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colleagues, to weep over the altered state of things. He had removed to Brighton, where, as Superintendent of the Circuit, he spent the two years that intervened between the Conferences of 1849 and 1851. The Rev. John Harvard, one of the ministers associated with bim, thus speaks of this period of his labours:-“As I resided at Worthing, eleven miles distant from Brighton, my intercourse with Mr. Barton was less frequent than is usual. Nevertheless, I saw enough of him to enable me to form an estimate of his character, and to appreciate his worth. As a preacher, he is too well known to need any description from me. It is enough that he was esteemed highly in this respect by the people. As a pastor, he was diligent and systematic; having plans for the visitation of his flock which were wisely formed, and faithfully carried out. Yet his intercourse with the people was unceremonious and friendly : wherever he was known, he was beloved. As a colleague, he was one of the most frank and generous I have known. He would rather overtax himself, than seem to impose an undue share of work upon his fellowlabourers. Though very much his juniors, we were always taken into his counsels, and treated with respect and consideration."
The next appointment of Mr. Barton was one which evinced the high estimate which the Conference had formed of his wisdom and kindness, as well as of his fidelity to our Connexional principles. At a very critical juncture in the history of the Hinde-street Circuit, when an extensive secession had taken place, and one or two societies still embraced elements of painful disunion, Mr. Barton was appointed to superintend it. His letters to his family, written from the Newcastle Conference of 185), as well as other correspondence, show the solicitude, and at times the distress of mind, with which he regarded this appointment; and it is feared that his health, which was not good when he entered upon the Circuit, suffered greatly from the continued and severe pressure of anxiety which, during the former part of his residence in it, he had to endure.
It was at this time that my own intimate acquaintance with Mr. Barton commenced. It fell to my lot to be one of his colleagues in the Hinde-street Circuit, and to share, to some extent, his anxieties. Even at this distance of time,- for fourteen years have passed away since we were thus brought together, I'bave a vivid remembrance of the admirable spirit which he evinced in our Ministers' Meetings during the anxious consultations of the early part of our associated ministry. There was the tenderness of a Christian pastor,-a solicitude to reclaim the wandering, and to preserve to Methodism all who could be preserved without a sacrifice of principle,-blended with firmness in the maintenance of that godly order and discipline which it devolved upon him especially to enforce. His mind was sometimes depressed; but he never wavered in the discharge of his trying duties, and he was often cheered by the cordial and generous support of the leading friends in that Circuit, and the readiness with which they came forward to sustain the cause of Methodism in the hour of trial. In official meetings he was calm, judicious, and firm; and I believe that his spirit and bearing conciliated the respect of many who were alienated from our system.
It would be an unwelcome task to recall more minutely the cir. cumstances of those days of solicitude and trial. Even this brief reference to them is introduced only to illustrate some features in the character of Mr. Barton, which presented themselves clearly and strongly to us who shared his deliberations. Happily, that period of intense anxiety closed before our first year was completed; but then there remained financial difficulties, more especially in relation to the chapels of the Circuit, which called forth his energies in a new direction. To his exertions the rescue of the Stanhope-street chapel from its difficulties, and its preservation to Wesleyan Methodism, are to be mainly attributed; though it would be wrong to overlook the noble spirit in which our friends there came forward to secure this result. He took a leading part, also, in the efforts which were made by the congregation at the St. John's-Wood chapel, to respond to the munificent offer of the late W. H. Smith, Esq., and thus permanently to secure that beautiful edifice to the Connexion free from debt.
When the pressure of his Circuit anxieties was in some degree lightened, his mind gratefully turned, with fresh interest, to the devout study of Christ's truth, that he might bring out of the treasury“ things new and old;" and he engaged, with cheerful readiness, in the Connexional services for which his varied knowledge, clear discrimination, and large experience, admirably qualified him. His preaching, during the period of my intercourse with him, was richly evangelical, and remarkably clear and powerful. His prayers, especially at our Ministers'-Meetings, always impressed me with the conviction that he was anxious to maintain personal communion with God, and, amidst the excitement-I may even say, the distractionof official duties, to cleave to Christ as the one Source of life, and peace, and strength.
In connexion with this period of Mr. Barton's history, it may not be improper to advert to a feature of his character which marked, indeed, his whole career, but which circumstances now tended to bring out in new developments. He ever cultivated the domestic affections. His dutiful regard to his parents, until they were removed by death, was evinced in all his conduct; and his letters, written while at Baldock, show his affectionate interest in his sisters and his brother. But it was in the bosom of his own family, when engaged in the work of the ministry, that his domestic affections were most strikingly displayed. He was a faithful, considerate, and affectionate husband; and he was devoted to the interests of his children, while he was most solicitous for the right formation of their cha
racter. During his residence in the Hinde-street Circuit, his second son, now happily engaged in foreign Missionary service, as a Wesleyan minister, left home to be apprenticed to a chemist in Louth, Lincolnshire. A copy of the first letter which Mr. Barton addressed to him, after he had entered upon his new position, is now before me ; and it evinces the depth of his fatherly solicitude, while it reflects the highest credit ou his judgment. It is an elaborate letter, containing advice on almost every point of conduct, and referring to the special duties arising from the relations in which his son now stood. Its counsels of wisdom and love might be read with advantage by any youth leaving home to occupy a similar position : but I can only venture to quote its concluding admonitions :
"Be upon your guard as to company. Let your companions be serious, intelligent, polite young men, and such as fear God. Let your books be well chosen. There are some you need not and ought not to read. Don't read novels or romances : even the best tales of fiction are useless; and many of them are trash and poison. History, biography, and good poetry, such as that of Young, Milton, and Cowper, you may read again and again.
