Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

I must, however, note some striking resemblances between the father and the son, which may serve my purpose of illustrating the character of the latter. I am a firm believer in the efficacy of prayer, offered by even very remote ancestors for their distant posterity, and am in the profitable habit of tracing rare, and otherwise almost unaccountable instances of remarkable conversion and earnest usefulness to such sources. When such instances occur among the higher classes of society, and under circumstances the most unlikely, enquiry can the more easily be pursued, and it is often plain that. no unconditionally electing grace' has rescued this or that person of illustrious rank from frivolity and sin, but just the ordinary process of Divine answer to devout and expectant intercessions long generations ago. But it is better to observe, in family after family, hereditary pious habits and observances winning souls to Christ, so that a special type of family character is re-created and preserved, and God and men know that children and household' will be lovingly commanded' into godliness, and will keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment' accordingly. It was this habitual piety, -hereditary, as we have seen,—which built and beautified the characters and lives of the two Lomases of whom we are now thinking ; and, in some respects, its manifestations were similar in both. Nothing strikes us more in the records preserved as to the father than (I coin a word to my satisfaction) his constant, steady, God-fearingness. The God of the believing and busy Abraham was 'the Fear of Isaac,' the man of thought and meditations, ever digging wells which he suffered others to take from him, ' easy to be intreated,' and blessing to his utmost powers' the evil and the good.' And how impressive a recollection have all we who knew the younger Lomas, of his like reverence of tone and spirit; the more observable in his case, because, while he inherited from one parent an habitual tenderness and pensiveness of spirit, he derived through, if not directly from, his mother, one of the Barkers of Manchester, a joyous playfulness, a girlish abandon, combined with a boy's resolute avidity for almost boisterous fun,-checked generally and always regulated by the sweetness of his temper, his exquisite sense of the proprieties of life, and the aromatic saintliness of his entire character. I may at once say that no descendants are left to bless their generation with these same rarely-mingled sensibilities and graces. He never married. The manlier side of his character indeed might have found in some being, almost unimaginable even in woman, the counterpart and completeness of its feminine aspect.

I know that once- -I am sure it could not have been oftener-he

sang, in his deepest heart, the 'song of songs, but he had not the courage to tell his love; and its object, I believe, never guessed it. And no'worm i' th’ bud' preyed long, either inwardly or outwardly, on a man, the strength of all whose passions was tested by the firmness of the hand which reined and guided them whithersoever the governor' of them listed.

JOHN LOMAS was born on the 13th of December, 1798. Joseph Benson, his father's colleague at Hull, notes the fact in a letter now before me, couched in no periphrastic terms, addressed to one of those same Marsdens to Committee' as that he had been appointed a master' in the school. There I first saw him,-myself little other than an infant, (except etymologically,) -in 1818.

There is no doubt, however, that his religious character had, during this period, developed into a rare ripeness. His were an intellect and a heart which, once catching even a glimpse of the great "God reconciling' us to Himself in Christ,' could not,—the good Spirit always vivifying that one grand and transforming idea, --could not forget the sight. To quote memorable lines, he had looked at • The Eternal Light, Through the Eternal Love.' What food for a capacious intellect! what warmth and shelter to a tender and, if I may so speak, solitary heart! I attribute much of the devoutness of his piety to the pulpit influences which, about this time, swayed both intellect and heart. He must have listened, more or less frequently, to the wise and savoury teachings of the first Joseph Taylor, Barber, Reece, and Entwisle, all numbered, for all time, amongst the later Fathers of Methodism ; to the eloquence of Bradburn; to the plain but masterly good sense of the elder Treffry ; to the younger Taylor and the older Rigg, both eminent, if not popular, Preachers; to Walter Griffith, unique in weight, dignity and pathos; to Jacob Stanley, subsequently a firm and fast friend ; not to mention others of whom the traditions are more dim. After he himself had formally engaged in the sacred profession, and before he left Kingswood, there succeeded Henry Moore, in his own way the most remarkable of all; and Joseph Sutcliffe who lived a life so long and saintly that the present generation has scarcely lost sight of him ; and, as I may have occasion to speak hereafter, Josiah Hill, the friend of John Foster and of Isaac Taylor. All these were Ministers at Bristol. At Kingswood he'sat under' (and felt no burden) John Pritchard, Thomas Stanley ; Robert Johnson, a convert of Brackenbury, and one of that host of exceptionally great Methodist Ministers which Lincolnshire has contributed to the Methodist Pastorate; George Dermott, every inch of him a gentleman, and always bursting, so soon as his feet touched the pulpit floor, into a flame of passionate zeal ; James Jones, cool, logical and speculative, but, in the long run, a disowned heretic; the hard-headed, soft-hearted Marshall Claxton; and, not least, the elegant, selfpossessed, round-phrased and effective Robert Smith,-better, and more affectionately, known to Kingswood boys as · Daddy Smith,'—the Governor who first vigorously set himself, with what means he could command, and in spite of discouragements on every hand, to reform the decayed institutions of the school, and to treat us as though we were really the sons of Methodist Ministers.


