« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
as a teacher of youth. At length, resigning his situation as Master of the charity-school, he commenced an establishment for boarders. Among the papers of Mr. Bush there have been found not a few letters from pupils, in which they express their gratitude for the kind parental care, and more especially for the religious impressions, they had experienced while under his roof. It was in this boarding-school that an exceedingly interesting incident transpired. Mr. Wesley towards the close of his life preached in the church at Norton, and was entertained by Mr. Bush. “While there, two of the boys had a quarrel, and fought and kicked each other most fiercely; while thus engaged, Mrs. Bush went into the school-room and parted them, and brought them into the parlour where Mr. Wesley was about to take tea with Mr. Bush and the family. In a most affectionate manner Mr. Wesley talked to them, and concluded his advice by repeating those lines of Dr. Watts,
"Birds in their little nests agree ;
And 'tis a shameful sight,
Fall out and chide and fight.' He then said, “You must be reconciled. Go and shake hands with each other;' which they did. “Now,' said he, put your arms round each other's neck and kiss each other :' when this was done, Mr. Wesley said, “Come to me,' and taking two pieces of bread and butter, he folded them together, and desired each to take a part. • Now,' said he, you have broken bread together. He then gave them a cup of tea, and told them they had both drunk of the same cup. And after putting his hands upon their heads, he blessed them, when they went back into the school, and forgot their animosities. The next morning, when the scholars came into the room for the usual domestic worship, Mr. Wesley singled out these two boys, took them in his arms, and sent them away with his blessing." *
This establishment Mr. Bush continued until the year 1807. From that time his only secular business was the cultivation of a small farm which he occupied. Relieved from the duties of tuition, he was now at liberty to devote his time and talents more fully to the service of the church and the world; and his diligence and zeal were most exemplary. He possessed an athletic frame ; enjoyed through many years almost uninterrupted health, and his valuable labours were continued until he had passed beyond “the age of man.”
Had Mr. Bush been accustomed, like many excellent persons, to record his religious experience, the writer might have been able to extract from his diary or journal numerous passages which would have greatly enriched this notice of an eminently pious man. It is much to be regretted that this was not the case. Such a record would have told of his steady faith in an all-sufficient Saviour; of his habitual and exclusive glorying in the cross ; of his rejoicing confidence in the intercession of his “ Advocate with the Father;” of his fellowship with God; his spiritual conflicts and triumphs ; his advancement in holy love ; his unutterable peace through believing; and his joy in hope of the glory of God.
* This anecdote was inserted in the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, for February, 1842, having been communicated in a letter from the late Rev. R. Treffry, to whom it was related by a Magistrate in Berkshire, who was himself one of the boys to whom it refers. It illustrates, however, so strikingly, not only the general kindness of Mr. Wesley, but also his affectionate concern for children, that we have not thought it necessary to omit it from the Ms. copy sent by our esteemed correspondent, the biographer. There is a further reason for this insertion, as the circumstance occurred in the house of Mr. Bush._Edit.
We know not whether Mr. Bush had ever offered to God that prayer of Charles Wesley, in which he asked that he might “ cease at once to work and live.” If so, it yet, nevertheless, pleased his heavenly Father, in the exercise of his unsearchable wisdom, to deny his request. For some few years previously to his removal from the church militant to the church triumphant, he was the subject of “feebleness extreme.”
He preached his last sermon in the chapel at Midsomer-Norton, some five years before his death, and at length he was obliged to resign his office as Class-Leader. Until within a few months of his decease he continued regularly to attend the public services of the sanctuary, though able to hear but little. During this period of increasing debility, as he was gradually sinking into the grave, he maintained an unshaken confidence in Christ his Saviour, and an undisturbed peace of mind. When questioned respecting his spiritual state, he was accustomed with great simplicity and modesty to reply, “I am a sinner saved by grace.”
With a calm serenity he waited till his change should come. It might indeed be said of him, that “ he came to his grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in its season." His great feebleness prevented his entering into conversation with those Christian friends who surrounded his dying bed. But the divine presence was felt in an especial manner whilst they united in commending his spirit into the hands of the Lord Jesus. He “fell asleep" in Christ, October 17th, 1845.
The high esteem in which Mr. Bush was held was testified by the fact, that a large concourse of persons in mourning attire followed his remains to the tomb; and that on the occasion of his funeral sermon being preached in Norton, numbers were unable to obtain admission into the chapel. Being the oldest Local Preacher on the Plan, and honourably identified with Methodism in every part of the Circuit, signs of mourning were placed on the pulpits of all the chapels, and a sermon preached in each of them on the occasion of his death.
Throughout the Midsomer-Norton and some of the neighbouring Circuits, the name of Elijah Bush is embalmed in the recollection of multitudes who are living, while not a few are removed to heaven, who will be the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord.
His unspotted character did honour to evangelical Christianity, proving that the cardinal doctrine of justification “by faith only” is as sanctifying as it is consolatory; and greatly commended the Methodism with which he connected himself in comparatively early life, and which he successfully laboured to promote for nearly “threescore years and ten.”
Plain and simple in manners ; cherishing a “calmly fervent zeal ;" his own character being a living epistle recommendatory of the Gospel; permitted by the great Head of the church to labour long in his vineyard ;—though possessed of but moderate talents, by the divine blessing, he was the instrument of effecting an extraordinary amount of spiritual good.
“They that are wise shall shine as the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.”
