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EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE.

MARCH, 1811.

MEMOIR

OF

THE LATE REV. JOHN ISAAC HARRISON, A. M.

OF NAAS, IN THE COUNTY OF KILDARE, IRELAND. The righteous shall, doubtless, be held in everlasting remembrance. After death, indeed, their survivors too often forget them ; but it is a consoling truth, that they are ever known unto the Lord. Their names are written in the Lamb's book of life; they have a place among the living in Jerusalem, and are numbered among the citizens of Zion. I am firmly persuaded, that the subject of this biographical sketch now stands before the throne, and is mingling his praises with all the ransomed of the Lord, in ascribing salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb!

Mr. Harrison had been a clergyman of the Established Church upwards of 20 years, before he became savingly acquainted with the things of God: his former charaeter was judged rather moral, not having degenerated into those habits which have too often rendered the sacred office odious, even in the eyes of wicked men. However, like many other clerical gentlemen of fashion, he by no means thought the cheer ful song,' the innocent game of cards,' or 'the generous glass, inconsistent with the duties of a minister of Christ; and it is not among the least painful circumstances of our times, that such an accommodation to public taste and dissipation is frequently ranked among the virtues of the parson of the parish, Even in Mr. Harrison's case, the apparent change in his religious conduct, excited among his parishioners both disappointment and disgust. Mr. Harrison possessed considerable taleats; and being highly cultivated, by extensive literary knowledge, he ranked among the most celebrated pulpit advocates of Charity, previous to the days of Dean Kirwan : but God, whose ways are not as our ways, neither his thoughts as our whoughts, was pleased to display the sovereignty and glory of

his grace in a manner that is worthy of being held in remembrance !

About the middle of the vcar 1807, Mr. Harrison heard one of the preachers of the Methodist Society, in the street of Naas, preach from these words: 'The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few ; pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest Conviction accompanied the plain application of these words to bis judgment and heart: he saw clearly, that instead of be ing a faithful labourer, he had been an idler, and an unprofitable servant in the Lord's vineyard. The word of salvation was blessed to his soul, – he became a new creature ; and, through the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, was brought to rejoice in God his Saviour. Deeply impressed with a sense of his state, he introduced himself, immediately after the service, to the Methodist preachers; and his first salutation was, 'I ain a clergyman of the Established Church ; but alas! I am one of the idters which I have heard described in your sermon. He then kindly invited them to his house; and they accepted his hospitable invitation.

Upon entering the house, they found a numerons party, all busy in playing at cards. Mr. Harrison introduced then with these words, ' These are Methodist preachers, whom I have been hearing in the street.' Instantly they laid down their cards, and a general' silence ensued. Being in a clergyman's house, the preachers judged it necessary to be cautious as to their inanner of reproving; and yet their silence led them tu think that they expected some observation on their engageanent. Upon which, one of the preachers said,' Will you allow me, though a stranger, to enter my protest against this de practice of card-playing? Mrs. Harrison replied, “Sir, what harm is there in card-playing ?" He said, Madam, i do not consider it to be a heinous profigacy; but is it not a loss of time, and a forgetfulness of God? “ We have time enough,” replied Mrs. Ilarrison ; “for we have no other amusement when we meet together on a winter evening.” 'Pray, Madam,' said be, 'bave you not the Bible to read ? Mr. Harrison immediately went to his book-case, brought out a large Bible, and laying it down on the table among the cards, said, “ We have Bibles enough in this house; but, God help us, we make a bad use of tienn.” The preacher then added,'Madam, when you have understood the Scriptures so well, that you can say there is nothing new in them, then resort to the cards, for the sake of variety ; but while there are excellencies unknown, and beauties unseen in the sacred volume, be advised to lay aside the cards, and begin to search diligently after the riches of divine iruth. She instantly called a ser:

* Mait. ix. 37, 38.

vant, and ordered the cards to be taken away. Mr. Harrison then addressed the company in these words: I have heard soine very pointed truths delivered in the street to-day; I must say they were the truths of God; nor did any one need to hear them more than myself. I was also much affected,' he added, .by the singing of the first hymn;' and then he requested them to sing it again, for him and his friends.

The lymn was, * From Salem's gate advancing slow,' &c. The effect produced by the singing of this admirable and pathetic hymn was truly grateful. Mr. Harrison requested them to sing it again ; which they did; and then they went to prayer.

When the sacred impression was made upon his heart, he did not hide his talents under a bushel. No; his love to Christ was ardent, — he felt himself constrained to declare the great love of God to all his dear connexions; and it is a circumstance not to be forgotten, that his amiable family joyfully participated with him in his humble and cordial devotion to God: a blessing to a good man not to be appreciated!

Shortly after, being at Athy, he was invited to a ball as formerly; but he replied to the lady, 'I have done with dancing! She said,“ Are you become a Methodist? Why, Mr. Harrison, you was always a good liver, and preached the best sermons we heard in church!" · Yes, I was like Nicodemus, said Mr. H. a master in Israel; but knew nothing of the new birth!

His pious devotion to God soon became manifest, in an ardent zeal for the salvation of immortal souls. As chaplain of the garrison of Naas, he now felt it his duty to use other exertions than formerly, to do good to the poor soldiers, for whom he had occasionally read prayers. He 'frequently exborted them with affection and żcal to flee froni the wrath to come; and not a few, in different regiments, which lay in that town, will remember the gracious warnings they received from his lips.

In order to follow up his sincere endeavours to be useful, he commenced an evening-sermon on the Sabbath-day, in his own house; which he continued till God took him to Feaven. Though the congregation in church was small, yet such numbers attended his evening-sermons, that he was obliged to erect a gallery in his school-house (being master of the diocegan school for their accommodation.

It is with pleasure I mention, that his sou, the Rev.Jolin Harrison, who largely partook of his good father's piety and talents, succeeds him, both in the church and superintendence of the school : :-a circunstance that cannot fail to be useful to society. This pious young clergyman, who zealously endeavours to follow up his father's Sibbati-evening labours, a few days before his ordination, had been reminded by one of his friends, That the salary of a curate is so small, that he

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thought it an object of little importance. He replied, “The salary is of little concern to me!- It is the importance of the work I am about to undertake, and the danger of being unfaithful therein. His good father said, ' John, my dear, you are well qualified for the work, when compared with me when I was ordained; for though I am your father, and have been so long in the church, I feel I have need to begin as if I had never begun.' With such lowly simplicity did at all times, acknowledge himself an unfaithful labourer in his Lord's vineyard.

His religious course lasted but two years and a half; and during that time he wrote many pleasing letters to his friends. I shall beg leave to transcribe one of them; in which it will be seen how lowly, how simply, and how zealously, he laboured for the souls committed to his care. • My dear Friend,

Naas, August 6, 1808. "I should bave been glad to have seen you and your family, on your way to Carlow; and am rather jealous that you did not so contrive your journey as to give us one niglit in Naas. What pleasure is equal to the conversation of a man devoted to the service of God! I reckon that a blessed day in which I meet with such. Your advice to continue my Sabbath-evening meetings, by the grace of God, I will take; and eternal thanks be to God, that it is a day that always returns with additional pleasure and internal comfort to my soul. O may I be the humble means of saving, if but one soul from the pains of eternal death! We should unremittingly · Pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would send labourers into his harvest.' Should I be within a few miles of you, I hope to pay you a visit. All the family desire to be remembered to you; and believe me, my dear friend, to be

your affectionate fellow-labourer,

John ISAAC HARRISON." In the month of April, 1809, he caught the fever of which he died. He received the infection by visiting the sick and dying. He lay about three weeks; during which time he was blessed with unspeakable comforts. He told Mrs. H. that his time was come. He also assured the physician, that all inedicine would be ineffectual; repeating the same words, My time is come! At intervals he was delirious; but in his lucid moments he was all peace and joy. He delighted to speak of God and heavenly things; and frequently would repeat some suitable text of Scripture, or verse of a hymn. Through the whole of his illness he was happily assured of his interest in the blessed Redeemer, and enjoyed a sweet and heavenly serenity. His hope in Christ, as the refuge of sinners, was solid; the sting of death was taken away, and he was not afraid to die. Nothing could equal that calmuess with which he looked

the king of terrors in the face. In this state he continued until he bid an everlasting farewell to all the things that are seen and temporal, and ascended to join the elevated worship of Heaven, the society of angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect!

Thus an humble follower of the Lamb of God ended his mortal race! His loss is sincerely lamented, and will be severely felt by his pumerous Christian friends. His race was short'; but it is not for inortals to cavil at the dispensations of an all-wise God: it rather behoves them to adopt that submissive and adoring language, Even so, Father; for so it seemeth good in thy sight.'

• Thou, whose steps, mysterious and profound,

No finite wisdom ever can explore!
May we, amidst the dire affiction round,

Await thy will, and all thy ways adore !
• Not HARRISON, but we have felt the stroke ;

Ours is the loss, – th’immortal gain is his!
Adore, our souls, the hand that kindly broke

His mortal chains, and rapt him into bliss !
• Enough, enough to selfish Grief is gir'n;

Lo! Faith clears up the dark mysterious way;
With rev'rence opes the golden gates of Hear'n,

And shews the saint in realms of endless day!' May every reader of this Memoir be enabled to make a proper improvement of this solcmn event! How uncertain is huinan life, where most desirable, and most likely to be p:olonged ! O reader! thou art yet in the number of the 'living, who know that they shall die! Oh! may it be thy concern and mine, so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to that wisdom' which makes men' wise unto salvation, hrough faith, which is in Christ Jesus.' Dublin.

ADOLESCENS.

A CONCISĖ VIEW OF. TIE PRESENT STATE OF EVANGELICAL RELIGION

THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

[Continued from p. 17.] SO. V.

Anong the different denominations still subsisting in the Greekhurch, one small body has been visited on the coast of Malabr, and brought under particular notice by the indefatigabi diligence and zeal of Dr. Buchanan. They bear the name of Christians of St. Thomas;' and have subsisted in that country 'rom the first ages of Christianity. Under the various govements which have succeeded, Gentoo, Mahomeday, or Popisi 'they have been oppressed and persecuted; but have resoltely adhered to the faith and ordinances of their

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