Imágenes de páginas

bishop?" "By depositing in it the remains of that venerable man of God John Wesley," was the rejoinder. “A very good answer,” responded the Dean.

Charles Wesley, the sweet singer of Methodism, was born at Epworth, December 18th, 1708. He had the honour of being the first who was called “Methodist.” He has left us upwards of six thousand hymns, many of which, to use the language of the inscription on the tablet erected to his memory in City Road Chapel, “ will convey instruction and consolation to the faithful in Christ Jesus as long as the English language shall be understood.” He died March 29th, 1788, aged eighty years. When the news of his death reached City Road Chapel, a good woman exclaimed, “ Ah! who will poetry for us now !” His sympathies for the Church of England were so strong as not to allow him to take any part in the burials in City Road Chapel graveyard, nor would he think of being buried there himself, because the ground was unconsecrated. He was therefore buried in the old parish church of Marylebone, close to where he lived. His wife and two sons were laid in the same grave.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of John and Charles, was an extraordicary woman. She was born in Spital Square, half a mile from the Foundry. She married in early life, and after her husband's death, lived chiefly with her son John at his house in City Road, where she died of gout, July 23rd, 1742, aged seventy-three years. John hurried from Bristol to see her die, and says, “I found my mother on the borders of eternity; but she had no doubt or fear, nor any desire but to depart and be with Christ.” Her request was, “Children, as soon as I am released, sing a psalm of praise to God.” The psalm of praise was sung immediately after her death. They interred her in Bunhill Fields Cemetery, in the afternoon of August Ist. Her epitaph is as follows :

"Here lies the body of Mrs. SUSANNAH Wesley (widow of the Rev. SAMUEL WESLEY, M.A., late rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire), who died July 23rd, 1742, aged seventy-three years.

"She was the youngest daughter of the Rev. Samuel Annesley, D.D., ejected by the Act of Uniformity from the Rectory of St. Giles', Cripplegate, August 24th, 1662.

"She was the mother of nineteen children, of whom the most eminent were the Rev, John and Charles Wesley ; the former of whom was, under God, the Founder of the Societies of the people called Methodists.

"In sure and certain hope to rise,
And claim her mansion in the skies,
A Christian here her flesh laid

The cross exchanging for a crown.
“ True daughter of affliction, she,

Inured to pain and misery,
Mourn'd a long night of grief and

A legal night of seventy years.

“The Father then revealed His Son, Him in the broken bread made

known; She knew and felt her sins forgiven,

And found the earnest of her heaven, "Meet for the fellowship above, She heard the call, ' Arise, my love!'

I come !' her dying looks replied, And lamb-like, as our Lord, she


A monument to her memory was erected in City Road Chapel on December 19th, 1870, the inscription on which is in substance the same as her epitaph.

Many eminent men carried forward the work begun by John Wesley, as Dr. Adam Clarke, Dr. Coke, Robert Newton, Joseph Benson, Richard Watson, Dr. Bunting, &c., all of whom have been rightly considered worthy of a memorial tablet in the City Road Chapel.

Adam Clarke was born in the village of Moybeg, Londonderry, Ireland, in 1760. He died suddenly of cholera at Bayswater, August 26th, 1832, aged se venty-two years, and was buried in the graveyard of City Road Chapel, close to Mr. Wesley. His son John threw a ball of earth into his grave at the funeral, which included some hair of each member of the family, in accordance with an old Irish custom. The inscription reads :

“ Sacred to the memory of ADAM CLARKE, LL.D., F.A.S., who rested from his labours, August 26th, 1832, aged seventy-two years.''

Joseph Benson was born at Melmerby, Cumberland, January 25th, 1748. In early life he became connected with John Wesley. After writing many works, he died in the Chapel Yard, City Road. The inscription on his tomb is as follows :

“In memory of the

Who, by the grace of God,
For more than half a century,

Devoted his superior talents,
With indefatigable diligence and apostolic zeal,
To the service of the Church of Christ.

Sound in doctrine,
Scriptural, comprehensive, and practical in his discourses,

Faithful and earnest in his exhortations,
Conscious of the authority of the sacred office,
And ardently desirous of the salvation of souls ;

The great Head of the Church
Crowned his endeavours with signal success

In the conversion of sinners,
And building up believers in their most holy faith.

