« AnteriorContinuar »
MR. WILLIAM WARD was born at Derby, where some of his relations still reside, October 20, 1769. His mother was a pious woman, who was accustomed to ascribe the beginning of her serious impressions to a discourse by a female Quaker in the Town-hall of Derby. Her son, therefore, like many other eminent servants of the home. enjoyed the privilege of maternal example and counsel; and appears, early in life, to have himself become the subject of that momentous and happy change, without which no man can see the kingdom of God. At the usual period he left home for business, and was apprenticed to a printer. While thus engaged in acquiring the knowledge of that art, which he was afterwards to consecrate to the noblest purposes on the distant plains of Bengal, he made a public profession of religion ; and having been baptized, was united to the church in George Street, Hull, now under the pastoral care of the Rev. Thomas Thonger. Thus introduced into Christian society, it soon became
evident that he was endowed with qualifications for the ministry of the Gospel. To this sacred employment he was advised to devote himself; and in order that he might be the better furnished to engage in it, a generous friend, still living, undertook to place him for a season, under the care of the late amiable and pious Dr. John Fawcett, who then kept a flourishing seminary for youth near Halifax. Of this important period of his life, the following notice occurs in the Memoirs of Dr. Fawcett, lately published. “A residence of about a year and a half at Ewood Hall endeared Mr. Ward as much to the family, as his exertions in behalf of the heathen have raised him in the esteem of the public. They witnessed the first *. of that missionary spirit, which induced him afterwards to relinquish every other engagement for this sacred cause. His most delightful employment was to preach in hamlets whereever he could collect a congregation; and by the dispersion of short tracts, &c. to lead careless as well as inquiring souls to a serious attention to the best things.”
Before Mr. Ward left Ewood
Hall, he had expressed his inclination to engage as a Missionary to India ; and at a Committee Meeting held at Northampton, Sept. 20, 1798, the Secretary was requested to invite him to attend, and preach at Kettering in the following month. With this invitation he complied, and the result was so satisfactory, that it was unanimously resolved that he should be accepted as a Missionary in connexion with the Society, and that Fo should be made for is going out to India in the spring of 1799. At one of these interviews, Mr. Ward related an incident which seems to have made considerable impression on his mind. When in company with Mr. Carey, a little before he embarked in 1793, that devoted Missionary remarked, “If the Lord bless us, we shall want a person of your business to enable us to print the Scriptures : I hope ou will come after us.” Thus the words of the wise are as goads ; and there can be little doubt that this transient observation contributed, under the direction of Him who worketh in us to will and to do, not a little to its own fulfilment about six years after, and as a consequence to the multiplied benefits which India has since derived from the long residence of Mr. Ward in that country! Early in the year 1799, Mr. Ward spent several months at Birmingham, supplying the church at Cannon Street, and thus became
(with Mr. Brunsdon) was set apart to the work of a Missionary, was held at Olney, May 7th. The work of the day was accompanied, according to the primitive pattern, with fasting and prayer, and the whole occasion was very interesting and affecting. In answer to some questions proposed by Mr. Fuller to the Missionaries respecting the motives of their undertaking, and the religious sentiments they meant to propagate, Mr. Ward replied, “I have received no new revelation on the subject: I did not expect any. ...Our Redeemer hath said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; and lo, I am with you always to the end of the world.” This command I consider as still binding, since the promise of Christ's presence reaches to the utmost corner of the earth, and to the utmost boundaries of time. While I was at Ewood Hall I received an invitation to carry the Gospel and a printing-press to India, where brother Carey and others have erected the standard of the Cross. I prayed to God, and advised with my friends. In complying with this invitation I gave up all other prospects, and devoted myself to that of attempting to bless a nation of heathens. Since that time my peace and joy in God have more and more abounded. Duty and pleasure have in my employment gone hand in hand. Sometimes I have been enabled to say,
* No joy can be compared to thi “To serve and please the #.
“In his strength, therefore, I would go forth, borne up by your prayers, hoping that two or three stones at least may be laid of the foundation of Christ's kingdom in India, nothing doubting but that the fair fabric will rise from age to age, till time shall be no more.”
A passage had been previously secured in the American ship Criterion, Capt. Wickes, in which Mr. Ward, with Messrs. Marshman, Grant, and Brunsdon embarked, and left the river, May 24, 1799. It added not a little to their comfort that the Captain of the Criterion was a truly pious man, who considered it an honour to convey the servants of Christ to the scene of their labour, and gladly availed himself of their assistance to maintain the worship of God on board
during the voyage.
While at sea, Mr. Ward was diligently employed in those exercises which tended to prepare him for the great work to which he had dedicated himself. Among other employments of this nature, he perused the Missionary Accounts of the Moravian brethren with much satisfaction. His own remarks on this subject are characteristic— “I have read Crantz’s History of Greenland, I trust with much profit. I feel towards the first Greenland Missionaries a kind of enthusiastic reverence. To say they were Howards or Thorntons would be a poor compliment, however it might embellish their names, or embalm their memories. Their testimony in favour of the blood of Immanuel will, I trust, be mine ; to that I would cleave—that I trust will be the centre to which I shall be drawn, and from thence deduce every important truth. . . . I can scarce ever go to a throne of grace now, but I carry thither the congregations of Greenlanders, Esquimaux, Negroes, South Sea Islanders, and Hottentots. Thank you, Moravians ! ye have done me good. If I am ever a Missionary worth a straw, I shall owe it to you, under our Saviour.”
After a favourable voyage of twenty weeks, Mr. Ward and his companions arrived at Calcutta,0ctober 11th, but as at that time no legal provision had been made for the residence of Missionaries on the British territory, they were under the necessity of proceeding to Serampore, a small Danish Town about fifteen miles above Calcutta, on the banks of the Ganges. At that time Mr. Carey resided at Mudnabatty, a village considerably higher up the country, and he was very solicitous that the newly ar. rived Missionaries might be permitted to join him there. But all his efforts to procure this accommodation proved unavailing; and therefore the whole party were
constrained to fix at Serampore.
This was, at the time, a severe disappointment, and it caused considerable pecuniary loss to the Society ; but circumstances have since proved that the arrangement was guided by Infinite Wisdom, and that the great ends of the Mission have been far more effectually answered at Serampore, than they could have been in any other spot in Bengal. For a long time previous to the arrival of these welcome fellowlabourers, Mr. Carey had been diliently employed in translating the ew Testament into the Bengalee; and soon after Mr. Ward had established his press at Serampore, he had the pleasure of printing the first edition of that important work, in a thick octavo volume of 800 pages. In the same year (1800), Kristnoo and several members of his family embraced the Gospel ; and by eating with the Missionaries, publicly and deliberately renounced caste—an event which all who know the force of this ancient and formidable institution had deemed absolutely hopeless. “All our servants,” say the Missionaries, in relating this memorable occurrence, “were astonished; so many had said that nobody would ever mind Christ, or lose caste. Brother Thomas had waited fifteen years, and had thrown away much on deceitful characters. Brother Carey has waited till hope of his own success had almost expired ; and after all, God has done it with perfect ease . Thus the door of faith is opened to the Gentiles ; who shall shut it P. The chain of the caste is broken, who shall mend it o’” In May, 1802, Mr.Ward entered into the marriage relation with Mrs. Fountain, widow of Mr. John Fountain, a Missionary, who survives to mourn his loss. Two daughters were the fruit of this union, who are both living, and the elder of whom has lately been united to the church at Serampore,
For a number of interesting facts, connected with Mr. Ward’s residence and labours in India, we must refer to the Periodical Accounts, which contain copious extracts from his journals. Declining health rendered it necessary for Mr. Ward to revisit his native country; he arrived at Liverpool in June, 1819, and attended the public meetings in London on the 23d of that month. His address on the morning of that day at Great Queen Street Chapel, and his Sermon in the evening at Zion Chapel, in which he forcibly depicted the “ abominable idolatries” of India, made a very deep impression on the numerous auditories. His health being mercifully and speedily restored, he visited many parts of the United Kingdom, and afterwards proceeded to Holland and to America. His principal object was to collect pecuniary aid for the education of ious native youth for the ministry in the College lately founded at Serampore, towards which object he obtained in all about £6000. Mr. Ward was thus occupied about two years, and set sail with renovated health and cheerful spir, its for India, in the Abberton, Capt. Gilpin, on May 28, 1821. He arrived in Calcutta, after an agreeable and expeditious voyage, early in October, and immediatel resumed his labours in the Printingoffice, and among the native converts, with all the ardour that Christian zeal and affection could inspire. Younger than either of his excellent colleagues, and having had so long the advantages of his native air, it seemed reasonable to anticipate that he might be the last who should be called to leave his work and enter into rest. But in the event which we are now called on to lament, we have a fresh proof that The Lord’s ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts. In person, Mr. Ward was about
the middle size. His countenance bore evident marks of a long residence in an Eastern climate, and was further distinguished by a conspicuous mark over the right eye, occasioned by an injury sustained in childhood. In conversation he was not forward; and occasionally it appeared difficult to obtain from him that information respecting India, which he was so well qualified to impart ; but this was far more than compensated by the edifying strain of his remarks, and the solicitude which he seemed habitually to feel for the spiritual interests of those around him. Without obtruding the subject in an unnecessary or offensive way, he would generally introduce something, be the conversation or the note ever so short, which bore upon the great concerns of eternity; and instances have occurred in which his private intercourse has proved the means of converting a sinner from the error of his way. It was evident that his whole soul was in the work—that he naturally cared for the souls of men—especially of the heathen—and that every thing in which he engaged was made subservient to this object. Mr. Ward is advantageously known as an author. In the year 1811, he published at Serampore, in 4 vols 4to. his “Account of the Writings, Religion, and Manners of the Hindoos,” containing a mass of valuable and authentic information, which he had been occupied in collecting for several years. This work was reprinted in 1815; and a third edition has since been published in this country, in 4 vols. 8vo. He also published a small volume, containing Biographical Accounts of four Converted Hindoos, a Funeral Sermon for the Lady of N. Wallach, Esq. of Serampore, and a Sketch of the character of his reyered friend, the late Rev. Andrew Fuller. While in England he printed a
- and sermons.
Sermon on 2 Cor. v. 20, which may be considered as affording a tolerably correct idea of the spirit and style of his pulpit addresses. In compliance with the suggestion of some of his friends, he compiled, also, on his voyage from America, a volume of “Farewell Letters,” in which he has, under respective heads, digested the substance of the information he was accustomed to communicate in his speeches Since his return to India, there have appeared from his pen, a Brief Memoir of Krishnapul (or Kristnoo) the first Hindoo convert, and a work in 2 vols. duodecimo, containing Short Meditations on various passages of Scripture, arranged for each day in the year, in a manner resembling “Bogatzky’s Golden Treasur .” Thus did this holy man of God work while it was day. Blessed is that servant, whom the Lord when he cometh, shall find so doing ! As we have already given a statement of the last illness of Mr. WARD, (vide p.' 231, vol. iv.) we shall dismiss this Memoir by introducing a few reflections from the funeral Sermon, delivered by Rev. Dr. MARSHMAN, at Calcutta.
“In reviewing this sudden and afflictive providence, various reflections crowd on the mind. The first are, those of almost indescribable distress at the loss sustained, not only by the denomination to which our brother belonged, but by the church and the cause of God at large, particularly, as far as relates to India. For although his family and his immediate colleagues in the work of God feel the sense of their loss increased by all that recollection of his worth as a man, a Christian, a husband, a father, a colleague, and brother, which the space of nearly twenty-four years, spent in perhaps the greatest degree of social happiness capable of being enjoyed
on earth, must continually furnish; our brother was not a man who confined his regard for the cause of God to one denomination. He loved all who loved the Redeemer, and sought to promote his cause. Hence his death is a public loss to religion ; and those particularly whose spiritual good he laboured to promote, and whose hands he laboured to strengthen by his preaching, his prayers, and his extensive correspondence, whether they be in India, Europe, or America, cannot but feel this bereavement. “But while we thus mourn the loss of our beloved brother, and cherish the most tender affection for his memory, it becomes us to beware of sinning against God under this dispensation. It becomes us to recollect that every thing which rendered him so dear to us, and such a blessing to the cause of God, arose wholly from the grace God so richly manifested in him. This grace still remains an inexhaustible fountain. While we mourn his loss in the deepest manner, therefore, to suffer our hearts to sink in despondency as though the Great Redeemer did not still live to carry on his own work, who is the Sovereign Head of his Church, and from whom come not only every gift intended for the use of his cause, and all that diligence and love which may enable a man possessing such, to labour even more abundantly than others, but the blessing which must render these gifts and this labour effectual, and without which even a Paul might plant, and an Apollos water wholly in vain,_would be to sin against God, and to act contrary to the examples left us on Divine record. When Saul, and above all Jonathan, was removed, by whom the Lord had done such great things for Israel, David in the midst of grief perhaps never exceeded, “bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the 2