REV. JOHN LOMAS. Oue departed friend early gave his life to God; indeed the whole of it has been spent under Christian laws, and conditions, and influences. The son of a Methodist Preacher, he was very early converted, and the religion of Christ has stamped its impress on all the successive stages of his long career-on his childhood, his youth, his adolescence, his maturity. The history of that life is known by one at least in its outline only, and it can only be generally referred to now and here. We have the record of a blameless career, of good works, and diligent attention to duty, and unspotted fidelity, for nearly seventy years of conscious confession of Christianity. We need ask no more. He whom we resign to death and the grave this day hath One that judgeth him. But we may safely anticipate His judgment.

Not, indeed, that we have only the witness of an unspotted career. That is not all. We have sure evidence that the interior life was wrought in him to perfection. He was, especially in later life, singularly reticent, as many most eminent saints have been. He has left no such written memorials as might help us to draw a picture of his hidden communion with God. We must, therefore, at least on this occasion, leave the veil undrawn. But, if it were drawn, it would be seen that the religious course of Mr. Lomas was one of deep and uncommon experiences. He knew through life the secrets of a mental and spiritual discipline which not many have been called to pass through. He has experienced what it is to suffer with Christ. He has drunk of a cup sometimes mingled of ingredients bitter to the taste. The sword that pierced his Master has pierced His servant also. None but those who were most entirely intimate with Mr. Lomas knew of these things. And they knew only in part how much interior pressure and struggle and agony his soul has gone through in its gradual approximation to the image of Christ. Suffice that he also was made 'perfect through sufferings'; the essential interior discipline of a true Christian has been passed through, and the calm and peaceful corpse in our midst is not more calm and peaceful, we steadfastly believe, than the spirit which has gone through all its stages of joy and sorrow, of light and darkness, of heights and depths, of elevations and depressions, and won the victory at last. Let us glorify God in him, and learn a lesson for ourselves.

We have nothing but joy in the retrospect of his ministerial career. John Lomas, for I must give him his lifelong name, was, as it were, a predestined theologian and Preacher.

His faculties and preparation for this service were such as meet in their noble combination in only few men.

His richly-endowed and finely-proportioned intellect was, one might almost say, eminently theological. He had a profound, natural reverence for things supernatural, and this was in due time sanctified into an intense awe of the high and deep mysteries of the

There are,

faith with which his ministry was always familiar. His mind was large and strong, and yet exquisitely delicate in its movements.

It was an organ capable at once of the most vigorous and of the most subtle functions; and it was trained to a wonderful analytical skill. He was a profound thinker, a most logical reasoner; his imagination was more grand, and his fancy, the humble minister of his imagination, more rich than falls to the lot of most profound thinkers and reasoners. He studied theology, especially Biblical theology, with much success. As a Preacher, he concentrated all his natural and acquired abilities on one object, for nearly sixty years of all but continuous ministry. He expounded the Scriptures as perhaps none can expound them but those who are trained by learning to deep familiarity with the original letter, and are imbued by the Holy Ghost with its spirit. He had a rare ability to bring out the hidden subtilties and graces of his text, as multitudes remember to their great joy, and his beautiful English, moulded by fervent study of the classics and the discipline of an exquisite taste in composition, was a vehicle worthy of his profound thoughts. The result was that for many years he was an almost unrivalled Preacher. To me and to many of his younger brethren this is a tradition. We have known the Preacher since he ripened into a profound expositor, calmly delivering his gracious and most luminous meditations. None of us who have heard these later discourses can ever forget them. Not a sermon but contained some sentences that linger and will linger in the memory for ever. however, those still living who can recall the time when Mr. Lomas was as vehement, fervent and enthusiastic as he was afterwards calm, contemplative and profound. And very many-literally very many-survive who cannot measure in words their debt to him.

What made him a grand Preacher made him also a good teacher of theology. For several years he thus served his generation. He did much to impress upon many students the claims of systematic theology, of dogmatic divinity in opposition to the latitudinarian characterless negation of belief that has been, and is, creeping in among us. Mr. Lomas was an able teacher of the methods of defending Christianity; and all the more so because he knew how to doubt, and how to sanctify doubt, was tolerant of honest difficulties, and felt and exemplified beyond most men the importance of a suspended opinion in matters where God has not spoken.

If there was anything to regret in this long life, it was this, that the press will give permanence to so little of its intellectual toil. What is in print is so precious that we mourn to think how few are likely to be Mr. Lomas's literary remains. He wrote on the tablets of his mind with exquisite skill and perfect finish a system of theology and many most noble sermons. It would be grievous to think that so much has passed away with him.

How often have we to enshrine in our memory names of those who were called away while in the morning or noontide of life: musing, whenever we think of them, of what they might have been ! Our honoured friend has fulfilled the Saviour's own sketch of a finished life: the long day spent, according to his own figure, in ploughing and feeding cattle, the waiting for a few evening hours behind the Master until He gives the signal of rest and refreshment and reward.

How shall we all treasure up the memory of this complete life-a life that has done all who came within its sphere good and not evil for nearly two generations ? How peculiarly pleasant will be all our associations with the remembrance of this most honoured man! We shall respect his public career as that of one born to impress his age and dignify high positions. But we shall all most affectionately remember also the sweet character of his private life; the infantine playfulness; the irresistible charm of his simplicity; the graceful humour that gleamed or sparkled or flashed in familiar conversation with indescribable grace; the boundless knowledge of men and things; these fruits of a large reading (for which it was hard to account, considering all things) that made his company as profitable as fascinating. All who knew him well will give his memory a place unshared while they live.

But his memory is no private inheritance. It belongs to his Community and the Church of God. Among the Methodist people at least there will be no name sent down to posterity which will carry with it more associations of combined reverence, admiration and love than that of John Lomas !



BY THE REV. THOMAS NATTRASS. Nose who study current events and The death of the Pope is always on the signs of the times, can fail to important event in the Romish mark the intense interest which the Church : but never were there conmembers of the Romish Church are tingencies of greater moment than concentrating in the person of the those which pend on the death of Pope. One band of pilgrims after Pius IX. The following historical another is entering Rome with costly sketch of events connected with the offerings to the Pontiff. The ques- death of the Pope and the election of tion of the restoration of the Pope's his successor may therefore be just temporal power is once more raised : now of some interest. and some imagine, that through the When a Pope is seized by a disease gathering clouds of these tumultuous which threatens the speedy terminatimes, they see looming that ancient tion of his mortal career, it is the throne. But the one event of the duty of the Cardinal Secretary of the near future toward which all are State to communicate with the Dean looking with interest and wonder, of the Sacred College, that he may is the death of the Pontiff. His ex- summon his brother Cardinals to treme age and his accumulated afflic- hasten to the residence of the dying tions indicate the nearness of that Pope. Then, with the Cardinal Vicar, event. It is unquestionably to the he issues orders for the offering up advantage of the Papacy to keep the of public prayers in the churches on present Pope alive as long as possible. behalf of the afflicted Pontiff. The



« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »