Mary Wild

The Life And Testimony Of Mary Wild

Gospel Standard 1869:

Mary Wild died at Allcannings, Wilts, October 19, 1868.

Mary Wild was the only daughter (though there were many sons) of godly parents, both of whom I well knew, not only as being attached hearers of mine during the time of my residence in Wilts, but from personal intercourse, especially with her mother in my subsequent visits, as her father was taken out of this world of sin and sorrow as far back as 1837.

The Experience Of Mary Wild’s Parents

As no memorial has ever appeared of them, though better worthy of it than many, I shall from some memoranda which have lately been put into my hands written by the deceased, as well as from my personal recollections, give a little account of this godly couple, as a kind of introduction to the experience and dying testimony of their daughter Mary.

They had both of them made a profession of religion very long before I became acquainted with them, Mrs. Wild dating her convictions from about the year 1809, when she was about 26 years of age. They had for many years lived at Stowell, in the parish of Wilcot, a small village near Pewsey, Wilts, renting a farm under a family of High Church principles and thoroughly imbued with that proud, feudal, domineering spirit which in those days particularly so prevailed in the squirearchy towards their tenants and dependents. I name this as forming an element of difficulty and opposition in the path in which they were afterwards called to walk.

Farmer Wild, as he was generally called, and as I shall therefore term him, from carrying in manners and appearance so much about him of the plain, simple English farmer, was one of the good old school, being naturally, even before called by grace, remarkably honest, straightforward, sober, and very industrious. He had also in his wife, to whom he was married in the year 1805, a thorough good helpmate, as she was a woman of considerable natural intellect, not indeed what now would be considered cultivated or educated, but of great shrewdness of observation, and a most industrious and careful manager. In fact, she was, like her husband, one of the good old school of farmers’ wives: and though she could not play the piano or paint landscapes, and would have passed a very poor examination in history or geography, could and did make the butter and cheese, set the hens, feed the poultry, look up the eggs, wash and dress her children, and all the while keep a sharp eye on all that was going on in parlour, kitchen, and farm yard. And thus they went on toiling and moiling hard for a living, without thought of God or godliness, until the set time came for the Lord to begin his work of grace upon their souls. It appears from the little memoir of her now before me that the Lord wrought first on the soul of Mrs. Wild. In it she tells her daughter, who, without letting her know, took down at various times memoranda of her conversation, some of her feelings about the year 1800. From these memoranda I make the following extract:

“I was afraid of death, and worked hard for salvation, hoping to escape hell and gain heaven by my good works, knowing no other way whereby sinners could be saved from the wrath to come. God’s plan of saving poor sinners I had not the least knowledge of, never having even once heard the doctrines of God’s grace preached or talked of. I remember at that time I seemed to have much more power over myself than since. I took out my earrings, left off curling my hair, and many such things, was afraid to visit my worldly relatives and neighbours, often denying myself a slice of meat for dinner that I might send it to any of my poor neighbours who I thought feared God. I used much at that time to read a book entitled “The Whole Duty of Man”, a book that at times almost drove me crazy, I was so continually coming short of fulfilling its requirements.”

When thus labouring under soul-trouble, a heavy temporal burden was laid upon them by the sudden raising of the rent of the farm from £400 to £700 a year, after only five years’ occupation. She observes upon this:

“All our neighbours, as we were the first that were raised, prophesied our ruin, and we ourselves were very desponding how we should make up the rent. But the thoughts of my never-dying soul outweighed all those pressing earthly matters. I was so continually haunted by the fears of death.’’

About this time, however, an old shepherd, a good man who as often as he had an opportunity would talk to her about the things of eternity, procured her Dr. Watts’s hymn book, which, however, she had to hide lest her husband should know she had it. Through this shepherd and an old woman also in the village, at whose house there had been at one time preaching, she was induced, in the absence of her husband one Sunday, to go to the Baptist Chapel at Pewsey. She thus describes her feelings when she first went there:

“The first time I ever ventured to go to Pewsey Chapel was on a Lord’s day when your father and uncle were gone to Chilton, in Berkshire, on parish affairs, to save time on week days. Old Sally G., the woman at whose house the preaching was, went with me. I do not believe I lifted up my head the whole time I was in the place, so did not see who was there, I felt so ashamed of the people and chapel; nor could I think what I should say for myself when my husband came home, knowing well enough he would be sure to hear where I had been in his absence. When he did return I, to be beforehand, said where I had gone whilst he was away. He did not seem to take much heed, only laughed at me, and I then promised him, if he would but sometimes allow me to go, I would be an obedient wife to him in other respects. Thus I sometimes got off with old Sally on Sunday evenings, after going to church with your father in the early part of the day. It was, however, some months before I went a second time. O my pride was such a barrier to me, and feeling what would my relatives think of my joining such a set of people; and, what was worse, what would the lady we rented of think of me, she being such a High Church woman. I feared the clergyman also, who was very much opposed to the chapel. If, however, there was a thunder-storm, or I heard of any one dying suddenly, or coming to an untimely end, or of any awful occurrence, I was again haunted with fears of my own death; but whenever I went to chapel, in some part or other of the sermon my feelings would be described, which kept me going from time to time with the old woman. We had two miles to walk, and my husband would sometimes come to meet us, and old Sally would often say to him, “Well, master, take and come with mistress and me all the way, and then you will hear for yourself.” After a time, one evening he went with us all the way to chapel, when the minister took for his text the very same which the Church clergyman had preached from in the morning, (But we preach Christ crucified, &c.) The words were handled by the minister, who was a man of considerable ability, so differently from the way in which the Church minister had done that he was fully convinced who was right, and this gave him an inclination afterwards to attend there.”

I am not able to give any account how the work of grace was begun in Farmer Wild’s soul, whether, as Peter speaks, he was won by the conversation of his wife (1 Pet. 3:1), or whether a word of conviction was fastened on his conscience at the chapel. But he became a constant hearer there, and much attached to the minister. But, after undergoing a good deal of contempt and persecution for their attendance there, some very painful matters transpired at the chapel about the year 1814, which I do not wish to enter into, but they were such as not only brought great and wide reproach upon the cause, but also involved Farmer Wild in a heavy loss of £300, he having backed a bill to that amount for the minister, which, when it became due, not being taken up, he had to pay the whole. Of this she says:

“This was indeed a sore trial to us, with our dear farm and young family; and the scoff’s and jeers which we had to endure from our neighbours and relatives seemed almost as bad to bear as the loss of the money.”

But this heavy trial was made to work for their spiritual good, for the old shepherd before named had by some means heard of the late Mr. Symons, of Bristol, who then lived and preached in a small room at Marlborough; and as he brought a good report of the ministry, and they were completely cut off from the chapel at Pewsey by the painful circumstances to which I have alluded, they were induced to go to Marlborough to hear him. I have heard her speak of the effect of Mr. Symons’s ministry upon her soul. It was to pull to pieces all her religion, and turn her inside out. But I shall give her own words:

“Many times has he sent me home crying and sadly cut to pieces, stripping me of my self-righteousness, so that I often thought I would not go to hear him again; but by the time Sunday came round again, I wanted to go. Like the Jews of old with Samuel, many times when he entered the pulpit have I said inwardly, “Comest thou peaceably, or not peaceably?”

She used to say that she never heard any other man insist on the practical part of religion as Mr. Symons did:

“Often did I think of him and of his preaching when I have been weighing up the butter for sale, or counting out our eggs for market, and when our landlady’s people sent to us for eggs, not to overcharge them for the same, though they were rich, and made us pay so dear for the farm. I truly loved and feared Mr. Symons, and he told me that by the feelings he was the subject of when he came to our house, he was sure there was a son or daughter of peace in the house, or both.”

