Georgia Meredith & Cordelia Carter

The Christian Index, July 11, 1872

MRS. GEORGIA MEREDITH-- MRS. CORDELIA CARTER.-- I have been deeply touched by two recent obituary announcements in Georgia. I alluded to the death of Mrs. Georgia Meredith, which occurred on the 21st day of April, in the 68th year of her age; and to that of her daughter, Mrs. Cordelia Carter, wife of Dr. W. E. Carter,--which took place on the 6th instant, near Eufaula, Ala., in the 27th year of her age. These ladies were, the one the wife and the other the daughter of Rev. Thomas Meredith, D.D., who was for many years an eminent minister of our Southern Zion. He was, at one period pastor of the Baptist church at Savannah. Subsequently, he removed to North Carolina, and published the Baptist Interpreter, and Biblical Recorder, wielding the pen editorial with an ability not exceeded by any of his Baptist contemporaries, and not surpassed by the most gifted of his successors. The readers of the Index may be pleased to have a few lines commemorative of those who were so intimately connected with a minister who, in his day, was one of our best and wisest men.

I made the acquaintance of sister Meredith in the autumn of 1840, at her home in Raleigh, N.C., when on my way from Brown University to my first pastoral charge in Augusta. She was then in the prime of life, strikingly beautiful and agreeable -- the fond wife and the happy mother in an interesting domestic circle. We met occasionally in after years; but I had no particular association with her until I became her pastor in Atlanta, some eight years ago. From that time until my removal from the State, it was my pleasure to see her frequently, and to know much of her Christian experience. Her habitual walk was such as to afford the most ample assurance to her friends, that death, to her, has been an unspeakable gain. Her piety was not of the buoyant type. She saw so much in herself to condemn, was so oppressed by a sense of her utter unworthiness, that she was often afraid to call herself a child of God. Self-distrust was perhaps, the prevalent temper of her heart. This, however, but made her look more earnestly to Jesus, and kept her very low at His feet. When others around her would be expressing themselves with the utmost confidence, as respects their acceptance with God and the certainty of salvation, she would say, "I cannot speak so confidently. God has not blessed me with such strong faith. I can only say, I hope."

Notwithstanding these expressions of apprehension, her life was as earnest and devoted as was that of the most confident. She was ready for every good work, and entered with a cheerful zeal upon every Christian duty. Her place in the sanctuary was never vacant, unless providentially hindered; and when present, there was no more attentive nor appreciative hearer. I remember her earnest black eye, as she used to fix it on the speaker in the beginning of the services, and maintain the closest attention to the end. Her fine intellect was prompt in discerning whatever, in the way either of excellence or of imperfection existed in the sermon; and whilst her generous nature moved her to warm commendation of one, and her Christian charity repressed any condemnation of the other. For twenty-two years she was called to lead the life of a widow-- to know by a poignant experience the sorrow of that word. But amidst this and the manifold trials she endured, no murmuring word escaped her lips. For the last few months of her life her health, which had been uniformly vigorous, became impaired. She would then occasionally complain of being weary; and whilst submissive to her Father's will, she would express a desire to depart and be with Christ. All who knew her, must feel that when she died, a "mother in Israel" fell asleep in Jesus.

Not two years have passed since, at the bridal altar, I "solemnized" with the Word of God and with prayer, the plighted faith of the interesting daughter who has so quickly followed her mother to the tomb. Young, beautiful, gifted, it was fondly hoped that God would spare her for many years to bless a devoted husband with her love, and to be useful in his church. But it has pleased the Great Disposer to appoint otherwise. The youngest daughter is the earliest summoned to join a beloved mother in the praises of the New Jerusalem. Fond relatives would have detained her for their earthly comfort and joy; but the Saviour whom she served was saying, "Father, I will that she whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." His prayer is heard; and the young wife and mother unfolds an unseen wing, and passes to join her sainted parents, who have passed before her to the skies. The remarkable vivacity which characterized our friend, might have induced those who knew her but casually, to think that she was defective in that dignity and sobriety which become Christian character. But amidst this sprightliness of demeanor, there throbbed the heart of a true Christian woman.

In common with multitudes of Southern ladies since the war, she was thrown upon her own resources, in a measure, for support. But she bravely met the emergency, I have seen her, when summoned to stern duties, brushing away the tear which, for the moment, had filled the eye, and then giving herself vigorously to the conflict. Superficial observers might have deemed her volatile; but nothing was farther from the truth. She was at one time one of my Sunday school corps; and during the whole time of her connection with the school, no teacher was more punctual, more efficient as an instructor, and more successful in winning the love of her entire class. Admired and courted in the social circle, and with qualities which fitted her to adorn the parlor, she would cheerfully relinquish the pleasures of society for the self-denying ministries of the sick chamber. I have seen her weeping with strangers in the house of mourning, after she had done everything in her power to "smooth the rugged pathway to the tomb." But I must stop. My heart prompts me to say more, as I know that much remains to be said. May her affecting decease reach the hearts of those out of Christ, for whom she prayed, and whom she so tenderly loved. May the Merciful Comforter heal the wounds which have been made in the hearts which cherished her.

W. T. B. Baltimore, June 20th, 1872.

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