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though he was unwell. On retiring to his chamber for rest, he sat himself down upon the bed, apparently suffering from a conflict in his soul as to what he should do to relieve his present state of mind. On being asked by his wife, if he was unwell ? without replying to her, he instantly fell upon his knees, and began in earnest to pour out his whole soul before God. It was then that he cbtained mercy, for the Lord at that very time blessed him with a knowledge of justification and peace, and his conduct afterwards proved that a great moral change had been experienced by him. On the following morning, he instituted family prayer, which he always diligently and perseveringly observed, except in an instance wbich we shall hereafter mention. He took great delight in this sacred duty, and in this respect, has left an example worthy the highest commendation, and which every religious parent ought to copy. For some months after his conversion to God, before he entered the Society as a member, being somewhat diffident and unacquainted with the nature of religious associations, he wanted some of the Society to speak to him about his soul, and to give him an invitation to attend a class-meeting. The relation of this circumstance ought to teach those who are members of a Christian church, not to overlook such persons as are regular attendants upon the public ministry of the word; probably there are persons like our deceased brother, who may only be waiting for some one to take them by the hand, and to give them an invitation to become members of the church of Christ. He received his first ticket in the year of our Lord, 1819, and although a weak and delicate man, and of very precarious health, yet, he hardly ever was absent from his class, during the whole of the seven years he lived at Belgrave; and even after he had removed to a situation as keeper of a toll bar, at Humberstone, he went regularly a distance of two miles to his class, week by week. In the course of providence, he had to remove with his family to another toll bar, at a village named Kirby, three miles from Melton Mowbray, and finding no Methodists in the village, he went to the Church, which was favoured with a Gospel ministry, and became a regular communicant; sometimes however he would go to Melton, and sometimes to other places, a considerable distance from home, in order to get to a Methodist chapel. While at Kirby, a Sunday School was established in connexion with the Church, and he being deemed a good man, and one who was every way suitable to take charge of the School, he was requested by the clergyman to do so, and accordingly consented; this was the commencement of that long line of experience which he afterwards obtained in the instruction of the rising generation, and which gave to him such a deep, thoughtful and affectionate regard for the moral culture and improvement of those, who were connected with Sabbath Schools. The clergyman of the village, entertaining a high sense of the value of his services, would have remunerated him with a sum of money weekly, but he declined accepting it; however, the clergyman afterwards made him a small present, as a token of his regard for him. While in this place he was frequently sent for to visit the sick, and one Sunday night after he had gone to bed, he was called up to visit a person in dying circumstances ; for some time previously to this he had omitted family prayer ; on his return home from seeing this sick person he began to pray and got into an agony ; his earnestness was so great that it awoke his wife, and to her it appeared as though the bed on which she lay was shaken with his intense wrestling and importunity. In the morning he said, “I will begin family prayer again, for I plainly see that we shall do no good without it.” At his request the children were immediately called into the house, and he again commenced this important Christian duty, and continued it ever afterwards to the period of his death. while there was any hope of his life being protracted, he felt anxiety that he might be able to glorify God better than he had ever done before. But at length, perceiving that his end was approaching, he looked at it without the slightest fear or dismay; nay, he welcomed it with holy serenity and joy. He would sometimes say,
He came to reside in Leicester in the year 1834, and united himself with what was then the Arminian Society, but now the Wesleyan Methodist Association. He was soon introduced into the Sabbath School, and was regarded by those connected with it as an invaluable acquisition; he held the office of superintendent, and discharged his duty faithfully and efficiently. A few months before his last illness he was appointed the leader of a class; until that time, he never could be prevailed upon to undertake this duty, from a fear, as he said, lest his mind should be overburdened with anxiety, and he should sink under the weight of his responsibility. But after he was confined to his room by sickness, often, while his heart was full to overflowing, and tears of love and affection