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for her doom in the spirit of a true martyr. Before the day of execution she wrote a noble protest in favour of her views, and the rights of conscience, to the magistrates and governors of New England, but all was in vain. On the afternoon of October 27, 1658, Mrs. Dyer and her two companions were led to the place of death. They walked hand-in-hand with firm steps, and eyes more fixed on heaven than earth, and souls more anxious to please God than to obtain the favour of man. It was arranged that Mrs. Dyer should suffer last. The three martyrs bade each other farewell. Robinson went up first, and fell a victim to the spirit of persecution. Stevenson followed, and shared the same fate. Mrs. Dyer was just mounting the ladder, when a man was heard shouting through the crowd, "Stop! stop! she is reprieved." The words fell like magic on the people, who raised one loud long shout of thanks. All seemed pleased but Mrs. Dyer, who was evidently disappointed that she should be kept a little longer upon earth, remarking that life had no charms for her while such persecuting laws remained. She was taken home to Rhode Island by her friends; but two years after, in 1600, she again felt impelled to go to Boston and protest against these persecuting laws. She was, of course, again taken, tried, and condemned. Her husband, sons, and friends, all pleaded for her. But no: the ears of the Puritan Pilgrim Fathers were deaf to the cry of justice and mercy, and they determined this time to carry out the law; and on the first of June, 1660, this noble, though eccentric woman, was led out to die. "Mrs. Dyer," said the executioner, "shall the elders pray for you?" "I want all the children of GOD to pray for me," was her reply; and after addressing words of forgiveness and remonstrance to all present, she quietly and joyfully resigned herself to the stroke, and Mary Dyer was no more! soul had passed to that world where all is harmony and love; far away from the errors, the cruelties, the wrongs, and the contentions of the earth,-to that world where GOD "will wipe all tears away," and every Christian
Shall bathe his weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest;
Let me now ask you to follow me in a short sketch of the life of Elizabeth the wife of John Bunyan. She was John's second wife. His first wife was a good woman, though when she married him he was a drinking, swearing, reprobate man. She thought her influence might save him, and though it was a dangerous experiment, she made it, and, through GOD's mercy, it was crowned with success. I have no doubt in my own mind, that her influence was the chief instrument, in GoD's hands, in the conversion of her husband. She had two books when she married, besides a Bible, the one was the "Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven;" the other the "Practice of Piety." These had been given to her by her father on his death-bed; and during John's wild days he was fond of reading them, and hearing his wife talk about religion. This good woman died in 1658, leaving four children; and in 1659, Bunyan was married to his second wife, who was a woman of deep piety, and with more intelligence than the first. At this time Bunyan was pastor of the Baptist church, at Bedford; and the next year after their marriage (1660), he was incarcerated in Bedford gaol for the crime-I use the words of his indictment: That, being a labourer, he had devilishly and perniciously abstained from going to Church, to hear divine service, and was a common upholder of several unlawful meetings and conventicles, to the great disturbance and distraction of the good subjects of this kingdom, contrary to the laws of our Sovereign Lord the King." For these terrible crimes he spent twelve years in Bedford gaol. His wife was expecting to be a mother when her husband was taken, and was prematurely confined, as the result of her sorrow at her husband's imprisonment, and to the danger of her life. Through GoD's goodness, however, she was spared. During the twelve years of their separation, this noble woman worked earnestly and devotedly, first to obtain her husband's release, and secondly, to take care of, feed, clothe, and educate his four children, left by the first wife. Her interview with Judges Hale, Chester, and Twisdon, has called forth the sympathy and admiration of all who love justice and hate oppression. It was a true womanly appeal to the hearts and consciences of the judges. Sir Matthew Hale was evidently deeply moved, but he felt unable to do all that was in his heart. Mrs. Bunyan went to the prison to tell John what had occurred, and the judges
went home to dine. And now, looking back with the light of two hundred years streaming upon the past, which would you rather be,--Bunyan in prison, with his little oil lamp, iron bedstead, damp floor, bad air, and scanty food, but with those bright, glowing, and glorious thoughts that lifted his soul to heaven, and helped him to trace the Christian's path from the Slough of Despond to the land of Beulah, thoughts that have moved and melted the people of GOD in every age, since they were penned; or would you rather be Charles II., on his throne, with all his meanness, sensuality, and moral depravity, living in luxury and sin? In 1688 (the glorious revolution year), Bunyan died, and devout men buried him in Bunhill Fields. His wife survived him four years, and died in 1692. The four years of her widowhood were passed in quiet, unobtrusive, humble christian duty, unnoticed and unapplauded by men, but known and noticed by Him who "sees in secret:" and then she "crossed the flood," and reached the Canaan of joy and peace, and heard the welcome "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
