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from the love of the creature she now began more anxiously to seek the knowledge of the Creator. She had from early life been of a devout turn of mind—a strict observer of moral duties and the ritual of religion ; but now, in the day of adversity, she was brought to deeper views of the depravity of her heart, and the need she stood in of a Saviour. She perceived the insufficiency of her own righteousness and the necessity of being born again. Pious friends, who had sympathised in her late affliction, now observed the spiritual concern of her mind, and availed themselves of this opportunity to bring her under the sound of the Gospel.”
Amongst these friends were Mrs. Wilberforce and Mrs. Conyers, who had been her school-fellows.
Speaking of her in her maternal character, he adds—“ As a mother, I must repeat what you, my dear sir, have frequently said, that you never saw such an instance of maternal affection. This, indeed, is a subject on which I hope I shall never think without heartfelt gratitude to her, and to God, who so favoured me. The whole of her deportment was calculated to win my early attention to religion. I saw in her what it could do—how happy ! how cheerful ! how humble! how holy ! how lovely in life and afterwards in death! how full of mercy and good fruits it could render the happy possessor!
“As I was the only son of my mother, and she a widow, she might, perhaps, lean to the side of over indulgence. Yet, if my heart do not deceive me, in trusting that I love the ways of God, I am indebted, through Divine Grace, for that inestimable benefit to the impression of her great and tender kindness, her uniform example, and particularly her pious and affectionate letters, when I was about thirteeen years old.”
When Basil was about seven years of age he had a narrow escape of his life. A thoughtless young relative caught up a gun, and pointing it at him, playfully said, “Basil I will shoot you," little thinking that the weapon was loaded. By an instinctive movement the child turned aside at the moment that the gun went off, otherwise he must have been killed on the spot. Mrs. Woodd was, as may be supposed, deeply affected by this providential deliverance. Speaking of it, she says, “ May I ever remember with gratitude to my gracious God, this wonderful preservation of my dear child and his very great escape."
A short time afterwards the boy was exposed to a similar accident from the bursting of a gun, which he was himself attempting to fire.
Young Woodd was of an affectionate and tractable disposition and of a studious turn of mind. His mother sent him for some years to a respectable school in the neighbourhood, but at the age of fourteen he was removed to a public academy. He was under the tuition of an able and pious instructor; yet, he, like Thomas Scott, and many others, formed an unfavourable opinion of public schools in general, from the immoral practices he witnessed in many of his schoolfellows. He attributed his own escape from these evils to his mother's early pious instructions. In after life he educated his own children, though much engaged in his sacred profession,
From this school he was removed at the
of seventeen, and entered at Trinity College, Oxford, with the intention of devoting himself to the ministry. He could not himself say when he was first savingly impressed with the truths of the Gospel; he was not conscious of any decided religious feeling till he was about fourteen. There cannot be a doubt but that he was induced to embrace the sacred functions from right motives. The following extract from a letter addressed to his beloved mother, whilst he was at college, will show his sentiments and feelings. It was written on the occasion of Mrs. Woodd's losing a dear friend. He says
“ As I shall have a good deal of retirement this term I wish I may find it profitable, and a means of raising my soul above the perishing things of this world, though we generally find that adversity serves better than prosperity to cut the cords which bind us to it. It is happy for the soul when the affections are supremely fixed on heavenly objects, and adversity does not strip us of this world before God has taken our hearts from it; or, at least, has made us submissively and thankfully resigned to whatever is His will. And what tends more to encourage such a disposition than frequent meditation upon the glories of the other world. Then each anxious wish lets go the grasp by which it clings to this, and the superior blessings of Canaan more strongly attract the attention in proportion as it dwells on them more frequently. There is the verdant pasture where the Shepherd feeds his flock—there are the lambs which His arms have carried through the wilderness, grazing without fear of the enemy, and basking in the sunshine of Glory. They who here had but a sip, drink there their fill at the fountain of living water, and God himself wipes away all tears from their eyes. When we lose a friend we weep because he has arrived there so soon; but surely, if he could weep,
it would be because he was there no sooner. Oh, glorious, incorruptible, unfading inheritance."
The Rev. Basil Woodd preached his first sermon at the church of his late respected preceptor, the Rev. Thomas Clarke, at Chesham Bois, from “I am Alpha and Omega, &c." Rev. xxii. 13. But he was appointed lecturer of St. Paul's, Cornhill, London, August 1784. Mrs. Woodd was present when her son was ordained Priest, at Westminster Abbey, by the Bishop of Rochester, but it was the last time she was ever able to attend public worship. She died on the 12th of the November following, 1784. When too ill to write she dictated a letter to her beloved pastor Dr. Conyers, of which the following is an extract,
“I am dying, and not afraid; I trust I am going to my Father's house. I never was so happy in all the days of my life. I wished to write to tell you
what my soul feels in this blessed prospect, that I might leave my testimony to his grace. That I might refresh your soul, who have so often refreshed mine, and tell you what joy I feel in this prospect. I do not doubt of meeting you in Heaven, and my dear child too."
On the same evening she addressed her son to the following effect,-
“I am very happy. I am going to my mansion in the skies. I shall soon be there, and, oh, I shall be glad to receive you to it. You shall come in to go out no more. If ever you have a family, tell your children they had a grandmother who feared God, and found the comfort of it on her death-bed; and tell your partner I shall be happy to see her in Heaven.”
Son, I exhort you to preach the Gospel ; preach it faithfully and boldly, fear not the face of man, endeavour to put in a word of comfort to the humble believer, to poor weak souls. I heartily wish you success ; may you be useful to the souls of many!"
Her son had been obliged to leave her, to preach at St. Peter's. When he returned, she took his hand, and said, with animation, “God, my dear, has been very gracious. He sent my son from me but he sent himself to me.” A little after she said, “let me tell you, by my own experience, when you come to lie upon your death-bed an interest in Jesus will be found a precious possession. Oh what a mercy of mercies, that we should be brought out of the bondage of Egypt and united together in the kingdom of God's dear Son.” A little after, “ It is a glorious salvation—a free, unmerited salvation—afull
, complete salvation-a perfect, eternal salvation. It is a deliverance from every enemy ; it is a supply of every want; it is all I can now wish for in death ; it is all I shall want in Eternity." At another time she said, “ God has greatly indulged my desires, has answered my prayers in a wonderful manner.
How has he dealt with me in sparing me so long to see you, my son, settled in life! I remember when I used to express my