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WESLEYAN METHODIST ASSOCIATION
MEMOIR OF THE LATE MR. WILLIAM THOMAS.
With feelings of no ordinary kind we watch the behaviour and mark the expressions of a Christian in the hour of his dissolution, knowing that the same awful change awaits us.
An account, therefore, of the last moments of a good man, however short and simple, will be read by most persons with considerable interest, and the pious will thereby obtain profit and encouragement.
Mr. William Thomas, the only son of Mr. William Thomas, of Mullion, in the Helston Circuit, Cornwall, was born October 25th, 1820. Before his conversion to God, he was uniformly dutiful and obedient to his parents. Mr. Blight, of Penzance, the schoolmaster under whose tuition he continued for seven years, states, that during that period he had not one occasion to correct him.
In a deep and extensive revival of religion, which took place in Mullion in the year 1838, our departed friend was convinced of his state as a sinner before God. And although his conduct had always been strictly moral, yet, he now found that his heart was estranged from God. As a true penitent, in company with many others, he sought the Lord with strong cries and tears. He, and eight other persons, obtained a knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins, between twelve and one o'clock at midnight, in his father's house ; where many, too distressed to return home, had retired, for prayer, from a meeting held in the chapel, at which several had already found peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Brother Thomas possessed an active and intelligent mind, which, having now, by the grace of God, received a right direction, rendered him a valuable member of the Mullion Society; for when he was converted, he felt it to be his duty to God to join himself to the Christian church. The temperance cause, and the Sabbath. school, also shared much of his time and attention.
March 29th, 1842, he left this country, with several other of our members, from the Helston Circuit, for North America, and settled in the territory of Wisconsin, where he purchased land and intended to
establish himself as a farmer. He kept a daily journal during his pas. sage. the following extracts from which will best show his views and feelings at this time :
“ March 29. Tuesday. Left home this morning for Falmouth, and put our luggage on board the Orient.
• Wednesday 30. Went on board, and sailed out to the Roads.
' April 2. Saturday. We still remain in the Roads. Mr. Harley came on board this evening with news from home. Thank God for the support he has afforded our parents and friends. Held a prayermeeting this evening.
Sunday 3. The weather being fine we sailed about one P.M., came in sight of Mullion about five, and took a last look at the shores of old England.
"Sunday 10. Mr. Goldsworthy preached in the morning, and we had a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Thank God for the influence of the Holy Ghost. Mr. Holman preached in the afternoon, and we had a prayer-meeting in the evening.
“ Tuesday 10. Fair light breezes. Thank God for his goodness in sending us such favorable weather, which has already wafted us one thousand miles from our native shores.
“ 17th. Held a prayer-meeting on deck this morning. Mr. Hancock preached in the afternoon.
“Sunday 24. Very squally. Saw a large iceberg about five miles distant, having a base of about an acre in extent, and three large eminences like towers, which stood as high as our main royal mast head. Mr. Goldsworthy expounded in the cabin in the afternoon, and we held a prayer-meeting in the evening in the steerage.
May 11. Wednesday. Drew a chart of the Atlantic, showing our course across it, kneeling on the deck with a chest for my drawing table, amid the interruptions of passers by.
Friday 13. Brother Harry exhorted a numerous auditory. A good feeling was produced, and several seemed to take an interest in the exercise. Some of the sailors are feeling the necessity of salvation.
"'18th, Wednesday at six P. M. we entered Sandy Hook, surrounded by sublime and picturesque scenery. As the ship approached the Narrows we all assembled on the quarter deck in clean apparel, and devoutly lifted our hearts to God, in thanksgiving for his providential care during the voyage, and in prayer for his future protection. At ten o'clock we cast anchor under the lee of Staten Island.”
On the arrival of our departed friend and his companions on the territory of Wisconsin, they organized themselves as a Christian church, on the principles of our own body at home; which church still continues and is extending its borders.
October 24th, 1842, he thus wrote,—“With regard to our little church, we are lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes. We have taken two or three additional places on our plan since I wrote last, and God is crowning our labors with success.”
In another letter, dated Feb. 3, 1843, he said, “Our heavenly Father is still graciously pleased to increase our numbers ; on Sabbath Jast we had two seekers at our class, which now numbers about twenty members. I should think our number in the circuit now exceeds fifty.”
His piety and talents were such as to induce the infant church to request him to accept the office of a preacher. On this subject, in a letter dated May 18th, 1843, he says ;—“I have not preached yet, on account of the feeble state of my lungs. During the winter I was afraid to venture out much, except on fine days. I believe the confinement was too much for me, for I lost appetite and with it my strength; so that I am not yet able to work much. I doubt whether I shall ever be a strong man ; yet I think I have a better prospect of health here than in the old country.”
His health continued delicate through the year. Letters were occasionally sent by the brethren, who went out with him, to their friends in England, which gave very discouraging accounts respecting his increasing weakness. Two letters received by his friends in March last, extinguished the last hope of his affectionate parents for the recovery of their beloved and only son.
One letter was dictated by himself, only two days before his death, and addressed to his parents. The following is an extract from that letter : “I continued much the same till lately. Since, being confined, I sunk all at once into perfect weakness. My prospect is a change from this country to a still better one. Although I am without pain generally, my breathing is oppressive, and my strength almost exhausted. My prospects are clear, the will of God is my will. I am enabled, through Christ, to give up my all. Although parting with my family and friends is painful, the thoughts of soon meeting them again in a blissful immortality draws the sting of death. I shall never forget the parental instruction given to me, it has been a blessing to me through life.”
The other letter was written by Mr. Samuel James, the friend of the late Mr. John Rogers, author of “ Anti-popery,” and describes the closing scene of brother Thomas' life. It is dated, January 28, 1844. The following extracts have been selected :-
“Our Quarterly meeting was held at our deceased friend's house, on Christmas day. He was then able to take part in the business of the meeting; and, though evidently failing fast, yet we felt a hope that he would be spared with us until Spring at least. On the 14th of January, brother Foxwell visited him and preached in his house, and he did not then appear to be much altered. I visited him on the 18th, and found him very weak, and unable to speak louder than a whisper. He was out of bed, supported on an easy chair, by leaning on Mr. Shephard. I asked him whether he felt pain, he replied, “No, not any.' I enquired as to the state of his mind, and he said, “I have perfect peace, and am resigned to the will of God; desiring rather to depart and to be with Christ.' I asked if he felt his mind tried on any subject. He said, “No, except that I cannot praise God enough. He then gave me some instructions for drawing up his will, and requested singing and prayer; after which, we parted.” The day following, Mr. James again visited our dying friend, and states, that after having drawn up his will and settled his worldly affairs, “We sat down and had some most delightful conversation on the nature and happiness of heaven; and although he was too weak to speak, except at intervals, yet he seemed to be in a most happy and delightful state of mind. His countenance beamed with more expression of delight than I ever recollect to have seen in it before. We all felt it good to be there. We had singing and prayer before taking leave, and when I shook hands with him, he remarked with much emphasis, “I shall meet you in heaven. Alas! these were the last words I heard him speak, and they appeared to follow me some days after his death, as constant and happy companions. Mr. Moyle visited him on Saturday evening, and saw that he could not continue long. He generally appeared to be sensible. On asking for water to drink, he was handed some in which hot toast had been soaked, but he would not drink it, saying, “I must have cold water. There was then some given him, not quite cold, but he refused that also. Some cold water was then given him, which he drank. He then leaned back on the bed very much exhausted, and breathing very short, he whispered to Mr. Moyle, saying, “What a good thing it is that I have not the salvation of my soul to seek now,' and after some time he said, I believe the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”
“ These were the last words he was heard to speak, and turning on his right side, which he did not usually lie on, he sunk into a kind of slumber, breathing shorter, for about a quarter of an hour; when, without a sigh, struggle, or groan, he escaped to the paradise of God. The precise moment, when his happy soul left the earthly tabernacle could not be perceived." His remains were interred on the following Tuesday, (the grave being dug by his own servant), in a plot of land, on part of which it is intended to build an Association Chapel, and to have the other part attached to it as a burial ground. “There he waits his appointed time till his change come;" " for his flesh rests in hope."
MEMOIR OF THE LATE MRS. LOVEWELL.
By Her Husband.
My late dear wife was born on the 2nd of October, 1806, in Cabur, a small village, near Norwich. When she was a child, her father was, under the preaching of the Gospel, by the Wesleyans, converted to God; consequently she was early accustomed to sit under the ministry of God's Word. In the days of her childhood she had a tender conscience, and she was seriously thoughtful. It was not, however, until she was sixteen years of age, that she was brought to have a correct view of her state as a sinner. She was then awakened under a sermon from the Rev. Mr. Dison, who then travelled in the Norwich Circuit. Such was, at this time, the distress of her mind, that, when she was alone, she was frequently overheard weeping on account of her sense of guilt. She was very diffident in making known the state of her mind to her friends; and remained for a considerable time without obtaining a sense of forgiveness. Her conviction of her state as a sinner pro