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God, and declared that he now experienced, as he had never done before, what is meant by the “perfect love which casteth out fear.” In this delightful state of resignation and repose, he was preserved to the end of his mortal life.
A few of the principal features of the character of Mr. Marsh, as they appeared during the more active portions of his life, may be mentioned before we come to the narrative of his latter days. Ile possessed an affectionate and amiable disposition, his mind was rigorous, his imagination lively, his memory retentive, and his judgment discriminating and sound. Wherever he was known, he was both loved and respected. It is, however, to the religious aspects of his character that we must now chiefly look.
His mind was decidedly spiritual. His stores of knowledge were ample, and his conversational powers respectable ; so that he was always an agreeable companion in the social circle. But he was useful likewise : for it was always evident that sacred subjects were uppermost in his thoughts; and these he would introduce so judiciously, and converse on them so fiuently and impressively, that it was obvious that he was not speaking as if by rote, as in mere form, but out of the abundance of his heart, and on topics with which his own experience had long rendered him familiar. He was frank and honest. If he observed anything which he thought to be wrong, he would openly state his opinion. Everything like magisterial assumption he carefully avoided; but he was equally careful that his love should be without dissimulation. On one occasion, fearing that he perceived some tokens of religious declension, he thus wrote: “I have been much struck with the silence of our friends at
-, on the subject of religion. Is it because they have none, or do not like to speak concerning it ? Are they going to the same heaven with us, or is our friendship to end in death? These are awful thoughts. May God quicken us! Ilow unconcerned we go, upon the brink of death!!” Ile was truly humble. One of his letters to Mrs. Marsh may be quoted as illustrating this view of his character. It was written in May, 1822. “My mind is depressed, because of the little which I seem to know of God. I fear my heart is too hard to feel as it ought. Sometimes I think that the last twenty-two years have witnessed declension rather than increase. I weep, and say, “My leanness, O my leanness!' I can do nothing but mourn before him with grief as bitter as ever I felt. If ever you prayed for me, pray now, that I may be better as a Christian, and more useful as a Minister. I wish my sorrow to be as deep as my unworthiness, and break down my hardness. I sometimes fear that long familiarity with solemn and awakening truths has a tendency to prevent their due effect on my own mind. Blessed be God, I trust that this is not entirely the case. O live near to God, pray, read the Scriptures, live in the habit of self-denial, cleave to the blood of sprinkling, get a cloudless sky for your own sake, for my sake, for God's sake. I have dishonoured him by my want of diligence; and yet—to think that he is my Father still! Henceforth I trust that increasing earnestness will demonstrate my thankfulness. I have not paid my debt to him for you and my children. I have not prayed enough for my unconverted relations, nor for the church of God. 0, what should I do if there were no blood of atonement ? Christ, as an atoning victim and sacrifice, appears my only refuge. Excuse these broken sentences. They come from my heart. I trust I bare seen the worst of my deceitful heart, and that the most unprofitable days of my life are past, and that better are in store for me. I feel more of a settled calm, and that I am bent on having in me all the mind that was in Christ.” Thus severely did he judge himself, writing in the fulness of his heart to his dearest earthly friend. He realized the feelings of the Prophet, when thus reviewing the past. To himself, shame and confusion of face; but to the Lord his God, mercy and forgiveness! His resignation has been mentioned. Frequently and long was he called to drink deeply of the cup of affliction. For many years, the state of his health was precarious and infirm. He lost a beloved and an amiable wife, and all his children except one.
