Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

coming to this place was directed by the following providential indications. Mrs. Puleston, the lady of Judge Puleston, had written to a Mr. Palmer, at Oxford, to obtain for her a tutor for her sons, then preparing for college; who should also preach on the Lord's days, in the church at Worthenbury. Mr. Palmer recommended his friend, Mr. Henry, who consented to make trial of the place, for one half year, on condition that he should not be required to preach more than one sermon, on the Sabbath. Before leaving the university he had applied himself almost entirely to the study of the Holy Scriptures, and found great delight, as well as profit, in this course of study. He used often to say, “I read other books that I may be the better able to understand the Scriptures.” It was a stock of Scripture knowledge with which he set up, and with that he traded to good advantage. Though he was so great a master in the eloquence of Cicero, yet he greatly preferred that of Apollos, “who was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures.” (Acts xviii. 24.) He had, indeed, a fair prospect of university preferment, but the salvation of souls was that on which his heart wa

set, to which he postponed all other interests.

In September 1653, he came to Emeral, the seat of Judge Puleston, where he was cordially received. When he passed the brook which separated Flintshire from Shropshire, nothing was further from his thoughts than a permanent residence in that strange country. Often, afterwards, when God had prospered him and built him up a house there, he would adopt the language of Jacob, and say, “ With my staff, I passed over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands."

At Emeral, he prayed in the family, was tutor to the young gentlemen, and preached once a day at Worthenbury. On one occasion the person expected to supply the pulpit the other part of the day did not come, on which occasion, he was called upon to preach unexpectedly, which service he performed so much to the satisfaction of all, that he was led to apply to himself that promise, “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be;" and made this remark, “We do not know what we can do until we have tried.”

In his preaching to the people here, he studied a plain, practical style of speaking,

[ocr errors]

and would sometimes say in the pulpit, “We study so to speak, that you may understand us; and I never think I can speak plain enough, when I am speaking about souls and their salvation."

When his half year was ended, he returned to the university; not expecting to return again; but the people were very unwilling to part with him; and he received a very pious and affecting letter from lady Puleston, who was not only a person of eminent piety, but of uncommon learning. A few extracts from this letter will show her spirit, and also in what estimation the labours of Mr. Henry were held in Worthenbury.

Dear Mr. Henry:**** This I am sure, that having wanted a good minister of the word among us, I have oft by prayer and some tears, above five years, besought the Lord for such an one as yourself; which having obtained, I cannot yet despair, seeing he hath given us the good means, but he may give us also the good end. And this I find, that your audience is increased three for one, , in the parish, and five for one, out of other places. And I have not heard of their being in the ale-house, on the Lord's day, nor

playing ball, that day, which before you came was frequent. I think I can name four or five in the parish that of formal professors, are becoming, or become real Christians. But you know all are not wrought upon at first, by the word; yet God may have reserved those that have not bowed the knee to Baal, and may call them at the latter part of the day, though not in this half year. It is a good sign, most are loth to part with you; and you have done more good in this half year than I have discerned these eighteen years.

But, however, whether they will hear or forbear you have delivered your own soul. I have prayed and do pray, seeing God hath sent you, that you may be for his glory, and not for our condemnation."

After he had again settled himself at Oxford, the lady Puleston came with her five sons, the two oldest of whom, she placed under his care in the college.

In the following vacation he visited his friends in London, and while there, received a very solemn and affectionate letter from Judge Puleston, inviting him to return, and resume his ministerial labours

them. He still retained his student's place in the university, visiting it, once a year, to comply with the statutes; but on receiving the earnest call, just mentioned, he returned to Worthenbury, and settled there.

among

The living of Worthenbury was poor, and laboured under some embarrassment, on account of its connexion with the parish of Bangor, from which it had never been entirely separated. Judge Puleston, therefore, generously made a settlement on Mr. Henry, of one hundred pounds sterling, until such time as he should be promoted to some other ecclesiastical living. This sum was more than all the tithes of Worthenbury produced, and saved him from the uncertainty and perplexity of collecting the tithes.

Mr. Henry continued for some time, to reside in the Emeral family. Here he was attentive to the spiritual welfare of every member, even the meanest of the servants. He was diligent in instructing them by catechizing, by repeating sermons, and personal conversation; and he had the happiness of being countenanced by the Judge and his lady, in all his efforts to do good; yet from his private diary it appears, that even here he had his trials; for all the members of the

« AnteriorContinua »