Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

MEMOIR OF THE REV.J. RADFORD.

- 559 secret of the Lord was with him; and God shewed hin his covenant. He had learned to distinguish between the law and the gospel ; and that good Spirit, who alone can teach to profit, had taught him how to give saint and sinner their respective portions.

His religious friends disoerning his qualifications for the mi. nistry, and knowing the exercises of his own unind on the subject, anxiously wished him to apply for admission to the college at Trevecca ; but this he steadily refused; constantly replying, That, if the Lord had indeed called him to the work, he would make the way plain, in his own good time: “ He that ber dieveth, shall not make haste.” When Mr. Bazeley removed to Cumberland Street Chapel, Mr. Radford followed him; and at his minister's request superintended the Prayer Meeting, and met a class. In these engagements the Lord made him a blessing to many souls; and, while thus employed, his mind was doubtless increasing its ability for public labour. In the year 1773, he experienced a heavy trial, in the death of his much-loved spiritual father and pastor, for whose memory he retained the highest esteem to his dying-day. About the year 1776, he engaged himself to officiate as clerk to the Rev. Mr. Aldridge, at Jewry Street Chapel,; where he also met the Suciety, conducted the prayer ineetings, and occasionally expounded the Scriptures. After a long season, the anxiety of his mind respecting preaching being much increased, he tremblingly ventured 10 open his mind to Mr. Aldridge, who kindly encouraged him to go forward, and undertook to recommend him to a friend, connected with many village chapels, which he thought would afford an opportunity of trying his gifts : but this was forgotten or neglected. Twelve years had now elapsed since his views were first turned to the ministry ; and frequently he had endeavoured to stifle every rising thought respecting it; earnestly beseeching the Lord to deliver him from that uncertainty and depression of mind which had so long distrest him.

He was now pressingly solicited by a friend to preach to a small congregation in his stead, he being prevented from attending, by an unforeseen circumstance. With this call in Providence, he thought it his duty to comply; and being graciously supported in the exercise, he was the more willing to accede to the frequent invitations he received from various .congregations, still labouring with increasing acceptance and usefulness among them. At length, having collected a few persons who were desirous of uniting in church fellowship, he opened the Meeting House in Hermitage Street, Wapping, on the 1st of January, 1785; where he continued but a few months before the premisses were taken dowo), to form a new street. He then removed to Well Street, when he was again disturbed, the ground being purchased, and the meeting puiled

?

[ocr errors]

down, to make room for the Royalty Theatre. These werë very discouraging circumstances to the pastor of an infant society, which, notwithstanding, was increasing in numbers and attachment. As they were greatly at a loss for a place to meet in, they accepted, with great thankfulness, Mr. Towers's meeting for part of the Sabbath. There they continued five months; and on the 4th of June, 1786, the meeting-house in Virginia Street having been repaired, and conveniently fitted up, was re-opened, after a disuse of near forty years, by Mr. Radford, for the reception of his flock: his labours among the dear people of his charge were very abundant. While his health permitted, be preached thrice on each Sabbath, and met his people three evenings in every week, besides many occasional services in other pnlpits. In visiting the sick he was indefatigable; and in the various branches of his pastoral office, he watched over their souls as one that must give account unto God. Nor did he spend his strength for nought, the Lord giving him many seals to his ministry, both in his own and other churches. Laiterly, his constitution was much impaired, his whole frame was shattered, --and he frequently brought up considerable quantities of blood ;- but his soul prospered, his church was loving and affectionate; and God had greatly blessed himn in 'a 'kind and sympathizing partner,

who tenderly loved him. 'Tis true, the cares of a numerous - family, with but a very slender provision indeed, sometimes oppressed his mind; yet, he was enabled to trust them to Jacob's God. He grew weaker every month --he was evidently drawing near his end; and now it was that he felt the heaviest stroke · he ever knew: The peace of the church was disturbed by a few

individuals, concerning the proprietorship of the meeting-
house. He having taken it at first, regularly paid the rent; and
having been answerable for the enlargements, paid the whole
of the workmens' claims without asking the contributions of
the public, thought it his own property: the minister and other
friends, to whom this was submitted, were of the same opinion:
and so were nearly all his people :-yet, being a man of an un-
common peaceable disposition, and having walked in harmony
with every individual, this temporary interruption of it, over-
whelmed his spirit for a time, and certainly accelerated his end.
The last time be ever addressed his people, he chose for his
text Rev. v. 5.-His great apparent weakness much distressed
his friends, who felt a strong presentiment that it was the close
of his ministerial labours. He spoke but a short time, and
concluded his discourse by repeating the following verse :

" A few more rolling suins at most,
Will land me on fair Canaan's coast;
Where I shall sing the song of grace,
And see my glorious hiding-place,"

MEMOIR CF THE REV. J. RADFORD.

561 After this day, he was unable to go out any more, except once or twice in a coach. His complaints were rapidly increasing; but while the outer man decayed, his inner man was strengthened daily.

Many precious promises were set home upon his heart by the Spirit of God, with divine power, in this trying season. Amidst weakness of body and trials in the church, he found the strength of the Lord to be bis stay; and Jesus's presence made the prospect of death delightful. Walking in his room one day, deeply affected by the occurrence which had taken place in the church, he thus expressed his feelings: “Though it be a time of Jacob's trouble, be shall be saved out of it, The Lord knoweth the way that I take; and when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. Not one affliction too many,—all things work together for good, then surely this must; though we cannot tell now, but we shall know hereafter. Heaven will inake amends for all our trials here." Confidently he comınitted himself and his family to the care of a covenantGod, well knowing that he would undertake their cause.

Wheu visited by many friends during his last illness, his conversation evidenced a steady hope in God, and lively faith in the dear Redeemer. His frame was not rapture, but calm serenity, arising froin strong confidence. « The Lord is with me,” he would say; “ Though my flesh and my heart failcth, God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." To another friend he said, “ True, my work is almost done, and my course is nearly finished; but, blessed be God, there remaineth a rest for the people of God; a crown of righteousness which the Lord will give me in that day.” To the doctor he said one day, “Death does not alarm me,- I am not afraid of that enemy,-he has lost his sting; dying is no more than passing from one room to another : 'tis taking leave of all that's painful, to enjoy every thing that is glorious.

" There I shall see his face, and never, never sin ;

But, from the fulness of his grace, drink endless pleasures in." The writer of this memoir remembers, with mournful satisfaction, the last interview he ever had with this excellent mau: -the impression it made on his mind is too strong ever to be effaced ;-reproach had broken his heart, but his soul was irradiated with heavenly glory; and he was a witness for the Lord, that his supporting grace can bear us through the trying hour: he had long evidenced how a Christian should live; and now shewed how a Christian could die. He was indulged with the full use of all his faculties to the last moment of his life. His parting words to his now mournful relict were full of tenderness, but not of distrust; for he knew in whom he had beJieved, and where to encourage her to deposit all her cares. His dying exhortations to his children will, we trust, remain indelibly written on their hearts. Their affectionate regard to him while living, and the love they shew to his memory, RON he is removed, deserves to be mentioned with the highest ap. probation. This truly wortlıy servant of Christ was freed from the burden of mortality, and removed from the church militant to the church triumphant, January 19th, 1902; and was interred in Bunhill Fields on the 27th. The oration at the grave was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Towers; and on the following Lord's May the Rev. Matthew Wilks preached the funeral serion to a numerous and weeping congregation. The Rev. J. A. Knight affectionately penned a few lines for his grave-stone, which are inserted in the poetical department of this Number.

Thus lived and died this eminently pious man, of whose intrinsic excellence the half has not been told; for whether we consider his conduct as a Christian, a minister, a husband, a father, or a friend, we shall have ample reason to glorify God in him, and to pray the Lord of the larvest to send forth many such labourers into his vineyard. Islington.

E. J.J.

REFLECTIONS ON THE APPOINTMENT

ог

THE LORD'S SUPPER.

This do in remembrance of me.—Luke xxii. 19.

Tuis command was originally addressed by our Lord to his disciples, when he was in the near prospect of his death. Who can describe his feelings when he uttered these words, when he viewed the bread and the wine, and contemplated the shedding of his own blood ! “ You celebrate the feast of the passover, in remembrance of a great deliverance from Egyptian bondage and Egyptian plagues; but do this in remembrance of me. I am your deliverer from anore ignoininious bondage, and more destruetive plagues.”.

These are the words of our friend our best friend. “This do.” What is it, dying Redeemer: All that the Lord hath spoken we will do. “ Only this. I ask but a small token of pour respect and love." If the prophet had bid us do some great thing, would we not have done it?

We are to remember his love, his dying love. He became incarnate, and so humbled himself to the earth. And while on the earth be humbled himself, for he was ineek and lowly; a man of sorrows, and intimate with grief: and when he died he humbled himself into the earth. O, wonderous love! Surely it deserves to be remembered.

We are to remember Jesus as an absent friend; he is gone away from us.

lle is now gone home, – he is out of sight. O

/

ON TIIE APPOINTMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. 503 let lim not be out of mind too. For if he be absent from us, he is absent for us; he is gone about our business, and he hath toid us that he will soon return.

There is a very striking aptitude in the elements used, to put as in mind of Christ. We cannot surely break the bread without thinking of his mangled body; nor pour the wine, without thinking of bis blood.

The institution implies, that the disciples of Christ are liable, yea, likely to forget him. That this is a truth, experience testifies. We are surrounded with sensible objects. Our hearts are carnal, the world is alluring; Satan is incietatigable, and very subtle in his devices to lead us away from Christ, our best be loved. Alas, alas! we might justly weep in tears of blood !

One would think, after what we have read of Christ, in the precious volume of his word; after what we have heard of his value from others, and after what we have ourselves tasted of his goodness and seen of his bounty; one would think, I say, that our thoughts, our desires, and our affections, would be full of Christ; that we should be ever talking of bim in our families and among our friends; that we should carry him with us in our meditations wherever we went. Tbat in the midst of secular employmients, we should have a thousand thoughts of him; and that our midnight dreams would be nothing but visions of Christ : but Jesus knew that this would not be the case: he needed not that any should intorin him, for he knew what was in man. He has appointed a memorial, 10 which we do well to take heed.

" Well He remembers Calvary ;

Nor should his Saints forget." While we are thankful for the institution so wisely framed, let us be humbled by the consideration, that we have any peed to be put in mind at all. Strange as it is, we are too. prone to forget him now. How should we have been if no. such institution had been made !

How unreasonable are those Christians who refuse to shew Christ so small a token of regard,--so small a token of regard to his dying injunction. I would not, liowever, be understood to insinuate that all those Christians who do not partake of the Lord's Supper, neglect it for want of love to 'Christ, No; some, I know, are lawfully hindered; and many fearful disciples are often much distressed.

“ But I am afraid I am not worthy." Considered as a privilege, we are all unworthy; but, considered as a duty, we are all bound, if we are the disciples of Christ, to partake of it. :

“ But I fear I do not reineinber him aright. How are we to remember him?" Anstoer. In the excrcise of repentance, faith, love, and gratitude, and every holy disposition. 'l'is better to be destitute of a lively tancy than of a lively taith. *6 { have to complain of a hard hieart!" Then remember

1

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »