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ism; and had the privilege of accompanying him to Whitby, and some other places, during the year immediately preceding Mr. Wesley's death. (The various incidents of this journey were narrated by Mr. Agar, only a fortnight before his own decease, with remarkable minuteness and deep feeling.) He corresponded with the Rev. Joseph Pillmoor, one of the first Missionaries sent by Mr. Wesley to America ; and kept up a cordial friendship with the Rev. Messrs. Mather, Pawson, Moore, Manners, Taylor, and Benson,-and indeed with most of the early Methodist Preachers,—who, as well as their successors in the ministry, were always hailed with an affectionate welcome when they visited his roof.
In troublous times, when the friends of Methodism were few and its foes many, he stood forward with manly fortitude and energy in its defence. Often journeying with the Preachers into new or perilous districts, in the double capacity of guide and protector, he was subjected in some instances to reproach, and more than once exposed to annoyance from angry mobs. Amid these circumstances his natural courage was maintained ; and, while many others were ready to quail, faith in the living God kept his soul in serenity.
Mr. Agar's religion was genuine and sincere; and he could not be happy unless he saw the prosperity of Zion. His religion, like his mind, was eminently practical. He was quite a man of business, both in the church and in the world. Active and in earnest, he liked to see things moving onward ; nor could he rest satisfied with anything less. There was great energy in his character ; and this brought him into public life. For many long years he was conspicuously identified with the cause of God, and of humanity. Besides occupying an important position in the public charities and other institutions of the city, he long sustained several of the most important offices that Wesleyan Methodism assigns to its faithful laity. He was for above twenty years Circuit-Steward ; long a member of the Committee for guarding the Privileges of the Connexion, as well as of the General Missionary Committee of Review ; and Treasurer of the Auxiliary Missionary Society for the York District. The duties of this last office he discharged with exemplary punctuality, even up to old age ; and he relinquished them, at length, only under the pressure of multiplying infirmities.
Amid this variety of public engagements in behalf of others, and amid the onerous cares of his own business, his own beart was not neglected; nor did his spiritual ardour decline. In the cultivation of personal intercourse with God, he was a pattern of diligence; nor, during the long period of nearly seventy years, was he seen to slacken in his heavenward pace. For forty years he enjoyed Christian fellowship and edification in the class of the late Mr. Robert Spence; a Leader by whose counsels he greatly profited, and concerning whose uprightness and excellency he bore this testimony, brief but full,—that he had scarcely known his equal.
Great firmness, coupled with stainless integrity, distinguished the mind and character of Mr. Agar ; and hence his steadfastness in the church of Christ. Some of his early associates wandered from the fold, or sought easier terms of communion in other churches; but he remained firm. He was no waverer : he neither seduced others from the body, nor permitted himself to be seduced. Nothing appeared to him a bigher honour, or an occasion of more cordial joy, than his long-blest communion with the Wesleyan denomination. “ Bless the Lord,” he exclaimed in his eighty-sixth year, and with an emphasis not soon to be forgotten,—"I have been now sixty-five years a member of Society,”-adding, with characteristic energy and simplicity, an expression of gladness that he had never been excluded from the fellowship of saints. To the praise of God it may be added, that he would have been an ornament and an honour to any church; while in the Methodist Society of York he was not merely a member, but a pillar, and, for a succession of years, a father. His counsel was sought, and justly valued ; his influence was deservedly great ; and he retired at length from public life, full of honour, with the affectionate sympathies and earnest prayers of all his Christian brethren. The subjoined Resolution of the December Quarterly Meeting, in 1845, supplies the proof :
“ RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: - That this Meeting expresses its kind sympathy towards our beloved friend and father, Joseph Agar, Esq.; and its regret that, owing to the pressure of years, it is deprived of his attendance and counsel ;—and would accompany this expression of sympathy with earnest prayer that bis soul may be abundantly blessed and sustained, and that his life may still be spared to that church of which he has been, for upwards of sixty-four years, a consistent member and an ornament.”