His numerous publications,
But especially his large and valuable
Commentary upon the Holy Scriptures,

Prove that he was
A man of solid learning and an eminent Divine.

Active, disinterested, and unwearied
In his exertions to promote pure religion,

He desisted not,
Even when the infirmities of nature rapidly advanced,

From his accustomed labours

Both as a writer and preacher,
Till he was summoned to receive his reward,
Through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ,
In whom he died, February 16th, 1821,

Aged 73 years."

Richard Watson, born at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, February 22nd, 1781, for a season united himself with the Methodist New Connexion, but returned to the old body in 1812, and did much to spread the truth by his preaching and writings. The inscription on his tomb reads as follows :

“Sacred to the memory of the Rev. RICHARD WATSON, who died in the Lord, January 8th, 1833, in the 52nd year of his age. A man not more distinguished for the admirable endowments of his mind than for the depth of his piety, the fervour of his zeal, and the consecration of his powerful genius to the service of God in His sanctuary, and the spiritual interests of mankind; an amiable expounder of the lively oracles of God, an eloquent, argumentative, and impressive preacher of the Gospel, an affectionate pastor of the flock which Christ hath purchased with His own blood, a profound theological writer, a successful advocate of missions to the heathen. “As one who walked humbly with God, his name will be long and gratefully associated with the principal writers and ornaments of the Christian Church. Unto the King Eternal, Immortal, and Invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever, Amen.''

Dr. Watts and the Rev. John Newton, as well as Charles Wesley were writers of hymns which will never die. The chief of Dr. Watts works and hymns were written while residing with Lady Abney, more as a child at home than as a guest, at her mansion in Abney Park (now Abney Park Cemetery). He was born at Southampton, in 1674. His father, who was imprisoned for his nonconformity, kept a boarding school, and it is said that the mother suckled her son Isaac sitting on a stone at the prison door. Isaac began to learn Latin at four, and wrote poetry at seven years of age. He dwelt thirty-six years in the mansion of Lady Abney, and suffered much from sickness, chiefly wakefulness. He died November 25, 1748, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, City Road. His epitaph, composed by himself, reads thus :

“ISAAC WATTS, D.D., Pastor of a Church of Christ in London; successor of the Rev. Mr. Joseph Caryl, Dr. John Owen, Mr. David Clarkson, and Dr. Isaac Chauncey; after fifty years of feeble labours in the Gospel, interrupted by four years of tiresome sickness, was at, last dismissed to rest, Nov. 25, A.D. 1748, æt. 75. 2 Cor v. 8,- Absent from the body, present with the Lord.' Col. iii. 4- When Christ who is our life shall appear, I shall also appear with Him in glory.'

“In uno Jesu omnia.”

A beautiful cenotaph was erected to his memory in Abney Park Cemetery in 1843, where also may be seen what is still called Dr. Watts' mounda retired spot, shaded with trees, where the doctor used to meditate and compose.

The Rev. John Newton, 'as is well known, was an illustrious instance of the power of Divine grace. After sinking into depths of blasphemy and infidelity, he was rescued by the Spirit of God to become a preacher of the Gospel and a writer of hymns-grace which he acknowledged in the following epitaph wbich he composed himself. He died triumphantly December 21st, 1807, and was buried in the vault of the Church of St. Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street, of which he was rector for twenty-eight years, being previously curate and rector of Olney for sixteen years. He reached the ripe age of eighty-two years, being born in 1725, in London. In a letter to his executors, he says, “I propose writing an epitaph for myself, if it may be put up, on a plain marble tablet near the vestry door, to the following purport :

Once an infidel and libertine,

A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour

Preserved, restored, pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith

He had long laboured to destroy,
Near 16 years at Olney in Bucks;

And years in this church.
On Feb. 1, 1750, he married

Daughter of the late George Catlett,

Of Chatham, Kent.
He resigned her to the Lord who gave her,

On the 15th of December, 1790."

And I earnestly desire that no other monument, and no inscription but to this purport, may be attempted for me.”