As they became acquainted with him, Mr. Symons took much to Mrs. Wild, coming sometimes to see them at Stowell, as she names above. I shall, therefore, insert a letter which he wrote to them about this time, which I think will be read with both pleasure and profit:

“Marlborough, Dec., 1815.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Wild, Your little basket, with its contents, came safe to hand, for which I kindly thank you; and as the Lord has promised to bless his people in the basket, I could not return it until I had besought the Lord to put his blessing into it, namely, that which maketh the soul rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. In general I am not forward either to converse with, or write to, strangers on religious subjects; and there are several in this town who I believe, from what I see and hear of them, have been savingly brought to a knowledge of the truth under my preaching, with, whom I have never conversed, and to whom I have never written. Should you ask what made me depart from my general rule of procedure, I answer, that what I have heard and seen of you has raised a hope in my mind that the Lord has begun a good work in both your souls, and this hope is abundantly confirmed by a strong affection of soul, so that I can say, I long after you both in the bowels of Jesus Christ, and have from time to time great liberty of access for you at a throne of grace, praying the Lord to accomplish in you all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith by his almighty power, in granting you a double portion of his Spirit to lead you into a saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, to write the same on the fleshy tables of your hearts, to reveal Christ to you in all his excellences, power, and glory, to apply his blood to your consciences, and to clothe you with his righteousness, to shed abroad the Father’s love in your hearts to bear witness with your spirits that you are born of God, passed from death unto life, and shall never again come into condemnation. These are some of the leadings and most important blessings of the everlasting gospel of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which he freely bestows on his people as the gifts of his eternal love, without money and without price. I should rejoice to hear you say in the affirmative, ‘These blessings are all our own, we have them in sweet and happy possession.’ But should you, through unbelief, stagger at any of the promises by which our covenant God has engaged to bestow them on his people, they are, nevertheless, set before you in the gospel, and faith is given to believe them, and, in the Lord’s good time, to receive them, through and by which your hearts will be purified in obeying the truth to unfeigned love of the brethren, when you will consider as the excellent of the earth, and with whom will be your delight. Faith will also render sin increasingly sinful. The evil of it will be seen, and the burden of it felt more and more, which will cause you frequently to go mourning with your spirits bowed down within you. Doubts and fears will prevail, and you will be ready sometimes to conclude that all is a delusion and a cheat of Satan, which you make your minds like the troubled ocean. In this distress you will call on the name of the Lord with a deal of sighing and groaning within, and the secret corner often resorted to in order to pour out the heart with all its complaints before God, who hath said, ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ These are a few of the footsteps of the flock which I believe my friends are walking in. If so, I would say, Peace be on you, as a part of the true Israel of God. I am happy to see that with a large family and a multiplicity of business you can take up your cross and come six miles to hear the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. It is a mark that you are of those that hunger and thirst after righteousness; and the promise is that you shall be filled. Yes, I believe that you will be abundantly satisfied with the goodness of the Lord’s house, and, if not now, in due time be brought to praise your covenant God with joyful lips. Beware of and keep from outside preaching and professors. I shall be very glad to see or hear from you both. Should you write, keep nothing back, good or bad, and it will be gladly received by

Your affectionate Friend in the Gospel of the Lord and Saviour,

John Symons.”

Mr. Symons became much attached to Mrs. Wild, seeing in her so much honesty and sincerity, and kept up a correspondence with her up to the time of his decease. Indeed no one who knew anything of the truth could converse with her without seeing the grace of God manifested in her conversation. Mr. Symons, who was in the Excise, continued to preach at Marlborough until 1818, when he moved to Bristol, I suppose by the order of the Commissioners. They continued, however, to go to Marlborough to hear a Mr. Weldon, who, having been in the army and a trumpet-major in it during the Peninsular war, was generally known by the name of Trumpet-Major Weldon. I am not able to say how far they profited under his ministry, but they could not hear the minister that succeeded him, and therefore left him to attend at a poor cottage at Bushall, a village about four miles off, but in an opposite direction, the minister being a poor shoemaker, and his cottage the chapel with a mud floor so uneven that she said she had often great difficulty to keep her stool from upsetting as she sat to hear. When the service was over, they went under some sheltered hedge to eat their dinner, and then down to the brook to get a little water to drink. But she had a heavier load all this time than sitting on a mud floor, dining under a hedge, or drinking from a brook, for she says:

“Many times when my mind was bondaged and I could not hear to my satisfaction and had so to shift about, has my pride been, sadly mortified, and what was worse, fearing my religion was only enough to make me miserable, and like what Mr. Hart describes:

’A sore that never healing
Frets and rankles unto death.’

The devil would also tell me that I should have nothing else in this world or in the next, and that mine was nothing but the sorrow of the world that worketh death.”

Still, however, this honest, godly couple, for I place him with her, though I have not yet spoken much about him, struggled on through wind and storm, not beaten back, for hell was behind them and heaven before, even though the last was but dimly seen; and after a little time the friends at the cottage at Rushall helping each other, a little place was built at Manning-ford, about three miles off, in which they heard Henry Huntly (of whom some notice appeared in the March Supplement), Mr, Pontin, of Devizes, and other good men, for about nine or ten years. Some reason, however, occurred about 1835, which caused them to leave Manningford, and Mrs. Wild for a little time went again to Pewsey Chapel. This was about the time that Mr. Godwin came to preach there. The poor old farmer, however, having so severely smarted from his connection with the chapel, could hardly bring himself again to enter it, and would, therefore, either stay at home or take his Bible or book to a little copse close by the farm meadow, and there read and pray by himself.

I shall now have, though unwillingly, to speak a little about myself, and the way in which I first became acquainted with them. Those who recollect the Obituary of Carby Tuckwell, will perhaps call to mind the circumstances which I have named in it of my first going to Allington. I shall, therefore, give an extract or two from the little MS. now before me, in which her daughter has recorded some of her mother’s conversations:

“Mr. Philpot’s leaving the Church and coming for a time to preach at Allington was noised abroad and soon reached your father’s ears, and he felt inclined to go and hear him, which, after once doing, you might as well have tried to stop a running stream as to stop his going.”

In a subsequent entry, dated May 11th, 1862, I find the following words:

“In the afternoon of this day she said to me, ‘I was thinking in the morning, whilst you were at chapel at Allington, of your father, how terribly sunk and low spirited he sometimes came home from there 26 years ago, when he first began to hear Mr. Philpot. It came so fresh to my mind. Once in particular. The text was, ‘A sower went out to sow,’ &c. Your father seemed so cut off that he could scarce eat his dinner. He told me the singers were the same, so that they could hardly sing. It was before I went there, but you might as well have tried to stop a watercourse as try to stop him from going.”

As my mind had been for several years a good deal exercised upon the things of God, and I had been led particularly to see and feel the wonderful difference which there was between natural and spiritual religion, and that nothing was of any worth or value as regards salvation but the teaching and testimony of God himself in the soul, my ministry at that time ran much in that channel, and was, therefore, very separating, searching, and, as I was young both in years and grace and had a good deal of warmth and zeal, was often, no doubt, very cutting both in manner and expression, which was, I am bound to say, rather a new sound in those parts. I have reason to believe, from what I afterwards heard, that both Farmer Wild and his wife, like many others, had for some time been gradually sunk into a cold, lethargic, and sleepy state of soul. When, therefore, the good old farmer was first brought under a more searching, separating ministry than he had been accustomed to since the days of Mr. Symons, it was very cutting to his feelings, and seemed at times to strip him of all his religion. But, as Mr. Huntington somewhere says, “Where we get our cutting there we get our healing,” and thus, as every now and then there was a little balm dropped upon the sore, it nailed his ears fast to the door-post; and I may say, almost literally as well as spiritually so, for he always sat close to the door of the chapel, in one and the same place, and I seem to see him now in my mind’s eye, for he was naturally one of the finest grown men that I have ever seen, hanging upon the word, as though he could eat it. When the service was over, he would creep away by himself and get under a hedge, or sit on a bank (for hedges are rare things in that part of Wilts), where he ate his dinner alone, rarely speaking to any one and carrying as he best could his own burden, or feasting on any little morsel that he might have gathered up under the word.

But in 1837 the Lord was pleased to lay upon him his heavy hand, in an illness which terminated in death. His complaint was what is commonly called water on the chest, one of the most distressing diseases that our poor frames are subject to. I visited him several times in his illness, and I have rarely seen any one more distressed on a sick bed, both in body and soul. I remember on one occasion going to see him, when so great was his distress from his bodily complaint, and the trouble of his mind, that he could not continue in bed, but sat outside the clothes with nothing on but his shirt and a shawl thrown over his limbs, whilst, it being summer, great drops of sweat rolled down his face. His poor wife seemed almost as much distressed as he. I said what I could to comfort him, read and prayed with him, but left him much as I found him.

But I shall here insert an extract from the little memorial before me, which will tell his end better than anything of my own which I.could say:

“In July, 1837, my father, who had been suffering much from heart disease and dropsy, died on the 24th of the month. To my knowledge he had been in a very dark and gloomy state of mind for several months, and a heavy affliction it was to my dear mother to see his end approaching, and his poor mind so bondaged and cast down, and also to witness his bodily sufferings. I recollect one of her expressions before the good Lord set his soul at happy liberty was, ‘O could I but see his poor soul delivered from the sad state he has been so long in, if it was only just before he leaves this world, and the Lord enables him only to lift hig hand up to let me know that it is all right between God and his soul, I could willingly go into a cave, and there end my days.’ But, poor soul! she had many years of trouble to wade through after the death of her partner as bad as a cave to her. About three weeks before my father’s death, after he had been reading the 333rd hymn (Gadsby’s Selection), ‘O my soul, what means this sadness!’ the good Lord blessedly delivered him from all fears of death; he sent for his children to his bedside, admonished each and all, and telling them how good the Lord had been to him in removing his fears. He also wished for several of his old servants to be sent for, that he might also declare to them what God had done for his never-dying soul, and they, being God-fearing men, rejoiced with him. Many times after this deliverance he was longing and desiring to be absent from his poor body that he might be present with his dear Saviour. I have many times heard him say the Lord had promised to be his God and guide till death. I well recollect his lamentations and groaning before his deliverance. He described himself to be like the man in the cage in Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress;’ only he said there appeared to him a very little light in just one corner, and here he was shut up for several weeks, but said: ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.’ Also, ‘He bore our sins in his own body on the tree.’ The day before his death, he groaned to himself, and on mother asking him what was the matter, ‘O,’ he replied, ‘the enemy has got my mind out in the barn about winnowing that wheat. Under Stowell Hill many years ago, the Lord promised to be my God and guide until death, but he did not promise to go through with me, and Satan tells me the Lord will then leave me.’ This was the enemy’s last attack, for the next day, hearing the clock strike, he inquired the time. being told one o’clock, he said, ‘I thought I should have heen gone before this time.’ ‘O, father,’ my mother answered, ‘the Lord’s time is best.’ He quickly replied, ‘Betsy, if thou didst but know the happiness I am going to enjoy, thou wouldst not want to keep me here,’ adding, ‘Thou wert the last idol I could give up; but, thank God, I can do that now.’ He then talked for some time of the sufferings of Christ, saying, ‘He bore our sins in his own body on the tree,’ and tried to repeat one of Mr. Hart’s verses:

‘For all our sins we His may call,
As he sustained their weight;
How huge the heavy load of all,
When only mine’s so great.’

And in less than ten minutes after this breathed his last, giving my mother a much plainer testimony of his being safely housed into the heavenly garner than a bare lifting up of his hand.”

As it was his especial request that his remains should be interred in the chapel yard at Allington, where he had been favoured to hear the word with power for the last two years of his life, and that I should bury him, though I had left for along journey, which in those days was not accomplished with its present ease, I came back for the express purpose, and committed his body to the ground, in a spot where now lie by his side, or in the same grave, the remains of his wife, whom I buried in 1863, and of his son Edward, whom I also interred in 1861.

And now in the same spot in the little chapel yard at Allington, which I may well call consecrated ground, for few sleep there who have not been manifested as saints of God, lie the remains of Mary Wild, to whose Obituary the present sketch is meant to be an introduction; and I can say of them now that they are dead, what I would have said of them when they were living, and what every one who knew them would bear witness of as a truth, that four more honest, sincere, and God-fearing souls, as members of one family, never breathed the breath of life, and never lay together, waiting for the glorious resurrection morn.

But it is time to pause. I must, therefore, defer to [next month’s entry] some little account of Mrs. Wild, as she survived her husband many years, and had a path of little else but tribulation and sorrow till her remains were laid side by side with his.


I am sorry to have again to defer the account which has been sent us of the experience and dying testimony of the late Mary Wild, whose name stands at the head of the present Obituary; but as I was for many years so well acquainted with, and had so high an opinion of her mother, the late Mrs. Wild, and as the MS. book written by her daughter, to which I have already referred as coming unexpectedly into my hands, contains so much of her experience, and as I have already given from it some account of the first work of God in her soul, I feel as if I must go on with it, not only from its intrinsic value as the record of a deeply-tried and checkered life, but as a little memorial of one whom I, with so many others, so much esteemed. And if there should be found in it much that may be considered by some merely a record of temporal troubles, I would have them bear in mind that this very circumstance may make it all the more acceptable, as well as encouraging, to those of the Lord’s afflicted family who find their providential trials so mingled with their spiritual troubles and deliverances that they can hardly separate what, in their experience, the hand of God seems so to have joined together.

It will be remembered that in our last [entry] some account was given of Farmer Wild, Mary Wild’s father, and of the good end which he made, after much severe conflict and distress of soul. I shall now, therefore, take up the thread from that point; and as in the first part of that Article some account was given of the beginning of the work of grace upon Mrs. Wild’s soul, I need here only refer to it, wishing, however, to take this opportunity to mention that I have endeavoured, both there and here, to keep as closely as possible to the words of the manuscript before me.

She was now left a widow in a large business, with several head-strong sons, whom she could neither check nor control, and renting her farm under a High Church, Tory landlord, with the clergyman of the parish of much the same stamp. Her eldest son, William, with whose aid she had hoped chiefly to manage the farm, was a young man of very high spirit, violent temper, and in politics a strong, out-spoken Liberal, which in those days was not only a very rare occurrence, but an almost unpardonable offence in a Wiltshire farmer. This last feature, therefore, of his character made him particularly obnoxious to the landlord, and indeed gave him such offence that he sent his mother word, within a week after her husband’s death, that he would transact no sort of business whatever with him; and as this peremptory message highly offended the young man, and he threatened retaliation for what he called “such cowardly behaviour to a widow, whose husband and father had rented land of the family for more than sixty years,” by advertising it in the public papers, she lived under continual agitation of mind and hard bondage of spirit from his violent language and her fear of the consequences. But after enduring a year of trouble from this quarter, and seeing little prospect of any change, she obtained, at length, some relief by William’s emigration to Van Diemen’s Land, where, after many alternations of prosperity and adversity, he was killed in 1854 by a fall from his horse.

But the clouds return after the rain; for after this severe trial had been removed, or, at least, mitigated, one of the heaviest troubles came upon her which she ever endured through a long and most afflicted life, and yet one which eventually proved one of her most signal blessings. Her youngest and favourite son, Edward, who she always said had never given her before this an hour’s trouble in her life, whilst witnessing a ploughing match in June, 1841, was thrown from his horse, and falling upon the back of his head, sustained thereby an injury which, though little felt or thought of at the time, resulted, after a few months, first in failure of sight, then in thorough blindness, and eventually in epileptic fits. He was then managing a farm in the same parish for his mother’s landlord, and from his steady, industrious habits was not only much liked by him, but had every prospect of success in business. But this affliction not only incapacitated him from pursuing his present employment, and, indeed, all kind of business, but, from the severity of the fits, threatened life. Here, then, were seas of trouble for the poor, fond, anxious mother, not only as witnessing and sympathising with all the pain and suffering and blighted prospects of her favourite son. which he himself also deeply felt and continually mourned over, besides heavy expenses connected with the attempts made to cure or relieve his complaint, but full also of fears that he might be cut off in one of his fits without saving faith or repentance, of which she could not for some years see any satisfactory sign. She was also continually harassed by the thought of herself dying before him, and thus leaving him blind and helpless to the cold charity of the world, without guardian, protector, or friend. All these anxieties and fears argued, you will perhaps say, that she had but little faith; and if she heard you say so, she would be the first to confess it true, and lament her want of it. But have you ever been in the same trial? And if so, how did you manage to act faith in and under it? If she had not much faith to lift her up and out of the trial, she had enough to keep her sighing, groaning, and crying to the Lord, and looking to him, and him alone, to support her under it and bring her out of it. Nor did he disregard her mournful cry, though for a long time he was pleased sorely to try her faith and patience. Her daughter writes:

“Often was she wont to say in the early days of Edward’s affliction that could she have the least reason for a good hope that God had saved his soul, were he to take him out of this world of trouble she must kneel by the side of his coffin and Mess the Lord for his goodness.”

