POOR PIOUS WILLIAM SLEE, OF NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE. ONE has occasionally observed that persons the most obscure and unlikely, and who neither wished nor expected it, have been thus placed before the church and the world, in publications which circulate in thousands and tens of thousands throughout the length and breadth of the land, while individuals of greater note, intelligence, and aspirations, and possibly of equal amiability and piety, are suffered to leave the world without any other notice than a bare record of their name and age, with the date of their decease, in some local newspaper. The case stated, we must admit, is the exception rather than the rule, and an occasional instance thereof is neither devoid of interest or edification; sundry salutary uses are served thereby, while its very rareness induces observation, and secures the attention of a class of persons who read but little, and so become informed and profited, under the Divine blessing, by a perusal of the Christian character and example of the deceased. May it be so in this brief and simple memorial.

William Slee was born at Warcap, near Brough, Cumberland, in February, 1798. He had few educational or religious advantages. Day schools for the children of the poor in country places were then few, and Sunday schools but little known, while religious meetings of the character happily so widely obtaining in our day, were also "few and far between." The zealous Wesleyans,

however, were then at work in most parts of the country, and even in remote districts had enkindled the light of Gospel truth, destined ere long to blaze and illuminate the whole world.

It was to one of those meetings that William was invited, when in the bloom of life, we know not by whom, but it is known to Him "who seeth the end from the beginning." Little, perhaps, did the Christian friend who gave the invitation think that thereby he was instrumentally conferring the greatest possible good on a wayward youth, which should be seen and felt through a lengthened period of nearly forty years, the influence of which should be extended to the next generation, and possibly to a remote posterity. O, what good has often resulted from simply leading a person to the house of God! All praise to Him who alone can give the blessing: meanwhile, let such invitations be increased a thousand fold!

Our young friend gradually acquired an attachment to the sanctuary and its hallowed exercises, feeling more at home there and happier than in his former rambling course, and desecration of the sacred day. He, moreover, had not attended long before his mind and heart were impressed with the blessed truths of the word of God, which are able to make "wise unto salvation," through faith in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit was pleased to accompany the hearing of those truths with saving power to his inmost soul. He was deeply convinced of his sinful state, and for a time was made to groan beneath the heavy

load. He sought relief in prayer, as he sat in the house and walked by he way. He was an agricultural labourer, and often in the field raised his heart to God, and sometimes in the stable; and he has often told how, one morning in the byre, he was relieved of his load, was enabled by faith to embrace the "crucified one," and at once found peace to his soul. He now felt it to be his duty and privilege to confess Christ before men." He joined the Wesleyan society, and was enabled, by Divine grace, to the end of his days to "adorn the doctrine of God his Saviour." His simple faith, holy life, and happy temperament were the source of much real enjoyment, and rendered his case, though in a lowly position, a somewhat enviable one.


He removed to Newcastle-onTyne in 1850. There, as a stranger, he sought out some former acquaintances, pious people of the Primitive Methodist community. He went with them to their place of worship, where, as among the Wesleyans, the Gospel was faithfully preached. He united with them, and continued a consistent member of the society.

Through life he had enjoyed good health, but in the late severe winter it pleased God to lay His hand on His servant. He was called into the furnace of affliction, and with what patience and resignation he yielded to that call, associated with a good degree of religious enjoyment, our brief space will not allow of our recording. He saw that his days were "numbered," and wisely improved the few remaining opportunities of recommending religion to

friends and visitors. His family he solemnly charged to follow him in the ways of God, leading to "the better land." He said, Jesus had "done all things well," and he would soon be with Him in glory. He died March 15th, 1861, and was buried in Elswick New Cemetery. His funeral sermon was preached to a crowded congregation by Mr. E. Ridley, his late employer, who bore testimony to his Christianity. In conclusion, a few features thereof may be briefly adduced:

1. His love to the Sabbath. He rejoiced when it came round, as affording rest, peace, and religious privileges.

2. His attachment to the Scriptures. He could read but imperfectly, but gladly would sit down to his Bible, and on coming to any difficult word, would meekly ask some of his family to help him out with it.

3. He, David like, prized public ordinances, and could say, “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh crieth out for the living God." His dwelling was at some distance, and on a wet or a wintry morning, when asked if he thought of going out, would say, "Such weather does not keep me from work on weekdays, and why should it stop me from the house of God?"

4. He was admirably punctual in the observance of family worship, and would rather leave home at times without breakfast than omit craving for, with his family, the heavenly manna; or, if sometimes he must needs pass it over in a morning, it was devoutly celebrated at dinner-time.

[ocr errors]

Thus pious William Slee lived and died. He was not a perfect man, but, through the grace of God, was humble, holy, happy, and useful. His career is over, his brief history told, and his happy spirit with his Saviour. May his pious widow continue to enjoy the protection and blessing of the Most High, his children be a "seed to serve the Lord," his fellow-members of the church copy his example, and many a reader of this paper in the CHRISTIAN'S PENNY MAGAZINE be led to seek and enjoy, to exhibit and recommend, the blessed religion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which alone can afford true peace and real happiness here and hereafter!

E. R.

bound us in slavery to the man of sin burst asunder? and why am I not involved in papal darkness?"

When Thomas was about three years old, his parents, removing to London in search of employment, left him in the care of a relative at Bedford. "At five years old," he says, "I was brought to London, and found myself clasped in the arms of one who had often wept at the remembrance of her absent boy. At twelve years of age I began to form some indistinct conceptions of my accountability to God, accompanied with many fearful apprehensions of death and judgment. These impressions were too weak to restrain or subdue the sinful bias of the affections, although they were sufficient to divest a sinful course of its fancied pleasures. It was towards the close of this period that I became a scholar in the Methodist Sunday school at Hoxton; and, being deemed eligible for admission to the Bible class, I obtained a share in the notice and affectionate regards of the teachers. Having an ear and a voice for sacred music, I was selected, with a number of others, whose vocal powers were to be exhibited on anniversary occasions. Looking back on my position in this Sunday school, I must ever regard it as an important link in life's eventful chain, and feel some regret that I should have been removed from it so early and so abruptly. The occasion was as follows. The views of my parents were decidedly Calvinistic; they delighted to hear the Gospel as it was preached at Whitfield's Tabernacle. They were much troubled at finding that the scholars were all required to learn

REV. THOMAS GOSTICK, LATE OF PICKERING, CANADA WEST. THOMAS GOSTICK, the subject of this brief memorial, was born at Shambrook, near Bedford, March 14, 1789. His parents were godly persons— "poor in this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him." In a document written by himself, from which the chief of these particulars of his early life are taken, he says, "Our family name, I apprehend, has, like many others, undergone a change by the loss of the w from the last syllable, which being added makes Gostwick, the name of a certain man who is said to have been very active at the burning of good Archbishop Cranmer. If such was, indeed, my remote ancestry, how interesting the inquiry, where and when did the chain that

the Church Catechism, and still more when informed that one of our teachers had cautioned us to keep away from the Tabernacle, and avoid all such people." It is a joy to think that a better understanding now exists, and a more Christian feeling prevails, between the followers of Whitfield and Wesley, than was evinced on the above occasion.

Thomas now went regularly to the Tabernacle with his parents, and began to feel a deeper interest in Divine truth. He says, "In the Tabernacle I was privileged to attend the ministry of John Hyatt, who proved to me both a Boanerges and a Barnabas-a son of thunder and a son of consolation. Under his solemn appeals to the conscience, and striking delineations of character, my mind received new and deeper impressions. Personal religion and the concerns of the soul became invested with unspeakable importance. Sin appeared hateful, and holiness lovely and desirable. To muse and mourn over my own wretchedness, especially among the tombs in Bunhill Fields, during the intervals of worship on the Sabbath, was my frequent employ. It was by a slow and painful process that I was led to cherish a hope of mercy. Sanctuary seasons were often sweet and refreshing; and, under the ministry of Mr. Hyatt, my soul received edification, and gradually found peace."

Having received good from Sundayschool instruction, he, while yet young, began to assist in teaching, and was sent, by the London Itinerant Society, for this purpose, on alternate Sundays, to Wimbledon

Common. He afterwards connected himself with the Tabernacle Sunday school as a teacher; and in the year 1808, at the age of nineteen, was admitted a member of the church of Christ in that place. In the year 1812, he was led by Divine Providence to Stratford, where he obtained employment at his trade, as a cooper. Here his intelligence and exemplary conduct won for him the esteem of his employer and his family, whose daughter he subsequently married. In November, 1814, conceiving baptism by immersion to be a duty, he joined the Baptist church at Bow, and ever after shared largely the affectionate regard of his pastor, the excellent Dr. Newman. On his marriage, he commenced business at Bow; but having a very small capital, he found himself, after a few years, with a family of six children, unable to maintain his position. Great were the trials which this worthy couple suffered in their struggles, amidst poverty and affliction, to bring up their family. After another effort in a country village, a few miles farther from London, which also failed, he took a situation as cooper in a brewery at Homerton. In a year or two, that business declining, he was obliged to leave, and was again subjected to the sore trial of being without any certain means of providing for his family. In this exigency, he was led to think of emigration to Canada. The sale of a house which had been left to his wife by a relative, produced one hundred pounds; and with this help, after payment of all their debts, they went forth, somewhat like Abraham,

"not knowing whither they went." In the summer of 1832, when he was in his 44th year, with five children, the eldest a girl of fourteen, they went forth, being first commended to the Lord in a special prayer meeting held in their own dwelling at Homerton. Under the good guidance of Divine Providence, they arrived safely in their adopted country, and settled at Pickering, about twenty-five miles to the northeast of Toronto, then called Yorktown. Here they took fifty acres of uncleared land; and in a loghouse, constructed for them, and partly with their own hands, the family took up their abode and entered on their new mode of life. For the first few years they suffered many privations; but by degrees their circumstances improved. Their two boys, aged twelve and eight years when they left England, grew strong and hearty young men, and with their help, chiefly, the land was cleared. Thus, under the Divine blessing, they still went on happily together, until they could report, to their friends in the old country, that they wanted for nothing.

Soon after his settlement at Pickering, Mr. Gostick began to exercise his gifts in the preaching of the Gospel at Markham, a neighbouring township. His labours finding acceptance, he was encouraged to proceed; and at length, a place of worship having been erected on a piece of land given by one of his sons, a church was formed there, of which he became the pastor-an office which he honourably and usefully sustained to the close of life. A year or two after the family

quitted their native land, another family, not related, went out from Hoxton and settled near them, taking with them letters of introduction from mutual friends. Two sons of this family afterwards became the husbands of two of Mr. Gostick's daughters. The heads of this family were Independents. On the formation of a Christian church among them, coming as they did from a church that practised strict communion, the question aroseOught they to exclude these from their fellowship who differed from them in regard to baptism? The writer's advice was on this occasion asked, and given very strongly in favour of open communion. It was adopted, and such has ever since been their practice. Some ten years afterwards, Mr. G., in a letter to the writer, referring to the happy state of Christian union subsisting among them, says " You asked me, a few years ago, whether, supposing you were to pay us a visit, we would allow you to sit down with us at the Lord's table?-I wish you would come and see."

Mr. Gostick, as years advanced, continued to receive fresh tokens of the Divine favour. He had the unspeakable joy of receiving all his children, one after another, to churchmembership. He lived to see them all comfortably settled, near their parents, with suitable and pious companions; all having families, with no lack of the means of subsistence, and happily free from those anxieties about provision for an increasing family, which their parents experienced while in England.

« 上一页继续 »