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lanes, and a good literary family. Her ladyship parted with her carriage to give her son a good education. Clent Chapel excited feelings of devotion. There John Thomas was spiritually born. The eighty-seventh Psalm was read by myself at the request of Mr. Chapman. We thought of God, of souls, of eternity, till our spirits rejoiced in God our Saviour. Thankful I am that God has put me into the ministry. May I be faithful! We partook of Mr. Griffith's hospitality, prayed, and passed away to Hagley to see the family of Thomas, the missionary. We inspected the curiosities sent from Tongatabee, prayed, and returned home to a good dinner at Mr. Gilton's hospitable house." Another reminiscence this of "the good old times.” A trip of similar character had been taken, at an earlier date, to Kidderminster. It is thus recorded :
" About the 10th of May, 1839, Mrs. W., myself, Mr. and Mrs. Gilton, and Mr. Turnock, took phaeton from Stourbridge for Kidderminster, Many reflections passed through our minds while viewing the church, and the supposed grave of the venerable Baxter. He is gone, with former days and generations. There were giants in those days.' Still the church is going on. The lovely Spencer had a call to this church, but God led him to Liverpool. In returning home we visited Wolverley, a picturesque, rural, cottage-adorned village; fairy bridges run across the stream at the foot of the wooded rock on which the church is built. The pathway from the village is cut through the rock up to the church. To the right, on an abrupt elevation from the canal, stands a house where the monastery once stood. So time changes scenes, places, persons, and things, but God remains the same.”
Many other deeply interesting incidents could be recorded, did space permit, respecting localities in, or adjacent to, this circuit, the very names of which, though anything but euphonious in themselves, are full of music to the present writer, on account of tender and sacred associations.
In 1840 he was appointed to the superintendency of Macclesfield Circuit. Here, in conjunction with his colleagues, the Revs. T. Boycott and J. Taylor, he spent two happy years. He held the friends in high esteem, and left behind him “the savour of a good name."
In 1842 he commenced a three years' ministry at Shrewsbury, He liked this beautiful town, with its romantic walks on the banks of the Severn, its magnificent quarry promenade, its fine churches, its rich surrounding country, with sylvan scenery, fine old mansions, &c. All this suited his tastes, led him to higher mental culture, developed greater pulpit power, and fired his soul with sacred ardour to be a public blessing and an honour to the Connexion. Our church there contained some highly respectable families, at the time of his pastorate, who were warmly attached to him ; and the beautiful chapel was well filled every Sabbath day. Our cause was in a very flourishing condition, and gave promise of enlarged prosperity in the future. He would willingly have lived and died with the church at Shrewsbury. The names of Brocas, Bickerton, Hicks, Davis, Wilkes, Marston, Coggin, and many others, were held by him in affectionate remembrance.
Then, in succession, he was appointed to Gateshead in 1845.61.
to Boston in 1847-8-9, in both which circuits, while he had to contend with difficulties, he found many friends and enjoyed a measure of success. In Boston he was brought to the very verge of the grave by a severe illness, and while he was resident there his eldest son left him for the Canadian missionary field. This separation he felt very keenly, and yet he always regarded it as an honour to have a child of his employed in so good a cause.
In 1850 he resided at Stafford, and in 1851-2 he was at Staleybridge ; and in 1853-4 he was appointed to the romantic island of Guernsey. Being then in a distant land, and the journal failing me, I can give no information concerning these appointments, save that any reference to Guernsey called forth expressions of warmest attachment to our society there. Always passionately fond of the picturesque and antique, he could not but like Guernsey ; while the courtesy and sociability and unbounded kindness of the people, endeared them greatly to him. His health, which had been gradually failing him, was greatly improved by his residence in that lovely island.
