« FöregåendeFortsätt »
A FEW REMINISCENCES IN THE LIFE OF “When shall the day, dear Lord, appear,
THE LATE MR. Joseph LETTICE, TWENTY- That I shall mount to dwell above, THREE YEARS DEACON OF THE PARTICU- And stand and bow amongst them there, LAR BAPTIST CHURCH AT OUNDLE, IN And see thy face, and sing, and love?" NORTHAMPTONSHIRE.
Yes, I shall be satisfied when I awake up in thy likeness.
Thus the believer in Jesus, by precious ex. “ The memory of the just is blessed."
perience, is often enabled to set to his seal that the Word of God is true; he feels, indeed,
that the memory of the just is blessed: this WHATEVER the Word of God has declared, being the case, it does appear strange that so is fact without controversy -is gold without few find a place in the history of our churches, alloy—is pure without the least contami- or in our general biography. nation-is real without anything approxi- Mr. Joseph Lettice, the subject of this mating to counterfeit, and is perfection of memoir, was born at Great Gidding, on the truth in all its parts and bearings, without 31st of August, 1786. His parents, John and any admixture of error, and an authenticity Mary Lettice, who have long ago rested that cannot be parleyed or trifled with. from their labours, for many years were & Ther here is a fact stated, and we know it principal support to the Particular Baptist to be such, because we find it in God's Word. interest there; and, holding a farm at Gidding, The memory of the just is blessed. This is greatly assisted, by cartage and otherwise, in pre-eminently true conceruing our most the building of the chapel, which was erected glorious Christ, who is the Just One; but it is in the year 1790. Being both members of the also true concerning his members, and more Church, they generally entertained the miespecially so of those who have lived in, and nisters who came amongst them as strangers, been favoured with some more than ordi- and truly it might be said of them, that they nary manifestations of the divine presence. ' honoured the Lord with their substance;" How many of God's dear children are there and verily it was returned a hundredfold who can testify to this truth in their expe- into their own bosom, for, out of nine children rience, while hearing, or reading, or thinking with which they were blessed, they lived to over the life of some one or other of God's see eight of them walking in the ordinances family !-how sweet to trace a work of grace and statutes of the Lord's house, a blessing in its first beginnings, or in its maturer de- of no small magnitude for God-fearing parents velopment!-how precious to discern in the to enjoy. Although often surrounded by life of the Christian the portraiture of his adverse scenes, and the difficulties necessarily divine Master !- and whether we follow him attendant upon the bringing up of so large & amidst the various trials connected with his family, tliey for many years maintained an private life, or in the world, to be able to say honourable position at Gidding; and, by a life of him, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom and conversation becoming the Gospel, were is no guile.” We trace the character of such living epistles of the grace of God. After fightan one with sweetness and pleasure which ing the good fight of faith, they were both the tongue fails to set forth, or the pen to enabled by grace to finish their course with portray; we are, as it were, caught up to the joy. Mrs. Lettice sweetly fell asleep in Jesus third henven with him, and with him sit in about the year 1820, shortly after repeating the heavenly places; we see the end of his that beautiful stanza of dear Watts,trials and afflictions, and could wish that ours were ended also;-yes, verily, the memory of
“When I appear in yonder cloud,
With all the favoured throng, the just is blessed; it conveys a sweetness to the soul we cannot describe; we feel a union
Then will I sing more sweet, more loud,
And Christ shall be my song." to the departed one that is stronger than death, and which the grave cannot separate; Mr. Lettice survived his beloved partner and we accompany the disembodied spirit to about five years, when, after eighty-two years' the regions of everlasting day, behold him sojourn in the wilderness, his happy spirit casting his crown at Jesus' feet, and would took its flight to the regions of everlasting fain cast ours there also, but we feel that a day. veil of mortality still hangs between us; Thus much for the parents: and it is no and in such hallowed seasons we earnestly small mercy to have God-fearing parents,
long for evening to undress, that we, too, who in secret wrestle with fervent cries to may rest with God," and join with the de- God on the behalf of their offspring; nor parted saint in that glorious song in which shall such petitions or earnest supplications all the ransomed unite, “Unto him that be in vain when offered up in accordance with hath loved us and washed us from our sins the will of heaven: when the Holy Spirit in his own blood, and hath made us kings enables us with fervent entreaty to wrestle for and priests unto God and his father, to him the blessing, we may rest assured that that be glory and dominion for ever and ever, God, who has enabled us thus to plead, will amen.” It is then we breathe out the fervent assuredly grant us the mercy we seek. "I desire of the poet
