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And at length God shined in his beart to give the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. He believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and obtained the peace and liberty of the children of God. He immediately joined the Wesleyan society at Gargrove, and continued to the end of his life a consistent and steady professor of the Gospel.
His profession, however, soon exposed him to annoyance. There were too many in whose judgments his faults were pardonable while he was an ungodly man; but no sooner did he become a true Christian, than his very virtues were disliked. He was called to suffer persecution for righteousness' sake, and had to relinquish more than one situation. But the Providence in which he trusted did not forsake him, and he found, in the service of Henry Leah, Esq., of Calverley-Moor, both religious freedom, and maintenance for himself and family.
In a climate morally insalubrious, and altogether unfavourable to the developement of Christian character, the piety of Charles Smith, nevertheless, gained rootage and firmness. It was as the vine among the clifts of craggy rocks; and when it was transplanted into a richer soil, it did not luxuriate into a showy but empty exuberance of foliage, but brought forth much fruit.
His season of rest from persecution furnished him with occasional hours of leisure; and these he improved by reading his Bible, and prayer. His mind became thoroughly imbued with the sanctifying of the truth, and he was prepared, by this anointing of the Holy One, to give the word of exhortation. From this period his time was fully occupied in his daily labours, in private devotion, and in domestic and public usefulness. To the latter, more particular reference may be made. Charles Smith believed it to be his duty, according to the order of the section of the church to which he belonged, to call sinners to repentance, and to exhort his fellow-men to work out their own salvation. His exhortations were, for the most part, based on the subjects which his own experience suggested ; such as repentance toward God, faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, entire sanctification, and practical godliness. These things he felt and understood ; and, keeping within his own line, he declared them with that ease, fervour, and power which constitute true eloquence. His intimate acquaintance with the thoughts and ways of the ungodly, gave to his exhorta
ons great force. In the garden, too, he frequently found illustrations for his public addresses ; and the practice was both indicative of that constant spirituality of mind which, ever dwelling on sacred truth, saw allusions to it in all things ; and happily suited, through the simplicity, and yet impressiveness, of his emblems, to fix the attention of his hearers.
But it was in faithful prayer that the depth of his piety was most evident. By wrestling supplication had his conversion been effected and the same spirit breathed in all his exhortations. Prayer sanctified his social hours; and in the solitude of his garden-labours, or by the highway-side, he was still praying. He was a man mighty in prayer; and hence his usefulness. Through his instrumentality, many were awakened, many were converted, many were enriched in all spiritual blessedness. He was full of zeal,-of that divine love which ever seeks the attainment of its object. For this object he counted nothing dear to himself. Ease, reputation, time, money, his own life also, what were they to the salvation of souls ? He was zealous in the Wesleyan Sunday-school, zealous in raising new classes for the Wesleyan society, zealous in procuring supplies to support the Wesleyan Missions. The common saying was, “Sin cannot live where Charles Smith lives.”
Affectionate compassion was suffused over all his character. Many instances of this were secret; but his very poverty made others manifest. A widow, with four children, was distrained upon for rent. Her few goods were just about to be sold; but she knew that the house of Charles Smith was the house of kindness and mercy. She did not go there in vain. He and his wife instantly took in the whole family ; and during the leisure-hours of the next three days he went about begging for her, and obtained the sum which was necessary to restore her to her habitation. All who were afflicted, even though they were wicked, found in him, in the hour of suffering, a kind neighbour and friend, and a faithful counsellor. On one occasion his habitual kindness was beautifully displayed, in connexion with unpretending, but genuine and patriotic, loyalty. During the riots in Lancashire and the west of Yorkshire, some troops of the 11th Hussars were making a forced march to Bradford. Just as they arrived opposite Charles Smith's house, the vanguard rode back with the intelligence they had received, that the riot was already quelled ; and they were therefore commanded to halt. The soldiers appeared to be weary and thirsty, and Charles's benevolence was instantly called into action. Water for the horses, and bread, cheese, and milk for the men, were instantly brought out. He cut up all his loaves for them with his own hand, told them they were heartily welcome, and prayed that they might be good soldiers of Christ.