I shall conclude my sketches of the Noble Women of 1662, by a brief history of Lady Russell, the wife of Lord William Russell, who was murdered according to law, on the 21st July, 1683. She was the daughter of the Earl of Southampton, her mother being the daughter of a noble French Protestant (Ruvigny). Her mother died when she was an infant; her father was a man of deep piety, and instilled his religious principles into his daughter, and also those principles relating to civil and religious liberty, for which, I rejoice to say, the Russell family have ever since been distinguished. She grew up remarkable for personal charms, intelligence, warm affections, and all the graces of womanhood. In 1653, at the age of seventeen, she married Lord Vaughan, by whom she had one child, which died soon after it was born, and in 1667 she lost her husband. Her marriage to Lord Vaughan had been blessed to her conversion, for though amiable and virtuous before her marriage, she does not appear to have been pious or much in earnest about religious matters. So attractive a widow was not likely to remain unsought. and therefore, two years after Lord Vaughan's death, Mr Russell (afterwards Lord William Russell), tried for and obtained her hand, and as we shall presently see, her heart. This union seems to
have been peculiarly happy and congenial, and the insight we have into the inner life of this noble family, shows that theirs indeed was a home of peace, piety, and love, and I believe such a home to be the nearest and best type of heaven that earth presents. Ten years after their marriage we find Lady Russell writing,“I am glad you find Stratton (one of their residences) so sweet; may you live fifty years more to enjoy it, and if it shall please GOD, I shall be glad to keep your company." Lord Russell was in Parliament, and he led the opposition to the arbitrary and despotic measures of Charles II., and his government. Through this he incurred the hatred of the reigning powers. He especially took active measures for preventing the Duke of York (afterwards James II.), from assisting the Papal party. On the 14th of March, 1677, he made and carried a motion to this effect:-"I move that we go into a committee of the whole house, to consider the sad and deplorable condition in which we are in, and the apprehensions we are under of popery, and a standing army, and that we may consider some way of saving ourselves from ruin." Lady Russell was sadly afraid this motion would involve him in serious consequences, and hence she wrote, urging him not to press it. He proceeded, however, and incurred the displeasure of the court, who henceforth were watching for an opportunity to ruin him. In 1682, there were secret societies in England of a political character, some of which Lord Russell attended, but at none of which did he ever do or sanction anything illegal. A spy, however, reported this to head quarters. He was arrested, tried at the Old Bailey on the 13th of July, 1682, and condemned. His noble wife stood by him at the bar, and asked permission to assist him at the trial, as secretary. This was granted, and her presence did much to cheer and support this true-hearted hero, in his manly resistance to political injustice. His trial was a farce, for his condemnation had been ordered and arranged before he was placed at the bar. After sentence of death had been passed upon him, every effort was made by Lady Russell, his father (the Duke of Bedford), and many other relatives and friends, to obtain either an entire pardon or a commutation of the sentence. She went, and on bended knees pleaded for mercy with Charles II.; but she might have more easily found mercy from a wild beast of the forest, and at last she was obliged to give up all hope.
She informed her husband of the failure of all her efforts, and then set herself to comfort and encourage him in the prospect of death. “We shall not be separated long. will take care of the children. GOD will be with you in death, angels will meet your happy spirit after death, and CHRIST will welcome you to His presence,' were the words with which the noble woman cheered the spirit of her husband. The last night came, and at five o'clock she brought her three children, two daughters and a son, to say farewell. It was a sad and sorrowful parting, and when the children were going, Lord Russell said-"Stop and sup with me, Rachel, let us eat my last meal together." She stopped, but at ten o'clock she had to embrace him for the last time. "The hand you feel, Rachel," said Lord Russell, "will soon be cold in death." He kissed her again and again, and then in silence, and with a heart too full for utterance, she said "good-bye," and as Lord Russell followed her, with his eyes filled with tears, he said to the chaplain (Bur net), who was present-"Now the bitterness of death is passed." He slept soundly that night; in the morning he gave his watch to the chaplain, and sent loving messages to his wife, promised that his last prayer should be for her, and then said, "I have done with time; and now eternity comes." He then mounted the scaffold in Lincoln's Inn Fields, and on the morning of July the 21st, 1683, at the age of 44, died a noble martyr for truth, conscience, and GOD. Lady Russell lived till 1723. She saw her children all married well and happily; she was beloved by all, an was regarded with affection and respect by the Prince o Orange and his wife. Her piety and benevolence were cognised and acknowledged by all who knew her, and when she died she was carried to the grave amidst the lamentation and sorrow of the whole nation. One striking fact is recorded that I cannot pass over. When James II. found the nation turning against him, he sent for the Duke of Bedford to ask him to use his influence with the people e his behalf. "Ah! your Majesty," said the Duke, it is ba little I can do for you; I am old and feeble; I had a so once who would have helped you (referring to Lord Willia Russell), but he is no more.' James, it is said, felt the re buke keenly, and was not seen to smile afterwards.
I have now done. I could have sketched with pleasur to myself, and, perhaps, some advantage to you, the lives