« AnteriorContinuar »
(Concluded from page 16.) In the year 1810 we were appointed to Derby, with Mr. John Simpson, and afterwards with Mr. James Burton. Mr. Simpson was brought to God under my ministry in the second year of my Itinerapcy; but I did not hear of it till many years afterwards. In May, 1811, I had a second fit of apoplexy. I fell from horseback senseless to the ground, yet not a bone was broken. It happened on a Lord's day, when I was going from Ashbourne to Ward-Gate. How long I lay on the ground I cannot tell; but, when I came to myself, I seemed as much refreshed as if I had been in a sound sleep. My horse made bis escape, but was caught by some kind boys who were on the road at some distance. On the same day, and after the fit, I. rode ten miles, preached twice, and gave Tickets to two classes.
While I was in this Circuit, I had a narrow escape from a highway-robber; and, as there appeared to be a special Providence in my rescue, I think it should be recorded. At that time there was a dreadful gang of highwaymen and housebreakers that kept the country in a state of constant alarm ; and it was thought extremely dangerous for people to travel after dark without a guard, or to sleep in their houses without arms to defend themselves. One day I preached in the morning at Draycott, in the afternoon at Borrowash, and in the evening at Spondon. We regularly went to Spondon to take tea before preaching; but that afternoon it was deeply impressed on my mind to take tea at Borrowash. I could not get rid of the impression; and it proved the means of my deliverance. By staying at Borrowash two hours longer than usual, I met with a sergeant of the local militia who was going on duty to Derby. If I had gone at the customary time, I should not have seen him, as he lived in a remote part of the village. When we met, I said, “I am glad to see you, Winfield : will you stay, and accompany me to Derby after the preaching ?” He was a member of our Society, but in military dress, and armed with a sword. He said, “I must be in Derby at eight o'clock; and, if you can finish the service by seven, I will go with you.” To this proposal I readily assented, and he returned with me to our little chapel. We set off after the sermon. The evening was dark, and we could not see anything at a distance. I walked my horse slowly,
VOL. VI.-FOURTH SERIES.
and he accompanied ; but we were silent. When we had proceeded about a mile, I saw a huge fellow by the side of the road on my left hand; and he sprang upon me like a fury, with a bludgeon in his hand. I instantly lifted up my whip, and gave a loud shout. Winfield, who had not seen him before, drew his sword, and rushed upon him just as he was seizing my horse's bridle. The assailant, who had not before seen the sergeant, immediately ran off cursing us both with bitter curses.
The two years we spent in Derby were very agreeable, both to me and my family. We had good congregations; the society enjoyed sweet peace; and many were conviuced of sin, converted to God, and then walked in the light of the Lord. From Derby we were removed to Portsmouth. My colleagues were very agreeable, and I loved them all. Much good was done, and peace reigned in every part of the Circnit.
Dec. 30th, 1813.—Dr. Coke, with the six Missionaries who accompanied him, embarked for the Island of Ceylon.* The Doctor took my arm, and I handed him into the boat. I watched him carefully all the way to the Pilot-boat, with mingled feelings of love and fear. He sailed backwards, with his face towards me; his hands were clasped, his eyes were closed, and he seemed to be engaged in deep devotion all the way to the vessel. When be bid us farewell on the shore, he appeared to have done with us altogether; for he never looked at us, nor turned his head to observe anything. The scene affected me much. I could not help mixing my prayers with his, that the blessing of heaven might rest on him, and on our dear brethren and sisters. I had a thousand fears, and my hope was at a low ebb; but I durst not limit the Holy One in His mysterious plans and purposes.
The East India Fleet, with our dear friends on board, sailed on December 31st. I saw them with a good glass beyond St. Helen's, about three o'clock in the afternoon. May Divine Providence protect them, and may they carry the joyful sound to heathen nations! Yea, may all the earth know the Lord! In the evening we renewed our Covenant with God, prayed earnestly for the Missionaries, and parted at the commencement of the new year.
In 1814 we were stationed in London West. This year I was one of the General Secretaries for our Foreign Missions. Mr. Buckley was my colleague. The arduous labours of that office, with all the duties of a large Circuit, were almost beyond my strength.—During the following year, I published “A concise System Of SelfGOVERNMENT.” May it be useful to many, when my head is laid low in the dust !*
* In the Minutes of Conference for the year 1813, there are seven appointed for Asia and South Africa. Their names are James Lynch, William Ault, George Erskine, William M. Harvard, Thomas H. Squance, Benjamin Clough, and John M.Kenny. The first six went to Ceylon, and Mr. M‘Kenny went to the Cape of Good Hope. It was intended that three of the above were to go to Ceylon, one to the Cape of Good Hope, one to Java, and the other two to travel with Dr. Coke. But the death of the Doctor in their voyage deranged and altered the plan.
August 19th, 1816.—This day we left the city of London, where we have spent two pleasant years. Our friends were very kind to us from first to last, and my labours were crowned with the Divine blessing. I was invited a third year, but was not appointed by the Conference. On August 20th we reached our new Station in Worcester, and were greeted by our friends. I had no colleague to share my toils or to give me counsel, Worcester being a single station ; but I
* This is a Work honourable at once to the head and the heart of its author ; evidently the result of much observation and profound thought, and adapted to be eminently useful. It is divided into twelve Chapters, under the following heads :PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE MIND. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BODY, SELF-GOVERNMENT IN THE VARIOUS EMPLOYMENTS OF LIFE. SELF-GOVERNMENT IN VARYING CIRCUMSTANCES. SELF-GOVERNMENT IN COMPANY, SELF-GOVERNMENT IN RETIREMENT. SELF-GOVERNMENT IN OUR CONDUCT TO OTHER BEINGS. SELF-GOVERNMENT AS IT RELATES TO RELIGIOUS SECTS. SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CIVIL AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS. SELF-GOVERNMENT IN AMUSEMENTS AND RECREATIONS. THE ADVANTAGES OF SELF-GOVERNMENT.
The subject of each chapter Mr. Edmondson abundantly amplifies and illustrates, As a specimen of his manner, we give the following syllabus of the Chapter on the Government of the Mind:
“Remarks on the nature and excellency of the soul_A love of truth recommended_Means of acquiring self-knowledge pointed out—The management of the thoughts -- Vain imaginations to be curbed - The memory to be improved–The conscience to be enlightened and independent- The will to be governed by the will of God-Desires to be regulated by wisdom and goodness-The affections and passions, with various rules for their government."
On READING, as one of the methods of acquiring Knowledge, he observes thus : « The best plan I can form after long experience, may be comprised in a few par. ticulars. In the first place, we should endeavour to gain a general knowledge of the best works on every subject; and, whatever they may cost, read them in preference to all others. There are many books which, without loss to the public, might he served as the Caliph Omar served the famous library which had been founded by Ptolemy Philadelphus; for, in truth, they are better calculated to feed the flames than the intellectual appetites of man. If it be inquired what kind of books we mean, we answer, such as lessen our veneration for those Divine truths which are taught in the Holy Scriptures, and such as are calculated to corrupt our morals.
« In the next place, we should read with moderation. Some devour whole libraries, and scarcely learn anything; and no wonder,—for one thing drives another out. We kuow some who are book-mad; and yet they scarcely ever read a work with careful attention. This mania should be cured with all speed; for, like every other excess, it only impedes and weakens the active energies of the mind."
Such is an average specimen of the work, as to style and composition ;-a work which will not captivate those readers who are fond of meretricious ornaments; but which will be valued by those who love the perspicuous, the laconic, and the terse. Between Mr. Edmondson's writings and those alluded to, there is as great a difference as between the carnation and the daffodil, or between the rose and the poppy. It must, however, be admitted, that, had the writer's imaginarion been as luxuriant as his judgment was sound, his works would have possessed adjitional attractions.
never enjoyed two years more than those that I spent in that beloved city. There I delivered two lectures on THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, and eight on the Lord's PRAYER; sixteen on the PARABLes of the New Testament, six on the NINTH CHAPTER of St. Paul's EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, and thirteen on the EPISTLE OF JUDE. Our friends urged us to remain with them a third year; but, having many reasons against it, I declined.
July 27th, 1818.—I was elected, by a large majority, President of the Conference at Leeds. My appointment at that time was Birmingham. Here we remained three years. During the third I made some advances in literature. The work of God prospered in our hands, and we left our friends with sorrowful hearts.
In 1821 we accepted an invitation to the Rochester Circuit. Mr. Lancaster was with us the first year, and Mr. Treffry the second and third. Mr. Treffry and I preached twelve “SERMONS ON THE NATURE AND OFFICES OF THE Holy Ghost,” which were published at the Quarterly Meeting's unanimous request.
In 1824 we had an invitation to Bath, where we spent three comfortable years, with Mr. Batty and Mr. John Lomas. Our congregations were large, our societies prospered, and we had great peace.
We removed from thence to Deptford in 1827. Divine Providence brought us all in safety to our new appointment. Blessed be the name of the Lord our God for all His merciful kindness to me, and to my dear family! May we be blessed in this place, and be made a blessing to many!
Here I had a loud call to prepare for the eternal world. I was suddenly seized with spasms in the organs of respiration, and thought I could not live more than ten minutes. Death stared me in the face, with all its gloomy horrors. I looked back on my past life with regret, not being able to find one good work; but I found one thing which gave me some consolation. It was this: I had always meant well. But even this was no sure foundation. I then turned to my Lord and SAVIOUR, reposed entire confidence in Him, and rejoiced with joy unspeakable. God lifted upon me the light of his countenance, and the fear of death was removed. I then heard, or thought I heard, an inward voice, which said, “I will add to thy life fifteen years.” I instantly replied, “That is enough, Lord! My father lived to the age of seventy-six ; and in fifteen years I shall be seventysix.” It might be imagination ; but the Lord knoweth. In His blessed hands I leave myself.*
Our next appointment was Bristol, with Mr. Beal and Mr. Morris. While there, I was several times seized with spasms in the pulpit; from which I suffered so much that it was several weeks before I again ventured to preach. I found it necessary to get help, and to rest awhile. Notwithstanding the indifferent state of my health, the friends kindly petitioned the Conference to appoint me a third year;
* It is a remarkable fact that he lived just fifteen years after this “inward voice."