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About this period he had five children, one of whom God was pleased to take to himself at the age of seven. This stroke made a deep and serious impression on his mind which caused him to join the Methodist Society. But po sooner was the sorrow of his heart abated for the loss of his son, than his religious feelings subsided. He forgot his God; neglected his ordinances, and yielded to the evil disposition of his unrenewed heart.
The Lord, however, had his eye upon him, and inclined his first leader, (of the name of Eccleston,) to search him out, and again bring him into the fold of the church. To the glory of God be it recorded, he was not unsuccessful. He was now more concerned for his salvation than ever : he saw and felt himself a lost sinner under sentence of condemnation. In this wretched state of mind he cried, “ God be merciful to me a sinner.” He did not long wait for the troubling of the water ; for the Lord brought him out of darkness into his marvellous light, and said, “ Thy sins which are many, are all forgiven thee.” The mighty change thus wrought in his heart, was evidenced by the holy fruits of his subsequent life; in his walk, conversation, and labours of love.
It was shortly after the Lord had thus done great things for his soul, that he commenced the calico printing business, in which he met with much encouragement from his religious and other friends. In a Christian spirit he not only commenced but pursued this undertaking ; and whilst he appeared a man of business, he also appeared, to those who had discernment, to be a real Christian, uniting in his practice what the Apostle enjoins : “not slothful in business ; fervent in spirit ; serving the Lord.” In calico printing he had considerable trade, and realized a tolerable amount of capital, by which he was enabled to bring up his family in a respectable sphere of life. His desire, to serve the cause of God and administer to the necessities of the afflicted poor, enlarged as his business prospered. His bosom, formed for friendship, was the seat of no ordinary sympathy for all who were in necessitous circumstances: his head, his heart, his hand, his pocket, were all employed in acts of liberality; and often has he been known to injure himself that others might be benefited. True friendship is exhibited not only in acts of liberality, visiting the widow and afflicted, but, also, by bridling the tongue. The injunction, “ Speak evil of no man,” he rigidly attended to; and if there were one crime which he hated more than another, it was that of speaking disrespectfully of an absent person. Would to God that all Christians were careful not to speak even the truth with a design to injure another's character. · To do good in every possible way was his chief delight; and it may be asserted with confidence, his enemies themselves being judges, that he was a friend to all and an enemy to none; if he could do his adversaries no good he would never intentionally do them an injury. In addition to being “ zealous of good works” of a temporal kind, he sought by every possible means to promote the spiritual welfare of his fellow creatures. He was not only now and then zealous, but he was steady, untiring, and persevering. Every Sabbath for a long series of years, he regularly visited the dwellings of the poor, invited them to the house of God, and often took their children by the hand to the Sabbath school. His zeal in this respect became so proverbial as to induce a minister to say to his hearers, of whom he was complaining because they did not send their children to his school, Do you think I am going to run after your children as Mr. Hay does ?' The Sabbath school and the sanctuary were places in which his soul delighted.
He was never, when in health, absent from the ordinances of religion; the Sabbath was to him a day of rest; he entered on its duties with a cheerful solemnity, and a spirit prepared by early meditation and prayer. Through the whole of the day he was careful, in his social intercourse to prevent the intrusion of levity and improper subjects of discourse, and to lead to such topics as might conduce to spiritual improvement.
The example which he set before his family, is worthy the imitation of every parent. Early in life he trained them up in the fear of the Lord, and took them regularly to the house of prayer.
Every morning his children assembled together, and he read a chapter and prayed; imploring the blessing of God upon them, and committing his way to Him before entering on the duties of the day : and in the evening the same service was again repeated. To his pious example, Christian instruction, and strict attention to family religion, his children are indebted under God, for their present security in Christ; some of them have gone to glory, triumphing in the bright prospect which awaited them. As a father, he was tender, affectionate, and uniform in the treatment of his children. Never did they know him to be out of temper, or speak an improper word in their hearing; or to do or say any thing that might have a bad effect upon them. If reproof were necessary, it was given not with a frowning look and angry words, but with equanimity of temper, and in a loving affectionate manner. None of his admonitions lost any of their weight through inconsistency of conduct; his deportment, though kind and affable, never fell beneath the dignity of a Christian, never tended to lessen the respect due to him as a parent. One of his family says, there is no action of her father's life, no conversation, no hour of the most social and unguarded intercourse, which her memory can recall, on account of which his children honored him less as a Christian, or loved him less as a parent. His children next to his Saviour, held the uppermost seat in his affections. The following extract from his diary will shew the state of his mind at a time when God was pleased to take to himself one of his daughters whom he sincerely loved. “ Nov. 3, 1824.--On the first of this month, my beloved Ellen departed this life without a struggle. She was expecting to go soon, and was perfectly resigned to the will of God; yea, was desirous to depart and be with Christ. Every day in going to and returning from her closet devotions, she was heard singing the following verse :-
• What is there here to court my stay,
To hold me back from home,
And Jesus bids me come ?"
She had often prayed that I might be able to submit to the stroke of
separation; and blessed be God, I feel resigned to his will, and consoled at the prospect of meeting her where parting shall be no more.” Soon after her death, new troubles assailed him in the falling off of his business, owing to the general stagnation of trade at that time; what he had realized in his prosperity, was diminished at this period of commercial distress.
His resignation to the will of God under all the vicissitudes which marked his life was conspicuous. He met disappointments with equanimity, relying on providence for success, in such a manner and degree as the God of providence should be pleased to appoint; and he never for a moment deviated from the paths of virtue and religion, as will appear from the following extracts from his diary. “I am thankful to God that amidst a great variety of worldly trials, and my mind much engrossed with them, the one thing needful still holds the reigns of my affections. I feel myself more dead to the world and more alive to my spiritual welfare than when I last wrote. I wish to walk with eternity always in sight.” April 1, 1827, he writes : “My temporal affairs are dark and cloudy, yet, praised be God! my spiritual faculties and prospects of glory are stronger and brighter! My dear children, particularly the females, are making advances in the divine life.” Sep. 23, he says, “ I am through clouds and storms viewing the Day Star springing from on high. * * * Under all my embarrassments I am wonderfully supported. I think I never was more dead to the world, to its frowns and smiles amidst all my difficulties than I am at this moment. I have a pleasure in the example of my children. Their divine submission to the providence of God makes me ashamed, while at the same time it encourages me to fresh acts of self-dedication to his service.” Under all his troubles and bereavements, his anchor still held firm hold of the foundation that cannot be moved ; and he looked with bright expectation to that rest which remains for the people of God. His zeal for the prosperity of Zion never in the least abated; and up to the time of his expulsion from the Conference Methodists he held the office of a class-leader, with credit to himself and the edification of others. The particulars of his expulsion are recorded, but it is unnecessary to relate them here. Referring to his expulsion, with that Christian spirit which adorned his character through life, He says, “I will now pass over many events which concern myself and family, still acknowledging the mercy and loving-kindness of God towards me these forty years in the wilderness. I now find myself in a situation I once thought and said could never come to pass. I am not a member of the Methodist (old) Society! Before I begin to narrate the transactions connected with my expulsion from the inheritance of my fathers, I will bow my knees before the Searcher of hearts, and pray that He may not permit me to write any thing under the influence of improper feelings, but to record that which will tend to inculcate the wisdom which is from above; which is first pure, then peaceable.” In concluding the narrative, he says, “I am now liberated from bondage, and hanging more than ever upon Him who is able to save me to the uttermost.
Closer and closer may I cleave
To His beloved embrace;
And grace to answer grace."