ye ask anything," said our dear Lord," in my
name, it shall be done unto you of my Father God, whose walk and conversation fully bore which is in heaven." Here is surely encourage- witness to the profession he made, he was ment enough for praying parents still to go frequently entrusted with the charge of the on, though their hearts may be pierced with sons of ministers; and who can calculate the many a barbed arrow from the untoward advantage or benefit which many of them conduct of a thankless child : yet wrestle on, have derived from his walk, his counsels, or his do not despair, our God will answer fervent prayers? as it was his constant practice, mornprayer. Although the subject of this memoir ing and evening, to bow with them before the was the subject of many prayers (no doubt throne of the heavenly grace. even before he came into the world), still the In 1817 he publicly put on Christ by passpreceding remarks need not have been made ing through the baptismal waters; and in in reference to him, as very early in life it 1823 was chosen to the office of deacon, pleased the Lord to call him by the drawings which he honourably filled, with benefit to of his love; in fact, we have no means of the church, and a blessing to many of its ascertaining the particular means made use members until the year 1846—the time of of to bring him to a knowledge of himself as his leaving Oundle. I am sorry that I am a sinner before God, and Jesus Christ as a debarred from quoting largely from his memoSaviour; it might have been a severe affliction randa and letters, for, as his life generally which he was called to pass through: when breathed a sweet spirit of devotion, I feel only about nine years old he suffered very assured these would be perused with much much from a diseased knee, which terminated interest and profit; indeed, the seed of eternal in the loss of his leg by amputation, and so acute life which he was the honoured instrument and sharp were his sufferings from the intense under God of sowing in the heart of his pain in the diseased limb, that he is said to brother, he was enabled under the divine bare smiled when the surgeons entered the blessing to water abundantly by his letters room for the parpose of removing it.
and conversation. Robert has been heard to After this severe trial his father determined say many times, that the letters of his dear to make him a proficient in learning, so that brother Joseph have been most precious to be might be enabled to earn a respectable his soul, and that he derived more benefit livelihood without manual labour, for which from them generally than he did from serhe would now be incompetent.
He was very useful to the cause at Soon after this period this young disciple-Oundie, honourable in the position in which earnest in his Master's cause, and especially God had placed him, and prosperous in his solicitous, if it were the will of heaven, for worldly calling. With a dear wife and small the eternal salvation of those who were con- family, of one son and two daughters, he connected with him in the ties of brotherhood - tinued to pursue the “ even tenor of his way," while in company with an elder brother one benenth the smilings of his Father's face, and day, proposed that they should spend a surrounded by every earthly comfort, until few minutes in prayer together, and from about the year 1840, when a small cloud that few minutes that elder brother dated arose in his circumstances, and although not the commencement of his spiritual life; this at first portentous, it was eventually designed brother, whose name was Robert, was through to be the harbinger of a terrible flood, which, rich grace enabled many years to show forth like a besom, was permitted to sweep his the praises of Him who had called him out house and his circumstances, leaving him, as of darkness into his marvellous light. He to his circumstances, destitute, and, as reresided at Warmington, and on a Lord's day gards his family, alone, with nothing to rest morning might constantly be seen labouring upon but the faithfulness of a covenant God, (not for that meat which perisheth, but) for and none near to console and comfort him in that meat that endureth unto everlasting the season of affliction and distress through life; for many years he was a consistent mem- which he was called to pass of those whom ber of the Particular Baptist cause at Oundle, he brought up. and used to travel thither to hear the Word About this time he was advised to build a of life: he rested from his labours and entered public room for lectures, &c., on his little prointo the joy of his Lord in the early part of perty, which sunk the estate before the rooms last summer.
were finished, and the building of the British In the year 1800, for the purpose above School soon after this consumed his living: stated, Joseph was placed under the care of a of which he speaks, “ I trust it has been, and Mr. May, an efficient schoolmaster at Oundle, will continue to be, a lasting benefit and and here he made such proficiency in his blessing to the inhabitants of Oundle; yet it learning, that his master dying in 1803, and was very hurtful to me as an individual, and when he was only seventeen years old, the deprived me of my principal support.” A care of the school devolved entirely upon him, dear and much-loved daughter (and the wife which he managed five years for the widow, of one of the present deacons of the Church,) with credit to himself and the general satis- was, some little time after this, numbered faction of his patrons; so much so, that, with the dead, but there was much mercy referring to this period in a memorandum connected with this visitation-she died in the fonnd among his papers, he says, “after Lord." "By the same kind Providence,” he managing the school five years for the widow, says, “which cut off my supply and dried up I had it on my own account, and the Lord my brook at Oundle, by various losses, crosses, of his tender inercy favoured me with much and adverse scenes—by that same kind Provisuccess; he prospered my exertions, and dence, in October, 1846, I was directed to blessed me abundantly." Being a man of Aldwinkle, and here I am to testify still to the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord, I Sydenham, August 1st, 1836, during a temand the tenderness of my friends.” Some little porary residence at that place? time after he was settled at Aldwinkle, the The writer would not feel justified in writdesire of his eyes was removed. That was an ing these few simple facts, if he were entirely afiliction indeed, but the Lord enabled him to to pass over the excellent natural gifts which submit to the trying stroke in humble faith; it pleased God to bestow upon the departed. the tear was scarcely dried upon his furrowed Perhaps it will suffice to say, that in the hacheek, when he was called to visit the death-bits of industry, perseverance, and that of bed scene of his only surviving daughter domestic 'peace and order, very few did her at Leicester, but she, too, died in sure and excel. certain hope of a glorious resurrection to eter- The life of the departed, as a Christian, nal life, and declared with her dying breath, was of a very quiet nature, expressing to but " Jesus can make a dying bed
few the exercises of her mind relative to eterFeel soft as downy pillows are.” nal things. Now, as regards his own family, he might It is quite evident that the throne of grace be said to be alone ; he had only one left, and was her refuge and trust in times of trial, let that a prodigal son. May it be seen in that those trials be what they might. Again and day when the sheep pass again under the again she would supplicate the Lord to aphand of Him that telleth them, that his earnest pear on her behalf. It was there she would prayers, his strong crying and tears on be- ever remember her partner in life and family hali of' that wayward and wandering boy, individually. have not been in vain.
Two verses of a hymn, which she often reWhile he resided at Aldwinkle his trials peated with great emphasis, will show what were varied and heavy, and in his latter days her confidence was. They are as follows:he often had to experience that it was through much tribulation he inust enter the kingdom; “I'll go to Jesus, though my sin but he still found the promise true “as thy Hath like a mountain rose; days thy strength shall be.”
I know his courts; I'll enter in, God was pleased in much mercy to answer Whatever may oppose. his prayer in regard to his removal from this vale of tears. He had often prayed that he
“ Prostrate I'll lay before his throne, might have a gentle descent into the Valley And there my guilt confess; of the Shadow of Death; this was granted;
I'll tell Him I'm a wretch undone, his last affliction was short-nature, as if
Without his sovereign grace." worn out, sank painless into the arins of death; he could say but little, but that little
During an illness of a lingering kind, the was enough to prove that he was firmly fixed departed would express both hope and fear upon the Rock of eternal ages, his faith was
as to recovery; but at times she would be placed alone upon the finished work of his more resigned to the will of the Lord conrisen and glorified Lord; and on the 11th of cerning her affliction. Another favourite June, 1856, his happy spirit took a long fare- verse or two of a hymn will bear me out. well of the clay tabernacle which wus crumb
" Ilere perfect bliss can ne'er be foundling to dust, to join that glorious assemblage that John in beautiful vision saw, wbo had
The honey's mixed with gall;
'Midst changing scenes and dying friends, come up out of great tribulation, and bad washed their robes and made them white in
Be thou my all in all. the blood of the Lamb.
