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done for his soul ; exhorting his neighbours to flee from the wrath to come. His assistance was also solicited in other places in the vicinity; and he continued these labours of ·love for some time.
Being recommended to the Rev. Mr. Scott, as a young man of promising talents for the ministry of the Gospel, he was placed by him under the instructions of the Rev. J. Whitteridge, then of Newcastle, Staffordshire. Here be continued about a year, preaching in different places every Lord's Day. As the church at Congleton was at that tiine destitute of a stated minister, he frequently published the glad tidings there. His preaching met with much acceptance; and, the attachment being inutual, he received and complied with their unanimous invitation to reside among them. He was ordained there, April 24, 1793. This station appeared remarkably congenial to his former habits and his manner of preaching, as it presented an extensive scene, for village labours. These he entered into with prompt affection and persevering zeal, whenever a door was opened. The effect of such exertions was soon apparent in the congregation at Congleton, which was more than doubled in number; and these recruits were chiefly brought in from those barren spots in the vicinity, which were cultivated by his occasional ministrations. While at Congleton, he occupied a small farm to assist a scanty income, and meet the necessities of a growing family. However, he found his present means inadequate to his necessary expenditure; and was under the painful necessity of stating the circumstance to his people. The most considerate saw the propriety of immediate exertion, to free himn from such embarrassments, as must, to an upright mind, prove a source of unceasing anxiety and discouragement. These accordingly offered to raise their stated contributions to the necessary amount; but the majority of the people (though not expected to assist in a pecuniary way) unaccountably refused so much as to sanction an increase , of salary; and he could not judge it right to receive that as a matter of private bounty, to which he was so justly entitled, in virtue of that authority which ordains, that “ they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel." At this time the church in Howard-street, Sheffield, was without a stated minister; and he was invited to supply there. His situation at Congleton being known, he was solicited to accept the pastoral charge ainong them.
Of this he informed the people at Congleton. After waiting some time, and observing that they still neglected to take those steps which prudence and justice made necessary, in order to his continuing with them, he answered the invitation from Sheffield in the affirmative; concluding that it appeared to be the will of God he should remove from that spherc, where he had laboured with much pleasure, and considerable success. He accordingly came to Sheffield in Nov. 1797.
It is a remark, obviously true, and furnishing occasion of serious regret that, in many instances, a spirit of party, opposition, and unhallowed zeal for circunstantials, will call forth more than treble those pecuniary exertions, which would be needful to relieve the anxieties of many a worthy minister of Christ, who is left to struggle in silence under those embarrassments which an easy calculation would lead his people to see were unavoidable, but concerning which they do not calculate ; and he would rather suffer than complain.
When he came to Sheffield, the congregation was small, and the number in church-fellowship very few ; but the Lord so far succeeded his exertions, that in a short time the chapel was well filled, and the church considerably increased. Here his prospects appeared particularly encouraging. Placed in a populous town--united with'a people chiefly collected under his own ministry, - surrounded with a pleasing growing family, -- on terms of cordial friendship and co-operation with brother-ininisters in the town and neighbourhood, in the meridian of mental and corporcal vigour, preaching the Lord Jesus with general acceptance--and enjoying much of the smile of Heaven (but continuance is not a feature of the present scene) his day drew to its close. He had finished his predestined course, and must rest from his labours.
For several weeks be found himself somewhat indisposed; and had considerable difficulty in going through the services of the last Lord's Day on which he appeared in the house of God. It is a very reinarkable circumstance, that Mrs. Reece had frequently requested him to preach from 2 Cor. v. 8.; but not till this day had he complied with her desire. The manner in which he spoke of being “ absent from the body and present with the Lord,” occasioned soine of his hearers to say, “ It was as tlougl: Mr. Reece thought he was preaching his own
funeral-sermon;" and it proved to be the last sermon he delivered. In the course of the week his indisposition gained ground, and a violent fever ensued, which baffled every effort of medical skill; and on Thursday morning, January 8, 1801, his countenance was changed, and he slept in death. On Saturday his corpse, attended by all the members of the church over which he presided, was interred in Howard-street chapel-yard; and Messrs. Dawson, Dixon, and Boden (ministers of the same town) endeavoured to improve the truly affecting and solemn season, A sermon was preached, on the following Sabbath evening, by Mr. Boden, from Psalm xlvi. 18. “ Be still, and know that I am God.” The chapel was very much crowded ; and many tears were mingled on the occasion. How happy, if we who yet remain on this side Jordan, are found the humble and unwearied followers of them “ who, through faith and patience, now inherit the proinises !” .
Under his last illness he enjoyed a confidence in the God of his salvation, unruffled by painful doubt, or dark suspicion. « Jesus Christ will answer all for me," was thie declaration of that conscious interest in a covenantRedeemer, which he found as an anchor to the soul, both sure and stedfast, while surrounded with the waves of affiction. Dying circumstances urge the necessity of plain fidelity with ourselves and others. To one who stood beside him, he said, with great earnestness, “ You are yet unconverted to God;"_to another, “ You have long attended the means of grace, but without saving advantage to your soul;" – to a brother-minister, “ I shall soon be gone. Don't say any fine things, or put any long account of me in the Magazine: I am a poor sinner, saved by grace. I deserve a thousand hells; but Jesus Christ has done all for me.” He had, for several years previous to his dissolution, found his mind much occupied concerning some provision for his family, in case of his removal; and had often introduced the subject at the meetings of ministers, in order to induce a co-operation for the establishment of a widow's fund. Yet though his wishes had not been carried into effect, on his death-bed, his mind appeared entirely divested of anxiety on this head; and he was enabled to resign his family to the care of His providence, into whose hands he had committed the concerns of his own soul. Out of gratitude to a generous public, and for the encouragement of faith in a covenant-God, who has said, “ Leave thy fatherless
children, and let thy widows trust in me," we mention that the sympathy and liberality of many were so strongly excited on behalf of the surviving widow and six infantchildren, that upwards of 1000 l. was subscribed for their future support. Thus, in a way of which our departed brother had not the most distant idea, bis God, whom he had served with his spirit in the Gospel of his Son, made provision for his numerous family.
The works of the celebrated Bunyan appear to have at. tracted his early and particular attention; and to have been read with considerable advantage. He entered thoroughly into his views of Gospel doctrine; and imbibed a considerable share of the spirit and manner of that admired original.
Faithfulness to the souls of men, and to what he believed to be the distinguishing truths of the Gospel, formed a very prominent feature of his religious intercourse, and his public ministry. Ile had a great degree of self-possession in the pulpit; and, conscious of the high authority under which he spoke, declared with freedom and boldness the whole counsel of God. }iis illustrations of Scripture, drawn from rural and domestic life, were generally just, entertaining, and instructive, though soinetimes bordering on the quaint and fanciful. As a speaker, he possessed considerable powers of selection, case, emphasis, and variety; of course he visually engaged and fixed the attention of his auditory. lle always preached without nutes, but seldoin or ever without premeditation. He wrote down the leading ideas of his discourses, annexing pertinent Scripture-references : in consequence, his sermons discovered a connection and order, which are in vain looked for in effusions merely extemporaneous.
That the dear man of God of whom we speak, was not attended with infirmity and imperfections, we are not inclined to maintain. Some of his inost cordial and judicious iricods have noticed a rusticity of address and of clothing, which others, who knew less of his sterling worth, were ready to impnte to a studied fondness for singularity; and a frequent choice of singular texts has excited remarks of iesimilar kind, in reference to his public engagements: but however these things may be judged of, we must rccord, to the honour of free grace, that while transparent integrity, social urbanity, domestic tenderness, strong good sense, vital godliness, and a tenor of private and public conduct corresponding with the Gospel of Jesus, are appreciated as qualities of first-rate value, the name of the Rev. J. Reece will be embalmed in the memory of every good man who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Sheffield.
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER OF DR. YOUNG.
rary Memier that their
nay be gratite for
MR. EDITOR, It has been observed, that the private Correspondence of
eminent Literary Men, discorers more of their real Sentiments and Character than their Works, professedly designed for Publication. Perhaps it inay be gratifying to the Admirers of the Night Thoughts to read the following Extract froin a Letter written by their celebrated Author to the Rev. Thomas Newcomb. The Doctor was then in the Eighty-first Year of his Age ; and, as your Readers will perceive, expresses himself like one that had “a good hope, through grace." The whole Letter has appeared in the Gentleinan's Magazine for October; from which this Extract is taken. By Inserting it, you will oblige Basingstoke.
Yours, &c. J. J.
“As for my own health, I do not love to complain: but one particular I must tell you, that iny sight is so far, gone, as to lay me under the necessity of borrowing a hand to write this. God grant me grace, under this darkness, to See more clearly things invisible and eternal; those great things which you and I must soon be acquainted with ! And why not rejoice at it? There is not a day of my long lite that I desire to repeat; and at fourscore, it is all „“ labour and sorrow.” What then have we to do? But one thing remains; and in that one, blessed be God, by his assistance, we are sure of success. Let nothing, theretore, lie heavy on your heart; let as rely on him who has done so great things for us, that Lover of souls, that hearer of prayers, whenever they come from the heart, and süre Rewarder of all those who love him, and put their trust in his mercy. Let us not be discontented with this world : that is bad; but it is still worse to be satisfied with it; so satisfied, as not to be very anxions for something inore..