Imágenes de páginas

rived no emolument from them, as the income was only adequate to the expence of a Curate. He held these Livings for no other but the express purpose of continuing the preaching of the truth in that place, and had many difficulties to contend with in carrying his point: but he persevered in this way for many years, till he could resign them, SATISFACTORILY, to the late Rev. Mr. Dale.

Although Mr. C. was a single man while Rector of two Livings at Lewes, yet, possessing no personal property, he was always straitened in his pecuniary affairs, particularly so during the first years of his Ministry.*

In June 1777, while Mr. C. lived at Lewes, he lost his pious mother, whose death was made of singular benefit to him. He went on the evening of her death, under the solemn impressions which it had made on his mind, to the Lock Chapel, for which service he was previously engaged; and preached a most effective sermon-by some, probably, still held in remembrance. His father did not long survive her: he died in Feb. 1779. Both

* It may be necessary for me to mention, that though his Father's business was lucrative, yet as he had no turn for business, consequently he did not pay that attention which so large a concern required, and which, under proper inspection and good regulation, would have been, as he said to his son, “ as good as an Estatc to him.” At his Father's death, therefore, nothing remained, but his business, house, and premises; into the possession of which his elder brother entered : and all, of any consideration, that Mr. C. received from his Parents, was a few articles of plate, given him by bis Mother on her death-bed, with her watch, and some old family china, which (though useless) he valued as relics of sacred antiquity; particularly one articlema coffee-pot, out of which John Bunyan drank coffee in the house of Mr. Cope mentioned before.

his father and mother lie buried in a family vault in Bunhill Fields, with five of his own children Tabitha, John Christian, Theophilus, Henry, and Israel.

Mr. C. continued to be so much affected with the rheumatic complaint in his head, that he removed from Lewes to London, and lived at Islington for the recovery of his health. During this time he preached at different Churches and Chapels in London.

For some years he preached a lecture at Lothbury, at 6 o'clock on the Sunday Morning. He found the walk, at that early hour in winter, very dangerous, as most of the lamps were gone out, and few persons stirring except those who wander for prey. He has often made me thrill with horror, at hearing him state the meeting on his way thither of wretches with their dark lanterns, with designs still darker: but God graciously preserved him amidst these dangers. He found, however, that this undertaking was not only dangerous, but that the additional fatigue of this early service became too great a demand on his strength : and on both accounts, he engaged a hackney coach, to take him to and from the Church during the latter years of his going thither. At this time, he had the whole duty of St. John's, and also an Evening Lecture at a Chapel, in Orange Street, Leicester Fields, at that period a regular Chapel in the Establishment.

In course of time, notwithstanding this precaution, his health declined, and, after many long and earnest intreaties of his friends, he reluctantly relinquished the lecture at Lothbury; whither he used to go with peculiar pleasure, and where many, who were taking an early walk on a summer morning, wandering in thoughtlessly, heard and embraced the truth, and are some out of the number of those, who became his joy and crown. By THIS resignation also, he lost nothing but labour and care, except the satisfaction which it afforded him of ministering to this people: for the emolument arising from the endowment, but barely covered his expences.

The Chapel at Orange Street, where he preached on Sunday Evenings, and on Wednesday Evenings for many years, being about to be repaired, it was relinquished; and the Chapel in Long Acre was engaged, in conjunction with his friend the Rev. Henry Foster, who had the morning duty: here the same congregation attended.

Mr. C. was solicited to take the Sunday Evening Lecture, preached at Christ Church, Spital Fields. He entered on this charge in Sep. 1787, a date which I am not likely to forget. The first Sunday evening that he went thither, he left in my lap a dying infant (as was supposed) given over by his Physicians with scarcely a remaining trace of life, and which he did not expect to find alive on his return. But this did not stop Mr. C. in his

of his age.

work-The walls were to be built in troublous times: and he went forth accordingly, though with a troubled heart. It pleased God, however, to restore our child, like another Lazarus, at that time: but He took him into His own gracious arms, in the 21st year of his

Many have very naturally conjectured, that, from these diversified engagements, Mr. Cecil's pecuniary advantages must have been very considerable: but it was not for lucre's sake that he thus spent himself. In whatever he was prodigal, it was for God, and not for gain. I have often heard him say, that the Spital Fields Lectureship was rather a loss than a gain to him, in this respect, as the distance rendered it necessary for him to employ a coach for the evening, except when any friends took him in their own.

Mr. C. had the charge of this Lecture, and of that at Long Acre Chapel, alternately, each time for three successive years, with Mr. Foster--the gentleman who endowed the Lecture at Spital Fields having specified that the same clergyman should hold that Lectureship only three years in immediate succession. The appointment is vested in the Court of Assistants of the Weaver's Company,

who first called Mr. Foster to this charge. He opened the Lecture in September 1784, and was followed by Mr. C. in 1787: Mr. F. being reappointed in the years 1790, 1796, and 1802 ; and Mr. C. in 1793, and 1799. The intention of the

founder of this Lecture extended only to its being preached from September to April inclusive, but both Mr. F. and Mr. C. continued it through the whole year. I need not speak of the vast congregation which assembled in that immense Temple, the very sight of which was most animating, and where the stillness and attention of the numerous poor were most interesting. Mr. C. was, however, obliged by ill health to relinquish this arduous post-nearly the whole duty of which was discharged for him by Mr. Pratt, during the last three years of his holding the Lectureship, from 1799 to 1801.

I return to Mr. Cecil's most important sphere of duty at St. John's Chapel, Bedford Row. In the year 1780, he was invited to turn his thoughts to this Chapel, at that time the largest Church of England Chapel in London. Having been much neglected, it required a large sum for its repair. Mr. C. went, therefore, MERELY TO LOOK AT IT; for, as he never was possessed of any property, he chose to run no hazards. A lady of fortune*, however, offered to secure him from any ultimate loss, by her bond, should not the undertaking succeed: but, as the Chapel prospered, she was never called

Yet wishing to testify her regard to Mr. Cecil, she gave him a very considerable sum of money toward building the present Vestry and the


Mrs. Wilberforce, of John Street, King's Road, aunt to William Wilberforce, Esq.


« AnteriorContinuar »