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his work's sake, he was yet despised by many of the rich and great for his Methodism. He was buried a few yards from the foot of the church-steeple, amongst the poorest of his flock..........I feel I am myself getting older; and, ere long, shall be glad to be found somewhere near the feet of John Crosse.”
“ My father and Mr. Crosse," observes the Rev. William 0. Booth, “ were on very intimate terms for many years. He used to come to our house at Eccleshill frequently as a Pastor. I recollect that he came to baptize my two youngest sisters, on account of my mother's inability to go to Bradford church. On these occasions Mr. Crosse was wont to spend the day with us, in company with our Preachers and other friends. I have often heard these times spoken of as seasons of much spiritual good, and delightful Christian unity. My father, though residing two miles from the church, was for many years an almost constant attendant at Mr. Crosse's weekly meetings. I have heard him say, they partook more of the character of band, than of class, meetings ; Mr. Crosse addressing suitable counsel or encouragement to each. In the year 1810 I went to reside, for a short time, with a Clergyman in Bradford, then Incumbent of Low-Moor, at whose house Mr. Crosse frequently visited. He took very kind notice of me; knowing that I had been baptized by him, and from the respect he had for my father. I was one of the boys who were privileged to lead him through the streets on his pastoral visits; and, young as I was, I was often deeply affected by his conversations and prayers with the sick and poor.......... During the time that I was in Bradford, Mr. Crosse proposed that my education should have a direct reference to prepare me for one of the Universities, that I might be trained for a Clergyman. He kindly offered to interest himself in the matter, and promised that our family should be at no expense. My father gratefully acknowledged his obligation to the Vicar's kindness; but said, “Mr. Crosse, if God call him to preach, I shall be thankful; but I cannot consent, myself, to place him in the ministry. You are right, you are right, Mr. Booth,' replied he; and, placing his hand upon my head, the venerable man gave me his blessing,- fervently praying that God would, if it were his will, prepare me for the work of a Christian Minister.”
Mr. Crosse, though qualified to shine in the highest walks of literature, published but little. In 1791 several very exceptionable and scurrilous pamphlets, from the pen of a Clergyman named Baldwin, to whom the Methodism of the Vicar was highly offensive, called forth, in answer, “ A Letter to the Inhabitants of the Town and Parish of Bradford;" in which, with the dignified composure of truth, Mr. Crosse justifies his own procedure, and attempts to shame his reckless opponent. Some time before his death he also published an “Appeal" to his parishioners ; in which, with true ministerial affection and fidelity, the claims of religion are strongly urged. In addition to
these, with the exception of the controversial pamphlet in defence of si the Church, already referred to, he rarely addressed the public through the press. IIis epistolary communications, also, were few, and characteristically brief. His whole attention seems to have been absorbed in the practical discharge of ministerial duty.
Mr. Crosse was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united when resident at Cross-Stone, was the widow of Samuel Sutcliffe, Esq., of Hoo-hoyle, near Sowerby; at whose house Mr. Wesley, when visiting that neighbourhood, was generally entertained.* She is spoken of as a lady of great Christian simplicity, and eminently pious. At her decease, which took place in 1811, she was interred at Luddenden, near Halifax, where also the remains of her first husband, Mr. Grimshaw, son of the celebrated Incumbent of Haworth, were deposited. Towards the close of the following year, Mr. Crosse entered a second time into the marriage-state, with a Miss Hopkinson,--their union being solemnized in Bradford church.
For nearly ten years previous to his removal to a better world, it pleased God to deprive this excellent man of sight; an affliction which few have borne with greater resignation and cheerfulness. He even viewed his calamity as an “unspeakable mercy;" frequently observing, that he had for a long time looked without, but that God had seen it needful he should now look more within. His peculiar retentiveness of memory proved, under this protracted affliction, of incalculable service to him. Not only was he thus enabled to avail himself of the information gained by previous extensive reading, but with perfect ease and readiness was he found conducting in public the usual services of the church throughout the year. This painful deprivation, conjoined with the venerable appearance of Mr. Crosse in declining years, never failed to excite, in those who were privileged with his company, a feeling of intense interest and sympathy. This was especially the case in Manchester, when, in 1811, he supplied, for some weeks, the pulpit of the Rev. Cornelius Bayley, D.D.,Incumbent of St. James's church in that town. The Doctor, then suffering under his last illness, had been for many years on terms of intimate friendship with the Vicar of Bradford. On his decease, Mr. Crosse is stated to have accepted the incumbency of St. James's, chiefly for the pur
• One visit of the venerated Wesley is thus recorded in bis Journal : “ Thursday, June 28th, 1770.-I rode to Mr. Sutcliffe's, at Hoo-hole ; a lovely valley, encompassed with high mountains. I stood on the smooth grass before his house, (which stands on a gently-rising ground,) and all the people on the slope before me. It was a glorious opportunity. I trust many came boldly to the throne,' and found 'grace to help in time of need.'"
+ Dr. Bayley, in the early part of his career, had officiated as one of the Masters at Kingswood School. He was the author of “ An Entrance into the sacred Lan. guage ; containing the necessary Rules of Hebrew Grammar in English ;” of which Mr. Wesley was accustomed to speak in the highest terms,—deeming the arguments there employed in favour of the use of the Hebrew points unanswerable.
pose of securing the greater part of the income for the benefit of the widow.
Mr. Crosse lived to a “good old age,” honoured by all who knew him; and faithfully discharging, almost to the very close of life, the active duties of his station. The termination of his earthly pilgrimage was eminently peaceful and triumphant. In a letter to the editor of the “ Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine,” bearing date June 18th, 1816, the Rev. John Braithwaite, then stationed in the Bradford Circuit, thus communicates the circumstances of his decease: “ You will participate in my feelings, when I inform you that the Rev. John Crosse, A. M., the venerable Vicar of this parish, departed this life yesterday afternoon, between the hours of two and three, in the full triumph of faith. On Sunday evening he sent for me, and again yesterday fore
He said, with the greatest tranquillity, “Sir, I am dying ; but death is nothing to me: it is only like going out of one room into another : I am ready. I shall ever esteem it one of my greatest blessings, to have witnessed the closing scene of a long and active life devoted to the glory of God, and the service of man. I prayed with the venerable saint, and felt the full force of the poet's words :
"The chamber where the good man meets his fate
Of virtuous life, quite on the verge of heaven.'” “I believe,” observes one * who enjoyed his friendship, and was accustomed to pay frequent and stated visits to the vicarage, to read to him, “I was the last of his parishioners who was favoured with an interview with him, when he was on the threshold of eternity. I was told that he was very near his end, and probably could not speak to me. I wished him to know that I was in the house. He immediately sent for me into his chamber. Never shall I forget that moment. The pallid hue of death sat on his countenance, always sweet, but now beaming with heavenly radiance. He took my hand, and pressed it between both of his. My dear, dear Madam,' said he, in feeble and broken accents, 'I am now passing through the valley ; but all is peace. I have very little pain. O what a mercy to feel the Saviour so precious to me,_unworthy me! He will never leave me, never forsake me. We have often had pleasant meetings here; but we shall have a better meeting in heaven. These were, I believe, some of the exact expressions of my beloved Pastor and friend. After a pause he said, “My poor eyes will soon be opened, and it will be to behold my Saviour. The glories of eternity are unutterable.” On receiving, in behalf of herself and friends, a “solemn and affectionate benediction," the lady withdrew; and, in about half an hour after, the spirit of the venerable Vicar “ entered into the joy of his Lord.”
• Mrs. Bailey, of Drighlington, formerly Miss Rand, of Bradford, in a letter to the Rev. William Morgan, B. D.
