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THE LATE REV. WILLIAM COULTAS was born at Seamer, near Scarborough, on the 22d of August, 1783. His mother was a truly pious woman, and a member of the Wesleyan-Methodist Society. His father, although upright and of good moral character, was destitute of true religion until within a short time of his death; when, through the instrumentality of his son William, he was brought to a saving knowledge of the truth.

At the early age of nine years, William was deprived of the care of his excellent mother, who entered her heavenly rest after a long and painful illness. When eleven years old, he was apprenticed by his father to an attorney-at-law, residing at Scarborough. This connexion did not prove a happy one. William absconded several times from his master's office, and at last was dismissed entirely from his situation. After this period his father appears to have taken very little notice of him, leaving him very much to take his own course unchecked.

In a manuscript which Mr. Coultas has left, he records several Providential interpositions in his behalf when quite a child. "A special Providence," he observes, "has attended me all my days. When very young, I fell into the fire, and was severely burnt; the marks of which I shall carry to my grave. At another time, I fell into a large pond, but my clothes kept me from sinking, until a young man who was passing by drew me out of the water. On another occasion, I was carried home insensible, having fallen from a lofty tree." He appears not to have been under religious impressions till the age of fourteen. He then began occasionally to attend the preaching of the Methodists, in company with some of his relatives with whom he resided. In the course of one of the services at which he was present, the preacher remarked, "Christ had twelve disciples, and He loved them all. But there was one of them He loved better than the rest: and that was John. He was the youngest, and perhaps that was one reason why He loved him best." "I was struck with the remark," he says; " and I thought, 'If Christ thus loves young disciples, I, for one, will begin to serve Him.' From 3Q


that time I attended the chapel regularly, and began to pray night and morning. I left off the habit of swearing, to which I had become addicted, and began to read the Bible and religious books. In this way I went on for eighteen months. Twice during that time I gave way to violent passion, and swore; but, after praying, I supposed all was right again, and that I was a true Christian." From this state of ignorance he was mercifully delivered, through the instrumentality of a sermon preached by one of the ministers of the Circuit. "One Monday night my case was represented so clearly, that I thought the preacher must have known all about me. I found I was building on my present duties and morality; and I began from that hour to pray fervently that the Lord would forgive my past sins. I felt convinced that unless I obtained forgiveness, through faith in Christ, I must, after all, be lost for ever." He now, at the invitation of several friends, began to meet in class. Light from heaven shone into his mind, and he obtained the blessing which he so earnestly sought. His account of his conversion is so simple that we give it in his own words.

"When returning home from the class-meeting, in company with the members, we began to sing hymns. While thus engaged, I had such a view of Christ as my Saviour, that my soul was filled with rapture. In a moment all grief and fear fled away. I was filled with love, and was completely delivered from the fear of death. On the following Sunday the leader of the class said, 'Do you know your sins to be pardoned?' I replied, 'I hope they are;' for I durst not speak confidently. I expected pardon was more than I felt. This state of uncertainty was shortly afterwards removed. attended a lovefeast, when a Local preacher related his experience, which was so similar to mine that I was abundantly encouraged. I received my first ticket, June, 1801. Soon after this I was called to speak in public. This I did in the first instance by reading a chapter, and commenting upon it."

His mind appears to have been much perplexed as to the propriety of his attempting to preach, though frequently pressed by the people to occupy the pulpit. Having promised to preach at Thwing, now in the Bridlington Circuit, he was greatly tempted not to fulfil his engagement. "At the appointed time," he writes, "I went, accompanied by a number of my class-mates. When we came near the place, I lifted up my heart to God in simplicity and fervency, and said, 'O Lord, if Thou hast called me to preach, give me confidence and liberty, and let me win one soul. But if Thou hast not called me, confound me before the people.' These words passed through my mind, According to thy faith be it unto thee.' I had liberty in prayer and preaching, and at the class-meeting one young man, who had been remarkably wicked, remained. I addressed him, and

found, to my astonishment, that the word had found its way to his heart. In a short time he obtained forgiveness of his sins." In the month of December, 1803, he removed to the York Circuit, of which the Rev. Joseph Sutcliffe was the Superintendent. "After I arrived in York," he remarks, "Mr. Sutcliffe brought me a Plan to fill up till the quarter-day. I durst not refuse it: and when the regular Plan came out, my name appeared on it as one of the Local preachers."

