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than before, and his views of the work more high and awful, and in the pulpit his body trembled, and his heart was ready to faint, yet God was with him. And occasionally he could make such an entry as the following :-“This day I went to Whiston, to supply for Mr. P. The people heard me with great seriousness in the afternoon. In the evening I went filled with the Spirit. The Lord took the work into his own hands. In the prayer-meeting afterwards, I felt completely swallowed up in God. I had such power in prayer! God that night saved a poor backslider, and a young man was seeking mercy.
O that God would speedily send redemption to him ! I feel ashamed of all my works, and completely astonished at the mercy of God. Lord, keep me very humble and watchful.”
It soon became evident to the Preachers in the Circuit, and to other leading friends, that the great Head of the church had fitted him for a higher and a wider sphere. He had “grace” in no ordinary degree, he possessed useful “gifts," and he had “fruit." On these points, especially the first and the last, the Wesleyan authorities institute the strictest scrutiny, in regard to any young man proposed for the regular ministry. They may even be said to be influenced by a godly jealousy: and justly so.
These points are deemed essential to the true apostolical succession. And it may be most confidently affirmed, that no man, howsoever resplendent as to his gifts, and eminent as to his attainments, would be admitted into the itinerancy, if there were not indubitable proofs of his sound conversion to God, and of his decided call to preach the Gospel. And if the “having obtained mercy" ourselves ; the being “separated unto the Gospel of God,” and “ thrust out into the vineyard ;” the having committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation ; the “using great plainness of speech ;" the “preaching the word with all boldness," and in “ demonstration of the Spirit and of power ;” and the “ turning men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God;"—if these ever were, if these are now, among the marks of apostolical authority to preach the Gospel, it may be fairly questioned, without invidious comparison or unwarrantable boasting, whether any ministry on earth be more apostolical in its claims, in its character, and in its results, than the ministry of the Wesleyan Methodists. This is known and felt to be their “ glory” and their “defence.”
But to return to our memoir. The Preachers then stationed in Rotherham mentioned their views respecting Mr. Burrows to his father; who, with “fear and trembling,” made them known to his son. He at once admitted that he had felt the Holy Spirit drawing his mind to the subject, and that he had prayed the Lord to make the matter plain to him. While waiting for this, he was induced one Sabbath-day, in the simplicity of his heart, to ask for a sign. He entreated, that if the Lord had called him to devote himself entirely to the work of the ministry, he would that night confirm such call by
converting a sinner under his sermon. His father, as was usual with him, went in the evening to meet him on his return home; and, without being aware of the specific request of the morning, inquired, if the Lord had been with him in his labours. “ O yes, father," was the reply," he has indeed been with me; the important point is now settled; the Lord has assured me that he has called me to give myself wholly to his work : he has answered my prayer in the conversion of several souls this evening." The response was worthy of the father of such a son: “My dear boy, your father has long since given you to the Lord; and to him he gives you afresh to-night.” That hour was never forgotten by either : with both it was the hour of renewed dedication of their all to God.
At the next March Quarterly-Meeting Mr. Burrows was proposed to go out to travel, by the Rev. James Allen, sen., and was unanimously approved of. The friends of the Circuit had known him from his childhood; he had a good report of all men; he preached the word with acceptance and success; he was “instant in season and out of season,” being ready to take his stand in the open air, in a cottage, or anywhere else ; and there was, withal, so much modesty and humbleness of mind, that no man could despise his youth.
In the May following he passed his examination at the DistrictMeeting, in Sheffield, with much comfort, and, he hoped, with a measure of credit; and, having been received by the Conference of 1838, was appointed to the Oldham Circuit, in conjunction with the Rev. Messrs. Joseph Meek and James Wilson. During the sittings of the Conference he entered into solemn covenant with God, that, if sent to a Circuit, no matter how poor or how laborious, he would be spent more for His glory than he had hitherto been ; would, by His grace, live a more holy, and by far a more useful, life, and do all he could for the conversion of sinners. And when his appointment was confirmed, he writes, on August 14th, “Praise the Lord, O my soul! I am put down for Oldham, near Manchester. The Lord give me grace. The appointment appears almost too formidable. How shall flesh and blood bear it! I do not feel the least doubt in my mind, in reference to the appointment being of God. It is a general opinion, that it is a fine opening for usefulness. The devil has his strong-holds there. O God, give me wisdom, zeal, perseverance, and piety. Thanks be to thy name, the sling and the stone may destroy the great Goliath.”
