[From Manx Recollections, 1894]
IT was now the year 1848. This was a time of unusual stir in Douglas. Dr. Carpenter had been the means of building St. Thomas' Church, and it was opened this year. The great Hugh M'Neil had vacated St. Jude's, Liverpool; and the offer to be his successor was made to Dr. Carpenter, whose fame as an earnest preacher and active successful minister had spread into many parts of England. When Douglas heard of the offer to the beloved pastor, a universal wail Arose and spread throughout the community. The thought of parting with him could not be entertained for a moment. He had spent fifteen years in their midst of devoted loving service. Every good work in the island was associated with the dear Doctor. What would become of the schools without him? Only a short time previous he had preached two sermons on behalf of St. Barnabas schools, and the appeal had been so prevailing that £92 had been collected on the occasion.
But it was not one thing but everything in which a request from him met with hearty and spontaneous response! He moved all hearts, for in him every one had such perfect faith; and whatsoever he set about doing, men followed as sheep follow their shepherd. -
Many were the attempts made to induce the Doctor not to go away. But it is said, and apparently on reliable authority, that from an unexpected source he was given the hint that his old flock, whatever they professed to the contrary, would really at heart be glad of a change. This information so staggered and benumbed his feelings that, as such warm impulsive natures as his often do, he resolved to act upon the word given him, and allow his precious flock to secure the fruits of what he had for so many years sown amongst them under a new shepherd. It need not be said that the tale whispered in the loving clergyman's cars was wholly false. His people loved him with a loyal unchanging love, and that it was so remained to be seen.
Dr, Carpenter accepted St. Jude's; and he left the island on March 15, 1848, to make arrangements for his new settlement. He returned to Douglas on the 24th. In 1832, when he came to Douglas, and preached for the first time, his text was Acts XX. 28; and now when he was preaching in the same church to his people for the last time, he chose the same text : " Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost bath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with His own blood."
It was a memorable day in Douglas. St. Barnabas was packed with a devoted, saddened audience. Sobs could be heard all round, and streaming eyes were visible in nearly every pew. In that last sermon, in which the preacher so powerfully urged upon his audience abiding heart consecration to the God who had redeemed and sanctified their souls, he introduced an anecdote that seems to have laid hold of the hearts and memories of his hearers. "Sir Gilbert King," he said, " who was at Trinity College, Dublin, along with himself, was a very wild young fellow, and made it a practice to entertain young men to dinner in his rooms on Sunday. One Sunday he informed them that he meant to go to church first, but that on his return he invited them to visit him as usual, and he would enliven them with a pantomime of the preacher and his sermon. Accordingly the guests arrived, but no Sir Gilbert made his appearance.
They again presented themselves the following Sunday; but the host, as on the former occasion, was not to be seen. Where was he? Sir Gilbert was on his knees, praying and supplicating God for forgiveness. He had been arrested in his wild career by the Gospel of Christ, and had become a new man in Christ Jesus ! "
On Thursday, 20th, a meeting of gentlemen seat-holders was held at St. Barnabas to vote an address to the incumbent, when £18o were subscribed on the spot. This sum was afterwards augmented by the congregation and friends to £400. An evening was appointed, and the address and presentation were made. The spokesman was Sir R. Hagan. The reply by Dr. Carpenter, when acknowledging the speech and gift, has been preserved in Mrs. Weatherell's diary, as if to furnish additional proof that " the memory of the just is blessed," and "shall be in everlasting remembrance." We give it in full, as every recollection of this saintly man and beloved pastor must be still precious to the inhabitants of Manxland; and his words to the present generation may be as a voice from the dead to quicken the living-an incentive to clergy and laity to follow in the footsteps of a predecessor who so diligently sought the temporal and eternal welfare of Mona's beautiful isle, and was permitted by God to reap with joy the fruits of his labour.
Beloved members of my congregation and friends,-It is with self-abasement before God, and with heartfelt gratitude to you, that I have heard the words in which you have so kindly addressed me. If your feelings be such as they are at being separated from one whom you love, what must mine be when I am about to be separated from hundreds, nay thousands in all parts of this island, to whom I have long been bound by the strongest ties of friendship and affection.
" You have observed most justly that human praise is but a vapour, and that listening to a pastor is valuable only when it is the act of those who have learned to love the Lord; so that I must remember that he alone is approved whom God commendeth, and you must try to love the Lord that you may be witnesses of my ministry known and read of all men; while we all ascribe not to poor worms, but to Him who calls sinners by His grace, and moves them by His Spirit to preach His Gospel, all the glory of whatever He has wrought through me, or through any man for the religious and moral improvement of His creatures.
