Susan B. Marble was the second daughter of Mr. Simeon Marble, of
New Haven, in Connecticut, and died suddenly on Sabbath morning, the 4th
day of February 1821, in the 14th year of her age.
She was naturally of an amiable disposition, agreeable in her person and manners, ardent in her feelings, very active in her habits, with a countenance peculiarly interesting. God blessed her with good advantages for obtaining knowledge, and she made no small progress, as she learned with much ease. She was early taught by her parents the truths and duties of the Christian religion, and according to the usage of the church to which they belonged, given to God in baptism.
The revival of religion, which commenced in New Haven, early in July, 1820, did not particularly interest her feelings until the middle of the month following. She had always heard the preached word with attention; but about this time she was awakened to a sense of her sinfulness in the sight of God. She felt that she was depraved; and although she had not to accuse herself of what the world calls crime, she knew that her heart was opposed to God. It was very interesting to converse with her at this time. A person ignorant of the natural character of man, as given in the scriptures, would think that one so young and amiable could need nothing new; yet according to what Jesus Christ said, she still needed one thing. This she felt and deplored. What chiefly distressed her, was the sinfulness and hardness of her heart, and its opposition to God.
Though preserved, as we have said, by a religious education from great open sins, she knew herself to be a great sinner, and that it would be just in God to punish her forever for what she had done. A new heart she felt to be necessary to the enjoyment of heaven, and that without it she must perish. Her troubled spirit, like the dove which fled from the ark, and wandered over a world of waters, found no rest till she was finally brought to submit herself as a lost sinner, wholly to God. At the foot of the cross, she found peace, and hope, and joy, agreeably to the invitation and promise of the Saviour, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The day on which, as she supposed, she gave her heart to God, fifteen others indulged the hope of having been made the subjects of the same change; most of whom were her school-mates.
She now became more interesting than ever. Religion clothed her with more beauty, and the sprightliness and activity which she before possessed, received a new and nobler direction. Humble, active and teachable, the great end of all she said and did, seemed to be the salvation of souls, the honour of Christ, and the glory of God. In the pursuit of these, she acted with much propriety, and showed a strength of mind, and a maturity of character not often seen in a child of her age. From the beginning to the end of her short but bright career, she continued in the exhibition of the Christian character, to give satisfactory and increasing evidence of a real change of heart.
Early in December, she was
proposed for admission into the Church. She was to have been received into
the church, on the first Sabbath in January, and had evidently set her
heart very much upon it, as a most solemn and affecting season; but on
account of the severity of the weather, on that day, it was judged best
to defer the expected exercises. The admission of members, and the administration
of the Lords supper, were postponed the next sabbath, for the same reason.
The first Sabbath of February was now fixed on , as the day for the services
to which she looked with so much interest. Monday evening of the week preceding,
she attended a prayer meeting, and returned home very much animated.
After this, she appeared indisposed; still, as late as Thursday or Friday she thought she should be able to attend public worship on the Sabbath. The next day she said nothing on the subject; and at 6 o'clock on sabbath morning expired, not being supposed dangerously ill more than ten minutes before her departure. "Father, I can't see --- I feel strangely," was all she said, and fell asleep. The day, in reference to which she had made many prayers and been twice disappointed, at length came ---a day to be remembered by her friends and the people of God. It came not however, to witness her admission into the Church on earth, but to remove her immortal spirit from its house of clay into the kingdom of the redeemed in glory.
On that day, one hundred (principally young persons) were admitted into the Church. But one dear lamb of the flock was absent. Was she disappointed? Glorious disappointment! Inestimable gain, thus to exchange communion with Christians here below, for the society of saints and angels above. The tidings of her death excited much feeling. A large number, of the young especially, assembled to pay their last tribute of respect to her remains, and having followed, as mourners in the funeral procession, amid many tears committed their departed friend to the grave; while a select company sung:
Unveil thy bosom, faithful tomb,
take this new treasure to thy trust,
and give these sacred relics room
to slumber in the silent dust.
So jesus slept; God's dying Son,
passed thro the grave and blest the bed:
Rest here, blest saint, ' till from his throne
the morning break and pierce the shade.
Break from his throne illustrious morn,
Attend, O earth! His sov'reign word,
Restore thy trust, a glorious form;
She must ascend to meet her Lord.
The journal which she kept during a few of the last months of her life, and which she never intended should be seen by any eye but her own, best exhibits the state and exercise of her mind.
The day on which she supposed her heart was changed, (and the evidence of which every day increased,) she wrote the following, which begins her journal: "Having employed the first thirteen years of my life in sin, folly and vanity, I hope the remainder will be devoted to the service of my Lord and master. I once was ashamed of my saviour ----
Ashamed of Jesus, that dear friend,
on whom our hopes of heaven depend!
No! When we blush, be this our shame,
That we no more revere his name.
"I hope that I have been brought from nature's darkness into marvellous
light, at least, I trust so; but yet I have my doubts and fears. Last week
I thought my sins were so great that they could not be forgiven; but yes,
the worst of sins can be pardoned through Jesus Christ's blood alone. Now
let me begin to consecrate my life to God. It seems as if I could love
every body, especially christians. I am almost afraid that I am to happy."
The next evening she writes, "My joy is inexpressible; never have I experienced so happy a day since my existence."
Her happy experience, like that of every Christian, only made her more watchful over her own heart, more anxious to ascertain the real state of her soul. After using the following lines in contemplation of the Sabbath,
" There is a land of pleasure,
Where Streams of joy for ever roll;
'Tis there I have my treasure,
And there I hope to rest my soul."
"Day of all the week the best,
Emblem of eternal rest."
her notice of times and seasons, she mentions the beginning of a month,
and particularly the commencement of the new year. "This day a new
month commences; I hope that it will be devoted to the service of my Lord."
"As this day is the first of the year, may I begin it well! O Lord, if thou art pleased to spare my life to the close of this year, may I not look back upon it with regret; may it be spent in worshipping and adoring thy holy name; and may this glorious revival be greater than it ever has been! Wilt thou make thy professing people more active in this great work,--- may the time soon come when Christ shall have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession."
What simplicity is there in the following observations and how easily do they find their way to the heart!
1841 WOOD CUT PICTURE
"Took a walk up to the burying ground: it ought to
inspire solemn thought,---- for we shall soon lie there; soon we shall
die, and if we are good, in choosing Christ, we shall go immediately to
heaven--- if not, to the place of everlasting torment!"
" This week I have heard, many times the bell (toll) for some youth, ----and Oh! Heavenly Father, wilt thou help me to realize the shortness of my time, so as to number my days, and apply my heart to wisdom."
"I cannot help saying, what a great deal I have to do, and how short my time is; it is but a vapour; but short as my life is, it may be devoted to the service of my God.
"While others are sick and dying on my right and left hand, I am spared; but for what? Am I of any service to my Lord and Master? I have health and strengh; but what service am I to my Lord? I can but answer, not any."
The interest she felt for the progress of the revival may be learned from the following extract: "It is with inexpressible joy that I hear that this glorious work, which God has commenced, goes on with great rapidity. Sinners fly to Christ as clouds, and as doves to their windows; also this evening ( Thursday) I was informed that twenty precious souls (since Monday) had gone to Christ and found refuge." She often expressed a strong desire, and offered up fervent prayers for the salvation of others; of sinners in general, as well as of her particular acquaintances. " What a desire I have that my class-mates would seek the Lord."
"O Lord! May thy word preached this day, be the means of convicting and converting many poor souls, who are far from thee; and wilt thou send an arrow of conviction into their hearts."
She loved to read the word of God; and, as will be seen in the following extract, earnestly sought the aid of the Holy Spirit, while she read.
"This day I commenced reading
the Holy Bible." (Her plan was to read three chapters every day, including
five every Sabbath, and so go through the whole in the course of a year.)
"And, my heavenly Father, wilt thou be my guide, and explain it to me as
I read; may I not let one verse pass without being acquainted with it."
Filled with holy principles, she tried, on all occasions, to bridle her tongue, and watch over her thoughts. "Wilt thou, O Lord, forgive all that we have said amiss this evening; may we, for the future, have our conversation more upon holy things."
She felt a strong desire to do something for the instruction and salvation of the heathen. Reflecting on the time and money spent in the ballroom and parties, " I cannot," she said, " help asking myself if I could not make better use of my money; and I can answer yes! Yes! The money that has been spent in such employments, how much better would it have been to have sent it to the heathen, who know not God, and where twelve dollars (annually) would educate one child. May I, O Lord, make better use of my time and talents, and may I be employed either in working, or reading, to gain useful instruction."
The following resolutions show regular and persevering efforts to advance in holiness, and be useful in the world.
"This morning I arose full of new resolutions, viz.: 1. To employ my time more in working for the poor and destitute. 2. To read God's holy word oftener than I have done. 3. To worship my Lord and saviour oftener in my closet. 4. To reprove my former associates more than I have done. 5. In time of prayer to collect my wandering thoughts."
She embraced every opportunity to converse with her acquaintance on the subject of religion; but not satisfied with this, she wrote several letters to her youthful friends. The following, copied into her journal, is part of a letter which she wrote to two of them.
"My friends, the Lord commands you to choose this day whom you will serve, God or Mammon. Choose which you will, life or death; they are set before you. Can you bear to see all your friends traveling on to Canaan's happy shore, and you left behind? O, lay your burden down at the feet of Christ; even now he stands with outstretched arms; waits for you to receive his kind invitations. The angel Gabriel waits to carry the blessed news. I must tell you, I have thought this long time, that you are going back into the world; but, my dear friends if you are, what will be the consequences! Perhaps you are saying, we will wait a little longer, and we will grow better; but, dear friends, though I am not capable of giving instruction myself (yet) as I hope I have been brought from nature's darkness into marvellous light, I feel it my duty to write a short letter, or converse with you on this important subject. O will you not come with us! The Lord does not say to-morrow; but he says " now," if you will hear my voice, harden not your hearts. Do you think the Lord will be more ready to-morrow than to-day? No: perhaps you may grieve the Holy Spirit, or perhaps your life will not be spared. Do go to Christ and there prostrate yourself, saying, " I can but perish if I go; I am resolved to try," &c.; but no one was ever known to perish there yet. Where would you go, if you were to die this moment? Choose which you will have, life or death; they are set before you,"
In another letter to two of her youthful companions, she says, among other things: "it is of great importance for you to make your peace with God, and delay no longer. There are a great many youth younger than you are, in distress, crying, "What shall I do to be saved?" Will you answer me this question: have you ever attempted to covenant with God ----- to give yourselves solemnly and irrevocably to him ---- hoping for acceptance through Christ alone ----- taking God in Christ as the covenant God, and satisfying portion of your souls? The Lord's Spirit has been striving with each of you for this long time. I am afraid you will grieve it away; if you do, what will be the consequence? God invites, commands, and entreats you to repent. There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth. Say, cannot you love the Lord Jesus Christ, when he has done so much for us? God gave his only begotten son to die, that we through him, might live. Will you tell me what is the reason you will not repent, and be one of the followers of Christ? I pray and beseech you that you will give slumber to your eye-lids until each of you have found an interest in Christ. Would not your friends and relations rejoice very much to see you traveling to Zion? Will you answer me this question: If you should lay your heads on your pillow this night to sleep, and awake no more, where would your souls be, and how would you appear at the day of judgment?"
Such was the dear child whose
life was interesting, and whose death so affecting. Such were her thoughts
and feeling, after her heart was changed by grace. Such, it is hoped, is
now and will be forever her joy and rejoicing in heaven. O may there be
many such children and youth! Her lovely face we shall see, her sweet voice
we shall hear, no more. Removed from all objects of earth, time, and sense,
she reposes, as we trust, in the bosom of the Saviour's love; but being
dead, yet speaketh--- still feels for the young ---- still beseeches them
to be reconciled to God, and follow her as she followed Christ.
After 177 years Susan still speaks to us.....
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