LAURENCE COUGHLAN: AN ACCOUNT OF THE WORK OF GOD IN NEWFOUNDLAND


5.

The Experience of C- G-,
Who departed this Life, on the 9th of
May, 1773.

Let me die the Death of the Righteous, and let my latter End be like his:

As to her Person, she was exceedingly agreeable; she also had a Share of good Sense, few could excel her; she was quite gay. She had a Mother, an old Lady, who was blind; but notwithstanding her Gaiety, in point of Duty, she exceeded many, in the Care of her ancient Parent, for which I often recommended her, as a Pattern to others; she wanted nothing to make her complete, but the one Thing needful. She attended on the Church constantly; and soon after I came to the Island, she had some good Impressions made upon her poor Soul; but she often said, that it was too soon, and when she grew old, she would be religious, and become a Convert. Thus, for four or five Years, she went on, taking her Pleasure. She bore a good Character of being a virtuous young Lady, till about two Years before she died. But how true is that Proverb, Evil Communications corrupt good Manners; which was this young Lady's Case, and proved the Destruction of her Body. A Gentleman Merchant came to visit her, under the Notion of Friendship, and repeated his Visits, until such Time as he got his Will of her. This poor deluded young Lady at last proved with Child, from which Time she was struck with the Thoughts of Eternity. The horrible Sin she was overcome with, and the Scandal she was likely to bring upon her Family, pursued her Day and Night; so that she concluded, at Times, that she must be everlastingly lost; yet she resolved to attend upon the Means of Grace, which she constantly did all Weathers. About two Months before she died, being at Church on Easter-Sunday, she saw the Congregation stay at the Sacrament; and when she looked at the Communicants, she thought, that she should have been exceedingly happy to be one of them, if she had been but worthy.

Another Circumstance she related, which proved her strong Conviction, was this: One Day, as she stood at her Window, she saw a Corpse carried by to be buried; she burst out, and cried aloud:- Her Mother, being in the Room, said, "My dear Kitty, what is the Matter?"- She answered, "O my dear Mother, I see a Corpse going to be buried, and I doubt not, but I shall be the next; but Oh! what shall become of my never-dying Soul:"- Thus her Conviction was more and more increased.

Another Circumstance, which proved God was at work upon her poor Soul, was this: She often sat down, and took Pen and Paper, in order to write her Case to me, and desired, that I might be acquainted with the same; but as soon as she took the Pen in her Hand, she was seized with such a Trembling that she could not write, being conscious of her great Guilt, and, as she said, fearful, that I would not admit her to the blessed Sacrament.- In this most distressed Condition, she continued, till the Hour of Nature's Troubles came. In the Midst of her Pangs, she cried out, that she was lost for ever.- She then said to the Women, "Pray do send for Mr. Coughlan, and let me see him, that he may pray for my poor Soul. Oh! I am going, I am going to Hell. Oh! Eternity, Eternity!" After a sore Travail, it pleased God to deliver her Body, but the Travail of her Soul continued. I was then sent for, and when I came, I asked her wherefore she sent for me. I further enquired, whether it was not the Scandal of that Sin alone which caused her to be in such Distress.- She then acknowledged her great Sin, but, with lifted up Hands, and Eyes, and bitter Cries, she said, "Oh! Sir, this is not the only Sin which I feel, but I am altogether Sin; but is there not Mercy for the Chief of Sinners? I am, it is true, one of the greatest of Sinners: O my dear Mr. Coughlan, will you pray for me? Do pray, do give me the blessed Sacrament, before I die, and then I will give up Body and Soul to God; I will, my dear Sir."- I asked her, what we should request of God in Prayer:- "O Sir (said she) pray, that my poor Soul may be clothed with that Wedding Garment, the Righteousness of a dying God; in this I desire to be found."- We went to Prayer, and of a Truth it was a Time of Love. Oh! the Heart- piercing Cries which she put up, and the Arguments she made use of, were piercing to all in the Room, and prevalent with God. Here you might see a poor Sinner at her Lord's Feet, washing them with Tears, and wiping them with the Hairs of her Head.- The next Day, I visited her, and found her athirst for her God. I asked her, what she thought of receiving the blessed Sacrament, and giving herself up to God: She answered, "I know, that my Sins are many more than I can tell; and God knows, that I have nothing to bring; I am very unworthy to come to the blessed Table; yet, as a lost Sinner, I will come."- I interrogated her, and said, "But suppose, that God would raise you up, and spare you a little longer, would you not be ashamed of the poor despised People of God; and are you not liable to the like Sin again?" She then answered, "This is very true."- She further lifted up her Hands and Eyes to Heaven, and put up Prayers to the Throne of Grace, in Words to this Effect: "O my God, thou knowest my sinful Heart; yet, bad and vile as I am, thou, O my God, canst pardon all my Sins, and make me one of thy dear Children. Here is my Body and Soul; take me, O my God, just as I am, and I never will forsake thee more. Do, my dear Jesus, take a lost Sinner."- I, after this, gave her the blessed Sacrament, and joined in Prayer:- But, Oh! to see the Tears run down her Face, like Streams from the Rock, was very affecting; and to behold her aged blind Mother, and many of her dear Friends around her Bed, was very moving:-This was on Thursday. The Saturday following, some Friends visited her, when she desired, that they would sing an Hymn, which they did:- The Hymn began with these Words,

We then joined in Prayer, after which she cried out, "Where is my dear Sister? O my dear Sister, Jesus is come, he is come; my Soul is fired with the Love of God; Oh! my Sins are done away, not one remains."- She then broke out into Praises, mixed with Prayer, and said, "O blessed Jesus, what hast thou done for me! What! such a vile Sinner, such a black Sinner, made white in the Blood of the dear Lamb! Bless the Lord, O my Soul; and all that is within me bless his holy Name. Oh! who could ever believe, that the Love of God was so sweet! O my dear Sister, my Soul is filled with this sweet Love of God. Oh! that I had Wings, that I might flee away, and be for ever with my God. Now I have only one Desire, and that is to live, to shew the World what God has done for my Soul. I, that was such an Enemy to the blessed Gospel, that my God should look upon me, in my Sins and in my Blood!"-Her Mother, who sat weeping at her Bedside, said, "O my dear Kitty, can you leave me, your blind Mother! Who shall lead me in and out to the House of God?"- To which she answered, "True, my dear Mother, you are blind, not only in Body, but in Soul; so was I all my Days, till now; but now I can say, Come, and see a Man that told me all that ever I did: Is not this the very Christ. And now, my dear Mother, I can leave Mother and Sister, and all the World, and go to him, whom my Soul loveth: I shall be soon with him: O yes, I shall be with him, and praise him for ever."-She then desired, that her two Brothers might be sent for, who came to her Bedside (one of which was the Magistrate) and she cried out, and said, "My dear Brother, I am dying: I will tell you what God has done for my Soul: It is true, I brought a Scandal upon you; but bad Company and a tempting Devil, with a fallen Nature, brought me to this; but God has taken away all my Sins. Now see, that you delay not; Oh! did you know what Love I find in my poor Heart, you could not stand against it; O my dear Brother, set out for Eternity. Time is short, I shall soon be no more. I pray God, that you may seek the Lord, while he may be found."--- She then wished them a good Night, and prayed for them, and often said, "O sweet Jesus, how powerful is thy Love to my Soul! I have much forgiven me, may I love much."

Sunday Morning, about three o'Clock, she sent for me, about three Hours before she departed; when I came into the Room, she fixed her Eyes upon me, and took me by the Hand, and said, "O my dear, dear Mr. Coughlan, I am just going, the Time is at hand; this blessed Sabbath I shall be in Glory. Oh! what has Jesus done for me! Do, my dear Sir, join in Prayer for me, that I may soon get through this Valley, and land safe upon yon blest eternal Shore:" I asked her, if she was fearful of Death:- "No, my dear Sir" (said she) how can I, when my Master is in the Ship, and holds me by the Hand? I know, that I am upon the Rock, and shall praise him for ever: Oh! I long to be with him!"- We then joined in Prayer, and soon my Voice was lost in her Praises:- She often cried out, "O sweet Jesus, I long to be where thou art." A little before she departed, she intreated her poor disconsolate Mother, not to weep for her, saying, that she was leaving a poor, miserable, censorious World, and going to enjoy a Kingdom that could not be moved.- Thus she continued, till she spoke her last; and, in a few Minutes after.

In a few Days after, the poor Infant followed her, and now sings around the Throne, praising the Lamb for ever.

The Experience of Miss N.G.
Who departed this Life, on the 24th of June, 1773, in the 20th Year of her Age.

The Memory of the Just is blessed.

ABOUT the 20th Day of June, I was sent for by Miss N- G-, who was then dangerously ill. When I came, I found her crying out for Mercy. I asked her, whether she saw and felt herself to be a Sinner:- She said, "Yes, Sir, I know and feel that I am."- I further asked her, if she thought that Jesus Christ was able and willing to save her:- She said, "I hope so."- She then went to Prayer, and said as follows: "Oh! for one Drop of that Blood; O Lord, how is it that thou shouldest look upon such a poor Creature! See now, how I am obliged to call upon my God! Oh! what poor Creatures are we; when we can do nothing else, we come unto God! I often promised, and resolved, to live to God, and would, for a little Time, be seemingly sincere; but Oh! how soon would all my Resolutions fall away! What with the Allurements of the World, and the Weakness of my Heart, I soon fell back again. Oh! this poor World, I see it now as it is; it is all nothing to me; nor do I want to stay in it one Hour longer, if my dear Jesus did but prepare me for another World. O Sir, I find, that all my Affections are taken off this World; there is not a Creature, nor Thing in it, that I desire besides Jesus Christ. But, O Sir, I fear, that I am not sincere, and I often despair of myself: I also am afraid to trust my Heart, yet I hope I am sincere and upright before my God; and my one Despair is, that he would prepare me to meet him; I do not want to stay in this World; no, I do not; I want to be where my dear Jesus is:"--- I then asked her, if we should join in Prayer:- She said, "Oh! yes."- I asked her, if we should beg any one Thing in particular in Prayer:- She said, "O pray, that God may truly convince me of my Sins, and seal Pardon on my Heart."- We then joined in Prayer; and it was amazing to hear her Cries, when she prayed as if she stormed Heaven by the Violence of her Prayers. Tongue cannot express the great Thirst she felt in her Soul.

Saturday the 19th, I visited her again, and found her mourning, like a Dove, for her sweet Jesus, as she often called him. I then asked her, if she longed for Jesus to take possession of her Soul:- "O yes, Sir- (said she) I long for nothing else."-She then prayed, and said, "O my God, blot out all my Sins; create in me a clean Heart, O my God. Oh! what a poor helpless Sinner am I; yet, O my God, thou art merciful to poor Sinners; Lord, I am one; Oh! look in Mercy upon me, and save me: O sweet Jesus, look upon me, and take me into thy Arms. O dear Jesus, wash me from all Unrighteousness, and make me holys a thou art holy."- She further said, "Oh! I fear my Heart is not upright enough; Oh! that I was prepared for my God. O come, sweet Jesus, and take up thy Abode in my poor Heart."- I then spoke to her about the Sacrament, seeing that God had prepared her for it by his blessed Spirit; but Oh! what Reverence and Humility did she shew upon this Occasion!- "O Sir (said she) it is a great Undertaking; I fear, I am not worthy to partake of such a Feast."- She then prayed thus: "Dear Jesus, thou knowest what a Sinner I am; thou seest, that I have no Goodness of my own; no, I have none; I am a very unworthy Sinner, yet, O my God and Saviour, I come with all my Sins, and lay them down at thy Feet: Dear Jesus, hear, O thou dear Jesus, now I am coming to thy Table, to partake of thy blessed Body and Blood; and now I give up my Body and Soul to thee; and if I live, Oh! let me live to thee; but do not desire to live; O sweet Jesus, make me thine for ever."- She then took the blessed Sacrament, as a Token and Pledge of the dying Love of a crucified Jesus.

On Monday, the 21st, I visited her again, and asked her, whether she did not love her Saviour, and if she did not believe that he loved her:- She replied, "I love him, and believe that he loves me."- She further said, "O Sir, I thought I was in the Arms of my dear Jesus, but I am not as yet gone; I hope I soon shall." She then desired, that we might join in Prayer.

On the 23rd, I visited her again, and I asked her, if she found Christ precious to her Soul:- She said, "O Sir, I do, I do, and love him with all my Soul, and with all my Heart."- Here I must take notice, that, during the Time I was last with her, she had uncommon Strength, and was delivered from distracting Pain, till Prayer was ended.

Her Experience thus far, I was an EyeWitness to, having chiefly taken it from her own Lips.

A Friend, who sat up with her, heard her, in the Silence of the Night, break out into powerful Prayer, saying, "Without Holiness, no one shall see the Lord: Lord, make me holy as thou art holy."- Mrs. A-, who was with her in her last Moments, gives this Account of her:- "I see (said she) that my dear Jesus is determined to have me. Oh! who could think, that my dear Saviour would do so much for me as he has done."- At another Time, she said, "Oh! what a Number is there in Heaven! And, O my dear Jesus, I am going to be one of that blessed Number of the Elect of God; yes, I am going: I know, that my Peace is made with God; O my dear Jesus, I am ready."

The following is a Prayer which was found in her Pocket.

The Experience of Mrs. W-.

