Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE

AND

MISSIONARY CHRONICLE.

FOR MARCH, 1832.

MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. THOMAS HEATHCOTE,

OF GORNAL, WARWICKSHIRI.

The apostle says, “ We have was a native of Warwick, born this treasure in earthen' vessels, Jan. 9, 1781. The following exthat the excellency of the power tract from his experience, delivered may be of God, and not ot us.” at his ordination, will make Mr. H. Such vessels are susceptible of the in a great measure his own biograslightest injury, and soon unfit for pher. use. Some, alas! too soon, accord

“ Before this assembly," he observes, “I ing to our short-sightedness. Re am obliged to acknowledge, that I have but moved in the very midst of their one subject in which I can glory, and that is, usefulness, and when their lives the mercy of God, of a covenant God, a God seemed in all respects particularly

in Christ, reconciling sinners unto himself.

And here I am before you to-day as the chief desirable, who can wonder if people

of sinners; and yet, I humbly hope and heave the sigh of regret, that the trust, a sinner reconciled---not by repentance, gourd from which so much satisfac not by prayer, not by faith, not by merit, tion was anticipated should so

but purely by the blood and righteousness of

the Lord Jesus Christ, through the regenespeedily wither! Such reflections

rating and sanctifying influence of the Spirit almost involuntarily occur to the of God- to whose power and grace, for the mind, by the mysterious providence first eighteen years of my life, I was an en. which has deprived a church and

tire stranger. 'l'hough a descendant from pious

ancestors, and taught the Scriptures from my congregation of their devoted pas

childhood, earnestly watched over, constantly tor, whose memorial they would prayed for, and regularly led to the house of fain preserve in the pages of a Ma

God, where the truths of the everlasting gazine, that, in addition to its other

gospel were preached ; yet, important titles, might be justly

• To manhood from youth as I grew,

My reason to passions the slave; designated, “ The Biography of

As custom, as fashion still drew, faithful Ministers of Jesus Christ.” I rush'd down the steep to the grave.' The Rev. Thomas Heathcote,

Ah! do I say the grave !_but had justice late pastor of the Independent

pursued me, where, O where at this moment church at Gornal, near Dudley, would my guilty soul have been ?--a compa

VOL. X.

K

nion of devils ! But forbearing mercy spared, that others should know him. As a memeven whilst living eighteen years in open ber, deacon, and manager for several years rebellion against the Author of all my mer. in that place, much devolved on me, which, cies. And indeed, my friends, when God as far as my abilities permitted me, it genefirst met with my soul, it was at a time when rally was iny joy to perform. Here I reI was struggling hard to throw off all reli. mained till it pleased the Lord to thrust me, gious restraint, and to satisfy myself with as a poor labourer, into this part of his vinewhat I vainly imagined to be pleasure ; it yard; and now to me, who am less than the was when I had so far deviated from those least of all saints, is this grace given, that I paths in which I had, from the earliest dawn should preach among them the unsearchable of reason, been instructed, as to be on the riches of Christ.” very precipice of dissipation and vice; it was Mr. H. was greatly blessed in at that time, when all prayer and all religious admonitions from some of the best of God's

his labours, and lived much in the ministers in those days appeared to be com- affections of his people. He found pletely lost; it was then that the Lord said, the cause in a low state when he • Hitherto shalt thou go, but no further.'

went, and was the means of consiThis was early in the summer of 1799. I was solicited to go and hear Mr. Cooper, of

derably increasing it. He was inDublin, at King Street Chapel, Birmingham, strumental in building a new and and I went from motives of curiosity. His very commodious chapel, which text was Heb. ii. 3 : 'How shall we escape,

was opened in July, 1830 ; his efif we neglect so great salvation ?' These words were like a nail fastened in a sure

forts in collecting for which are place; I came out of the chapel with very thought much to have impaired his different feelings and views to what I had health. Near to the chapel is a when I went in. The entrance of thy word neat and substantial building, for giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.' This was exemplified in my expe

the use of Sunday and infantrience. I had read the Scriptures; I had schools-objects that lay near his been catechised, instructed, and admonished; heart-and while these edifices rebut all like waters poured on the barren main, bis name cannot be forgotten. rock-till now ; but when the command. ment came, sin revived, and I died.' From

Mr. H.'s talents, disposition, and this time I became concerned about this sal active turn of mind were remarkvation, this great salvation,' that had so ably well adapted to the station long been neglected, despised, trampled on- appointed him by the great Head from this time I had new eyes, new ears, new feelings; new work to do, and great

of the church. From his entrance opposition in pursuing it. In reviewing this to Gornal as a minister, the people part of my experience, I stand astonished themselves entertained this idea, astonished that I have not been finally over and hence, on his introduction come by sin and Satan; so strong were the workings of flesh and blood, so suitable were

e among them, one of their number,

among the temptations, that I am constrained to convinced that he was likely to suit say, "What hath God wrought!' But I was them, said, “ He is come now, if made willing in the day of his power. Some he never came before.” The text little time after this change was wrought, I was enabled, in the exercise of faith, to

on which he founded his first disview the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. course, Matt. xi. 28, gave them a and to cast my soul on him, with a firm per correct anticipation of their future suasion of an interest in his meritorious

pastor. death. His ways I found to be ways of pleasantness, and his paths, paths of peace;

Towards the close of his minisyet I cannot say that I found sin dead in me, try, his mind appeared to be more nor do I even yet : no, it is still my burden, weaned from the world, and deand makes me at times to cry out, 0 lightfully absorbed in spiritual wretched man that I am,' &c. for sin is mixed with all I do.' On the 18th August, 1799,

things. He was very anxious to I joined the society worshipping where God

improve the eventful times for the was pleased first to meet with my soul; and benefit of his charge, and therefore as one for whom the Lord had done great appointed special meetings for things, his cause lay near my heart. Being taught the value of my immortal soul, I be

& prayer, on account of the pesticame concerned about the salvation of others : lence, which has not only proved and, feeling Christ precious, I was desirous awfully fatal in other countries,

gain."

but has also been permitted by the out by him was the 91st: “He that Almighty to visit our native land. hath made his refuge God,” &c. He had just formed a plan for visit He seemed particularly reluctant to ing every family where a member close the service, and said, “I feel of the church resided, and others as though I could not let you go; who might wish it, for the purpose you must stay a little longer; I of reading and expounding the have something to relate to you," Scriptures,questioning them on their and then mentioned an instance in contents, discoursing on religious which prayer, that had been offered subjects, and engaging in prayer; up for a child, was answered many the whole to occupy about an hour years afterwards. He was taken This plan he suggested at the very ill on Wednesday, Dec. 7th, and last church meeting he attended, died the following day. He sufferwhen he mourned over the state of ed excruciating pain, but was very the whole neighbourhood, and the tranquil and resigned, and exceedlittle success which he thought had ingly grateful for the attention of resulted from his labours. Under kind friends. On one occasion he this emotion, he said, “I am not repeated that passage of Scripture, tired of my work,” and expressed “My times are in thy hand,” and himself, in a particular manner, as observed, “ the doctrines of the resigned to the will of God in the cross afford me great consolamidst of all, saying with the apos- tion.” Anticipating his approachtle, “ To live is Christ, to die is ing change, he repeated the lan

guage of the Christian poet : Mr. Heathcote's friends think he

“ Prepare me, Lord, for thy right hand; had a presentiment of his approach Then come the joyful day ; ing dissolution. His earnestness Come death, and some celestial band, on the first Lord's-day, in Dec. To bear my soul away!”. 1831, which proved to be the last Having taken leave of his beof his labours and his life, was re loved wife, dear children, and marked by all. In the morning he Christian friends, committing his preached from Ps. xxxi. 14,15: “I soul into the hands of a gracious said, thou art my God. My times are Redeemer, he breathed his last in thy hand.” In the afternoon he without a sigh or groan. By the administered the Lord's Supper, removal of this servant of Christ, and, when addressing the specta his widow and two children have tors, said, “Why stand ye here all sustained a great loss, as also other the day idle ?” and related two in- dear relations, and a numerous stances of death that had come circle of pious friends, besides the under his own notice: one of a people of his charge, who feel that young man about nineteen, remov- they had no one else like-minded ed in a sudden and unexpected towards themselves. manner, and the other about his On Tuesday, the 13th, his reown age; “ and who,” he asked, mains were interred in a vault, “ will be the next? It may be chosen by himself, beneath the spot your minister.” And so it proved. on which he had, for so many years, On the Sabbath evening he spoke stood, to point his fellow men to from Isai. xxvi. 3. He met his the Saviour of sinners. Several of people for the last time on the next the neighbouring ministers, and evening, and impressed on his au- some particular friends, preceded dience the necessity of prayer, and the corpse. The pall was borne by the importance of being prepared Messrs. Roaf, Hudson, Dawson, for death. The last psalm given Hammond, East, and Percy, He

K

« VorigeDoorgaan »