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felt they were God's answer to his prayer, and was sweetly assured that he was now a sinner saved by grace; his sins all blotted out from the book of God's remembrance, and his soul accepted in the Beloved. All® fear and sorrow vanished, and still believing, he rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
"Exulting in his wonderful deliverance, his first impulse was to make it known. He hastened to his sister's chamber and told her the glad news that Christ had saved him—a glorious announcement on her bridal morn: then, early though it was, he ran out into the village and roused a praying man called Ben Naylor, whose heart he knew would be in sympathy with his, and told him how he had found the Lord; and they two called up a third, named Joseph Donkersley, to share their joy; and from the rejoicing trio up went a song of praise, the jubilant and sweet notes of which were music in God's ear, and woke up the songs of angels, and gave new impulse to the happiness of heaven, for there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
From that moment Edward Brooke was what he would have called “a bran new man.” He could do nothing by halves, and therefore he renounced once for all his former course of life, and finding field sports to have too great a charm for him, he gave them up in the most resolute manner. “Sir,” said he to a Christian friend, “I found that the gate was strait, and so I pressed into it myself, and left my horses, and dogs, and the world outside.” In his zeal to be quit of what he felt to be a temptation, he gave orders to have his dog kennels pulled down, on hearing which, his father interposed and countermanded the instructions, saying, “I hope Edward will want the kennels again." All his old companions were of the same mind with his father, and planned a grand shooting party with the view of seducing the young Methodist from his friends; but it was in vain, the die was cast, the camel had gone through the needle's eye, but could not come back through so narrow a passage. The test, instead of injuring the young convert, strengthened him in all spiritual graces, and drove him even more completely into the sacred camp. He frequented cottage prayermeetings, talked with the workpeople at the mill, exhorted in his father's kitchen, and instructed wayfarers by the roadside ; he began, in fact, to put himself in training to become “a mighty hunter before the Lord,” a consecrated Nimrod whose game would be the souls of men. Is there not a something in the pursuits of hunting and fishing congruous with the ministry, or rather, are not the natural ardoar, watchfulness, energy, and wariness developed in the first among the most precious qualifications for the second when they are sanctified and elevated into a sublime region ? The exquisites who pride themselves upon their small white hands and jewelled fingers, and venture upon no more athletic sport than a game of croquet with fair ladies on the smooth-cut lawn, are by no means such hopeful raw material for preachers as the robust tramplers of the gorse and heather who have learned to bear fatigue, and to laugh at hardship. The lake of Galilee found for the first holy war, whereof our Master was the Captain, a far larger contingent than all the homes of luxury in Judea's land.
Mr. Brooke's early career illustrates the great usefulness of small
meetings in rooms and cottages, where the uneducated, the poor, and raw beginners may feel at home in their first attempts at speaking. Had it not been for such gatherings he might have remained silent, for he could not have dared to make his first essays before a large congregation. Our author wisely remarks that:-" The cottage prayermeeting is certainly one of the best training schools for the development of Christian gists. In some of our town-circuits, where chapels are few and large, and the pulpits invariably supplied by ordained ministers, and where Sunday afternoon services have been discontinued, and no rooms or cottages are opened for mission work, what opportunity have those whom the Spirit moves to preach His word, to test their call by actual experiment, and to develop their preaching power by frequent practice ?
"The present tendency in Methodism is to create a class of circuits, from which the ministry has small hope of replenishment; in which the local preachers from whose ranks the future ministry must come, find such inadequate employment, that they have but little stimulus to study, and seek no accessions to their number, and as a body are in danger of dying out for want of work. This evil would be largely obviated by a well organised system of cottage prayer-meetings and home mission services, where new converts whose hearts are full of zeal, and divinely prompted to work for God, may under suitable leadership and supervision, attempt the evangelisation of neglected neighbourhoods.
“In such meetings, Edward Brooke first ventured to deliver the message of salvation, which was as a burning fire shut up in his bones, till he was weary with forbearing and could not stay; and there he found encouragement and strength for further service.
“After prayerful consideration and consultation with Christian friends, it was arranged that Edward Brooke should submit his convictions of duty to the judgment of others, by preaching in James Donkersley's chamber ; a large room which answered the threefold purpose of a workshop, a bedroom, and a place where the neighbours might gather to worship God. The service was duly announced, and great interest awakened in the young squire's first appearance as a preacher. The chamber was thronged; many a heart uplifted in earnest prayer that God would encourage and help his young servant in this first trial of his pulpit gifts. After singing and prayer, the preacher took for his text a passage in harmony with his intense convictions; “The wicked shall be turned into hell. Acting upon a sense of duty, and humbly relying on God, the preacher was divinely assisted, and the effort was considered a success.
"The news that the young squire had begun to preach soon spread through the neighbourhood and district, and created no small sensation. Opportunity to exercise his gifts offered on every hand, which he accepted as a call from God. Those who had known the squire in his wild days, and those who had heard of his remarkable conversion, all flocked to hear him. The announcement that Squire Brooke would preach, not only drew young squires, but emptied the public houses far and near, and was the signal for many an old poacher, dog-fighter, pigeon-flyer, drunkard, and habitual Sabbath-breaker, to find his way to the house of God. The squire attracted congregations such as no other man could get, comprising the fast men, the publicans and harlots, the roughs and outcasts of society, the sight of whom, in the house of God, must have made the heart of the preacher leap for joy, and carried him out of himself.
“Influenced by the strange character of the congregations which thronged to hear him, and by the fact that many heard him, to whose untaught, sensual minds, theological terms and doctrinal definitions, conveyed no meaning, and ordinary preaching was unintelligible, he, of set purpose, renounced the style of his first sermon in favour of another, which but for the preacher's motive and exceptional position, might be open to criticism, and which, in a copyist, would be most reprehensible.
“The carefully prepared discourse, with its elaborate argument and carefully rounded periods and memoriter deliverance, he found to be utterly unsuitable to the rough work he undertook. The excitability of the motley congregation he addressed constantly endangered the preacher's continuity of thought, and exercise of memory; and he felt shackled and embarrassed in the attempt to remember and deliver the paragraphs which he had written, learned, and rehearsed in his study; and which, at the time of utterance in the pulpit, he felt were not always what the occasion called for. In the name of the Lord he resolved to sacrifice taste for effect, and to adopt a free and easy style of address that should leave him at liberty to adapt himself to his strange congregations, and to the varying requirements of each separate occasion, to catch the inspirations of the time, and to avail himself of suggestions from above."
We cannot pretend to give even an outline of Mr. Brooke's long and useful life, but must content ourselves with citing incidents which illustrate both his eccentricity and fervour. He gradually relinquished all his secular pursuits for the sake of soul-winning, and having an ample fortune he travelled far and wide, bearing his own charges, and preaching the gospel without money and without price, a mode of life which we both admire and envy. In his rambles, and at other times, he was always on the look-out for individual cases, with which he dealt in his own fashion, and with remarkable success. Note the following :
“One of the members of the Sheepridge Society unhappily tampered with strong drink, till his enemy got the advantage of him. He was found one day, in a public-house, indulging in free potations ; and his wife's persuasions failing to bring him out, she came to the squire to ask his interference.
“ Away went the squire forthwith, conducted by the sorrowing woman, and reaching the house he walked straight into the bar, where a number of old topers were soaking according to their custom ; and there in their midst, was the fallen man. " What art thou doing here? said the squire, fixing his eyes upon the poor backslider, this is no place for thee.' Disconcerted by Mr. Brooke's unexpected appearance, and conscience-stricken, the man gave no reply, and seemed as though he would fain have dropped through the floor to escape the terrible gaze of the squire's reproving eyes. Come out with me and come home with me, said the squire, and as the culprit still kept his seat, he seized him by his coat-collar and pulled him out into the street.
“The topers, exasperated by such infringement of the liberty of the
subject,' sprang to their feet and rushed to the rescue. The squire turned himself about, looked his opponents in the face, and raising his big, powerful arm, said, “There is not a man in the lot dare lay a finger on me. He then walked off his captive, gave him good counsel, and there is reason to believe that he never fell into the snare again."
“Driving to an appointment on a fine Sabbath morning in spring, with Mr. D. Smith, a Sheffield local preacher and a colleague in labour, Mr. Brooke suddenly said “Pull up Smith.' Mr. Brooke then stood up in the conveyance and shouted to a man in a distant part of a field by the way-side, who was gathering nettles, ‘Here I want thee,' beckoning with his hand at the same time for the man to come to him. When he came up to the fence Mr. Brooke said, “Thou poor foolish sinner, art thou going to sell thy precious soul to the devil on a Sunday morning for a few paltry nettles ?' and looking earnestly into his face, he prayed with great solemnity, “the Lord have mercy on thy soul. Amen.' Then, quick as thought, he said ' Drive on, Smith. When fairly on the way again, he said, 'I could not let that man sell his soul for nettles without warning him.'”
“Driving to some village in Derbyshire, where he was expected to preach in the after part of the day, the squire pulled up at a way-side inn. Having seen his horse fed, he ordered his usual refreshment of ham and eggs. A fine, healthy-looking young countryman entered the room and sat down to rest. The squire made some friendly observations, and when his repast was spread, invited the young man to join him. The offer was gratefully accepted. Whilst enjoying their savoury dish, the youth's heart opened, and there was a pleasant flow of conversation. We are expecting a very strange preacher,' said he, ' at our village to-night. He is a great man for prayer-meetings, and tries to convert all the folks into Methodists.' 'Indeed,' replied the squire, with evident interest in the topic, ‘have you ever heard him ?' “No, I haven't,' said the youth, but my brother has.' 'Well, what did your brother say about hiin?' inquired the squire. 'Oh he told me he never heard such a queer chap in his life; indeed, he didn't know if he were quite right in his head; but,' said the young man, 'I intend to go and hear for myself. That is right, my lad,' said the squire, ' and get your brother to go too, he may have a word to suit you both.' They did go, and greatly to the young man's surprise, as the preacher mounted the pulpit,'he recognised his friendly entertainer at the wayside inn. As the squire proceeded with the service, the young man's heart was touched, and his brother's also. At the prayer meeting, they were found amongst the penitent seekers of salvation, and were both converted not merely into Methodists, but into Christian believers.”
We cannot withhold a specimen of his characteristic letters, which are orief, but all on fire:
“Dear John-In reply to yours, I beg leave to say that our labour at Honley was not in vain. A new class has been formed, and about a dozen have gone to it. Two found peace. Praise the Lord! We shall rise. All hell is on the move, but we must go round about the bulwarks of our Zion, and mark well her palaces, and we shall ultimately and finally triumph over all. I say all. Go on, John, in the work. Live near to God. Be a giant in religion ; one of the first and best men in
your day. Plead with God. Live in the glory. 'Advance' is the Christian's motto. Onward to certain victory over sin, the world, and hell. Tram ple down worldly, fashionable conformity. Know the will of God and do it. Do it heartily, cheerfully, fully, eternally, and heaven will be your guide, defence, and all in all. Our kind respects, “And in your prayers, remember
“ EDWARD BROOKE." The doctrine of entire sanctification was a favourite theme with the squire, and we do not doubt that he often, in reference to it, would make statements which would provoke us to controversy, but the sermon which we are about to quote will answer a double purpose if it both serves as a sample of his discourses and as an interpreter of Methodist views. Our impression is that our Wesleyan friends do not mean by the terms which they use the same things which we should intend by them. In all probability, if we could agree upon the expressions to be used, or rather upon the sense to be attached to them, all gracious persons would be very much of the same mind upon this highly important matter. Instead of exaggerating the utterances of either side, and misrepresenting the views of either party, it will be well to seek mutual aid in arriving at the truth, and to believe in the sincere desire of each other to glorify God. For the most part the following sermon is such as we should not hesitate to preach. Of course, it is not possible that mere notes, from which the illustrations and quaintnesses have been omitted, should at all adequately convey an idea of the preacher.
“ John xvii. 17. Sanctify then through Thy truth.
“Introduce by referring to John's vision. He saw an innumerable company who had washed their robes. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs. Some of your fathers have joined that multitude. They too have washed their robes. Now go and ask them, Where they washed ? When they washed ? and if when thus washed, they did not long for others to be washed ?
“Jesus the friend of sinners prayed for His disciples, and in heaven He still prays,
“Sanctify them through Thy truth.' “ Notice we then,
“I. THE PRAYER OF THE REDEEMER, sanctify them through Thy truth. Sanctify them.
“1. Not enlighten them. They were already enlightened. Christ the light of the world had given them to see themselves to be wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,' and had brought them out of the road to hell and into the road to heaven.
“ 2. Not justify them. They were already justified. They had believed on the Saviour with the heart unto righteousness, and received the justifying grace of God. Saved from guilt, they enjoyed peace with God and all the privileges of God's family.
“3. Not deliver them. He had delivered them out of one temptation after another. The devil had laid many a snare for them, but they had experienced the fulfilment of Psalm xci. 16. Still they were not sanctified.
“4. Not grant them wonderful success. They had many seals to their ministry. Christ sent His disciples, two and two, before His face into