תמונות בעמוד


MAY, 1807.




Mr. James Moody was descended from pious ancestors, who resided at Paisley, in Scotland : his grandfather and grando mother were the first of the family wlio removed to London.

When Mr. Moody was a child, he discovered many marks of genius; and it was soon perceived by those about him, that he was likely to become a superior man. He was active, sprightly, inquisitive, and enterprizing; and at the same time remarkably dutiful to his parents.

At school he was attentive and studious, and gained the friendship of his master by his diligence. Here he acquired some knowledge of the Latin and French languages; but as no thoughts were then entertained of his becoming a minister, he was taken from school at the usual period, and placed apprentice to a reputable tradesman. In this situation also he became a favourite with his master, by his industry and usefulness, so that he obtained peculiar indulgences. He was, however, strongly addicted to vain and worldly pursuits. His heart was devoted to music, dancing, and theatrical amusements. Of the latter he was so fond, that he used to meet with some young men of a similar cast, to rehearse parts of plays; and used to entertain a hope that he should make a figure on the stage. To improve himself in musie he would rise vory early, even in severely cold weather, aud practise on the German flute. By his skill inr music and sing." ing, with his general power of entertaining, he became a desireable companion, and was led into company in a manner very dangerous to youth. He would sometimes venture to profane the day of God, by turning it into a scason of carnal pleasure, and would join in excursions on the water to various parts of the vicinity of London.

Bui the time was approaching when the Lord, who had

designs of mercy for him, and for many others by his means, was about to stop him in bis vain carerr of sin and folly.

There were two professing servants in the house where he lived. One of these was a porter, who, when brushing his clothes before he went out to the playhouse, would say, “ Master James, this will never do. You must be otherwise employed. You must be a minister of the gospel.” This worthy man, earnestly wishing his conversion, put into his hands that exoellent book, which God hath so much owned, “ Allein's Alarm to the Unconverted;" which, it is believed, proved of great service to him. Several years before this, a person who knew him, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “Well, James, how do you hope to be saved ?" Ignorant of the gospel, he answered, “Why, like other people, by doing as well as I can;" but the question, and the conversation that followed, made an impression that he never forgot. One of the servants above mentioned, used to amuse herself by singing hymns; one of these was," Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,” &c. which words só struck his mind, that they followed him for many days together.

About this time, it pleased God to visit him with a disorder in his eyes, occasioned, as it was thought, by his sitting up in the night to improve himself in drawing. The apprehension of losing his sight occasioned many serious reflections; his mind was impressed with the importance and necessity of seeking the salvation of his soul, and he was induced to attend the preaching of the gospel. The first sermon that he beard with a desire to profit, was at Spa-fields Chapel: a place which he had formerly frequent: ed, when it was a temple of vanity and dissipation. Strong con. victions of siu fixed on his mind; and he continued to attend the preached word, particularly at Tottenham Court Chapel. Every sermon increased his sorrow and grief that he had not earlier sought the Lord. It was a considerable tiine before he found comfort from the gospel. He has stood in the free part of the chapel, hearing with such emotion, that the tears have flowed from his eyes in torrents ; and, when he has returned home, he has continued a great part of the night on his knees, praying over what he had heard.

The change effected by the power of the Holy Spirit on his heart, now became visible to all. Nor did he halt between two opinions, as some persons do; he became at once a decided character, and gave up for ever all his vain pursuits and amusemients; devoting himself with as much resolution and dili. gence to the service of God, as he had formerly done to folly. Next to his own soul, the salvation of his former vain companions hecame his care. He went to them, one by one, and took his Bible with him, having previously turned down suitable texts; commenting on which, he gave them a faithful warning to « flee from the wrath to come;" and then took his final leavc of thern

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He now became a preacher to his father, who, though. a hearer and approver of the gospel, was yet a stranger to its power. Mr. Moody's pious and affectionate exhortations were not in vain : le had the happiness to see his dear parent become a serious Christian; and, when his son entered into the ministry, he chose to reside with him, and spend his latter years in the enjoyment of God and religion.

His zeal and talents soon pointed him out as a fit person to become a minister. But as yet he did not see his call to that work clearly. He therefore set up in business, in partnership with a pious young man, who had been his companion; and about the saine time, he married a Miss Eliz. Fidler, of London. His inclination to the ministry, however, was unabated; and, by the solicitations of his serious friends, he determined to relinquish his worldly pursuits, and devote himself to that honourable work, which he has so faithfully and laboriously executed for twenty-five years. He was advised to go to college, with a view of entering into the established church ; but he had some scruples which he could not conquer; and his having the prospect of a growing family, put additional difficulties in the way. He determined therefore to join the dissenters.

About this time, a few pious and zealous gentlemen instituted a seminary, known by the name of “ The English Academy;" in which young men of talents were to receive assistance in their preparation for the pulpit, without going through the whole course of studies usual in dissenting academies. Into this seminary Mr. M. was admitted ; and, after having continued the usual time, under the tuition of the Rev. Messrs. Brewer, Barber, and hello, who then conducted the institution, he received an invitation to preach, as a probationer, to the infant church at Warwick. Here he settled ; and here he continued to labour in the most faithful and affectionate manner, endeavouring to dis. charge all the duties of the pastoral oflice, with a regard to the approbation of his great Master.

The blessing which attended liis ministry may be estimated, in some degree, by the additions made to the church and congregation. When he first came to Warwick, in November 1781, his hearers were about 50 in number, and the members of the church only 18 or 20. The hearers soon increased to about 150; and, in the course of 25 years, upwards of 150 members were added to the church. The chapel was also much enlarged.

Mr. Moody's labours were not contined to the town of Wire wick; the villages or neighbouring towns, where the people lived in ignorance and vice, excited his compassionate regards; and his labours, in this way, in conjunction with other preachers, were indeed abundant.

For about 13 years, he paid an annual visit to London, and preached for six weeks at a time to the vast congregations assemb

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ling at the Tabernacle in Moorfields, and the chapel in Tottenham-court Road. Here his ministry was justly prized ; many sinners were converted to God, and believers built up in their most holy faith.

He used also to visit the Tabernacle at Bristol for a few wecks, annually ; where his ministry was equally acceptable as at London, and eminently useful *.

Mr. Moody's success did not free him from a variety of afflictions. About three years after his settlement at Warwick, he sustained a great domestic trial. Mrs. Moody, who had borne three children, was removed by death, when confined with a fourth; and, in the course of seven wecks, he was deprived of his partner in life, and threc of bis children. His eldest daughter alone survives him t.

Another painful exercise of mind arose from the numerous invitations he received, to remove to congregations that promised more extensive opportunities of usefulness; and where he might have received greater tenporal advantages; but, on all these occasions, some circumstance or other gave a turn to the affair, and a dread of erring in so important a matter, led him frequently to sacrifice both inclination and interest to an apprehension of duty.

In the midst of usefulness, of apparent health, and mental vigour, the sovereign disposer of human life, and the great director of all the affairs of the church, was pleased to put an unexpected period to the services of this man of God.

He was invited to preach for a few Sabbaths at Bristol, in the month of July last. He was preparing to leave home about the 10th of that month; and, in the prospect of his journey, the additional labours of the Lord's Day, July 6th, appear to have proved the immediate occasion of his illness.

On that day he preached thrice, as usual ; held a church-meeting after the morning service, for the admission of a member from the country; celebrated the Lord's Supper, and baptized several children. Ho appeared to his family unusually wearicd, and slept uncasily the following night.

On Monday, desirous of engaging Mr. R--, of Coventry, to supply for him on the following Sabbath, he rode to that place, though the morning was very stormy, and the day hot.

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* Among his laborious efforts to do good to the souls of men, his visits to the county gaol at Warwick ought not to be forgotten. On several occasions, when his services were requested by the condemned criminals, be attended daily, with great diligence and solicitude; aud there was much reason to believe, that his instructions and prayers were blessed to the real conversion of some of those unhappy persons.

+ In the year 1786, Mr. Mood; entered a second time into the marriagcstate with Miss E. Wathew, of Walsal; to sereral of whose family he has been made the happy instrument of spiritual benefit, and was highly esteeme


by them.

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He returned in the evening much spent; and immediately went, without any refreshment, to join his people at their meeting of prayer, and recapitulated the sermons of the preceding day. He was evidently much heated ; and Mrs. Moody was alarmed at the tokens of disorder in his countenance. He went through the service, however, with his usual spirit; but he had a bad uiglat, and considerable fever.

When he came down in the morning, lie said to the servant, “I have had a stroke:" but the family were unwilling to believe that so great a calamity had taken place. Medical help, however, was soon called in, and hope was entertained, from the slightness of the paralytic affection, that he might soon be restored to health and usefulness. He was confined to his habitation the whole of the first Sabbath. Being rather better in the course of the week, he went once to the meeting on the second Sabbath. On the third, he went out twice. On the fourth, he administered the Lord's Supper to his people, but could not preach. On the fifth Sabbath, August 10, he preached once, with pleasure and profit, on Feb. xiii. 1,“ Let brotherly love continue.”.

On the next Sabbath, August 17, he preached once more to his people, a funeral sermon for a member of the church, on Eccles. ix. 10,“ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do,” &c. This was the last sermon he ever delivered at Warwick; thus closing his testimony with an exhortation to improve the present moment, from the consideration of the uncertainty of future opportunities.

By the advice of his physician, with a view to the improvement of his health, and at the solicitation of his friends at Bristol, he went thither, August 21st, intending to preach a little, should be find sufficient strength. For several days he was teo ill to make the attempt. At length, however, unwilling wholly to decline his beloved work among an affectionate people, who dearly loved him, he ventured to preach on three different days: -once at Kingswood, and twice at the Tabernacle; but the exertion was too much for him, and he became immediately much worse. He was obliged to give up all future efforts; and rrturned with much difliculty to Warwick, on the 2d and sa days of September.

Lord's Day, Sept. 14th, though very ill, and unable to preach, he was still desirous of serving his flock; and therefore adininis. tered ilie Lord's Supper to them. It was a solemn season, never to be forgotten by the people, who feared it would prove, as it actually diel, the last time he would ever acidress them. Ha spoke in the most affi ctionate and impressive manner; and it is pariicularly recollecter, that he said, he hoped that his silent Sabisaths would speak more loudly than all the sermons he had Çper preached. He never more entered the doors of the chapel.

Alle this he grachnally weakened; but still some hopes of his

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