« EdellinenJatka »
prayer. The whole service was peculiarly solemn and impressive.
The address prepared for the occasion was immediately printed, with the names of the committee (by whom it had been adopted) appended, and sold at the Book-room. This address forms the basis of the instructions given to all the Missionaries sent out by the Wesleyan Missionary Society, and printed from year to year in the Annual Report.
Amidst all these engagements, his great concern was to “ maintain in his own soul a vigorous, growing state of religion.” He felt that "nothing would serve as a substitute for personal piety." "Nothing” he says, “ will do but a sincere, unreserved consecration of myself to him who has called me by his grace.
The following extracts from his journal continue the narrative of his personal history.
“Jan. 1, 1816.-My dear wife is seriously afflicted, and I am exercised with strong rheumatic pain. The new year has set in with storms; but we have an interest in the Master of the storm.' I feel willing to suffer as much and as long as the Lord may please to appoint. His will be done : I am not my own; I am His; and He shall have
all. “Feb. 16.—This day thirty-three years I preached my first sermon at Unsworth, near Bury. Having obtained help of God, I continue unto this day. Still I am employed in the work of God, and my soul centres and finds rest in him. I see much cause for gratitude to God who has preserved me amidst all the snares and temptations to which I have been exposed, and for continuing to employ me with some degree of usefulness in his church. My soul is humbled before God on account of my
defects both as a minister and as a Christian. I am ready to say, as good Mr. Sutcliffe of Olney said to his friend Fuller, ' I wish I had prayed more.
Of late years, my mind has been overburdened with the general concerns of our Connexion. Others are rising up, who appear to have both inclination and ability for business; therefore I purpose to get into the back-ground, when I perceive it is unnecessary to be prominent, and to give myself continually unto prayer, communion with God, and the duties of the Christian ministry in public and private.
I feel a strong desire, if it be the will of God, to have a small, retired circuit, in which I may be exempted from extra public concerns, give myself wholly to prayer, reading, visiting, preaching, &c. and also that I may have time and opportunity to proceed in my projected work • On Providence;' and also to prepare a volume of Sermons for the press, which may be useful sometime. Perhaps, it may not be unnecessary for generations of Methodists yet unborn to have specimens of our general mode of preaching. In this and every undertaking, I wish to aim only at the glory of God.
Sat. March 3.—Let me particularly record the great goodness of God toward me this week. He has indeed dealt very graciously and bountifully with me. O what nearness to God have I enjoyed. What deadness to the world do I feel! how indifferent to human applause or censure ! My God and my all, “whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee.'
“ March 30.—The friends here strongly importune me to remain a third year, and intend to petition Conference for it. The Quarterly Meeting at the New Chapel yesterday agreed to petition that I may succeed Mr. Wood there. Lord, where thou pleasest. I am in thy hands, O my God. Do thou fix the bounds of my habitation. All second causes are under thy government. O Lord, so order and arrange every occurrence, that I may actly in the right place,—where I may get and do most good.
* May 4.-On Wednesday I received information of the death of Mr. John Barber. He was only three days ill. He began to travel in the year 1782, and continued in the work to the last. He possessed a strong mind; and though he had had scarcely any education, yet he had read and thought much. He understood divinity well, and was much attached to the discipline of Methodism. Had he been favoured with an early classical education, he would have appeared to greater advantage. He was a man of great integrity, but plain and blunt in his manners: our connexion has suffered a great loss in his removal. Mr. B. and I have been intimately acquainted, and have had much intercourse for the last eighteen years. He was a faithful friend and Christian brother. Few now
remain, much older in the work than myself. O may I be always ready.
Sat. 25.—I am almost crippled with rheumatism. Rheumatic pain is, more or less, almost my constant companion. It is now so violent that I can scarcely walk to see Mr. C. who is ill. This chronic disease, the effect of damp rooms and lodgings in the earlier part of my itinerancy, is more and more troublesome every year, and will, I suppose, accompany me to the grave. Be it so, if such be the Divine will; only may this and every other trial be sanctified, and yield the peaceable fruits of righteous
“I was struck at the District Meeting, held this week, when I was ranked among the aged preachers, and that TE: I knew personally so few of the sixty-one brethren pre
• One generation passeth away, and another genec ration cometh. Many of the young men appear to be de pious and zealous; but their present circumstances are
more dangerous than the contempt and persecutions experienced by the preachers forty years ago. I pray that
there may be preserved amongst us to the latest general. tions, purity of doctrine, godly discipline, sound Chrissee tian experience, and holy living. Then the Lord will be : the glory in the midst of us, and a wall of fire around us.
