Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

THE

EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE,

APRIL, 1807.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCII

OF

[ocr errors]

THE LATE REV. HENRY MEAD, FORMERLY JOINT LECTURER OF ST. JOHN'S, WAPPING, &c.

[Though we have already inserted in our Obituary a short account of Mr. Mead, we trust that this Memoir, which records more fully the circumstances of his conversion, and his entrance into the ministry, will be acceptable to our readers.)

MR. Mead was born in the year 1745, in or near the city of Bath. His parents were obscure persons, possessing small property; and to ihese circumstances may be ascribed the defects of his early education. We cannot ascertain what religious instruction was afforded him ; but when only five years of age, he had some knowledge of his having offended, God, and that he was liable to punishment; on the nature of that punishment, "he th:sught as a child,” supposing that he might be ordered to some place where he should be treated with neglect. This apprehension arose from the manner in which his inoilier correcter him for offences, by ordering him to a corner of the room, and not permitting any one to regard him.

His father dying hen Henry was young, and his mother marrying the second time, he was put out apprentice to a low mechanic ; but did not reinain till the legal expiration of the term ; for, upon the death of his mother, his father-in-law made away with the little property which Henry had expected. This 80 wounded his feelings, and left him so destitute, that he abandoned his master, and went off to London. - Here we interrupt the narrative to state, what was at once both the genuine effuct of that relivion he afterwards possessed, and much to the credit of the procession de made, that he returneil, and filled up that which liud been lacking in the service due to his master.

In the meanitime, instead of seeking to recover the loss he kad sustaineid, or to improve the disappointment which vexed lumi, by increised

[ocr errors]

diligence and sobriety, we find him in the midst of the dissipations of the metropolis, seeking to divert his mind from reflection by the vain and criminal pleasures of this world. He chose persons of corrupt manners for his companions; and by telling merry tales and singing vain songs, be often raised their boisterous mirth. The Sabbath was to him a busy day in promoting the reign of Sin ; so greatly was his mind darkened, that he thought God did not desire the labouring poor to go to church ; and he pitied the clergy who were obliged to attend on the duties of religion, while he was at liberty to take a pleasant walk, or to visit a public tea-garden, &c. On one of those days, which should have been sacred, but, alas ! so frequently profaned, he could not meet with any of his associates; therefore, to get through the long and tedi. ous hours of that day, he purposed in his mind to go to Long Acre chapel; but on his way thither, he recollected to have heard of a Dr. Whitfield ; and frem the reports which had reached him, he expected to find in his preaching what would gratify his curiosity, and furnish him with matter for humorous remarks : he therefore directed his course for Tottenham Court Chapel.

The preacher was the Rev. Howell Davis. While this faithful minister pointed out the different practices of the impious, Mr. Mead found his own life described; but he remained unmoved, till the energetic penetrating close of the sermon, when the condemnation of such characters was set forth in a striking light. He felt distressed, went home, and, in retirement, began again to read his greatly-neglected Bible; and resolved to love. God. Sull he remained ignorant of the nature of faith in Him who is the only Saviour. The work was an outward reformation, not the communication of an inward vital principle; his visible reform was observed by his acquaintance, who were surprized at its being so sudden. The Religion (if it may be called by that name) which he knew at this time, was of a pharisaic cast: he said his prayers morning and evening, - he hought a book of prayers for every day in the week; and in this way he proceciled for some weeks, still attending at the chapel : but the Lord, who had determined to take possession of his heart, opened to his view the evils of his nature, and both the seat and deinerit of inward depravity. Spiritual convictions, those arrows of the Lord, took deep hold of him, and he groaned through disquietude. Now he found his book of prayers was of no service: it was laid aside; and from his deep-lelt misery, he crie! to Heaven, “ Lord, undertake for me, for I am oppressed !” He had for a time to wait as well as pray: his burden appeared to increase, so that in the day he could not find rest, and ly night he bathed his pillow with tears. Indeed, some nights he was afraid to lie dowrì, lest he should awake in llcll. With a inind so uncasy, and his rest so broken, it was no wonder that his body was brought ncar to the chambers of Death, When he heard some scoff, and say that

66

“ Hell is nothing but a man's conscience,” he felt a woun:led con: science to be such a Hell as no one can bear. Ilis workelly companions blamed him for going among the Methodistş; and the Formalist in religion spoke of him as going mad ; while he him self knew what he felt came through hearing them, but knew not yet how to obtain effectual relief. At one time he thought of going no more to the chapel; at another, was drawn to try the pleasure of a day's recreation ; but, like the unsatisfying shortlived pleasures of sin, the day passed without his tasting onc drop of real joy, - it was succeeded by the real anguisb attendo ing increased remorse. Thus exposed to “ cruel mockings,” to persccution, to present sorrows, and the forebodlings of fear, he thought himself hated by man, and even by God: he was also assailed by this temptation, that as the ways of religion are pleasant, and he had sorrow instead of peace, he must be dierefore a stranger to those ways. This wrought him up to temporary desperation ; his inexpressible grief poured itself forth in groans : “O Uat I had never sinned against God! I have a llell here upon Earth, and there is a Hell for me in eternity!" One Loril's Diy, very early in the morning, he was awoke by a tempest of thunder and lightning ; and imagining it to be the end of the world, his agony was great, supposing the great day of divine wrath was come, and he unprepared ; but happy to find it not so. Rising carly that morning, and having heard that Mr. Whitfield was to preach, he went and heard him, from llosed x. 12,“ Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy," &c. Under this discourse he had a reviving gleam of hope ; but this was transient. A young man lent him Baxter's Work on the New Birth; in reading which he felt the importance of the subject, and cxamined himself by the evidences of regeneration it contains. In this exercise he felt much of the power of unbeliet'; ' he saw all necessary for salvation to be in Christ, and that a sinner is justified by believing on him only ; but he felt it beyond his own power to believe : his prayers became more ardent, he spread his guilt, his wants, and his misery before the throne of God; lic sought for saving mercy as one perishing; and when“ he had nothing to pay,” he freely received the forgiveness of his sins, and the enjoyment of heavenly peace. Thus was he brought, and even constrained to acknowledge, “ I am saved by grace, thru' faith; and that not of myself, but Jesus gave it me!

“ O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I'm constrain’d to be!" The consolations he now enjoyed were connected with a holy deportment and a circumspect walk. This was die nale tural effect of the livine gratitude le felt, anki the desire “ to maintain good works,” that the cause of religion might not be slandered, nor the enemies of God have occision to blaspheme.

Having frequenily reviewed the Lorl's dealings with him, and the obligations he was under to recovering grace (this

[ocr errors]

appears to have been about two years from his first religious concern) he thought himself called upon to proclaim the glad tidlings of the gospel to others : he considered that the Lord had shewn him such great mercy, to the end that he might call others to come to Jesus Christ for life and salvation. Many things aro e to check these sentiments: now he feared they originated in pride; then he thought of the advantage he might obtain in following his secular calling; and also the increased persecution the ministry would expose him to in the world, and greater opposition from Satan. On the other hand, he saw himself engaged in a sinful conference with flesh and blood, saw himself set forth and condemned in the parable, where the unprofitable servant concealed his talent, - saw himself as wanting in that benevolent concern for his fellow-creatures which seeks their salvation, and the promotion of their best and eternal interests. At length be opened ihe state of his mind to a Christian frien', who, very wisely and faithfully represented the necessity o! his obtaining some literary qualification ; and informed him of the college at Trevecca, belonging to the late Countess of Huntingdon. This information, doubtless, contributed to form luis determination to apply to the Rev. G. Whitfield; which he did by a long letter, giving an account of himself, his conversion, and his motives in offering himself a candidate for admission to the college. Mr. Whitfield answered this letter; and soon after, Mr. Mead went to Trevecca. This was about the year 1767. He is thought to have been one in the second set of students after the establishment of that religious seminary, Mr. Mcad did not preach long in that connexion, for he had taken orders in the Church of England some time prior to his marriage, which was in the beginning of May, 1776. The object of bis choice was a Miss Cooper, of ihe neighbourhood of Henley, Oxon. ; to whom he was introduced at the llot Wells. This lady k sought him good property; and lic enjoyed much happiness in bis connubial relation with lier till Death separated them, about ten years ago. Upon his going to reside in London, Mr. Mead frequently preached in behalf of charitable institutions. On one of those occasions, bis being in a strain different from what, and longer than the Rector of the church expected, he treated Mr. Mead very uncourteously on his return to the vestry. However, a few months after, going to dine with a fiicnd, he was warmly embraced by one of the party, who owed his conversion to hearing that sermon ; when Mr. Mead observed, he was now at no loss to account for the Lion's roaring so roughly at the time.

sermon

[The remaining part of this Memoir, coinciding in general xith ihe account alreudy given in our Magazine for February, me forbeur to insert it.]

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

THE LATE REV. JOHN KINGDON.

[Concluded from our last.]

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

MR, KINGDON did not continue the account of his life, which some of his friends had solicited him to draw up; but he left behind him a private Diary, filling fifty-two small volumes : by which it appears, that he watched strictly over his own heart, and was enabled to walk with God humbly and circumspectly. Many profitable extracts might be made from them; but it would render this Memoir too large for the Magazine.

He was tried at times, for many years, with the gravel, tho' in general favoured with good health. The two last years of his life were the most afflicted, both as to mind and boily. Some unkind treatment which he experienced, often broke his rest, and took away his appetite for food, from which a failure of strength followed. He was often apprehensive that his troubles would bring on a stroke of the palsy, or the apoplexy. He however continued in his work till Lord's Day, Sept. 28, when he preached twice; but was so ill, and seemed so fecble, as to excite an apprehension in many, 'that he would die in the place. For some weeks before, his medical attendant had expressed an apprehension that his constitution was breaking up. However, he continued his kind attention, using means suited to restore his appetite and strength, but in vain. He continued gradually sinking down till about three o'clock on Tuesday morning, Nov. 18, when he entered into rest.

He drank tea at bis son's, Oct.S; but from that time he was confined 10 his house, and from Nov. 11 to his room ; and for the most part to bed: but during the whole of his confinement le was favoured with much case of body, and peculiar happiness of mind. He was visited by the various ministers of the town, aud by some from other places, as well as by many of his people, to whom he frequenily and feelingly expressed bis gratelul sense of the Lord's goodness towards him; desiring them to praise as well as pray on his behalf. His nights were very comfortable ; being, is he often expressed it, nearly as free from pain as if nothing ailed him; and during his waking moments, his mind was highly favoured with a sense of his personal interest in the divine favour. To the enquiries of liis friends, in the inorning, how he was, - he generally answered, " I have been easy as to iny body, and happy as to my mind, through the Loril's goodness. Rom. v. 8, affordel, night after night, great delight to his mind ; and those great promises, as he terined them, “ My grace is sufficient for thee," and, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” were sweetly applied; and lie was enabled to say,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »