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so as to endanger either himself or others; he was always found in the right way, and going forward, I will not venture to say, always at the same or at the quickest rate, but still making more or less progress towards heaven. And now he is there, adding another example of those whom we are exhorted to follow, who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Another, a valued brother in the ministry, writes: “I have often heard him spoken of by many friends as a sound, practical, and experimental preacher of the Gospel; and I doubt not his memory will be treasured by many in the Connexion, as amongst the most respected and beloved of those whom they delight to call to mind. The first generation of our preachers has now nearly passed away. The link which united the past and the present in the ranks of our ministry is nearly severed. May the mantle of our fathers fall upon us, may we catch their spirit and imitate their example, and at last join with them for ever in singing the praises of redeeming love!" Another respected minister remarks: "I shall never forget my first interview with your now sainted father; and his kindness to me when but a boy left an impression on my mind that will never be effaced while memory holds her seat. Reflections on those days make me now feel as though I had lost a father and a friend."
Although Mr. Harrison never took a prominent place in the general business of the Connexion, he was chosen to the presidency, at the Chester Conference, in 1820. Quiet and unobtrusive in his course, he was not disposed to interfere with other churches; but if his own was unwarrantably assailed, he did not hesitate a defence. In a distant part of one of our circuits, where the people were accustomed regularly to hear the preachers, both of the Old and New Connexion, in their periodical visits, one of the old preachers, in the ardour of his party zeal, took for his text these words: "Except ye abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved." The ship, in the preacher's exposition, was, of course, the Old Connexion; and safety was to be found only on board the good old vessel; destruction awaited those who ventured aboard the new one.
Tidings were conveyed to Mr. H. of the onslaught made upon his community; so on his next visit he meekly repelled the assailant, by taking for his text part of the same history, (Acts xxvii. 44.) " And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they all escaped safe to land."
At the Conference of 1837, Mr. H. was placed as a supernumerary, having requested to be released from the full duties of the ministry, partly in consequence of the state of health into which Mrs. H. had been brought, having had during the preceding year a serious attack of apoplexy. Shortly after they took up their residence in Altrincham, where Mrs. H. finished her earthly course, in November, 1838, under a second attack of the like character, having been the attached and faithful wife of Mr. H. for twenty years, and respected by the people. The death of Mrs. H. led to his removal from Altrincham, his remaining days being spent partly in Manchester, where his eldest son resided, and partly with his daughter, Mrs. Goodall. For a short time he was engaged to supply the place of a preacher in Bilston; and for several years was much employed in pulpit exercises, in which he took great delight. His health and bodily vigour remained comparatively unbroken, up to the summer of 1841, when he became affected with para
lysis. From this stroke he so far recovered as to be able to walk a few miles at a time, and also to preach. In September, 1847, a second stroke laid him for some weeks in helplessness on his bed; and, although he partially recovered from this, he could never walk afterwards, but with great difficulty; and his speech was also rendered indistinct. In August, 1849, a third paralytic shock ensued, from which time he was entirely confined to his room, and mostly to his bed. Still his health remained in the general good, and, as he lay prostrate on his couch, he frequently remarked that, according to his own feelings, he could rise and go forth to walk a journey of many miles, as he had been wont to do in former days.
In the earlier period of his affliction especially, infirmities of temper were sometimes manifested, to our grief and to his own after-sorrow. We expected to see more perfect self-control, and a larger measure of patience, in one who had so long known the grace of God in truth, and ministered in holy things. It may, however, be mentioned in extenuation, that nervous excitability is not an unfrequent effect of paralysis; and also, that at this period, when weakened by age and affliction, grievous disappointments and sorrows came upon him, in the blighting of fond and long cherished hopes; and along with these in the death of his eldest son, in November, 1848-an event which greatly pressed down his spirit; although there was good reason to hope that he also had taken refuge in the crucified Saviour. In the later stages of his journey through the vale, we were gratified in witnessing a happier frame of mind; instead of dwelling so much on those things which had beclouded his latter days, his meditations were turned more frequently, and more justly, to the consideration of the mercies of his past life, and to the many comforts and blessings with which he was still surrounded. Here a brighter scene opened on his vision, grateful affections were kindled up, the strain of his discourse was changed, and he often spoke of his many mercies with praise to God; while he received with pleasure, and expressions of thankfulness, the soothing and prompt attentions which were constantly paid him, in his helplessness and need.
After Mr. H. had taken to his bed, and when no longer able to feed himself, the third paralytic stroke having deprived him of the use of his right side, while the two former had greatly weakened the left, he yet continued in moderate health, and without pain, until within three or four months of his decease. His mental powers were also preserved to him in remarkable clearness and strength; so that he could enjoy the society of friends, and was much pleased with their visits, and refreshed by their prayers. At his desire, family worship was generally held in his bedroom, and sometimes, particularly in the evening of the Sabbath, he himself would lead the devotions of the house. entering his room, after the public labours of the Lord's day were ended, his first inquiry usually was, as to what kind of a day I had had; and when I could report good congregations and refreshing seasons, his heart was filled with joy and his eyes suffused with tears. When within three or four months of the close of life, his appetite began to fail, his strength more perceptibly declined, his health became more broken, and his sufferings were at times severe; while new and more decided indications of decay and of approaching dissolution developed themselves as time progressed. It occasioned surprise to all who were
acquainted with his state, and especially to his medical attendant, to see how long his hardy and naturally strong frame withstood the destroying foe. At length the end came, and the weary wheels of life stood still.
A few things which particularly revealed the state of mind and marked the conduct of Mr. Harrison in his latter days may be noted: 1. His earnest concern about his soul. It may truly be said he was fully awake to the vast importance of salvation, and entered thoroughly into the spirit of that Scripture, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." 2. The very affecting views he had of the numerous imperfections of his life, both as a Christian and as a minister of the holy Gospel. And especially of the different forms in which self, busy self, had often obtruded, while he was employed in the work of the Lord. 3. His entire, his strong renunciation of all dependence on his own doings for acceptance with God. He could see nothing in his whole life, nothing of his own, on which he could look with full and unmingled approval, nothing that was perfect, nothing on which to establish a plea at the throne of grace. All was sullied, all was defective in the clear light of God's truth and of an approaching eternity. 4. His firm and persevering reliance, for Divine acceptance and eternal life, on the sacrificial death and unceasing intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, and here alone he rested. This he called-THE ROCK. Here he fixed his feet; and here he felt secure. One day he remarked to the writer, I feel sometimes as though my feet were slipping; but I try again, I pray again, and again I get them fixed."
The views and feelings given in the particulars just recorded were often brought out very largely, both in his prayers and in his conversations. As he lay in helplessness on his couch, with clear views of his position in relation to eternity, he often gave utterance to thoughts so elevated, and in words so striking, as made the writer to feel a kind of awe while he witnessed the sublime spectacle. Mr. Davies, whose kind attentions his surviving friends desire gratefully to acknowledge, having at one time repeated in prayer the language of Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me;" he seized them as his own, they came to his heart with singular power, and he subsequently made animated references to them.
A few of the sayings which he uttered as life ebbed away, indicative of the state of his mind, may here be given. At one time he remarked, "Although I have not the rapture of some, I have peace.” At another time, "I have no dread of the future. My Saviour's smile dispels the gloom." This was said with much feeling. Again, "I know that Christ is my Saviour." One of the last answers which the writer received from him on inquiring respecting the state of his mind was, "I have cast anchor and am safe." Happy man, he knew what it was to cast anchor. He had often sung during his past life, what was indeed with him a favourite hymn,
"Jesus, at thy command,
Now he had gained the port, and thrown out his anchor. When seasons of restlessness came upon him, which was sometimes the case as the end drew near, nothing appeared to tranquillize him so soon as prayer or singing; he was fond of singing, and had often in his sickness requested that the hymn called, "Wrestling Jacob," might be sung for him.
His beloved daughter, to whom he had long looked for the attentions which he required, and whom he wished to be as much as possible in his room, he repeatedly called to his bedside to tell her how happy he was. Thus with steadfast hope and conquering faith he waited the end; and while his daughter and son-in-law were engaged in prayer at the side of his bed, entreating the God of all grace to support his dying servant in his last conflict, and rendering thanks that he whose mercy had saved him in his youth, had not only crowned him with the honours of the grey head, but had also given him assurance of his favour in death, he peacefully breathed his last, and so "fell on sleep" in Jesus, June 17th, 1850, having within five days completed the seventy-eighth year of his age. His mortal remains were interred on the 20th, in the burial yard belonging to our chapel, Staleybridge, Messrs. Woodhouse and Wm. Mills performing the funeral service. A funeral sermon was afterwards delivered, by his old and valued friend, Mr. Makinson, of Manchester, in Staleybridge; by Mr. Woodhouse in Mossley; and by Mr. Mills at Ashton. "The memory of the just is blessed."
DISCOURSES, ESSAYS, &c.
POPULAR SKETCHES OF CELEBRATED CHARACTERS. No. I.-WICKLIFFE.
To chase away a darkness that can be felt, and to substitute a clear and healthy light, are works, not only of reflection, but of time. Systems grown venerable by years, and entwined round the hearts of an ignorant populace by superstition, and backed by the strong arm of civil authority, are not to be undermined in a day. The Popedom was fenced round by all but impregnable fortifications, which had been building for ages; while every succeeding year was adding to their strength, and increasing their altitude. Christendom slumbered in the arms of the darkest despotism that ever disgraced humanity. Nothing was so conservative of Popery as the ignorance of the masses. Individuals might bombard its walls, and cast shells into its midst, but, while the gulf remained impassable, if Babylon did not maintain an unbroken silence, she looked on in calm and conscious security. It was not until this gulf was filled up, or a bridge was suspended over the chasm, that the artillery of reason could be brought to bear with effect on this pyramid of corruption. There were reformers antecedent to those which appeared on the Continent in the sixteenth century; and their influence crossed the North Sea long before Luther had an existence. But they had no printing press to aid them, and their efforts, in consequence,
were but partially successful. Moreover, they worked. A small, and an apparently insignificant island, which had long rendered servile vassalage to the Italian despot, gave birth to men who scattered the first seeds of the Protestant Reformation. We speak of England. But the progress of enlightenment was necessarily slow. Individuals only could be acted upon. The method of acting at once on the minds of hundreds of thousands, had not yet been discovered. It had probably never been conceived. It lay a secret buried in the unknown, while the muniments of popular ignorance were daily becoming more formidable. Ages rolled on, and God's chosen ones protested. They were burned. They struggled, and were crushed. The art of printing appeared, and the truth, like an inspiration on the wings of electricity, flew over Christendom, shed light on the darkness, found a way to the reason of the multitudes, shook to its base the City of the Seven Hills, and Popery in many of its strongholds crumbled into chaos.
The chroniclers of British emancipation from the despotism of papal Rome, usually begin their history with the reign of Henry VIII.; but the true epoch of the Reformation will be found in the reign of Edward III. While it is true that the former monarch threw off the authority of the Pope, it is notorious that his motives were licentious and his ends cruel. His beastly passions and his desire to rid himself of his first queen, Catherine, put him in antagonism with Pope Leo X., and not his respect for religion nor his love of reform. Henry left the Church much as he found it, as far as reform was concerned, while he strangled or burnt both Protestants and Papists who ventured to question his opinions. Cranmer, and Latimer, and Ridley, with others, attempted reform, and, in this reign, they were effectually repulsed; but the source of their light, and the spirit which animated their bosoms, were bequeathed to them by Wickliffe and his followers. John Wickliffe was not simply the pioneer, but the great originator of the Reformation. "The Reformation existed, not in the teachers only, it existed also among the people. The doctrines of Wickliffe, proceeding from Oxford, had spread over Christendom, and had procured adherents in Bavaria, Swabia, Franconia, and Prussia." It is consummate blindness or unpardonable partiality to date the era of this revolution in the reign of Henry, the monster of the Tudor family. The worthy Lollards had been doing the work, and giving their lives for it, through the greater part of the two previous centuries.
Wickliffe was a man of no erdinary status. If he was not a Martin Luther in some phases of his character, he was in no way inferior to him in others. One essential characteristic of a reformer with which he was gifted, is strong common sense. And he used this gift in a common-sense way. He looked at things as they were, and not through the cobwebs of prejudice. He was a true representative of the country which gave him birth. He laid hold of facts, on these facts he brought to bear a vigorous and wide-awake intellect, and from hence he reasoned out general principles. He saw with the eyes, and he felt with the heart, and he resolved with the spirit of a genuine Yorkshireman. He joined with a love of truth and freedom an observant eye and a penetrating mind. He saw clearly, and he reasoned vigorously. Nothing
' D'Aubigne's “History of the Reformation," vol. i., p. 69.