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FOR JANUARY, 1852.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. WILLIAM COOPER, OF DUBLIN.
WILLIAM COOPER, the eldest son of offered to accompany him to the TaberRichard and Elizabeth Cooper, was born nacle, the impression that he must go in Warwickshire, on the 28th of Au- to Spafields was so strong, that he could gust, 1776. In the following June, the not resist. Ho ran the greater part of family removed to London, and settled the way, and arrived just in time to hear in Hampstead. , At an early age he Dr. Haweis read his text, 2 Cor. xiii. 5, was placed with a relative, an attorney, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in whose chambers were in Clement's Inn. the faith,” &c. The words went like an Much leisure was kindly granted him, electric shock through his heart, and which he employed in the improvement rendered him for a time incapable of of his mind, his education having, attending to what the preacher said. through almost constant illness, been When somewhat recovered, he found greatly neglected. Tired at length of Dr. Haweis delivering a fuithful and the monotony of his situation, he be awfully searching discourse. From this came melancholy and dissatisfied, and time, his heart pauted to exhort bis returned to his father's house. After a fellow-sinners to “behold the Lamb of short time he was bound to a mercantile God." The conversion of his fellowhouse in the City. About this period apprentice was the first fruits of this (December, 1790, he commenced a concern for others' salvation. Among Diary, which he continued through the his papers are found the following lines greater part of his life. “In the winter expressive of his longing for missionary of '92," he writes, “I was brought to work. They bear date 1794. know my own utter sinfulness, and the
“ Send me, O Eternal Spirit ! way of salvation through the Lord Jesus
Send me to some foreign land, Christ; and the instrument was Dr.
To proclaim the Saviour's merit, Haweis, by a sermon he preached, or
Held and guarded by Thy hand.
I am ready: rather by the text of Scripture on which
Lord! I wait for thy command." he discoursed. I had spent the Sab- And the following, dated March 22nd, bath-day at my father's, and towards
1795:evening had a strong desire to attend
“ Eternal Spirit, let me know evening service at Spafields Chapel.” Whence these unusual sorrow's flow Though dissuaded by his father, who That fill my troubled breast.
What can these mingled passions mean, guidance of the Holy Spirit, to his Mas-
On November 15th, 1795, he preached “ To preach thy word, Eternal God his first sermon, from Matt. vi. 9, which Redemption through Messiah’s blood, - so pleased Mr. Weatherill that he re
To lift His standard higher;
quested a copy. He showed it to the Is all my wish, my crown, my joy,
excellent Lady Ann Erskine, to whom, And sets my soul on fire.
by her desire, Mr. Cooper was shortly
after introduced. At her solicitation, “ But, Lord, are these desires from thee? What end, what motive, do I see?
he went to preach on the Sabbath evenThy glory or my own?
ings to the inmates of Clerkenwell workIf I am called, increase my zeal;
His hearers at the morning If not, extinguish what I feel:
prayer-meetings rapidly increased, until Father, ' Thy will be done!'"
the chapel itself would not contain them. About this period, an aged gentle On one occasion, the multitude pressman, a member of the Committee of ing to get in was so great, that dangerSpafields Chapel, where young Cooper ous results were apprehended.
Adhad now a sitting, accosted him one dressing those outside from one of the day as he was descending from the gal gallery windows, he requested them to lery, and asked—" Do you not desire retire to the adjoining field, promising the ministry?” The abruptness of the to bring the congregation out of the inquiry confused him; yet he confessed chapel, and to preach to them there. his feelings, adding, that he had never This was his first effort at out-of-door expressed his desire to any one. “Well," preaching, and was the means, under replied Mr. Weatherill, “I have long God, of bringing many to a knowledge thought so; come to me at the early of the truth. Some of the Jewish perprayer-meeting, and I will introduce suasion were present, who heard the you." These early prayer-meetings Word with deep attention. were conducted principally by Mr. Wea At another time, having gone to Lady therill, a man eminently distinguished Ann Erskine's after preaching, for rest for his piety and devoted usefulness. and refreshment, he was, as usual, folWilliam Cooper had frequently attended lowed by an immense multitude. Perthem, but had never taken part in the ceiving many of the sons and daughters service. In February, 1795, Mr. Wea- of Israel among the throng, he asked therill introduced him into his pulpit- them if they would attend a sermon desk, and he delivered a short lecture expressly to the Jews. “Oy
yes,” was from Isa. lxiii. 7—“I will mention the the unanimous reply, " and we will lovingkindness of the Lord,” &c. Not-name it to our friends in the synagogue." withstanding the smallness of the audi. The circumstance was mentioned at ence, he trembled, and was exceedingly Lady Ann Erskine's. Dr. Haweis, Dr. dissatisfied with his performance. This Ford, Lady Montague, Sir Egerton Lee, feeling, together with Mr. Weatherill's and other influential persons, were not calling him forward for some time, present. They were unanimous in the led him to fear he had acted presump- opinion, that it was a call that he should tuously. He was consequently much preach to the Jews. To this he joyfully distressed in mind. Having been, at consented, and appointed the 28th of length, again invited to speak, similar August, the day on which he attained engagements from this time became fre- his twentieth year. A great number of quent. He now determined, with all Jews attended in their various costhe energy and zeal of his nature, to tumes, English, Portuguese, Polish, &c. devote his time and talents, under the | The chapel (Zion Chapel) could not
contain one-fifth of the people assem- vices on the Sabbath, and one-somebled. Thousands were outside from times two-on each day of the week. At Commercial-road to Whitechapel. While seven o'clock on the Sabbath morning, he was preaching inside, four preachers he preached on the draw-bridge over the were addressing congregations without. river Frome, to two thousand or three
Soon after this his first sermon to thousand people, among whom were that ancient people, he attempted to many soldiers and sailors. Not unfrepreach to them in the open air, in quently were the tears seen to flow fast Duke's-place. He was accompanied by down the cheeks of a weather-beaten the late Rev. S. Roberts, Baptist minis- tar. At Brandon-hill, thousands met to ter, of Bristol a young man with hear the words of eternal life, many of whom he had become acquainted at whom were brought to a knowledge of the early prayer-meetings. Missiles of the truth as it is in Jesus. From Brisevery kind were hurled at the youths tol he proceeded to Bath, where his lafrom the streets, windows, and roofs of bours were equally unremitting. Here houses; and, at length, the mob raised he remained until the birth of his eldest an incessant yell, which compelled the son, which took place November 8th, preacher to adjourn to the Pipe Fields, 1797, whom he named William Haweis,* at the back of Spafields Chapel. The the second name after his venerable multitude followed, increasing as they friend and father in Christ, Dr. Haweis. moved to the place. They listened From Bath he returned to London, with intense and untiring interest. preached at Zion Chapel every SabMany shed tears. Anxious inquirers bath, and at Spafields Chapel every came to him the next day to learn more Wednesday. of the precious truths they had heard. The year from February, 1798, to
In June, 1797, he was ordained to March, 1799, was spent in labours at the ministry in the Countess of Hun- Canterbury, Birmingham, Wolverhamptingdon’s connexion, by Dr. Haweis, in ton, Coventry, &c., and in preaching at Zion Chapel, London. Shortly before, Zion Chapel and Spafields Chapel, Lonhe had married Miss Elizabeth Gager, don. At the last date, he received a youngest daughter of Mr. John Gager, letter from the Rev. George Hamilton, of London, a lady somewhat younger of Armagh, giving him a very pressing than himself, a woman of great piety, invitation from the Evangelical Society and possessing a fine and highly.culti- of Ulster, to spend four months of the vated mind. She was zealous in every ensuing summer in this benighted land. good work, willing at all times to sacri- His relatives and almost all his friends fice her own feelings and comforts that were very much averse to his going, the cause of Christ should not in any and used many arguments to dissuade way be hindered. Through a long life him from an undertaking which they of devotion and usefulness, she proved considered to be fraught with peculiar herself worthy of his choice.*
dangers and difficulties. After mature Accompanied by his wife, he supplied deliberation he consented. His reasons the chapels at Bristol, Bath, Canter for compliance are thus stated in a letter bury, Birmingham, &c. At each place to a friend :-"In the first place, I have he had frequent opportunities of preach
* He was for twenty-seven ycars the muching to the Jews, in whom he felt a great esteemed pastor of the church worshipping in and increasing interest. His labours in Zion Chapel, Dublin, in which building his Bristol continued from June 15th to friends have erected a handsome marble tab
let to his memory, as well as another to that August 25th, embracing often four ser
of his aged father. William Haweis Cooper * She died Feb. 11, 1851. Her remains died March 1st, 1847. See Congregational were laid beside those of her husband. Year Book for 1847, p. 144.
