Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

you can, whe

your work. Redeem timefrom the bed. Ascertain how much sleep you need, and resolve to sleep no more. Redeem time from company, &c. Proceed on system. Employ an hour or two every day in pastoral visits. Have a list of the people and their residences, in house-row. Call in, and speak individually, according as it is convenient, and pray if practicable. On this plan there would be no difficulty in visiting fifteen or twenty families in a week. This, in addition to the quarterly visitation, would give you an extensive acquaintance with the people, and a mighty influence : even the children would be attached to you.

Pray much.-Imitate that holy company mentioned Acts vi. 4. Prayer is more than half your whole work, and it renders the other half agreeable to yourselves, useful to others, and acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ.

“ In Revivals,—Take pains to instruct those who are brought under concern, and to ascertain, if ther those in distress are really penitent. Many who are brought under a real concern about their souls, scarcely know at first why or wherefore, and yet learn afterwards. See Prov. iv. 18. Engage, if you can, old professors, leaders, and local preachers to be active. Be in it yourselves. See Mr. Wesley's letter to Adam Clarke, Works, 8vo. Vol. xiii. p. 82. In the revival at Bradford, Yorkshire, in 1820—1823, when 1000 souls were converted, the meetings were not held late; one only prayed aloud at

Sometimes great noises and apparent confusion are unavoidable; yet should not be forced. Some persons are quite formal in making a noise. Read the accounts of revivals in Milner's Church History, Gillies' Collections, Neal's History of the Puritans, and Cotton Mather's History of the American Churches. See also the Christian Library, Vol. xxx. p. 91, 8vo. edition.”

The conscientious improvement of every fragment of time, the importance of order and method in all their proceedings, the duty of punctuality, were frequent topics of conversation. Humility, Christian simplicity, self-denial, and habitual seriousness were strongly urged, with earnest cautions against affectation, pedantry, foppishness, and an undue desire of popularity and applause. The proper business of Leaders', Quarterly and District Meetings

once.

was explained to them, some of them having never attended either, and useful directions were given to guide their conduct in them.

His love of peace and his deep sense of the injury the cause of God has frequently sustained from strife and contention, led him often to refer to the various divisions which have taken place since the commencement of the great revival of religion, usually called Methodism, to point out their causes, detail their circumstances, and exhibit their results. He would sometimes begin with the division in Fetter Lane, in 1740, when twenty-five men and forty-seven females joined Mr. Wesley at the Foundery, (Aug. 23, 1740,) and noticing John Cenpick's division at Kingswood, in 1740, Mr. Whitfield's separation

in 1741, Mír. Ingham's at Bristol, in 1742, John Benkild 'nett's at Bolton, in 1750, Thomas Maxwelle and George

Bell's in London, in 1763, the Rev. W. Shirley's Circular in 1771, John Atlay's Division at Dewsbury, in 1788, the disputes about the Sacraments in 1793 and 1794, the Plan of Pacification in 1795, Mr. Kilham's expulsion in 1796, and the consequent establishment of the New Connexion in 1797, Mr. Averill's division in Ireland, in 1818, the Leeds division in 1828, he would come down to the agitation then prevailing about the Institution; and show how all these calamitous occurrences had been over-ruled for good, and had tended through the divine blessing, to the purification of the Body, the consolidation of its strength, and the perfecting of our system. And he uniformly expressed his persuasion, that good would result from the present sifting: and that if they continued “to preach the same doctrines as their fathers, to maintain the same discipline, to secure the same experimental religion, and to adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour,—nothing could arrest the progress of the work.” He urged them to read over and over the Large Minutes, and to embody them in their lives; to pray much and fervently that they might rise up to the standard of consistent Methodist Ministers ; often adding, “If all Methodist Preachers were to act agreeably to the rules which they subscribe, they would set the kingdom in a blaze."

While thus labouring to promote the piety of the students confided to his pastoral care, and, in conjunction

with the other officers of the Institution, to prepare them for future usefulness, he had the opportunity of preaching regularly on the Lord's day in the London and neighbouring circuits, and occasionally on the week-night; opportunities which he gladly embraced to the full extent of his strength, and sometimes indeed beyond his strength, his infirmity being increased by the slightest degree of over-exertion. - The most trying part of my complaint,” he remarks, "arises from delicacy of feeling. I look well: I am congratulated by many persons who call, on my looking so well ; and my general health is good, though I am soon fatigued. So people wonder why I cannot labour as formerly, and I cannot tell them. Besides, if I preach even in a small place, I am so excited from the acute feeling of the truth and importance of what I am saying, that it affects me injuriously as to the body. Well, I am the Lord's, I feel myself perfectly secure in his hands."

