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'to the different views of his hearers. Some (especially among the poor) rejoiced at the glad tidings of the Gospel which now fell from his lips: while all admired the graceful dignity and persuasive eloquence with which he proclaimed them. Even many who disliked his doctrines, were in a manner constrained to attend his preaching, and listen attentively, from respect and esteem for the man, so eminently did he adorn the doctrine of God his Saviour in all things. But his grand object in preaching was to draw his congregation from himself to his blessed Master, and his earnest desire in every part of his ministry was to set forth the unsearchable riches of Christ. He was so jealous in his Master's cause, that he could not bear to hear any of his sermons praised, lest he should rob God of any part of the glory of what was good in them; and those who knew him most intimately, never ventured upon any thing like commendation.
The grace of God was also manifested, and its powerful influence over his character displayed, not only in the fervour and devotion of his public ministrations, but in the deeper anxiety which he now felt for the spiritual interests of every individual of his flock; in the affectionate kindness of his manners in visiting the poor; in the additional means of instruction which he laboured to provide for them; in the frequency of his pastoral visits among them; and in the heart-felt delight which he expressed, and which beamed in his countenance whenever any of them seemed to profit by his exertions in their behalf, or by any other means for spiritual good. Nor was the power of vital religion less conspicuous in the improvement of those parts of his character which, as has been mentioned, were naturally the most faulty. He who before was proud, became deeply abased in the sight of God. Humility was
now his distinguished characteristic, and he had learned to think more highly of others than of himself. He whose vanity before led him to court the admiration of his fellow-creatures, now renounced, dreaded, and shunned it as dangerous to his soul's health. He who was formerly ready to take fire at injuries and affronts, now received them with an exemplary portion of the meekness of Him who " when he was reviled, reviled not again." The peculiar features of Mr. Townshend's renovated character were humility and charity, in the large acceptation of the term (1 Cor. xiii.), while that sincerity, firmness, and integrity, which, blended with kindness, had always been prominent traits in his natural character, now shone with a still steadier and brighter lustre.
In his creed, Mr. Townshend was a genuine member of the Church of England; a minister truly attached to her articles and services, and who scrupulously adhered to all her forms-not from bigotry, but from a conviction of their excellence and a sense of duty. Yet he loved all who loved the "Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity," and never, it is believed, allowed himself to draw invidious comparisons. Maintaining in the spirit of meekness and candour his own preferences, he allowed the full rights of conscience to others, whether in or out of the Establishment.
The doctrine of justification by faith alone, he held to be the great pillar of the church of Christ. To some points of secondary consideration, respecting which much difference of opinion exists, he assented so far as he thought he saw them in the Bible, not attempting to reconcile apparent inconsistencies above the reach of human reason, but taking the whole of the Word of God as it is. He has been often heard to remark, that one great evil of the present day is a
vain attempt to systematize Scripture, and bring it to square with our preconceived notions; instead of humbly receiving what is revealed, and desiring that our every thought may be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." And he regretted that deep and disputed points should ever be so maintained or so opposed, as to occasion the slightest breach in Christian charity. "Christ crucified," as the foundation of all our dependence; and Christ in his various, offices, becoming our "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption," constituted the chief subjects of his public discourses and private teaching, and the ground of all his own hopes. He received every thing at the hand of God, as the free gift of unmerited grace; and he went on, from strength to strength, as a recipient of that grace, till he was removed to receive" a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
For several years previously to his decease he had suffered from a gradually increasing internal complaint; and finding his strength declining, it was his desire constantly to live with eternity in view, so as to be ready for his Master's call. In writing to a friend who inquired after his health about five months before his decease, he says, I am upon the whole much the same, my pain somewhat less frequent, and I took my usual share of the morning duty yesterday at Henley. O how coldly such great and undeserved mercies are mentioned! May they excite me to be ready whether for life or death!" Again he says, in a subsequent letter, "I have not been so well for the last ten days: my debility is much increased, and my pain too has been, and is, more frequent. But I wish only to state the fact, and become more sensible of, and thankful for, the comparative ease I was blessed with for some weeks, while I am stirred up to greater readiness for my Master's
summons. Let us both remember, my dear friend, Thou shalt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon thee!" And shortly afterwards writing to a beloved relative, he says, "We rejoiced to hear of your safe arrival, through the blessing of God, at the scene of all your duties and your joys. May your heavenly Father long continue you in the faithful discharge of the one, and a duly chastised enjoyment of the other. Perhaps my mind may be more led to these prayers in behalf of others (and more especially of those I love), since it seems to be the will of God to abridge me of the former, and at the same time to forewarn me of no very distant dereliction of the latter. May God in his mercy grant that these may be followed by a full fruition of those which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, &c. and which shall be the portion of all who are his by faith in Christ Jesus! You will not, I trust, refer these expressions to gloom, or the melancholy effusion of accidental depression of spirits. No: these have no part in them. I have long been sensible of a gradual diminution both of mental and bodily powers. This has evidently made great progress within the last two months; and an interdict under which my medical adviser has now laid me more especially from preaching, and almost all professional exertions, confirms me in the persuasion that my heavenly Father graciously designs by these visitations to put me on the watch. May I not defeat this his additional goodness, but be, if possible, in momentary expectation of the God of my salvation! This calls for your hearty Amen."
