Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

record of his wonderful deliverance, “is the hardening nature of sin, that, instead of feeling thankful as on a former occasion, as soon as I recovered from the effects of my fall, (for I was again thrown to some distance,) I laughed at my companion in suffering. Ungrateful wretch that I was! What shall I now render unto the Lord who thus redeemed my life from destruction?”

From this time he became more thoughtful; and that spirit of levity and indifference to religion which had hitherto been too apparent in his conduct was succeeded by an earnest desire for salvation. The conversion of the soul to God, together with the holy joys, and all the great and glorious privileges resulting from that change, is that which distinguishes the regenerate from the unregenerate ; the man who has the Spirit of Christ from the man who has it not, and who, consequently, does not belong to Christ. This then is a subject of deep and vital importance, and forms an epoch in the religious history of every Christian, from which must be dated the reconciliation of the spirit to God, and its introduction into the favour and friendship of God. Then, and not till then, the believer has the certain persuasion that he is thus passed from death unto life. This assurance he derives, not from the dubious and uncertain conjecture of his own mind, but from the testimony of the Holy Spirit of God, who bears witness with his that he is a child of God. This subject, so essential in the religious experience of every child of God, is more intensely interesting when it forms a part of the character of a Minister of the Gospel, who is to be employed as an instrument in the hand of God for the conversion of others. Our esteemed friend Mr. Pinder realized the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit early in life, and found the blessed assurance of his acceptance with God a constant spring of comforting and hallowing influence. It was evident to all who knew him, that his religion was not a transient impression, but a permanent principle, blending itself with all his feelings, and sanctifying all his actions. His own language, simple and unadorned, fully attests the reality of this gracious work of God on his heart,

Hearing,” he says, “ others speak of the goodness of God, and the assurance they had of his favour and pardoning love, my soul longed for the same blessing ; but not being acquainted with the nature of faith, I went from place to place, hoping that in the next means of grace I was favoured with, God would show me his salvation, and I post Assure my conscience of her part

In the Redeemer's blood.'

But no sooner did I wait upon God in his appointed way, than I imagined I was not prepared, or that God would not so favour me at that time. I believe it was the third week I went to my class, that the Leader, having heard the state of my mind, spoke to this effect : 'All things are now ready; now is the day of salvation;' and advised me

to apply to the throne of grace just as I was, with all my sin and guilt, and venture my soul on the veracity of the faithful Jehovah. That night, on retiring to my room, I fell on my knees, with a determination to pour out my soul before God, and to wrestle with him in prayer, until he blessed me with a sense of his approbation and love. I had not been engaged long in this secret devotion before I was inclined to think I should then find peace and joy through faith in the merits of Christ; but immediately it was suggested, “If you do believe, and do not obtain the blessing you seek, you will be deceived, and worse than ever.' I then thought, “Well, I shall be undone if I do not believe; therefore, lost or saved, sink or swim,' (I express it as it then occurred,) ‘I will believe,' and thus ventured my whole soul on the truth of God's infallible word. That very moment the words of Jesus to the leper occurred, “ I will, be thou clean ;' which wrought such a firm persuasion of the unparalleled goodness of God, and the amazing condescension of the Saviour, as removed my sorrow, and filled my soul with holy joy. I arose from my knees, and praised him who forgave my iniquities, redeemed my life from destruction, and thus crowned me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. I experienced something of the poet's meaning :

• How happy are they

Who the Saviour obey,
And have laid up their treasure above :

Tongue cannot express

The sweet comfort and peace
Of a soul in its earliest love.

My Jesus to know,

And feel his blood flow,
"Tis life everlasting, 'tis heaven below.'

[ocr errors]

“ That night I slept in peace; but not feeling the same rapturous enjoyment in the morning, I was afraid that I had deceived myself, and gave up my confidence in a great degree. At my class I mentioned this to Mr. H., my Leader, who observed, “If your body had been oppressed with a burden, and a kind friend had listened to your entreaties, and removed it, would you doubt the reality ?' I saw the propriety and felt the force of this observation, and encouraged myself in God my

Saviour." Some time after this, prompted by the working of the Holy Spirit on his mind, and urged by the solicitations of friends, he engaged in the work of public prayer and exhortation. His labours, in several instances, were graciously owned of God, and he was encouraged to devote himself entirely to the ministry of the word. In this brief biography the various circumstances which led to this important result cannot be recorded. At the Conference of 1799 he was appointed to the Thetford Circuit with the Rev. Henry Anderson, of whom he speaks in the highest terms of respect and esteem. “ His great good sense,

eminent piety, exemplary diligence in the various duties of his office, and his kind attention to my improvement in knowledge and holiness, were very useful to me in every respect; and I believe his memory will ever be precious both to me, and the people among whom he laboured.” Happy, indeed, are those young Preachers who enter upon their ministerial course under the superintendence and direction of those who combine, with tender affection and condescension, wisdom and fidelity, to assist the mind in the acquisition of knowledge, and to impart to the material, while yet plastic, the impress of their own exalted character. How many young men, whose distinguished talents and zealous labours have eventually rendered them the brightest luminaries of the churches, and the glory of Christ, will gratefully acknowledge that they are greatly indebted for the formation of their character to the fervent piety and faithful instructions of those Minis. ters under whose care they were first placed! We, as a religious commuinty, have much reason for devout gratitude and mutual congratulation, that the great Head of the church has at length, after we have been Faiting and praying for many years, given us an Institution, where pious but inexperienced youth are committed to the tuition and discipline of men whose praise is in all the churches; whose literary eminence and religious endowments eminently qualify them for the functions of their respective offices; whose names furnish us with a security for the purity and integrity of that Institution which has already conferred inestimable benefits on the church ; and in which we trust hundreds of young men, raised up from time to time, will be instructed in the knowledge of Christ, have their piety invigorated, and their attachment to the vital, fundamental truths of Christianity confirmed.

Little variety must be looked for in the subsequent sketch of Mr. Pinder's life. Through a series of thirty-five years he persevered in the exemplary discharge of his pastoral aad ministerial functions. In all the Circuits in which he travelled he was highly and deservedly esteemed, both in his public and private capacity. The brief space allotted to this memoir will not admit of my following him step by step into those fields of labour which he successively occupied. His ministry in the hands of God was effectual to the conversion of great numbers. Though he was unacquainted with the graces of oratory and the embellishment of language, few men were more successful in reaching the consciences and securing the affections of his hearers. His discourses were eminently evangelical. He preached Christ, and himn crucified ; and his own heart was so entirely absorbed in this great and all-important subject, that he forgot himself, and rejoiced to be concealed in the glory of the cross, and to sink into nothing that Christ might be all in all. His eminent piety lent a peculiar unction to the sentiments he delivered, and caused thoughts which otherwise might have appeared cold and common-place to flow in a stream of pathos and power, directly calculated to promote the devotion of his

hearers. But it was not only in the pulpit that he served the cause of his divine Master : in his private sphere of action he was instant in season and out of season, always adorning the doctrine of his God and Saviour ; so that his public ministrations and his private life exerted a reciprocal influence on each other; and the truths he taught were illustrated and recommended by his amiable, prudent, and consistent deportment. In the spheres of labour to which he was from time to time appointed, he was greatly beloved ; and those who knew him most intimately regarded him with increasing love and veneration.

The circumstances attending the last scene of his life cannot be better given than in the words of his eldest son, from whom I received the account:

“ At the Conference of 1834 iny father was appointed to the Newcastle Circuit. It has frequently struck me as an instance of the good and kind providence of God in selecting this place for the termination of his ministerial course. Many circumstances appeared unfavourable to my father's coming to Newcastle ; but he seemed to have a decided conviction that it was the place to which he should go, and accordingly refused to listen either to the advice of some of his friends, or the invitations of other Circuits. Previously to his coming, it had been represented that he was an old man, and incapable of attending to the duties of a Circuit; but the first Sabbath spent in the Circuit convinced the friends to the contrary. He entered on the work with his usual

energy; and perhaps never were his labours greater than in this his last year on earth. He frequently preached four times on the Lord's day, and had such a sense of the value of souls, when he saw the multitude disregarding the house of God, and living in the habitual neglect of public worship, that during the summer months he generally, once on the Sabbath-day, took his stand out of doors, and entreated them to think of their latter end. Generally likewise during the week he had an extra out-door service. It appeared as though he had some presentiment that his time on earth was soon to expire ; and he was resolved to devote every remaining energy to the work of building up and extending the church. He was unwilling to lose one of the few opportunities which remained of doing good. His heavenly Master was evidently girding him with fresh strength, breathing heavenly vigour into his soul, and preparing him for a more abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom.

“ He left Newcastle to attend the Conference at Sheffield apparently in perfect health. A few days after arriving there he preached from Job xiii. 15 : “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. On Sunday, the 2d of August, he walked to a village about four miles from Sheffield, and preached there on a very hot day. On returning to his lodgings, he complained of fatigue, and said he was not very well; but on the following days he attended regularly the sittings of Conference. On Wednesday he complained of a slight attack in the bowels, but

lists with oodness of God id, and was partion

nothing of a serious nature was apprehended. He walked round Sheffield with my uncle Bourne, and seemed highly delighted in having the opportunity of pointing out to him any places that were at all remarkable as the scenes of the labours of Mr. Wesley or the early Preachers On Thursday evening he preached his last sermon in Norfolk-street chapel, from,Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. Towards the close he reverted to former days in Sheffield, and was particularly animated in dwelling on the goodness of God in having crowned the labours of the Methodists with such great success. His soul was indeed glad, and rejoiced in the comparison of the former with the latter times. It is rather singular that he should close his ministerial duties in the chapel in which, forty-five years previously, he had received his first pennanent religious convictions, and where he had resolved to devote himself to God. On returning to the house of his nephew, with whom he lodged during the Conference, he became very ill, and his friend Ar. Wild, the Surgeon, was immediately sent for. On the following Sunday, feeling better, he wished his brother and nephews to come into his room, where he addressed them very affectionately on the subject of personal religion, the uncertainty of life, and the duty of preparing to join the various branches of the family who had gone before to glory. Afterwards he requested them to sing the latter part of the 4820 hymn, beginning at the third verse, and closed with a most solemn and affecting prayer for them all. This was the last work in which he engaged on earth; and never will the impression made on the family present at the scene be erased. On the following days he became worse, and was frequently delirious. It was not until the Tuesday following that we were made acquainted with my father's illness. My mother and I hastened to Sheffield, and found him in a high state of fever. The Progress of disease now became alarming; and on further medical aid being called in, Dr. Favel and Mr. Wild both pronounced him to be in a very dangerous state. About this time Mr. Morgan, the Chairman of the District, called to see him, and, in the course of conversation, asked if he thought he had preached too often : he replied, “No;' and added, "The end of our preaching is that we should present ourselves to God through Christ, and find acceptance with him at the last;' and then repeated the following lines :

Our daily delight shall be in His name,
We shall as our right His righteousness claim;
His righteousness wearing, and cleansed by His blood,
Bold shall we appear in the presence of God.'

The fever rose so high that his medical attendants were obliged to resort to the most violent measures, which caused considerable pain and restlessness ; but at all times, when sensible, he exhibited the meekness of a Christian. At one time, when labouring under extreme

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »