Tripp, Elizabeth (nee White) (1816-1837)
MEMOIR OF ELIZABETH TRIPP,
By her husband, Boaz Tripp, Primitive Methodist Itinerant Preacher.
My dear wife was daughter of James and Sarah White, farmers at Stratum St. Margaret’s, in the county of Wilts. She entered the wilderness of this world, Nov. 19 1816. She was of a sweet and mild disposition, rendered cheerful obedience to her parents, loved them much and prayed for them constantly. Once when her father was ill, she prayed as in an agony for his recovery, and the mighty power of God was felt by all present.
But before she had attained her ninth year, she was bereaved of her affectionate father. This so affected her that she left the room, took her little brother, and went wandering down the fields.
Soon after her father’s death, her mother, wishful for her to have a liberal education, sent her to a boarding school at Highworth. But alas! living among so many females of a gay and not the most serious turn of mind, her good desires and heavenly impressions, much resembled the morning cloud and early dew that passeth away.
She became fond of dress and ornaments; but not without checks of conscience, which caused her to beg of her governess that she might go with her hair uncurled. And she was looked upon as the steadiest girl in the school.
In her fourteenth year, she left the school; and soon after she came home, the P. M. Preachers visited Hannington, the place to which the family had removed. And on Sunday July 31, 1831, under a sermon preached by Bro. Ferror of Wooton Bassett, she was deeply convinced of sin. She wept, prayed, and sought the Lord. And at an anniversary in Stratton chapel, September 11, 1831, she sunk to the floor, and did not rise until God had spoken peace to her soul. She could then rejoice with joy unspeakable being filled with glory and with God.
Her diary has the following expressions of gratitude:-
“I on the brink of ruin fell,
But, Glory to God, I’m out of hell.”
“O Lord, help me to praise thee! O hadst not thou loved my soul, I should have been reaping my reward in the bottomless pit. Bless thy name, thou hast given me a heart to love thee, and hast made me truly happy in thy love, whereof I am glad. But how can I praise thee enough, for what thou hast done for me? O how can I sufficiently make known thy goodness! Had I a thousand tongues I could not utter all thy love.
“I’ll carve my passion on the bark
Of every forest tree;
And every leaf shall bear the mark,
That Jesus died for me”
Hannington. E. White
This divine and glorious change of heart was manifest in her deportment. She took the ear-rings from her ears, laid aside her gaudy apparel, and put on the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. And with satisfaction I can say, this was the ornament that adorned her person until the day that her soul took its flight,
“Up to those heavenly hills,
The saints’ secure abode;
Where grace like morning dew distils,
And all the air is love.”
On joining our society, she met in class at Blunsdon. But in 1832, our people, after much opposition, opened the town of Highworth; she removed thither, and became assistant leader to her mother’s class; was much beloved by the members, and very active and useful in the infant cause. *
July 14, 1832, Brother Samuel West, superintendant preacher, delivered her a note to employ her talent in calling sinners to repentance. She entered on this important work with fear and trembling; and at the September quarter-day, 1832, she was put on the preachers’ plan, being somewhat under sixteen years of age. But God crowned her labours with success. During the four years, she laboured as a local preacher, she was well received. Her manner was simple and so pathetic, that it was no uncommon thing to see young and old in tears before her. And the many sketches of sermons left in her own handwriting, testify that she had the work at heart.
There being much persecution in the country, one of her brothers a hardened young man, often accompanied her, either out of curiosity to hear what she would say; or out of compassion, to protect her. But under her preaching, on one occasion, the word pierced his heart; he fell to the floor, and cried for mercy.
If ever a martyr sacrificed health, life, and all, to the cause of God she did. In her journal she writes as follows:-
“November 11, 1832, I was planned for Badbury and Chiseldon. I felt very weak in walking so many miles. I got Brother Strainge to preach for me in the afternoon. A very solemn time. In going to my evening appointment, I felt as though I had not a word to speak to the people. But Jesus was my helper in the time of need; for I had words put into my mouth as fast as I could utter them. Praise God for it. But when we got to Hannington I felt almost wearied out, for I had walked twenty-five miles to preach the word of life to perishing sinners.
“On Monday I was very poorly. On Tuesday I almost fainted away twice. On Wednesday I was not able to assist my mother in the house affairs; and I continued weak and feeble all the week.”
The Sabbath she mentions, being very rainy, she took a cold, which laid the foundation of all her subsequent affliction; which she felt in a greater or less degree until the day of her departure to that land where the inhabitants no more say, ‘I am sick.’
Her diligence in attending the means of grace was great. Although from the time of her taking cold (as before noticed), she was constantly troubled with an asthma, and had about two miles to go to any meeting. But neither the badness of the roads, the inclemency of the weather, nor the weakness of her constitution kept her from the house of God, if she could either walk or ride. Her language was:
“My soul, how lovely is the place,
To which my God resorts!
‘Tis heaven to see his smiling face,
Though in his earthly courts.
