[from Rosser History of Wesleyan Methodism in the IoM, 1848]
It is with great pleasure that I resume the subject of Wesleyan Methodism in the Isle of Man, and proceed to acquaint you with its operations and results from the time referred to in the latter part of my last communication.
I have already stated that the island was divided into two
circuits at the conference of 1798; the two circuits being entered on
the minutes of that year thus
Isle of Man
Douglas, Robert Harrison, Wm. Midgley.
You will perceive that Peel was mentioned as the head of the second circuit, and this continued to be the case till the conference of 1806, when Ramsey was published in the minutes; it is also said that, as the house provided for the married preacher was in that town, it should have been so designated from the first. This, however, I think, is not quite conclusive.
As above stated, Mr. Crook was, at the conference of 1798, again appointed for the Isle of Man; he and Mr. John Moore being stationed as the preachers for Peel.
This was Mr. Crook's third appointment to the island in addition to his being there in 1775, and again in 1776 ; but, during this his last residence in the isle, he suffered much from a most painful and troublesome complaint, which, in a few years after, occasioned his death. He was, nevertheless, of great use in the island, especially at this particular juncture, and displayed uncommon prudence, associated with great forbearance and Christian charity, Through the kindness of my excellent friend, Mr. George Crebbin, I am able to insert two of Mr. Crook's letters, the originals of which are now before me, addressed at this period to the Rev, vicar-general Christian, Kirk Patrick.
"Peel, Aug. 11, 1798.
"I read 50 of ye foregoing pages of Dr. Squire's book, & (I ask ye Dr.'s pardon) thought it remarkably jejune: I was looking out for ye 'Harmony of Natural and Revealed Religion,' but in these pages, however, found it not. I then dipped to ye 73 Page, & read on a while, but from my weakness of Judgment (to be sure it must be) could not receive that instruction which I thought sufficient to pay me for continuing to read ye Book. I have in my time waded thro' a good many Volumes with little enough instruction; but one which gave me less than this (which from its Titlepage I was led to expect) I never read.
"I am going on with Grotius. I perceive neighbour Le Clerc, in some of his notes. He is fond of ye subject of ye Unity of God, but I have my doubts whether he is equally fond of a Trinity of Person. in that one God.But is not that an odd Note in Page 16th, where he says, 'He can amend them as He pleases to all eternity; in such a manner as is agreeable to his own Goodness, tho' he has not yet revealed it to us ?'I thought he had revealed it to us how he would 'amend us:' my Bible tells me so, & so I think does yours. I have long been taught to read any thing which comes thro' his hands with caution; & I doubt Grotius himself got a bad name by being too much handled by him. (Tho' Claude escaped notwithstanding he was handled by Robinson's prolix Notes.) I am only got to ye 58 Page in making these observations. These long Notes I think are most of them little interesting; but as I have read most of them all I have seen yet in the Universal History, and in Stackhouse's History of ye Bible, they may appear less so to me.
"I thank you for ye loan of ye Craftsman. But I don't see any thing ascertained about Nelson & Buonaparte; I doubt ye good news will evaporate into smoke. I see ye French news about ye 2 sunk ships & 4 taken, hut hope t'wiIl prove no more than ye antient veracity of ye French.
"Some body was telling me, that Capt; Quirk was going to put poor Isaba Leece out of her little place. Is not this a pity! Cou'd you not use your good office (if this be so) with your Son-in-law, & get him persuaded to let her have ye place a little while longer to see if she can bring up that little helpless charge: God wou'd let him be no loser in ye end if he wou'd help ye poor widow for His sake who has a great regard for ye Widow and ye Fatherless. I expect it will not be taken amiss that I mention this to you sir, as you are one of ye servants of this God who takes well all ye acts of kindness done to his Wards as I may call them.
"I am grieved for my poor old friend Mr. H. C.[Rev H Corlett] I fear he has lost all patience (& it is well if his prudence will not be carried away with it.) One of our Friends in Greeby has written to him it seems (not perhaps with that respect that one might wish,) on acct. of his molesting them when they gave out an Hymn after ye burial service was ended & before he got out of the church yard,'at ye funeral of that young man who was drowned t'other week. Now I hear he insists upon it that I dictated ye letter, & I suppose he potently believes so;altho' one would think if haste & prejudice had not darkened his judgment, he might easily see a difference: The truth is, I shou'd never have counselled any one to write to him on ye subject, but have borne ye little affront peaceably; what was it, compared to what our forefathers endured without answering again? Can you do any thing in this matter, Sir, by way of helping to allay ye ferment into which our poor old friend has fallen? I wish you could. I wish to live peaceably with all men. I wou'd like to enjoy my privileges to be sure, but I would not blaze up all at once if some little rubs came in ye way; where is our Xtianity if we do this? He is it seems determined to preach against ye Methodists as he says: Now our poor dear friend does not know what he does if he persists in so doing.: He seems to have forgot what human nature is: & he is likely to drive them to what they (I for one) have an aversion to,just the reverse, I fear of what he is aiming at. I love him for former friendship's' sake; for however perverse he may at present appear, he was a friend, and I do and will acknowledge this: I wou'd willingly bear with him on these accounts, but all are not of my mind. Now Sir, if you have any influence over him, request him to go on his way peaceably, & preach against sinners as he used to do when his mind was better directed than I fear it now is. It is certain he will do more hurt than good if he persists in preaching against us: He knows well that I have some acquaintance with what ye doctrines of ye Church of England shou'd be, & her way of explaining ye Scriptures, her prayers, &c.; & he cannot preach against us without injuring himself perhaps more than he at present adverts to. But I wish him to have a private friendly caution between him and you. God forbid that I shou'd wish to hurt my old friend, (& I hope he cannot if he would hurt me,) no, I wish to be on terms of amity with him & every other clergyman as far as possible: If they will not be so with me as a Methodist, I cannot help it. I appeal to ye law and ye testimony in ye first place; & if that does not do, I have ye law of my country & my king to fly to.But I seek peace and love, with, & to, all men."I am, Revd Sir,
"Your obliged Bro. in Christ"J. CROOK.
"N.B. I will borrow ye Methodist Magazine for this year, if you will take ye trouble of looking over them. Let me know before I go out of Town to-morrow if you wish to see them. Pray present my respects to Mrs. Christian & ye family.""Peel,
"Oct. 4, 1798.
"I have gone through from end to end Fleetwood's Bible History, & I thank you for ye loan of it. It might be deemed petulance in me to point out some little mistakes here & there, both in ye sacred and profane parts,as they do not affect the substance, so I shall pass them over. We are neither as Authors (or as I said to you) as Readers infallible, & so must be content to bear with each other's mistakes. Dr. Fleetwood is not near so full as Stackhouse, or in his appendix as Prideaux in his connections; nevertheless,, I. think it is upon ye whole a good work. His description of happiness & doctrine & practive proper for, and enjoyed by good Christians, is very full considered epitomically, & is found in ye two last paragraphs in his Appendix, to all which. I heartily subscribe, & so wou'd I believe every true Methodist, & so shou'd every Churchman & Dissenter (not indeed ye New Light Dissenters, who are but refined Deists, Socinians, & some of them Materialists.) What then are we quarelling about? If we are in pursuit of true happiness, which according to ye Dr. & our Liturgy & Homilies is 'a comfortable assurance of an Interest in ye divine Favour,' pursued & obtained by ye Doctrines & practices touched upon, or laid down as ye Rule in his last paragraph or as ye Church says, Article 11th obtained 'by faith only' ('a wholesome doctrine, if very full of comfort,') and continued by 'good works,' which 'follow after Justification.' Art. 12.& these persisted in unto our lives' end,why we shall do well, because this is ye true evangelical plan of salvation: faith, holiness, and perseverance in every good word & work,is ye Xtian's true Rule to walk in, and walk by. But it is ye part of every moderate man, to let 'every man go to heaven in his own way ;'only it wou'd be best if he wou'd get into or be united to HIM who is ye way, ye truth, Sf ye life, because he says, no man can come to ye Father but by HIM.
"I have, thank God, got my leg much better, but have suffered much pain since I had ye pleasure of seeing you in ye cart. I hope God will sanctify ye dispensation to me for good. Present my respects to Mrs. Christian and family.
"I am, Rev. Sir,'"Your affecte & obligd
I need not remark on the good sense and excellent spirit which these letters so strikingly display.
Mr. Crook removed from the island at the end of the year, and, though quite inadequate to the regular and full work of a circuit, his Irish friends were anxious to have him with them again. He allowed himself to be put down as a supernumerary for the Dungannon circuit, but, it seems, after spending some months in Leeds, he removed to Liverpool; where he continued to reside for the remainder of that year; being kindly entertained by the affectionate and hospitable friends of that town. notwithstanding his severe affliction, which at times occasioned great heaviness and depression of spirit, and rends it necessary that he should sit or kneel while he delivered his discourses, he continued to preach with his usual ability, and with a considerable degree of energy and divine power. Though his sufferings of body and mind at this period were frequently more than he could express, yet he never repined, but continued to manifest a feeling of genuine piety, associated with a right judgment and great cheerfulness. He seemed fully resigned to the divine will, constantly maintaining a spirit and conduct in perfect accordance with the following lines
"If in this feeble flesh I may
Awhile show forth thy praise;
Jesu, support the tottering clay,
And lengthen out my days.
"Still let me live thy blood to show,
Which purges every stain;
And gladly linger out below,
A few more years in pain.
Through the blessing of God upon the means resorted to in Liverpool for the recovery of his health, he was so far restored as to take the place of a regular preacher, in the Birmingham circuit,, at the conference of 1800. At the following conference he removed to Dover, and in 1802 was appointed for Rochester. 1803, and 1804, he spent in the Dewsbury and Rotherham circuits, and in 1805 was stationed at Scarborough, in which circuit he exchanged mortality for life, and a momentary light affliction, for an "eternal weight of glory." This event occurred on December 27th, 1805. Mr. M'Donald, who wrote Mr. Crook's memoir for the Magazine, observes
"Mr. Crook's person was rather above the middle size, and rather inclined to corpulence. His complexion was fair and ruddy, and his countenance friendly and engaging. His look was that of discernment and penetration;. his gait was erect and firm; far removed from any thing foolish in his dress, he was a pattern of neatness and cleanliness. Being a character the very reverse of eccentric, he attended to rule and order in every thing relating to his person, as well as his profession.
" With respect to his piety there has been only one opinion concerning it; nor did his enemies, if he had any, ever call it in question. It was deep as well as genuine. He was equally removed from pharasaic self-complacence on the one hand, and speculative or practical antinomianism on the other.
"He was well read in that useful science, so little under stood by the world, and too little known by professors, self- knowledge; and this led him to that charitable judgment, which he was ever wont to pass on the guilty or unprosperous.
"His talents for the pulpit were very respectable. His manner of speaking was very natural; and the arrangement of his subjects discovered the man of judgment, method, and application. He used words merely for the sake of conveying ideas; hence his sermons were plain and scriptural, he was the very reverse of a weak preacher. He knew the bible well, having conscientiously devoted the first hours of his mornings, (and he rose generally about five o'clock) for perhaps more than thirty years, to reading the scriptures. He was indeed mighty in the divine word, and had singular felicity in applying it on all occasions. But his reading was not confined to the scriptures; on the contrary, he. was a very general reader, and well acquainted with. the best works, both in prose and verse, in our language. He had a fine taste, chaste and correct, and an excellent relish for the beauties of poetry. He sung well, and had a fine ear for music, of which he was allowed to be a good judge: and wherever he was appointed, he delighted to regulate and improve the singing.
"Visiting the flock committed to his care, was to him a pleasing part of his labour, and a part in which the Lord made him a great blessing to many. It was his custom, in general, to ask leave to pray wherever he called, and to notice the children and servants, frequently by name, in prayer. In that duty, as well as in preaching, he was simple, scriptural and fervent. Humility formed a prominent feature of his character. In short, Mr. Crook was a truly apostolic man, in whom gifts and grace were happily united; a man of whom it may be said, He watched in all things, endured afflictions, did the work of an evangelist, and made full proof of his ministry."
Mr. Walter Griffith, writing to Mr. M'Donald, in reference to Mr. Crook, says
"For my part, I esteem it one of the most gracious dispensations of the divine mercy towards me, that, when it pleased the Lord to thrust me out into his vineyard, in the year 1784, I was appointed to labour under the superintendency of Mr. Crook, upon the Charlemont circuit. He received me with the affection of a father, helped my feebleness of mind, and tenderly reproved whatever he saw amiss in me. While his conduct afforded me such an example of redeeming time, of doing every thing in its proper season, and of order and diligence in every department of his work, as a Methodist preacher, as I have ever since admired, and wished to imitate, but of which I have fallen very short. He generally rose, at that time, at four o'clock in the morning, and as we were on horseback every day, and were not always favoured with a place of retirement at the end of our journey, he endeavoured to supply that lack by reading on horseback, whenever the weather permitted.
"He was then in the vigour of his days, and in the height of his usefulness. Multitudes attended upon his ministry, 'the hand of the Lord was with him, and many believed and turned to the Lord.' Yet never did I observe him puffed up by his success, in the smallest degree. he rejoiced indeed, but it was with fear, lest any, who made a profession of religion, should not have the root of the matter in them, and lest such as had, should be beguiled of their simplicity, and should end in the flesh, after having begun in the Spirit. To prevent this, he acquainted himself with them individually, as far as possible, and watched over them with all the care and tenderness of a father.
"You and I became acquainted with him, and each other when we were both young men. To me that acquaintance, and the friendship to which it led, have been a source of much profit and comfort. He is gone to his reward. We follow. There is something inexpressibly solemn and pleasing in the thought. We shall soon be gathered to our fathers, our friend ship will be renewed, perfected, and perpetuated for ever."
The conference record of this eminent man is as follows.
"John Crook,called the apostle of the Isle of Man. ~See Mr. Wesley's Life by Dr. Coke, and Mr. Moore, page 421.) He died in the sixty-third year of his age, and thirty first of his itinerant life. He was a man of good understanding, considerable information, deep and solid piety, great exactness in Christian discipline, and of extensive usefulness, especially in the Isle of Man and the north of Ireland. Into the former of these places he successfully introduced Methodism; and in the latter he was made the instrument of turning many from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. For the last years of his life he was much afflicted, but was patient in doing good, and enduring pain; preaching, for the most part on his knees, being unable to stand. The last months of his labours in the Scarborough circuit appear to have been considerably honoured of the Lord, and he fell asleep in Jesus amid the attentions and tears of the affectionate people of that circuit, on the 27th of December, 1806." "He being dead yet speaketh." The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance."
From the time that two circuits were formed in the island, which was done at the conference of 1798, two preachers were regularly appointed to each for a series of years.
The conference minutes of 1799 contain a note, appended to the Isle of Man appointment, directing the second preacher in each circuit to change quarterly; and stating as the reason, that the dwelling-house in Ramsey might be prepared for a married preacher by the next conference. In 1803 there is again a note directing the single men of the two circuits to change every quarter.
The island was constituted a separate district at the conference of 1805; Matthew Lumb, who was that year stationed at Douglas, was appointed the chairman, with special authority to visit the Peel circuit as often as he judged proper, and to regulate everything according to the Methodist rules.
I have already intimated that an extraordinary movement took place in the Isle of Man between the conference of 1797 and 1798. Many in the course of that year were induced to become members of the Methodist society, and the number returned to the conference of 1798 was four thousand eight hundred and forty-seven. It did, however; happen, and I here simply state the fact, that, though there were many who neither became "weary in well doing," nor were "moved away from the hope of the gospel ;" and though the preachers continued to labour with their wonted diligence, fidelity, and zeal, there was a very considerable decrease in number, year after year, without exception; so that, at this time, only eight years after the astonishing accession referred to, there were two hundred and eighty-nine less than were reported the year before that accession took place; and the number continued to decline for the two following years; so that, at the conference of 1807, there were only two thousand two hundred and thirty-six. But that year the Lord revived his work, and from this point, there was again an increase without interruption for seven years, and, at the conference of 1814, the number amounted to two thousand nine hundred and thirty, shewing an increase, for that period, averaging about one hundred every year.
In the minutes of 1806 Ramsey, instead of Peel, is inserted as head of the second circuit.
In the year 1807 Mr. George Holder who had been twice previously stationed in the island was again appointed for Douglas, and was the chairman of the district; and the following year he was stationed in Douglas, re-appointed chairman, and charged with the superintendence of both circuits. In the years 1809, 1810, and 1811 he was stationed at Ramsey, continued the chairman of the district, and was specially invested with the general superintendence as before. The young men, in each of these three years were directed to change. In 1812 Mr. John Rawson, stationed at Douglas, was chairman of the district, and that year the single men were recommended to change. The next year Mr. John Mercer, who had travelled here some years before, was again appointed to the island and placed in the chair; which was also the case in the year following.
Although during this period, namely from 1797 to 1814, there were many changes, and great variation apparent in the numbers annually returned as members of society in the island still the work continued, taking an increasingly deep and firm hold, and exerting a beneficial and growing influence throughout every part of the island. The travelling preachers were devoted to their work, and prayed and labonred for the salvation of souls, and they were greatly assisted in their endeavours by a number of local brethren, who would bear comparison with an equal number in any part of the United Kingdom: men of considerable ability and generally of an excellent spirit, who have laboured and endured much in extending and establishing Methodism, especially in the mountain districts and retired corners of the island, and who have not only proved very efficient in carrying on extensive operations, but highly helpful in securing, through the divine blessing, the desirable result.
I have been informed that, some years ago, a bishop, who had been newly appointed to the see of Man, felt somewhat disconcerted on finding so large a portion of the population who did not immediately and fully conform to the established church, and gave intimation that he should endeavour to bring about an alteration in that respect. A very excellent and prudent clergyman in the island, took the opportunity of placing under his lordship's notice one of the local preachers' plans, and informed him that the large number of men whose names he saw there, were pious, consistent members of the Methodist society, and local preachers in that body, and that they were appointed, as he would perceive, regularly to visit all the parts of the island, and that it would be altogether in vain for him to attempt to put them down. The good sense, and, I would hope, the good feeling of his lordship prevailed, and he concluded to "refrain from these men, and let them alone."
'You will, my dear Sir, be better able to form a correct idea of the men and their communication if I call your attention to an interesting, and not unimportant, document, published in the Methodist Magazine for 1808; and which I will take the liberty to copy in this letter, as I believe it will be almost as gratifying to you, as it has proved to myself. The document to which I refer is headed as follows:
"Extract of a letter from the Local Preachers in the Isle of Man, to the Methodist Conference, assembled at Bristol, July last."
"Very dear Fathers and Brethren,
"It is with heartfelt gratitude and satisfaction, we now address you, sensible of the manifold blessings which we have received; not only during the days of our venerable Father, the Rev. John Wesley, deceased, but also under your paternal care. And we hope this our address will be agreeable to you, more especially as we have the pleasure to inform you, flint the God, whose mercies are over all his works, hath once again visited our favoured Island. Sinners, the most profligate, profane, notorious, and abandoned, like the prodigal son, are returning with bended knees, eyes overflowing with penitential tears, and cries which pierce the heavens, to their gracious Father and their God !His grace descendsand seeking souls are liberated through faith in the atoning blood !These are halcyon days! may God continue them, until the earth shall be subdued and made subject to heaven's glorious King!
"We have the pleasure to state that our present preachers are men in a high degree, we trust, after God's own heart. They not only preach the gospel, but live it, so as to be followers of their great Lord and Master, who went about always doing good. Their arduous labours, their unanimity and concord, their kindness and condescension, their union with, and affectionate regard to us, and their establishing of prayer-meetings in various parts of the Island, have, under God, been productive of much spiritual good. And God has given them souls for their hire.
"As the work of God in the Island is thus gaining ground, we hope we shall be favoured with the continuance of our present preachers the following year; fearing, at this time, a change might have a contrary effect. We hope, however, that this our wish will not be construed by any preacher, to imply any thing like unkindness towards, or despising of, say other, especially any of those who have formerly been useful in the Island. No; we esteem those, as well as our present preachers, highly for their works' sake, and heartily pray for the success, of their endeavours, in whatever part of God's vineyard they may be appointed to labour.
"Praying that God may bless your conference with a still greater degree' of his divine presence and unction, we remain, in behalf of the Local Preachers,
Isle of Man, June 23, 1805.".
While travelling and local preachers thus affectionately unite, and combine and consecrate their energies, and efforts and aims to the glory of God, and the advancement of his kingdom in the salvation of souls, in vain will men oppose, or the powers of darkness endeavour to scatter and destroy.
During the period of Mr. Holder's third residence in the island, from 1807 to 1811, it pleased the Lord greatly to bless his labours, in connexion with those of his brethren, and in these five years many hundreds were truly converted to God, and united to his people. While Mr. Holder was stationed in Ramsey, Esther Curphy, a native of that town, died in the Lord in the twenty-ninth year of her age. A short account of this excellent young woman was drawn up by Mrs. Holder, and, as I believe you will be highly gratified with the rich experience, and the devoted conduct which it exhibits; I will take the liberty of introducing it here.
"Esther Curphy was born in Ramsey in the Isle of Man, in August 1782. From her early days she feared the Lord, and desired to serve him. Her mother and aunt being members of the Methodist society, she attended the Methodist preaching. When nearly fifteen years of age, she was much concerned about her soul; and one Sabbath-day morning, at a prayer-meeting, as Mr. Robert Kerruish was giving out these words, 'Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by,' &c., she was powerfully struck, and wept most of the time that the meeting lasted. That day she wished that some one would ask her to go to class; but no one did so. In the evening she attended preaching; the text was, ' Awake thou that sleepest,' &c. She was much affected, and after preaching, cried out aloud. One prayed with her, and the Lord set her soul at liberty, and she went home rejoicing. Some years before this time, the Lord in his providence took her father from her, and her mother a year after that time; so that poor Esther was left an orphan at sixteen years of age. When about seventeen she went to Liverpool in the capacity of a servant, where she was kept, by the mercy of God, in his fear and love. In the year 1804, she went to live with that amiable woman, Miss Titherington, and soon after the Lord delivered. her from all slavish fear and evil reasoning. She continued to live with Miss Titherington while her health would admit. Having fallen into a deep consumption, in October 1810, she returned to the island, for the benefit of her native air; and while able she kept up an interesting correspondence with her mistress. An idea may be formed of the state of her mind from the following extracts"'My dear mistress, I am sometimes rather better, and at other times very ill; but hitherto the Lord hath helped me. I beg an interest in your prayers that I may be preserved from murmuring and fretfulness. Last Sunday I was better than usual, and wished to go to my class; I had not been there for many weeks. I set out, but when I had gone two-thirds of the way, the wind being in my face, I was completely exhausted, and obliged to turn back, and go into the nearest house I was acquainted with. I was disappointed of meeting with my friends, but felt the power of the words, Peace, be still. In this way I am going on, saved from one moment to another. When I consider what the Lord bath done for us these last three months, my admiring soul cries out, 'Who is a God save the Lord, and who is a rock save our God? We can say from our hearts, He hath done all things well. May the Lord still keep your life hid in himself, and may you and your family be a distinguished race of Almighty love and favour.'
In Feb. 1811, Esther wrote to her mistress as follows:'I would have written sooner had it been in my power; but I have been confined to my bed almost ever since I wrote last. Indeed, if I could tell you what I have passed through these last four weeks, it would be a tale of real woe. Oppressed with weakness and pain, I lost my hold of God, and for three weeks was in such a state of wretched ness and confusion of spirit, as it is almost distressing to think of. But I thank the Lord, that on Friday last, he was pleased to rebuke the enemy, and comfort me again. It was often suggested to me, 'now you are going to hell, after all your profession;' and I seemed forced to admit it, as I feared that I was losing my meetness for heaven. But I now prove that Satan is a liar. May the Lord preserve me from such another conflict! I feel my mind weak at times, yet I am frequently comforted with the thought, that, by suffering patiently, I am doing my duty as much as if I was in active life. But sometimes my mind is exercised thus :Why am I so long a burden to myself and friends, when so many have arrived safe at home, who have not been so long ill as I have been. I feel my weakness both of body and soul. Farewell, my dear Mistress.'
'"This was her last attempt to write. Miss T. wrote to her as follows : My dear Esther, your long looked for letter I received, sad I thank our good God and you for it: I feared you were too ill to write. Before this time you have received a letter from me, begging of you to get Mr. or Mrs. Holder to write. When I read your account of losing your hold of God, the thought struck me, but he did not lose his hold of you. You would have told me so under like circumstances. I believe your reward in glory will be heightened by that sore conflict. At first, I was much affected by your sufferings, but the Lord, to relieve me, shewed me the reward attached to them. I then felt a glorying in them, and saw that it was all mere mercy that we had any consolation by the way. May the fulness of pleasure at God's right hand fill your thoughts, and inflame your heart! The glorious company of heaven waits to hail you welcome! Methinks your hand will join mine as I pass the gulf of death: then farewell sickness and pain for ever. My soul is kept in peace, stayed on him in whom is the residue of all good, both spiritual and natural. The shortness of life and the uncertainty of all things below, are so deeply impressed on my mind, that I think I am only a sojourner here. I have no doubt you are learning what could only be taught you in your present cir cumstances. May the everlasting arms embrace you, is the earnest and daily prayer of your affectionate friend. M. TITHERINGTON.'
"After this time, Mrs. H. wrote an account of Esther Curphy to Miss T. Her answer was as follows :My dear friend, I was this morning favoured with your very kind letter, for which accept my kindest thanks; as every thing that relates to my dear Esther is highly interesting to me. I thank our God that you are (as you say) where you are, and that you are so graciously disposed to serve my dear Esther and me. I believe, from the first time we saw each other, we affectionately loved each other in the Lord; and love is a bond of union which will not be dissolved by the lapse of time, or by death itself. I am striving to join her happy soul in the praises of our God. I feel a wish to be in her state, or in the happy situation of those that wait upon her. You could not do me a greater kindness, than to take down a few of her dying words. I do her only justice, when I say that she always opened her mouth in wisdom, and that the law of kindness was on her lips. I never heard her speak a trifling word; and she always saw the best side of every body and every thing. In a word, ever since I knew her, she was uniformly wise and pious; and I bless my God that I ever knew her. Give my Christian love to her, and tell her my soul blesses and praises the Lord for her, and that I wish to have an interest in her prayers; and that I hope soon to join her in the paradise above. The church militant and the chnrch trium phant are but one: they have one source of life and comfort. I would be glad to see her, but I must give up the thought, and strive to live near to God, that I may see her where parting is not known. I am, my dear friend, yours, M. T.'
"Esther Curphy, spent many months in an afflicted state, through pain, coughing, and shortness of breath. In one of her wearisome nights, she cried out, 'How long, O Lord! how long!' and bursting into a flood of tears, she said, 'I am waiting my Lord's call. It is a sweet time to me; yes, I am my Lord's, and he is mine."'Though nature's strength decay,
And earth and hell withstand,
To Canaan's bounds I urge my way,
At his command.'
"At another time, when suffering much, she said, 'Rest without toil, ease without pain, and life without death are in glory." 'A few more rolling suns at most,
Will land me on fair Canaan's coast.'
There I shall sing a song of praise. I thought a while ago, the mes senger was come for me. Glory be to my God, he will come!'
"March 25,I visited her. She said, 'I am lying here as clay.' I said 'You will soon be taken home.' She replied, 'when the discipline hath answered its end.' 'Last night,' (she added) 'I had a sweet view of the excellence of my Lord's dealings with me, in my lying here, from these words, 'every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.' And with a lively voice she said, 'I am going to glory."'There I shall see his face,
And never, never sin;
There from tue rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in.' -
"At another time she said, 'Glory be to the Lord for his goodness to' mc; what should I do now without him.' After a sore fit of coughing and pain, she felt a little easier, and said, referring to her body, 'Surely the bark will not come back again. But thy will be done, blessed Jesus, thy will be done! I have given up my anxious desire to be. with Christ: I leave the time to him. My Lord give me to drink a little of the cup that he drank of, in my bodily afflictions; but he comforts my mind. Himself drank the bitter cup, and trod the wine-press alone, to bring me to holiness, to bring me to glory. O when will this spirit be freed? My every limb and joint stretches for immortality; but thy will be done, but how welcome would the call be, come, weary pilgrim, home.' One time when I sat by her she said, ' Glory, glory be to the name of the Lord, I can say, in the midst of my sufferings, Thy will be done. Not one hard thought of God passes my mind in my sleepless nights, and afflictive days. I should never have known the power of grace, bad I not been in this state of suffering. How doth the Lord support my mind, and keep me in perfect peace !' Once, when I visited her, after speaking a little about her affliction, she said, 'Why do I name this poor body ? I do not want to think or speak a word about it; my all is in heaven.' I said 'you must feel it while here.' 'Yes,' she said, 'but how am I surrounded with mercies! how hath my God provided for me a nurse, and every outward comfort! how kind is my dear aunt; we feel an increasing union with each other in Jesus.'
"The last time I saw her, I said, 'You have done with the fear of coming back again into this world.' ' O yes', she said, 'I am getting nearer my heavenly home:' and, with her eyes lifted upwards, she added, 'I long to be with my Lord. Yes I shall"'Shout by turns the bursting joy,
And all eternity employ,
In songs around his throne.'
"While a friend was praying that the Lord might be with her in the dark valley, she said, 'not dark, there is no darkness in it.' And before we rose from 'our knees, she lifted up her voice, and said, 'Praise the Lord! O praise him! praise him !" This was about seven o'clock in the evening, and I expected to have seen 'her in the morning; but that night, April 12th, 1811, her happy spirit took its flight to the paradise of God.
"Mr. H. preached her funeral sermon to an attentive congregation prom Rev. xiv, 13, 'And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their laboius; and their works do follow them.'
Mr. George Holder, who had spent nine years of his active and useful life in the Isle of Man, was removed from it at the conference of 1812, but he never ceased to take a deep and lively interest in its spiritual welfare; and he, and his excellent wife, are still affectionately remembered there by several to whom he ministered the word of life.
This pious and devoted servant of the Lord Jesus laboured in two or three circuits after leaving the Isle of Man, but became a supernumerary, and settled at Whitby, in the year 1818. He cheerfully devoted his remaining strength to his heavenly master's service, and did all in his power to pre serve the peace and advance the prosperity of the people of God. "He was a man of an amiable disposition, and much respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. In his death was fully exemplified the doctrine of the' psalmist: 'Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.' In disposing of his property, he bequeathed legacies to several of the funds of the connexion, besides giving sums of money towards liquidating the debts on some of the chapels in the Whitby circuit." The following honourable testimony was officially recorded by his brethren." George Holder. He was awakened to a sense of his sinful condition at Robin Hood's Bay, under the ministry of the Rev. John Wesley; and was soon afterwards brought to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. He enjoyed and highly valued the friendship of his spiritual father until the time of that great man's death. He commenced his itinerant labours in the year 1782, and continued them until the year 1818, when the infirmities of age obliged him to desist from travelling; and he settled at Whitby, where he resided for the remainder of his days. He was one of the first preachers sent by Mr. Wesley to the Isle of Man. He spent nine years, at different periods, among the people there, to whom he was made very useful, and whom he greatly loved. His talents as a minister were of a useful kind; his views of our doctrines were clear; his eye was single; his efforts were constant; and there is reason to believe that he was instrumental in winning souls to Christ in every circuit in which he travelled. During the period in which he was a supernumerary, he was to the preachers who laboured in the circuit from time to time a most agreeable helper; meeting a class, visiting the sick, and preaching as his strength would permit. He was eminently zealous and humble, and as simple as a little child. He died in great peace, November 9th, 1836, aged eighty five years."'
Shortly after the removal of Mr. Holder from the Isle of Man, Mr. John Mercer, who had been previously stationed there, and laboured for three years with encouraging success, was again appointed, as one of the preachers, to this interesting sphere of his early ministerial engagements. He now remained in the island for the space of eight years, and, during that period, was not only made a blessing to many, but was highly useful to Methodism in general in the Isle of Man. Various changes were made in the district in connexion with the period here referred to. In 1815 a preacher was put down in the minutes for Castletown, but to change with the Douglas preachers, and Castletown still remaining part of the Douglas circuit. Three preachers, however, were appointed to the Ramsey circuit, and direction given for the second to reside at Peel, and divide his labours between that place and Castletown. This of course was done, and Douglas bore a portion of the expense. In the year 1819, Peel was, in some respects, divided from Ramsey. It stood on the minutes for several years as a separate circuit but the numbers there, were always included in the Ramsey returns, and the financial concerns associated with that circnit. When Peel was thus entered on the minutes in 1819, Mr. Mercer, who had then been three years in. each of the two circuits since his reappointment to the island, was put down for Peel, and divided his labours between that place and the other two circuits, Douglas still bearing its proportion of expense, This does not appear from the minutes, only that, in 1820, he should change with the preachers in the other circuits. Mr. Mercer was, for these eight years in succession, the chairman of the district.
A brief memoir of Mr. Mercer was published in the Wesleyan Magazine for 1841. I conclude that the following extracts will not be considered uninteresting or out of place.
