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It may reasonably be supposed that general appearance, dress, and manners authors who have taken much pleasure evidently partook of the antique, and in writing biography, would almost in he disliked some things of modern sensibly acquire some resemblance to growth, not, perhaps, because they were the character which they have taken wrong, but rather because they were great pains to delineate. Their admira- novel. The puritan divines of the reign tion of the principles and conduct of of Elizabeth, and her two successors, the men whom they describe must had so far occupied his thoughts, that tend naturally to produce some degree he imbibed much of the spirit and of assimilation. By dwelling on their habit of those worthies. We possess virtues, and tracing the whole course of but scanty materials for his early histheir lives, they catch their spirit and tory, and have no documents to assist copy their excellences. This is one of us in tracing the commencement of the happy effects resulting from an those religious impressions, whence we attentive perusal of the lives of good might date his conversion. He was men, and is much more likely to be born in the village of Nether Thong, produced, when, by carefully collecting near Huddersfield, in the West Riding and closely investigating the materials of Yorkshire, March 3rd, 1775, and necessary for delineating their true brought up to the staple business of character, the writer is led to trace the the vicinity, its manufacture of woollen steps by which they attained such cloth. The place of his nativity, eminence, and to observe the various though obscure, and having at that time ways in which their excellences were only one place of worship, a small exhibited.
Wesleyan chapel, with occasional preachThe subject of this memoir, the late ing in houses by Dissenting ministers Rev. Benjamin Brook, had made puri- from Holmfirth, Huddersfield, &c., has tanical history a matter of careful study been remarkable for the number of and diligent research for more than forty evangelical preachers born and reared years, and he more nearly resembled in its locality. The writer of this the men of that age and class than memoir has heard the names of not many of his contemporaries. His fewer than twelve Wesleyan ministers,
besides the late Rev. G. Hill, of Market | Holmfirth, under the pastoral care of Harborough, who were born and reared the venerable Robert Galland, by whom amidst all the disadvantages of a small he was recommended, in 1797, to the village, remote from any large town, college at Rotherham, then under the where the means of mental improve care of the Rev. Dr. Williams and the ment are usually more abundant and Rev. Maurice Phillips. His previous easy of access. It may be thought a advantages must have been very few, matter of interest to inquire into the so that, according to the custom of that causes which may have elicited the day, he had to begin with the rudiments talents, and brought forth to notice, so of almost every branch of study; but by many valuable public characters, some diligent application, during the usual of whom were men of considerable course, he made respectable proficiency, eminence in their respective spheres and laid the foundation of future imof labour, especially at the present provement. Having a firm constitution, time, when complaints are frequently an ardent mind, and the habit of inmade of the want of a sufficient number tense application, he surmounted the of candidates for our home ministry difficulties of his position, and left the and for foreign missionary service. It college with the reputation of having cannot be accounted for from the wantof made good use of his opportunities. education, that being now afforded so Soon afterwards he accepted an invitagenerally to all classes of the com- tion to become the pastor of a small munity, that there is ample opportunity church at Tutbury, in Staffordshire, for the early cultivation of mind, and then recently gathered. He was ordained the improvement of natural talent to in 1801, and began his ministry in : an extent hitherto unknown. There humble preaching-room, which had premay be some deficiency in that ardent viously been a barn; but by the munizeal which formerly marked the mem- ficence of the late Francis Greasley, bers of our churches. Yet we find this Esq., in a short time a neat commolargely displayed in supporting and dious chapel was erected, and the old conducting Sunday-schools and other preaching-house converted into a good modern institutions requiring great school-room, where the poor of all ages labour and considerable expenditure of were taught to read the Word of God. time and money. It is probable that Here Mr.Brook laboured with diligence something was owing to the state of and success for nearly thirty years. His society, where persons being on nearly sphere of usefulness in this small town the same level, young men manifesting was very limited, but he preached fredecided evidences of piety, and some quently in the surrounding villages, talent for addressing their neighbours whence he gathered many of his conon the subject of religion, were encou- gregation; and his chapel being the raged in their early efforts, and their only Dissenting place of worship in the talents improved by exercise affording vicinity, except a very small Wesleyan hopes of still greater improvement in chapel, his services were of great immore favourable circumstances, and portance in the neighbourhood. being introduced to scenes of future He had not been long settled here, labour, where by diligence, study, and when two or three members of his frequent practice, they acquired both church, of Antinomian opinions, began stores of useful knowledge and suitable to complain that his preaching was not modes of address, wbich fitted many of sufficiently doctrinal, and even declared them for extensive usefulness.