But all was borne with patience, and with an unwavering reference to the appointment and will of God. He left it to his Sovereign Lord to choose his path for him, whether of labouring or suffering; and through the
grace of his Saviour said, with him, “ The cup which my heavenly Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?” Nature might shrink from pain, and bereavement, and mystery ; but he endeavoured to live by faith, seeing the divine hand in all things, and in every dispensation acknowledging the wisdom and love of God, and his right to chasten and try his creatures as should seem good to him. It may be briefly added, that he was truly an upright man ; that in all the domestic relations of life he was affectionate and kind; and always ready, as he had opportunity, to do good to all. In his ministerial character he was judicious, knowing when to be firm, and when to yield. A Minister who was his colleague in two Circuits bas given in few words a correct description of his public character : “lle was one of the most sensible and prudent men I ever knew.” To the study of the holy Scriptures he was conscientiously devoted. Of course, his reading was by no means confined to them; but such was his regard for them, and the attention he paid to them, that he might be truly termed, a man of one book.” In his private devotions, he read them through once every year. At Shepton-Mallet, where his labours were very successful, he wrote to a friend, “I find the study of the plain Bible to be the best preparation for profiting souls. This is the plan I am now pursuing; and many persons have said, “It is this Bible-preaching that does all the good.'” In his pulpit discourses, he was methodical and clear. It was always evident that he spoke under a full conviction of the truth and importance of what he was saying. He could be both a son of thunder"
son of consolation.” Much, also, might be said on the subject of his disinterestedness. He entered on the work of the ministry from a conviction of duty, and from a desire to be an instrument in God's hands of saving souls. To this great object he consecrated himself unreservedly. For this he was willing “ to spend
and to be spent." At any time he might truly have addressed those to whom he ministered, “I seek not yours, but you.” He received his appointments to the different Circuits in which his ministerial life was spent, as providential, and only sought to “make full proof of his ministry" in them.
On retiring from the regular itinerancy, he at first went to reside at East Leak, in the Loughborough Circuit ; but afterwards he removed to Wirksworth. Here he often laboured beyond his strength ; attending sometimes to the full work of the Sabbath, when the preceding night had been passed without sleep. Three months before he died, (in November, 1814,) he removed to Atherstone ; in which place, also, his unchanged love for the work to which his life had been devoted was manifested as clearly as ever.
He embraced every opportunity, often in weakness and much pain, of testifying the Gospel of the grace of God. The last time that he preached, he was seriously indisposed, and had in consequence only just risen from his bed; but, by some unexpected circumstance, the assembled congregation were disappointed of their anticipated supply, and Mr. Marsh was thus suddenly called to officiate. He conducted the service evidently in much bodily feebleness ; but it was equally evident that his heart was still in the work. IIe preached on this occasion from, “Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” With this text his work as a Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was concluded. The discourse he then delivered was his final testimony. Symptoms were manifested that his disease was mortal, and that dissolution could not be far distant. His medical attendant told him that he might linger for some months, but that the disorder-a complaint of the heart, connected with dropsy--was incurable, and might have a fatal termination much sooner. Mr. Marsh received the tidings with solemn tranquillity; and, after thanking his informant, said, “I am not afraid to die.” His sufferings were frequently severe, and were protracted longer than at one time was expected ; but he was preserved in a state of uninterrupted patience. As there was reason to believe that eventually his death would be sudden, for the consolation of his surviving friends, he said to Mrs. Marsh not long before it actually occurred, “Remember, if I should be taken by day or by night, in a calm or in a storm, all will be well. Whatever the manner of my dying, thank God, I shall be safe.” He often assured the Rev. J. T. Sangar, one of the Ministers of the Circuit, in his visits to him, that he had no wish to live ; but that whenever the Lord should call him, he should be glad to depart, and be with Christ. The atonement of the Lord Jesus was the only ground of his hope ; and the theme on which he delighted to dwell was the love of God in sending his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and the Saviour of the world. To the hymn, “ Rock of ages, cleft for me,” &c., he several times referred, as expressive of bis own feelings. All selfconfidence he disclaimed, and acknowledged Christ as his only and all-sufficient Saviour. Such was the dropsical swelling of his limbs, that his friends frequently urged him to retain bis seat during prayer; but as long as it was possible, he would on these occasions bow his knees in the presence of his God; and long after his voice had lost its wonted power, he feebly endeavoured to sing the divine praises as he had been accustomed to do.
On the evening of Saturday, February 1st, 1815, it was plain that the end of life was now rapidly approaching; and he was himself fully aware of this. But his confidence was as strong, his hope as bright, as ever. Throughout the night, he frequently said, “Come, Lord Jesus ; come quickly!” About three o'clock on Sunday morning he fell into a doze, which continued for several hours; after which, recovering his recollection for a short time, he said, “ The Lord is waiting to be gracious.” These were his last words. He speedily relapsed into a state of insensibility, and in this condition in a short time breathed his last breath. His bereaved widow observes : “I have witnessed many death-bed scenes, but not one equal in beauty to this. The room seemed filled with the divine presence and glory.”
MEMOIR OF THE REV. HENRY B. BOTTERELL:
BY THE REV. JOHN RELPH.
The Rev. Henry Botterell was born at Liskeard, Cornwall, on the 30th of January, 1814. At an early age he was sent to the Wesleyan Sabbath-school, where he received instructions suitable to his years, and where also religious impressions were first made on his mind. While a mere boy, he requested his mother to purchase for him Benson's Commentary, that he might understand the meaning of what he read, and also see that his Teachers gave the right explanation of the divine word.
It was when between sixteen and seventeen years of age that he was led to seek the Lord. The Rev. Simeon Noall was the instrument of his conversion. He observed something striking about llenry, in the Sabbath-school, and paid particular attention to him. On leaving the Circuit in 1830, he had a parting interview with him, and from that time Henry's character was decided ; and after earnest prayer for about a fortnight, he found the pearl of great price. “One evening,” says his brother, the Rev. Edmund Botterell, “ he was at a prayer-meeting held in a private house, where for some time he earnestly wrestled for the blessing which he felt to be necessary. He returned home between nine and ten o'clock. Before retiring to rest he went into the yard to pray. From the room in which he and I slept, I distinctly heard him in agonizing supplication. Suddenly his prayer ceased ; and, in an ecstasy of gratitude and joy, he came and told me, that, whilst praying in the yard, he had been enabled to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he had obtained 'redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. His countenance, his gesture, the tone of his voice, all indicated his experience of a divine change.” From that time he continued to enjoy “the love of God shed abroad in his heart, by the Holy Ghost given unto” him.
About the beginning of 1833, he removed to London, and immediately united himself to the Wesleyan society, in the Hinde-street
He offered himself, and was accepted, as a Sunday-school Teacher; in which capacity he laboured with fidelity and zeal. His Class-Leader bears testimony to his character as consistently Christian; he was regular in his attendance at the class-meeting; his experience was evangelical and clear, and encouraging to those with whom he
In private life he maintained the same deportment, being spiritual and useful in his conversation; and although his disposition was naturally cheerful, he was nevertheless serious and thoughtful; he earnestly endeavoured to live as becometh the Gospel of God.
By the duties of his temporal calling at the time, he was unavoidably thrown into the company of men of infidel principles, by whom his patience and faith were greatly tried. lle endeavoured to avoid needless intercourse with them; but he was often called upon to defend the Gospel which he believed. Under such circumstances he Fas compelled to read and think; and, while he was generally able to silence, if not convince, the gainsayers, he was undergoing a degree of preparation for the work to which he was afterwards devoted. He had a deep conviction that he ought to preach the Gospel ; but he trembled at the thought of running before he was sent; and many and fervent were his prayers for divine guidance. The issue was, that he became a Local Preacher ; and after labouring as such for some time, it was thought by many that he ought to be employed in the full work of the ministry, a subject on which he had himself felt very strongly. Just at this period, a tempting offer, so far as worldly circumstances are concerned, was made to him, and during a few weeks of indecision, as to which of the two paths he should take, he suffered much mental disquietude. Some time before this he had commenced a journal, in which he was accustomed at intervals to record his views and feelings. On the occasion now named be writes : “ I have of late been perplexed, much perplexed, with regard to the future. I know not how to act, or which way to take. In reference to the important and responsible work of the ministry, the greatest obstacle to my own mind is my incompetency. Still, Lord, I believe, if thou hast called me to this work, thou wilt qualify me for it. Thou knowest I am willing to be guided by thee. I ask, and earnestly desire, that thy will may be done.' O make my way plain before me!” His prayers were heard. A few weeks afterwards he expressed his astonishment at the leadings of Providence; and so satisfactory was the conclusion to which he was brought, that all doubts were removed in reference to his future path.
From this time, he gave increasing attention to the cultivation of his mind and heart ; he gave himself to God, to reading, and to prayer. The records in his journal at this period show that he was often and abundantly blessed in his closet as well as in his pulpit exercises; and