The Rev. W. H. Havergal, M.A., Vicar of Shareshill, a sweet spirit, and another hymn-writer, as well as musical composer, to whom the chief credit, if not all the credit, is due for the improvement in modern psalmody, was buried at Astley churchyard, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire, on the 23rd April, 1870, having died on the 19th, aged seventy-seven. He was the composer of the celebrated common-metre tune " Evan.”

Another hymn-writer, the Rev. H. F. Lyte, A.M., author of the hymn, “ Abide with me," lies in the chapel yard of the English Church at Nice. His epitaph reads as follows:

"Here rest
The mortal remains of the

Rev. H. F. LYTE, M.A.,
For 25 years minister of Lower Brixham, in the County of Devon.

Born 1 June, 1793. Died 20 Nov. 1847.
God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of

Jesus Christ.' --Gal. vi., 14."

The Rev. John Fletcher, though a minister of the Church of England, united himself with the Rev. John Wesley in evangelistic work, and seemed to realise in himself that Christian perfection which was one of the most important subjects of their public teaching. He was buried in the churchyard at Madeley, and the following is his epitaph :

“Here lies the body of

Vicar of Madeley.
He was born at Nyon, in Switzerland,

September 12th, 1729 ;
And finished his course at this village,

August 14th, 1785 :

Where his
Unexampled labours will be long remembered.

He exercised his ministry for the space
Of twenty-five years in this Parish,

With uncommon zeal and ability,
Many believed his report, and became his joy

And crown of rejoicing;

While others constrained him to take up

The song of the Prophet,
All day long have I stretched out my hands
Unto a disobedient and gainsaying people,
Yet surely my judgment is with the Lord,

And my word with my God.'

"He being dead yet speaketh !'” A tablet, with a long inscription, doing honour to his genius, his Christian character, and the efficient aid he rendered to the cause of Methodism by his sympathies and his writings—particularly his "Checks to Antinomianism”-is fixed in City Road Chapel.

A group of eminent Nonconformist ministers lie buried in Bunhill Fields and in Abney Park Cemetery. In Bunhill Fields lies the celebrated and immortal John Bunyan, who wrote sixty books, and lived sixty years, and who has been lately honoured by the erection of a statue in Bedford, his native town. His only epitaph, and it is sufficient, reads :

"MR. JOHN BUNYAN, Author of the Pilgrim's Progress,' Ob. 31st August, 1688, æt. 60."

Richard Baxter, whose remains lie in Christ Church, London, without monument or inscription, has also somewhat tardily received Worthy recognition, by the erection of a statue to his honour in Kidderminster. He was born at Rowton, in Shropshire, November 12th, 1615. Dean Stanley said of him at the uncovering of his statue, “He preached prodigious sermons, lasting for three hours long, and he printed some said 150 and some said 200 volumes. When Boswell asked Dr. Johnson, which of Baxter's works he recommended to be read, that stout old Churchman roared, “Read them all.'"

The great theologian, Thomas Goodwin, D.D., an Independent, who was born at Rolesby, in Norfolk, and died February 23rd, 1679, in the eightieth year of his age, also lies in Bunhill Fields, as also do Joseph Hughes, Nathaniel Lardner, John Owen, and Matthew Wilks. The Rev. Joseph Hughes, M.A., a Baptist, born in 1768, was the originator of that great institution, the Bible Society. The inscription on his tomb is as follows :

"Rev. JOSEPH HUGHES, M.A., Secretary to the British and Foreign Bible Society, died Oct. 3rd, 1833, aged 64 years."

The inscription on the tomb of Nathaniel Lardner, D.D., a Presbyterian, reads :

“The Rev. NATHANIEL LARDNER, D.D., author of the Credibility of the Gospel History'; ` Ancient Jewish and Heathen testimonies to the truth of the Christian religion,' and several other smaller pieces, monuments of his learning, judgment, candour, impartiality, beneficence, and true piety. He was born at Hawkhurst, in the county of Kent, June 6th, 1684, and died on a visit there, July 24th, 1768, in the 85th year of his age. “An Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!'"

His great work on the “Credibility of the Gospel History” took up thirty-three years of his life, and cost him immense labour.

The Rev. Matthew Wilks was converted to God io 1771, by hearing a sermon under a window. He was born at Gibraltar, September 21st, 1746, and was distinguished in after life for his wit and general sprightliness of mind. He laboured for fifty-three years

« AnteriorContinuar »