“ There is an hour when I must lie “One gentle sigh their fetters break,
Low on affliction's bed,
And anguish, pain, and tears become
My bitter daily bread.” Its mansion near the throne.” “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the up- In reading the writings of good men, the right, for the end of that man is peace.”. departed would write Amen with the author
The friends at Aldwinkle deeply felt his by pencil-marks in parts touching her expeloss, he was among them a living epistle of rience. The following is one out of many~ the grace of God and an affectionate friend: it is on submission :he was interred in the churchyard, and his To be sure, “ It is well when all things go death was improved, on the following Lord's according to our wish; when there is nothing day, by the Rev. E. Amery, to an attentive in Providence that crosses our desires, that audience.
JOSEPH. thwarts our designs, that sinks our hopes, or Cambridge.
awakens our fears--submission is easy work then; but to have all things seemingly against
us, to have God smiting in the tenderest MRS. THOMAS POCOCK.
part, unravelling all our schemes, contradictDEAR Editor,—Knowing you record the ing our desires, and standing aloof from our death of many of the lovers of Zion, will you very prayers-how do we behave then? insert the following small tribute of respect This is the true touchstone of our sincerity to the memory of the late
When asked, during the last few hours of Mrs. Thomas Pocock,
her illness, if Jesus was precious to her soul, the beloved and affectionate wife of Mr. her answer was in the affirmative, repeating Thomas Pocock, of Southwark, who died at 'those beautiful lines-
"My sonl looks back to see
seen some hundreds, who, with tearful eyes The burden thou didst bear,
and the sorrow of affection, surrounded the While hanging on the cursed tree, grave where their minister and friend was be
And hopes her guilt was there." ing laid. We would not encourage a passionDuring the time of her pilgrimage she had ate expression of grief, when the hand of the heard, with profit to her soul, the late Mr. Lord is seen removing those we love; but Stevens, of Meard's Court, and also Mr. Den: need we wonder when we hear the half-supham, of Unicorn Yard, Tooley Street, and a pressed sob of the widow, the parent, or the few others, who still contend that all
friend, as they turn from that narrow bed ** Israel must to glory go
containing those so much beloved ? Dear As trophies of his grace;'
reader, have you no remembrance of a sight - still contend for the faith once delivered to so painful?_but we would ask, what hand was the saints.
that which supported you under that severe On August 6th, her mortal remains were providence, and ministered comfort to your conveyed to the house appointed for all living distressed and grieved spirit, and brought you in the cemetery at Norwood. The bereaved at length, with a heart somewhat softened, family and a few friends of the departed paid | while tears filled your eyes, as your feelings the last tribute of respect to her memory. still struggled with your judgment when you
The Dissenting minister of the place, after said, “ The Lord gave, and the Lord hath Reading the latter part of the 15th chapter of taken away; and blessed be the name of the the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, Lord"? We, too, have known the pain of concluded the solemn service by prayer. parting with those we loved; we know also
It is written, " The memory of the just the pleasure that mingled with the pain, as shall be blessed." May the Lord bless these by grace we have been helped, without a felt few lines, is the prayer of one who is privi- murmur, to bow before the Lord, and say, leged to subscribe himself
" Thy wilL, O LORD, BE DONE." August 18th, 1856.
A FRIEND. On Saturday, May 31st, the reinains of our
brother were conveyed to the “ cemetery," where he had so often, during his abode at
Chatteris, been called to perform that last THE LATE MR. NATHAN HORSLEY
office for others which was now to be per
formed for him. It was supposed there were (OF CHATTERIS).
at least from 1200 to 1500 people pre(Concluded from page 185).
sent. And after the body was put into its
last resting-place, an address was given, the The inquiry was made of old, “ Your fathers, substance of which we have tried
to collect. where are they ? and the prophets, do they
“We come not to this open grave with the live for ever?" So we may ask concerning the pomp of the world, nor yet to flatter the Dust useful of ministers, deacons, and mem- living or the dead. But love to our departed bers of our churches; and the answer is easily friend moves our heart to sympathy, and our supplied, though it affords no just occasion tongue to speak “that we do know.” We for undue sorrow or lamentation. It would can, indeed, say we are called to perform be unkind, if not unchristian, to detain those an office we would gladly have been spared, Fe love, could we do it, when the voice of as it had long been our wish, in the prospect mercy is heard calling them from their toils of this body of ours being put into the below to their eternal rest with Jesus in grave, that our departed brother should have
done for me what I am now called to do for In our former papers we have given a few him; and when we looked at his well-formed thongbts and facts concerning the removal and apparently healthy frame, we could by death of our late brother Nathan Horsiey. hardly think it would fall before our own. We will now give a few words more. From But so it is; and shall we selfishly reply necessity, as well as prudence, we say with against the Lord, seeing “ Himself hath done Abraham, " Bury my dead out of my sight." it"?. We need not say a word by way of inCheering thought ! "Though our friends after forming you what our brother was; or, from death are hidden from us, they are present more than seventeen years' friendship with with the Lord,” and his eye watches their him, we could tell you much. We knew him sleeping dust, which (mysterious thought) very soon after the Lord called him, by his shall another day be raised and formed a grace, and for a short time sat to listen to the
same ministry, and communed with him at It was the expressed wish of our brother, the Lord's table. We speak to those who in the prospect of death, that Mr. D. Irish, knew him as a neighbour and a friend-as a of Warboys, Mr. E. Forman, of March, and Christian and a minister; and while we
do the writer, should be engaged in the last ser- not praise him for being what he was in each vices connected with the interment, &c. of those characters, we will say, we loved him There are sometimes showy sights when a for his well-known consistency, and rejoiced felow-creature is being conveyed to the with him in it, while we would give the "house appointed for all living," which often glory of it to God alone. Our brother seemed contrast painfully, we fear, with the final unwilling to think death was so near, although, state of the departed. But in our brother's through grace, they had long been familiar case, as in that of good Stephen's, " devout yet there were many reasons why he should men carried him to his grave.” And in the wish to remain a little longer. But we think, absence of " hired mourners," there might be especially as God has willed it, how much
more to be desired that he should die in the among yourselves ;" for ye, also, must midst of his friends than to outlive them shortly give an account of the trust God has and his acceptance in the church of God, as called you to. Ministers of the Gospel, it we fear some do. We are now standing speaks to you. Brethren, may the Lord help under the shade of death, which for near us to be faithful to the sacred trust of the 6,000 years has cast its dark gloom over the Gospel to which we are called ; honest to bright creation of God; but, Christian, rejoice! our own conscience and to our hearers ; firm the shade of Calvary for thee extends further in the avowal of Bible truth ; affectionate than that of death. For“ where sin abounded, and kind to all, but flatterers of none ; that grace di
much more abound." Did not a in a dying hour we may be saved from the "learned advocate" say the other day, when bitter pangs" of an accusing conscience for pleading the cause of a murderer, " Never want of honesty in not declaring the whole were words more true than those of the pri- truth of God to men. soner at the bar when he pleaded NOT GUILTY”? 4. It speaks to character. Ungodly sinner, We may well tremble for those whose lips can it speaks to you, in harsh and hollow tones; utter lies so eloquently; while we say of our may you hear it, and tremble ; hear it, and departed brother, Never did his lips speak forsake your iniquitous practices ; hear it, more truthfully the feelings of his heart than and be led to the cross of Christ as a confesswhen lowly before his God he sighed out his ing penitent, seeking to be delivered from the confession,
experience of that dread sentence, “The " A guilty, weak, and helpless worm, wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the On Thy kind arms I fall."
