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fighting against God; and sitting was the first congregation of one there with my school-fellows around who through the next forty years me, I inwardly said, O Christ, I should preach to great audiences in have been a long time fighting every part of the Old Land such as against Thee, now I submit. At few ministers have been privileged that moment it seemed as if a great to address. Said a gentleman who light suddenly shone on my dark was permitted to look over this heart, and an assurance was given maiden sermon, for it was careme that God accepted me through fully written, “ That boy will one Jesus Christ. I was so happy that day be President of the Conferwhether I walked home or floated
ence." through the air I cannot say.”
Hugh Price Hughes possessed at
the time now referred to a proRejoicing exceedingly in the pos
found and controlling connection session of his new-found joy he be
that God meant him to be a gan to tell others the story of his
preacher and wrote the following blessed change, and at once com
brief letter to his father: menced holding prayer-meetings with the boys in his bedroom. “My Dear FATHER,-I believe it is Without delay he entered upon
the will of God that I should be a Methdefinite forms of Christian work,
odist preacher. and the preaching of the Gospel be
“Your affectionate son, gan to engage his most serious
“Hugh." thoughts. He could not brook His father replied by return of delay in this matter, so one day he
post : called upon an elderly lady who
“My Dear Boy,- I would rather you lived in a cottage not far from the school and asked her if she would
be a Methodist preacher than the Lord
Chancellor of England. allow him to conduct a service in
“ Your affectionate father, her humble dwelling, and Hugh
“John Hughes." having made the necessary arrangements, began at once to beat up a Hugh's name appeared on the congregation for his first service. plan of the Swansea Circuit when At length the eventful hour arrived, he was only fourteen years of age. and the boy in Eton coat and collar, Step by step this boy of wonderful looking less than his fourteen years promise found his way to the full by reason of his short stature, took work of the ministry, and many his stand on the cottage floor before were the predictions uttered as to a table spread with a white cloth the great career opening up before and illuminated by two tallow him. His trial sermon, his “ July candles.
. Seated on rickety chairs examinations,” his years of prein front of him were some six or paration for the ministry, all furseven old people, amongst them be- nished assuring evidences that a ing a wooden-legged old sailor, a man of rare and varied powers was person who suffered from rheuma- making his advent in British Methtism and groaned at every turn, the odism. Immense crowds assembled widow-proprietress and a few to listen to this rising preacher and small boys. The juvenile preacher reformer. Dover, Brighton, Lontook for his text, “ This is a faith- don, and Oxford were centres which ful saying, and worthy of all accep- afforded Mr. Hughes ample opportation, that Jesus Christ came into tunities for his marvellous gifts. the world to save sinners.” Such and great were the victories which
the Divine Master enabled His scribes his speech as one of mardevoted servant to win. Progress, vellous and manifold power dereform, immense revivals and gen- livered in an accent of conviction eral uplift of the social and moral that made it irresistible." tone of the places blessed by his When he spoke of the debt as consecrated toil, followed in swift having assisted materially in killing succession.
Dr. Punshon, and stated as a literal The whole Church began to feel fact that for months before his the commanding influence of this death he used to bedew his pillow man from the little Welsh princi- with tears at the thought of that pality. Here was at last a man of debt, the effect was thrilling and scholarly attainments, of profound overpowering. So deeply had this passionate convictions, aflame with man of power impressed his audevangelistic zeal, grandly gifted as ience, that before the close of that an organizer, a very prophet with anniversary the forty thousand a distinct message and mission not dollars was raised and the appalling only to his circuit, but to Methodism, to the nation, and to British Christianity. By his sane enthusiasm, his magnificent audacity, his consuming devotion to God and to manhood, his unswerving loyalty to evangelical teaching, his broad catholicity of spirit, he succeeded in lifting the Methodism of England out of its ruts and grooves and giving it an inspiration for service and adaptation for which multitudes thank God to-day. Under the blessing of God, to a large extent he rescued the Methodism of the Mother Land from the humiliations and grief of a most lamentable shrinkage, and initiated movements which have secured a
ST. JAMES' HALL, LONDON. most assuring rehabilitation of the forces which alone can bring en- mountain of debt was gone. No larging usefulness, confident expec- wonder that the report of this tation, and soul-inspiring victory. meeting was translated into nearly The Missionary Apostle.
every language in which Wesleyan
missionaries preach (some twentyWho can forget that memorable five in number), and that the story scene at the Mission Breakfast of this blessed deliverance has gone Meeting in Exeter Hall, April 29th, out into all parts of the world. 1882, when Price Hughes pleaded
Being requested on one occasion for the extinction of the embarrass- to state how much he had collected ing missionary debt of forty thou- for his own Church in various ways, sand dollars ? Little did the offi- after a careful calculation he found cials of the Society dream of the re- that it was considerably over one sults when they invited the popular million and a quarter of dollars. Oxford preacher to speak and
The West London Mission. preach at their anniversary of that year. The Methodist Recorder de- In no field occupied by the great
London preacher has he exercised So commanding an influence, and accomplished such gratifying results as during his sixteen years of service in this centre of London's tumultuous life. St. James' Hall, where this mission is located, is the most advantageously situated public building in this Queen City of the world. The activities of the West London Mission are wholly outside the walls of church or chapel. Here have been built up immense congregations in a section where Methodism was unrepresented, thousands have been added to the membership of the Church, a comprehensive network of allied mission halls and churches has been organized, and the Forward Movement in British Methodism initiated and demonstrated in the most wonderful form.
The afternoon conferences have always been a special feature and distinct attraction of the services in this great mission centre. At first they met with no little unfriendly criticism from many who had become so rigid and fossilized that they found it impossible to adapt their teaching to the changing circumstances of modern society. Great questions were pressing upon the mind and soul of this prince of preachers. Must the Church of God adopt a policy of silence on the Sabbath day on matters that were eating at the very vitals of the nation, paralysing the Churches, and with satanic daring and maliciousness ruining vast multitudes for both worlds? Regular or irregular, it did not hinder this man of apostolic fervour and ambition. In fact, he believed in the irregularity of apostolic work and was convinced that he belonged to a Church of irregularities. To have Methodism stand confessed in any form before the world as a stupendous failure, incapable of social and religious aptitude and power, was to Hugh Price Hughes
too painful and insufferable a position for a Church possessing such a history. Is it too much to affirm .that in one way or another he solved the problem of years and has demonstrated that Methodism can take its place in the van of the Militant Church, conspicuous alike for its flexibility, fervour, force and aggressiveness?
Free Church Federation. Few men in the Nonconformist Churches in England have taken a more active part in the federation of the Evangelical Churches of the Old Land than the subject of this sketch. Both by voice and pen he has made most valuable contributions to what is now the most powerfully organized bulwark of Protestant Christianity in Britain -the Congress or Federation of the Free Churches of England. As President of the National Council and
as one of the members appointed to formulate the New Catechism, representing the positive and fundamental doctrinal convictions of all Evangelical Churches, Mr. Hughes was recognized on every hand as a most important factor both in directing and controlling these new agencies, now accomplishing so much for the unity and success of the Evangelical Church.
If space permitted we should have noted at some length his seventeen years' editorship of the Methodist Times, a journal of the first rank and most powerful force in all social and moral reforms. His election as President of the Wesleyan Conference in Hull, 1898, was a foregone conclusion. Out of 505 votes Mr. Hughes received no
no fewer than 369. The year of his Presidency was a most fruitful one. The whole Connexion was, by the district conventions held in all the important centres of England, lifted into a richer atmosphere of spiritual life
and service, the results of which a complete and permanent recovery, remain to this day. In summing It was a great joy to himself and up the various elements of power the whole Church when he an
this consecrated personality nounced last Conference his willwho for over thirty years has ingness to resume his beloved work been to the front as a vigor- at the London Mission. Years of ous preacher,
active re- continued usefulness appeared to former, and an aggressive leader be assured, and the need of such in all the religious and social a man from many standpoints never movements connected with British seemed greater than to-day, but Vonconformity; as one has justly suddenly the news flashed over the said, “ It is doubtful whether since cable that Hugh Price Hughes is the days of Wesley himself any dead, and the best known Methother man has united in his own odist minister in the world, and the person so many of the character- most influential man in British istics of that great leader, or so Methodism has ceased at once to impressed himself upon his con
work and live. Without any exagtemporaries in the Church and out- geration it may be said that a side. An Oxford graduate, broad prince and a great man in Israel and generous in his sympathies, has fallen. From the human standwith all good learning; an earnest point, his removal just in his prime, and successful evangelist, a bril- and with great questions and liant and fearless writer, awake to schemes calling for his assistance, the tremendous power of printers' appears a calamity to both Church ink and eager to use it to the ut- and Nation. most; an editor of a journal recog
When Hugh Price Hughes passed nized everywhere for its forceful- to his rest and reward, November ness and sanctified audacity; a 17th, 1902, the news came to tens keen debater from his youth, a of thousands on both sides of the leader in Conference business, and Atlantic with all the shock and a promoter of measures for more grief of a personal bereavement. efficient lay representation and for A gap has been created, a wide, organic union among the separated wide vacancy opens
before the sister Methodisms of the Old Land: Church he loved and served so a public man keenly interested in well, and for the moment, sadness all great moral, social, and religious and dismay may take possession of questions, and championing every the public mind, but other leaders cause that he believed to have are in training and will be ready Christ in it,—all this, and more than when the demand and occasion call this, was Hugh Price Hughes." them forth. God buries His work
men but carries on His work. Failing Health and End.
Amid all the pain and mystery of About two years ago a serious this unexpected bereavement, we break-down occurred in the life of cannot but feel profoundly thankthis distinguished leader of men, ful for the work accomplished by and special treatment, rest, and this one life, and though the voice change were imperative necessities. and pen of this master in Israel are After some months of retirement now silent, he will still speak the old energy and vitality began through his great and lasting to return and everything indicated memorials for years to come.
“ All yesterday is gone ;
To-morrow's not our own.