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to Cockermouth, for the purpose of hearing those truths, which he sought in vain from the minister of the established church in the village where he resided. He also commenced the practice of daily prayer in his school, and made it his business to teach the Catechism, and impart to his pupils such religious instructions as he thought his situation required from him. The observance of these peculiarities, and his attendance on the worship of Dissenters, procured for him a considerable share of reproach and opposition; and those whose ignorance was incapable of estimating his motives, were pleased to notice his conduct with marked disapprobation.
The difficulties, moreover, attendant upon an entrance into the sacred office, now began to appear more formidable. Under these circunstances, Mr. J. addressed a letter to the Rev. Joseph Milner of Hull, to whom his mind turned as an eminent and pious clergyman of the establishment, in the absence of all competent counsel from his own immediate neighbours. To Mr. Milner he possessed a sort of introduction, in his acquaintance with William Howard, some remarkable passages" in whose life Mr. Milner had then lately published. In this correspondence Mr. J. stated his scruples with respect to subscription, and the course of reading which he had pursued in order to resolve them. Whatever might be Mr. Milner's own satisfaction with the requirements of the establishment, it does not appear that his client obtained any the least. On the contrary, the difficulties seemed to multiply, till they proved absolutely insurmountable. He felt himself compelled, in homage to conscience, to dissent from the National Church, and in the following year, 1789, resigned the mastership of Bothel School.
At this time Mr. J. became a member of the Independent Church at Cockermouth, with which he regularly worshipped, though at the labour of
a seven miles' journey; and shortly afterwards was recommended by his pastor, the Rev. H. Townsend, as a candidate for the patronage of the Fund Board in the Old College at Homerton. He entered as a divinity student for two years, in October 1789, and passed with ability and honour through his academical course. In July 1791, he received an invitation to supply the Independent Church at Basingstoke, then vacant by the decease of the Rev. J. Ridgway. After a short residence in that place, the Church unanimously invited Mr. J. to become their pastor, and he was ordained April 12, 1792. The Rev. John Clayton, of the Weigh-house, gave the charge, whose ministry, during his residence at Homerton, Mr. J. had usually attended.
It would be unpardonable to pass over in this narrative the kindness which Mr. J. received from the family which first received him as an occasional inmate.
He resided ten years
in the house of Samuel Toomer, Esq. of Basingstoke, enjoying the advantages both of society and retirement, and, to the time of his removal, found in this amiable and benevolent friend an active and able promoter of his ministerial usefulness.
In November 1800, when the Rev. John Berry resigned the classical tutorship at Homerton, and it was proposed to establish a seminary in the country, for the reception of those young men who were not qualified to enter as divinity students, the joint Committee of the Fund Board and King's Head Society applied to Mr.J. as a suitable person to undertake its superintendence. Difficulties inter
vened which prevented him from accepting the office, and the same difficulties led, ultimately, to the abandonment of the plan.
In August 1801, he quitted his residence in the family of Mr. Toomer, and was married to Miss Jane Brown of Cockermouth, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Isaac Brown, of whose
Christian character the Evangelical Magazine of June 1823, contains a memorial.
On the 25th of the same month, a new and handsome meeting-house was opened at Basingstoke, the church and congregation having considerably increased during the ten years of Mr.J.'s pastorship.
Mr. J. faithfully discharged the duties of his ministry at Basingstoke, during a period of nearly 28 years, and had the satisfaction of knowing that his fidelity was not unrewarded. The increased prosperity of the church was proof of his success, and notwithstanding many discouragements, which indeed are usually met by conscientious servants of Christ, he had, up to the close of his ministry among this people, continual support and continual pleasure in the assurance that his efforts were attended by the blessing of God. Several villages in the neighbourhood enjoyed the benefit of his disinterested services; and to one village in particular the effects of his ministrations remain to the present day. Many members have joined the church at Basingstoke, whose first religious impressions were received in a licensed house in which Mr. J. first, and afterwards some friends of his congregation, taught the great truths of the gospel. The majority of these instances of his usefulness came to light after his removal from Basingstoke, and it is hoped, that there may be individuals who yet shall bear witness, even after his decease, to the fidelity and affection of his village labours.
In 1811, Mr. J. was appointed to preach, at the Tabernacle, one of the annual sermons before the London Missionary Society. The text was chosen from Zech. xiv. 8. Of the impression produced there is one remarkable instance, which, if it were the only effect, were still a recompence amply sufficient. The late Missionary Smith was at that time a Sundayschool teacher at Tonbridge Chapel;
he went to hear this sermon, and recorded it in his diary as having "excited in his heart a strong desire for the salvation of the heathen," and having "made a lasting impression on his mind," to this effect," which he never lost sight of."* This instance of ministerial usefulness, and doubtless many others, were not known to the deceased; they were reserved for his reward in the invisible world.
In 1813, Mr. J. took an active part in the establishment of the North-East Hants Auxiliary Bible Society; and, during the remainder of his residence at Basingstoke, held the office of jointsecretary in connection with two clergymen of the episcopal church. Other societies of a benevolent nature shared his support. He was rich in good works; and in all the duties of his ministry indefatigable.
