Page images


THE time has now arrived when it is the duty of the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine to address his readers in what is commonly called a preface, but what is properly a postscript, inasmuch as it is not written till the entire volume has been completed, and eleven of its Numbers published. Such prefaces, too, differ in another important particular from those which are usually written. In these latter, it is the object of the author to explain to those who will be, as he hopes, his readers, the nature and design of his work; and it is supposed that, at whatever period written, it will be read, in regard to him, before the pages to which it is prefixed. The Editor of a Periodical has no such advantage. His volume is not only finished, but, in the far greater portion of it, read, before he can call the attention of his readers to the preface. Explanations of the character of a work are needless, when the readers must already have formed their judgment. None, therefore, are offered on the present occasion.

But there is one portion of this annual duty which may not be omitted. Thanks are due, and they are now most sincerely proffered, to the numerous and kind correspondents who have placed at the Editor's disposal so large and so valuable a portion of the materials of which his volume is composed, and which have given to it a great part of the interest which it possesses with the reader. By some of them the Christianity of the Bible has been luminously expounded in its theory; by others, its influence, power, and blessedness have been delightfully exemplified in fact and example; by them all, the Editor has been most efficiently aided in the arduous and responsible task of furnishing to the Wesleyan societies and congregations (though by no means to them exclusively) a work which shall not be unworthy even of their perusal. Nor would it be right to omit the customary expression of thanks to the very numerous body of subscribers, who, year after year, honour the work with their support, and encourage the Editor in his continuous but not unpleasant toil. In fact, between the large majority of the readers of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine and its Editor, (whoever he may happen to be,) there is a much closer agreement, (it might almost be said, a more friendly connexion,) than what might be supposed to exist ordinarily between the Editor of a monthly periodical and his subscribers. Here, indeed, is much of the secret of his strength. They are mutually agreed in their cordial belief of the same views of divine truth, and of pure and undefiled religion, considered under its personal aspects; and while it is the official duty of the Editor, in every successive month, to place these views before the reader, yet in his case, offi

cial duty and personal conviction are never at variance. It is this circumstance which cheers and encourages him in the midst of the toilsome and incessant, but honourable, duties which he is called to discharge. Some parts, indeed, of official duty may not be so pleasant in the performance as others; but even these refer not to the reader; and therefore, viewing the entire work in which he is engaged, he feels no hesitancy in making the avowal, that the task, arduous and responsible as it is, is yet a pleasant one, of conveying from time to time so much of that truth which is the best aliment of the soul, to so large and respectable a body of readers. Often, when wearied by the ceaseless and careful application which his office demands, has he been cheered by the reflection that his readers are to be reckoned by tens of thousands; that they are to be found in almost every part of the world; and that between them and himself there exists so decided a fellowship both of feeling and thought. If, during the year, the Magazine has contributed to the instruction, comfort, and establishment of its readers, all who are concerned in its management and publication would join with those who honour it with their support, in thankful ascriptions of glory to God.

The Editor does not forget the future. The very circumstance which encourages him, adds to his feelings of responsibility. He would not for a moment be supposed to think that the provision of a monthly portion of an annual volume for such a number of Christian readers- -a volume which while not unsuited to the study, shall yet be still more adapted for the family and for the closet-is an ordinary task. But, next to the blessing of God, his reliance is on the candour of his readers, and the kind assistance of his correspondents. He will endeavour to carry

out the principles by which the present Series of the work is governed, in strict adherence to the rules, the observance of which has so long secured for it so large a share of public support. He hopes that thus the forthcoming volume will not be unworthy either of the name which it bears, or of that section of the catholic church for whose use it is principally intended.

To one circumstance it would be wrong not to advert. The ensuing year is the first Centenary of the formation of the Methodist society, and promises to be in every respect a memorable one. The preliminary Meetings already held in reference to its celebration have been of the most important character, as the December Number for the current year will show; and it may therefore be anticipated that the "Religious Intelligence" for the year 1839 will be powerfully and lastingly interesting. The volume will contain records to which coming generations will often refer, and by which they will be both stimulated and instructed. The Editor regards this as supplying a reason for diligence, of which he will endeavour not to lose sight. It is his earnest wish that the volume for the next year may be found not unworthy of being considered as THE CENTENARY VOLUME OF THE MAGAZINE.

