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great privations, both temporal and spiritual. Lame as she was, and bad as the roads then were, she regularly walked some distance, to Halden, the nearest place at which there were any Methodist religious services. At length she obtained a house, and lost no time in opening it for the preaching she so highly prized ; and, on the nights when the Minister came to conduct divine worship, she would go forth with her candle and lantern, not regarding the ridicule, and sometimes the personal insults, which she received, and invite her neighbours and acquaintances to come and hear for themselves. In that obscure dwelling were the first members and founders of the present Wesleyan society at Tenterden (now the head of a Circuit) brought to God.
These particulars are mentioned as illustrating God's providential care of his church, and his gracious interpositions for its extension. Its history, no doubt, were it fully recorded, would contain many remarkable instances of a similar character, in which “God hath chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty ; that no flesh should glory in his presence.”
It may just be observed that a good congregation was soon established; many persons experienced a desire to flee from the wrath to come, so that a Wesleyan society was formed on its own proper foundation; and the work, commenced thus under what, apparently and humanlyspeaking, were such unfavourable auspices, by the guidance of divine providence, and with the blessing of divine grace, prospered much, and rapidly advanced. The society and congregation increased so greatly, that not only did a chapel become necessary, but the members found themselves in circumstances which justified them in undertaking to build one; and Mr. Rofe was among those persons on whom the responsibilities and more active duties connected with this erection of the first Methodist chapel at Tenterden chiefly devolved.
Wesleyan Methodism had not long been introduced into Tenterden, when Mr. Rofe experienced that dissatisfaction and uneasiness which have already been mentioned, and which eventually led him to become a worshipper in the congregation which then assembled at the house of this pious widow. The preaching he heard there seemed exactly what he wanted. It was not merely a dissatisfaction on questions of religious doctrine that he experienced, but dissatisfaction with himself. Without exactly understanding, at the first, his own case, he felt that all was not right with him in relation to God and eternity. His conscience was uneasy, and he wished to find a true and established peace. He received the word with all readiness of mind; and in the light of the instruction which he thankfully embraced, he saw the reasons of his uneasiness. He became clearly and deeply convinced of sin; and learned, from the same ministry, both that he needed forgiveness, and that through the Lord Jesus Christ even the chief of sinners might find it. He therefore sought it with all his heart, diligently, in all the means of grace which were then within his reach. He joined the small class which had been formed, and willingly encountered the opposition, and submitted to the reproach, to which he thus became exposed. That opposition was rendered more painful, inasmuch as it proceeded (as well as from other sources) from members of his own family. Even his wife for a time strongly disapproved of his conduct. And as to the infant society, as has generally been the case in like circumstances, its members were considered as belonging to a sect “everywhere spoken against.” But he gave up the company of his former gay associates at once and for ever, and “chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” It required no ordinary degree of moral courage to enable him thus to throw into the scale of a despised religion the whole weight of his station in society; but he was faithful to his convictions. He was seeking the salvation of his soul, and for this he was willing to “ bear the reproach” of Christ.
By the ministry under which he sat, he was instructed in the way of a sinner's salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus. He felt that this was what he wanted, and that without it he could be neither safe nor happy. He persevered, therefore, in seeking, until he found, redemption in the blood of Christ, the personal forgiveness of his sins. The particulars of his conversion are not now known; but from his own subsequent references to the event, it appears that it was in 1791 that he received a clear testimony of his acceptance with God. From this period he was evidently an altered man. The whole current of his thoughts and feelings, his tastes and pursuits, was entirely changed. One illustration of the alteration that had taken place, may be instanced in regard to music, of which he possessed a respectable degree of knowledge, and was 'not an indifferent performer on the violin. But the species of music in which he had joined, and which he had enjoyed with his former friends, was that of the amorous and profane songs, and country dances, then so much in vogue :-now, although the taste for music remained, its subjects were totally different,-henceforth he sang “the songs of Zion;" and his fine bass voice was dedicated to the service of the sanctuary, in directing and assisting in the singing which constituted so important and delightful a portion of public worship. Having thus experienced the pardoning mercy and renewing grace of God, he felt anxious for the conversion and salvation of perishing men around him, and soon began to exhort sinners to turn to God : in various ways, also, he devoted his talents, influence, and property, to the aid of that branch of the church of Christ with which he esteemed it an honour to be connected. Among his other methods of seeking both to “get and to do good,” he opened, and kept up, an epistolary correspondence with several Christian friends, together with some of the Wesleyan Ministers.
And it pleased God to honour his decision of character in thus coming “out of the world,” and his zealous activity in the cause of religion, by blessing his labours to the spiritual profit of many. His example and instructions were made very useful to several members of his own family. He had the happiness of seeing his second brother, his aged mother, and, subsequently, one of his sisters, renounce the errors in which they had been educated, and not only embrace the doctrine of " Christ crucified," but, in the exercise of a saving faith, 6 receive Christ Jesus the Lord,” and experience, personally, the spie ritual blessings of the Gospel. In after-life, too, he had often to rejoice before God in seeing those in whose welfare he always took a lively interest, for whom he prayed much, and to whom he was careful to point out “ the good and the right way," submitting to the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and both giving themselves to God, and to his church according to his will. About the sanie time, likewise, it is known that he sought and obtained a deeper work of grace in his own heart, a
richer experience of the sanctifying power of God. He was not accustomed to speak much on the subject; but the generally-even temper of mind which he always displayed, his unruffled patience under numerous trials and reverses, and his increasingly-devoted and heavenly spirit, proved that he was indeed at least endeavouring to walk perfectly with God.
After he had joined the Wesleyan society, it was not long before he began to engage in the meetings for prayer that were regularly held, and sometimes to address to those who were present a “ word of exhortation.” Having bimself found mercy, he desired to do all that might be in his power to bring others to the same happy experience. He therefore soon became a Local Preacher, commencing those Sabbath labours, in which he continued to be engaged for nearly fifty years. The sphere of these labours was for most part of this time very extensive. What was then the Rye Circuit, has since been formed into many others. In attending to the duties thus devolving on him, he was not only zealous and active, but careful and thoughtful in seeking to prepare for their proper performance. The many volumes of manuscript sketches of sermons in his own hand-writing which he has left behind, attest the diligence with which he must, at some time, have prosecuted his studies for the pulpit.
He thus calmly pursued the even tenor of his way through good and through evil report, and God was with him. When the sun of prosperity shone upon him, and when the lowering clouds of adversity had blighted his earthly prospects, he still committed all his ways to Him, who says to the soul that trusts in Him, “I will never leave nor forsake thee.” And his heavenly hopes and divine consolations greatly brightened and increased as he approached the close of his
After what has been said, it scarcely needs to be added, that Mr. Rofe was a man of prayer. From the commencement of his religious course, the worship of God was established in his family. Morning and evening, the members of his household were collected together, the Scriptures were regularly read, and prayer and praise offered to Almighty God. And at stated times in the day, he was accustomed to retire to his room for secret prayer and communion with God, and for the purpose of committing to Him all the interests, but especially the spiritual interests, of his children and near relations. In a letter to one of his sons, dated April 28th, 1843, he says, “I was greatly distressed when I heard of your affliction, and that you were just on the point of sinking under it. I earnestly prayed that the Lord would undertake for you; and I think I prayed in faith. I believe the Lord will hear prayer. Bless his holy name.”
His naturally-good constitution had been observed to be sensibly, though gradually, yielding under the pressure of his numerous years, for about three months before his last illness. However, by a merciful Providence, he was confined to his bed only for a short period. The particulars of the few last days of his life cannot be given better than in the words of one of his sons, who was present with him during the greater part of the time. He writes thus to his brother in London :
“ The mournfully-pleasing task of informing you that our beloved and venerable parent entered on his eternal rest this morning, (November 21st, 1843,) now devolves upon me. He was rather more than seventy-five years old. His departure from this world of sorrow and trial was very calm. We may truly say, that his end was peace.
“ To those who had the opportunity of observing his serene, thankful, and heavenly frame of mind, it was evident that he had for some time been ripening for the glory to which he had so nearly approached. He was not, as you well know, a man of many words, especially in reference to himself; and during the illness which has terminated in his death, he did not say much; but what he did say was of a very satisfactory character. On one occasion he was asked, if Christ were precious to him : he replied, “0, he is precious! He is precious! 0, how much I love him !
“ To the Superintendent Minister of the Tenterden Circuit, the Rev. Thomas Hill, who had called to see him, he said, 'I am happy. I love the Lord. He is precious. He requested Mr. Hill to pray for him, and told him that, as to himself, all was well. Mr. Hill called again to see him the night before he died, and found him still happy, and longing to depart, and be with Christ.
