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THE

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE,

AND

MISSIONARY CHRONICLE.

FOR NOVEMBER, 1852.

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MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. WILLIAM WRIGHT,

OF HONITON, DEVON. "The memory of the just is blessed:” | pastoral care of the Rev. Richard nor would we willingly let drop into Alliott,—his mother is described, by oblivion the names of those who, hav- one who intimately knew her, as ing served their own generation, by person of elevated piety. She had the will of God, are fallen on sleep. been brought up on high church prinIt is true, their record is on high ; ciples, but gradually felt her way to a but the church on earth should pre-simpler, purer, and more evangelical

memorial of them too. system: and having ber own heart Especially are we commanded to re- largely imbued with the love of Christ member our spiritual guides, who had and the love of truth, she endeavoured, spoken unto us the word of the Lord, not unsuccessfully, to instil the same and to follow their faith, considering principles into the minds of her the happy termination of their course children. How many, under God, are of life and ministry.

indebted to a mother's influence, a He who has the keys of death and mother's prayers, a mother's holy tenthe invisible state, has been pleased derness and wise and gracious counrecently to remove another of his ser: sels, for the first rudiments of their vants from a scene of labour and use. Christian character, for those seminal fulness on earth to the heavenly rest. thoughts and emotions which grow We allude to the late Rev. Wm. Wright into habits of active usefulness and It will be gratifying to the numerous lead on to glory! For literary instrucfriends of the deceased, and we trust tion he was placed under the care of interesting and instructive to the the Rev. Wm. Webb, at Sutton Coldgeneral reader, to have some account field. This gentleman had a pious of him preserved in the pages of the sister residing with him, who specially EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE. He had the interested herself in the privilege to be born of pious parents. fare of the pupils, and by her care the His father was for many years a mem- good impressions of home were fosber and deacon of the Congregational tered, continued, and strengthened in Church at Nottingham, then under the the youth's mind. The happy result of

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VOL. XXX

this training was, that he gave evidence appropriate sphere,-the place where of a work of grace on the heart: and he is most likely to be useful,—the in his seventeenth or eighteenth year, people to whom his talents, acquirewas admitted a member of Castle ments, and habits are best adapted. Gate Church, Nottingham. Having Or, the scene and prospects which, on a wish to devote himself to the Chris. his first settlement, were promising and tian ministry, and being judged to pos- auspicious, may be so altered as to insess suitable qualifications, he was dicate, to himself and others, the desoon after recommended to the Old sirableness of removal. Simplicity of College, Homerton. He entered that motive, submission to the will of God, institution, and honourably fulfilled his and a disposition to follow, not antici. collegiate course, under the able super- pate, the leadings of Providence, will intendence of Dr. Pye Smith and the best solve the question of duty in such Rev. W. Walford. He left Homerton cases. Mr. Wright having relinquished in 1819, and in the same year, having his charge at Witham, after an interval, gone on a visit to his friend, the Rev.-in which he assisted the Rev. Mr. John Gunn, of Chard, was by him in- Wall, of the Pavement Chapel, Lontroduced to the Independent Church don—was invited to re-occupy the scene and congregation in the neighbouring of his former ministry at Honiton. town of Honiton. This issued in his with that request he complied; and continuing to preach to that people for his public recognition as the pastor of two or three years, without, however, the church took place in October, 1829. regarding himself in the light of a There he continued to labour up to the settled pastor, or intending it as the time of his death,-a period of twentyplace of bis permanent abode, though three years. The uniform course of a it pleased God that ultimately it should pastor in a retired town admits not of be the scene of his most protracted and much variety of detail. He may be useful labours. In the commencement patiently labouring year by year,—esof 1823, he received au invitation to erting a silent, beneficial influence in the pastorate of the church at Witham, bis neighbourhood, -diligently prosein Essex, vacant by the death of the cuting plans of usefulness,- and growRev. Samuel Newton, of whom an in- ing in the esteem and confidence of his teresting and extended memoir will be people, without there being anything found in the fifth volume of the “Con- to tell in the shape of stirring incident gregational Magazine.” Mr. Wright's or marvellous effect. Truth may be ordination occurred in April of the gaining ground, and impressions of same year. The result, however, made living Christianity may be produced by it manifest, that Witham was not the his ministry, while yet there is nothing spot which the Lord of the Church had to raise the exciting cry, “Lo! here ; designed for his long-continued minis- or, Lo! there." A minister's usefultrations. Circumstances arose which ness will have to be summed up from he interpreted as the guiding pillar of all his varied efforts,-in the pulpit and Divine Providence, pointing to a re out, in the Bible-class and Sabbathmoval. The removal of ministers from school, in domiciliary visits, in lending one part of the vineyard to another, is books and distributing tracts, in an an occasion which calls for much judg- occasional and timely word of counsel ment and prayerfulness, and the exer to the young, in the sanction and help cise of unselfishi, benevolent feelings on he affords to public, benevolent, and their part and on the part of the religious institutions; whatever forms churches. Every minister does not at his pious devotedness took, through once find his proper niche,--his most whatever channels his influence for

good was diffused, all shall come into / which, for its good order and ifitelli. account when the inquiry is made, gende, might be almost deemed à model “What has this man done for Christ?" school. By his exertions, met bý tlie Three times every Lord's-day,--attached willing and cordial liberality of his to which were two services in the week, people, spacious and commodidus rooms -did Mr. Wright, through the whole were built adjoining the chapel, for the course of his ministry at Hon on; Sabbath and day schools, nor is any stand up to proclaim the word of life in debt remaining or them. that pulpit from which he was seldom He adopted one method for promot: absent. And when to this it is added, ing the diffusion of religious literature that he was most assiduous in his en. in his neighbourbood, which, for the deavours to give efficiency to the Sab- sake of example, it is important to bath and day schools connected with notice. He employed a poor womän, å his place of worship, it will be seen at member of his church, and herself inonce that his ministry was no sinecure, terested in the object, to perambulate nor his life a life of idleness. For the the town and adjaceñit villages, with instruction and welfare of the young he copies of the chief religious periodicals, was deeply interested. He formed a the “Evangelical Magazine," “ Chrisvestrý library for them, and took fre- tian Witness," Penny Magazine," quent opportunities, in public and “Christian Visitor," “ Tract Magazine," private, to counsel, admonish, and en “ Juvenile Missionary," and various courage them. He had no greater joy publications of the Religious Tract than to see them walk in the truth. Society, to offer them for sale. Thus Nowhere did he feel himself more at did these silent messengers of truthi home than in the Sabbath-school. All and mercy find their way to many its arrangements were under his eye, houses and homes, and, we trust, many and mostly suggested and planned by hearts, where they were previously unhimself. He did what probably very known. To the Religious Tract Society few ministers would be able to accom Mr. Wriglit was strongly attached. He plish,-i. e. he spent the intervals of had a high opinion of its importance the public services on the Sabbath in and usefulness, and of the admirable the school, partaking of a cold collation manner in which its operations are in the vestry for a dinner. It is ques. conducted. He missed no opportunity tionable, however, whether this was not of recommending and putting into cit. too great a strain on his physical en culation its works. He was also iti the ergies, and did not exort a deleterious habit for some years past of travelling though gradual influence on his con. | into different parts of the kingdom, to stitution. The bow always bent loses, advocate the cause of that institutionin time, somewhat of its elasticity and an engagement for which he was well force. Caution, however, is here the fitted by his catholic spirit, his knowless necessary, as it is pretty certain ledge of the world, and polished and that in that particular lie can and will courteous manners. His tact, punchave buit few imitators. It may be ob- tuality, and business-habits, induced served, too, that his calm, quiet, and his brethren to desire that he would systematic mode of doing things, en take the office of secretary to the East abled him to go through a larger Devon Association of Ministers aud amount of work than others differently Churches, an office which he filled for constituted could achiere. As the re many years. But the time drew nigh sult of his skilful management and un- when this useful life must be brought tiring efforts, & flourishing Sabbath to its close. Mr. Wright bad hitherto school was formed and sustained, enjoyed a vigorous constitution and

uninterrupted health, which, together through the whole of his illness great with the circumstance of the longevity calmness and self-possession, resigned attained by his parents, gave promise to to the will of God, and grateful for the his friends of a much more protracted least attentions shown to him by his course. But in the autumn of last year sorrowing and tenderly attached family. symptoms of decline began to show At length it became apparent that his themselves. In November, the Rev. end was very near. It devolved by Mr. Moreton, formerly Missionary in request on his medical attendant, who India, came to Honiton, as a deputa- was a member of his congregation and tion from the London Missionary So a personal friend, distinctly to inform ciety, and was kindly received at Mr. him of it. On receiving this announceWright's house. But almost imme- ment he inquired how near? Being diately on his arrival, Mr. Moreton was told that he could not live at the farseized with malignant fever, the seeds thest more than twenty-four hours, he of which had, no doubt, been latent in replied, “So soon! I did not think it his system, though only now brought would have been so soon." After a into active and visible operation. minute's pause, he said, “ The will of Through the whole scene of his painful the Lord be done,” adding that his illness, which lasted for some weeks, only trust was in Christ. Sentences of Mr. Wright and his beloved partner like import continued at intervals to acted with the most Christian kindness drop from bis lips, which his family and attention to their afflicted guest, treasure up in their affectionate rememuntil death put an end to his sufferings, brance as a precious legacy of his faith and opened for him a passage to the and hope in the Redeemer. He had heavenly rest. It is possible that the repeatedly desired during his illness fatigue and anxiety connected with this that hymns might be sung in one of the event aggravated the disease incipient lower rooms, the cadences of which, in Mr. Wright, and which ultimately softened by distance, had a soothing, developed itself in enlargement of the solacing effect on his mind. A short liver. Though he obtained the best time previous to his dissolution, the medical advice, and by the earnest per- servants, at their mistress's request, suasion of friends, desisted altogether sang one of his favourite hymns; he from public engagements, and changed caught the sound, and inquired what it the scene, going first to Torquay, then was ; on being told, he said, “ How to Dawlish, and lastly to Cheltenham, sweet, how very sweet.” One gentle it was too evident that the disease was sigh, and his fetters were broken, and extending its baneful influence, and

the freed spirit passed away to listen to, gradually destroying the springs of life. and take part in the sweeter, nobler It is not our intention to trace the harmony, which rises and swells around fluctuations of his disorder, nor the the throne of the Eternal, from the history of his mind through his few general assembly and church of the remaining months of declining health, first-bornand lassitude and wasting. The path

“ Ten thousand thousand are their tongues, to the grave is a scene of humiliation

But all their joys are one." to our nature; but how infinitely more Thus he expired in the 57th year of dark and desolate would it have been his age, on the 28th of July. His had not our blessed Redeemer conde- mortal remains were committed to the scended to go that way, and to leave on grave in the burial ground adjoining it some radiations of his glory! He the chapel, where for so many years he was mercifully exempted, for the most had preached the word of salvation ; part, from acute suffering, and retained | his funeral being attended by two

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