Mr. Coultas appears to have been frequently exercised on the question of his being fully devoted to the work of the ministry; but he felt afraid of speaking to Mr. Sutcliffe on the subject, lest he should be thought to thrust himself out before God had called him. With these feelings, he allowed the Conference to pass over; and, having received from Mr. Sutcliffe no communication with respect to his entering the ministry, he endeavoured to banish the thought from his mind, and entered into the marriage state with Miss Taylor, of York. "During four years," we learn from his diary," God blessed me with three sons, one of whom was taken to a better land at the age of nine months. This was a painful bereavement, but we were supported by the pleasing reflection, 'He is not dead, but sleepeth.' Throughout the whole of this time his mind appears to have been harassed with the thought that he had disobeyed the call of Divine Providence, in not offering himself as a Missionary to the West Indies. He says, "In 1809 I had a very severe fever; and, one day, as I lay in bed, I said, 'What is the cause of this affliction? Ought I to have offered myself for the West Indies? If so, and the Lord will raise me up, by His grace assisting me, I will be disobedient no longer.' I began to recover from that moment." On his convalescence he opened his mind fully to the Rev. J. M'Donald and the Rev. W. E. Miller, then travelling in the York Circuit. "Mr. M'Donald asked me many questions, and advised me to leave the case with God and himself. You pray,' said he, and I will write to the Conference and to Dr. Coke, and will lay the case before them." At the following Conference, the name of William Coultas appeared in the "Minutes" for the island of Nevis.

All difficulties about winding up his business affairs were speedily removed; and, to quote from his diary, " On Tuesday morning, October 30th, 1810, at six o'clock, my dear wife, two boys, and myself left York for London. After being very sick and much fatigued, we arrived safely on Wednesday morning, at City-road, and were very kindly welcomed at the house of the Rev. John Barber."

He remained in London a week, during which he preached several times, and then set sail for the West Indies. After a very stormy voyage, he and his family arrived safely at Nevis, the scene of their future labours. "My first text in Nevis was Rom. xv. 30-32. The sight of the people, chiefly black and coloured, their amazing atten.

tion, with their groans and tears, almost unmanned me. I seemed to forget all sickness, dangers, and the suffering through which I had passed; and I praised God for granting me an opportunity of preaching the Gospel to people of another colour and country."

During six years Mr. Coultas laboured zealously in several of the West-India islands, amid much persecution from the planters, by whom, in general, all religious instruction of the slaves was violently opposed. Frequently was he exposed to imminent danger, whilst passing in open boats or canoes from one island to another; and on several occasions he was brought near to the grave by fever. Three times was his case declared to be hopeless by the medical men who attended him. Yet, through these toils and dangers, the God in whom he trusted brought him back to his native country, permitting him there for many years to preach the Gospel among his own people. It is impossible in a brief sketch like this to follow him through all his labours and trials while abroad. A few extracts from his journal will suffice to show the spirit in which he prosecuted his holy duties.

"February, 1812.—I arrived safely at the island of Tortola, after a quick and pleasant passage of twenty hours. This island is composed of a ridge of mountains, surrounded by a number of small islands and rocks; in visiting one of which I lately had a narrow escape from drowning. The people on shore saw our situation, and came off in a boat to our rescue. I borrowed some clothes, and preached to the people." "During the six months I have been in this Circuit, hundreds have joined the Society; many of whom have proved the Gospel to be the power of God to their salvation.

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August 23d.-This morning we had the most severe earthquake I have known since I came to the West Indies. We had assembled for morning service at four o'clock, intending to close at daylight, so that the slaves might be in time for their work. I had taken the Hymn-Book to give out a verse, when I heard a rumbling like distant thunder. The chapel shook greatly, and the noise seemed to pass under us. The people fell on their knees; and, when the shock was over, we united in prayer and thanksgiving to God who had preserved us."

The following extract will give some idea of the amount of labour the Missionaries had at that time to perform: no wonder death and sickness were so common among them.

"April 14th, 1816, Easter Sunday.-At four o'clock in the morning, I preached at Kingston to a large congregation. I was awake at three o'clock, and heard the people coming to chapel. At ten I read prayers and preached again. At half-past twelve I began to read and explain the Rules of the Society. This took me two hours. I then administered the sacrament to between two and three hundred

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