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bury, he would procure an act to be passed to make it a Parish Church.
The Archbishop [Cornwallis] had given Mr. C. one of his Livings at Lewes; and had advised him, on account of his health, to leave a Curate at Lewes and procure some duty in town. He had before recommended him to Dr. Ducarel, for the Surrogacy annexed to his Living: this Dr. D. gave to Mr. Cecil, on his promise of taking a Master's degree; which promise he performed. The Archbishop, on being requested to recommend Mr. C. to Sir Eardly Wilmot, readily complied.
When he entered on his ministry at St. John's, he had a difficult and arduous path to tread. He had to preach to a people inimical to the spirit of the Gospel, on the one hand; and to make his way through the prejudices of the religious part of his auditory, on the other-who, not comprehending his aim, were ready to pronounce on his plan, as shunning to declare the whole counsel of God. Yet he was wisely following the example of his Master, in delivering the truth, as they who heard were able to bear it; and thus forming a lodgment in their minds, and preparing them for the full display of all the doctrines of the Gospel.
Mr. C. possessed, naturally, a comprehensive mind, and strong judgment. When it pleased God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, to shine into his heart, all his natural powers received a new direction, and under divine influence be
çame subservient to the glorious objects which he had discovered and laboured to make known to others. Persons are often led to approve or disapprove from results, either as they are successful, or unsuccessful, rather than from abstract views: the RESULT, in the instance of St. John's Chapel, clearly proves the wisdom of the course which Mr. C. pursued.
About the year 1800, Mr. C. established an Annua! Sermon at St. John's, to be preached on the morning of May Day to young persons. He wished his Chapel to render assistance to charitable and pious Institutions, by occasional Sermons, distinct from those of the Parish School and the Welsh Charity, which last always attended the Chapel ; but in his early attempt at this, he met with serious remonstrances from some of the congregation : ardent, therefore, on his GREAT POINT, of promoting the Gospel, and avoiding offence not absolutely necessary, no others were introduced for some years. He never, however, relinquished his original intention of rendering this benefit to cases which he deemed proper. Besides, there
re, the Sermons which were preached-the first two, namely, morning and afternoon, about January
for the Parish School-and the next two, about April, for the Welsh Charity--he introduced two in Dec. 1798, for a Sunday School for Religious Instruction, which had been established at St. John's; and he occasionally added another for
the benefit of some charitable Institution, and had it in contemplation to preach one annually in favour of the Society for Missions to Africa and the East. In 1807, he preached for the New Rupture Society, of which His Royal Highness the Duke of York is the Patron. Mr. C. had first suggested the plan of this Society to Mr. Blair, the Surgeon, in 1804, by whose active and benevolent exertions the Society was formed, which has, since its establishment in 1805, to the present year 1816, relieved upwards of 7000 patients.
The Sacramental Money, collected at St. John's Chapel, Mr. C. appointed to be kept in the hands of a Treasurer, and was distributed by him, and three other gentlemen of the congregation, who were requested to assist in the distribution, to poor persons recommended by seat-holders, on St. Thomas's day-except small sums which were sent by the Clerk and Collector, to cases of need discovered in the course of the year, which were brought to account in the annual settlement.
Mr. C. had for many years suffered greatly from a complaint, supposed to be a sciatica. On being seized by a more violent and acute attack, a consultation of the Faculty was held on his disorder on Friday, Dec. 7th, 1798; the result of which was, that he was prohibited from preaching any more while the existing symptoms continued. A schirrus in the cæçum was now apprehended, and his condition was thought dangerous. The following Sunday, a most affecting scene took place at
St. John's. He had been announced on the preceding Sunday, to preach a sermon in the morning of this day, Dec. 9th, for the Children of the Sunday School attending the Chapel, and another in the evening to their Parents. Notwithstanding his prohibition by his medical friends, he determined to make an attempt to address the people once more. Many circumstances conspired to render the scene affecting. A friend remarked, that a side view which he caught of his face before he uttered a word, chilled him to the heart.Sunk-worn—and dejected! The strong was, indeed, become as tow! and the mighty fallen! His text added to the solemnity of the scene :-He, which testifieth these thing's, saith, Surely, I come quickly, Amen! Even so, come Lord Jesus !
He told his congregation that he was preaching contrary to the advice of his Physicians, and that he should not be able to meet them in the evening. He had not preached more than five minutes, before it was visible that he was in extreme pain, and his feeble tone of voice proved that he was worne down. He could not continue his discourse more than 20 minutes, and then dismissed the congregation-not with the usual benediction, but in the last words of the Bible immediately following his text. The presentiment of many that this sermon would close his ministry gathered strength from his having chosen the concluding subject of the Scriptures, and ending his discourse with the benediction following it. After this period it
pleased God, whose ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts, to add twelve years to his life.
During the above confinement, in the winter of 1798, Mr. Cecil put down for his own use some of the particular impressions made on his mind through this illness, but never designed it for publication. He had many MSS. by him, which were INTENDED for the press, but his declining health, together with his public occupations, prevented their being finished. On this account, he had solemnly enjoined me to consume all his papers, whenever his death should take place-assuring me, that they were in too unfinished a state for public benefit. *
In his last illness at Clifton, of which notice will
Though Mr. Cecil's projected plans were arranged with clearness to his own preception, yet they were unintelligible to any other eye: nor were they in such a state of preparation for the press, as would admit of their being finished by any other hand than his own; as he had often assured me.
If, however, this had not been the case, it would still have been impossible for me to have preserved them from destruction, in my RELATIVE situation; and while the precipitance resulting from his diseased nerves, in this and other instances, took place of that calm deliberation and wisdom pecaliar to him when in health. It is some alleviation to be convinced, as I fully am, that, generally speaking, his papers could not have been rendered useful to the public, but by his own hand.
His anxious desire to do good, and his ever active and ardent mind, led him to form plans which his long and painful complaint rendered it impossible for him to bring to perfection: otherwise I am persuaded, that he would not have destroyed any thing that might promise to prove useful. And a proof of this appears, in the fact of his having permitted the publication of the “ Fragment," printed in the third volume of his Works; and also in his reserving a MS. for my own use, consisting of sentences which he had collected and intended for publication.