Imágenes de páginas

followed after an interval of only seven who knew him well, the Rev. Thomas weeks by his sister Charlotte, to whom Craig, who thus writes :—“It was my he was tenderly attached. The effects happiness to receive him into the fellowof these mournful dispensations were ship of the church, as through Divine painful, but salutary. In a private grace one of the fruits of my ministry; diary, in which he seems to have noted and I have a most vivid recollection of the influence of the chief events of his how much he was loved and esteemed own history at that time, he thus refers to by us all, for his deep, humble, unithese bereavements :-“February 26th, form, devoted piety, which urged him 1821. How frequently have I been called to constant efforts to be useful as a Sabupon, the last few years, to mourn for bath-school teacher, and in other ways." those

very near and dear to me! It is little Sometime after the termination of his more than five years since I lost my apprenticeship, he entered into busidear father; that was a severe shock, for ness at Clare, in Suffolk, where, while our affections were very closely united: not neglecting the claims of things yet I was supported over the trial better temporal, the responsibilities of his than I expected, the Lord having ap- worldly engagements did not prevent peared on my behalf. It is not much his seeking first and chiefly the means more than three years since I lost a of increasing his own personal piety, tender mother; for if any one deserved and promoting the religious improvethat name, truly she did, for she was a ment of others. He became the demother indeed; I felt much more the voted, persevering, and indefatigable loss of her than I did my dear father, superintendent of the Sunday-school, as for when I lost her I thought I had lost well as a faithful helper in every good all that I had; but the Lord was very work. His house was ever open to the gracious to me and made me experience ministers of Christ, whom the service of the faithfulness of that promise, that their Lord might lead to the place, and when

my father and mother forsake me, his counsel and assistance were always then the Lord will take me up; surely cheerfully furnished. Having himself, he has fulfilled his promise to me when treading the slippery paths of youth, hitherto. It is only eight weeks to-day experienced the lasting benefit of attensince I followed my dear brother to the tion and kindness from the servants of grave; his death was, and is still, a Christ, he seems throughout his whole severe shock to my frame; for if ever I | life to have felt deep solicitude for the loved a brother, I loved him; and now welfare of the young, and to have encoumy dear sister is gone: she was, indeed, raged and aided them in seeking suitdear to me, for she was like a second able worldly employments, while bent mother, and it was always with much chiefly on directing their minds to the pleasure that we held communion with things belonging to their peace. Speakeach other. Death has now broken ing, among many other valuable effects, that off, I trust not for ever; for I hope of his services in connexion with the we shall meet shortly before the throne Sabbath-school, the Rev. Thos. Heward of the Lamb, there to unite in singing observes :-"He was a most efficient everlasting hallelujahs. Oh, blissful superintendent of our Sunday-school. employment! I hope it will soon be my His judicious and explanatory remarks happiness to join them.”

on the portions of Scripture read by These removals seemed to prompt the scholars were always accompanied him more urgently to work while it was by evident, earnest, and affectionate anxicalled to-day; and in reference to this ety, not only that the children should period of the life of our departed friend understand the meaning of God's holy the following testimony is borne by one Word, but feel its claims to their obe

dience and love, and find it a means of for their subsistence and comfort, Mr. lasting spiritual good. There is reason Bridge took a most disinterested and to believe that he was the honoured important part: identifying himself instrument in the conversion of several with the District Visiting Society, the children in the Sunday-school at Clare, Coal and Clothing, and Cottage Garden where his memory is still held in grate Societies, as well as with the Tract and ful remembrance by many who were Missionary Associations, and other parents and children at the time he efforts, directed more especially to resided amongst them.”

spiritual objects. In all these labours In July, 1837, he entered into the of love, but particularly in those bearmarriage relation with Frances, eldest ing on local objects, it was his privilege daughter of the late General Elwes, a to enjoy the constant co-operation of lady residing in the neighbourhood, and his beloved companion, who symwith whom it was his privilege to pass pathized with him in his benevolent the remainder of his days in much do regards for the afflicted and the poor, mestic and spiritual enjoyment. In most cheerfully, and shared in all his the following year Divine providence self-denying labours. directed his steps to Hoddesdon, where When it seemed desirable to erect anew he continued until his death.

place of worship at Hoddesdon, he used The exemption from the cares of busi- his best energies to secure this important ness which our beloved friend now en object, and suffered nolabour, nor fatigue, joyed, instead of being, as is sometimes nor disappointment, to impede his persethe case, made the occasion of with. vering efforts until it was accomplished. drawing from active personal service in He gathered around him a number of the cause of religion and philanthropy, young men, and formed a large Sunday. only rendered him, if possible, more school, of which he was the indefatigable ready to seize every opportunity for superintendent, and spared no efforts glorifying his Saviour, and benefiting to render it not only well attended, but his fellow-men. To his instrumentality efficient for the highest objects of is chiefly to be ascribed the formation Sabbath-school instruction: viz. the of an Auxiliary Bible Association at religious improvement of the young. Hoddesdon, which has proved a means In the erection of a Girls' and Infant of spiritual good to many, especially Day-school, which was raised conthe young and the poor, and rendered jointly by members of the Society of the sacred Scriptures as frequent in the Friends, and those of his own denomidwellings of the latter, and in the pos- nation, he also took an active part. session of the youth of the village and The source of those unnoticed, unneighbourhood, as they were formerly applauded, but untiring efforts, was to

Of this Association he was, from be found in his own unostentatious but its formation until the decline of his deeply-seated piety of heart.

Our health, both Treasurer and Secretary: beloved friend was eminently a man of his house was the depository for the God. He daily walked with God, books; and, instead of thinking it a delighting to feel himself ever under trouble, he rejoiced in every opportunity "the great Taskmaster's eye." He had which applications afforded, to recom- himself tasted that the Lord was mend the contents of the sacred volume. gracious: and love and gratitude to In every means for promoting habits of his Divine Saviour prompted the forethought and frugality among the constant and cheerful employment of poor, and providing in the best pos. all his energies in advancing his glory, sible manner that their scanty, and at and bringing others to share in the times uncertain earnings would allow, | riches of his mercy.


This state of mind and heart was equal to the effort; and his religious preserved by regular and punctual enjoyments, during this season, were attendance on the means of Divine chiefly those arising from private and grace, especially the public and social secret communion with his Saviour, ordinances of religious worship. It whose Divine compassion rendered the was a first duty with him to arrange experience of our departed friend more that his attendance at the sanctuary on than usually confirmatory of the enthe Sabbath, and at other times, should couraging assurance of the Scripture, be uninterrupted; and if absent on any that where affliction abounds, consolaoccasion, those who might notice that tion does much more abound. During absence felt assured that it arose from the severe paroxysms, and those seasons no engagement made for convenience of mental disorder in which reason was or pleasure, but from causes unforeseen, displaced, it was exceedingly distressing or beyond his control. The benefit he to witness his sufferings, without being found in public ordinances was closely able to administer relief; though even connected with his private habits of at these times his mental uneasiness devotion, and the prayerful study of was often more in reference to the the Holy Scriptures. These habits, final state of others than himself; and together with his own state of health, seemed to arise from disappointment which was never robust, and subject to in reference to some for whose spiritual painful interruptions, qualified him in welfare he had, while they were livà peculiar manner for visiting the ing, laboured, and watched, and prayed. sick and the dying. His presence in regard to himself, even in seasons in the chamber of sickness was wel of greatest mental darkness and decome to all,-even to those who, until pression, although afflicted with the the hand of disease was laid upon apprehension that the great adversary them, and death seemed near, had ne- of his soul was eager to seize him as glected and derided both religion and his prey, his impression was, that the those by whom it was professed. In enemy was restrained,—was not, and these visits of mercy much of his time would not be, permitted to destroy him. was spent. Returning from one of these In contrast with these seasons of disvisits, in August, 1848, he was sud-tressing gloom, when mental suffering denly seized with an affection of the seemed far to outweigh bodily pain,brain, which almost prevented his though this he used to describe as if a finding his own door, though but a few number of thrashers were beating on yards from it. This was followed by his head with their flails,--there were strong convulsions, which left him in long and happy lucid intervals, when great suffering, and apparently near his reason resumed its seat; and with great end. After some weeks the most bodily weakness his mental faculties distressing symptoms subsided, and a ssemed to be pervaded by more than partial recovery was experienced; but ordinary vitality, or excited to unusual his mind was never fully restored. activity. At these times his chamber Successive attacks, producing loss of was, indeed, a placereason, and apparently great suffering, alternating with intervals of partial

“ Privileged beyond the common walks of

life, convalescence, followed for the space of

Quite on the verge of heaven.” two years; during which he visited Bath, Malvern, and other places, as Hundreds of times, in answer to the lan. means of promoting his recovery.guage of sympathy in his suffering would Twice, during that period, he attended he exclaim, “ Not one pain too many!" public worship: but his mind was un- and would add, “ I am in His hands. O

what did he suffer for me! I am not left. "The more thy glories strike mine eyes, He has said, 'I will never leave thee,

The humbler I shall lie;

Thus, while I sink, my joys shall rise, never forsake thee.' He is with me. I

Immeasurably high.'' know that my Redeemer liveth. Not my will but thine, O Lord, be done. His sufferings were mercifully ter

minated on the 7th of September, 1850, • Jesus can make a dying bed

when, there is every reason to hope, that Soft as downy pillows are.'."

as for him to live had been Christ, to These are but a few of the expres- die was gain,-to be absent from the sions by which, with a countenance body was to be present with the Lord. beaming with cheerfulness and grati In addition to the above slight sketch tude, he testified his acquiescence in the of the Christian course of our departed Divine will, and his experience of Divine friend, some of the traits of his religious consolation; and when, after any length- character seem to require a passing noened exemption from severe suffering, tice. Though his physical constitution the prospect of his recovery was alluded was but feeble throughout life, his to, his answer uniformly was, “ If my natural affections were strong and lastLord has anything more for me to do, ing. His piety sanctified all these afI am in his hand." And then, in refer- fections, and rendered them conducive ence to those whom he had been accus to his own personal holiness. He was tomed to visit, he would sometimes say, deeply affected by the loss of his pa“O that I could have them all brought rents, and frequently referred with great here, that I might tell them how pre- solemnity of feeling to their removal, and cious Jesus is to me now; that I might to the time of his own departure. Thus urge them not to put off seeking him. in reference to his mother, he writes :Oh, how wretched my state if I had “I have been thinking much of my now to seek for hope. Tell them not dear mother, who has been dead four to delay.” But it was in reference to years to-day. Oh what wonders havo that world, on the verge of which he presented themselves to her view in the seemed to be, as it were, detained in or course of that period in the eternal der to prepare him more fully for its world; how sweetly has she been emenjoyments, that his feelings seemed to ployed, 1 hope, in celebrating the praises be at times too strong for any other of her Redeemer! Methinks I see her utterance than tears. Sometimes he clothed in white, with a crown on her would observe, “ Indeed, it doth not ap- head, and a palm in her hand, standing pear what we shall be. For many long before the glorious throne of the Lamb, years have I been looking forward to and there uniting with the thousands this season, and these circumstances, and tens of thousands in ascribing salwhen I should be waiting to depart, and vation and honour unto him that sitteth to be with my dearest Lord; yet even upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, now I desire to say, 'All the days of for ever. If this be her situation, what my appointed time will I wait till my glory beams in her face, and what lovechange come.! O blessed hour! I shall liness in her countenance ! for whilst see him as he is, not through a glass upon earth she displayed such a gentle darkly, but face to face; I shall be like disposition, that it might be truly said, him ; I shall be for ever with my Lord. that the spirit of the meek and lowly I shall be satisfied when I awake Jesus dwelt in her." with thy likeness." Often would he, And again, in reference to his brother when speaking on the glorious vision and sister, whose graves he frequently of the Redeemer in the unseen world, visited, and there mingled weeping with exclaim,

prayer, he thus writes :

" I have been this day thinking a , in spirit. I feel myself much fatigued great deal about my dear departed in body this evening, but to-morrow I brother and sister, who are often upon shall have a sweet day of rest from all my mind, and I feel as though I could worldly occupations; and should I be not give them up at present. Every permitted to enter upon an eternal Sabday I feel their loss more deeply. How bath, I shall see my dear Redeemer as much do I long for that happy day when he is, and in his presence find fullness we shall meet again to part no more. of joy, and at his right hand pleasures Whilst I am in this wilderness, I can- for evermore." Thus it is seen, that not serve my Saviour as I would, for I the secret of his delight and benefit in find that sin is mixed with all I do. On the public ordinances of religion, arose that I were released from this body of from his private communion with his sin, for then I should be happy. If own soul and his Divine Lord. It was there should be no other happiness in this life of religion in his soul, thus heaven than the deliverance from all nourished and strengthened by contisin, this will be happiness indeed. We nual access to the only source of all spishall be in the presence of the Most ritual life, that enabled him to perHigh God.

severe also in endeavours to do good • There shall I see his face,

under difficulties and discouragements And never, never sin;

by which others would have been deThere, from the rivers of his grace, terred. This ennobled all his efforts, Drink endless pleasures in.?"

which were put forth as unto the Lord, His views of Divine truth were clear, and not unto men. He considered no consistent, and evangelical, and their personal exertion by which he could influence eminently practical. He show kindness to others as beneath his placed a high estimate on the public attention. If he could promote his means of grace, and throughout life Saviour's praise, imitate his example, endeavoured to make all worldly ar. aet so as to hope for his approval, lead rangements subservient to his securing some who were miserable and careless the benefits they conferred. His en- to seek his mercy, he was satisfied. He gagements in business were of a kind did not refuse to sacrifice his own ease in early life to require his attention till and comfort, and at times to expose his a late hour on Saturday evenings, yet health, to disregard the opinion or even he looked forward with pleasing antici- the misrepresentations of others, so that pation to the early prayer meeting on some poor family might obtain the Sabbath mornings, and expressed re- needed meal, some dreary widow's heart gret when illness kept him away. The be made cheerful, some desponding earnest and hallowed feeling with which sufferer listen to the words of comfort he was accustomed to look forward to and of hope. This was the business the Sabbath appears in the following of his life, and he followed it with the brief extract from his own diary, under activity and perseverance with which date April 8, 1820, and presents a strik. the miser seeks and hoards his gold. ing contrast to the conduct of many in It was his meat and drink, his pleasure similar circumstances. “I am now and reward, and it was as catholic as closing another week, and looking for- pure. He would have felt it derogatory ward with pleasing anticipation to the to his Christian reputation, and dis. Sabbath. Oh! that it might be a Sab- honourable to his Lord, to have asked bath indeed to my soul. Let me begin the applicants for his benevolent regard, the Sabbath ere it arrives ; let me strive which place of religious worship they to get near to God this night in the attended, or to what school they sent closet, and hold communion with him their children, before he attended to

« AnteriorContinuar »