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A SHORT MEMOIR
MELISE H. M. BROWNLOW.
BIRTH-CHILDHOOD-SCHOOL-CONFIRMATION AND FIRST
COMMUNION-SERIOUS ILLNESS-LETTERS ON RELIGIOUS SUBJECTS.
“ He shall gather the lambs with His
carry them in His bosom."
MELISE HENRIETTA MARIA, the only daughter of the Rev. William Brownlow, was born at the Rectory, Wilmslow, Cheshire, on the 12th of December, 1833. I am able to say but little of her early life, since it has been only during the last three years that I have really known her. She was a very reserved child; but it is evident that the Holy SPIRIT, Who is ever waiting to confirm the love of those who have been baptized through Him into the Body of CHRIST, was drawing her heart and affections to submit to the easy yoke of
her Saviour at a very early age. If our holy religion did not encourage us to expect this, the vigilance of the most anxious parent would be in vain; for the subtil enemy of our souls distils his deadly poison into the heart, often before the child appears capable of consenting to evil; and unless the HOLY SPIRIT were present to apply the remedy with equal secresy and with far greater power, the condition of those of Whom JESUS said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven," would be hopeless indeed. Still, religious tendencies are often observed in children which come to nothing afterwards, because they have been merely impressions, and the child's will has not really been given up to God.
A friend of Melise's, to whom she had spoken of the goodness of God, in thus early drawing her to Himself, gives the following account of the effect of these blessed operations of the Holy Ghost upon her heart. “ It was when Melise was about nine years old, she once told me, that she first began seriously to think. Her great desire was to find out the way to be good ;' for that there was such a thing as holiness she was quite convinced, but how to find it she was wholly at a loss, and knew not where to turn for help. She communicated her difficulty to her cousin R. (who was educated with her and grew up with her as a sister), but she could throw no light upon the subject, though they had many discussions together regarding it, and used to learn hymns to repeat to each other in order to encourage one another to be good. She longed most earnestly to ask the help and advice of the curates of her father's parish, and sometimes wondered whether she could make up her mind to do so; but her courage failed her, for they looked upon her merely as a child and a plaything, little thinking what thoughts were working in her mind. When a new curate came, she hoped she might be able to tell her difficulty to him, but found it equally impossible, and several years passed without her gaining the desired information.” She searched the books she had access to, especially the “Pilgrim's Progress," in hopes of finding some directions how she ought to act in order to please God, but in vain. At last, when she was about twelve, the two children obtained possession of the “ Life of Henry Martyn,” which they read with the greatest interest, hoping that it would clear up all that seemed so misty and obscure.
“And gradually as Melise read, she began to see, though still dimly and imperfectly, what this 'goodness' really was, and how she might attain it.” From her own allusion to this, page 20, it is clear that she found the same Jesus who had received Henry Martyn, near at hand to give her that pardon and peace her soul required ; indeed, so precious was He to her even then, that she was able to say to her cousin, “ To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This is all that I have been able to learn of Melise's early religious history. I can recall her, as she seemed to me all through her girlhood, a quiet, gentle, innocent child; loving her home and