The Conversion of Mary, and Her Earrings
[The following account is extracted from a description and defense of Methodist Revivals, in History of Wesleyan Methodism, by George Smith; London: Charles H. Kelly, Fifth Edition, n.d., Vol. II, pp. 624-626.]
A strong, vigorous, and tolerably intelligent young woman was working at a mine in Cornwall. In company with many others, she was employed in breaking the copper ores with a hammer on an iron anvil. Mary—for that was her name—had heard of the revival in the neighbourhood, and turned all she had been told into ridicule, making herself and her companions exceedingly merry with the subject. She, however, had never attended any meeting, and consequently lacked the information necessary to give point and completeness to her profane jesting. This defect she resolved to remedy by going to the revival meeting in the evening, watching closely all that took place, and treasuring it up in her memory. She promised her companions to repeat all that was said, and mimic all the noises made, for their amusement the following day.
She went to the meeting, and for some time most carefully adhered to her plan, and enjoyed in anticipation the effect with which she should parody the scene on the morrow. But an arrow of deep conviction entered Mary's soul; she trembled; she felt the depth of her depravity and the magnitude of her transgressions; humbly and urgently she cried for mercy. She continued in earnest prayer until just after midnight, when her mourning was turned into joy, and she was taken to her dwelling unspeakably happy in God.
In the morning, she repaired to her place at the mine, and commenced her labour; but how changed! Hoarse with recent crying, she could scarcely speak. Full of heavenly peace and love, she wanted no communication with her companions. She took her seat in silence, and nothing fell from her lips but a scarcely audible whisper, as she occasionally lifted her heart in thanksgiving to God. This mighty change attracted attention, and the girls about her soon guessed the cause. “Mary is converted,” was whispered abroad. The strange intelligence passed to other houses, where women were similarly occupied; others came and looked on her; and, as they saw her sit in silence, with a heavenly smile on her lips and joy beaming in her eye, they retired, saying, “Yes; Mary is converted.” At length, one young woman who had been intimate with Mary, and well knew her passionate fondness for finery, came, and looking on her said, “No; she is not converted: look at those fine large earrings in her ears still! If she had been converted, she would not continue to wear them.” These words gave to poor Mary the first idea of the earrings, since the change had come over her mind. Without a word, she laid down her hammer, took the earrings from her ears, and placed them on the anvil. Resuming her work, she pounded them to atoms, and swept them away with the pulverized ore, humming the while,—
“Neither passion nor pride His cross can abide,
They melt in the fountain that flows from His side;”
then looking up, and saying, “Praise the Lord, they are gone.” The effect on the spectators was irresistible; the most incredulous withdrew their objections, and all agreed that “Mary was converted.”