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religion, and representing all sections of the Christian Church, met in Manchester for Conference on the repeal of the Corn Laws, he not only had the honour conferred upon him of presiding over the business and proceedings of the first day, but in the course of an eloquent address he justified the position which he had taken at meetings in the same behalf at Southampton, in which his line of action awakened the animosity and the opposition of the Protectionist party, while they did everything in their power to damage him in public opinion, and even to estrange the people of his charge from their enlightened and devoted pastor. It was a vain attempt.
The anniversary of his pastorate in the year 1844 was taken advantage of by the members of his congregation to present him with an address and testimonial. This address was signed by 1,040 persons, and the presentation consisted of a silver tea service, a silver inkstand, and a selection of works on theology and general literature; and was made at a public meeting in behalf of the Church and Congregation by the revered John Bullar, who delivered a speech full of Christian sympathy and practical benevolence.
It was shortly after this that the proposition was submitted to him for the erection of a second Congregational Church in the town, to meet the claims of a rapidly-increasing population. But to this he at first demurred, and suggested that the undertaking should be postponed for a time. He thus fell behind the age. But some members of his Church and congregation entered on the work with great spirit and corresponding earnestness, and carried it into completion. He lived to acknowledge their success, and to rejoice in the provision which was thus made for the moral and spiritual necessities of a dense population, in whose midst little had been done to bring them within the regenerating and transforming influence of our Christian system. He preached in the morning of the day on which the new sanctuary was opened, gave it his generous support, and it now stands out as a centre of moral light and influence, attracting thousands to the Cross of Christ as the foundation of their faith and hope.
As a Christian teacher his chosen field was the pulpit. Through life he shunned the press, not because he was unequal to successful authorship, but because he set up a standard for himself which he could never reach. In the sacred desk, however, he was always at home. He loved the grand, massive theology of the seventeenth century, and his sermons were a full embodiment of the evangelical truth. His theme challenged his eloquence, and his eloquence gathered force and fervour from his theme. He drew around him a large and influential congregation, and attracted some of the higher classes by his pulpit ministrations.
Bright and happy as was his path, he was not a stranger to sorrow. In the midst of life and labour his physical nature became so affected and enfeebled as to induce a state of painful mental depression. This was in 1831, and it continued more or less for two years, during which his conflict was severe, and his agony anspeakable. Then, as in some other seasons of human grief, his heart was sorely riven with keener anguish, and the strong man was seen to bend and bow beneath the weight of overpowering emotion. But He who knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are dust, brought His servant safely through this fiery trial; and when he again appeared before the great congregation, he stood forth not only with his intellectual powers unimpaired, but with a deeper experience, and better qualified to be the guide and counsellor of his flock. He had more than once to drink of his Master's cup. About twelve years ago he was called to follow the remains of his beloved wife, after a union of forty years, to the silence and forgetfulness of the grave, while friends, relatives, and early associates dropped on his right hand and his left, till the world became almost lonely to him, and everything earthly had lost much of its charm,
It is but seldom that a Congregational pastor has the happiness of presiding over the same Church and congregation for nearly sixty years. It was therefore right and meet that the Jubilee of your late and now lamented pastor should be celebrated—as it was in 1860—amid many and unmistakeable demonstrations of festivity and joy. This fiftieth anniversary happened to fall on a Sunday, on the morning of which he occupied the pulpit, and went through the service with his accustomed fervour and power. Next day a public dinner was given to him, and a meeting was held on the same evening, at which he received the congratulations not only of his Church and congregation, but also of his fellow-Presbyters and fellow-Christians of every evangelical communion. All classes of the community and every section of the Church united to do him honour. A subscription of more than £600 was raised to be expended in the erection of an organ, and in other improvements imperatively called for on the ecclesiastical structure in which we are now met, only reserving £100 of this sum as a gift to himself personally. It was to him a day of light and of gladness, as it revealed the universal esteem in which he was held as a man, a Christian, and a Christian minister.
It is believed that the last sermon he preached was in the American Church at Havre, on the Sunday preceding his return to Southampton. The first Sunday after that return was to be the anniversary of the Above Bar Sunday-schools, and it was announced that Mr. Adkins would preach in the morning, and Mr. Carlile, his co-pastor, in the evening. He selected as his text Psalm xlix. 8:—“The redemption of their soul is precious and it ceaseth for ever.” But after speaking for about seven minutes, with evident difficulty of controlling thought, he asked that he might be excused, and allowed to close the service. This was the last time he entered the pulpit to preach ; but his pulpit ministrations can never be forgotten by those who enjoyed them, and their results will be known only amid the lights and the revelations of a higher world.
From the first day of his settlement in the town he took his position, and won for himself an ever-widening influence. Of this fact we had the proof on Tuesday morning last' (December 16th), when the whole Corporation, with the Mayor at its head, the Magistrates and Common Council, the Clergy of all denominations, men of all professions, and thousands of the people, followed his remains to the grave, and there shed the tear of unaffected grief over departed worth.
His niece, who was for many years an eye-witness of his daily walk and conversation, has said that his life might be summed up in these two words-HOLINESS and HAPPINESS. While his piety was above suspicion, his cheerfulness was so unbounded that he would sing for very joy. Devoted to his Master's work, he was absorbed in His glory; and to his niece he was wont to say,
“Oh! my child, I can never do enough for my precious Saviour. All my life I have seen His hand guiding me; and He has brought me safely through all scenes. I have lived long enough to know the value of pride and vanity! What will these suffice on a deathbed? Christ will then be my only refuge.
