but something seemed to drag her down. She could not disencumber herself of the mortal flesh, and Satan tempted her. I bless God he could not gain the victory, but according to the word long before given her, “her strength was equal to her day, and death could not separate her from the love of God in Christ.

In the night following, the Lord gave her a last sweet parting visit, so far as this life goes. I had fallen through fatigue into the deepest sleep. She had lain some time quite quiet; but at length she bade those who were watching by her bedside tell my sister she wanted to speak to her. She then said to her, “Like Queen Esther, I have been in before the King, and he has held out to me the golden sceptre of his grace, although I have not slain Haman as I ought to have done.” By Hainan she meant her maternal affections, with which she had had so great n struggle. My sister said to her, “Then you are like Esther.” “No,” she said, “not like her. She was strong, but I am so weak; but the Lord pitied my infirmity.” She then said quite aloud, “I shall now sleep, having peace with God.”

Shortly after this, upon my saying to her, “Well, mother, you have, then, peace?” her answer was, “Yes, perfect peace.” She also said she was willing to do her dear Saviour’s will whether waking or sleeping; and if he held up her spirit, it did not signify whether awake or asleep. Some of us afterwards looking anxiously at her, she said, “It’s all right.”

My dear mother at last died very suddenly from cessation of the heart’s action. She was in our arms, and, dear soul, breathed out her spirit, I feel sure, into the hands of God.

G. Hazlerigg.

Lady Hazlerigg (1784-1868) was a sovereign grace believer. She was the beloved mother of Grey Hazlerigg, the renown pastor of the church meeting at Zion Chapel, Leicester, and editor of the Gospel Standard Magazine.