Who departed this Life, on the 9th of September, 1773, in the Twenty-first Year of her Age; who was a Wife and Mother of two Children.

The Righteous shall be had in everlasting Remembrance.

As to her Person, she was exceeding neat, and as a Native, prodigious clean in herself and in her Family. She was a Girl of no Education, as her Father was taken away in her Youth, and the poor Widow left with a large Family, so that, it was as much as she could do to get them Food and Raiment. The Mother received the Gospel, and died in full Assurance of Faith.

On September the 7th, I was sent for, by Mrs. W--, who was then brought-to-bed, and was dangerously ill; and I asked her, how she was, as touching her Soul:- She answered, "Very bad: I sent for you, Sir, to let you know, that I am now going out of this World into a World of Spirits, where, I fear, I shall be tormented for ever. I did not send for you, with a View that you can do any good for me; no, Sir, I have no Hope for Mercy, it is too late; I already feel the Torments of the damned Spirits: I have sinned away the Day of Grace; so that, I must be for ever separated from God. My dear Mother, who, I believe, is now in Glory, often warned me; but I made light of all that she said to me, and would not have the Lord to reign over me; and now God is very justly cutting me off. I, Sir, am all Sin, and have never done one good Action in all my Life. Oh! what shall I do, I feel a Hell in my Conscience; I am lost for ever sure, there is no Mercy for me. I have often gone to Church, but took no notice of all you said, and made light of it. I often omitted the Means of Grace, and was careful about this poor World. Now my Body is exceeding bad, and the Pain that is in the same Body is more than I can express; but, Sir, the Pain of my Body is Nothing to that which my Soul feels: If my Pain is so great here, what must it be hereafter, when this Soul of mine is separated from my Body! Sir, I sent for you, to tell you all this, and that you may warn other poor Sinners."- I asked her, if we should join in Prayer:- She said, "You may pray, but I have no Hope of Mercy."- I asked her, what I should ask of God in her behalf:- She then lifted up her Hands and Eyes, and said, "Well, Sir, if you will pray for such a vile Sinner, do pray, that God would deliver my poor Soul, and write Pardon on my wretched Heart, which if he will but do, I will praise him for ever."- We joined in Prayer, and I found my Soul much drawn out for her. I asked her, after Prayer, if she found any Hope that God would shew her his Salvation:- She said, "I do find, that God has given me some Dawnings of Hope, that he will shew me some Mercy."- I left her quite athirst for God. The Day after, she desired, that I might be sent for; accordingly I visited her again, and asked her, how she found her Mind:- She said, "O my dear Mr. Coughlan, all is well; Jesus is come, he has sealed Pardon on my poor Soul.

I said unto her, Do you now believe, that God, for Christ's Sake, has blotted out all your Sins- "O my dear Mr. Coughlan (replied she) I do believe, and feel, that Christ is mine; I do, I really do believe, that Christ is my Beloved; and I am sure he is mine, my very Heart burns with Love: O yes, my Soul is full of Love. O my dear Jesus, thou knowest, that I do love thee. I am not now afraid of Death: No, Sir, the Sting is taken away; and I am sure, I shall be soon with my dear Jesus, I shall soon be in Glory. Oh! what has Jesus done for me! O help me to praise my God."- I then asked her, if she could freely leave her Husband and her two little Infants:- She then said, "Was it the Will of my dear Father, I would submit to stay a little with my dear Babes; but, O Sir, God will take care of them; therefore the Will of the Lord be done: I do not want to stay in this poor World; no, Sir, I never found one Grain of Happiness in it."- She then cried out, and said, "Thou, Lord, hast made me willing; and now, thou knowest, I can leave Husband and my dear Babes, to be for ever with my dear God and Saviour; I do not want to live in this World: O come, and take me, my dear Saviour: I am thine, and shall be thine, for ever."- I then said, "I hope, my dear Friend, that what you say, you are well assured of:"- To which she replied; "O Sir, Do you doubt of what I say? What! in my last Moments, when I am going into Eternity! Sir, believe me, I do know, that I am one with Christ: He is my all, and has saved me with an everlasting Salvation: I would not deceive my own poor Soul for ten thousand Worlds: No, Sir, I am sure, what I tell you is true; I am sure, Jesus Christ has blotted out my Sins, and I do love him with all my Heart; and I am sure, he loves me, for I feel his blessed Spirit in my Heart; none can tell, what Love I feel in my poor Soul: Oh! it is Heaven below: Oh! that every poor Sinner did but feel this Love that I feel."- She then desired, that she might sup with her dear Lord in the blessed Sacrament, as a Token and Pledge of his dying Love, and she beseeched the Lord, and said,- "Do, dear Lord, take me as a poor lost Sinner, yet a saved Sinner, through Grace; here is my Soul and Body: Lord, thou hast bought me, and I am thine, and shall be thine, forever."- Thus much I had from her own Mouth; what follows, I had from a dear Friend, who attended her in her Illness.