In 1855-6 he travelled at Burslem, and in the second year of his stay there, at the Conference of 1856, he was honoured by his brethren by being entrusted with the highest office the Connexion can bestow—that of President of Conference. I know that he aimed to discharge the responsible duties of his high position to the best of his ability, in the fear of God, and for the furtherance of the best interests of the community. In 1857-8 he gladly accepted an appointment to the scene of his former labours, Oldbury and Tipton. Here death again invaded his happy home, and his second wife found her last resting-place at Oldbury. She had long been ill, and was a great sufferer ; but she bore her severe affliction with Christian patience. She was a good woman, universally and deservedly beloved. Peace be to her memory! In 1859-60 he took the London First Circuit, where he laboured with considerable acceptance, as is proved by the handsome testimonials presented to him and the family on leaving. Before entering upon this circuit he married a third time, his choice falling on Miss Ludlow, of Birmingham, who. still lives to mourn her loss. By her devoted affection and earnest piety, she was his joy and stay in his last days. Never was man more happy in his conjugal relations than my dear departed father. In 1861 he was stationed at Hull, but this was his last circuit in the full work, for, health failing him, he became a supernumerary at the Conference of 1862, and retired to Chester. There he began his ministerial work, and it seemed probable that, by a singular coincidence, he would close it there. But his health being slightly recruited by a residence in that beautiful and quiet city, and by his freedom from pastoral responsibilities, he was induced to accept an invitation to take partial work at Liverpool. There he ministered the Word of Life until within a few months of the close of his earthly career. He had the special charge of Chatham Place Chapel. The great, almost unbounded kindness of the Liverpool friends did much to protract his life, and make his last days comfortable. The Robinsons, the Tilstons, the Burrowes, the Bumphreys, and many otherssurely they will have their reward for their Christian attention to a venerable servant of God in a time of severe and complicated affliction! The great day alone will reveal the extent of their kindness. What a solace is Christian sympathy in the time of suffering! And this he received from unexpected quarters. But, best of all, Christ became increasingly and unspeakably precious.
In the earlier part of his residence as a supernumerary at Liverpool, he suffered from a violent attack of influenza. Before recovery, he had to go as missionary deputation to Bolton, where he preached twice, and attended three meetings, in very stormy weather. Being necessarily out late at night, he renewed his cold, and returned home "gpent and poorly." This was in 1864. In the following year he visited the north of England, and spent a fortnight with his son at North Shields. The weather, unfortunately, was rough, and the prevailing winds easterly. To these bleak, merciless blasts he was frequently exposed during his visit, as he would often go down to the sea shore, having always been passionately fond of the sea. The result was another serious illness. Medical advice was promptly sought, and he rallied once more. But it was evident to those who knew him best that his constitution was breaking up. Infirmities multiplied ; sufferings intensified. Very soon he had to stand face to face with death. He wasted away under the relentless grasp of consumption.
Previous to the Conference of 1866 he was compelled to give up all labour, and retire to a sick chamber to die. Notwithstanding the natural buoyancy of spirits by which he will be long remembered in the circuits he travelled, he became much depressed in mind in the time of nature's final trial. It was a terrible struggle ; but he gained the victory through the blood of the Lamb. In a paper that he wrote only a few days before his death, he touchingly says :
"In my sore affliction I have reviewed my whole life, and oh, how much to deplore have I seen and felt! Oh, the foul leprosy of sia! yet the Saviour has made my sins, which were as scarlet, white as snow: though red like crimson, as wool. Oh, wondrous love of God to me!
“O Love! thou bottomless abyss,
My sins are swallowed up in Thee;
Nor spot of guilt remains on me.
Though I have, through mercy, had times of refreshing from above, yet I have been very deficient in all my glorious work. I see now, in the light of eternity, how great the work, how many the requirements, necessary to a proper discharge of the sacred functions of the holy vocation. A minister must hate sin with the whole strength of his being; be constantly filled and ruled by the saving love and power of Christ, and live for the great end of saving souls ; and never satisfied without glorious results. Would that this had always been my case! My brethren have had much to bear with in me; but I trust that they will still cherish some kindly thoughts of one who loves them in the Lord. Our ministers should be of one heart and soul, and determined to make the Connexion a praise in
the earth. They should love the community as a kind of second being. May the Connexion abundantly prosper.
“How differently we view things in the light of eternity! I am now taken off from earthly dependencies. Christ is my all in all, 'my transport and my trust !' My sufferings have been deep and complicated, yet they have been most wholesome. Oh, glory to God! I am a brand plucked from the fire! Why, I shall be a wonder in heaven, a monument of boundless grace. Oh, the love of Christ to me! What tongue can tell it? What arithmetic com. pute it?
" 1, the chief of sinners, am,
But Jesus died for me.'