I want to live as though I had to die; and to be always ready.” For some years past there were unmistakeable symptoms of the loss of mental application and vigour, or rather of the approaching decay of that beautiful yet mysterious organism through which mind reveals its power of thought and activity ; and conscious of growing infirmity, he would say, “How gracious is my heavenly Father! Surely none were ever let down so gently as I am-a little and then a little--step by step.” As the outward man perished, the inward man was being renewed day by day. He loved the house and the worship of God; and though he had ceased for more than two years to occupy the pulpit, he was yet to be seen in his place in the sanctuary on the morning of each returning Sabbath so long as his enfeebled health allowed him; and on returning home from the service he would exclaim, Memories of the past, my child, crowd upon me! Ah! what has not God done for me!” About six months back he was compelled to give up attendance even in the house of God. Heart and flesh were now fainting and failing, and his translation to a higher state of being was drawing on. Knowing whom he had believed, his faith faltered not. As in health so in sickness, he would repeat with great fervour, and with the tear trembling like a dew-drop in his eye, the well-known lines
“ Nothing inmy hand I bring,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!" As in life so in death, his fuith reposed in the Saviour and his work, with a confidence which nothing could divide or disturb. On the sixth day of December, 1868, he was seized with a severe fit of shivering, which was soon followed by his falling into a state of coma. From this, however, he so far recovered his consciousness and his power as to recognise the loved and watchful ones around him, and distinctly to answer all their pious questions. Being asked by his niece and others, “ Is Jesus precious to you ?” “ He is," was the reply. “Do you feel the everlasting arms sup
porting you ?” “I do.” “ Are you willing to die?” “I am.” “Is Jesus near to you ? " “He is.” This he said with a sweet, assuring smile.
To his piece he said, “My precious child ! I shall soon be in heaven.” She replied, “You will have perfect happiness there." His strength failed him, and he spoke little more. On being finally asked if he was happy, he gathered up his remaining strength, and said with equal firmness and joy, “ I am.”
To his niece, whom he loved with all the affection and tenderness of a father-to her husband, and to their dear children—to his faithful servant, and to all who were in attendance upon him in loving and willing ministries, he expressed his warm attachment. But the attractions of heaven overcame the endearments of earth; and on Wednesday morning, the ninth day of the present month, his redeemed spirit went to enjoy the rewards of long and devoted service in the kingdom of his Lord and Saviour. Having been faithful unto death, he has received the crown of life ; and having finished his work, he has entered into the joy of his Lord.
To you who compose the Christian congregation in whose midst he so long lived and laboured, we would address the inspired exhortation, • Remember them who have the rule over you, and who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” For more than fifty years your late devoted pastor went in and out amongst you with unmistakeable acceptance and success. With a distinctness and a fulness which challenged imitation, he made known to you the whole counsel of God. While he suffered nothing to come between the Cross and your individual, personal belief, he was careful to bring every other revealed truth within the light and the influence of this one only Centre. His aim was to teach, and through teaching to enlighten the mind, sanctify the heart, and save the soul. You know with what lucidness and completeness he set forth in your midst the sublime verities of our Christian faith ; with what strength of reasoning he conducted his argument; with what unwavering conviction he made every statement; with what urgency he pressed home the claims and requirements of the Gospel ; with what tenderness and affection he appealed to the conscience and the heart; with what sanctified eloquence he addressed himself to both saint and sinner. But his voice is now silent in death. You never more can hear it either in argument or appeal. We therefore ask, with all affection and solicitude, What has been the effect of his ministry on your heart and character ? Have you been drawn to the Cross in penitence and faith? Are you among the saved and the sanctified? Are you ripening into life, and thus becoming meet for that heaven in which he now dwells? If not, there comes a voice from his grave, which says to you with all the solemnity which belongs to death and eternity, " Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light; 66 behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world ; so believe, and thou shalt be
saved ; " "he that believeth hath everlasting life.” The Gospel which your late pastor preached, and which is so ably preached by my friend and brother, his successor, provides for death. As it sustained him in his last hour, so it will sustain you. He entered the dark valley of the shadow of death without fear, and he passed through it in conscious triumph. Deep, and settled, and abiding was his peace, and like a child reposing in his mother's arms, he fell asleep in Jesus. He died to live; and now he lives. in the power of an endless life amid the vitalities and the activities of heaven. “Mark the perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is
peace.” • Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord : for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."
CHURCH MEMBERSHIP: EXCEPTIONAL CASES. We have set forth, and endeavoured to prove, as foundation principles, these three propositions :-1. That a Christian Church is an organised society; not a mere assemblage of persons, who may choose to come together, when and as they please, for instruction and worship, but an association based on a common faith, for purposes in which its members are unitedly agreed, and with laws, more or less explicit, by which the persons so associated regard themselves as bound.-2. That the first Churches, as organised societies, were endowed with and exercised the right of admitting into their membership, and excluding from it.-And 3. That the Lord's Supper is that one act of public worship by which the early Churches were separated from the world, or from those who were not of their own number. If these principles be admitted, the inferences from them are of extreme importance. The chief of them, so far as present discussions are concerned, is this, that the Lord's Supper and Church membership were so identified in the first Churches that whatever rule applied to the one applied equally to the other. For example (1), the spiritual qualification for the one was the spiritual qualification for the other. The command, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye for God hath received him," applied equally to membership and to the Lord's Supper. Christian character, even if associated with errors of judgment, as in the case of those who, through the force of old associations, clung to unauthorised distinctions of days and meats, is the one qualification for both. 2. The Church is entitled to have evidence of such qualification, whether it be for membership or for communion at the Lord's table. How such evidence shall be obtained, whether through the pastor alone, or through others as well, is no part of the present question. But the right of the Church to have satisfaction as to the character of those who commune with them in the Lord's Supper, as well as of those who apply for full membership, is involved in the principles we have laid down,
VOL. V.-NEW SERIES.