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EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE.

MARCH, 1807.

MEMOIR

OF

THE LATE REV. JOHN KINGDOX,
PASTOR OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH AT FROME.

[The former Part drawn rp by himse!f.]

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Write thine own life for divine inspection, as well as hu

Before men read it, I shall know what the Lord says of it; and it is not he that commendeth himself that is approvedi, but whom the Lord commendeth. I shall not affix my affidavit to what I may write; and say, “ This is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth ;” though I should not ohjeet to doing it to the first and last of these assertions. Jolin vii. 18 has for some time forbid my complying with the request of friends ; as also, what was once said by a dying good man, in a despairing frame, to persons who told 'hin that he would be greatly praised after his death :-"Ah! it is a poor consolation to think that I shall be praised where I am not, and tormented where I am!” I have nothing good in me, but what I have received; and I have received nothing good, but what I have abused ; and therefore I. can have nothing whereof to boast : and by the time the Lord has had all the honour which belongs to bin, out of all our perfornances, there will be very little honour lest for us.

John Kingdon's father and mother, William and Ann King. don, were descended from reputable parents, both in a civil and religious sense. They comfortably brought up five sons and two daughters, viz. Samuel, William, John, Ann, Mary, Edmund, and Joseph, carrying on a good trade in the woollen line, at Silverton, in Devonshire. They were much respected ; an: attended the public worship of God, mostly among the Dissenters, at Silverton, Thorverton, and Exeter. Dissenting ministers and clerrymen often visited them at their house at Silverton.

John Kingdon, the writer of this Memoir, was born at Silverton, December 6, 1750, 0. S. where he went to school, first to Mr. Beare, and afterwards to Mr. Taylor ; both of whoin rer. garded the morals, as well as the instruction, of their scholars.

At abont ten or eleven years of age, I was, for some minutes, supposed to be dead of the small-pox; and the report of my death was spread abroad: and about my fourteenth year, I was bitten by a large mad dog; and was supposed to be infected with the canine disorder ; but Providence blessed the means used by Dr. Chamberlain, of our town, to my recovery.

About the year 1748, my father and Mr. Broadmead, another serge-maker, removed from Silverton, in Devon, on account of the frequent mobbing and combinations among the workmen there, to Milverton, in Somerset; by which means I had the great privilege of sitting under the valuable ministry of the Rev. Robt Day, of Wellington, about four miles from Milverton.

In 1751, as that branch of the clothing business carried on by my father, became unproductive; and several fiiends, particularly a Capt. Kenwood, of Topsham, recommende I my entering upon a sca-faring life, I accordingly, after learning navigation, engaged with Capt. Roberts, of Exmouth, master of the brig Two Brothers, to go with him to Waterford, in Ireland, for passengers and provisions; and from thence to Little Persentia, in the 10th-west part of Newfoundland, where we staid fron May to October, citching and curing cod-fish, which we carried to Spain. We then took in a freight of Barrilla wine, &c. for London, with which we arrived on the Cornish coast on Christmas-Eve; and, in a heavy gale, were in danger of being driven ashore in Mount's Bay; and, alterwards in going up the Channel, received so much damage, as rendered the vessel unfit for

In the next spring, 1752, I went another voyage to Carliz, Gibraltar, and Malagal, whence we brought a cargo of wine and fruit for Bristol ; where we arrived in October, finding, to our surprize, our countrymen reckoning eleven days before us, thro' the alteration of thc style. In the following spring, 1753, I got à birth on board the snow Minerva, Capt. Woolcombe, ot Topsham, bound with bale goods, worth upwards of 30,0001. 10 Gunoi, Leghorn, Naples, and Messini ; and after discharging our cargo, we took in another of wheat at Leocatta, in Sicily, and carried it to Malaga; from whence we carried a cargo of wine and fruit to Poole, in Dorsetshire ; and after discharging it, we returned to Topslam, which closed my spa-laring life.