“His patience and resignation throughout were exemplary; and not less so his gratitude to God, and to those who attended upon him. Not a word of complaint, not a peevish or fretful expression, was ever heard from him. During the last twenty-four hours, he appeared to be always happy and thankful. If he were asked, whether he was in pain, he would reply, in a kind and cheerful tone, Only a little,' or words to that effect.
“ On one occasion, his daughter-in-law (who had attended him with affectionate assiduity) asked him, “Is your prospect now bright for eternity, father?' He answered, 'Yes. I have no doubts. He afterwards said, “I long to depart, and be with Christ. Praise the Lord! Praise him !' Then, after receiving a little nourishment, he said, “Thank the Lord for all his mercies.' He continued in this state for a few hours longer, and then departed in peace, to be for ever with the Lord.”
MEMOIR OF MRS. ELIZABETH GEAKE,
OF FROGWELL, IN THE SALTASH CIRCUIT :
BY THE REV. O. HENWOOD. MRS. GEAKE was born in the parish of Lansallas, Cornwall, in 1762. Her father, Mr. Henry Langmaid, was a respectable farmer, and one of the first race of Methodists in his neighbourhood. In an original letter, now before me, containing a list of places visited by the Wesleyan Ministers in the Cornwall East Circuit, I find, “ Trenewen, Henry Langmaid.” The letter is worthy to be preserved, as throwing some light on the state of Methodism in that day. It was addressed to Mr. Thomas Vasey :
“ Launceston, October 16th, 1775. “ MY DEAR BROTHER,
“ Tais day I received a letter from Mr. Wesley, in which he supposes you to be in this round. As I have some thoughts that you will come to this society first, I take the occasion of dropping this line, that you may know better how to proceed. The vacant places which you are desired to fill up are as follows." (Here a list of places is given, to occupy a month; several of which are now heads of Circuits, as St. Austle, Bodmin, Camelford, Launceston, Tavistock, Dock, now Devonport, and Plymouth. The writer thus concludes : “ I wish you good luck in the name of the Lord. Keep close to him and the word of his grace; then will you be a happy instrument in saving your own soul and them that hear you. O that all who labour in this part of God's vineyard may be enabled to say, 'The Lord hath done great things for us.'
Miss Langmaid was highly favoured with the means of religious instruction, and gave pleasing evidences of early piety. The powerful sermons and edifying conversation of the late Dr. Adam Clarke were more especially beneficial to her, if not the direct means of her conversion to God. She received a note of admittance into the society, of which the following is a copy :-“December 16th, 1784. Admit Elizabeth Langmaid. F. Wrigley.” She, being a good singer, and zealous for the salvation of others, frequently accompanied the Preachers to new places of ministerial enterprise ; and was, at that time, the only respectable young female in the parish who gloried in the cross of Christ. Her usual place of worship was at Polperro, about three miles from her father's house ; but having a pony at command, and delighting in religious ordinances, she was seldom absent from it.
Her first husband, Mr. William Sargent, was Captain, and in part owner, of a merchant vessel, and also a Methodist. But their conjugal happiness was of short continuance; for in a storm at sea, off the “ Land's End,” he was lost, with the vessel, cargo, and crew, leaving her a widow with an infant daughter. This bereavement, though sudden and distressing, she bore with Christian resignation ; sorrowing not as one without hope, being fully assured, by her knowledge of his deep and uniform piety, that death to him was gain.
Connected with her future history is the following seeming digression. In 1785, Mr. Adam Clarke was stationed in the Plymouth Circuit, which included Trecarrel, in Lezant, the residence of Mr. Thomas Sargent, who had preaching in his house. Here his nephew, Thomas Geake, was awakened under the energetic ministry of Mr. Clarke, and soon became a new creature in Christ Jesus. Thomas had been regarded as a champion in the rough sports of the day ; consequently his conversion produced a strong sensation in the neighbourhood. Instead of being the leader of a party of gay young men, he became their jest, and a distinguished member of a band of worthies brought to God under the same ministry. Having tasted that the Lord is gracious, he felt a deep concern for his friends and neighbours : hence he warned them to flee from the wrath to come, and testified what God had done for his soul. This was something new and strange to the people; who, in doubt and consternation, said to each other, “ What has happened to Thomas Geake? He says, he knows that God hath forgiven his sins !” This declaration was regarded by some as little less than blasphemy. Various were the thoughts and remarks on the occasion; but his brother Richard pondered on what