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name was put on the Birmingham Plan. He was acceptable in every pulpit. The Gospel he preached came “not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." Many are thankful that they ever heard his voice. He was asked to give up his secular vocation, and devote himself wholly to the sacred work of the ministry. He could not say no, for he felt the work to be one of matchless attraction and glory. He had a special fitness for this work. His Creator had richly endowed him. His mind was capable of clear and vigorous thought. His feelings were deep, warm, and strong. He had a
often sprang up, "Is it really so? Is John Read dead?"
The Rev. David Round writes thus:-" His death has come upon us 80 suddenly, that it is difficult to realize it. It has filled us with the profoundest sorrow. He comes to us on the 18th of August full of hope, resolved to consecrate himself to the sacred office of preaching the Gospel. He preaches three times; his hearers at each place are struck with his loveliness, and charmed with his preaching. He is laid aside, and his Master calls him away; and a fortnight after arriving here, his mortal remains are removed to his native village."
and melting tones. His countenance was remarkably open and radiant; but, best of all, he had put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He walked with God." This was the secret of all that was most charming and noble in John Read.
Shortly after last Conference, a supply was wanted for Bevington Hill Mission Station. Our friend was sent. His whole heart was anxious, yea, deeply longing, to be in the work. A short time before leaving Birmingham, he did not look quite so well as usual. But he thought, and others hoped, it was nothing serious, "only a cold.” He should have left for Liverpool on the Friday, but was too poorly. He left on the Saturday, but could not preach on the Sabbath morning. At night he struggled through a sermon. He preached only twice more. He grew worse. He was removed to the house of the Rev. D. Round, where he was treated with the utmost kindness by Mr. Round and his good wife. Medical aid was secured, but in vain. Death came with rapid and resistless steps. But death had no sting or terror for him. The doctor said to him, " Are you prepared ? " “Yes," said he, “my affection is sweetly centred in Jesus." He spoke kindly of his parents, then said, "The Lord is my good Shepherd. The Lord's will be done." These were his last words. His term of labour was so brief, his departure from us so sudden, that for days the question
bourers. Brother Read was one of them. Very brief, but very beautiful was his life of service for Christ here. His days were few, but his nature was affluent with love and powerful for good. He lived more in that short life than do many who exist on earth three times as long.
Dr. Caird says we should reckon life not merely “ extensively but intensively”-that is, by the vigour and nobleness of thought, the depth and refinement of feeling, the purity of principle, the dignity of action, If life be thus reckoned, we repeat that our beloved friend lived more than do thousands who exist until they are seventy. After writing the above, it is scarcely needful for me to try to set in order the leading features of character seen in the departed one while on earth. He was indebted to his Master and Saviour for a character of remarkable fulness and symmetry. No one virtue had overgrown or cast in the shade the rest. His virtues were well blended, his powers well balanced, and now he is complete in Jesus.
E. GRATTON. MRS. MILLS. Our late sister was born at Hinckley, Leicestershire. She had not the advantage of pious parentage ; but having removed to the village of Sheepshead, where a Methodist society existed, her mind was early impressed with Divine truth. After some time she yielded to conviction, experienced a change of heart, and united with the people of God. Her father was so exasperated by her becoming a Methodist, that he turned her and her mother, who was also under religious influences, out of their home. This persecuting act, however, did not induce our sister to abandon her profession. She continued stedfast, and was afterwards rewarded by the conversion of both father and mother. She became a teacher in the Sabbath-school, and her Christian course was one of steady, consistent progress. After her marriage, she endeavoured to apply her Christian principles to the new sphere in which she was placed. It was her care to maintain * piety at home," to train up her children in the fear of God, and to influence her friends to love the Saviour. She took frequent occasion, in her own placid, unassuming manner, to recommend religion to young people. In consequence of changing her place of abode, she became at one time disconnected from the church, but when the Methodist New Connexion Society was formed in Leicester, she, with her husband, became united with it. Her life was not distinguished by any great vicissitudes or striking events, and her disposition was quiet and unobtrusive. It was her honour to fulfil well the duties of her station, to bear patiently the afflictions which fell to her share, and to maintain a steady perseverance in the right path to the end of life. She loved the means of grace, and probably prized them all the more because she was often deprived of them through sickness. She took peculiar delight in the class-meeting, and her utterances there were explicit and spiritual, forming a useful contribution to that fund of practical instruction which in the class-meeting is aggregated for the benefit of each member. When so feeble in health that the effort of going to the chapel quite exhausted her, she still continued to go, until quite unable to do so. She loved the Word of God, and read it carefully, often when at work having the Bible by her side. As already intimated, she was much afflicted, and during this winter she became so much worse as to be
fully convinced that her end was drawing near. At this time she expressed a firm, unwavering reliance upon the atonement of Christ. She was perfectly submissive to God's will, and cherished a bright and happy hope of heaven. When I spoke to her of the faithfulness of her Saviour and the sufficiency of his atonement, she said, with emphasis, “Yes, I have proved it." And she added, “The Lord has been working in me in a wonderful manner." On the day of her death, she was much in prayer, and often said, “I want to go home.” On her daughter replying, “You are at home, mother," she said, “Yes, but I want to go to a better home than this." She affectionately took leave of her family one by one, and gently sank to rest, in the arms of God, on the 31st of January, and in the fiftyeighth year of her age. “ No earthly clinging
No lingering gaze-
No sore amaze;
She pass'd away!
SHEFFIELD SOUTH. Our society at South Street, Sheffield, has lately lost by death a number of its aged members. Under advanced years and growing infirmities, they were not able to endure the severities of the winter. We have to include the name of one who has been long known and highly respected, that of John Barker, who, for his deep piety, earnest prayers, and zealous labours, will be in affectionate remembrance for many years to come.
Our brother was born in Sheffield, February 3, 1792. It was never his happiness to know his mother, as she died during his infancy. He was then placed under the care of an aunt, who became his friend and guardian. In a few years, his father marrying again, John was taken to his new home, but soon found that the treatment he received from his
step-mother was anything but maternal and kind. At an early age he was bound apprentice to one of the branches of the Sheffield trade. He had a hard master, one who exacted an unreasonable amount of labour, and often brutally flogged him. Under these circumstances, at the age of eighteen he ran away, and enlisted for a soldier. This step was not likely to improve either his character or condition. He was absent only a few days, for being an apprentice and his father dying, he was brought back to his home and to his master. Still he was unhappy, and sighed for the army, and in about two years enlisted again, serving nearly-seven years.
After the above period, desirous of leaving the army, he purchased his discharge, returned to Sheffield, and was determined to pursue a different course. Not finding, however, immediate employment, he got connected with his old companions, and was soon impoverished in his circumstances, degraded in his character, and miserable in his soul. “But my extremity,” he used to remark, " was God's opportunity.” About that time the Primitive Methodists, then called “Ranters," had come on a mission to Sheffield. The preacher was the Rev. Jeremiah Gilbert, a faithful minister of Christ, who several times had been put in prison for preaching the Gospel. Brother Barker was among those who listened to the message of mercy from the lips of this eminent servant of God. On the 6th of March, 1819, more than twenty souls were brought into liberty, one of whom was our sainted brother, having sought the blessing with many prayers and tears. He at once went to a class-meeting and became a member of society. Very soon be was engaged as a prayerleader, a class-leader, an exhorter, and one of the society stewards. He also assisted in raising a Sundayschool, and was appointed superintendent. In these various labours he was happy and useful. He continued with the Primitives four years. His reasons for leaving need not be named, but the step was not taken without serious deliberation and
earnest prayer. Did be now remain out of Christian communion ? No. Knowing that he must be in the fold or be at the mercy of the wolf, he cheerfully complied with the invitation of a friend to join our society at Scotland Street. He commenced meeting with the late highly respected brother, Mr. Hatfield, but was soon called to be the assistant leader of the eminently-devoted servant of the church, Mr. William Bridges. The class was large and interesting, containing a number of young men, some of whom have been useful ministers in our community. Our brother was a teacher in Allen Street School, and also superintendent. He was received on the plan as an exhorter. This was when the Revs. A. Scott and F. Newbery were stationed in Sheffield. With these servants of God and their successors in the ministry, he zealously co-operated in the work of the Lord until the erection of South Street Chapel. Removing to that part of the town, he attended the chapel as soon as it was opened, becoming a regular hearer, an exemplary member, and a most zealous and faithful leader. The accession of such a brother at such a time was truly valuable. The interest at South Street was new, the society in its infancy, the work to be done great. A number of the most active friends lived at a distance; it was, therefore, most important there should be one near the place of established piety, ardent zeal, and upwearied perseverance. Such was our departed friend. The means of grace he attended with great regularity, the services of the Sabbath, the preaching on the week evening, his class, the Friday-night prayer meeting, and the Saturday-night band meeting. This he did thirty-two years ago, when the writer first knew him, and this he continued to do through all the years of a long and active life.
Several features in our brother's character are worthy of separate consideration.
His constant union with God's people. Having given himself to the Lord, he gave himself to the church. He did this without delay. Many are backward here: they are hearers, well-wishers, generous supporters, but not members, which is a loss to themselves, the church, and to the world. It was not so with John Barker. When he left the Primitives, he immediately joined our people ; and when he left Scotland Street, he cheerfully identified himself with South Street. From his conversion to the day of his death, he remained in fellowship with the people of God.
His consistent religious profession. Having put his hand to the plough, he never looked back. Having started in the Christian race, he never abandoned the course. Having enlisted under the banner of the cross, he never deserted the cause. As a good soldier of Jesus Christ, he was loyal, courageous, and faithful. When others were weary, he fainted not. When others were drawn aside, he continued at his post. Seven years ago he wrote the following testimony :-“I am thankful that at sixty-seven years of age I can discharge my duty with so much pleasure and delight. The means of grace are as profitable to me as at the beginning. I have been in the school of Christ learning the science of salvation these thirty-eight years. I yet feel the need of denying myself, and with my back on the world, Christ in my heart, and heaven in my view, to learn the art of Divide con tentment in God's gracious appointment, praying with Agur, Remove far from me vanity and lies ; give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me.' Never was any prayer more fully answered than this, for since I have served the Lord, he has not only given me the necessaries of life, but all things richly to enjoy." Under all circumstances he held on his way.