"In the year 1802, he was removed to the Isle of Man, where he spent a considerable portion of his public life, and formed connexions of the most endearing and lasting character. The labours of Mr. Mercer in this island were highly acceptable and useful. He was mainly instrumental in introducing, among the societies of this district, some important parts of the Wesleyan discipline, which before had been overlooked or neglected. As a specimen of the extent of his labours at this time, we may give the record of one day's work,a Sabbath in June, 1820: 'Preached at Ballasalla at nine, a.m, and gave tickets; afterwards met the teachers of the sunday-school, and appointed a superintendent. At eleven o'clock preached at Castletown; met the class at three; preached again at six, and met the society, and attended a prayer-meeting at eight.' Again he says, 'I have had very much labour for the last six days; but I have found body and mind strengthened for the occasion.' He used to say, 'I shall have time enough to rest in the grave.' The salvation of souls was the mighty object which quickened his footsteps, and sweetened his toils. The Head of the church did not permit him to labour in vain. In-March, 1820, he says, 'I have admitted forty-four on trial, most of whom appear to be under serious impressions. The Lord is still carrying on his work in this favoured island. Nearly one hundred souls have been added to the society in Dawby, within the last two months.' About this time he remarks, 'I have lately held several love-feasts; wonderfully large companies, and remarkably good times.' Mr. Mercer left the Isle of Man amidst the regrets of an affectionate and hospitable people, and not without the yearnings of fatherly concern for the flock, many of whom had been brought to God by his instrumentality."
This servant of God also continued his active and faithful labours till, in a great measure, incapacitated for their performance by a severe affliction which induced him to become a supernumerary at the conference of 1833; but he still exerted himself in the sacred work as far as his strength would bear. Having continued faithful to death, his divine master graciously crowned his life of mercy "with a triumphant end." I insert the following extract from the conference minutes.
"John Mercer; who was born in Farndale, in the Pickering circuit, December 17th, 1770. From an early period of life he had the fear of God before his eyes, by which he was restrained from the commission of gross sin, and led frequently to think of death and a judgment to come. In the year 1794 he became a member of the Methodist society, and having been usefully employed for some time as a local preacher, he was, in the year 1800, called into our itinerant work. As a Christian, he was distinguished by unimpeachable integrity, steady self-denial, uniform cheerfulness, and deep humility. As a preacher, he was clear, solid, and useful. He was very exemplary in his attention to pastoral duties, particularly in visiting from house to house, by which means he endeared himself to those who might not otherwise have been attracted by his mpre public ministrations, and kept alive the flame of piety among the people committed to his care. In consequence of a paralytic attack, he was so far enfeebled that, in the year 1833, he was under the necessity of becoming a supernumerary; but he did not lose his love for souls, or his zeal for the glory of God. During a protracted affliction he was graciously supported. A few days before death he said, 'For forty-eight years I have never lost a sense of my acceptance with God. There is not a single cloud in the prospect. I have the fulness of peace and consolation.' He died calmly triumphant, at Birstal, January 26th, 1839, aged sixty-eight years."
In the spring of 1822 an event occurred in Douglas which strongly excited the sympathy of our friends, and produced a powerful impression on the minds of the inhabitants in general. I refer to the sudden death of the Rev. John Braithwaite, on the 19th of May, which, I dare say you will remember, took place in the Isle of Man. As you are aware, he travelled about thirty years, was diligent and faithful, very useful, and greatly beloved and esteemed. The circumstances of the mournful event are stated in the following letter, written on the occasion by the Rev. John Bumstead, who was then travelling in the Douglas circuit.
" How mysterious are the ways of God! Last week I received a letter from my much respected friend Mr. Braithwaite, saying that he had with him in Whitehaven his daughter, son-in-law, and their four children, from Bradford, and that they had a desire to pay a short visit to the Isle of Man. About the 2nd of June was the time they had then fixed upon. But the weather being fine, and the trader being ready to sail last Friday, they came off at that time. They had but little wind, and that not fair; and consequently were kept at sea from Friday evening at eight o'clock till Sunday afternoon at three o'clock, Mr. Braithwaite was sick soon after he got to sea: perhaps the sickness brought on his old complaint, the angina pectoris. It was with great difficulty that he was got ashore, and brought in a chaise to my house. Medical aid was in a few minutes obtained, but to no purpose. A few minutes after twelve o'clock, he expired in my arms. Mr. B. spoke but few words after he came. I asked him if he was happy in God; he said, 'Yes, happy!' He repeated several times the following words: 'Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.; though they be red like Crimson they shall be as wool.'"
His remains, with those of several more of our beloved brethren, rest in the dust of this island;
"Yet these, new rising from the tomb.
With lustre brighter far shall shine;
Revive with ever during bloom,
Safe from diseases and decline."
Another very affecting and inscrutable event happened in the Isle of Man in 1825. I refer to the case of Mrs. Margaret Christian, a highly consistent member of our society in Douglas, whose death, which was sudden and unexpected, took place under circumstances of a peculiar character. The following short account was prepared by the Rev. James Anderson, and inserted in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine.
"Died, October 19, in the. Isle of Man, Mrs. Christian in the 46th year of her age. In early life her mind was seriously impressed with the, concerns of eternity; and in some measure she possessed the fear of God; but being much exposed to worldly company, these promising beginnings of good were as 'the morning cloud and the early dew,'. they soon vanished away. About fourteen years ago, she was convinced of her guilt and depravity, and was deeply distressed with an apprehension that she had committed the unpardonable sin, and was beyond the reach of mercy. About this time she joined the Methodist society in Douglas, and continued to seek the Lord in his own appointed ways. The cloud soon dispersed, her fears subsided, and she obtained, through believing in Christ, a Sense of God's favour, which she never lost, nor called in question, to the day of her death. Her Christian experience was clear and satisfactory, both to herself, and those with whom she held Christian communion. She was regular in her attendance on the means of grace, and especially her class meeting, which she never omitted, unless something very extraordinary interposed to prevent it. The day before she died, she met her class as usual, and for the last time, when she expressed her happiness in God, and her confidence in him, little expecting that in a few hours she should be numbered with the dead: yet so it was, On the following day she received intelligence of her father's death; upon' which she expressed her determination to set off immediately, to be present at his funeral, and to spend a few days with her widowed mother. She left home about three o'clock that afternoon, to travel over the mountains, with which she was well acquainted, having frequently gone that way before. Before she reached Snafield, which is the highest mountain in the island, the weather underwent a sudden change. Night came on, the wind blew a perfect hurricane, the lightnings flashed, and the rain descended in torrents. Mrs. Christian, all alone, and far from any human habitation, missed her way; and being unable to bear up any longer against the pelting storm, which blew full in her face, nature became exhausted and she lay down and died. No friend was at hand to succour and relieve; but God was there to comfort his dying child; and angels were there to minister to this heir of salvation, and to conduct her happy spirit far above the storm and tempest, 'Where all is calm, and joy, and peace.' The day of her father's funeral arrived; but she was not there to attend it. A few days after, her husband arrived at her mother's to bring Mrs. Christian home; but what was his surprise, and the surprise of all, when they found that she had not been there! Their fears were excited for her safety, and they dreaded the worst. Messengers were despatched in all directions in search of her, day after day, without success; until Wednesday, the 26th, when her body was found within a mile of her father's house, prostrate in death. How mysterious are the ways of providence! But what we know not now, we shall know hereafter."
The good work continued to prosper, and many were savingly converted to God; though, 'for several years, about this period, there was no considerable variation in the numbers itturned. The Rev. James Anderson, writing about the year 1825, says," The first Methodists in the Isle of Man are now rapidly dying away;, but the Lord has of late been raising up many young people to fill their places, concerning whom we have cause to hope, that they will follow those who are gone before, and who bore the burden and heat of the day. 'Unlike their predecessors, they have little opposition to expect from those who are without. Persecution for the sake of religion is now almost unknown in island. The Lord is reviving his work amongst us; he is watering the little hills of Zion, and sinners are turning to the Lord. May their number increase daily."
When the cholera prevailed in the years 1832 and 1833, many were aroused from a state of indifference, and led to seek the Lord in good earnest. Places of worship were crowded, meetings for prayer numerously and diligently attended, and as cases occurred of people being in the means of grace one evening and in the silent grave the next, numbers were deeply affected, pleaded with God for mercy, rejoiced in his salvation, and united themselves to those who loved and honoured his name. With very many, the good effects of this solemn and awakening visitation remained. The number in society, as retuned to conference in 1832, was two thousand five hundred and twenty-five, but, at the following conference, it was three thousand four hundred, and at that of 1834, three thousand five hundred and sixty-six. It afterwards declined and varied for several years. The district committee, in 1839, referring to the rather serious decrease which had taken place in the course of the year, records the following minute on the subject :" We are unanimously of opinion that the reduction is not a real one, but only in appearance, and arises from no other cause than that of the preachers writing all the society tickets themselves, and giving them to none, but those whose names are regularly entered in our class books or papers, and brought under the inspection of the preachers." This perfectly accords with the intimation which I have previously given. Very much depends, in this matter, on the plan pursued, and the mode adopted in making the annual return, in reference to this somewhat peculiar portion of the Wesleyan field.
The numbers returned in 1842 were two thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, but, in the following year, the number again advanced, and was stated to be three thousand two hundred and twenty-one. Since that year it has never been below three thousand.
Various alterations took place during the period here referred to, as to the manner of working the circuits in the island, and the form in which the circuits were published in the annual minutes. Sometimes Douglas and Ramsey only were published, but for a short period Castletown was placed on the minutes, under Douglas, but without a number, and then omitted altogether. In 1842 the Douglas circuit was published as Douglas and Castletown, and has so continued to the present time. For several years Peel was placed under Ramsey, with a number, as if entirely separate and distinct: this, however, was never the case, either with regard to numbers or financial arrangements; except in the missionary accounts; and it has now, for several years, like Douglas and Castletown, been published Ramsey and Peel. For a number of years while Douglas had only two preachers, the preacher residing at Peel, divided his labours between that place and Castletown; the Douglas circuit, of course, paying a proportion of his quarterage and board. There never has been, really and in fact, a third circuit in the Isle of Man.
In the year 1834 the Rev. R. Aitkin, a clergyman of the church of England, resident in the isle, offered himself for reception into the Wesleyan connexion as a regular travelling preacher. The offer was respectfully declined.
At the time of Dr. Warren's movement an effort was made to disturb the Manx societies, but the prompt, judicious, and firm manner in which it was met by a few of our leading friends, and the good sense and genuine piety of our people; served, under the divine blessing, to render the attempt unsuccessful. A public meeting was convened by certain persons from a distance, but, during the time of its being held, there were repeated causes of alarm, and several looked upon this circumstance as no very favourable indication of the divine approval. The peace of the society was preserved, and its prosperity unimpeded.
The societies and congregations in the Isle of Man, have, for many years; taken a lively interest in behalf of Christian missions, and, considering their ability, have liberally contributed to their support.
Many members of our society and congregations have long been accustomed to sustain important offices, and to fill highly responsible situations in the island, and it has rarely occurred that any such have acted an unworthy or dishonourable part.
Some have been called to act as sumners, some as captains of parishes, some as coroners, and a few as members of the legislature; and several as parish clerks and schoolmasters. You will no doubt remember the case of Thomas Quark, who sustained the latter two-fold office for sixty-two years. Another instance has come under my own notice of a rather similar kind; it is that of Mr. John Cowle, lately deceased, who acted as clerk of St. George's church, in the town of Douglas, and who discharged the duties of his office to the very day, and within an hour or two of his death. It has sometimes happened that opposition has been manifested, and some efforts made to induce members of our society to fall from their steadfastness in this matter. This has most frequently occurred when a change of diocesans has taken place; as it has very likely appeared somewhat strange, at the first, that members of the Methodist society, and some of them local preachers, should be acting as clerks and parish school-masters. But, in such cases, it has, I believe, been invariably found that the Christian prudence, genuine piety, and truly excellent spirit and conduct of the individuals concerned, connected with the commanding and influential position which Methodism has long maintained in the island, and the favour and blessing of Almighty God, have served to soften down prejudice and disarm opposition; so that little or ub inconvenience has ensued. These observations immediately apply to the case of Mr. John Cowle, to whom I alluded above.
