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MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. WILLIAM WARD,
Of Stowmarket. The high esteem in which the Rev. | nearly four years. On the 5th NovemWilliam Ward was held by a large circle ber, 1790, he was admitted to Christian
of regret that more ample records have | lane, London, at that time under the not been preserved of the life of such a pastoral care of the Rev. Dr. Davis. Mr. man. Although his peculiar habits and | Ward preached the first time in public at avocations kept him, perhaps, in too re- | Fetter-lane, on the 30th September, 1792. tired a sphere, it is presumed that a brief His text was chosen from 2 Cor. v. 15, sketch of his life and character will be “He died for all, that they which live received with pleasure by all who knew I should not henceforth live unto themhis worth.
selves, but unto him which died for them, The Rev. William Ward was born on and rose again." the 2nd July, 1772, at Arnsby, in Leices The period spent by Mr. Ward at tershire, the birth-place of his friend, the Homerton was the great turning-point in great Robert Hall. He was the child of his life. Then, his mind being expanded pious parents, (themselves descended | by an extensive course of reading; with from pious Nonconformist ancestors,) and that noble independence of character was remarkable for an early taste for which always marked his course, he conreading, which was chiefly attributable ceived and laid down plans of study and to the careful tuition of his excellent of action, the prosecution of which, in mother. His parents removed to Wigston after life, raised him to an eminence in Magna, shortly after his birth; his early | solid acquirements, which is seldom atyears were therefore spent in that village. tained. It was an earnest desire of his mother! He left Homerton in 1793, preached that he should be devoted to the work of for a short period at Newport, Essex, and the Christian ministry. He left his afterwards at Tavistock and Kingsbridge, father's house on the 1st May, 1786, and Devonshire. In the month of September went to the academy at Rothwell, North- of the following year he removed to Upamptonshire; where he prosecuted his pingham, in Rutland; and, having been studies for three years, under the guid- | chosen to the pastoral office, he resided ance of the Rev. Moses Gregson. At there several years. His heart was the age of seventeen, he removed to cheered by witnessing, during his abode Homerton College, where he remained at Uppingham, and by intelligence reVOL. XXV.
ceived from time to time in subsequent , reached a respectable standing in the years, that God was pleased to render county. his labours at that place successful in Mr. Ward was united in marriage, in the salvation of many souls.
the year 1810, to the widow of John He was requested, about the year 1800, Byles, Esq., merchant, of Stowmarket, .by the trustees of Wymondley College," a gentleman highly respected. Of Mrs. to undertake the office of classical tutor. Ward it is enough to say, that there was This invitation he accepted; and, for a in her so happy a combination of piety, period of four years, he sustained that amiableness, good sense, cheerfulness, office with ability and success. His co- and uniform sweetness of disposition, as adjutor as theological tutor was the Rev. rendered her a worthy companion of her William Parry. His weight of character excellent and gifted husband, and an oband sound scholarship pre-eminently ject of great esteem and affection to all fitted Mr. Ward for this position; and who had the privilege of her acquaintthere are ministers of the gospel now ance. living who can bear willing and ample The death of his beloved partner, in testimony to the wisdom, prudence, and 1835, was a severe trial to Mr. Ward. talent which he displayed at Wymond- He suffered great mental distress, and ley.
often said that he could adopt the lanIn consequence of some unpleasant guage of John Newton, when he had differences between Mr. Ward and the passed through a similar scene, and say, trustees, in which concessions were re- “ that he could thank God for the trials, quired which the former conceived he but he would not pass through the same could not make without a sacrifice of again for all the wealth of the Indies." principle, he determined to resign his / Mr. Ward's high standing for soundoffice, and, under the direction of Provi- ness of judgment and extensive learning dence, to seek some other sphere of naturally led to his being frequently enlabour. Under that direction his foot- / gaged in important public services in steps were guided to Stowmarket, Suf- various parts of Suffolk. His counsel folk. Thither he went in December, and advice were always received with 1804—and there he lived and laboured great respect, and were highly valued during the remainder of his life.
by his brethren in the ministry. With that sagacity for which he was The even tenour of a Christian minialways remarkable, he perceived, that ster's life in a country town furnishes but although to many minds this little town few points of interest to the readers of at that period presented few attractions biography. It was a favourite maxim of to induce the settlement of a minister, Mr. Ward, “as unknown, and yet well and the church was at a low ebb, still the known.” Another often quoted rule of central situation of Stow market, and its conduct was, “ Do all the good you can, rising commercial importance, rendered while you can, and with as little noise as it an inviting sphere to a minister whose possible.” As the biographer of Dr. paramount desire was to be useful in his Dwight has well remarked, “Mankind Master's service.
| are attracted rather by what is brilliant With steady perseverance and quiet in character, and daring in action, than energy, “through evil report and through by the less splendid achievements of good report,” he prosecuted the various learning and piety. The exploits of the duties of the Christian ministry during a hero are recounted with applause while period of forty-one years, and under his he is living, and after his death are enministry the congregation gradually ad- rolled with admiration on the records of vanced in strength and usefulness, until nations; but the minister of Christ must it exercised an important influence on usually wait to receive his honours in the surrounding neighbourhood, and eternity, and expect the due estimate of
of his last sufferings, not one painful or | lowing general observations on bis chadistressing thought was uttered in refer- racter, written in compliance with an ence to his eternal prospects. His soul earnest request, are added by one who was fixed, stayed upon the Rock of ages. first became acquainted with him in the As long as he retained the power of maturity of his powers, and at the merispeech, he manifested the most intense dian of his day of usefulness, and who feeling in reference to the cause of Christ. continued to enjoy his friendship, and to It was evidently dear to him as his own have occasional intercourse with him to soul.
