« НазадПродовжити »
nary employments, whose concern for salvation was such, that some persons were sent for to pray with them. Their neighbours hearing the now well-known sound of either joy or sorrow, flocked in, and soon filled the house : there they continued till the close of day, when the intended dinner was found removed into a corner, or still standing before the fire. On those occasions some continued on their knees for five or six hours together, whilst others were employed in pleading with God on their behalf, till he shed his love abroad in their hearts, and turned their mourning into joy. Three, five, or seven frequently found a sense of pardon before they parted. Some fled from these scenes of confusion, as they were pleased to call them, and went to their work at a distauce: but, even there, God found them. They were seized with such horror of mind, that they threw down their tools, and returned to their neighbours in distress, requesting the prayers of the godly. The alarm was now more general; and though not all the houses, yet the greatest part became houses of prayer. The day being too short, they “borrowed the night,” and continued the prayer-meetings in the chapel until twelve, sometimes two or three o'clock in the morning; and even then, though dismissed from the chapel, they gathered together in small companies, and continued their supplications to a yielding throne of grace.
“It is natural to suppose, that in such a work there would be some irregularities: one instance of which I give you. A nuniber of men who were employed at a mill, would hold a prayermeeting one day, at the noon-hour; which was easily begun, but not so readily concluded : for they prayed until night, a conduct by no means justifiable. Yet this gave less offence than might have been expected. The proprietor looked in, but soon returned, saying, “I dare not disturb them, for God is among them. You have probably heard of their love-feasts being held in a field, where I suppose 5 or 6000 people attended. I was there on the 13th inst. and remained a day or two to admit new members. I have seldom been more fully, or more agreeably employed, than in meeting them in small companies, for several hours in the day; while I received on trial 353 : most of whom professed to have obtained pardon. 154 were admitted by my colleagues, 507 in the Yeadon society only. We have joined, and admitted on trial' this quarter 656 ; most of whom there is reason to believe have found peace with God. They are at least fair blossoms ; time only can determine who will bear fruit to perfection. I have just room to add, that I have never seen such a work before. 1st, where there appeared so much of God, and so little of man. 2d, where the work was so great in so small a place. 3d, where the work was seemingly so deep, in VOL. XLII. JANUARY, 1819.
* B *
MR. JOHN' CROSBY. so short time: nor, 4th, where the people in general were so overawed by the majesty and goodness of God, as they appear to be at Yeadon. Even the jolly huntsman blew his horn in vain: not a man durst follow the sound, thcugh the chase had been their favourite amusement. Those who were not convinced said, · How can we go a-hunting, when the people are praying on every hand; their
prayers will follow us; we dare not go.'
“J. CROSBY." In this great revival, Mr. Crosby was honoured with his share of instrumentality, Soon after its commencement, on a Sunday evening, when he was going to preach at Yeadon, there was a man drinking at a public house, who felt a strong and unaccountable inclination to go to the Methodist chapel; he, however, determined to drink his ale before he went. But when he attempted to do this, his mind was so powerfully impressed with those words of Paul, in his sermon in the Jewish synagogue at Antioch, “ Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish: for I work a work in your days, 4 work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you;" that he threw down the tankard, and went to the chapel. The moment he entered, he was astonished and confounded to hear Mr. Crosby read for his text the very words, the impression of which on his mind had driven him from the public house. His soul was that night deeply awakened ; and under that sermon a great number were constrained to cry to God for mercy, and afterwards joined themselves to the society.
Before I conclude this memoir, a brief sketch of Mr. Crosby's character may not be unacceptable.
He was a man of few words, and of a reserved disposition, and might be thought by strangers to be distant and unsocial: but he was remarkably open and pleasant with his intimate friends. He shone the brightest in retirement and suffering. In the relations of husband, father, and friend, his affection, sympathy, affability, and faithfulness were such, as have associated with his memory recollections the most grateful and pleasing, and will not soon be forgotten in his domestic circle. He particularly excelled in family worship: there was such a copiousness, fervency, aptness and tenderness of feeling in his prayers, as seldom failed to profit and delight every member of his household, as well as those who might occasionally be present. During the latter years of his life, he was a man of various afflictions, and at certain times his sufferings were severe in the extreme. But the slightest murmur never escaped his lips : on the contrary, his soul was often overwhelmed with gratitude and joy, when his body was racked with strong pain. He professed
entire sanctification many years; and he gave indubitable evidence of the justness of this profession, by the placidity and meekness of his teinper under provocations and injuries of a very trying and irritating nature; by exemplary patience under peculiarly heavy afflictions; by uniform and habitual devotedness to God; and by a steady and persevering exemplification of all the social and christian graces.
Mr. John Kershaw, who travelled with him two years, and lived in the same house the greatest part of that time, bears the following respectful testimony to the excellency of his character, in a letter which I received from him soon after Mr. C.'s death : -" Your worthy father I always highly esteemed. I knew him well. I have seen him in various sitụations, some of them of an appalling kind, particularly during the shake which took place at Whitehaven in 1791. But in all he was the same; calm, composed, and full of self-possession. I never saw in him any thing but the Christian and the Pastor. His righteousness will be revealed at a future day, when thousands will wish they had been born of his high pedigree. This must, I hope it does, constitute a part of the consolation of all his friends who are left behind to deplore his loss."
As a preacher he studied not to be great or popular, but to be practical, experimental, sober and useful; and his ministry was genernlly edifying to thinking and pious minds. To those who over-rate the ornaments of preaching, a defective pronunciation, a provincial dialect, and a method of reasoning sometimes ioo close and metaphysical, rendered him less acceptable than he otherwise would have been. But thousands will bless God in eternity for the profit they derived from his public and useful labours.
In the year 1809, whilst stationed in the Colne circuit, Mr. C. was visited with a most severe and long affliction : but through the whole of it his soul was exceedingly triumphant. Often, when enduring excruciating pain, he would with ecstacy bless the God of his salvation. That affliction materially impaired his general health ; and the year following at Bradford, he reluctantly became a supernumerary.
November, 1914, he had several epileptic fits, and from that time his friends feared he was fast hastening to his eternal home. But he was prepared for the solemn event. His soul had long rested on a firm foundation-Christ the Rock of Ages; and the approach of eternity did not bring with it one gloomy apprehension.
He removed to Bolton, on the 11th of January, 1816. As soon as he arrived at our house, he said to my wife, “ I am come to see you, my love, and with you to gather up my feet, and die my father's God to meet.' The first sabbath he spent in
* B 2 *
that town was a high day to his soul. Though not able to attend the public means of grace, he joined in spirit with the people of God, and his heart frequently overflowed with joy. The singing of the children of the Sunday School in the old chapel pleased him highly, and affected him even to tears. He was on the mount with Jesus all the day, and in the evening said, “ Perhaps I may spend my next sabbath in the presence of my Saviour.” But it pleased God to prolong his life a few more weeks. He was very thankful for being so near the house of God, and that he was again privileged to hear a few more edifying sermons ; which privilege he eagerly embraced, when his strength would admit. He expressed himself as being greatly comforted under the preaching of the late venerable Mr. Taylor. Some time prior to his death, he went to Mr. Warr's class in the old vestry, and desired to have his name put down as a member, intending to meet there as often as possible. But that proved to be the last time of his joining in fellowship with the militant church : after that he was entirely confined to the house.
At intervals, during his last affliction, he was uncommonly happy; and often repeated with much feeling and energy those words of St. Paul, “I know in whom I have believed.” Once, when depressed by sickness, he said, “ I have long desired to have a triumphant exit, but if it seem good to my Lord to appoint that it should not be so, I am perfectly satisfied ; his will be done.”
Several days previous to his death, his strength and his voice so far failed him, that he was not capable of much conversation; and sometimes he was delirious: but he always seemed rational when the state of his soul was the subject of his thoughts.
The day on which he died, he said in reply to a question put to him by Mrs. Crosby, “ The prospect is very clear before me. I am very happy: I am only sorry I have not strength to tell you what I feel; but I have now got all I ever wished for,victory! victory! at the last.” After this he could do no more than give short answers to questions that were put to him. He remained perfectly happy to the last : and on Friday evening, March 29th, 1816, he peacefully closed his eyes on all earthly scenes, and went to his great and eternal reward. E. G.
A SERMON FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY; Translated fiom the French of the Rev, CHARLES BERTHEAU, Pastor of the
French Church in London. Published in 1712. 2 Cor. iv, 18. “ While we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are not seen ; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." Nothing can be more absurd and contradictory to itself, than man, in his conduct with regard to a future state. At one time be yields to fear, as if he were only mortal ; at another, his boundless ambition and aspiring hope, lead him to act as if he were wholly immortal. Is he threatened by temporal calamities? His thoughts are absorbed in the present life; he despairs of futurity: the smallest circumstance which presages the dissolution of his body, disconcerts and alarms him; he has recourse to the meanest expedients to ward off the stroke, and seems as if he considered himself only like the beast, which, when it yields up its breath, is annihilated. But the same person, who under the influence of fear thinks himself only mortal, when actuated by his aspiring hopes and boundless ambition, seems to think himself only immortal. He extends his plans as if they were for eternity; he builds as though be and his houses were to endure from age to age; be makes provision for an illimitable duration, and wishes to establish an unfading name, as if he himself should always taste its pleasures. Behold, my brethren, a mystery in the human heart, which appears incomprehensible, which the ancient philosophers could never explain, and on which they have run into the same contradictions that are found in the heart of man itself. Some have asserted that man is merely like the beast; that he ought to confine his views within the circle of visible creatures; and that to go beyond these is ridiculous presumption. Others have maintained that he ought to trample upon and despise all earthly things, and consider himself as a god eternal and immutable. Whilst others, uniting these two considerations, and unable to conceive the same nature capable of sentiments and feelings so opposite, attributed unto man two souls, the one mortal, the other immortal. This mystery would still be impenetrable, and render us a paradox to ourselves, if this contradiction of our passions and desires, of our fear and ambition, did not lead us into the truth; in shewing us that, as both are founded in our nature, man is both mortal and immortal; that he is like the beast which perishes, by sin which subjects him to the same passions, and makes him liable to the same end; but like unto God who endures for ever, being created in his image, and designed for the enjoyment of him. Fear proves man's mortality and wretchedness, presumption his immortality; and the fear which teaches him that he himself and every thing around him must perish, warns him not to set his affections on things of earth ; whilst the presumption which inspires him with immoderate desires and boundless ambition, places him above this lower world, and teaches him that God alone can satisfy him. Thus I reconcile man with himself, and from hence I take the two heads of my discourse on the words of the Apostle, where, assigning the reason why the good and evil of the present life makes so slight an impression on the Christian, he teaches us