Nov. 23d, 1838.




BY THE Rev. theophilus lessey.

THE utility and importance of biographical writing, as an efficient mode of imparting practical instruction, is so universally felt and acknowledged, that no apology is necessary for attempting thus to speak to men's hearts and consciences, by presenting to their view the righteous characters of those whom the wisdom of inspiration has declared to be "more excellent than their neighbours." Personal character more immediately strikes the bulk of mankind, and the living example of eminent saints exerts a more powerful influence over the mind than all the precepts of the learned and the wise. Here the power of divine grace is made manifest by its triumph over the otherwise invincible prejudices and corruptions of the human heart, and the new creation of the Holy Spirit is diplayed in all its spiritual glory and beauty. The power of imitation is more predominant than is generally supposed; and persons who pay little or no regard to what others say are considerably influenced and governed by what they do. By a close and serious contemplation of the lives of good men we become intimate with them; the veil that concealed from public view the secret springs of their actions is drawn aside, and we are permitted to look into their hearts. In order, however, to perceive and relate these living exhibitions of the beauty of holiness, congeniality of spirit is requisite. "For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Hence the lives of the saints on earth furnish little matter for the historian: their deeds are not for this world; it knows them not, because it knew not Him from whom they derive their life and light. But the bright page of their history will be unfolded in that world where they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever."

The Rev. Thomas Pinder, the subject of the following memoir, was born at West-Stockwith, a village in the neighbourhood of Gainsborough. His parents were sober, industrious persons, who, by the produce of a small farm, managed with care and frugality to support and educate their family. His mother was eminently pious, and evinced a tender solicitude for the eternal welfare of her children, and endeavoured to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the VOL. XVII. Third Series. JANUARY, 1838.


Lord. He was not long permitted, however, to enjoy the advantages of maternal care and affection; for this invaluable parent was removed by death when he was only four years old. Thus, at this tender age, he was left motherless; and shortly afterwards he was removed to Sheffield, where he was bound apprentice. It appears, from some imperfect records in his own writing, that his first religious impressions were produced, under God, by the faithful admonitions and instructions of his eldest brother, to whose fostering care he always considered himself indebted for the early direction of his mind to the things of God. When ten years old, his conscience was powerfully awakened to a sense of guilt, and an apprehension of future punishment; so that he tells us he frequently rose in the night, and prayed fervently for the pardon of sin. But, alas, in this, as in too many cases, these emotions were only transient; the blossoms, however promising, were soon scattered, and, for that time at least, produced no fruit unto perfection. The morning cloud passed away, and the early dew was brushed off by collision with the world. His companions were of a low and depraved character. By their evil communications his religious convictions were dissipated, and his conscience lulled to sleep by the pleasures of sin.

During this period of youthful folly, while betraying, on all occasions, an antipathy to the services of the sanctuary, and shunning the society of his faithful friends, it pleased God by two remarkable visitations of his providence to rouse him to thought and reflection. His employment in the Sheffield trade required him to sit over the revolving stones on which the various articles which they manufactured were prepared for use. Sometimes these stones, while revolving with the utmost velocity, suddenly burst, and the consequences are often fatal to the workmen. "Early one morning," Mr. Pinder writes, "the stone over which I was placed gave way, and, breaking a strong chain by which the frame on which I sat was fastened, threw me to a considerable distance; but through the mercy of God my life was preserved. Unthankful," he adds, " as I was, when I retired to bathe the bruises I had received, I fell on my knees, and returned thanks to that Being who had graciously preserved my life, and had not sent me quick to hell." Some years after this a similar occurrence took place. "I had not," he writes, "been long at my work when I perceived the engine I was then working going at great speed; and apprehending that a youth with whom I was conversing was in great danger, I requested him to stand aside; when almost immediately the stone over which I sat at work burst asunder, one part carrying away the window; so that, in all probability, had not the young man removed at my call, he would have been killed on the spot: the other part broke a cast-iron trough in which the stone had been placed. Here my life was in imminent danger; but I escaped with a severe bruise, and my life was mercifully preserved. Yet such," he subjoins to this

« PreviousContinue »