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FOR NOVEMBER, 1844.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. RICHARD JACKSON:
BY THE REV. ROBERT H. HARE.
RICHARD JACKSON was born in the month of March, 1799, at Handsacre, a village near Litchfield, in the county of Stafford. His parents, who occupied a farm there, were accustomed to attend divine service at the parish church. As his father died while Richard was in his childhood, the care and responsibility of his education devolved on his mother.
When he was about eleven years of age, he began to attend the Wesleyan ministry. Young as he was, the instructions he received led to a conviction of his need of salvation. He sought the Lord earnestly, and found joy and peace in believing. Mr. Gething, who was the Leader of the class in a neighbouring village, namely, Brereton, (and who subsequently became his father-in-law,) observing his regular attendance, took an opportunity of entering into conversation with him : the result was, that Richard became a member of the Wesleyan society. For some time he enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity; and though a very youthful, was a very devoted and consistent, member of the church of Christ. And though these enjoyments were not so permanent as they should have been, and with due care might have been, yet they were never forgotten by him. In after-years he frequently, and with grateful recollection, adverted to them. He “ walked in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost.”
The boarding-school to which he was sent, for completing the course of education which it was intended he should receive, was at some distance from his home ; and as, from boyish timidity, he hesitated to mention his feelings and accustomed habits, he did not continue to possess those religious helps which before had been so beneficial to him; and, losing the fervour of his first love, he began to be somewhat negligent in private devotional exercises, and, after a time, to omit the performance of them almost entirely. He thus eventually became quite indifferent to his best interests; though, by the discipline of the school, and the watchfulness of its conductor, he was kept from falling into any practical irregularity.
Vol. XXIII. Third Series. NOVEMBER, 1841.
When he returned home, and began again to attend the ordinances, public and private, the value of which he had before so richly experienced, his former impressions revived ; and, before long, they became exceedingly distressing. He saw that, by his own negligence, the fire on the altar had become well-nigh extinct. He had a deep conviction of the sin of which he had been guilty. At one time, temptation seems to have mingled with his convictions, and aggravated his distress. He compared his past enjoyments with his present degeneracy, and thought that he had become an apostate, whom it was impossible to renew again unto repentance; and that there only remained for him a “fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation.” The sorrows of death compassed him, the pains of hell gat hold on him : he found trouble and sorrow. The temptation, however, was resisted. He saw that there was a fountain opened for him; and that, by the word of God, he was invited to come to it. The merciful invitations of the Gospel encouraged him; and, in obedience to them, he Aed to the throne of the heavenly grace, pleading the merits and intercession of the great HighPriest who had passed into the heavens, and who appeared in the presence of God for him, as his Mediator and Advocate. Thus seeking, he found; and obtained that Spirit of adoption in whose holy light and comfort he was enabled to walk to the end of his life.
When he was thus again made happy in God, he was in his eighteenth year.
Soon after, he experienced an earnest desire for the salvation of others : he wished to warn them to flee from the wrath to come, and to repeat the gracious invitation of Christ to all that laboured and were heavy laden. Influenced by these desires, he became a Local Preacher when he was about nineteen years of age. As a member of the Wesleyan society, he walked consistently with his profession; and as a Local Preacher, he not only conscientiously endeavoured regularly to fulfil his appointments, but to fulfil them according to their proper character and design. Nor were his labours in vain. He was an acceptable and useful Preacher; and, believing that it was his duty to devote his life to the work of the ministry, he offered himself as a candidate for it; and, having passed the usual examinations, he was recommended by the District-Meeting to the Conference; and, being received on trial, he was, in 1823, appointed to the Brixham Circuit.
From this period, to the close of his life, Mr. Jackson devoted himself to the work of an Evangelist with diligence and zeal; and, by the blessing of God, his labours were rendered successful. Not a few, in the Circuits to which he was appointed, acknowledge him as the instrument of their awakening and conversion ; while his earnest and affectionate addresses from the pulpit made him a valuable Minister to the various congregations to which, from time to time, it was his duty to attend. His life, for several years, was marked by no
peculiar occurrences. He loved the work in which he was engaged, and devoted himself wholly to the discharge of the duties of his ministry; and thus, delighting in his vocation, and being beloved by those to whom he was called to minister, his course was even and happy.
In the year 1837 he was appointed to the Hornsea Circuit. He remained there for three years ; and, during the latter two, it was the privilege of the writer of this memoir to become his colleague. The word is not used without due thought. To be a colleague of Mr. Jackson was a privilege. In kindness to his brethren who were associated with him in the ministry he was even excessive, always preferring their comfort and advantage to his own, and seeking to extend their usefulness, and maintain their reputation. He who now attempts to record the worth of his lamented friend and brother, cannot forget the kindness with which he was received when, on his appointment to be Mr. Jackson's fellow-labourer, he entered upon the Circuit. Nor was this an evanescent feeling; it was the same throughout the whole period of their intercourse ; and he is only discharging his duty by thus recording the abiding impression made by Mr. Jackson's amiableness, his true generosity, and especially his devoted and exemplary piety.
Whilst at Hornsea, Mr. Jackson was indefatigable in his efforts to advance the interests of the Circuit. From no labour, no sacrifice, did he shrink, if such appeared to be necessary for the extension of the work of God: he was the servant of the church. The writer has known him, upon certain occasions, willingly walk many miles to expedite some project of local usefulness, or obtain support for some connexional institution. IIe not only toiled in the cause of Christ, but, his circumstances considered, contributed to its various expenses with a liberality which was sometimes almost extravagant. What he did, he did as unto the Lord. He was a cheerful doer, and a cheerful giver. Nor were his labours unsuccessful. While in the Hornsea Circuit, several new chapels were built, and others enlarged, so as to be made capable of accommodating a greater number of hearers. The finances of the Circuit were improved ; and, what was best of all, many were added to the church, who afforded evidence of a work of grace on their hearts.
In the year 1840, Mr. Jackson removed to Bridlington. Entering on his duties in the spirit of meekness, by his uniform affability and kindness of deportment he soon gained the affection and esteem of the people of his charge. He was exceedingly anxious to promote the spiritual prosperity of the various congregations to whom he had thus been called to minister; and everything seemed to promise that his desires would be accomplished. But he was just entering on a path of chastening; and his remaining days were few, and full of trouble. His house became a house of mourning; and, by repeated domestic