Mr. John Cowle was a native of Kirk Andreas, in the north of the island; and born in February, 1769, and was the son of respectable parents. He came to reside in Douglas when about nineteen years of age, and, even at that time, pursued a regular and strictly moral course. He soon after settled in life, and, when about two or three and twenty years of age, became a decided and consistent member of the Methodist society. He was, indeed, early distinguished by that regularity and constancy which he uniformly manifested throughout his long and exemplary life ; and he fully evinced the reality of his own conversion to God by zealously endeavouring to promote the conversion and salvation of others. He soon began to call sinners to repentance, and continued to labour as a devoted, acceptable, and useful local preacher for considerably more than fifty years. He was also a leader in the Douglas society, and for many years one of the trustees of Thomas' street chapel.
John Cowle was the clerk of St. George's church in Douglas for nearly forty-two years, and, through that long period of time, dis charged the duties of his office to the entire satisfaction, and real advantage of the highly respectable congregation attending at that place of worship. There was, something rather singular connected with his appointment to this situation. The trustees, wishing to procure a person every way suitable for the office, fixed on Mr. Cowle, who was then well known and highly esteemed, as a respectable tradesman, and admired for his strictly moral and religious character. On receiving an application on the subject he thanked the parties, and said he would take the matter into consideration. Being then actively and successfully employed as a local preacher, some fears were entertained that, if he accepted the office of clerk, he must give up preaching altogether, and his usefulness, in that respect, terminate at once. After mature deliberation and fervent prayer, he decided to accept the offer of the trustees, provided they would allow him to keep, his place, and fulfil his appointments on the local preachers' plan; with the understanding that he would provide a person to officiate for him: in his absence. The terms were acceded to, and his valuable servises secured.
During Mr. Cowle's connexion with St. George's, bishops Cregan, Murray, Ward, Bowstead, Pepys, Short, Shirley, and Eden successively occupied the see of Man, and nearly twenty different incumbents and curates have been regularly engaged in discharging ministerial duties at St. George's church; and though they have all understood Mr. Cowle's character and peculiar position, very few of them have intentionally occasioned him any inconvenience, but most of them have honoured him with their affection and esteem.
An instance did, however, occur some years since in which Mr. Cowle's integrity was put to the test, but which only served to exalt his character, and exhibit it in a more interesting and engaging point of view. One of the bishops above named, having been newly appointed to the see of Man, officiated shortly after at St. George's church, and is said to have proceeded, on the occasion, to make certain strong and uncharitable remarks upon dissenters, and especially upon the Methodists. The discourse being ended, the clerk, as I have been informed, rose and gave out the following verses of the 52nd Psalm
"In vain, O man of lawless might
Thou boast'st thyself in ill;
Since God, the God in whom I trust,
Vouchsafes his favour still.
"The wicked tongue doth sland'rous tales
And, sharper than a razor set,
It wounds with treacherous lies."
On the following day Mr. Cowle was summoned to attend his lordship in the neighbourhood of Douglas, and, at the interview which took place, the bishop told him he understood he was a Methodist preacher, and went into the highways to preach to the peeple, that such proceedings were inconsistent with his office as clerk of the church, and that, if he persevered in this course, he should deprive him of his situation. He wished to know if he understood Greek and Hebrew; and asked him what call he had to preach the gospel? Mr. Cowle replied with great modesty, but with becoming firmness, and said, that as to his office, he never applied for it, but it had been urged, yea, indeed, forced upon him; and that if his lordship thought it proper he would resign it at once. He also stated that he had accepted the
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He continued to rejoice in God his Saviour, and to labour on at the command of that divine Master whom he had long counted it an honour to serve, till Sunday, the 19th November, 1848, when after having been publicly engaged in the duties of the holy Sabbath, from an early hour in the morning till about two o'clock in the afternoon, he returned home, and, in little more than one' short hour after reaching his dwelling, was called to join the church of the First-born in the more immediate presence of him who died for us and rose again. "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!"
As the following incident is somewhat peculiar and interesting, I shall not apologise for introducing it in connexion with the above.
Certain repairs and alterations being about to be made in St. George's church, a short time before Mr. Cowle's death, the authorities concluded to remove the throne which had stood there a good many years, and been occasionally occupied by, I believe, all the bishops mentioned in the foregoing account. It is much in the form of a low, comfortable, decent looking pulpit, and as the parties had no thought of appropriating it to any particular use, but were willing to dispose of it to the best advantage, Mr. Cowle offered to make the purchase, and actually did so for a very moderate sum. Having thus possessed himself of what might be deemed a rather interesting relic, he had it directly removed from the church to the large vestry of Thomas' street Methodist chapel, to serve as a pulpit for the Manx preachers on Saturday evening and Sabbath morning.
I will now, my dear Sir, take the liberty of placing before you a few brief accounts of several of the members of society in this island, who have departed this life in the faith and fear of God, knowing that they had a "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Some of them have, wholly or in part, already appeared in the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine.
"Died, at Douglas, March 24, 1823, Mr. Thomas Cain, aged seventy-four. He was brought to God in the year 1779, under the ministry of the late Rev. John Crook. He saw the necessity of for saking all sin, and all sinful company; and being invited to a class- meeting, he soon hecame a decided character. The language of his heart was, 'this people shall be my people, and their God my God.' The Lord manifested himself to his soul as a God of pardoning love This blessing he retained, and went forward, 'reaching forth unto those things which are before.' For more than twenty years he filled the important office of a class-leader, was singularly diligent in attending to the means of grace, and eminently a man of prayer. In the various families with whom his occupation led him to occasional inter course, there was always something, in his conversation and conduct, that never failed to produce serious impressions; and their unanimons opinion was, 'If there be a good man in the world Thomas Cain is one.' He seemed to ripen fast for another world: for a few weeks before he died it was impressed upon his mind that he had not long to live, but he spoke upon the subject like one, ready to go at the shortest warning. The last Sabbath he spent on earth he met in class, and spoke of his Christian experience to the great satisfaction of all present. At night, he retired to rest, and fell asleep; but awoke soon after, stretched himself upon his bed, and quietly fell asleep in Jesus."
"Died at Ballameanagh, November 24, 1824, Mrs. Mary Corran, wife of Mr. Matthias Corran, aged sixty-seven years; an old disciple who adorned her Christian profession for near half a century. She was the fruit of the late Rev. John Crook's ministry, a man whose memory is cherished in the Isle of Man with affection and gratitude, as the honoured instrument of turning many to righteousness. Mrs. C. with her husband, then newly married, went to hear Mr. Crook; and they were both awakened to a sense of their perishing condition. Mrs. C.'s convictions were very deep, and in this distressing state of mind she continued for a considerable time, but at last her sorrow was turned into joy. Receiving'Christ by faith, she obtained a sense of her acceptance in the Beloved. The joy of the Lord was her strength; and in this strength she pursued her way, until she finished her course with joy. Mr; and Mrs. C. upon 'receiving the grace of God, almost immediately invited Mr. Crook to their house; where he was entertained with affectionate liberality. This led the way to the opening of their house for the preaching of the gospel, and its walls have since resounded with the glad tidings of salvation for near half a century. At that time they lived in a part of the house which was occupied by their parents, and were exposed to a storm of persecution, not only from strangers but also from those of their own household. They remained firm to their purpose, to serve the Lord at all hazards, and to do what they could for the spread and establishment of true religion in the island. Several others were awakened, and a society was formed. On Monday, November 15th, she complained of being unwell; on the Tuesday greatly afflicted, but very happy. The same when dying that she had been in life ;a steady, peaceful, pleasant, faithful, resigned, happy Christian. Her daughter expressing her fear that she was going to leave them, she replied, 'It may be so; but I am happy in my Saviour's love.' The parting scene was at hand; and her husband, wishing to hear her voice once more, and to receive her dying testimony for the Lord, inquired, 'Have you any thing to say to me?' The reply was, 'What a happy meeting we shall have above!' She gently fell asleep, having adorned her Christjan profes sion for forty-five years."
"September 25th, 1825, at Douglas, Jane Quiggin, in the seventy- sixth year of her age. She lost her sight when very young, which prevented her, in a great measure, from providing for herself; but the Lord raised up friends to provide for her until she was removed unto that heavenly world where there is no want. She was a steady, humble, holy, happy Christian. Her sufferings were great, but her consolations abounded. '1 do not want to die,' said she, 'because I am weary of the world, nor because of my sufferings; but I want to get home to my Lord.' She left the world praising God; after having adorned the gospel of God our Saviour, in the Methodist connexion, for nearly fifty years."
"At Douglas, October 1st, 1825, Mrs. Eunice Quiggin, in the thirty-third year of her age. Her mind was early impressed with the necessity of personal religion; and when lifting up her streaming eyes to heaven, as she expressed herself, she found the 'pearl of great price,' the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sin. She joined the Methodist society in her fifteenth year, was an active teacher in the Sunday school, and had the charge of a class of children, who were brought under deep concern for their salvation, principally through her instrumentality. She was also appointed leader of a class of young females, which was continued for several years with increasing pros perity. The sick and the dying claimed her special attention; and, an opportunity offered, she was regular in her attendance upon the abodes of disease and death; administering to the afflicted the consolations of religion, by directing them to the Saviour who gave his life a ransom for all; and in this work of charity and mercy she was happily successful. She was always tender of the character of an absent person, and would often lament the conduct of some professors of religion, who were in the habit of speaking evil of those who were not present to answer for themselves. She was an active collector for our foreign missions; and her last act of mercy was that of going about to collect some money for one of the poor of Christ's flock. On the 24th of September she was severely attacked by disease, which, in seven days terminated her useful life. On the morning of the day on which she died, she appeared much better, and hope was entertained that she would recover; but the sun of promise in a few hours set for ever. Mrs. Quiggin was aware of her situation, and talked freely and with much composure of her funeral. She desired her two children to be brought to her, on whom she invpked God's blessing. She kissed them; and when taking leave of the youngest, prayed that God would save her by his grace. Some of her last words were, "'See there my Lord upon the tree; I hear, I feel he died for me.'
'Praised be God; Glory be to God:' and in answer to· the question, 'Whether she was in much pain,' her reply was, 'I feel none; this bed was never so soft as now; it is to me as a bed of roses.' She attempted to sing a verse of one of our hymns on heaven, but could only utter two lines; and having struggled a few moments, she arose into eternal life. She had been eighteen years a regular and useful member of the Methodist society."
"At Douglas, October 16th, 1825, Jane Quark in the twenty-fifth year of her age. When she was about sixteen years of age she began to seek the Lord with all her heart. God was pleased to sanctify a painful dispensatioti of his providence to awaken the mind of Jane to a concern for her salvation: it was the death of her mother. In July, 1817, she joined the Methodist society in Douglas, and in August following, when meeting her class, she found peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. She never lost the confidence of 'her 'acceptance in the Beloved,' until she saw him 'face to face.' She died of a consumption, under which she laboured for seventeen weeks; but which she bore with entire patience and resignation to the divine will. Jesus Christ was the delight of her soul, and the foundation of her hope. She often said, 'Christ is all to me; I want no more.' Seeing her friends expressing their grief at her approaching end, she told them not to weep, and that her death should rather be cause of joy. Just before she expired, one of her friends said to her, 'You seem happy,' she replied, 'Very happy in God' and immediately after almost imperceptibly fell asleep. Her race was short; but she obtained the prize, and was called to an early crown."