the latest period of his ministry. “Two days before he died, he asked a To prevent repetition, and secure brefriend to read that beautiful hymn of vity, it seems desirable to consider, sepaDr. Watts :
rately, the principal features of his cha
racter, beginning with that which was • Blest be the everlasting God, The Father of our Lord.'
the true source of all the good of which
he was the instrument. “He dwelt with peculiar pleasure on His piety. This was sincere, deep, the third and fourth verses :
and steady; never breaking out into
flames of fervour, but burning with a What though our inbred sins require Our flesh to see the dust,
clear and serene light to the end. His Yet as the Lord our Saviour rose,
experience in religion seemed chiefly So all his followers must.
based on profound views of the character • There's an inheritance Divine
of God, especially on those aspects of it, Reserved against that day,
both awful and delightful, in which it is 'Tis uncorrupted, undefiled,
exhibited in the person and work of And cannot fade away.'
Christ. Considered as experimental, bis "One of the most pleasing and promi- religion bore a remarkable resemblance nent traits in the character of our de- to that of President Edwards, of whose parted relative, was his disinterested and writings and character he was a warm deep sympathy with his family and friends admirer. in all their sorrows and joye. This he Though himself living under a deep exhibited to the last, affectionately com- | impression of religion, he was reserved mending all his children and grandchil- as to his own feelings, and so there was dren to the care and guidance of the not much in his conversation to invite Great Shepherd of Israel.
others to disclose theirs. He seemed “ • Blessed are the dead which die in shy of using the phraseology current the Lord, for they rest from their labours, among devout persons, which, indeed, is and their works do follow them.'” sometimes abused as a screen for hypo
Mr. Ward departed this life January crisy, but which also, undoubtedly, often the 2nd, 1846, and on the 11th his fune- proceeds from the "unfeigned lips” of ral sermon, from Hebrews xiii, 7, 8, was multitudes of upright souls. preached, by Mr. Craig, of Bocking, to a Yet his piety was clearly visible in the numerous and deeply-affected audience. integrity of his life, in his single-minded
The respect shown at the time of the devotedness to his great work, in bis funeral was great.
All the principal reverential manner of referring to the shops were closed. The respectable in- great topics of religion, in the tear that habitants of all shades of opinion at- trembled in his eye at the recital of the tended.
doing or the dying of eminent ChrisHe is succeeded in the pastorate by tians; and, above all, it was heard and the Rev. W. P. Lyon ; whom may God felt in the deeply solemn tone and lowly bless, as he blessed his predecessor. spirit in which he approached the Majesty
To the foregoing sketch of Mr. Ward's on high, through his Son, Jesus Christ. life, by bis esteemed son-in-law, the fol- A remarkable feature of his religious
character was his veneration for true while the disputants were darting at each piety, wherever found, even in the hum- other those replies and rejoinders which blest individuals. In this he strongly were to end, as most such contests end, resembled the really illustrious Robert in each party being only the more firmly Hall, in the sketches of whose character riveted in his previous opinions; yet, in it is to be regretted that this striking this instance,—which is far from being trait has been almost entirely overlooked. commonly the case,---without any diminu
His mental constitution. His mind / tion of their Christian benevolence towas distinguished by that perspicuity wards each other. which sees, at a glance, the substance of As is usual with that order of minds of things. Hence, he quickly extracted which Mr. Ward was a specimen, the from any book all that was worth ex- imaginative faculty was feeble. This tracting. On which account, in the
was very perceptible in his conversation, later years of his life, he did not spend but still more in his public exercises ; long hours in study, but read at snatches, and in his strong distaste of fervid and intermingling his reading, even in the impassioned eloquence, of splendid dicmorning, with walks, conversation, and tion, and of all that is sought to be atfriendly calls.
tained by a cultivated oratory, with His mind delighted in the intelligible, which his mental constitution allowed of the proved, the certain, among the ob- no sympathy, unless in almost the smalljects of knowledge; and in the practi- est degree. cable and really beneficial, among the His acquirements. These were consithings of action. As he had no satisfac-derable; far above mediocrity, yet not tion but in what was clear and definite, first-rate. That his classical attainments so whatever truth he distinctly perceived were superior, is evident; not so much he strongly embraced, and held with from his having been called to fill the proportionable tenacity. His opinions office of classical tutor at Wymondley, as on all great subjects being fixed, from a from his having sustained that office powerful conviction of the understanding, with an honourable ability to which his no after representations availed to shake pupils delighted to bear witness in after them. It is true that he had strong pre- years. possessions and some prejudices; but as But his forte lay in the department of his views were generally the result of general knowledge. Here he shone; and reading, reflection, and inquiry, they here, probably, he excelled all men in were for the most part such as have been the community to which he belonged. usually entertained by wise and good Other ministers, and some laymen of men, who have had similar opportunities accomplished minds, were
more thoof forming their opinions, together with roughly versed in some branch of knowa like freedom both of thinking and of ledge, but not one, perhaps, among them expressing their thoughts. His tenacious all, possessed so comprehensive a view of grasp of what he had once adopted the that whole wide circle which the cultiwriter remembers to have seen very vated intellect delights to embrace. Of strikingly exhibited in a sharp intellec- him it might emphatically be said, that tual contest on an ecclesiastical question, knowledge," considered in its largest which took place between him and the sense, was "pleasant to his soul.” And late William Youngman, of Norwich-a of that in which he delighted he gathered man strong, like himself, both in percep- great store; in doing which, the bee tion and retention. The utterances of might be said to be his model, for he their kindled and glowing minds were truly gathered honey "from every flower." like flashes of lightning, passing and re- Accordingly, he was far from confining passing ; so that the large company pre- himself to books, but seemed ever on the sent sat in a kind of breathless silence watch for fresh contributions, levying