Page images
PDF
EPUB

Returning to town he continued preaching in and about London till the close of the year, when he again visited Brighton at which place he entered on the vear 1811-the last of his life.

In what way his mind was exercised during this period—and how his principles as a Christian tri. umphed over his feelings as a man in the prospect of a long and painful separation from those he loved-may be seen by the following letter to a friend in Liverpool:

No, 31.

Hoxton, Dec. 5, 1810. “MY DEAR SIR,

"I am persuaded that you will excuse my neglecting to write to you so long, when you recol. lect that the hope I daily entertained of seeing you in town appeared to represent my troubling you with an epistle as unnecessary. I am extremely pleased to hear of the increase and welfare of your family; I cannot but feel an interest in their prosperity and happiness: may the Lord pour his Spirit upon your seed, and his blessing upon your offspring, that they may spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses! I suppose I need not inform you, that I anticipate my journey to Liverpool with mingled emotions of mind. The idea of a long and painful separation from my connexions does certainly at times overwhelin me with melancholy gloom; I have not yet learned to conquer my feelings, nor am I particularly eminent for philosophic heroism. The idea that I am going where divine Providence has directed me, does occasionally impart to me strong consolation; may my wishes as to extensive useful

ness among you be answered; may they be exceeded in the prosperity of the church and congregation, and in the increase of spirituality and holy enjoyment in my own soul!

"I am glad you are successful in getting acceptable supplies; this is a point which should be attended to. I should like the congregation to have the best of preachers. My books, &c. I must send from London before Christmas day, that I may have no trouble with them after my return from Brighton. : "I am extremely happy in the prospect of being with your family on my first entrance into Liverpool; it will be far superior to my being with strangers. This half year has been a trying one as to preaching engagements, both on Sabbaths and on week-days. I continue supplying Hoxton, and the New Chapel, Somer's Town, till Christmas: the day after Christmas day I hope to go to Brighton, to stay there three Sabbaths, and to return on the 17th of January, to supply Roydon, and Hertford the next week; and the last Sabbath in January, to take my leave of this part of the kingdom by two sermons at Hoxton.

* * * * * "Tell our friends at Newington chapel that I am tolerably well, and wish to be kindly remembered to them. Farewell, my valued friend. "I am sincerely your's,

"I'HOMAS SPENCER."

The purposes expressed in this letter were accom. plished according to the order in which they are stat. ed. He visited Brighton, and preached on the last Sabbath of :he old year three times, at Mr. Style's chapel-in the evening a sermon adapted to the season, from 1 John ii, 17, 'And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that docth the will of God abideth forever!' On the evening of the 1st of Janvary, 1811, he preached an appropriate discourse at the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel; and on the following Thursday, and three times on the Sunday, he preached at Mr. Styles'. On the Monday evening, being the first Monday in the month, the missionary prayer meeting was held in Brighton, when he delivered a nost animated and impressive address from Matt. xiii, 16-17, 'Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. He continued another Sab. bath in Brighton, and left that place some time in the following week. Passing through London, he went into Hertfordshire. On Sunday, January the 20th, be preached at Roydon, morning and afternoon, and at Hoddesdon in the crening. On the Tuesday evening he preached at Jertford, and slept again un. der his paternal roof. On Wednesday evening he preached at Stansted, and on Thursday evening again at Hertford. This was I believe, his last visit to his native town, and to his father's house! The separation which then again took place between himself and his beloved family was final. The farewell which he bade to the scenes of his infancy and child. hood was eternal! I cannot suppress the melancholy feeling which this reflection has awakened in my mind. I am arrived at lengib upon the eve of a enournful detail, which all along I have anticipated with emotions of distress. Alas! that one so useful should le so soon removed! And that ere we entor on the

solemn engagements of his pastoral life, we should be compelled to notice circumstances so closely con. nected with his death!

The following Sabbath, January 27th, was the last he spent in London. On that day he preached in the morning at Hoxton chapel, from Poil. iii, 8, ‘Yer, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus iny Lord.' And in the ev:zing at Tonbridge chapel, from. 2 Cor. iv, 3, But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.' The labors of this Sabbạth completed his engagements at Hoxton and Ton. bridge chapels; but on the evening of the following day (Monday) he took an affectionate leave of his beloved friends the constituents--the tutors--the students--and the congregation at Hoxton, from the pulpit of that chapel. The crowd that pressed to hear his last sermon (for so it proved) in London was immense. One common sentiment of attachment and grief seemed to prevade the assembly. A friend charged him on that occasion not to play upon the passions. Not that lie was in the habit of doing this; but there appeared on this occasion a probability thai, he might. To that suggestion he replied that

neither his feelings nor his conscienue would admit of such trifling.” He addressed the people on this interesting occasion from those memorable words of Paul-Acts xx, 24, But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry whici: I have received of the Lord Jesus. *

Thus were Spencer's labors in the metropolis clos-. ed forever-labors-he renewal of which thousands

i * See Appendix, No. IV.

anticipated with delight. But he was ripening fast for glory-and rapidly advancing to the termination of his course. Yea, the impression of his excellence--the feeling of regret at his departure—was yet strong and lively in the hearts of many, when The tidings of his death shed a deeper sorrow through the scenes and circles which he had edified by his public instructions, or enlivened by his private friendship!

It was on the 23:h of January, that Mr. Spencer preached his farewell serinon at Hoxton chapel and it was on the 15th of August, in the same year, in the same pulpit-and to nearly the same congre. gation—that his funeral sermon was delivered by the Rev. Henry Forster Burder, one of the tutors of the academy. In that discourse a just and elegant trib: ute was paid to the mingled piety and talent which formed the charm of his ministry. From the known endowments of the preacher, and from the opportunities which he enjoyed of obtaining a correct estimate of Mr. Spencer's powers, that tribute must de. rive considerable propriety and force: and as it chief. ly regards his ministerial labors in London, I shalt close these imperfect memoirs of them with an ex. tract from it.

"During the last two years of our valuable friend's residence at Hoxton, he was very frequently engaged in preaching in London and its vicinity. As this chapel has been, on many occasions, the scene of his labors, and has been often thronged with the multitudes atiracied by his abilities and piety, I nced scarcely attempt an estimate of his pulpit talents. That they were eminent—that they were brilliant- that they were captivating-will not, I think, be denied by any who witnessed their exhibi.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »