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MEMOIR OF MR. GILBERT PUDNER. ceeded in this formal manner for The subject of this memoir was some time, concluding all was well born at Topsham, Devon, May 30, with me, because I did not allow 1737, 0.Ś. His pious parents, myself to continue in my forroer both of whom were honourable course of inconsideration, neglect members of the Baptist church at of prayer, and the concerns of my Exeter, trained up their children, soul. After a while I gradually by precept, and example, in the declined in my attention to divine fear of the Lord, and their endea- duties,' grew 'increasingly formal vours were crowned with a bless- and cold, and at length I sunk ing. In early life we find this into total indifference. Conscience youth, (not like many young per- would not allow me to continue sons, who, though they receive a long in this state.
I knew somereligious education, spend the thing must be done to recover me morning of their days in thought- from this criminal condition, or I lessness, vanity, and sin,) retiring should never be safe or happy. alone on Lord's day evenings for this induced me to form fresh rereading, meditation, and prayer. solutions of amendment. In his private memoranda, written newed my vigilance in reading, in the 19th year of his age, it is watchfulness, and prayer. But recorded that, in consequence of after repeated efforts in this way, perusing, on those occasions, Dr. my feeble endeavours all failed, Doddridge's Rise and Progress of and not knowing well what course Religion, he was first awakened to to pursue, I began to think it would a serious concern for the salvation be in vain for me to seek and strive, of his soul; and deeply con- or watch and pray any longer. I vinced of his guilt and danger-- had now nearly concluded it would of the awful consequences of dying be better for me to give all my in an unconverted state, he felt endeavours over as useless; I was an earnest desire to obtain salva- also much discouraged by the mistion.
taken apprehension I had formed Reflecting on the author's for- of this text— It is not in him that cible appeal and earnest entreaty willeth, nor in him who runneth, not to delay seeking the mercy of but God that sheweth mercy.' I God, but immediately to implore was now greatly perplexed, and his forgiveness and acceptance, knew not what to do. Convinced Mr. P. writes, “I could not resist there could be no permanent peace any longer, but, impressed by these to the wicked, I heartily resolved awful considerations, conscious of not to rest satisfied in this unhappy their infinite importance, and of state of indecision; I therefore remy wretched and ruined condition, turned again to the re-perusal and I went to God in prayer in the best earnest consideration of the Rise manner I could, formed new reso- and Progress of Religion in the lutions of amendment, and pro- Soul. This treatise had been the
VOL. IV. 3d Series.
first mean of awakening me to se- Christ died for my sins; and these rious consideration of mind. In a fearful apprehensions were forcibly second review of this excellent renewed, whenever I witnessed, as book, for which I shall ever have a spectator, the administration of cause to be thankful, I was most the Lord's Supper. I continued powerfully impressed with the au- earnestly praying that God would ihor's earnest and pointed inquiry, not leave me to hardness of heart, whether the reader had sincerely that I might not lose the sense I submitted to the righteousness of then felt of the evil nature of sin, God by faith, so as to surrender and the great concern I had for a himself entirely to the Lord Jesus personal interest in the mediation Christ for life and salvation ? If and death of the Lord Jesus Christ. not, however he might be awakened I was considerably relieved of my and alarmed, the wrath of God doubts and fears under these conabideth on him. This (writes Mr. flicts, by considering, and being in P.) almost overwhelmed me. I some measure enabled to accept, now saw and felt more powerfully the free and unconditional invitathan before, my great sinfulness tions of the gospel, addressed to and guilt before God, and clearly sinners, as such. Among these, perceived I must perish, if I did the endearing declaration and pronot possess a personal interest in mise of the Saviour, Him that the justifying righteousness of cometh unto me I will in no wise Christ. Such was the anxiety of cast out;' and Blessed are they my mind at this time, from the that hunger and thirst after righteapprehension that I had not any ousness, for they shall be filled ;' beneficial interest in the righteous- were peculiarly sweet to ness and atonement of the Re- Several passages in the
Psalms deemer, that I considered it an encouraged me also to trust in God. infinite merey every morning 1 I received help likewise by attendawoke, to find myself out of hell. ing a Cloristian conference neeting, Now I could scarcely think of any many circumstances of which were thing but the atrocious evil of sin, beneficial to me. I now increasand the great danger to which I ingly felt my utter insufliciency for had exposed myself in consequence any thought or action spiritually of my numerous and aggravatei good, and was fully convinced I transgressions, especially in hav- could not be justified in the sight ing neglected God's appointed of God by any act of my own.
I method of mercy, in which alone believed that Christ is as able as sinners can be saved. I was, he is willing to save unto the uthowever, happily relieved from my termost, and therefore to save me, deep distress, by the divine as- although I had grievously transsurance in which I was enabled to gressed against him. Under this rejoice, that 'the blood of Jesus conviction, I was enabled joyfully Christ, bis Son, cleanseth from all to commit myself wholly to the sin.' This inspired me with en- Rcedecmer, to be sanctified and couragement and comfort. I was saved. The gracious declaration, led to earnest prayer, and hoped I'I love them that love me, and had a saving interest in the Lord they that seek me early shall find Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding this, me, was inexpressibly precious to I hesitated and feared, apprehend- me. Convinced of, and humbled ing I might be mistaken, because on account of, my moral poverty I could not firmly believe that and nothingness, and hereby,
delivered In this Christian church he apfrom self-dependence, I was en-pears to have enjoyed much holy abled to commend my soul to the pleasure, mingled with self-jea, Lord Jesus Christ, on whose divine lousy, filial fear, and deep humimediation and merit I rested my lity: When his apprenticeship eternal salvation.
with Mr. Waymouth, haberdasher, “At this time I felt additional at Exeter, had expired, Mr. P. in encouragement and confidence, 1758, removed to London, and from the inspired testimony, which eugaged himself with a respectable says, • We know that we have house of business. In the followpassed from death unto life, be-ing year he was received, by letter cause we love the brethren ;' for I of dismission from the church at was assured there were not any Exeter, a member of the church in persons on earth I loved so much Grafton-street, Soho, London. as the people of God.”
