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was he esteemed, that he had acted as Collison, then exercising his ministry at secretary to the Rev. Matthew Wilks, Walthamstow. “He was appointed at writing letters for him as the chief la- Midsummer, 1797,” says Mr. Joshua bourer in constructing that important Wilson, “ and filled that office with very movement. Thus introduced to public great efficiency till the spring of 1801, service, if he may not rank as one of the when he resigned, and the Committee “Fathers," he was one of the“ Founders" acknowledged his valuable services.” He of the London Missionary Society. was publicly ordained to the pastoral
Zeal for the gospel was thus awakened office over the Independent church at in the minds of pious persons throughout Walthamstow, September 14, 1797. The Britain ; and the Societas Evangelica, ministers engaged in that service were, formed in 1776, was now renovated in the Rev. Messrs. Stollery, Clayton, February, 1796, for “the conversion of Brooksbank, Simpson, Goode, Maurice, the heathen at home,” especially to aid Ford, and Buck, of London; but Mr. country associations, several of which Collison survived all these venerable men were now originated. The same year of God. was formed the “ London Itinerant In a manuscript “Narrative of MarshSociety for Preaching the Gospel in the street Chapel, Walthamstow," the history villages around London.” And soon of these events is thus given by Mr. after, “The Village Itinerancy, or Evan- | Collison himself :-"In 1795, the Rev. gelical Association for spreading the Mr. Lake, who had exercised the miniGospel in England.” This Society ori- sterial office from 1787, accepted an inviginated with the Rev. John Eyre, M.A., tation to a church at Kensington, and of the Church of England, the Rev. Mr. the pulpit was occupied occasionally by Wilks, and several other Dissenters in Mr. Collison and other students of the London. Movements of a similar kind | Hoxton and Homerton Colleges.
In were made in Scotland; and “Robert March, 1797, Mr. Collison was unaniHaldane, Esq., sold the estate of Airthrey, mously invited to the pastoral office, and near Stirling, a seat which a Scotch his ordination took place in September nobleman pronounced to be a perfect the same year. A month or two prior to heaven upon earth; and afterward lived this the Committee of Hoxton College in a comparatively recluse style, laying out had, by their chairman, invited Mr. Colthousands every year for the propagation lison to take a part with the Rev. Dr. of the gospel in Scotland and Ireland.” Simpson in the tuition of the students of
Mr. Collison became connected with that valuable institution. Having subseveral of these movements, as his supe- mitted this to friends belonging to the rior character was observed by Thomas church and congregation, and considerWilson, Esq. ; who had been chosen in ing at that time that these two were not 1794, to succeed his father as Treasurer incompatible with each other, with the of Hoxton College. For Mr. Joshua mutual consent of both parties, Mr. ColWilson, in the “Memoir” of his father, lison accepted the invitation to the pasthus mentions him: “Of this gentleman toral office. In 1801, in consequence of my father speaks in terms of high com- ill health, Mr. Collison was obliged to mendation in a letter, dated October 18, relinquish his engagements at Hoxton, 1796, to my maternal grandfather, an- and he went to reside at Walthamstow." nouncing his being appointed to supply Ever ready to forward the cause of Mosley-street chapel, Manchester." Christ, Mr. Collison took part in the for
Hoxton Academy had prospered since mation of the Religious Tract Society, Mr. Wilson, the Treasurer, had retired and he was a member of its first Comfrom business, devoting himself to its mittee, elected May 9, 1799. He could interest ; and an additional tutor being not remain in private in his retired vilrequired, the committee fixed on Mr. lage pastorate. Many eyes were upon
him, as qualified and designed to fill sures, that I have been thinking of an some important station in extending the institution of a similar nature, on kingdom of Christ.
