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that he had so many friends. In the midst of much pain, he would often clasp his hands together, raise his eyes to heaven, and with a countenance expressive, not so much of the patient endurance of suffering, as of exultation in the attainment of some valued and desired blessing, he would say, “ Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation.” A fortnight before he died, he experienced one of those assaults with which the enemy of souls is sometimes mysteriously permitted to barass the death-bed of the believer ; perhaps to afford the final opportunity for the immediate and firm exercise of the faith which rests in Christ, and clings to the covenant of God as the expression of free and boundless mercy even to the most unworthy. It seemed to be suggested to him that his religion was a mere delusion, and that he would be lost after all. The struggle was painful. He pleaded with God for deliverance and victory. One of his daughters, taking up the “Life of the Rev. David Stoner," reminded him that even that good man was assailed in his final affliction in a similar manner. She read the account to him, adding, when she had finished, “ Father, Mr. Stoner triumphed at last.” He reflected for a moment, and the snare was broken ; and, with a countenance once more placid, he said, “ Yes; and so shall I.” He once observed, “ Is it not somewhat strange that I, who, before I was ill, had so much joy, should now have so little ?” He added, “I have a deep and settled peace; but I sometimes wish to feel a little more joy." One of his daughters said to him, “Father, when Hannah Whitehead was much cast down, and you were endeavouring to comfort her, you quoted to her those words of Dr. Young : ‘His hand the good man fastens in the skies.' You must fasten yours there.” He replied,
Yes, yes; it is." His body was weak; and while, in one sense, the mind triumphs over it, in another, it will unavoidably be affected by it. There may be moments when the inner man is no more capable of the active exercises of exultation than the outer man is of leaping and running And as in bodily weakness we lie down, and rest in stillness, so, when the mind is weak through sympathy with the physical frame, it is our duty and privilege to repose in the unchangeable love and faithfulness of God in Christ Jesus; to rest in the Lord as our Saviour, and to wait patiently for him. On the 5th of July, the day before he died, he began to spit blood ; and it was evident that he was now approaching his end. A few hours before his death, though with feeble accents, yet with an emphatic tone, he said, “0, I could sing, “ Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fly!"" His daughter added, “O grave! where is thy victory? O death! where is thy sting ?" He instantly replied, “ It is gone! it is gone.” Even though the mortal shadow was settling on his countenance, a heavenly light seemed to be shining through it. He looked round on his friends, who stood weeping by his bed, with calmness, and an affectionate smile, as though bidding them farewell. After a short time, he gently but solemnly said, “ All is right! all is well !” and almost immediately “gave up the ghost.”
The concourse of persons assembled at his funeral bore witness how much and how universally he was respected. It is supposed that not fewer than a thousand followed his remains as they were borne through Burley, on their way to Addingham, where they were deposited in the churchyard, along with those of his wife and children.
And it was an instructive spectacle. With such a funeral nothing was connected to excite curiosity. The remains carried thus to their final resting-place were those of a man in humble circumstances, and of ordinary attainments. But he had lived to good purpose. He had sought and found the salvation of God in Christ, and thus had become of that multitude of witnesses which no man can number, each of whom, in his own circle and day, bears witness to the positive reality of spiritual and heavenly blessings: no other peculiarity than this had marked his life. His conduct proved his sincerity in the profession of his principles. But it did more. A man may sincerely hold principles which, in their general tendency, are most dangerous, however the tendency may be checked in the individual by the force of circumstances. But in the case of Mr. Breare, (and of all who are like him, in whatever earthly sphere they move,) the conduct was such as to prove, not only the sincerity of the man, but the excellence of his principles. It was undeniable that if all acted on such principles, the world would be a happy world. They who belong to what, socially, is called humble life, are the living foundation of society. The stability of the social fabric depends on them. Even humanly speaking, therefore, he who, in such a situation, is what he ought to be, and does what he ought to do, is, in reality, one of the most valuable members of society ; nor do its great men and heroes deserve a memorial more than they. The neighbourhood in which they lived and died, acknowledges the excellence and worth of their character. Worldly fame they do not gain ; for they never sought for it. They belong to the spiritual Israel, the circumcised in heart, the baptized of the Spirit, whose crowning blessing, sought with all their hearts, and enjoyed, when found, with exulting and immortal joy, furnishes at the same time that characteristic feature, whose presence as decisively proves spiritual regeneration as its absence proves the want of it,- Whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Such as Mr. Breare seek entirely the favour of God; and this governs them through their whole life. And so excellent is the character thus produced, and so great is its value, that the unsought human praise is sooner or later given to it. Mr. Breare was respected, because, through life, he had had respect unto God. Even in this way is the solemn declaration of Scripture fulfilled, “ Them that honour me, I will honour.”
BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.
56. DIED, March 19th, 1844, at Barnard-Castle, Mr. Simeon Holroyd, aged ninety-six, having been a member of the Wesleyan society seventy-five years. He was born at Halifax. His parents belonged to the society of “Friends." His mother died in giving him birth, and in his eighth year his father also was removed; but, orphan as he was, he was affectionately cared and provided for by his eldest brother, who, being a Methodist, trained him up“ in the way in which he should go;" and, while young, he often experienced those gracious visitations which, had he yielded to them, would have saved him from much sin and much distress: but his disposition was volatile and unsettled, and he yielded to the persuasions of ungodly companions, who told him that religion was gloomy, and that it would be time for him to think of such subjects when he was older, and had seen and enjoyed more of the world. Disliking restraint, he left home with another young man, and sought for employment at Colne. The master for whom he .worked was a pious man, and religious subjects were again recommended to his notice. There also lodged in the same house a pious woman, who had obtained spiritual profit from the labours of the venerable Mr. Grimshaw. She occasionally requested him to read to her, and conversed with him seriously on the concerns of his soul; and, humble as might be the instrument, deep impressions were made on his mind. But they were only temporary. Influenced by his rambling temper, he left Colne, and proceeded northwards. After much suffering, he arrived at the city of Durham, penniless and hungry; but he soon obtained work as a weaver of shalloons. Having formed an acquaintance with a young man from Barnard-Castle, he was persuaded to go and reside in that place. This was one of those apparently trivial circumstances which often, through a mysterious Providence, exert a decided influence on the whole future course of life. At Barnard-Castle Methodism had obtained a footing about twenty years previously, and a neat and commodious chapel had not long before been erected. The morning after his arrival, Simeon and his friend walked about the town; and coming to this chapel, he was told, in the tone of contempt common in those days,
66 That is the Methody house." He remembered the training of his younger days, and said within himself, “I will go there, and hear them preach again.” But his love of company and amusement not only damped the better feelings that were arising, but led to his speedy removal from the place. The American war had broken out, and there was then a party of soldiers at Barnard-Castle, beating for recruits. Simeon on one occasion went to the public-house where were the Sergeant and his men. In the hands of the Sergeant he saw a number of new crown pieces, and he thought he should like to possess one, though with no intention of becoming a soldier. He offered five shillings in exchange : the Sergeant gave him the piece, but refused to receive the shillings; and as no great scrupulosity in obtaining men was then observed, Simeon was thus enlisted. He was sent to join the regiment, which was then stationed in Ireland ; but, when he had been there little more than a year, an order for a general reduction was issued, and he obtained his discharge, and returned to Barnard-Castle, where he soon found employment. He was now in his twenty-first year, as trifling and careless as ever. But the value of early religious instruction was soon manifested in him. A long and painful affliction afforded him leisure for thought; and then his old and long-resisted feelings returned with great power : he became deeply convinced of sin, and for some time laboured under a burden too heavy to bear, yet from which he could not deliver bimself. At length he resolved to open his mind to “the Methodists,” and ask from them advice and consolation. He was visited by the Class-Leader, and several of the members; and on one of these visits, while they were engaged in earnest prayer, he found peace with God, and was enabled to rejoice in the forgiveness of sins. He immediately began to meet in class, receiving his note of admission from the venerable Richard Boardman, who was then stationed in the Circuit. This was in the year 1769; and from this period it was evident that he had become a new creature.” His
resolutions were no longer formed in his own strength, so that his goodness ceased to resemble the morning cloud and the early dew. Trifling gave place to a conscientious seriousness, and henceforth he was the steady, industrious, and consistent Christian man. after married, and commenced business as a draper; and from his diligence, integrity, and kindness, connected with the respect which all who knew him entertained for him, his undertakings prospered. God blessed him “in his basket and in his store," and he manifested his gratitude by giving liberally in support of the cause of religion, and in assisting the poor.
After much thought and prayer, in the year 1777, he believed it to be his duty to engage in the work of calling sinners to repentance, as a Local Preacher. In this capacity he was a faithful labourer, as long as his strength allowed. He was both acceptable and useful. His style was colloquial, and sometimes quaint ; but never vulgar, nor unsuited to the solemnity of his work. His mode of asking questions, and suggesting the proper replies, was often very impressive ; and not unfrequently he would introduce quotations from the writings of Mr. Wesley, (with which he was well acquainted,)“our good old father,” as he used to call him. His extensive labours among the societies and congregations in the north for more than half a century, will long be gratefully remembered by numbers, to whom he was indeed a welcome messenger of glad tidings.
But though in some respects his path was prosperous, he nevertheless had often to experience that it is through much tribulation that we must enter into the kingdom of God. He had a large share of domestic afflictions. His two children died, the last being a beloved daughter, who had reached the age of twenty, to whom he was very tenderly attached, and looked to her as his chief earthly support in his own declining years and failing strength. He keenly felt the bereavement; but he knew it was the Lord's doing, and he acquiesced in his heavenly Father's will.
His days were prolonged to an unusual extent; but, in his physical power, this only caused labour and sorrow. His sight gradually failed, till, at length, he lost it altogether. Frequent attacks of illness both weakened him, and impaired his memory, so that he appeared unable to recognise his most intimate friends. But religion had so long engrossed his mind, that at any time, if this were made the subject of conversation, he was able to join in it with freedom and evident pleasure. He was once asked on what he rested his hopes of heaven; and promptly, and with much feeling, replied, “Jesus Christ died for me, a poor sinner. Nothing else; nothing else!” When the
Centenary Meeting” was held at Barnard-Castle, his faculties had been for some time in a very torpid state. The friends wished to have, if it were possible, the presence of one whom they had long venerated as the father of the society ;” but it was feared that he would not be able even to understand the subject.
Several persons, however, endeavoured to arouse his attention, and ultimately succeeded. He was told of the general “movement in the Connexion," and of the large sums that had been subscribed. He seemed as if awakened from sleep, and expressed his heartfelt joy. 66 Satan has had many a blow at Methodism,” he said, in his old familiar style, “and now there's a great blow at him." Feeble and blind, he tottered down to the afternoon meeting, supported by friends, who were glad to conduct to it the old saint of fourscore years and ten; and to their surprise as well as pleasure, he was enabled to give a recital, both interesting and instructive, of events connected with the history of Methodism that had occurred before most of his hearers were born. Not very long before he died, he said to a friend who had found him able to converse, “ If I am unable to say much, or anything, on my death-bed, never mind that : all is right with me; yes, yes,-all is well!” The last day or two of his life, the heavenly world seemed to be as if present to his view, and he expressed his joy in the prospect of so soon reaching his long-sought home. Nature seemed to be worn out, and he peacefully fell asleep. He was a man of uprightness, benevolence, spirituality, and prayer.
57. Died, March 27th, at Great-Lumley, in the Durham Circuit, in his fifty-ninth year, Mr. Thomas Cowey, a man who exemplified in very humble life the true dignity of the character that is formed on religious principles. He was born at Wapping, near Durham. His father was a coal-miner; and, till his declining years, he walked in the course of this world. He happily, however, became a new creature in Christ Jesus, connected himself with the Wesleyan society, and, after adorning his profession by his practice, died in the full assurance of faith. Thomas, when only six years old, was taken to work in the coal-pit ; but though surrounded by inducements to vice, he was preserved during his youth by the preventing grace of God, and escaped the snares that were laid for him. When sixteen years old, he accepted an invitation from that excellent man, Mr. Charles Allen, of Shiney-Row, to hear the Wesleyan Ministers, who then preached at the house there of his brother, Mr. William Allen. The word of God soon came with power to his heart, and he was deeply convinced of sin; and for some time his mental distress was great, and the more so, as he very imperfectly understood the way of a sinner's salvation. But the evangelical ministry under which he sat enlightened his inquiring mind, and he was enabled to submit to the righteousness of God, and was filled with all joy and peace through believing in “ Him that justifieth the ungodly." The earnest of heaven which he then received, even the witness of the Spirit of God with his spirit that he was a child of God, he never lost; but to the end of his course he walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost. From the first, he believed it to be his duty to unite himself in church fellowship with those among whom he had found the pearl of great price ; and bis Christian conduct uniformly supported his Christian profession. Though in the world, as he often very tryingly felt, it was always evident that he lived far above it. He was married in 1805; but in three years he had to resign his wife and child to God. She died in the unclouded prospect of heaven. In 1807 he was requested to take the charge of a class. At first he objected, from a sense of his own incompetency; but the late Mr. Bramwell, then travelling in the Sunderland Circuit, to whom he mentioned his objections, persevered in the appointment, and said, “When you have prayed once over the matter, pray twice ; mix faith with your prayers,