After his expulsion he became more zealous than ever, in disseminating the principles of the Gospel. He now united with the Wesleyan Methodist Association ; and spared neither time, pains, nor money to establish its cause in Carrickfergus. The Lord evidently raised him up to be the honored instrument of bringing wandering souls into the pale of the church; and many in Carrickfergus will have cause to praise God to all eternity for the “ Association.” Mr. Hay has more than once expressed to the writer the great pleasure he felt in the establishment and prosperity of our Society in this part of Ireland, urging at the same time the necessity of perseverance in each member. At one time he said to one of our members, “ I have borne the burden and heat of life for many long years. I shall soon be gone home, and the Lord has called you to fill up my place.” For the last few months he seemed to be conscious that his stay here would be short; and several times remarked that he thought his departure would be sudden, as he was frequently seized with a violent pain in his side which very much contracted his body; and if prompt assistance had not been at hand when thus seized, the consequence might have been fatal. On Saturday, March 26th, he complained of being rather unwell, but was able to attend to his business as usual. The next day he came to the cbapel morning and evening, conducted the singing with his wonted ability, and remained at the love-feast after the evening preaching till it ended at 10 o'clock. During the night, he said that one of his feet was very cold; his daughter applied a jar of hot water to it, but without success. On the Monday morning he took his breakfast in bed, and after that expressed his intention of getting up as he could not get his foot warm. His daughter said, he had better not rise till noon, and perhaps by that time he would be better. He complied. During the forenoon she had been to see him several times, and bad only left him about five minutes, apparently not any worse, before in an agony of pain he cried aloud. His family ran to his assistance; but, oh! what a scene! Death had commenced the work of dissolution, and all he could say was, “O! I am going ! Send for the doctor ;” and in a moment he died, offering the prayer of the publican, “ Christ, be merciful to me a sinner.” These are the last words he uttered. Had it been the will of God, his family and the writer wished that he had been spared at least half an hour longer, that they might have known the state of his mind in his last moments, and have administered to him the consolations of the Gospel. Not but that they are fully assured he was ripe for glory, yet his dying words would have been as jewels to his bereaved family. It is, however, a matter of joy and satisfaction to know, that our eternal felicity depends not upon a triumphant death, but upon a holy life. « Tell me,” said a pious saint of God, “how the man has lived ; and then I will tell you how he died.”
The consistency of his walk and conversation; the unimpeachable integrity of his principles; the pious and holy example which he set before his family; his love and affection for his enemies; his untiring zeal in the cause of God; his meek and Christian temper; were fruits of the Holy Spirit which adorned his character all the way through life. While he lived he was respected by all who knew him, his enemies not excepted ; and hundreds attended his funeral to pay the last tribute of respect to his mortal remains. Thus departed Mr. Samuel Hay on Easter Monday, March 28, 1842, aged sixty-nine years. His funeral sermon was preached on Sabbath evening, April 10th, to a crowded and deeply affected congregation, by the writer of this memoir, from Prov. xiv. 32, latter part.
“ Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare's past,
And thou art crowned at last.
In thy Redeemer's breast."
MEMOIR OF THE LATE MRS. ANNE WOOD.
By Mr. A. Woodrow.
Mrs. Wood was born at Borwick, in the county of Lancaster, Dec. 11, 1811. From her infancy she evinced a pious disposition, and bore the character of a dutiful and affectionate child. In early life she was compelled by the poverty of ber parents to leave home and procure a livelihood by her own industry; and was thus prematurely deprived of the advantages of paternal counsel and advice. She engaged herself as a nurse in a family residing in the neighbourhood of her father's house ; and by her modest demeanour and constant integrity secured the esteem and friendship of her mistress. In this situation she continued till she was united to Mr. James Wood, her now bereaved and afflicted partner. But although thus moral and modest in her life and behaviour, she was a stranger to the joys of religion. It is true she had for a considerable time felt the need of 'an inward change,' but had never sought and found acceptance with God. In a very short time after her marriage she yielded to the influence of the Holy Spirit ; began to seek a knowledge of the favour of God; and, with her husband, joined the Methodist Society in Borwick. Earnestness and sincerity in pursuit of “ the pearl of great price” secured success ; in a very short time she was able to rest her all upon the atonement, and rejoiced in the knowledge of sins forgiven. This occurred whilst listening to a sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. And she never afterwards lost her hold of Christ. Shortly after her conversion she came to reside in Salford near Manchester. In the year 1835, she joined the Wesleyan Methodist Association Society in that town, and continued a member thereof until