"October 29th, 1825, at Mary-Veg, Kirk St. Ann, Mr. Robert Brew. When the venerable Mr. Crook first visited the island, preaching in the market-places and in the highways, Mr. Brew was one of his earliest hearers. .He was informed that the Methodist preacher was propagating a new gospel; but he was determined to hear for himself. The word went to his heart, and he was heard to say, 'He preaches nothing but the truth; and if he can form a society in the island, I am determined that this people shall be my people, and their God my God.' A society was soon formed, and Mr. Brew joined immediately. Persecution raged against the preacher and the infant society; it was at the hazard of their lives that they assembled for divine worship; but Mr. Brew outweathered the storm and lived to see Methodism widely spread, and firmly rooted in the island. In the midst of the tempest his usual observation was, 'I have put my hand to the plough, audI am determined that neither men nor devils shall fright me from nq purpose.' His parents were induced to hear for themselves, and hving converted to God: their house was opened for the preaching of the gospel, and was one of the first places for the Methodist ministry of the word in the island. Mr. Brew would often repeat the texts and the heads of the sermons, which he heard from the first preachers, and especially from Mr. Crook, whom he never mentioned but with evident feelings of lively gratitude and affection. The preachers both travelling and local were highly esteemed by him and his wife, in whose house they found a comfortable home. Some of his last sayings were, 'I do not feel that rapture of joy that I have read of in others, but I have solid peace: I can trust in the Lord, and upon him is my soul stayed.' Just before his death, he 'said to a friend, 'O the Lord is drawing nearer. I can say, 'Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace for my eyes have seen thy salvation." Thus died an 'old disciple,' in the eighty-seventh year of his age."
"Dec. 11, 1829, at Ballaugh, aged twenty-six years, Ann Killip. She was from a child the subject of serious impressions, produced by the influence of the Holy Spirit, in connexion with the admonitions of' her parents, and the exhortations of the Rev. H. Stowell, whose Sunday school she regularly attended for several years. Soon after the erection of a Methodist chapel in the neighbourhood, she, being then twenty-two years old, joined the society, before which she for some time had been careless about her salvation. A violent storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and the news of the death of her youngest brother by drowning, made her resolve in the strength of the Lord, to devote herself to God. She embraced the first opportunity of meeting in class; which she found to be a means of great spiritual improvement. Much of her time, particularly after she became a Methodist, she devoted to the improvement of her mind; and her progress was very considerable. Her memory was very reten iive, and stored with almost all the Methodist hymns; besides many passages, selected with judgment and taste, from the authors to which she had access. There is scarcely an incident related in the Life of the Rev. John Wesley which she did not recollect, and in conversation re specting that eminent man, one would have supposed that she had lived in habits of intimacy with him. She also made great proficiency in scriptural knowledge. This is attested in the following extract from a letter by the esteemed clergyman already mentioned :- I consider her as having exhibited a beautiful example of early piety. Her resigned behaviour, under her tedious illness, was very exemplary; and her acquaintance with her Bible was remarkable.. She said the passages she had committed to memory, when at the Sunday school, were particularly consolatory to her; and that she could, with truth, say of the scriptures, 'There my choicest treasures lie.''
She had, at different times, suffered from affliction; and on the 1st of November, 1829, for the last time she became a subject of disease. She believed, from the beginning of her sickness, that it would end in dissolution. She expressed a wish to be fully resigned to her heavenly Father's will; adding, 'O that I could love my Saviour more!' A friend, who called a day or two before she died, before joining in prayer with her, desired her to mention What she particu lady needed. Her reply was, 'O! for more faith, more hope, more love!' The Lord heard and answered her prayers. Her last words were, 'Lord Jesus come quickly."'
"At Douglas, Jan. 21, 1830, in the seventy-fourth year of her age, Mrs. Eleanor Kay, widow of Mr. John Kay, many years a local preacher and class-leader in that town, and who died happy in God about eighteen months before her. 'Mrs. Kay was convinced of her lost estate as a sinner, and, having fled for refuge to the cross of Jesus Christ, she found the pearl of great price; God revealed his Son in her heart, and bore witness by his Spirit thait her sins were all for given. Her joy was great, and she continued to run without weari ness, till the Master said unto her, 'Come up hither.' During her last affliction she was greatly supported, having joy and peace in believing. On the morning of the day when she entered the paradise of God, she said to a friend, 'I am strong in the Lord; I have neither doubt nor fear; I trust in the merits of the Saviour; help me to praise Jesus.' She continued in this happy frame of mind, till she fell asleep in him who is the 'resurrection and the life.'"
"March 11th, 1833, at Ballaugh, Mr. Robert Corlett, aged seventy- five. He was an old disciple. Upwards of forty years he had been a member of the Methodist society. The gentleness of his manners, the kindness of his disposition, and the cheerfulness with which he did good on all occasions, obtained for him a place in the esteem and affection of all who knew him. His end was peace."
"May 6th, 1833, Mrs. Harrison in the fifty-third year of her age. When about twenty years of age she removed to Guernsey, and soon after her arrival there she was converted to God through the instrumentality of the preaching of the Methodists. Her conversion was accompanied by the most satisfactory evidence, and was followed by an amiable and unblemished conversation. During the last twenty years she was a judicious, faithful, and useful class-leader. Her last illness was protracted, but she was favoured with spiritual enjoyment. A few hours before her death she was heard to say, 'Much pain, much grace, much happiness! The road is quite plain; and angels are rejoicing over me. The Lord is my confidence.' She departed this life in great peace."
"May 26th, 1833, Miss C. Christian of Ramsey, aged sixty-nine; upwards of forty years a member of the Methodist society. The sincerity, simplicity, philanthropy, and humility of this godly woman constituted her a stay and ornament of the church. She suffered much affliction but endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Her heart and her treasure were in heaven; she longed to depart and be with Christ; yet she patiently waited for his coming. She practised great frugality that she might be able to minister to the wants of the poor, and support the cause of God. Her legacy of £40 to the chapel proved her attachment to that cause. She was an eminent example of whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report."
On one occasion, while listening to that good man, and very useful local preacher, W. Cowley, she received a rich baptism of the Holy Spirit, and was filled with light and love. In his discourse Mr. Cowley spoke of holiness, or full sanctification, as the Canaan into which every believer should be determined to enter at once, and after referring to crossing the Jordan in illustration of his subject, on which he dwelt with great force and feeling, he suddenly exclaimed, "In the name of God I am going over into the land of holiness! which of you will go with me ?" Miss Christian immediately responded, "I will." She passed the Jordan of death with holy fortitude and joy.
"March 28th, 1834, at Kenna, in the Ramsey circuit, Mr. James Gill, aged forty years; who for the last seventeen had been an exemplary member of the Methodist society. At the beginning of his religious career, he met with severe trials; but through divine grace he overcame them all. He was a friend to the cause, and liberal to the poor. For several years he performed the office of prayer-leader and of class-leader, and was the society steward. When on the threshold of eternity, he invited his attendants to unite with him in praising God. In the earnest hope of eternal life he fell asleep in Jesus."
"July 17th, 1834, at Ramsey, aged eighteen years, Elizabeth daughter of Mr. Bridson. To her mental advantages was added that of a person of uncommon loveliness; yet when under the influence of grace, few were so distinguished as she for humility of deportment. Her convictions of sin were deep and agonizing, but were speedily succeeded by a powerful manifestation of divine love. From the moment she entered into the glorious liberty of the children of God, to the time of her death, she seems to have walked in a clear and uninterrupted sunshine of divine favour; and her graces rapidly hastened on to maturity. 'She was attacked with an inflammation of the heart, which terminated in a general debility of the system.. She seemed daily to increase in heavenly, mindedness; and under all her illness manifested a holy resignation. A short time before her death her countenance shone, as it were, with holy joy and the strains in. which she expatiated on the love of Christ charmed every ear. In this happy frame she expired."·
"October 22d, 1834, at Colby, Mr. Henry Watterson, aged forty- three. His parents were for many years members of the methodist society, and in their house the preachers received the kindest entertainment. During their life, however, he remained careless about the concerns of eternity. His father in his dying hours, solemnly charged him not to shut his door against the preachers; which he punctually fulfilled. He was not without seasons of serious and very painful reflection. When contrasting his own state and character with those of the servants of God, he would retire, and even weep over himself. When Mr. Telboys was in the island, his convictions were greatly strengthened, and feeling the necessity of salvation, he sought the Lord humbly and earnestly, and was made a happy partaker of forgiveness, and of a renewed heart. Joining the Wesleyan society, he became a steady and increasingly zealous promoter of religion to the day of his death. He was ready to every good word and work. As a local preacher he was punctual and laborious, and often expressed a desire that his former zeal in the cause of sin might not exceed his present zeal for religion. When the cholera prevailed, he was exceedingly active in visiting those who were afflicted with it. He seemed, indeed, as though he felt the necessity of working while it was day. He lived like a man who had the eternal state in view, watching and waiting for his Lord's coming. His affliction was very painful; but such was his patience that no one who saw him would have thought so. He gave to his son a charge similar to that which he had received from his father. Some of his last words were, 'he has cleansed my heart.' Heaven seemed so near to him that he was scarcely conscious of the falling of the earthly tabernacle; and in this state of perfect composure he expired."
"December 3d, 1834, near Grenaby, Mr. William Joughin, aged fifty-three; having been a member of the Methodist society thirty-six years, and a class-leader and local preacher, twenty-six. His walk with God was close and uninterrupted; and in his intercourse with men, he Was acknowledged to' be 'an Israelite indeed.' As a Manx preacher he was popular and useful; being a man of good natural abilities, of studious habits, 'and having an unction from the Holy One.' He diligently applied himself to the study of his bible, and most of our standard Works; and his profiting appeared to all. During his affliction; which was long and painful, he experienced many repeated, manifold temptations. His wife ...
"' I have an advocate above,
A friend before the throne of love.'
This gasp a fresh impulse to his mind; he put on a cheerful courage; and us the strength of his Lord triumphed gloriously. From that time hit confidence was unshaken. He frequently said, 'I will not loose my hold of God.' 'Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.'"
"December 28th, 1834 at Castletown, Mr. John Kerruish, aged - forty years, having been twenty five years a member of the Methodist society, and long an acceptable and useful class-leader. His piety was evinced by his uniform walk with God, his genuine meekness, and un feigned humility. He was a lover of good men, and of the word and ministes's of Christ; and a strict observer of Christian duty. To the last hour of his life, he avowed his cordial belief in the doctrines of Methodism, and conscientious attachment to its constitution and disci pline. The society of which he was an ornament has sustained a great loss in his removal. For several months he was the subject of great affliction; but, by the grace of God, he was enabled to suffer with that fortitude and resignation which Christianity only can inspire. He triumphed over pain and death; rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory; and those who were present participated in his joy, and felt as if they were on the verge of heaven."
"March 8th, 1835, at Ramsey, Mr. John Corlett, sen., in the sixty-seventh year of his age. In early life he rested his spiritual safety in a regular attendance upon the ordinances of the established church, till about his twenty-fifth year, when the minister, on the Sabbath before the administration of the sacrament, announced it in the following manner : Dearly beloved, on Sunday next, I purpose, through God's assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed, that most comfortable sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, to be received by them in remembrance of his meritorious cross and passion, whereby,, done we obtain the remission of sins.' The last clause was forcibly applied to his conscience; and he instantly saw himself to be a guilty sinner. He began to frequent the ministry of the Methodists, under which his convictions were increased, and he soon joined the society. 'One day while following the plough, the Lord spake peace to his soul. He immediately unloosed the horses, and with speed repaired home to proclaim the glad tidings to his family. Having been in the society two years, he was employed as a local preacher; in which capacity he was engaged till obliged to desist through loss of memory. He kindly entertained the preachers for many years, and manifested an affectionate regard for them to the end of his life. He was a lover of Methodism; a man of a meek and quiet spirit; and studied, as much as in him lay, to live peaceably with all men. On the evening of March 1st he was at the preaching: he returned home, and retired to bed, without any apparent indisposition. During the night he was seized with paralysis, which deprived him of the use of one side, and nearly of the power of speech. he continued till the evening of the following Sabbath when he entered into rest."
"May 4th, 1835, at Douglas, Mr. William Kerruish, an old disciple, who had learned of his divine Master to be eminently meek and lowly in heart. For fifty years he sustained an irreproachable character, having been enabled to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. During the whole of that time he was a member of the Methodist society; and about forty-seven years a useful local preacher and class-leader. Many were the gracious words which were uttered by him in his lingering illness; to the termination of which he looked forward with sincere but resigned desire, knowing that he had in heaven a better inheritance. He continued sensible to the last, and died in perfect peace."
"December 28th, 1836, at Ballameanagh, Mr. Matthias Corran, in the ninety-fourth year of his age: a consistent member of the Methodist society for nearly sixty years; during the greater part of' which time he filled the office of class-leader with much acceptance. His decease was occasioned by the gradual decay of nature. When asked how he felt, his usual reply was, 'I have no pain either of body or mind;' adding his favourite 'Manx expression, Moylley dys ,jee fteu amyssee! 'Praised be the God of heaven!' In conversing with a relative who attended him during his confinement, it was observed, 'There is something awful in death; for it is the wages of sin.' 'True,' replied the aged pilgrim; 'but the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.'"
When Mr. Corran joined the Methodist society, and proceeded so far as to invite Mr. Crook to his house, his father was greatly offended, and did all in his power to induce him to break off his intercourse with the swaddlers. He took an early opportunity of stating to him, in a most serious and solemn manner, that he had made up his mind to disinherit him, and utterly cast him off, unless he would renounce Methodism, but that he would allow him seven days, to consider the subject and make up his mind, before he pressed him for his decision. Mr. Corran deeply felt on the occasion. He had great veneration and love for his father, and - ''it was no light thing to sacrifice all hope of inheriting the family estate, but, through the grace of God, he determined to forsake all that was dear to him in this world, rather than thus sin against God, and risk the salvation of his soul. On the appointed day, his father, who had great affection for him, was anxious to know to what conclusion he had come, and when informed, in a most respectful but firm manner, that his son had concluded to resign his favour, and give up all expectation of inheriting his property, rather than forfeit the kingdom of God, he was almost overwhelmed with grief and wept bitterly. He was, nevertheless, determined to do as he had said, and, in every possible way to shew his displeasure, and manifest his disapprobation of the conduct of his son. After some time, however, the mistaken father was led to serious reflection on the subject; and he could not but admit that in general his son acted with great propriety, that he possessed a right judgment in most things, and that he always manifested great respect and tenderness towards himself. At length he was induced to hear the Methodist preachers himself; and it pleased God to remove his prejudices and to change his heart. His son was more than restored to the father's affection, and, at his death, succeeded to the estate; and is now a "partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light." "Them that honour me I will honour." God may try, but he will deliver and bless those who put their trust in him.
"June 15th, 1839, at Ballaskyr, in the Ramsey circuit, parish of Kirk Michael, Mr. John Caine, in the seventy-second year of his age. He joined the Methodists about eleven years after the first society was formed in the island. He was called to share the persecution and obloquy, at that period, liberally poured upon the professors of experimental and practical Christianity ; but he experienced the fulfilment of the promise, 'When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.' Few men ever attained a higher character for uprightness in business, or sincerity in religion, than Mr. John Caine. For about fifty years, he was one of the most steady, uniform, and consistent members of the Wesleyan Methodist society, that not only the Isle of Man, but the British empire could produce. When he began to act as a local preacher is not known; but his name was on the plan for 1792; nor did he ever omit to attend to his appointments, unless prevented by unavoidable circumstances.' The last Sabbath he spent on earth, he supplied his place on the plan at a distance of ten miles. He was repeatedly elected to the office of circuit steward, and was a trustee for a number of chapels. His memory is dear to the poor, who found in him a wise counsellor and a sympathizing friend: many of them have with tears said, 'We shall never see his like again.' The memory of the just is blessed. Amidst all the agitations by which Wesleyan Methodism has been convulsed, Mr. Caine remained the same unflinching friend. He knew the foundation on which his faith was built; and, rightly appreciating his Christian privileges, he had no sympathy with those who are given to change. On the Monday preceding his death, while superintending some workmen, he received a slight contusion from a stone which rolled against his leg; but nothing serious was apprehended, either by himself or his medical adviser. He walked to the chapel, and met his class as usual, on the Wednesday evening; but on the following day, the affected part began to assume a very serious appearance; mortification ensued; and on Saturday morning his spirit took its triumphant flight to the paradise of God. Though he was suddenly called he was found ready. But a short time before he expired, he said, 'I find that Jesus is my all-sufficient Saviour.'"
"February 15th, 1841, at Sulby, Mr. Patrick Caley, aged sixty- nine years. ' At an early period of life, he was brought to the knowledge of the truth through the instrumentality of the Methodist ministers. He united himself to the Wesleyans when they were subject to much reproach and persecution. Having himself found that invaluable blessing, the love of God shed abroad in his heart, through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, his happy spirit yearned with pity for the souls of his fellow-sinners, and the love of God constrained him to go and entreat them to be reconciled to God. In those days the word of God was precious; and it was no uncommon thing for people to travel from one end of the island to the other to hear the gospel preached, and attend those means of grace which are peculiar among the Methodists. What king George III. once said of the Puritan divines, ''There were giants in the earth in those days,' may, be applied to the first race of local preachers in the Isle of Man. 'They were in journeyings often, and in labours more abundant.' They would frequently travel from twenty to thirty miles on a Sabbath-day to exhort their fellow-sinners to 'flee from the wrath to come,' seeking no higher reward than the blessing of God upon their labours. Among that noble, zealous, and disinterested race of men, Patrick Caley was not the least useful. Being blessed with a strong constitution, a good voice, and a sound, scriptural, and experimental knowledge of divine truths, his animating discourses were listened to with delight; and many will be the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus. After having discharged with fidelity the important duties of his offices as a local preacher and class-leader for nearly half a century, his master called him by a brief affliction, to leave the church militant, and join the church triumphant. His end was peace."
August 25, 1847, at Douglas, Mrs. Jane Mylrea, in the twenty seventh year of her age. She was convinced of her guilt and danger at an early age, chiefly by the instrumentality of the affectionate and earnest addresses to which she listened in the Douglas Sunday school. She became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist society when about fifteen years of age, and consistently maintained her Christian profession to the end of her course. She did not, however, enjoy that clear and satisfactory conviction of her acceptance in the Beloved till during her last affliction. It was while a Christian friend was praying with her, that she was enabled to believe on the Lamb of God, "which taketh away the sin of the world." Her soul was then filled "with all joy and peace in believing," and abounded "in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." She sent for her immediate relatives that she might tell them what great things God had done for her soul; and she praised the Lord with adoring gratitude and obedient love. The illness which terminated in her early removal from her affectionate relatives and friends, was of several months continuance, but the Lord sustained her throughout the protracted, and very painful dispensation. It was evident on the Thursday before her death, that the solemn event was rapidly approaching; her mind, however, was preserved in peace, and she seemed to derive great comfort from those words, "He ever liveth to make intercession for them." She repeated the de lightful truth, and exclaimed, "Glory, glory, glory !" On Saturday evening she received the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper; and it was, indeed, a joyous season. The fear of death was entirely removed and she was enabled to testify that through the atonement and mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ, and for his sake alone, she was saved, and that her heart was cleansed from all unrighteousness. . The following were some of her expressions on the occasion :" Glory be to God !"" I'll praise my Maker while I've breath;"" I want to be fully prepared;" Sanctified whollyGlory be to God !" "Sanctified whollyGlory be to God!' 'repeating the words several times over, and that with an emphasis never to be forgotten by those who heard her. - She spoke of the blood of Christ with indescribable emotion, and added, "O how he has comforted me to day in my great affliction I" In the severest paroxysms of pain, her language was, "Help me Jesus"" He suffered more for me, and shall I refuse to suffer his will !" Her feelings at times were evidently of the most ecstatic character, and she frequently said, "I thought all was over and that I was with my Jesus ;" and, "What can be keeping me back !"" Why do thy chariot wheels delay!"but added, "Not my will, but thine be done." As her weakness increased, her hallowed peace seemed to abound, and when she was scarcely able to articulate, or modulate her voice, she said, as well as her strength would allow,
"'Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose spirit shall guide me safe home;
I'll praise him for all that is past,
And trust him for' all that's to come.
Being asked if she could now trust in Jesus, she turned to the enquirer, and with a look full of expression and beaming with happiness, said, "WHY should I NOT trust in Jesus !" Her last words were, "Bless the Lord !"
At Douglas, August 27th, 1847, Mr. William Craine, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He was a native of Kirk German, but resided in Douglas for more than fifty years; and for nearly the whole of that long period had been a zealous and useful member of the Methodist society. Through a course of many years he furnished consistent outward proof of the reality of an inward change. He acted as a local preacher for some time in the earlier part of his Christian career, and, to the close of his life, he manifested great love to souls, and a holy zeal in his heavenly Master's cause. For many years, he laboured as a class-leader with affection and fidelity, and on all occasions evinced a. feeling of deep solicitude for the afflicted and poor. He habitually cherished a strong attachment to the people to whom he was united, but was a sincere lover of all good men, .and earnestly prayed for the peace and prosperity of Zion. He was frequently reminded that this state was not his rest, but he trusted in the Lord, and obtained grace to be faithful, even unto death. His last affliction was only of few week's continuance; yet he was soon brought low, and it was evident that his end was near. It was, however, his happiness to be able to say; "I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." He fully depended upon the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, and had no doubt of his acceptance in him. "Religion," said he, "is no cunningly devised fable Here's foundationsolid rock ;" and remarked that the promises were even fuller and sweeter' than he had 'expected; adding, "It's easy work easy work is dying." On Thursday, the 19th, he was very poorly and weak, but engaged in blessing the Lord and giving thanks to his name. He was greatly revived and cheered by the assurance, "that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Ged, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." On Tuesday, the 24th, he was very weak, but calmly waiting for the coming of the Lord. He said, "My God, my God !"" He is very kind, very kind !" On Thursday, the 26th, it was evident that he was about to finish his course, but he said, "Praise the Lord !" and, with peculiar feeling, repeated," The streaming blood divine !" "What an idea," he exclaimed, "putting every thing else at a distance!" On taking hold of his hand, and bidding him farewell, at the same time saying, "God bless you !" with great confidence and peace he replied, " I believe he will." His end, indeed, was peace.
"September 24th, at Sulby, William Kelly aged seventy-five. Fifty-four years he had been a member of the Wesleyan society; and for nearly fifty years a zealous and useful local preacher. He was naturally somewhat stern and abrnpt in his manner, but softened and subdued by the grace and Spirit of God. He had very clear views of the necessity and sufficiency of tlhe atonement, and joyfully realised his interest in it. During the latter part of his life, his public discourses and private conversation were marked by lucid and impressive remarks on the nature and importance of. Christian purity; and it was evident that his own mind was under a sanctifying influence. He gradually sank under the infirmities of age, until 'the weary wheels of life stood still, ' and he fell asleep in Jesus."-
At Douglas, December 5th, 1847, "John 'Lamplugh, aged twenty-eight years, who, though not a native of the Isle of Man, was united to it by some of the tenderest ties. He was converted to God eight or nine years before his death, and, about the same time, became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist society, to which he continued devotedly attached till the close of his life, In 1842, he was admitted on the local preachers' plan, and shortly after was called to sustain the important and highly responsible office of class-leader. From the commencement of his Christian course he cultivated and displayed a steady zeal in the service of his divine Master, but his piety was evidently deepening as he approached his end. He latterly spoke much, and in a very impressive manner, especially in meeting his class, on the subject of death. Several individuals were powerfully affected with the remarks which he made. At the beginning of his illness, when suffering great pain, he said, "What should I do if I had to seek salvation now !But all will be well, whether it be life or death, all will be well !" He manifested great thankfulness for the attention which he received in his affliction, especially from his affectionate wife, and said, "God will reward you." For some time before his last sickness he became eminently attentive to the means of grace, and it was apparent to all, that he was rapidly advancing in heavenly mindedness. The word of God was his delight, and he spent much time, in the early part of every day, in the prayerful perusal and diligent consideration of its sacred truths. He was scrupulously exact in his attention to the claims of the holy Sabbath, never allowing any thing of a worldly character to interfere with its hallowed nature and design: indeed, he would hardly allow necessary temporal things to be attended to on the sacred day. His efforts, in behalf of the sick and afflicted, were prompt, affectionate, and persevering. He observed that he sometimes thought he might suffer, in discharging this duty, from contagious disorders, but that he immediately rose above every thing like fear, when he recollected that God could keep and preserve him in the midst of danger; and that if he permitted him to fall, all would be well. His liberality to the poor extended to the very utmost of his ability. He cheerfully supplied numbers with medicine, money, and provision, and evidently rejoiced in these labours of love. His last illness was but of ten or twelve days' continuance, and it was of such a nature as to prevent his conversing much on any subject; but, to use his own words, ' all was well :" and having lived long in a short time, he sweetly fell asleep, and entered into rest, on the morning of the Lord's day.
At Ballacowin, in the Douglas circuit, January 6th, 1848, Mr. Thomas Cowin, aged seventy years. He lost both his parents in one week, when he was only sixteen years of age. His mother, who was pious and highly esteemed, took every opportunity of impressing the truths of the gospel upon his young and tender mind; and her affec tionate counsels, and earnest warnings, he could never forget: even to the close of his life, he was accustomed to refer to her dying entreaties and prayers, and to attribute his conversion to the blessing of God on her affectionate and pious exertions. Soon after the death of his parents, he began to feel afraid lest the Spirit of God should be taken away from him, and that all hope of salvation would be extinguished for ever. This fear, which he was unable to shake off, brought him to the throne of grace, and after pleading and struggling for a consid erable time; he obtained mercy. The Spirit assured him of redemption in Christ, "through his blood," even "the forgiveness of sins. From the time of his conversion he was an eminently steady and con sistent. member of the Methodist society. Saved himself, he was led to entertain a deep solicitude for the salvation of others, and was careful to seek a preparation for usefulness by prayer, and diligent study of the word of God. His profiting appeared to all; he was appointed to lead a class, and soon became a local preacher. He did not confine himself to these modes of usefulness, but felt constrained to reprove sin where-ever he saw it, and to urge all about him, especially the young, to seek a Lord. He set a high value upon the means of grace, and cheerily laid aside worldly things for the purpose of attending more immediately to the sacred ordinances and duties of religion. His heart was weaned from the world, and in all he did in reference to temporal things, he was ever anxious to secure the divine blessing. He often said, "that if he could get enough to satisfy his necessities, pay his debts, and bury his body, all would be right could he but get safe to heaven." About six years before his death, he was impressed with the necessity of obtaining greater blessings. He had a clear sense of God's pardoning love, but he knew that it was his privilege to be cleansed from all sin. Rising before, day on the first of the new year, he pleaded mightily with God, and before he rose from his knees, he was filled with holy love. His death was the safe and happy close of a holy, useful life. All was settled peace. He enjoyed more, much more, of the happiness of heaven than he had previously expected to realise on earth: seeing and feeling more than he could express. He passed through death triumphant home. The multitudes who attended his funeral testified the high esteem in which he was held.
"November 12th, 1848, at Regaby, in the Ramsey circuit, aged sixty-nine, John Kneale, esq., who from an early period of life had been a consistent member of the Wesleyan society, and for many years had sustained the offices of local preacher, class-leader, and trustee. At his house the Wesleyan ministers always found a kind reception. He was a man of deep and unaffected piety, unblemished reputation, and extensive usefulness. In his public capacity, he honourably exerted himself for the suppression of vice, especially in the form of drunkenness; he was also much respected and beloved as a general peace-maker. For some years he was a member of the legislature of the island; and in that body he not only creditably maintained, but uniformly adorned, his religious profession. His last illness was long and severe, arising from repeated attacks of paralysis; but he meekly resigned himself to the will of God; and, as long as he was able to articulate, expressed his unwavering trust in the atonement of Christ. His life of active and exemplary piety was at length terminated by a death full of peace and hope."
I must now add to my list of those who have died in the Lord, the truly venerable Richard Thompson, esq., who departed this life at Douglas, on Tuesday, April 17th, 1849, in the ninety-second year of his age. Mr. Thompson was a native of Northumberland, and is said to have been a descendant of the family of bishop Ridley, who suffered martyrdom in the reign of Queen Mary. He became habitually serious at the age of fourteen years, chiefly through the blessing of God on the influence and affectionate entreaties of a pious sister. Whenever she visited home, it was her invariable custom to use every means in her power to impress his young and tender mind with the necessity and importance of true religion. He was savingly converted to God when about one or two and twenty years of age, and from that time he was a devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. For several years he was entirely engaged in the duties of the Christian ministry, but, his health failing, he retired from the work, and afterwards became a highly respectable merchant in the city of Glasgow. Though he had deemed it his duty to retire from the sacred office, he did not lose his zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, but continued to labour for the advancement of true religion and the welfare of men. He was an acceptable and useful local preacher, and very efficient class-leader, which offices he retained to the day of his death. He took a very active part in the establishment and maintenance of Sunday schools, and was, for many years, one of the principal supporters, and most constant visitors of the society for relieving and visiting the sick and afflicted in Glasgow. He never failed to discharge his duty in this work of Christian benevolence whatever the case might be, but visited hundreds, under very painful and dangerous circumstances, without fear, and without suffering the least injury.
For more than twenty years Mr. Thompson has resided in the Isle of Man, and has uniformly manifested love to the Saviour, zeal for the advancement of true religion, and deep solicitude for the ignorant, afflicted, and poor. His mind was peculiarly vigorous, and richly stored with information, especially on the great truths and obligations of divine revelation. He had very clear and enlarged views of "God's great love to all mankind ;" and of "the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ;" and could well understand, and clearly set forth, man's great responsibility, and the Almighty's free and over flowing goodness. He could never entertain the idea that a careless, unfaithful professor could be safe, yet, he would have been the last to allow that even the most diligent and devoted could ever justly take any merit or praise to himself. For several years he has been in a great measure prevented, by the infirmities of age, from taking an active part in public life, but has, nevertheless, been deeply interested in the extraordinary movements of the present day.
His last illness was but of short duration, yet it was greatly sanctified to his spiritual good. He himself said it had been the means of deepening his piety, and observed that he was not worthy to be saved. To one who called upon him a few weeks before his death, he remarked, "I think of my end every day," and repeated, in a very impressive manner,
"'Now let me gain perfection's height;
Now let me into nothing fall;
Be less than nothing in thy sight;
And feel that Christ is all in all.'"
He spoke of himself as being nothing, "not," he added, "that I wish to entertain a false humility." He then proceeded to state that he wanted more faith, and enlarged on its nature and vast importance. On another occasion, and still later date, though evidently getting weaker, yet perfectly collected and very happy, he stated that the Lord had taken from his heart every thing contrary to love and good will, "and that," said he, "is the gospel :" and exclaimed, "What a wonderful thing is faith !" He responded most devoutly to the various petitions offered up in prayer, especially to such as had refer ence to himself, his family connexions, and the church of God. At another time, yet nearer his death, he appeared to be gradually sinking, and approaching the end of his course, but it was obvious that he was in a most delightful state of mind, and fully ripening for the inheri tance above. He referred to his great weakness and said, "Human nature is very low." On one repeating, "When I am weak, then I am strong !" he again observed, "Human nature is very low." "But," said a friend, "you have more than that: the grace of God is your strength." He was much affected, and replied, "What should I do if I had religion to seek now? The Lord Jesus is my all and in all," repeating the words again and again, and adding, "but it is all mercy, all mercy." "I thank God he has delivered me from all undue attachment to worldly things: now I have done with all beside 'Jesus and him crucified."'" It would be very wrong in me to complain." A friend said, "You have no wish to do that ;" on which he exclaimed, with an expression of countenance which it would be difficult to describe, "Wish to go to hell !" and further observed, "What fools we have been!" and spoke, with deep emotion, of the feelings with which he looked upon the past. Lifting up his hands, he prayed that God would be among the people, that God would bless the people! and then proceeded as follows :" I feel no will of my own, but can say, 'Thy will be done;' and am well assured that what God does must be right." He then repeated, very impressively ; "
'Thy mercy never shall remove
From men of heart sincere;
Thou sav'st the souls whose humble love
Is joined with holy fear.'"
In this happy frame of mind he continued till he sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. His remains were committed to the dust on Tuesday, April 24th, being followed to their final resting-place on earth by a large number of highly respectable, pious, and affectionate friends. His was, I believe, the first interment in the Kirk Braddan new burying ground. It was a just remark which the truly excellent clergyman privately made on the occasion, "It is a saint that is gone."
It would be very easy, my dear Sir, to multiply these proofs and illustrations of living faith in our adorable Redeemer, but what I have already produced will, I doubt not, be quite sufficient to convince you that, not only in the doctrine, experience, and practice of our most holy reli gion, as they stand associated with a holy, useful life, but, also, in its peace, fortitude, and joy, as they are connected with a truly happy and triumphant death, our societies in the Isle of Man are one with our societies in England, and in every other part of the world. They live and die in the Lord: and one has justly observed, "People who live and die well must be good." "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Believe me to remain, dear Sir,
"In sincerity and in truth,"Yours affectionately,J.R.