An excerpt taken from Christian Experience. This letter was written by Mary Winslow and was found by the family after her death. The introduction is penned by Octavius:
The following letter, addressed to her children, was found among Mrs. Winslow’s papers after her decease. Although strictly of a domestic character, there is yet much in its holy breathings which may prove God’s voice to other families. Influenced by this feeling, the Editor is constrained to append it to the volume, with the hope that thus she, being dead, may yet speak to many, with the loving, holy earnestness of a”Mother in Israel.” It may be encouraging to add, that the prayers it contains have not been wholly unanswered.
My Dearest Children,
It pleased God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, seventy-five years ago, to bring your mother into this sinful,trying, and disappointing world. “Few and evil,” as old Jacob said, “have been the days of my pilgrimage;” and yet I can add, “goodness and mercy, with all long-suffering patience, have followed me all my days,” and to the present moment I am here to praise His holy name. I can trace God’s gracious hand from the day of my birth to the present moment.
His watchful providence was all around me, and even before I entered upon this poor earth, this vale of tears, it was. His most gracious design that I should be a saved sinner. Wondrous has been His love, and marvellous in my eyes; still have I to “sing of judgment and of mercy.” Many trials, much of the discipline of the Covenant I needed, and my heavenly Father withheld not His parental rod. While one hand was laid heavily upon me, the other sustained and upheld me. All was designed in love to humble me, and to cause me to know Him “whom to know is life eternal.” I thank Him for all, not only on my own account, but on yours also.
Great has been His mercy towards you. In the school of adversity were you trained. He watched over you in a strange land. He suffered no evil to overpower you. Where a mother’s eye could not follow you, His blessed, loving, Fatherly eye was upon you. In the days of my deep sorrow you know that God gave me a promise. In the dark hours of the night, when sleep had forsaken my eyes, and my heart was overwhelmed with anxious care, then did He bow the heavens, and, in condescending mercy, spoke peace and consolation to my tried soul. He then, in that most blessed and eventful hour, promised to be a Father to my fatherless children, and to be my God. And O how He has fulfilled that promise! Who has supplied all your wants? Who has poured abundance into your lap? Has not God done it? Why where you not left destitute, and dependent in a strange land? Who has the gold and silver at His command? Not you. Who has all hearts at His disposal? Not you. Who has preserved you, while crossing a mighty ocean, from a watery grave? Has not God been the Guide of your youth? Has He not watched over you by day and by night, by sea and by land? Has He not supplied all your wants? Dare not say, oh dare not say, “My talents, my industry, my exertions have gotten me these things.”
Oh dare, dare not say it! Give God the glory, and acknowledge it was Him, and Him alone. But what have been the returns? What have you done with what God has given you? He has poured richly into your lap, but what returns have you made for all His goodness to you? Have you made any? Have you laid out what He has given you to the glory of His blessed name? Have you remembered and acknowledged Him in all your ways? Have you gone to Him as your reconciled Father in Christ Jesus? Do you know Him? Do you love Him—Oh, do you love Him who has been so good to you, watching over you by day and by night! Do you love Him? I fear for some of you. My heart trembles for you. I mourn over you. I pray for you. I acknowledge your ingratitude, and bewail before Him your sins. How often do I say, “Spare them, O Lord, and come not into judgment with them.” You know not, nor ever will know until you enter eternity, the ten thousand petitions that have gone up, and are still going up for your souls, your never dying souls.
I thank God for some that, I trust, have fled to Jesus and are saved. For these I pray constantly that they may not only hold fast what they do know, but that they may increase in love, and sweet and holy obedience. But my soul is often, oh how often, cast down on account of others. O eternity, eternity can alone declare to you the prayers offered up, and the tears that have been shed by your anxious mother for your precious and immortal souls. Not a day passes but I bring you before the Lord. A soul lost, or a soul saved! A little while and I pass away. My time is shortening. You will not long have a praying mother: heaven is my home. Shall I meet you there? Will there be one missing? God forbid! Oh did you know how my soul yearns over you! how often I weep before the Lord and confess your base ingratitude to the best of Friends, the best of Fathers. Did He not say He would be a Father to you? Has He not fulfilled that promise? What returns have you made? Search, oh search your hearts, and see how matters stand between you and a heart-searching God. God is not mocked. A little while and you will stand in His presence. A few years, months, perhaps days, and you stand face to face before a holy, holy Lord God.
Trifle not with your precious souls, trifle not with God. And you, my beloved children, who do know Jesus as your Elder Brother, hold fast that you have received, and let no man take your crown. Aim to walk humbly and closely with God. Live for God, labour for Christ, live for eternity; and when I am called hence, let me have the unspeakable comfort of knowing we shall meet again in glory, to part no more for ever. May the Lord, in His infinite tender mercy, bless you all, is the daily prayer of,
Your affectionate Mother,