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OR, COMPENDIUM OF RELIGIOUS, MORAL, & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
MEMOIR OF THE REV, MATTHEW WILKS. | luminary. The sackcloth put on for one
is scarcely laid aside, before it must be (With a Portrait.)
reassumed for another. The sable which In what light soever death is surveyed by was lately worn for a Bogue, a Waugh, mortals, nothing can divest his countenance and a Townsend, is now memorializing of an awful solemnity. As a messenger the departure of a Wilks, whose faithful opening the door to immortal happiness, services for more than half a century will it assumes indeed a less forbidding aspect, cause his name to be long remembered by yet even our most triumphant assurances multitudes to whom his laborious ministry of future felicity, derived from the pro. was made a peculiar blessing, and of mises of God, and our own experience of which the beneficial effects will remain, their fulfilment, can hardly clothe his when the present generation shall have visage with a smile.
passed away. To leave our present state of existence, of this venerable minister of Jesus to enter on a mode of being of which | Christ, whose praise is in all the churches, we can form no adequate or definite ideas, we have procured an admirable likeness, and to mingle with intelligences with which ornaments this number of the whose history, attainments, and physical | Imperial Magazine. The memoir which character, we have little or no acquain- follows, we copy verbatim from an exceltance, are subjects of too much interest | lently written article, embodied in a funeral and importance to be anticipated without discourse delivered at the Tabernacle, genuine seriousness and deep humiliation. | on the occasion of Mr. Wilks's death, by Above all, a conviction that we must stand | the Rev. Andrew Reed, on the 8th of in the presence of God, to undergo from February, 1829. his piercing eye a scrutiny which nothing “MATTHEW WILKs was born at Gibcan elade, and, that the transactions of raltar, on St. Matthew's day, 1746. His time must submit to a rigorous investi father was at that time on the staff of a gation, of which we must abide the con regiment which was quartered there. sequences for ever, are too overwhelming 1 " The family afterwards came to Engfor the mind of man to sustain, without land, and settled at Birmingham. feeling its utter helplessness, and want of “At West Bromwich, in that neighbouraid.
hood, he heard, in 1771, the Rey. William · The assistance required in this awful | Percy, the curate of that parish, and was exigency, is found both recorded and pro- converted under his ministry. The mised in the gospel; and while on this preaching of the same clergyman was also account we highly value this last and instrumental to the conversion of Miss greatest gift of God to man, we cannot Shenstone, who became his wife, and of but consider those ministers by whom it is his brother, Mark Wilks, for many years a faithfully made known, as standing in the minister in the Baptist denomination, at foremost rank among the benefactors of Norwich. the human race. Many of these we be “On the urgent recommendation of Mr. hold rising above our horizon, and shining Percy, he resolved to devote himself to like stars of the first magnitude; but after the ministry, and reluctantly went to Trefilling their stations for a season as lights vecca College, then under the patronage of of a benighted world, we view them de Lady Huntingdon. clining from the zenith like all their pre . «While a student there, a sermon dem decessors, and, though setting in splen livered by him was heard by Mr. Robert dour, leaving us to regret that they will Keene, one of the executors of Mr. Whitereturn no more.
field, and one of the managers of the Scarcely does a year elapse, in which Tabernacle, and of Tottenham Court the church of Christ is not called on to Chapel. He was invited to preach in mourn the departure of some distinguished this connexion; and in the autumn of
1775, he settled in it as a regular | “His labours were not confined to his pastor.
immediate circle. In earlier life he “ Among those kind and affectionate preached extensively over the country; congregations, (to adopt his own expresa and to the last preserved considerable sions,) he continued to reside as their influence in Bristol and other places. pastor for more than fifty-three years, till “He early promoted the Book Society; his death. Amid all the subsequent and was an energetic supporter of Highchanges in the religious world, they have bury College, even before its removal to prospered under his care.
Hoxton, and when under the care of Dr. , “As a preacher, he was successful : Addington, at Mile-End. more than ten persons were at one time “He was greatly instrumental to the pastors of churches, to whose conversion he noble undertakings of the last forty years. had been instrumental.
“With Mr. John Eyre, to whom he “In early life he was very active and suggested the plan, he originated the Evanacceptable; and used to preach out-of- gelical Magazine, and undertook the biodoors, in Moorfields, and the vicinity of graphical department. London.
Of the Missionary Society he was one “To the end of his days he was very of the founders. The first preliminary acceptable to his own congregations, who meeting was convened by Mr. Eyre and generally declared that they thought bis himself. preaching yearly improved, and who "To the Village Itinerancy, which oriwere growingly attached to him.
ginated with Mr. Eyre, he was gratuitous “The attachment was mutual. Never Secretary for twenty-five years. was there a more anxious pastor. His “He assisted in the formation of the housekeeper says his very agony in family Irish Evangelical Society; and actually, prayer for his charge generally, and for in his eighty-first year, officiated for several any individuals he thought to be luke months as the Secretary, when Mr. Gilbert warm or declining, was exceedingly affect- was removed by death. ing.
