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of the country, where Methodism gained some of its earliest trophies. Here a society was regularly organized, on the plan of an independent church, over which he was ordained pastor. His ministry, however, was not confined to this people, but he continued his itinerant exertions, in various parts of the country, until the year 1759, when he sunk under a series of most arduous, self-denying, aud highly useful labours, and "finished his course with joy." "I have seen (said his surviving partner) many saints take their leave of this world, but none like J. B.; may my last end be like his! As I was sitting on his bedside, he said, My dear, I am dying!' This was about eleven o'clock, and he conversed with me till two. I said, 'Thou art not afraid of dying?'


He answered cheerfully, No, my dear, for I am assured, past a doubt, or even a scruple, that I shall be with the Lord, to behold his glory; the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed me from all sin. I long to be dissolved. Come, Lord Jesus, loose me from the prison of this clay! Oh sweet, sweet dying. I said 'Canst thou now stake thy soul on the doctrine thou hast preached ?' He answered, 'Yes, ten thousand souls; it is the everlasting truth, stick by it.' Then he prayed for his wife and children-for his father, sister, and her children; and for the Church of God: after which he said, 'I long to be gone; I am full-my cup runneth over; sing, sing, yea shout for joy!' We then kissed each other and he fell asleep in the arms of Jesus." The part which Mrs. B. sustained in this remarkable and affecting scene, will give to the religious reader a lively conception of her real character. She was a native of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and her maiden name was Norman; but under that of Grace Murray (which she derived from a former mar

riage) she occupies a place no less distinguished than her husband in the annals of early Methodism. She possessed superior personal accomplishments, which were united in her to a mind cultivated by education, and an imagination brilliant and lively in the highest degree. In her childhood, she had often serious thoughts on religious subjects; but, as she grew up, her company being sought by the young and the gay, to whom her lively flow of spirits made her a most acceptable companion, her


goodness was as the morning cloud, and as the early dew." But being, at a maturer age, impressed with a deep concern for her salvation, by the preaching of Whitfield and Wesley, she entered into their views with all her constitutional ardour and decision; and having lost her first husband, who was greatly opposed to her religious pursuits, she devoted herself, in a particular manner, to the service of God, and especially to promote the eternal welfare of her own sex. She was employed by Mr. Wesley to organize his female societies, and for this purpose she travelled through various parts of both England and Ireland. Mr. W. used to call her his right hand; and it is known that he wished to make her his wife. An acquaintance, however, was formed between her and Mr. B., which, in its origin and continuance, was marked by several extraordinary circumstances, and which led to their marriage at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in October, 1749. The ceremony was honoured with the presence of George Whitfield and Charles Wesley. For several years Mrs. B. continued to travel with her husband, whom she greatly assisted in his labours; but afterwards, when her family and its cares increased, she retired to the neighbourhood of Chapel-en-le-Frith, where, for more than half a century, her life

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and conversation uniformly did the greatest honour to her religious principles and profession. Her views of Gospel doctrine, after her separation from Mr. Wesley, were always decidedly Calvinistic; but she retained a partiality to the modes and usages of the Methodists, and had for many years a class-meeting held in her house. She died, after a short sickness, February 23, 1803, in the 89th year of her age. In her dying moments she was supported, in an eminent degree, by the consolations of the Gospel; her last words were, Glory be to thee, my God; peace thou givest me!”


Mrs. B. was left, at the decease of her husband, with five sons, the oldest not eight years of age, in whose education she encountered many trials and difficulties; but, by her counsel, example, and pray ers, she trained them up "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The subject of this memoir appears to have engaged a full share of his mother's affectionate regard and pious endeavours. He was favoured, during several of his early years, with the advantages of instruction in the public grammar school at Chapel-en-leFrith. He afterwards resided for some time with Mr Stanbanks, a respectable farmer, at Astley, in Lancashire, where he attended at a school placed under the superintendance of Mr. Bennett, a distant relative, not much older than himself, who, at a subsequent period of life, became a clergyman of the Establishment, and published several ingenious works.

It is much to be regretted that no account can now be obtained of Mr. B.'s early religious impressions, or of the means by which he attained to that clear and spiritual acquaintance with divine things, of which he afterwards gave such satisfactory proof. It should, indeed, seem, from the manner in which he describes the salutary effect of

his mother's instructions and prayers, that he was the subject of experimental religion at an early age. It was, doubtless, in consequence of this, that, from his youth, he was inclined to enter into the Christian ministry, in which he was encouraged by his pious mother, and other religious friends.*

*In a late memoir of Mr. B., included in the same volume with his posthumous work, a very eager attempt is made to elicit something from his opinions and habits in favour of the Church of England, and the use of her Liturgy. This

has excited the amazement of many, to

whom it is well known that Mr. B. was, in his day, almost pre-eminent among a most respectable class of Dissenting divines, who are distinguished among their brethren by the superior regularity and consistency of their nonconformity. This author, however, states, that Mr. B. "is said to have once entertained some of England." We could have no posidea of becoming a minister of the Church sible objection to give currency to this statement, had we sufficient reason to think it authentic; but we find that it is not so regarded by persons to whom Mr. it is interwoven with a tissue of particuB. was best and longest known, and that lars, some of which are grossly incorrect, and others utterly unfounded. Among other things, Mr. B. is said to have been placed (at the time when he entertained this idea) under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Bennett, a respectable clergyman in the neighbourhood of Chapel-en-le-Frith, and author of "Letters to a Young La

dy;" whereas, we have ascertained, that

the person thus described was no clergyman until some years after the subject of this memoir had been devoted to the ministry among the Dissenters, and that he never, at any time, resided as a clergyman in the neighbourhood of Chapel-enle-Frith.