In the year 1819, circumstances occurred of a nature most painful to the minister, and indicative of no ordinary want of feeling on the part of certain of the people. To be repaid with ingratitude has been the lot of benevolence in every age, and it is nothing wonderful that such events should occur in the present narrative. We shall not give exposure to incidents which it were better to forget. Mr. J. felt it his painful duty to resign his charge at Basingstoke, and in the months of April and May took a journey into the counties of York, Durham, and Northumberland, with the intention of seeking a residence in the north of England, to which his early predilections rendered him attached. On his return, he received an invitation from the Independent Church at Thirsk, in the North-Riding of Yorkshire, which, after deliberation, he accepted. His resignation at Basingstoke produced. the keenest sensation of regret in the minds of a large body of friends; and called forth an expression, which could not but be most highly gratifying, of unaffected re
* See Evan. Mag. July 1824, p. 291.
spect, even from very many individuals to whom he was not otherwise known, than as the upright and consistent minister of a dissenting church. He preached a farewell sermon to his beloved people, from 2 Cor. i. 14., and with feelings of most affectionate sorrow took leave of them for ever. The following week he removed with his family to Thirsk, and on July 4, 1819, entered on his new pastoral charge.
The circumstances of the congregation were low at the time of Mr. J.'s removal to Thirsk, and his characteristic disinterestedness of purpose was strongly marked by his acceptance of a situation so uninviting. There were indeed prospects of increase and of usefulness, and these outweighed every objection. The simplicity of his intentions never suffered him to manœuvre, nor even to endeavour to obtain a more ample provision in a more flourishing congregation.
He was permitted to discharge his ministry at Thirsk not quite five years, and during this period he often had to grieve that his endeavours were not met by that success, which he would thankfully have accepted as his abundant reward. He did not labour in vain; but in the measure of his actual success his expectations were disappointed.
Towards the close of the year 1823, Mr. J. felt himself sinking under a general debility, which it is to be feared was increased by the exertion of his public duties, and by a deficiency of proper precaution. February 1824, symptoms of disease began to appear in the ancles, which gradually increased till they exhibited a case of confirmed dropsy. Medical advice was procured, the best which the neighbourhood furnished; but his physician contended in vain against the lingering decay of a whole system; every function of nature was disordered; and no human skill could restore the universal deficiency of vital energy. An alternation of hope and fear exercised the patience
of the afflicted; till at length hope gradually departed, and dissolution was visibly approaching. The greatest degree of Christian submission was shown throughout the whole of his long confinement; and although his mind could not bear up unbroken against the continual weariness of langour and chronic debility, wasting the spirits and exhausting every energy of body and mind, yet it was edifying to observe that no nurmur was ever permitted to escape his lips, and that the constant language of his heart was the expression of gratitude and humble submission. Perhaps no possible circumstances are more trying to the patience and constancy of a Christian mind, than the long endurance of oppressive debility. Pain rouses the feelings, immediate danger is an excitement, and in either case the trial is not long; but a disease lingering and slow, consisting more in apathy and wearisome uncertainty than in pain and positive endurance, wastes the strength of the mind, and places it in its utmost dependence upon the sufficiency of religious support. Such was the fact in the present instance: and his medical attendant could not but remark the admirable constancy with which he endured a long affliction in its most depressing forms. In such a state of bodily and mental weakness, great sensible consolation and great Christian assurance, were not to be expected. It was a convincing instance of the power of religion, when " раtience had her perfect work." Many seasons occurred, in which the departing saint was cheered by bright anticipations, and the sorrows of this evil world often suggested to his mind the contrast afforded by the world without sorrow. On one occasion particularly, his removal during the last stage of his debility from one bed to another, drew forth an expression of his lively hope, which his family will not easily forget. "It is a comfort to be thus conveyed by the care of an affectionate family
but how much more delightful to be carried by angels into Abraham's bosom.' The general posture of his mind was expressed by him in those words of the Apostle, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." A most deep and humiliating perception of the evil of sin was constantly present to his mind; and that consistent lowliness of self-esteem which he had maintained through life, sometimes oppressed him. But perhaps the extreme of humility is the most becoming in the situation of a dying man :-and certainly, however painful it may be to those who look for counsel and consolation from a departed Christian, the withering influence of disease upon his hopes and spirits cannot lessen the real security of his eternal interests.
On the morning of June 12, he appeared worse than he had ever before been, and a severe attack was made by his disease upon the chest, which rendered breathing distressfully difficult. He was apprehended to be in dying circumstances, and requested his son to pray for him, as in the immediate prospect and apprehension of eternity. The scene was overpowering to the feelings of his family. In a short time he was relieved from the paroxysm, and gained ease and composure. He employed his first breath in offering up thanksgiving to God for the removal of that extreme anguish; and most affectionately commended to the care of heaven his distressed family, who, with the exception of one, were surrounding his bed-that one, who had but a few months left his father's house, was particularly remembered. In the afternoon the difficulty of breathing returned; it continued about ten minutes, then gradually subsided, till, without a struggle or a groan, with eyes lifted to heaven, he yielded his spirit into the hands of his Saviour and his God.
