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assisted, and had far more boldness and Lancashire, his itineraling labours in that liberty than I expected.
sphere, and the revival of religion in were all attention ; some wept much, various parts connected with his faithful and many were greatly moved. O Jesus, and energetic ministrations, are well refriend of sinners, make it useful: make membered. In an interesting memorial me so happy as to hear of some turned to found among his papers is a reference to thee !” Thus, in simplicity and godly this : “I was about six years at Lancassincerity, and without any direct and ter, where I hope my ministry was formal preparation, he became a preacher blessed to the conversion of souls, and of the gospel. But though no academic the edification of the church. But, sanction had been conferred on him, he though hearers were added, our number was neither ignorant nor unlettered: he was not increased: the sea-service of had been a diligent student, though not that town, and the removal of members at college ; and his habits were those of to other parts, was a constant drawback; constant, uniform, and systematical ap- but my usefulness was, to a considerable plication. His future course proved that, extent, by itinerating ;” and he has rewhatever was the immediate source of corded various places which he systemahis knowledge, he was an able minister tically visited. In many places chapels of the New Testament, and well-in- were erected; in many of them now there structed into the kingdom of God. On are churches of the living God, to the the evening of the Sahbath that followed praise and glory of his grace. He says, his first exertions, finding that the house “ The six years spent at Lancaster were where he had preached in the morning perhaps some of the most useful of my could not contain the people, he took his life, and the most laborious, for í preachstation under the shadow of an oak tree, ed some years two hundred and fifty and delivered on that spot with youthful times, rode somewhere about two thouardour his testimony for God. Not far sand five hundred, or two thousand six from that very spot, many years after- hundred miles ; and yet, amidst no small wards, he had the honour of opening a infirmities, and manitold weaknesses, chapel he had himself erected for îhe God enabled me to persevere." worship of God, and a school for the in- A wider sphere of labour, and one more struction of the young: and thus there adapted to the powers and energies of his were delightful and interesting pledges mind, was presented to him in the popuof the brightness and success of his path. lous city of Coventry; and there our
The first time he preached in London esteemed and lamented friend continued was for his friend Mr. Clayton, who was nearly twenty years. Of this period be then engaged in connexion with the Coun- remarks, “ I humbly trust God gave tess of Huntingdon's Society; and he also
many seals to my ministry, who, by bis preached repeatedly for the late Mr. grace, I hope will be the crown of my Crowle, at that tiine living in London. rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus." Such engagements became a virtual
It was during his residence in Coventry, pledge that he should do greater things, and while engaged in the arduous duty and enter on a more extended and per of his pastoral and itinerating labours, manent sphere of labour. At this period that he published the first volume of his he felt a difficulty, and no small diffi- “Village Sermons," a work which he culty, as to the course he should pursue. afterwards extended to eight volumes, He had observed much of the power all of which are marked by his characte. of religion amidst the Calvinistic Metho- ristic qualities-eminent simplicity, didists, and some of the evangelical clergy; rectness of adaptation to one end, and men of the Established Church; and, had that end continually usefulness. The not difficulties pressed upon his con. “ Village Sermons” are a publication science, and rendered it impossible to that will never be forgotten; and they conform to the national hierarchy, his deserve the immortality they will most views of the inost inviting sphere of use- assuredly obtain. Evangelic in sentifulness, might have induced him to enter ment, pervaded by a rich tone of practi. within its pale. Long afterwards, how.