rolled down his wasting and pallid countenance, he expressed how intensely he felt for his little flock over which he had been appointed overseer ; and again and again said, that if God in his great mercy should see fit to prolong his life, he would endeavour to increase the number of members in his class, and to lead them on in Christian experience and practice. O how he prayed for the church upon his bed of sickness, and wept over the sinful state of the world ; breathing his ardent desire to God for a more extensive diffusion of the principles of Christianity, that men might be led to praise the Lord · for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men. The first seven weeks of his illness were spent in excruciating pain of body; during the day he seemed to be much depressed in spirits, and sometimes said, that it appeared as if his faith and hope were gone; at night he would rally and seemed cheerful and happy, and frequently has been heard in the night watches praising and blessing the name of the Lord. He was so fearful of being impatient under his affliction, that he begged he might be told of it whenever it was apparent. At the end of seven weeks he experienced a great and sudden change, and at the time of the change it was thought he was dying, but he recovered a little and lingered on for eight weeks longer. One night, feeling great pain in his legs and feet, he said to his wife, “ Be sure you pray for me to-night, but pray in faith ; never before did I experience so much as T have done since I lay upon this bed, the full force of those words, Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them ;' this passage he said has often staggered me, but now I know its truth.” On another occasion, when his wife had been praying with him for the Lord to raise him up again, that by his spared life he might shew forth his praise, he replied, "Amen, Lord answer that prayer, let it be to glorify thee if I am spared.” Sometimes he would say, “O if the Lord would but raise me up again, for the sake of the school and my little flock,” Indeed
“ 'Tis almost done, 'tis almost o'er,
We shall meet with those who are gone before,
What! he would ask, and never part again ? and then he would reply, “ No! never, never part again.”
On Thursday, the day before he died, he altered very much in the early part of the morning for the worse, and at that time it was thought that he would soon be gone. He took leave of his aged father, his wife, and children, and bade them all farewell. He prayed that God would bless them, and exhorted them all to meet him in heaven. Shortly after this, his eldest daughter said, that he was dying ! to which he replied, “ O no, it will go off again directly, and if it does not, the will of the Lord be done; his will is the best will, and it shall be done ; if he won't let me stay to praise him here, I'll go and praise him yonder.” At night a younger daughter came to see him, and he could then scarcely speak, but he said to her, “ What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch ;” and on trying to sing, “ I love Jesus ” he found that he could not accomplish it; the words were repeated to him, ending with “ Jesus smiles and loves me too,” and he immediately added, “yes, he does! he does !” About four o'clock on Friday morning, the day on which he died, he suffered greatly, every hour was expected to be his last; and while thus suffering he was heard to say, “ Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and in a few minutes after, “ Come Lord Jesus, and come quickly,” these last words he repeated many times before he died. On seeing his youngest daughter so early in the morning standing by him, he said, “ What ! has Mahala got up to see her father die? may it never be erased from her mind.” He then talked to his children, and to all in the house, except his wife, who was overwhelmed with grief, but after a pause when all was silent, he turned to her, and with emphasis said, “ Jehovah will be thy husband!” his eldest daughter replied, “ Yes, he will father; ” “ Yes,” he said, “and he will also be thy Father.” Feeling an anxiety to be gone, an anxiety to be with his Saviour in heavenly felicity, he said, “O that I had wings like a dove, then would I fly away and be at rest.” His desire was soon granted, the last moment of his suffering and trial arrived, and as he was accomplishing the victory, and placing his foot upon the neck of the last enemy, his dying words, as a signal of triumph, were these,—“ Help me to glorify his name.” Thus terminated the career of one who was among the excellent of the earth, and who was indeed a good and a valuable man, a burning and a shining light. The church in him has lost one of its best members, the School one of its best friends, his wife one of the best of husbands, and his children one of the best of fathers; but our loss is his infinite and eternal gain. He died on the 26th of November, aged fifty
years. His death was improved by the writer of this testimonial to his worth, on Sunday evening, Dec. 12th, 1841, to a large and crowded congregation, in the Hill Street Chapel, Leicester.