Being in London in the end of April 1822, for medical advice, he attended the Lock chapel one Sunday morning with a female friend, and pointed out to her a hymn in the collection, which was sung, and which he remarked was
exactly suited to his own feelings. It was as follows:
"My God, thy service well demands
The remnant of my days;
Did this weak frame sustain;
When life was hovering o'er the grave,
And nature sunk with pain.
The death-bed of this excellent man was a scene never to be forgotten. It is remarkable, that a short time before his last attack, having an objection proposed to him against that petition of our Liturgy, in which sudden death is deprecated, Mr. Townshend explained his own sentiments in favour of it on this ground; that
"Thou, when the pains of death were though to the Christian himself a
Didst chase the fears of hell;
In firm dependence on that truth
Which makes salvation mine.
"Where thou determin'st mine abode,
There would I choose to be; For in thy presence death is life,
And earth is heaven with thee."
The last sermon which Mr. Townshend preached was in Bray church, on Sunday afternoon, April 14th; but his last public ministra tion was as late as Sunday, July 7 (seventeen days only before his removal), when he assisted his curate in Henley church in the administration of the Lord's Supper: thus closing his ministerial career by dispensing the memorials of that dying love, on which all his own hopes were founded, and which had been for many years the grand theme of his life and preaching. At this time he was suffering under such severe and painful indisposition, that his friends were surprised at his undertaking any part of the service, and almost fearful of the consequences. However, he got through the whole with apparent vigour and animation; and those who partook of the holy feast, remarked the sweet solemnity which pervaded his countenance and manner in administering for the last time (as it proved) the sacred office.
sudden death was not to be dreaded, yet he should wish, for the benefit of others, to be allowed so much time in the circumstances of death, as would admit of his bearing a dying testimony to the power and truth of the Gospel. This wish was happily fulfilled in his own experience. On Thursday, July 18, he had so bad an attack of spasms in the stomach, that he was considered in danger. From this, however, he in some degree revived; and it was not till the following Sunday, when a fresh and was despaired of. A truly mournworse attack came on, that his life ful scene took place in Bray church on that day, when the prayers of the congregation were offered for him; and on his name being mentioned, it was scarcely possible for the service to proceed, officiated and those who heard. so deeply affected were those who After both services, his anxious and agonized friends and parishioners flocked to the vicarage doors to ask for tidings of their muchloved minister, and this continued till his departure.
day, July 21, his curate saw him On the evening of this day, Sunfor the first time after all hope of his recovery was gone. On entering the room, Mr. Townshend said to him, "Blessed be God, I have peace, perfect peace; not a single fear, nor a ruffled thought. I have been wonderfully kept by unto salvation ready to be rethe power of God through faith vealed, and am enabled to rejoice in my Saviour."
He expressed as
a matter of present experience, that the everlasting arm was supporting him. He spoke of several persons in his parish, and sent messages to them, and mentioned some steps it would be necessary to take after his decease. He then requested his curate to pray with him, and begged that some persons he named might be remembered; his people also, and his servant who was attending him, and of whose long services he spoke. His patience and submission were very remarkable. His medical attendant, observing the severity of his suffering, said, "We must still hope." He replied, that he did not wish the removal of pain one moment sooner than it seemed good to his heavenly Father, but only that it might be attended with a sanctifying effect. One said to him, "What a mercy it is, that you are enabled to bear your sufferings with so much patience!". "Yes," he replied, "it is an unspeakable mercy indeed; for I wish to exhibit in my own example the power of those truths I have so many years preached to others.”
One of his medical attendants said, on Mr. Townshend expressing his confidence in the near approach of death, "Sir, you have been a good man."- O," said he, a good man! not I indeed. If I am a child of God, then I am safe; and I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him." He afterwards said, "I have often studied the promises of God, and believed them, and knew they were very full; but I never felt, nor could have conceived, the richness of them in their effects on my own experience until now." He spoke repeatedly of the awful responsibility of a minister of the Gospel; that he stands between the living and the dead; and he alluded to the period of thirty-eight years of
his own ministry. One said, "Sir, you have done your duty."—“No,” said he with animation, "not I, indeed." The atonement of Christ was then mentioned, on which he said, with a joyful expression, "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth; who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." He afterwards observed, that God had been gradually loosening the ties of life (dear as many were, and one in particular), but remarked, that he had not expected death quite so soon. He added, "I have endeavoured to set hell before me; but I cannot, it has no terrors for me; death is disarmed of its sting, and hell of its terror." His gratitude, cheerfulness, and serenity, and his constant consideration for others, were quite remarkable. Every word he uttered breathed an accent of praise to God, and nothing seemed to cast a cloud over his mind.
On the Monday he continued nearly in the same state, only that his weakness of body was increased. Alluding to a wish which had escaped him, that his departure could be accelerated, he said, "I am not so anxious as I was, but still I cannot help saying, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. I have every desire to be patient. Let patience have her perfect work." To one of his spiritual children, coming to take leave of him, and kneeling down by his bedside, he said, in a solemn but affectionate tone, "The Lord bless thee and keep thee! The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee! The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace, now and for evermore !" At another time he said, "It is trying, very trying;" and he re
peated, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! yet not a moment sooner than my heavenly Father sees fit." On mentioning his great weakness of body, it was observed by one who was present, that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. He rejoined, "No weakness can be greater than mine in body; but all is peace within." On being asked how he felt, he said, "I am a monument of peace, and the nearer I approach to death the more I find my peace increase. It is quite wonderful!" On a friend asking him, "Is it still peace?" he said, "Yes; great peace have they who love thy law: and nothing" there he stopped from extreme weakness. His difficulty of respiration amounted at times nearly to suffocation; and these attacks were followed by great exhaustion; and then, instead of breathing his last, as those around him expected, he sunk into sleep, and awoke refreshed, to experience the same sufferings and the same consequent exhaustion, so that he could say very little at a time. The expression of his countenance was peace and joy, and his smile had something more than human, quite peculiar, in it.
He animadverted very impressively on one occasion, from his own experience, on the evils arising from an intercourse with worldly society; adding, Every thing is now stripped of its deceit to me, and appears in its naked reality. Things are now to me as they really are-ay, and as they ever shall be. O what a thing to have been the pastor of two such parishes as Bray and Henley!" And referring to the early part of his ministry, he said, I was then a blind leader of the blind, and but for the grace of God, both would have fallen into the ditch."—"Yes," it was observed, "but you have since seen abundant fruits of your ministry, which make it evident that the talents committed to you have not APRIL 1823,
been unimproved." He shook his head with an air of self-reproach, and replied, "Yes, unimprovedaltogether an unprofitable servant." But on being reminded of that text, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin," he dropped his hand upon his bed, saying, "O yes!" and an air of perfect peace overspread his countenance, his eyes beaming with joy. He took occasion, when his strength would allow, to address his servants, and commended their fidelity; but expressed his anxiety for their spiritual state. He said, I hope the dying words of a master will be attended to, but I wish to speak rather as a friend than a master." After addressing each of them in a forcible and affecting manner, he turned to one who stood near him, and said, with great strength of expression," One thing is needful; one thing chosen, truly chosen, and closely followed-that, that alone, shall bring a man peace at last.". With reference to some Christian friends around him, and the support and consolation afforded him through their presence and prayers, he observed, "I never till now so fully experienced the meaning of these words, I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.' Speaking of his great weakness, it was said, "Still you are kept by the power of God"
and he finished the quotation, "through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed." After speaking of his perfect peace, he said, "The enemy may yet come in like a flood; but we have a standard to lift up against him." One then observed, "What God has done for you already, must be considered as an earnest for the future. We expect to see the power of God rest upon you to the last." In reply to this, he said, with great emphasis, "When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the floods, they shall not overflow thee. I go