THE BEST HEIFER
Among those who came from Urray was a woman notorious for her kindness to the poor, and for her love to the people of the Lord. Her husband was a farmer in comfortable circumstances, but he did not share in the fervent charity of his wife. Anxious on one occasion to show kindness to a few Christian friends, whom she knew to be poor, she resolved before the Lord to slaughter the best heifer on the farm, and to divide it among them. On announcing her project to her husband, he laughed at a proposal that seemed to him so outrageous, and decidedly
refused to allow her to carry her plan into effect. ‘I have given the heifer to the Lord,’ she said, ‘and if He comes to claim it for the poor of His people, you cannot withhold it.’ On entering the byre next morning, the farmer was not a little astonished to find his favourite heifer lying in the stall, and gasping its last breath. There was now no alternative but to bleed and to flay it, and he was too thoroughly frightened to prevent his wife from disposing, as she pleased, of the carcase.
Shortly before her death, this godly woman was sorely tempted to fear that all her love had terminated in His people, and that none of it had risen up to the Lord Himself. Under the pressure of this temptation she came to Killearnan on the Monday of a fellowship meeting, and called at the manse after the service in the church was concluded. She told her fear to the minister. As she could not doubt her love to the people of the Lord, and as it was proved to her that it was as the brethren of Christ she loved them, he reminded her of the words, ‘We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.’ As there was no simpler, he assured her there was no surer evidence of grace than that there given; and after explaining to her why she was more conscious of her love to His people than of her love to the Lord, he declared to her, on Scripture warrant, his assurance of the safety of her state in prospect of eternity. His words were blessed to her soul, and she was entirely delivered from her distress. ‘There is nothing now left for me to do on earth but to die,’ were her words as she bade the minister farewell; and on the second day thereafter she died.