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chapel, and shewed a disposition to lend a favourable ear to the truths they announced ; in which he was, at first, vehemently opposed by our late Friend and Pastor. Anxious to suppress what he then considered to be contrary to Scripture testimony, Mr. Proud undertook to convince the visitors, by public declamation and private argument, that they were the dupes of an artful and visionary enthusiast, and that the opinions they maintained were utterly unworthy the acceptance of mankind. What a contrast, does his conduct at this time present to that which it soon afterwards became! For, how frequently and how solemnly have we heard him declare,-yes, brethren, and the last time we beard him lift his voice in this place he declared, -that, tho doctrines of the New Jerusalem Church were the most scriptural, the most rational, the most consolatory, the most to be prized, of any that were ever published to the world! How often has he told us, that in being made acquainted with these doctrines, we have experienced the most stupendous and inestimable blessings that could ever fall to the lot of man! while he hath earnestly exhorted us, even with tears, to shew our utmost gratitude to the Great Giver, by letting our “light so shine before men,” that they may be convinced of the purity of our doctrines by the purity of our lives, and constrained to glorify the God of heaven. In conclusion, however, several works of the Hon. Emanuel Swedenborg,-that heaven directed messenger of the Lord of Hosts, that “Juminous expositor” of the mysteries of the Holy Word, were left in his possession, and a promise was elicited that he would candidly and seriously peruse them. For some time he formed various undecided opinions respecting their contents. He suffered great mental inquietude from the consideration, that if the doctrines of the Eternal Truth were providenlially offered for his acceptance, an obstinate rejection might with justice be imputed to bim as a crime. Being one day more than usually agitated on this subjeet, he retired to ask the Divine assistance and direction in prayer : he immediately afterwards opened the Holy Word, when the passage in Hab. i. 5. accidentally arrested his attention, The words are remarkable: “Behold ye, among the heathen, and ard, and wonder marvellously : for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” From that instant he was resolved calmly to reconsider the writings he had despised, in the unbiassed spirit of prayer and perseverance. His old mistaken and gloomy notions on religion soon gave way, and convictions of the grand and glorious truths offered to mankind in the doctrines of the New Church, soon grew and were confirmed. He obtained “The True Christian Religion or Uni. versal Theology of the New Church, and began to study the doctrines with a glowing and increasing delight. He perceived and acknowledged their heavenly tendencies. For they directed him to the true and proper Object of all Worship: they instructed him “rightly to divide” and understand the Word of truth :” they impressed upon him,' at the same time, the absolute necessity of shunning every evil, in heart and condnct, as a sin against God: in short, they prescibed to him a life of love and wisdom, of charity and faith, as leading to a life of never ending blessedness in eternity: and while he found them harmonize together, he saw them supported both by rational and revealed evidence.
Having thus discovered the “pearl of great price,” in the knowledge of the Only Wise God our Saviour, and become enriched with the treasures of true wisdom, he joyfully and fearlessly proclaimed the glad tidings to all around him, under the pleasing anticipation that all would be equally gratified and benefited with himself. But alas ! the abettors of error, satisfied with the aberrations of their own prostrate reason, raised around him a host of opposition. Alarmed at the great change in the sentiments of an eminent Minister, they assailed him from all quarters. Like his Saviour he suffered persecution for the sake of the truth. Yet was be unbending; because they desired him to exchange the stability of wisdom for the wanderings of ignorance, and to relinquish the life-giving fountains of heaven for the broken cisterns of human tradition. Hence he was inflexi. ble; and he was therefore driven from communion with the General Baptists, to seek among strangers even the means of subsistence. His fortitude on this trying occasion did not forsake him. He forgave their uncbaritableness, awaro “that they knew not what manner of spirit they were of.” And though many were his enemies, who carried their rancour far beyond what a difference or opinion would warrant, yet was his heart gladdened by some, who rejoiced in the light he attempted to diffuse around him ; while the antichristian sentiments exercised towards him, and from those too from whom he might have expected better things," donbtless contributed to wean him entirely from the erroneous principles which dictated such conduct, and to confirm his good opinion of the New Doctrines he had espoused.
Providentially, at this period a temple was erected in this town, being the first place of worship ever raised in this kingdom, for the dissemination of our sentiments; and our late friend and brother was earnestly requested to take charge of the congregation ; to wbich he acceded. He had previously in the short space of three months, composed the volume of Hymns bearing his name, the first edition of which was printed in 1790. On making application in London, he was re-ordained a minister of the New Jerusalem Church, on the 3rd of May, 1791. The late Rev. Mr. Leicester, previously an esteemed clergyman of the Church of England, who had been appointed to preach the opening Sermons in Birmingbam, becoming suddenly indisposed, the duty devolved upon Mr. Proud, who preached two discourses from 2 Samuel, vii, 29; in which he took occasion to announce the general doctrines to be advocated in that place. These sermons are before the public; and a contemporary observes respecting them, “ that they were masterly compositions, were delivered with the utmost propriety, and were satisfactorily received by an overflowing audience.” The temple was regularly crowded to excess; and great indeed were the expectations which were then formed of the future prosperity of the Society ; expectations, alas! not then to be realized. Unforseen misfortunes awaited them, occasioned, it is but too certain, byan imprudent zeal on the part of several principal supporters of the cause. The congregation was dispersed, the society overwhelmed in calamity and surrounded with difficulty, and the temple alienated within the short spaceof two years. Our friend, with great regret, left Birmingham, to act as the colleague of the late Rev. Mr. Cowherd, in the large and handsome church then just completed in Peter-street, Manchester. The Society in Birmingham, however, collected their scattered remains, and with great exertions, in which they were warmly and materially assisted by the present proprietor, the place in which we are now assembled was erected, and Mr. Proud after an absence of only seven months, again consented to become their minister.
