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he distributed tracts, in some of the lowest streets of this town, occupied principally by Roman Catholics, amidst the threatenings, anathemas, and sometimes blows, from his poor deluded fellow-creatures.
At the time of the first Annual Assembly held in Liverpool, by the ministry of the preachers there assembled, he and several other persons were led to seek a deeper work of grace upon their hearts. The Lord poured out his Spirit in a remarkable manner upon believers; and our brother could then say—
'* 'Tis done: thou dost this moment save,
He set out afresh with renewed vigour and earnestness, and with one or two fellow-workmen established a meeting in a stable; here they met regularly every morning, and conversed and prayed together, before they commenced work, and at noon, and night; and several were added to their number. But Satan endeavoured to prevent the continuance of those meetings, and for this purpose stirred up their adversaries against them, who maliciously opposed and reproached them. But this persecution served only as oil to the fire: their zeal and love increased, and those poor disciples were enabled to continue stedfast. The prosperity of the Church, especially of that section to which he belonged, lay near his heart. He believed the Wesleyan Methodist Association to be raised up of God for the more effectual evangelization of the world. When some of his most intimate friends went back to the Old Body, he felt most keenly; but nothing could move him from his attachment to the Association; his language was, "this people shall be my people, and their God my God."
As a leader, he was faithful in the discharge of his duties; he always endeavoured, if possible, to see his members, at least, once a week. Visiting the sick appeared to be the work in which he was more especially called to labour: time, distance, or the most infectious disease, did not deter him from visiting the sick and dying; and few men could so fully enter into their feelings as he did: he at once got at the state of their minds, and then, without any fear of giving offence, would show them the awful state they were in, and direct them to the bleeding Saviour, as their several states required. Hundreds of bedsides can witness with what fervour and power he pleaded with God for the sons and daughters of affliction; great numbers, whom he was instrumental in directing to the Friend of sinners, have welcomed him to the skies. Many of his more judicious friends blamed him for his over exertions in this work, and thought that it was the cause of that sickness which terminated his life. For several years his health had been declining, hut it was not until February, 1841, that he began to think that his life was coming to a close. Having been exposed on the pier-head to the severity of the weather, he caught cold, and was confined for several days. In this illness he suffered'much, but he was enabled to rejoice in the God of his salvation. He expressed his gratitude to God for not having to seek his religion when enduring so much pain: his lamp was burning and his loins girt, waiting for the coming of his Lord. But his heavenly Father was pleased to prolong his life, and partially to restore his wonted health and strength. In the autumn he was again confined to his room and his bed. Very little information could be obtained from him as to the state of his mind during his last sickness, for he was insensible almost from the first, excepting only at short intervals, when he would say, ' Christ is precious! Christ is precious! or he would commence some favourite hymn or verse, such as—
"For ever here my rest shall be,
"Refining fire go through my heart," &c.
And then he would fall into a state of unconsciousness.
His brother came from Yorkshire to see him, and finding him rather absent, knelt down by his bedside, and prayed that if it was the will of God, he might once more be restored to his right mind. He rose from his knees, and asked him how he was. He said, '/ am poorly, but very happy. How art thou, and my mother, and sisters?' and immediately fell into the same state of insensibility, until, about six o'clock the next morning, December 2, 1841, his spirit took its flight to the realms of glory.
"There all the ship's company meet,
Mis death was improved, at the request of the leaders' meeting, by Mr. Rowland, on Sunday evening, the 15th of May, to a large and deeply attentive congregation,
FIDELITY TO CHRIST.
The following excellent Sermon by a Scottish Minister, is taken /rom an American Publication.
"Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
Rev. ii. 10.
The visions unfolded to our contemplation in this book of sacred prophecy, are of the most sublime and captivating description. The curtain which conceals futurity from human inspection is lifted up, and the persecuted apostle, in his lonely banishment, has a magnificent disclosure made to him of what was to be hereafter. The dispensations of Providence, which relate to the church, are minutely unfolded. The trials she would have to encounter, and the sea of tribulation through which she should have to pass before she should enter on her millennial rest, are- distinctly foretold. The revelation is not indeed given in plain language, but under the more striking form of hieroglyphical symbols. Like a panoramic exhibition, one scene after another comes in rapid succession into view, and one symbol after another arrests the attention of the astonished apostle, till the revelation is complete; and each scene unveils a portion of the history of the church till she is seen far in futurity completely triumphant over all her inveterate foes. Then the curtain drops. Divine revelation closes. The heavens are shut, never to be opened till the Son of man shall come to judge the world in righteousness. The symbolic writing is not destroyed. It is in our hands. And it becomes us attentively, and in the exercise of fervent prayer, to watch the evolution of events, under the firm conviction that the amazing realities, of which these were but the types, either have been, or shall be unfolded, on the theatre of the world.
The first scene in the vision exhibits the glorified Redeemer arrayed in all the overwhelming splendours of Divine majesty, and walking in the "midst of the seven golden candlesticks." This attitude denotes the minute inspection he takes of his church — the tender care he exercises over her—and the rightful claim he has to the supreme regard of every one of her members. The unrivalled dignity of the Saviour, and his high title to the supreme adorations of men and of angels, are demonstrated by the authority which be possesses over the visible and invisible worlds, the minute knowledge which he has of every circumstance connected with the personal history of the humblest of our race, and the awards of judgment, by which the changeless condition of every order of rational intelligences shall be fixed.
In the epistle to the church in Smyrna he describes himself as the "First and the Last," as he who " was dead and is alive." He assures her members that he was well acquainted with their "works of faith and labours of love"—that he knew the sacrifices they had made for his sake—the violence with which they had been assailed by the emissaries of Satan—the bloody persecution they had endured—and the accumulating trials to which they would yet be exposed. But, instead of shrinking back from the thickening conflict, he encourages them to hold fast their integrity, retain their courage, and dismiss their fears. And he urges them to unflinching steadfastness in the course on which they had entered, by the assurance of a glorious reward, and a splendid triumph at last. But he conceals from them none of the sufferings they might previously be called to endure. He assures them, that before they could hope to obtain the promised crown, they might expect increased hardships. The bloody sword would remain unsheathed. They might anticipate bonds and imprisonment, torture and death. As individuals, they might be called to seal their testimony with their blood, and as a church, they might expect an extended term of tribulation; but, amid all their sufferings, they were not to darken, by cowardice, their bright hopes for eternity. All their losses and pains will be much more than compensated by the successful issue of the conflict. How glorious to ascend to heaven from the scaffold of death to receive the martyr's crown.
You, my friends, are not exposed to the same severe trials, losses, and sufferings, for the sake of Christ, as the church in Smyrna. But, as the adherents of the "Captain of salvation," you must endure hardships, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. While you are in the world you will have to fight the battles of the Lord. The enemies of your souls are still as hostile to the spiritual welfare of the friends of Christ as ever, and as full of malignity against your glorious Leader. Circumstances are indeed changed. The world is now more formidable in its smiles than in its frowns, and more destructive by its allurements than by its terrors. And Satan's policy is likewise different. Instead of appearing in all his native deformity to work on your fears, with more cunning he now puts on the garb of an angel of light. Instead of employing his agents to light up the burning pile, and use instruments of torture to appal the followers of the Lamb, and induce them through terror to apostatize, he rather endeavours to gain them over to his cause by flatteries. Still you "wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." And while you maintain the same conflict, the same inducements to fidelity are held out to you as those which cheered on the confessors of former ages. The promise is still sure—the reward is certain—the prize of immortality is still to be won—and the glorified Saviour is still saying to every one now present, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
