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ation as an apprentice to a druggist in Bury, upon which situation he entered about the year 1793. Here his duties were very arduous. The days of the week were entirely filled up by attention to his master's business, and even on the Sabbath day, he was regularly obliged to leave the church before the conclusion of the service, in order that he might open the shop, which during the remainder of the Sabbath was kept open as on other days. He frequently remonstrated against this custom, but without effect, and it was not until the very last Sabbath of his apprenticeship that the practice was discontinued. He was a faithful and diligent apprentice, and acquired the entire confidence of his master.
For some time after the termination of his apprenticeship no way seemed to open for him, and he was upon the point of making an engagement to go to the West Indies. This was very much opposed by his parents, and in these circumstances he felt considerable embarrassment. His mind was, however, much relieved by the application of a passage of Scripture. He had turned to the Prayer Book of the Church of England, in the hope of finding something suitable to his state of mind, on which he might found some resolution to govern his conduct, and the passage to which his attention was directed was the 3rd verse of the 37th Psalm. The phraseology of this version is somewhat different to that of the authorized translation, and is as follows:-"Put thou thy trust in the Lord, and be doing good; dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” This he regarded as the direction of Providence, and he determined to await any opening which might present itself in this country. This psalm often afforded him comfort and consolation, in the various trials through which he was called to pass.
Shortly afterwards he came to Rochdale, and entered into business in 1799, a year of great commercial embarrassment. For some time his prospects appeared hopeless, but subsequently improving, he married Miss Jane Crompton, of Bury, in July, 1805.
His habits, in the year or two previous to his marriage, when his circumstances had improved, were become rather of a convivial turn, and it was owing to the influence of his dear partner, who was indeed a help-meet for him, that he broke off from a circle of company which might (if not avoided) have proved a snare to him.
At this period Mr. and Mrs. Booth occasionally attended the preaching of the Methodists, and began to feel a concern for their own spiritual welfare. By the light of the Holy Spirit they were enabled to see their lost state by nature, to feel the guilt of sin, and the depravity of the heart. The pious counsels and consistent example of the late Mr. Benjamin Crompton, of Bury, appear to have been eminently serviceable at this time, and the letters of Mr. Crompton to him shew that the all-important matters of religion were the chief topics of their correspondence.
Mr. Booth became an earnest seeker of salvation, and the Lord graciously heard his cry for mercy. On a Sabbath evening whilst attending the Lord's supper under deep distress of mind on account of sin, and when almost ready to conclude that his case was hopeless, he received great encouragement from the application of that Scripture,
If any man sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
He then felt himself enabled to rely on the atoning grace of God, and received the Spirit into his heart, witnessing with his spirit that he was adopted into the family of God, and made an heir of eternal life. He now felt greater delight in the means of grace, and embraced an early opportunity of joining the Methodist Society.
Experiencing the advantage of religion himself, he was anxious to be instrumental in extending its benefits to others. He was put on the prayer leaders' plan, and for many years was constantly and regularly attentive to its appointments. Distance and situation were no hinderances to him; the love of the Saviour, and the prospect of doing good prompted him to activity and diligence in this employment; and when obliged to give up this labor in consequence of entering into other engagements in the church, he yet took great interest in the operations of the prayer leaders, and by his advice and counsel endeavoured to render them all the assistance in his power.
The Sabbath School also received a large share of his diligent labor, and earnest attention. He was often elected by his brethren to the office of general superintendent, and constantly on the committee, which appointments he filled with the greatest regularity. The seriousness with which he discharged the duties of the various offices which devolved upon him in the Sabbath school, shewed the deep sense he entertained of the importance and value of early religious instruction. In the self-denying labors of a Sabbath school teacher he was worthy of being looked up to as a pattern of regularity, order, and attention. For thirty-five years he was regular and punctual in his attendance ; and if absent from home, and consequently unable to attend personally, he never failed to provide a substitute,
He was frequently called to fill the offices of circuit and town steward for the Society, in which engagements his talent for the dispatch of business, joined to a kind and benevolent disposition, gained him the general esteem of his brethren.
In the year 1819 he was appointed to the office of leader, by the late Rev. T. Lessey, Sen., then stationed in the Rochdale circuit. The following is a communication from a member of his class :-“ I have met upwards of twenty-one years, in the class led by Mr. Booth. As a leader he was distinguished for punctuality of attendance, being rarely absent, and then only when from home, or when prevented by sickness. Matters of business, and merely secular affairs, were in all practicable cases made to yield, when offering to interfere with his duty to his class. His own experience was almost uniformly characterized by humble and devout expressions of gratitude to God for his many mercies; for faith in his sure and precious promises; for calm and steady peace founded on the atonement offered up to Divine justice by Jesus Christ the Saviour, and which he had cordially embraced : and for a lively hope that when called hence he should be admitted to that rest which remaineth for the people of God, and be made a partaker of the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.
“ His exhortations to the members of his class were generally
conveyed in Scriptural phraseology, and were marked by simplicity, seriousness, weight and applicability to the state and circumstances of those to whom they were addressed.
“ Those who had the privilege of his admonitions and instructions could often take up the language of the disciples, and say ; Master, it is good to be here. To the visitation of the sick and absent of his class he was particularly attentive. He had a strong and abiding sense of his responsibility to his Master, for the oversight and management of that portion of his flock which he had committed to his care, and was solicitous and watchful that none of them should stray in dark and stormy days, or forsake the fold under the influence of trial or temptation. And while he thus sedulously attended to the more pleasing duties of a class leader, he was not found to shrink from or neglect those which are of a more trying or painful character.”