nations that forget God." Careless professor, We speak to you now at the side of an open it may well awaken inquiries in your mind. grave: solemnity always becomes dying men; “ Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the but we may well feel it here. We could wish faith.” Christ alone can save you from eterto preach every sermon as from the side of nal death. Believer in Jesus, rejoice! it speaks an open grave. The grave has a voice-it to you ; listen, and take encouragementspeaks to us all, though all may not regard it. * What is it for a saint to die,
1. It speaks to us in every stage of life. To That you the thought should fear? babes, though unconscious—to young men 'Tis but to pass the heavenly sky, and maidens to those of us in the meridian And leave pollution here." and strength of life; see, as in the case of our 5. Christians! a voice more powerful than brother, a strong and manly frame is no hin- the grave, says for thee, “ O Death! I will be drance to death. It speaks to the aged; thy plagues ; 0 Grave ! I will be thy destrucyes, old man and woman too, you must shortly tion." die.
A hymn being sung, our brother Forman, 2. It speaks to us in all conditions of life. of March, fervently prayed to the Lord for Poor man! though poverty is now your lot, his sanctifying blessing to accompany the you shall shortly quit your little cottage and bereavement, and rest upon the people, the become an inhabitant of the grave. It speaks friends of “ Zion," the members and deacons to those who are neither pinched by poverty of the church, the family connections, and nor laden with riches. ** Be ye ihankful" especially the beloved widow and babe of our now, but remember death may soon spoil the departed friend. And as the "last look " was comforts of your happy home; for you or being taken of the narrow bed where one so yours may shortly die. It speaks to the rich. much beloved was to rest, until the “ trump of Ah! how unwelcome are its tones. The rich God shall sound” and awake his quiet slumman may shun the poor in the walks of life, bers, we lingered as we looked at that open but they shall meet together in the grave. grave, and thought of those hours of Christian "Let not the rich man glory in his riches,” | converse we had enjoyed, but now for a short for the grave will strip him of them all. time denied, to be renewed before long“Your riches are corrupted” already, and not around the throne of mercy here, but you that set your hearts upon them shall before the throne of glory there. Wait, my quickly turn to corruption in the grave. spirit, wait ; the time of release is appointed,
3. It speaks to us in every station, both in the day is approaching, when thou, too, shalt the world and in the church. In the world— " leave corruption here," and be faultless for to servants, obedient or unruly; to masters, ever THERE. kind or cruel ; to husbands, tender or tyran- The funeral sermon was preached the fol. nical ; to wives, loving or churlish-yea, to lowing. Lord's-day evening by Mr. D. Irish, parents, friends and children, all must die. of Warboys, from the words used by a dying In the church-members of churches, espe-saint of early times, “ And Joseph said cially those of “ Zion," it speaks to you:- unto his brethren, 1 die: and God will surely “ Love as brethren," pray one for another,” | visit you" (Gen. 1. 24). The chapel was " and so much the more," as ye are now with very much crowded, so that many who out a pastor ; an “under - shepherd" to sought entrance could not obtain it. Two of "watch for you” and feed you with the the chapels in the town were closed, from a word of God. Deacons! to you it has a feeling of triendship toward our brother Horsword : and could our departed brother speak ley, and to give an opportunity to their to you from it, he would say, I “ beseech you hearers to listen to a sermon wherein they brethren, know them which labour among expected something to be said concerning you, and are over you in the Lord, and ad- one whom they knew and esteemed. We monish you; and esteem them very highly in would not put an hindrance in the way of love for their work's sake. And be at peace any hearing the Gospel, but we would prayer