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För APRIL, 1802
SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER OF. THE LATE MR, W. DUNKLEY, OF WARWICK. W ith the strictest truth it might be said of the subject
of this short memoir, Never did children lose a more tender parent; never did a wife lose a more affeca tionate husband ; never did a church of Christ lose a more useful and honourable member.
As a convert, Mr. Dunkley was an eminent instance of the grace of God. His youth, although not marked with public enormities, yet exhibited a perpetual vicissitude of folly and religious indifferency, until it pleased the Almighty to lead him under the sound of the Gospel, where the word reached his heart with power. The divine change almost immediately discovered itself; and he who had been active in the service of Satan, from this period until the time of his last sickness, exhibited a similar diligence in the concerns of his own and others' salvation. How admirable are the designs of God, that the temper, not changed in its natural cast, should, when sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and exercised in a different channel, serve often to set forth more evidently the wisdom of God, and the spiritual improvement of the subject !
As all Christians are not partakers of the same measure of grace, so some are designed for more usefulness in the church than others. Some glorify God by a more silent, yet holy example; whilst others unite in themselves activity with piety. Of the latter class was our deceased brother; and herein he evinced how useful a church member may make himself amidst the circle in which he moves. The clains of a numerus family deinanded the perpetual fruits of his industry. He was seldom em
ployed less than from twelve to fourteen hours daily, at - his worldly calling. It appeared as if he was always convinced that a rational creature had no tiine to lose; but very much to redeem. .
As he was a pattern of diligence in business, so he was equally “ fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” The good man Vol. X
seldom or never went to his work until he had taken a considerable time for early secret devotion ; nor scarcely ever was seen at å incal in his family without a Bible in his hand, in which he was a wise student. His familyworship was regularly and conscientiously regarded, morning and evening, except when prevented by unavoidable engagements. Nor did the church less occupy his attention than the closet and the family, always manifesting a wish to promote as well as enjoy religion. He would set forward and assist in social meetings for prayer, both in the week days and on the Lord's Day morning, 'at an early hour. Knowing how much the Scripture makes of the saints' communion with each other, he delighted in experience-meetings, and in uniting with his friends to repeat sermons, which he and they had heard preached. Possessing an extensive as well as sympathetic soul, te perpetually acquainted himself with the spiritual state of all connected with him, and endeavoured to adapt his advice or prayers to them accordingly. When he observed persons attentive to the word for a season, he seldom failed to find them out and invite them to his house, that he might question them about soul concerns. His house was the continual resort of any who might be enquiring the way to Zion. By these means he would assist his pastor, and prepare them for communion with the church. Not contented with a small share of action, he would make excursions to different villages, where he has established prayer-meetings; and here he employed the talent God had given himn, in expounding a chapter of the Bible, or in giving a word of exhortation. Like his divine Master, he ever went about doing good.
God hath said, “ Them-that honour me, will I honour;" this Scripture was fulfilled in our friend He was signally honoured in introducing many into the good ways of the Lord. His talents, had timne permitted him to improve them, might have given him a respectable place as a professed teacher. But to be useful, was more considered by him than a name; and he knew that usefulness was not so much attached to appearance as to action and principle; and as he thought and acted, so it turned out; for, in all probability, in the course of nearly twenty years, which was about the period of his career, he was instrumental of bringing more souls to Christ than many ininisters who have laboured a longer time, publicly instructing people committed to their charge. Tlappy would it be for every church of Christ, if they were blessed with such helpers! It is mentioned here with pleasure, that hopes are entertained that the spirit of the deceased has cast its influential inantle over some of both sexes who survive him, in the church of which he was a inember.
The path of such a man one might naturally expect would be attended with perpetual serenity and joy, and his dying chamber visited with an unclouded smile of divine approbation; but it was not so. Jehovah is a debtor to no man; and will have us know that we have no other claiin upon him, than his promise and grace entitle us to expect Our brother would frequently walk in heaviness through manifold temptations; sin was felt as a sore burdens and oh! how would he bewail its indwelling nature in most of his prayers offered before others to God! A tincture of asperity in his natural temper, frequently distressed him, and would lead him (with a saint of former ages) to say, “ Surely, I am more brutish than any man." The deceased was one who seemed constantly inclined to lay the blame of human weakness at thc creature's door, and to ascribe all the ability for service or suffering to omnipotent grace. The disorder of which he died was a gradual decay of the liver, which confined him many wecks from the muchloved courts of his God. During this period, his frame gradually weakened ; and his animal spirits appeared so low, as scarcely to suffer him to speak without pain. Als one who had wrought while it was day, the night of sickness left him little ability to act, or even to drop a word for his Lord: he was, upon the whole, serious and composed. In the first stages of his confinement, there appeared in the good man, perhaps, an undue desire of
recovery ; but how easily does sympathizing nature ac *count for this, when it considers, that an affectionate wife and six helpless children lay near to his heart. The Lord saw meet to deny his family and his friends their request. His tabernacle weakened hourly, till death released him. As he had often wished, so he entered into rest on the Lord's Day, August 9, 1801, surrounded by many to whom his memory will be ever dear. He was aged about 40.
As our brother's life was not without fruit, so his death was not without respect : several hundreds attended him, but to the grave, who witnessed by their tears that a good
, man .