“() may I triumph so when all my warfare's past,
And dying find my latest foe, under my feet at last.”
THE GOODNESS OF GOD IN AFFLICTION. “ He hath not dealt with us according to our iniquities.”—Ps. ciii. 10.
This Psalm contains a delightful illustration of the paternal character of God; that character is founded on the relations and engagements of his covenant of redemption. He is our Father by the right of creation ; we are the workmanship of his hand—we are the sheep of his pasture, we are the subjects of his holy government, and dependant on his care- and we are amenable at his bar. As our Father, in this view of his character, we have dishonoured him — we have departed from him - we have forfeited all claim to his favor and love - we have exposed ourselves to his displeasure, we have no warrant in such views of his character to found an expectation of mercy. If, therefore, we come to God as our Father, we must come to him on some new ground, which his own gratuitous favor, which his own sovereign compassion, has constituted, and not on that which results from our mere relationship as his creatures.
It is the peculiar excellency of Divine revelation, that it shows us how, and on what grounds, God is our Father, our reconciled Father. It shows us through what medium we can approach him, by what plea we can urge our suit at his footstool; for it directs us to a new relation, which resulting from his own gracious covenant, the covenant of his mercy, revealed in Christ Jesus, and ratified by the blood of the cross, we can cherish filial confidence in the view of the Divine majesty, and without presumption, say, “ Abba Father.”
Such are the privileges of those who are brought to sustain a filial relation to God. They know that he has adopted them into his family—that he has constituted them sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty-that his ways towards them are mercy and truththat the most mysterious conduct of his providence shall issue in their future good — that even when clouds and darkness surround his throne, justice and judgment are its eternal foundations, mercy and truth go before his face.
It was under the animating influence of such views of the paternal character of God as our covenant God, graciously reconciled, overruling all events, for the final and ultimate good of his people, that the Psalm before us was composed. We find the inspired writer directing the holy gratitude of his own mind, and the minds of those for whom he wrote this Psalm, to the character, the covenant, the promise, and the government of God, as our Father in heaven. It was under these views and impressions that he was led to contemplate the chastening discipline of God. The same views of the character of God are given us by the Apostle, when addressing the believing Hebrews : “ And ye have forgotten the exhortation, which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him : for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not ? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which corrected us; and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” Let there be such encouraging views of the Divine relation, such humble confidence in the paternal administration of the Most High; and then, whatever may be the stroke of his discipline, whatever the mysterious severity of his procedure, humble and filial submission will lead the believer to say, “ The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plenteous in mercy. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the carth ; so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.”
I. WHAT ARE THE VIEWS WHICH THIS DECLARATION PRESENTS TO US OF THE DIVINE CONDUCT; “ He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us after our iniquities.”
In the first place, He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve. This is the obvious meaning of the text; and who is not prepared at once to feel the force of this important sentiment ? He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve. What do our sins deserve ? Do they not deserve banishment from God--the forfeiture of his parental relation to us—the execution of his righteous sentence against us? When is it that afflictions appear heavy ? When sin is felt lightly. When is it that afflictions appear light? When sin is felt to be heavy-when the mind has a just and adequate idea of its aggravation and guiltiness, and there is every thing in our sins to lead us to this unwilling estimation; we need not go to others, we need not enter into invidious comparisons, but let us enter into the secrecy of our breasts, examine the state of our own hearts by faithful retrospection, consider our own ways; and if there were no other beings in the universe, we should feel that “ He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”
We see something of the sins of others by their actual manifestation, but we know more of our own sins than we know of the sins of others. We know more of the light we have resisted -- the convictions we have disregarded—the mercies we have received and forgotten and the impressions against which we rebelled. Two persons may commit the same identical crime, yet the guilt may be inconceivably greater in the one case than the other. The one may have had no