never sought to go to Ireland, but was , ing with his wife and friends, and being sought for. I have been all along quite well supplied with Bibles and Testapassive; only I have prayed constantly ments, he left London on the 15th of and earnestly in the business, whether May, 1799, with the Rev. G. Hamilton, to go or stay. In the next place, I know who had come over to accompany him. that God is the hearer and answerer of They arrived in Dublin on Sabbath prayer. If it had not been His will, he night the 19th of May; and on the folcould and would have prevented me; lowing evening (Monday) Mr. Cooper but providential circumstances lead me preached his first sermon in Ireland, in to see the door opening wider and wider. the Scots Church, Usher's Quay, to Thirdly, No one who appeared calcu- about one hundred and fifty people. lated for the work in London came for. On the next evening he addressed beward to offer his services; and it ap-tween three and four thousand. On pears absolutely necessary, from the the ensuing Thursday he preached statements I have received of the in Mr. Hamilton's chapel, Armagh, and gross darkness and ignorance reigning again on the Sabbath evening. Daily throughout the length and breadth of he continued labouring in Armagh and the country, that so important a field the neighbourhood for miles around, should not longer be neglected. The preaching in fields, barns, court-houses, people literally write, 'Come over and private rooms, and the huts of the peahelp us. Fourthly, God, it seems, has santry. Hundreds of attentive hearers given me a great name in Ireland as followed him, among whom were many well as here ; and this, to me, appears Roman Catholics. At Londonderry, he to be in order to prepare the way before combated the Socinian errors. At
What is this popularity given to Newry, he was opposed by the Armime for, but that I should, with this gift, nians, who were there numerous. On honour and glorify His name, who is the his way to Cookstown, he was attended giver of every good and perfect gift, and by a thousand on foot, and upwards of be enabled by it the more effectually to sixty on horseback, beside many on cars do His work? And, lastly, although -all eager to hear him. my services are much needed in the He continued these missionary laCountess of Huntingdon's connexion, bours in the north of Ireland until the and I can be ill spared at present, yet 24th of September, when he returned to Lady Ann Erskine, on the first applica- Dublin, and again preached in Usher's tion, at once promised to find some per- Quay Meeting-house on several occason to supply my place during my ab- sions, to large congregations; also in sence. I know,” he continues, “ I shall tho Scots Church, Mary's Abbey, and have many difficulties to contend with— to a large assembly convened once a hard lodgings, bad fare, and, probably, week in Alderman Hutton's diningworse usage, for my pains. Yet for
The time approached for him Christ bis sake, I am willing to endure to recross the Channel. His ministry all things, and to spend and be spent in in Ireland had been singularly blessed. his service.' O Lord, go with me, and Many Romanists had been brought to a preserve in health my beloved wife and knowledge of the truth; and not a few child during my absence! Thou know- nominal Protestants had been roused est I am willing to make every sacrifice from their lethargy. He left Ireland for thee; and after I have done all, I with deep regret, earnestly desiring to have done but my duty, and must be as be permitted, in the providence of God, dependent on free grace as ever for the to visit it again. salvation of my own soul."
On arriving in London ho resumed After an aflecting and solemn part. | his ministerial labours in Zion Chapel