His remains were interred on the
15th of June. By his particular request, the Rev. W. L. Prattman, of Barnard Castle, preached the funeral sermon at Thirsk, on the following Sabbath-the text, 2 Tim. iv. 7,8. On the same day at Basingstoke, his successor, the Rev. J. Wills, delivered a similar discourse to the people over whom he had so many years presided, and by whom his departure was most affectionately regretted.
The character of the Rev. Joseph Jefferson, as a man and as a Christian, will long command the grateful remembrance of all who knew him. His family, his friends, and the congregations over which he presided, can testify of his blameless manners and benevolent disposition. He was eminent for humility and integrity. His faults were in great measure the excess of these principles. This is not the place to applaud his virtues-he himself would have wished them to be ascribed solely to the grace of God, and to those great principles of Christian faith which were the basis of his character.
As a Christian minister, he was well qualified, by accurate learning, and a natural perspicacity of understanding. He studied the scriptures in their native tongues, comparing them with the versions and illustrations of later times. His MS. collections and notes on the oriental languages, in connexion with the interpretation of scripture, are a lasting proof of his diligent studies. All these studies were made to bear on his official duties; and he made it his business, without parade, almost without the consciousness of his hearers, to set before them, with accuracy and learning, the true meaning of the Sacred Books. His public discourses were distinguished by earnest simplicity, and by a certain tact of logical arrangement, which made them always perspicuous, and which often commanded the admiration of his brethren in the ministry.
In the year 1792, Mr. J. printed a
funeral sermon, preached on the death of Miss Glover at Basingstoke. In 1799, he published The Young Evangelist," a Memoir of the late Rev. John Savage, of Farnham, who died in his 24th year. In 1802 he was the author of the Circular Letter, from the Associated Ministers of Hampshire, to the Churches under their charge. In 1804, he published "The Ruins of a Temple, a Poem," with a History prefixed of Holy Ghost Chapel, and the Hospital founded by Henry H., at Basingstoke. And "Hora Poeticæ, Poems sacred, moral, and descriptive; to which are added Four Essays." In 1805, "Lyra Evangelica, an Essay on the use of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship." In the Theological Magazine, July 1807, a Memoir of Miss Letitia Stapleton of Colchester, which was reprinted in the Christian Guardian, April 1808, and subsequently in three separate editions. In 1808, a second edition of the History of Holy Ghost Chapel. In 1811, a Sermon preached before the London Missionary Society. And "The Glory of the Creation displayed in the Visible Heavens," a sermon occasioned by the appearance of the Comet. In 1815, "The His tory of Basing House, in Hampshire." In 1817, three editions of a small Account of a Roman Mosaic Pavement, then lately discovered near Crondall. In 1819, a third and enlarged edition of the History of Holy Ghost Chapel; and in 1821, the History of Silchester, the Vendonum of the Romans, and the Caer Segont of the Britons, were published at Basingstoke, chiefly from his MSS. In 1821, he illustrated the antiquities of the place of his new residence, and was a principal contributor to the History of Thirsk. For many years Mr. J. was also a Trustee and stated contributor to the Evangelical Magazine, in which he published many reviews of books, and essays, under the signature of lota, Erastus, J. J., &c.
ADDRESS ON THE NEW YEAR.
BUT a few hours have passed since we heard the knell of the departed year. Let us learn from the history of the past; for the past, though stern, is a faithful teacher. The future is a deceiver; but in the past there can be no illusion; its lessons are written in the ample page of time gone by, where all may read, and learn, and improve. In order to know how to commence this year well, let us review the history of those years that are gone, and inquire how we have employed them. To some, they have been years which the world calls prosperous; schemes have succeeded which the multitude count wise, and hopes have been realized which they deem delightful; yet, to beings of a superior nature, and to a mind taught of God, they appear unworthy of the powers of a thinking spirit, unworthy of the dignity of an immortal soul. There is a startling fidelity in the exhibitions of the Bible; and whatever may be the imagery employed, it never goes beyond the reality. Its statements are always in the strictest accordance with truth. It brands with folly the low pursuits of earth's wisest views. It declares that the intelligence that plans, and the energy that executes them, are the properties of a creature, whose days are as a shadow that declineth; that however lofty his elevation, however firm his footing, and however fair his prospects, his feet press the sepulchre; and the loveliest flowers his hand has planted, and his love has nursed, will form but a garland for the grave; that the promises of youth and health, the smile of beauty, the gain of riches, and the wreath of fame, are beneath the stoop of him who was made but a little lower than the angels; who was redeemed by the Lord of all, and who may obtain with him his rest in heaven, and range throughout eternity.
To many, the past year is recorded in the melancholy characters of suf