Page images


London: John Snow. THE Great Exhibition has been a source of benefit in a variety of ways; but in none more so than in the numerous publications to which it has given birth. Lessons social, political, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, have been drawn from it, and presented to the world through the press. And it cannot be doubted that these lessons are among the

means which will contribute to the extension of peace, happiness, and religion throughout the world. Mr. Birch has honourably and efficiently taken his place in the fellowship of writers, who have endeavoured to make the Exhibition a medium of spiritual instruction. His lessons are pertinent and impressive, and often conveyed with great depth of feeling and felicity of expression. His little book cannot fail to be useful, and, therefore, we very cordially commend it to our readers.



THE melancholy tidings have just reached us of the death of the Rev. Joseph John Freeman, one of the Secretaries of the London Missionary Society. The affecting event took place on Monday, the 8th September, at Homburg, Germany, whither he had repaired for the benefit of the celebrated mineral waters of that place.

Since Mr. Freeman's return from Africa, he had experienced considerable interruption of health; but none of his medical advisers anticipated any fatal termination of the symptoms under which he suffered. During the process, however, of drinking the waters at Homburg, our lamented friend was seized with a severe cold, followed by rheumatic fever, which utterly prostrated his strength, and brought on dropsy, which closed the scene. The dying hours of our beloved brother were soothed by the presence of his excellent wife and daughters, which, in a foreign land and among strangers, must have been an unspeakable consolation. On the 10th of September, his mortal remains were deposited in the public cemetery at Homburg; a place which, in future, will be visited by many a Christian traveller, anxious to see the spot where the Missionary Philanthropist found a peaceful grave.

We regard the removal of Mr. Freeman as a great public loss. He had all the enterprise and all the benevolence of a Christian philanthropist. Madagascar was the interesting school in which, with a heart glowing with hallowed zeal, he acquired that noble sympathy for the oppressed and persecuted which never forsook him. At this early period of his public life, he was thrown into close intimacy with Dr. Philip, and, doubtless, from that dauntless advocate of the coloured race, received an impulse which invigorated all the original tendencies of his generous nature. When compelled, by the Madagascar


persecution, to leave a sphere in which God had greatly blessed his enlightened and faithful toil, he returned to his native shores with a spirit unquenched, and a missionary zeal unimpaired. The churches received him with a cordial greeting; and the Board of Directors recognized in him the qualifications of their future Home Secretary, Driven from his post in the Missionary field, it was the will of God that he should serve the same great cause in his native land, and in other departments of devoted service. How well he acquitted himself in the new duties to which he was called, is best known to those who witnessed his assiduity, his practical wisdom, and his courteous deportment. He acquired for himself, without a particle of assumption, a standing in the confidence of the Board, and, we may add, in the estimation of the country, which rendered it only a fitting homage to his character to depute him on the highest services of the Mission. With a disinterestedness which few men with a family would have been prepared to indicate, at the bidding of the town and country Directors, he promptly and cheerfully undertook the arduous task, first, of a visit to the Mission churches in the West Indies, and, second, to those of South Africa. How well he performed the delicate and difficult duties confided to him, the minutes of the board, the testimony of our Missionaries, and the verdict of the public, will abundantly confirm. How mysterious, that, just at the moment when he had acquired the largest amount of influence, and when his services for the Society were more than ever needed, he should be withdrawn from his important sphere! We would be still, and know that Jehovah is God. May the visitation be greatly sanctified to the Society and to his bereaved family! We hope, next month, to furnish a memoir of our deceased friend.

2 T


[ocr errors]

They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in

Christ Jesus."-1 TIM. iii. 13. "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

THE following brief and imperfect sketch, is intended as an affectionate tribute to the memory of a good man, whom, in life, the writer had known and loved; and with whom, moreover, it was his happiness, for a season, to be personally associated in the work of the gospel. The events I have to record are few, and unattended by any of that striking incident which religious obituaries оссаsionally present. To me this is the great recommendation of the present narrative. A really useful life commonly is thus. The river which, almost throughout its entire course, offers its broad and placid surface to the trader or the traveller-to convey the mer. chandise of the one, or the person of the other, wherever its waters can transport them, -may be but a tame and dull affair, compared with the Falls of Niagara, or the cataracts of the Nile; but then these very circumstances, which to the lover of romance and incident are so attractive-if the use of rivers be the question are really neither more nor less than irremediable defects;-detrimental, or, more properly, destructive, precisely in the degree in which, to the eye in search of such objects, they claim to be great and imposing. If the analogy be true, the prayer of a man of God, emulous of a useful life, may well be, to be delivered from all these.

Mr. William Gannell was born in London, in April, 1793. His parents were respectable, and, what is better still, they were persons fearing God; and anxious therefore, as we should conceive all really Christian parents must of necessity be, to conduct their offspring early to the feet of Jesus. Evidence of this anxiety we have, especially in regard to the mother, in her habit, as it would seem, of taking her son with her to the prayer-nieeting, which she herself attended at Buckingham Chapel; of this, in after years, the son oftentimes has been known most gratefully and feelingly to speak. Commonly, so far as the writer's experience extends-and he has long carefully observed the matter-the most active, and consistent, and useful members of the church of Christ, who have been converted early in life to God, have come forth from the knees of a pious mother. "The promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." But the parents reap as they sow. With professedly Chris

tian parents, I believe this rule has all the fixedness of a positive law, in the doings of the providence of God. Here is a Christian mother, who let her "light" shine before her children; who could find time, amid the cares of a rising family, to attend the prayer-meeting; and who could exhibit sufficient consistency, and sufficient faith, to conduct her children thither with her. We need not be surprised, therefore, to learn, that at the comparatively early age of nineteen years, the subject of this sketch is found, in all the earnestness of a first love, offering himself as a candidate for the fellowship of the church at Buckingham Chapel, where, in the company of his godly and faithful mother, he had so often worshipped. Christian mothers, who would have Christian children, go ye and do likewise! The grace to convert is God's; but the means through which this grace flows are yours. Do you your work, in the strength of a living, obedient faith, and rest assured God will do his.

Of his further connexion with this chapel, giving the detail of the walks of usefulness in which he there engaged, no facts have been communicated to the writer. The matured Christian growth, however, of subsequent years, and the character of active benevolence which then so prominently marked his Christianity, are sufficient proof, to an observant mind, that he was neither an idle nor an unprofitable hearer, during the remainder of his attendance on the ministry of the late Rev. E. A. Dunn. Indeed, he has spoken to the writer, of the benefit he derived from this ministry; and commended especially, in its influence on himself, the experimental tone by which at times it was marked; in which he conceived Mr. Dunn peculiarly to have excelled.

About the year 1827, change of residence brought Mr. Gannell into the neighbourhood of Robert-street Chapel. He joined the church there; and from that time till his removal, in the course of the present year, to "the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven," he continued zealously and affectionately in its fellowship-a period verging closely upon a quarter of a century. His Christian character speedily manifested itself to his fellow-members, and, as a mark of their confidence, their suffrages singled him out to supply one of two vacancies in the deaconship of the church, which occurred very shortly after his transfer to this new fellowship.

It was subsequent to his connexion with the church in Robert-street, that he entered upon that more enlarged and public sphere of usefulness, by which the latter years of his life were distinguished. Having time at his disposal, and his heart prompting him to the work, he accepted, in 1834, the appoint

ment of Scripture Reader, under the Berkeley and Grosvenor-square District Visiting Society, which post he filled for about ten years; and although the writer has no actual data on which to ground an assertion, yet, knowing Mr. Gannell's peculiar fitness for domestic visitation, he ventures to express his conviction, that few Societies have ever been better served, in the direct object which his appointment contemplated,-than was this Society, during the time the deceased continued in the discharge of this trying and anxious office. There was a definiteness and distinctness in his mode of addressing the conscience, and a fulness and adaptedness in his manner of applying the mercies of the gospel, with a manner so kind and evidently sincere, as left him, I apprehend, with few superiors in this peculiar field of Christian enterprise. His appetite for the work of Christ seems only to have been quickened by these week-day toils in His service; and hence we find him, in 1837, connecting himself with the Sailors' Society, as one of its preaching agents, and devoting himself, on the Lord's-day, assiduously and affectionately to the work of preaching and tract-distributing, amongst this destitute and then greatly neglected class. He continued in this employment until his failing strength compelled him to relinquish it.