Here he continued until the year 1797 ; when, on solicitation, be left Birmingham again, to take charge of a Society in London, and to proclaim the doctrines of the New Jerusalem in the commodious chapel in Cross Street, Hatton Garden. That Society removed, in 1799, to a larger chapel in York Street, St. James's; where they continued till the expiration of their lease in the year 1813, when they were compelled to reliuquish it for a small place in Lisle Street; which, however, they only engaged as a temporary convenience. As a proof that our friend's ministry was acceptable, for he was a workman that needed not to be ashamed,"~I have been informed by those who witnessed the fact, that for the period of seventeen years, the time be remained in the Metropolis,ếhe always had large and respectable congregations ; those in the evening. amounting to not less than from 700 to 1000 people; except when at Lisle Street, where the place would not contain so great a number.
In the mean time, the Society in Birmingham underwent a severe trial" by the removal of their minister. The vacancy was however filled up, during many years, by the active services of the Rev. W. Faraday, now de. ceased. But in the year 1814, our late venerable friend, whose heart, as he expressed it, was with the Birmingham Society, a third time yielded to
No. 10-VOL. I.
their urgent wishes again to come and live among them; and he overjoyed them by his return. Here he took up his final residence; and here he has finished his course. Ever alive to the welfare of the church with which be was connected, hc, in the year 1815, voluntarily offered his services to the General Conference assembled in Manchester as a Missionary minister, the perpetuity of such an office being then ander eonsideration. His services were accepted, and he visised the greater part of the New Church Societies in England at the advanced age of 71 years. He commenced the arduous undertaking in 1816, and continued in it two years; which was as long as his health would permit. The Societies he visited testified their affection and respect for him in every possible way; and ample evidence might be adduced, if necessary, as to the greal usefulness of his exertions. He has resided in Birmingham, in all eighteen years, and has shared the regard of Christians of all denominations; this is evinced by the cir. cumstance of his having at the solicitations of the ministers and congregations, several times preached in other places of public worship in this town besides his own.,
For the long period of thirty-five years he has been a useful minister of the New Jerusalem Church; and it was his consolation in his last days to remark, that, through the divine blessing, he had never cast reproach on his profession, nor disgraced his office by any immoral conduct. He was accustomed, both in the early and latter periods of his ministry, to extemporaneous preaching; but entering upon the ministry of a church, whose. doctrines were so different from those which he had before professed, and the language proper for the accurate expression of which must of necessity be less familiar to him than that which he had practised so long; he feared to trust himself to this mode of speaking, and he consequently delivered written compositions for a number of years : and this was, no doubt, a providential circumstance; as those discourses have been, and are to this day, widely circulated among those rising Societies which have no permanent ministers. During his ministry he has preached not less than 7000 discourses, 3000 of which have been written. He has published at different times, and on various occasions, about ninety sermons and lectures, either separately or in volumes, all in harmony with tbe doctrines of the New Church. His much admired volume of Hymns passed through five editions ; besides which, he has printed thirteen other works, large and small, together with many fugitive pieces and occasional papers in periodical publications. He has left behind him in manuscript, as he himself informed me, a short time ago, as much prose and poetry (including his sermons) as would compose near three hundred volumes of an ordinary size, exclusively on moral and religious subjects ; and besides this, he maintained an extensive correspondence with his friends.
Amid such multiplied and important avocations did the life of our deceased brother pass away. Though he cannot be ranked among authors of the first literary attainments, yet his abilities, as a writer, were respectable: as a public speaker, he was truly eloquent; if the applicability of that term is to be estimated from the extraordinary effect bis delivery frequently produced. He was constantly heard with the most profound attention, and always with delight. Of the innumerable frailties incident to human weakness, but very few were discernible amid all the estimable qualities of our Pastor ; and it is but justice to remark, that these principally arose out of a reserved manner, which can only be ascribed to his natural temperament, distinct from perversity of character. Who among mankind is wholly free from imperfections? Trials and tribulations are permitted in the divine economy, to assist in the purification of the mind, by a gradual and almost imperceptible operation : they continually remind us of our polluted and depraved condition by nature. The good man cannot escape the tribulations attendant on this state of probation : and of these our worthy friend had his share ; whilo it must be acknowledged, by those who shared his intimacy, that he bore them with a resignation of superhuman origin. He has had trials of a continued and distressing nature in his family. Out of thirteen
children, principally by a former marriage, two only were permitted to remain; and if they were present in this assembly, I should not shrink from the duty of reminding them, that they had both been to him a cause of long and anxious solicitude. He experienced trials among those be numbered as his friends; trials in the societies where he has laboured; trials from bodily afflictions ; for, owing to a constitutional disorder, which for many years attacked him with frequency and violence, “wearisome nights were appointed unto him." But we have every reason to believe that, ere this, he is proclaimed as the faithful minister come out of great tribulation, purified and prepared for a triumphant entrance into angelic felicity.