“I am near my end ; every day getting nearer home. My whole trust is in the precious Redeemer. Oh, glory to the Lamb, the precious, bleeding Lamb of God! Praise Him, oh, my soul ! and let praise flow for ever. I shall be like him, for I shall see him as he is. I shall soon be with Jesus. Oh, the Lamb! Oh, the glory!”
That is a precious document from which the above extracts are given, as it was written on his dying bed, at intervals of relief from his frequent paroxysms of pain, and was forwarded to me just four days before his lamented decease. The Rev. D. Round, who, thongh but newly arrived in the circuit, paid him frequent visits, and soothed him in his last days, with fraternal sympathy, can testify to the ripe and joyous experiences of the sufferer. The Wesleyan minister living near him, the Rev. Samuel Lord, often called upon him, and prayed with him. I gratefully record this brotherly act! His last reading was “The Rev. Richard Watson's Memoirs." His last writing was the document previously referred to, in which he strongly expresses his attachment to the Methodist New Connexion, her ministers, her institutions, and her doctrines, and his rapturous and adoring love of Christ. Well may the poet say
“Let reason vainly boast her power,
To teach her children how to die,
Needs more than reason can supply.
On Sabbath evening, July 15th, 1866, in the sixty-sixth year of his age, he quietly fell asleep in Jesus. As the earthly Sabbath closed, he, without a groan or struggle, was emancipated from the body, and entered upon the Heavenly Sabbath, the “ Saints' Everlasting Rest.” “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord! Yea, from henceforth, saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”
On Wednesday, July 18th, his remains were consigned to the minister's grave in the Liverpool Necropolis ; the Rev. D. Round, superintendent of the circuit, reading the service in the chapel, and the Rev. Samuel Hulme, President of the Conference, conducting the service at the grave. The Revs. W. Butterworth, W. J. Townsend, W. A. Baker, and Robert Walker, were the pall-bearers on the sad occasion. On the following Sabbath the Rev. D. Round preached the funeral sermon to a crowded congregation in Chatham Place Chapel, from Rev. i. 18.
It would not be decorous for me to attempt an estimate of the life, character, and ministerial ability of the beloved subject of this memoir. Filial attachment would almost certainly warp such a judgment. It may be permitted me, however, briefly to indicate a few facts.
As a student he was industrious and resolute. He had a passion for books, not merely for their acquisition, but for their mental digestion. He read extensively; he was very fond of history, but did not neglect profounder studies. It was astonishing the avidity with which he read the leading works on theology, and the zest with which he read and re-read the pages of Brown, and Stewart, and Locke, and Tucker. He seemed to have a firm grasp of philosophical subjects, but lacked the power to assimilate and utilize them. This defect arose, doubtless, from the disadvantages as to mental discipline under which he laboured in early life. He also took great delight in the acquisition of scientific knowledge, and was constitutionally an antiquarian. Old castles, old cities, old walls, old gateways, old ruins, old books, old coins, were invested with an almost supernatural interest to him. While earnest in intellectual acquirements, he often deplores in his journal his forgetfulness of his own rule of systematic study. He intimates that with system and concentration he would have accomplished more.
As a public speaker, it is generally acknowledged that he had the gift of ready utterance, and was not seldom highly effective in the pulpit, while on the platform he was specially at home. Some of these off-hand addresses in his palmiest days were most eloquent and telling, calling forth the utmost enthusiasm of large assemblies. The editor of the Wesleyan Times, in a brief obituary notice, says :—“His lively and energetic manner made his discourses welcome ; and the interest which was often enhanced by his knowledge of scientific subjects, and by the play of a natural humour, made his pulpit address, even to the young, acceptable and profitable. His lectures on Snow and Astronomy”—and, I may add, on Bunyan's “ Pilgrim's Progress "_"are still remembered with pleasure."
As a minister, he was faithful and conscientious. He paid special attention to the young. Children everywhere were fond of him. He never neglected the sick or the poor. I have often been astonished at his diligence in pastoral visitation, and at the number of visits he would accomplish in a comparatively brief period of time. He cultivated a spirit of conscientiousness, which was his mainstay amidst many vicissitudes. The spirit in which he entered upon his work may be gathered from the following resolutions, which he recorded in his journal when received into full Connexion :
“(1.) I resolve to rise early every morning.
“(5.) To hold as much commerce and conversation with those around me, with whom I have to do, as shall appear advantageous.