“And then, above all, my dear boy, there is one thing needful,the salvation of the soul. O give your heart to God! Seek His pardoning mercy. Pray to Him to forgive your sins; and pray for this till you get the blessing. Pray for it for Christ's sake. Always read your Bible slowly and seriously; and take care to read a portion of it every day. Never let a day pass without prayer morning and evening, and if you can, in the course of the day, for a few minutes.
“May I add, read this letter occasionally, and think it is my dear father (who wrote this with prayers and tears) who is speaking to me."
This letter affords a correct view of Mr. Barton's deep regard for his children's welfare. Amidst all his public engagements his heart turned to home, and his warmest and fondest affections found expression there.
In the year 1854, Mr. Barton's connexion with the Hinde-street Circuit was necessarily terminated; and he removed to what proved to be his last sphere of labour,-the Bradford-West Circuit. He entered upon it with a firm determination to give himself more fully to the work of Christ; and his pulpit ministrations and pastoral services were, as in other places, highly acceptable. The Rev. M. C. Osborn has favoured me with the following notice of this period of his ministry :-“From what I had heard of Mr. Barton in Cambridge, I was prepared to expect that his appointment to Bradford would be made a great blessing to the Circuit. And I have every reason to believe that that expectation would have been abundantly realized, but for the distressing affliction which terminated his valuable life.
“Very soon after his arrival, it became evident to his friends that his vigour was impaired, and that disease was making serious inroads upon his constitution. At times he was most distressingly dejected; but at other times, when his health improved, he was very cheerful and companionable. His spirit was kind and genial; and his attachment to old friends very deep, sincere, and abiding.
“He was an eminently devout Christian. His power in prayer was remarkable. He had the gift of prayer; and his supplications and intercessions in public were often singularly copious, comprehensive, and powerful.
“His preaching was more than acceptable. His expositions of the word of God were very rich and edifying; and their delivery was usually attended with great unction. To the people of God his ministrations were especially precious and instructive. I have frequently heard their grateful testimonies to the great spiritual benefit they derived therefrom.
"There was one thing in Mr. Barton by which I remember to have been greatly impressed. I refer to his conscientious desire to improve opportunities of social intercourse by directing the conversation, and introducing for discussion some profitable topic. On several occasions he and I went out together on Missionary errands; and more than once, as we were journeying, he asked me what subject we could take
up, and how we could lead the conversation of our friends, so as to prevent its degenerating into frivolous and profitless small-talk. The result, in some cases, was very satisfactory."
At the Bristol Conference of 1856, Mr. Barton's friends could not fail to perceive that his health was seriously affected. He attended the sittings of that Conference, and discharged, with assistance, some of the official duties which devolved upon him; but his nights were restless, and his strong frame was evidently yielding to the disease which had entrenched itself within. Reluctantly he gave up the thought of going to London after the Conference, to render the services which, as one of the Assistant-Secretaries, he had been accustomed to do. After much hesitation, he was brought to the conclusion that, in his state of health, nothing remained for him but to return home and seek rest. But the first Sabbath after the Conference had closed, was passed in Bristol; and to the forenoon of that day he often adverted in his subsequent illness. Being too unwell to attend the public worship of God, he spent that morning in private devotional exercises. Alone with God, he reviewed his ministerial life, mourned over its deficiencies, cast himself afresh on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, and humbly renewed the act of entire self-dedication to God. He experienced, on this occasion, a gracious manifesta
tion of the Divine favour and love, and he felt that he could look forward to the future with holy confidence and hope.
It is affecting to think, that even then, though he knew it not, his ministerial labours were closed. He never preached again. He returned on the following day, Monday, August 18th, 1856, to Bradford; but it was to suffer, and to prepare for his great change. His family were shocked and distressed to perceive the alteration in his appearance, and immediately sent for medical advice. His symptoms became so alarming in the course of a few days, that it seemed as if he could not long survive. But his faith in Christ-firm, though not exulting or joyous—now sustained him. “I am quite at peace,” he said to one member of his family; “I know my place is at the foot of the cross.
I cling to Jesus. He will never turn away a sinner that comes to Him." He often dwelt with sacred interest on that passage in the Epistle to the Romans, “ Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare at this time His righteousness; that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." He repeated emphatically the opening statement, “ Whom God hath set forth;" adding, “ Yes, it is God's own appointed way.” The worst fears of his family and friends had been awakened as to the issue of this attack ; but the end was not yet. After a while, more favourable symptoms presented themselves; and, by the month of October, he had so far rallied as to be able to leave home, to spend a few weeks at his brother's, in Huntingdonshire. During this visit he had the spirit of prayer in an eminent degree; and many hours were passed by him in retired communion with God. At first, the change of air, and the drives which he was able to take, seemed to invigorate his constitution : but he suddenly became worse, and those around him thought that he could not survive many hours. His disease was a derangement of the heart, leading to a failure of its action. His medical advisers considered that it had for a long time been gradually coming on; and when it developed itself so as to call for medical treatment, they had the pain of knowing that it was incurable, and that they could only to a very limited extent alleviate the suffering which it induced. It was just possible that, by extreme care, Mr. Barton's life might be protracted; but his day of active service was over, and at any moment he was liable to painful and alarming seizures. When he was a little recovered from the attack last referred to, it was judged expedient that he should return home; and, accordingly, in the month of November, he came again to Bradford, to spend his last days in the bosom of his family, and among a people who had valued his ministry, and who now manifested the deepest sympathy with him and his.
His experience from this time presented the same general features.