As Joshua Arnold was no ordinary man, so his personnel was rather peculiar: nearly six feet in height; large, but not fat; wore a shoe of size number twelve, and hat size seven and a half. His eye was blue, large, and mild; forehead broad and high; nose long and straight; lips long and thin; mouth and chin small and delicate; hair brown, fine, straight, and complexion florid. His motions were moderate, and temper very steady and mild.
But this aged couple were to share their joys and sorrows in their retirement but a few years. Joshua was the first called away. He died in his seventy-seventh year, in peace with God and all men. Just before his speech failed one of his sons inquired how long he had been in the Methodist Episcopal Church. His answer came slowly but firmly: "Fifty-two years ago I said to this people, 'Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.'
'The word hath passed my lips, and I Shall with thy people live and die.'"
And the good man had the desire of his heart.
Elizabeth was now a widow, and had nearly reached her "threescore and ten years." She was not much bent with age, though "compassed with infirmity." She still found some little to do among the sick, the poor, and the perishing, and was not gloomy or desponding in her loneliness. She wrote much to her scattered children, who were too distant to be seen often, and her letters breathed the spirit of heaven.
When possible to attend the preaching of the word she was "not a forgetful hearer," but kept up her old method of prayerful abstraction. She had during her whole religious life followed it. She would early enter the meeting as if she saw no one and go solemnly to her seat, and either kneel or cover her face for a time, and thence on until the voice of the opening service aroused her would be absorbed in devotion. As long as able to attend, her voice was heard in prayer and class meetings; and many came to her room for counsel and help in their experience.
It was marvelous to see what a change retirement and its quiet had wrought in the spirit and manner of this woman. The drive and hum of busy life were over; a heavenly calm had ensued—solemn, serene, peaceful—no agony of prayer, no ecstasy of spirit, no shouts of transport, no fiery trials. Her infirmities accumulate, but still she rejoices in sacred, hallowed peace. She becomes a cripple, almost confined to her bed, and continues so for years; but her mind retains its strength and serenity, and her whole heart rejoices in God, her immovable Rock.
The last decade or more of her life was marked as a continual feast upon the holy word of God. She learned what her blessed Saviour meant when he quoted and sanctioned that Scripture, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," and also, his promise that the Holy Comforter should quote to the faithful such passages of the word they had studied as their circumstances might require.
So every day, and usually oftener, the Lord would give her a "passage to feed upon," "day by day her daily bread." On the last day that she could speak her pastor's wife inquired after her "passage for that day," and she instantly quoted Josh. i. 5, and Heb. xiii, 5, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Just before her speech failed her she called to her a daughter-in-law and gave her a minute account of her graveclothes, which had been ready for several years, and she found everything as she had described them. Thus, as "a shock of corn fully ripe," she was at length gathered home. She died in Fulton, Oswego County, N. Y., in August, 1865, in the eighty-eighth year of her age, and in the seventieth year of her religious experience, and is buried by the side of her husband in Mount Adna Cemetery, where they together await the resurrection of the just.
The "disinherited" Elizabeth was never restored to her rights and heirship as a daughter. As old age came upon that rigid father he partially relented and doled out a few hundreds to her where his other children had their thousands.
He even sent to Massachusetts for her to visit him on his deathbed and counsel him concerning salvation, and pray with him; and he indulged some hope under her prayers; but he made no confession of his wrongs to her, nor amends for his injustice.
Her two brothers and three sisters all credited their religious experience to God's blessing upon Elizabeth's prayers, counsels, and life; but only one of them ever undertook to restore what the father had taken from Elizabeth's right and given to her, and she did not do it until she was about to die without issue. With one voice they freely condemned her disinheritance and the persecutions she had had to suffer. But when, their souls being "ill at ease" under the remembrance of her wrongs, they spoke to her on the subject (for she would not introduce it), they would simply repeat, "Father so willed it, and you know, dear sister, that no one could ever turn him."
All became church members, and so lived and died, but all in Calvinian communions; while all of Elizabeth's children became Methodists, and two of her sons, as we have seen, itinerant ministers. She and her pious husband, as before stated, were industrious, economical, and liberal, and Agar's prayer, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," was their prayer, and with its answer they walked happily and usefully through life, "serving their generation by the will of God," and passing in peace to their reward.