« PreviousContinue »
intercourse with them, but especially in seasons of affliction, truth was brought home to the understanding and conscience with irresistible clearness. Her qualifications to give advice were felt; and she exercised a delicacy and propriety in the administration of it, which generally prevented offence.
In the redemption and diligent improvement of time, our dear friend deserves to be regarded as an example. Reference has been made to her taste for literary pursuits, and the enjoyment they afforded; and having but a small share of domestic cares and duties, reading and composition occupied a large portion of her time. But, though ardently devoted to them, she ever restrained them within proper bounds. Reading the Scriptures, private devotion, constant attendance upon the public means of grace, and the most conscientious attention to her duties as a Class-Leader and visiter of the sick, were evident to all who knew her; and her example here might be copied with great advantage by females moving in a similar rank of life. Naturally retiring and timid, Mrs. Bulmer had great difficulties to overcome in the performance of those duties which brought her at all into contact with other persons; yet for many years she employed herself in various departments of public usefulness; and every one among her female acquaintance must acknowledge the worth of her services, and the admirable spirit in which they were rendered.
The discernment and sense of propriety, the innate delicacy, the constant discountenance of all that was trifling and vain, and the dignified manner, combined with great sweetness of spirit, gave to the advices and cautions of our excellent friend an authority which was decisive. Whether engaged in encouraging the charity of her young friends, by inducing them to join in plans of benevolent labour for clothing the poor and the aged, or in her domestic visits to those whom in trouble she could console, or in conducting the weekly exercises of her class-meeting, her sense and her piety were equally manifest. In every part, therefore, of her intercourse with others, it might have been truly said of her, “ She opened her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue was the law of kindness.".
Allusion has already been made to the advantageous ground upon which our late friend stood, in reference to conversational talent, whether the company were general or select. A principal deficiency with many pious persons in social intercourse is, their want of appropriate information, and readiness to improve existing circumstances, and to direct conversation into the most edifying and instructive channel. On this subject, I pause for a single moment, for the benefit of respectable females, just rising into usefulness in the church and in the world, to assure them that this defect, so lamentably general, arises not so much from want of intellectual ability, as from the neglect of suitable reading and inquiry, by
he very textzious society influence
which an aptitude would be gained to employ talent to its full measure of advantage. ** Mrs. Bulmer's reading was ever supplying her with resources ; and her habit of turning all she knew to profitable use prepared her not only to take a leading part in conversation, but to give it that tone and well-directed character, which insured unwearied interest and attention; and thus it was, that, though really diffident and unaffectedly retiring, few could be met with whose company and conversation were so calculated to instruct the understanding, and improve the heart. Had she in early life been induced to take a more active part in general society, her talents might have been employed to still greater advantage; for, with the abilities and influence which she possessed, she was less useful in religious society than her situation in the church admitted. The very texture of her mind prevented the cultivation of that simplicity which aims at doing good on the largest scale of which our means and opportunities allow ; for she did not mingle so generally and extensively as she might have done with that class of persons who would gladly have profited by her instructions. Her manner never acquired that ease and affability with persons considerably below her, which would have rendered her services a lasting benefit to a much greater number than really enjoyed the privilege of profiting by her counsels. Thus, though well and usefully employed, she should have described a larger circle, within and around which her influence might have been felt. While there are so few qualified as she was, and in possession of opportunities and advantages so great, we cannot but regret the comparatively circumscribed limits which she placed around her sphere of useful service. In the present day there is not much danger of women overstepping the bounds prescribed by the Apostle in relation to their Christian exertions; but the fact is, to a lamentable degree, palpable, that, either from want of sufficient piety, or other causes, the capability of great usefulness is not exercised as the cause of Christ, and the necessities of immortal spirits, urgently demand. As the decease of our friends not only calls us to review life, but to reflect upon what their judgment and feelings must now be, the light which they enjoy, as it shines upon us, through the medium of revelation, will, if faithfully followed, lead us in the 'most “ excellent way" for getting and doing good; and if we look at the short and uncertain period in which it may be our privilege to promote the salvation of souls, the recorded decision of Scripture ought to influence us, both as to the high importance and the manner of our services., Hear we, then, the voice of our Master: “ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest!” ! In the summer of 1836 Mrs. Bulmer accompanied some of her nearest relatives to the Isle of Wight. She arrived at Ryde on Saturday, and on the following day felt herself slightly indisposed. As, however, the indisposition was referred simply to a cold, no uneasiness was felt on the account. In the course of Tuesday unfavourable symptoms appeared ; yet her medical attendants were totally unapprehensive of danger. In the evening of the same day, a sudden exacerbation of disease, indicated by a rapid and alarming increase of pulse, summoned her professional attendants to her bedside; and while they were consulting upon the sort of remedy best suited to the case, the commissioned angel arrived, drew aside the bolts of the prison-house, and the freed spirit escaped to the paradise of God!
The nature of Mrs. Bulmer's complaint prevented her from conversing much. What she was able to say, however, was in the highest degree satisfactory and consoling. She testified to the supporting presence of God; and, it was evident to those around her, that she had no anxiety as to the result of the affliction. The life of consistent Christianity which she had exhibited, was crowned by a departure eminently peaceful, and beautifully exemplified that gracious promise, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself.” · Her remains were brought to London, and interred in the family vault connected with the Wesleyan chapel, City-road. It was the unanimously-expressed wish of her family, that her most intimate friend, the Rev. Dr. Bunting, should preach her funeral sermon; but, owing to peculiar circumstances, over which he had no control, he was denied the mournful satisfaction of paying this public tribute to the worth and virtues of his departed friend; and the task devolved upon his gifted son, the Rev. William M. Bunting. The sermon was preached at the City-road chapel to a densely-crowded audience, who listened with the most devout attention, whilst he expatiated upon that divinely-inspired truth, “ Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
e eminently me again, and restaon, and interead. It was the
MEMOIR OF MR. JOSEPH JANION, SEN.