that he did not preach the gospel. This Mr. Brook became in early life a induced him to publish a small pammember of the Independent church at phlet, entitled " The Moral Law & Rule
of Life to Believers," in which he de were extensively circulated in 1834. fended his sentiments, and justified the This work was followed, in 1820, by usual practical strain of his preaching the “ History of Religious Liberty,” in His ministry, however, was generally two octavo volumes, many of the maappreciated, and some persons came terials having probably been collected from a considerable distance to hear the while the author was preparing the joyful sound from his lips, thus showing former work, of which we have the folhow highly they estimated his plain, lowing testimony from the Congregafaithful, and energetic preaching. tional Magazine :
He had to encounter the objections “We are acquainted with no book usually made to the principles of Dis- in which such a collection of important senters, and deemed it advisable to de- facts is to be found, so well selected and fend them from the press. He printed, supported, and so justly and often in 1806, a small pamphlet, entitled, “An powerfully reasoned on. From the first Appeal to Facts; or, Reasons for Dis- erection of the Christian church, to the sent, in Letters to a Friend,” which present year, our author traces, with reached a third edition in 1815. It is great attention and care, the progress probable that the research which this of the important principle which he adrequired gave a direction to his future vocates, through all its chauges and studies, and induced him to undertake fortunes, pointing out the persons who the collection of those large stores of promoted or hindered its course, illusDissenting history which he afterwards trating the circumstances which adaccumulated. This was the peculiar topic vanced or retarded its career, and exthat distinguished him through a long hibiting its mighty influence on national life, and will perpetuate his memory to and individual happiness, and on the future generations. His indefatigable cause of pure and undefiled religion. application, his diligent research into He has stated well the great facts of all accessible sources of information, our civil and ecclesiastical history which whether printed or manuscript, and his bear upon his subject, and has rescued ardour in searching both public and from the destructive hand of time many private libraries, where any additional fugitive but interesting incidents, which information might be obtained, con all must wish to be preserved. His tributed to render his publications diligence and fidelity are entitled to the highly valuable.
highest praise which we can bestow; “ The Lives of the Puritans," in three and his work will, we are assured, maoctavo volumes, published in 1813, was terially assist in promoting the glorious his chief work; and, considering that cause to which it is devoted." the history of those devoted men be He continued his application to this longed to a remote period, and that the branch of study through the remainder sources of information had become dif of his life; but at length his attention ficult of access, the general accuracy of was concentrated on one eminent chathe accounts which he has compiled of racter—the Rev. Thomas Cartwrightthem is highly creditable to him. His who had been distinguished for bis adexamination of authors who have writ- herence to Puritanical principles, and ten on both sides, and his minute refer- for the sufferings he endured as the ence to authorities, give his statements consequence of his steady attachment a character of impartiality. He made to this persecuted cause. An eminent very considerable additions. He did critic observes, respecting these memoirs not, however, meet with sufficient en- of Cartwright, “It was enough for a couragement to justify his undertaking man to be born to write such a book !" another edition, although proposals Besides the difficulties Mr. Cartwright
had to endure previously to the death long before China was opened to Misof Mary, he traces very minutely the per- sionaries, and not unfrequently prayed secuting spirit which prevailed during for God to convert the Emperor of the long reign of Elizabeth, the hard-China, and open a wide and effectual ships endured by many conscientious door for the entrance of the gospel into men, from the tyrannical spirit of the that populous empire. times, the operation of the Courts of His health began seriously to fail High Commission
the Star about 1830, doubtless from his intense Chamber, urged on by the haughty application to his historical researches, spirit of the monarch, and by many of and from almost constant confinement the bishops. It is a production greatly to a small room, taking but little exeradapted to make us thankful that we cise in the open air. He then resigned live in happier times, distinguished by his charge, under an impression that the advancement of the great principles he was no longer able to fulfil its duties, of civil and religious liberty, and to and retired to the vicinity of Birming. teach us the estimation in which we ham, where he spent the remainder of should hold the courageous men who en his days enjoying the society of bis dured the heat of the conflict, and con- friends, occasionally preaching, and tributed to obtain for future ages the in- taking an active part in the Town Misvaluable privileges which we now enjoy. sion, to which he liberally contributed;
The preparation of these important but he still steadily pursued his favourworks did not absorb all his time and ite study. It was here he prepared the attention. He was a very zealous pro- Memoirs of Mr. Cartwright, and had moter of Home and Foreign Missions, completed the history of several emiand took a deep interest in the Stafford- nent Puritans, who emigrated to Ameshire Congregational Union, the chief rica, where they laid the foundation of object of which is to promote the spread- many excellent institutions, and hoped ing of the gospel in the less favoured to enjoy that liberty which was denied parts of the county. He was for some to them in their native land. years secretary to that Institution. At Amidst these labours, pursued whenthat period he was anxious to promote ever he was able, his health continued a Theological Seminary in the county, to decline, and for some months he but was obliged to abandon the object suffered severely from an internal comfor want of adequate funds, little ex plaint, which medicine could neither pecting to see the munificent provision cure nor much alleviate the intense made by his intimate friends, the found-pain it frequently produced, but from ers of Spring Hill College, Birmingham, which, by the rupture of an important in which he took a lively interest, par- vessel, he was suddenly relieved, Januticularly shown by regular attendance ary 5, 1848, in his 73rd year, without at the meetings of the Board of Educa- the opportunity of bidding farewell to tion, and its various committees. His his friends, or even giving a parting advocacy of the London Missionary So- blessing to his afflicted wife, long conciety was most ardent and very success-fined by paralysis in an adjoining room. ful, in which he was cordially supported Though he left no dying testimony in by some liberal friends at Tutbury, the ears of surrounding friends listenwho aided the cause by handsome sub- ing with breathless attention, yet we scriptions during their lives; and he have the powerful evidence of a long had several opportunities of paying life ardently devoted to the cause of their large bequests to that and several God, and supported by a practical exother kindred institutions. He had hibition of the sanctifying effects of sanguine hopes of a Chinese Mission, Divine grace.
In the year 1844 he suffered a severe and laid the foundation of that superloss by the death of his only surviving structure on which his name will be child, a pious daughter, at the age of perpetuated to future ages. 34. She was possessed of good natural not formed to be a popular preacher ; parts, was amiable and zealous, very his style and manner of address pardutiful to her parents, and exemplary took much of a by-gone age; nor had in her whole spirit and deportment. he studied the graces of oratory. There He bore this bereavement with great was always a good degree of evangelisubmission to the Divine will, but the cal doctrine in his sermons, combined trial must have been severe, as she ap- with great plainness and simplicity of peared likely to be the chief solace of language. They were also delivered his declining years, his invaluable part- with considerable energy.
His good ner having been long confined by para- sense and sterling integrity were, howlysis; but she yet survives, waiting for ever, intermingled with some measure a dismission from this vale of tears, with of harshness of expression and sternthe good hope, through grace, of soon ness of manner, which lessened his joining her husband and daughter among acceptance in some circles, while his the spirits of the just made perfect. extensive knowledge of books, and his
The retired life of a village pastor is familiar acquaintaince with the history not likely to exhibit many of those in- of our puritanical ancestors, made him teresting circumstances which give so a valuable member of the Dissenting much pleasure in the perusal of the body, which is deeply indebted to him memoirs of men of more public stations; for his faithful record of their severe but the limited sphere of his operations sufferings and firm adherence to prinis favourable to the cultivation of habits ciple, at any cost.
“ Others have laof reading and mental improvement to boured, and we are entered into their men of studious minds. It was of great labours." May this and succeeding importance, both to himself and society, generations prove a race worthy of rethat Mr. Brook had an object to engage presenting the principles of such a his attention and stimulate him to per- noble band, and be, like them, “ valiant severing efforts. He profited by this, for the truth upon the earth.”
WHAT ARE OUR FRIENDS DOING FOR THE CIRCULATION
OF THE EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE? At the close of another year, we ven have done our best to serve the Conture to remind the Pastors and Churches gregational cause, and to promote the of the claims which the EVANGELICAL general interests of truth and godliness, MAGAZINE has upon their continued and both at home and abroad. vigorous support. In reviewing the We are not aware, indeed, that any labours of the last twelve months, we great question of the day has been are not afraid to say :-“ Look honestly overlooked by us;-though we are free at what we have done, and deal with us to confess that we have put forth our as we deserve." We court nothing more strength against the two monster-evils than an enlightened and candid ex of our times,-Popery and Infidelity, amination of the material we have believing that their present menacing supplied, and the spirit in which we position requires that all sincere Prohave performed our arduous and re testants, and settled Believers in the sponsible service. With a good con. Plenary Inspiration of the Holy Scripscience, we can truly affirm that we tures, should do battle against these