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THE LATE REV. J. MOODY.
Mr. James Moody was descended from pious ancestors, who resided at Paisley, in Scotland: his grandfather and grande mother were the first of the family who removed to London.
When Mr. Moody was a child, he discovered many marks of genius; and it was soon perceived by those about him, that he was likely to become a superior man. He was active, sprightly, inquisitive, and enterprizing ; and at the saine time remarkably dutiful to his parents.
At school he was attentive and studious, and gained the friendship of his master by his diligence. Here he acquired some knowledge of the Latin and French languages; but as no thoughts were then entertained of his becoming a minister, he was taken from school at the usual period, and placed apprentice to a reputable tradesmani. In this situation also he became a favourite with his master, by his industry and usefulness, so that he obtuined peculiar indulgences. Ple was, however, strongly addicted to vain and worldly pursuits. His heart was devoted to music, dancing, and thcatrical amusements. Of the latter he was so fond, that he used to meet with some young men of a similar cast, to rehearse parts of plays; and used to entertain a hope that he should make a figure on the stage. To improve himself in music he would rise very early, even in severely cold weather, aud practise on the German flute. By his skill irr music and sing. ing, with his general power of entertaining, he became a desireable companion, and was led into company in a manner very dangerous to youth. He would sometimes venture to profane the day of God, by turning it into a scason of carnal pleasure, and would join in excursions on the water to various parts of the vicinity of London.
But the time was approaching when the Lord, who bad
designs of mercy for him, and for many others by his means, was about to stop him in his vain carerr of sin and folly.
There were two professing servants in the house where he lived. One of these was a porter, who, when brushing his clothes before he went out to the playhouse, would say, “ Master James, this will never do. You must be otherwise employed. You must be a minister of the gospel.” This worthy man, earnestly wishing his conversion, put into his hands that exoel. lent book, which God hath so much owned, “ Allein's Alarm to the Unconverted;" which, it is believed, proved of great service to him. Several years before this, a person who knew him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “Well, James, how do you hope to be saved ?" Ignorant of the gospel, he answered, “Why, like other people, by doing as well as I can;" but the question, and the conversation that followed, made an impression that he never forgot. One of the servants above mentioned, lised to amuse herself by singing hymns; one of these was,“ Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,” &c. which words so struck his mind, that they followed him for many days together.
About this time, it pleased God to visit him with a disorder in his eyes, occasioned, as it was thought, by his sitting up in the night to improve himself in drawing. The apprehension of losing his sight occasioned many serious reficctions; his mind was impressed with the importance and necessity of seeking the salvation of his soul, and he was induced to attend the preaching of the gospel. The first sermon that he beard with a desire to profit, was at Spa-fields Chapel: a place which he had formerly frequented, when it was a temple of vanity and dissipation. Strong convictions of siu fixed on his mind; and he continued to attend the preached word, particularly at Tottenham Court Chapel. Every sermon increased his sorrow and grief that he had not earlier sought the Lord. It was a considerable time before he found comfort from the gospel. He has stood in the free part of the chapel, hearing with such emotion, that the tears have flowed from his eyes in torrents; and, when he has returned home, he has continued a great part of the night on his knees, praying over what he had heard.
The change effected by the power of the Holy Spirit on his hcart, now became visible to all. Nor did he halt between two opinions, as some persons do; he became at once a decided character, and gave up for ever all his vain pursuits and amusements; devoting himself with as much resolution and dili. gence to the service of God, as he lead formerly done to folly. Next to his own soul, the salvation of his former vain companions hecame his care. He went to them, one by one, and touk his Bible with him, having previously turned down suitable texts ; commenting on which, he gave them a faithful warning in “ flee from the wrath to come;" and then took his final leavc of thern.
He now became a preacher to his father, who, though. a hearer and approver of the gospel, was yet a stranger to its power. Mr. Moody's pious and affectionate exhortations were not in vain; lie had the happiness to sec his deat parent become a serious Christian; and, when his son entered into the ministry, he chose to reside with him, and spend his latter years in the enjoyment of God and religion.
His zeal and talents soon pointed him out as a fit person to becomca minister. But as yet he did not see his call to that work clearly. He therefore set up in business, in partnership with a pious young man, who had been his companion; and about the same time, he married a Miss Eliz. Fidler, of London. His inclination to the ministry, however, was unabated; and, by the solicitations of his serious friends, he determined to relinquish his worldly pursuits, and devote himself to that honourable work, which he has so faithfully and laboriously executed for twenty-five years. He was advised to go to college, with a view of entering into the established church; but he had some scruples which he could not conquer; and his having the prospect of a growing family, put additional difficulties in the way. He determined therefore to join the dissenters.
About this time, a few pious and zealous gentlemen instituted a seminary, known by the name of “The English Academy;" in which young men of talents were to receive assistance in their preparation for the pulpit, without going through the whole course of studies usual in dissenting academies. Into this seminary Mr. M. was admitted; and, after having continued the usual time, under the tuition of the Rev. Messrs. Brewer, Barber, and Kello, who then conducted the institution, he received an invitation to preach, as a probationer, to the infant church at Warwick. Here he settled ; and here he continued to labour in the most faithful and affectionate manner, endeavouring to dis. charge all the duties of the pastoral office, with a regard to the approbation of his great Master.
The blessing which attended his ministry may be estimatel, in some degree, by the additions made to the church and congregation. When he first came to Warwick, in November 1781, his hearers were about 50 in namber, and the members of the church only 18 or 20. The hearers soon incrcased to about 150; and, in the conrse of 25. years, upwards of 150 members were added to the church. The chapel was also much enlargel.
Mr. Moody's labours were not confined to the town of Warwick; the villages or neighbouring towns, where the people lived in ignorance and vice, excited his compassionate regards; and his labours, in this way, in conjunction with other preachers, were indeed abundant.
For about 13 years, he paid an annual visit to London, and preached for six weeks at a time to the vast congregations assemb
ling at the Tabernacle in Moorfields, and the chapel in Tottenham-court Road. Here his ministry was justly prized ; inany sinners were converted to God, and believers built up in their most holy faith.
He used also to visit the Tabernacle at Bristol for a few weeks, annually; where his ministry was equally acceptable as at London, and eminently useful*.
Mr. Moody's success did not free him from a variety of affictions. About three years after his settlement at Warwick, he sustained a great domestic trial. 'Mrs. Moody, who had borne three children, was removed by death, when confined with a fourth; and, in the course of seven weeks, he was deprived of his partner in life, and threc of bis children. His eldest daughter alone survives him t.
Another painful exercise of mind arose from the numerous invitations he received, to remove to congregations that promised more extensive opportunities of usefulness; and where he might have received greater ternporal advantages; but, on all these occasions, some circumstance or other gave a turn to the affair, and a dread of erring in so important a matter, led him frequently to sacrifice both inclination and interest to an apprehension of duty.
In the midst of usefulness, of apparent health, and mental vigour, the sovereign disposer of human life, and the great director of all the affairs of the church, was pleased to put an unexpected period to the services of this man of God.
He was invited to preach for a few Sabbaths at Bristol, in the month of July last. He was preparing to leave home about the 10th of that month; and, in the prospect of his journey, the additional labours of the Lord's Day, July 6th, appear to have proved the immediate occasion of his illness. On that day he preached thrice, as usual ; held a church-mceting after the morning service, for the admission of a member from the country; celebrated the Lord's Supper, and baptized several children. He appeared to his family unusually wearicd, and slept uncasily the following night.
On Monday, desirous of engaging Mr. R- , of Coventry, to supply for him on the following Sabhath, he rode to that place, though the morning was very stormy, and the day hot.
* Among his laborious efforts to do good to the souls of men, his visits to the county'saol at Warwick ought not to be forgotten. On several occasions, when his services were requested by the condemned criminals, he attended daily, with great diligence and solicitude; and there was much reason to believe, that his instructions and prayers were blessed to the real conversion of some of those unhappy persons.
+ In the year 1786, Mr. Moody entered a second time into the marriagestate with Miss E. Wathew, of Walsal; to sereral of whose family he has been made the happy instrument of spiritual benefit, and was highly esteçme by them.