Mr. Haldane was smaller scale, and have taken some precarrying forward bis noble plans with paratory steps. My friend, Mr. Charles great success in Scotland; and Mr. Eyre Townsend and a few others have conwas labouring to enlarge the “ Village sented to assist me; and what will apItinerancy” in England; and both pear, perhaps, more remarkable, I had parties sought to obtain the services of fixed on you as the tutor. But, my dear Mr. Collison : but he was led to decide Sir, Mr. Haldane's plan is so grand, and for Hackney. The circumstances of that its effects on Scotland are likely to be so event will, however, appear best in his important, that my opinion is, you must own narrative, which he presented to the go; and you must help me to find a Committee of the “Hackney Theological tutor for my own Institution.' Seminary," January 6, 1845. He says: “I said, “My dear Sir, I cannot take
“It was in the month of August, 1802, such an important step as leaving my your present Theological Tutor visited people at Walthamstow and going to Edinburgh, in consequence of an invita- Edinburgh, hastily. Mr. Haldane has tion from the late Robert Haldane, Esq. kindly allowed me a month for reflection, During the six weeks that he domiciled and I called to-day to lay before you my with Mr. Haldane, and especially towards case, and to request that at the end of a the close of his visit, Mr. Haldane freely fortnight you will allow me to see you conversed about the classes of young men, again, to receive your calm and deliberate about thirty, which he then supported opinion.' To this Mr. Eyre consented. and instructed, with a view to the Chris- “At the day and hour appointed, I tian ministry in the dark parts of Scot- called on Mr. Eyre for the purpose.
Mr. land. Mr. Haldane stated his plans, and Eyre said, in substance, 'I have thought in the end frankly acknowledged that he often and long on our last conversation. wished your Theological Tutor to give I have talked with Mr. Townsend again up his pastoral charge at Walthamstow, on the business; and he says, “If, on and to reside at Edinburgh, and discharge mature consideration, Mr. Collison should the duties of Theological Tutor to this be inclined to take the tutorship of our Institution.
intended seminary, I will alter my present “On his return to Walthamstow, Mr. testamentary arrangement from 4,0001. Collison looked around him for a coun- to 10,0001. for the Institution." sellor, eminent for his attachment to the “One thing,' said Mr. Eyre, 'strikes Redeemer's kingdom, and otherwise com- me: I know the mutual attachment petent to give him advice on so important which exists between you and your people an occasion. Tbe Rev. John Eyre was at Walthamstow: if you think it right to selected: for, although Mr. Eyre and stay and work with us, arrangements can himself held different opinions on the easily be made for you to discharge the subject of national churches, he was duties of tutor to our Institution, and yet known to be far above all party and per- retain your relation to Walthamstow, as sonal considerations, when a question when you were assistant tutor at Hoxton was submitted to him which belonged to Academy.' the general interests of Christ's kingdom. “I laid the matter before some of the
“Mr. Eyre listened patiently, and with friends at Walthamstow, and corresponded deep interest, to the whole detail respect with Mr. Haldane; and the final result ing Mr. Haldane's operations in Scot- was, that Mr. Haldane's noble offer was land. After the statement was closed, respectfully declined, and I continued at Mr. Eyre said, as nearly as I can recol- | Walthamstow. lect his words, “It is a remarkable fact, “ It is only requisite to add, on this without knowing Mr. Haldane's men- part of the subject, active arrangements
were made by Mr. Eyre for the com- many years, an important post in Paris, mencement of the seminary. He in- exerting a beneficial influence in prosisted on the lease of his own house being moting evangelical religion in France ; accepted for the purpose; his friends four have settled as faithful ministers of entered cordially into his measures; the Christ in British Colonies; two have gone time was arranged for the commence- as missionaries to the heathen ; while the ment; when, in January, February, and others have been usefully employed in March of 1803, the Rev. John Eyre, and the work of the Saviour in London and bis devoted friends, Charles Townsend, different parts of England. Some of Esq., and Edward Hanson, Esq., were all them have been greatly honoured by their removed by death.
positions and labours in the church of “Shortly after Mr. Eyre's funeral, the the Redeemer. Every serious person will members of the little Institution met. The admit, therefore, that if this devoted serRev.Matthew Wilks was chosen Secretary vant of Christ had existed for no other and Superintendent; Joseph Hardcastle, purpose, his life and labours would have Esq., Treasurer; and the Institution com- merited the respect and admiration of menced partially in the spring of 1803, and the whole Christian world. more fully after midsummer of that year.” Numerous and weighty as were the
Having thus entered upon his duties as public duties of Mr. Collison, by refrainTutor, he fulfilled them with exemplary ing from useless recreations and injurious diligence and fidelity during the extended self-indulgence, by his early rising, conperiod of nearly forty-four years, to the stant employment, babitual diligence, and evening preceding his death. For many wise economy of time, he was enabled years also, from 1825, Mr. Collison added to accomplish his various undertakings. to his ministerial labours of the morning Nor did he limit his services to these two and afternoon at Walthamstow, that of departments of labour. He was a deevening lecturer in the chapel at Well- voted servant of the kingdom of Christ in street, Hackney; and his ministry was all its branches, especially of the Mishighly acceptable in both places. “His sionary Society, and one of its constantly ministry in the pulpit,” says one who present Directors. In 1810, he preached knew him well, “especially about twenty one of its Anniversary sermons. His years since, was exceedingly effective, and heart was most deeply interested in the in the best sense popular. I retain the cause of the Redeemer throughout the impression of many of his sermons, both world. In 1804 he was elected one of at Walthamstow and, on Lord's day the Trustees of the Evangelical Magazine, evenings, at Well-street, Hackney; they the success of which he diligently lawere remarkable for perspicuity and force, boured to promote.
His vacations were and rich in the application of scriptural generally filled with public engagements truth. There was an energy and strength for the British and Foreign Bible Society, in his compositions and delivery seldom the Missionary Society, the Religious surpassed; and his exhibitions of Scrip- Tract Society, the Irish Evangelical Soture incidents were unusually striking and ciety, the Continental Society, the Home appropriate. He was of a most ardent Missionary Society, and other of our great and affectionate disposition, and a kind religious Institutions. and winning friend to the young."
Mr. Collison was favoured with a roMr. Collison gave his whole heart to bust frame, and he enjoyed a large meabis students, to make them wise in the sure of good health ; but as age advanced, oracles of God; and he educated about he began to feel its infirmities; these one hundred and fifty, as ministers of the were increased by successive strokes, in gospel of Jesus Christ. Their stations the loss of three of his daughters by conin the service of their Lord have been sumption. They had reached mature various : one of them has occupied, for age; but his sorrows were alleviated by
their being decided disciples of the Re- | approved, Mr. could then receive deemer. His vigorous constitution was an invitation for a further period, as a considerably shaken after entering his candidate for the pastoral office. In case sixty-third year; and as he had obtained. Mr. — should decline such a proposal, I assistance in the classics, by the services have no intention of deserting my people, of the Rev. Samuel Ransom, one of his but of filling the pulpit until a suitable former students, that gentleman was en- person may be presented to our attention. gaged by the committee as Classical and This is the shortest view, my dear friend, Hebrew Tutor; in which service he has I can present to you of the state of my continued to their satisfaction.
mind on this, to me, important subject. Mr. Collison also contemplated, in the "It is now nearly forty years since I spring of 1834, seeking a colleague in entered your father's hospitable house, as his ministry, or retiring from Waltham- a supply to the then vacant pulpit. I have stow; having relinquished his lectureship had monitory hints of a malady which at Hackney, the church obtaining a may even suddenly terminate my life or settled minister. His views regarding my ministry. It would be criminal in this matter will be most clearly evident to disregard them. I am now from the following, addressed to one of running the sixth septennial course of his deacons :
that ministry; the seventh will, if life be “My dear Friend,-For the last year, spared, soon commence. I should like and especially during the winter, I felt to spend that, if God permit, in exertions incipient disease making inroads on my in the circle in which God has placed health and strength. My attention has, me, in connection with this Institution, therefore, been anxiously directed to and such other general operations for some efficient provision for the people of promoting the kingdom of Christ as my charge. At the first I thought the Providence may present and allow me to better plan would be to obtain some ap- perform : while I am fully persuaded, proved and excellent young minister as an that an approved young minister, resiassistant, for a season; and then, if his mi- dent at Walthamstow, may do far more nistry should be acceptable, to retire en- extensive good in the village and in the tirely from pastoral duties, and devote my | vicinity than I am able to effect. remaining days, if God should preserve my " I have thus committed my thoughts faculties, to the duties of the Theological to you, that they may be communicated Seminary, and to other things of a public to others. Assuring my dear friend that nature. But I have found it very diffi- I am incapable of deserting my affeccult to execute this plan. A minister tionate people: they were my first, they might please myself, who might not be will be my last charge. I pray for them : equally acceptable to my people. On the it is a pleasure to me to do so; that the whole, the easiest and best way, so far as great Shepherd and Bishop of souls, my observation goes, in similar circum- may bless and send them a pastor stances, is for the retiring minister to after His own heart. If I live to see vacate the pulpit, and leave to the church this, it will refresh my declining days, and congregation the free choice of a and often shall I hope to enjoy Christian
fellowship with him and them together." “As it was necessary for me to leave Mr. Collison decided at length to rehome for a few weeks, the Rev. Mr. sign his pastorate, though he continued having been recommended to me, I his services occasionally until 1837; when thought it best to engage him for my he had the cordial satisfaction of seeing pulpit during my absence for three Lord's as his worthy successor, the Rev. Joseph days; and after my return, if his ministry John Freeman, after having returned should be found acceptable, to lay the from his dangerous labours as missionary whole matter before my people, and if they at Madagascar.
