This epitaph of Anna Cecilia Rhodes, carved in stone, is on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. It is from the chapel built in 1756 by George Whitefield, the great evangelist, and was located on Tottenham Court Road (west side), the City of London. The chapel was rebuilt in 1899 because of foundation problems and was completely destroyed by a German flying bomb in 1945. At the time of its destruction, the chapel could seat over 1,200 people.
The words of Anna's sister are remarkable. Would that such Christian love among siblings be more commonplace. Smallpox raged around the world for millennia and killed millions of people or severely crippled, disfigured, and/or blinded them.
The lesson here should be: Be thankful for the many blessings we have. God is so good to us these days in that humanity no longer suffers from this terrible scourge and other plagues, like the Bubonic. Among well known Christians who were killed by smallpox was Jonathan Edwards, America's greatest theologian and a born-again Puritan, who died at age 58. His death was a terrible loss to us but it was in God's plan for him. His wife, Sarah, died a year later from dysentery. His daughter also died from smallpox and Sarah was taking care of her children when she died. So much death in those days.
And I complain about things! God forgive us for being so faithless. - Hadley Robinson
Erected by a Sister in Memory of her beloved ANNA CECILIA, daughter of CHRISTOPHER RHODES, Esq; of Chatham in the County of Kent. She departed this life June 2d. 1796, age 32. Her Remains were deposited in the 42d. Vault of this Chapel. Distinguished by a fine Understanding and most amiable Disposition of Heart, She was the Delight of her Parents, and the Admiration of all who knew her. At the Age of 17, the Small-pox stripped off all the Bloom of youthful beauty, and being followed by a dreadful Nervous-disorder, withered those fair Prospects of earthly Happiness which were expected from her uncommon Affection, Sensibility and Tenderness. After enduring this afflictive Dispensation many Years, when it was difficult to say which exceeded, her Sufferings or her Submissions; her Friends Concern for her Sorrows, or their Admiration of her Patience; She was released by Death, and received into that World where there shall be no more Pain. But GOD himself shall wipe away Tears from every Eye.
Alas! How vain are feeble Words to tell
What once she was, and why I lov’d so well;
None else but he who form’d the Heart can know
How great her Worth, or how extreme my Woe!
Blest Calv’ry, on thy crimson Top I see,
Suff’rings and Death, with Life and Love agree;
Justice severe and smiling Mercy join,
And thro’ the Gloom we see the Glory shine.