To sit one day beneath his eye,
And hear his gracious voice,
Exceeds a whole eternity
Employ’d in earthly joys.”
She manifested the power of religion at home. When her mother was ill she herself performed the family worship; and whenever opportunity offered, she would retire for reading, meditation, and prayer. Her soul was in its element, when breathing its wishes to heaven in prayer and praise. I have heard her remark, with emotions of gratitude, how she often retired to a shed in the farmyard, and received speedy answers to prayer, and enjoyed uninterrupted union and communion with her God.
She was a diligent reader of the bible; treasured up its contents, and rested on its promises. Her language was:
“In humble prayer, O my I read
Whate’er shall to my Saviour lead;
And may his spirit now impart,
A humble mind, a lowly heart.
Lord, he my teacher and my guide,
That what I read may be applied;
My danger and my refuge show,
And let me full salvation know.”
This prayer was answered; she realized the promise, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” She was a living witness that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. Many times, in the lively meetings in Wiltshire, she has been filled pith the love of God till she has scarcely known whether she was in the body or out of the body. And at times the power of God has fallen on her, in like manner, it family prayer, until she has appeared to be lost in joy.
At the Conference held at Tunstall in 1835, I was stationed for Brinkworth circuit; and being by the quarter-day appointed to superintend the Cricklade branch, I arrived July 3. Elizabeth was the in a precarious state of health; colds, asthmas, and fevers, had many times brought her near the grave; and two years before I saw her, she had chosen hymns and funeral text. Yet from her appearance, some thought her likely for long life.
The more I conversed with he and observed her conduct, the more I was convinced that she was a real Primitive Methodist and a devout Christian. The six months prior to our marriage, I was stationed in Bristol branch, forty miles from Hannington. And her letters during that time evinced a deadness to the world, and resignation to the will of God, with a burning zeal for the salvation of souls. In a letter dated April 5, 1836, she says:
“——– I have received a letter from James Hicks, a soldier in the West Indies. He informs me that my letters have been a mean of his conversion to God; and also thirty more of his mates (fellow soldiers) are brought into the way; and he believes they al enjoy the love of God in their hearts. He begs me to accept his thanks for my letters. This is good news from a far country. E. White.”
Under date of May 5, 1836, she writes: “I was very glad to hear that you have had souls converted in Bristol branch. It was just the news that I was waiting for. O friend Tripp, the Lord has granted my request. Go on in faith and you will prosper. E. White.”
In June she wrote as follows:- “My Dear Friend.—I have sad news to send you, on my own account; but very joyful on account of the triumphant death of my mother. She departed this life on the nineteenth instant rejoicing: in Jesus, shouting, ‘Glory! glory!’. She would have no one with her, to witness her exit, but me. You may judge a little of my feelings. But I must tell you that I enjoyed the love of God so wonderfully in my heart, that my soul was full of praise. This strengthened me for the trial. Thank God. E. White.”
Hannington, June 18, 1836.
There was great affection between her and her mother. And Mrs. White told me that Elizabeth was more fit for heaven than earth; and that if I married her, I should not have her long. And just before her death she said, “My dear Betsey, your friend Tripp will not have you long, you will soon be with me.”
She survived her mother nearly eight months.
June 30, 1836, we were united in marriage in Hannington church. But the loss of so dear a friend as Mrs. White caused tears to be shed at the alter. On returning home Elizabeth put on her mourning; and the family united in singing hymn twenty-eight, large book; and while repeating the two last lines,
“Millions are saved, and millions more
May find their way to heaven.”
We seemed as on the confines of eternity.
In the beginning of July, bidding farewell to our friends in Brink worth circuit, we took coach for Belper in Derbyshire. And between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Burton, by permission of the guard, Elizabeth sung:
“As I glad bid adieu
To the world’s fancied pleasure,
You pity my weakness,
But ah! did you know
The joys of religion,
That best hidden treasure,
Would you have me forsake them?
Ah! never, ah! no.
You ought to rejoice,
When I say I’ve received
The only true pleasure
I know by experience,
In whom I’ve believed;
Shall I give up my treasure
Ah! never, ah! no.
In the gay scenes of life,
I was happiness wooing;
But ah! in her stead,
I encountered a woe;
I found I was only
A phantom pursuing,
Never once did I find her,
Ah! never, ah! no.
But in the bright paths,
Which you call melancholy,
I’ve found the delights
The world does not know,
And did you partake them,
You’d then see your folly;
Nor again bid me slight them,
Ah! never, ah! no.”
On our arrival at Belper, our attention was taken by the funeral procession of one of our local preachers, who had died of the brain fever, and I joined the procession.
Elizabeth soon became so attached to the friends at Belper, that she told me, that if I left her a widow, she would spend her days with them. Oh! that they may spend an eternity with her in heaven! May God grant it. Amen.
The first four months she enjoyed her health, and endeavoured to make herself useful among the people.
October 31. Belper fair. We gave the Sunday school children a tea. Elizabeth assisted in serving on the occasion, and looked cheerful and well; but she spoke to a friend relative to her funeral, in case she should die at Belper. In November she was taken ill; and to her aunt she wrote as follows:-
“Dear Aunt Westell — Through the goodness of God I am spared to write once more to you. I hope you are in possession of good health. But it is not the case with me at present. I have been afflicted with an inflammation on my right side. The pain, and soreness were so great that I could not sigh nor sniff without screaming. My husband sent for medical aid, and the doctor came with all speed, and let blood, and ordered me some leeches. There is something in my side, and it is all of a crackle, like a dry skin or bladder; and sometimes I have a tickling hard cough. The Lord only knows if it is to shorten my days. I think much of my dear mother’s affliction; and I gave myself into the hands of God, to do as he pleased with me. I felt the tie was strong that bound me here. But if my dear husband could have died with me, I could willingly have left the world. But the will of the Lord must be done.
Please to present B. and E. Tripp’s love to uncle Westell. I remain, dear aunt, your loving and affectionate niece,
At Christmas I took the small pox, and kept my bed about a month; during which she waited on me with care and attention almost night and day. The scene was affecting; we had been married six months, and she was likely to be left a widow, in a state of pregnancy, and about one hundred and forty miles from all her relations. This brought many a prayer from her heart, and many tears from her eyes, for the Lord to raise me up again; and Jan. 28,1837, I was capable of walking across the room with the assistance of two sticks. And the, same afternoon she went out to visit the members, and to gather in some seat rent. She returned about six in the evening, and said she believed she had taken cold.
Sunday, Jan. 29, 1837, she went into the chapel for the last time. And all that week she was very ill. She complained of a violent pain in her head, and was very drowsy. On Saturday, Feb. 4, I read in Baxter’s Saint’s Everlasting rest, and she expressed a firm confidence in God, believing that rest would soon be hers.
Sunday morning Feb. 5. — She threw up her medicine as soon as she had taken it; and she said, “My dear, what do you think is the cause of the Almighty afflicting us so much ?” I answered, “I know not; but I believe it is for our profit, and that we may be partakers of his holiness.” She said, “ Oh! how I could weep! Oh! how I could weep! Oh! my head, my head!” I told her to look to God. She said, “My dear, the Lord has promised to lay no more upon us than we are able to bear. But I think if this pain continues long I cannot bear it.” I asked if she were afraid to die. She answered, No, and said she believed God would take her to glory. We then discoursed of her funeral in case she should die; and she wished for an epitaph to say that she was a preacher’s wife. And these were, I think, the last words she articulated, although she lived eleven days after.
God, who in the midst of judgment, remembers mercy, wonderfully supported me. But I attempt not to describe the sensations of my mind. They can be judged only by those who have gone through the like scenes. From Feb. 5, to the 14th, she appeared almost insensible, and slept almost all the time. Five medical men tried their skill in vain. But she had set and kept her house in order, and the decree was gone forth, “Thou shalt die and not live.”
The two last days she was wakeful, but not able to speak. Oh! what a warning to the writer and reader, to prepare to meet God!
I shall never forget her looks for some hours before she died. Her countenance was as calm and serene as the summer’s eve. But about seven o’clock in the evening of Feb. 16, she gave a short struggle — threw her arms back — lifted up her eyes — and kept them fixt. The four females that were with me, fell on their knees, wept and prayed. A solemn awe rested on all present, and the glory of God was felt. I could not shed one tear, but was constrained willingly to give her up to God. Never was I so powerfully convinced of the immortality of the soul. Although she had not spoken one word for many days, her very countenance seemed to say,
“Hark! they whisper, Angels say,
Sister spirit, come away! —
The world recedes, it disappears,
Heaven opens on my eyes; my ears
With sounds seraphic ring;
Lend, lend your wings, I mount, I fly!
O grave, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting I ”
And by the grace of God I was enabled to reply,
“Cease fond nature, cease thy strife,
And let her languish into life.”
She entered into eternal rest on Thursday Feb. 16, 1837, a little before nine o’clock at night, in the twenty-first year of her age.
Her mortal remains were interred on Sunday the 19th. The burial service was solemnly performed by Bro. Antliff, P. M. Itinerant preacher from Derby. He also preached a very affecting sermon over the corpse, from 1 Peter i. 24, “For all flesh is grass,” &c.
Her uncle Morse, a local preacher in Brinkworth circuit, improved her death from the same words, at Highworth, among her old friends.
Sunday, March 25,1837, Jeremiah Gilbert, P.M. P. from Chesterfield, preached her funeral sermon from Rev. xiv. 13; a text she had chosen three or four years before. He also preached the same at Chesterfield circuit.
Her early and unexpected death has been sanctified to the society at Belper, and I trust to the writer. And now, what-can short-sighted mortals say, but with the apostle, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out,” Rom. xi. 33.
(Approved by the circuit committee.)
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838. Pages 215-218; 300-302.