« ZurückWeiter »
benevolence, for his anxiety for the souls wishing to obtain it from their disapprov-
many years more charity sermons were The springing up of these new insti- preached at his chapel, among a congretutions at the commencement of the pre- gation by no means wealthy, than perhaps sent century, caused a new era in Mr. at any other church in Christendom. The Woodd's life. He assisted at the forma- very first time he pleaded for the Society tion, and assiduously watched over the at Bentinck chapel, soon after its forinfancy, of many of them; and for a large mation, he collected more than 2001. ; portion of his life continued to attend se- and some time after, at Colchester, veral committee-meetings every week, as the unprecedented sum of nearly 7001.
regular part of his allotted occupations. after a single sermon. He grounded his At a time when the Bible Society was attachment to this Society on the palpable much assailed, and by some of his own basis of duty and necessity. Its title, he personal friends, he defended it at the risk said, was not invidious, as at the time of of being considered in some quarters, what its institution there was no Church-ofto him was certainly abhorrent, a some- England Missionary Society in existence; what lax churchman ; and to his printed the Christian-Knowledge Society not discourse for the Aylesbury District So- viewing missions as its particular prociety for promoting Christian Know- vince of labour, and the Society for the ledge, as if to prevent any misconception Propagation of the Gospel, being conof his views, he appended a note descrip- fined by its charter to our own colonies, tive of “the powerful claims ” of the and in no sense a Missionary Society for younger, but sister institution. He was Pagan lands. But had there been twenty one of the founders and constant friends such institutions, he would add, there was of the Prayer-book and Homily Society; work enough for them all, and he trusted which, he maintained, was not a superfluity he had a heart large enough to embrace in the list of charitable institutions, first, them all. He would indeed speak of the because many persons, especially mem- sins and desolations of the heathen in a bers of the Bible Society, might wish to spirit which shewed how much he had distribute Prayer-books, who could not imbibed of that supreme love for the souls procure them from the Society for pro- of men which characterized his Divine moting Christian Knowledge, either as Master; and he ever accounted it one of not being eligible to membership, or not his highest sources of gratification that he
had been the means of inciting some of it from its embarrassments, and supported the members of his own flock, and young it for many years by the assistance of his persons from his own schools, to devote friends and congregation. It is now pathemselves to the perils and reproach of tronised by his Majesty and many persons the missionary office.
of distinction, and has become a most valuHe was equally a friend to the Naval able and prosperous institution. Added and Military Bible Society; and once, to these schools, the girls of the Clergy when it was greatly in debt, and on the Orphan School were for many years graverge of dissolution, he rescued it by sug- tuitously accommodated at his chapel, till gesting to his brethren to preach a ser- the removal of the establishment to St. mon on its behalf on a fast day, by which John's Wood, when this zealous and means large sums were collected.
affectionate friend to the institution reBut the Jews' Society was perhaps his ceived the warmest thanks of its episcopal favourite institution; and he continued for and other supporters, for his long and many years its gratuitous secretary, and liberal efforts for its welfare. Nearly four greatly promoted its welfare, having been thousand children have passed through his one of the chief agents in rescuing it schools ; and great numbers of them, he from insolvency, and placing it upon a was accustomed to say, had proved in new and solid basis in connexion with the future life, and many on their death-bed, Established Church. Having yearned the inestimable blessings of a religious over it in the hour of trial, at a period education. when its affairs were so deranged, and ap- There were other religious and chaparently hopeless, that the committee in ritable institutions in operation in his their perplexity would sometimes bow the chapel : such as a fund for the sick poor ; knee before God several times at a single several associations connected with the meeting, for wisdom and direction, he large societies; and a maternal charity, estagreatly rejoiced in its subsequent prospe- blished in 1799, which has relieved two rity; and the only regret which he ex- thousand five hundred and eight married pressed in his last illness in anticipating women in their confinement. He also that he should not be present at the anni- extended his solicitudes to institutions of versary solemnities at Exeter Hall, after more recent date, The very year before having been a constant assistant at them his death he assisted in forming, and be. , for so many years in other places, was, came Secretary to, a Society for promotthat he should not be able to introduce to ing the due Obseryance of the Lord's-day the meeting his beloved Jewish children, in the parish of Mary-le-bone, in which and tell them of a Saviour's mercy, and he took a zealous interest, and drew up hear their infant Hosannas to the Son of one or more papers on the Divine sanction David.
and duties of the Christian Sabbath, for His own schools at Bentinck chapel wide circulation in the neighbourhod. He were a constant object of his paternal at- had been one of the earliest clerical optention. He began instituting them as posers of the Slave Trade; he was a life, early as the year 1798; at which period member of the African Institution: (How not a single school for the poor existed in could that man be otherwise than zealous all Paddington, and only one in Mary-le- in this cause, of whom Mr. Wilberforce bone, the largest parish in the world. He says, “I loved and honoured him from lived to see his example followed by his childhood, and esteemed him among my brethren, till he rejoiced to be able to personal friends ” ?) and he rejoiced at enumerate several thousand children re- the institution of the Anti-Slavery Soceiving religious education in those two ciety, to follow up and crown the great parishes. But, early as he was, compared work of the abolition of that inhuman with most of his contemporaries, he ever traffic, His instincts were right from the feelingly lamented that he had lost so much first in this matter ; but it was somewhat time before he systematically turned his slowly that he comprehended the full mind to this great engine, not less of civil extent of the evil ; for he was deceived by and temporal, than of moral and spiritual incorrect statements, and he could not well utility. It was a noble sight to behold credit that it was in human nature to perassembled in his chapel, the Bentinck petrate such atrocities as are inseparably Schools, containing fifty boys and fifty connected with West-Indian slavery. But girls, educated, and partly clothed; a when he had once convinced himself of school of industry for orphans, or very the real facts of the case, no man could be poor children, wholly maintained and edu- more anxious to exterminate this unchriscated; two large Sunday-schools for boys tian system : and the last public Board he and girls; and the Philological School, ever
attended was that of the Society for which was instituted for the education of the Propagation of the Gospel, which he the sons of merchants, officers, and pro- repaired to, in a state of great suffering fessional men reduced to narrow circum- and debility, that he might assist in urging stances. This interesting establishment, the Society to far more effectual measures from mismanagement and want of support, than they had yet projected, in referhad become ruined and bankrupt, when ence to the slaves on the Codrington Mr. Woodd took it upon himself, rescued Estates : and though he felt grateful that
something was effected, he more than Adversity, and his “ Faith and Duty of a once afterwards expressed his extreme Christian,” now in the nineteenth edition, regret that the society had not been are on the list of the Society for promoting induced to adopt a plan of entire and Christian Knowledge. He wrote also the speedy emancipation, making their slaves memoirs above mentioned, with a few free labourers, and paying them for their occasional papers in the Christian Obwork. He signed the Mary-le-bone Pe- server, particularly two signed B. W., and titions to Parliament for the prompt and Basil Woodd, on Mr. Malan's Convenentire Abolition of Slavery throughout ticle of Rolle, in the volume for 1827. the British Dominions ; and one of the He had a great dread of the flighty and last entries in his banker's book is a dona- unscriptural notions, now too common, on tion to the Anti-Slavery Society from the subject of assurance, and some kindred “ Basil Woodd and Friends." He more topics; and there was no point on which than once said that he could not sleep in he more frequently warned his younger his bed when he thought of what was brethren in the church than against the passing in the West Indies; and that not danger of such unsound opinions. The only was he horrified with the authen- notion of the revival or non-cessation ticated instances of cruelty which so fre- of miracles he considered the climax of quently occur, but that he considered as modern absurdities, and spoke of it with unjust, unchristian, and inhuman the more severity than he would have indulged, whole of a system which makes man the had he thought the subject of no practical slave of his fellow-man.
moment; adding some stories of cures Such were his charitable exertions : in and prodigies which had come to his own concluding the notice of which, it needs knowledge, and which he accounted quite only to be added, that he practised what as good miracles as any in the present day. he taught; that his own purse was ever Every thing he published was solid, senopen, as well as his exhortations to others sible, scriptural, and practical : he wrote earnest ; and that for many years, and as nothing but for the use of edifying; and, long as his circumstances and claims would in a Christian view, this is a far higher allow, he regularly put a two-pound note meed than the brightest decorations of every Monday morning into a box, to be learning or genius. Quotations from these expended during the week in purposes of popular tractates would be superfluous; Christian mercy. He thought this regular but the following is a specimen of his appropriation of a given portion of his Version of the Psalms. It is the hundredincome the most agreeable to the Apo- and-thirty-first; and is truly expressive of stolic direction (1 Cor. xvi. 12).
his own feelings of humiliation and resigOf our respected friend's publications nation to the will of God, and his dread of little needs be said, as they were chiefly fanciful and presumptuous speculations. connected with his other labours. His schools led him to feel the need of cate
“ Lord, teach my heart to thee to bow;
Content what is revealed to know, chisms, and hence he published several,
And future leave to thee; which have gone through numerous edi- Patient and teachable and mild, tions : one, for example, his “ Brief Ex
Submissive as a little child planation of the Church Catechism,” In meek simplicity! having numbered not fewer than forty-six impressions. He published also a tractate
In mysteries for this state too high on Confirmation, which has reached the
Oh, may I not presume to pry, thirty-sixth edition.--He was an indus
But on thy word incline! trious distributor of religious tracts, and
Be thou my trust; and may I be added several useful and popular ones to
For evermore resigned to Theethe list; such as his Account of Bowyer
Here and hereafter Thine.” Smith; Elizabeth Pottle ; the New-Zea- We arrive now at his last days : not, lander, Mowhee; and, above all, his ex- indeed, that it is of much real importance cellent tractate entitled “ The Day of how such a man died, after we so well Adversity,” which is in the fortieth edition. know how he had lived. Whether his exHe never left home without a store of piring moments were clouded by disease tracts : every beggar, every child, every or brightened by the radiance of forthworkman, every waterman or coachman, coming glory, the result would equally be who happened to have a moment's inter- well: to live would be Christ, and to die, view with him, retired enriched with some gain : but it is consoling to know, that it useful manual for his private reading and pleased God to support and comfort his reflection. The above popular little works, aged servant, and that, like Simeon, he with a few sermons, and an original me- departed in peace, after having long seen trical Version of the Psalms of David, and preached His salvation. comprise his chief publications. To judge It had ever been our friend's often-exof them merely as literary performances, pressed wish, to be permitted to continue would be umjust to his memory; but, to the verge of his declining hours in full measured by the standard of usefulness activity at his post of duty—to wear out, and public acceptance, they, abundantly as he expressed it, rather than rust out ;speak their own praise. Hli. Day of and his desire was granted; for though for two or three years past he had appeared is, their life and doctrine—the two great somewhat enfeebled, — and particularly points to which the minister of Christ is since the second Sunday in last November, to take heed. The subject, thus opened, when he sustained a sudden seizure of naturally led to a notice of the scriptural illness as he was officiating at his chapel -- doctrines and holy life of that revered inhe was enabled to continue his exertions, structor who had, a few minutes before, in the pulpit and elsewhere, till within a been sitting among them; their advanfew weeks of his decease. On Sunday, tages and responsibilities as a congrethe 6th of February, he appeared un- gation; with prayer to God, that if it were well, and permitted a clerical friend who his will their beloved pastor might be still assisted him to read the prayers in his spared to distribute that bread of life which stead—no wonted concession—intending the Saviour had, for nearly half a century, to preach as usual. Just as the Litany multiplied in his hands for the support of was commencing, he was seen to drop
his people. down insensible in his pew; but, being Mr. Woodd revived so far during the taken into the vestry, he so far recovered sermon as to be able to assist, though in as to express his determination to attempt great weakness, for the last time, in the to make an effort to preach : to prevent commemoration of the body broken and which, as it was likely to be a painful and the blood shed for a sinful world; and hazardous experiment, his medical at- this with a holy fervour, tempered with tendant requested the clergyman who was awful solemnity, as though he enjoyed reading the Communion Service to put somewhat of the antepast of heaven, and on his gown at the altar, and at once felt that he should no more drink of that ascend the pulpit; for whieh Mr. Woodd cup till, spiritually and eternally, he drank afterwards expressed his affectionate it new in the kingdom of God. On rethanks. The second Lesson for the day, turning home, he remarked to the clergywhich happened to be the sixth chapter of man who had assisted him, that, on first St. Mark, furnished occasion for a dis- recovering from his fainting or stupor, he course, unpremeditated indeed, but in had been reflecting what, if he had been unison with the occasion. The disciples, taken away suddenly, would have been it was remarked, as stated in that chapter, his eternal condition? The solemn queswould have sent the multitude away, be- tion, he said, was the more impressed cause they had no supply of food for upon his mind, because he had, the very them; but the Saviour commanded that day before, taken leave of his beloved they should remain ; and he multiplied the flock at Drayton Beauchamp, in a letter five loaves and the two fishes, so that they to his son, to whom he had just transferred all did eat and were filled. It was he that the benefice. He felt, he said, deeply blessed—that brake—that gave to the dis- abased in the sight of God : all his miniciples, who were only his agents for com- strations had been most imperfect and full munication, to set what he had provided of sin, but still God had honoured him before the multitude; and, while they by making him an instrument of spiwere partaking of the bread that perisheth, ritual good to others : he had many seals he was doubtless walking up and down in to his ministry; and this was to him an the midst of them, from company to com
omen for good that God had not forsaken pany, feeding their souls with the bread him. He could not feel all that some of life. And who can say how many an Christians did of strong emotion—he reaching heart he that day bound up; how proached himself for it either as regarded many a broken spirit he cheered; how many the terrors of God's law, or the infinite a profligate he reclaimed; how many a sin- love of Christ ; but he enjoyed a peaceful ner, till then unacquainted with a Saviour, hope, and he believed that hope was scripwas drawn to him, and pardoned through tural ; but he did not think that the doc. his blood? And what miraculously he did trine of assurance without evidence was that day, he did, it was added, by hís Holy scriptural : he trusted wholly in the cross Spirit every day in his church : the mi- of his Redeemer; but he thought it wise nisters of Christ were ever to look to and safe and necessary to practise selfhim : in an exigence such as had just oc- examination, to inquire into the state of curred it was not for them to send away his heart and affections, to ask himself, the assembled multitude because the spi. Am I in reality a new creature?_adding, ritual sustenance intended for them had with considerable energy, and adverting been providentially withheld ; he could, to the name of Dr. Malan, that assurance, he would, direct them to suitable medita- unfounded upon evidence and self-examitions: that very chapter abounded in them: nation, “would not do to die by.” and it was but for the minister to take, The succeeding Sunday, Feb. 13th, he as it were, this bread of life immediately preached once; but it was his last apat the hands of Christ, and to deliver it to pearance in the house of God, and it was the people ; and ever to act as did the with extreme suffering to himself, and Apostles in this narrative, when they ga- distress to his affectionate friends, that he thered themselves together unto Jesus, made the effort. But his bodily weakness, and told him all things, both what they his tremulous agitation, only gave deeper bone
and what they had taught; that pathos to his farewell exhortations :-.not,
indeed, that he himself imagined them to
“ We dwell in Him, and He in be such; for he cherished, almost to the us.” Christ dwells in the Christian, first, last week of his life, an expectation of as the meritorious ground of his hope ; recovery ; but all who regarded him ob- for he died for his sins, and infinite merit servantly felt that his work was done. attaches to his sacrifice : secondly, as the And more characteristically, more bless- vital source of sanctification ; that distinedly concluded, it could not be ; for the guishing privilege of the Christian upon subject of his discourse was Col. i. 27, earth, and his meetness for glory in “Christ in you the hope of glory;" and heaven : thirdly, as the spirit of hope, for the affecting tenderness and solemnity in him the Christian has consolation, prowith which he delivered it will not be tection, and perfect confidence, so that easily forgotten by any who were present through the mysteries which overspread He had composed it during the week the field of nature and providence, and the before his attack, intending to preach it clouds and darkness of a sinful and sorthat morning, with especial reference to the rowful world, a vista is opened to the sudden death of a Christian friend, whom prospect of eternal blessedness; and, he had long known and loved. The manu- fourthly, Christ dwells in the Christian script outline of the discourse is endorsed as the hope of glory. Religion tenders with the words“ Very ill.” The following no earthly benefits ; it promises not is the substance. The incarnation of the riches or temporal aggrandisement; raSon of God is the grand mystery of our ther, it says, " through much tribulation;" religion : but the world at large regard it but it promises a sweet and holy peace in not; other things are greater in their the present world, and blessings beyond estimation. But true believers regard it, anticipation in the world to come. The yea, all heaven regards it, with wonder and distinguishing feature of that glory is astonishment; and if we who are called Christ, the King of glory. Let then this Christians, do not feel its importance, it be our hope, our pursuit, our rest. Our shews that Divine truth has not duly en- hope of glory must be built on Christ as gaged our hearts. The world is full of our rock, and the testimony of our conthe glory of God: Creation displays it, science, with self-examination into our Providence displays it; and both these state, in reference to our faith, our love, are subjects of interesting and delightful our charity. Like Moses, we should study: but the grand display of the Divine ascend the mount of Pisgah, and behold character is the glory of God in the person the fields of Canaan. The whole of the of the Lord Jesus Christ. “ This is life above heads are interwoven with approeternal : to know the only true God, and priate references to Scripture and brief Jesus Christ, whom he has sent:" and this notices, to be filled up at the moment ; knowledge practically includes the image and the whole furnishes a striking illusof Christ, the love of Christ, and the tration of his habitual topics and manner service of Christ : that image is holiness, of preaching. The concluding inferences implanted by the Spirit of Christ; that from the whole subject shall be given in Love is the felicity of Christ; and that his own words; the last words he ever service is perfect freedom. Thence fol- wrote for the pulpit, and on which he lows the experimental knowledge of the dilated with remarkable solemnity, though sublime truth in the text, “Christ in you.” little thinking at that moment, how soon There is a general sense in which Christ he himself, and how soon his beloved is present in his church; and a more par- fock, would need the consolation they ticular and individual sense, in which be atford. They are these : is present in the hearts of believers. He “ Take full consolation in the prospect is present generally, as in the Church of of all the trials of life.” Colosse, a brotherhood of servants of “ Take full consolation in death, and Christ, gathered from an idolatrous city the certainty of our own dissolution of Phrygia. Christ was set forth preached (Phil. i. 21). among them : as eminently he is in our “ Take full consolation as to our deown land, where we have the Scriptures parted friends who are now in the full circulated; the Gospel preached ; a pure glory of this hope. This hope was their and Apostolical church established; with support in the valley of tribulation ; now all the blessings of civil and religious faith is lost in sight, and hope in enjoyliberty ;—all rendering it our bounden ment” (1 Thess. iv. 13-18). duty and privilege to walk in the light ; The passage last referred to, is St. and, enjoying it ourselves, to send it out Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians, in all its glory to the heathen, who are not to sorrow as those which have no sitting in darkness and the shadow of hope; but to comfort one another with death. But there is a more close, a per- the blessed assurance that as Jesus died sonal and individual application of the and rose again, even so them that sleep text. Not only is Christ preached in his in Jesus will God bring with him; a conchurch, but there is a holy union with solation with which the Holy Ghost, the him established in all his true disciples. Comforter, has supported the hearts of Christ dwells in them by his word and his his departing servants, and the bereaved Spirit. Beautifully does our Church Ser, survivors in every age, and not least the