Though retiring from the pastoral | known, a special meeting of the College office, Mr. Collison did not relinquish Committee was called, and the following the gospel ministry. He generally en- resolutions passed :gaged once or twice in preaching on the “Resolved, 1. That the members of Lord's day. He delighted to serve his this Committee bow with devout and old pupils settled in London; and he humble submission to the wise and holy took the oversight of the church of the dispensation of the Divine will, by which Rev. Dr. Reed, while he performed bis their revered friend, the Rev. George delegation to the churches of America, Collison, has been so suddenly removed for the Congregational Union of England from his labours to his rest. and Wales. He had the satisfaction of “2. The Committee render glory to seeing, a few years before his death, the the God of all grace, who, in the youth freehold of the seminary purchased, and of their departed friend, redeemed him the premises enlarged, nearly the whole from evil, and separated him to the gosrebuilt, about three years ago, at an ex- pel of his Son Jesus Christ; who enabled pense of about 6,0001. And the Com- him, through an extended ministry, to mittee then prevailed on him to sit for commend the doctrine of the cross of his portrait; which is now to be seen in Christ as the hope of fallen man, and to the Library, with those of the Rev. Mr. illustrate and enforce the doctrines which Eyre, Rev. Mr. Wilks, E. Hanson, Esq., he preached by a holy and devoted life. and C. Townsend, Esq.
The Committee cherish a devout thankDesirous of expressing their respect fulness that his valuable life was spared for their venerated Tutor; the ministers to old age, and that his useful labours for who had been his students, made a sub- the church of God were continued to his scription to present him with a hand latest moments: they can never fail to some piece of plate: but, on hearing of hold his name in honour, and to cherish this intention, he requested that they for his memory the warmest love and would refrain from carrying out their veneration. plan; fearing that some could ill spare a “3. That the members of this Comcontribution. He consented, however, to mittee, being entrusted with the manageaccept a watch; and, therefore, a valu- ment of the Hackney Theological Semiable gold watch, bearing a suitable in- nary, feel impelled by a sense of justice, scription, and a gold chain and key, were no less than of gratitude, to bear their presented to him, October 29, 1845, by willing testimony to the pre-eminent a deputation from their brethren, con- value and importance of the varied and sisting of the Rev. Dr. Reed, Rev. T. | disinterested labours rendered to this InTimpson, Rev. A. Jones, and Rev. C. stitution by the Rev. George Collison for Bateman.
the extended period of forty-three years. Mr. Collison was enabled to fulfil his They are gratified in recording, that, in duties as tutor, with but little intermis- the feebleness of its infancy, it was insion, up to the day of his death. His debted to his fostering care; that to his last acts with his students, after lecturing last hour he laboured to promote its in. in the morning, were on Friday evening, terests and efficiency; and that as its giving them their final appointment for resident Tutor he was honoured by the the next sabbath. He retired to bed as Head of the church to prepare for the usual; but never rose : for on the next work of the ministry up vards of one morning he was seized with spasms, hundred and fifty faithful pastors and which, within an hour, baffled all relief, evangelists, by whom he was alike reand about half-påst eight o'clock hespected and loved. breathed out his spirit into the hands of “4. That this Committee affectionately his God and Saviour !
present to Miss Collison, the surviving This melancholy event being made and attached daughter of their departed