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FOR OCTOBER, 1919.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. THOMAS STENNER,
OF DARTMOUTH, DEVONSHIRE. It would be difficult to convey an ade. | mental, through Divine grace, in awakquate idea of the consternation which, ening him to deep concern in reference on the morning of the 26th of June last, / to his soul and to eternity. He had been pervaded the population of the town of brought up under a somewhat rigid Dartmouth. Tears were on every coun- | moral discipline by his father,- who tenance. Grief was in every heart. | seems to have been a man of strict inAnd as the melancholy and unlooked. tegrity;—and his outward life was freo for tidings were rapidly circulated — from stain. But young Stenner now “ Mr. Stenner is dead!"-men of every began to feel that something more was class, and of every party, after the first needful, in order to his acceptance with utterances of amazement and sorrow, God and his final admission to heaven. acknowledged that they had lost a friend Indications of seriousness having been and a father!
observed by some members of the churchi, The following sketch may probably he was introduced to Mr. Slatterie, who explain, to some extent, this universal kindly sympathised with bim in the state mourning.
of feeling of which he was then the subThe latet Rev. Thomas Stenner was lject. Shortly afterwards he joined the born in the city of Exeter, on the 26th church under Mr. Slatterie's pastoral of April, 1781. His parents were mem care, and for many years was actively bers of the Church of England; and he engaged in promoting the Saviour's was trained by them in habits of strict glory. In his efforts in the Sunday. attention to the forms of worship ob. school he became associated with some served in the national establishment. It / others, who also entered the ministry, was his privilege to enjoy the advantage and subsequently occupied important of a good education; and, from his ear: spheres of labour. Among these may be liest years, he seems to have displayed mentioned that eminent man, the late laa studious turn of mind. When he had mented Rev.John Ely, of Leeds, and the reached the twelfth year of his age, the excellent Rev. Thomas Scales, who, in family removed to Chatham, where, not that same town, has long been, and is very long afterwards, he was led, in yet, honoured to advance the interests of God's merciful providence, to attend the Zion. Whilst thus employed, Mr. Stenministry of the late Rev. Joseph Slat ner began to cherish deep solicitude to terie, pastor of the Independent Church. serve his Redeemer in the ministry of Mr. Slatterie's preaching was instru- | the Word. This desire was encouraged vor. XXVII.
by his pastor, who kindly afforded him not in the town alone, but throughout some preparatory instructions in anti | the county. Year after year he thus cipation of his entrance upon college | laboured. No startling incidents, no life. In 1806 he was admitted to the remarkable occurrences, invested his privileges of the college at Hoxton. Of history with novelty. His course was the estimable Mr. Slatterie he unceas calm, peaceful, gradual. Like that of ingly retained an affectionate remem: the sun, it shone “more and more unto brance, and was accustomed frequently the perfect day." to refer, with peculiar pleasure, to the For some time previous to bis decease, period of his connexion with the church it had been observed by many, that his and Sabbath-school at Chatham.
thoughts and affections appeared to be In the year 1810, under the auspices directed with peculiar earnestness toof the late devoted Thomas Wilson, Esq., wards the blessedness of heaven. FreMr. Stenner, having completed his stu- quently did he dwell upon this delightful dies, visited Dartmouth, with a view to theme; and in his ministrations, with revire the cause of religion in that town. such glowing fervour as to produce a The chapel there-formerly occupied by powerful impression upon his hearers. that immortal man, John Flavel-had On hearing, in the course of last year, for many years been closed. The Rev. 1 of the deaths of those two eminent men T. Windeatt, of Totness, re-opened it of God, the Rev. Dr. Payne, and the the Sabbath before Mr. Stenner arrived. Rev. Dr. Hamilton, he was much af“It was an appalling sight,” our de- fected, and seemed to dwell with extreme parted friend once wrote,* "on the first | delight on the expression which the latSabbath, to see the dilapidated state of | ter used when his approaching dissoluthe building, the walls green with damp, tion was announced, “ It is the best the seats scarcely fit to sit in, and the news you could bring me!" Of Mr. pulpit (as I thought) not safe to preach Stepner's ministry, during the last few in." Under the faithful labours, how | months of his existence, it has been reever, of the subject of this sketch, the marked, that though he had preached Divine blessing was enjoyed; for a good Christ always, yet never did he preach congregation was soon raised, a church Him with so much pathos — so much was formed, a Sabbath school (the first power - as then. known in the town) was established, When he entered his pulpit on the and various other means of usefulness morning of Lord's-day, June 24th, little were, in succession, quickly brought into | did any of his loving and beloved flock active operation. In August, 1812, Mr. imagine that that would be his last SabStenner was ordained to the pastorate of bath upon earth! But so it prored to the church he had thus raised. The be. In the forenoon service he preached occasion was a very memorable one; from John iv. 28–30, respecting the and at least one individual, it is known, woman of Samaria. In the afternoon was brought to the enjoyment of the he addressed the children of the SabSaviour through the instrumentality of bath-school. As he was leaving the the ballowed services.
