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glorious hopes which the gospel of Christ | was soon cemented by deep and affeccan alone impart.
tionate attachment on each side ; and Previously to his marriage, Mr. when, in the ensuing year, Mr. Rooker Rooker had undertaken the education resigned his charge as pastor of the of the son of one of his earliest friends; church at Tavistock, Mr. Lockwood, and subsequently he consented to re- with his full and cordial approval, was ceive several other youths under his chosen by the church as his successor. roof, continuing their education until His only daughter-Mrs. Edgcombe he had secured for his own children the Parson-having married in the year great advantages of domestic training 1844, and settled in London, and his conjoined with sound instruction. These son being already resident in Plymouth, engagements, however, terminated as in 1845 Mr. Rooker left Tavistock, but soon as the education of his family was returned to it again in 1846, for six completed.
months, continuing during that period In the year 1824, Mr. Rooker lost his his ministerial services in conjunction eldest son, then only thirteen years old, with Mr. Lockwood. But in 1847 be a lad of rare promise, and, considering permanently settled in Plymouth, where his early age, of great attainments. This he, at first, frequently preached on the was a very severe trial, and its remem- Sabbath ; but as health and strength brance continued fresh to the end of gradually declined, he chiefly confined life; a portion, doubtless, of that dis- his labours to the Female Penitentiary, cipline which 'God intended as a means usually officiating on the Sabbath mornof working out for his servant“ an ex- ing. Whilst at Plymouth, he felt a ceeding and eternal weight of glory." deep interest in its Town Mission, and
Until the year 1844 he continued to in other religious institutions,—witnessbe the sole pastor of the church at ing that, to the end, his love had not Tavistock, usually preaching four times grown cold or his attachment to the in the week, and conducting other ser- Redeemer's cause abated. vices in the town and neighbourhood; In the year 1848, symptoms of insometimes preaching in the villages, cipient heart-disease first appeared, and and often to the poor in the Union during Mr. Rooker's stay at Cawsand Workbouse. This long period of ser his illness greatly increased. From vice led to deep attachment between this attack he partially rallied; but, the pastor and his people, indicated on owing to the natural tendency of the their part by many spontaneous acts disease, he was throughout its progress of affectionate regard. In 1827 they occasionally subject to depression, requested him to sit for his portrait. especially at each fresh access of the Ten years afterwards the church and complaint, inducing much spiritual concongregation presented him with a dict, and leading to the lowliest views of handsome tea-service of plate; and on his condition before God. his retirement from the ministry, a The last Sunday but one in February general desire was expressed, and re- of the present year, the weather being alized, to obtain a faithful and admirable very bleak, he undertook his usual lithographic likeness of one who was service at the Penitentiary. This endeared to so many.
brought on a severe cold, which, comIn 1814, Mr. Rooker having ex- | bined with his previous complaints, pressed a wish to obtain the assistance baffled any effectual measures for relief, of a co-pastor, the Rev.John Lockwood, and gently brought him, at the age of B.A., then just leaving Rotherham Col- nearly eighty years, to the close of his lege, was associated with him in the long and peaceful life. On Friday, the work of the ministry ;--a union which 9th of April, at two o'clock in the morn
ing, without any apparent suffering, he and anxiety is lest I should mistake my fell asleep in Jesus.
official relation to the cause of Christ His friends willingly, during the last for a real and personal interest in Him. few weeks of his valuable life, gathered The great need of the soul is spiritual up at intervals a few of his parting religion. This, and this only, will do words, as nearly as they could remem- for me now; and oh! may I find, when ber them.
I come to realize eternal things, that this In the early part of his illness, refer- through life has been my portion. Lord, ence was made to the pleasure and make me to cleave to Christ with purprofit he had derived from uniting in pose of heart. When I think of standconversation and prayer with a Christianing in the presence of a pure and holy friend. “ Yes,” he said, “but we must God, my heart trembles within me; but learn to look above these ordinances, he is a compassionate Saviour. I have and rest in the Saviour's work alone, for been surrounded by those who love salvation.” This led him to speak of Him; some of whom are already gone, faith in Christ. “I met," he said, a and others are on their way, to heaven; little while since with a striking illus- and I do hope that, notwithstanding my tration of faith. A father, standing be- great-great unworthiness, He will say fore his house that is in flames, sees his to me, at last, I am thy rock and thy child at the window, and beckons it to salvation.” his arms; but it is afraid. He calls One evening he said to his daughter, again ; the child still fears. At length, in reference to his ministerial life, “ My pressed by the necessity, it obeys-course has not been the calm flow of a casts itself into his arms, and is safe. tranquil stream that many have supAnd if,” said he,“ with my ten thousand posed. I have had storms and temthousand sins, I reach heaven at last, it pests in my inner life.” He then told can only be through the same unlimited her that at fourteen years of age he protrust in my Saviour.”
fessed faith in Christ, and at sixteen Afterwards, referring to the objection entered the Western Academy, at Taunfelt by some to recognise the prospect ton, to preparo for the ministry. “I of any joy in heaven excepting such as think, now, I was too young,” he rearises from conscious intercourse with marked; "even if then, as might be the Christ, he said, “ This is just the same case, I was truly born of God, the blosas if, because the sun is the most lovely som had not settled into fruit. It is a object in nature, we were to refuse to very great danger to the church,” he see beauty in anything beside ; instead observed, “when young of this, we look at the sun and enjoy it, brought into the ministry on promising but we see its glory reflected in all the appearances, rather then decided eviobjects that are around us."
dence of piety. Gifts should never On the following day, when a friend even be valued, without clear evidence remarked that it was well for us habit- of grace. That which we have seen ually to look to Jesus for help and and heard declare we unto you,' was the strength, “ Yes,” he replied, “just as I apostles' motto, and we ought to make have often said to my people, there are it our rule among ministers.” He then three things at which Christians should proceeded with an account of the aim—to look, to meditate, and to pray.” labours of his early ministry at Chal
A few days afterwards, his son having ford and Chalfont, and afterwards of read a hymn to him, as he lay in bed, several invitations he received to varihe said, " I wish you to pray with me. ous churches, and then to the gracious Pray for me that my faith in Christ providence which fixed him with his may be strengthened. My great fear beloved flock at Tavistock. After he
had been there about four years, he people of my charge grew in knowledge read Fuller's Sermons on the Un. and holiness; so that I joyed over them pardonable Sin; and the thought was and learnt much from them. I also had there suggested, that to have rushed blessed seasons at the Lord's table; and into the ministry without being called sometimes felt, there, that the banner by the Holy Spirit of God, might pos- over us was love." He continued his sibly be the sin that cannot be forgiven. history of a long life, adding, “But “ Then," he added, “ followed a period looking back, now, on a ministry of of intense agony, which shook my very sixty years, oh what a poor, useless, soul. Awful views were given to me of unprofitable servant I have been ! How the solemnity of being an ambassador little have I been spent for my blessed of Christ—of having the blood of souls Redeemer! How little have I had of required at my hands; and the fear Baxter's holy passion for saving souls ! overwhelmed me, lest, having preached Over and over again I begin at the to others, I myself should be a cast-away. lowest place--at the very lowest place, My dear child,” he then exclaimed, beneath the foot of my dear Redeemer's "never, through eternity, can I forget cross, under the droppings of His blood, that time. I wrote to the Rev. Thomas and I call God to witness that I come Scott (author of the Commentary); and with ten thousand thousand sins, the ho, in return, sent me a kind, consola- sins of more than seventy years, and tory, and most suitable letter, remind
roll them all, personal and ministerial ing me of the riches of grace set forth sins, I roll them all upon Christ, asking in the gospel that I preached, and ad- him to bear the load." vising me to devote some time to fast- At another time: "I have great fear ing and prayer, and to lay my case fully that I shall stagger your faith, and before God. I took his advice, and lessen holy confidence in Christ; but it spent days and nights literally in is only my leanness I deplore, my harcarnest prayer and crying to God, and dened, worldly heart. In Christ all fulpleading with him either to give me ness dwells. He is full of grace and grace to preach the gospel with holy truth. In Him I see all I want. O zoal and love, or to take my commission the riches of His grace, the glory of out of my hands. Often I tasted no His person, the wisdom of His counsels! food for twenty-four hours; and those There is no want in Him, though I Bannawell fields could testify, had they faint and perish;" adding, with pathetic a voice, how I havo, with strong cryings earnestness, and tears, entreated for the witness of
All over glorious is my Lord, the Spirit, that I was indeed called and Must be beloved and yet adored; chosen to the work of the ministry. His worth if all the nations knew, At length my soul seemed to return to its rest.
I gave myself up, with all my Again, at another time, he said to his guilt and fear, to be used by Christ my daughter, “ I suppose, my dear child, Lord; and I solemnly covenanted that, you expected to have found me in the though the word I preached might seem land of Beulah, or on the Delectable to condemn me, I would never blow the Mountains, with my glass in my hand, gospel trumpet with an uncertain sound | telling the towers of the heavenly city, on that account; I would, so far as I which is just in sight; but no: after was enabled, preach all the truth of sixty yoars' ministry of the gospel, here God, even when I had to return and weep is poor old William Rooker just creepin secret, as I have often done, that my ing into heaven, if through infinite very words condemned me. After this, grace he reaches that blessed place, by much peace followed.
Many of the stretching ont a trembling hand, and
Sure the whole earth would love Him too.'"
throwing over him the full robe of Christ, a steward for Christ. What a Christ's righteousness; but I am saved mercy if, for Christ's sake, I, who have if I only get beneath it."
deserved to be cast out, should be acSome time later, when his strength counted faithful. It will be for His was visibly failing, he observed—“The sake and His alone! It is a solemn stream of my life is almost run out: I thing to look back on sixty years spent shall soon receive the summons. I in preaching the gospel. God has blest think of the efficacy of Christ's blood, me— I cannot deny it: there have been the completeness of His work, the free- many at Tavistock who were living ness of His salvation; and I trust, epistles of Christ (naming many of the guilty as I am, that He will not cast members of his beloved flock, one by me out."
one). I have been honoured to build His daughter spoke to him of Jesus up saints; but woe, woe, woe is me, that going with His people through the I have not more fully preached the valley, but she found that, in this par- gospel, the glorious gospel of the blessed ticular, he feared no evil. "I put my God, committed to my trust. Ministers hand into Christ's hand," he said, " and little know, they can have no idea, until if He puts His hand into mine, He will they stand on the threshold of eternity, safely lead me through, and all will be with their commission in their hand, well.” Then, with deep emotion, he just ready to give it up, what that added—“In whom we have redemption gospel is, or how awful is their trust. through His blood, the forgiveness of It must be either'a savour of life unto sins according to the riches of His life, or death unto death.”” grace:” — repeating it, with growing After making several inquiries reenergy
specting a ministerial friend at a disOften those in attendance on him, in tance, his daughter said, “Shall I give his illness, heard his earnest cries to him any message from you ?" "I have his Saviour, when he thought there been such an unprofitable servant," he were none to hear; and never can they replied, " that I have no right to send forget how he ordered his cause before messages; yet I will send him a mesthe Lord, and filled his mouth with sage. Tell him that I ADVISE him, as I arguments, pleading chiefly his mighty advise all ministers who have been need and the Redeemer's almighty some years in the pastoral office, to grace. Those two verses, in a hymn make a solemn pause, to stop awhile learnt in childhood, seemed most fre- and consider, and devote time to review quently to express his desires :
his work and his plans; to search the
heart, and find what is official and what “ Remember all the dying pains That my Redeemer felt;
is spiritual in his labours; and then, And let His blood wash out my stains, with prayer and humiliation, to dedicate And answer for my guilt.
