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favoured with the valuable aid of the Revs. S. Hulme of Manchester, Dr Dixon of Birmingham, and H. Breeden of Todmordon. I am happy to add, that the estate altogether is in easy circumstances.
Turning to the spiritual aspect of the Circuit, it is gratifying to state that our progress through the year has been steady, and for some weeks past several of our societies have been revived, and many souls, I believe, savingly converted to God. The good work is still going on, and we are resolved through the winter to use means to snatch sinners as brands from the fire. May the soulsubduing influence spread throughout the Circuit, so that at the close of the Connexional year we may have to report & pleasing ingathering of precious souls! Nov., 1852.
we shall give at another time. Let us not, however, suppose that our work is finished-there is yet much to be done. We rejoice over the past, but it is with trembling for the future. We tremble lest the progress of the past should not be sustained in the future. We know that the result at the end of the year sometimes disappoints the expectation excited in the middle of it. Somewhat reluctantly, therefore, we have undertaken to chronicle our success and prospects. Let us perseveringly toil and earnestly pray that such may not in this instance be the case.
J. MAUGHAN. DUDLEY EAST CIRCUIT.-MY DEAR SIR,-All Christian communities ebb and flow; isolated societies have their eleve tions and depressions, and individual Christians have their lights and shades in religious experience. It is always more pleasing to record the flowing of tide, the increase of numbers, and improvement in personal piety, than to refer to depression, discouragement and loss.
I am rather late, dear sir, in forwarding this article, but have thought it prudent to delay, as I never like to be too hasty, or to give too high a colouring to cheering facts. You will be glad to hear we are doing very nicely in this Circuit. Since Conference, and for a few months before, we have been forming and carrying out new plans for the extension of the Redeemer's cause in this town and neighbourhood. Just before Conference we opened a pretty, neat little place of worship at Princes End, in the vicinity of Tipton, at which place we have esta blished a Sabbath-school, and have now & congregation from one to two hundred. We have also built an excellent preachers' house on the chapel premises at Tipton, equal, if not superior, to any in our community; and, another good thing, we have got some beautiful new furniture, which adds to its interior comfort and appearance.
This summer we have likewise erected a new school on the same plot of ground, the old one being too small to accom modate the present number of scholars, amounting to between five and six hun. dred.
In addition to the above, we have had our chapel thoroughly painted, repaired and beautified. It now looks extremely well. The expenses incurred in the cleaning and improvements of the chapel were about one hundred and fifty pounds; towards which Mrs. Boycott and sister begged upwards of £30. For the reopening services in September we were
TO MINISTERS AND READERS OF
THE MAGAZINE, DEAR FRIENDS, I have often been struck with the earnest and persevering calls which have been made upon us by the Editor of the Magazines, from year to year, to help him to increase the number of subscribers. And another thing I have been struck with-the very tardy and cold-hearted way in which both our ministers and people have responded to those appeals. We are one in senti ment-we have one class of interests at heart-we reckon ourselves one of the most loving and liberal communities under the sun. I hope, then, that this year we shall labour, not dividedly, but unitedly; not coldly, but earnestly; not indifferently, but as if our own personal interests were at stake, to increase the number of Magazine subscriberscheer the Editor in his labours, and confer a benefit upon the Connexion at large. The Editor asks us to dispose of 4,000 large Magazines, and 20,000 small. It is his to call; it is ours to answer. It is his to request it: it is ours to do it. Without our co-operation he can do nothing. He cries help. Let us help him.
It was once said, “ The New Con. nexion wants a little more steam.” Now let us put on all the steam we have to get subscribers to the next January Magazine; and let us show to the world what can be done by a loving, labouring, and united people.
ONE OF YOURSELVES.
TO THE EDITOR. MY DEAR FRIEND,--I see from last month's Magazines that you and the
friends of the Connexion are going to make another try to get up the number of subscribers, and to place your circulation in an honourable position amongst the periodicals of the day. I write to you to say that I am glad that there seems to be a disposition throughout the Connexion to take up the matter this year with spirit; and I promise you that I will do all that I can to help you. I shall endeavour to prevail upon every one of the old subscribers in my Cir cuit to take the Magazines again ; and shall get you as many new subscribers as possible. I may add that I have already got two or three new ones. I
hope that every preacher in the ConDexion will come forward to your help, and especially that the young preachers will do their best in this matter. It is astonishing what our young men can do in the Magazine department when they take an interest in it.
I am sure it will give us all great pleasure at the next Conference to hear you report that the Magazine circulation has reached the point of your honour. able ambition. With kind regards to your family,
YOUR OLD FRIEND.
MEMOIRS AND RECENT DEATHS.
MEMOIR OF MR. ROBERT WIN. FIELD, OF AMBERSTON, DERBY.
ROBERT WINFIELD was born in the year 1772 at Amberston, a small village about four miles from the town of Derby. His youthful years were not destitute of incident. His father was an illiterate, inconsiderate, and intemperate man, whose whole being seemed to be absorbed in himself. His mother was a kind-hearted, industrious, and intelligent woman, who toiled almost night and day to procure a subsistence for her children. Nor did she altogether neglect their spiritual welfare. Unable to purchase a Bible, she frequently borrowed one from the neighbouring cottagers for the purpose of reading to her children the Word of life. Though herself destitute of a saving knowledge of the truth, the tears were often observed to roll down her cheeks as she endeavoured to impress upon their minds their responsibility to God.
Being dependant, with four brothers and two sisters, chiefly upon his inother's exertions, before he was seven years of age Robert was sent to learn the trade of weaving; and at that early period, at the rate of a penny per day, paid out of his scanty wages a debt of twenty-five shillings, which his intemperate father had contracted for ale.
Soon after this debt-discharging task was completed, the small-pox entered the family, and Robert was drawn to the gates of death. Loss of sight supervened ; and though God, who is rich in mercy, spared his life, it was for some years a matter of question whether his organs of vision would be completely
restored. When thirteen years of age, however, his sight was so far regained that he was sent as a weaver's apprentice to the person who was clerk of the parish church. Here he was so shocked with the godless and profane conduct of the man and his family that he refused to remain. After some difficulty he was removed to the house of a pious family, in the village of Breaston. In the person of his master's son he met with a suitable companion and counsellor. By him he was taken to the house of God, heerd heavenly truth, and became concerned about his soul,
He now began to read and to render fruitful an uncultured mind—a task in which, considering his circumstances, he made some proficiency. Seldom, however, are we blessed with uninterrupted happiness. An unexpected trial soon came across his path. His companion removed from the village, and there was not another young man in it with whom he could associate--not one whose heart had been similarly softened. Being thus singular-his life and conversation a practical reproof of their impiety-he became the object of persecution amongst the young men of the neighbourhood. Showers of stones were often poured upon him in the street. He was sometimes surrounded, and at other times pursued, until, with insulting epithets and hard blows, his life became almost intolerable. For some time he securely stood his ground. At length, however, forgetting in whose strength alone the Christian can sustain the combat, in an evil hour he allowed the wicked one to triumph. He became excited, agitated, overcome. He first lost his temper, then
his peace, and at length became again entangled in the yoke of bondage. Fall. ing into a state of worldly conformity, but not into open sin, he continued for about seven years to dishonour God and neglect the interests of his soul.
During this period he had lost his father and two brothers by death-bad married Mary, the daughter of his late master, known by many of our friends as “Old Joseph Harriman of Breaston"had berome the occupant of the house in which he was born, and had commenced an extensive and somewhat profitable business. While these changes were transpiring, the remembrances of his former happiness had often troubled him; convictions, providences, and dreams of the most singular and alarm ing kind had frequently awakened and arrested his attention. Nor had it been without the most violent efforts to stifle the convictions of a guilty conscience that God had been neglected so long.
At length the ultimate point of resist. ance was reached; the citadel of his heart could no longer hold out—he was compelled to yield. Sitting one Sunday evening by the side of his wife, in the memorable year of 1797, the light of eternity suddenly flashed across his mind; he closed his eyes, the light was still there. He moved about the room, but, like a midnight spectre, the thoughts of death and judgment, of heaven and hell, continued still to haunt him. He took the Bible down, in order probably to find within its pages a recipe for his disordered mind. He opened at the right place and read, "If Cain be avenged seven fold, truly Lamech seventy and seven fold." Without either ability or inclination to come to a correct interpretation of the sentence, it struck him in a moment that his guilt had called for seventy and seven fold vengeance at the hands of God. He felt as though a dagger had pierced his heart. He believed himself to be the greatest sinner in the world, and was afraid he should drop into hell before the morning. He groaned, he cried, he trembled. His punishment seemed already greater than he could bear. His wife, greatly alarmed, ran at once for some pious neighbourg. They talked to him, and prayed with him, but left him peaceless. After they were gone, he laid his hands upon a prayer-book, and falling upon his knees, with his family surrounding him, began to read; but before he had read three sentences, it occurred to him that reading prayers was not praying that if he would only try to tell his wants to God, no doubt
but God would help him. He therefore threw down the book, blew out the candle, and began with stammering tongue to cry to God. His mental anguish was such that his family all trembled with fear. In this state he continued for three weeks and two days. The report was circulated through the neigbbourhood, to which the ear of general credence was given, that he bad lost his reason. But the moment of deliverance was at hand. One afternoon, while alone in the house, he fancied he heard a voice andibly exclaim, “ Thy sins are forgiven." Turning round, and seeing no one near, he repeated once and again, " Thy sins are forgiven. What can that mean? Is the world changed? No, bless God! my sins are gone." At that moment a flood of light burst upon his mind; the prisondoors flew open, he sprang to bis feet, and almost fancied himself in heaven. The world, indeed, seemed changed. The trees, the fields, the grass seemed all endowed with new life, and all seemed to unite with him in praising God. He told the pleasing tidings to his wife. He told them to his friends, and earnestly implored them all to seek salvation. Nor was it long before she who had been the witness of his sorrows became the partner of his joys; for in a short time afterwards, at a love-feast, conducted by the Rev. John Revil, his wife was sayingly converted to God.
Not many months, however, elapsed, after his conversion, before he became the subject of severe temptation. He began to doubt the reality of his conrersion. Clouds and darkness surrounded him: he was brought to the very edge of the pit. But the grace of God sus. tained him. His deliverance was as singularly sudden as it was pleasingly permanent. After wandering about for some time in a state of restlessness, he casually entered a class-meeting in the village of Draycott. While the leader was engaged in prayer, he felt the presence and power of God to overshadow him. It was like an electric shock. Unbelief departed. He felt wrapped in a cloud of glory. From that moment till the latest period of his life-though the subject of many imperfections-he frequently affirmed that he had never doubted his acceptance with God.
Not long after this the expulsion of the venerated Alexander Kiham from the Wesleyan community resulted in the formation of the Methodist New Connexion. Many of the Methodists of Breaston sympathised with the Refor. mers, and launched in the new vessel. Onr brother inquired into their principles, approved of their conduct, and heartily espoused their cause. For three years be continued connected with our people, and during part of that time sustained the office of a leader amongst them. Such, however, was the distance of his residence from the chapel, and such the dangerous state of the road during the winter-nights -having three miles to walk along a narrow path close by the river-side-that he was compelled, as a matter of temporal convenience, to return to the Wesleyan Society. Here he had not been long before he was pro. posed, and unanimously accepted, as a local preacher on trial. It is also worthy of remark that his name appeared on the local preachers' plan coincidently with that of Mr. and Mrs. Taft's, who were so eminently distinguished for their usefulness in the Wesleyan body. Between them and our brotber an intimacy was then formed, which was only terminated by death. As a local preacher, Brother Winfield laboured amongst the Wesleyans not only with acceptance, but with considerable success. Possessed with an ardent zeal for the glory of God, full of sympathy for the perisbing souls of his fellow-creatures, and justly entitled in temperament to the appellation of an enthusiast, he laboured almost incessantly to bring sinners to Christ. Had there but been united with these qualities an average amount of intelligence and prudence, combined with a greater degree of respect for the opinions of others, there can be no doubt but that Brother Winfield would have occupied till the latest hour of his life a distinguished position in the Church of Christ. The lack, however, of these qualities was painfully manifest in the latter period of his life. .
In the year 1814 some unpleasant circumstances occurred between Brother Winfield and the Superintendent of the Derby Circuit, arising out of the determination of the latter to make each of the local preachers submit implicitly to his authority. About this time the devoted W. Clowes happened to visit Derbyshire. He had been expelled from the Wesleyans a very short time before for daring to hold a camp-meeting in Staffordshire, in opposition to the Circuit authorities. Brother Winfield happening to meet him, invited him to visit Amberston and preach them a serinon. The visit was paid. The sermon was preached. The week following our brother received a letter from the Superintendent, charging
him with allowing a person to preach in his house who was not a member of their community; and warning him that expulsion would be the consequence of any similar act of indiscretion by which bis sympathy for these parties might be indicated. Now it happened that a very few weeks after a Primitive Methodist camp-meeting was appointed to be held a few miles distant. He had never seen a camp-meeting. The prohibition of the Superintendent had kindled in his breast an irresistible desire to attend one. He therefore resolved to be present. He went-was recognised, and, being called upon, he preached. The tidings reached the ears of his Superintendent; and the next day being Quarter-day he was summarily expelled. Believing, however, that his name was not blotted from the Book of Life, and that his commission to preach the Gospel, which had been received from God, was as binding on his conscience as ever, he continued, wherever a door opened, to preach to the people. In a short time, 397 persons were organized into societies in different places, to whom he regularly administered the Word of Life.
