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or honour, but from a wish to promote the glory of God and the salvation of men. Being encouraged to give a public address by some christian friends, after many struggles of mind, I consented, and gave my first public discourse on Sabbath evening, in July, 1798, from Matt. xi. 28. And meeting with encouragement, much beyond my expectations, I was soon requested to speak again, which I did from Luke xix. 10. A minister in the neighbourhood being present, I was invited to supply his pulpit; and for some time afterwards I was called occasionally to assist ministers and to supply vacant pulpits in the neighbourhood, nor did I labour in vain in the work of the Lord.”
In the year 1800, the providence of God removed our friend to Warrington, in Lancashire, where he attended the ministry of the late Rev. J. Sowdon. About this time the late Robert Spear, Esq. had instituted a seminary at Manchester, at his own expense, for the purpose of educating a limited number of pions men for the christian ministry, and placed them under the tuition of the late Rev. Wm. Roby.* To this institution Mr. Jackson was introduced, in 1803, by the recommendation of Mr. Sowden and some christian friends. Here he pursued his studies with great diligence and success, and occupied his Sabbath in preaching the Gospel in the neighbouring village and towns. During his studies he was frequently sent to Wharton, a village about eleven miles from Manchester, where his services were very acceptable. And he writes concerning this place—“At the close of my course I received a unanimous call to take the oversight of them as their pastor. As the place presented to me a prospect of usefulness, I complied with the invitation. This I did, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind."" Never was there a passage of Scripture quoted more appropriately, or in a case more applicable than in that of Mr. Jackson's. He laboured much, and with great discouragement in this place for fourteen years, with the average stipend of £32 per annum; and had he not obtained aid from the County Union, and some other charitable funds, he, with a wife and three children, could not have existed. The writer had the unspeakable happiness of being on terms of intimacy with him for nearly thirty years. He never heard him once complain in all his difficulties, but frequently has heard him reply to expressions of sympathy, “ The Lord will provide; he has given his Son for us; and, with him, he will freely give us all things.” On one occasion, when he came to spend a day with the writer, and to preach in the evening, his friend remarked to Mr. Jackson, “your shoes are not fit for a journey of four miles !" he meekly replied, that he had it
* The number of young men educated for the christian ministry, by the Rev. W. Roby, was eighteen, who have filled, or who are filling important stations in the christian church. Some of these were married men, whose families were supported, in part, by the liberality of the late Robert Spear, of Mill Bank, Esq. The course of education was as follows : English Grammar, English Composition, History, Geography, Astronomy, with the use of the Globes, Electricity and Mathematics, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and
not in his power to purchase better. One of his hearers, the same evening, requested the writer to present a one pound note to Mr. Jackson, without a name. The good man, on receiving it, burst into tears, and said that he had seen the gentleman presenting the money in a dream the night before, and considered it a gift from the Lord. Mr. Jackson was no enthusiast, but a man of sound judgment, yet a quick observer of the dispensations of Divine Providence, in their varied and minutest forms. In this timely supply the biographer records a fact, and leaves his readers to make what use of it they think proper.
While he remained' at Wharton, his labours were abundant. When he entered upon his work in this place, the church was nearly extinct; but, through his exertions, three galleries and a Sundayschool were erected. In his itinerant labours he assisted in raising three or four new churches. After preaching twice in his own chapel, he frequently went from four to six miles to testify the Gospel in widely-scattered villages and hamlets, and returned home the same evening in all varieties of the weather with great exhaustion of strength, but not of zeal for Christ, or of love to the souls of men.
The Independent Church of Christ, at Bamford, near Rochdale, in Lancashire, having been deprived of the pastoral labours of the Rev. J. Grey, invited Mr. Jackson to supply the vacant pulpit, in 1819. After several visits, Mr. Jackson received from the Church, at Bamford, a kind and pressing call to take the oversight of them in the Lord. There were some practices existing in the congregation at Bamford, which he thought could not be sanctioned by the word of God, and, therefore, he felt it his duty at once to protest against them, and to seek a reformation of abuses before he would consent to take the pastoral office. His own letter to the people will best explain what he wished to be removed.
“ Wharton, July, 1819. “ Dear Friends,—After having besought the Lord, by earnest prayer, for divine direction, I have concluded to address a line to the church and congregation assembling at Bamford. I have powerfully felt the affectionate regard you have manifested towards me. I am fully satisfied with your liberal and kind offer as to salary. But if I saw it my duty to leave my little flock, which I have not yet done, there are some other considerations, which I must mention, before I could accept your kind proposal.
“ First, I must have the liberty to preach the whole word of God, according to the best of my light and knowledge, both as to the doctrines and precepts of the word of God, without concealing any doctrine, or softening any precept, for fear of giving offence, or being charged with personal reflection. And no dependence upon any individuals must cramp me in the faithful discharge of my ministerial duties.
“ Secondly, as the Sunday-school is a nursery for the church of God, and the blessing of God alone can make that nursery fruitful, I consider it a matter of deep importance, that nothing be allowed, in conducting that school, contrary to the purity of the Gospel; I therefore think the teaching of writing on the Sabbath day a breach of the holy day, because the act of writing is an accomplishment, a preparation for worldly business, and a means of acquiring worldly gain. To me it appears almost as inconsistent as learning a trade on the Sabbath; I could not, therefore, sanction the practice, nor pray for a blessing to rest upon it.
“ Thirdly, I cannot approve of the manner in which some of the Sunday-schools conduct their anniversaries. Though I have no objection to some instruments, to aid the children in singing upon those occasions, yet I think the children's voices should be the principal music, and nothing should be sung but plain hymns, and not those pieces which render a place of worship more like a playhouse than a house of God. If we do evil that good may come, we know the awful sentence. However trifling these things appear to some persons, if we yield against the convictions of our consciences to things which we judge to be sinful, it would be likely to draw down upon us the displeasure of our Lord. If any accursed thing remain in the camp, Israel cannot stand before the enemy.
" It is necessary for a minister and his people to be united in their views, for the promotion of peace and prosperity. For it was only when the disciples were of one accord and of one mind, that the Lord added unto the church daily. If our opinions do not harmonize, our union will neither be happy nor permanent. But if you are willing that I should be your pastor, under the conviction that my sentiments are agreeable to the New Testament, you will inform me upon the subject; but if you think differently, let all thoughts of a union be given up, and let us part in peace and love.
o I am, dear Friends,
“ Thomas JACKSON.”
Mr. Jackson received a satisfactory reply to the above letter, which terminated in his settlement at Bamford. The church then consisted of only 33 members, and the congregation was in a low state; but here the good man laboured with great diligence and perseverance, and with considerable success. As roots of bitterness troubled him at Wharton, so he was not without similar trials at Bamford. In little more than two years, much dissatisfaction was expressed concerning his preaching. There were certain who could not imagine that the Gospel could be preached, if the precepts and commands of Christ were interspersed with the illustration of those doctrines which delivered the believer from condemnation, and infallihly secured his eternal salvation. This class of professors of religion are always contending, that the inward principle of holiness is sufficient to secure their obedience without any written law, forgetting that such a declaration involves in itself a contradiction. How can the principle of holiness be ascertained, without an appeal to a revealed and written law ? and how can any thing be the rule and the principle at the same time?" Such men,” as the Rev. Robert Hall correctly remarked, “ take only a profile view of the Gospel.” Mr. Jay says of them, “ In hearing all is fastidiousness, appetite has given place to lusting. They go to the house of God, not for wholesome food, but for something to elevate and intoxicate. The preacher is nothing, unless he can make them drink and forget their duty, and remember their danger no more. Their state is not a condition to be submitted to any process of trial. As those enemies to christian comfort would have it, who admonish persons to examine themselves, whether they be in the faith; and to prove their ownselves; and to give all diligence to make their calling and election sure. Their peace requires that all this should be taken for granted; while every thing is to be cried down as unbelief, that would dare to lead them for an instant to question their security, or to keep them from being at ease in Zion.” The church at Bamford, in union with their highly esteemed pastor, thought it necessary to exercise discipline over several of these disorderly members, and they were separated from their communion. Our friend had much to struggle with, but by an exhibition of the whole truth of God, united with a holy life, he at length silenced the gainsayers.
After this period there was a revival in the Sunday school. Lectures on announced subjects were delivered, and proved useful. In 1828, a public missionary meeting took place, a new gallery was opened, and the collections gradually increased till the close of his life; the church also were now sixty-three members, and enjoyed much spiritual prosperity and peace.
Mr. Jackson laboured thirty years in the ministry; and during that period of time he was not confined three Sabbaths from his public duties through sickness.
This faithful servant of Christ was at length carried, in a few days illness, to his rest: his disease was inflammation of the bowels. As his life was devoted to the honour and service of God, so his end was peaceful and resigned. When some of his friends alluded to the severity of his affliction, he said, “ It is all well, it is all in mercy, I am in God's hands. He does all things well;" to several others he observed, “What poor creatures we are, crushed before the moth!” When labouring under great thirst, some kind friend gave him some water, to whom he exclaimed, “Oh, I want the water of life !" To his son, who requested to know the state of his mind, he said, “I am living by faith on the Son of God.” And to one of his deacons, who expressed a wish for his recovery, he replied, “ If my Master has any more work for me to do, he will restore me; but I have no new doctrine to preach.” To some young persons who came to see him, he remarked, “ Here you see the necessity of preparing for sickness while in health.” About two hours before his death, being raised in the bed, he said, “ This has been a merciful time, it is all mercy;" and he proceeded
“ There's mercy in every place,
And mercy-encouraging thought,
And reconciles man to his lot." He was informed that a number of his people were meeting to pray for him; he said, “ It was very well;" and added, " the strongest of all stand in need of the prayers of the weakest.” To
some ladies, who went to sympathize with him, he said, “ I have no sting of conscience; I feel the peace of God that passeth all understanding." He observed to them, “ We should be poor, helpless creatures if we had not the help of each other; but the religion of Jesus is a religion of sympathy and love." After a little more suffering, with a soul longing for the coming of his Lord, he fell asleep in Jesus, May 16th, 1837, at two o'clock, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. His funeral was attended by the congregational ministers in the neighbourhood; and two highly respectable clergymen of the Church of England, testified their high opinion of the deceased, by joining with his brethren in conveying his remains to their long home. The Rev. William Jones, of Bolton, preached his funeral sermon to a numerous and weeping congregation, from Job v. 26.
Mr. Jackson was rather above the middle size, of a strong and healthy constitution. His health had been almost uninterrupted during a laborious ministry of thirty years. Through this period he was only one Sabbath confined to his bed, which was only two days before he died.
His natural disposition was amiable and lovely. He was full of human kindness and charity, not easily provoked, and very slow of resentment. He was very backward to believe an evil report concerning a brother, and always enlarged upon his excellencies, to check the influence of prejudice against him. He was an affectionate husband and kind parent. He was a strict disciplinarian in his family; while he gave instruction, he never withheld correction when necessary; he would be obeyed, feeling convinced, that if he could not rule his own house, he was not qualified to govern the church of God.
As a preacher, though he never kept back the doctrines of the Gospel, nor concealed its precepts, he enlarged much upon the fruits of experimental and practical religion. He was a good casuist, and being deeply acquainted with the evils of his own heart, he detected and exposed the evils which existed in the hearts of others.
He was a hard student, and a searching preacher. Those who attended long upon his ministry, would either be led to renounce sin, or be hardened through its deceitfulness: the applications of his sermons were appropriate, affectionate, and convincing; every hearer felt that he was in earnest.
Mr. Jackson had made considerable attainments in learning and biblical knowledge, but no man made less pretensions. On one occasion, however, he was roused by an intended insult, to show that a nonconformist minister was not so illiterate, as his neighbour, a young clergyman, supposed him to be. He was lately arrived from Oxford, and had a curacy in the neighbourhood where Mr. Jackson resided. The young curate, perhaps supposing that Mr. Jackson did not possess such a work as Cicero's Orations, sent to him to request the loan of them, conveying his request by a note written in Latin. Mr. Jackson, on reading the note, which he could with ease, told the servant that he had the book, and would send it to his master in a little time. The humble pastor wrote