« AnteriorContinuar »
failed him ; but even then he appeared to be holding communion with God; until about noon, when he said, faintly
“ I the chief of sinners am ;
But Jesus died for me ;” and breathed his soul into the hands of his Maker.
John 11. NORTON.
22. Died, March 17th, at Castle-Donington, aged twenty-six years, Clara, third daughter of the late Mr. George Sowter. She possessed naturally a very amiable disposition, and was restrained by education from conduct outwardly sinful. But, notwithstanding these advantages, she felt very early the corruption of her heart, and saw that, of herself, she could not obey those laws which she had been taught to revere as "holy, and just, and good.” But she did not then understand the doctrine of the atonement; and was prevented by timidity from mentioning her convictions to those who could have instructed her, but with childlike simplicity strove to silence the inward monitor, and work out her own salvation, by reading the Scriptures, and occasionally retiring from her youthful associates to pray that God would pardon and bless her. When she had attained her thirteenth year, she was deprived by death of her excellent father, whose calm resignation and holy triumph convinced her that there was something more in religion than she possessed. Her seriousness was observed, and she was invited to a class-meeting; from which time she became a consistent member of the church, though, for several months longer, she walked in bondage, aiming to please God, but possessing no satisfactory assurance of His favour. At length, how ever, she was enabled to cast her soul upon the merits of her Redeemer, and found joy and peace through believing in Jesus. When she assumed the profession of religion, she felt the importance of consistency of conduct; and that she might adorn the doctrine of God her Saviour in all things, she searched His word with prayerful diligence, and whatever part of her character was inconsistent with its sacred precepts, she deeply deplored, and, in dependence on divine aid, strove to correct. To this habit may be attributed the more than ordinary progress she made both in the knowledge and love of God. Her humility concealed from general observation the rich treasures of grace which she possessed. The praise of mortals she never sought; and when that praise was offered, it was instantly and cheerfully referred to Him whose grace had made her to differ from the vilest and the worst. That God might be glorified in her and by her, was all she desired. Hers was that “pure religion ” which inclined her to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep herself unspotted from the world. Her sympathy with the suffering was not an occasional impulse, but an ever-living principle; and wherever she went, she sought out the sorrowing, and was made to many the minister of comfort. Her care for the young was especially manifest in the exemplary manner in which she discharged her duty as a Sunday-school Teacher. She sought nothing less than the conversion of her pupils ; for this she laboured, and for this she prayed; and when failing health compelled her to resign her charge, she still bore them on her heart, and mourned because they did not seek the things belonging to their peace. Indeed, every part of the church's interest she regarded as her own, feeling how greatly a fallen world would be benefited by the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom.
Lovely as her Christian character had appeared in activity, surpassing was its beauty in retirement and suffering. Much as she had prized, and diligently as she had attended, public ordinances, whilst in health, it excited no murmur when she was deprived of them by sickness. She submitted to affliction, not as to an unavoidable evil, but as to the wise discipline of her heavenly Father, whose love she never questioned, and whose will she never sought to oppose. She felt, as all must feel, that affliction is not joyous ; but she knew it was designed to promote her spiritual improvement, and she desired that that end should be accomplished. For more than two years she was scarcely ever able either to read or to hear reading, and seldom could she bear conversation for more than a few minutes, even on a subject dearest to her beart; but this trial of her faith only worked patience, and truly patience had its perfect work. She used to say, when exhausted by attempting to join in prayer with others, “I must receive my supplies direct from the Saviour : He understands my weakness, and is touched with the feeling of my infirmities, and by His Spirit He can communicate grace as I can bear it. I wish I could talk, I should love the visits of my Christian friends; but it is all right: God supplies all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” As she drew nearer to the grave, her confidence in God increased, and her hope of eternal glory became brighter. Her placid countenance always indicated peace; but sometimes it was almost radiant with the joy she felt. On one occasion she said, “I am so happy! I would not exchange this bed of pain, blessed as I am with the favour of God, for all the world : what is there in the world that can be compared with my enjoyment ? It is like heaven begun below." On being asked if she never felt fear, she replied, “ Satan suggests doubts of my salvation; but he cannot remove the foundation : I have long since built upon the Rock, and no storm of affliction can destroy that refuge : Christ is all in all to me.” At another time, when speaking of the atonement, with peculiar emphasis she repeated those lines,
“ When from the dust of death I rise,
“Jesus hath lived, hath died for me.' She very often expressed her thankfulness that she belonged to the church, though unable to hold direct communion with its members. A few days before her death, she said, “I think some one is praying for me :" it was replied, “The Saviour ever prays for you.” She answered, “Yes! what a mercy! But I get many a blessing in answer to the prayers of the church : how thankful I am that I have a name amongst the people of God!” Almost her last words, when
asked if all were peace within, were, “ Yes, yes !” thus affording in death, as she had done in life, a striking illustration of the divine faithfulness and love.
W. B. THORNELOE.
23. Died, March 17th, at Weymouth, Mr. Jabez Ayles, at the early age of twenty-seven. In his youth many religious impressions were made on his mind; but, though these perhaps were never entirely obliterated, he did not yield to their influence till December, 1836. Before this, youthful follies chiefly occupied his attention; and in these he sought to be happy. At that time, there was a gracious revival of religion among the Wesleyan Methodists, and meetings for prayer were frequently held, and numerously attended. A prayermeeting is not a place in which heedless youth generally seek for amusement; but Jabez proposed to a few of his associates to go to one, that, to use his own language, they might have a little fun.” During the meeting, earnest prayers were offered on behalf of those who were still neglecting the things belonging to their peace ; and Jabez felt that he was one of these, and therefore exposed to condemnation and eternal danger. He left the meeting deeply convinced of sin, humbled and mourning before God; and resolved to seek the Lord with all his heart. His resolutions were strengthened under a sermon preached by the Rev. S. Noall. He desisted from his former pursuits, left those of his companions whom he could not persuade to join with him, and, along with several others, young like limself, began to meet in class. Some of these obtained a sense of the divine favour earlier than he did, which at first occasioned him much discouragement; but he resolved to persevere : he “waited patiently for the Lord, and the Lord inclined his ear unto him, and heard his cry. He brought him up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, set his feet upon a rock, and established his goings. He put a new song into his mouth, even praise unto our God.” He soon became desirous to do good, and first entered the Sabbath-school, as an active and diligent Teacher. Subsequently, he was received as a Local Preacher. He engaged in this work in much humility, but in dependence on God; and God was indeed with him, blessing him and making him a blessing. His character was throughout consistent with his profession. About a year before he died, he was requested to raise a class of young men, and to take the charge of it. In the task thus providentially assigned him, he engaged with much zeal, and had to rejoice before God in the success with which he was favoured. The light in which he regarded this work, as shown by what he said concerning it in a letter to an esteemed friend, deserves to be put on record :—"I am placed in an office for which I feel my inability,—that of a ClassLeader. I should have persisted in refusing to undertake it, but I was afraid to do so. When called, by those to whose station and judgment I owe deference, to work in any department of the Lord's vineyard, however much I may feel my incapacity, I fear to refuse. I tremblingly endeavour to do my best, God gives me his blessing, and I am encouraged to proceed. It has been so in the present case."
He was now settled in life, being married, and having one child ; and his friends and the church thankfully anticipated for him a long and useful career. But it was again shown that “God's ways are not as our ways.” His health began to decline, and at length unequivocal symptoms of consumption were only too plainly apparent. He attended to his various duties as long as he was able ; and when compelled to desist from what he termed “the luxury of inviting sinners to Christ,” he did it in the spirit of the covenant with his Lord into which he had entered, “ to be employed for Him, or to be laid aside for Him, as He should appoint.” During the whole of his illness, his mind was preserved in an unbroken peace ; and it was from this very circumstance that his subtle adversary sought to gain an advantage over him. He said, he knew not how it was that he should be so entirely free from temptation, and expressed a fear on this account that all was not right. But he was reminded that this preservation was an additional instance of the goodness of God to him, who, in compassion to his great feebleness, allowed him not to be assailed. He assented, and thus held “the beginning of his confidence steadfast unto the end,” taking fresh courage, and resolving to repose quietly in the love of God, and the atonement of Christ, till mortality should be swallowed up of life. So easy was he in his last moments, that his friends scarcely perceived the precise period when he fell asleep on earth to awake in heaven.
JACOB STANLEY, JUN.
24. Died, April 7th, at King's-Lynn, in the county of Norfolk, aged eighty-one years, Mr. Thomas Broadbent. From memoranda in the handwriting of the deceased, it appears that he became acquainted with the saving truths of the Gospel in early life, and was admitted a member of the Wesleyan church in the year 1780. Having learned, by the grace of God, to estimate at its proper worth the salvation of his own soul, the immortal interests of a perishing world soon began to occupy his studious and prayerful attention; and whilst he mourned over the desolations effected by sin, his zealous efforts were directed to the recovery of those who were being “ led captive by the devil at his will.” Mr. Wesley having been made acquainted with his promising qualifications, sent him in the year 1786 to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the perishing sinners of Yarm, a town in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The term of his probation, as a Methodist Preacher, was spent in the Circuits of Yarm, Bedford, Colchester, Norwich, and Bury St. Edmund's; and in the year 1791 he was regularly set apart to the work of the ministry. The subsequent scenes of his labours were, Wells, Lynn, St. Ives, Yarmouth, and Thetford, at which place he became a Supernumerary; and in the year 1799, from bodily infirmities, relinquished his office as a regular Wesleyan Minister, and came to reside in Lynn, where, as a man of business, he became highly esteemed for the urbanity of his manners, and the integrity of his conduct. His resigning the duties of the ministry did not dissolve his connexion with the church, nor wholly discharge him from the work of preaching the Gospel, in which he continued to be engaged in the character of a Local Preacher, until nearly the period of his dissolution. His faithfulness and punctuality in this important work, no one will question : more than once has the writer heard him say, when the remissness of any one of his brethren has necessarily become the subject of investigation, “I wonder how he could be so negligent: I never in my life disappointed a congregation, or failed to go where I was planned, unless through sickness.” His unwavering attachment to Methodist discipline and usages qualified him for an appointment to the various important and responsible offices in the church, which he filled with the strictest fidelity and correctness ; purchasing to himself “a good degree” of respectability amongst his brethren, and a good report of them which are without."
As a Preacher he was strictly evangelical : he preached Christ crucified, as the only scriptural basis of a sinner's hope. His discourses, though not embellished with the graces of oratory, were judicious and impressive ; always inculcating moral duties on Gospel principles. As a Christian he was distinguished by the honourable manner in which he maintained his holy profession : being actuated by a lively faith in Christ, he was led to an imitation of its glorious object, "putting on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” He was amongst the first to promote the building of the large and commodious chapel in Tower-street, Lynn; and his contribution towards its erection stands amongst the most liberal. That he had his failings, we do not question ; but none was 80 sensible of them as he was himself. Perhaps there scarcely ever was a man, who was obliged in fewer instances to retrace his steps, or to repent of imprudent words and actions. Never had his friends to labour to vindicate his character ; never did his rashness or folly involve the church in difficulties, or prove an occasion of uneasiness to its Ministers. For several months previous to his departure, he appeared to be ripening for a better world : those who visited him in his affliction found him having his conversation in heaven, and breathing much of the spirit of his divine Master. As he drew near his end, disease sunk him into a state of insensibility, in which he sometimes remained for a considerable period. The last word he was understood to utter was,
“ Watch.” Our thoughts follow him into a world of spirits : may we be prepared to meet him there! The writer would add one brief and concluding tribute to the memory of departed worth. He has known Mr. Broadbent upwards of forty years ; has had frequent intercourse with him as a member of the same Christian church; has often met him in the family circle ; has travelled many miles in company with him ; and his sincere conviction is, that the testimony Bishop Burnet bears of Archbishop Leighton might be borne of Mr. Broadbent with equal propriety:-“I must say I do not remember an idle word dropping from his lips, nor any conversation which was not to the use of edifying; nor did I ever see him in any temper in which I myself would not have wished to be found at death.”