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FOR MAY, 1821.
Memoir of the late Mr. THOMAS CHARLES RUSHFORTH,
Minister of the Gospel,
By Mr. John Snow Manley: To which is subjoined a Sketch of his Character, by Mr. John Beynon.
THOMAS CHARLES RUSH FORTA, the subject of this memoir, was born at Knaresborough, in the county of York. His mother died when he was between two and three years old, and he was placed under the care of a highly respectable person, who considered him as having strong claims on his kind attention. Beneath the roof of this opulent benefactor and friend he passed the years of childhood and youth; receiving an education suitable to the situation for which he was intended. When arrived at a proper age, he was removed to a principal manufactory in Knaresborough, being designed by his patron for the linen-trade; where he continued, till called to engage in the work of an Itinerant Preacher among the Wesleyan Methodists.
At an early age his mind was seriously impressed, and a gracious conviction of the reality of unseen things preserved him from sinking so deeply into the spirit of worldly pleasures, as his situation and company would have allowed. At what time his acquaintance with the Methodists commenced, by what means he was led to an attendance on their ministry, or what were the precise period and circumstances of his conversion to God, the writer's information will not allow him to say with certainty; but from a remark made by Mr. RUSHFORTH, when he first heard of the sudden removal to Paradise of that excellent man, Mr. BuAMWELL, it was understood that he received his first ticket from him, and that Mr. B. addressed him most impressively on the occasion. On referring to the Minutes of the CONFERENCE, it appears that MR. BRAMWELL was in the neighbourhood of Knaresborough in the year 1805. It is therefore probable that Mr. RUSHPORTH became a member of the Methodist Society when about eighteen Vol. XLIV. May, 1821.
years of age. How amiable does religion appear in young people! This pious youth gave bimself to God, and to the Church by the will of God, at an age when too many are laying, by their follies, a foundation for deep repentance in time to come, or heedlessly rushing into the vortex of dissipation and vice. i
In the course of time he was placed on the Local-Preachers' plan, and most zealously laboured in the work of calling sinners to repentance. Unlike some, who carelesslv disappoint congregations, to the great injury of God's cause, he conscientiously attended to his appointments, and fearlessly encountered both distance and weather, in the prosecution of that work in which his soul so greatly delighted. Often has he returned from these fatiguing journeys, when the whole family, with the exception of a'servant, have been in bed ; and, taking nothing but a glass of cold water, has committed his spirit to the God whom he served, while his weary and weather-beaten body recruited its exhausted strength by rest and sleep.
His religion had displeased his unawakened friends before he engaged in any public service; but now his activity in doing good was particularly disapproved by them, and his daily path became rugged and painful. Cold and indifferent treatment, and specious promises, were alternately employed, but in vain, to move him from his steadfastness, and induce him to renounce his attachment to the cause of truth. In these “fights of affliction” the Lord afforded him strong consolation ; and with tears of grateful love bas he subsequently acknowledged the goodness of God in bringing him through such a “fiery trial.”
His piety and gifts, which had rendered him useful in the capacity of a Local-Preacher, soon recommended him to the more particular notice of his brethren, as a person proper to be more extensively employed in the vineyard of the Lord. He was proposed by MR. TIMOTHY CROWTHER, and accepted by, the CONFERENCE, in 1810, for the Itinerant Ministry
What were his views and feelings at this important period of his life, we are deprived of the means of knowing, by ihat excessive modesty which led him, about a fortnight or three weeks before his death, to consign the whole of his Diary to destruction. But when we consider that in becoming a Methodist Itinerant Preacher he made a voluntary sacrifice of considerable worldly prospects and expectations, and brought upon himself the implacable resentment of his nearest kindred, we must be fully satisfied of his godly sincerity, and of the purity of his principles and motives. He commenced his itinerant career in what was then called the Brampton-Mission, and, without a fellow-labourer, continued there to the end of the year. The CONFERENCE removed him, in 1811, to the Brough Circuit; and in 1812, to the
Kendal Circuit. Having thus spent three years in the Carlisle District, he was in 1813 sent to superintend the Brecon Circuit
who has kindly favoured the writer with information on the subject of this year's labour. Ile writes as follows:
“On my arrival at Brecon, I was received with open arms of christian affection by Mr. RUSHFORTH, who soon removed many fears which had perplexed my mind. He had then been only three years in the work himself; notwithstanding which, I found him capable of giving the best instruction, more like that of an aged minister than of a young man. The cause of God in the Brecon Circuit was at that time in a low state; but my departed friend presently adopted those plans which were best calculated for the regulation of the work, and for the good of the Circuit in general. Be soon gained the affections of the people; and the LORD owned his labours in a wonderful manner. Many were brought to God, who are ornaments to religion to the present day. When he left the dear people of that place, he was universally lamented. Such was their affection to us as to leave an indelible impression on our minds. Whenever I saw him, after the time we travelled together, with peculiar pleasure and delight he talked of those happy days. His zeal for the glory of God, and the good of souls, was most fervent. In order to do good, I have known him endure much fatigue, travelling in all sorts of weather, riding and walking many long journeys, and often without that which was necessary to support nature; and I am persuaded that these things, with damp beds and other inconveniences, brought on thuse diseases which hastened his dissolution; and that of him it may, in a sense, be truly said, that he fell a martyr to the work in which he was engaged.”
The following is an extract of a letter from a young Clergyman of the Establishment, bearing date August 13, 1819:-“ My personal acquaintance with Mr. RUSH FORTH was not very long; but from the knowledge I had of him, I discovered him to be a sensible, penetrating, intelligent, and well-informed man; : humble, self-denying, lively, devout, and unaffectedly pious Christian; and a judicious, faithful, zealous, and indefatigably active minister. In short, his whole soul appeared to be absorbed in those two grand principles, love to God and love to man; and all his powers were actively engaged in efforts to promote the glory of his great MASTER in the conversion of sinners, and in serving the interests of his Church. These are the views I have been led to form of the late good MR. RUSHFORTH. May Ibe enabled to follow him as be followed Christ! Mr. R. was universally esteemed, respected, and beloved by those who knew him in the Brecon Circuit. Of the extent of his usefulness while labouring in that part of Christ's vineyard, my circumstances
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