Page images

on which he steadily insisted, by attending on his ministry, expressing great approbation of it, corresponding with him when living, and now shewing great respect to his memory, confirm this account of him.

But his unwearied labours, his disinterestedness, his peaceable conduct, his uniformly amiable and consistent example, (which his neighbours in general are disposed to attest,) were in the sight of God of far higher value than even his talents and endowments as a minister. And in the former he may be imitated by those who could not imitate him in the latter.

It does not appear that Mr. N. ever published any thing, except the sermon before the London Missionary Society, which is printed with the other sermons preached on the same occasion.

The following extracts from the book before cited may give the reader a further insight into the labours, views, and spirit of the deceased, than could be communicated by a studied eulogium on his character.

* From the time I came to reside at Missenden, I wished to set up a lecture on the Sunday even‘ings, but was deterred for some time, thinking

my strength was not adequate to reading prayers ' and preaching or expounding three times in the day. If, as some ministers have done, I had

gone into the pulpit in the evening, without reading any prayers at all, there was every reason to expect that the people would be confirmed in their prejudices. At length this expedient struck


[ocr errors]

‘mind, I will put on the surplice, and read the

prayer for the whole state of Christ's church mi' litant here on earth, the Confession and Absolu* tion out of the Communion-service, and con

clude with one of the collects at the end of that • service ; then I will go into the pulpit and ex'pound. This plan I have adopted, and expound ' the Bible regularly every Sunday evening. As “there is more history and narrative intermixed ' with the expositions than in sermons, many peo

ple seem more fond of attending at night than * other parts of the day. I have often been so ' much fatigued on the Sunday nights that I 'could scarcely walk down out of the pulpit ; yet, through mercy, I have not found

I have not found my health injured by this additional labour. I hope the Lord will bless the expounding of the scriptures, as a • means of giving the people a more general knowledge of his word.'

‘On the 24th of October we set up the Sunday'school. Unhappily for the good of the institu

tion, the parishioners were divided respecting a teacher ; therefore the farmers set up another 'school. I wish this division may not in the end defeat the purposes for which they were instituted.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1791. · Ever since my first coming to Missenden, I found it a difficult and disagreeable part of my pastoral duty to visit the poor in the workhouse. 'If I called by day, few of them would be at home: • if I visited them at night, they would be at supper, or gone to bed. I this

I this year determined to visit 'them statedly every Thursday evening, read a

[ocr errors]

'sermon, and pray with them. This plan I find

answers better than visiting them occasionally, ' but, through their aversion to hear the word, it is ‘attended with many difficulties. In the summer they will loiter about the fields, instead of return

ing home in proper time. In the winter they ' will feign themselves indisposed, and run to bed

rather than stay to hear the word of God. They are just in the same spirit and temper as the Is‘raelites, of whom the prophet complains, “ They * refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, ' and stopped their ears that they should not hear ;

yea, they made their hearts as an adamant-stone, ' lest they should hear the words which the Lord of

Hosts hath sent by his Spirit.”. O Lord make * these poor hardened wretches a willing people in • the day of thy power!

1792. As the fever which carried off many was very contagious, and I attended a number of my pa‘rishioners in every stage of the disorder, I have 'great reason to bless God, that when many fell 'on either side he graciously preserved me: but ' he that preserved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the burning fiery furnace, delivered me out of this furnace of affliction.'

'I communicated my design to the people, of discontinuing the Sunday evening lectures, in a sermon from these words, “ The spirit indeed • is willing, but the flesh is weak.” I believe, I · felt what I said, and the people were affected and • felt for me.

Not being previously acquainted ' with my intentions, nor knowing that I felt so

[ocr errors]

' much difficulty in addressing them, their passions 'were sensibly wrought upon. Oh that it may ' have an abiding effect upon their hearts ! If my "successor should be inclined to undertake the la'bour which I have been obliged to relinquish, I

would have him sit down, and well count the cost before he begins. Besides the hard labour of

preaching and reading prayers, he will have a · deal of extra duty to perform. It is a custom at · Missenden to bury the dead generally on Sundays.

I have had two buryings, two christenings, and 'two churchings, in one Sunday: and sometimes

I have been called to visit the sick. All this • added to the three services in the church, made

me give up my lectures. As I had now made ' some progress in expounding the scriptures, I de' termined to expound instead of preaching on the Wednesday evenings; I trust I shall not labour in vain.'

1793. 'I soon found that the people who attended them,' (that is, some extravagant preachers,) had • invented an easier way of going to heaven than I ' knew. They declare that a believer has nothing to do with the law : the law is no rule of life to them that are in Christ: it is legal to think it is. I now saw what was the luring bait by which poor ‘ simple souls were caught. May God deliver them from the fatal delusion!'

1794. * He' (a poor man in the congregation) brought ‘ me lately about half a peck of very fine potatoes,

and begged I would accept of them, adding, . When you were explaining Moses's tabernacle, 'you told us that the person who brought a hand

ful of goat's hair, or a badger's skin, was accepted with God, if he brought it in faith, as well as he

who brought gold, silver, or precious stones."I do not know that I ever received a present so 'thankfully as I received the poor man's potatoes.


[ocr errors]

1796. “It was a very trying circumstance to Mr. W. ' to be deprived of a considerable part of his pro

perty, owing to the blunder of an attorney: but • the grand source of all his trouble was idleness. * Had he been in any profession, or had he earned his bread by manual labour, he would have been comparatively a happy man. In his case, as well as that of many others, I perceive a gentleman 'must have great grace indeed to live to the glory of God.'

• Soon after I-'s death, some of his relations, ‘who are papists, offered to take one of his children. * As they had educated one of his children by a

former wife, and brought her up a bigoted ca*tholic, the widow knew that if she consented • her child would be a papist. She consulted me ' on the subject : and I could not in conscience • advise her to send her child into such a family,

though it would relieve her from a heavy bur'den, and be much to the child's temporal advan*tage. She thanked me for my advice, kept her • child at home, struggles with her difficulties, and “ hitherto the Lord hath helped her.”'

« PreviousContinue »