cal piety, pre-eminently lucid in their .ever, he recorded his entire satisfaction style, their method and their object in the choice he had made of pursuing marked by a calm dignity and an unafhis ministry among Congregational Dis- fected plainness as remote from vulgarity senters. In about a year afterwards he
as from display, and free from every began to preach, and accepted an invita- thing polemic and controversial, and yet tion to settle in the ministry, at Lancas- always maintaining the great iruths of ter; and at Lancaster, where he conti- the common salvation-they have at. nued six years, he was' most honoured of tained an extent of circulation altogether God. Tri that county his entrance at unparalleled in the history of sermons, They have gone through numerous and After being for ten years actively and large editions ; have been widely circu- usefully employed in his engagements in lated in America ; are translated into Loudon, he thus wrote in one
of his privarious continental languages; have been Vate memorandums : “ When a traveller read in schools, villages, and chapels, gets near his journey's end, he notices in various parts of the country; have every hour of time, and observes every been the means of introducing the gos. mile-stone which he passes : so, when a pel even into parish churches; thousands man reaches the age of sixty-one, it is and tens of thousands have been benefited high time to consider what progress he by them where the name of their vene- has made, and how near he is to his home. rated author has been unknown; uume- I hope I am not insensible to these rous and most encouraging have been things. I have great cause to admire the the instances of conversion by their goodness of God, in continuing me so means; and some are now preaching the great a degree of health, greater than at gospel within the Established Church, any former period of my life. I am inand without it, who, by reading the clined to think the Lord has granted
Village Sermons,” were turned from me this favour that I may more fully dedarkness to light. Had our Friend writ- vote myself to his work, who, (blessed be ten only this work, his name would for his name) is my constant trust. I think ever be embalmed in the grateful re- myself highly favoured in being permembrance of the Christian church. mitted, not only to preach his gospel with
After he came to London, he entered success and acceptance, but to engage on the duties of his office as gratuitous daily in promoting his cause among the Secretary to the London Missionary So- heathen. To God, alone,' be all the ciety; in this department he continued glory. As to myself, I wish to work till age and infirmities rendered him in. while it is day, and to watch while I capable of discharging them. Here the work, that I may be found ready for same quality of activity, diligence, sim- death and heaven, whenever the Lord ple devotedness to his work, were uni. may call me." formly evinced. Other institutions Fourteen years afterwards, in the year shared his labours; and he is indeed to 1827, his age and infirmities compelled be considered the father of the Religious bim to resign his office as Foreign SecreTract Society, and contributed more tary to the London Missionary Society. largely than any other individual to its On the 18th June, 1826, he thus writes: valuable and important publications. “ It is fifty years since I preached my
We find on his leaving Coventry, that first sermon, and this day I have preachhe felt, as every man must feel on leaving ed to my people, at Fetter Lane, from an important station of labour, no small the same text'; “the Spirit of the Lord measure of anxiety. On the decease of God is upon me.' &c. Isaiah lxi. 1. This the Rev. J. Eyre, of Homerton, in the (he says, with his accustomed simplicity) year 1803, he was solicited and elected is a day of humiliation to me. Enter not to be his successor in the London Mis- into judgment with thy servant, O Lord. sionary Society He received an unani. Accept my very imperfect services mous invitation at that time, to become through Jesus Christ, through whom the pastor of the church at Fetter Lane ; alone I can hope for acceptance. And “ I ventured (he says) to accept these this must be a day of thanksgiving. appointments, I trust, with a sincere de- Half a century have I been spared to sire to glorify God, and edify his church, serve my Master, in his sanctuary, while 'humbly hoping that the Great Head of multitudes of younger ministers have the church would supply my old friends finished their course. I suppose I may at Coventry with a faithful pastor. It have preached nearly ten thousand sercost him much to burst asunder the mons; and, blessed be God, some of the strong and tender ties which had, for seed has been productive.' To God be nearly twenty years, united him to that all the glory for ever!" church, wbich had been built up by his By the great goodness of God, he was zealous and successful labours-an at- enabled to preach with ease and energy tachment cherished and expressed by all once every Lord's day; this, however, classes of his hearers; and the unfeigned being the full extent practicable, at such respect with which he was regarded by an advanced period of life, it afforded him the inhabitants of that city, was such as great satisfaction to receive the aid of the to render the separation unusually pain- Rev. Caleb Morris, who was associated ful. It was sustained, however, on his with himn in the pastoral charge ; towards part, by an undoubted conviction of duty, whom he ever cherished the feelings of ibough he never ceased to feel an affec- fraternal affection, and from whom he tion for his former charge.
uniformly received every demonstration with him. Departed saint! the days of of respect and affectionate attachmeni. thy mourning are ended.
The following touching reflections are For the last two months his strength extracted from the last paper found in his continued rapidly to decline; he was writing ; it was written on his birth-day, soon fatigued with the slightest effort at June 5, 1829. “ Seven years ago, when conversation. His mind was, however, I concluded my seventieth year, I called preserved in the possession of peace and my family together, prayed with them, patience; he frequently intimated that gave them some advice, and read a paper, he was favoured with peace, thougb un. which I committed to their care. Of der much pain and infirmity; he was the domestic circle which then sur- " looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus rounded me, no less than four are gone Christ.' The closing scene was one of to the grave before me. My dear wife; great debility and exhaustion, but it was my two daughters; my dear daughter- a scene of peace. Within a few hours of in-law, the beloved wife of my son his departure, he added his emphatical Henry-all gone! I, who am older than
and feeling Amen,” to a few petitions any of them, still spared! I complete offered by one of his sons; and at length, this day, my seventy-seventh year. A surrounded by his attached and beloved few days since I visited the spot where family, gently and serenely he yielded the mortal remains of the above are depo- into the hands of Him that redeemed sited, and in which soon this frail body of him by his blood, and so be entered into mine must be laid up. Oh, that with the joy of his Lord. them I may have a joyful resurrection to eternal life! The disorder in my face, Died after an illness of a few days, on of ten years standing, continues gradu- the 10th of June, at her residence, Penally, though slowly, to increase, and with tonville, in the 37th year of her age, increasing pain, which I endeavour, daily, Martha Ann, the beloved wife of Henry to bear with patience. My chief com. Parker, Esq. of Gray's Inn, and one of plaint is the weakness of my frame.” the deacons of the church of Christ, as.
His sight, which had been gradually sembling at Claremont Chapel, Penton. failing, ať length was entirely lost ; yet ville. I'his estimable Christian lady even this total failure did not induce enjoyed, in her last hours, the consolahim to discontinue his beloved engage- tions of that religion which she had lameut, in preaching, the gospel of his boured to promote amongst the poor of Lord and Saviour. In this he was gra- her neighbourhood, as a Visitor of the ciously enabled to persevere even up to Christian Instruction Society, and Treathe first Sabbath in March last ; and ibat surer to the Dorcas Society. last day of his officiating in this sanctuary After having expressed' her unshaken will not be forgotten. During the pe- trust in the Saviour, she said, “ Lord riod of his blindness, his preaching had Jesus receive my spirit,” and almost been peculiarly marked by the power, immediately afterwards expired. and the rich unction, which distinguished Her unexpected removal naturally exhim ; and his characteristic simplicity cited a powerful sensation throughout and faithfulness were still evinced the church, of which she was one of the in his preparation for pulpit labours; first and most beloved members. but on this occasion there was a peculiar pathos, both in the topic and in the The Annual Meeting of the friends and manner of delivery. The subject was supporters of the Newport Pagnel Evan6. the man of sorrows His own per. gelical Institution, for the Education of sonal sufferings were not forgotten, while young men for the Christian Ministry, he directed his hearers to the sufferings residing in London and its vicinity, will of his Lord; and if the afflictions of the be held at the Rev. J. Dean's Meeting. servant abounded, so, also, did his con- house, Aldermanbury Postern, on Wedsolation; and if he suffered for his Lord
nesday Evening, the 11th July. The on earth, he is now glorified together Chair to be taken at Six o'Clock.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND MINOR CORRESPONDENCE. Communications have been received from the Rev. Dr. Smith-Dr. WinterRev. Messrs. J. M. Cramp-A. Redford-H.J. Crump-S. J. Burges-W. L. Pratt
- E. Prout-J. Burnet-Thomas Scales-J. Burder-A. Tidman. Also from Messrs. Roger Lee-J. Jones, Joseph Cottle-Thomas Burden-J.S. Hardy-Snelgar-W. B. Kilpin-B. P. Witts-Little Faith-J. K. S.
We regret the error in our Lecture List, of which Dr Winter complains, and hope to obviate the recurrence of such mistakes in future. Several articles of intelligence are necessarily deferred until our next.
THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, CHISHILL, ESSEX,
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF ITS SUCCESSIVE MINISTERS.
of this paper.
HISTORICAL associations often tiring before those of Esses into impart interest to a spot which Cambridgeshire, or before those of cannot boast of any native at- Cambridgeshire into Essex. There tractions, or of those adornments is reason to think that the spot was which art supplies. This remark also selected by them as near to is sustained by the circumstances the residences of many of their of that humble village whose Con- friends, as we find that, after the gregational Church is the subject ejectment, the Rev. Robert Billio,
. Seated on the jun. who was turned out of the bleak contines of a wild and open living of Bedworth, Warwickshire, country, its inhabitants are few, “ settled at Chishill Parva, where scattered, and generally poor, he taught school, and preached in without groves or gardens, modern his turn at Cambridge."* mansions or ancient castles : it is man as Mr. Billio could not reside only in connection with its moral in any neighbourhood long, withplantations, the husbandry and out seeking to instruct those the building of God, that it will around him in true religion. It supply any thing that can interest was not until the death of Mr. the Christian stranger. Chishill, Holcroft that the people under his though in Essex, is immediately care, who had been often described on the border of Cambridgeshire, as the Church of Christ, in Camand there is a shady secluded lane, bridgeshire, consented to embody just by, which forms the boundary themselves into separate, yet sister between the two counties. During churches. In 1694, several distinct the Stuart persecutions of the Non- societies were thus settled, and conformists, the venerated Messrs. amongst them Mr. Robert RobinHolcroft and Oddy often used to son has enumerated that of Chismeet their friends at midnight, in hill and Melbourne.f. Many of the the well-known spot on which they were safe froni the attacks of Vol. I. p. 528.
* Palmer's Nonconformist's Memorial, the officers of either county, re- + Pusthumous Works, p. 265. VOL. XV, N. S. NO. 92.
earlier Congregational Churches of those by whom he was surwere accustomed to meet at alter- rounded. Under a conviction of nate places for the mutual conveni- his own unworthiness he was about ence of their members residing at to retire, when a prayer was uttered them, until they became sufficiently that God would show mercy to numerous and respectable each to some individual then present: this sustain a pastor, and the expenses of petition being repeated, led him to public worship. Thus our churches pause, cherishing the hope that it have doubtless been multiplied might perhaps be answered in himby what a recent writer has been self
. Whilst he was yet lingering pleased to call their divisions, with his mind greatly burdened, the and if he can derive any satisfac- words of Jehovah came powerfully tion from such occurrences, he and to bis recollection, “ Is there no his party are right welcome to all balm in Gilead," &c.
“I knew, the comfort they can supply. says he, “that it was God's word,
The first pastor of this united and now, as his voice, it came church of Chishill, Essex, and home to my stony heart, and arose Melbourne, Cambridgeshire, was there as the day star which guided The Rev. JOHN NICHOLLS.- me to the Saviour Jesus. I then We regret that our information saw he must be my only physirespecting him is extremely limit- cian," &c.* He left the place ed, yet all we know is honourable deeply affected, and rode home in and interesting. He was born in the dusk of the evening, meditatthe parish of Hatfield Regis, ing on the peculiar feelings he had Essex, of respectable parents, who experienced, and when he returned resided on their own estate in that to his family, he with much earparish, which he afterwards in- nestness introduced the subject of herited, and where he dwelt at personal religion to them, and the time of his conversion to God. with affectionate fidelity The account which he has given warned them to flee from the of that event is characterized by wrath to come. This and subse. much simplicity, and exhibits in a quent conversations produced a striking manner the power of di. powerful effect on the mind of his vine grace on his own heart. It elder sister, so that she became appears, that during the severest the first fruit of his labours to part of the persecution which be. God. There is some reason to fel the Nonconformists, in conse- think that he was connected in quence of the intolerant acts, that Christian fellowship with the Camhe was led, apparently by acciden- bridgeshire Church, and that it was tal circumstances, to attend a meet- under the auspices of Mr. Hussey, ing for prayer in a private dwell- of Cambridge, he was introduced ing house, where a plain man to the pastoral office at Chishill, commenced with prayer in a very which he appears to have sustained scriptural and earnest manner. anterior to 1712. The people of Whilst the exercise continued, Melbourne, in 1723, built a meetMr. Nicholls felt convinced that ing-house for about 400 persons, these humble and persecuted and there was a second at Chishill, people were indeed the servants in which he also laboured and was of God, and could not fail to con- afterwards interred. His little trast the darkness and impenitency of his own mind with the religious Nicholls' Method of Divine Grace knowledge and Christian feeling with fallen Man, p. 94.