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dream that my father was brought at length to be fully decided to live for God and eternity. An elder brother, in the visions of the night, thought that he saw the spirits of the lost cast into the dungeons of dark despair, and enveloped in the burning flames. Among them he appeared to recognise those members of the family who were yet unconverted. In the morning he related these terrible imaginings; and the recital so alarmed my father, that he resolved at once to flee from the wrath to come, and to seek the salvation of his soul. These resolutions he put in practice : joining the Wesleyan society, he began to meet in class ; and thenceforth the great object of his life was to secure the pearl of great price. He felt that he could be neither happy nor holy while his sins remained unforgiven : for pardon, therefore, he sought with all his heart. He did not seek in vain. The promises of mercy were delightfully realized in his experience. Beauty was appointed to him for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. The spirit of bondage was succeeded by the Spirit of adoption,
“ And fear gave place to filial love,
And peace o'erflow'd his heart.” His conversion was not preceded by that agony of distress, neither was it followed by that ecstasy of joy, which are experienced by many; but his heart, like that of Lydia, the Lord opened powerfully, yet gently, to receive the truth, and embrace the overtures of mercy. But the change from despondency to confidence, and from sorrow to joy, was complete; and he had not the shadow of a doubt of his acceptance with God. And the fruits of the Spirit were manifestly present. As one proof of his sincerity, and of the tenderness of his conscience, this may be mentioned :—He had formed a strong attachment to a young female, issuing in a matrimonial engagement; but she was trifling and worldly, and altogether unfit to be the companion of one who was resolved that his life should have but one business, and that he would seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Strong as was his attachment, he was convinced that a solemn duty rendered it imperative on him not to be unequally yoked ; and finding that no prospect existed of a change, he adopted honourable measures for the dissolution of the engagement.
He had not long experienced the joys of pardoning mercy, when he began to feel an overwhelming desire to invite others to participate in the blessings which he had himself received. He was naturally diffident, and had a strong sense at once of the importance of the work of calling sinners to repentance, and of his own insufficiency for it ; so that he for some time shrank from that which in his inmost soul he desired. Circumstances at length occurred which almost compelled him to overcome his reluctance, and he was thrust out to labour in the vineyard. An elder brother, who had been engaged as a Local Preacher, was laid aside by illness; (indeed, he soon after died in the Lord, leaving a considerable portion of his property for purposes connected with the furtherance of the work of God ;) no Preacher could
be found to supply his place. The congregation must have been disappointed, had not my father been prevailed upon to conduct the service. He began with fear and trembling ; but as he proceeded, he received strength from on high ; his fears were removed, and he experienced a liberty and power which encouraged him to repeat his attempts, seeking the blessing of God to render them effectual. Having thus put his hand to the plough, he never looked back, nor paused in his career, till the Lord of the harvest called him to cease from labour, and to enter into rest. In those days, persecution frequently arose, and sometimes even raged. In seeking to unfurl the banner of the Cross in the towns, villages, and hamlets of the neighbourhood, he, in common with his fellow-labourers, had to encounter showers of stones, brickbats, and other offensive missiles. But neither he nor they were moved by these things. Storm and calm were comparatively alike. For more than half a century he was engaged as a pious, devoted, humble, acceptable, and successful Local Preacher. Few persons in this particular sphere of useful labour have been more highly respected, or more honoured by the great Head of the church in the conversion of sinners, or in the edification of those who had believed through grace.
It was not long after he became a Local Preacher that he was married to my now sainted mother. She had been led to give herself to God about the same time that he had done so: she also met in the same class. To the close of his pilgrimage she shared in his joys and sorrows, and always greatly aided him in his endeavours to promote the spiritual well-being of his family, as well as that of the church and the world. The guiding hand of Providence directed them to Torquay, at that time unvisited by the Methodists, and destitute of any place of religious worship. Here they took up their residence, and immediately opened their house for the regular religious services of the Wesleyans : a measure which exposed them to much painful opposition. Their landlord was so displeased, that he allowed them to live no longer in the house than he could help, hoping thus to prevent the Methodists from obtaining any establishment in the place; but they soon succeeded in purchasing more convenient premises : meetings for public worship were there held regularly, and much good was done ; till, the place becoming too strait for them, a comfortable chapel was erected. For many years my father's house was the only home of the Preachers; and it was his delight to welcome them to his abode, regarding them as the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. A large class was committed to his care;. and as a Leader he was noted for the regularity, affection, and fidelity with which he discharged the onerous duties of his office. He was much beloved by the members of it; and his efforts to promote their spiritual prosperity were untiring.
My father's attachment to the church of his choice, though free from sectarian narrowness, was most ardent. It was a love that many waters could not quench. It was no momentary ebullition of enthusiasm, disappearing in the hour of trial, but a fire that burned with steady constancy, and was unabated to the last. He loved Methodism so well, that those who understood not his reasons, were ready to suspect him of bigotry; but he was far from this. He had no sympathy with those who can see no good but within their own circle. While he dwelt among his own people, and meddled not with them who were given to change, he could say, and did say, from his heart, “Grace be with all those that love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, both their Lord and ours.” His daily intercessions included numbers of . his own friends, both Churchmen and Dissenters, and referred to the church universal and to the world. But certainly his own church he loved as his life. Its Ministers, doctrines, discipline, were dear to his heart; and by his exertions and prayers, his contributions and his example, he endeavoured to the utmost of his power to promote its prosperity. My father adorned his Christian profession by his conduct. His strict integrity, his unimpeachable veracity, his uniformly blameless life, his kindness to all, bis patience under inflicted wrongs, and his resignation in affliction, secured him the respect both of all denominations of Christians, and of all ranks in society. With the most perfect truth can it be said of him, that he had a “good report of them that are without.” The universal esteem in which he was held, was manifested by the numbers that collected to follow his remains to the grave, though the weather was extremely unfavourable, and the place of interment at a considerable distance.
As a parent he was faithful and successful. His efforts, in conjunction with those of his partner, to train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, were blessed with success. Of his eleven children it was his happiness to possess the full conviction, before his own removal from earth, that all who had died previously were gone to glory, and that they who remained were on their way to it: so that he was enabled to rejoice in the hope of meeting them all again, when all had crossed the ocean of life. Two of his sons he saw engaged in the sacred work of the ministry in the church he loved 80 well. Had they been called to occupy a throne, he would not have been so delighted, or felt himself equally honoured. When the intelligence arrived that my youngest sister had given her heart to God, and who was the last in the family that did so, he broke forth in joyous exclamations of thankfulness and praise, blessing God who had heard his prayers, and crowned his domestic labours with full success.
Until within a few months before his death, my father continued to be actively engaged in his usual affairs, as well as in fulfilling the various public duties connected with his offices in the church. He was at length attacked by disease, and was from the very beginning of his illness persuaded that his work was done, and the time of his departure at hand. He set his house in order, believing that he should die, and not live. To an inquiring friend, he said, “I have served my God for more than fifty years, and I am not tired of his service. I love it more and more : but the toil is over, and my reward is near. By God's mercy and grace I am ready to go." “Father,” said one of his children, "you must not leave us. We
cannot spare you yet.” He replied, “I am of no manner of use now : my work is done, and my crown is waiting for me.” During his illness, he often spoke with delight of the sainted members of his own family, the children of his affection, who had been called to cross the flood before himself, and rejoiced in the prospect of an eternal reunion with them. To his youngest daughter, who, like himself, was passing through the river of death, he frequently spoke of their speedily meeting each other again. It was most delightful to hear the aged and the young disciple encouraging each other as they were entering the valley of the shadow of death, not knowing who should first pass through it. The blessed promise of our Lord was most mercifully realized in the experience of each. As death is usually contemplated, they did “not see death.” Heaven appeared in close connexion with earth, and they knew that they should only “sleep in death, to wake with God.” From the commencement of my father's illness, to its close, his mind was free from all conflicting doubts. “Perfect love had cast out fear,” and he continued waiting for the end in the full assurance of faith and hope. Eventually, increasing physical debility prevented him from saying much ; but the little that was said was expressive of holy triumph and settled peace. To any inquiries that might be addressed to him, his usual reply was, “ The crown is ready: I am waiting till I am called to have it placed on my head.” But this undisturbed confidence had no reference to himself as its ground. Most deeply did he feel his own unworthiness and demerits. All his glorying was in the cross of the Lord Jesus. All his hopes rested there. He was about
“ To take his last triumphant flight,
From Calvary's to Sion's height.” A few days before he died, a member of his family approaching his bed-side, and observing that nature was rapidly giving way, said to him, “Is there light in the valley into which you appear to have entered?” He answered, with much emphasis, “Yes; blessed be God, there is light!” It was then asked, “Are the promises precious to you?” when he replied, “O yes : I can rest on them.” It was added, “ Then you have full victory over the last enemy?" He said, very solemnly, “I have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” For the last day or two, he could say little that could be distinctly understood ; but his moving lips seemed to be following the inward utterances of prayer and praise. Towards the close, his physical nature appeared to be undergoing a struggle, and he was heard to say feebly, “Dying work is hard work.” One of his family, standing by, rejoined, “ Then you are ready to say, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly?” With more energy than was anticipated, he replied, “O yes, with all my heart!” Then, grasping the hands of all who were about his bed, he said most affectionately, “God bless you all!” In the evening, the family assembled in his room for the usual domestic worship, and his responses to the petitions that were offered showed how fervently he united with them in the service which for so many
rejoined, work is hard work ruggle, and he was
years he had conducted. Not long after midnight, he desired one of his family, who was then with him, to raise him up a little. When she had done this, he smiled on her, pressed her hand, and immediately “fell asleep.” Before he died, he had requested that when his remains were removed from the house, the hymn might be sung, “ Blessing, honour, thanks, and praise,” &c. It is scarcely necessary to say that the request was complied with. He died, October 30, 1845, aged seventy-five. I may just add, that my sister, to whom allusion has been made, only survived him a few weeks, when she also “ died in the Lord.” Her last words were, “Glory, glory, glory!”
MEMOIR OF MRS. ANN MASON,
BY THE REV. JOHN CORLETT. Mrs. Ann Mason, whose maiden name was Pinder, was born in the island of New-Providence, in the Bahamas, August 10th, 1784. Soon after the introduction of Methodism into the islands, by the Wesleyan Missionaries, her parents, and an elder sister, experienced much spiritual benefit from their ministry, and joined the infant society which they had succeeded in establishing. Ann, however, did not so soon submit to the influence to the power of which they had yielded, and continued for some years in her natural condition. Her disposition was mild, and her manners gentle, so that she was highly esteemed by all that knew her for the amiable qualities of her character, both in its filial, domestic, and social aspects. During this period she frequently sat under the Wesleyan ministry, and always manifested an affectionate regard for the religious system which had been an instrument of so much good to relations whom she tenderly loved. On one of these occasions of attendance at public worship, the hymn, “Behold the Saviour of mankind,” &c., was given out by the Minister, and sung by the congregation. The most serious consideration was drawn to the subjects to which it refers, and her heart, like that of Lydia of old, was opened, her understanding was enlightened, she saw the total insufficiency of her own righteousness, and the absolute necessity of submitting to the righteousness of God. She plainly perceived, that notwithstanding her amiable disposition and correct moral behaviour, for which she was rather indebted to divine grace and providence than to herself, she was naturally unholy and sinful, and a sense of personal guilt seemed to penetrate her inmost soul. This was not a period of mere transient emotion, a feeling of natural sympathy awakened by the view of the sufferings of the Son of God, in the awful moments when he who knew no sin was made sin for us. It was with her the hour of religious decision. She at once ceased from her own works, and entered into the rest of faith. She was enabled to “receive Christ Jesus the Lord," and he was “ of God