New Church Worthies
Rev. Dr. Jonathan Bayley
THE TWO SENIORS,
Father and Son. The New Church in Yorkshire
THE great and important county of York, teeming with vast numbers of a population distinguished for strength of character, shrewdness of mind, and clear common sense, has not made a progress equal to some other parts of the kingdom in the reception of New Church principles.
It may be that Methodism, which spread greatly in that county before the commencement of the New Church, and with its fiery zeal, instantaneous salvation, and undoubted increase of external piety, had moved the Yorkshire people as far as they could go for a time, and therefore only a few here and a few there could accept higher and more far-reaching principles. These things are mysteries to us, the Lord knows all about it, and overrules the progress of His Church with unerring wisdom. In Yorkshire, exciting and powerful preachers, and chiefly earnest energetic local preachers, stirred the people and drew them from sinfulness and deadness in sin, to life much nearer to God and goodness, than that they had formerly led.
Unlike Calvinism, the Methodists contended strongly for good works, though often in their excitement meetings, making so much of instantaneous conversion as to seem to make it the whole of religion instead of its being regarded only as the commencement, the enlistment of the recruit who has afterwards to be drilled to do the work of the army, and to be a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ. The theme very largely dwelt upon in their addresses was the conversion of the thief upon the cross; and the effect was that a sudden spasm of conversion, leading them to believe that the crucifixion had paid all that God required from such as believe it to be so, spread a superficial surface of religion, satisfactory to the believers for a time, but in some cases short-lived, in others, leading to sanctimoniousness, with little improvement in temper or uprightness; but in others, and indeed in a great number of others, we rejoice to say, the formation of a truly conscientious, devout, and Christian life; which under the name of sanctification, is also an important part of Methodist doctrine. The improvement in practical life from the energetic sermons of such earnest devoted men as Hicks, the village blacksmith, and Mr. William Dawson, of Barnbow, commonly called Billy Dawson, will be illustrated by the circumstance mentioned in Everett's life of the latter eloquent preacher, who was dwelling as he often did on the exposures of the Day of judgment, when fraudulent dealers would have to give an account of their wicked use of short measures. I give it from memory.
A pedlar, whose yard was two or three inches too short, and whose conscience had been troubled at former sermons, as the preacher proceeded in his vigorous appeals, cried out in the congregation, "Here it is, Billy, here it is; I'll break it up and never use it any more!" suiting the action to the word.
Largely, however, in other cases, there was, I fear, too much reason to conclude with an old gentleman, whose reply to a Methodist friend inviting him to go and hear a sermon on the thief upon the cross, was repeated to me on my first visit, to preach in Leeds about fifty years ago, "Na, na. Ye've been preaching about Thief on't cross until ye have made one half o'th' nation thieves. I must go where I can learn never to be a thief."
Whether this previous success of Methodism in Yorkshire has really been a hindrance to the diffusion of New Church truth, at least as extensively as it prevails in Lancashire, we cannot positively say, yet there have been bodies of faithful receivers, and individuals of great excellence from very early times. If the Lord should raise up real energetic preachers, real sturdy Yorkshiremen, we cannot but think the fields are white for the harvest. Let us pray that the Lord may send forth more true labourers into His harvest. The first society in Yorkshire was Keighley, and representatives from Keighley appeared at the earliest conferences. The first preacher was Wright, then Enoch, and afterwards Michael Pickles.
Probably the very first who became interested in Keighley was Mr. William Illingworth, who had married a sister of Mr. Hindmarsh, and was an earnest New Churchman in 1789.
There was an interesting account of him in the Intellectual Repository, by Mr. Hindmarsh, on his death, in 1814.
He had been a Methodist, but became a New Churchman, and continued a steady reader of the writings, especially the Arcana, and a devout Christian in life for twenty-five years.
Mr. Illingworth was the first man in Yorkshire to introduce Sunday Schools, and while his health permitted, he was a most active and zealous supporter of that noble institution.
From his diary, amongst many other excellent things, Mr. Hindmarsh quotes the following:—
"I hereby solemnly declare, that notwithstanding I had been among the people called Methodists for upwards of twenty years, and then loved the Word of the Lord, yet I knew little of its heavenly virtue and saving power, until after impartially reading the writings of that illuminated author Emanuel Swedenborg, wherein the Lord and His Word are set forth in such light, as is vastly superior to anything I have ever seen, and I now begin to think far beyond what the world hath ever before known.
"Written by me, W. I. Keighley, Feb. 1, 1798, after about ten years perusal of said writings."
Again, in 1811, he observes, "I have now for upwards of twenty years had delight in reading the writings of E. S., particularly the Arcana Celestia, most of which I have read three times over, and some parts three times three in private or alone, besides reading them on many occasions in public.
"In all my reading of these heavenly works I have found nothing to find fault with; but the more I read, the more I admired; and I am fully convinced, that besides the revelation of the internal opening of the Word, they must all be written under the Divine auspices. I consider them the next in use to the Holy Word itself, they being the only true correspondent explanation of the Word, given by revelation from the Lord, and the only key given to open, unlock, and enter into its inmost contents; while at the same time I consider the Holy Word the grand connecter of heaven and earth, the Divine within the Church, and the Lord Himself dwelling with men. To interrogate the Lord is to interrogate His Word; and to live as it directs, is the same as to attend to His speaking to us. Hence He says 'I in you and you in Me. He that keepeth My commandments, he it is that loveth Me.'"
From this excellent man, estimable and spiritually-minded in his life and in his death, others were drawn to the truth and the Keighley Society commenced, and has continued to the present day.
Not much later, however, there was a sprinkling of New Church receivers in various parts of the country: Mr. Dean, of Addingham; Mr. Storry, the father of the Rev. R. Storry, at Pickering; a few at Hull; one or two at Barnsley, and a few other places; and Mr. Senior the elder, George Senior, of Dalton, near Huddersfield, who at the age of 23, soon after his marriage in 1793, made the acquaintance of a Mr. Hinchcliffe, who had been warmly interested for two or three years in the Writings of Swedenborg, and with four others met for reading and worship at Cooper's Bridge, a place five miles from Dalton, in the house of a friend named James Hammerton.
After many earnest conversations, Mr. Senior—who had long been religious, and become one of the Independents, then very Calvinistic—saw in the New Church Doctrines something far beyond what he knew before, and began to attend the little meeting, making the congregation six, with sometimes two or three visitors from a distance.
The little company had some very happy times together. Mr. Senior being a very energetic young man, both in business, as a cropper or finisher of woollen cloth, and also in spiritual things, made great progress in heavenly knowledge, and after a short time was requested to read for the congregation, and, being gifted with ready utterance, he was encouraged to preach, and to become the leader of their little flock.
Their meetings now became more numerously attended. In a short time a room was engaged at a place called Colne Bridge, which would accommodate fifty persons, the owner being Francis Drake, who was one of the most zealous promoters of the heavenly doctrines in that part of the country.
Here Mr. Senior commenced preaching regularly every alternate Sabbath afternoon: the distance to walk being between two and three miles.
Besides preaching at Colne Bridge, he had frequent invitations to take services at other places, at distances of eight or nine miles.
Being full of energy, he commenced business on his own account, and with a fair amount of success; not, however, without severe trials and difficulties in the vicissitudes of trade, but ultimately with decided prosperity.
The demands of business made it necessary to devote his evening hours to reading the Word and the writings of Swedenborg, and he often said that so great a light would sometimes enter his mind from the spiritual explanations, as to be almost overpowering. His mind was so delighted with the discernment and acquisition of truth that he scarcely allowed himself sufficient time to recruit his bodily powers. He was a fine example of a noble nature acquiring knowledge under difficulties, for few men had a more accurate acquaintance with Scripture; and the happy, homely, yet earnest way in which he would communicate this knowledge to others, rendered his ministry peculiarly edifying and delightful to those who regularly heard him.