MEMOIR OF MRS. THOMAS: BY HER HUSBAND, THE REV. HENRY J. THOMAS. The following brief memoir will contain no passages of exciting influence, but is intended simply as a memorial of departed worth, and a tribute of affectionate recollection. Mrs. Thomas was born in Manchester. Her parents, G. R. Chappell, Esq., and his excellent wife, are too well known, and too highly esteemed, in the Wesleyan section of the Christian church, to require any notice in this paper. From her earliest childhood, Mrs. Thomas entertained strong feelings of veneration and esteem for the authors of her earthly existence. They lived in her affections, and shared her filial duty, even while she lived without a saving acquaintance with her adorable Redeemer. But her mind was always deeply impressed with the importance of true religion : she saw its beauty, and respected its faithful followers ; and frequent were the desires of her heart that she might herself experience its power. She was at length stirred up to give practical effect to these desires, though a naturally timid disposition was long permitted to hinder the full exercise of that confidence by which she would have been filled with all peace and joy, and was in consequence frequently harassed by doubts and temptations, and especially by a shrinking from the thought of dying. When, in 1841, a proposal of marriage had been made to her by the writer, she earnestly prayed for divine guidance, and evidently considered the subject chiefly as it might be connected with her soul's salvation. The union, when it took place, proved to be one of deep affection, peace, and comfort; and my only regret was occasioned by its brief duration. Soon after our marriage, her health began to fail ; but it was not till the autumn of 1844 that she became unable to leave the house. She was then confined to her own room; but we did not apprehend a fatal termination till a few weeks before it arrived. When this was announced to her, while she felt the effects of the constitutional timidity to which I have referred, she at the same time set herself with all earnestness to acquire a full preparation for death, and meetness for heaven.
She was visited by her Class-Leader, who, in an affectionate but pointed and faithful manner, sought to ascertain the precise state and character of her experience at the time. She replied to him, “My faith is rather the faith of a servant than of a child. I want a stronger confidence, and a brighter evidence of acceptance with God. I want to be able to say with the poet,
Not a cloud doth arise
To darken the skies,
Or hide for a moment my Lord from my eyes.'” She prayed fervently for herself, and others in the same spirit prayed for her, encouraging her at the same time to “ look unto Jesus” rather than to herself, and to rest with unhesitating trust in his redeeming all-sufficiency, his ability and willingness to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. One of her friends, while praying with her, repeated these lines,—
“My Jesus to know,
And feel his blood flow,
'Tis life everlasting, 'tis heaven below." God was pleased to hear prayer. The expressions were made a great blessing to her; she saw what she wanted, and earnestly besought power to believe in the Lord Jesus with a faith appropriating and applying his merits to herself. The power was given to her; and her doubts and fears gave way to confidence, joy, and praise. From this time she frequently gave expression to her feelings by suitable verses of hymns, with which her memory was well stored, and which have so often assisted the dying children of God in the utterance of their gladness, hope, and peace. The following verses may be particularly mentioned :
“ I 'll praise my Maker while I've breath ;
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
Or immortality endures."
Received on Calvary ;
They strongly speak for me ;
She was enabled to give up her husband, her parents, her relations and friends, and only to look for that glorious inheritance to which she felt that the mercy of God in Christ was bringing her. All who visited her she charged to give diligence to make their calling and election sure; and her husband, very solemnly, to be faithful in preaching, and to preach as a dying man to dying men.
On the morning of the Thursday prior to her death, her brother-inlaw, Joshua P. Westhead, Esq., had an interview with her, and during prayer it was as if a stream of glory had been let down from heaven to earth. Some allusions were made to her profuse perspirations, when she instantly replied, “My Saviour sweat great drops of blood for me.”
The following extract is taken from a letter addressed by Mr. Westhead to one of the friends of the family:
“On reaching Romsey, I heard that Mrs. Thomas was hourly losing strength, and that her sufferings were great : she sent for me so soon as I entered the house. When I first saw her, she laid firm hold of my hand, and several times repeated, God bless you. At times the countenance was covered thick with perspiration. I conversed with her at length, and prayed with her. So soon as a respite from pain was afforded her, she said, 'I hope I am not impatient : I fear lest I should be impatient. She was conscious of her approaching death : she said, God can raise this frail body from Romsey as well as from Manchester.' As I knew that it would be at least a minor consolation to her to know that her remains would be deposited with those of other beloved relations, I told her that if she should depart this life, her remains would rest near her sister Charlotte, and under the church in which she was married : she expressed much satisfaction at the thought.
“Of my son, Tom, she said, “Poor little fellow! he has said farewell to me, and will never see me more.' I said, Yes, Kate, I trust he will.' She calmly rejoined, “No! my coffin will not be opened in Manchester. This body will not be in a fit state to be seen there. I said, “But I meant that he would meet you in heaven.' She replied, 'Yes, I trust he will.' In the course of my conversation, she said, 'God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb. Heaven will not be a place of strangers to me: how many did I know who have gone thither!' She mentioned several names, and then added, 0, how simple it is to come to Jesus! I cast all my care upon Him. What are my sufferings to His agony and bloody sweat ?'
“ The period of my stay being limited, I had at length to take my final leave of her. When about to depart, I said, “Now, I must say farewell.' She raised her head, and, concentrating the enfeebled powers of her mind, and fixing her eyes steadfastly upon me, she solemnly said three times, "Now one last look! Charge my sisters, charge them all, to meet me in heaven. I gazed upon her, for the last time on earth, and left the room, blessing God for his mercy, and for the power of his grace in sustaining her. The happiest moments I ever spent in the presence of Mrs. Thomas, were those last moments.”
In the course of the day on which she died, one of her sisters read to her the beautiful and affecting hymn,
“ Come, let us join our friends above,
That have obtain'd the prize,
To joys celestial rise :