Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The rev. Joseph JOHN FreeMAn. THE melancholy tidings have just reached us of the death of the Rev. Joseph John Freeman, one of the Secretaries of the London Missionary Society. The affecting event took place on Monday, the 8th September, at Homburg, Germany, whither he had repaired for the benefit of the celebrated mineral waters of that place. Since Mr. Freeman's return from Africa, he had experienced considerable interruption of health; but none of his medical advisers anticipated any fatal termination of the symptoms under which he suffered. During the process, however, of drinking the waters at Homburg, our lamented friend was seized with a severe cold, followed by rheumatic fever, which utterly prostrated his strength, and brought on dropsy, which closed the scene. The dying hours of our beloved brother were soothed by the presence of his excellent wife and daughters, which, in a foreign land and among strangers, must have been an unspeakable consolation. On the 10th of September, his mortal remains were deposited in the public cemetery at Homburg; a place which, in future, will be visited by many a Christian traveller, anxious to see the spot where the Missionary Philanthropist found a peaceful grave. We regard the removal of Mr. Freeman as a great public loss. He had all the enterprise and all the benevolence of a Christian philanthropist. Madagascar was the interesting school in which, with a heart glowing with hallowed zeal, he acquired that noble sympathy for the oppressed and persecuted which never forsook him. At this early period of his public life, he was thrown into close intimacy with Dr. Philip, and, doubtless, from that dauntless advocate of the coloured race, received an impulse which invigorated all the original tendencies of his generous nature. When compelled, by the Madagascar WOL. Xxix.

persecution, to leave a sphere in which God had greatly blessed his enlightened and faithful toil, he returned to his native shores with a spirit unquenched, and a missionary zeal unimpaired. The churches received him with a cordial greeting; and the Board of Directors recognized in him the qualifications of their future Home Secretary. Driven from his post in the Missionary field, it was the will of God that he should serve the same great cause in his native land, and in other departments of devoted service. How well he acquitted himself in the new duties to which he was called, is best known to those who witnessed his assiduity, his practical wisdom, and his courteous deportment. He acquired for himself, without a particle of assumption, a standing in the confidence of the Board, and, we may add, in the estimation of the country, which rendered it only a fitting homage to his character to depute him on the highest services of the Mission. With a disinterestedness which few men with a family would have been prepared to indicate, at the bidding of the town and country Directors, he promptly and cheerfully undertook the arduous task, first, of a visit to the Mission churches in the West Indies, and, second, to those of South Africa. How well he performed the delicate and difficult duties confided to him, the minutes of the board, the testimony of our Missionaries, and the verdict of the public, will abundantly confirm. How mysterious, that, just at the moment when he had acquired the largest amount of influence, and when his services for the Society were more than ever needed, he should be withdrawn from his important sphere! We would be still, and know that Jehovah is God. May the visitation be greatly sanctified to the Society and to his bereaved family I We hope, next month, to furnish a memoir of our deceased friend.

[ocr errors]

REM.INISCENCES OF THE LATE MR. W.M. GANNELL, one of THE DEAcons of RobertstEEET CHAPEL, GRosvenoR-SQUARE.