Like sentiments of high esteem for Mr. Agar were cherished by many members of other communities. His was, indeed, a catholic spirit. A true Wesleyan, he was no sectarian. To the funds of various Societies, belonging to Established and to Non-conforming churches, he cheerfully added his offerings. The Pastors or other representatives of these bodies were not willingly sent empty away ; while many of his gifts, in aid of those ecclesiastical institutions which were allowed to have the first claim, were munificent. Nor was he liberal on public and great occasions only.
His private charities were not a few; and several of these were continued, to needy and meritorious parties, for a long series of years. The light of eternity alone can disclose many acts of unostentatious liberality, thus far known but to the benefactor, to the objects of his sympathy, and to ONE who will hereafter say, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
It is pleasing to add that, when Mr. Agar was unable to attend to the active duties of life, or even to share the more public privileges of the church, his mind was as vigorous and energetic as ever; and his heart was still warm with undiminished love to the cause of Christ. Since the date of his comparative seclusion, it is well known that many great and important Connexional objects have been accomplished. “Liberal things ” have been “devised” and executed for the consolidation and extension of Methodism. It is enough to mention the Centenary year, with all its delightful associations and arrangements; and the Educational and other schemes, yet more recent. Mr. Agar was not an unconcerned observer of these important movements. His day of activity was past; but he did not therefore, with calm indifference, leave all these matters to his successors. He manifested, in regard to them, an interest which the snows of age could not chill ; and by deeds, which have a louder voice than words, he showed his unalterable attachment to the advancing work of God. Among the many objects most happily accomplished, there were few that excited in his bosom feelings of more lively gratitude than the erection of a monumental edifice, by the Wesleyan people, in his own city. To the building of the York “Centenary chapel ” he handsomely subscribed, as well as to that more general fund which claims a record in the brightest annals of Christian liberality; and, from the success which rewarded the local undertaking, he often remarked that nothing had ever given him higher satisfaction than the opportunity, afforded in his old age, of assisting to raise so commodious a sanctuary for the worship of Almighty God.
And now we approach the closing scene. It is no common privilege to accompany the aged Christian along the last stage of his pilgrimage.—A8 Mr. Agar had long “lived unto the Lord,” so he “ died unto the Lord.” He has left a noble testimony behind him. For several years he had been looking for his great change : hence he daily lived in a frame of expectation, and of humble, devout confidence. He was mindful of the Master's words, -"Watch therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all the things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” No Christian could visit him without perceiving that all his Christian principle remained, in high maturity; and that his faith, which had stood the test of more than half a century, was strong, unwavering, and victorious.—His last moments were unclouded ; and his passage out of the vale of life was solemn, peaceful, and glorious. Throughout the lengthened period of debility and pain, " patience” had “her perfect work;" and nothing could exceed his gratitude to his family and attendants, for any effort made to alleviate his sufferings. The word of the Lord was as a staff in his hand; and when suitable texts were repeated to him to encourage and strengthen his heart, he often earnestly replied, “O, that is sweet! that is sweet!”
Some days before his death, one of his Ministers, leaving his bedside, said, The Lord be with you, Mr. Agar.” He rejoined, “ He is with me : the Lord never leaves His old servants." He was “strong in faith, giving glory to God," and his mind was delightfully prepared for his final hour. As this drew nigh, he felt the deepest impression that his mortal sickness was hastening to its close. This he distinctly mentioned to his children, on meeting them all together, at the beginning of 1847; and, shortly afterwards, on hearing of the dangerous illness of his only surviving brother, remarked, “It is singular we shall both go together." On receiving intelligence of Mr. William Agar's death, he said, “My brother has got home only a little before me: I shall soon follow him.” And so it was ; for in a few days the surviver escaped also to the heavenly country. While strength remained, he continued to speak of the goodness of God, and to exhort his family, and all who came to visit him, to “mind the main thing, and love one another ;” declaring, with calmest solemnity, that he was near the kingdom of everlasting glory.
On the Sabbath before his decease, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to him by the Superintendent of the Circuit. It was a season never to be forgotten. He fervently responded to the petitions offered up; and when his Pastor observed, “You feel yourself upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, Mr. Agar?” he replied, “O yes! and He is a Rock.” During Monday, after a very severe fit of coughing, he prayed, “Lord, keep me from murmuring!” It was observed to him, “The Lord has hitherto kept you, and He will keep you to the end.” The suffering saint answered, “ He will ;” and when he was reminded that the omnipotent Deliverer would soon release him from all his afflictions, he devoutly said, “Good is the will of the Lord. The Lord's will be done.”
The next day he was much worse. It was quite evident that “the weary wheels of life" must soon stand still. One said to him, “You will soon meet our friends above ;” to which he joyfully assented. In answer to a remark which called to mind past mercies and lovingkindnesses, he eagerly said, “Yes, my dear, the Lord has wrought wonders for us." The following scripture was then repeated,—" Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil : for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me;"—when he whispered faintly, but evidently with realising joy,
-staff comfort After this he revived a little ; and, whilst his Class-Leader was praying with him, he raised his voice and exclaimed, “Glory! glory! Bless the Lord, I shall soon be at home. A few more struggles, and all will be well.” In this happy frame he continued, until, on Wednesday, January 13th, 1847, and in the eighty-sixth year of his age, his sanctified spirit was gently dismissed from its worn tabernacle.
To the foregoing sketch little needs to be added. It may be briefly stated, however, that, during his long career, he adorned the relations of master, husband, parent, friend, and citizen, by consistency, uprightness, and inviolable fidelity.
He was kind and truly affectionate in domestic life. Yet, while not unindulgent in minor and lawful things, he was strict in all matters of moment. Occasionally, and to casual observers, there was some appearance of sternness and severity in his family-discipline ; yet, properly understood, all was really loving and well-intentioned. His steady aim, in all the exercises of his paternal authority, was to bring his children to God. For this, not only were good principles daily enunciated, but salutary prohibitions were duly enforced.
As a master he displayed mingled firmness and forbearance, dealing gently with the young and the inefficient, and yet strictly enforcing rule, and duly rewarding obedience and faithfulness. His sense of duty to the Master in heaven taught him to keep a watchful eye on those who served him; and he constantly required their attendance on the solemn worship of God, both in the public sanctuary and at the family-altar. Several of these parties acknowledge themselves indebted to him for their preservation from the paths of vice; and some, who have since risen to respectability and influence, have been heard to express a deeply grateful remembrance of his excellent counsels.
As a friend, Mr. Agar was sincere, generous, and constant. Few were readier to appreciate real worth and integrity than he. If calamity and distress involved any of his acquaintances, he was not unmindful of these in the day of adversity: his heart and purse were always open, when the case seemed to demand attention and aid. His friendship was marked by great Christian fidelity. incapable of flattery; and he did not shrink from the duty of reproving sin, or of pointing out the dangerous tendency of error, both in its beginnings and its progress.
As a citizen, he ranked among the best and the most patriotic. He always manifested a lively interest in the welfare and honour of the ancient city in which Providence had early cast his lot. Of its various institutions, religious and philanthropic, he was a liberal supporter. Having been made a freeman in 1783, he was the oldest on the list at the time of his dissolution. In 1812 he sustained the office of Sheriff of York; and, up to the passing of the Municipal Reform Bill, he continued a member of the Corporation.
These biographical notices will be advantageously concluded with an extract or two from letters of condolence, addressed to Mr. Benjamin Agar, on the occasion of his father's death. The first is from the pen of the venerable Joseph Sutcliffe, M.A., who had enjoyed Mr. Agar's acquaintance more than forty years :
“Impressed with a crowd of grateful recollections of York, it is just and fair that friends should ever live with laurels fresh in our memory and heart,
But on no one is my grateful esteem cast more than upon him named on the [funeral] card. He was a man of cheerful, open, and upright mind; and without reserve in friendship. He was one drawn from the treasures of Providence to foster Methodism in York, and in many distant places. He was ever active, rejoicing in the company of good men, and ready for all the calls of need and affliction. The Lord knew him, and made him a steward of His bounty and store. And it was no small addition to his joys, that he had a wife who entered into all his views ;—the best of mothers, and the sincerest of friends,"
The second is from the pen of the Rev. Dr. Bunting, who had long and intimately known Mr. Agar :
“ The removal, even after so protracted a life, of such signal piety and worth, from a world wbich so much needs their influence and example, is a deeply interesting, solemn, and admonitory occurrence. Your father was a man of no common or every-day excellence. His