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sinful maxims and amusements of the world, and was especially fond of playing at cards.
“I had an elder brother, who was married, and settled at Bolton. He wished me to go and live with him there. Accordingly, having obtained my father's consent, I came to Bolton in March, 1789; and as I had now no companions in sin, and my brother attended the Methodist chapel and Sunday-school, I accompanied him to both. I was fond of singing. I therefore joined the choir. In this way, I was brought under the ministry of the word, and by degrees came to see myself a sinner, and to feel the necessity of being changed by the grace of God. While in this state, I have sometimes thought this too great a fondness for singing was an hinderance to me. However, I began to meet in class ; and on the 20th of May following 1789, good old Mr. Hopper gave me a note on trial; and from that time, I met regularly, though I continued mourning for sin until the June but one following, 1790. I also began to meet in band with four young men. On the 13th of June, which was the Sabbath, I was in great distress at my band-meeting. I continued so all that night ; and on the Monday, June 14th, 1790, whilst I was busy at my work in the afternoon, the Lord in a moment delivered my soul from guilt and condemnation, and filled me with peace and joy. I arose quite amazed at his goodness, went into my closet, and prayed that if the work was real, he would fully satisfy me; and the more I prayed, the more satisfied I was. I was very much afraid of being deceived; for previously to this time, I had often experienced foretastes of this happiness, but they had not been lasting.
“I particularly remember, that after I had one night been at a prayer-meeting, where my mind had been much affected, I went into the fields with the resolution not to return until I had obtained my heart's desire. I continued to wrestle with God in prayer upwards of an hour, although the night was dark and wet ; and whilst I was in this situation, a sudden temptation seized me. I thought I was surrounded by evil spirits ; I gave way to fear, ceased praying, and returned home. But I had now obtained the blessing I desired, and which I had long sought; and having obtained it, I felt very wishful that my father, my brothers and sisters, should receive the same. That afternoon, whilst at tea, I toid my father and step-mother what the Lord had done for my soul. They were quite astonished ; and it is impossible to tell what I felt of the goodness of God while I was speaking to them on the subject. I should have said that I was at that time living at my father's house, having left my brother when I had resided with him about six months, and had returned to Oldham.
“ The desire I felt for the salvation of my relations, caused me, with my father's permission, to pray with the family, though I was then only about nineteen years of age. I also obtained his consent that a prayer-meeting might be held in the house on Sunday evenings. But this gave great offence to many of his friends. He was a singer at the parish church, and his associates were strongly opposed to Methodism. One individual carried his enmity so far, as to enter the house, kneel down, and invoke a heavy curse upon my father, for allowing the meeting to be held. He was intoxicated at the time, or surely he would not have acted so wickedly! During the remainder of my residence at my father's, I enjoyed much of the divine presence. I spent my leisure moments during the day, in my closet, in reading, prayer, and meditation ; and my evenings, in hearing the word of God, attending the class and prayer-meetings, and visiting the sick. My Bible was my delight. Between two and three years I attended a prayer-meeting, which was held in the chapel, at five o'clock every morning. I do not recollect being absent once during that time. Whilst I remained unmarried, I regularly collected together a number of boys and girls from the neighbourhood at noon-tide, and taught them reading and the Church Catechism, giving them, likewise, some instruction in the principles of Christianity, and always concluding with prayer.
“In the beginning of the year 1792, thinking of marriage, I prayed earnestly for guidance and direction ; and I have good reason to believe that my prayer was answered. On the 15th of May, in that year, I was married to her who is now my beloved partner. The venerable Wesleyan Minister, the Rev. Mr. Hanby, together with his wife, took tea with us, and besought the divine blessing on our union.
"A few weeks after our marriage, we took a house ; and trade being good, our circumstances for several months were very comfortable, and we were enabled to purchase many useful articles of household furniture ; but, in the beginning of 1793, war having broken out with France, the communication between the two countries was suspended, and, consequently, trade became much depressed, and I was thrown out of work. On the 22d of March, this year, my wife was delivered of her first child. She was brought very low, so that it was three months before she recovered. What we suffered this year could not be easily described. I travelled scores of miles in search of work, so that my feet were so blistered that I could scarcely bear to set one foot down before another. I have alrcady mentioned that I had an elder brother living at Bolton, with whom I had formerly resided. He encouraged me to go there again, and to take my family with me; which I did, in March, 1794. After this, affairs were somewhat more comfortable with us, though we were not without trials. In 1796, I was appointed a Class-Leader by Mr. Rhodes, who intrusted me with the class which had been under the care of Mr. Peter Haslam, who this year entered the ministry. I found this to lie with great weight upon my mind. Mr. Kilham was at that time agitating the society; and I knew that I was not the choice of some of the members of the class, who were favourable to him. The year following the division took place ; and those who agreed with Mr. Kilham left us; but the number we lost was more than made up in a very short time. Several of the Leaders seceded, and I had another small class intrusted to me, in Little Bolton, which I met for about ten years. I then divided the two classes into three. That in Little Bolton was confided to the care of my worthy friend, Mr. Thomas Greenhalgh. The remaining
two I still retained. At various times, it was impressed upon my mind, that I should speak in public; but being conscious of my own ignorance and weakness, I did not name it to any person, until some of my friends spoke to me on the subject. Some time after, I was requested by one of our Local brethren to accompany him on the following Sunday to a country place which was then on the Preachers' Plan ; telling me, at the same time, that I might be guided by my feelings as to whether I made the attempt or not. Upon our arrival, to satisfy my friend, I did make the attempt, but was very much discouraged. This was in August, 1798; and it was not until November, 1799, that I could be prevailed upon again to address a congregation. I then had more liberty. From that time, I continued the same course, and was admitted on the Plan the quarter but one following.
“I have felt it to be an important undertaking; and sometimes my mind has been cast down; at other times I have been very much blessed, while dispensing the word of life. I hope I have not altogether laboured in vain. I desire to be more useful, and to be more devoted to God. I have now been a member of the society twenty-seven years and upwards; and though I have not wickedly departed from my God, so as to bring any reproach upon his cause, still I am sensible of much weakness and infirmity, and of many imperfections. I still see it to be both my duty and interest to wait upon God as I have opportunity, in all the means of grace, whether public or private ; and I can truly say, that I never once wilfully or carelessly absented myself from my class since I joined the society.”
Thus far Mr. Taylor had written in July, 1816. He did not resume his pen for the same purpose for some years. The following statements, however, have been found among his papers :
“ July 27th, 1832.—It is now rather more than sixteen years since writing the above. During that time, my trials and difficulties have been varied, and my mercies innumerable. I see much cause for humiliation before God; yet his fatherly care over me calls for unbounded thankfulness. I find my religious principles still unshaken. I have no other foundation for my hope but the blood of the everlasting covenant ; and I can still claim God as my reconciled Father, through Christ. May I drink deeper into the spirit of holiness!
“August 31st.–Since writing last, I have had painful exercises of mind, and powerful temptations ; but I believe they have driven me nearer to God. I want a more copious baptism of the Spirit. I feel a longing desire for the salvation of all my children; and for this I daily pray. My experience may be thus expressed :
I the chief of singers am,
But Jesus died for me.' “ March 5th, 1833.—The last month has been a very trying one to me. My wife has had a serious illness, and was not expected to recover. This caused me great sorrow; yet I hope I have been enabled to bear it as a Christian. I am thankful that she is now likely to recover. I trust we shall be enabled to spend the residue of our days to the glory of God.
“ January 8th, 1837.--I have this morning been reviewing my experience, from the commencement of my Christian course to the present time; and I feel truly thankful that my principles are still unshaken ; and, though I have sometimes doubts and fears, yet I hope, through divine grace, to be at last more than conqueror. I feel a strong desire that all my children may find redemption in the blood of Christ.
“ June 27th, 1838.—Since I last wrote, I have passed through great trouble. My wife has again been severely afflicted ; but I am thankful that she is still spared to me. My son William, after long and heavy affliction, died on the 25th. This is a painful dispensation; but I trust I shall be enabled to bear it. When I think that my son has entered the world where sickness and death are no more, I am comforted, and resolved still to pursue my heavenward way.
