« EelmineJätka »
OF THE LATE REV. W. H. ROWE,
PASTOR OF THE BAPTIST CHURCH AT
MR. ROWE was born at Strat- and a variety of other things ocford, near the city of New Sarum, curred, which induced serious August 10, 1777. From child- reflection. On a mind of unusual hood he was distinguished by a modesty and sensibility, many mind much disposed to reading causes concurred to produce and to thoughtfulness, which in most distressing sensations, and duced his friends to indulge him religion was regarded as only with the very best education they able to afford effectual consolahad ability to afford ; and their tion. About this time, he bekindness was rewarded by his came acquainted with Mason on rapid advancement in useful Self Knowledge, which God was learning. About the age of four- pleased to use as the instrument teen he was apprenticed to Mr. of greatly promoting his converFreemantle, a linen draper, in sion to himself: now he was Salisbury. Maternal solicitude, more constant in his attendance it seems, had expressed itself in at the Established Church, and earnest endeavours to train up its paid greater attention to the object in the habits of virtue; moral lectures he heard there; but, when he left school, in order but it will excite no surprise that to acquire a knowledge of trade, the darkness of his mind still his mind was destitute of reli- continued. In the month of gious principle, and becoming April, or May, 1795, he was acquainted with young persons reading in his favourite book on of vicious courses, he was allured Self Knowledge, when he was into the pursuit of forbidden asked if he had ever perused pleasures; which, however, he Hervey's Meditations, and, on could never enjoy with the same his intimating he had not, the satisfaction as seemed to be ex- book was offered to be lent to pressed in the countenances of him, which he very soon received his companions. Thus he con- and read with great profit, findtinued to live till the latter end of ing in it those doctrines and prothe
year 1793, when family trials, mises which work salvation, VOL. X.
when applied by the divine | wonderful that these apparently Spirit. For a considerable time, little events were traced up to it was his constant practice to the gracious will of God, who, retire into solitary places to read having predestinated his children this pious and highly interest to eternal life, employs various ing author, and there to medi- and suitable means to bring them tate, to weep, and to pray. The to himself. representations of a sinner on a In August, 1795, he death bed, of the encouragement menced a diary, from which we given in the gospel to rely on the are able to learn the pious exertruth, and power, and mercy cises of Mr. Rowe's mind on orof God, and of the fulness of dinary, and on very important pardon, very powerfully impress- occasions. At the very begin. ed his mind. To a person exer- ning of it, he records the concised in the manner that has been uinuance of that distressing timidescribed, it was natural to de- dity which, for several years, sire, most ardently, the posses- bad embittered his life, and to sion of a friend into whose pious which he was always, in greater and affectionate heart he could or less degrees, subject; and, at introduce his thoughts and his the same time, mentions the good emotions, and prayer having been effect of a sermon he had heard made to God for such a favour, from a Mr. Jackson, probably of it was enjoyed in a new acquain- Warminster, from “ Lord thou tance to whom he was now intro- knowest all things.” It seems to duced. . At the time it was not have greatly soothed his afflicted known to him that his new asso- mind, for le expresses his thankciate was the subject of deep fulness for this means of grace, convictions of the importance of because it had more impressively religion, but Mr. Rowe was de- convinced him of the omniscience termined to communicate his of his Saviour, and induced him own, and for that purpose, ex- to say, “I am persuaded that all pecting an interview with him, my distresses are known to Jesus, introduced the subject by read and that he will cause them to ing some passages in Hervey's work for my good. I am reworks which had powerfully af- solved to resign myself to him, fected his own heart, when, to and wait his appointed time." his utter astonishment he was in another part, he mentions the informed, that for a considerable gracious influence of the truth of time his companion had been the God while hearing his pastor on subject of mental exercises si- the Lord's-day: “ I am milar to those with which he nearer to eternity, am I growing had been so much occupied. in grace ? This has been a preThis day, which was the Sab- cious sabbath—God is frequently bath, was spent in reading and pleased to show bimself to his disclosing to each other the se- children by these means-I trust crets of their hearts. When the he has discovered himself to me change wrought in his mind by --my dear pastor has enlarged the works of the pious rector of sweetly on this subject : all scripWeston Favel, and the seasonable ture is given by inspiration, and advice, consolations, and reproofs surely he has preached for my given by his congenial acquain- correction; for® I think unbelief tance are considered, it is not is my besetting sin-it debars me
from the ordinances of God's | love of God to his soul, had much house, causes me to stumble at a godly jealousy of himself lest he straw, and, in fact, makes me should ever dishonour the cause very unhappy. Grant me aid, of God, and offered up many O God, to pursue the means pre-prayers for grace to help him in scribed by my dear pastor for every time of need, while looking deliverance."
forward to the solemn scriptural Mr. Rowe clearly perceived it ordinance of believers' baptism, to be the duty of all believers in which he was so soon to regard; Jesus Christ to profess their and, when the hour came, he was faith by submission to immersion blessed with composure and with in water, in the name of the Fa- much gratitude to God for anther, the Son, and the Holy swering his prayers. Ghost, for this he found to be It is not uncommon for pious baptism in the New Testament: young men, like the Samaritan but he had much to encounter in the days of Christ, when they in bis own mind, while his have believed themselves, to thoughts conversed with this wish, immediately, to invite their subject in relatiou to himself. fellow sinners to come to the His diary informs us, that, some Messiah ; and, if this arise from time after he had been the sub- sorrow of heart on account of ject of ardent desire to be united the unspeakably dreadful situato the church, he continued to tion of the ungodly, and from suffer violently from slavish fear, love to the Redeemer, the desire and that he saw many gladly tak- is good, while it cannot be deing up the cross and following nied, that every one is not posthe Lamb, while he, timid and sessed of gifts suited to the mi. fearful, shrank from suffering re- nistry of the gospel, in whose proach for his name. The idea | heart it
David affecof appearing before the church tionately desired to build a temto relate his experience was al ple for God, but it was not promost agonizing, yet he loved God, per that he should effect it: it and much desired to be joined to was, however, good that it was his people at last resolved to in bis heart, and, in other and inform Mr. Saffery that it was more proper ways, he did what his wish to be baptized : with a he could toward the accomplishview to unite with the people of ment of the great work reserved bis charge, he actually went to for Solomon his son. the door of his habitation, and Before he was baptized, Mr. there his courage failed, and he Rowe had thought of the miniscame away without having ful- try, and his diary most amply filled his former resolutions. At testifies that he had no vain idea length, he was fully determined of his suitability for a work of that, if he could not go without such awful responsibility, and these distressing fears, he would that he never wished to be so go with them all upon him; and employed but from a desire to he was enabled to effect so good benefit sinners and to glorify
purpose, and found it, as thou- Christ. sands besides have, much less About October, 1795, he indifficult than he had imagined. troduces this important subject, He was truly humbled on account and his words are
My mind of his sins, gratefully admired the has been of late much directed
to the ministry: methinks if the to study God's word more earblessed God should count me nestly.” After a proper trial of worthy of so honourable an of- his gifts, the church at Salisbury fice, I should think nothing too agreed to employ him, in condear to resign for Jesus.” And, nection with some other brein another place, “ I am almost thren, more regularly, as a village incessantly thinking about the preacher; and, at length, they ministry, and have spread the thought proper to give him, what matter before the Lord, entreat- he styles, a formal call to the ing, if it be not the workings of ministry; and to determine that his Spirit, but the vain conceit he should, if it could be effected, of my corrupt heart, I may be go to the Academy at Bristol the delivered from the error.” Many first vacation that occurred. In of his friends perceived his ta- prospect of this he was deeply lents, and connected as they interested, as his recorded prayer were with considerable piety and evinces : “ Preserve, O God! my humility, regarded it as a sacred soul,as a chaste virgin espoused duty to encourage his views to Christ; and, while my mind is toward the Christian ministry. likely, by these things, to reap Having communicated to his pas. advantage, 0 ! let not my heart tor the sentiments of his mind, grow cold.” As the time apand the ardent desires of his proached when he was to enter heart relative to this great work, the seminary at Bristol, his resohe was encouraged to use the lution began to fail; and, if the means he could then command encouragement and pressing enfor the further improvement of treaties of his affectionate pastor his mind, and to seek direction had not produced, as he terms it, of God. The church of which a kind of involuntary consent, he he was