He commenced his labours at Middleton, on Sunday, August 26th ; preaching to a large and respectable congregation, and feeling it a great trial. But the Lord was near to assist and bless him,—was better than all his doubts and fears. Martin Luther's axiom, that “ temptation is one of the requisites which make a Minister," was exemplified in his instance, as it has been in a thousand others. This will appear from a letter to his father, dated August 28th. 6 On Sunday morning I arose soon after six, and endeavoured, by reviewing and
by prayer, to make some preparation for the day. My mind was much cast down. The enemy of my soul pushed hard at me. Never did I suffer from temptation what I then suffered. Everything appeared dark and mysterious. Monday arrived, but with redoubled temptations, and consequent pain of mind. It was indeed a trial of my faith, and the severest which I ever experienced. The awful responsibility of the work in which I am engaged, and the spiritual interests of forty or fifty thousand immortal souls, appear to be almost too much for me to bear. Who is sufficient for these things ?' Again and again have I thought, that the meanest situation which I ever held, would be far preferable to the one I hold at present. I hope, after all, that I am what God would have me be. This encourages me to trust in the promises of Him who hath said, 'Lo, I am with you always. Whilst alone in my study, I have almost continually been shedding tears. Never did I feel so great a need of your prayers as at present. Pray for me."
Many a Minister of Christ knows that such contests as these are often the preludes to glorious triumphs, as the darkest hour is said to be that which precedes the dawn of day. It will not, therefore, be surprising that Mr. Burrows had to write, on September 10th, “I had a laborious day yesterday : I preached three times, met four classes, and afterwards attended the prayer-meeting till about ten. But, glory, glory, God was present. Upwards of a score found peace with God, and many others were drinking the bitter cup. O Lord, revive thy work, and save sinners !” And again, on the 26th : “The work of the Lord is still going on gloriously: sinners are saved, believers are quickened, backsliders are reclaimed. Last Sunday I was preaching in Oldham. The power of the Lord was present. Some stout, hard hearts were completely melted. After preaching we had the body of the chapel almost full at the prayer-meeting. This was a delightful sight. Many were earnestly seeking deliverance. We closed about half-after nine. A dozen, or rather more, had found inercy ;
and others, not a few, went home in great agony. Our Monday-evening prayer-meetings are well attended. No place is large enough, except the bottom of the chapel. It was a very profitable season on Monday evening last. I was favoured with the very hearty and efficient help of our Circuit-Steward, Local Preachers, and Leaders; all of whom assisted in giving advice to the penitents. Some found peace, and others left the place in great distress. Almost every evening sinners are entering into the liberty of the children of God. There is now such a work amongst us in Oldham, as there has not been within the recollection of our oldest members: and the best of all is, it is God's work. At our Quarterly-Meeting, held on Monday last, the subject of revivals was brought forward. I shall not easily forget the affectionate manner in which I was treated by all at the Meeting. We seemed to be of one heart and mind. Mr. Meek called upon me to
conclude with prayer. I felt my desires and my faith enlarged. The Lord drew nigh. I pleaded with God for success during the quarter ; for the conversion of hundreds of sinners; and for wisdom and for humility to receive God in his own way, either in the still small voice,' or in the rushing mighty wind.' The Meeting responded to every sentence. The present aspect of the whole Circuit is widely different from what it has been, and is very favourable. For all this I am thankful, and feel greatly humbled before God.”
