« VorigeDoorgaan »
closet-duties,-she manifested a steady and growing attachment: in these she took a lively interest, proving them to be channels along which the pure and refreshing waters of life are conveyed from the throne of God to the hearts of the faithful. And though latterly the bodily infirmities usually attendant on a life of threescore years and ten, prevented her attendance on all the public services of the sanctuary, yet her heart was ever there. Her love to the habitation of God's house was unabated to the last. In all the tribulations through which she had to pass, her refuge was in the Lord; and as her days, so was her strength. To entertain God's Ministers and servants she esteemed a high privilege. In their company she delighted, and from their conversation and prayers she obtained great spiritual profit. And this was the case up to the last day of her earthly sojourn. Ön it she had found unusual delight in the public service of God's house, as well as in her class ; in which she bore a gratifying testimony to the goodness and faithfulness of her God, and expressed an ardent desire to be kept in perfect readiness for her change, whensoever it might take place. About half an hour after supper, and joining in prayer with the Preacher and her family, she was seized by apoplexy, and after attempting to speak for about five minutes, she sank down into a state of unconsciousness; and notwithstanding the prompt efforts of medical skill, about three o'clock in the morning, she, without a lingering groan, or even apparent suffering, her “ body with her charge laid down.” As by her exemplary life she recommended religion to those who knew her, so by her sudden death she admonishes them to be also ready; “for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh.”
WILLIAM WILSON, 5TH.
53. Died, February 21st, at Edge-Green, near Ashton, in the St. Helen's and Prescot Circuit, Mr. William Hewson, in the thirtyseventh year of his age, a Local Preacher and Class-Leader, much beloved and respected. He was born at Wigtown, and was early left fatherless. On the second marriage of his mother, he went to York; and, through the instrumentality of his brother, he was there brought under the Wesleyan ministry in his twenty-first year. He soon became deeply convinced of sin, and earnestly desirous of salvation, and, at a prayer-meeting after the service one Sabbath evening, obtained a clear manifestation of the pardoning mercy of God. When, in the course of time, he successively engaged in the work of a Prayer and Class Leader, his affectionate sympathy with the people of God, especially such as were in affliction, and his yearning pity for perishing sinners, opened out to him an extensive field of usefulness. On his removal to the neighbourhood of St. Helen's, amidst increasing family cares, and some providential exercises, he continued, by patient integrity, humble zeal, and uniform kindness, to adorn his Christian profession. About eight years previously to his decease, he felt constrained to engage in the work of calling sinners to repentance; and accordingly went forth proclaiming the sinner's danger, and the Saviour's love. While he took proper pains to have well-beaten oil for the service of the sanctuary, he was in this, as in everything which he undertook, chiefly concerned to be under divine guidance, and to do all to the glory of God. During the protracted illness which terminated in his death, he was enabled to stay his mind on the promises of his covenant-keeping God, and to triumph in the prospect of dissolution near; for it was, to his longing and prepared spirit, the gate of immortality. He declared that the truths which he had made known to others in the name of the Lord, were a sufficient support to himself in a dying hour. When exhausted and almost worn out with bodily suffering, he still delighted in the exercises of prayer and praise, to which he had so diligently attended in the time of health and strength. With sweet and impressive emphasis, he repeated the lines commencing,
“My God, I am thine, what a comfort divine;' and not long before his departure to the immediate presence of that Saviour in whose blood and intercession alone he trusted, he exclaimed, “Glory! Hallelujah! I know that there is a crown of glory waiting
More than once, with great earnestness and tenderness, when surrounded by his family and attendants, he pronounced the benediction; thus manifesting to the last his deep concern for their spiritual and eternal welfare. May each individual of that sorrowing circle, with every reader of this imperfect sketch of an eminently devout and consistent Christian, not barely express the desire, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his,” but also be careful in spirit and conduct to follow him as he followed Christ!
54. March 21th, at Eastington, in the Dursley Circuit, Mr. James Warner, aged sixty-eight, having been a member of the Wesleyan church forty-five years ; during which time his whole life was an exemplification of the Christian character. Previously to his conversion, his conduct was strictly moral, and particularly distinguished by honesty, integrity, and strong attachment to his parents. His disposition was kind and amiable. He was a regular attendant at the parish church until shortly after the introduction of Methodism into his native village, when he was induced occasionally to hear the Wesleyan Ministers; and the word of God, through their instrumentality, came with power to his heart. He was awakened to a sense of his state, feeling himself a sinner. He earnestly sought, and soon obtained, the blessing of pardon through faith in Jesus. "He gladly availed himself of the opportunity of communion with the people of God, and from this period was remarkable for decision of character. Being placed at the head of a family, he adopted the resolution of Joshua, “ I and my house will serve the Lord.” He became anxious, too, that others should be made partakers of like precious faith, and heartily engaged in those plans of usefulness which presented themselves ; and would frequently visit various places in the Circuit to assist in holding meetings for prayer. He was also a very diligent and efficient Sundayschool Teacher. His house was for many years a comfortable home for the Preachers; and he cheerfully encouraged the erection of a chapel in his native place, and in various other places in the Circuit, for several of which he was Trustee. For upwards of forty years
he filled the office of Leader; and the prosperity of his class is the best proof that can be mentioned bow well qualified he was to sustain it.
His conduct in every relation of life was exemplary. As a husband he was kind and affectionate ; as a father and master he ruled well his own house; and had the happiness of seeing his eight children members of the society to which he himself belonged. His constant experience was joy and peace through believing. Three weeks before his death he was seized with a fit of apoplexy, which rendered him frequently delirious; but, when speaking of the state of his mind, the efficacy of the atonement, and of his prospects beyond the grave, his remarks were most satisfactory.
MAURICE BRITTON. 55. Died, March 26th, aged fifty-six, in the Newry Circuit, Ireland, Mr. Richard Harcourt. He was the son of pious parents, who lived at Donaghmore, near Newry, in whose house there had long been a church in connexion with the Wesleyan Methodists. He had therefore the advantage of early religious instruction. But though he was moral, there is no evidence that, while he remained in his father's house, he went beyond this. Early in life he went to reside in Glasgow, where, having a predilection for the Wesleyan ministry, he attended the Methodist chapel ; and, living in a Methodist family, he was induced, at the request of some pious friends, to go to class-meeting. Here he was convinced of the sinfulness of his nature, and of his need of salvation. For a time he had sore struggling with his natural besetments, especially with levity of spirit; but, finding redemption in the blood of Christ the forgiveness of sin, and thus having the love of God shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost given unto him, sin had no longer the dominion over him. Å few years afterwards he returned to Ireland, and resided in the town of Newry.
In 1821 he was appointed to lead a class, and soon after to be Circuit-Steward. Both these offices he filled with great fidelity till within a few weeks of his death, when sickness laid him aside. He was eminently a man of a meek and quiet spirit, and held everything like evil-speaking in the greatest abhorrence. In the latter part of his life he was comparatively in easy circumstances; but still he maintained his active habits, rising at his accustomed early hour, and pursuing his business with as much energy as when necessity required it. a liberal supporter of the cause of God, and on his death-bed acknowledged that Providence had more than repaid him for all he had contributed. He valued the Wesleyan ministry as having been the instrument of his own salvation, placed his children under its pastoral care, and introduced them to the society; and before his death, all his family who were grown up rejoiced with him in the experience of the blessings of divine mercy and grace. He was a subscriber to all the Wesleyan periodicals, which he greatly valued, and to the end of his life continued to read them, even to the small Magazine published for children. When near death, he said, “Whether live or die, all will be well.” He always spoke of himself with modesty, but expressed the utmost confidence in the atonement of Christ. During his sickness he had suffered considerable pain; but before death it was all gone. He fully realized the sentiment of the poet,
“ Walk with me through the dreadful shade;
And, certified that thou art mine,
PREACHED IN CHERRY-STREET CHAPEL, BIRMINGHAM, ON TUESDAY,
MAY 18Th, 1847, AND PUBLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE
BY THE REV. JOHN BEDFORD.
“ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”_
3 John 4.
66 did run
All who believe the sacred Scriptures must admit that the Christian ministry is of divine institution, and of great importance. Every Minister of the Gospel, called of God to the ministerial office, is commissioned by his Saviour and Lord, to offer a free, full, and present salvation to a fallen race; to be his ambassador to a guilty world, with terms of reconciliation and peace; to reclaim men from the love and service of sin; to admit them into the visible fold of Christ's people; and then to watch for their souls, as one that must give account." (Heb. xiii. 17.) His work is consequently great and urgent, and his responsibility most solemn.
In such a work he has both painful and pleasing duties to perform. As the head of a family, the Pastor of a flock, and the Governor of a community, in all which relationships he may be regarded as standing to the people of his charge, he has sometimes to administer reproof as well as instruction; sometimes to mourn over such as well,” (Gal. v. 7,) but have suffered themselves to be hindered by Satan, or allured from the right way by the pleasures of the world; and sometimes he is compelled to yield to the painful necessity of removing from their places in the church of God such as have sinned, and “repented not. On these occasions his feelings are distressing; and none but those who have been deprived of their dearest friends, or disappointed in their fondest hopes, can conceive the depth of his anguish, or sympathize with him aright. The thought of such circumstances deeply affected the Apostle Paul, though he was "ready” to brave all dangers in his Master's service, and not to be bound only, but also to die, for the name of the Lord Jesus ;” (Acts xxi. 13;) yet, when he contemplated another scene, that of an unfaithful church, his soul shrunk from the prospect; and to its members he thus expressed his anxious feelings :-“ For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not; lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults; and lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness, which they have committed.” (2 Cor. xii. 20, 21.) Circumstances like these have sunk the heart of many a faithful Minister of Christ, who had previously risen superior to all outward difficulties and opposition. Not only his happiness, but almost his
VOL. III.FOURTH SERIES.
existence, has been bound up in the peace, union, and prosperity of his flock; and hence, like the same Apostle, he has said to them, with deep emotion, “ Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” (1 Thess. iii. 8.)
And yet, thanks be to God, there is more of sweetness than of bitterness in a Christian Minister's cup. The thought that he is engaged in the service of the best Master, and the promotion of the best work in the universe, is consoling and joyful; the fact that he has not “ laboured in vain” in that service, but that God has given to him tokens of approval, and witnesses to his ministerial success ; (of whom some have already escaped the evils of the world, and entered into “rest;” whilst others are journeying onwards to that “rest” in faith and hope, and are “adorning the doctrine of God their Saviour ;") the prospect of meeting, in a lovelier clime, those to whom he was the honoured instrument of communicating the light of truth and salvation, and over whom he is ever watching with parental solicitude; and, above all, the hope of thus bringing an everlasting revenue of glory to his Redeemer, who has bought him with his blood : these are considerations which fill his heart with sacred joy, and encourage him to persevere, till his course shall be run, in the service of his Saviour and his God.
Such was the case with the venerable Apostle John. It is highly probable that he wrote this short letter when far advanced in years, and after he had passed through many toils, hardships, and dangers, in the service of his beloved Master. Whether Gaius was one whom he had been the instrument of converting to the truth, and who was, therefore, as Titus was to Paul, his “ own son after the common faith;" (Titus i. 4;) or whether, regarding the Christian flock under his pastoral care as being all equally, in that sense, his children, over whom he had to watch with fatherly kindness, he addressed Gaius as an elder brother of the common family; we cannot determine. But this we may perceive at once, that the spirit of the aged Apostle was eminently paternal and affoctionate; worthy of one who felt the blessedness of the Christian religion himself, and was anxious that others should feel it too; and who, amidst the increasing infirmities of old age, felt his soul refreshed, and his joy excited, on hearing of the Christian spirit and deportment of others, who were following him in his Master's service. “I rejoiced greatly,” said he, “ when the brethren came, and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth ;” (verse 3 ;) and, indeed, “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
This language of the venerable Apostle is descriptive of the views and feelings of every faithful Christian Minister ; and though it cannot proceed from me, or from any ordinary Pastor, with the same weight and dignity with which it proceeded from the Apostle John, yet it may not be useless, either to Pastors or people, to reflect upon those considerations which it suggests to both.
Let us therefore consider,-
I. The endearing relationship supposed is, that the Minister of Christ regards the members of his flock as his spiritual family, and, in