He felt, however, that “all things worked together for his good :” his infirmity, his widowhood, his public labours, his employments in the Institution, his exercises about the spirit of contention which unhappily continued for a while to increase in various parts of the Connexion, all combined to bring him nearer to God, and to raise him to a higher state of spiritual enjoyment than ever before. He thus expresses his feelings when detained at home one Sunday morning by affliction :

“Feb. 8, 1835.—In consequence of indisposition I remain at home this morning, having to preach at Walworth in the evening. My mind is deeply impressed with the near approach of eternity. There is no feeling of terror connected with it, but an inexpressible awe. It is a serious thing to enter upon an eternal state,

-a world of spirits,--and into the presence of God. O how shall a sinful worm appear before Him! Shall I, who feel that I am not worthy of a name and place in the church on earth, be associated with that holy company who surround the throne? I do believe I shall, to the praise of the glory of divine grace. Amazing love! My heart melts in grateful love : my eyes o'erflow. My dear partners, Mary and Lucy, I believe, are there. My mother, and, I hope, my father; six of my dear children; many of the Pawsons, and numbers of my old friends, preach

ers and people, are gone before. I am following after. While singing the 578th hymn this morning at family prayer, my heart was overwhelmed with sublime pleasure. And this forenoon I have been favoured with unusual nearness to God. Speechless awe—meltings of heartflowing tears-new resolutions to walk with God. I feel dead to the world. Human praise and censure appear trifles to me. God is my all. May I never forget this day; its enjoyments and its solemn engagements. O Lord my God, help me. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.

Occasionally Mr. E. made excursions to the neighbouring circuits, which he found highly conducive to health, while at the same time they afforded an opportunity of serving the cause of God. One of these was to Whitchurch and Bierton, in Buckinghamshire, places of more than ordinary interest to him, having been comprehended in the Oxfordshire Circuit, when he travelled there. To visit in his 69th year some of the scenes of his labours during the first year of his itinerancy, after an absence of near half a century, could not fail to affect his mind deeply. His account will probably interest the reader.

May 9, Sat. evening, Whitchurch.—Here I am received with Christian kindness by Mr. Durley and wife, and his two sisters, children of my old friend Mr. Dur. ley, of Bierton, into whose house I introduced the Gospel. He was unmarried when I saw him last, nearly forty-seven years since ; now his children, two sons and two daughters, are above middle age, and all truly pious. Blessed be God, instead of the fathers are the children. My friend R. Reece first introduced the Gospel into this village, and the fruit of his labours remains. There is a society of forty members, some of whom are established with grace, and most of them enjoy Christian liberty.

“Whitchurch, Sun. morning.— I rose early, refreshed with sleep; my soul happy in God. These rural scenes delight me. I thought of

60 bless'd retirement! friend of life's decline.' Preached twice. In the evening, the place was crowded to excess. On both occasions I was drawn out beyond what is common to me. I hope some good was done; my own soul was greatly refreshed. Many friends from

Aylesbury, Oving, Marston, Bierton, &c. were there, but not one that knew me when in the circuit.

“ Mon. 11.—Rose early, refreshed with sleep. My soul is happy in God. O what a heaven do I enjoy! The Misses Durley and their brothers are pious and sensible: my fellowship with them is sweet. Their father and his pious wife are gone to glory. [See the Methodist Magazine for 1816.] Visited several families, accompanied by Miss Durley. I am so happy, that I am ready to say, “It is good to be here,' and can hardly repress

the desire to labour in such a circuit as Aylesbury. What has God wrought in this neighbourhood ?

“ At half-past two o'clock, Mr. and Mrs. R. Durley and I set off in a gig for Waddesdon. Here I found J. Deverell, the only person I met with, that knew me fortyseven years ago.

J. Deverell maried Sarah West, a most mild, pious, tranquil Christian. She is dead, and her daughter is so like the mother, that I could forget the forty-seven years and fancy that it was the same person, only a little older. The mother was under thirty, when I left Waddesdon; the daughter is now forty. She too is pious : her father is seventy-three years of age, and almost deaf. I visited the orchard to which I was wont to retire for meditation and prayer, and could say, • the Lord blessed me there,' and he is with me to day.

“ Tues. 12.-Had a pleasant ride to Bierton, a village into which I first introduced the Gospel forty-seven years ago. There is now a neat chapel that will accommodate about two hundred persons, and a lovely society of fifty members. One man only was left that knew me at that time; but many children and children's children had heard of me. That circumstance, together with roy

having been published as “Governor of the Institution,' brought together almost the entire population of the three villages, to whom I preached in the afternoon and evening; and God was with us indeed. Mr. Jas. Durley, the son of my old friend, lives here, and receives the preachers. He shewed me the old arm chair and bureau, and brought out of his treasury three letters sent to his father, one of mine, dated Birstal, 1789, one of Mr. Reece's, and one of Mr. Pescod's, about the same date. These are preserved like precious stones.

" Wed. 13.-After refreshing sleep, rose at five, happy

« EdellinenJatka »