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Male. Female. Total. Male. Female. Total. Male. Female. Total.
15 Under 5 years
17 18 35 23 30 53 15 13
28 From 5 to 10 years..
4 6 10 to 15
5 12 3 3
8 20 to 30 8 9 17
34 60 to 70 30 29 59 30
67 38 38 80 to go 14 29 43 15 32 47
31 » 90 to 100
I 4 5
341 152 179 331 125 174 299
Average age in 1871–72, 55 years, 5 months, and 8 days.
EDWARD ASH, M.D. In the varied phases of Dr. Ash's religious life, there are many passages which bear witness to his earnest searching after truth, and selfdenying submission to heartfelt convictions; and his own pen, with touching humility and honesty of purpose, has recorded the early strivings of the Holy Spirit in his heart, his youthful declension and restoration from time to time to the Divine favour, as well as many troubled exercises of mind, which eventually terminated in confiding peace and joy in his Holy Redeemer.
He was born at Bristol in the year 1797, and when only seven or eight years old, was sent to a boarding school at Melksham in Wiltshire. There the ministry of Rachel Fowler appears to have been blessed to him ; and he says in reviewing that early day, “God visited my soul with His love in Christ by His Holy Spirit,-(I knew it could not come from anything else),--and drew me towards Himself with the cords of His everlasting love in Christ.” He adds, I
grew up from boyhood to manhood, I had many evil
tempers and dispositions and inclinations to contend with : and sometimes, through God's grace, I more or less overcame them, but far more often the other way." Yet by his youthful acquaintances he was considered remarkably conscientious and thoughtful. He especially mentions that the early visitations he experienced at school “ curred on many distinct occasions : sometimes without the agency of any instrumental cause, at others in connexion with the reading of the Scriptures, or the hearing of Christian ministry. Once, if not oftener, I was so overcome by what I felt, as to be obliged to seek the retirement of my chamber, that I might there give vent to my tears; while at other times they flowed down my cheeks as I sat in meeting, even when nothing had been said.”
In his twenty-fourth year, he entered on a course of medical study in London and Edinburgh, taking the degree of M.D. in 1825. During this period, he speaks of a time of going backwards, and losing his first love; but was mercifully préserved from gross sin, and never tempted to unbelief. Whilst lodging afterwards for a time in a Friend's family in York, he had a powerful spiritual awakening.“ Under that roof," he says, “the Spirit of God came back to me, I knew not how or in what way,—no human instrumentality whatever ; but I began to feel the drawing of those old cords of heavenly love again, looked up my old Greek Testament, and spelt out a text here and a text there. The upshot of the matter was, I went to York a treader in the broad way, I returned from York a treader in the narrow way."
In 1826, when twenty-nine years of age, he removed to Norwich with the view of commencing practice as a physician ; and married Caroline, daughter of William Fry of London.
The occasion was a solemn time. He says that during the wedding day, “ the love and presence of his God and Saviour were wonderfully near,” and that whilst in meeting “ tears of holy joy and thankfulness " bedewed his cheeks. He records, that at an early period of his residence in Norwich, he was on a visit to Joseph John Gurney at Earlham;
we two being alone, after reading a portion of Scripture together, I felt constrained to kneel down, and in a few broken words besought the Lord to accept the unreserved consecration of whatever might yet remain of my earthly life. Miserably as this vow has since been kept, I venture humbly to believe that it has never for a moment been repented of, or recalled, even in thought.”
He acknowledges that in the time he lived in Norwich, there was an increase of stability attained in his daily walk, and a gradual growth in
grace ; but still in looking back on those ten or twelve years he says: “ the circumstances in which I was placed were perhaps more favourable to my spiritual growth than those of any other period of my life, either before or since. Yet alas ! how poorly did the result correspond with this !” During this period, he was led to obey a call he had long felt, to the public ministry of the gospel : in which he first appeared at Westminster in 1832, with this single sentence, “ Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father which is in heaven." Two years and a quarter after this, he was recorded as a Minister by Norwich Monthly Meeting
In 1837 he retired from medical practice, and returned to Bristol, his native city; which continued to be his abode for the latter half of his extended life. We pass over the vicissitudes that marked some portion of this part of his career, including a withdrawal for several years from the Society of Friends. But one useful result of his retirement from professional pursuits, was a work in three volumes consisting of “ Explanatory Notes