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should be able shortly to resume the duties of his Circuit. But here his last days were spent.
The attentions which he received from Mr. and Mrs. Kay were all that affectionate solicitude could dictate. He was surrounded by all the helps and comforts that faithful friendship could supply. Efforts the most vigorous and unwearied were made to preserve a life so valuable ; but in vain. The time was now approaching when this servant of the Lord must die. At the first professional visit paid to him, Dr. Wood was shocked at his altered appearance, and could scarcely recognise the hitherto well-known features. Dr. Wood observes, “I suggested to our dear friend the necessity of giving up all thought of preaching again, and of keeping his mind at rest from all official duties.” Mr. Taylor replied, without hesitation, “I have given up everything, and take thought for nothing,”-a decision which must have cost him a severe struggle.
May 10th, Mr. Taylor said, “I have very serious impressions respecting the issue of this affliction, but not at all desponding. I look upon death merely as one of the evils which must be.” Mrs. Taylor asked if his persuasion, that this affliction was “unto death,” rose from any particular impression on his mind, or only from the symptoms of his disease. He replied, “I need no other. What I feel is sufficient notice.” From this opinion he never varied. When, about six weeks afterwards, he appeared to revive, and Mrs. Taylor expressed a hope that the Lord would restore him, he said, “I should be sorry to rob
of any hope that is a comfort to you ; but there is no ground for it.” So also, in the latter end of September, when he seemed to rally a little, and the hope was again expressed that the Lord might yet spare him, he replied, “O no! Give me up. Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me.
My Saviour will receive me. I shall rise again." At another time he said to his physician, “My only dealings are with
my Bible and my Saviour.” July 10th, he observed to the same friend, “I am waiting, not unthankfully, I trust, but believinglybelievingly.” And, about ten days afterwards, “I am surprised that the crisis "-death-“has not arrived. Tell me, will it come suddenly ?” The Doctor replied, he did not expect that it would. But Mr. Taylor was evidently prepared, fully prepared, for the Lord's will, whatever that will might be. In the earlier part of his affliction, he conversed with the greatest composure on matters relating to his removal. He then gave Mrs. Taylor his blessing, entreating the Lord to take care of her, and to re-unite them in heaven.
For the spiritual welfare of the people of his charge in Hull, he felt deeply. His letters, addressed at that time to his colleagues and to some of his friends, contain many expressions of his affectionate concern for them. As long as he was able, the word of God was his daily study; and, after he became too weak to read it himself, he requested Mrs. Taylor to read to him passages which he selected for that purpose, and on which he frequently made highly profitable remarks. His bodily sufferings were often severe. But he never
uttered a murmuring word. It is true, he did sometimes pour out his complaint in a piteous moan. This, no doubt, was a relief to his sufferings. He would sometimes say, “I should be thankful to my Saviour if He would be pleased to grant me my release.” But this was not in the spirit of impatience; for, in the midst of pain, he was wont to add, “ It is all right. The tabernacle must be put off. It is the way of all the earth, the way which the Lord Jesus went, -Jesus, my Saviour, ‘King of righteousness, and King of peace.” He often said, “Dying is hard work. But the Saviour knows what it is. He will be with me. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.' I would gladly have served Thee longer, Lord, in Thy church below, had it been Thy will. But I shall serve Thee in Thy church above.”
He was cheered and comforted, in the earlier part of August, by a letter of most affectionate esteem and condolence, addressed to him by his brethren at that time assembled in their Annual Conference, and signed by the President and Secretary. It was also a gratifying circumstance that the Stewards and other friends in the Hull East Circuit met together, and, from a deep sense of the value of even the partial service which Mr. Taylor might have it in his power yet to render, unanimously agreed to recommend that an application should be made to the Conference for his re-appointment, “accompanied with an offer,” as it is expressed in their letter to Mr. Taylor, “to bear the expense of a duly-qualified and proper Assistant.” But this friendly proposal could not be accepted.
August 15th, he sent word to his valued friend and physician, Dr. Wood, that he thought it would soon be over. But he added, “I am on the Rock, and all is right.” One night, a few weeks before his departure, Mrs. Taylor asked him how he felt. He replied, “I feel humble, thankful, confiding.” At another time, when suffering much, he exclaimed, “Now! now! now! Lord, let not my faith prove unworthy of Thy promises !" On his requesting Dr. Wood to pray, the Doctor asked, “ Can you bear it ?” As if astonished at the question, he replied, “ Bear it? bear it? not bear prayer! O YES!” During prayer he exclaimed, “The blood of Christ ! Yes! The blood of Christ! Amen and amen!” No one who heard these words can forget the deep and grateful feeling with which they were uttered.
“ The last time I saw him,” says his affectionate colleague, the Rev. Peter Cooper, “was on August the 20th. I thought he would have died in my arms. He was exceedingly happy in God. He observed that he had spent many years in the service of God, but his sole trust for final acceptance was in the atonement of Christ, -that his reliance on that atonement was most firm,—and that he felt Jesus to be increasingly precious. When the time of my departure arrived, he was greatly affected ; and, while I was praying with him the last time, he seemed to be almost overcome by anticipations and foretastes of heaven. When I last took hold of his hand, he gave me his blessing, and said, 'Our next meeting will be in heaven.''
Some time after this, the Rev. William M. Bunting paid him a visit, of which he has himself given a most beautiful and touching narra
tion, entitled, “Recollections of the Death-bed of the late Rev. Joseph
Passing from the Conference on Christian Union, held at Liverpool in the month of October, Mr. Bunting repaired to Bass-Lane House, where he had the privilege, almost beyond his own expectations, of once more seeing his early, constant, and inestimable friend. That friend was indeed wasted and decayed; but, in kindly cordiality, in observant and attentive habits, in language, and even in look, he was still the same. Among other things which Mr. Bunting has recorded, he said that he was "in that case, that life and death seemed equally present and near;" that he was "peacefully waiting his Lord's will,”—had “not suffered any disturbance from the enemy,” —and was
sheltering under the Rock.” “ That is all I can do," said he: “I am just sheltering under the Rock.” Rich experience in things Divine, enlarged charity, fervency of devotion which rose above languor and exhaustion, and grateful remembrance of absent friends, all were strikingly manifest. It is not surprising that Mr. Bunting speaks, with peculiar emphasis, of the “truly Christ-like combination of sanctity and goodness” which dwelt in Mr. Taylor, and adverts to
one of the best and most lamented of men.” About the middle of October he appeared to be much better, and conversed freely. The Doctor said, “You must allow us to hope for your recovery.” He closed his eyes in the most solemn manner, but made no reply; and it was observed that, however fervently he responded to other petitions, he was always silent when his friends prayed for his recovery. On the 29th he said, “I am still waiting. I have long been looking for the crisis. I expect it will be sudden. I get sensibly weaker day by day.” During his illness he never lost his characteristic tenderness and sympathy for the sufferings of others ; and on this day, calling Dr. Wood back into the room, he said, “O let me just mention the case of simply for this reason, that
- misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.'” When he became so debilitated that he was unable to attend to any lengthened portion of Scripture, he loved to have a suitable verse repeated to him. At such times, he would lift up his eyes with grateful emotion, and say, “Thank you! My memory is gone.
But I live a moment at a time, and am kept. My Saviour is with me.” One day, when Mrs. Kay was rubbing his hand to afford him some relief, she observed, “Dear Sir, how often has this hand pointed poor sinners to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world !”” He immediately lifted both hands and eyes to heaven, and said, “O my friend, I beg my gracious Saviour to pardon the imperfection and unfaithfulness of my best services. They all need to be washed in the all-cleansing blood.”
His gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Kay for the tenderness, assiduity, and generosity of their attention to bim for so long a period, was inexpressi
* See “Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine " for August, 1819, pp, 829_831.
ble; and his emotions on this subject were often exceedingly painful both to himself and to them. He frequently said, “ My heart is ready to burst with gratitude to them. But I dare not give utterance to my feelings. I am so weak that it quite overcomes me.” He was also deeply sensible of the unwearied kindness of Dr. Wood, and accounted it a special mercy that Providence had placed him within the reach of that gentleman's visits and care.
When Mrs. Taylor expressed an apprehension that the last struggle of expiring nature would be violent, he said, with the appearance of surprise, “Do you think that I shall die without a struggle?”On one occasion, his daily medical attendant gave an opinion in reference to an unfavourable symptom of his case, and added, “Do not fear, Sir: I hope it will pass away.” “ Fear!” he exclaimed. “O no! O no! It is all right! It is all right! My God will not lay upon me more than He will enable me to bear ; and though He slay me, yet will I trust in im!””-At another time, after a wearisome night, one of his friends at Bass-Lane said to him, “Sir, you look like a weary traveller, anxious to get home.” Yes,” he replied; “dying work is hard work. But the view beyond the grave,-a Gospel hope,--that is everything to me now."
November 12th, Dr. Wood writes,—“Finding that Mr. Taylor was too weak to talk, I said to him, 'Jesus is mighty to save!' · Yes!' he replied ; and, lifting his dying arm as high as he could, he held it up for some moments in token of victory.”
One of the last acts of which he appeared to be conscious was to receive a fresh flower from the hand of each of Mr. and Mrs. Kay's little children, and then, with uplifted hands, to commend them to God in silent prayer.—Not long before he was deprived of the power of speech, he cried, “I have fought my way through! The Saviour is with me!” and, as long as he could give any sign, he signified to his weeping wife and friends that Jesus was precious. At about seven o'clock in the evening of November 19th, 1845, with two gentle sobs, he gained his release, in the sixty-seventh year of his age, and the forty-third of his ministry.—A post mortem examination showed that his sufferings must long have been most severe. It is matter of astonishment that he accomplished so much. The cost of his labours only his Master and he could fully know.
His remains were committed to their peaceful resting-place in the Wesleyan burying-ground at Cheetham-Hill, near Manchester, amidst a concourse of Ministers, friends, and spectators, who mournfully united in that tribute of respect to his honoured memory. Funeral sermons were also preached, on the occasion of his death, in different places, and were attended with a feeling of affectionate interest which told of the loss which a multitude felt that they had sustained.
Mr. Taylor was “a good man,”—cheerful, yet serious ; devout, yet active; fond of retirement, yet full of good works ; patient, charitable, and humble. Perhaps few men ever exhibited for so many years a more uniform consistency of character. His piety was a noiseless, constant, gentle stream ; and its effects were most fruitful
and refreshing. He was truly “spiritually minded,”—minding, supremely, the things of the Spirit. The Rev. Peter Cooper, who had known him ever since the year 1811, and travelled with him during the last four years of his life, observes,—“When I was not from home, scarcely a day passed but I saw him, and spent some time with him. I have no hesitation in saying that I believe he was one of the most holy men, and one of the most devoted, faithful, selfdenying, and laborious Ministers of the Gospel that I ever knew. I never once witnessed anything in his spirit, his conversation, or his conduct, that I did not judge to be in strict accordance with the pure religion of Jesus, and with the holy office which he filled.”—He was a man of one business,—devoted to God, and anxious only to please Him. This singleness of aim was the secret of his whole character, —the lock of his strength. He might have adopted the noble sentiment of St. Paul, as the motto and rule of his whole life : “ WHOSE I AM, AND WHOM I SERVE.” 'A short time before he was taken ill,” writes Mr. Cooper, “ he was at my house. We were talking about some matters enjoined in the Large Minutes. He put his hand upon his breast, and said, 'I can humbly and in the fear of God say, that I spend more time in God's work every day than I did in man's work before my conversion ; and I serve God more fully, as well as more cheerfully, than I ever served sin and Satan."" Taylor,” says the Rev. Dr. Dixon, “was so perfectly a man of action, that it was only necessary to know what he was about, to know the man altogether. I had a great veneration for him."-But this devotedness of all to Christ was sustained by much prayer, and constant diligence in searching the Scriptures. The leading feature of his religion, of his ministry, of his whole life, was energetic activity. He was an incessant worker. He did one thing at once, and he did it with all his heart. By an economical arrangement of time and business, he accomplished much every day. His great question was, not about the choice of his work, or its honour, or its emoluments; but, Where and how can I be most useful? He lived only for his work's sake—the salvation of souls. Everything else was subordinated to this. His “study” was to "show himself approved unto God.”
As a Preacher, Mr. Taylor was faithful, powerful, and truly evangelical. “He kept up the habits of a hard student,” writes the Rev. Peter M Owan, " to the close of his ministry ; and to this, no doubt, much of that freshness and peculiar appropriateness which characterised his preaching is to be attributed. His ministry was plain and unadorned, in respect of style ; but rich in Gospel truth, and powerful through the unction of the Holy Ghost. He never dwelt on the subtilties of theology, or the niceties of criticism ; but his delight was to make manifest the hidden wisdom, the saving power, and the abounding grace, which reside in the sacred text. The atonement, the dying love and the mediatorial offices of the adorable Redeemer, together with the witness of the Holy Spirit, pervaded his ministry. While he expatiated on these glorious themes, his heart enlarged, the