Brief Memoir of MARY WEBSTER, of Attercliffe, Near Sheffield.
by J. Doughty
MARY WEBSTER was born at Attercliffe in the year 1854, and died on November 29th, 1868, aged 14 years. She was the affectionate daughter of Samuel and Ann Webster. Her father has been for a long time one of our most sincere class leaders, and a substantial member of our church, and we are confident that Mary had ever the fear of God set before her.
When very young, she began to attend our Sunday school, and continued a scholar until her illness. She had always a thoughtful, patient manner, far beyond her years; and as a scholar in the Sunday school, her conduct was exemplary; she was in her person serious and attentive to the Word of God, but beyond this, nothing was evinced by her; and for some time, she continued in this manner of living, and it was not until about three years ago, when a class of young females was formed of those who had given their hearts to God during a revival amongst us, that she expressed any desire to be united in fellowship with God's people; this was an early age for thoughts of such a serious kind to be very deeply rooted. She entered Bro. Chambers' class, who was chosen by the juvenile female converts as their leader, and such she continued, and, from all we can learn, was a truly worthy follower of the Lord.
In the school, where she was particularly known, she conducted herself as a Christian girl; she took for many years, an active part in the school anniversary, by reciting pieces with the other scholars; and was an especial favourite.
On taking a view of her conduct at home, she was indeed all that could be desired, and a comfort to her friends; indeed, we can with confidence declare that she at all times exhibited a truly Christian walk and conversation. She enjoyed, we may say, the best of health until some weeks ago, when she caught a severe cold which resulted in typhoid fever. When but slightly affected, she told her parents she should not be well again, but that she should die and go to Jesus in heaven. This appeared to be her one desire, "to go and be with Jesus." In the face of the best aid in the district, it was soon manifest that human help availed nothing, and that she must soon leave this mortal state; the medical man declared he could not understand her, and she told him on one occasion that she wished to die and go to Jesus in heaven, but that if she did get well again, she wished to be a good woman. Gradually she sank, until it appeared as though nature must be spent, and the strings of life snapped asunder; but long she lingered in pain, suffering her blessed Master's will, happy in her spirit and ready to depart; but in the afternoon of the day on which she died, in the evening, her friends began to hope again; she was quite conscious, which she had not been for a long time, and talked easily. Some of her dearest relatives came to chapel in the evening rejoicing with the thought of her restoration, but only to return after service and find her happy spirit about to take its flight to the regions of the blest, far away, to be for ever at rest. It was a great source of happiness for her to be thus again sensible and give her last dying testimony for Jesus; and this she did bravely, for as her strength began to wane away, and her departure approached, she was heard distinctly to say, "I want to go to Jesus." This she repeated several times until she could only articulate these two words: "I want" "I want;" and then, as her voice failed her, she raised her arm triumphantly, and waved her tiny hand in token of victory until the hitherto pent-up spirit took its flight to that place where she had so longed to go, to be with Jesus. At her death, she left to cheer the bereaved, a sweet smile on her countenance, which was noticed by all who saw her body.
So she lived, and so she died, never here, for ever there, where all is calm, and joy, and peace.
Where we may bathe our weary souls,
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across our peaceful breast.
J. DOUGHTY, Hon. Sec.
"Christian Words" 1869