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'to the different views of his hearers. now his distinguished characterSome (especially among the poor) istic, and he had learned to think rejoiced at the glad tidings of the more highly of others than of himGospel which now fell from his self. He whose vanity before led lips: while all admired the grace- him to court the admiration of his ful dignity and persuasive elo- fellow-creatures, now renounced, quence with which he proclaimed dreaded, and shunned it as dangerthem. Even many who disliked ous to his soul's health. He who his doctrines, were in a manner was formerly ready to take fire at constrained to attend his preaching, injuries and affronts, now received and listen attentively, from respect them with an exemplary portion of and esteem for the man, so eminent- the meekness of Him who “ when ly did he adorn the doctrine of he was reviled, reviled not again.” God his Saviour in all things. But The peculiar features of Mr. Townhis grand object in preaching was shend's renovated character were to draw his congregation from him- humility and charity, in the large self to his blessed Master, and his acceptation of the term (1 Cor.
ministry was to set forth the un- and integrity, which, blended with searchable riches of Christ. He was kindness, had always been promiso jealous in his Master's cause, that nent traits in his natural character, he could not bear to hear any of his now shone with a still steadier and sermons praised, lest he should rob brighter lustre. God of any part of the glory of In his creed, Mr. Townshend what was good in them; and those was a genuine member of the who knew him most intimately, Church of England; a minister never ventured upon any thing like truly attached to her articles and commendation.
services, and who scrupulously adThe grace of God was also ma- hered to all her forms-not from nifested, and its powerful influence bigotry, but from a conviction of over his character displayed, not 'their excellence and a sense of only in the fervour and devotion duty. Yet he loved all who loved of his public ministrations, but in the “ Lord Jesus Christ in sincethe deeper anxiety which he now rity,” and never, it is believed, alfelt for the spiritual interests of lowed himself to draw invidious every individual of his flock; in comparisons. Maintaining in the the affectionate kindness of his spirit of meekness and candour his manners in visiting the poor; in the own preferences, he allowed the additional means of instruction full rights of conscience to others, which he laboured to provide for whether in or out of the Establishthem; in the frequency of his pas- ment. toral visits among them; and in the The doctrine of justification by heart-felt delight which he express- faith alone, he held to be the great ed, and which beamed in his coun- pillar of the church of Christ. To tenance whenever any of them some points of secondary considerseemed to profit by his exertions ination, respecting which much diftheir behalf, or by any other means ference of opinion exists, he asfor spiritual good. Nor was the sented so far as he thought he saw power of vital religion less conspi- them in the Bible, not attempting cuous in the improvement of those to reconcile apparent inconsistenparts of his character which, as has cies above the reach of human reabeen mentioned, were naturally the son, but taking the whole of the most faulty. He who before was Word of God as it is. He has proud, became deeply abased in been often heard to remark, that one the sight of God. Humility was great evil of the present day is a vain attempt to systematize Scrip-, summons. Let us both remember, ture, and bring it to square with my dear friend, Thou shalt keep our preconceived notions; instead him in perfect peace whose mind is of humbly receiving what is reveal- stayed upon thee!'” And shortly afed, and desiring that our “ every terwards writing to a beloved relathought may be brought into cap- tive, he says, “ We rejoiced to tivity to the obedience of Christ.” hear of your safe arrival, through And he regretted that deep and the blessing of God, at the scene disputed points should ever be so of all your duties and your joys. maintained or so opposed, as to oc- May your heavenly Father long casion the slightest breach in Chris- continue you in the faithful distian charity. “Christ crucified,” as charge of the one, and a duly chasthe foundation of all our depend- tised enjoyment of the other. Perence; and Christ in his various , haps my mind may be more led to offices, becoming our “ wisdom, these prayers in behalf of others righteousness, sanctification, and (and more especially of those I redemption,” constituted the chief love), since it seems to be the will subjects of his public discourses of God to abridge me of the former, and private teaching, and the and at the same time to forewarn me ground of all his own hopes. He of no very distant dereliction of the received every thing at the hand of latter. May God in his mercy God, as the free gift of unmerited grant that these may be followed by grace; and he went on, from a full fruition of those which eye strength to strength, as a recipient hath not seen, nor ear heard, &c. of that grace, till he was removed and which shall be the portion of to receive “ a crown of glory that all who are his by faith in Christ fadeth not away.”
Jesus! You will not, I trust, refer For several years previously to his these expressions to gloom, or the decease he had suffered from a melancholy effusion of accidental gradually increasing internal com- depression of spirits. No: these plaint; and finding his strength de have no part in them. I have long clining, it was his desire constantly been sensible of a gradual diminuto live with eternity in view, so as tion both of mental and bodily to be ready for his Master's call. powers. This has evidently made In writing to a friend who inquired great progress within the last two after his health about five months months; and an interdict under before his decease, he says, “I which my medical adviser has now am upon the whole much the same, laid me more especially from my pain somewhat less frequent, preaching, and almost all profesand I took my usual share of the sional exertions, confirms me in the morning duty yesterday at Henley. persuasion that my heavenly Father O how coldly such great and unde- graciously designs by these visitaserved mercies are mentioned! May tions to put me on the watch. May they excite me to be ready whether I not defeat this his additional for life or death!” Again he says, goodness, but be, if possible, in in a subsequent letter, “I have not momentary expectation of the God been so well for the last ten days: of my salvation! This calls for my debility is much increased, and your hearty Amen." my pain too has been, and is, more Being in London in the end of frequent. But I wish only to state April 1822, for medical advice, he the fact, and become more sensible attended the Lock chapel one of, and thankful for, the compara- Sunday morning with a female tive ease I was blessed with for some friend, and pointed out to her a weeks, while I am stirred up to hymn in the collection, which was greater readiness for my Master's sung, and which he remarked was
exactly suited to his own feelings. The death-bed of this excellent It was as follows:
man was a scene never to be for
gotten. It is remarkable, that a « My God, thy service well demands
short time before his last attack, The remnant of my days; Why was this fleeting breath renew'd,
having an objection proposed to But to renew thy praise?
him against that petition of our Li“ Thine arms of everlasting love
turgy, in which sudden death is Did this weak frame sustain;
deprecated, Mr. Townshend exWhen life was hovering o'er the grave, plained his own sentiments in faAnd nature sunk with pain.
vour of it on this ground; that Thou, when the pains of death were though to the Christian himself a felt,
sudden death was not to be dreadDidst chase the fears of hell; And teach my pale and quivering lips
ed, yet he should wish, for the beThy matchless grace to tell.
nefit of others, to be allowed so
much time in the circumstances of “ Into thy hands, my Sariour God, Did I my soul resign,
death, as would admit of his In firm dependence on that truth bearing a dying testimony to the Which makes salvation mine.
power and truth of the Gospel. " Back from the borders of the grave This wish was happily fulfilled in At thy command I come;
his own experience. On Thursday, Nor would I urge a speedier flight
July 18, he had so bad an attack To my celestial home.
of spasms in the stomach, that he " Where thou determin'st mine abode, There would I choose to be;
was considered in danger. From For in thy presence death is life, this, however, he in some degree And earth is heaven with thee." revived; and it was not till the fol
lowing Sunday, when a fresh and The last sermon which Mr.
worse attack came on, that his life Townshend preached was in Bray was despaired of. A truly mournchurch, on Sunday afternoon, April ful scene took place in Bray 14th; but his last public ministra church on that day, when the praytion was as late as Sunday, July 7
ers of the congregation were of(seventeen days only before his re- fered for him; and on his name moval), when he assisted his curate being mentioned, it was scarcely in Henley church in the adminis- possible for the service to proceed, tration of the Lord's Supper: thus
so deeply affected were those who closing his ministerial career by officiated and those who heard. dispensing the memorials of that After both services, his anxious dying love, on which all his own and agonized friends and parishhopes were founded, and which had ioners flocked to the vicarage doors been for many years the grand to ask for tidings of their muchtheme of his life and preaching. loved minister, and this continued At this time he was suffering under till his departure. such severe and painful indisposi
On the evening of this day, Suntion, that his friends were surprised day, July 21, his curate saw him at his undertaking any part of the for the first time after all hope of service, and almost fearful of the his recovery was gone. On enconsequences. However, he got tering the room, Mr. Townshend through the whole with apparent said to him, “ Blessed be God, I vigour and animation, and those have peace, perfect peace; not a who partook of the holy feast, re- single fear, nor a ruffled thought. marked the sweet solemnity which I have been wonderfully kept by pervaded his countenance and manner in administering for the last unto salvation ready to be re
the power of God through faith time (as it proved) the sacred vealed, and ain enabled to rejoice office.
in my Saviour," He expressed as him,
a matter of present experience, his own ministry. One said, “ Sir, that the everlasting arm was sup- you have done your duty.”—“No," . porting him. He spoke of several said he with animation, “not I, persons in his parish, and sent indeed.” The atonement of Christ messages to them, and mentioned was then mentioned, on which he some steps it would be necessary said, with a joyful expression, to take after his decease. He “ Who shall lay any thing to the then requested his curate to pray charge of God's elect? It is God with him, and begged that some that justifieth ; who is he that persons he named might be re- condemneth? It is Christ that died, membered; his people also, and yea, rather that is risen again, his servant who was attending him, who is even at the right hand of and of whose long services he spoke. God, who also maketh intercession His patience and submission were for us." He afterwards observed, very remarkable. His medical at- that God had been gradually loostendant, observing the severity of ening the ties of life (dear as many his suffering, said, “We must stillwere, and one in particular), but hope.” He replied, that he did remarked, that he had not expectnot wish the removal of pain one ed death quite so soon.
He addmoment sooner than it seemed good ed, “I have endeavoured to set to his heavenly Father, but only hell before me; but I cannot, it that it might be attended with has no terrors for me; death is disa sanctifying effect. One said to armed of its sting, and hell of its
“ What a mercy it is, that terror.” His gratitude, cheerfulyou are enabled to bear your suf- ness, and serenity, and his conferings with so much patience!”- stant consideration for others, were “ Yes,” he replied, “it is an un- quite remarkable. Every word he speakable mercy indeed; for I wish uttered breathed an accent of praise to exhibit in my own example the to God, and nothing seemed power of those truths I have so cast a cloud over his mind. many years preached to others.” On the Monday he continued
One of his medical attendants nearly in the same state, only that said, on Mr. Townshend express- his weakness of body was ining his confidence in the near ap- creased. Alluding to a wish which proach of death, “Sir, you have had escaped him, that his deparbeen a good man.” _" 0," said ture could be accelerated, he said,
a good man! not I indeed. “ I am not so anxious as I was, If I am a child of God, then I am but still I cannot help saying, safe; and I know in whom I have come Lord Jesus, come quickly. I believed, and am persuaded that have every desire to be patient. He is able to keep that which I Let patience have her perfect have committed to him.” He af- work.” To one of his spiritual terwards said, “I have often stu- children, coming to take leave of died the promises of God, and be- him, and kneeling down by his lieved them, and knew they were bėdside, he said, in a solemn but very full; but I never felt, nor affectionate tone, “ The Lord bless could have conceived, the richness thee and keep thee! The Lord of them in their effects on my own make his face to shine upon thee, experience until now." He spoke and be gracious unto thee! The repeatedly of the awful responsibi- Lord lift up the light of his countelity of a minister of the Gospel; nance upon thee, and give thee that he stands between the living peace, now and for evermore !” and the dead; and he alluded to At another time he said, “It is the period of thirty-eight years of trying, very trying; " and he re
peated, “ Come, Lord Jesus, come been unimproved.” He shook his quickly! yet not a moment sooner head with an air of self-reproach, than my heavenly Father sees fit.” and replied, “ Yes, unimproved
On mentioning his great weak- altogether an unprofitable servant.” ness of body, it was observed by But on being reminded of that one who was present, that God's text, “ The blood of Jesus Christ strength is made perfect in our cleanseth from all sin,” he dropped weakness. He rejoined, “ No his hand upon his bed, saying, “O weakness can be greater than mine yes!” and an air of perfect peace in body; but all is peace within.” overspread his countenance, his On being asked how he felt, he eyes beaming with joy. He took said, “ I am a monument of peace, occasion, when his strength would and the nearer I approach to death allow, to address his servants, and the more I find my peace increase. commended their fidelity; but exIt is quite wonderful !” On a pressed his anxiety for their spirifriend asking him, “Is it still tual state. He said, “I hope the peace?” he said, “ Yes; great dying words of a master will be atpeace have they who love thy law; tended to, but I wish to speak raand nothing " there he stopped ther as a friend than a master.” from extreme weakness. His dif- After addressing each of them in a ficulty of respiration amounted at forcible and affecting manner, he times nearly to suffocation; and turned to one who stood near him, these attacks were followed by and said, with great strength of great exhaustion; and then, instead expression, “ One thing is need ful; of breathing his last, as those one thing chosen, truly chosen, and around him expected, he sink into closely followed--that, that alone, sleep, and awoke refreshed, to shall bring a man peace at last.”. experience the same sufferings and With reference to some Christian the same consequent exhaustion, friends around him, and the supso that he could say very little at a port and consolation afforded him time. The expression of his coun- through their presence and prayers, tenance was peace and joy, and he observed, “ I never till now so his smile had something more than fully experienced the meaning of human, quite peculiar, in it. these words, • I in them and thou
He animadverted very impres- in, me, that they may be made persively on one occasion, from his fect in one."" Speaking of his own experience, on the evils arising great weakness, it was said, “ Still from an intercourse with worldly you are kept by the power of God” society; adding, “ Every thing is and he finished the quotation, now stripped of its deceit to me, “ through faith unto salvation, and appears in its naked reality. ready to be revealed.” After Things are now to me as they real- speaking of his perfect peace, he ly are-ay, and as they ever shall said, “ The enemy niay yet come be. O what a thing to have been in like a flood; but we have a the pastor of two such parishes as standard to lift up against him." Bray and Henley!” And referring One then observed, “What God to the early part of his ministry, he has done for you already, must be said, “I was then a blind leader considered as an earnest for the fuof the bliad, and but for the grace ture. We expect to see the power of God, both would have fallen in- of God rest upon you to the last.” to the ditch.”—“ Yes," it was ob- In reply to this, he said, with great served, “ but you have since seen emphasis, “ When thou passest abundant fruits of your ministry, through the waters I will be with which make it evident that the ta- thee, and through the floods, they lents committed to you have not shall not overflow thee. I go