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FOR OCTOBER, 1826.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. GEORGE MANWARING,
BY THE REV. DANIEL M'ALLUM, M.D. BIOGRAPHY is one of the most interesting departments in the science of man; but for reasons, neither remote nor doubtful, it is equally difficult to obtain and to afford contributions to the stock of existing knowledge on the subject. The biography of the humblest individual, if it were faithfully and wisely traced, would be found full of instruction. But the difficulty of so accomplishing the undertaking, lies not less, generally speaking, in the unavoidable dearth of materials out of which to compose the structure of the story, than in the want of fearless integrity to make an unvarnished use of them. Remote biography may be faithful; but it is rarely copious or correct: recent biography may be drawn up from plentiful supplies of matter; but then, there are wounds of affection yet open, or but newly and lightly cicatrized; there are feelings of tenderness and deep interest, which can hardly be indulged to the full without some concealment of faults which ought to be stated, and some amplification of excellencies which may be over-rated; all which is hardly consistent with fidelity. Contemporaneous biography is cften written under the influence of personal or party leanings or prejudices, perhaps unconsciously entertained, and therefore indulged in without suspicion. "
Under these general impressions of the difficulty of my undertaking, and with a regret that I have no more to say of one so deserving; and that the work was not undertaken by another, on many accounts better qualified than myself, I have drawn up the following slight memorials of the Rev. George Manwaring.
He was born in the village of Haslington, Cheshire, December 8th, 1788; and there, and in the neighbouring hamlet of Wheelock, he spent the first sixteen years of his life. In 1804, he left his father's house, and was apprenticed to his uncle, then living at a place called Etruria, in the Staffordshire potteries. His uncle was a man of faith, and one whose private walk recommended the faith he professed. Under his roof a Class-meeting was regularly held ; but having by his father been cautioned against uniting himself with the Methodists, and his affections being yet earthly and alienated from God, the youth shrunk
*VOL. V. Third Series, OCTOBER, 1826.
from the society of all who attended that meeting. It is to be inferred, however, from what afterwards transpired, that God was not without a witness in his heart: conviction of his sinful nature and sinful temper pursued him. “At that time," says Mr. Jones, his early and attached friend, “ I had no personal intimacy with him, but I had frequent opportunities of observing that he was a youth of great modesty and sobriety of spirit, and altogether free from those habits of vice and trifing, which at that time, with very few exceptions, pervaded the juvenile population of the village : he seemed to confine himself to the society of his uncle's family. It was not long after his coming to Etruria, that he began to attend the Methodist ministry, in which he was observed by others, as well as by myself, to be exceedingly serious and attentive ; so that one evening, after the preaching, I was induced to follow him home, and speak to him closely about the salvation of his soul. He seemed to be much pleased with this attention, conversed with much simplicity and freedom concerning the state of bis mind, and engaged to attend the Class-meeting in the ensuing week. When he came to the meeting, I found him under deep convictions of sin, and a lively concern about his eternal salvation. Every succeeding week his convictions became more deep and active; so that his mind was quickly and fully prepared to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of sinners. At that time we had an extraordinary revival of religion in our little Society, and many young persons of both sexes, in that village, were brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to the enjoyment of the divine favour.”
From his uncle's statement it would appear, that Mr. Manwaring had attended the chapel at Newcastle on occasion of a funeral sermon; hè had gone in the spirit of holy expectation and prayer, desiring to see the Lord's Christ” by an eye of faith, and while the hymn beginning, “ Vital spark of heavenly flame,” was being sung, his longing heart was put in possession of the blessing of pardon; he felt that he had an interest in Christ, “ redemption in his blood the forgiveness of sins," and “ the love of God was shed abroad in his heart.” On his way home he felt some misgivings, lest he had deceived himself; but with a wisdom beyond that of a babe in Christ, he retired as soon as possible to his closet, and betook himself to prayer. He was heard in the thing he feared ; his peace was established, and his fears were dissipated. From this time forward he delighted in Class-meetings, as realizing to him the communion of saints. He was exceedingly diligent, says his relative, in reading the Holy Scriptures, and such other books as were for the use of edifying; and such was his eagerness in this employment, and in meditation and prayer upon what he read, that after a day or toil, he would consume many hours of the night in these exercises; day and night meditating on the law of the Lord his God. He was the first fruits of the faith in his own family; but the seed produced fruit
“after its kind;" and he was instrumental in bringing his mother and his brothers into a state of salvation. But to resume Mr. Jones's communication:—“From that time, he made a rapid improvement in Christian knowledge and religious experience; he soon began to pray in our Class-meetings, as well as in our public Prayer-meetings, where he exercised his talents with much liberty of spirit and of utterance, and to the edification of the people; so that we found in him an important acquisition to our infant Society in the place. The equanimity and sweetness of his temper, together with the soundness of his judgment and the firmness of his principles, as also his diligent acquisition of theological and general knowledge, and more especially his progress in personal piety, gave great stability and consistency to his religious experience and profession; and rendered him, although young in years, and of recent standing in the Church of Christ, a pillar in the house of God, and a support and ornament to us in the day of small things. When it pleased the Lord to call me to the work of the ministry, I had the happiness of leaving my little Class to the care of Mr. Manwaring, under whose attention it afterwards prospered more than it had done under my own; so that out of that single nursery many hopeful plants have been already removed to the paradise above; while some have been transplanted into more conspicuous situations in the vineyard of the Lord below; and others continue to flourish in the soil which gave them birth.” He was not only a successful ClassLeader; but thus early in his religious life he began to attend upon exhortation: his mouth was opened, and his heart was enlarged to declare the mystery of the Gospel. His attempts were favourably received, and he became an accredited Local Preacher. In this character he often travelled ten or twenty miles on a Sabbath to deliver the message of salvation, and found his toil lightened by the love of Him who sent him, and by the success of his message. In 1810, he had convictions that it was his duty wholly to devote himself to the ministry; but his mother, unwilling to lose his company, opposed his wishes, and her entreaties induced him to relinquish the design. Altogether to change the current of his thoughts, he was induced to marry, and formed a suitable union, which, however, was dissolved by death a few months after it was formed; and Mr. Manwaring was left a widower in his twenty-third year. There was, he thought, the aspect of a frowning Providence in this bereavement; his convictions returned, and were deepened. In the spring of 1812, he was, with his consent, recommended to the DistrictMeeting for examination. He underwent it with credit to himself; and by the ensuing Conference he was admitted as a probationer, and appointed to the Alnwick Circuit. In 1813, he was removed to Shields, under the superintendence of Mr. Burdsall. The Lord wonderfully owned the seed of the word that year, and there was a large ingathering
of souls. In that blessed season Mr. Manwaring was cheerfully and ceaselessly diligent; and such a visitation that Circuit, perhaps, nerer had before, and certainly never since has experienced. In 1814, he was appointed to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he was the colleague and inmate of the late Dr. Taft. Referring to which, a publication that appeared only a year before Mr. Manwaring's decease, has the following sentence :—" Between Dr. Taft and Mr. Manwaring an affectionate correspondence, as of kindred spirits, commenced, and which death has rather interrupted than destroyed.” Little was it imagined that the interruption was to be for so short, so very short a season; and so little can we foresee that which shall be on the morrow! In Newcastle, as in his former appointments, he was well-esteemed ; but declined to remain longer than one year in each Circuit, from a wish that, while he remained free from family incumbrances, he might see as much as he could of Methodism in different parts of the Connexiou. In 1815, he removed to Bingley, where he travelled for two years; and was, as in Newcastle, the friend, the colleague, and the inmate of Dr. Taft. In this station he was owned of God; he was happy in the duties of his office; and it was here that his acquaintance with Miss Cussons commenced. They met, as men are wont to express it, by accident; and altogether beyond expectations, the parents of Miss Cussons, at that time resident at Leeds, were under the nesessity of taking up their abode at Bingley. The acquaintance ripened into friendship, and mutual esteem into ardent affection. At the Conference of 1817, they were united in holy matrimony, a pair every way fitted, as far as an earthly connexion can do so, to contribute to each other's happiness. He was sent to Sowerby-Bridge ; and of his pilgrimage thenceforward, I am enabled to give some account from a communication made to me by his excellent widow. He was greatly beloved in this Circuit, and eminently useful: under his ministry many were convinced of sin, and many “renewed in the spirit of their minds.” In addition to his other labours, he undertook the care of a Class, which was composed principally of young converts to the faith. To these he was greatly blessed ; and in his pastoral care of them he was equally distinguished for the riches of consolation, and the wisdom of faith. Mr. Burdsall, whose fellow-labourer he was, during his first year at Sowerby-Bridge, had removed from thence to Glasgow; and Mr. Manwaring a year after expected to be appointed with him; but the Conference stationed him iq Edinburgh, whither he removed in 1819. It was during the period of his residence in the northern metropolis, that the writer of this article was the colleague and familiar acquaintance of Mr. Manwaring, During three whole years he had frequent opportunity of observing "the man and his communication.” His habits were retired, but not studiously reserved : though far from obtrusive, there was a tone of openness,