William Richardson Journal

Primitive Methodist of Watton Yorkshire, East Riding, England

William Richardson Recounts the Experience of Mary Hopkinson, Who Faced Death with Joy:

An account of Mary Hopkinson of West Ferry in the county of Lincoln England who departed this life July 15, 1822, rejoicing in God. The writer says our deceased sister left behind her own account of her conversion and religious experience, written with her own hand, it appears to have begun at the time when the symptoms of a decline first made their appearance. She says, “

I now began to be alarmed at my state and condition as a sinner, and one night I dreamed that I was praying earnestly to the Lord, and while praying I heard a voice which I believe was no other but the Lord Jesus Christ, which said without a speedy repentance there is nothing but hell and damnation. For the agitation of mind I felt on the occasion awoke me. About this time a report reached Ferry that a sect of religious people called Ranters had made their way into Lincolnshire.

[49]        The moment I heard of them I felt a secret regard for them and loved them, though unseen, and said to a friend, ‘I believe the Ranters are the people who will be instrumental in the hands of God to the conversion of my soul.’ One night previous to their arrival, I dreamed that a large congregation of people were gathered together at West Ferry, and a woman came forth from amongst them, to whom I said, ‘What are these people doing?’ She replied, ‘They are working miracles in the name of the Lord, such as Christ wrought on the earth, making the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the lame to leap for joy.’ I awoke with the impression that these were the Ranters I had heard about. Two months after this, the Ranters came to Ferry and preached on the very spot of ground on which I had seen them in my dream. At length it pleased God to send Brother S Bayley to West Ferry to preach the everlasting Gospel, and I thank God I ever heard him. His sermons sometimes comforted me, at other times they almost plunged me into despair. Soon after I heard our brother preach again and was led to see and feel that I was one of the most wretched beings under the canopy of heaven. I heard him preach again in the evening at the Ferry. After preaching there was a prayer meeting. When several bagan to cry out for mercy, our brother formed a penitent square exhorting and entreating the penitents to come into it. Before the prayer meeting closed, several professed to have found pardon. But my daughter and I returned home very miserable. My burden increasing, I kept being afraid of waking in hell. Near daylight in the morning, I fell asleep and dreamed of falling into hell. The place appeared to me to be a horrid

[50]        black gulf. In this moment of distress, I saw a little distance from me the crosses standing erect. I instantly flew and laid hold of the middlemost and cried out, ‘O my Redeemer! O my Redeemer!’ Just then my husband woke me. I said ‘I wish thou hadst not awaken’d me, for I believe the Lord was about bringing me to himself in the dream.’ I dropped asleep again, and when I awoke, I could say nothing but ‘O my Redeemer! O my Redeemer!’ for now I plainly saw my soul must hang on Christ alone for salvation, I thort I should be better able to plead with God if I got up and knelt down by bedside. I did so, but found no comfort. I came downstairs, but could take no breakfast. I said to my daughter Sarah, ‘I must go and lay me down.’ Being arrived upstairs, I thort to pray before I lay down. I got into such an agony of prayer. As soon exhausted my little strength of body, I said, ‘Lord Jesus, save me this moment, for I am on the brink of ruin.’ That very moment the Spirit of God loud as a human voice replied, ‘Thou art saved!’ I clapped my hands and said, ‘Lord Jesus, I believe it!’ O the consolation, joy and peace I then felt. I called my daughter Sarah and she immediately came upstairs shouting, ‘Glory to God for what he has done for my mother!” I cried, ‘Fetch my mother, my husband, and all my friends and relations, that I may tell what the Lord Jesus has done for me.’ I now could say in the language of the poet, he came to set my spirit free, for
My heart rebounded like a roe,
And glory through my soul did flow.
My sins were gone. My heart was free.
I knew the Saviour died for me.
I felt within the heavenly flame,
And sang aloud in Jesus’ name.

[51]  I felt the all-atoning blood
And knew that I was born of God.

Sooner had I got downstairs, but the enemy suggested it is the Lord has done a great work for thee, but thou will not keep it long. I instantly ran upstairs and was about to kneel down upon the very spot where the Lord pardoned me, but before I got on my knees the Lord shone upon my soul and filled me unutterably full of glory and of God, and for the space of seven days and nights, not a single cloud or doubt crossed my mind. I was continually blessing and praising god. This was exactly eleven weeks after my daughter Sarah received the pardon of her sins, and thus after eleven weeks of deep sorrow, I obtained through the mercy of God
A sense of sins forgiven
The witness of an inward heaven

And could say from heartfelt experience
No condemnation now I dread.
Jesus and all in him is mine
Alive in him my living head
And cloth’d in righteousness divine
Bold I approach the eternal throne
And claim the crown through Christ my own.

 

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