Never, O never, shall I forget the earnestness, with which, a few weeks previous to his removal, he exhorted me to be faithful to the great trust committed to my care. He took my hands and placed them between his own, weak and trembling as they were ; and while the tears glistened in his aged eye, be said, “Ab, my young friend, your toils are just commencing, mine are about to close : be faithful: dignity your office by your conduct : and may the divine blessing sanctify your labours, and render them abundantly useful.” I felt bis benediction; I had a presentment it would be the last ho would bestow: I was unable to reply. He appeared absorbed in meditation ; and I silently added, “Gracious God, hear his prayer, and when thou takest him to thyself, as thine upright servant, let, ‘his mantlo' be my inheritance, and let a double portion of his spirit be upon me.'»
The serenity and confidence with which he contemplated his latter end were truly remarkable: they shew the steady reliance with which he depended upon the truths of the New Jerusalem Church, and the great degree of his preparation for the heavenly inheritance. He has been instrumentally employed in “turning many to righteousness ;” and he is gone, where he “ will shine as the stars for ever." His private virtues endeared him to his relatives and friends as a man and a Christian ; and if any thing gave him painful sensations in his latest moments, it was the reflection, that ho was about to leave a long-afflicted and beloved wife, who would, by his bereavement, be subjected to the severest trials.
His departure was rather sudden, occasioned by a severe attack of the complaint before alluded to. On the Sabbath morning previous to his bodily decease, he was more than usually lively, and, bad his strength permitted, felt more than usually desirous of meeting us again in solemn worship; for many
months had passed since he had been capable of staying with us through a Sabbath morning's service. In the evening of the same day he was taken ill : and on the Thursday morning following, the 3rd of August, 1826, he resigned his spirit into the hands of his Maker, at the advanced age of eighty-two years,
MOURNING. “BLACK is the sign of mourning," says Rabelais, “ because it is the colour of darkness, which is melancholy, and the opposite to white, which is the colour of light, of joy, and happiness.”
The early poets asserted that souls, after death, went into a dark and gloomy empire. Probably it is in consonance with this idea that they imagined black was the most congenial colour for mourning. The Chinese and the Siamese choose white, conceiving that the dead become beneficent genii.
In Turkey, mourning is composed of blue or violet: in Ethiopia of gray; and at the time of the invasion of Peru by the Spaniards, the inhabitants of that country wore it of mouse colour. Amongst
the Japanese, white is the sign of mourning, and black of rejoicing. In Castile, mourning vestments were formerly of white serge. The Persians clothed themselves in brown, and they, their whole family, and all their animals, were shaved. In Lycia, the men wore female habiliments during the whole time of their mourning
At Argos people dressed themselves in white, and prepared large feasts and entertainments. At Delos they cut off their hair, which was deposited upon the sepulchre of the dead. The Egyptians tore their bosoms, and covered their faces with mud, wearing clothing of the colour of yellow, or of dead leaves.
Amongst the Romans, the wives were obliged to weep the death of their husbands, and children that of their father, during a
Husbands did not mourn for their wives, nor fathers for their children unless they were upwards of three years
old. The full mourning of the Jews continues for a year, and takes place upon the death of parents. The children do not put on black, but are obliged to wear, during the whole year, the clothes which they had on at the death of their father, without being allowed to change them, let them be ever so tattered. They fast on the anniversary of his death, every year. Second mourning lasts a month, and takes place on the demise of children, uncles, and aunts. During that period they dare neither wash themselves, shave nor perfume themselves, nor even cut their nails. They do not eat in common in the family, and the husband and wife live separately. Slight mourning continues only for a week, and is worn on the decease of a husband or of a wife. On returning from the funeral obsequies, the husband, wearing his mourning habits, washes his hands, uncovers his feet, and seats himself on the ground, remains in the same posture, and continues to groan and weep, without paying attention to any occupation, until the seventh day.
The Chinese, when they are in mourning, wear coarse white cloth, and weep
for the loss of the departed. The magistrate no longer exercises his functions, the councellor suspends his suits, and husbands and wives, as with the Jews, live apart from each other. Young people live in seclusion, and cannot marry till the end of the three years.
The mourning of the Caribbees consists in cutting off their hair, and in fasting rigorously until the body putrify; after which they indulge in debauches, to drive all sadness away from their minds.
Among certain nations in America, the nature of the mourning depended upon
of the deceased. At the death of children the relations were inconsolable ; while scarcely a tear was given to the aged. Mourning for children, in addition to its longer duration, was common, and they were regretted by the whole town in which they drew their first breath. On the day of their demise, persons dared not approach their parents, who made a frightful noise in their house, yielded to the most violent fits of despair, howled like demons, tore their hair, bit themselves, and scratched