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assured him that there was no reason why he should not, if he prayed to the Lord Jesus to save him. “My heart," he replied, “is so hard, that I cannot pray; but I can cry.” Nor will He who loves to receive the prayers and hosannas of children, ever despise them when they can
From this time he was thoughtful, circumspect, and docile. He discovered the greatest pleasure in public, social, and private prayer ; and often withdrew to his room for devotion when he came from school. He was also very scrupulous in his observance of the Lord's day. He would never purchase articles of persons who kept their shops open on that hallowed day, but would remonstrate with them on their misconduct. Yet he shared in the buoyant spirits of childhood, unbroken by the cares of riper years. He was always lively and cheerful, the joy of his parents; and so uniformly kind to his brothers and sisters, that he was never known to quarrel with them.
At the age of seven he became a Teacher in a Sunday-school which his father had established at Hinckley, where the family then dwelt. Young as he was, he took great pains with his class of almost infant pupils, and often talked to them on the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath-day. It deserves also to be mentioned, that, at this early age, he was accustomed to administer comfort to an afflicted servant by his affectionate attentions to her, and by his quotation of suitable passages from holy Scripture. But “out of the mouths" even “ of babes and sucklings" the Lord can, when he pleases,“ ordain strength” and “perfect praise.” He can make them his chosen instruments to convey his truth, in its own simplicity and power, to persons of maturer years.
When young Sargent had attained his eighth year, he was placed at Kingswood-School. He had always paid a cheerful attention to the lessons which were prescribed to him ; and, in the prospect of entering the school above-named, he said to his father, “I hope I shall learn Hebrew and Greek at Kingswood.” “Why so ?" asked his father. “Because then," he replied, “I shall be able to read the Scriptures in the languages in which they were originally written, and to understand their meaning better.” He gratefully availed himself of the advantages which Kingswood afforded, and acquired a good education ; nor did he neglect the cultivation, in future life, of that taste for the rich and varied views of divine truth, which his elementary knowledge of the Greek language supplied. Two years after his arrival at Kingswood, he wrote an account of the progress of serious thoughts and feelings in his mind, and of the particular benefit which he had derived from attending a juvenile class-meeting. He at length quitted school, with a just reputation for diligence and sobriety.
To prepare him for his future station in life, he was placed, as a pupil, with a Surgeon at Hull. During his stay there, as well as at Kingswood, he maintained great propriety and circumspection of con
duct, though exposed to many temptations and dangers. When he had finished his term at Hull, and previously to his attending the hospitals in London, he passed a few weeks with his parents, who then resided at Newark. Here he diligently attended all the means of grace, especially meetings for prayer. One of these was of much use to him. It was held at seven o'clock on a Sunday morning, and was particularly appropriated, by an affectionate people, to intercessions in behalf of the Christian Ministers whom the Lord had appointed over them, and the families of those Ministers : a kind and pious observance, which deserves to be recorded as a beautiful specimen of the simplicity and goodness of former days. One of the praying friends, who took a part in these meetings, fully aware of the danger to which a young disciple of Christ would be exposed in London, was very fervent in his supplications for Mr. Sargent. The prayers which he offered were attended with a hallowed and hallowing influence at the time, and they were also afterwards most graciously and signally answered.
On his arrival in London he obtained an introduction, through his parents, to Mrs. Mortimer, to Joseph Butterworth, Esq., and to Mr. (now the Rev.) John Cooper. He met in the last-named gentleman's class. His views of vital Christianity became more distinct ; and he soon received a clearer enjoyment and evidence of its blessedness. But it is proper to insert his own account of what he now experienced. He thus writes to his parents :
“ DEAR AND HONOURED PARENTS,
London, 1814. “ You have no doubt wondered at, and perhaps censured, my very great negligence in not sooner acknowledging your last favour. If I say, my time is completely employed, it will not be untrue : but that forms no sufficient excuse; for many things might have given place to this. But I do affirm, that, had I written fourteen days ago, I should have written again now, to inform you of that which, while I am writing, and every hour, causes me not only more and more astonishment, but a continually increasing degree of peace and happiness. You have already guessed what I mean : your hearts have become warmed by it; and you wish speedily to be informed by myself. In a few simple words all may be explained. A sinner-conscious of the enormity of his crimes, and of their very great aggravation, feeling them an intolerable burden, and knowing well the punishment due to them, and that by one way only could they be removed, namely, by faith in Christ Jesus—has been enabled to exercise that faith, to lay hold on the promises of the Gospel ; can believe, not only that Christ died for the world, but for him. Is not this a cause of astonishment ? —that I, after having spent so many years in the service of Satan ; after having rejected proffered mercy times without number ; after despising my Lord and Master, who had never suffered me to want, and continually crucifying him afresh ; that I should have had mercy
again offered, should have been blessed with the desire of accepting it, and, to crown all, should now be able by faith to receive it? You know that, with this confidence, I cannot but enjoy increasing peace and happiness. Were it not for my wandering thoughts, and sometimes clouded moments, on account of not looking sufficiently at the merits of Christ, I should be happy all the day long. It is of little consequence to me, to say when and where I was first enabled to believe the willingness of Christ to save me from all my sins; for I can continually believe it."
He then adverts to the instrumentality by which this delightful state of mind had been produced ; namely, the conversation of a fellow-student of the name of Mayor, to whom Mr. Butterworth had hegged Mr. Cooper to introduce him. Mr. Mayor was the son of a Clergyman, and ultimately became a Missionary. About a month afterwards, Mr. Sargent writes again as follows:
“ DEAR AND HONOURED PARENTS, London, Nov. 19th, 1814.
“ Wir what different views do I now take up my pen to address you! I formerly was careful to avoid everything relating to religion, or the state of my own heart; but now it is my principal, my first intention. What a task, what a restraint, would it now be, were I prohibited from writing on that subject, which is the very pabulum of my existence ! What a desert would the world be without my God! How dark and dismal, hopeless and unsatisfying, all, without the light of His countenance ! What an infinite blessing it is, to become acquainted with one's own heart, to feel one's wretched state, to see the need of a Saviour, to have that Saviour offered! And, if possible, how greater still, to be able to cast, by faith, one's whole burden upon Him; conscious that he is able to bear, has borne it, and ever lives to receive those who come to plead his merits! Christ, and him crucified,' is now my favourite theme. I continually feel the same necessity for his assistance; and daily does my confidence in his mercy and in his willingness to save increase. The humbling views I have of my inability to do anything without him, drive me constantly to the throne of grace. How great ought my love to be! and yet how little do I possess ! May it be my constant prayer, that it may be shed abroad in my heart abundantly! I feel that this is my privilege,that I am required to open my mouth wide,' that it may be filled, to ask and receive; to ask still more largely,--having, as yet, asked nothing. What persuasions does Christ hold out, that we may be induced daily to advance in the divine life! How dear a companion is my Bible! To it I fly, on every occasion, for support. I wish to have it treasured up in my heart; to have my memory so improved, that I
be able to retain it all; that I may live in the precepts laid down for my conduct, and be encouraged by the promises to press for
ward, considering that, as yet, I have attained nothing. With what different feelings do I now read it! How easy its terms! While reading, I lift up my beart to the Author, that he would enlighten me, and give me faith. Passages, yea, whole chapters, which once had no interest, are now my delight: they draw me to Christ, my Redeemer, and the Pattern for my conduct; and, if I understand his own words aright, encourage me to be satisfied with nothing short of his likeness. I am not, my dear parents, without temptations, that I am deceiving myself, &c.; but I endeavour immediately to present the whole at the throne of grace ; and then I am enabled to place renewed confidence in Him who, 'in the days of his flesh,' was attacked by the same enemy. When I am thus enabled to act, Satan is foiled. I am also sometimes tempted to repress the feelings of my glowing heart, lest it should be said, “So fierce a flame will not last long. But when I consider that the grace of God is sufficient for me; that futurity belongs to him, and the present moment only to me; I feel encouraged. I wish to become whatever God would have me to be; to give up my own will entirely, and to be placed in such a situation as shall be most conducive to his glory. And how is he most glorified ? I think, in the salvation of sinners. May I show that I have been with Jesus ; and take every opportunity of proclaiming the glad tidings of peace! I feel very great confidence in praying for my relations; and as you, my dear parents, now see, in some measure, the answer of your prayers for me, I hope you will be encouraged to continue your supplications for my brothers and sisters. If we pray earnestly, believing, our prayers must be answered ; for God has promised, and “he is faithful. I believe it will be part of my praise to all eternity, that I was born of praying parents. As our dependence in all things temporal, as well as spiritual, must be placed on God, through the mediation of Christ, unite your prayers with mine, that my future path in life may be clear. At present all is dark; and it certainly is better for us that it should be so. Excuse the degree of self which preponderates in this letter. I hope the next may contain more concerning Jesus, the blessed Redeemer of a lost world, and of
“ Your dutiful and loving son,
“ GEORGE SARGENT.” IIe wrote the month following thus :
“ DEAR AND HONOURED PARENTS,
London, Dec. 13/h, 1814. “Next to the desire of being pleasing in the eyes of God, is that of making happy the authors of my existence, and my most constant advocates before the throne of mercy. I feel no little diffidence in saying what progress I am making in the divine life. I can say with truth, that all other wishes sink before that of being just what God would have me to be. I daily feel a greater necessity of depending on a crucified Christ. Without him I can do nothing. I too often find
a proneness to depend on my own doings and feelings, and, as often, my mistake. How gracious and how true is He who has promised, that, in all our wanderings, he will bring us back, and who even puts words into our lips ! Take with you words, and turn to the Lord,' &c. (Hosea xiv. 2.) Faith working by love seems to keep open that blessed communion between God and my soul, which is the life of the Christian. When thus depending on Christ as my Saviour, my Friend, and my Advocate, how vain do all things else appear! I feel the goodness of God in giving me a conscience susceptible of the approach of evil. I have been much encouraged by finding there are some students of my own sentiments. We are, by God's help, determined that we will act in opposition to everything that militates against the duties of a follower of Christ, whose declarations on this subject are so very pointed. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. The testimony of conduct is not all that Christ enjoined. May He direct ! and may all be done with a single eye to his glory!
“ Your affectionate son,
Mr. Sargent removed to Huddersfield in the year 1815, as an assistant in Mr. Houghton's surgery; and there he remained three years. He considered that his residence in that town, during the abovenamed season, was very advantageous to him; and he often spoke to his mother, who was then also living at Huddersfield, of the profit which he derived from Mr. Houghton's religious services on a Sunday evening. After this he resided for a time at Halifax; but, early in the year 1820, he returned to Huddersfield, became Mr. Houghton's partner, and, shortly afterwards, his successor in business. During the following year he was united in marriage to Mr. Houghton's eldest surviving daughter. In the course of a few weeks he had a severe illness, from the effects of which he never fully recovered. This was only the beginning of a course of discipline which was eminently sanctified to his spiritual improvement. His Christian character attained a greater consistency and maturity; and he gave proof, that in him, as well as in others, gentleness, meekness, humility, long-suffering, forbearance, and a ready disposition to forgive, are the fruits of the Spirit, -not of nature, however amiable,—and are acquired in a course of Christian self-denial, watchfulness, and dependence on divine aid. The sensitiveness of his mind was a cause of frequent suffering to him; and he afforded a practical illustration of the remark, that “patience owes its existence and growth to tribulation."
In the August of 1823 Mr. Sargent was called to mourn the loss of