It will be seen, from the above extracts, (and much more might be given to the same point,) that Mr. Burrows gave himself up to the great work of saving souls. The harvest truly was plenteous. His spirit was stirred within him, to see thousands of sinners around him, utterly careless about divine things, and almost as ignorant respecting them as the Heathen themselves. He knew that his work as a Methodist Preacher was not to preach so many times, but to save as many souls as he could ; and therefore, in addition to his regular work, which was by no means light, often did he go out into the highways, in order to seek and save the lost; preaching in the market-place at seven o'clock on the Sabbath morning, or near the chapel after service in the evening, and in private houses on the week-nights, when not engaged in his ordinary appointments. He also visited much from house to house, both in town and country. He formed a class, which soon numbered fifty members; and in every possible way, to the utmost of his power,—and, indeed, beyond his power,--he strove to do the work of an Evangelist, and make full proof of his ministry.
He was, indeed, “ in labours more abundant," being stimulated by the cordial co-operation of the leading officers of the Circuit, as well as being graciously rewarded by the manifold tokens of the divine blessing. We say, “ in labours more abundant:” for with his by no means robust constitution, too plainly indicated by his slender, narrow-chested form, and with his ardent temperament, urging him to long-continued labours,—frequently exposed too, as he was, to the damp and chill of a late night-air,-it was not difficult to divine the result. On this delicate but important subject the writer is glad, for the sake of those whom the love of Christ, acting on an ardent spirit, might impel to similar proceedings, and hasten to an untimely grave, to be able to adduce the testimony of a much and justly endeared friend of the subject of this memoir,—Mr. F. Jackson, of Oldham.
“ A revival,” says he, “ took place in Oldham, and the neighbourhood, immediately after our friend came amongst us. He entered heartily into the work, and laboured night and day with all his might. Such was his zeal for God, and his love for souls, that he has often suffered himself to be carried beyond the bounds of prudence. After having preached to a crowded congregation, until bathed in sweat, and nearly exhausted, he has come down into the prayer-meeting, and, after witnessing its commencement, he has retired for a few minutes, to take a little refresh
ment, and has then returned, and laboured in the meeting till his strength was gone. He has then gone into a retired part of the chapel, and has reposed his wearied limbs upon the seat in one of the pews; and, after resting a short time, has again returned to his labour of love, and has always seemed unwilling to leave the place, so long as there was one soul crying for mercy, or one sinner far from God. His motto appeared to be,
" To spend, and to be spent, for them
That have not yet my Saviour known.''
Such ought to be the motto of every Minister, and especially in the Wesleyan itinerancy; and yet it is surely possible to “present the body a living sacrifice unto God,” without a literal sacrifice of health and life. By resolutely refraining from preaching“ loud and long;" by superintending the work in prayer-meetings, and urging others into action, instead of doing the greater part ourselves; by concluding such meetings, except on very extraordinary occasions, at an early hour, willing to leave a penitent in the hands of the blessed Spirit, when the plan of salvation seems to be imperfectly apprehended, or when there does not appear to be an immediate readiness to close in with God, and trust in the great atonement; by occasionally holding a societymeeting, to build up those who have lately believed through grace; and then, by protecting the person as much as possible from the damp and cold of the night-air, and adopting all the other prudential courses which Christian caution will suggest, it will not be impossible for the most devoted man to live out his “life's full term” to the glory of God. That this “wear and tear,” both of mind and body, to which most Methodist Preachers are subjected, will, to a certain extent, tend to shorten the term of natural life, is unquestionable; and that many of the most promising among them have gone to the grave even before the prime of manhood, is as true as it is affecting : and yet it more than demands a doubt, whether not a few of these might not have been spared many years longer, to be a blessing to the church and the world, had the necessary degree of prudence in regard to health been observed by them, more particularly in the commencement of their ministerial course. At this critical juncture a young man, with all his sensibility nervously alive, the powers of his mind tasked to their utmost stretch, in order to prepare proper materials for the pulpit, and perhaps without those habits of close application to study which he feels he must now form, having previously been prevented from acquiring them by the every-day activities of a worldly business; in such circumstances he is absolutely not capable of enduring the same degree of excitement, and of going through the same amount of physical exertion, as, with due care now, he will be in future years. He needs seasoning; and this process, whether at home or abroad, is always a trying one. It is confidently hoped, that the Wesleyan Theological