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that he preached the Gospel in the ordinary course of his ministry, and without passing his own bounds, in about five hundred towns and country-places, to say nothing of occasional services elsewhere. He was indeed a travelling Preacher. In some cases, all the travelling had to be done on foot; in others, chiefly on horseback. Hence there was much carefulness in distinguishing between a riding and a walking Circuit. Some brethren were not skilled equestrians, some had no adaptation for long walks. This Itinerant, however, was well qualified for both. In horsemanship he excelled from early use, and was fondly attached to the animals which took him on his rounds, as they, after a little acquaintance, were to him. It is to be confessed that generally some vice or defect had reduced them to the condition of a Circuit-horse. It might be only the incurable vice of age. These quadrupedal friends, 'poor old Jack' or 'our good Bessy,' he frequently mentions. One of them had been more than twenty years on the Circuit,' and knew every corner of it, and was yet plump and spirited. It was amusing to one who could keep his seat so well as he, to see with what art and pertinacity that old mare would endeavour to direct the journey with a view to her own better accommodation at its close, making a sudden bolt past a turning which she knew led to a poorly-furnished manger, and even pulling hard for a longer trot at the end of which was much
The walking Circuits were sometimes very laborious, and odd expedients were submitted to in mitigation of the toil; for instance, when having a journey of twelve miles before him, he found a cooper's cart going, and so rode over at the bottom of a big tub.' Upon the whole, he learnt, after some experience, that riding Circuits were likely to be the hardest. The distances must be long to make the necessity of a horse acknowledged. The saddlemust be occupied, if possible, every day, if only to save the Circuit hay and oats, except on the Jewish Sabbath, which these Methodist horses generally kept, Whatever the mode of locomotion, he was sure of being able to answer affirmatively the question at the District Meeting as to whether he and his colleagues had 'sufficient work.' He preached, as a rule,-for many years without exception,-three times every Sunday, and four or five times in the week besides, sometimes six; for the Saturday was not always exempt for him, if it was for the horse. When he had recently removed to a Circuit where the preaching appointments were only seven in the week, he gratefully says: "I find it very comfortable to have more time to give to reading.' Christmas Days ranked as Sundays as to the number of services, as did Good Fridays, until public worship began to be superseded by Sunday-school treats and merry-makings. Three services on a Christmas Day may seem an untimely exaction as regards both Preachers and people. The sacred family associations which the season has in an increased measure gathered round it, should not be slighted. But this Preacher of the last generation would have thought it strange if each principal chapel had not at least once on that day
rty and jubilant service. He never made the announcement: 'Next y being Christmas Day, there will be no service in this chapel.'
During a long series of years we find usually one day in each week marked in red ink, and evidently in anticipation, Rest Day; that is, a day in which he had no public and obligatory appointment. On such days he finds 'a little rest sweet'; but they seem to have been always market-days, and callers from the country poured in upon him. Just as I was comfortably settled in my study came a succession of people' about the books, or plans, or Missionary notices, or other matters pertaining to the various villages. His studies or relaxations when undisturbed could not fully occupy the day. It is very irksome to me,' he says, 'to be a whole day within doors.' So he is off visiting the sick, or the inmates of the workhouse. The latter, however, he reports, with sorrow, as 'stolid and impenetrable.'
When congregations were unavoidably thinned, he bore it with his usual equanimity; though he remarks on one occasion with undeniable truth: 'It is hard to ride thirteen miles to preach to three persons.' This is his nearest approach to a complaint. Almost as pitiful a muster after a similar journey is thus cheerily recorded: Cold, snowy, dark evening, and only six persons Well, perhaps one of these six souls may be saved.' He had succeeded in forming a home soon after the completion of his probation by marriage with a lady who proved a true and valuable help meet for him. He became surrounded by a numerous group of children. This made the frequent absence, for a week or ten days at a time, to be more and more felt. A very usual arrangement was 'the fortnight in and the fortnight out,' in alternation with his colleague. It must not be supposed that the fortnight in was spent at home. His appointments seem to have been just
as numerous, though at nearer places.
But with other qualifications for the itinerant work, he had a social disposition, a power of adapting himself to his company, and of being happy everywhere. After the week-evening service, which had been preceded by a brisk ride or walk and calling on the people,' and often followed by a Class or Prayer-meeting, then what animated conversations were those by the farmer's fireside! He loved theological topics; for the doctrines of the Christian faith as held by the Methodists were infused into his whole being, and almost as much thought of out of the pulpit as in it. It pleased him to put down in his diary such notes as: 'I succeeded in convincing Mr. of the doctrine of total depravity'; 'A spirited discussion concerning entire sanctification'; 'Mr. convinced that he had formed wrong views of Christian perfection.' But he enjoyed a quiet talk about many other subjects. He could tell his agricultural friends, like Bishop Latimer in his sermon on the Sower, 'how they do in my country' in their tillage, their ploughing, and their sowing; and he became a recognized farmer's oracle in things pertaining to the weather and the crops. They would listen also, with wonder at his learning, as he retailed, for the strengthening of his own memory as well as for their enlightenment, the last historical book that he had read; while his habitual cheerfulness and sense of humour made his presence as welcome to the children as to the elders of the household. There are some who yet
remember how, when they were little children, they gained permission to stay up late on occasion of his visits, because he always 'told such nice stories.'
If much of this power of taking sunshine with him arose from constitutional vigour and vivacity, it chiefly came from the inward experience of the grace of God which sustained his daily life; the devout acknowledgment of which comes out in his business-like and artless chronicle, just because it was irrepressible. Thank God,' he says, 'I am able to preach a happy religion. Lord, make all the people happy!' And in one of his hardest fields of labour he sums up a year's record with the words: 'Happy in myself, happy in my family, happy in my work.'
Great, especially, was his gladness when spiritual increase was manifestly given. 'Preached at Several in deep distress. Some found liberty. Returned with some of the friends, singing
A blessed Love-feast afterwards.
gave notes of
nearly all the way.' This singing home' was of frequent occurrence. 'At admission to seventy persons, now all alive to the things of God. In Circuit they have added five hundred. Glory to God in the highest !' 'A woman made very happy, and shouted for joy-a woman, too, of a sorrowful spirit. Praise the Lord!'
But with this disposition to gladness and thanksgiving he had a very low opinion of himself. He never thought of his most strenuous services as anything more than his bare duty, if even that. Penitent confessions of unfaithfulness and want of zeal are as frequent as the notes of praise. His -conscience was tender and his self-accusations many. Riding home, I suffered my imagination to carry me away so as to hurt my soul.' 'Have been much tempted to levity, and am in danger from it.' The quarterly day of Fasting and Intercession was an institution congenial to his spirit. 'Today is our Quarterly Fast. I think I never felt the practice of fasting more profitable. O, what need there is for humiliation before a holy God!'
Pastoral visitation is confessedly the difficulty of the changeful Circuit system; and we look with some curiosity to see if we can get light as to the degree in which in such Circuits it was found possible at all. A little examination leaves no doubt that this good man did what he could, and that he took much pleasure in it. While he rejoiced when a whole congregation was moved, and numbers at once joined themselves to the Lord and to His Church, he also attached great importance to a patient plodding over units, gathering one by one. We trace this in the immediate note which is made whenever he hears of any one 'under concern,' and the visit which ensues, and the persistency with which each case is followed up and its progress reported. The sick and aged are with equal frequency the subjects of such notes.
As he advanced in experience, and especially when he became Superintendent, the state of the various Classes and collective Societies claimed his careful oversight. I see the necessity of watching over the Leaders as well as members. How much wisdom, courage and zeal are needed for a Minister of the Gospel!' Signs of good or of evil are quickly noted as he visits the various Societies: I found a stirring-up in the Classes.' 'There
is a good feeling in this place. I hope a revival is at hand.' seems to be some worm at the root of spiritual prosperity here.' trying to make mischief in this Society. Lord, rebuke him.' The forms of mischief wrought or attempted by the adversary, upon whose proceedings he had his eye, appear to have been chiefly evil-speaking and differences among singers and officials. Inharmonious professors of harmony seem not seldom to have needed his mediation, and upon the whole he had a good practice in the blessed art of the peacemaker, and attained a real proficiency in it. He came to the conclusion that 'disputes in a Church destroy the spirit of deep devotion, even in those who are in the right, and may keep a whole Society in a low state of grace.'
