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“Wed. May 2.-The day appointed for my marriage. Having had family prayer, we went to church, accompanied by my father Pawson, uncle, and all the family except my mother P. We had no one in the church besides our own family and the minister and clerk. The poor, careless, trifling parson read over that solemn form of words in a manner truly shocking. He read as fast as he could, and with the utmost indifference imaginable. When we returned home, we retired into the parlour, and my uncle Pawson gave out a hymn and prayed. It was indeed a melting season.
All our minds were exceedingly affected. The Lord was present with us as he was at the marriage at Cana in Galilee. In about half an hour afterwards, my dear wife and I retired, and joined in prayer; after which we read over upon our knees, the form of a covenant with God, which I had prepared for the occasion. We signed and sealed it in the presence of the Lord, considering ourselves as his property, and resolved to devote ourselves afresh to his service in our new relation. This left a sweet savour of piety upon our minds, and I hope will be religiously observed by us all the days of our life. The remaining part of the evening was spent in a religious and profita
“ Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. May the future part of our lives be wholly employed in shewing forth his praises. Blessed be God for finding me a help-meet, one who, I believe, will be a true yoke-fellow. I feel myself bound to praise him also, for bringing me into so close a connexion with a family every way so excellent, both in a temporal and spiritual view. O may I make him just returns.
“My remnant of days
I spend in his praise,
Be they many or few,
My days are His due,
And they all are devoted to Him."" The covenant referred to in the preceding account was preserved with great care, and was renewed on various occasions, of which memoranda were made in the margin. The original document is still in the possession of the biographer, and is regarded as not the least valuable part of his inheritance.
FROM HIS MARRIAGE TO THE TIME OF HIS REMOVAL
FROM THE LEEDS CIRCUIT. 1792-1794.
We have now followed my father through the successive stages of childhood and youth up to manhood; we have contemplated the change wrought in his character and conduct by renewing grace, his entrance upon the work of the ministry, his full recognition as a member of the Conference after the usual period of his probation, and his subsequent entrance upon the holy estate of matrimony. A new and important relation was now established, involving new duties, exposing to new temptations, attended with new trials, and affording additional opportunities for the developement of character and the testing of his principles. It is edifying to mark the strength of religious principle and the sufficiency of divine grace, in his faithful discharge of these new duties, in his cheerful endurance of the trials incident to the marriage state, and in his steady progression in knowledge, piety, and usefulness, through the blessing of God upon the new kind of discipline to which he was now subjected.
He had earnestly sought divine direction in the important step he had just taken, and his expectation had not been disappointed. He was led by the good providence of God to a happy union with one of a most congenial mind.
My mother was the second daughter of Mr. Marmaduke Pawson, of Thorner, near Leeds—a respectable farmer, and a highly acceptable and useful local preacher for above thirty years : he was the only brother of the Rev. John Pawson. Though above three years younger than my father, she had been brought to a saving knowledge of the truth a few months before him. She was awakened under the powerful ministry of the late Rev. Joseph Benson, in the year 1780, when only ten years of
age, and in the following February at a watch-night held at Thorner by the same eminent minister, she was enabled to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ with her heart unto righteousness. Of this interesting event the following notice occurs in a letter addressed by Mr. Benson to my father, shortly after my mother's death.
“In order, as far as possible, to ascertain some circumstances to which you refer, I have been examining some papers containing a kind of Diary of mine for 1780 and 1781; and Feb. 8, of the latter year, I find as follows:- In the evening at seven, I preached at Thorner, and was much assisted while I explained and applied Malachi iii. 1.—“The Lord, whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple,” &c. The people were much affected. Afterwards, we kept a kind of watch-night, and continued in prayer and exhortation till ten o'clock. It was a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. A daughter of Mr. Pawson, of about ten years of age, was enabled
lay hold on the promise of pardon, and rejoiced in God her Saviour; and as she spoke of it, thanks were returned for her publicly. Many, indeed, seemed to be much comforted. Now this, I presume, late wife.
It was while her father was at prayer that she found a sense of pardon. I believe she was awakened under a sermon of mine before this; but I am not sure that it was at a watch-night.”