I have great reason for thankfulness to the God of my life for many remarkable deliverances in heavy gales of wind, whin on sea-shores, &F.; and I have still greater reason for thankitulness for Goil's rosimining goodlines in keeping me from the three easily besetting sins of sen, (St With sincere gratitude

, viz. cirankcaness, swearing, and uncleanness. I appeal to ilim, as knowing that during the whole of my scataring lili, da tiver let me once, eitlier to be intoxicated with ricpilci, oi to utler a prolaue oath, or to saluie a foreign Was; aundior the lonour of God's grace, and the manifestation of the truel, I now assert ia my old age (in niy seventy

SC.

While at sca,

cond ycar) that God has still withheld me from thus sinning against him.

I had frequent convictions while at sea, especially when in ertreme dangers, that I was not in the way of my duty; and at the desire of my friends, I returned to live with my parents at Milverton, assisting them in their business, and attending the means of grace, under Mr. Robt. Day, of Wellington. I made conscience of secret prayer, reading, &c.; and of ab. staining from what appeared to me to be sinful: and after leaving the sea, I attended statedly to prayer, with my sisters and other acquaintance; but I felt uncasy at not seeing how the Lord, consistently with his-holiness and justice, conld save me, an impure and guilty creature. At length, in reading Dr. Gill on Justification, the Lord, I trust, gave my mind comfortable satisfaction respecting that matter; and showed me, that in Christ, the Lord could be everlastingly glorified in saving the greatest sinner, who is willing to be savel in this way. My delight and thankfulness, at first discovering this admirable way of saving sinners, prevented sleep, and kept me from usual worldly company. It created a great indifference about cartily pleasures, led me to devout contemplations on the astonishing subject, and endeared to me the word of God and all the means of grace.

I was baptized by Mr. Day, on July 7, 1753 (along with Mr. Pyne, who was afterwards minister at the Devizes) and joined his church. I there enjoyed the benefits and pleasures of religion till June, 1759, when the church called me to the work of the ministry; and soon afterwards recommended my going to Bristol. On August 1, in the same year, I went to the Academy; and pursued my studies under thie instruction of Messrs. Ilugle and Caleb Evans. Soon after my admission, I supplied, with my fellow-students, various destituite churches. In August, 1700, Mr. Abraham Larwill, pastor of a Baptist Church at Frome, came to Bristol ; and as I had been acquainted with him, he ata fectionately wished me divine assistance in my studies, and direction where to settle when they were endel; and about a month aftcrwards lie himself diedi, Sept. 6, 1760. At the request of his church, I was called to supply his place the two following Lord's Days after his interment; and in a few months the church desired me to become their ininister when I should leave the Academy. I supplied them abont once a montı; and supplied for various pastors, who went to Frome to preach an break bread for them; but from obedience to my tiitors and my own inclination, I could not consent to prozaise that I would comply with their request, as I hoped to stay at Bristol, at least, two years longer; yet I said nothing designedly discouraging to their written call.

In 1761, Dr. Gill came from Londo: to Bristol, with whose empany I was sometimes favorired. When he reumel bome he was consulted by the Baptist Church in Devonshire Square, which was then destitute; and the Doctor wrote to my preceptor, by desire of that church, requesting that I might visit them for some Sabbaths, with a view to my settling with them. Ac, cordingly I went to London, and served that people five or six weeks; at the close of which time they gave me a call to become their pastor ; but I came back to the Academy without returning an answer to them. The church at Frome repeated their call also, and, toward the Autumn of 1762, after much prayer, consideration, and consultation with many ministers on the subject, whether I should go to Devonshire Square or to Frome, I retired to a private field in order to implore divine direction, and finally to determine the question; and, though all my friends among the ministers, except one, advised me to go to London, and the church there proposed a salary double. to that which was offered at Frome; yet, when imploring the Lord's direction, I felt a persuasion that I was more likely to be usefuil at I'rome than in London; and accordingly I fell in with this conviction. I went to reside at Frome in November 1962, and, on the 5th of April 1763, was chosen by the universal desire of the church, and ordained their pastor ; nor have I to this time (March 1803) ever wished hat I had settled else, where as a minister. At my ordination, the Rev. Caleb Evans began the service by reading and prayer ; the Rev. Mr. Tommas, of Bristol, succeeded in prayer ; ihe Rev. Ilugh Evans received me into the church as a member, by reading a dismission from the church at Wellington; the members of Frome church unanimously expressed their iesire that I would become their pastor, by lifting up of hands; I signified my acceptance of their call, and Mr. Uugh Evans prayed the ordination prayer, tvhich was attended with the laying of the hands of the elders of other churches; hc then delivered the charge from 2 Tim. ii, 15, “Study to shew thyself approved,” &c. ; the Rev. R. Parsons prayed ; and the Rev. R. Day, of Wellington, preached to the people from 1 Thess. v. 15; the Rev. Mr. Fuller, of Derizes, closed in prayer." The Rev. Messrs. Neel of Brougha ton, Haynes of Bracitord, Clark of Crockerton, &c. joined in the service. Mr. Clark, the survivor of all these ministers, died on April 5, 1903, exactly forty years from the day of my ordi. mation; wiili whom I lived in Christian intimacy, and no un. kind word eyer passed between us all that time.

From April 5, 1769 to April 5, 1803, I baptized 339 persons, who were received into tellowship with the church at Frome; besides many more who joined other churches,

During my whole life I can reilect on no religious exercise which I have performed but with disapprobation and self-loath. ing I bave generally gone from my closet to my paipit pray: ins, and sometiines hoping for the Lord's presence and blessing ; Lui I have generally returned liome orerwhelmed with shame

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and confusion; and have often thought, that no minister of the gospel ever delivered discourses less likely to honour Gol or profit man. When I have heard any of my hearers speak in terms of approbation of my sermons, I have been ready to doubt their sinoerity. The more I reflect on my rule, motive, and end, the more I am constrained to detest every performance of my own, and to pray that I may never receive the desert of the best hour I ever spent. I can have no hope as to futurity but from the worthiness of another; and unless a better righteousness than my own had been revealed, I could not have expected that God would have saved me.

Jesus, how glorious is thy grace

When in thy name we trust!
Our faith receives a righteousness

That makes a sioner just.
A Sketch of Mr. Kingdon's Character, drawn up by one of

his Deacons. In delineating the character of a man who, for half a century, was an honour to his profession, we would not terminate our views in a valuable individual ; we would say to all our readers, “ Be ye followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises.” To his congregation we would say, “Remember him who spake to you the word of the Lord ; consider the end of his conversation, -- Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Many of you will long venerate his memory; and, while you consider him as a man subject to like passions with yourselves, you must praise that grace which kept him from falling, and which was so abun. dantly manifested in his last sickness.

Mr. Kingdon was remarkably just in his dealings; charitable, caridid, and humble. As to justice, he did not merely aim to save his character, but acted from higher motives. In all his concerns with mien, he habitually conductel himself as under the eye of him who saith, “As ye would that men should do unto you, so do ye unto them. He hated

every

deviation from justice in others; for he considered it as a leading virtue. “ Be just,” he would say, “ before you are generous, for God hates robbery for burnt-offering." But he did not suppose that doing justly would excuse him from loving mercy.

ile did not forget to do good and to communicate. Tie has often fed the bungry, and clothed the naked; but he took care 6. not to let his lett hand know what his right hand did.” It was sufficient for him to do good, without receiving human applause for his conduct.

Temperance and self-slertial were very obvious traits in his character. Ile kept under his body, and brought it into sub, jection. That grace which brought him salvation, cílictually taught him to liye soberly as' well as goilly in this present evil

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