“Devoted to religious freedom as pro“To the poor members he was a special motive of true godliness, he principally benefactor, by personal charities, and by excited the religious world to a resistance exciting the benevolence of others. Nine of Lord Sidmouth's Bill, and the establishalmshouses were thereby established at ment of the Protestant Society for the Prothe Tabernacle for widows; and a charity- tection of Religious Liberty. school for clothing and educating 100 “As he advanced in life, his judgment children, has been established and con and experience rendered his opinion valutinued entirely at the expense of that con able; and congregations and ministers gregation; besides two or three Sunday every where so sought his advice, as to and catechetical schools.
impose on him much labour and great “ He was remarkably disinterested in care. his ministry. For many years, and when “Amidst all his engagements he was he had seven children, his income, as their | very devout, and truly a man of prayer. . minister, was not more than £100 per - As his views of the Gospel were clear, annum, and never exceeded £200, de- and simple, and practical, he always clining for himself any increase; while seemed to approach God with filial conhe stipulated that his colleagues should fidence, yet with reverential awe, and apreceive higher remuneration, and obtained peared to pour his troubles and anxieties for them an increase while living, and freely into his ear. provision for their families when they “He was very conversant with the died. .
Scriptures, which he generally read through “The young among the members he four times in a year, and sometimes even particularly delighted to encourage, and in thirty days. devoted much time to their intellectual | “Thus he continued till last autumn, as well as spiritual improvement; and when his anxiety about obtaining a suchimself taught the elements of learning to cessor, and the situation of Tottenham several ministers now justly eminent. Court Chapel, of which the lease expired
“ Nor were his efforts confined to the at Michaelmas, opprest him sorely: and spiritual interests of his people. He was in October last, he was visited by disease, their counsellor in their temporal affairs, and some conversation took place, that when advice was asked; but, uninvited, illustrate many of the previous remarks. he never interfered with their business or “The complaint was, an inflammation their homes.
of the stomach, severe and alarming; but
it was abated, and, after several relapses, pear real, and such as you would approve, apparently removed.
| without fanatacism and noise !' He re. ** During his indisposition, one Sunday plied,- Well, I hope so,-for the state morning, as his granddaughter sat with of society there is not so corrupt. In him, he told her to read Psalms 46, 87, fact, they have not had time yet to become 99, 122, 132, 147, and other Psalms. so. They are altogether a new people, Then he said, "What do all those Psalms and luxury is not so mixed up with every express ? She replied, “I would rather habit. When first I came to the Taberyou should tell me. No: I ask you.' nacle, the really pious people were always
Well, I suppose the blessedness and AT IT. . Our week-night services were security of the Church of God.' “Yes, as well attended as those on Sundays; and and the interest and delight every Chris on Christmas-day the place was crowded. tian must take in its welfare. David says, Now, to-morrow, there will be but few I was glad when they said unto me, &c. people, because they will be making preWe should be glad too, to be at Taber-) parations, for feasting. An apology was nacle to-day; but it is well for us that made for them- "That if they have family when we can go there no more, we shall meetings they require some preparation.' have a better church-a better Sabbath ' • Well,' said he, let them `meet their and after -a pause-'a mansion in hea- | families, and be happy with
| families, and be happy with them. That's ven.'
quite right; but let them not forsake God « On another occasion he said, “Through for their families, or they and their families a long life I have found quite work enough will rue such love. to keep people at peace, and now the diffi- “To a friend about the same time, and culty is often more than I can surmount. on the same subject, he said, 'I fear, I endeavour not only to speak no evil, / amongst the favourable signs of the times, but to look no evil; otherwise many would there is one alarming one; and that is, say, he gave such a look-but no one that the children of our religious people gets me to intermeddle in broils." And are slipping into a mere profession, and then he referred to circumstances illus mistaking it for real conversion. This is a trating his prevention of evil only by fatal, and I fear an extensive evil. I want silence.
to see more decided conversion in our “ Again, he said, If there be evil in churches.' any person, never backbite nor abuse, but “As he recovered, he had not been pray for him.'
unmindful to reconsider some arrange: Afterwards, he said, 'I have more ments to be made after his death : and cares than I can well support; my own having made up his accounts to Christmassins--my own infirmities--the cares of the day last, he wrote in the book some hints, churches and for the cause of Christ. of which the following fragments deserve I only relieve one care by another, and to be recorded. throw off one anxiety, because another | “As my dear wife was well and dead comes in its place. My health is im- in less than an hour, it behoves me to be proving, but my heart is bowed down ! | prepared to meet God, and so to arrange He added, “Pray for me, my dear child, my little worldly affairs, as to give my sucand tell me of all the faults you see in me. cessors as little trouble as possible." She smiled, but he proceeded, 'I am “The salvation of my soul has been to serious ; I shall love you and thank you me for many years a subject of primary for it, and I will act so towards you; and concern; and I have no doubt that when let us always, pray for each other and for Christ appears, I shall, through infinite others, but never privately slander nor grace, appear with him in glory.' condemn." B
“When I reflect upon my origin and 13.6 On Christmas Eve they conversed early follies, I think no man could be more about revivals. He said, “No one desires honoured than myself in being put into revivals more than myself; but a miracle the sacred ministry, and settled where I only can produce them in England. have been more than half a century. My Professors are so thoroughly mixed up spiritual connexions I sincerely love, and do with the world in their habits, manners, most ardently long after their souls. May and tone of conversation. There is none God ever dwell in the midst of them in all
of the simplicity of godliness. They are his saving benefits ! 180 frivolous, as well as so carnal. God . “Then mentioning some pecuniary mat
only knows how I agonize over some of ters, he concludes: them.”! His granddaughter, referred to “It is my serious opinion, that no America, stating, There the revivals ap- 1 person, who has aught to bequeath,
should forget the cause of Christ, and the Village Itinerancy; and Mr. Hill especially in these most eventful times. returned home, and remarked how well
« «M. WILKS.
and competent he seemed. In the after««• Dec. 31, 1828.
noon, Mr. Wilson called, and he went
down to speak to him about Mr. Camp“ And, accordingly, he bequeathed bell, and to recommend some measures £100 to the Missionary Society ; £50 to satisfactory to him; and on coming up to the British and Foreign Bible Society; his granddaughter, he uttered, serenely, £50 to the Irish Evangelical Society ; | but smiling, the mournfully prophetic £50 to the Village Itinerancy; £50 to ] words, “Well, now, my dear, my work the Tabernacle Charity Schools; £50 to is done !'; the poor Members; £i to each Alms- “On Thursday, January 22, he accomwoman; and a shilling to each Child in panied Mr. Campbell to a friend whom the School.
he had baptized, and where he went to « With returning health, he renewed, dine and baptize his infant son. He was during January, his wonted toils. He there cheerfully serious. The grandadministered the sacrament to both con parents, who had long been dear to him, gregations, and addressed them with his were present. He prayed with and wonted energy and with peculiar love ; exhorted them all, and took, unknown to visited all his week-day and Sunday all, his last farewell. Schools; attended prayer-meetings; en- “On Saturday, January 24, disease retered into the business of the different turned with very alarming symptoms. Societies with which he was connected, and “He was somewhat relieved by medical shared their joys and anxieties.
applications. His son, Mr. John Wilks, “His granddaughter calling one morning, saw him. He was told that he could not she found him very poorly; but he said, speak; but he sat by him, and he soon
I believe I am not worse; but I have began to converse. They spoke of his been reading the account of good Tyer- medical friends. He said, Man has no man's death, and it has nearly overset me. | power, but we must not despair.', Again, I dare not finish it. God's ways are mys he said, “We have no power.' His son terious, but wise and good !
replied, "Not much indeed. He pro" About this time he wrote to his esti. ceeded, “None! none !' His son exmable friend Mr. Roby, a letter concluding pressed a hope they would relieve him ; with this sentence:-“Though a suffering, and he, affected, went on to say, We I hope I am not a murmuring servant of have no power, but we must not despair, our heavenly Father; I trust he has pre- nor even despond. I do not despond. pared me for either world--for earth or I know-know-know-yet 'know my heaven.'
Saviour is Christ. He has all power ! “ Having found in Mr. Campbell, a | After some pause, he added, I have no minister whom he could embrace as a concern-no uneasiness-not the slightest colleague, and recommend as a successor, anxiety about my soul ! he devoted much time to conversation “Soon after he went on to say with with him, and to his introduction to his delight, There is, John, the promise of almswomen, schools, and christian friends, a glorious resurrection to everlasting life. so that he might understand the duties and How great is that blessing! That is my delights of the situation he proposed him joy ! After a short pause, he added, to fill.
faintly, “That will do! I am not so fond ...“ He was not, however, long permitted | as some of much ecstatic talk. to continue in active service.