"I have long since learned to believe that as a tree is known by its fruit, so is the dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the heart of a Christian made manifest by a desire to promote the temporal and eternal welfare of men, and I humbly bless God, not more for having led me to works of charity, than for having. disposed your hearts to respond, as you have ever done, to the innumerable calls which have been made upon YOU.
"You know, I am persuaded, that 'it is more blessed to give than to receive,' and to your power I bear you record, that I found you ready to give, and glad to distribute; so that you must allow me to share with you a large portion of the privileges connected with the House of Industry, the Medical Dispensary, and the schools, all of which, with a sincere unconsciousness of your own co-operation, you have so generously and bountifully bestowed upon me. The same good hand of our God, which was upon me and others in commencing St. Thomas' Church, has been upon you in setting your affections to the House of your God, and leading you to build it, that He may be glorified. The Christian's highest honour is to be a minister of Christ; but they also are to be accounted very highly favoured who have the honour to promote and erect these temples to His glory, where His ministers may proclaim the glad tidings of His Gospel, and administer His sacraments, and where His people may offer in His presence their acceptable sacrifices of prayers and almsdeeds, and thanksgivings and praise. You cannot all be ministers of Christ and pastors of His flock, but you may all be builders of St. Thomas' Church, and of other churches, and this I pray you may be found ready to do. I am persuaded that the Church of Christ should be a missionary Church, and that every minister of the same should desire and pray and contribute of his substance to forward the ?missionary cause, and I have no doubt but that in such a case blessings temporal and spiritual will descend on individuals, on families, on churches, and on kingdoms. For this cause have I laboured in conjunction with my brethren in the ministry not to originate, but to increase missionary operations in Douglas and throughout the island; and while I thank God for all He has enabled me to do, I also desire to acknowledge with unfeigned gratitude the kindness, cordiality, hospitality, and zealous co-operation of all the bishops under whom I have served, of the clergy, and of the laity, through the length and breadth of the land. I praise and bless the Holy Spirit that His servants, the bishops and clergy of this diocese, have been united in heart and hand in the missionary cause, and I shall not cease to pray that He may lead them to abound more and more in what is calculated to promote
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth good will towards men.' I have indeed endeavoured to teach you, beloved, to give yourselves to the Lord Jesus, that of His merits and death, and through faith in His blood, you may obtain remission of your sins, and all the other benefits of His passion, and then to offer yourselves, your souls, your bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice to Him, and may God in mercy grant that, through your having done so, I may meet you at the day of judgment, wearing bloodbought crowns, and reaping eternal rewards for even the cups f of cold water given for the sake of Him who gave Himself for you. God did often enlarge my heart and opened my mouth as 1 preached among you, that you might be saved, for this I have to thank Him.
"And I have also to thank you because you gave me credit for speaking the truth in love. You have been indeed my hope, and joy, and crown of rejoicings in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming, and with my whole soul I say Amen to your prayers that I may have abundant use of rejoicing over you, for having. testified with pleasure the Gospel of grace to save you. God knows I should mourn to testify against any of you that I had preached in vain. I am about to leave you, because I humbly believe that He who brought me hither, upwards of fifteen years ago is now calling me away. He can easily and He will (in answer to many prayers) send you a far better and more useful pastor than I ; but though I expect much, where can I ever hope to meet again with such forbearance in love, such attachment and kindness, as I have met with from you. But God will supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. To Him, then, let us look and play, and in Him let us trust. In a little while we shall separate, and in a little while we shall meet again-God grant it may be to part no more. Meanwhile let us be united in faith to one common Head, and to one another in spirit, sympathy, and love. I ask you to take care of the poor, and I promise that God will take care of you; and for myself, if anything be wanting to fill up the measure of your kindness, I ask the benefit of your constant prayers, that the fulness of the Spirit of God may be given to myself, my family, and the people about to be committed to my charge.
"And now, beloved, farewell ! I wish-that you may be in health and prosper, and that your souls may prosper. I wish that your dear children, whom 1 have loved and endeavoured to feed as the lambs of Christ, may grow up as His people and the sheep of His pasture. I pray that the God of all grace may protect and bless you and them, that He may justify you freely by His grace ; teach, sanctify, strengthen and comfort you by His Spirit, guide you to the end by His counsels, and at last receive you to glory; and that Mona's isle may flourish as a land of saints, and be exalted in righteousness till time shall be no more, is also the prayer of your grateful and attached friend and pastor,