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assisted in preaching. In danger of excessive sorrow. Lord, help.
Wed. 28.—Returned home, and found my dear children well. Thank God. But I had no wife to greet me on my return. Lord, help me to be resigned.”
Many are the letters of condolence addressed to my dear father during this season of deep affliction: they proved highly consolatory. Several of these are worthy of being placed permanently on record, were their introduction compatible with the brevity of this Memoir. Two only have been selected. The first is from Mr. (now Dr.) Bunting, who, it will be remembered, had lived as the single preacher in my father's house the year before, and was now only in the fifth year of his itinerancy.
“ London, March 24, 1804. “ MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
Mr. Morley's kind letter, which arrived four or five days before yours of the 19th instant, brought me the tidings which, though they did not surprise, deeply affected and grieved me.
I most tenderly sympathize with my beloved friend in his heavy affliction; the poig. nancy of which I think I now know how to estimate, as far as it can be estimated by one who has not personally experienced a similar deprivation. May that blessed Spirit, who is emphatically and by office “the Comforter, do his office for you. As for me I know not what to say to you. I would gladly be, if I possessed the ability,
as one that comforteth the mourners.' But as balm itself may be painfully applied, I fear lest I should by any means make to bleed afresh that wound, which I fain would help to heal. Indeed your present circumstances call rather for the compassion than for the advice of those who love you; especially as they have good reason to believe that you have not your cordials to seek in the very hour when they are needed. By a long and familiar acquaintance with the best of books, you have been previously furnished with those maxims of heavenly wisdom, from which, through the agency of the Holy Ghost, a good man derives such strong consolations as delight his soul in the midst of his most troubled thoughts. I rejoice exceedingly in the extraordinary support, with which
have been favoured from above on this mourn
ful occasion; and will not fail to pray for the continuance
“I also rejoice to find from your letters, that you are
easy for Him to make up to you for the removal of the most beloved creature. And even with respect to that departed object of your best earthly affection, you sorrow not as do others. You have not only hope but assurance in her death. You know that she is not properly gone, but rather gone before; removed, not lost; for dying is not the termination of existence, but only the exchange of worlds. You know also that the certainty of your meeting again is indubitable; that the time of that meeting cannot be very distant; that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, it will be happy as well as speedy ;-and, finally, that it will be eternal, as well as joyful. Here you were often unavoidably separated from each other for considerable periods; but your next meeting shall be your final one. After that meeting,—and
your Lord saith, Behold, I come quickly!)—there shall be no parting kiss, nor shall you ever be required to say again, Farewell.—But I must stop. I have insensibly enlarged on this pleasingly painful subject much more than I intended. You feel all these things, I am persuaded, more forcibly than I can state them. But I can truly urge in excuse for my long letter a certain author's apology for a tedious book, — I have not time now to make it shorter.'
I must conclude. My wife unites in respects to Miss Pawson, and in love to yourself and all your children, with
“ Your affectionate and sympathizing
“ JABEZ BUNTING.”
The other letter is from another of my father's esteemed and very valuable friends, the late Rev. Jonathan Edmondson.
“Ashby-de-la-Zouch, March 28, 1804. “MY DEAR BROTHER,
I HASTEN to express my grief at the melancholy tidings contained in your last. None, I am sure, can make up your loss but that God who has seen it right to call your dear companion away; we can weep
you, but our tears are vain. I lament her death on many accounts. You have lost a most affectionate wife ; your children a tender mother; and the church a fine ornament of unaffected piety and goodness. I have always held Mrs. Entwisle and Mrs. Whitfield in the highest estimation; but they have been both called away, and left two of my best friends behind to mourn their loss.
“It gives me real pleasure to know that you are endeavouring to bear this great trial with resignation. It is right for us to resign to the awful and painful, but just and necessary, dispensations of divine providence. Our God, who governs the world, doth all things well. It is no argument against this, that we do not always understand his ways.
Clouds and darkness are round about him ; but justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne. He, for wise reasons, hides many things from us in the present state of things, which will be made fully
known to us in a future world; and then those circumstances of life which give us the greatest uneasiness, may prove sources of unknown delights. Every pain we have felt, every grief which has weighed our spirit down, and every tear we have shed, will add lustre to the crown of glory which our blessed Redeemer will place
upon our head.
“There was a time when my heart felt the sharp edge of an affliction like yours. I thought all was lost, when my companion died. The world appeared as an empty wilderness, and I earnestly longed to be removed out of
At length, however, I resolved to leave all to God, and to devote myself to the duties of my calling. But I had many struggles before I could give up. The sight of a friend who had known her, the sight of a place where we had been together, or any little circumstance of that kind brought all fresh to my busy memory, and almost broke my heart. At length I found greater strength, and could say from the heart, “The will of the Lord be done. I cannot teach you any thing but what you know already; but suffer me to say, 'All will work
your good.' We know this by our own experience, by the experience of others, and by the faithful promise of our God. Go on in the blessed work of our Divine Master. I know you have been made a blessing to thousands; and am persuaded you will be a blessing to thousands more.
Life will soon be over, and we shall overtake them who are gone before us. They will welcome us home. Perhaps even now they may be appointed by our Heavenly Father to do us kind offices. Your dear partner, for aught you know, may be more useful to you in this respect, than when you had her company in this visible world. I mention this, because thoughts of this kind often relieved my mind, and even caused joy to spring up. The word Angel signifies a messenger, and is not always applied to those who were never embodied. Why may not one who has been embodied be thus employed ?
“I shall be glad to hear from you. The year we spent together was in many respects the happiest of my life. I shall always remember Colne with pleasure. My wife is deeply distressed. She never loved a friend
as Mrs. Entwisle. She unites in love to you and the children. I am,
“My very dear Brother,
“ JONATHAN EDMONDSON.”
It was a great relief to my father's mind, under this afflictive bereavement, that his sister-in-law, Miss Elizabeth Pawson, consented to become his housekeeper, and to take charge of his motherless children. The care of the Macclesfield Circuit necessarily occupied his chief time and attention, and he was frequently from home for several days together, when in the distant parts of the circuit. It was an unspeakable comfort at those times to know that his children were under the care of one who felt for them little less than a mother's solicitude, and who was at once disposed and qualified to train them up in the fear and love of God.
Although by the grace of God the habit of looking chiefly on the bright side of things, and numbering even his crosses and afflictions among his mercies, had long been established, so that my father was remarkable for his habitual cheerfulness and placidity ;—and although, under the afflictive bereavement with which he was now visited, he was generally enabled to derive consolation from such considerations as have been adduced in the preceding pages, and was invariably preserved from all disposition to murmur and repine, -yet there were sea. sons when his sense of the heavy loss sustained was so keen as almost to overwhelm him.
Stoical insensibility forms no part of the religion of Him who wept by the grave of his deceased friend Lazarus: this is not one of the elements of the mind that was in Christ. The Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Lovedoes not transform man into a stock or stone, but takes away the heart of stone, and gives a heart of flesh. He refines our feelings, and puts a keener edge upon them, while at the same time he purifies and regulates, and brings them under the control of reason and of grace.
The power and comfort of religion were exhibited in an edifying and attractive manner at this period of my father's history. Exquisite sensibility in combination with perfect self-control, a keen sense of the irreparable