Either conte:nporaneously with this service to our seamen, or subsequently, he was also frequently engaged in open-air preaching, in the neighbourhood of Paddington; and many pleasing instances of good resulting from these efforts have been brought to light. At this the writer is not surprised, as the deceased had no mean gift for preaching, which made him a most acceptable supply, not only to auditories thus hastily collected in our streets, but to many rural congregations which, from time to time, he was invited to visit in the vicinity of the metropolis. In the brief statement of facts from which I am writing, it is most significantly remarked, as perhaps the best evidence of his preaching talent"Wherever he once went, he was always again requested to supply." Other things being equal, the Christian teacher who can command the attention of a street congregation, will hardly fail in his attempt to interest the more orderly assemblies of our houses of prayer. There can be few more severe tests of a preacher's popular powers, than that which a street-pulpit supplies.

Adverting now to a wholly different sphere of labour, we find the name of the deceased on the committees of one and another of the religious and benevolent institutions established in his own locality; and that not as a matter of form merely-the thing beginning and ending with the enrolling of his name in the list of the committee-but as a duty to be conscientiously and punctually discharged,

to the extent of his opportunities and means I think that all the societies with which he consented to connect himself, will bear the deceased this testimony. In one feature here he greatly excelled; namely, the drawing up of Reports and Appeals, and other documents of this kind, and hence this description of work, in which negligence, or want of clearness and consistency, or absence of heart, tell so ill upon the prosperity of a Society, very commonly devolved upon him; and most cheerfully, I may add, and readily, did he undertake this work. To him it was emphatically, amid all his other avocations, a “labour of love." His last act of authorship was most appropriate, as the closing performance of a life occupied, so largely and so long, in a succession of attempts to extend the kingdom of Christ amongst men. It consisted of an essay, written in a spirit of deep and earnest piety, upon the best means of promoting a revival of religion in our churches; delivered originally before the members of the West London Mental Improvement Society, and subsequently published, at the request of the Society and other friends. Ministers or members of our churches, anxious to see a revival of religion in their midst, would do well to procure and study the contents of this essay.

Upon the personal and domestic history of Mr. Gannell, the writer is neither permitted nor called upon to enlarge. Those who have marked the lives of the more thoroughly sincere, and useful, and aspiring amongst the disciples of Christ-whether in or out of the ministry-will be prepared to expect that the life we are now briefly reviewing, was formed more or less upon the model of that of the "Man of sorrows." It seems, at once, the preparation and the price, especially of great usefulness in the service of Christ, that the Master's cross should rest constantly on the shoulders of the disciple. Thus was it here. Mr. Gannell was long familiar with God's afflictive providences. Again and again was he "bereaved of his children." Not less than seven times was he exercised with this severe and distressing visitation; and thus often, might the mourning father have been seen, like Rachel of old, "weeping for his children." At length, as though to complete the sad scene of desolation which these repeated inroads upon the domestic hearth had been, from time to time, effecting, the grave,—which had so frequently been opened for the children, is now prepared for the wife-and to the remembrance of the many voices, now silenced for ever, which once called him "father," is now added the still more bitter remembrance of the sealing of those lips of love which, through all his other changes, for a period of thirty years, had day by day continued uninterruptedly to remind him of God's sparing mercy, in permitting the wife of his

youth still to call him "husband." Her decease occurred in the year 1835; but God very graciously, after a season, provided him with another help-meet, by whom his remaining years were greatly soothed and comforted, and who still survives to mourn his loss.

The circumstances of his own death were affecting, and yet most mercifully ordered of God. He had been latterly suffering from a complication of disorders, the two chief seats of which appear to have been the heart and chest. When medical remedies failed to relieve his distressing symptoms, he was induced to try change of air, and with this end resorted to Brighton, for a season. He returned home, however, very much worse, with the seal of death now evidently and manifestly imprinted on his sinking and wasted frame. Thus he continued, growing gradually weaker day by day, until the evening of Wednesday, the 9th of July last, when he retired to rest, seemingly in circumstances of more than ordinary composure and comfort. Once, some time after midnight, his anxious wife and nurse roused herself, as was her habit, to see how her husband was, and whether he wanted anything. Finding him quietly asleep, she again returned to rest. Again, about three o'clock, her affectionate solicitude is found once more prompting her, after the same silent method, to put the inquiry, "What of the night?" Again she is seen bending over that wearied forin, still buried, apparently, in profound and peaceful slumber. One of his arms, or some other portion of his person, having escaped the covering of the bedclothes, she proceeded to attempt, gently, without disturbing him, to replace it-when, lo! the affecting reality stood revealed-that she was ministering to the dead! In the brief interval which had elapsed, with no opportunity for kindly leave-taking or final adieus, and evidently without an audible struggle or groan, the broken slumbers of the sick-bed had been exchanged for that unbroken and mysterious sleep, which it is in the power of the trump of the archangel alone either to interrupt, or terminate. Still it was only sleep "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." If ever there were a case in which this idea of a Christian's death appeared necessarily the true one, of a certainty this was that case; as thus silently and peacefully, like the long restless and wearied babe, overtaken, so to speak, at length, with slumber in the sweet and soft caresses of the mother's arms, he "fell asleep in Jesus."

I had intended dwelling, for a moment, upon some of the more prominent excellences which appeared to mark the character of our deceased friend. But my space is now too nearly exhausted to allow of my doing more than pointing attention to two of these characteristics; as, before closing this hurried

sketch, we pause for an instant to notice the Christian disciple and the officer of the church.

The great feature in Mr. Gannell's character as a disciple of the Son of God, was his simple and exclusive dependence upon "the precious blood of Christ." I believe that his creed was literally "Christ is all." Here we discover the source of all his diligence and usefulness, in the gospel of the Redeemer. Here too we learn the cause of all his personal comfort and joy. Here was the red of his strength in the service of Christ. Here was his hope of the glory of Christ; and here too, his unfailing stay and consolation, in all the sorrows of the way. It is known to the writer, that in "the valley of the shadow of death he feared no evil," and precisely on this very ground-that "he knew in whom he had believed, and was persuaded that He was able to keep that which he had committed to Him until that day." It was the expressive and truthful testimony of the Rev. Henry Blunt, delivered in the weariness and oppres sion of his last illness-" Seeking all in Christ, I am sure that I shall find all, both for time and for eternity." Thus emphatically the deceased found it. It was my happiness, two or three evenings before his death, to be engaging with him in devotion. I was reading the 23rd Psalm. At the close of the first verse he interrupted me, speaking as well as his parched tongue and great weakness would allow him, " Excuse me, sir; but I have often thought that we do not give the full meaning to this expression, I shall not want! It is not merely, as I conceive-I shall not want counsel, guidance, forgiveness, mercy, and all else that I count as blessings; but I shall not want correction; no!" repeating with an emphasis, "I shall not want correction: God, when needed, will not withhold that." And with this his weary head fell back upon his pillow, and his voice again sank into silence. Here the dying boast of Addison is realized

"See how a Christian can die!" "Behold the perfect man, and mark the upright, for the end of that man is peace." Christians, who anticipate death with terror, retire still further beneath the shelter of the sacrifice of Christ, make Christ your all, and rest securely that there will be no fear then!

One word only respecting the deceased his official capacity of deacon. I need do little more than express my conviction that he "used the office of a deacon well." He possessed an intelligence and breadth of view which, coupled with a deep and genuine piety, such as I have attempted to describe, rendered him peculiarly qualified to fill this post, alike creditably to himself and satisfactorily to the church. One part of his duty, which it is feared deacons are apt, at times, to overlook, as the great scriptural object of the institution of this office, he most faithfully dis

charged. I allude to his care of the poor. In this work he was most active-not merely in connexion with the distribution of the sacramental fund, but with every case of real distress, which he could procure means to relieve. In this, his benevolent sympathies were much helped by the means placed at his disposal, arising from a fund raised in the chapel, for cases of this class. I believe that in his removal the poor of the neighbourhood have lost a sincere and valuable friend.

And now, in conclusion, the writer would affectionately urge it upon deacons and members of our churches, to be followers of our deceased brother, as he was of Christ. The closing voice of this paper is an earnest invitation to this! Our churches want such men; the times in which we live call for them;— men of devout energy; men of Divine earnestness; men who shall be so many Barnabases in our churches-" good men, and full of the Holy Ghost." And why not? The deceased had no privileges to raise him above

the ordinary level of Christian disciples: he was neither indebted to wealth, position in society, nor educational advantages, for any good we may conceive him to have achieved. Never, perhaps, man less so. He was one of the million. What he was in Christian attainments, the grace of God made him; what he was in other attainments,-that same grace still helping him, he was what he made himself. Thus God-made and self-made, he is the best of all examples we can invite others to follow. His God is also your God: you are not straitened in Him; and for the rest, consecration, energy, and prayer, alone are needed to bring you, not merely up to the standard of the deceased, but to carry you very far beyond it. H.


Formerly minister of the Congregational Church at Frome, Somersetshire, died in faith, on the 31st of August, in the sixty-second year of his age, at Llanymynech, Salop.

Home Chronicle.


A MOST Scandalous trick has been perpetrated by a person bearing the name of W. R. Francis Gawthorn, upon his Grace of Canterbury. He wrote to the archbishop, under a feigned name, professing to be converted from the ranks of Dissent to the Church of England; but intimating his strong disapprobation of the exclusiveness of Episcopal orders, by which all Foreign Pastors, and all the clergy of the Church of Scotland, are regarded as Laymen. In the simplicity of his heart, the archbishop wrote to his correspondent in the following terms:-"I hardly imagine that there are two bishops on the bench, or one clergyman in fifty throughout our church, who would deny the validity of the orders of those clergy solely on account of their wanting the imposition of episcopal hands." The man to whom the archbishop thus wrote turns out to be a Roman Catholic; and with a violation of honour never surpassed, has made a use of a letter, surreptitiously obtained, greatly to the disadvantage of the good Prelate. The Puseyites are all up in arms at the admissions of their Archbishop; and though they disavow the motives and conduct of Mr. Gawthorn, they avail themselves of Dr. Sumner's letter as a peg on which to hang a virulent controversy on the subject of their great idol,—Apostolical Succession, the most absurd and baseless of all ecclesiastical assumptions. We are grieved that Archbishop Sumner has been dragged before the public through so dirty a medium; but we are heartily glad that he has committed himself on the right

side. Were he to stand alone in the opinion he has indicated, he might glory in his singularity. If he has attributed a greater illumination to his brethren on the bench than has yet fallen to their lot, they ought to forgive him; for he intended to do them honour. Alas! for them, if they are not prepared to accept it.

But is not Gawthorn a paid agent of the Jesuits? And ought not he, and all such men, to be narrowly watched?


THE half-yearly Meeting of the Hampshire Association will be held at Christchurch, Rev. F. W. Meadows, of Gosport, will preach on Wednesday, October 8th, 1851, when the on "The Practical Uses of the Doctrine of Election." On the preceding evening, the Rev. J. G. Hughes, of Odiham, will preach; and on the evening of the Association, the Rev. Robert Ferguson, LL.D., of Ryde.


AMIDST the growing prosperity of new interests, it is refreshing to witness indications of life and vigour in the sanctuaries of our fathers. The members of the above church and congregation, associated with the memories of Bradbury and Burgess, of Thorp and Winter, have recently (aided by a collection after a sermon by the Rev. J. A. James) freed themselves from debt, and have adopted measures which they hope will prevent its recurrence. With the Divine blessing on

« PreviousContinue »