In 1760 he married Miss D. After conflicting some time with Norton, and in about three years various feelings of hope and fear, after commenced business for himjoy and sorrow, during which he self, as a haberdasher and glover, was sincerely cleaving to God in in Fleet-street.* the use of the means of grace, Mr. Mr. P. was chosen to the deaP. enjoyed scriptural evidence of con's office in the church in Grafhis having
passed from death ton-street, in 1771, the duties of unto life.' Among other proofs which he discharged with fidelity from Scripture which induced him and usefulness many years. to draw this conclusion, he quotes division in that church having been Judges xiii. 23. and 2 Cor. v. 17; agreed to, by mutual consent, Mr. from the former, he inferred that P. with about seventy other memGod had experimentally shewn bers, withdrew, and in 1776, formhim things connected with salva- ed a separate Baptist church in the tion; and from the latter, that he Adelphi, since extinct. In this was “ in Christ Jesus,” because new connection Mr. P. was actively old things had with him passed useful. He united, with other away, and all things had become members of the church, in conspiritually new. Having thus most ducting a Christian conference, devoutly first given himself to the meeting for mutual edification. Lord, Mr. P. saw it to be his duty Our departed friend's addresses on and privilege to unite with bis those occasions were beneficial to people in church fellowship, and several persons, some of whom accordingly offered himself a can- have dated their first serious imdidate for communion with the pressions from them. Ilis characBaptist church at Exeter, then ter and talents were so highly estiunder the pastoral care of the Rev. mated by bis fellow members, that E. Jones, and on Lord's day, July 24, 1757, in the twentieth year of * Many years after Mr. P. had been in his
age, be related, at a meeting of trade in Fleet-street, in consequence of basthe above church, bis experience in his shop open for business on the day
usually called Good Friday, be received a of the operations of divine grace message from the minister tben of St. on his heart, of which the fore- Bride's Church, on the profanity of transgoing is an abstract. To his great acting business on that holy day. In reply, joy he was accepted as a member, Mr. P. inclosed a copy of Robinson's His: and after having been baptized, tory and Mistery of Good Friday, and heard
no more afterwards of his obligation to the was received into full communion. religious observance of that day.
when the pastoral office became long succession of years, had acvacant in that church, Mr. P. was cumulated a large stock of Chrisrespectfully solicited to accept it, tian knowledge and experience. which he declined.
He had attained no inconsiderable In 1787 he joined the church in acquaintance with men and things, Little Wild-street, then under the both in the church and in the world, pastoral charge of Dr. Samuel which, had he not been habitually Stennett, of which Christian com- reserved and retiring, might have munity he continued an honourable been communicated with great admember many years, and till some vantage to his relatives and friends. time after the Doctor's death. At His doctrinal views were strictly this period Lord's day evening lec- Calvinistic, and in discipline he tures were not generally instituted, conscientiously adhered to primiand Mr. P. was in the holy habit, tive principles. He was from conas most of our pious nonconfor- viction a protestant dissenter of mists used to be, of improving his the Baptist denomination, but was Lord's day evenings at home, in cordially united in Christian affecprivate retirement and in family tion to all who love the Lord Jesus duties. His practice on those oc- Christ in sincerity among the varicasions was to assemble around ous denominations of Christians, him his servants and young peo- however they might differ from him ple (he had several employed in in minor matters. Our friend's his business), some one of whom entire life, from his early youth to read a portion of Scripture, on the close of his days, was characwhich Mr. P. usually commented, terized by genuine humility, pious briefly reviewed the services of principles, holy practice, inflexible the day, and concluded the Sab- integrity, and habitual devotion. bath with prayer.
He exemplified a consistent course When our friend left business he of Christian profession for seventyremoved to Hammersmith, where two years, and outlived all his he resided some years. During early friends and acquaintances, his abode there, he was called to and the ministers who had been sustain an almost irreparable loss his successive pastors. in the decease of his wife, who No man had a more humbling died at the age of 84, in the year sense of the depravity of his na1814. She had been the affection- ture before God; no
one felt a ate and pious partner of his life deeper conviction of his need of an fifty-four years. Though this be- interest in the all-sufficient rightereavement deeply depressed his ousness and atoning sacrifice of spirits, our friend bore the mourn- the Lord Jesus Christ, for his jusfül event with humble resignation tification and acceptance with God. to the divine will. After his re- A humble, entire, and constant demoval from Hammersmith, he re-pendence on the mediation and sided in different and distant places merit of the Messiah, was a prounder the roof of his son, Captain minent feature in his Christian John Pudner, whose anxious soli- character and experience. He citude to soothe his father's de- constantly manifested a practical clining days terminated only with reliance on the promised gracious his lengthened life.
operations of the Holy Spirit. Our deceased friend, by con- Nothing appeared more odious to stant reading, patient thoughtful- him than pride-nothing more loveness, and close observation for a ly than lowliness of mind. No