His consistent profession was seen at the manufactory,among his fellowworkmen, and in his family in his daily conversation. His was a religion not of passion, but of principle; not in word, but in deed. His path was not that of a meteor, which appears and sparkles for a moment, and then is lost in darkness, but like the morning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
We must notice his thorough honesty and integrity. Everything hypocritical his soul abhorred. Deceit and guile excited his indignation and met with his withering rebuke. He often said to his young friends, “Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age.” What he warned others against he shunned himself. With him there was no duplicity; he was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile—no guile in his words, no guile in his soul. Thorough honesty was seen in his open countenance, his penetrating eye, and in all the actions of his life.
We would not forget his noble independence. This was seen in the church as one of its office-bearers. He did not in a servile spirit surrender his judgment to others. While he had the ability to form an opinion, he had the courage to avow and defend it. Not that he was one of those who delight in factious opposition, but while he paid due respect to the judgment of his brethren, he had sufficient manliness to think and speak and act for himself. His noble independence was seen in matters pertaining to the world. He desired no one's help so long as he was able to help himself. With great industry and constant application to labour, he passed through life as a respectable working man, discharging all his obligations with punctuality and honour. When old age came upon him, he very reluctantly availed himself of the privileges of a sick society, of which he had been a member many years, preferring to earn his own bread rather than receiving the aid of others. With great feebleness and tottering steps, he went to his usual labour within a short time of his death.
We would also record his disinterested labours for the good of others. Immediately after his conversion he became a teacher in the Sabbathschool, which office he held for many years. The labours, responsibilities, and anxieties of superintendent he patiently and cheerfully sustained. Some of his happiest days were spent amongst the rising generation. As assistant leader, prayer leader, and exhorter, he strove to win souls to
Christ. He occupied the office of class-leader between thirty and forty years. What a number of souls during that period were placed under his care! Those who enjoyed the privilege could testify how sincerely he loved them, how ably he instructed them, how faithfully he warned them, how earnestly he prayed for them, how vigilantly he watched over them, singing or sighing, rejoicing or weeping, according to the states of the several members. In all these labours, continued from week to week and from year to year, amid the heat of summer and the chill of winter, he was perfectly disinterested. The love of Christ constrained him. He fed the flock not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
His delight and power in prayer must not be overlooked. In the closet he held much communion with God. Before he went to his daily labour, and when he returned from it, he visited the throne of grace. Before and after his attendance on religious ordinances, he sought the Divine blessing by prayer. The sick whom he visited will not forget his earnest supplications. At the time of the cholera visitation his fervent intercessions are still remembered. For his native town and for the country at large he pleaded with God with great power. For the Church he was one of God's remembrancers, who would not hold his peace, day nor night, till Jerusalem became a praise in the earth. In his weekly class-meeting, with strong crying and tears he entreated for those who were committed to his charge. And many can bear testi. mony to his intelligent, scriptural, believing, and powerful addresses to God in the Sabbath evening prayermeeting. What freshness and variety! His were not stereotyped prayers. Out of the fulness of a well-furnished mind, and out of the depths of a sincere and loving heart, he presented petitions suitable for ministers, members, and hearers. He prayed with the spirit and with the understanding also.
We would also glance at his superior Christian attainments and enjoyments.
His spiritual stature was above the ordinary height; his religious enjoyments beyond the ordinary measure. He had diligently studied the word of God, and was familiar with the works of some of the old divines. With their thoughts and sayings he had stored his mind, and their words of wisdom often dropped from his lips. He had much of the simplicity and earnestness of early Methodism. In relating his experience he dwelt largely on justification, adoption, sanctification, the witness of the Spirit, and all the distinguishing privileges of the believer in Christ. His love to God was supreme and intense. “Ah!” he would sometimes say, “Ah! it is to be feared many persons love the gifts of God more than the God of gifts." It was not 80 with our brother. He loved the Giver in the gift, and the Giver for the gift. Sometimes he expressed the advanced state of holiness he had attained in a way that some might think Pharisaical, but such a thought was soon banished in hearing words of deep self-abasement before God. On many occasions tears of sorrow and joy flowed down his venerable face; tears of sorrow on a remembrance of his past unfaithfulness, and tears of joy for his present consciousness of Divine acceptance through the influence of the Holy Ghost. “No one,” remarks one of the brethren who was present at the South Street love-feast in January, 1866, “will ever forget the scene. After referring to the depths of sin from which he had been delivered, and the greatness of God's grace in his salvation, he spoke in terms of warmest gratitude of his hopes in the future; and describing the happiness awaiting him in glory, his countenance became angelic, rapture was depicted in every feature, a celestial radiance fell on his face, bringing to mind what is recorded of Stephen, that the people
looking steadfastly on him saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.' Almost every subsequent speaker at the love-feast testified to the hallowing influence of our brother's testimony. A friend on that day—a visitor from another