This desire was granted her after 20 years of affliction, for the Lord called him by his grace and gave him a blessed testimony before he took him home in 1861, and thus heard her prayers and silenced all her fears as to what would become of him had he survived her. As it was not till about eight years after the commencement of his illness that the Lord began to work effectually upon his soul, it may encourage godly parents still to wait and watch, and not be discouraged if they do not get an immediate answer to their earnest prayers on behalf of their children, especially when they see sickness and affliction come upon them and they are fearing they may die without hope; and this is one reason why I have dwelt so long on this particular trial, especially as I was a witness to it almost from the first to the last.

In the year 1848, having given up the farm into the hands of a son with whose aid she had thus far managed it, and having a small income of her own, and many circumstances arising in her family which deeply grieved and vexed her soul, but which she could not remove or even control, she felt led to leave them and go and reside at Allington by herself, where she would be near God-fearing friends and the chapel where her husband was buried, and in which she could hear experimentally preached the truth that she loved. This was the most peaceful and the happiest part of her life, for she was removed out of the turmoil of business and from witnessing things that grieved her soul. As is the case with too many, her natural besetment was over- anxiety about the things of this life, not for herself, for a little plain food and raiment well satisfied her, but for her children. But besides this natural besetment there were things going on in her family at that time which I do not wish to name, but which she well knew yet could not alter, and therefore made her look on every adverse stroke in Providence as the righteous judgment of God against it. Speaking at this time with lamentations over her great anxiety for her family, she said:

“Ah, it is my sin to be so anxious. I know God frowns on them, and that justly; but my family has been and is my idol, and from that quarter comes my cross.”

But by these trials and exercises her soul was kept alive, and, above all, taught that nothing but the power of God could hold her up, and nothing short of his blessing could comfort her soul. A light, empty profession would not do for her. She must have realities or nothing, and this gave her words weight and savour. Her daughter says of her:

“She was one whom nothing short of realities could satisfy. Many times have I heard her say, ‘If all the men in the world, good and bad, were to tell me I was right for eternity, it would not satisfy me. O no. I must have a better testimony than that, and it often is only a burden to me when I think of people having so high an opinion of me.”

About this time her daughter mentions that she heard me preach from Isa. 18:7, under which sermon she was greatly blessed; and at another time when I spoke from the words, “Show me a token for good.” (Ps. 86:17.) Of this last she said:

“I was sitting at the very end of the seat, with hardly room to move, there being such a crowd of people; but I was so lifted above and out of myself that I felt truly blessed.”

About this time she was baptized and joined the church at Allington, of which she continued a highly-esteemed member till her death. Speaking of it, she said to her daughter:

“I am glad that I ever went to reside a few years at Allington, if it had been only to attend to the ordinance of baptism; for it seems to me that had I not gone there to live, and been away from this house and business, and the scenes of wickedness of which I am a witness, humanly speaking, I could not have come forward as a candidate.”

It was during this period that I saw most of her, and having had much conversation with her at various times on the things of God, felt well satisfied that the life and fear of God were in her heart. Being a woman of a naturally strong and acute mind, and remarkably honest in deed and word, well weighted with trouble, and satisfied with nothing short of divine realities, as tasted, felt, and handled in her soul, her conversation was never light and trifling; but whether she was cast down or comforted, generally much to the point, free from all cant, affected piety, and mock humility, but seasoned with salt, and therefore savoury and profitable.

But, in the year 1850, she took a step which she afterwards deeply regretted. A son of hers who, I am sorry to say, was the cause of great grief and trouble to her, and whom she had left in occupation of the farm at Stowell, had given it up and taken a larger one at another place, about five or six miles from Allington; and at the request of her daughter and her much-loved and invalid son Edward, and by the advice of several friends, she was induced to leave Allington and once more go and reside with her family. Of this step often would she say,

“O how much nearer did I live to the Lord, how much more quiet and comfortable was I during my two years’ residence at Allington among Christian friends than since I have come back amongst my own family. Only to think that I should come back to this place to assist in the business, as if that could not be carried on without my help. I am justly rewarded for my distrust of God’s faithfulness and care over me.”

Indeed, the hand of God, according to her feelings and judgment, went out sorely against her, for she underwent in her new home seas of trouble in body, mind, and circumstances. The first stroke was a failure of eye-sight; for about this time a cataract began to form in her eyes, producing at first partial, and eventually total blindness. This was indeed a sore trial to her, as being a woman so active both in mind and body, and by cutting off all employment of her hands and eyes, leaving her so much time and opportunity to pour over her miseries. But she saw in it the strong rebukes of God and, what she felt more deeply, viewed it as a mark of his displeasure against herself and her family. She said to her daughter,

“It has been a frequent saying of mine in days past, ‘As long as I have my two hands to work, I shall be independent.’ Little, then, did I think that the Almighty would deprive me of my sight. Now I have my two hands, but cannot use them. O in how many ways do we sin! I fear that the Lord’s hand is gone out against us; and if so, all the men in the world united, were they so disposed, could not help us.”

[She once told me that of all her temporal troubles, her blindness was the heaviest; I suppose as being most enduring, and making her so dependent on others.]

In Nov., 1854, she became quite dark, and soon after received intelligence of the death of her eldest son, William, in Van Diemen’s Land, as we have already named, by a fall from his horse. This was a great shock to her feelings.

“She said sometimes, ‘I am ready to wish I had never been a mother— I know it is a sin; but then I should not have to think I had been a means of bringing children into the world and souls to be lost.’ But she would add, ‘I must put my hand on my lips, and, like Aaron, hold my peace.'”

In June, 1855, she underwent the operation of couching; but it was of no avail to restore her sight, for inflammation set in, which not only caused her dreadful suffering for many months, all the means used to give her ease proving ineffectual, but completely destroyed the eyes, and so disfigured them, that ever afterwards she used to wear a bandage over them. What added to the affliction was, that the loss of her sight deprived her of seeing to the comforts of her invalid son. It cut her off also from all reading of the word, and the writings of gracious men in which she had hitherto taken delight; so that she was henceforth wholly dependent upon her daughter Mary to read to her; in whose record is the following entry:

“At this time I used to read to her much from Job, the Lamentations, and many of the Psalms, which seemed to give her more comfort than any other part of God’s word. Often would she desire me to turn to them, and read portions of them to her. The following hymns were also much blessed to her: 1070 and 749 (Gadsby’s Selection), Hart’s hymn also: “‘And must it, Lord, be so!’, and Toplady’s”, “‘Prepare me, gracious God,’ which I often heard her repeat, dwelling with much feeling on the last verse: “‘Let me attest thy power.’

“She would often say to me, ‘Mary, it is not the dread of going to hell that distresses me, but it is my living at such a distance from God. It is his so hiding his blessed face from me that troubles me.”

During this time, the memoirs of Hannah Judd and Richard Dore in the “Gospel Standard” (August and September, 1857), were, in God’s hands, a means of comforting her exercised cast-down soul. My sermon also, on “The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax,” published in the “Gospel Standard” (September, 1861), she found very encouraging:

“She would often request me to read it to her, comparing herself, as mentioned in it, to the refuse flax that was thrown aside and swept into the fire, and yet smouldering on, to show that there was life under all.”

“I have heard her say, ‘I sometimes feel myself such a poor, vile, weak, worthless creature, that I seem only kept, as it were, by the skin of my teeth. The thoughts that pass through my mind I could not tell to any one; and at my time of life, too. Why, would any one believe it, Mary? I am sometimes so harassed in the morning, when I am getting up, that I can hardly give myself time to kneel down, or trust the Lord for anything. I am so driven about in my feelings by the adversary of my poor soul, that I have to pace my bedroom again and again, trying to pray; and sometimes I come down into our large parlour, and sometimes into the little one, and get behind the door to give vent to my feelings. David said that he was hunted as a partridge on the mountains, and truly I can say of myself, I experience the same.’

“On my entering her bedroom Sunday, Jan. 22nd, she said, ‘O, my dear child, how the blessed Saviour’s name is exalted this day. O, salvation! What a blessing there is in it! Truly, the blessed Saviour’s name is as ointment poured forth. Then, clasping her hands, she exclaimed, ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; thy expectation is from him.’

“Edward coming into the room, she said to him, ‘O Edward, press on, struggle hard, and call aloud on the great Physician. Having Christ I have everything; without him I should be nothing.'”

But I must quote a few more entries from the book before me:

“O Mary, I am ashamed to tell you how the enemy of my soul harasses me, and what my feelings are. Truly, as Mr. Hart says:

“‘Buts, ifs, and hows are hurl’d
To sink us with the gloom, &c.’

And Satan is at that work with me now.”

“In the evening, after reading to her from Isaiah, she said, ‘O what a dreadful state the world is in, and what two poor creatures we two are in it! O what should I do without the New Testament, the blessed gospel?”

But though for the most part so deeply exercised, she had her times of sweet deliverance and blessed relief:

“She said this afternoon, ‘Blessed be God! for a few minutes I could say I long to lay my poor body down in the grave, and be with my blessed Saviour. I did truly pant for it as the hart panteth after the water-brooks. I had no fear or terror of death, nor have I of late those fears of hell I used to be the subject of.'”

“My great trouble, of late, has been that God seemed to keep so distant from me. What I want is more real communion with his blessed Majesty, more nearness to his blessed self.”

“Next day she said, ‘O that I may, in a little while, lay this poor, sinful, worn-out body down, and be gone to rest. O to be with Christ!'” “She much desired and prayed for the love of God to be once more shed abroad in her heart, saying, ‘O! I cannot get it, nor can I see any fruits that I wish to see spring from this affliction. O what a poor, dependent creature I am. On my knees this morning how I did beg for Christ’s religion more to influence my conduct, and for clearer evidences of Christ’s love to my soul. 0 for the power! What are all forms without the power? Such things are substance, Mary, you may depend upon it: “’O when will that blest time arrive?’ Quoting the rest of the lines.”

But fresh trouble soon came on through a series of losses in business, arising principally from unfavourable speculations and an untoward and rainy season, so that in the following year more than £1,000 were sunk. Her daughter thus writes:

“My poor mother and her afflicted son seemed, at times, both stunned with the dispensation. What she felt so deeply was that all the property of her poor, blind son, as well as her own, was bound up in the business which now seemed all going to ruin. ‘My time,’ she said, ‘in this world cannot be lony; but, poor fellow, what will become of him?’ It was a blessed relief, therefore, to her mind, and a consolation only second to the blessing of her own soul, when, after’a short illness, the Lord took him out of this world to be for ever with himself. (Aug. 1, 1861.)

“Whilst walking up into my bedroom this afternoon, I had a blessed visit from the Lord. I was obliged to stop on the stairs, and bless my dear Saviour for his goodness to me. I did say, ‘Thou dear Lamb of God, my precious Jesus, how good thou art to me poor me! How every way precious to my soul!’ My prayer to God is to leave this wicked world to go to him. He alone knows what my real desires are. I have nothing now to live for in this world.”

“She spoke of the love of God being shed abroad in her heart, which she said made her humble and willing to take a low place. ‘O the power of religion; that is everything! I thought this afternoon, if the Saviour were to ask me, as he. did Simon, if I loved him, I must say I do love him. Mr. Hart says, and says truly, “‘Love all defects supplie.’

“At another time: ‘I do not now wish to live in this world; my only wish is to be fitted and prepared to be for ever with the dear Saviour. Ah, Mary, nothing but Christ will do to die by; and how many times have I been glad of the words, “Without me ye can do nothing,” having such a feeling sense of my own weakness and helplessness.’

“‘I do thank the dear Lord I did feel Christ to be precious for a few minutes this afternoon, as I was coming down stairs. I said to myself, “What is it, what is it I want?” Something within me seemed to say, “It is Christ you want.” And, bless his dear name, he was precious to me.’

“She was again very depressed, so that it was painful to witness her groans and tears, often saying, ‘I do so want what I cannot get, and that is the love of God to be shed abroad in my poor soul.’ She said, ‘This morning, before I left my bedroom, how sweet were the words to me which I used to hear Warburton repeat: “Honours crown his brow.” O, I said, I would not take the weight of one hair of my head of his honour from him. “‘None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good.’

“Monday morning, the 23rd, on my awaking, I heard her groaning. I asked the reason. She said, ‘O I fear I am not on the right foundation. I was never so tried as to the foundation of my religion as I am now. A few days ago I seemed to long to be gone from this world, but it is not so with me now, for I am full of fears.’ I said, ‘Cannot you look back and see how the Lord has delivered you out of your fears?’ She said, ‘O it is all hid from my eyes, nor can I see that I ever had a deliverance of the right kind. O wretched woman, what shall I do, what shall I do?’ She was truly left to the buffeting of the enemy of her soul.

“Monday, Feb. 5. She observed, ‘I passed a comfortable day yesterday; but this morning, before it was light, I was sunk in my old spot. I tremble and am ashamed to tell you, Mary, how this world seems, as it were, to clasp me in its grasp. O, dear Lord, keep me through this day and let me not so dishonour thee.’ She felt this day more than usually prayerful, begging to lie passive in God’s hand, and that his, will might also be hers, ofttimes repeating her favourite hymn as she called it: “‘Come, “Holy Spirit, come,’ &c., dwelling with much feeling on the last verse: “‘Dwell, therefore, in our hearts,’ &c.

Sept., 1861. I find recorded, ‘My mother has been at times much comforted from Deut. 33:29, “Happy art thou, O Israel.”

“She exclaimed with tears, ‘How I do long to have done with this world. O what a deliverance it will be to me.’ After reading to her a part of Mr. P.’s Meditations on the Office Characters of the Blessed Redeemer, she appeared much melted down in spirit, observing how much she liked to hear them read, adding, ‘It makes the dear Redeemer so precious to me, and that must be right, you know, when it has its good effects. I must get you to begin and read through all those pieces again, beginning with the Eternal Sonship. Also through “The Sacred Humanity,” for I have felt those pieces so blessed to my soul.’

“I said to her when she was very ill, ‘Do you feel any kind of terror how your illness may terminate.’ She replied, ‘No, I have told the dear Lord this morning that he knew that I was like Peter. I can appeal to thee and say, “Thou knowest that I love thee”; observing at the same, O, Mary, where once the work of grace is begun in a poor sinner’s soul, however little and long about the work may seem to us, you know it must ultimately end right.’ She was in the habit of often walking round the table in the midst of our sitting room to exercise her limbs. She said to me, pointing to the table, ‘As I was walking round this table last evening, how sweet was that line of Hart’s hymn to me: “‘Not a glimpse of hope for me Only in Gethsemane.’ I never so fully entered into the meaning of those words before.’”

But I must reserve what remains to be told of this poor, tried, afflicted, exercised woman’s experience, life, and death to [next month’s entry].


We continue our extracts from the memoranda which Mary Wild has left behind her of her mother’s experience, before we give what she has written concerning herself:

“June 27th. My mother said, ‘What a horror of darkness was over my mind this morning before daybreak.’ What I went through, I can tell to none. Do, dear Lord, of thy mercy keep me from having such despairing feelings. But afterwards, I had those words, ‘O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.’ I said to her, ‘Did you not have the connection as well?’ She immediately said, ‘Yes, and I have not sunk so low since.’ She then said, ‘Is there any one else in the room besides yourself?’ Being told there was not, she began praying to her dear Saviour, to keep and preserve her whilst in this world, adding, ‘What a welcome messenger death would be to her.’ She then said, ‘Ah! what a world is this. How blessed, how truly blessed are the dead in Christ.'”

“July 10th. She much wished again and again to have the 705th hymn read to her, saying how much her heart truly pined after Jesus.”

“Dec. 22nd, 1862. My mother quite cheerful, attempting to sing two of her favourite hymns, one

“‘How hard and rugged is the way
To some poor pilgrims’ feet,” &c.

The other,

“‘What tongue can fully tell
That Christian’s grievous load?”

Of Mr. P.’s ‘Meditations on the Sacred Humanity of the blessed Redeemer,’ published in the ‘Gospel Standard’ in the Oct., Nov., and Dec. Nos. of the year 1859, she would often speak with apparent pleasure, and would sometimes say, ‘When I am enabled to go to the dear Redeemer as the poor incurables did in the days of old when he was on this very earth, I then find the greatest access and nearness to his blessed Majesty.’ Then again would she quote Dr. Watts’s lines,

“‘Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find.’

In May, 1863, our thirteen years’ term at Shaw Farm expired, and we had to leave the place for the incoming tenant. No doubt the thoughts of her son leaving the farm, and the many unpleasant circumstances connected therewith, tended much to worry and confuse her poor mind, and bring on darkness of soul; but we got her removed to Allcannings, about six miles distant from Shaw, and a mile from Allington, although unconscious of what was going on at the time of moving. She recovered strength however to be helped downstairs to her sitting room in a few weeks, and having now oftener the company of several much valued Christian friends, whose prayers and conversation she much prized, she seemed more comfortable and quiet, and we thought the Lord intended to spare her life longer than it proved; but his thoughts truly are not ours.

“I must, however, record the blessed visits she was favoured with in her bedroom. One was in July, when the Lord sweetly applied to her heart the words, ‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for thy love is better than wine.’ At the other time she said, ‘I felt like Peter this morning, and I told the dear Lord so. I said, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.’ She wept at the time of relating it to me, saying how very barren and beclouded her poor mind had been for a long time.

“A few days before her death, she was conversing on spiritual matters, when she said, ‘Ah, Mary, after all, none but Christ, none but Christ will do to die by.’ I have endeavoured to give her own words as nearly as I possibly could all through this account.

“On Thursday, the 6th of August, as my brother was helping her to bed, she said, ‘I shall not go up stairs many more times at this rate, I am so weak;’ but as I had heard the observation times before, I did not take particular notice of it. On Friday she remained in bed till near noon, and sat up in the evening, conversing with two valued friends, and was quite cheerful.

“Saturday, 8th, she seemed much weaker. “We got her down into the sitting-room at noon. About 3 o’clock her old and much esteemed friend Mr. Philpot, who was fulfilling his annual preaching engagement at Allington, called to see her. He conversed with her for some time, and she told him Christ had been precious to her in days past, but that she could not feel him so precious at that time as she could wish. Mr. P. read John 14, and after praying with her, he left, not thinking it would be the last time he should see her on earth. [“I saw, however, death on her face.—J. C. P.] She told me she felt very comfortable with Mr. Philpot’s visit and conversation, and soon desired to be helped to bed, as sickness and vomiting seemed coming on, which she, I believe, as well as myself, thought to be an attack of biliousness. Knowing she often suffered from those attacks, I did not feel alarmed, or think her end was so near, and having to wait up for a friend, whom we expected to come from a distance to sleep at our house, to get to hear Mr. P. preach at Allington, I did not go to bed till eleven o’clock, and had often to be out, as nothing but a little brandy and water, which was often given her, would allay the sickness. At six o’clock the servant brought her some warm tea. Mother said to her, ‘You must stay with me, and let Mary have an hour’s sleep.’ I said, ‘I do not think I can go to chapel today.’ ‘O, you must,’ she observed quickly. When the tea was placed before her it seemed to overcome her, and she said, ‘I cannot take it; give it to Mary;’ and turning round, hurried out of bed, saying, ‘I must get out,’ an act she had not done without assistance for some time. I very soon followed, sat her up at the side of the bed, when she leant her head on my arm. I thought her faint, and that in a little time she would come round again. Washing her temples with cold water this time had no effect, and the servant went and fetched a neighbour, who on entering the bedroom said, ‘O, Miss Wild, your mother will never rally again in this world, she is dying now;’ and so it proved, for after a few more heavily drawn breaths, all was over. I said, ‘Mother, Mother, Mother,’ but there was neither voice nor hearing. Her unfettered spirit, I truly believe, entered the realms of bliss to enjoy an everlasting sabbath with her dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Sunday, August 9th, 1863.”

The account we have thus given of the experience, life, and death of one of the most tried, tempted, exercised, and afflicted women we ever knew, has been long, perhaps too long for some of our readers; but we really did not know how to shorten it, and, indeed, we have omitted a good deal of the original memoranda. We shall now, therefore, give from her own pen, some of the experience of Mary Wild herself, adding to it a short account of her last days by a valued friend.

We shall omit the account which she gives of convictions in childhood, though they seem to have made deep and permanent impressions, and come to a period of her life when the Lord wrought more clearly upon her conscience:

The Experience Of Mary Wild

“When about fifteen years old, meeting with a disappointment in a visit from a cousin where I had expected much pleasure, I fell into a low way, feeling myself a poor sinful creature. I also recollect crying to God and promising if he would but forgive me how much better and holier I would live for the future. These were my promises, and were soon forgotten. This happened one Easter Monday, and every Easter Monday for years it would recur to my memory, and I wondered what could have ailed me to have been so sorrowful and broken-hearted as I was, as I still went on in vanity and loved my sins. When about twenty years old, and being very weak and poorly in body, and many prophesying consumption would follow, I began to think that I must really try and pray to God, but I did not know how to pray nor what to pray for, nor what about. I got a book, I believe, of Mr. Toplady’s Prayers. He being a churchman and a good man, I thought I could not do better than read his prayers every night, as I did not know how to pray of myself; but I soon got to slacken even to attend to reading prayers, nor could any one make me believe at that time that any creature could have wished to go to heaven were there no hell to escape, so much was I in love with the things of this present evil world, and so bent on having my own way; and so I did as long as I possibly could. The words, ‘Come out from among them and be separate’ would often follow me, but I knew not how, nor did I of myself want to do so. When about 24 years of age, news of the death of a young woman who had a short time before been staying at my father’s house was unexpectedly brought to me, and in my own mind being conscious how I had secretly envied her her good looks and gay, sprightly manners, the tidings cut me to the heart, believing she was now in that place where hope could never enter. I thought what a mercy I was not cut off and sent there too, knowing I deserved the same fate. Her death stirred me up. I began again to be more diligent in the use of means, hoping to please God, often on a week evening going to Manningford chapel to hear Henry Huntly with my parents; and as the preacher exalted Christ very much, many and many an evening have I wept the whole time I was there, sitting at the back seat that neither my parents nor any one else should see me crying; for usually I stayed from going there till some secret trouble or other drove me there again. I intended only sometimes to go to chapel, so glued was I to our parish church. Soon after this, as I had been brought up to hear the doctrines of the gospel and I knew them in theory, I was so beset with blasphemous thoughts that I knew not how to keep them under, nor how to contain my feelings. I was constantly in my mind quarrelling with God’s way of saving sinners, election, &c., often thinking and saying the punishment of being sent to hell for ever for only a lifetime of sin was more than the crimes deserved, and to make a law which no one could keep, seemed so unjust. I was sitting up in bed under desperate feelings of the kind above written when I was mercifully delivered by the application of those words of the Apostle James, ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’ I was enabled to reply in faith aloud, ‘So he will,’ and I thank God I have never been so harassed since; but many times have I shuddered at the thought, for fear the feelings would come on again, so that I have been obliged to hurry out of a room, or, if up stairs, to come down and try and busy my thoughts in my household work to get rid of those wretched feelings. Well do I know by experience ‘the rebellious shall dwell in a dry land.’ About this time I read Leigh Richmond’s writings, and often felt much affected by them, and as I could not pray I repeated a hymn, or verses, or anything suitable to my feelings to satisfy conscience; for there appeared a blight, and withering, and vanity to me on all things below the skies. This was in the year 1835, and my feelings were often as if the avenger of blood was at my heels and get out from the city of destruction I must, or I should be lost. Those words would stare me in the face, ‘Come out from among them and be separate;’ but how to do so I did not know. About this time, or soon after, I heard a Mr. Brown [This was not our friend the late William Brown, but a much older and very different man in every respect] preach in Pewsey chapel one Sunday evening from a text in Matthew about the house being swept and garnished and the devil going out of the heart, but not turned out. That sermon truly searched me through and through, and I really thought some one must have told the preacher about me, for my heart had never been shown up to me like it before. I recollect getting my father and mother to go on the Tuesday following with me to hear again. His text then was, ‘Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?’ taken out of Genesis; but I did not feel as I did the previous night; nor do I now recollect that my friends thought very much of his preaching. This puzzled me, as on Tuesday evening my heart seemed turned in and out, and myself terribly affrighted. I was glad it was dark when walking home that nobody might see how I had been crying, and wondered my companions did not feel more alarmed, as we were all, I thought, in the same danger, my brother and another young neighbour having gone there with me; so I tried to keep my feelings from them, and would willingly have remained ignorant if I could. Truly must I say, if ever my soul is saved, ‘Not unto me, not unto me be the praise, but unto thy name, O Lord.’

“A few months after hearing Mr. Brown, I heard Mr. Beard preach at Pewsey one Sabbath afternoon about the cities of refuge and the manslayer fleeing there, &c., and he much surprised and alarmed me. I stood amazed, and said to myself, ‘Has such preaching as this always been preached? Why, where, or what have I been doing? Everything seems new to me;’ and true enough, often had I new thoughts and feelings after. Strange is it that one who from childhood had been brought up by God-fearing parents, and had so many checks of conscience as I had should forget all, and sink into such a death-like sleep; but in my own case it was a solemn truth, and had I not been driven by fear, in that state I should have remained. I was soon again haunted by the fear of going to hell when I died, and imagined the moment my body and soul were separated, that Satan would grasp my poor, wicked spirit, just as a hawk or bird of prey would pounce on a sparrow; so that I shrank to nothing, for I felt there was ample room for him to fly off with me into endless misery. At such times, how have I gone about the garden and premises bowed down in spirit! Then, again, would my pride rise up, and I have tried to banish all those gloomy fears I was the subject of, and be like others of my age. The first text of Scripture I recollect coming to me was, ‘Whatsoever maketh manifest is light.’ I was sweeping up the fireplace in our sitting-room; but it seemed gone almost as soon as come. And for years after this I knew I had light to see my sins. Then, again, I knew light was not grace, and the thought, ‘If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness,’ would terrify me; for I could not tell which it was. The second text I got a little hope from. I was alone, except our servant-girl, on a Sabbath morning, in 1837, and as the evening before I had experienced a very heavy trial, I was thinking over it, and seemed distressed, so I went into another room, and took up the Bible, thinking I might open on some verse or other that might comfort me. The fact was, I did not know where to go or what to do. I opened on the words, Isa. 41:10, and following verses: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am thy God. I will help thee,’” &c. It broke my hard heart to pieces, so that I was made willing to bear the disappointment; and it revived my hope of better things in store for me than this world could give. But soon after, because I went into the room and opened on the text, I thought I was deceived, as it was not brought to my mind without opening the Bible. I thought I might just as soon have opened elsewhere, and that it was only by chance. Satan, also, would so show up to me what a poor, melancholy life a religious life was, that many times I have thought I could not and would not live like it; and shame would so follow me that I have often thought a child would confound me respecting religion. But I cannot write even a tithe of how I have been worried by shame. It was also a great trial to me to walk to Pewsey chapel once a fortnight or so, as I had to pass by and meet my schoolfellows, whom I had not seen for many years; and sometimes I have gone there different ways, that people might not be aware where I had been to. Besides, Satan would suggest to me that I should never hold on my way. But the words, ‘He that is ashamed of me and my gospel,’ &c., have many times quickened my pace up Pewsey Street. I have many times given my youngest brother Edward money to accompany me there, little thinking that he would be mercifully dealt with by the good Lord, whom I was trying to get away from; and that he would be taken to rest, and leave me here below, still groping on. About this time, how plainly did I see that had not God’s choice prevented mine, I must be damned. I had also for several years laboured against a suitable temptation; and many times had prayed earnestly to the Lord to be delivered, and the good Lord, in his own time, did deliver me; but not till I had many times been made willing to give up my idols, come what might. I had heard Mr. Philpot preach at Pewsey chapel on a week-night from, ‘Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe;’ and before getting into bed, I felt a strange softness of spirit come over me, and the words in Philippians came to my mind, ‘And I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ My former idols and all connected with them were shown up to me, and it seemed to me as though the Lord said, ‘Can you give up so and so?’ and I was enabled from that time to give it up gladly, and wondered how the Lord should show such kindness to such a rebel. This was, indeed, a bright spot to me, and a real lift by the way, for which I would even now be thankful. The next help I remember being favoured with, was on reading the words in Hebrews, ‘By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house,’ &c. The words ‘moved with fear,’ led me to hope that I had been moved to leave the pleasures of this world by the same fear. Mr. M’Kenzie preached once on a week night at Allington, and I was led to hope I believed in God whilst hearing him; and Mr. Godwin showing what the fear of God in the heart was, first showed me I had it, and it broke my hard heart so that I could believe I then possessed a soft one; for many times I had told my mother I never had had a soft heart, and she would say, ‘The Lord can make it so in a moment if he chooses.”Well, I did think, ‘if he can, he does not do it;’ and as for prayer generally, that was my task and burden. Sometimes I crept into bed without it; but if I did not try and do double duty the next night, I was condemned for my negligence. Thus I went on for years, self-convicted that I was half-hearted in the ways of God. But to return to the next lift by the way. I had been with my friend Mrs. P., in London, to Gower Street, to hear Mr. Kershaw preach, and as it rained much on my way after leaving her to go to my brother’s house at some distance, I got wet through before I arrived there; so directly I got home I went to bed. I could not hear their Independent ministers, and I knew they could not make me out, nor could I make out myself or their ministers, which they did not approve of at all. I was mixed up in trouble also with my relatives at the time, and my friend Mrs. P., said, ‘My dear Miss W., if you do not pray to God to stand by you, you will get wrong.’ I recollect being struck that she should think God would answer any prayer of mine. Soon after I was in bed I felt my heart softened, and text after text came into my mind with verses of hymns and such a spirit of prayer for every one of God’s people, great and small; and the fear of death seemed gone, so that I could have gladly died then and there. My eyes were so swollen with my weeping, that I recollect I kept down in the underground kitchen next day, nursing their baby, or in my bedroom, and I did not want to be seen, nor did they know what my feelings had been.

“Finding London was not my right place, I soon packed up my all, and ere a week had passed I got into another temptation just suitable to my flesh, so that I fell on my knees ashamed of myself, and said to the Lord that I was as a beast before him; and truly did I feel what my lips expressed. How true is it to be out of the path of affliction is to be out of the narrow way that leads to life. The next help I recollect came as I was in my bedroom at Stowell. I had a peculiar trial to go through which burdened me very heavily, so that I much dreaded the time; but I had been reading a sermon of Mr. Kershaw’s from the words, ‘Cast thy burden on the Lord, and lie shall sustain thee.’ This text of Scripture was powerfully applied to my mind, so that I did cast my burden on the Lord, and was brought through the trial so much better than I expected, that I could not but see how the Lord helped me through it. Since then, I am thankful to say, I have been holpen with a little help in reading Mr. P/s sermons and other good men’s writings, and also at times have been favoured in hearing ministers. I believe all that have come to Allington have been blessed to my soul, though some more than others; also verses of the hymns, and at the prayer-meetings my soul has been fed. I hope I can say I have a few times in my life of late years felt Christ precious to me. The different texts that I humbly hope have been blessed to my soul when I have got to a stand and been cast down in spirit, which I have often been, mostly through family troubles are. ‘As thy day, so shall thy strength be;’ ‘My soul, hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him;’ ‘Cast thy burden on the Lord and he shall sustain thee;’ ‘Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it;’ ‘Consider him that suffered such contradiction of sinners, lest ye be wearied arid faint in your minds;’ ‘Though we believe not, he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself;’ ‘Like as a father pitieth his children so the Lord pitieth them that fear him;’ ‘The righteous shall hold on his way.’

From the year 1851 to 1863 I have passed through seas of trouble in body, in soul, and in circumstances, but I may say with Newton:

“‘Many changes have I seen,
But have been upheld till now.
Who could hold me up but thou?’

“Towards the end of the year 1863, and for several months of 1864, I was much exercised respecting the ordinance of believer’s baptism, being much condemned for not attending to it, once in particular whilst hearing Mr. Hazlerigg, and another time under Mr. Knill, so that I hinted my fears to several of the friends, who kindly received me, after hearing a few of the Lord’s dealings with me. I was admitted into the church with nine others on Whit-Sunday, May, 1864, and though very trembling and fearing for several weeks previous, was brought through the ordinance better than my fears suggested, feeling no condemnation for attending to it, nor dare I write of great joys as some have had in attending to it. Having my name written in the church book below at Allington chapel will not satisfy me, unless it be recorded as Dr. Watts writes:

‘In thy fair book of life divine,
O may I find my name
Beneath my Lord the Lamb.’

“And glad I am to write what a suitable, precious Saviour I have at times experienced, the Saviour of poor, vile sinners to be to unworthy me, who sometimes really think there is not such another poor, weak, unstable, sinful creature as myself, that can ever hope to be saved, or can live at such a poor, dying rate in soul matters.”

Here her memoranda end, but we append the following account of her last days from the pen of a dear and valued friend:

“About the last week or so in September, 1868, she related to me several blessed visits that she had been favoured with from the Lord, during her affliction, which was disease of the lungs. At the commencement of it, which was in June, she had the application of those words in Revelation 3:10, which was a great help and support to her mind. Another text of Scripture, in the early part of September was, ‘His name shall be called Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.’ She said, ‘Christ was so precious to my soul. Precious to me! Indeed, he has been precious.’ I don’t say now as Mr. Hazlerigg once preached from at Allington, which was so sweet to my soul, ‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth;’ for he has now done it. Another time she told me of two hymns that had been specially blessed to her soul:

“‘Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
‘Midst naming worlds, in these array’d,
With joy shall I lift up my head.”

The other hymn was:

“‘When languor and disease invade
This trembling house of clay,’ &c.

The whole of that hymn also was very sweet to her. She also observed she never could have thought the feelings spoken of in the above hymns could have been so descriptive of her present state. Another hymn she very often spoke of as being so suitable at the present time:

“‘What is this world to me?
This world is not my home.”&c.

‘Blessed be God,’ she said, ‘I long to lay my poor body down in the grave to be with my blessed Saviour.’ I do, indeed, pant for it as the hart after the water-brooks. I have no fear of death now, no terror or fears of hell, as I used to have. All I lament now is when the blessed Jesus hides his sweet presence from me. I am then just like a child pining after its mother. I cannot do without his coming to be with me. His absence is my greatest trouble now. It is no pleasure to me to hear people say, when they come to see me, ‘I wish you better,’ for I long to die. My prayer to God is to leave this wicked world and go to him; he alone knows that this is my longing desire. There is nothing now that I want to live for; my only desire is to be for ever with the dear Saviour. Years ago I used to feel I should like to stay here a little longer; but it is not so now. I can truly say, What is this world to me? Nothing but Christ will do to die by. My longing desire is to be free from this body of sin and death.’

“October 16th was the last interview I had with her, as she died the following Monday, about four o’clock in the morning. She conversed very freely and sweetly on spiritual matters; and being a great reader of Hart’s hymns, it was very pleasant to hear her repeat some of them with which she had been blessed in reading. She repeated them in such a way as none beside could, being in the very feeling and experience of them. ‘How sweet,’ she said, ‘these lines of Hart’s were to me this morning:

‘”Not a glimpse of hope for me
Only in Gethsemane.”

‘Ah!’ she said, ‘What a welcome messenger death will be to me! O what a world is this! I never enjoyed so much of the felt presence of God in all my life as I have the last six months.’ I said, ‘Miss Wild, could you not record a little of his kind dealings with you during that time?’ ‘I could,’ she said, ‘if I were able.’ ‘Do try,’ I said, ‘a little at a time, as you can bear it.’ But her time was so much shorter than expected that the desire to do so was not granted. She said she should never go down stairs much more, if ever, but I did not think so.’

“On the evening of next Lord’s day, after service, two of her female friends went over to see her. She appeared to them to be much weaker, but neither of them thought it was the last time they would ever see her alive on earth. Her nurse, who was the only person in the house besides her brother and a young girl who lived with Miss Wild, did not go to bed. In the night she said, ‘One more smile, one more smile, Lord, before I depart,’ and on turning round hurried out of bed, which she could not have done before without help, when after a sigh or two, her unfettered spirit entered the joy of her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

[Though the Obituary has been so long, too long, I fear, for some of our readers, yet I cannot forbear adding a few words as a slight testimony to the memory of Mary Wild, whom I knew for so many years and whom I so much valued as one of the sincerest characters that I ever met with in my life. Her path was one of much trial and difficulty, but one which she trod with great propriety, firmness, and consistency. For many years she had to bear all the weight of attending to the wants of two blind persons, her mother and her youngest brother, besides all the household cares of a large farm; and nothing could exceed her unwearied kindness and attention to both. Upon her mother she waited with the utmost tenderness and care, having to cut her food for her, dress her, lead her about, and, above all, to read to her, which she did continually both from the Scriptures, the “Gospel Standard,” my sermons, and other works of good men. They were indeed not only mother and daughter, but bosom friends and companions in the things of God, being for the most part kept very low, much tried in soul matters, and pressed down also with family troubles in which they alone could mutually sympathise and freely communicate. They both possessed much the same make and character of mind, being naturally acute and intelligent, with great sincerity and uprightness of disposition, with a certain outspoken bluntness of manner which, however, was never offensive or unbecoming, being so characteristic and stamped with such clear marks of downright honesty both in nature and grace. Whatever they said you could depend upon. There was nothing put on to make you think well of them. Religion with them was a solemn reality, and nothing short of the power of God felt in their souls and his blessing in their hearts could satisfy them. And thus they lived well and died well, and have left a sweet savour behind them which will not soon be forgotten by those who knew and loved them.

I called to see her during my last visit to Allington, and felt much sweetness and savour in her conversation. That bondage under which she had so long walked seemed gone, and she could speak with a sweet confidence of the Lord’s dealings with her soul and of his felt goodness and mercy to her, such as I never saw in her before. She was in the last stage of consumption, and I felt convinced that her days were numbered upon earth; but when I parted with her I felt well satisfied that, whether her days were many or few, when they came to an end she would enter into eternal rest. J. C. P.]


Mary Wild (?-1868) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. She and her parents came under the gospel ministry of J. C. Philpot, whose admiration and love for the family prompted him to write a lengthy memorandum of their lives and testimonies, published in three succeeding issues of the Gospel Standard 1869.