After she was delivered, she desired, we would join in returning Thanks to God for her safe Delivery, which we did:- She then said, "Sure I shall never forget this Mercy, that God should hear my poor Prayer, and deliver me. Oh! now, I never shall forget this; I, who have been such a vile Sinner, that God should hear and deliver me!"- Mrs. A--, who gives this Account of her, said, "My Dear, you know, the Deliverance you had before this; how you promised to God what you would be; but, you know, that you soon forgot it, and returned to Sin again:"- She replied; "True, my dear Soul, I did so, but this I shall never forget to the Day of my Death."-

Soon after this, God broke in upon her Soul, and she called upon all to join her to praise her God, who had done such great Things for her. She often called upon her dear Saviour, to come and take her Home; for now she was made ready. She then desired, that her dear Husband, and all her Relations, might come into her Room, for she had a Word to say to them, before she departed.- She said to her dear Husband, "O my Dear, I am going to leave you; I shall be soon in Heaven with my dear Jesus. Now, my Dear, make haste and follow me, where Sorrow and Trouble shall be no more."- She then called for her Sisters and Brothers, and told them, what God had done for her Soul.- She then poured out her Prayers for them, and took her leave, and cried out, "O see my Jesus coming for me; soon he shall burst yonder Cloud, and take me to his Heavenly Home:"- She then desired, that we might join in Prayer; and after Prayer, she gave out an Hymn throughout, and sung it as if she was quite whole.- After this, she cried out, "Now my Time is come; see my Jesus, yonder he comes; Welcome, Welcome, bleeding Lamb."

She then gave up her Breath, and fell asleep in the Arms of her dear Jesus.

The Experience of Mrs. P--,
When lying on her Death-Bed.

WHEN she was in great Pain of Body, she would often lift up her Soul, in fervent Prayer, to God, and beg, that he would not suffer her, through any Pain of Death, to fall from him.- She would often say, "My Father, take me to thy Mercy; my dear Jesus, take me to thyself."- When in great Agony and Pain of Body, she would praise and glorify God, and would often say, "Whatever pleases my God, I hope, shall also please me."- She was truly sensible, that God afflicted her Body for the Good of her Soul. She would often complain of her own Unworthiness, and would beg of God to purge out all the old Leaven of Malice and of Wickedness, and make her a new Lump, that she might be meet for his Kingdom and Glory.- When, in all Appearance, near the Time of her Dissolution, she was asked by one, if she was afraid to die:-She readily replied,"No, blessed be God, I am not; Death is no Terrour to me; I only wait my Lord's Leisure:"- She then cried out, with great Reverence, "Come Lord Jesus, come quickly; come Lord Jesus, come quickly:"- And with the like Reverence, she said, "Father, into thy Hands I commend my Body, Soul and Spirit: O send thy blessed Angels to carry my Soul to Heaven."- In all her Illness, she did not think, that God dealt hardly with her; but would often say to those around her, "Oh! how good is my God to me, in refreshing my Soul with the Refreshments of his Spirit, and answering my Prayers; not suffering me, through any Pain of Death,, to fall from him. Oh! it grieves me much, because I cannot love my dear Jesus more."- She would often say, "I could now, this Moment, stretch myself out on this Bed, and freely give up the Ghost, and go to my dear Saviour."- Sometimes she said, "If I could have pushed through with my Hands and Feet, I should have gone before now, but I cannot; therefore I must wait my Lord's Leisure."- When visited by her Children, she entreated them, to seek the Fear of God, and the Salvation of their Souls; telling them, that their Souls were of more Value than a thousand Bodies.- When she thought she was dying, she sent for her Children; and, when one came in, she looked up, and, sighing, called her by Name, saying, "My Dear, remember, and think upon thy poor dying Mother; and pray, that God would turn thy poor hard Heart: It is better (said she) for God to say, go thou Beggar to Heaven, than to say, go thou that hast Riches to endless Misery: What will it avail you, to have all the fine Things in the World; it will only sink your Soul deeper and deeper to all Eternity."- She also, to another of her Family, a little before she died, repeated her Experience, shewing how she was convinced of her lost Estate, and also the Manner of her Conversion:- To this, and much more, are many Witnesses, several Persons being present.


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