« EdellinenJatka »
support or patronage. Mr. Grindrod thanked him for his kindness, but respectfully declined the offer. His heart was wedded to the Connexion of Wesleyan Methodists, among whom he had received that spiritual good which he prized more than life itself; and no prospect of honour or gain in any other sphere could tempt him to forsake the communion of his early Christian friends. It may be proper to add, in this place, that a flattering offer of a like kind was made to him during the first year of his probationary ministry, which he also, in the same manner, declined ; and that of both these early acts his more enlightened and experienced judgment always approved.
When he was on the point of presenting himself as a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry, a curious and characteristic conversation passed on the subject, between a gentleman of great respectability, who had been a particular friend to the family, and Mr. Grindrod's brother Timothy. “Why, Grindrod,” said the gentleman, “I hear that your brother Edmund is going to take up with that vagabond life of a Methodist Preacher. Is it so ?” “I believe it is,” replied the other. “Do you think," asked the gentleman, “ that the lad is in his senses ?” "I have no reason to dispute that,” said the other. “Indeed,” rejoined the gentleman,“ I think you have very good reason to dispute it. If Edmund were compos mentis, he would never think of leaving the prospects which are before you for such a mean, low-lived situation as that of a Methodist Preacher. But if you think he has not quite lost his reason, tell him to call on me; and I hope I shall be able to convince him that he is going to take a very foolish step.” Timothy thanked him for his good intentions, but assured him that Edmund's mind was decided on the question, and that he was persuaded such an interview would not alter his determination. - Then let him go," said the gentleman. “You may depend upon it, he is mad, and will do us no good, if he stay." “And truly," observes Mr. Grindrod, after recording the above conversation, “ if to amass wealth, and live in pleasure, be the chief end of man, I acted the part of folly in the choice which I made. But if to win souls' is 'wisdom,' I chose the better part; and, in the great day of accounts, my conduct, in this instance, will not be disapproved. My brother,” he adds,“ pursued his lucrative trade, lived at a very expensive rate, and, when I had travelled seventeen years, died a rich man, leaving handsome fortunes to his three children."
Having now been employed in the capacity of a Local Preacher for the space of eighteen months, and having also creditably passed through the preparatory trials and examinations to which a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry is subjected, Mr. Grindrod was received as a probationer by the Conference of 1806. He was first appointed to the Lancaster Circuit
, under the superintendency of the Rev. Cuthbert Whiteside. At the close of one year, he was removed to the Stockport Circuit, and stationed with the Rev. George Marsden and the Rev. John Crosby. Thence he proceeded, in 1808, to the Sheffield Circuit, where he had for his colleagues the Rev. Messrs. William Myles, Edward Hare, Jabez Bunting, and James D. Burton. From Sheffield he went, at the year's end, to the Bury Circuit, where his Superintendent was the Rev. James Townley. During the whole term of his probation, he maintained the character which his most intimate friends had already known him to possess, while he also made commendable proficiency in his Christian and ministerial attainments. His gravity of temper and manner was beyond his years ; and he was particularly esteemed by Christians of age and experience. To his Superintendents and senior colleagues he constantly exhibited a spirit of dutiful and respectful deference. He was carefully observant of punctuality in attending to his several appointments, of order in the distribution of his time, and of fidelity in the performance of his various engagements. Naturally, he does not appear to have had the gift of ready fluency, But he prepared his discourses with patient diligence ; he weighed his thoughts and words with judicious care; and he thus became from the first a solid and instructive teacher of divine truth.
It is worthy of observation, that, in the course of his probationary term, he remained only one year in each Circuit. This was entirely his own choice. The several Quarterly Meetings of the four Circuits above named invited him to continue a second year. But, as he signifies in his private papers, he respectfully declined these invitations for two reasons, which it may be right to mention, as serving to illustrate his early habits of deliberation and prudence. He remarks, “1. By changing my Circuit at the end of every year of my probation, I hoped to acquire a more general knowledge of the Connexion than Í could have done, if I had remained two years in the same place; and this I proved to be true. Some of my happiest and most valuable friendships with the Preachers," he gratefully adds, “were formed by this very means; and several of my most important stations in afterlife providentially resulted from the same cause. 2. By removing at the end of each year, I expected to secure more time than I otherwise could have done for the cultivation of my mind by general reading. Had I continued two years in the same Circuit, at that early period of my public life, nearly the whole of the leisure which I could command must, of necessity, have been occupied in the immediate work of preparation for the pulpit; and this, I conceive, would have left my mind, to a great degree, barren of general information. I entered upon the ministry with a soul athirst for useful knowledge, in order that I might more extensively benefit my fellow-men, and glorify the God of my salvation. But my furniture for so arduous and solemn an undertaking was extremely small; and I often deeply regretted that I should have been taken from a secular calling, and put into the Christian ministry, without any previous training for its difficult and momentous duties. This serious lack I endeavoured to supply by close and prayerful application to study, and by availing myself of the wise counsels of the excellent Ministers with whom I had the high privilege of being stationed.”
At the termination of his four probationary years, he was admitted into full ministerial connexion with the Wesleyan Conference, the late Rev. Joseph Benson being at that time President. Shortly afterwards, he was united in marriage to Mary, the eldest daughter of the Rev. John Crosby, one of his esteemed colleagues in the Stockport Circuit. Writing on the subject of his marriage, many years afterwards, but before he was deprived by death of the “wife of his youth,” he observes, “ This union has proved, through every succeeding period of my life, a source of great earthly bliss. In my beloved wife I have invariably found a most amiable, intelligent, pious, and cheerful companion ; and, in all my troubles, a most tender and sympathizing
bosom friend. To my children, by whom she is loved in a degree which exceeds description, she has been the best of mothers.” New relations and duties began now to come upon him; and they served yet more fully to unfold the virtues of his Christian character.
His next appointment was to Bradford, in Yorkshire, with the Rev. Joseph Sutcliffe, and his father-in-law, the Rev. John Crosby. The year following, he was removed to Prescot, where the superintendency of a Circuit-an office for which he possessed admirable qualifications --was first confided to him. His colleague was the Rev. James B. Holroyd, and, afterwards, the Rev. Joseph Chapman. It was also a source of mutual solace and gratification, that his father-in-law, Mr. Crosby, now compelled by infirmities to retire from the regular work of the ministry, resided as a Supernumerary at Prescot. After spending two years there, in the faithful performance of his duties, and the improvement of his capacities for farther usefulness, he was stationed in the Manchester Circuit, where he remained two years, fixing his abode at Altrincham. The colleagues with whom he was associated in this ministerial charge, were, for the first year, the Rev. Messrs. Thomas Kelk, John Kershaw, and Edward Hare; and, for the second Rev. Messrs. Thomas Kelk, John Hickling, and John Kershaw. Here, too, he had the advantage of his father-in-law's society and counsels ; for Mr. Crosby was settled, during this period, as a Supernumerary in the Manchester Circuit. Mr. Grindrod applied himself, with yet increased assiduity, to his private studies, and to public labours in his sacred calling, in which the register of his ministerial services proves that he was " abundant.” He felt the importance of the post which he occupied in this large field of labour; and he was anxious, according to his best ability, to be a “ workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” By several who shared at that time in the benefits of his pulpit and pastoral ministrations, and who yet survive, his character, example, and services are to this day held in affectionate remembrance. He was requested by the Quarterly Meetings, both of Prescot and Manchester, to continue a third year. But with these requests he did not deem it expedient to comply.
Of Mr. Grindrod, as of many other men distinguished by real but unostentatious worth, it may truly be said, that more familiar intimacy raised and matured esteem. The diamond far surpassed its settings ; and the more it was examined, the more was its intrinsic value known. Mr. Grindrod himself was not insensible of the assistance which he derived from the closer acquaintance with his habits of thought and speech, which his hearers acquired during his more lengthened intercourse with them. Thus, in the manuscript notes of his life, he writes,
My apparent improvement in preaching, while I laboured in the Manchester Circuit, excited the surprise of many of our sensible Leaders. But my real improvement was not so great as they supposed it to be. To me it has always been a painful task to preach to strange congregations; and this has generally produced a depressing effect upon my ministry at my entrance upon a new Circuit. This will partly account for the fact, that, in the various Circuits where I have travelled, my labours have always been more acceptable in my last than in my first year.
This was particularly the case in Manchester; though,” he modestly adds, “I have reason to thank God that I did then really improve in ministerial qualifications."
For the two years which succeeded his station in the Manchester Circuit, he pursued his steady course at Bolton, under the superintendency, first, of the venerable Thomas Taylor, who closed his regular ministry in that Circuit, and, some weeks afterwards, escaped suddenly, but gloriously, to his rest; and then, of the Rev. George Highfield. Early in the year 1816, his revered father-in-law, Mr. Crosby, “ died the death of the righteous” at Bolton. He was a truly religious and blameless man; a pattern of integrity, meekness, and pure humility. As a Preacher, he sought, not novelty or attraction, but the profit of his hearers; and his discourses were experimental, practical, searching, and faithfully devoted to the “ use of edifying.” Manifold sufferings were allotted to him, especially in the latter part of his life ; but he sustained them with serene patience and quiet resignation. Some of his last words were, The prospect
clear before me. I am very happy, and am only sorry I have not strength to tell you what I feel. But I have now got all I ever wished for,—victory, victory at the last !"* Such events as these were not disregarded or forgotten by Mr. Grindrod. They served to quicken his diligence, and to promote in him a yet more habitual and careful preparation for that unseen world, to which he knew that he also was hastening. But, about this period, he began to keep an occasional journal, which he continued for between two and three years, and from which it may be profitable to furnish extracts. They will exhibit his temper better than any other description could possibly do; and that, likewise, at a time of life when his principles and character acquired a more entire ripeness.
