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God. Notwithstanding his troubles, he was filled with love and fired with zeal, to promote the glory of God and the salvation of sinners. Hence he united with the late Mr. Kinsman, in praying and reading sermons at Plymouth; and God, succeeded Ins pious efforts. He was particularly blessed to a person who had been the ringleader of all sorts of wickedness on board a man of war; and who, to his great joy, was received as a member of the Tabernacle Society.
In consequence of reading the Life of Colonel Gardiner, Juki reserving how he improved his morning hours for devotion, he earnestly prayed that he might be enabled to overcome his sloth, and deny himself, by very early rising for the same purpose. From this time he seldom allowed himself rn< re than six hours in hed, and frequently but four.
In 175-1 he returned to Exeter, where he followed his business; and soon began to preach in a licensed room, in con« neotion with some other zealous laymen. For a considerable; time he perceived no success attending his labours; till being once at Bristol, he met a man in the street, who told him he should have reason forever to bless God, for having heard hid^ preach at Exeter. Some uncomfortable circumstances haviug dissolved this connection, he laboured alone; fearful, at firstt lest the little cause in which he was embarked should totally fail, by being left in his hands. He had, at the same time, to encounter w ith a variety of strong temptations, heavy trials, and distressing embarrassments. But God was with him* The room and uair-case were crowded with people; and a divine unction so attended the simple preaching of Christ crucified, that many " poor, halt, maimed, and blind" sinners were brought to partake of the gospel-feast. Indeed, his labours were at this time so remarkably blessed, that he seemed nevet to preach one sermon in vain!
A circumstance now occurred, which perhaps deserves to be recorded : — A man, who lived in the court in which Mr.Tanner preached, was so very much exasperated at having a Methodist Preaching room near him, that he determined to remove to another part of t^ecity. He did so; but afterwards returned to the same shop. Here he was taken ill; and was confined in a room so near the preaching place as to be able to hear Mr. Tanner. He heard him pray with great fervoac for the King, and all classes of men. His prejudices were weakened: lie began to think well of him. In his sermon, Mr. Tanner introduced some part of the Articles and Homilies of the Church of England, to prove that the doctrines which he taught were consistent with them. The next morning the man bought a Bible, with the Articles, that he might read and judge of the truth of what he had heard. When he read, he said to those about him," This is just as this man preaches.**
He afterwards used t > hear him in an adjoining garden; and ot length ventured to go into the room, whore the Lord made the gospel " the power of God" unto his salvation. This man afterwards went into the neighbouring villages to speak to his fellow sinners; and there is reason to believe that his attempts were biessed to many souls.
.About this time Mr. Holmes (whose praise is in the churches)
f>assing by Mr. Tanner's house, heard him engaged in prayer: le was so impressed with his solemnity and fervour, that he felt a desire to hear him preach, lie heard him; and -the Lord opened his heart, and he stood up in the midst of the congregation (which then consisted of very poor persons) and offered them his assistance, in any way in which they needed it.
In 17fif), the Tabernacle (in which Mr. Tanner afterwards laboured) was begun. The situation in which it was built, was thought by many ineligible; but he preferred it because it was near the spot where his labours bad been so much blessed; and chiefly, because it was the residence of the poorer classes of society, to whom he particularly w ished to be made useful. He undertook the building himself (though his circumstances were narrow); and frequently said," The Tabernacle was built by Faith and Prayer." The number of his hearers now much increased; and though he was greatly tried at this time by the dereliction of Mr. Holmes (his principal friend) with whom he had an unhappy disagreement, yet he was exceedingly animated by seeing the fruit of his labours; for at this time, a great many " lewd fellows, of the hater sort, were called out of darkness into light, and from the power of Satan unto God." His usefulness attracted observation; so that when notorious transgressors of the law were brought to the magistrates, they frequently were heard to say, " We know not what to do with them, unless we send them down to Old Tanner's."
As might naturally be expected, at this season of peculiar usefulness, he met with more than usual opposition. He suffered almost every species of persecution. The congregation was ofteir disturbed, and he was personally insulted and threatened; so that sometimes he found it necessary to get constables to escort himself and family from the Tabernacle to his dwelling-house. He was frequemly obliged to bring the disturber* of public worship before the magistrates; but then discovered a most Christian spirit by interceding with the Justices for the mitigation of their sentence ; declaring that his object in prosecuting was not to punish them, but to be enabled to enjoy those privileges to which he was entitled by the laws of his country. Although he laboured abundantly in preaching, and other ministerial exorcises, he continued to work at his trade for many years. He met with numerous and heavy losses; but frequently declared, that the time of temporal distress was generally the season of remarkably strong consolation.
He did not confine his ministry to Exeter: he looked with compassion on the peculiarly dark neighbourhood. At the request ot" the late Mr. Toplady, he used to preach at Broad Hembury: be likewise laboured in the towns of Morelon, Hampsiead, Crediton, and Topsham, and in various villages in the vicinity. In each of these places lie met with great opposition: yet some in Heaven, and others on their road thither, bless God that they ever heard him.
Mr. Tanner enjoyed a great share of health, which enabled him, in very advanced life, to engage in those exercises which would have exhausted many young preachers. He used, customarily, to preach three times on the Lord's Day, and twice in the week, beside engaging in more private exercises. His exertions continued unabated till within a short time of his death, liven w hen extremely weak in bod}', he was observed to he very vigorous in preaching; and his frequent petition was, That he might die in his Master's work. During the former part of lust year, he was much harrassed by the enemy of his peace. He often said,"All fails me, but my faith." In the last two months of his life, he enjoyed more habitual peace and comfort.
The day before his death (March "O, 180.')) his conversation was reniaikably savoury: he spoke with much animation of the stability of the church, as resting on Christ, and of his personal union to the Head of the Church. On the Sabbathmorning, he did not appear worse than usual. He went to the Tabernacle; he was very earnest in prayer; he chose for his text Ps. xxxii. I—6; and though his sentences were incoherent, his hints were very spiritual: he was unable to finish his sermon. Being taken out of the pulpit, he was (after the service) carried to his house. As death approached, he was composed and animated. A friend said to him,'You have been faithful, and (iod is about to give you a crown.' He said, " Yes; let this he my funeral text, " I have fought a good fight,"8tc. He spoke very comfortably and suitably- to his family and friends. To one of lib children, who discovered some anxiety, he said," Leave all; and fall into the hands of Christ." He earnestly and particularly prayed for his children, and his children*' children. After having slept about two hours, he said," Death is but the porter who opens the door to my mansion; and shall I be angry with the porter f Death! it ie not dying, — it is only falling asleep in Jesus. As onr Lord was separated from his disciples by a cloud, so it is. only a cloud that separates me from Jesus; and that cloud i» Death!" He had, for some time previous to his decease, en-, joyed the prospect of living. A little before iiis removal, lie said, with triumph, to his daughter, " There is deliverance for uie!" He seemed to believe that death was near, from a dream which much impressed his mind : —lie thought he had to crossagulph; in order to which, he must pass by the front of a rock, by resting on which alone he could cross.—' Imagining this rock represented Christ, he said to his daughter, " The whole virtue was in the rock I" In the evening he spoke to many of his friends, who came to take their leave of him, with great energy and comfort. About an hour and a half before he died, he said," Let us have prayer and a hymn ;"and then, with great emphasis, gave out the fust two verses of" Dearest of all the names above ;" and sung several verses with great strength of voice, and evidently with delight of soul. About eleven o'clock he rose from his seat to go to bed, with more than usual ease. When he had partly ascended the stairs, being obliged to pant for breath, he said, "Weaker and weaker;" and then immediately expired, aged eighty-six.
On the following Saturday his mortal remains were interred in the presence of several thousands of spectators. Sabbathafternoon Mr. Jones, of Plymouth Dock, preached a funeralsermon (at the Tabernacle) from 2 Tim. iv. 7. In the evening, Mr. Allen preached at Castle Street Meeting, from l Chrou. xxix.£8. Both congregations were very numerous.
A PAIR OF PORTRAITS,
WELL KNOWN IV THE RELIGIOUS WORLD.
Memos A is a single ladv, between fifty and sixty, whose good opinion of her own conduct is irrefragable. She is moderately charitable; but then her ostentation is insnflenibie, for the wretched orphan, whose woe her money alleviates, whose heart beats high with gratitude, whose tongue pours forth blessings on her benefactress, is silenced, is overawed, by observing the averted eye, the ungenial countenance of the lady. She is constant in her attendance at the parish-church; and thinks all who pass that to enter the doors of the chapel, in a state of reprobation; for she fondly imagines, true religion and good morality are synonymous words.
Memosa enters her pew, — easts a quick glanrc around, to observe who are absent: the service begins. She is putictilt*>us in her responses, devout in her confession; and, by a wellbred courtesy, attests her belief iu all the articles of the Creed.
Sue is a great admirer of the lisping tones, the elegant attitudes of her accommodating pastor, who never shocks the ears of his polite aud e 'ce by the mention, even auriculaHy, of Other sacrifices titan tho^e of Pomp and Vanity. Memosa returns home elated w ith pride and arrogance; she recounts to her maid how extremely ill-dressed one lady of her acquaintance was; and how shockingly ill-matched another's ribbands were. From their dress she attacks their characters; and happy is the woman who escapes the venom of her tongue: yet Memosa can retire at night to her pillow, and thank her God she is not so bad as others: she feels no consciousness of the many imperfections of her heart, nor of her want of candour; but with an inordinate opinion of her importance, she begs not the mercy of Heaven, — she demands its rewards for her acts of charity and devotion!
Think not the features here delineated are too dark; unhappily, there are man}' Memosas in the religious world!
Serena is consanguineous to Memosa; but ah! how unlike her kinswoman! Mild, benevolent, open to conviction, patient to bear, ready to forgive. With undeviating steps, Serena has walked these twenty years a widowed wife, in the perplexing paths of life, and brought up her infant train of seven children to be useful members of society, and ornaments to the charch of Christ.
Serena belongs to the despised chapel. When she enters her pew she looks around, aud with pleasure observes her children in their places. The affectionate address from the pulpit commands, and receives her undivided attention. At the conclusion of the service she retires to her home,— to her closet; and there pours forth her soul in thankfulness for the blessings she has received ; and prays thai the Spirit of his Master may ever rest on him who had thus made the widow's heart to sinn with joy. Docs the needy, does the fatherless solicit her aid? She withholds not the hand of Charity. She floes more: she commiserates, she feels their woe, she warms them at her fire, she clothes them with garments of her own making; she leads them to Jesus, who rejects none for their poverty; bids them trust only on htm, and look to other worlds lor their happiness.
She conciliates the love of till; gains many from the paths of destruction; and when she sees the repenting prodigals i a her beloved chapel, she takes them to her home, and gives them a cordial welcome to her plentiful table, while the smiles ol hospitality irradiate her countenance!
Header, it this portrait charm thee, " Go thou and do likewise," lor there arc many Serenas in the church of Christ.