It is asserted, in the same publication, that Mr. B. was "fond of repeating the beautiful prayers of the Liturgy," that "his partiality for the service of the Church of England continued to the last," and that, "though he exercised his ministry among the Dissenters, he often, in conducting the solemnities of feelings of private devotion, adopted the public worship, and breathing forth the chaste and simple language of the Church prayers." How this author can have learned what language Mr. B. used in his private devotions is a complete mystery to


But respecting his prayers in public we can speak with greater confidence.

With this view he was placed, for preparatory instruction, under the care of the Rev. Mr. Plumbe, a respectable Dissenting minister, then of Charlesworth, in Derbyshire. The time spent with this gentleman, and the religious and literary advantages derived from his tuition, were often spoken of

Had there been any peculiarity in them, arising from the frequency with which he adopted the language of the Church prayers, it must have been known to the people with whom he worshipped; but we have learned from several respectable

ministers, with whose churches he was mostly connected during the last thirty years of his life, and in whose pulpits and social meetings he often prayed, that such a peculiarity was never either observed, or thought of, by themselves or their people. Of his fondness for repeating the Church prayers, they were in the same state of ignorance, until this memoir appeared; and what kind of partiality for the Liturgy it must have been, which he is said to have retained to the last," our readers may judge from the fact, that he continued to the last" to prefer, in practice, a different mode of worship.

This author next informs us, that "the train of reasoning which induced Mr. B. to dissent from the national establishment is not known;" but that, "it is likely reason had but a small share in the decision, at his age." Surely it was "not known" to the learned biographer, that Mr. B. had actually published his views, as a Dissenter, of "the Nature and Order of New Testament Churches," and that his "train of reasoning" on this subject, is extant, in the familiar and intelligible form of a catechism. The entirely gratuitous supposition that "reason had but

a small share in Mr. B.'s decision" to adhere to the Dissenters, we cannot pos

sibly admit, especially if we be expected,

to give credit also to what is said respecting his previous "idea of becoming

a minister of the Establishment." All who really knew Mr. B. will be perfectly confident, that if it had ever been a question with him, whether he should minister in the Establishment, or among the Dissenters, he would have given himself

no rest until he had made a decision on what appeared to himself most satisfactory grounds.

Being conscientiously obliged to omit these particulars from our memoir, we thought it necessary to assign our reasons for so doing, lest that should be attributed to prejudice which we believe to be due to truth.

by Mr. B., in subsequent life, with ardent expressions of gratitude. So lately as July, 1816, in writing to a friend, he says, "yesterday it was the lecture-day at Charlesworth-the place where, previously to my going to the academy in 1772, I had spent several years under the care of Mr. Plumbe, who soon afterwards removed to, and finished his course at, Nottingham. I felt therefore a very strong desire to visit the place of my early habits to look on what old faces

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might remain amongst the people of that congregation-as well as to enjoy an interview with the few brethren who survive, of those who formed that monthly association, when we came from London to reside in these parts. The day was favourable, and I rode over, when I heard two good discourses," &c. In this pleasing as sociation of ideas, expressed with so much feeling, many persons can doubtless sympathize with Mr. B., when they recollect the scenes of their youth, especially if local objects bring to grateful remem brance former enjoyments of the blessings of Providence, or the invaluable privileges of religion.

With these previous advantages, Mr. B. was received, in April, 1772, into the old Dissenting College, Homerton. Here, under the tuition of Dr. Conder, in the theological department, and of Dr. Gib bons and Dr. Fisher, in the other he enjoyed privileges which he branches of academical instruction, knew how to appreciate, and which have been afforded to few students with greater success. The excel lent spirit which he invariably manifested towards his fellow-students, secured him the friendship of several among them, who after wards rose to distinguished eminence, as divines and ministers of the Gospel, from whom he had the satisfaction to receive tokens of affectionate regard, throughout the whole of his subsequent life. It

is also due to his memory to remark, that his diligence in academical studies and exercises, with a view to future usefulness, not only led, in a high degree, to his own religious and intellectual improvement, but obtained for him the marked approbation and respect of all connected with the institution.