“Shortly afterwards, as though recol“On Lord's-day, January 18, he admi- | lecting himself, he said, But, my dear, nistered the sacrament to the Tottenham there is a sine qua non " On being court Chapel congregation at Fitzroy asked by his son, smilingly, what he meant Rooms.
by a sine qua non, he answered seriously, “On Monday, January 19, he wrote to but deliberately, “Serve the cause of God! Mr. Smith, one of the managers, a letter, remember your promise (alluding to a beginning, My dear Sir, I cannot live promise to contribute to purchase Totten. long, and I may die soon;' and enclosing | ham-court Chapel,) remember your pro £200 as his own contribution towards the mise! You know what I mean. His purchase of Tottenham-court Chapel, if it son replied, “Oh! if that be all, that could be obtained.
promise shall be kept.' He was deeply “On Wednesday, January 21, he at- affected and gratified. He stretched out tended as secretary at the Committee of his fevered hand to pat his cheek and his
394 Berseruoroicorecarreruenegroccorrerer.v.............na head, and said, "My dear son! my dear "About that time his granddaughter inson! God bless you, my dear son !' and quired whether there was any thing he thereby really proving, that love to that could fancy to take or drink; he kindly connexion, and the cause of Christ, was said, 'I cannot devise, nor you prescribe, the ruling passion in the hour of death. anything like Christ. And as his son . “ In the morning of Tuesday, the 27th, knelt by his side and took his hand, his dear grandson by marriage, Mr. James with his eye fixed intently on his burning Parsons, inquired, “I hope, Sir, your con cheek, he tried to smile, and said, “Look solations abound.' He answered, “Some to Christ. times I feel an abundance of comfort; “When his physicians came, he obvibut it is a sad thing to be a dumb dog,'ously was prepared for death : and to one alluding to his confinement from minis of them who inquired, with much symterial duty. He replied, “That, Sir, haspathy of manner, How he felt,'' he not been your character.'-'No thanks to | answered, 'I feel a disposition, Doctor, to me 'for that! It is only as God gives trust myself to God.” strength.
“That he thought himself dying, ap“The housekeeper at Tabernacle House peared too obvious by the manner in came to see him, and said, “Can you say, which he said to his son, when in an Sir, Christ is precious ?- Yes! She agony of pain, 'I can do nothing.' But added,
triumphantly, 'But this God is our God *How sweet the name of Jesus sounds for ever and ever;' and very emphatically, To a believer's ear.'
“He will be our guide even unto death.' “ After a pause, he went on, and empha “ In the afternoon he suffered severely; tially repeated,
but exclaimed, Let no evil communication • Then will he own my worthless name
proceed out of your mouth, but that which Before his Father's face,
is good.' And in the New Jerusalem • Appoint my soul a place.'
*This he practised. For to his grand
daughter, who said, 'I cannot bear to see “ In the afternoon his pain became ex you in such agony,' he answered, 'He cruciating ; but in the evening he slept, and will soon come and heal all my sorrow.' hope revived.
And afterwards, 'Oh, the exertion of dying! ** Throughout the day he obviously - but he makes my bed. thought that death approached. His suf- “Afterwards to all he said, 'Lift up ferings in the morning and afternoon were your hearts in prayer.' -For what shall great; but yet greater was his fortitude. we pray ?' was inquired. "Pray for ! Mr. James Parsons having in the morn- Pray in the Spirit, and you will be right! ing reminded him of the Scripture, We But more, walk in the Spirit. have need of patience, that after having | “ Towards evening the inflammatory done the will of God, we may receive the action appeared to have spent its power, promise,' he answered, Ah, patient! I but destroyed its victim; and he lay nearly try to be. And when he quoted he is unconscious: and his last audible expresable to keep that which you have com- sions were uttered when his friend Mr. mitted to him,' he emphatically replied, Townsend came, and, sobbing, said, Every whit.
| They had fulfilled his wish, and thought “ In the morning, too, he softly whis- it would relieve his mind to know that pered to his son, 'He will help you;' and | with Mr. Campbell all was arranged.' more loudly, 'He is able to supply all And then he lifted up his hand and ex. your need according to his riches in glory, claimed, softly, "Thank God!-God be by Christ Jesus.' Subjoining, I want you praised !-That's well! to be steady, always abounding in the work “In the evening nothing could wake of the Lord !
his notice. And through Wednesday “To all, he said, “Think of a covenant night the pain gradually subsided, and God! but think too of our duties to a on Thursday morning he seemed to fall covenant God.' This be repeated, adding, asleep, breathed more and more slowly “We come so short of his glory!
and softly, till, about seven o'clock, his “To his housekeeper, he addressed beloved form no longer breathed on earth, himself, “You have taken him as your and his more beloved spirit was in God-cleave to him-confess him-glo Heaven!”
To the preceding narrative, which his promises. And as she replied, “They places the character of Mr. Wilks on an are now your support,' he whispered, | assemblage of simple facts, rather than • All.'
| on an eloquent display of sentimental