Early in his ministry, when he had returned to his native Cornwall, after seven years of itinerancy elsewhere, he had occasion to deplore the evils of late hours at revival services. Once he had to exert his authority to break up a meeting which he found still going on in the chapel at midnight. In 1831, the Jumpers' gained a footing in some of our Societies in the West, and especially excited his wonder and displeasure. At the Prayer-meeting Mrs. — suddenly began to put herself into grotesque postures, and to spring upwards. Yet she is a respectable and, I think, a good woman. What can this mean?' 'Gave great offence by speaking mildly against "jumping," a most ridiculous practice introduced by the.' In Devonshire he had none of these disorders to complain of, but much of the opposite extremes. The difference of race between the two counties has often been remarked, and he found it in nothing more apparent than in the occasional excess of visible and audible excitability in the one, and the absence of it in the other. In contrast with the ecstatic jumping, he finds that the Prayer-meetings were 'ruined by the long prayers.' But upon this point his censure is checked by the knowledge of his own undue length in preaching, of which he makes reiterated and penitent admission.
He had other troubles. Himself a lover of peace, those about him were usually at peace with him; but not always. Persecution in its old forms, whether from local magnates or from mobs, had ceased-at least, this deponent says nothing about it. The nearest approaches to it were rather amusing than formidable. In the earlier part of his course, congregations were liable to rough interruptions, as when a party of drunken sailors entered the chapel of a Circuit-town on a Sunday morning, and insisted on taking part in conducting the service. What was to be done? I kept the congregation together until I got them pacified, and they departed; one of them leaving half-a-crown for the poor, which proved to be a bad one.' In 1822 he had 'serious troubles about smuggling.' A vessel had been fitted out for a voyage to France to bring back a cargo of brandy. The coast-guard were on the watch. The cargo was seized, and some of the smugglers imprisoned. But the sympathies of the public were with the adventurers; and the Revenue officers, some of whom were Methodists, became objects of odium. The Ministers resolved to stand by the officers,
and preached with all their might against the sin of smuggling, but it was at the cost of the loss of some of the congregation. It is still more startling to find that even in 1825 it was deemed needful to speak to the Society on the subject of wrecking.' It is not said that any of them were supposed to be engaged in that nefarious business, but with a population around them hardened and blinded by the crime of generations, it was difficult to bring them to a just sense of its atrociousness.
In after years the shady side of his official life is mostly found in connection with the financial affairs of his Circuits, in which the duties of the Superintendency kept him constantly involved. There was evidently much impecuniosity about those places, beautiful for situation as they were. He was in a state of chronic war with Circuit and Chapel debts. No sooner had he rolled the stone to the top in one place than he must depart elsewhere to find it at the bottom.
His own income he never mentions, nor how one Circuit compared with others in that respect; not that he was careless in such matters: with his large family he could not afford to be, and with his frugal, managing wife he was sure not to be. But he did protest against what was called the 'Bill system'; not what is known by commercial men by that name, but an evil thing, which, in the hope that it is so far extinct as to need explanation, may be thus stated. Instead of the moneys contributed by the various Societies being sent in before the Quarterly Meeting, according to rule, and there and then disbursed, the Stewards paid the Ministers in slips of paper, which were to be presented by them at the various places as drafts for the amount considered due. Thus the Ministers were made collectors of the Circuit revenue. The drafts were not always paid in full, and a running account of deficiencies had to be kept. This accounts for the strange memorandum: 'Received at the Quarterly Meeting one pound and fourpence halfpenny.' The rest he had to gather up in the way above indicated as he went from place to place.
Many years passed by, and left him little altered. There was marvellously little intermission of his work. There was no recognized or expected Minister's holiday. Not even an interval of a Sunday is to be found between one Circuit and the next. Indeed, he was not surprised if he found himself announced to preach or to hold some meeting on the evening of the day on which he arrived at his new abode. He had, however, about once in six or seven years the privilege of going to Conference. These were great occasions. The journeys were long, and before railways had pervaded the land, needed careful pre-arrangement. A conscientious attendance was given to all the sessions, as is manifest from books of careful notes. The District Meetings were also pleasant events to him; but he marks his deep regret when they began to assemble at nine in the morning instead of at six or seven after a public service as formerly, and so two or three good hours are lost.' He prized these occasions most because of the intercourse with his brethren which they gave him: 'The more I see of Methodist Preachers, the more I love them.'