Under the date of January 1st, 1817, he writes: “I begin this year with a grateful soul. I enjoy a good state of health. My family are all well. And the Spirit of adoption seems sweetly to whisper within, * Thou art mine.' Ö thou indulgent Father, who hast brought me hitherto, do thou cause this to be the best year
my life. May it be my holiest year. Let me not dishonour thee by any open sin, nor grieve thee by any secret sin. May thy cause sustain no injury by any rash, imprudent, or haughty act of mine. Make me more circumspect and cautious in my words; more diligent, zealous, and successful in my ministry. And give me many more seals than I have had in any former year."
Painful anxieties sometimes attended him, at this season, in the discharge of his official duties. The distresses of the times supplied an occasion to certain disaffected persons, some of whom, unhappily, occupied leading stations in the society at Bolton and the Circuit, to sow the seeds of discord among a few of the unwary people, and persuade them that the Ministers appointed to serve them in the Gospel were among the number of their oppressors. On this subject Mr. Grindrod expresses himself in a manner eminently worthy of his own disinterested, thoughtful, and Christian temper. “I never," he observes, January 31st,“ received smaller allowances than I have done here; I never gave so much
I never heard of more illnatured reflections cast upon me. How can I account for this? 1.Ι have endeavoured to guard our people against the snares which disaffected men are laying for them; and have reason to believe that
* A beautiful Memoir of Mr. Crosby, drawn up by Mr. Grindrod, is inserted in the Methodist Magazine for the year 1819, pp. 3– 12.
these prejudices have been raised by men of seditious politics. 2. I have assisted my worthy Superintendent, Mr. Highfield, to correct an irregularity which existed among the Local Preachers with regard to the making of their Plans ; for which some of them have thrown unjust aspersions upon us. 3. We have made an attempt to prevent the future misappropriation of the society's money. I thank God that he has preserved me from evil. I am conscious of many faults in thy sight, O Lord; and for these thou mayest justly chasten me.”
But, in the midst of these sources of uneasiness, he was enabled to possess his soul in patience and peace. He writes, March 10th, “I have of late felt my mind in a very happy, prosperous state. God has graciously favoured me with many joyful visitations of his Spirit. In iny public labours I have been uncommonly assisted. The word has been clothed with power; and many have testified the good which they have received. Much as I have been depressed, I hope, before I leave this place, I shall see I have no cause to repent that I did not refuse to come." Adverting to a question agitated at that time between the Trustees of the chapels and the society,—a question which had occasioned him great solicitude, and which was at length decided in opposition to his deliberate judgment,-he says, “ I thank God that he has been with me through this painful affair; and that I have never, for a moment, lost the dominion over my temper.” He was not insensible of the assistance which firm and right-hearted men rendered him in such exigences as these; and, on this occasion, he pays a deserved tribute of commendation to Mr. Samuel Pennington, who faithfully supported Mr. Highfield and himself in their constitutional views " Mr. Pennington," he remarks, “is a very honourable exception;" to others, he means, who had pursued an opposite course : “he nobly advocates the cause of true Methodism.”
On the 1st of April in this year, Mr. Grindrod was required to attend the Assizes at Lancaster, as witness in a cause which was then pending; and in these circumstances, also, he acted in strict harmony with his wonted principles and character. A person had so long and cruelly persecuted Roger Holland, Esq., of Birch-House, and his family, with annoyances and threats, that it became necessary at length to institute a process against him, and seek the protection of the law from his injurious molestations. Mr. Grindrod, who was acquainted with that person's frequent conduct, shrank from the task of bearing testimony against any human being, especially as he apprehended that, in this case, the punishment might possibly be severe. Besides, he had some doubts concerning one part of the evidence which he was expected to give. These doubts he was pressed to conceal. But when he dared to think of keeping back even his doubts, he became exceedingly unhappy. He resolved, therefore, before the trial commenced, that he would frankly express every doubt, how much soever this might go against the cause of the injured family, whom he was most anxious to serve ; and he accordingly did so. His ingenuous candour quite disarmed the defendant's Counsel, who, as he had reason to suppose, intended, in their cross-examination, to make him their butt, and enjoy themselves at his expense. The Judge treated him with respectful kindness; and, in summing up, did him the honour to pronounce him a conscientious, cautious man.” “I was once asked, writes the Rev. William Woolsey, "by the late John Howard, Esq.',