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Tas period has again arrived, at which, in conformity to the almost universal usage of Periodical Works, we are called to offer to our SUBSCRIBERS and CORRESPONDENTS the annual tribute of our respect and gratitude.
To the former we present our most sincere acknowledgments for their continued patronage. We humbly hope that the Second Volume of our Third Series will be found, on a review of its contents, to be not undeserving of their deliberate approbation, as a depository of useful Facts connected with General Knowledge, and, more especially, of Christian Biography, and Theological Instruction. We have had the satisfaction of learning, from testimonies on which we can rely, that our monthly Numbers have usually been honoured, as they have successively issued from the press, with a kind and favourable reception, by those whose good opinion of our Work we estimate most highly. And we trust, that, to competent judges, a large proportion of the articles inserted will appear, on a second reading, to possess a permanent and sterling value. Among many other important communications of this class, we venture to specify, as particularly worthy of a careful re-perusal, several Papers on the Witness of the HOLY SPIRIT, designed to prove that, according to the doctrine of the New Testament, such a “ Witness" of their pardon, and adoption into the family of God, is the common privilege of Christian Believers. Those Papers, from the circumstances in which they unexpectedly originated, assumed a style and character somewhat polemical. But we believe that the controversy has been conducted and terminated in the true spirit of the Gospel ; both on the part of the highly respectable Correspondent who opposed our views, and on the part, also, of the very able Contributor who has, as we think, successfully defended them. The smallest expression, indeed, of personal disrespect, towards any of the excellent individuals whose opinions have been impugned, would have exceedingly misrepresented our real feelings. And when both parties can carry on, and retire from, such a friendly disputation, with heightened sentiments of mutual good-will and christian esteem, we may well be allowed to hope, that, while Charity has not been wounded, the interests of Truth may have been promoted by the discussion.
To the CONTRIBUTORS to our Magazine, during the past year, we return our warmest thanks. It is to their kind co-operation that we are mainly indebted for the favourable position in which we stand before our Subscribers in general, and before the Public. “They have their reward,” (and it is one from which Piety itself may take delight,) in the services which, we trust, they have rendered, through the medium of this widely-circulated Work, to tens of thousands of readers, whose religious principles have been confirmed, and whose devout affections have been excited and sustained, by their interesting communications.—May He, without whom “ laborious man hath done his part” in vain, accompany our pages, wherever they have found access, or shall yet find it, by his effectual and abiding blessing! . While reviewing our obligations to those who have enriched the Volume now completed, it is natural that we should think with some anxiety of our need of similar assistance in reference to the ensuing year. The help of judicious friends, in all the departments of our Work, we earnestly solicit; and not without the confidence that it will, as heretofore, be cheerfully afforded. For ourselves, we renew our pledge, that our best efforts shall be used to meet the reasonable expectations of our Readers, and to satisfy (as far as may consist with our narrow limits, and the diversified claims to which we are subject, their various tastes and inclinations. And if, by the divine blessing, the cause of Truth and Holiness shall derive advantage from our labours, our chief end will be attained, and our highest ambition gratified. To that great cause this Magazine has now been devoted for nearly half a century. Some change will take place, at no distant period, as to the Editorial agency by which it is at present conducted. But we are confident that it will never cease to be distinguished by an invincible fidelity to those evangelical and hallowing PRINCIPLES, which the Sacred Oracles have taught us, and which alone are“ able to save the soul.” For the revival of these Principles, in their scriptural order and connexion, and for the example of an eminently successful method of applying them to experimental and practical purposes, this country, and the world, are unspeakably indebted, under God, to the ministry and writings of the venerable WESLEY. This Miscellany exhibits in its present Title an honourable allusion to his Name. May the Doctrines which he so ably expounded, and so extensively propagated, be ever fearlessly inculcated in its pages; and their comforting and sanctifying operation promoted, by its instrumentality, among all classes of its Readers! . .
London, Nov. 25, 1823.
FOR JANUARY, 1823.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. JOHN BROWNELL:
BY THE REV. THOMAS JACKSON. Tais very excellent man, and useful minister of Jesus CHRIST, was born at Altringham, a small market-town in Cheshire, on the Pd day of January, 1771. From his childhood, he was of a light and trifling disposition ; and this continued to be his besetting sin, till divine grace wrought an effectual change in his spirit and temper.
When he was about eight or nine years of age, he was severely afflicted with the small pox. After lingering a considerable time with that dreadful distemper, he recovered his health, but was utterly deprived of sight. He continued upwards of three years in a state of total blindness, when one night his father dreamed, that if he would take his son to a certain well in the neighbourhood, and wash his eyes in the water, his sight would be restored. In the morning he arose, took his child by the hand, and proceeded with him to the well ; and after repeatedly washing his eyes, and filling some bottles with the water, returned home. A second visit was paid to the well, for the same purpose, after which the youth was able to distinguish the light of some red coals on the hearth. This encouraged him and his anxious parents to persevere, and in a little while his sight was perfectly recovered. Whether this salutary effect was produced by any mineral qualities in the water, I know not; but in the means by which the father was led to adopt this mode of cure, there seems to have been a striking display of that kind providence which watches over men in general, and especially ever those who are, or will be, the heirs of salvation, and are designed for extensive usefulness in the Church of God.
At an early period of life, MR. BROWNELL was the subject of religious impressions; and at length his conviction of sin became so deep as to occasion many sleepless nights, and often to extort from him the penitential prayer, “O LORD, I am oppressed, undertake thou for me." In this situation he was noticed by a religious
Vol. II. Third Series. JANUARY, 1829.
friend in Manchester, who kindly invited him to a class-meeting among the Methodists. He continued his attendance for some time, seeking the pardoning mercy of God with a broken and contrite heart, and with many prayers and tears, till one evening, while uniting with the other members of his class in singing these impressive lines,
“ Thou, O CHRIST, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Heal the sick, and lead the blind ;he was enabled to believe on the Object of his worship, was immediately justified from the guilt of all his past sins, and found peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ. The love of God was shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him ; the power of sin was broken ; that fear which hath torment was banished from his mind; the world lost all its charms in his estimation ; and, in a word, old things passed away, and all things became new. From that time he cordially joined himself to the Methodist Society, and became a steady and exemplary christian. · Early in the year 1794, under the constraining influence of zeal for his Saviour's glory, and compassion for the perishing souls of his fellow-men, Mr. Brownell entered upon his career of evangelical labour as a Local Preacher in the Stockport Circuit, where he was generally acceptable and useful. Having employed his sabbaths for several successive months in preaching the Gospel of 'salvation to the poor, in the more neglected villages of his own neighbourhood, he received what he considered to be a providential call to carry the same glad tidings of peace to those outcasts of men, the Negroes in the West India Islands. Accordingly, he bade adieu to his christian friends in Cheshire, voluntarily sacrificed the endearments of kindred and home, and left Stockport for London, in November, 1794. He now began to keep a regular journal of his religious experience and observations. The following pious ejaculations form the introduction to this document :
“ O Lord, I am launching forth into a world with which I have little acquaintance. Be thou my Protector and Guide. Enable me to make such remarks upon the things which may present themselves to my view, as will be conducive to the welfare of my soul. Let me see much of thy goodness; acknowledge thy preserving care; always enjoy a sense of thy Jove; be useful to mankind in life; happy in death; and crowded with glory everlasting.". . MR. BROWNELL arrived in London on the 4th of November, and on the following day went to examine his birth on board the Antigua, then lying at Deptford, by which it was intended that he should sail to the place of his destination. On the 12th of the same month he writes,