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to the essence of the divine Being, the mystery of godliness, the operations of the Spirit, or the work of faith, the condition of believing the facts of revelation,—than he required explanations of the same kind in relation to the physical world, ere he would believe in its actual existence. Such explanations were neither sought nor required. In the spirit the Apostle James recommends, he received the “ingrafted word,” and this led to abiding faith and salvation. He lamented the feebleness and instability which had led some once-hopeful persons whom he knew, to become “wandering stars;" and they sometimes questioned the principles on which his unyielding integrity was founded. To the people of his early choice, his unchanging attachment was equally apparent. Nor was he unthoughtful here. Whether the stated expansion of old principles, or the alleged necessity for untried institutions, were the subjects proposed to him, he thought and deliberated ere he approved and supported. The general state of his mind, in reference to Methodism, led here to one great advantage : he had much confidence in the integrity of certain leading men in the Connexion ; and, under the direction of that charity which “hopeth all things,” his mind was guided as to duty. And it would do him great injustice not to say, that his approval of certain measures was most cordial ; and that they might be properly carried out, his support was most generous. Printed documents abundantly attest these facts.
Mr. Pearse was eminently a domestic man. When the duties to which business called him were performed, in the bosom of his family he was accustomed to find rest. A prudent and affectionate wife greatly contributed to this. At home he was expected; and his was a home to which he could ever retire with comfort. In that retire. ment the worth of Mrs. Pearse was best and happily known. Abroad, where things are not always what they seem to be, and where only that which sparkles is estimated, she was comparatively unknown. At home, in the realities of life, the eye that saw her blessed her. The writer, from communications in early life, on most important subjects, with Mr. Pearse, states what he knows. Hers
“ Was an unobtrusive blaze,
Content in lowly shades to shine."
At length this good woman, chastened by time, mellowed by years, and rich in piety, died as the Christian dies. To Mr. Pearse as a man of business, and especially to the younger part of his family, this loss was great. For four years, as a widower, he continued to meet the difficulties of his case; then, with the general approbation of bis friends, he was united to Miss Penwarden,-one in every respect suitable to him. Mrs. Pearse yet lives, and the writer is thus restrained from speaking, as he otherwise could do, of one who might be correctly designated by the sentence used by St. John, when speaking of a Christian loved in truth, and by all that have known the truth.
The “ days of the years” of Mr. Pearse's life had now become many; and as the world was receding from him, he receded from the world. His elder children had homes of their own, the younger were becoming mature. As a good father, he taught them that (by Heaven's blessing) they must depend for support on their own efforts and resources : he prudently helped them as they, on right principles, attempted to help themselves. He beheld their prosperity with joy: he mourned the case of any whose hopes affliction had blighted, and whose heart was smitten. Heaven's merciful and bounteous providence bad given to Mr. Pearse enough: he gradually retired from business,-not to waste the evening of life in inglorious ease, but, as strength would enable him, to “serve his generation according to the will of God.” In this way he was wishful to wait, and be prepared, for the call of his Lord; and, amidst the chastening whereof all are partakers, and some trials and disappointments, to him the wane of life was the increase of peace, and hope, and brightness.
“ His days were in the yellow leaf,
The flower, the bloom, of life was gone;" but, by divine mercy, he had a "good hope through grace ;" and thus in the consolation and manifestations of Christ's holy religion, and in its living realities and fruits, he was enabled to contemplate and meet this, to men generally dreaded, “ downward course.”
In the pocket-book of Mr. Pearse, after his death, was found written : “ October 6th, 1834. My birth-day: aged sixty-eight.
* Through hidden dangers, toils, and deaths,' a kind Providence has cleared my way, and given me a hope of a better world."
And again, in his pocket-book for the next year: “October 6th, 1835. My birth-day : sixty-nine years of age. "Goodness and mercy have followed me all my days.'”
The mind and heart of Mr. Pearse had now become familiar with solemn events which were near; and when in communion with the
these were the chief subjects of his conversation. Frequently would the following lines conclude his intimations ::
“Well, if our days must fly,
We'll keep their end in sight;
And let them speed their flight.
This life's tempestuous sea :
Of blest eternity." In the autumn of 1841, Mr. Pearse was attacked by pleurisy, which, it was thought, would terminate in death. Great was the support afforded him in this affliction. When some appeal was made to him
on this subject, he replied, “I do not merely possess hope, but assurance. I know that when the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, I have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.'”
Contrary to the expectation of his friends, God was graciously pleased to raise him up again. On Monday, November 14th, he thus wrote: “I found my mind divinely supported, during my late illness, with the pleasing prospect of a better world, had it pleased Almighty God to take me from the present state.”
On Monday, May 16th, 1812, Mr. Pearse met his class for the last time. One of his members states, that, “ having offered a short but solemn prayer, he proceeded to express his thanks to God for the support he had received in his affliction, and also for an opportunity to meet his class once more. He stated, that he had proved the neverfailing faithfulness of the divine promises ; that his heart was fixed, trusting in the merits of his Redeemer; and that he rejoiced to hear of the continuing spread of the Gospel
. lIe exhorted us to work while it is day.' 'I feel,' he said, “that my continuance here cannot be long : the infirmities of old age are gathering fast upon me.
I often think, when I lie down at night, that I may awake in eternity; but, I thank God, this occasions me no alarm. Though I feel myself to be an unprofitable servant, yet I have a good hope, through grace, that to me death will be eternal gain.'”
The following Lord's day, the public services had reference to the Launceston Wesleyan Sunday-school. Mr. Pearse was present; and, to the mind of the writer, the place which he occupied, the expression of the countenance of his venerated friend, are distinctly present. His son reports, that “to this anniversary he attended with more than ordinary pleasure. At the conclusion of the services, he expressed his great delight that the schools had claimed so much of interest and support, and that the claim had not been rejected. On his return home, he renewed the theme; especially in reference to the children, and to the joy which he felt while listening to their hosannahs to his God and Saviour. The day of his own redemption and victory now
While yet the melodies of these children were softly fading and sweetly dying on his ears, he was called to prepare quickly for that world where praise, "more sweet, more loud,' shall never die. Indisposition bade him retire for rest; but he found it not : both disorder and disease had begun effectually to do their work. His family became greatly alarmed. Surgical aid was called; but when it was found that this could afford but the mere alleviation of pain, Mr. Pearse said, This sickness is unto death. I feel assured that I shall die. Yet I know whom I have believed. When in an agony of pain, a friend addressed him in terms of sympathy. He replied, 'I am very ill. How could I endure this, but for the prospect of a better world ? Under my sufferings, what a mercy to think,
There is a land of pure delight,
Where saints immortal reign;
And pleasures banish pain !'” “ Throughout life,” his son observes, “ he was accustomed to express his sorrows and his joys in the language of our hymns. On Thursday, when, for a short time, his sufferings abated, the comfort and hope of his mind were thus declared :
“The pain of life shall there be o'er,
The anguish and distracting care ;
And sin shall never enter there.'
* Rejoicing now in earnest hope
See all the land below :
In endless plenty grow.
With every blessing blest ;
And everlasting rest."
On Friday he was visited by Mr. Groves, and with much of cheerfulness conversed with him, especially on a sermon which he had once heard from, “God is love.” “I could easily perceive,” his beloved Minister states, “ that the God of love was not only present with, but also precious unto, him; and that, when he again adoringly said, 'God is love,' he gave utterance to what he both knew and felt.” The next Monday, Mr. Pearse was again visited by his Minister. “I
perceived,” the latter states, “ that his strength had greatly lessened; but Mr. Pearse perfectly knew me, and stated that his departure was at hand. He added, “I have no desire to live or to die : I wish the will of God to be done. On being requested to commend his soul to God, we knelt around his bed, and, from the devout responses which he made, were assured that God was with him. When we arose, he said, though with several pauses, yet distinctly, and with calm confidence,
• Now I have found the ground wherein
Sure my soul's anchor may remain,-
Before the world's foundation slain ;
These were almost the last words Mr. Pearse uttered. He gradually sunk; and on Wednesday morning, June 1st, 1842, his happy spirit fled to God.
So lived, and, in the seventy-sixth year of his age, so died, William Pearse, of Launceston,—the writer's early, faithful, and affectionate friend and counsellor. To say, in conclusion, that he was not faultless, is but to say that he was a human being. Yet even his faults leaned to virtue's side. As to those who regard the word “Puritan,” or the older term “ascetic," as expressing what, in manner, they dislike in religion, in their estimation, Mr. Pearse was somewhat puritanical ; that is, there were certain indications, which the Church of Rome, and her modern Anglican friends, would highly commend. The blandness which reigned in his heart was not always correctly depicted on his countenance. They who know human nature best, and the tale of Zopyrus, Socrates, and his disciples, will not in this matter judge hastily, but seek righteous judgment. Mr. Pearse was carefully clean and neat in his personal appearance; and, in this respect, quite the opposite of clownishness, which he much disliked: yet for that (especially in his own sex) which is vain, fantastic, trim, and affected, he had but little mercy. The same may be said as to what he regarded as covetousness. Eminently liberal himself, he had no sympathy with those of an opposite character; nor with the spendthrift, whose profligacy and waste are the reproach and sorrow of thoughtful, diligent, and prudent parents. Mr. Pearse could reprove what he thought to be wrong. Happy is he who can always do this aright! W. Penn says, “He that suffers his difference with his neighbour, about the other world, to carry him beyond the line of moderation in this, is the worse for his opinion, even if it be true.” The writer will not conceal his thoughts, that if some of the reproofs which Mr. Pearse conscientiously thought it his duty both to God and to man to give, had been somewhat differently given, they would have been more effective.
But having attempted to forget, for a moment, that Mr. Pearse was his friend, that so he may not be regarded as the mere panegyrist, instead of the faithful biographer, his mind and soul recoil from the pursuit of imperfections. Perhaps anguish of heart sometimes gave utterance to words ; and if so, let those who are in haste to censure wait awhile. Instead of too rigidly scanning matters of this kind, we all may be more profitably employed in seeking that religion which will lead us to imitate his virtues. Is it not apparent, even from this imperfect sketch, that, by grace, Mr. Pearse was a right-principled and truly good man ? that his great object was to get and to do good, that God might be glorified, and his fellow-men benefited ? Do not these appear to have been the ruling principles of his mind and heart? And to what did these lead in affliction, age, and death? “Died Abner as a fool dieth ?" Neither died Mr. Pearse as the sceptic, the unprincipled, the mechanical religionist dies! No! but as Abraham, and Stephen, and Paul departed, so did he.