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which his uniform refusal of all pecuniary remuneration for any of his labours, was a remarkable and striking proof. It had been the practice of the Dutch Government to allow 50 Rupees a month to a person whom they denominated a Reader, whose office consisted in reading the Scriptures aloud, before the commencement of the service, during the time the people were assembling for worship. On the decease of Mr. Keirnander, who had long fulfilled that duty at Chinsurah, this sum was offered to Mr. F. who refused to receive it, but on being much pressed to do so, on the ground that it would furnish him with additional means of doing good, he consented. After awhile however he again declined it, saying, “I have no use for it, I can do very well without it, why should I take what I do not require ? pray apply it to the relief or assistance of some one who really needs it.** It will be judged from what has been related, that his personal expences must have been very small; and this will account for his readiness to help in all cases requiring pecuniary assistance, and for the appearance of his name in various lists of subscriptions for 100 rupees, while some men possessed of lacs stood at 50. He had also stated seasons for distributing alms to the poor, thus exemplifying his favorite maxim with regard both to temporal and spiritual benefits, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”
The following extracts from a letter which he wrote to the heads of a respectable family attending his ministry, will show with what sacred fidelity he discharged among his people the office he had undertaken:
“My Dear FRIENDS, I could wish that you carefully observed family worship every morning and evening; in such cases to make want of time or leisure an excuse, is altogether improper. As soon might we say that we have no time to sleep or eat, or to take medicine, in order to preserve life and health. Besides, allowing business or company to interrupt us in the worship of God, is in effect to say that we prefer them to him, and value them more than His glory, friendship and favor, or than the salvation of our immortal souls. God will not be mocked in this manner by any. Let us therefore learn to love and fear him as he has commanded, in opposition to the will of the flesh and the way and wisdom of this wicked world, that we may be blessed with His favor and friendship, peace and protection, now and for ever. Amen.
“ Finally, you are to remember that though in some degree you know and believe these things, and in the most solemn manner promise and engage to perform and fulil them; unless you have in your heart a true principle of love and faith in Christ, by His Spirit, producing obedience to Him in heart and life, all your knowledge, profession, and engagements will be of no avail; but expose you and your family to the anger and judgments of God, as guilty of hypocrisy and perjury; which without repentance and reformation, must end in your everlasting ruin; and which I pray him to prevent by his own grace to his glory."
It will not be out of place to say a word here on his devotional habits. A look into the closet explains much that cannot otherwise be accounted for, for secret prayer is the breath of a Christian, and it is generally found that it is those who are mightily earnest and unceasing in supplication, who are steady, persevering, and admirably consistent in action. No Christian can do any thing of his own unaided strength ; and those who enter prayerlessly, and thoughtlessly, upon holy and responsible engagements, are often betrayed into sin, in the prosecution of their most zealous efforts. Mr. F. was a man of prayer-he loved and lived upon communion with his God; and it is when we draw aside the veil and behold him in retirement, that we cease to wonder at his holy energy, his undaunted courage, and his uncommon abstractedness from the things of earth. Intercourse with heaven was “his meat and drink,” and to do the will of heaven's God and king was his delight. The flame that burned so brightly that all men might see the reflection of the light it caused, was kindled on the altar of devotion, for he passed" whole nights in prayer to God," or “rising up a great while before day, he departed into a secret place himself alone,” to hold long and uninterrupted fellowship with the beloved of his soul. During the Saturday, and till 12 o'clock on the morning of the Sabbath, he studied, fasted and prayed, abstaining from all food except a little konjee. We need not be at a loss to guess the effects of sermons so prepared ; nor need we wonder to be told, that many petitions which formed the burden of his
have been fulfilled. It were to be wished that Christians generally, and Christian Ministers more particularly, lived as mindfully of God as he did ; for it is the spring of all holy and devout affections, sets in motion all the wheels of action, and makes the soul run with delight in the ways of God's commandments. We verily believe that the hanging of hands, the feebleness of knees, the laziness and indifference too often exemplified in serving the Lord, arise from the sluggish and despondent manner in which private devotions are conducted. Hence also our aversion to hazardous duties, and our fear of attempting any enterprises, however important, that may prove costly, or dangerous. We too contentedly confine ourselves within certain limits, and aim not, as we should, at a spiritual excellency. This is at least the temper of many that have long trodden the professed path of religion ; such is not the course described in those God-breathed oracles, those heavenly records, which discover and display that blessed state to which our feet proclaim themselves tending; and to such a lingering, death-like kind of life, our brother's was a happy exception.
The next field of labor into which we perceive Mr. F. entering, was entirely dissimilar to any of his previous pursuits ; it was the superintendence and tuition of a large School at Chinsurah, which had been deprived by death of its former master.
For this pur
pose he left Bandel, and having purchased a large house and extensive premises at Chinsurah, he settled there. The same remarkable diligence, Christian simplicity, and forgetfulness of self, marked his conduct in this, as in all his other engagements; and though we cannot approve, and do not recommend his plans, because we think they were not well calculated to answer the ends he designed to effect, we attribute his failure principally to mistaken ideas of youthful tastes and capabilities.
He had not studied education, and was therefore unfit to form the minds of youth. He in consequence taxed those of his pupils in some particular branches of study beyond their strength, while in others he failed to give them sufficient exercise. He had evidently forgotten the period of his own boyhood, and was not sensible of the difference between the contracted range of a child's mind, and the expansive nature of his own. In this respect he was not singular; few but those who have long practically engaged in the task, are aware of the little circle which is to be extended and ramified, nor of the gentle and gradual efforts by which the work must be effected. It is beautifully described in sacred writ that, “Here a little and there much” must be imparted as they are able to bear it. It was in the year 1805, that he undertook the
management of the School. The money for the purchase of the premises was advanced to him by a friend, and he liquidated the debt from the proceeds of it. He never occupied any part of the dwellinghouse himself, but devoted that which was not appropriated to the boys to the use of his friends, while he contented himself with some of the out-offices. He was seldom seen, except for a short time after school hours and during meals; for his love of retirement and contemplation increased with his engagements, and so secluded did his habits at length become, that it was sometimes quite impossible to discover the place of his retreat. He would lie for hours on the plot of his garden, unconscious of the presence of any but Him whose vaulted archway was his canopy. One day upon turning in his grassy bed he perceived a snake roving about and coming towards him ; but upon moving his hand it providentially retreated, so that he received no injury.
After his seasons of retirement were over, he would sometimes mention to his friends remarkable appearances with which he had been favoured, and at other times he would relate dreams which had made a powerful impression on his mind. One of these we here subjoin. It occurred a very short period before his death, and certainly seemed indicative of the event. He imagined he had three funerals to attend, which he met at the Esplanade at Chinsurah ; upon going among them, he found only two, nor could he by any searching discover the other.
This dream greatly affected him, and he was heard to remark many days afterwards, “ The two funerals have taken place, but I shall remain in doubt as to whose is to be the third :" that proved to be his own, for no other individual was after this time buried by him. It is scarcely necessary to remark that these supernatural visitations, as he conceived them, were most probably the effects of an imagination highly wrought upon by the contemplation of spiritual objects; and however illusive they might be in their nature, their tendency as it regarded him was only good, and their occurrence cannot be considered as derogating, either from the genuineness of his piety, or the soundness of his mind.
In 1809 he engaged, in conjunction with Dr. Carey, in opening the Loll Bazar Chapel, in which he continued to preach during the evening of the Lord's-day, to the close of his life. His Calcutta congregations were not large, which is probably to be attributed to the plainness of his style, and the unpolished and unattractive nature of his delivery. Failures in these really unimportant points, are not unseldom death-blows to less fastidious audiences than those which assembled in Calcutta. Such audiences would not, we conceive, tolerate the preaching of him, whose “ bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible;" but would turn aside with the scoffing though polished Athenians, to more eloquently inviting discourses. He was not, however, ambitious of the honor that cometh from men; he sought to form citizens for heaven, and expected not a worldly reputation for his work. He hoped not to escape the ridicule of the ungodly, but rather gloried in being counted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Christ. On one occasion, when dispensing the word of life to a small congregation, some Civilians wantonly, and most uncourteously, disturbed them with fire crackers during the time of prayer. The people manifested some alarm, bnt Mr. F. continued to preserve his composedness of mind throughout the exercise. After the service was over he remarked, “ It was very bold of them, very bold indeed; however, let us pray for them.” He evidently felt the dishonour done to his Master, but in His spirit instantly exclaimed, “ Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He seemed to yield an exception to the almost universal applicability of the declaration of Solomon, that the “ fear of man bringeth a snare ;" and he was quite content to sustain that sort of course invariably allotted to the Christian Missionary, if he be a faithful one. He did not however “ strive, but was gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if peradventure God would give them repentance to the acknowIedgment of the truth."
But we must bring our readers to the period when having “ fought the good fight and kept the faith,” he felt the time of his
departure to be at hand. So great had been the measure of health bestowed upon him, (notwithstanding his extraordinary exertions,) that it was not till within the last year of his life he could properly be said to be the subject of sickness ; during that year
he declined rapidly. The following note was written from the house of a friend at Chandernagore, to which he removed a few months before his death :
“ Jan. 30, 1816. “ MY DEAR BROTHER,
"I have been very ill, and am not likely to get better ; all medicine fails ; I think the Lord is about to remove me: well he may, I have so often offend ed him, and have been such an unprofitable servant. I want to set my in order. I am at Mr. Wade's, Chandernagore. If you could take a run up with the tide, I would be very thankful. Pray for me. The Lord bless you and all yours.”
The request contained in this letter was immediately complied with. His brother found him very weak, but cheerful and hap
in his mind. They conversed for a little while on worldly affairs, but he soon despatched those, for the desire of his soul was to God, and to the remembrance of his name. He requested his friend to pray with him ; and then expressed his joy and thankfulness, adding that he felt much better that day, than he had done on the one preceding it. On parting, his brother requested to be soon informed of the state of his health, and on the 4th of the next month received the following: “ MY DEAR BROTHER,
“ Instead of employing another, the Lord is pleased to enable me to tell you myself that by His mercy I am somewhat better. The pain distresses me, and I have had no sleep for about a fortnight, so that I am remarkably weakened. You would be much surprised to see me resting at almost every word; and then with difficulty getting over it. I have done! If you see any of the brethren from Serampore, tell them I have been very ill, and am not yet out of danger. I have no doubt of their sympathy and prayers, and that they would do anything in their power for my recovery and comfort. I much admire the simplicity and fervency with which they worship God and preach the Gospel of His Son, like all the old Puritans and Churches of the Reformation, without Popish ceremonies.”
It is believed that this was the last he wrote. His tabernacle continued to totter till the morning of the 11th, when the cry of the Bridegroom came, and his spirit, emancipated from its confinement, went forth to meet him, leaving the darkened ruin to dissolve in dust, till the day when it shall be built afresh.
“Servant of God, well done;
Rest from thy lov'd employ;
Enter thy Master's joy." A stone in Chinsurah Burying Ground marks the spot where his ashes sleep, on which is the following inscription :