by William Yapp
Ellen Ingram lived at Salcombe, where oranges, lemons, and other delicate fruit grow in the open air. But while living in a place so mild and beautiful, it could not save her from the consequences of sin, namely, disease and death. From her earliest childhood, there was something very sweet and attractive about little Ellen. She loved to hear of Jesus, and was always afraid that what she said and did would be offensive to Him. She was always conscious that she was moving in His presence.
On one occasion, while writing some exercises to take to school, she found the point of her pencil was broken. She found it in her brother's hand, and charged him with having done it; but an observation from her mother led her to reflect that (though unknown to her at the time), she must have done it herself; and now, as she became aware of the fact, she accused herself of having committed a great sin. Weeping bitterly, she felt on her knees, in the presence of her mother and brother, confessed her sin to God, and prayed earnestly for forgiveness.
When six years of age, she was dangerously ill, and no hope was entertained of her recovery; but the Lord was pleased to spare her a little longer. When a little recovered, she would sit up in her bed and sing,
"Here we suffer grief and pain,
Here we meet to part again;
In heaven we part no more, etc.
She many times referred to that illness, expressing her confidence, "that, if the Lord had called her into eternity, she should have been in His presence for ever."
Her father, who is a captain of a trading vessel, is frequently away from home on long voyages. On the 25th of September, 1856, he called at Salcombe, and took her brother with him to London. The night afler they sailed, the coast was visited by a terrible storm of wind, and many vessels and lives were lost on that fearful night. Ellen's mother was in sore distress of mind, and could not remain in her house; anxious to learn, yet dreading to hear what effect that storm had produced upon her husband's vessel. Returning into the house for a minute, she found this dear child not only sharing her sorrows, but gave her much consolation, by saying, "Mother, we must look to God for deliverance. I have been able to cast my dear father and brother upon the Lord in prayer, and something tells me they are safe." On the 28th, intelligence arrived that they had reached their destination in safety.
She was very regular in her attendance at the Sunday-school and was especially anxious to go when there was an address to be delivered to the young. She would repeat most of what she heard and had been taught at the school; and if at any time her brother did not obey his parents, she would quote some passage from the Scriptures to show him his sin, reminding him, at the same time, that he had been taught very differently at the school.
She delighted very much in those hymns commencing, "How sweet the name of Jesus sounds," "How blessed is the tie that binds" and "I'm but a stranger here."
A few days before her death, when held in her mother's arms, she said, very calmly, "Mother, do you think you could give me up to go to Jesus?"
"Why?" asked her weeping mother; "do you love Jesus more than your mother?"
Her steady reply was, "I love you very dearly, but Jesus has done more for me than you can do. He has died for me. If I had died the other day, (referring to a recent attack of illness), I should have gone to Him. I had such happy thoughts of Him. Do you think you can give me up, that I may go to be with Him?"
Her mother said, "I think I can." This statement appeared to give her comfort.
A few hours before her death, seeing her mother weeping by her bed, she said, "O mother! don't grieve. The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
She now suffered intense pain. Looking at her dying child in this distressing agony, her mother said, "O my dear, suffering child!" She immediately replied, "What are my sufferings to what Jesus suffered for us?"
Some one present asked the question, "Do you love Him?" "I am such a sinner that I could not love Him as I ought," was her reply.
She requested her aunt to read the Scriptures to her, asking her to read something about Jesus. Then, as if correcting herself, she remarked that the Bible was full of Christ. After a short time, she tried to repeat a favorite hymn:
"There is a happy land,
Far, far away,
Where saints in glory stand,
Bright, bright as day."
But, through weakness, she could not repeat any more than these four lines.
Her grandmother expressed a hope that she would get better. "Oh! no; I would rather depart to be with Jesus, if it is His will," was her eager reply.
Her cousin reminded her "that nothing unholy or sinful could enter heaven." "I know it," she replied, with sweet composure; "but the blood of Christ, the Son of God, has taken away all my sins."
Some friend present exclaimed, "O you dear angel!" "Not so," was her quiet reply; "we are fallen, sinful creatures."
She expressed a desire to see her dear father, who was at sea, and prayed that she might meet him in heaven. She spoke very sweetly to her brother; she also expressed a desire to see Mrs. Balkwill, a Christian lady, who taught her at the Sunday-school; and wished to see the writer of this little notice. Then addressing her mother, she said, "What a glorious thing it must be to have a child in heaven! My hope is all in Christ."
She was now evidently dying; and while her friends were weeping around her, she waved her hand and said exultingly, "I'm going! I'm going!" "Where?" asked her mother. "Going home!" she replied, and then fell asleep, aged eleven years.
Dear children, allow me to state that the whole secret of Ellen Ingram's confidence, joy, and triumph, was faith in the precious, precious blood of Jesus. May many of you meet her in heaven. Amen. W. Y.
"The Witness" (James Inglis) 1869