BY HIS SON, THE REV. C. JANION. Tue description given by the Royal Preacher of the infirmities of old age, would very strictly apply to my venerated father, more especially for the last few years of his long and laborious life: “ The sun, the light, the moon, and the stars were darkened; the strong men bowed themselves; all the daughters of music were brought low; the almond-tree flourished, the grashopper was a burden, and desire (itself) failed, because he was going to his long home.” His mental and physical energies began more sensibly and visibly to decline when he had passed the extraordinary boundary of human life, fourscore years ; being, at the time of his decease, in his eighty-eighth year! His strength was labour, and his life not without sorrow; but it was soon cut off, and he is fled away into that world where mortality is swallowed up of life, and time in eternity. Only a day or two previous to his death, he remarked to me in a letter “ that he had outlived most of his contemporaries, and that it was time for him to be off the stage of life.” That letter, though written with a trembling hand, and in broken sentences, breathed strong confidence in God, and great affection to his children; and, as though he had been aware that his departure was so nearly at hand, three times he concluded his brief epistle with “ farewell."
Some account of his conversion and subsequent life, he drew up himself only a few years ago, from which the following particulars are extracted, chiefly in his own language :
He was born in October, 1750, at Parkside farm, Aston, near Frodsham, Cheshire. His parents kept up a strict discipline over the morals of their children, and taught them by precept and example to reverence the Sabbath, and to attend the worship of God in the established Church. On a Sunday evening his father regularly called his large family of children and servants around him, according to a good old custom, that it were to be wished was more carefully attended to by Christian families in the present day, when he heard them repeat the Church Catechism ; then, such as were able read a chapter in the Bible, which was followed by prayer. This practice he adopted in his own family, which was very large, while he resided at Bradley-Orchard and Mouldsworth ; and, it may be added, the practice is not become obsolete among his descendants. But, though tbus favoured, he acknowledges that, from the morning of his days, the imaginations of his heart, and the whole tenor of his life, were only evil continually. His heart, in many instances, was in direct opposition to those family devotional exercises. “What an exact register," he justly remarks,“ conscience, God's deputy, keeps ! how early it begins, and how clearly it will justify the ways of God to sinners in the last day !” “ Well do I remember," says he, “how my wicked heart used to say, "What a weariness it is! when will the Sabbath be gone, that we may buy and sell, and get gain ?' Thus did I live many years without God in the world, and without any wellgrounded hope. One principal means, under God, of my conversion, was the advice and example of my much-respected brother-in-law, Mr. John Gardner, at that time a Local Preacher in the Chester Circuit. He lent me Hervey's Dialogues, which I read with interest and satisfaction." About this period a swelling under his upper lip, having the appearance of a cancer, was operated upon ; but in a few months it again grew as large as before. “ Now it was," says he, “ that my fears started up alarmed, and looking over life's narrow verge, I beheld a dread eternity; the thoughts of death terrified me exceedingly. Conscience brought my sins to remembrance, and set them in battle-array against me.” “Happily, however,” he adds, " the use of caustic effected a complete cure.” “I account it," he continues, " a singular mercy, that I did not then shake off the fear of the Lord, as I had so little help from men or means. I began to pray earnestly for divine direction and support. I bought the i whole of Hervey's Works, and also Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul. This last-mentioned work was made a great blessing, in directing me how to seek redemption through the blood of Christ, even the remission of my sins. I read to the middle of the book, and then turned again to the beginning of it; for I then thought the latter part of it did not belong to one in my state." He remarks, that the sermons he heard in the parish church were without profit; they neither showed the diseases of the soul, nor yet pointed to the remedy; so that he derived neither edification nor consolation from them, though he constantly attended, and listened even with eagerness. After he had read Doddridge upwards of twelve months, he goes on to say, “I resolved to give myself to God by an act of devotion. I chose one of his pieces of self-dedication, wrote it out, and read it upon my knees before the Lord, subscribing it also with my hand. This was on September 29th, 1772. The same week, I said to my father, I would gladly receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, if he thought proper. He highly approved of my purpose, and advised my elder brother also to prepare for communicating."
These means for a time alleviated his distress of mind. He now believed all was right. Amendment he thought sufficient atones ment. But the merciful Lord did not let him rest here ; for, he says, “ The peace I found by making this covenant was soon lost by breaking it. Then my heart smote me for my old sins: former accounts still standing against me filled me with confusion and jealousies of these ways. It is true, I found this way of covenanting with God mentioned in the Scriptures, recommended by Ministers, and approved by all God's people ; neither could I tax myself with guile in doing it. No; I made it with much concern and solemnity; but I was ignorant of the righteousness of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and was going about to establish a righteousness of my own. I sought it as it were by the works of the law. I cannot but look back with wonder at the astonishing patience of God, notwithstanding all my provocations. For some weeks after I broke my covenant vows I was almost on the brink of despair ; but the good providence of God just then put into my hands the Experience of Mr. Thomas Haliburton. Hope again sprang up in my breast; and now, though it was many months after this before the Lord wrote a pardon on my heart, yet I felt such an insatiable thirst after God, that the very language of my soul was, as Bunyan emphatically expresses it, Life! life! eternal life!'” Some time after this, not having found what he sought so carnestly, he wrote, “I said to myself, “This way will never do? I