« AnteriorContinuar »
appointment took place under peculiar circumstances—at the time of the Warrenite division, when the Circuit lost one hundred members. ......... He acted in many difficult and perplexing cases, with a sound. ness of judgment, clear discrimination of character, judicious firmness of purpose, and caution, which often called forth the admiration of all who observed him. At our earnest request he continued with us three years, and left us esteemed by all. Although nearly thirty years have passed away, his name is still mentioned with pleasing and grateful remembrance.”
An instance of bis conscientious discharge of duty, at the expense of personal feeling and interest, occurred in one of his earlier Circuits. He had reason to believe that a member of the Society, of good social position, was indulging in secret intemperance. The Circuit was a “poor” one, and two-thirds of his income depended on the contribution of the offender, who was also one of his warmest personal friends. Mr. Dernaley earnestly and affectionately expostulated with him, but his entreaties were in vain. No alternative remained but for the pastor to exclude the unworthy member from the Society ; which he accordingly did, though with great pain. The falling away of souls from Christ, and the inconsistent lives of professors of religion, always filled him with intense grief; and indeed, in the end, did much to undermine his health. His note-book has the following :-"My mind is much pained about many things, especially the conduct of
- Indeed my [recent] trials have been without comparison in my history as a Wesleyan minister. I have endeavoured to do my duty, I trust, in the fear of God.” A much beloved friend and col. league thus speaks of him :-“I was disposed to think well of him from the first sight of him ; his open and cheerful countenance, the kindly tones of his voice, and the minute and considerate inquiries respecting myself and family, made a favourable impression upon my mind; and that good opinion I never afterwards saw occasion to alter. For the five following years we lived side by side. Our intercourse was not merely frequent but constant; and to the end he rose higher and higher in my estimation. Surely no man had less guile, and yet his open-heartedness was iningled with a good deal of sagacity and forethought. As a man, my heart clave to him. In all matters, public or private, I always found him worthy of my utmost confidence. As a preacher, he was plain, pointed, and faithful; his voice was remarkably sweet, full, and rich. He was an excellent singer, and his power in prayer was often remarkable. As a pastor, he possessed the affection and confidence of his flcck, personal and family matters being often confided to him for counsel and direction. He was a man of high mind and pure principle, considerate and condescending to the last degree, yet firm and unbending when convinced of being in the right. His conduct was always holy and consistent: he abhorred everything that was impure in word or deed. He was steady, punctual, patient, and persevering in his ministerial work. As a Superintendent, he was to me all that could be wished; and never was service more deserved, or more cheerfully rendered than to him. His wishes were expressed in the optative rather than the imperative mood....... He ever met me with a smile and parted with a benediction. Of the poor he was very considerate, and the working.man ever found in him a sympathizing friend. I could willingly have spent a whole lifetime with him in ministerial labour.” There was nothing mean or small about Mr. Dernaley. He could praise bis brethren without " buts" and “ifs ;” and was full of the charity that “thinketh no evil,” that “hopeth all things,” and “is kind.”
In 1863, failing health compelled Mr. Dernaley to relinquish the regular work of the ministry. He retired to Preston, Lancashire, where, so long as his strength permitted, he exercised his talents in doing good. His tedious affliction was borne with much patience and cheerfulness. Though his sufferings were great, his confidence in Christ was unwavering, and he was sustained and comforted by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The two or three days preceding his death were days of intense trial to his wife and daughters : his sufferings wrung their hearts. The power of speech had almost gone; yet, with something of his old, bright smile in his failing eyes, he struggled to say, “Never mind; it will soon be over." He greatly enjoyed having hymns repeated and sung to him. For many hours before death he was quite unconscious; and, as the sun sunk to rest, on the evening of September 28th, 1866, his soul left the suffering body, and entered" through the gates into the city.”
Never perhaps was a minister blessed with a better wife than was Mr. Dernaley. She was the third daughter of Richard Threlfall, Esq., of Hollowforth, near Preston, and was born on the 2d of February, 1801. She was early impressed with Divine truth ; but it was not till shortly after her fifteenth birthday that she was enabled to rejoice in God her Saviour. The tempter seems to have used her peculiar sensitiveness and conscientiousness to keep her from the comforts of the Gospel. Her views of herself, as a sinner before God, were distressing in their vividness; and to the end of her exemplary life she ever spoke of herself, with touching humility, as the “chief of sinners." Sentiments like the following abound in her papers :
“March 22d, 1823.-My mind has been absorbed in thought most of this day, and many tears I have shed ; tears of unfeigned gratitude to God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me. Next to a knowledge of myself and Him, and things necessary to salvation, stands [the blessing of] Christian friendship. How am I called to
participate in its joys! How many kind friends I possess, some whose disinterested friendship makes me wonder and adore that God who gives me all things richly to enjoy. How have I improved it? Alas! here I have cause to weep for sorrow of heart; and here I do weep, in wonder that either God or my friends should love me, for I have been rebellious and unkind to both...... My heart sinks within me, for I feel my unworthiness. What a mercy that I have an 'Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous!' That Name is dearest to me in earth or heaven! Yes, I know, I feel, 'He hath loved me,' and given Himself for me! For me, the chief of sinners! O, may I rest on this foundation only!”
During the last few days of her life, she often said, as if with sweet and glad surprise, “ He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Speaking of her early life, very shortly before her death, she remarked, with great earnestness, "O, what blessed seasons of communion I had with the Lord when I was a girl! What enjoyment I found in God when I sought Him with my whole heart!”
