« PreviousContinue »
mitting to any other. Though to be the pastor of a particular flock, was congenial to my turn of mind, yet the strength of affection to my methodistical circle would not admit of my deserting it. I wauted to be more effectually useful among them. The want of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's supper, being regularly administered, was a manifest disadvantage to the work. Mr. Hill, saw it and lamented it, and proposed my receiving ordination. I was to be ordained to the three societies, of Castle-combe, Christian-malford, and Chippenham, iu Wilts. Though these were to be my more immediate charge, it was designed that I should continue my visits to the congregations in Glocestershire, in connexion with my brethren, Messrs. Hill, Hogg, Croom, and Vines. The motion was accepted. It may serve as a sufficient apology for my having heen a plauralist, that I had no stipend, but lived upon Providence, and was ignorant from what quarter my resources were to come. The poverty of the people not only prevented them from helping me, but rendered it necessary, that I out of my uncertain quota should help them. The day set apart for the solemnity of ordination, was October the 2d. 1767. The persons engaging in the work of the
day, were Mr. Joss, of London ; Mr. Williams, of Stevancy, in Monmouthshire; and Mr. Clark, of Trowbridge. It was performed at my little bethel, at Christian-malford, and it proved a blessed day. It was honored by the conversion of a whole family, the parents died in faith, and the children, are now walking in the truth. . Mr. Clark, opened with an exposition of the 34th of Ezekiel, from the first to the eleventh verse, and i Peter, v. from the first to the fourth verse. He asked me such questions as were suitable, and required me to give the confession of my faith. After prefacing with such observations and apology, as circumstances rendered necessary, I delivered it. The three ministers satisfied with it, then
proceeded with prayer, and impositions of hands to set me apart; the prayer was offered up by Mr. Williams, who afterwards proceeded to deliver the charge from 2 Tim. ii. 1. This was followed by a sermon from Mr. Joss to the people, from 1 Thes. v. 12. The whole service continued five hours, but was so far from being thought tedious by the congregation, that numbers acknowledged they were strangers to every unpleasant feeling. My own soul was truly solemn, and I was so affected when I engaged in my part, that my speech was sometimes interrupted, and often broken. I engaged to take part of all the trials as well as all the comforts of the people, I then was devoted to serve more immediately.
It was attended by a very considerable num- , ber of people. I suspected that many of the neighbours would have scoffed through prejudice; bụt on the contrary, all behaved with the strictest decency, and numbers were in tears. I was suspicious some of my church friends would have been offended, but met with no instance of reflection; on the contrary, several expressed their approbation. One in a note said, I can only attend in spirit, and by prayer at the throne of grace, and hope the Lord will manifest his gracious presence in a powerful manner, to the hearts of those that attend, and renew your mission to a lost world.”
One of the most regular clergymen sent me the following short letter, which I received the very morning I was ordained.
“ MY DEAR FRIEND,
“Our friends at Trowbridge have informed us that you are upon the point of receiving ordination as a Dissenting minister. I trust you will experience the blessing and pre
sence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the great bishop of our souls, on this and every other occasion, and that you will find this sanction useful to you in your ministerial employment. An external designation though not necessary to the being of a preacher of the gospel is, where it may be had ordinarily expedient to the regular ministration of the church of Christ. May we be enabled to preserve in all things, the happy medium between resting in outward things, and despising those institutions, which the church of Christ has ever approved.”
None ever approved more of the order, the gospel requires than,
My very dear friend,
MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,
Ir might be supposed that my ordination, had been the consequence of a disposition in the people to meet my wishes, and that they intended to assist me with what was necessary for the supply of my wants, that I might be
enabled to serve them as faithfully, as I was disposed to serve them affectionately. But it was rather subservient to the advantage of others then materially useful to those, for whose benefit it was primarily designed. The issue of it, and the subsequent Providence of God towards ine, which has been wise and good, comes to be opened to you.
I was allowed to bear all the expence of the ordination myself. The day after the service, I found my spirits much fatigued and very languid. After my friends left me, I betook myself to solemn retirement, which I spent in recollection and examination. The retirement was as heaven to me, as much as earth would admit of; the pleasures of it were only damped, by a conviction, it must often be interrupted; for supposing I could have kept in the circuit, the accommodations of the other two places, Chippenham and Castle-combe, were not equally comfortable, as they were unfavorable to the share of solitude I required for study. I might have been discouraged with the thought, that my purse did not produce subsistence for a month. But I made the best of the hour, and set my mind to such meditation as was suited to the ensuing sabbath. Phillipians iv. 1. opened readily and widely to me, and I went