Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

of the country, where Methodism riage) she occupies a place no less gained some of its earliest trophies. distinguished than her husband Here a society was regularly or- in the annals of early Methodism. 'ganized, on the plan of an inde- She possessed superior personal acpendent church, over which he complishments, which were united was ordained pastor. His minis- in her to a mind cultivated by try, however, was not confined to education, and an imagination brilthis people, but he continued his liant and lively in the highest deitinerant exertions, in various parts gree. In her childhood, she had of the country, until the year 1759, often serious thoughts on religious when he sunk under a series of subjects ; but, as she grew up, her most arduous, self-denying, aud company being sought by the highly useful labours, and “ finish- young and the gay, to whom her ed his course with joy.” “I have lively flow of spirits made her a seen (said his surviving partner) most acceptable companion, her many saints take their leave of this “goodness was as the morning world, but none like J. B.; may cloud, and as the early dew." But my last end be like his! As I being, at a maturer age, impressed was sitting on his bedside, he said, with a deep concern for her salva

My dear, I am dying !' This tion, by the preaching of Whitfield was about eleven o'clock, and he and Wesley, she entered into their conversed with me till two. I views with all her constitutional said, “Thou art not afraid of dy- ardour and decision; and having ing?' He answered cheerfully, lost her first husband, who was "No, my dear, for I am assured, greatly opposed to her religious past a doubt, or even a scruple, pursuits, she devoted herself, in a that I shall be with the Lord, to particular manner, to the service behold his glory ; the blood of Je- of God, and especially to promote sus Christ has cleansed me from the eternal welfare of her own sex. all sin. I long to be dissolved. She was employed by Mr. Wesley Come, Lord Jesus, loose me from to organize his female societies, the prison of this clay! Oh sweetand for this purpose she travelled sweet dying.' I said “Canst thou through various parts of both Engnow stake thy soul on the doctrine land and Ireland. Mr. W. used thou hast preached ?' He answer to call her his right hand ; and it ed, “Yes, ten thousand souls; it is is known that he wished to make the everlasting truth, stick by it.' her his wife. An acquaintance, Then he prayed for his wife and however, was formed between her children-for his father, sister, and and Mr. B., which, in its origin her children ; and for the Church and continuance, was marked by seof God: after which he said, 'I long veral extraordinary circumstances, to be gone; I am full-my cup run- and which led to their marriage at neth over; sing, sing, yea shout for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in October, joy! We then kissed each other and 1749. The ceremony was ho-' he fell asleep in the arms of Jesus.” noured with the presence of George

The part which Mrs. B. sustain Whitfield and Charles Wesley. ed in this remarkable and affect. For several years Mrs. B. contiing scene, will give to the religious nued to travel with her husband, reader a lively conception of her whom she greatly assisted in his real character. She was a native labours; but afterwards, when of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and her her family and its cares increased, maiden name was Norman; but she retired to the neighbourhood under that of Grace Murray (which of Chapel-en-le-Frith, where, for she derived from a former mar. more than half a century, her life

and conversation uniformly did his mother's instructions and praythe greatest honour to her religi- ers, that he was the subject of ex: ous principles and profession. Her perimental religion at an early age. views of Gospel doctrine, after her It was, doubtless, in consequence separation from Mr. Wesley, were of this, that, from his youth, he always decidedly Calvinistic; but was inclined to enter into the she retained a partiality to the Christian ministry, in which he modes and usages of the Metho. was encouraged by his pious modists, and had for many years a ther, and other religious friends. * class-meeting held in her house. She died, after a short sickness,

* In a late memoir of Mr. B., included February 23, 1003, mn the oth in the same volume with his posthumous year of her age. In her dying work, a very eager attempt is made to moments she was supported, in an elicit something from his opinions and eminent degree, by the consola

habits in favour of the Church of Eng

land, and the use of her Liturgy. This tions of the Gospel; her last words

has excited the amazement of many, to were, “ Glory be to thee, my God; whom it is well known that Mr. B. was, peace thou givest me!”

in his day, almost pre-eminent among a Mrs. B. was left, at the decease most respectable class of Dissenting di

'vines, who are distinguished among of her husband, with five sons, the

their brethren by the superior regularity oldest not eight years of age, in and consistency of their nonconformity. whose education she encountered This author, however, states, that Mr. many trials and difficulties; but, B. “is said to have once entertained some by her counsel, example, and pray

idea of becoming a minister of the Church

of England.” We could have no posers, she trained them up “in the

sible objection to give currency to this nurture and admonition of the statement, had we sufficient reason to Lord." The subject of this me- think it authentic ; but we find that it is moir appears to have engaged a not so regarded by persons to whom Mr.

B. was best and longest known, and that full share of his mother's affection, it is interwoven with a tissue of particuate regard and pious endeavours. lars, some of which are grossly incorrect, He was favoured, during several and others utterly unfounded. Among of his early years, with the advan, other things, Mr. B. is said to have been

placed (at the time when he entertained tages of instruction in the public

this idea) under the tuition of the Rev. grammar school at Chapel-en-le- Mr. Bennett, a respectable clergyman in Frith. He afterwards resided for the neighbourhood of Chapel-en-le-Frith, some time with Mr Stanbanks, a and author of Letters to a Young La

dy;" whereas, we have ascertained, that respectable farmer, at Astley, in

the person thus described was no clergyLancashire, where he attended at man until some years after the subject of a school placed under the superin. this memoir had been devoted to the mitendance of Mr. Bennett, a distant nistry among the Dissenters, and that he relative, not much older than him

never, at any time, resided as a clergy

man in the neighbourhood of Chapel-enself, who, at a subsequent period le-Frith. of life, became a clergyman of the It is asserted, in the same publication, Establishment, and published se

that Mr. B. was “ fond of repeating the veral ingenious works.

beautiful prayers of the Liturgy,” that

“his partiality for the service of the It is much to be regretted that no Church of England continued to the account can now be obtained of Mr. last," and that, “ though he exercised B.'s early religious impressions, or his ministry among the Dissenters, he of the means by which he attained often, in conducting the solemnities of

public worship, and breathing forth the to that clear and spiritual acquaint-. feelings of private devotion, adopted the ance with divine things, of which chaste and simple language of the Church he afterwards gave such satisfac- prayers." How this author can have tory proof. It should. indeed. learned what language Mr. B. used in his

private devotions is a complete mystery to seem, from the manner in which

us. But respecting his prayers in public he describes the salutary effect of we can speak with greater confidence.

With this view he was placed, for by Mr. B., in subsequent life, preparatory instruction, under the with ardent expressions of graticare of the Rev. Mr. Plumbe, a tude. So lately as July, 1816, in respectable Dissenting minister, writing to a friend, he says, "yesthen of Charlesworth, in Derby-, terday it was the lecture-day at shire. The time spent with this Charlesworth—the place where, gentleman; and the religious and previously to my going to the acaliterary advantages derived from demy in 1772, I had spent several his tuition, were often spoken of years under the care of Mr.Plumbe,

who soon afterwards removed to, Had there been any peculiarity in them, and finished his course at, Nottingarising from the frequency with włoich he

ham. I felt therefore a very strong adopted the language of the Church prayers, it must have been known to the desire to visit the place of my early people with whom he worshipped ; but habits—to look on what old faces we have learned from several respectable might remain amongst the people ministers, with whose churches he was mostly connected during the last thirty

of that congregation as well as years of his life, and in whose pulpits and to enjoy an interview with the social meetings he often prayed, that few brethren who survive, of those such a peculiarity was never either ob

who formed that monthly associ-, served, or thought of, by themselves or their people. Of his fondness for repeat

ation, when we came from Loning the Church prayers, they were in the

don to reside in these parts. The same state of ignorance, until this me day was favourable, and I rode moir appeared; and what kind of par

over, when I heard two good distiality for the Liturgy it must have been, which he is said to have retained “ to the

courses,” &c. In this pleasing aset last,” our readers may judge from the

sociation of ideas, expressed with fact, that he continued to the last" to so much feeling, many persons can prefer, in practice, a different mode of doubtless sympathize with Mr. B., worship.

when they recollect the scenes of This author next informs us, that “the train of reasoning which induced Mr. B.

their youth, especially if local obto dissent from the national establish jects bring to grateful rememment is not known;" but that, “it is brance former enjoyments of the likely reason had but a small share in the decision, at his age.”

blessings of Providence, or the inSurely it was “not known” to the learned biographer, that valuable privileges of religion. Mr. B. had actually published his views, as

With these previous advantages, a Dissenter, of “ the Nature and Order of Mr. B. was received, in April, New Testament Churches,” and that his

1772, into the old Dissenting Cola “ train of reasoning” on this subject, is extant, in the familiar and intelligible

lege, Homerton. Here, under the form of a catechism. The entirely gra- , tuition of Dr. Conder, in the theotuitous supposition that “reason had but logical department, and of Dr. Giba a small share in Mr. B.'s decision" to

bons and Dr. Fisher, in the other adhere to the Dissenters, we cannot pos.

branches of academical instruction, sibly admit, especially if we be expected to give credit also to what is said re- « he enjoyed privileges which he specting his previous “idea of becoming knew how to appreciate, and which a minister of the Establishment.” All

have been afforded to few students who really knew Mr. B. will be perfectly confident, that if it had ever been a mounes lent spirit which he invariably

with greater success. The excel ter in the Establishment, or among the manifested towards his fellow-stuDissenters, he would have given himself dents, secured him the friendship no rest until he had made a decision what appeared to himself most satisfac

of several among them, who after: tory grounds.

wards rose to distinguished emiBeing conscientiously obliged to ginit nence, as divines and ministers of these particulars from our memoir, we the Gospel, from whom he had the thouglit it necessary to assign our reasons

satisfaction to receive tokens of for so doing, lest that should be attributed to prejudice which we believe to

affectionate regard, throughout the be due to truth.

whole of his subsequent life. It

is also due to his memory to re- of acquaintance with Mr. B., that mark, that his diligence in acade- his regard for his venerable inmical studies and exercises, with structor and coadjutor continued a view to future usefulness, not unabated to his latest years. Noonly led, in a high degree, to his thing was more common with him own religious and intellectual im- than to quote the opinions, or the provement, but obtained for him practice, of Dr. C. as an authority the marked approbation and re- to which he paid a deference, on spect of all connected with the in all subjects, subordinate only to stitution.

that due to Him who is “ Head Mr. B. was admitted, in March, over all things to the church.” 1779, a member of the church of Mr. B. was now chosen sole Christ assembling at the meeting pastor of the church in Moorfields, house on the Pavement, Moorfields, which enjoyed great prosperity of which Dr. Conder was pastor. and peace as the fruit of his laHis union with this people was, in bours, and of his exemplary spirit its consequences, an important and and deportment. As a preacher, happy event, both to himself and he attained to an unusual degree them. Five years knowledge of of popularity in the metropolis, him, and Christian communion which rendered his humility, and with bim, led them to the prullent his diligent attention to pastoral step of choosing him co-pastor with duties, the more conspicuous and Dr. C., whose age and infirmities commendable. Religious persons rendered a measure of that kind in general, and more especially necessary. The knowledge which ministers of the Gospel, will nahe had, in the mean time, ob- turally seek instruction from the tained of them, was among his in- history of so wise and good a man ducements to accept their affec- during the period of his ministetionate call; and, upon leaving the rial engagements. It is to be reacademy, he was publicly or- gretted that the materials which dained to this important charge, we possess for gratifying so proper May 27, 1778. · The union thus and laudable an expectation, are commenced was connected by the but meagre and insufficient; but affection of all parties interested in the following letters, it is hoped, it: the pastors and their people will, in no small degree, supply were, in a remarkable degree, « of this defect. They were written one heart and of one mind, striving to a younger minister, who had together for the faith of the Gos anxiously requested his advice on

the subjects to which they relate. In the month of May, 1781, Dr. It will be perceived, from their Conder rested from his great and dates, that they were composed at useful labours. Mr. B. delivered a time when Mr. B. could look an eloquent and impressive oration back upon the exercises and events over the grave of his friend and of his own former ministry, with father in the Gospel, which was all the advantages of full maturity published in connexion with the in scriptural wisdom and religious funeral sermon of the Rev. James experience. The length of them, Webb, preached on the same oc- it is presumed, is the last thing of casion. The attachment between which the Christian reader will him and Dr. C. was mutual and complain.* most ardent, to the preservation of which the good sense and Christian . * These valuable letters will be found prudence of each contributed in no

among the “ Original Communications" small degree.

in the present Number. It is known to those ment was found most convenient in the

This arrangewho latterly enjoyed the privilege divisiou of the memoir.

pel."

The truly evangelical spirit and highly inconsistent with that sulively zeal with which the minis. preme and exclusive allegiance, terial labours of Mr. B. were con- which he claims from all his subducted, appear, also, from the pub- jects, as their only Lord and Lawlications which proceeded from his giver. Under the preceding dispen during his continuance in the pensation, in which the worship of pastoral office. The first of these the sanctuary was conducted by appears to have been a Fast Ser- means of " carnal ordinances,' mon, preached in February, 1780, Moses was admonished of God, and entitled, Professors admo- when he was about to make the nished in the Day of Calamity," tabernacle,' that he should be care&c. This discourse is, in every ful 'to make all things according to view, an excellent specimen of the pattern showed to him in the preaching. Of the early maturity mount:' how much more, then, of judgment and literary taste may it be concluded, that, under which it displays, much might be the present, which is a' ministrasaid ; but these are its least valua- tion of the Spirit that exceeds in ble qualities. It gives a most fa- glory,' the whole order of God's vourable idea of Mr. B.'s devoted house and worship should be strictness to God, and of his concern ly conformed to divine prescription for the honour of religion, and the and appointment.' purity of its professors. Shame- “It must be lamented, however, ful conformity to the world,and that, in the present day, the nature some other sins, the evil of which of the Redeemer's kingdom, the is apt to strike the aged rather constitution of his churches, the than the young, are described and rules of gospel-fellowship, and the reproved by him with all the zeal scriptural plan of social religion, and earnestness of a hoary apostle. are very imperfectly understood Mr. B. published, also, in 1784, by numbers of those who are called A Concise View of Religious the followers of Christ. Some do Worship, and of the Nature and Or- not appear to relish them ; others, der of New Testament" Churches.” perhaps without design, pass them This treatise he lent to a friend, a over with silent inattention. Many, few weeks before his death, with there is reason to fear, do not sufan expression of regret that he ficiently consider the authority of could not give it to him, as it was Christ in these things, nor the ad. the only copy that he possessed ; a vantages designed to arise from sufficient proof (if proof were ne- them to his subjects. And, processary) that he approved of the bably, not a few are discouraged sentiments which it contains “ to by an apprehension of the difficulthe last.” It may be proper to in- ties with which they must con. sert the following passages from tend, if they determine faithfully the preface to this work, partly to to observe whatsoever Christ has set the character of Mr. B. in its commanded:”. true light, and partly as affording “ Thus, on one account and wholesome and seasonable admo- another, many live all their days nition in the present times. under the sound of the Gospel, in

To suppose that Jesus Christ, the neglect of important duties, the anointed King on God's holy which Christ has enjoined on all hill of Zion, should have left unde- his subjects, while others are very termined the form of gospel wor- deficient in their attention to them. ship, or have referred what re- And, from these circumstances, spects the constitution, order, dis much disadvantage ariseth to the cipline, and duties of his churches, cause of Christ. Some churches to the will and wisdom of men, is are filled with disorder and confu.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »