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AUTUMN IN OCTOBER.
The bowing orchard-trees, so lately deck'd
Yet though the verdure of the Spring has faded,
Thus, child of earth! pursue thy wanderings ;
B. II. BARTOX.
LONDON :- Printed by James Nichols, 16, Hoxton Square.
FOR NOVEMBER, 1835.
MEMOIR OF MR. JAMES BOND,
Of Warminster : BY THE REV. THOMAS BROTHWOOD. MR. BOND was blessed with pious parents, who, like himself, were attached to the doctrines and discipline of Methodism. They steadily maintained the cause, and supported the Preachers, many years, sharing in violent persecution. At the age of four years he was taken by his father to hear preaching at a place called “ the Cave,” at Warminster common. He then had serious impressions. When about fourteen years old, he became careless about religion, although he often had convictions of the evil of sin. At the age of twenty he went to London; and when going past Moorfields he heard preaching out of doors, which impressed him much. After a fortnight he returned home, and then went to hear the Methodist. Preachers at Corsley and Deyerill. All this while, his religious convictions were becoming inereasingly deep and painful. But on hearing his father relate some conversation which took place between him and an Atheist, the young man was - so unsettled, that he fell, a victim to temptation, and sunk into Atheism. He was now about twenty-three years of age. But this wretched state did not last long. Powerful convictions of his danger and misery still followed him night and day; and he was greatly afraid. His distress at length became so great, that he prayed in an agony, that if there were a God, he would be graciously pleased to manifest himself to him. While he was praying; divine light broke in upon his troubled mind; and it pleased the Lord so to manifest himself, as to fill him with peace and joy.
Shortly after this, he was again sorely tried concerning the truth of different doctrines of Christianity, and the plan of salvation by Jesus Christ; but in all his conflicts he was favoured with times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; which at length confirmed him in the truths of the Gospel, and made him capable of publicly delivering those truths for the edification of others. He preached his first sermon in Back-lane. These were times of great persecution. Mr. Bond often declared, that it was impossible fully to describe the wickedness of the town. Vital godliness was scarcely to be found. All kinds of barbarous sports were carried on; and whoever took upon himself to be a reprover was sure to be a prey. “Scores of days,” says he, “ I have spent in solitude, weeping, fasting, and praying for the people."
In Mr. Wesley's Journal, under the date of October 3d, 1758, it is
stated, that he on that day preached out of doors at Warminster. “Some disturbance,” says he, “ was expected; but there was none. The whole assembly behaved well; and, instead of curses or stones, we had many blessings.”
Some time after this, efforts were made to introduce regular preaching into the town. Persecution then commenced. The persecutors brought a number of dogs, and endeavoured to make them attack the Preacher.
The preaching at this time was at a cottage in Pound-street. In 1771 the persecutors assembled, and pulled down the porch of the cottage ; and the people were repeatedly assaulted during the service, and in going to and returning from it. The preaching was afterwards removed to a cottage in Back-street. At this time the enemy came in like a flood. Several men entered the house during the service with their hats on, cursing and swearing, and making great disturbance; sometimes smoking the whole time of the preaching, and rioting in the most indecent manner. On the 24th of September, 1773, Mr. Bond was assaulted in the street by a man who demanded the keys of the preaching-house. The assault produced a dangerous illness; and while the sufferer was confined to his bed, the persecutors broke the windows of his house to pieces. To add to his affliction, no person would repair the windows for fear of the persecutors. An action was commenced against the rioters at the Salisbury summer assizes; but the case was traversed at the next Lent assizes, and not decided till the summer assizes following. In the mean time the persecutors continued their outrages without intermission. The unoffending people were insulted night and day. They knew not an hour when they could call their lives their own. The persecutors were numerous and uncontrolled; and they gloried in their shame. As Mr. Bond's father accommodated the Preachers six years at his house, he shared also in the persecution. The windows of his house were several times broken to pieces. A respectable woman, living at this time in Warminster, aged seventy years, informs me that when she was a little girl, she and her school-fellows used to go to James Bond's on the mornings when going to school, to see if his windows were broken ; as they frequently were, because he had praying at his house.
Sometimes the rioters challenged the Methodists to fight, and sang profane songs at the time of divine worship. They broke the pulpit, and all the seats and windows of the preaching-house to pieces, and hung part of the pulpit to a direction-post. All application to the neighbouring Magistrates was in vain. At length Mortimer, Esq., of Trow. bridge, interfered, granted special warrants, and committed three of the rioters to prison. The persecution, however, raged as much as ever. A second time the mob broke the pulpit to pieces. They threw John Spicer, one of the friends, into a deep ditch, and wounded him. Caleb Daniel was so injured that he died soon after.
The people were at length overcome by the fierceness of the opposition, and the preaching was discontinued for several years. Mr. Wells,