In 1796 Mr. Senior became acquainted with the Rev. John Clowes, whom he always regarded with the greatest veneration. Mr. Clowes was in the habit of visiting Yorkshire once a year when on his journey, he spent a day or two at the house of a gentleman at Halifax named Hayle, and Mr. Hayle's was a house at which Mr. Senior occasionally preached, he was therefore extremely delighted to meet Mr. Clowes on his visits.
The conversations were exceedingly edifying to all present, and charming to Mr. Senior, who always found his mind much instructed, strengthened and animated with new zeal to proceed in the good cause he had so affectionately espoused. He also met Mr. Clowes at the homes of other gentlemen in Yorkshire, and his venerable, pious and intelligent character greatly tended to confirm the receivers of the heavenly doctrines in the truth, and to lead them to that life of usefulness to which the truth invariably points. At Mr. Hayle's it was that Mr. Senior became acquainted with the Rev. W. Hill, who afterwards went to America. He was the translator of the Apocalypse Explained, a gentleman distinguished for his piety and intelligence, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.
On one special occasion he and other friends had Mr. Hill in company, and he received such delightful impressions from his enlightened and pious conversation that he often alluded to them; they were never forgotten. Mr. Senior entertained very great esteem for Mr. Hill, and was in the habit of calling him "a second Clowes."
In the year 1818 the Sabbath services were removed to Upper Heaton, a small village about the same distance from the Seniors' home as Colne Bridge had been, but where his partner in business, on building some cottages, had arranged for a large room which would contain one hundred persons, and which should be used by Mr. S. rent free. Mr. S then preached morning and evening, and besides his daily avocation in what had become a very prosperous business, he did all the work of a minister until the year 1825.
In that year, having been blest in his admirable wife, his children, and his business, as well as in his inestimable spiritual privileges, and having the means to accomplish the desires of his heart, he resolved to erect a commodious chapel, and house for a minister, which was accomplished, and the place of worship was opened in August, 1825.
The time had come in which his strength required relief, and he arranged for a minister, and provided that whatever was needed to furnish a comfortable support he would make up.
A few years later he erected a commodious Sunday School, capable of accommodating 250 scholars. This school he placed under the especial charge of his son, Mr. Joseph Senior, who had early shown his heartfelt interest in the truths deemed so sacred by his father, and his love for Sunday Schools. With this provision for the well-being of the Society he had raised and loved, and occasional assistance in the pulpit, with cheer and encouragement to every one coining within his sphere, often expressed in language like this reported by Mr. Smithson—"The doctrines of the New Church must sooner or later prevail; because," said he, with peculiar emphasis, "they are essential to the welfare and peace of mankind, and I verily believe they are of God, and cannot be overthrown"—he reached his 71st year, and passed to his eternal home on April 24th, at Dalton, in 1841.
The principles he had so long known and preached gave strength, comfort and consolation during the changing states of his sickness, which for a few months were very trying, but his end was entire peace. His constant and only regret was that he had come far short of that heavenly life to which the doctrines lead.
His son, Mr. Joseph Senior, had long shown that he was actuated by the same affection for the New Church which had so distinguished his excellent father, for he had not only taken constant interest in the Sunday School, but when an unusually violent attack was made on the doctrines by the Rev. Mr. James, curate of the adjoining parish of Almondbury, in 1834 he wrote and published an admirable reply, in a work of 139 pages.
The success of the New Church at Dalton appears to have excited a feeling of opposition in the minds of the clergy of the neighbourhood, and they resolved that they would give a course of lectures against the doctrines, in the two nearest parish churches, those of Kirkheaton and Almondbury.
Mr. James' style of lecturing was especially rude, personal and unbecoming. Mr. George Senior, the father, replied in a course of lectures most satisfactorily, removing the prejudices excited in the neighbourhood; and then his son, Mr. Joseph Senior, replied in the work we have named.
He had called upon Mr. James to publish his first sermon. The Rev. gentlemen replied by announcing another, which turned out to be still more violent, and which Mr. Senior had caused to be taken down by a professional reporter.
We are not disposed to trouble our readers with many of this gentleman's unruly utterances. One or two paragraphs will be quite enough to exhibit their quality. In his first letter he classed the Swedenborgians with infidels. In his last he delivered himself thus—
"The Swedenborgians believe that Jehovah the Father was manifest in the Person and the Character of Jesus Christ: but this" he said, "was impossible; it could not be: for the Father and the Son are two ENTIRELY DISTINCT PERSONS, as much so as any two men are distinct one from another; and if the Swedenborgians possessed the least particle of sense, they could not believe such a doctrine as that the Father was manifest in the Son." He also denounced the Swedenborgians as heretics and deceivers, asserting that their conduct as well as their doctrines, were damnable.
When he had finished a discourse in this style he felt so delighted with his performance, that he gave utterance to his charmed condition at his success as follows:—
"Now I have demolished the Swedenborgian opinion on the doctrine of the Trinity completely. I have brought that pitcher of earth, which was made by man, to the Rock of Ages, and have dashed it into a thousand pieces. Let the Swedenborgians go home and gather up the broken fragments, and make it whole again if they can. This is their work for them. The truth has these distinct marks which prove it to be the truth, in defiance of hell itself. It is impossible for the truth to be mistaken, if you only take time to examine it. I have brought the doctrine of Swedenborg, and examined it with the texts which they quote, and have shown that the Father and the Son cannot be one Person, else all the Apostles were lumped together in one person, and I am sure they will not admit that."
Mr. Joseph Senior's reply was all that a reply ought to be, calm, careful, and convincing. He shows from the Divine Word that Jesus was Jehovah, the Saviour in the flesh, and considers the texts upon which the assailant dwells, showing their entire harmony with New Church teaching. He called it THE BROKEN PITCHER.
He concludes with the following address to Mr. James:—
"I may now venture to say that the very texts you here bring forward to confound our doctrines are as clear and conclusive in support of them as any you could have chosen; and instead of any opinions entertained by us, on the doctrine of the Trinity being completely demolished, they remain as firm and secure as ever—if anything more steadfastly established in our own minds. And with respect to your boast, that you have brought that pitcher of earth, which was made by man, to the Rock of Ages, and have dashed it into a thousand pieces, it proves nothing except your own vanity. For who is the Rock of Ages We believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be that Rock; for the term 'Rock' is always applied to the Lord in respect to Divine Truth, and Jesus is the Word made flesh, or the Divine Truth personified before men. And it would be strange indeed if those doctrines which exalt Jesus as the Highest in the thoughts and affections of our minds—which teach that He reigns supreme in Heaven and earth, which lead the devout mind to Him as the fountain of living waters, and the source of all life and blessing—should be dashed in pieces by being thrown against Himself. No; we feel strength and consolation in the promise, 'No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord'" (Is. liv.17).
It is perfectly clear that Mr. Joseph Senior was well able to take care of the Church his father had founded, and for which he had so long laboured; and so it turned out. By his own active usefulness in the Sunday School, and his support of the ministers who were successively engaged to carry on the good work at Dalton, the Church continued to prosper. First, there was that excellent man, Mr. Margetson, who ministered in his own loving way for many years, and who lived until lately with his eldest son in London, a perfect specimen of the innocence of wisdom—a good New Churchman, over the age of ninety, ripe for Heaven.
Then the Rev. Mr. Storry took charge of Dalton; afterwards Rev. Mr. Marsden; and ultimately the worthy Secretary of Conference, the Rev. Eli Whitehead.
Besides sustaining the Church in his own vicinity, Mr. Joseph Senior aided whatever he believed would promote its usefulness everywhere. He rendered great assistance to the work of Dr. E. Tafel in Germany, and to all the active efforts of Dr. D. G. Goyder in Scotland and in England alike. The Manchester Tract Society was largely aided by his liberality, and when he thought the Leeds Society would be benefited by a commodious chapel in a central situation, he bought the chapel of the celebrated Dr. Hamilton, and gave it to the Society, placing it in the charge of Conference. We cannot therefore doubt that our readers will be satisfied that we have rightly chosen to place in our list of New Church Worthies, the two good Yorkshire Worthies—the Seniors, father and son.
It has been mentioned that early in the diffusion of New Church Truth, there were a few here and there in varied parts of the great county, between 1790 and 1800; but they were chiefly quiet, meditative men, good modest Christians, who said little of the New Light, though they loved it and walked in it.
Such are known to have been at Skipton, Holme, Barnsley, Sheffield, York, and several other places, and particularly at Hull and Leeds.
Hull had an unhappy experience: when in my early youth, sixty years ago, attending one of the coffee meetings in Manchester, I heard read a letter from the secretary of the Society at Hull, complaining of the bitter attacks upon them, by Pharaoh and his hosts.
The doctrines had in some way got among the congregation of a chapel with an unfortunate name—the DAGGER LANE CHAPEL.
Some received the New Church views, others did not; hence disputings arose, which continued a long time; and ultimately there was a law-suit which confirmed the possession of the place by our friends, but it was of no service to the Church. I once preached there in 1836, but was not very favourably impressed with the persons I met there.
There seemed also bitter feelings spread about it. It never prospered for any length of time. I have described its short bright days during Mr. Hodson's stay in Hull, when it was famous and crowded, but this was a limited period, and evanescent. Mr. Hill, editor of the Northern Star, became its minister, a gentleman who had been an unbeliever, but brought back to Christianity by the New Church. He had some general knowledge of the doctrines, but was very weak in the spirit and the life which alone can testify their worth.
He ultimately sold the place, as I understood, simply for his own advantage; and no doubt it was well lost. There are many losses which are really great gains. Our friends in Hull now are in a legitimate position, and I trust will be truly prosperous and happy.
In 1823, the Hull Society, writing to Conference, state in relation to the labours of Mr. F. M. Hodson, to whom we have referred elsewhere: "Since Mr. Hodson has taken the ministerial labours the congregations increased to about 200 in the morning of the Sabbath day, and from 500 to 700 in the evening; this has been the case for nearly three months, and they see no reason to doubt its continuance. A Thursday evening lecture, which at first was attended by fewer than 20 persons, is now attended by 80. The highest encomiums are given to the preacher through whose medium these improvements have been effected."
Leeds had a more satisfactory New Church experience. Our friends had a comfortable chapel in Byron Street, and a very capable minister in the Rev. Mr. Gilbert, whom I heard deliver, at the Conference at which his ordination was sanctioned, a very edifying discourse on the rings and poles by which the ark was to be carried about. But Mr. Gilbert died early, and the flock for a considerable time was without a shepherd.
At length, on acquiring the chapel, bought and presented by Mr. Joseph Senior, Mr. Edleston was invited to become the minister; and his youthful devotion, energy, and ability, rapidly increased the congregation, and yielded a promise of Leeds taking the position in the Yorkshire New Church, corresponding to its importance as the most important of Yorkshire towns.
Circumstances however led to the period of his ministry being shortened before the fair beginnings were carried to full fruition; but no doubt the exertions of the Rev. Mr. Edleston were of permanent value to that portion of the great county of York.
Bradford, Sheffield, and York, are centres of population and power, and each of them contained a considerable number of most estimable New Church people, but not sufficiently numerous to sustain the regular services of ministers of their own, until comparatively recent times, when Bradford first, and Sheffield since, have been able in this respect to do what is needful—and have an efficient ministry. Barnsley, by the zeal and loving care of the excellent Capt. and Mrs. Bufham, has had courses of lectures and services, which have brought the sacred truths of the New Church before great numbers of the people, and doubtless so much seed will some day ripen into fruit.
We have noticed previously that very early in the growth of the New Church, there were in many parts of Yorkshire sprinklings of quiet, thoughtful, worthy Christian souls, who in some way, towards the latter part of the last century, had got hold of the New Light, probably through Mr. Clowes and his friends from Lancashire; however, so it was. There were one or two at the fine old market town of Skipton, notable also for its striking castle; and there was one such good old Christian at Embsay, who had received the doctrines between 1793 and 1800. His name was Wigglesworth; he was respected by every one, as a truly good man, but quite wrong, they thought, about the Atonement, and the scheme of Salvation. His own wife was a zealous class-leader among the Methodists, who were the leading religious people in Eastby, where the Methodist chapel was. This one chapel was deemed sufficient for both villages: there was no place for Church of England service nearer than Skipton. The district of Craven, in which these villages are, is comparatively little known, except to its own inhabitants; but in bold, romantic, picturesque country from Bolton Abbey and grounds in Wharfdale, on one side, to Settle, including Pennigent, Ingleborough, and Whernside, on the other, is really unrivalled in England.
It contains Clapham Cave, nearly a mile into the interior of Ingleborough; Gordale Scar, with its striking natural arch; and Malham Tarn, with its old Swedish name for a small lake; all well worthy of a visit, and to everyone who loves nature there will be great delight in the contemplation of these magnificent scenes. The first time I beheld this country was in 1834. A messenger came to visit me in Manchester, and related to me the following account of Embsay.
The people were chiefly Methodists, attending Eastby chapel, but the chief religious people had erected a substantial building for a Sunday-school in Embsay to be taught by good teachers of any denomination, and with a pulpit that might be used by any preacher who would come and preach to them if not otherwise engaged. It had a tablet in front declaring it to be a HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE.
One of the leading teachers was a young man named John Mason: he was very pious and very thoughtful. It had been reported that good old Wigglesworth was likely to die, and as he did not believe that Christ had paid all the debt of his sins to God the Father, and so pacified the vengeance of God, he would be tormented in hell for ever and ever if they did not set him right in this respect.
John Mason was deputed on this errand, as he was conceived to be the cleverest among the teachers. He visited the sick and aged Wigglesworth, and found him a most spiritually-minded man. He delighted to visit and talk with him again and again; and before his departure the old man had fully converted John Mason to his views, and through him many of his fellow teachers. Shortly after, they resolved to have a New Church minister to preach for them, which could easily be done, as they had a "house of prayer for all people."
They applied to the Rev. Thomas Pilkington, of Haslingden, the father of the late Dr. Pilkington, and he consented to go.
This was talked about and arranged, but some narrow sectarian minds were sorely tried at the idea of the New Light people coming into Embsay; and bigotry is seldom nice in its means to carry out its vicious ends; they forged a letter and sent it to Mr. Pilkington, signed as if from one of the New Churchmen, stating that there would probably be ill-will and disturbance, and he had better defer coming to some other time.
So the matter remained; but on the Saturday afternoon the clever concocter of this mean trick mentioned how he had contrived and completed the scheme.
No sooner did the New Church young men hear of this, than they sent one of their company with a gig, thirty miles, to bring Mr. Pilkington during the night—which he did. The bigots, however, fastened the school doors, and kept possession of the pulpit. These proceedings nevertheless roused the neighbourhood, and a great crowd came, and at service time Mr. Pilkington addressed them from a horse-bench, in a most forcible and convincing manner, and thus was the first New Church sermon preached in Embsay.
The opposition party held possession of the schoolroom, six of them standing in the pulpit, if I remember rightly, morning and afternoon, that no entry should be effected there; and the preaching in the street being concluded, they supposed the danger was over, and retired to their homes.
After tea, however, the friendly ones got possession of the key of the schoolroom, soon passed the word round the neighbourhood that Mr. Pilkington would preach in the evening, in the schoolroom, which was done with great acceptance, and so the second New Church sermon was preached in Embsay.
My informant who related the account of these proceedings came to desire me to come and spend a week with them, and stated that the opposers, by their unworthy conduct, had brought so great a blame upon themselves, that if a good effort could now be made, they were quite sure the fields were white for the harvest. The time was fixed upon to be at Midsummer, when their barns would be at liberty, and with something raised to stand upon, a cart or a barrel for a pulpit, there would be no difficulty in addressing the people. And so it was. We had services on Sunday twice in a barn, with most attentive and appreciative hearers. On the following dais up to Thursday, I think, services were held in the large kitchens of the people, in various parts of the village, and most remarkable confessions of conversion and good will took place every day. Some are worthy of special record.
One was the old lady, the widow of good old Wigglesworth. She exclaimed one evening: "Blessed be the Lord, here is a wonderful thing. I lived thirty years with my husband, bless him, and he was one of the best men that ever lived, but I couldn't understand him, and now the Lord has sent this young man, and he has opened my eyes at eighty years of age, and I see it all as clear as daylight."
Another was the case of the leading class-leader of the place, and I think an occasional local preacher; at whose house the Methodist preachers were wont to stay on their visits to Embsay. He invited me also to stay with him; part of his family, including his thoughtful and excellent wife, having already taken hold of the doctrines of the New Church. Indeed, before the father gave way (for he was a sturdy Yorkshireman) all his grown-up family had come over.
I accepted his hospitable invitation, and was glad to find that this did not in the least prevent him from supporting his idea of the THREE DIVINE PERSONS IN THE GODHEAD like a man; though he admitted he did respecting the personality of the third. Of the Father and the Son being two distinct persons he was quite certain. Kindly conversation led to no breach of good temper, and, after a few visits, he entirely gave up the Holy Ghost as a separate divine person; and, at the end of about twelve months, he told me he saw clearly that the Father was in the Son, as the soul was in the body, and they formed ONLY ONE DIVINE PERSON, God over all, blessed for ever; and, he added, "I see and feel that this one real divine person is far more blessed to me than all the three I had before."
At my first visit I became familiar with John Mason, and his brother Stephen, both unmarried, and a considerable number of warm-hearted Yorkshiremen Darned Mason, for that name was very common in the neighbourhood. John was tall—very tall, pious, thoughtful, solid, and devout, the make of a good preacher in him, which he afterwards became. Stephen, burly, broad-shouldered, full of kindness, intelligence, and good-humour; both admirably calculated to give their neighbours specimens of what the New Church would make her members to be.
Subsequently it was determined to build a chapel, which I opened, and of which Mr. John Mason became the clear, cogent, and much valued preacher until his death.
The Rev. Mr. Woodman and others visited and aided them from time to time, and I visited them almost yearly until I removed from North Lancashire to London.
The growth of the Society has been steady, with constant progress. They subsequently built a separate school, to serve as Sunday-school and also for day-school.
The Wigglesworths have continued to be a worthy family in many branches; and one who resided at Barnoldswick, a few miles away—Mr. John Wigglesworth—was not only a genuine and most intelligent New Churchman, during his life, always supporting and visiting Embsay, but at his death left some property to the New Church, on the condition that one New Church sermon yearly at least should be delivered by a New Church minister in Barnoldswick.
The Society has now for some years had an excellent minister in the Rev. Mr. Jones, admirably suited to advance the New Church in that part of Yorkshire, and with whom they all work in perfect harmony, making the Church a real blessing in the midst of the land.
The Yorkshire Colportage Association is also, and has for a long time been, one of the most useful agencies of the Church; and its active colporteur, Mr. Stephenson, is indefatigable, and worthy of universal esteem.
Such have been the various channels through which the rivers of living water have commenced their flow into the great county of York; and now that many of the Societies are led by earnest. capable, vigorous, young ministers, we may confidently hope that the Lord, blessing their labours, will make them a thousand more than they are, and a blessing to all around them.