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farmers; and used every other means to gain the affection of his parishioners. There also, he sought not theirs, but them: and when his son remonstrated with him on the occasion, he replied “If by taking one guinea more I should excite prejudices in a single mind against my message, I should defeat my great project in coming to this place.” Mr. Cecil found these parishes, like others where the light of truth has scarcely dawned, sunk in the depths of ignorance and immorality—very FEw hearers in the Church, while MANY were making the Sabbath a day of sport and amusement. He found that THERE also, as in other places whither he had been led by providence, he had to begin at the very foundation, under the most discouraging circumstances, as will appear from the impression made on his mind, on his first going among them. He says, “When I first came to Chobham, as I was sitting in the Vestry—on hearing the noise and uproar of the boys, and the people in the gallery talking aloud to each other—I burst into tears; and felt with the Prophet, when he said–Can these dry bones live 2–But the fields were white unto the harvest: he did not labour in vain among this people: a large and attentive congregation was collected, and many saw the day of the Son of Man, and were glad: some of these are already entered into rest, where both he, that sowed, and those, who reaped, now rejoice together.
There being no house to either of the Livings, except a ruin inhabited by a labourer, nor any that could beengaged for Mr.Cecil's residence, he spent the first few summers in part of a house since purchased by the Rev. Mr. Jerram. After this, a very generous friend, Thomas Bainbridge, Esq. of Guildford Street, purchased eleven acres of ground, and built on it for Mr. C. a convenient house, which he let at a low rent. Mr. C. spent a few months in it, while it was unfinished, in the summer of 1807; but did not live to see it, after it was completed.
I cannot pass from this subject, without remarking, not only this instance of Mr. B's kindness, in burdening himself with this undertaking, which he did with a most disinterested, liberal, and friendly desire of relieving Mr. C. from fatigue, care and anxiety; but also his marked regard in other instances, which has been uniformly that of a faithful friend. When Mr. Cecil was laid aside in the year 1808, Mr. B. was one of the two friends who proposed a private subscription, intended, as before observed, as a resource when the rent from the lease of St. John's should fail, which had then but about ten years to run. Mr. B. subscribed largely himself; and, in every way, proved himself no common friend.
Nor did Mr. B's kindness end here. During the period when Mr. Cecil's illness occasioned our absence from town for nine months, his house was the asylum of our son Israel, wherein he received the most kind and friendly attentions, both from Mr. and Mrs. B. Before we removed from Clifton, our dear child was seized with a fatal disease, which confined him to his bed seven weeks, in the most extreme suffering. Through this time of extremity and fatigue, no possible care, no expence, no labour was spared. Some young friends assiduously attended him, night and day, to his last hour. Mrs. B. with the solicitude of a mother, and with unexampled kindness, watched by his bed: in a word, our son found both a Mother and a Father, who were willing and able to render the dear sufferer far beyond what his own father's house could have yielded him.
Though his father arrived in town, while our son was still living, and only a street or two separated
them, yet the distressing illness of both rendered .
their seeing each other again in this world impossible. Their next meeting was reserved for a day unmixed with such calamity! There was reason to hope, from many favourable evidences, that the God of his Father had begun a gracious work in his heart some time previous to his illness; and which, I trust, was carried on in his sick chamber, till he was fully prepared, by sovereign grace, for an inheritance in the Heavenly Jerusalem, among the spirits of just men made perfect, and for a joyful re-union with that Father who was so soon to follow him—whom he so tenderly loved and so
highly revered; and of whom he wrote in a manner.
so pathetic and affectionate in a letter to a friend. while his beloved Father was at Bath, that I must be allowed to transcribe a part of his letter:— Chobham, 1808. “I assure you, I feel, notwithstanding the kindness and number of my friends, a very unaccountable depression of spirits—or, rather, the mind revolving on its own observations and views, of the various changes I am now witnessing, with those also that are passed.—In all my companions—no FATHER! In all my conversations—none like him! In all my doubts—no oracle like him! In all my fears and anxieties—no refuge like his generosity! I feel His Loss—though surrounded with the prodigality of liberality and kindness.” I return to the sad period of 1807, when Mr. C. had a slight paralytic affection—from which he recovered sufficiently to resume his ministerial labours. At this period, in answer to a letter from a friend, enquiring after his health, he says, “I have been indeed, much indisposed; and even now find sitting upright rather difficult: therefore, as proud men must be brought down, I must call my son to conclude this”—“We are all under a general dispensation; and this dispensation is sometimes so contrary to the feelings of nature, that we are apt to resist and say, ‘Why am I thus?' I find it easy to tell the people from the pulpit how to act in such cases, and particularly Christians: but THINGs are stronger than we are; and I find it
very difficult to act myself. People say, and physicians too, that my preaching three times a day through the hot weather at St. John's was the cause of my present infirmity—a state, in which I have not only seemed to lose my faculties, but, at one time, was unable to speak at all. I dare say they are right: but I have an interior feeling, which, while I hear people talking thus on the subject, makes me smile, and say within myself. “You talk well, but you know nothing of the matter. God is in this thing; and He is teaching me a lesson, which I cannot learn from books’.”
In February 1808, another paralytic seizure took place; which deprived him of the use of his right side, and totally disabled him from further exertions in public. Electricity was ordered, and administered with great kindness and attention; but proving ineffectual, he was then ordered to Bath. The expences of such a journey not being within his own power, a few friends readily and cheerfully subscribed to assist him in this undertaking; so that he was relieved from carefulness in this respect; and from difficulty, so far as the kindness and .liberality of friends could relieve him. His full relief, however, was on its way; and the time now hastening, when the sickness and sorrows of a worne-out traveller were to be exchanged for an eternal weight of glory, in that state where the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.