Nor ought the regularity of his attendance at the weekly meetings of his brethren, the leaders, to pass unnoticed. From these meetings he was rarely absent, and then unavoidably. His brethren will long remember his sweetness of manner, his peaceful and affectionate deportment, and his wise and prudent counsel in cases of doubt and difficulty, and they will no doubt long continue to lament his removal.
Nor was his religion merely shewn in his official situations in the church. It was exemplified in all the social relations of life. He was careful by precept and example to endeavour to train up his household in the way they should go, and to fulfil the divine command as recorded in Deut. vi. 6-9.
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.
And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates."
The attention which he paid to the public worship of God, was easily observed from his subsequent conversation, and shewed that his attendance on the means of grace was not the result of mere custom. Whoever might be the officiating minister, he delighted to be there, and in proper time; and the numerous sketches and outlines of sermons which he had heard, and which are left amongst his papers, shew his anxious desire to preserve the recollection of the things he had heard, “ lest at any time he should let them slip.”
After being a member of the Wesleyan Society for thirty years, circumstances, sufficiently well known, led bim to secede from that body, and to connect himself with the Wesleyan Methodist Association. Such was the strength of his attachment to the church in which he had spent so many of his days, that nothing less than a settled conviction that it was plainly and imperatively his duty so to act, could have induced him to separate from its communion. With him such a step was not the result of impulse, but the consequence of thought
ful and mature deliberation. Nor was it taken until he, in connexion with others, had tried every prudent expedient to render such a course unnecessary.
Having failed in his efforts to obtain for himself and his brethren, that which he considered their right as members of a Christian community, he withdrew. This step so calmly and advisedly taken he always looked back upon, and spoke of with satisfaction and approval, and the personal and pecuniary sacrifices which he made in support of the Association, abundantly prove the sincerity and strength of his attachment to it, and his earnest desire to promote its interests.
The soundness of his conversion, and the depth of his piety, were exemplified in his devotedness to the work of God, and in the readiness with which he lent himself to the cause of humanity. Many of the aged and afflicted can testify that from him, they have experienced sympathy and kindness, whenever in sickness or destitution, they have applied to him for advice or succour.
In 1807, he assisted in establishing the Benevolent Society. That excellent Institution which has brought relief to many a sufferer, and whose agents have carried instruction and comfort to many destitute and afflicted families, found in him at all times an untiring friend and supporter. The Bible Society, the British and Foreign School Society, and the Dispensary ever had his willing labors, as an active member of their committees, as well as his pecuniary support. In the cause of Missions, as might be expected, he also took a lively interest. For the extinction of negro slavery he labored earnestly, and on two occasions was unanimously appointed as one of a deputation from the Rochdale Anti-Slavery Society, to the Parent Society in London. Such was the course of honorable and extensive usefulness pursued by our departed brother. 'We now come to the closing scene of his life; to the period at which he was removed from this state of probation to the full and perfect enjoyment of that inheritance for which he was prepared.
He was appointed a representative of the Rochdale circuit, at the Annual Assembly, held in Liverpool, in July and August, 1841; and was present during the greater portion of its sittings, and on his return home, he appeared in his usual state of health, and remarked with pleasure how well he had been enabled to bear the sittings of the Assembly, as he was not accustomed to such long continued sedentary confinement. He returned from Liverpool on the 11th of August.
On Wednesday the 18th of August, he felt rather unwell, and on the following day, became gradually worse. His disorder, which proved to be inflammation of the bowels, continued to increase, and on Thursday evening the 26th of August, 1841, he departed this life, in the sixty-third year of his age, so calmly, that the precise moment of his departure was not perceived by his family, who were anxiously surrounding him.
The whole of his affliction was borne with pious resignation-no murmuring word escaped him—and though his pains were very severe, few expressions to that effect were made by him. In patience he possessed his soul. When on one occasion it was observed to him, that it was feared he would not recover, he replied, “ It is all well,
If I live it will be well, --if I die it will be well also.” To an inquiry respecting the state of his mind, he answered, “I feel my mind in settled peace.”
An intimate friend making allusion to the probable result of his severe affliction, Mr. Booth calmly said “Well, I have had very many failings and infirmities, but in nothing have I wickedly departed from my God.” It was then said to him, “ But even this is not your hope," when he immediately replied “Oh! no, no,
“ Tis all my hope and all my plea,
For me the Saviour died."
He frequently repeated the following lines :
“In age and feebleness extreme
Expressing his gratitude for the consolation and support of religion which he enjoyed, he remarked that it was madness for any one to defer to such an hour of prostration
“ The vast concerns of an eternal scene,"
On the Sabbath evening previous to his death he conversed much on spiritual things, - various favourite hymns and portions of Scripture were read to him--and the remarks he made on various passages evinced the settled peace and composure of his mind.-“I have not rapturous joy,” said he, “but, I have firm, unshaken peace,-I have strong confidence.
“ Jesus thy blood and righteousness
He frequently mentioned to his family during this day, that the whole of his wishes for them, and their children, were contained in Numbers, chap. vi. 24-26, and requested them to be read for him.
“ The Lord bless thee, and keep thee :
“ The Lord make his face shine' upon thee, and be gracious unto thee :
“ The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” It was indeed a privilege to be near to him. It was felt that,
“ The chamber