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FOR JULY, 1835.
MEMOIR OF THE REV. THOMAS MORGAN,
Missionary to the West Indies :
BY THE REV. JOHN EVANS. The Rev. Thomas Morgan was born in the parish of Coleston, Glamorganshire, South Wales, Nov. 30th, 1780. When very young he was taken to live with his grandfather, in an adjoining parish. He describes his grandfather and grandmother as regular attendants upon the parish church, who were also careful that be should accompany them every Sunday morning. These aged persons feared God, but were strangers to experimental religion. “When I was about four years old,” Mr. Morgan writes, “my father and mother came to live on a farm in the parish where my grandfather resided. About this time the Particular Baptists established preaching in our village. Many were brought to the knowledge of the truth through their instrumentality, among whom were my father and mother, who joined the Baptist church at a neighbouring village. I can remember but little of what took place at this time, only that my grandfather was much displeased with my parents for changing their religion,' as he called it, and .fol lowing the false prophets. In the course of a few years my parents experienced a great and sudden change in their worldly circumstances; and all these reverses were considered by many as marks of God's displeasure because they had left the established Church. .
“I well remember, when very young, to have felt serious impressions relative to my soul and eternity. And, no doubt, bad I been favoured with adequate religious instruction, I should have been made acquainted with God, and preserved from many snares into which I fell. As I grew up my serious thoughts died away, and my wickedness exceeded that of my companions. When about sixteen years of age I entered upon a situation which afforded me additional opportunities of gratify. ing my sinful propensities. For three years I continued in a course of presumptuous sin, until my heart was hardened to such a degree, that I became altogether insensible to all moral obligation. I have even cursed a pious man to his face because he reproved me.
“I had a great dislike to all religious people, but more especially to the Methodists. Early in the year 1800 several members of their society came to work at my employer's residence. As my custom was, I began to ridicule them on account of their religious profession. They, however, ceased not to advise me to lay to heart the things belonging Vol. XIV. Third Series. JULY, 1835.
ing, in Marcof the Cardiff hodist chapel.;
to my peace; and as I had spoken so much against the Methodist Preachers, they advised me to go and hear them for myself. This I resolved to do ; and though fearful of being observed, I ventured to attend on a Sabbath evening, in March, 1800. The Preacher was Mr. Edward Matthews, a Local Preacher of the Cardiff Circuit.” This was the first time that Mr. Morgan ever entered a Methodist chapel : under this sermon his soul was fully awakened from the sleep of sin. He thus describes what he felt :-" The Preacher had hardly entered upon his subject, before I began to feel the Spirit of God, deeply convincing me of sin. My sins, with all their aggravations, came to my remembrance; and I felt as if the pains of hell were taking hold of me. My convictions were accompanied by hatred to all sin. After the preaching the society was met, and I was requested to remain : this I gladly did ; and in the same hour joined myself in purpose and in form to that people whom I had so greatly despised ; and among them I trust to live and die. I returned home that evening with a broken and contrite heart, and for the first time bowed my knees in earnest prayer before the Lord. Of me, the chief of sinners, it might now be said, “Behold, he prayeth.'”
Mr. Morgan continued to seek redemption in the blood of Christ, even the forgiveness of his sins, for nearly nine months. His situation in life was unfriendly to religious improvement, as he had to travel in various directions, and was associated with worldly company on almost all occasions. His distress of mind, while seeking the Lord, was greatly increased by the bold assertion of some Preacher whom he happened to hear, who stated that Christ died only for a part of the human race. He was at length delivered from the influence of this mischievous doctrine, by conversation with a Christian friend, who taught him the way of God more perfectly. Though frequently prevented from attending the public means of grace, he continued diligent in acts of private devotion. By this means bis desire for salvation increased, until January 1st, 1801; when he thus wrote :-“This is a morning ever to be remembered. My soul found the peace of God in a prayermeeting held in Cardiff chapel before day. I enter upon this new year as I never entered upon any that are past, and feel an unutterable desire that my remaining days may be all consecrated to God.”
Alluding to the persecution he experienced as soon as he began to live godly in Christ Jesus, and to other circumstances, he remarks, “I had many fiery trials this year. I became the song and scorn of some who had known me when following the multitude to do evil. The measure of persecution I had dealt out to others was now returned to myself, pressed down and shaken together. God, however, enabled me to stand in the evil day; and to rejoice that I was counted worthy to suffer reproach for his name's sake. My soul could make her boast in God; for my peace flowed as a river. Praise the Lord.