These words contain,
I. A solemn exhortation; and,
II. A gracious assurance.
I. The Solemn Exhortation demands our consideration. "Be thou faithful unto death." Fidelity is the duty here enjoined. The meaning of the term is level to the understanding of every one, and therefore does not require any lengthened explanation. It has an obvious reference to the proper and conscientious discharge of every duty which we owe as moral, social, and responsible beings. But it is not in this extensive sense that we design to consider it in this discourse; but as descriptive of what the disciples of Christ owe to him as their Saviour and Lord. His claims to their fidelity are not only unalienable and just in themselves, but recognised to be so by those who assume his name, and solemnly profess their attachment to his person and cause. Viewing the exhortation as delivered by the glorified Redeemer to his followers, we remark,—
1st. That Christians are urged to fidelity in their professions of personal attachment to the Saviour.—The claims which the Son of God has on the faithful adherence of all his followers are so many and powerful as to defy enumeration. The infinite glories of his divine person—the intrinsic and manifested excellencies of his mediatorial character—and the amazing undertaking which he executed for man's salvation, exhibit him to every believer in a light the most attractive and amiable. It is impossible for one who knows and feels that he has been rescued from impending destruction by the generous interposition of another, to refrain from cherishing towards his benevolent deliverer the most grateful emotions. And surely every sentiment of wonder and glowing attachment must rise to its highest exercise, when the redeemed sinner remembers the unparalleled love and boundless compassion of Jesus to guilty men, and the striking proofs which he gave of these. When our race must have perished for ever had he not interposed, he became their surety. He came forth from the bosom of his Father, where he was venerated and adored by all the heavenly hosts, and appeared on our earth in the "form of a servant." Though he had made the world and all its inhabitants, yet, when he came to it, he found no birth-place but a stable, and no cradle for his infant head but a manger. And he was not ignorant of the reception which he would receive, before he appeared among men. He knew that penury, toil, reproach, and persecution would be his constant attendants—that every obstruction which earth and hell could throw in his way, to impede his benevolent enterprise, must be encountered—that in the execution of his magnificent undertaking he would have to bear the ingratitude of men, and the attacks of devils—the fury of the powers of darkness, and the justice of offended Heaven—that in the fulfilment of his covenant engagement with his Father to save sinners, he must pass through scenes, and suffering, and conflicts, such as never were before exhibited, nor endured, and never shall be again. The sun suffered a miraculous eclipse to conceal the terrors of the hours during which Jesus hung suspended on the accursed tree. And the signals which announced the victory won, and salvation complete, were the loud voice of the expiring Saviour, exclaiming, " It is finished," rending rocks, supernatural darkness, and a great earthquake. Now, all this was fully known to the Son of God before he entered on his mediatorial undertaking, or came on the benevolent errand of saving souls from the second death; and yet he willingly came, and pressed forward with a holy impatience to the hottest of the conflict, that he might overthrow, for ever, the enemies of our salvation, and work out for us an eternal deliverance. O! there is a grandeur and sublimity in the love of Jesus, harmoniously blending with all that is winning and attractive, which cannot be correctly appreciated without exciting in the believer a triumph of the most pleasing yet indefinable emotions. In the love of Christ there is every thing which is best fitted to produce love in return. The vastness of its extent—its immeasurable depths—the intenseness of its regards—and the disinterestedness of its sacrifices, are well calculated to make the deepest impression on the soul of every Christian.
Now, my friends, you profess to have appreciated the character, the work, and the excellencies of Christ, and to be influenced by love to him. You have avowed your attachment to him in the most solemn and public manner, and you are bound by every consideration of duty and consistency habitually to act under the constraining influence of love to Christ. The pulse of this heavenly affection ought to beat strongly and steadily within you, so long as your heart retains its natural warmth-. Your love to Jesus must not blaze like a meteor, but burn like the sun. No combination of external circumstances must quench the pure flame of heavenly affection to the Saviour. Providence may frown, friends may disclaim you,