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worthies of the olden time, that the names of Francis Asbury, and others of the same school, were familiar with him as household words.
For many years the public services of religion had been conducted in the bouse, as well as the Preachers entertained there. But the congregation at length became too large to be comfortably accommodated in the room in which they usually met. A more commodious place of worship had become necessary; and Mr. Slater prayed earnestly that a way might be opened for the supply of their need. One morning, whilst engaged in the usual family devotions, it was strongly impressed on his mind that he should himself, chiefly at his own expense, build a house for the Lord. The task at first appeared beyond his power; but the more he thought upon it, the stronger the impression became; and he was at length led to say, that if at the next prayer-meeting some decisive token for good were vouchsafed, he would not shrink from the undertaking. At that meeting, one of the inmates of his own house was awakened and converted. He felt that God had heard him, and that the sincerity of his resolution was now tested. He did not delay; and in the year 1816 a chapel was erected at his expense, which he has secured to the Wesleyan Connexion ; and respecting that retired village sanctuary will it have to be said, when “the Lord cometh,” and “writeth up the people," that “this and that man was born there” for the life of grace on earth, and of glory in heaven.
When the first Missionary Meeting was held in this chapel, Mr. Slater, sen., was living, though weighed down with the infirmities of more than eighty years. It was felt to be due to his patriarchal character, that, if he were able to attend, he should be placed in the chair on so interesting an occasion. The meeting seemed to renew his strength; his recollections of the past were revived ; and when he noticed the contrast between past and present, in the fulness of his heart he exclaimed, as age after age many have exclaimed in the language of ancient Scripture, when contemplating the astonishing preservation and advancement of the Israel of the Redeemer, “ What hath God wrought !” This was the last public service in which this venerable man took any part.
In the year 1832, a Sunday-school was commenced in the chapel. In this new enterprise for the religious benefit of his neighbours, Mr. Slater took a lively interest. The school continues to flourish, and has contributed its share to the prosperity of the church. Some of the Teachers and older scholars have been brought to spiritual decision, and become members of the Wesleyan society. rejoiced to witness the enlargement in this way of the class under his care.
For some years he thus steadily proceeded in his Christian course ; his life illustrating the lines which he often joined with great pleasure in singing:
« Vessels, instruments of grace,
Pass we thus our happy days,
"Twixt the mount and multitude,
But the time at length came in which, by the mysterious appointment of Providence, he was to rest from his labours, and almost literally to “cease at once to work and live.” He naturally possessed a strong constitution, and was seldom, during his threescore years and ten, laid aside by indisposition from his customary employments. In his person he was robust, and somewhat above the ordinary size. And yet, there were some appearances which indicated the probability that a period would come when the earthly tabernacle would give way all at once, and that no interval of lingering sickness would come between apparent health and final dissolution. And so it was.
He continued in his usual health till within three days of his death. On Sunday, June 7th, 1846, he preached one of the annual sermons for the benefit of the Sunday-school at Heage, near Belper. The afternoon was intensely hot, and the windows of the chapel being open for the admission of air, he caught cold; but as he was able to attend to his customary avocations for the next three days, he took no notice of it. In the course of Thursday, however, an attack of paralysis came on, attended with slight delirium and wakefulness. Ile appeared to imagine that it was the Sabbath; and he said that when the Preacher came, he would request him to take for the text of his sermon Matt. vii. 24, &c. : “Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine," &c. And, apparently in allusion to this passage, he said several times to his friends who had called to see him, “I am on the Rock.” A second attack on Friday morning not only deprived him of speech, but of consciousness. In this state he remained till the next day, Saturday, June 13th, when he peacefully drew his last breath. He had sometimes said that if he might choose the manner of his death, he would rather be removed suddenly than, by any lingering sickness, occasion trouble to his family and friends. But this was always said in the spirit of resignation to the divine will. He looked to the religious, not to the physical, aspects of dying, only desiring that he might “die in the Lord.”
But though no opportunity of delivering a death-bed testimony to the value of religion, and the goodness and faithfulness of God, was afforded him, his friends had been much impressed, during the last weeks of his life, by the striking evidences of a rich spirituality which were observable in his conversation, and indeed in his whole behaviour. He seemed to them to be ripening for a better world.
The last time that the writer of these notices was in company with him, he mentioned a little incident which may be recorded as illustrating his own shrewdness and discrimination. His father, towards the end of his life, was not only weakened by bodily infirmity, but, in consequence, sometimes depressed in mind. Mr. Slater, jun., had been appointed to meet the class whenever his father felt unable to do it bimself. On one of these occasions, the aged disciple had been looking at his own unworthiness under the influence of this physical depression, and complained of his low state of grace, saying that he feared he had no religion left. His son saw that he wanted arousing, and said, in a half playful tone, “Well, father, if that's the case, you would sell it for a mere trifle now, would you not ?” This was enough. “Sell it !” was the reply. “No, no; I would not part with it for a thousand worlds."
On the general character of Mr. Slater, a friend who knew him well, remarks: “He was humane and generous. He had the disposition to do good; and as, by the blessing of Providence, he was not destitute of the means, the sincerity and strength of the disposition were often tested. And he was enabled to be faithful.
It was a pleasure to him to be the means of benefiting others, whether in relation to body or soul. He succoured the destitute. He sympathized with them that were in trouble. He was a kind neighbour. Dwelling among farmers, and extensively acquainted with the diseases of cattle, and the means of relieving them, his advice and assistance were freely accorded when sought for, often with much inconvenience to himself. He would travel often to a considerable distance to render assistance in this way; and what he did, was done without fee or reward, and always cheerfully.
That it may not be thought that we are attempting to describe a faultless excellence, we may add that he was exposed to the customary temptations of persons whose health is always good, and whose constitutional temperament is sanguine. There is no doubt but that if he had not received the grace of God in truth, bis frankness would often have been an overbearing self-will, and his cheerfulness and kindness mixed with outbreaks of violent temper when he was opposed. On some occasions, in the warmth of debate, a tendency to an irritable temper would become visible ; but these were only exceptions. His general conduct proved that even “the easily-besetting sin " he was enabled to "lay aside."
The writer desires to contemplate, as he hopes his readers will contemplate, these trophies of divine grace with thankful admiration. God is to be glorified in them. Religion makes the soul happy here, and conducts it to everlasting happiness hereafter. And in doing this, what an inestimable benefit it confers on society ! Men like Mr. Slater enable us to realize, in thought, the happy condition of a neighbourhood where a real and “professed subjection to the Gospel of Christ” is become general; the happy condition of the world when it shall be universal ; when all shall exhibit in their character the combination of the three scriptural features of “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.”
MEMOIR OF MRS. CATHRINE CRANSWICK,
OF AISKEW, NEAR BEDALE :
BY THE REV. W. WILSON, 4TH. Mrs. CATHRINE CRANSWICK, whose maiden name was Wilson, was born at Sinithwaite, near Wetherby, August 12th, 1762. Though deprived of a tender and valuable mother when five
she was favoured with the guardian care of a father, whose attention to the spiritual and eternal as well as the temporal welfare of his family was most exemplary. The beneficial fruits of his good example, and of his efforts to train up his children in the way they should go, were apparent, both in Cathrine and the others. From her youth her morals were correct, and her attendance on the institutions of religion regular. The examination, however, to which she subjected herself before she approached the table of the Lord, (to which she was early admitted,) satisfied her that in heart and life she was lamentably deficient. Touching the righteousness of the law, she fell far short of what was required ; and as to the righteousness of faith, she understood neither its nature nor its results. But as in the case of Cor. nelius, it was not long before she was taught the way of salvation. Her younger sister, Isabella, (of whose character and piety a sketch, by the Rev. John S. Pipe, will be found in the Wesleyan Magazine for 1808, p. 372, &c.,) being brought to a saving knowledge of the truth by the instrumentality of Methodism, declared to Cathrine what God had done for her soul. Nothing more was needed to awaken in Cathrine's breast a desire to obtain the same Gospel blessing. To Healough, therefore, she, at the earliest opportunity, with others of the family, repaired, to attend the preaching of the Methodists. The word came to her with divine power, convincing her of sin, righteousness, and judgment. So that whilst others of the family, on their way home, were speaking about the sermon, she, more disposed for solitude than society, for reflection and prayer than free and general converse, kept behind them, with a heart broken and contrite, and eyes suffused with tears of godly sorrow. For a fortnight she groaned beneath the intolerable burden of conscious guilt; when, under the word preached at Healough again, she was led to the exercise of faith in Christ, and instantly found rest to her soul. Her mourning was turned into joy, and her prayer into the adoring exclamation of the Prophet, “O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me.” The love of her renewed heart led her to seek union with those who had been the means of her conversion. To the Wesleyan society at Tockwith she at once joined herself: hereby evincing the soundness of her conversion, as well as her firmness of purpose ; as she was the first in the family who took this important step, and the distance from the place where the class met being upwards of three miles. Thither, however, she went, impelled by a sense of duty, and cheered by the fellowship of saints, until "the word of the Lord so mightily grew and prevailed,” that a society was formed at Bickerton. Soon after her conversion, she heard a sermon from the venerable Founder of Methodism, in the church at Tadcaster.* His discourse—from Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God”was peculiarly adapted to her state, and was made a lasting blessing to her soul. The public means of grace on which she had the opportunity of attending being few, she was the more diligent in the use of those which are private, and received in them those blessings by which she maintained her Christian steadfastness. At her request, the Wesleyan Ministers from York visited Bickerton; and a society was soon formed, and a service for public worship and the ministry of the word appointed to be held once every fortnight. Since that time a chapel has been erected there, and a Sabbath-school, and, at a later period, a Branch Missionary Society established in connexion with it.
The beauty of holiness she beheld in the life and joyous spirit of her devoted sister. The precise nature of the Christian blessing of “ entire sanctification” she did not clearly perceive; neither did she feel her own need of it until the year 1794 ; when under a sermon on Matt. v. 8, she was clearly convinced that a full resignation of herself to the divine will in all circumstances of life, however painful to nature, arising from that perfect love which casts out all fear that hath torment, was a state of salvation most desirable, and that it was attainable through faith in the promise and power of God. She saw that she had not attained to this blessed condition ; for whilst she had the witness in herself that Christ had loved her, and given himself for her, and that all her sins were blotted out, and that where sin had reigned, grace now reigned; she also felt that the corruption of her nature, though subdued, was not destroyed. The burden of her prayer now was, that the very God of peace would sanctify her wholly, and that her whole spirit and soul and body might be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. She knew that He who had called her thus to pray was faithful; and she therefore believed that she should not seek Him in vain.
And it was done to her according to her faith and prayer. The word of power was spoken, “ I will : be thou clean." The love that reigned in her heart filled it; and in all the simplicity and might of faith she trusted without being afraid. She experienced most fully the blessedness of the pure in heart : she saw God in his works and ways, as well as in his word. She saw him in all things ; she saw him always : and in life's adverse and trying, as well as in its prosperous and pleasing, vicissitudes, the spontaneous language of her heart was, “Good is the word of God concerning me. The will of the Lord be done !" No murmuring word was ever heard to escape her lips by those who were continually with her. Her spirit calmly and habitually reposed in the wisdom, love, and power of her redeem
* Mr. Rhodes, the Curate, read prayers ; Mr. Crossland, the Rector, was present; and Mr. Mather was in the pulpit with Mr. Wesley.