Soon, however, with his little charge, he joined the Primitive Methodist Community, which was then in its infancy. Here he felt at home. The genius of the people was just suited to his temperament. Being regarded as a valuable auxiliary to tbeir cause, as another pillar to their rapidly rising structure, he was induced to give himself up to the work of the ministry, and entered upon his duties with all that energy which bad marked the preceding ten years of his life. In the short space of four years, many towns and villages, which had never heard the Word of Truth from the lips of earnest men, had not only re. ceived a preacher, but became the scenes where flourishing societies were organized and chapels erected. Many fresh Circuits were opened, and a corresponding number of souls were added to the Church.
It appears, however, that at this time the vessel was without an anchor, and ill-prepared to brave a storm. Disci. pline was wanting in the Church. There were too many pilots. In fact, there arose a bitter strife as to whom the steering of the vessel should be intrusted. The result was a resolution to separate. Our brother therefore left the Primitive Methodists, and, in conjunction with two or three others, commenced to build a ship of his own. And now he put forth an earnestness seldom
equalled-in these times perhaps never excelled. Directing his attention chiefly to those places where Methodism was unknown, he would leave home on a missionary tour of five or six weeks' duration ; and that chiefly at his own expense. His custom was, first, to se cure lodgings for the night at some pub. lic inn; then either to go himself or send the bellmap through the town to announce that at a stated time he would preach in the market place to all who would come and bear him. At the time announced for,
mount a chair. or whatever else might be available, and there he would preach sometimes to scores, but oftener to hundreds, and sometimes to thousands of people. God eminently owned his labours. Many were deeply affected under his simple, faithful, heart-searching sermons. After having preached, he would stop and pray with the penitents in the street, or what was more usual, would retire to his lodgings, followed by those who had been affected under his preaching. Here a prayer-meeting would be held. Simers were directed and comforted. He would preach again and again. He would then take a room, form a class, organize a society, and at last send a preacher. Thus he went from one village to another, from one town to ano. ther, and from one county to another, preaching at all times, in all kinds of weather, in all states of health, through all kinds of treatment, until he had travelled through 20 counties, preached the Gospel in 250 towns and villages, organized 12 Circuits, built 20 chapels, called out 30 male and female preachers, received into his community, under the name of Revivalists, between four and five thousand members, and had held several conferences of which he was twice elected president; the Minutes of which are now before the writer, and from which some of the foregoing facts have been selected.
These were to our brother toilsome, but bright and happy days. How ani. mating to a man's soul when his schemes succeed! What an impetus to effort! With what increased activity and energy he can toil when his most ardent expectations are being realized! This is a inan's true testing-time. There is then no restraint upon his capabilities. An outlet is afforded for all that may be contained within him. His slumber ing energies are roused into life. If a man be capable of anything truly great or good it must appear at such a moment. Here began the failure of our
Brother Winfield. Unfaithful men had been permitted to creep into the Church, Some of thein had been placed at the head of the most important Circuits. They attempted to make a gain of godliness. They involved those Circuits in difficulties, and then ruined them. Legislative authority was required. And now it became apparent that he who had been so well qualified to build the house was less qualified to govern the family—that he wbo had been the means of giving such a rapid and vigorous existence to the Church was less qalibed to administer its discipline and manage its internal affairs. He had spent every farthing of his money, the accumulated result of a life's industry. He had involved himself in debts and responsibilities through the building of chapels, from which it seemed that nothing short of divine interposition could ever deliver him. Here came the crisis-the heartbreaking crisis. Unable, as had been his custom, to travel from Circuit to Circuit, stimulating, directing, and cheering the friends in their labours, the places were left for the most part in the hands of young men who were wanting in experience, or in those of men who were destitute of ministerial graces. The excitement of the first three years' labour rapidly subsided. Some of the preachers abandoned their posts, others were driven away by the amount of their arrears. Their affairs became desperate, and it was perfectly apparent to every member of the Sixth Conference that it was impossible any longer to sustain the cause in its then existing form.
Brother Winfield now recommended them, as a body, to join the Methodist New Connexion. To this they acceded. A communication was immediately sent to the superintendent of our Nottingham Circuit, who was requested to lay it before the ensuing Conference. For some reason not rendered the communication never came before the Conference. Anxiety and impatience succeeded delay. At length the community broke entirely up. Many of the societies united with the Primitive Methodists, several with the Wesleyans, and a few of them with ourselves, while others organized themselves into distinct and independent Churches. Now came our brother's heaviest trials. He had been superintending the London Circuit. The whole of the last quarter's funds had been espended in meeting the rent of the chapel, which had amounted to £120 per annum. He had no money to pay his quarter's lodgings nor a single farthing to take