“In the spring of 1802 the Lord was pleased to visit me with a very
heavy affliction, which brought me to the gates of death ; so that for some time no hope was entertained of my recovery. The violence of the fever at length abated; my lost reason returned; and by slow degrees I fully recovered. On the return of health my language was,
My soul, and all its powers,
Thine, wholly thine, shall be;
I consecrate to thee :
And I shall praise thee evermore.'” In the year 1804 Mr. Morgan left his situation in Wales, and entered upon one in the city of Bristol. Though a stranger in Bristol, he soon felt himself at home among the privileges and Christian society of that favoured city. He entered several paths of usefulness, by connecting himself with the Prayer-Leaders, and Strangers' Friend Society. His connexion with the latter was much blessed to him. On visiting the afflicted stranger he writes, “ In this good work my soul was frequently much blessed. In the chamber of affliction I learned, more extensively, my obligation to God, for health, food, raiment, and, above all, for the comforts of religion. Many of those I visited were destitute of all these things. This is a most blessed and useful Society. Both in regard to the body and the soul, they
• Help the stranger in distress,
The widow, and the fatherless ;' and the blessing of thousands who were ready to perish will come upon both visiters and subscribers."
While he continued in Bristol he manifested a commendable diligence in attending the means of grace; and his religious experience became deeper. He was also favoured with suitable and pious band-mates, who rejoiced in his spiritual welfare, and aided him in the way to heaven. In July, 1806, he thus writes :-"Under a sermon, preached by Mr. Fish, at Ebenezer chapel, from • Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,' I received power to love God with all my heart. My mind was sweetly stayed on God during the public service ; at the sacrament which followed, my soul was drawn out in strong desires after God. I felt that God had taken full possession of my heart. I well remember the spot where the Lord manifested himself to his feeble dust. My band-mates were partakers of my joy; as were the members of the select band, when they heard what great things the Lord had done for me. I now walked with Jesus in my view; my cup ran over ; I triumphed in the Lord.”
Those scenes of usefulness with which Mr. Morgan was connected served to awaken a conviction which had occasionally existed in bis mind, that it was his duty, as opportunity might offer, to preach the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. This conviction was strengthened by the
recent manifestation of God to his soul. Unable to conceal his feelings any longer, at the suggestion of his band-mates, he laid his case before the Rev. James Wood, at that time the Superintendent of the Bristol Circuit. That venerable man received him with his usual kindness and sympathy; gave him encouragement to proceed; and mentioned his intention to propose him as a candidate for admission on trial, at the next Local Preachers' meeting.
On the 25th of October, 1807, he preached his first sermon. Soon after he had begun to preach he was exercised by sore temptation, and passed through distressing sensations of mind. When almost resolved to relinquish his plan as a Local Preacher, his mind was encouraged by the kind and suitable advice of the late Rev. John Hearnshaw.
At the Conference, held in Bristol in 1808, he was, somewhat un. expectedly to himself, proposed to travel, by the Rev. James Wood. He was examined by three Superintendents, and appointed to the Ipswich Circuit. He entered upon his responsible work with fear and trembling. The depression of his mind was great, and heightened by some intimations that his labours were not very acceptable to the people. God, however, appeared for him, and owned his word; so that several persons were converted from the error of their way. This prosperity served to support his mind. Though requested to continue, he thought it right to leave Ipswich at the end of one year. At his leaving he received various marks of kindness from many of his friends, towards whom he ever felt a strong attachment. In his journal he records his gratitude to God, and to them, for the kindness shown to him.
He was next appointed to Cirencester, now a part of the Stroud Circuit. Here he realized much comfort and support, and considered his labour partially successful. At the Conference of 1810 he was appointed, with the Rev. Thomas Slugg, to what was then called the Leigh Mission. This station was unequal to the support of two Preachers; so that before the year expired he was directed to proceed to the Diss Circuit. Here he met with the late Rev. Isaac Bradnack, to whom, soon after his coming, he mentioned, that he had for some time felt it his duty to preach to the negroes in the West Indies. Mr. Bradnack encouraged him to offer himself as a Missionary. His offer was accepted at the Sheffield Conference of 1811; and he received an appointment for a West Indian station.
September 23d, 1811, in the fear of God, he entered into the mar. riage state with her who is now his sorrowing widow. After a few months they sailed for the West Indies, in company with several Missionaries, nearly all of whom are long since gone to their reward.
His first station in the West Indies was the island of Nevis, where he laboured successfully for two years. On leaving, he thus sums up the more prominent mercies of a beneficent Providence :-“First, I was delivered from a very alarming attack of flux, soon after my arrival ; and my dear wife from two attacks of fever. Secondly, my health in Nevis was so generally good, that only on one occasion was I prevented
ally for tvOf a benefice of flus,