The remains of this good man were interred, in all likelihood at his own request, amongst the poor of his flock. On the day of his burial, Sunday, June 23d, 1816, the Rev. John Fennel—formerly Governor of the Wesleyan Academy, Woodhouse-Grove, but afterward, on entering the Church, Curate for some years to Mr. Crosse-improved the occasion of his death to a dense and deeply-affected congregation. Till very recently, an inscription on a common grave-stone, altogether unworthy of the man, has been his only monumental remembrance. At the Annual Breakfast-Meeting of the Bradford Juvenile Wesleyan Missionary Society, in 1840, an interesting conversation on the subject ensued; and, as the result of the subscription then suggested, and subsequently carried into effect by the praiseworthy efforts of William Walker, Esq., a tablet, bearing the following inscription, is now in course of erection in the parish church :
Sacred to the Memory
THE REVEREND JOHN CROSSE, A.M.,
For thirty-two years Vicar of this parish:
The erudition of a scholar,
The graces of a Christian,
Of a faithful Pastor.
Publicly, and from house to house,
Comforted the afflicted,
He was universally beloved
June 17th, A, D. 1816, aged 77 years.
By his surviving friends, A. D. 1843. Mr. Crosse died possessed of handsome property: mistrusting his own judgment as to its minute distribution, he simply directed that the whole should be appropriated “for furthering and promoting the cause of religion amongst the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland." His executor, the late G. B. Browne, Esq., of Halifax, hesitating to undertake a responsibility of this kind, referred the case to the decision of the then Lord Chancellor ; who, after assigning various sums in support of different institutions in connexion with the established Church, appropriated £2,000 for the foundation of three theological scholarships in the University of Cambridge.
The character and movements of this faithful Minister of Jesus Christ are now on record, where, we think, they richly merit a dis
tinguished niche. Few who peruse the foregoing pages will hesitate fervently to respond, with Dr. Newton, “ Would that the pulpits of the established Church, through the length and breadth of the land, were occupied by men like-minded with the late Vicar of Bradford ! It would be a happy day for England." There are those, however, to whom the Methodism of Mr. Crosse will appear as seriously detracting from his faithfulness and consistency as a Clergyman of the established Church ;* yet, in this respect, his ministerial movements will bear investigation. It might be asked, What section of his ordinationpledge did he violate or neglect ? What interests of the Church were sacrificed under his vicarial oversight ? Wherein was he a dissenter from the Liturgy, and Articles, and Homilies of his Church? What was his Methodism, but the truths and doctrines there inculcated brought to bear upon the consciences and lives of his hearers, and rendered rightly influential? Or what his attachment and co-operation with good men of every name, but the “ maintaining and setting forward," as much as lay in him, “quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people, and especially among them committed to his charge?" He might, indeed, have limited his attention to the outward forms and observances of his Church : he might have used “reserve" in the inculcation of the most important doctrines of our holy religion : he might have quietly attempted the discharge of ministerial duty, and thus escaped the censure and opposition of many: but, if it be a truth of holy Scripture, that “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;" that “ in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature;” then were the zeal and energies of this devoted man rightly directed; then was he Minister indeed. “Never,” observes the justly venerated Chalmers, “Never will the established Church recover its influence, till the spirit of the olden time be recalled; never till what is now dreaded by the majority of that Church as fanaticism, come again to be recognised and cherished as the sound faith of the Gospel; never till what they now nauseate as Methodism be felt as the alone instrument that can either moralize the people in time, or make them meet for eternity!”
• From individuals of this class, in his own parish, Mr. Crosse occasionally received painful treatment; so much so, that, at one period, deeming his usefulness impeded by their efforts, he seriously contemplated the resignation of his vicarial charge ; and even offered his services to the Wesleyan Conference, purposing to spend his declining years in the discharge of the clerical duties of the City-road chapel, London ; where, for many years, a Clergyman of the Establishment was wont to officiate. His friends, however, clinging round him with renewed affection, dissuaded him from his intention.
VOL. XXIII. Third Series. FEBRUARY, 1844.