May 29.—I received a letter from a professed friend and well-wisher, who informs me, that ‘in a large party it was said lately, that I had so much of the high priest about
me, and was so full of pride, that I would scarcely speak to any one I met in the street.' I record this, di hoping it will be useful to me. I am conscious of many
defects, but of the spirit of a high priest, and of that pride, which keeps at a distance the poorest of the poor, I have no consciousness. The Lord knows, I am most in my element in company when amongst the pious poor. However, though my heart does not reproach, but completely exonerate me with regard to those
particulars, laid on me in a large party'; yet such aspersions, especially as I have come to the knowledge of them, may be of great use to me. 1. I will watch over my own heart, and if I perceive anything tending toward these evils, by the grace of God, I will check it. 2. I will endeavour more and more to be like a little child, weaned from the world, and unanxious about human applause or censure for their own sakes.
3. I will make it my chief concern every moment to please God, and to glorify him in my body and spirit which are his. 4. I will pray for the persons, whoever they may be, whose tongues have been employed to detract from my character, and to hinder my usefulness in a circuit, in which it is probable I shall labour next year. 5. Under an impression of the shortness and uncertainty of human life, and daily put in mind by my own feelings, especially a pain in my breast, that I am in the decline of life, I will labour more and more to be always ready for the coming of my Lord. My heart feels nothing but love to any human being: and this letter, whether intended as it professes, to be friendly, or otherwise, I am persualed, will prove to my soul a great blessing. It is a little thing with me to be judged of man's judgment. He that judgeth me is the Lord.' May I hear him say at last, • Well done.'
“ Thurs. June 20.-We laid the first stone of our new chapel, Queen street, Lincoln's Inn Fields. About fifteen hundred persons were present. Mr. Gaulter gave out · Before Jehovah's awful throne,' and prayed. I delivered an address and gave out 'Except the Lord conduct the plan,' &e. Mr. Butterworth assisted in laying the first stone, and addressed the people for a few minutes, and Mr. James Wood concluded by prayer; after which the whole congregation sung, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,' &c.”
About this time, commenced the severest trials by which my dear father was ever exercised; trials by which his health and spirits were so injuriously affected, that it was with extreme difficulty that he was able to continue in his work.
In the spring of 1815, his eldest son, John, who had been pious, steady, and diligent from his youth, and who was then in his twenty-third year, commenced business as a Manchester Warehouseman, in Cateaton street, London, with fair prospects of success, having a good connexion, and being clever and active in business. After some time, as the concern prospered, his brother James, who had just finished his education at Kingswood School, became his apprentice.
My father's family were now all around him, except Samuel, the youngest, who was at Kingswood School ;
and he frequently had the pleasure of meeting them all at his eldest son's house. His feelings on these occasions were those of almost unmingled pleasure : his heart overflowed with joy and gratitude to God, while indulging the by no means unreasonable hope, that his eldest son would become respectable and useful in both civil and religious society, and be as a father to the family when he himself should be gone to his eternal reward. But alas ! before fifteen months had passed away, these pleasing prospects were beclouded, and followed by scenes of trial compared with which all that he had suffered before appeared as nothing.
It is not necessary to enter into the details of this sore affliction. Delicacy and fraternal affection demand that a veil should be drawn over these melancholy occurIt may be sufficient to state, that my
beloved father and his family were plunged into an abyss of sorrow,'and for more than two years kept in a state of distressing,—and during the latter portion of that period, torturing-suspense; that the circumstances were such that to appear in public was a perfect crucifixion to his feelings; that his former habitual cheerfulness forsook him; and that although not a murmur ever escaped his lips, and he appeared perfectly resigned to the Divine will, yet such was the shock given to his feelings, that his family feared he could not long survive. But God was his refuge. In him he found a very present help in time of trouble. Before him he poured out his soul in unceasing prayer; and at length his prayer prevailed. During the whole of this severe and protracted trial, those who knew him best, and were most intimately acquainted with his circumstances, admired the grace of God in him. Exquisite feeling was found in combination with perfect self-control ; the most poignant grief with sweet submission to the will of God; long-continued and sometimes racking suspense with unshaken confidence in God. Never did the graces with which the Spirit of God had adorned his character, shine with greater lustre than throughout this long dark day of trouble.
All this time he had the care of a most important circuit, and many public concerns of the Connexion to occupy his mind; but the Master whom he served vouchsafed his gracious and all-sufficient aid in so remarkable