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FOR JULY, 1851.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE REV. INGRAM COBBIN, M.A. WE mentioned in our April Number | bin's inclination towards the Christian the decease of this valuable and useful ministry, and his fitness for it, he was minister of Jesus Christ; but our read- introduced by him to the College at ers will desire to know something more Hoxton, in the year 1798. Having of one who was for years an occasional nearly completed his college course, he contributor to this Magazine, and who accepted an invitation to become the has, in a variety of ways, rendered good pastor of the Congregational Church at service to the cause of truth and right- South Molton, Devon, and was oreousness. We are happy to state, that dained there in the year 1802. our valued friend has left a brief autobiography, replete with incident and interest. This (with some additions) will shortly be published, and will, we doubt not, be received with much pleasure by numbers who have been instructed and edified by his numerous and valuable writings. In the meantime a brief sketch of his career will not, we are assured, be unacceptable.
Ingram Cobbin was born in London, in December, 1777. His father was a bookseller, and he was intended for the same business. He was, early in life, made a partaker of Divine grace, his heart being gradually opened to receive the truth as it is in Jesus.
An elegy, which he wrote on the death of a popular clergyman, and which was inserted in an early volume of this periodical, so much pleased the Rev. Matthew Wilks, that he expressed (on the cover of the next month's Magazine) a great desire to see the author. The result was, that finding Mr. Cob
Circumstances (in which health was mainly concerned) led to the dissolution of that connexion, and he went from thence to Banbury. At that place Antinomianism then fearfully prevailed. He had to endure a great fight of affliction, and was thankful to remove to a more peaceful scene. From thence he came to Holloway, and, when just comfortably settled, as he thought, in a new chapel erected in that locality, the chapel was destroyed by fire, and all his pleasant scenes and prospects at once laid waste.
Some impediments occurring at the time as to its re-erection, he preached for a brief period at Putney, and then returned to Devonshire, having accepted the invitation of the church at Crediton, to be their pastor.
At Crediton he laboured five years amongst an united and affectionate people. The sphere was increasingly interesting from the fact of its being a depôt for French prisoners; a consider
able number of them being located in | in an almost hopeless state. After the that town and its vicinity.
Here he was enabled to study the French language, which he had learnt imperfectly at school. The thorough knowledge of the language which he thus acquired, he turned to the very best account, by labouring most assiduously for the spiritual good of these captive exiles: and he had the most cheering reason to believe that his labours were not in vain in the Lord.
lapse of a year passed in silence, he was compelled to give up what he deemed his highest pleasure—that of preaching the gospel of Christ. Thus in the year 1817, his career as pastor of a Christian church terminated. But he was anything but inactive in the service of his Lord. In the year 1819, he was honoured in being the founder of the Home Missionary Society:—very interesting accounts being yet extant concerning the early history of that important Institution. For several years he laboured most assiduAc-ously as its principal Secretary.
But although the people at Crediton were kind and attentive, yet, after a time, he imagined that he was not so useful as he could have desired. cordingly, he resigned his pastoral charge, and accepted an invitation to become Assistant Secretary to the British and Foreign School Society. Upon the eve of his leaving Crediton it was evident that he had been utterly mistaken. The fruit of his labours became signally apparent, and it was more than questionable whether he should have left a place where he was so much beloved, and where his efforts had been so greatly blessed.
arrangements were, however, made; and in the year 1814 he left Crediton for London.
The Secretaryship was not congenial with his tastes and habits. He preferred the ministry of the Word, and after two years' connexion with the British and Foreign School Society, he determined, if possible, again to resume the pastorate.
He accepted an invitation to Worcester, but there his health completely failed. He only preached one sermon, and was so ill at the chapel-house, that he was obliged to relinquish all thoughts of resuming his labours there.
When he imagined that his health was re-established, he accepted an invitation to Lymington, Hants. Here, again, a most painful trial awaited him. While preaching his first sermon he was seized with violent spasms in the pulpit, and remained for many months
From the year 1828, he devoted himself entirely to authorship. The "Evangelical Synopsis," three volumes, folio; The Condensed," Portable," "Domestic," "Analytical," "Oriental," and other Commentaries, besides a variety of smaller publications, furnish abundant proof of his diligence and devotedness. He greatly excelled in giving the cream of the best Biblical works, interspersed with many pithy and striking thoughts of his own. And, be it remembered, all this was effected by an invalid, by one who suffered greatly from confirmed dyspepsia. But notwithstanding severe and protracted bodily suffering, his mental energy remained to the last unimpaired. His last production, entitled, "Scripture Light on Popish Darkness" (for the most part dictated from his dying bed), proves that, whatever might be the state of the outward man, the mind was lucid and vigorous.
His end was pre-eminently peaceful and happy. Although the poor body was wasted and worn by long affliction, the soul was kept in perfect peace, stayed upon the Lord. "Blessed be God," he said, "I have not a doubt. The righteousness of Christ - in this I trust. Being justified by faith, I have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Being asked whether he still felt the Lord to be precious, he
THE month of April is the time, above all others, when life begins to show itself. The verdant fields, the opening buds, and the old pear-tree covered with blossoms, proclaim that the winter is over, and only four months, and then cometh harvest. And what a mercy it is when the spiritual world bears a resemblance to the natural, and the Christian labourer can report prosperity at home! I am happy to be able to do this, by a visit which I have paid my old friends.
April, Sunday 6th.-Took leave of my beloved flock, by administering the Lord's Supper to the most numerous church of our denomination that ever existed in this county.
Monday, 7th.-Preached at Wolverhampton. An admirable congregation for a week-evening. Dear friends received us joyfully. There is prosperity here; and it is branching off in the preaching of the gospel, the opening of Sundayschools, and the erection of village chapels !
Tuesday, 8th.-Proceeded to Worcester, and received a cordial welcome among that hospitable people. It was the County Union Meeting, and Dr. Redford had so arranged it, as to convert it into a week of special services. Mr. James, of Birmingham, preached on Monday. I was appointed to preach to the young on Tuesday. God, in his mercy, inclined hundreds to attend. The chapel was filled to overflowing. At the close of the service, the Doctor announced a prayer meeting next morning at seven. The area of the chapel
was full. The sight was enough to make the pastor's heart rejoice. It made his tears to flow. It was evidently "Spring-time." May God send a glorious harvest! Amen.
Wednesday, 9th.-Preached in the evening at Nailsworth. The Gloucestershire Association were holding their Anniversary. Here I met with many dear ministerial brethren. Some of my spiritual children came over the hills from Wotton to see us. We met in the street. They wept and I wept; and if we had met on the sea-shore, we could have kneeled down, as Paul and his friends did, and have prayed and wept aloud.
Friday, 11th.-Preached at Bristol, and commenced a three weeks' service at Whitefield's far-famed Tabernacle, in that city. Went early to have a look at the honoured place. I first preached there when I came home from India, thirty-one years ago. On my entrance, I saw a youth standing by a pillar. İ said to him, "Is there to be service here to-night?" "Yes, sir."-" When does the service begin?" "In twenty minutes."-" Who is to preach ?" "A Mr. Knill."-"Do you know him?" "No; he has not been here since came to reside in Bristol."-" Are you a teacher in the Sunday-school?" "No." -"Are you a member of the church ?" "Yes, I joined in 1849."- How old are you?" "Nineteen."- -"I am glad you began early. Were you pious before you came to Bristol?" "O, no."
"Who was the instrument of your conversion?" My master."-" It is
delightful to think you have a master | great Shepherd! gather them in thine
who cares for your soul." "Yes, sir," said the youth," and I hope I value it." -"Pray who was the means of convertyour master?" "It was this Mr. Knill." At this I could not refrain from tears. I praised God, and said, “This is a good beginning. 'There is prosperity here also.'" Here was a grandson!
Sunday, 13th.-Preached in the afternoon at Kingswood, and saw Mr. Glenville's new Tabernacle. It is a hundred feet long, and a congregation quite large enough to fill it. Prosperity at home again!
18th, Good Friday.-In the forenoon, the Tabernacle Church held their Anniversary. Many changes were reported, many additions, many happy deaths, many removals to other churches, but not one person removed for improper conduct. The church at present consists of between four and five hundred members. What a proof of abounding mercy and good news, that in so large a number not one had disgraced his profession!
19th, Saturday.- Visited Clevedon -a beautiful place. Four village congregations are supplied by the friends of Clevedon Chapel. All of them are budding and blossoming, while some are already yielding fruit. Here is prosperity! I have always found that God blesses good, earnest village-labours.
21st, Easter Monday.-The Sabbathschool Union met. The teachers and scholars are so numerous that they divide into several congregations. I addressed one thousand five hundred in a large Baptist chapel. The singing was excellent; the appearance of the children was everything that a philanthropist could desire. How much are the churches indebted to good Sunday-school teachers! How much may the ministers expect from these educated children! They are the joy of their parents, the hope of the nation, a seed-bed for the church, and a nursery for heaven. O
arms. Carry them in thy bosom.
In the evening, attended an Inquirer's meeting. Six persons came. There had been six others on the previous Monday. This, on the average, would make more than three hundred a-year! What a subject to pray about! What an object to promote in all our congregations! Three hundred a-year! we should not be afraid of Popery then. O no! The church would be "terrible as an army with banners."
22nd, Tuesday. Visited Wottonunder-edge. Dear old friends welcomed us with much affection. They seemed as if they could not do enough for us. Preached in the evening at Charfield Chapel, an offshoot of Wotton Tabernacle. They have lately enlarged their chapel, and the cause of religion is greatly on the increase. Here I found many of my children walking in the truth; among them was a working man who, when first convinced of sin, sold his pig to purchase a large Bible. He told me that God has been blessing him ever since that day. O what a privilege to help a sinner to heaven!
23rd, Wednesday.-Preached at Wotton-under-edge. This was the first scene of my pastoral labours in England. Here we spent six happy years. The Lord is honouring his Word. My beloved successor and his flock are doing great things. The spirit of Rowland Hill seems to rest upon them. This was the favourite spot of his early labours, and he loved it to the end. At his death, he gave the Tabernacle to the congregation, his house and furniture to the minister, something handsome to the Sunday-school, twenty pounds a-year to the poor, and six almshouses, well endowed, to six aged godly women.
When he first came to Wotton, the people mocked him and stoned him; but religion triumphed. He became an unspeakable blessing to the souls of men in all that neighbourhood, and the