Page images
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



JANUARY, 1846.


By her Daughter, Miss M. A. Bamber.

My dear mother was born at Blue-stone, near Portadown, in Ire-
land, on the first day of August, 1767, at the house of her grand-
father Malcomson, a well-known and highly-respectable name in that
neighbourhood. Shortly after her birth, her paternal grandfather,
Parr, died, and left his land to his four sons ; devising a double por-
tion to the eldest. Her parents then went to reside at Parr’s-hill,
which derived its name from the family. Great harmony subsisted
between the families; the children associated together, and very
seldom admitted other playmates into their circle. A school-master
was engaged to instruct them ; a room being set apart for the pur-
pose, which would be tolerably well filled, there being nineteen
cousins, of the name of Parr, who attended. Of these, my mother
was the last survivor; few of them, very few, slept with their fathers!
America and England furnished graves for many of them; and as an
instance of the mutation of things, a cousin some years older than
herself possessed, at the time of his death, in 1844, by inheritance
and purchase, the whole of the land and dwellings formerly occupied
by his father and uncles.

My mother's parents were strictly moral, but strangers to that
change of heart which is necessary to salvation. They, however,
brought up their children with great care, and in regular attendance
at the parish church. They were taught to keep holy the Sabbath-
day, to read and reverence the Word of God. Her mother took pains
to instruct her children in Scripture history, the hymns and psalms of
Dr. Watts, many of which my mother committed to memory, as
well as many of the Wesleyan hymns, when they afterwards became
known to her ; and these she repeated with great pleasure to the latest
period of her life. To her father, she was indebted for some know-
ledge of, and a love for, astronomy and history. Notwithstanding
the care her parents took to instil good principles into the minds of
their children, and in some degree to restrain them from evil, they
were, with strange inconsistency, permitted to read books of a con-


trary tendency, and were also allowed to play at cards. This mingling of evil with good, can scarcely be wondered at, when we consider, that “ darkness had overspread the land, and gross darkness the minds of the people ;” but, even then, the Spirit of the Lord worked on my mother's mind, and I have heard her relate the painful feelings which oppressed her the last time she engaged in that vain and sinful amusement. She then formed a resolution never to play at cards again ; and such was her abhorrence of all games of chance, that she never would allow her own children to engage, even in those which some Christian parents consider harmless.

She was early led to seek the kingdom of heaven. On one occasion, when she was a little girl, standing beside her father's knee, the minister of the parish, who was intimate with the family, being present, her father asked him what was his opinion concerning the new doctrine, that was gaining ground in the country, called the “ New Birth,” and if he thought that a man might know his sins forgiven ? “ Truly, Mr. Parr,” he replied, “it may be so, but if it is, I think it must be in the article of death !” This conversation made a deep impression upon her mind, and she determined, at that time, that if there was such a thing to be enjoyed, she would have it ; and the desire never left her until she obtained the pardon of her sins by faith in Christ.

I am not aware how, or when, she first became acquainted with the Methodists, but several of her mother's relations were members of Mr. Wesley's Society; and, in their company, she had frequent opportunities of hearing that eminent servant of the Most High, when he occasionally visited that country; and she esteemed it a great privilege to have had his hand laid upon her head, accompanied with his blessing. She entertained a vivid recollection of these early occurrences, and used to relate, with much pleasure, the incidents of her various journeys to hear him preach. At one place, where she was present, he was preaching to a goodly company on the side of a hill, some heavy drops of rain fell, and he prayed that the Lord would stay the bottles of heaven ; the cloud parted, and there was no more rain until he had finished his discourse. As she grew up, she was very much noticed for her steady and uniform conduct, by some of the members of the Society of Friends, at Moyallen ; who used frequently to send a man and horse, that she might attend when any event of importance occurred at the meeting-house. It was expected at one time, that she would become a member, of their communion : her friends did not oppose her attendance there, but the balance preponderated in favor of Methodism. She could not have been more than thirteen years old when she joined the Methodist society; and she was induced to take this step from a sincere desire to save her soul, and by her admiration of the consistent behaviour of two sisters, who lived in the neighbourhood, with whom she became acquainted. Their father was, if I recollect right, the leader of the class, a venerable old man, who used to give the young people affectionate and suitable advice ; and when the preacher objected to give my mother her first ticket, on account of her youthful appearance, the old man

« PreviousContinue »