Mr. B. was admitted, in March, 1773, a member of the church of Christ assembling at the meetinghouse on the Pavement, Moorfields, of which Dr. Conder was pastor. His union with this people was, in its consequences, an important and happy event, both to himself and them. Five years knowledge of him, and Christian communion with him, led them to the prudent step of choosing him co-pastor with Dr. C., whose age and infirmities rendered a measure of that kind necessary. The knowledge which he had, in the mean time, obtained of them, was among his inducements to accept their affectionate call; and, upon leaving the academy, he was publicly ordained to this important charge, May 27, 1778. The union thus commenced was connected by the affection of all parties interested in it; the pastors and their people were, in a remarkable degree, "of one heart and of one mind, striving together for the faith of the Gospel."

of acquaintance with Mr. B., that his regard for his venerable instructor and coadjutor continued unabated to his latest years. Nothing was more common with him than to quote the opinions, or the practice, of Dr. C. as an authority to which he paid a deference, on all subjects, subordinate only to that due to Him who is "Head over all things to the church."

In the month of May, 1781, Dr. Conder rested from his great and useful labours. Mr. B. delivered an eloquent and impressive oration over the grave of his friend and father in the Gospel, which was published in connexion with the funeral sermon of the Rev. James Webb, preached on the same occasion. The attachment between him and Dr. C. was mutual and most ardent, to the preservation of which the good sense and Christian prudence of each contributed in no small degree. It is known to those who latterly enjoyed the privilege

Mr. B. was now chosen sole pastor of the church in Moorfields, which enjoyed great prosperity and peace as the fruit of his labours, and of his exemplary spirit and deportment. As a preacher, he attained to an unusual degree of popularity in the metropolis, which rendered his humility, and his diligent attention to pastoral duties, the more conspicuous and commendable. Religious persons in general, and more especially ministers of the Gospel, will naturally seek instruction from the history of so wise and good a man during the period of his ministerial engagements. It is to be regretted that the materials which we possess for gratifying so proper and laudable an expectation, are but meagre and insufficient; but the following letters, it is hoped, will, in no small degree, supply this defect. They were written to a younger minister, who had anxiously requested his advice on. the subjects to which they relate. It will be perceived, from their dates, that they were composed at

a time when Mr. B. could look back upon the exercises and events of his own former ministry, with all the advantages of full maturity in scriptural wisdom and religious experience. The length of them, it is presumed, is the last thing of which the Christian reader will complain.*

*These valuable letters will be found among the "Original Communications" in the present Number. This arrangement was found most convenient in the

division of the memoir.

The truly evangelical spirit and lively zeal with which the ministerial labours of Mr. B. were conducted, appear, also, from the publications which proceeded from his pen during his continuance in the pastoral office. The first of these appears to have been a Fast Sermon, preached in February, 1780, and entitled, 66 Professors admonished in the Day of Calamity," &c. This discourse is, in every view, an excellent specimen of preaching. Of the early maturity of judgment and literary taste which it displays, much might be said; but these are its least valuable qualities. It gives a most favourable idea of Mr. B.'s devotedness to God, and of his concern for the honour of religion, and the purity of its professors. "Shameful conformity to the world," and some other sins, the, evil of which is apt to strike the aged rather than the young, are described and reproved by him with all the zeal and earnestness of a hoary apostle. Mr. B. published, also, in 1784, "A Concise View of Religious Worship, and of the Nature and Order of New Testament Churches." This treatise he lent to a friend, a few weeks before his death, with an expression of regret that he could not give it to him, as it was the only copy that he possessed; a sufficient proof (if proof were necessary) that he approved of the sentiments which it contains "to the last." It may be proper to insert the following passages from the preface to this work, partly to set the character of Mr. B. in its true light, and partly as affording wholesome and seasonable admonition in the present times.

"To suppose that Jesus Christ, the anointed King on God's holy hill of Zion, should have left undetermined the form of gospel worship, or have referred what respects the constitution, order, discipline, and duties of his churches, to the will and wisdom of men, is

highly inconsistent with that supreme and exclusive allegiance, which he claims from all his subjects, as their only Lord and Lawgiver. Under the preceding dispensation, in which the worship of the sanctuary was conducted by means of carnal ordinances,' 'Moses was admonished of God, when he was about to make the tabernacle,' that he should be careful 'to make all things according to the pattern showed to him in the mount:' how much more, then, may it be concluded, that, under the present, which is a 'ministration of the Spirit that exceeds in glory,' the whole order of God's house and worship should be strictly conformed to divine prescription and appointment.'

"It must be lamented, however, that, in the present day, the nature of the Redeemer's kingdom, the constitution of his churches, the rules of gospel-fellowship, and the scriptural plan of social religion, are very imperfectly understood by numbers of those who are called the followers of Christ. Some do not appear to relish them; others, perhaps without design, pass them over with silent inattention. Many, there is reason to fear, do not sufficiently consider the authority of Christ in these things, nor the advantages designed to arise from them to his subjects. And, probably, not a few are discouraged by an apprehension of the difficulties with which they must contend, if they determine faithfully to observe whatsoever Christ has commanded."

"Thus, on one account and another, many live all their days under the sound of the Gospel, in the neglect of important duties, which Christ has enjoined on all his subjects, while others are very deficient in their attention to them. And, from these circumstances, much disadvantage ariseth to the cause of Christ. Some churches are filled with disorder and confu

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