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MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOSEPH TAYLOR.
(Concluded from page 684.) At the Conference of 1838 Mr. Taylor was appointed to the superintendency of the Third Manchester (or Grosvenor-street) Circuit, and to the chairmanship of the Manchester and Bolton District. In November following he writes,-"I entered on my work with many fears as to health and other matters. One of my
difficulties was my knowledge that the people would expect more than they would find. This for some time troubled me. But I knew that I must not reason about any such matter. The circumstances of the people are very different from those of the Worcester people. There is, however, more religion here than I expected. Many are truly pious, and some of our wealthiest friends are among the most hearty and zealous. Outward comforts I have always had to give thanks for, and never had cause to complain. They affect me very little. Here we are in danger from them. In reference to them, and to all other things, the people are exceedingly kind. To be faithful with every one, in public and private, and to walk before them in all good conscience, requires the continued supply of the Spirit of our Master. Of this I greatly feel the need, and see the need of it in others. Our meetings for prayer are improving, and we have a few conversions ; but we are not advancing much. My health is improved; and I feel especially thankful that I now get a tolerable supply of refreshing sleep. Labour is to me relief and enjoyment. I am constantly full of business; and I am thankful it is all for Him whom it is my privilege to serve.
February 23d, 1839, he writes,—“We have some choice people in this Circuit ; with whom, however, I can have little intercourse, on account of their engagements. The fellowship of the best of His saints is a means of great benefit, if rightly improved. "To possess the heart and talent to improve it, constantly and fully, is what grace and habit must conspire to supply. All opportunities turned to account contribute to make ready and apt, and induce us to look up for wisdom and help.”
The esteem in which Mr. Taylor's character and labours were held in this important station was deservedly great. He was “ instant in season, out of season,” seeking the peace and good of all that were confided to his care, or that came within the sphere of his active VOL. VI.FOURTH SERIES.
ministrations. A few additional extracts from his correspondence with his valued friend at Islington will be the best record of his own views and feelings.
October 5th, 1839.—“The Lord is teaching us in this Circuit selfabasement; and, if we do but receive grace to learn, the lesson will do us good. As yet, we have not profited much. Of late I have had much solicitude, and been often depressed. The committal of all to Him who rules over all helps me: the word and prayer encourage.”
November 29th, 1839.—“Our Centenary and other protracted services have been of benefit to us. We aimed at making them all entirely religious, and the result was good. We have had more than tokens for good, and hope to see an improved state of our Society and congregations. In spiritual matters I trust I am improving. Deepening conviction of the importance of unseen realities, stronger desires to live in everything for eternity, and more habitual dependence on the unfailing arm of Ileaven, help me on more advantageously. Prayerful committal of myself to God greatly assists me. You will find that the plan of pleading appropriate promises, as your state and circumstances require, will much help you. The cultivation of a submissive spirit, neither gathering matter of discouragement from the past, nor indulging apprehensions about the future, but looking to Him your soul to keep,' ought always to be maintained.”
January 20th, 1810.—“I am thankful that we are rising. Our numbers, and conversions, and religious improvement in the Society, are encouraging. I hope my own mind has lately been improving in spirituality. The services held at the beginning of the year have done me good; and I have been trying to follow them up. To live in the spirit of prayer, and in the exercise of a constant dependence, is the way to have providences sanctified, and to stand ready for all events.”
June 5th, 1840.—“We are making a little progress in this town, but not as the wants of the world demand. The supply of the Spirit must be sought more earnestly, and received more largely, before we rise as we ought. And, in preparation, we must get more self-distrust and abasement of spirit before God. Thus waiting, we shall not wait in vain. · He is faithful that’ hath “promised.'”
June 7th, 1841.—“I have suffered considerably from my old affliction. My cause of thankfulness is, that, though the body suffers, my mind never enjoyed a more tranquil, and even, and satisfied state. The state of religion here is not encouraging. General distress afflicts the community throughout, except such as are above the reach of business. Yet there is little sanctified result. Consideration, prayer, and penitence, are at a low ebb. We want a mighty influence to rouse us. The factory-system is unfavourable to habits of economy; and when distress comes, it is like an armed man. Turbulence is ready to trouble the people, whenever want presses. The weak, as well as others, are misled.”
It was in the April of 1840, during Mr. Taylor's residence in Grosvenor-street, that he was united in marriage to Mrs. Mary Entwisle,
widow of the Rev. William Entwisle, and daughter-in-law of the venerable Joseph Entwisle, his old and faithful friend. The marriage was eminently happy; and, while the tie which bound the two for a season is severed, it is a privilege, on the survivor's part, to recall the memory of virtues once so intimately known, and to share the legacy of an example now no longer seen, and of prayers now no longer heard.
When Mr. Taylor had spent three years in the Third Manchester Circuit, he was removed by the Conference of 1841 to the superintendency of the First Manchester (or Oldham-street) Circuit, where he also laboured, for the space of three years, with his wonted zeal and fidelity, but with not unfrequent attacks of severe bodily indisposition. “Since our removal," (to the Superintendent's house in Dalestreet,) he writes on December 29th, 1841, “I have on the whole improved a little in health. I have suffered less. This benefit, under Providence, has been the result of more exercise in the early part of the day. I am grateful that I can walk. I trust that my spiritual health has also been improving; and I have been more preserved from depression,—an old assailant of mine. The cultivation of a devout spirit, taking the full benefit of means, and redeeming time, help me. There is little in the church that is cheering. Distress afflicts the poor; and many above them are in straits. We have some conversions. But people leave this town in search of bread; and this keeps our Society down. The general distress is . such as I never before witnessed. I am glad to learn that your health bas improved, though still feeble. The Christian rule, in reference to continuing your classes, should be applied with a due regard to what your health may require. No other consideration will either justify or comfort you. The attempt to escape difficulties in our Lord's service, is generally the way to increase them. Let your way be plain,—not till then.”
October 27th, 1842.—“Let us try to get all the dispensations of Providence sanctified to us, and a contribution from each for our spiritual improvement. I am sorry to learn that the London Circuits have, in most instances, had a decrease. This is a call for more earnest prayer and hearty exertion. Amid the poverty and wretchedness of this town, we are striving to maintain our ground. Since you were here, all classes have been losing their property. Providence has kept us from painful failures. But the loss of property among the richer sort, and perplexity and want among others, have been very great. I am not insensible to these things. But the want of religious prosperity distresses me most. Others feel with me. A few are striving, severally and together, for better times."
February 24th, 1843.-" To get all [circumstances) sanctified and made a blessing, is the resort in which we need not fail. Meantime, patience worketh experience, and experience, hope.' My own health, during a few weeks, has been somewhat improving. Previously to that, I had so suffered that I seriously purposed to ask for permission to become a Supernumerary. But I leave the matter for
the present. I am very glad to hear of improvement in the City-road Society, and in other London Societies. A revival of religion through the principal London Circuits would do good all over the land. Considerable improvement is taking place in this part of the country, though as yet we have felt little of it. The Lord is visiting Macclesfield, Liverpool, Halifax, &c., in mercy; and the faith and hope of the people are much improved. Many prayers are offered for prosperity here ; and the Lord has granted us some tokens for good. Improved effort does the parties who make it personal good; and our benefit re-acts on those whom we try to help. Considering the provision and the promises placed before us in the Gospel, and our own deficiencies, how greatly desirable it is that we should rise above our past selves! All things are ready for us. And the Lord is waiting to make us ready.”
To Mr. M‘Owan he writes in the same year, 1843,—“Though I never was more industrious according to my ability, I try to modify my labour by curtailing all public matters, except pastoral and ministerial services; and I endeavour to live more with Him with whom I have especially to do. A devotional spirit is more prized, and the cultivation of the heart more attended to. My endeavours are more concentrated on what is most important, because I am growingly convinced that many things not unlawful have engrossed my attention beyond what their relative importance to my best interests justified. The mind of Him who is our great Example has, in my eyes, such desirableness as puts aside whatever does not naturally promote its attainment. Habitual devotedness is gain for the present, and it conducts to future blessedness."
September 5th, 1843.—“I am thankful that I can suffer with patience and submission, and in the hope that all will be well. My state of health has not forced me to be laid aside from my work; and this I feel to be a mercy. My colleagues are men in whom I entirely confide ; and they work well. We have some improvement in our Circuit, and hope for still more. Religious society in no denomination is making much advance here. But, as the temporal condition of the people is now improving, it is hoped that the poor will have less hinderance in the way of their spiritual prosperity. We have some truly good people, but many others who need raising much above their present tone of feeling and acting. Of late we have had several conversions, which have done us good, and we are expecting and praying for additions.........I find, in my own case, that keeping up the intercourse with heaven is indispensable. Beginning the day aright, getting purposes and pledges renewed to Him who must guide and guard us, and thus gaining the start of the world and its intercourse, one is enabled to carry a devotional spirit everywhere."
May 22d, 1844, after he had declined a pressing invitation from Islington, he writes, -"My little strength is inadequate to more than the ministerial and pastoral duties required in some humbler position than Islington. But to follow the best light one has, is duty. My health, I am thankful, continues improved. I suffer less than for years past. Care, and such exercise as my strength will admit, accompanied by early rising, enable me to get tolerably good rest. I acknowledge all as mercy, and try to be thankful. I am endeavouring to take the benefit of opportunities and ordinances, and to live nearer the throne. The Lord is giving me a more grateful heart, and a more humbling conviction of past deficiencies. Beginning the day well, and living through it in the spirit of prayerful dependence, greatly help me. Christian intercourse is, also, especially endeared.
. The Circuit improves, though not rapidly."
July 23d, 1844.—"Through mercy, I am gaining strength. But whether I shall take a Circuit, and be able to do the work, is still uncertain. I feel nothing but submission and gratitude to Heaven. And I have received every kindness that heart could desire from all around me. Having the kindest and best of colleagues, I have been without carefulness.”
Mr. Taylor had now spent six years in Manchester. At the Conference of 1844, he received his last official appointment,-namely, to the superintendency of Hull East, with the chairmanship of the Hull District. Several of his friends, and especially his medical adviser, Dr. Peter Wood, strongly attempted to dissuade him from taking another Circuit, in consequence of the state of his health. But his ardour, and his determination to work for his Master, prevailed. An humble and retired station would seem to have been what he himself desired. But he knew that, wherever he might be placed, he must labour to the full amount of his physical ability; and this, indeed, he assigned as a reason why he consented to be stationed in Hull,--a town which, in other respects, presented a very inviting field of service to one who was so intent on pulpit and pastoral ministration.
For some months after his arrival in Hull, he exhibited flattering symptoms of recruited health, and began to look with high hope for extensive spiritual prosperity. During this interval he was exceedingly happy, greatly beloved by the people to whom he ministered, and favoured with an encouraging measure of success. “I am thank ful,” he writes on December 12th, 1844, “ that my health, since in Hull, has considerably improved. I was never more sensible of mercy in reference to the body, and my mind has partaken of the benefit. This Circuit is limited. But the Societies are generally growing, and our band-meetings are delightful. The majority of the Leaders are active, and work well.”
On Sunday, April 6th, 1845, Mr. Taylor was very unwell. But, not being able to obtain a supply for Kingston chapel in the evening, he attended to the duty himself. Under much suffering, he preached and administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This was his last service in the sanctuary. From the time of its performance his health became worse and worse, until his medical friends, finding other means unavailing, directed him to try change of air. Accord. ingly, on the 25th of April, he repaired to the hospitable home of his highly valued friend, John Robinson Kay, Esq., of Summerseat, Lancashire, in the hope that his strength would be recruited, and that he