« PreviousContinue »
of the increasing value of your Editorial labours. Our Magazine now occupies a high rank among the periodicals of the day. I always long for its appearance, and his is the case with all the members of my family. Many of your Essays are firstrate compositions; your Reviews are in general to be relied on in the verdict they pronounce on books; your interesting and varied intelligence is surpassed in no other publication; your records of departed worth subdue and meliorate the heart; and your catholic spirit, connected as it is with becoming firmness and decision, entitles you to the gratitude of all who have watched your course during a very critical period of your national history. Go on, dear Sir, with courage and hopefulness in your work, and the God of truth and peace be with you!"
To these Testimonies, selected from about forty similar communications, we will only add one from Dr. Campbell's generous pen, in the British Banner for the 8th November:
"This is one of the very best Numbers, of this always excellent Magazine, that has been issued for a long time, opening with a pleasing sketch of the late Rev. John Arundel, which is followed by a very masterly dissertation-by whom it is not stated -on 'the Working Church. To this succeeds a very striking and discriminating Essay on the recent Decease of distinguished Ministers of the Gospel.' The rest of the Number is filled up by a mass of highly varied and most interesting matter. This long-established favourite of the Christian Church has, never, at any period of its useful career, manifested more point, variety, freshness, and vigour, than mark it at the present time. The celebrated Dr. Dewar, in a letter to the Editor, we observe, volunteers a strong testimony to the distinguished merits of the Journal, which,— however much a work of supererogation, since the Evangelical Magazine was the Magazine of the day, diffusing the light and knowledge of salvation throughout the length and breadth of the Kingdom, and famous in many lands, almost before Dr. Dewar knew his right hand from his left as the voice of a Churchman, and of the head of a University, does the giver the highest credit, and is one of those things which it is a pleasure to make known. If we might be allowed to give a hint, it would be to the effect, that, in the case of a popular work, with a circulation so vast as the Evangelical, there is, from death and other causes, necessarily a large number of copies dropped at the close of each succeeding year, and that, therefore, an opportunity is thus furnished-and with the opportunity a duty is thus imposed-to all who can, to stimulate the circulation, by calling upon others to fill the place of such as have fallen. As a matter of course, all the readers of the Magazine should attend to this at the close of every year; and were they to do so, they would not simply maintain, but vastly extend its circulation."
This, then, is our Preface for 1848, and we leave it to produce its own impression. We repeat Dr. Dewar's advice in the November Magazine: "Let each subscriber to the Evangelical Magazine procure one additional subscriber, and the circulation is at once doubled." Let them do this now, and 1849 will be an era in the history of the Magazine.
FOR JANUARY, 1848.
MEMOIR OF THE LATE REV. GEORGE COLLISON,
FIFTY years energetically devoted to the cause of evangelical benevolence, and those years spent in efficient association with the most active philanthropists of the British metropolis, must entitle the name of any one to be held in the highest honour. Such a worthy name is that of the late lamented and truly Reverend George Collison, President of the Hackney Theological Seminary. Few of the excellent public characters, by whom Great Britain has been benefited during the last half century, seem entitled to a larger share of esteem and veneration than the subject of this memoir. He took part in the formation and support of many of our noblest religious institutions; and he was a labourer in connection with the "Fathers and Founders of the London Missionary Society."
Beverley, in Yorkshire, was the native place of Mr. Collison, who was born January 6, 1772. His parents were engaged in trade, but enabled to give him a superior education for that period; and when about seventeen years of age, he was articled to Mr. Pritchett, a solicitor, at Bridlington. Here he found a youth about two years his junior, articled to the other attorney in that town; and at that period both their minds became enlightened by the Holy Spirit, so that they gave themselves to God by faith in Jesus
Christ. Mr. Allen united with the Methodist Society, and Mr. Collison was admitted a member of the Independent church, under the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Lyndall. These two young friends differed on some points of doctrine and discipline; but they were one in heart, like David and Jonathan, and, being conveniently situated for lodgings, they engaged to rise at four o'clock every morning, to hold a prayer-meeting at five, and to employ themselves in professional and other reading from six till eight. This laudable practice they continued, which was the happy means of forming those habits which elevated them, and rendered them useful in future life. Their friendship was unbroken to the end of their course on earth. Mr. Allen, for nearly half a century, was an eminent solicitor in London, an active member of the Methodist body, and closed his honourable course in September, 1845.
The fact and the place of Mr. Collison being brought to embrace the truth as it is in Jesus are testified by himself in a published "Funeral Sermon," for a relative, Mrs. E. Coverly, "preached at the Independent Chapel, Bridlington, on Sunday evening, August 6, 1809." In that he says, "Bear with me, in this place, and on this occasion; I feel unusual emotions. We have been consider
ing the superlative excellency of the religion of Jesus. Twenty years have nearly elapsed since the preacher found in this town that inestimable treasure. Twenty years, he can say, of peace and happiness, mingled, indeed, with many sins and imperfections, but which have endeared to his heart the precious truths to which he here first subscribed. Twenty years have afforded him many opportunities of examining the truth of the gospel, and he is satisfied. He has had frequent occasions to review the nature and importance of evangelical truth; and, how-being exhausted, his aunt, residing at the ever it may be libelled and contradicted west end of the metropolis, expressed her by some, and abused by others, to prac- strong disapprobation of his leaving the tices of licentiousness, he feels it includes profession. Her displeasure was exall his salvation, and all his desire. Once tremely inconvenient in his necessity; or twice, during that period, he has, in but on finding him immovable in his his own apprehensions, been near to the decision for the service of Christ, she gates of death, and then he has found the relented, admiring his sincerity and regospel of the grace of God, alone, adminis- spectful firmness, and gave him a handter the hope which enters within the vail." some present for his immediate use. Thus his integrity was rewarded, while he secured the esteem of his aunt. His mother, too, not only ceased from opposing his wishes, but became, by the Divine blessing on his preaching, in one of his visits to Yorkshire, a sincere believer on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mr. Collison, being thus converted to God, sought to honour the Redeemer of his soul, and engaged in the service of the Sunday-school. He was one of the earliest of the gratuitous Sunday-school teachers. How efficient were his labours we cannot at present know; but one testimony of the most delightful kind has been made public by an eminent Baptist minister in the metropolis, the Rev. Isaac Mann, M.A., who, in the Dedication of his "CHRISTIAN MEMORIALS," under date May 1, 1829, thus addresses the friend of his youth, the Rev. George Collison :
"MY VERY DEAR SIR,-It is now nearly forty years since I was first placed under your care, as a Sunday-scholar. You, Sir, were benevolently employed in imparting to myself and many others the most important instruction. I trust that instruction was not imparted in vain. You will not be surprised, my dear Sir, that one who was first taught to read the word of life in a Sunday-school, should estimate very highly these nurseries of virtue and piety, or that he should cherish an affectionate regard for him who condescended to become the guide of his infancy, who assiduously laboured to in
stil into his mind the glorious truths of the gospel of Jesus."
Such being his religious zeal in early life, it became manifest to all that his devotion to the cause of Christ would
lead him to give up the study of the law for the ministry of the gospel. His friends were opposed to his making the sacrifice; but at length they yielded, and he came to London,-being admitted a student at Hoxton College at the close of 1792. In this step his principles were severely tested; for his pecuniary supplies
Mr. Collison's habits of early rising and diligence, through the blessing of God, enabled him to make extraordinary progress in his studies; so that his character was much esteemed, as we shall notice. He arose into active life at a most eventful era in the church of Christ in Britain. The Baptists determined on their mission to the heathen, Oct. 2, 1792, and sent forth Messrs. Carey and Thomas to India, June 13, 1793. The Evangelical Magazine was commenced in July, 1793. "An Appeal to Evangelical Dissenters who practise Infant Baptism," for missions to the heathen, appeared in that periodical in 1794; and September 21, and three following days, in 1795, about two hundred ministers of Christ assembled in London, and formed "THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY." Mr. Collison was then a student at Hoxton; but he was present on the occasion; and so greatly