Perhaps the most distinguishing trait in Mrs. Dernaley's character was her spirit of self-sacrifice. It was not merely that she was ready to "esteem others better " than herself: she displayed an utter forgetfulness of sell. No one could be freer from ostentation; she spoke little of what she had done or would do ; but her quiet endurance of severe trials, her cheerful overcoming of difficulties, her constant thoughtfulness for others, all done so simply and quietly from love to Christ, convinced those who knew her that she would have joyfully yielded life itself, and all that made life precious, had the Master required it. No sooner had she given berself to the Lord, than she longed to work for Him. As an earnest Sunday-school teacher, she saw the fruit of persevering labour“ after many days." The condition of the heathen lay very near her heart, and formed a chief topic in almost every letter she penned.
Alluding to the departure of her brother, the Rev. William Threl. fall, for South Africa, where, in 1825, he fell by the hand of a native assassin, she says, “ While weeping at the thought that I should • see his face no more' perhaps on earth, the blessed hope that God would bless His own Word, where it is preached in sincerity, to the salvation of those who are blinded by the darkest heathen superstitions, and that what gave me exquisite sorrow would be the mt ans of giving others unspeakable joy, caused me to rrjoice in the midst of all.” She was a persevering collector in behalf of evangelical Missions. “I am resolved," she writes in one of her letters, “to pray more earnestly for the personal consecration of all my subscribers. I cannot expect them to support Missions to the heathen, if they themselves do not feel the need of the Gospel." It is worth asking, at this day, what would be the result upon our churches at home, if overy Missionary collector acted upon a similar resolution ?
Her views respecting the duties of a minister's wife may be gathered from the advice she gave to one of her daughters :-—"Your first duty, as a wife, is to study your busband's comfort in all things; and, depend upon it, in the long run, you will best serve the church by fulfilling what is every wife's first duty. Let there be nothing in the home, as far as you can avoid it, that will add to his anxieties. In the management of a church there is much to worry a minister's mind, and to make him anxious and depressed, besides the sense of grave responsibility wbich all ministers feel more or less. Therefore, it is necessary that the bright and cheerful influence of an orderly home should be his, as far as possible. I know that there are people everywbere who make most unreasonable demands upon a minister's wife. There is a constant cry for ' visiting;'do not let it distress you, because you cannot satisfy them in this. Make yourself as use. ful as you can, in any way, public or private; but never to the neglect of home duties." In her own life she thoroughly carried out these views; and, notwithstanding her constantly delicate health, took no small share in all the public church work in which, as the wise of a minister, she found she could be useful. Her influence over young people was remarkable. There are many who, under God, attribute the commencement of their religious life to her affectionate pleadings with them.
The piety of Mr. and Mrs. Dernaley was of a cheerful kind; their love to God had blossomed out into love to man, and it was manifest to all that they had “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” Never were husband and wife more united ; their aims and purposes were one. In every thing that concerned their children they had but one mind, -that they might be early led to a saving knowledge of the "truth as it is in Jesus," and whatever was likely to interfere with this was scrupulously guarded against. No friendships, no amusements, were permitted, which to their superior judgment seemed likely to lead to temptation. So well was this understood in the home, that if "No" had been the answer to any request, it would not have occurred to their children to press for an alteration of the decision; and those of them who are spared to mourn the loss of such parents, will ever remember with gratitude the wise and firm, yet kind and gentle discipline, of their youth.
When death released her beloved husband from his earthly pilgrimage, and her weeping daughters were clinging round her, it was Mrs. Dernaley who was the chief comforter in their sorrow. She seemed to expect that the separation would be but fur a brief period. She said, “I feel that my work is done. No one who has known me ever thought I should survive your father : but it has been my prayer that, if it were God's will, He would permit me to be with him to the last; I knew he would miss me so much." The year of widowhood was passed in patient waiting for her Lord's coming. Cheerful, taking an interest in all about her, thinking of the welfare of others, working for them to the last, with an unclouded mind she faded day by day; so imperceptibly indeed that those who watched her could not believe diath was so near. For three weeks she suffered greatly from bronchitis, but no complaining word escaped her lips. She was often engaged in prayer, interceding with God for her children and friends, and she greatly enjoyed hearing hymns repeated and sung to her, such as “Jesu, Lover of my soul," and Bernard's beautiful hymn, beginning,
"Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills my breast.” On the day before she died, she was extremely ill; but, in the midst of pain, and notwithstanding her excessive weakness, spoke most earnestly and faithfully to one who came to take leave of her, and whom she had known in her early girlhood. In the afternoon she rallied; and, at her own request, the Lord's Supper was administered, the members of the family partaking of it with her. Those who were thus privileged can never forget that season of holy communion. To a much-loved brother, she said, “It is all well, I am on the Rock of Ages.” To another dear friend, “ I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded' He will ‘keep that which I have committed unto Him. He has kept me all these years, and He does not leave me now. Satan tries to assault my faith ; he would fain make me doubt, but," and this was said with a flash of her old energy, “ he is a 'liar,' and always was 'from the beginning.'” In the evening, while her son-in-law, with whom she resided, was repeating passages of Scripture to her, his excessive emotion caused him to pause till he could recover sufficient self-command to proceed. She looked up quickly, and finished the verse which had been partly repeated to her. She then gradually sank, until she gently passed away to her heavenly rest, about half-past three, on Thursday morning, December 19th, 1867. To her it was a “morning without clouds," a day not to be followed by any night.
THE INCARNATION OF GOD, AND THE PERSON OF
CHRIST. The advancement of man, in the full development of his powers, to a perfect oneness with his Source, was the original design of his creation; his individuality remaining, God would have become "all