chapel the children began singing that Blessed with his diligent and affcc- well-known hymn,tionate ministrations, the church and
* Here we suffer grief and pain, congregation continued to advance in
Ilere we meet to part again, usefulness, and to increase in numbers.
In lieaven we part no more! The personal influence of our departed
Oh that will be joyful! friend was gradually, but constautly, ex
6 Teachers too will meet above, tending, until it became felt and valued,
And our pastors rohom are lore
Will meet to part no more! • Memoir of Thomas Wilson, Esq., p. 232.
Oh that will be joyful! ”
He stopped and listened to their youth- | attack; but stupor rapidly came on, ful and infant voices with evident de and shortly subsequent to the arrival of light, and was heard, as he withdrew, his medical attendant he sank into unto exclaim, “ How beautifully they are consciousness. His state was at once singing!" In the evening of that same pronounced to be hopeless; and at ten day he preached what proved to be o'clock in the forenoon, without a his last sermon; and had he known struggle or a groan, he took his flight to that on the following Tuesday he was heaven, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. to enter eternity, the text from which Thus suddenly, yet peacefully, did this he spake could hardly have been more | man of God—the loved and venerated appropriately selected. The portion of minister-expire! Of him it might be God's Word was this,–Psalm xlviii. 14, I said, with almost literal propriety, as of “ For this God is our God for ever and the holy Enoch, "he was translated, ever: He will be our guide even unto that he should not see death !” death.” The energy and unction of that On Wednesday, July 4th, the remains discourse seem to have been observed by | of this faithful pastor were committed the congregation generally. In dwelling to the tomb. And rarely, if ever, was on the words, "He will be our guide even such a funeral seen in Dartmouth. The unto death," he exclaimed, "Yes! and shipping with their flags half.mast bigli, through death, and after death, as well!" the shops throughout the town in great He referred to the dissolution of the measure closed, the sorrowing crowds, closest ties. “Husbands and wives, pa- / who, in mournful attire, poured in from rents and children, pastor and people,” | every quarter,-all proclaimed how deep said he, “must part !" Alas! how little ly felt was the general calamity. In the did any then listening to him, imagine chapel where the deceased had so dilithat, in himself, the truth of these remarks gently laboured, an address was deliwould be so very speedily exemplified! | vered, over the corpse, to an overwhelin.
On the Monday evening, Mr. Stenner | ing audience, by the Rev. William Tarattended, according to his invariable botton of Limerick. Ministers (of whom custom, the weekly prayer - meeting, many were present from different parts and, apparently, in perfect health. His of Devonshire) of various denominabrief address was founded on the dis- tions, conducted the devotional engagecourse of the preceding morning. On ments. From the chapel the vast mulleaving the house of God, he heard of a titude proceeded in solemn procession melancholy accident upon the river, to the peaceful little village of Stokewhereby the life of a young woman un- Fleming, three miles distant, where, in happily was lost. This event affected a vault beneath the Independent place him considerably; but, on returning of worship, the body was interred. In home, he partook of his usual supper the evening of the day, in the pulpit of with great composure, and retired to our departed brother, the Rev. William rest, seemingly quite well. At about | Tarbotton, who for seventeen years had half.past five o'clock the next morning been favoured with his intimate friendbe endeavoured to arise from bed, but, ship and ardent affection, preached the feeling giddy, fell forward, and was found funeral sermon, from Revelation xiv. 13, by his beloved, and now widowed part-| to a congregation crowded to excess, and ner, supporting himself with difficulty. | overpowered with grief. Never, surely, Assistance being procured, he was im. | can the solemnity of that hour be formediately replaced in bed. Stimulants | gotten! being applied, he appeared in some | Allusion has been already made to measure to rally. Two or three sen- | that illustrious man-oue of the earliest tences were uttered by liim after the predecessors of our departed friend —