“They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”—l TIM. iii. 13. “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." THE following brief and imperfect sketch, is intended as an affectionate tribute to the memory of a good man, whom, in life, the writer had known and loved; and with whom, moreover, it was his happiness, for a season, to be personally associated in the work of the gospel. The events I have to record are few, and unattended by any of that striking incident which religious obituaries occasionally present. To me this is the great recommendation of the present narrative. A really useful life commonly is thus. The river which, almost throughout its entire course, offers its broad and placid surface to the trader or the traveller—to convey the mer. chandise of the one, or the person of the other, wherever its waters can transport them, —may be but a tame and dull affair, compared with the Falls of Niagara, or the cataracts of the Nile; but then these very circumstances, which to the lover of romance and incident are so attractive—if the use of rivers be the question—are really neither more nor less than irremediable defects;–detrimental, or, more properly, destructive, precisely in the degree in which, to the eye in search of such objects, they claim to be great and imposing. If the analogy be true, the prayer of a man of God, emulous of a useful life, may well be, to be delivered from all these. Mr. William Gannell was born in London, in April, 1793. His parents were respectable, and, what is better still, they were persons fearing God; and anxious therefore, as we should conceive all really Christian parents must of necessity be, to conduct their offspring early to the feet of Jesus. Evidence of this anxiety we have, especially in regard to the mother, in her habit, as it would seem, of taking her son with her to the prayer-meeting, which she herself attended at Buckingham Chapel ; of this, in after years, the son oftentimes has been known most gratefully and feelingly to speak. Commonly, so far as the writer's experience extends—and he has long carefully observed the matter—the most active, and consistent, and useful members of the church of Christ, who have been converted early in life to God, have come forth from the knees of a pious mother. “The promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” But the parents reap as they sow. With professedly Chris

tian parents, I believe this rule has all the fixedness of a positive law, in the doings of the providence of God. Here is a Christian mother, who let her “light" shine before her children; who could find time, amid the cares of a rising family, to attend the prayer-meeting; and who could exhibit sufficient consistency, and sufficient faith, to conduct her children thither with her. We need not be surprised, therefore, to learn, that at the comparatively early age of nineteen years, the subject of this sketch is found, in all the earnestness of a first love, offering himself as a candidate for the fellowship of the church at Buckingham Chapel, where, in the company of his godly and faithful mother, he had so often worshipped. Christian mothers, who would have Christian children, go ye and do likewise! The grace to convert is God's; but the means through which this grace flows are yours. Do you your work, in the strength of a living, obedient faith, and rest assured God will do his. Of his further connexion with this chapel, giving the detail of the walks of usefulness in which he there engaged, no facts have been communicated to the writer. The matured Christian growth, however, of subsequent years, and the character of active benevolence which then so prominently marked his Christianity, are sufficient proof, to an observant mind, that he was neither an idle nor an unprofitable hearer, during the remainder of his attendance on the ministry of the late Rev. E. A. Dunn. Indeed, he has spoken to the writer, of the benefit he derived from this ministry; and commended especially, in its influence on himself, the experimental tone by which at times it was marked ; in which he conceived Mr. Dunn peculiarly to have excelled. About the year 1827, change of residence brought Mr. Gannell into the neighbourhood of Robert-street Chapel. He joined the church there; and from that time till his removal, in the course of the present year, to “the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven,” he continued zealously and affectionately in its fellowship-a period verging closely upon a quarter of a century. His Christian character speedily manifested itself to his fellow-members, and, as a mark of their confidence, their suffrages singled him out to supply one of two vacatcies in the deaconship of the church, which occurred very shortly after his transfer to this new fellowship. It was subsequent to his connexion with the church in Robert-street, that he entered upon that more enlarged and public sphero of usefulness, by which the latter years of his life were distinguished. Having time at his disposal, and his heart prompting him to the work, he accepted, in 1834, the appoint

[blocks in formation]

of applying the mercies of the gospel, with a manner so kind and evidently sincere, as left him, I apprehend, with few superiors in this peculiar field of Christian enterprise. His appetite for the work of Christ seems only to have been quickened by these week-day toils in His service; and hence we find him, in 1837, connecting himself with the Sailors' Society, as one of its preaching agents, and devoting himself, on the Lord's-day, assiduously and

to the extent of his opportunities and means I think that all the societies with which he consented to connect himself, will bear the deceased this testimony. In one feature here he greatly excelled; namely, the drawing up of Reports and Appeals, and other documents of this kind,-and hence this description of work, in which negligence, or want of clearness and consistency, or absence of heart, tell so ill upon the prosperity of a Society, very commonly devolved upon him; and most cheerfully, I may add, and readily, did he undertake this work. To him it was emphatically, amid all his other avocations, a “labour of love.” His last act of authorship was most appropriate, as the closing performance of a life occupied, so largely and so long, in a succession of attempts to extend the kingdom of Christ amongst men. It consisted of an essay, written in a spirit of deep and earnest piety, upon the best means of promoting a revival of religion in our churches; delivered originally before the members of the West London Mental Improvement Society, and subsequently published, at the request of the

affectionately to the work of preaching and Society and other friends. Ministers or memtract-distributing, amongst this destitute and bers of our churches, anxious to see a revival then greatly neglected class. He continued of religion in their midst, would do well to in this employment until his failing strength procure and study the contents of this essay.

compelled him to relinquish it.

Upon the personal and domestic history of

Either contemporaneously with this service Mr. Gannell, the writer is neither permitted

to our seamen, or subsequently, he was also frequently engaged in open-air preaching, in the neighbourhood of Paddington; and many pleasing instances of good resulting from these efforts have been brought to light. At this the writer is not surprised, as the deceased had no mean gift for preaching, which made him a most acceptable supply, not only to auditories thus hastily collected in our streets, but to many rural congregations which, from time to time, he was invited to visit in the vicinity of the metropolis. In the brief statement of facts from which I am writing, it is most significantly remarked, as perhaps the best evidence of his preaching talent— “Wherever he once went, he was always again requested to supply." Other things being equal, the Christian teacher who can command the attention of a street congregation, will hardly fail in his attempt to interest the more orderly assemblies of our houses of prayer. There can be few more severe tests of a preacher's popular powers, than that which a street-pulpit supplies. Adverting now to a wholly different sphere of labour, we find the name of the deceased on the committees of one and another of the religious and benevolent institutions established in his own locality; and that not as a matter of form merely—the thing beginning and ending with the enrolling of his name in the list of the committee—but as a duty to be conscientiously and punctually discharged,

nor called upon to enlarge. Those who have marked the lives of the more thoroughly sincere, and useful, and aspiring amongst the disciples of Christ—whether in or out of the ministry—will be prepared to erpect that the life we are now briefly reviewing, was formed more or less upon the model of that of the “Man of sorrows." It seems, at once, the preparation and the price, especially of great usefulness in the service of Christ, that the Master's cross should rest constantly on the shoulders of the disciple. Thus was it here. Mr. Gannell was long familiar with God's afflictive providences. Again and again was he “bereaved of his children.” Not less than seven times was he exercised with this severe and distressing visitation; and thus often, might the mourning father have been seen, like Rachel of old, “weeping for his children.” At length, as though to complete the sad scene of desolation which these repeated inroads upon the domestic hearth had been, from time to time, effecting, the grave-which had so frequently been opened for the children, is now prepared for the wife—and to the remembrance of the many voices, now silenced for ever, which once called him “father,” is now added the still more bitter remembrance of the sealing of those lips of love which, through all his other changes, for a period of thirty years, had day by day continued uninterruptedly to remind him of God's sparing mercy, in permitting the wise of his

youth still to call him " husband." Her de. sketch, we pause for an instant to notice the cease occurred in the year 1835; but God Christian disciple and the officer of the church. very graciously, after a season, provided him The great feature in Mr. Gannell's chawith another help-meet, by whom his remain- racter as a disciple of the Son of God, was his ing years were greatly soothed and comforted, simple and exclusive dependence upon " the and who still survives to mourn his loss. precious blood of Christ." I believe that his

The circumstances of his own death were creed was literally " Christ is all.” Here we affecting, and yet most mercifully ordered of discover the source of all his diligence and useGod. He had been latterly suffering from a fulness, in the gospel of the Redeemer. Here complication of disorders, the two chief seats too we learn the cause of all his personal of which appear to have been the heart and comfort and joy. Here was the red of his chest. When medical remedies failed to re- strength in the service of Christ. Here was lieve his distressing symptoms, he was in his hope of the glory of Christ; and here too, duced to try change of air, and with this end his unfailing stay and consolation, in all the resorted to Brighton, for a season. He re sorrows of the way. It is known to the turned home, however, very much worse, with writer, that in " the valley of the shadow of the seal of death now evidently and manifestly death he feared no evil," and precisely on imprinted on his sinking and wasted frame. this very ground - that " he knew in whom he Thus he continued, growing gradually weaker had believed, and was persuaded that He was day by day, until the evening of Wednesday, able to keep that which he had committed to the 9th of July last, when he retired to rest, Him until that day." It was the expressive seemingly in circumstances of more than or- and truthful testimony of the Rev. Henry dinary composure and comfort. Once, some Blunt, delivered in the weariness and oppres. time after midnight, his anxious wife and sion of his last illness-—" Seeking all in Christ, nurse roused herself, as was her habit, to see I am sure that I shall find all, both for time how her husband was, and whether he wanted and for eternity.” Thus emphatically the anything. Finding him quietly asleep, she deceased found it. It was my happiness, to again returned to rest. Again, about three or three evenings before his death, to be eno'clock, her affectionate solicitude is found gaging with him in devotion. I was reading once more prompting her, after the same the 23rd Psalm. At the close of the first silent method, to put the inqniry,“ What of verse he interrupted me, speaking as well as the night?" Again slie is seen bending over his parched tongue and great weakness would that wearied form, still buried, apparently, in allow him, “ Excuse me, sir; but I have often profound and peaceful slumber. One of his thought that we do not give the full meaning arms, or some other portion of his person, to this expression, 'I shall not want'! It is having escaped the covering of the bed- not merely, as I conceive-I shall not want clothes, she proceeded to attempt, gently, counsel, guidance, forgiveness, mercy, and all without disturbing him, to replace it-when, else that I count as blessings; but I shall not lo! the affecting reality stood revealed that want correction; no!" repeating with an enshe was ministering to the dead! In the brief | phasis, “I shall not want correction: God 'interval which had elapsed, with no oppor- when needed, will not withhold that." And tunity for kindly leave-taking or final adieus, with this his weary head fell back upon his and evidently without an audible struggle or pillow, and his voice again sank into silence. groan, the broken slumbers of the sick-bed had Here the dying boast of Addison is realized been exchanged for that unbroken and mys- _" See how a Christian can die!" " Behold terious sleep, wbich it is in the power of the the perfect man, and mark the upright, for trump of the archangel alone either to inter the end of that man is peace." Christians rupt, or terminate. Still it was only sleep, who anticipate death with terror, retire still "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." If ever there further beneath the shelter of the sacrifice were a case in which this idea of a Christian's of Christ, make Christ your all, and rest so death appeared necessarily the true one, of a curely that there will be no fear then! certainty this was that case; as thus silently One word only respecting the deceased in and peacefully, like the long restless and wea- his official capacity of deacon. I need do little ried babe, overtaken, so to speak, at length, more than express my conviction that he with slumber in the sweet and soft caresses “ used the office of a deacon well." He posof the mother's arms, he “fell asleep in sessed an intelligence and breadth of view

which, coupled with a deep and genuine pioty, I had intended dwelling, for a moment, upon such as I have attempted to describe, rensome of the more prominent excellences dered him peculiarly qualified to fill this which appeared to mark the character of our post, aliko creditably to himself and satisfacdeceased friend. But my space is now too torily to the church. One part of his duty, nearly exhausted to allow of my doing more which it is feared deacons are apt, at times, to than pointing attention to two of these cha- overlook, as the great scriptural object of the ract ristics; as, before closing this hurried institution of this office, he most faithfully dis

[ocr errors]

charged. I allude to his care of the poor. In this work he was most active—not merely in connexion with the distribution of the sacramental fund, but with every case of real distress, which he could procure means to relieve. In this, his benevolent sympathies were much helped by the means placed at his disposal, arising from a fund raised in the chapel, for cases of this class. I believe that in his removal the poor of the neighbourhood have lost a sincere and valuable friend. And now, in conclusion, the writer would affectionately urge it upon deacons and members of our churches, to be followers of our deceased brother, as he was of Christ. The closing voice of this paper is an earnest invitation to this! Our churches want such men; the times in which we live call for them;men of devout energy; men of Divine earnestness: men who shall be so many Barnabases in our churches—“good men, and full of the Holy Ghost.” And why not? The deceased had no privileges to raise him above

the ordinary level of Christian disciples: he was neither indebted to wealth, position in society, nor educational advantages, for any good we may conceive him to have achieved. Never, perhaps, man less so. He was one of the million. What he was in Christian attainments, the grace of God made him; what he was in other attainments, that same grace still helping him, he was what he made himself. Thus God-made and self-made, he is the best of all examples we can invite others to follow. His God is also your God: you are not straitened in Him; and for the rest, consecration, energy, and prayer, alone are needed to bring you, not merely up to the standard of the deceased, but to carry you very far beyond it. - H. THE REv. John Jones,

Formerly minister of the Congregational Church at Frome, Somersetshire, died in faith, on the 31st of August, in the sixty-second year of his age, at Llanymynech, Salop.

[ocr errors]

THE ARchbishop of cANTERBURY, AND Apostol, ICAL successiox.

A Most scandalous trick has been perpetrated by a person bearing the name of W. R. Francis Gawthorn, upon his Grace of Canterbury. Ile wrote to the archbishop, under a feigned name, professing to be converted from the ranks of Dissent to the Church of England; but intimating his strong disapprobation of the exclusiveness of Episcopal orders, by which all Foreign Pastors, and all the clergy of the Church of Scotland, are regarded as Laymen. In the simplicity of his heart, the archbishop wrote to his correspondent in the following terms:—“I hardly imagine that there are two bishops on the bench, or one clergyman in fifty throughout our church, who would deny the validity of the orders of those clergy solely on account of their wanting the imposition of episcopal hands.” The man to whom the archbishop thus wrote turns out to be a Roman Catholic; and with a violation of honour never surpassed, has made a use of a letter, surreptitiously obtained, greatly to the disadvantage of the good Prelate. The Puseyites are all up in arms at the admissions of their Archbishop; and though they disavow the motives and conduct of Mr. Gawthorn, they avail themselves of Dr. Sumner's letter as a peg on which to hang a virulent controversy on the subject of their great idol, -Apostolical Succession, the most absurd and baseless of all ecclesiastical assumptions.

We are grieved that Archbishop Sumner has been dragged before the public through so dirty a medium; but we are heartily glad that he has committed himself on the right

side. Were he to stand alone in the opinion he has indicated, he might glory in his singularity. If he has attributed a greater illumination to his brethren on the bench than has yet fallen to their lot, they ought to forgive him ; for he intended to do them honour. Alas! for them, if they are not prepared to accept it. But is not Gawthorn a paid agent of the Jesuits? And ought not he, and all such men, to be narrowly watched?

HAMPSHIRE ASSOCIATION.

THE half-yearly Meeting of the Hampshire Association will be held at Christchurch, on Wednesday, October 8th, 1851, when the Rev. F. W. Meadows, of Gosport, will preach on “The Practical Uses of the Doctrine of Election.” On the preceding evening, the Rev. J. G. Hughes, of Odiham, will preach; and on the evening of the Association, the Rev. Robert Ferguson, LL.D., of Ryde.

New court chATEL, CAREY street,
LINCOLN's-INN-FIELDs.

AMIDst the growing prosperity of new interests, it is refreshing to witness indications of life and vigour in the sanctuaries of our fathers. The members of the above church and congregation, associated with the memories of Bradbury and Burgess, of Thorp and Winter, have recently (aided by a collection after a sermon by the Rev. J. A. James) freed themselves from debt, and have adopted measures which they hope will prevent its recurrence. With the Divine blessing on

« FöregåendeFortsätt »