a member having re- would have relinquished the meaquested him to go into the vil- sure. He prepared for his jourlages in the neighbourhood of ney with many prayers, and enSarum, he ventured to make the tered the Academy January 15, attempt, to declare unto perish- 1799. In the new situation he ing sinners the unsearchable now occupied, considerable disriches of Christ. On Lord's-day, couragement was felt; which, June 10, 1798, he went to sel- however, was not, at least in the lerton ; on the evening of which same degree, permitted to conday he gratefully blessed God tinue. Under the peaceful shade for answering his prayers, and of the academic bower, we find records his goodness in having him happy in devotional exerenabled him to preach for three cises, encouraged in his useful quarters of an hour from Acts, studies, and cherishing pleasing iv. 12. This divine support and hopes of success. Here he learnt, cncouragement had the best in- in a degree never before at: fuence on his heart, as appears tained, the importance of a mind from the account he has left: “1 distinguished by penetration, and feel resolved to follow God more disposed to search after truth fully—to be diligent in the im- with the greatest diligence, from provement of my mind- to pray which he became a laborious more earnestly for the sanctifica- student, and earnestly prayed to tion of my heart-to be under God for success, while he dethe instruction of heaven-and scended, under such views, into the valley of humility. Thus, in enough for another servant of him, knowledge produced her God. Dr. Ryland and Mr. (now proper fruits ! His was not the Dr.] Steadman, to whose advice “knowledge that puffeth up;" but my departed brother was always the" charity that edifieth." disposed to pay the most re
March 19, 1801, he was en; spectful attentions, concurred gaged to go to Birmingham, to with Mr. Smith in wishing Mr. supply for some time the pulpit Rowe to go to Redruth. In the at Cannon-street. On the pre- mind of the young minister of ceding day, he spent three or the gospel, this prospect raised four hours in reading the word many and distressing fears; but, of God, in meditation, and in although he had indulged other prayer, occasioned by the pros- desires, he did not refuse compect before him, desiring to pos- pliance with the wishes of his sess gifts equal to his appoint-friends, and engaged to visit the ment, and is
wishing to be no- west with carnest supplications thing, that God might be all.” that God would deliver him from In answer to his prayer, the Lord all evil, and many prayers for was pleased to assist him in his that“ ardour, that fortitude, that labours, and he gratefully re- simplicity, that unwearied exercorded it, with the great kind- tion, which would adorn his ness of the Christian friends at office.” Birmingham, which it is so much On March 16, 1802, we find their habit to manifest to the him at Redruth : at first he ministers of Christ. At this preached in the market-house ; place, his stay was longer than and, at St. Day, about two miles he at first expected; and, before from Redruth, his sermons were it was concluded, he was some delivered in a barn. In both times not a little distressed, on places he was, at first, greatly account of his inability as a mi-encouraged, the congregations nister of the gospel. On one oc- were large and attentive, and the casion he writes thus : “O, if servant of God, now, was much my head were a fountain of tears, engaged in praying for the salI would weep day and night over vation of his hearers, and that my insufficiency for the mighty popular applause might never work of the ministry. Good satisfy him. At this period, he God! speedily ease me of my perused Brainerd's Life, and sorrow, break soon my heart or found in it“
every thing to hummy bondage--let me be released ble, and every thing to encouby death, or by faith.” At the rage.” close, however, of this engage- In May, 1802, be was much ment, the friends expressed real comforted by the arrival of Mr. friendship for him as a servant of Richard Scott, who had been a Christ; on which he writes, “ If | fellow student at Bristol, and they knew me better, they would was designed to preach at Hellove me less."
stone, and with the hope of soon In February, 1802, he was re- seeing Mr. Samuel Saunders, anquested to visit Cornwall. Opie other brother, who had studied Smith, Esq. of Bath, intended to with him at Bristol, and who was attempt raising a Baptist church expected to labour at Penzance. in the town of Redruth, in which In August, in the same year, it, field of labour there was room was determined to erect a house