That he not only possessed the charity that is not easily provoked, but was also ever ready to pray for his enemies, the following fact will show. One evening he was exhorting at Green-gates, near Apperley, bridge. In the course of his remarks, he spoke with great earnestness on the prevalent sin of drunkenness. Three men, sitting together, were observed to appear as if very angry. As he was returning home, passing through a dark and lonely lane, three men (he believed them to be the three who had been noticed at the meeting he had just left) suddenly attacked him, knocked him down, rolled him in the mud, and very much ill-used him. When they had thus wreaked their vengeance on him, he meekly said, “ Now, lads, if you think you have done enough to me, I will pray for you ;" and, kneeling down in their presence, he prayed on their behalf pathetically and fervently. Long afterwards, he told some of his friends that he had resolved, and performed his resolution, daily to pray that these men might be saved. At another time, returning home from Bradford, late on the evening of Saturday, with his family-marketings in a basket, and passing through a hamlet where some excavations for cellars had been recently dug, three men suddenly seized him. Two of them let him down, head-foremost, into one of the excavations; and the third took away his basket. While they held him by the heels, he was praying for them, and said, “ Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. Have mercy on these men.” The prayer was effectual. The men were so moved by it, that they gently raised him up, placed his basket by him, having
taken nothing from it, and thus they left him. “Never," he said, when he mentioned the occurrence,“ did I find religion so sweet as during the remainder of my journey home.”
Not long before he himself died, he was called to sustain a bereavement which, as to him, comprised his earthly all, his wife was taken from him. Mary Smith had received more education than Charles, She was truly pious, and possessed a tender and orderly mind. Her modest, silent attentions harmonized with her husband's more strongly marked characteristics; and their cottage and family furnished a pattern of humble, but generous, hospitality, and Christian decorum. She died in child-bearing; and to Charles her sickness and death were indescribably poignant. Aware of her approaching end, she told him that they were about to be separated ; but that she felt that she was prepared for everlasting life. She informed him of her wishes in relation to her funeral ; calmly told him where he would find apparel for himself, the children, and her own person, for her interment; and then asked him to pray, that through all the valley there might be light. She then commended to God, first, her husband and children, and, next, herself; and soon after “ fell asleep.”
Charles Smith had had trials before, but never one like this. His distress was deep, even to agony; but he sought strength in the AllSufficient, and consolation and peace in the Comforter. And the reflections which his daily employment suggested, contributed to his resignation. A touching description of his efforts at submission may be taken from his own lips. He said to the compiler of this narrative, “ I am becoming more resigned. The other day I was at work in the garden, and musing on my affliction. I thought thus : I had sometimes cultivated a bed of choice flowers; amongst the flowers has been one which, from its form and colour, became quite a favourite with me. I have gone home at noon; and after dinner, when I returned, my flower was gone. I have inquired of my fellow-servants what had become of it; and the reply was, our master had plucked it. All my displeasure was ended. The flower was not mine, but his. I was not the owner, but the gardener. I had reared it for him, and now he had what was his own. It was even a gratification to me that my taste agreed with his, and that what I had preferred, he had gathered." With all the simplicity of truth, he applied this to his own case, and held his peace.
He had not, however, long to mourn the separation. He regularly visited the sick, and in the prosecution of this, to him, mournfullypleasing duty, he entered a house where was a case of highlymalignant small-pox. He caught the disease, and in a few days was no more. But death found him well prepared. He was full of faith in Christ. In the heaven, on the verge of which he stood, and to the open gates of which he was so rapidly and nearly approaching, he saw everlasting safety and blessedness. Even earth was regarded by him rather by faith than by sight. Where others only saw visible employments, and their present consequences, he saw the highway of holiness, leading to the eternal city of God; and in death he only saw the final result. He had come to the heavenly Zion, and was about to enter there, and obtain joy and gladness. Time and eternity were thus seen in the same light. Earth was spiritualized, heaven almost materialized. Faith gave to the known its proper character, while at
the same time it realized the unknown. Such was the state of his mind through his brief and fatal illness. Could he be otherwise than happy?
The life of Charles Smith reflects high honour on a numerous class of poor, benevolent, and fervidly-pious Christians, by whose incessant diligence and earnest prayers the gross wickedness which otherwise would fearfully prevail among the operative classes is immensely lessened. Men like Charles Smith know how to get to the conscience of these classes. He was one of themselves, and as such he addressed them so that they could not but understand him ; and, by the unction from above, they felt the power of the word which he spoke. It is an instrumentality by which numbers are annually converted.
The character of such a man likewise demonstrates that there is no situation in life which does not furnish opportunity for usefulness. Charles Smith was poor and unlearned ; but he was both zealous and truly holy. He was always in earnest about his own salvation. He never trifled with this, never took anything on trust. power to all his efforts. On the great points of repentance, faith, and holiness, he knew he was right. He was not a talking disputant, but so believed as to have the witness in himself. His addresses, therefore, had nothing of speculation in them. Charles did not live in the region of conjecture. His faith was the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Under the influence of this faith he lived, overcoming the world. Under its influence, his exhortations were delivered, and they were powerful in the salvation of his hearers. And when, unexpectedly, sickness came, and death drew nigh, under the influence of faith his last hours were spent. Death had no sting. God
gave him the victory through Christ his Saviour; and, realizing the promises on which he relied, he passed through death triumphant home.
And the excellence of his character becomes the more exemplary, because of the simplicity of its origin. If he were eminent in piety, it simply arose from this :-he yielded himself unto God, he gave up himself to the divine service. Religion was everything with him in the way of duty, and he experienced that it was everything to him in the way of privilege.
It may be added, as a proof, both of the providential care of God for the seed of his servants, as well as for themselves, and of the high estimate formed of the character of this devoted man, that on his comparatively sudden decease, four Christian philanthropists came forward, and took the charge of his four orphan children.
MEMOIR OF MRS. OLINDA HARDY,
BY THE REV. ALEXANDER BELL.
It has been justly remarked, that “ of all kinds of writing, biography is one of the most interesting and instructive, as it is so easily applied to the practical purposes of life. General history does not produce the same impression as that which is made by the narrative of events which are similar to those in which the reader finds himself personally concerned." And if this is the case with biography in general, it is more especially so in that species which developes the principles, and describes the exercises, of Christian experience. This is a subject in which all are interested, and which points to results which to all are of the highest importance. It is something to learn the way which may possibly conduct to temporal prosperity ; but this fades into insignificance, compared with instruction in the way by which we may certainly secure the everlasting salvation of the soul. The following statements are made in the belief that the reader will find them profitable in the promotion of his best interests.
Mrs. Olinda Hardy, whose maiden name was Marples, was born at Sheffield, in the year 1797. Her parents were members of the Wesleyan society: she was therefore favoured, from her childhood, with the advantages of a religious training. At an early age she manifested a serious thoughtfulness of disposition, and at the same time a steady decision of character, which gave her friends great hopes as to the future. And these features she never lost, though she did not personally close with the overtures of redeeming mercy so soon as some others have done. Everything connected with religion was always respected by her, and her judgment was convinced that it was her duty to attend to the things that made for her peace; but it was not till her twentieth year that her conscience was fully awakened. What produced this deep conviction of personal guilt and depravity, is not now known ; but as she regularly attended the services of the house of prayer, most probably it would be under“ the word preached” that the Holy Spirit would convince her of sin. She began, however, in great earnestness, to seek for salvation, through the remission of sins; and, in a few weeks, while attending a prayer-meeting at Pilsley, a village in Derbyshire, it pleased God to enable her to come to Christ by faith in his blood ; so that she received the Spirit of adoption, who bore witness to her spirit that she was a child of God. Her inmost soul cried, “ Abba, Father;" and she felt that she now loved God, because he had first loved her.
In this joyous and peaceful state of mind she returned to Sheffield, determined to avail herself
, without delay, of the advantages of Christian communion ; and having found the pearl of great price” among the Methodists, she said, “This people shall be my people, and their God my God.” She joined the class then under the care of the late venerable Jonathan Beet, and for more than twenty years continued to be a consistent and faithful member of it, holding fast her profession, and carefully endeavouring in all things to have her conversation such as becometh the Gospel of Christ.
She not long afterwards married ; but her new state proved to be one of considerable trial. During the life of her first husband, her confidence in God was tested by numerous and painful afflictions ; but she sought for strength, that she might not faint in the day of adver-sity. She trusted in the promises of her covenant-God, and in the time of extremity she experienced the sufficiency of his grace both to preserve and comfort her. Her esteemed Class-Leader, who knew her well, and had observed the manner in which she passed through severe conflicts, once observed to the writer, “She was a faithful
She never dishonoured the cause which she had embraced. In speaking of her, I could not easily say too much that is good.”