From this early age to the close of life, she continued a consistent and exemplary member of Society; and though during a period of twenty-one years, there were some variations in her religious experience, yet her main object was to glorify God, nor could she be satisfied without conscious intercourse with Him. Modest, affectionate, and sympathising, she had a heart formed for friendship. A good natural understanding, improved by extensive reading, -a sound and discriminating judg. ment, together with deep, genuine, and growing piety, rendered her a most agreeable and improving companion, and a suitable help-meet for one who had been called by the great Head of the Church to the work of the Christian ministry.
We have seen the truly devotional spririt in which on their wedding day, they entered upon their new relation, solemnly binding themselves in covenant to God. Their
progress in life was answerable to this auspicious and exemplary beginning. They met in band daily when at home together, and spent some time in religious converse and united prayer. Thus their conjugal union was cemented by Christian love, and they were daily helpers of each others' prayers and faith.
After spending a few days at Thorner and in the neighbourhood, my father returned with his bride to Halifax, where he remained until the Conference. “Here,”
“we enjoyed many advantages, and much comfort in each other and in the society of our friends. We lived in the house with our affectionate uncle and aunt Pawson. Their kindness in every possible way we shall never forget. We learned from them some valuable lessons, and hope their pious example will be of use to us while we live. All the friends were kind and obliging, and every thing wore an agreeable aspect. But, which was best of all, God, even our own God, blessed us with his presence. At this time, I frequently thought, our circumstances bore some resemblance to those of mariners who sail on a fine clear day for some distant clime. They expect storms, and difficulties, and dangers. O Lord, prepare us for whatever may happen."
The following extracts from his journal will enable the reader to contemplate him in the new circumstances in which he was now placed as a married man.
“Thurs. May 3, 1792.-A day of much communion with God. My dear wife and I enjoyed much of the divine presence in the morning while engaged in social prayer. I have no doubt but she will be a true yokefellow, and a great blessing and comfort to me while our gracious God shall continue to preserve us together.
“Sun. 6.-Awoke this morning in a truly spiritual frame. My dear wife and I joined, as usual, in prayer, when we experienced much of the divine presence. I preached at Thorner in the morning with unusual freedom and energy: my very soul entered into the spirit of the subject. I don't remember that I was ever so sensibly refreshed, strengthened, and comforted myself in preaching before. At noon, I preached at Keswick to a large congregation with much liberty. Blessed be the Lord for his gracious help. In the evening, I preached at Thorner from Deut. xxxii. 29.
“ Mon. 7.—Nothing extraordinary till the evening, when we were favoured with a refreshing season at the class-meeting. I have seldom found my mind drawn into so spiritual and devout a frame. In the concluding prayer, my dear father Pawson prayed for us with much fervour and faith. Blessed be God for uniting me to a family so much devoted to him.
“ Pues. 8.—After breakfast and prayer this morning we left Thorner, not without painful feelings. After a pleasant ride, we got safe to Halifax to dinner, where we were made kindly welcome by our uncle and aunt Paw
dear friend Reece, who was come to see us. I had many serious as well as pleasing thoughts to-day; particularly one thing: viz. I have taken away my dear wife from her father's house, a situation in many respects very agreeable. She has forsaken father and mother, brother and sisters, and has set out with me, who a little while ago was a stranger, on an itinerant life. How shall I be able to make her suitable returns ? May it ever be my study, next to that of pleasing God, to promote her temporal and spiritual comfort and prosperity. Indeed, if it be not, I shall be worthy of stripes. O Lord, enable me to love my wife, even as Christ loved the church.
· Sat. night, May 19.—Since I wrote last, my dear wife and I have enjoyed many refreshing seasons in social prayer. I have been favoured with unusual nearness to God at many times, and have been peculiarly assisted in preaching. From what I have experienced since I was married, I am confirmed in the opinion of the late Rev. Charles Wesley, that when any that fear God marry and acknowledge him in their marriage, they receive a larger degree of grace. I bless God, I have found it so.
Sat. June 2.—This forenoon, my dear wife and I spent a profitable hour in secret: we conversed upon spiritual things, and the state of our minds; we read a portion of God's holy word, and we also read over the covenant with God, which we jointly entered into, the morning we were married. We then both prayed. And truly the Lord did bless us. We felt ‘the o'erwhelming power of saving grace. Our God has often blessed us before, while we have been mutually praying for his blessing; but never so much as now. It has left a