“ June 14th, 1841.-It is fifty years this afternoon since God in his mercy spoke peace to my soul. I still feel that I love God and his cause, and that I am as strongly attached as ever to the doctrines and discipline of the Christian body to which I belong. I have had various trials and conflicts; but I am thankful that I have yet a name and place among the people of God. I deeply feel my unworthiness, and my many imperfections ; but I thank God that I can conscientiously say, that I have not wickedly departed from him.
“March 28th, 1842.-I have indeed experienced a heavy bereavement. My dear wife died last Friday morning. Fifty years have we been united, and I found it hard work to be resigned to lose her. But whilst I was praying silently in the room, I found power fully to surrender her to God. I could not help praying aloud, and saying, • Lord, thou gavest her to me, and into thy hands I have resigned her. She is thine, and I know that thou wilt take care of thine own.'
“ January 3d, 1845.—I have been spared to enter upon another year. Many blessings have I received from my God, for which I feel truly thankful. I have had many trials; but I feel as much as ever resolved to devote myself to God. I want a richer baptism of the Holy Spirit. I feel very much my responsibility as a Class-Leader. I earnestly desire that every member may be found of God in peace, and I trust I endeavour to aid and encourage them in giving all diligence that so it may be.”
In the following August, Mr. Taylor, though unwell, was anxious to visit a Christian friend who was near death ; and the length of the walk appears to have been injurious to him. On his return, he was much exhausted ; and from that time appeared gradually to sink. In the early season of his affliction, one of his long-tried Christian friends, Mr. Knowles, called to see him ; and, conversing with him on the state of his mind, he requested a member of his family to find the hymn,
“ Now I have found the ground wherein
Sure my soul's anchor may remain," &c.
During his illness he was not able to say much; but on several occasions he expressed his strong confidence in God. When in health he had always been remarkably punctual in family prayer; and, in the season of affliction, while it was possible, he continued that blessed practice. When sitting in his chair, being unable to kneel, or even when in bed, and his voice extremely feeble, his broken ejaculations, sometimes almost in a whisper, were offered up to God for his family.
On the 14th of October it was evident that he was very near the close of life. In the evening he called for the members of his family, and recognised them as they approached the bedside, but was only able to speak to them in broken sentences. An old and valued friend, Mr. Musgrave, was sent for to be with him in his final hour; and as he approached the side of the bed, the dying Christian stretched out his hand to take his last farewell. When Mr. Musgrave inquired if he felt his confidence in God unshaken, he at once replied, “ To be sure I do : He never forsakes those who put their trust in Him.” On the morning following, about five o'clock, without a struggle, his happy spirit left the tenement of clay.
For upwards of fifty-six years he had been a member of the Methodist society, and during the whole of that period had lived as a truly consistent Christian. He was highly esteemed by all with whom he was acquainted : even those who made no particular profession of religion willingly allowed that he was a good man.
In private life he walked before his family in the fear of God, breathing the spirit of piety. He was regular, frugal, and temperate in all his habits, and kind, affectionate, and mild in his disposition. He was not only for many years a Class-Leader and Local Preacher, but, at different times, held various offices in the church with which he was connected. He took a lively interest in the spiritual and temporal affairs of the society. During the period of his connexion with it, several divisions occurred; but he stood firm in his attachment to what he believed to be the cause of the Redeemer, and meddled not with those who were given to change.
It pleased the Lord to prosper him in business, so that for a few years before the close of life he committed his temporal concerns into ihe hands of his sons. But, as he had less to do with commercial concerns, he had one class after another committed to his care, till for some time he regularly met four classes weekly. And he cared for the members; visiting the afflicted, and carefully watching over them all. Even when walking along the road, he would occasionally, in a kind and affectionate manner, address a few words to those whom he might meet, reminding them of the important concerns of eternity, and the necessity of attending to them.
A pleasing proof of his firmness and consistency has been given by a person who was a frequent witness of his Christian deportment. Having often to attend the cotton-market at Manchester, he was in the habit of taking some provision with him. At the dinner-hour he went to a room in the neighbourhood, to which a number of tradesmen used to resort for a similar purpose, and where, therefore, the assemblage would be quite promiscuous. Mr. Taylor would quietly unfold