himself afresh to God, and consecrate "O may I, then, with joy appear
to His service all his future days. The Before the Judge's face;
exercise will refresh and cheer his own And with the blest assembly there
soul, and will, doubtless, be blest to Sing His redeeming grace.”
others. I advise him to anticipate a He spoke much of the importance of death-bed review, which, while it sets the ministerial work. “0," he said, “if sins and omissions before the mind, I could have begun my ministry with brings forth no fruit unto God in its the knowledge I have acquired here! results, in quickening in the work of How I wish our young ministers knew, saving souls. Tell him to anticipate at the outset of life, how solemn and his death-bed experience in middle life. awful a thing it is to be a minister of O that I had done so !---would not the
Holy Spirit have been poured out more whether he could perceive the colour of abundantly? Say to our friend that I the brass; all he wanted to know was, advise him never to preach a sermon, that it was the brazen serpent at which whatever its subject may be, which has he looked." not the distinct aim of setting before About a week before his death, when sinners Christ and Him crucified. The in the afternoon he seemed somewhat Lord bless him and his church !" revived, he said to his son, who was
Again, he said, at another time, sitting by him, “Oh, to have my will " How I mourn, as I sit here, the sins swallowed up in the will of Christ!” of my holy things-that I have not And then, a little time afterwards, had larger views of Christ's love, and following up the same train of thought, glory, and deeper interest in his king- he added: “To have the will in perfect dom; and yet, as I have grown older, I subjection to the will of God is the think I have felt enlarged desires for its greatest happiness on earth, and it is prosperity and increase."
the joy of heaven." As illness increased, he was less able To one of his family, who, the day to speak at any length. He said, “I before his death, referred to the love feel now as I never did before the value with which he was regarded by them of the promise, of the Comforter, to all, he said, “I cannot but feel your show Christ to the soul."
love-I do value it; but you can have One day he exclaimed, with appro no idea how little earthly love and joy priating emphasis
look, what a dimness creeps over it, as “Jesus, to thy dear faithful hand
you draw near to the brightness of My naked soul I trust;
eternity.” And, a little after, “ I can And my flesh waits for the command
do nothing, now, but cast myself into To drop into the dust.'”
the arms of my gracious Saviour." After having, on one occasion, ex The last day that he stayed on earth, pressed his deep feeling of self-renun- speech almost failed; but the mind ciation, one who was standing at his looked clearly through the dissolving side 'said, “ Yet you would not lose tabernacle. As his daughter was standyour hold on Christ, after all ?" "No," ing, supporting him, she breathed, he answered, "not for worlds, not for rather for her own solace than for his worlds!" To his beloved partner and ear, “Fear thou not, I am with thee.'" daughter he said, “I trust we, as a He caught the whisper, and his cold family, are sealed in the everlasting hand grasped hers. She said, “There covenant, and shall all meet in one
is a passage in the Bible that cheered eternal home." To his daughter: "My and sustained ear Lavington [her dear child, how happy for us, if we cousin) at such a time as this." His meet, all of us, in the heavenly mau lips moved: “What is it?" he breathed sions,
".Fear thou not, I am with thee; be 6 * There shall we sit, and sing and tell
not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will The wonders of His grace;
strengthen thee.' Yes," he said, with While heavenly raptures fire our hearts,
the energy of other days. "I will And smile in every face.'”
• Yea, I will One morning, after a night of weak uphold thee with the right hand of ness, and when his mind had felt
Then, scarcely above the exhaustion of the my dear father, you find that these body, he said to his son,"It is well that are the faithful words of your faithful the gospel is so plain, that even in the God?" With increased emphasis, midst of darkness we can discern its " YES." truths. It mattered little to the Israelite But this was not all, for God sealed