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worship in the Methodist chapel at Mevagissey. Under a sermon preached by the Rev. James M. Byron, whose ministry was at that time rendered very useful in Cornwall, he was awakened to a sense of his guilt and danger as a sinner in the sight of God. From this time he broke off from outward sin, and evinced a permanent concern for the salvation of his soul. But a seafaring life being very unfavourable to progress in piety, his religious impressions remained many years without leading to a decided change of heart. During this period he was variously engaged; as a Shipmaster either in the merchant-service, or in the hired service under Government. He was for several years Commander of the armed brig“ Louisa ;" and was afterwards employed in the transport-service, and accompanied the fleet to the bombardment of Copenhagen. Many things occurred in his life, while twentyfive years at sea, which he at one time recorded at length; but it is much to be regretted that he afterwards destroyed all his papers, containing an account of various interesting scenes in different parts of the globe, providential deliverances, and of his own conversion to God: so that the writer of this memoir has nothing to guide him but the recollections of the family, and a few brief notices of his experience during his last illness.
From the time of his hearing the sermon which was made the instrument of awakening his soul, to that of his finding pardon and peace through believing, no fewer than eleven years elapsed. In this long night, continually and literally “ tossed on the sea of distress,” it does not appear that he was ever guilty of presumptuously sinning against God's holy laws. Amidst the many temptations, and privations of a religious nature, in the life of a sailor, he sincerely strove to keep from outward sin, and to do what was right in the sight of God: a striking proof of the firmness of his mind, and the depth of his religious principle, at this early stage of his Christian character. During this unusually lengthened period, of which he was afterwards wont
“I was a servant of God, and obeyed him from fear, not from love,"—he certainly profited by the severe discipline of the “schoolmaster;" for after he received justification he ever maintained the clearest perception of the line that separates a merely legal from an evangelical obedience. I never met with one who dwelt so vividly and forcibly on the claims, purity, and blessedness, of the law of love. Eleven years of constant hard servitude, under the galling yoke of the law of fear, impressed him deeply with the reality and importance of religion; and prepared him to welcome with his whole heart the light which discovered to his soul that God's name, and nature, and law is love; and enabled him, when a father in Christ, to take those clear and comprehensive views of spiritual truth and Christian privilege which were so edifying both to himself and to others. In the history of the operations of divine truth on the human mind, it is observable that gtriking eminence in the divine life has often been preceded by
long, laborious, and painful exercises. In no case, indeed, can it be said that such a protracted struggle of soul is absolutely necessary, or that it is generally to be regarded as the more excellent way; but where it does occur, through ignorance, or privation, or want of Christian courage, it has been not unfrequently overruled for good in the richer enjoyments, or greater usefulness, of the matured Christian.
In the month of November, 1801, Mr. Banks was cruising off the island of Madeira, in the armed brig “Louisa.” One day, whilst pacing the quarter-deck, reflecting on his spiritual state, his mind deeply dejected, and everything around him seeming as though enshrouded with gloom,-he saw a book lying on one of the guns ; left there, as he supposed, by one of the seamen. He took it
and his eye providentially lighted on some lines of poetry, by Cowper, on the comforts of religion, commencing with,
“O bless'd religion, heavenly power.”
He read on, and when he came to the two following verses, they were so descriptive of his condition and his wants, that he was equally impressed and comforted by them :
“When dismal thoughts and boding fears
The trembling breast invade,
An universal shade,
“ Thy sacred dictates can assuage
The tempest of my soul ;
At thy divine control.”
This, he said, was what his struggling soul longed for: something to control his fears and assuage the tempest within.
About the beginning of the year 1802, by the good hand of God upon him, he was brought with his family to Charlestown. Here a religious friend, the late Mr. Matthew Vounder, long an active and useful member of the Methodist society there, perceiving the concern of his mind, took him by the hand, and led him to a class-meeting. This was just the school he wanted; and one in which he soon learnt the way of God more perfectly. He now commanded the “Swan,” a vessel employed in the coast-trade and merchant-service ; and it was while in his cabin on the deep that the Lord Jesus Christ spoke that peace to his soul which his burdened spirit had so long before sought in vain. The evening preceding, being in port, but absent from home, he had taken the opportunity of attending a class-meeting; thus, in season and out of season, seeking the object of his heart's desire. Here, amidst the children of God, in simplicity and godly sincerity, he unfolded the secrets of his breast. He said to the Leader, “ I desire not only to fear God, but to love him also." The experienced Leader
gave him suitable advice, by which he was greatly encouraged ; and the next morning he received the answer of his repeated prayers, -the love of God was shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost which was given unto him. With adoring wonder, gratitude, and joy he could now exclaim,
“'Tis love, 'tis love, thou died'st for me,
I hear thy whisper in my heart :
Pure universal love thou art :
The writer may, perhaps, be allowed to add two or three rem
marks, suggested by these circumstances in the life of Mr. Banks. First, How important it is that they who desire to be happy in God should secure the advantages of church-fellowship, and thus pursue the inquiry, 66 What must I do to be saved ?" under the most favourable circumstances. Secondly, All members of a Christian church, when absent from home on business, should be careful to avail themselves of every . opportunity of Christian communion. Wesleyan Methodists, especially, should attend to this. And then, how much good might be done, if Christians would be, as it were, on the look out for those who are suffering under spiritual distress, for the purpose of expressing their sympathy with them, and encouraging them to persevere in calling on God, by his Son, that their sorrow may be turned into joy!
In the year 1816, while reading Galatians v. 22, &c., Mr. Banks was powerfully convinced of the necessity and importance of inward holi
Here he saw, in the light of divine truth, the works of the flesh, and the fruit of the Spirit, set in contrast. He beheld, as he never before did, his own comparatively imperfect state as "a babe," and the great Gospel privilege of maturity in Christ Jesus. He now pleaded with God for the full baptism of the Spirit, and all its blessed results. Nor does it appear that he long pleaded in vain ; for it was known to his family and religious friends that about this time he became eminently spiritually minded : love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, appeared to be his constant element. His daily converse, and his nightly meditations, were in heaven; and very rich and hallowing was the spiritual communion he was favoured to enjoy. He would often remark, that while he lay awake in the night seasons, the Spirit of truth blessed his meditations, leading him into clearer and more extensive views of Gospel privileges and duties, and causing his reflections on portions of Scripture to be increasingly profitable. He delighted to read the Bible, closely to meditate thereon, and to make certain portions of Scripture the subject of conversation among his religious friends. His mind being spiritual, his strong memory well stored with the word of God, and his conversational
powers considerable, his company was both pleasing and instructive: many were profited by it. An intelligent and piously-disposed young man, a sailor, who had been for some years a member of another section of Christ's church, was met by him at a distant port, in one of his voyages, and, finding him dejected and discouraged, he took him into his cabin, and there conversing and praying with him, and pointing out such portions of Scripture as appeared adapted to his case, the dejection was remo
moved, the young man was enabled to receive the atonement by simple faith, and found present joy and peace in believing; and it may be added, that from this time he became an able and zealous advocate for the cause of truth and righteousness, and has long been usefully employed in the important work of promoting religion among seamen.
Spirituality of conversation, indeed, formed a very prominent feature in the character of Mr. Banks. Although daily much occupied with the men and things of the world, and possessing considerable capability of entering into the topics of general converse, his ready tongue was ever prone to speak of the glorious honour of God's majesty, and to utter abundantly the memory of his great goodness; to talk of Christ and his blessed and holy law, of the kingdom fixed within, and of all the rich immunities of the Christian citizen. While he dwelt on these things by his fireside, some who are called to minister more publicly in the great congregation, have felt it to be a high privilege to listen, and learn from his lips the holy lessons of the science of salvation. But while thus capable of affording instruction, he never indulged in conversations about the real or supposed faults of the sermons which he heard. When such a topic was introduced, he would sometimes check it by quoting to his children the saying of a venerable old friend of his : “ It is a bad sign when you can find nothing better to talk about than the faults of the pulpit.” Thus he endeavoured, within his own sphere, to employ his tongue to the glory of God, and to have his speech alway seasoned with the salt of divine grace : an example which all who name the name of Christ, but especially those who, like Aaron, can speak well, and who are the heads of families, would do well to imitate.
He was also most exemplary for observing all the public ordinances of religion. Every week-night service he thankfully attended, and the Sabbath-day was hailed by him with peculiar joy. He loved the habitation of God's house. The week-night and the Sabbath-morning prayer-meetings failed not, summer or winter, to call him forth. And so punctual was he to the hour, that, at the dark season of the year, he would often light the chapel with his own hands five times a week.
His attention to business was not at all impeded by his spirituality of mind, his devotional habits, and his great taste for religious conversation. His situation, as manager of the port of Charlestown,
“ I am
involved great responsibility, and onerous duties ; but his knowledge of all the affairs connected with his office was so complete, his habits so punctual, his multifarious accounts so correct, and his integrity so manifest, that he shared largely in the confidence and commendations of the various proprietors under whom he was successively employed. One of them—in answering a letter which Mr. Banks wrote the day before he was taken ill, respecting his son becoming his successor, remarks on his character for business in the following manner :glad to hear that your son is now with you. I only hope he may follow scrupulously his father's footsteps, and acquire the same steady, persevering regularity in his accounts, the same accurate knowledge of the affairs which may one day be committed to his charge, and the same strict integrity which has secured to you the esteem and confidence of your employers." This diligence and accuracy in business was blended with prayer, and constant acknowledgment of, and communion with, God. His office was his oratory. When anything in his long, and often intricate, accounts assumed a perplexing aspect, his custom was to turn to a particular corner of his office, make his request known to God in a few words; and the calmness thus produced often enabled him, when he resumed his pen, quickly to solve the difficulty. Thus in everything, by prayer and supplication, he made known his requests unto God; and the peace of God wbich passeth all understanding kept his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
In his domestic relations, he was held in the highest estimation. By his parents he was tenderly beloved, and called “the best of sons.” His wife, after living with him in the connubial bond for fifty-two years, testified with her dying breath her admiration of his character as a husband and a Christian. As a father, his children could only speak of him in terms that imported the highest reverence, and strongest attachment. By those who had the happiness to serve him, he was unfeignedly respected.
Christian benevolence likewise formed a prominent part in his character. According to his means, and within the circle in which he moved, he was an example of charity. He was a father to the poor. His bounty often made the widow's heart to sing for joy; and the case that he knew not, he searched out. His youngest daughter, who latterly kept his house, states, in a paper that lies before me: “When there appeared to be anything like a particular call of Providence to do good, he would occasionally call me aside, and mention the circumstance. Not long before his illness, he one day called me into a room alone with him, and, with his eyes filled with tears, said, that, whilst he was that morning in his office, it was impressed on his mind that H. B., a widow,-a pious woman, of a cheerful disposition, not given to complain,—was in want of the necessaries of life. He then prayed, that if the impression came from on high, and the woman was really