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was brought to God are not known to the writer; but he appears to have joined the visible Church of Christ when only fourteen years of age. Of the genuineness of a work of grace, however, there can be no doubt, his whole life bearing abun. dant testimony to the reality of its conversion and subsequent growth in piety. “By their fruits,” said our Lord, “ye shall know them.”
About the year 1826 he entered the marriage state, choosing for his partner in life Alice Patterson, who still survives to mourn his loss. As the fruit of their union, they were blessed with six children, all of whom are still living, save one, the youngest son, whose sudden and early death, by an accident, he felt to be a severe trial, which, however, he strove to bear with unmurmuring patience and resignation to the will of Heaven, as will appear from the following entry found in his diary:
"July 28th, 1858.—It pleased our heavenly Father to remove from us this day, by death, our dear Thomas, in the nineteenth year of his age; but while we mourn his departure from us, feeling the stroke to be severe, we would bend with humble submission to the will of Heaven, and meekly say, in the words inscribed on his coffin, Thy will be done;' believing our loss to be his eternal gain, and that we shall meet again in our Father's house above. Then, if not before, we shall know why he was removed so soon from us, and we were left to weep and mourn a little longer in the wilderness. Until that happy meeting shall take place, we would seek for grace, that we may be enabled both to do and suffer the will of our Father, that we may be fully prepared whenever he may see fit to call us to himself; praying that not one of us may be wanting in the day when he numbers up his jewels. Our dear, dear son was in terred on Sunday, August 1st, in Willington churchyard, when his weeping relatives and friends evinced, by their deep sympathy and numerous attendance, how greatly he was beloved, how dear to his own, and how much respected by all. May this mysterious event, this painful bereavement, be overruled by the wise Disposer of all things to the good of all; but especially to us, his suffering parents
and affectionate relatives, who are left behind to mourn his sudden and early death."
When about twenty-four years of age, he was received on the preachers' plan, and subsequently appointed to the important office of class leader, in both of which offices he was “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” As a preacher he was generally acceptable, and extensively useful. His sermons, though seldom written out in full, were nevertheless well arranged, carefully studied, and delivered with a warmth and energy which always secured for him a hearty reception wherever and when. ever appointed. As a class leader he was eminently useful; possessing clear views of Divine truth, rich experience in Divine things, and a warm and sympathetic nature, he was every way qualified to gather around him large numbers, to instruct them in the deep things of God, and help them on in their heavenward course; never was a class known to go down in his hands. As a prayer leader, both in our Sabbath and week evening prayer-meetings, he laboured diligently to extend his influence and to increase his usefulness; his example, in this respect particularly, is worthy of imitation by all. Nor ought his attention to the sick and dying to be overlooked; he was ever ready, night or day, to visit such and minister to them the consolations of religion-his place in this respect will not easily be supplied.
As an evidence of his state of mind, and in support of our statements, we give a few further extracts from his journal.
“Sunday, Jan. 1st, 1832.- Both our classes met. We had a gracious time. I was much led out in prayer at the commencement. There was a good feeling among the members ; some were melted down into tears. It was truly a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. I got a renewal of my acceptance with God. May he continue to revive his work!
“Monday, Jan, 2nd. I have felt this to be a good day to my soul. I have enjoyed much of God's presence, and of the sweets of religion. Being enabled to live above the world, I could rejoice with a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory. This
being a day set apart throughout the go until he blessed me. At the circuit for fasting and prayer, we close I named the matter to my held a prayer-meeting at Beven a.m., brethren, some of whom stayed with when we besought the Lord to have me, and prayed the Almighty for a mercy on the people of England, who larger outpouring of his Holy Spirit. by their sins had caused him to mani. Nor did we pray in vain, for we felt fest his righteous anger by visiting that the Lord was with us. It is us with a mortal disease, by which only he who soweth bountifully that numbers were hurried into the hath a right to expect an abundant presence of a holy and just God. In harvest. the evening I preached to an atten “8th. This has been a day of good tive congregation from James iv. things to my soul. We had a love8. The power of God was much feast. Truly it was good to be there. felt, and I trust many got good to I feel my corruptions weakening, their souls.
and my desires after God increasing, “3rd.-I have felt my mind to be There was much feeling and much rather in a barren state to-day-an speaking. I preached in the evening indifference to secret devotion. I am to a serious congregation. It was condemned with unwatchfulness, not my own appointment, and I had while under the sound of the Word. my fears; but the Lord was with In the evening I was somewhat dull, me, and helped me, and I proved the butafter service Mr. Barker renewed truth of the words of St. Paul, the tickets to the Society, and there When I am weak, then am I I got my spiritual strength renewed strong.' I was much drawn out in prayer. It “June 20th.—Enjoyed much of the appears, however, the Lord was pre comfort of religion to-day, and felt paring me to see my own weakness; thankful that my lot was cast where the enemy of souls was allowed to the pure Gospel is preached. Had harass my mind with evil thoughts, some profitable conversation with a which led me to pray earnestly for member of my class, who told me succour and support, which, bless that he got good under my poor God! was not long withheld.
labours the night previous, while " 4th.--Still I feel my mind be. I was preaching from Jer. xvii. clouded. I could not so easily and 7,8. This greatly encouraged me. so heartily enter upon my duties to Lord, make me faithful and useful, my God as I could wish; neverthe- for the sake of Jesus Christ my less, in the evening, while admonish- Saviour. Amen. ing a few of the members in my own “ August 1st.–Visited a sick memhouse respecting the duties of re- ber to-day. His wife seemed to be ligion, especially secret prayer, I felt passing through deep waters, caused the Lord to bless my soul; after by her husband's affliction and other which we sung the doxology, when circumstances. This afforded me a each one prayed before parting. lesson of gratitude. I exhorted them May brotherly love continue!
to trust in God's promises—which "5th.-The Lord hath remembered was a comfort to myself, and, I me to-day, with the favour which he trust, profitable to them. beareth to his own people. I have “Sth.-Heard a most Scriptural, had such a sight of my own un- stirring, and delightful sermon on worthiness, together with a deep the witness of the Spirit,' by a Wessense of the Lord's goodness, that leyan minister; saw my own shortmy soul has been melted down into comings; resolved and prayed to be tenderness before him. My mind more given up to God, to secure to has been in such a state, that my will myself this blessed evidence, and to has been brought into submission urge the members of my class not to to the will of God, and I was led to rest short of the same. Lord, help pray with Wesley
me, for Christ's sake!
- Dec. 25th.--Rose this morning at Oh, for a heart to praise my God, A beart from sin set free;
two o'clock, to commemorate the naA heart that always feels thy blood,
tivity of my blessed Saviour. Took So freely spilt for me!'
my lantern, and called up the mem
bers. We met in the chapel at In the evening, at the prayer-meet four a.m. Went round the place singing, I resolved not to let the Lord ing. A delightful employment it
was. Prayer.meeting at five. I preached at ten a.m. from Luke ii. 10–20. Was divinely assisted. Some told me they got spiritual good under the discourse. Praise the Lord for it! My brother Thomas (now Rev. T. W. Ridley) preached at two, and Mr. Goodall, at six in the evening, preached a sermon on behalf of the Sunday-school to a large congregation.
“ Dec. 31st.—The Watchnight Ser vice began at nine p.m., and con tinued until the new year. My brother Thomas preached first, then a few prayed, after which I preached from Job xvi. 22; looked back on the many mercies I had received, the signal deliverances wrought out, temporal and spiritual; felt humbled, yet thankful, and desired to serve my God better in future. The day previous I met my class as usual; it was a soul-melting time. A little boy said to me, If you please, Henry, let me stop in with you. I am a Sunday scholar.'
“Jan. 1st, 1833.-My mind very comfortable to-day. Engaged in reading the Life of Mrs. Fletcher.' The Lord bless me with more piety!
“6th.-Preached at St. Peter's. Felt it hard work. Was rather cast down at the close of the service, but glad to find that some liad got good. Oh, the wisdom of that God whom I serve! Had some profitable con versation with a class leader here.
“7th.-Attended a prayer-meeting at Brother Thomas Elliott's. The house was full. Had a precious time, and felt the Lord in the midst. May he continue to shine upon us !
"11th.-Much cast downto-day with the troubles of the world; felt little liberty in secret prayer. Went to a prayer-meeting at Brother Joseph Elliott's, but was little better after. wards. Met the singers at my Uncle George Ferry's house, and felt my mind elevated while singing that hymn
Our journey is a thorny maze,' &c. to the tune Consolation.' I delight in singing. Went to prayer before we parted. The Lord keep me humble !
“July 16th.-Felt it good to draw near to a throne of grace in private. Mr. Goodall and my brother Thomas delighted me with their remarks on two pious women receiving the
Saviour-Martha and Mary. Mr. Goodall preached in the evening, from Luke xii. 32, a useful sermon, after which he renewed the tickets to the society. It was good to be there.
"17th.-This has been a blessed day. Felt humbled at a throne of grace, melted into tears at the good. ness of God in adopting me into his family, and prayed earnestly for a larger portion of his Holy Spirit, to understand more clearly the sacred Scriptures, and to be made more holy and useful to the Church.
“Aug. 11th.-I record the goodness of God with grateful emotions. This has been a Sabbath of rest to my soul, especially towards the close of the day. I attended a prayer-meeting at seven a.m. Heard Mr. Stoney at ten. Love-feast at two in the afternoon, and preaching again at half.past five. I prayed fervently in my closet to be blessed abundantly at the love-feast. Did not feel as I expected. I was rather cast down. I think the Lord was trying my faith. Several of the members, after the day's services were ended, adjourned to my house, and while singing ‘How do thy mercies close me round,' &c., the Lord revealed him. self to me in a very special manner. I proved his faithfulness. A few engaged in prayer. I saw the Lord's goodness in reserving the best wine to the last.
“26th.-Felt my mind deeply affected to-day with a concern for the salvation of precious souls. While at my daily employment was im. pressed with the thought of preaching out of doors, and to take my stand where sinners assemble. Made it a subject of prayer, and sought counsel of my brethren in the Society, who agreed to go with me, and assist in singing. O my God, help me and stand by me in my work, and grant success in the undertaking.
“Sept. 1st.—This being the first Sabbath in the month, the several classes met after the evening service; and a blessed season it was to our souls. I was melted into tears while relating the goodness of God. All seemed to feel the softening influ. ence of the Holy Spirit. I was afflicted in body, but it was sanctified to my soul's good. I admired the wisdom of God, being infinite and cannot err, boundless in com.
passion, and cannot be unkind. May he grant me grace to love him more and serve him better!
"Sept. 20th.—This is my birthday. I retired before breakfast for secret prayer, entreated my heavenly Father to forgive my past miscon. duct, and impress my mind with a sense of his goodness in permitting me to see my thirtieth birthday. The return of such seasons generally affects my heart very sensibly. Felt very comfortable while meditating upon the mercies of the past year, and the many dangers the Lord had brought me through. I observed to my wife, in the language of the poet"Who saved me in the troubles past
Will save me in the next.' My friend E. Hall came to gee me in the afternoon. We had profitable converse, which tended to rehieve my mind from distressing thoughts about my present trialshaving been cast down by manifold temptations-that my God was deal. ing hardly with me. I was often, in secret, weeping and praying that, as my earthly comforts were withdrawn, my faith might get a firmer hold of the promises. I am in great distress of mind what to preach from next Sabbath. Two texts were before me, but I could not decide which, nor could I see clearly into their meaning; but in answer to prayer a ray of light came upon my soul suddenly, and I was relieved. O my God, continue to help me, and make the subject a blessing to the people.
“žlst.-My mind still continues depressed on account of the em. barrassed state of my circumstances. Being unable to work, and my small savings gone, was ready to think my God was dealing hardly with me; this is my weakness. Father, for. give me, and increase my faith. But man's extremity is God's opportunity; for in an unforeseen way a kind friend ministered to our com fort, which so overpowered may be. loved wife and me that we each wept and prayed.
“22nd.–Did not take my appointment this morning. Thomas Parker, of Newcastle, preached for me. I was so overcome with my trials that I was really to say with the poet
O that I had a stronger faith
To look within the veil,
Whose words can never fail !'' “27th.-To-day I have had another proof of the care which my heavenly Father takes of his own children. Some friends had come to see me, and left behind them substantial tokens of their visit. Oh, may God make me contented to be supported in his own way! I sat down and wept, and lifted up my heart in prayer to God.
"Oct. 8th.-My brother Thomas called this morning before he set off for Durham. I read a psalm, after which he prayed. We were deeply affected, it being the first time we were ever parted from each other; for after my marriage we still resided in the same place; and language fails to express the feelings of my heart. O God, support me, go with my brother, take care of ħim, and bring us each, with all thy ransomed followers, safe to heaven
Where all our toils are o'er,
Our suffering, and our pain ;
Shall never part again.' “Nov. 3rd.—Being the first Sabbath in the month, we had a fellowship meeting after my father had preached. Members rather backward in speaking; but a few prayed for the Lord to revive his work. We agreed to commence cottage prayermeetings. The Lord quicken us and bless our labours !
“10th.-Confined to the house today, and not been to a meeting. O God, help me to bear thy will with Christian patience. No one to lead my class. The members held a prayer-meeting, and then visited me. How kind they are! how sweet the company of Christian friends! They began to sing that hymn, Come on, my partners in distress,' &c., after which I went to prayer, and they retired to their homes. May webe gathered at last safe to heaven!
“12th.-Heard Mr. Wynne from Alnwick, who is a young man just coming out, and has changed, for a few weeks, with Mr. Stoney; he is a pious and promising young man. His text was Isaiah xxviii. 16. It was a useful sermon, and the Lord blessed his labours by awakening a
person to a sense of his state, who cried out for mercy. A prayer meeting was held, when several of our Wesleyan friends joined with us in supplication on his behalf. Twice I prayed, and felt it good to be at a throne of grace, both in secret and in public. Got temporal help where I least expected it. The Lord can find a thousand ways-to man unknown-to teach his people what he can do for them. © my God, may I cast my burden upon thee, for I find thou wilt sustain me.
“15th.-Another proof of the good. ness of God, that he heareth and answereth prayer. I was led to cry out with the Psalmist, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Kind friends rise up on all sides. Truly it is the Lord's doing.
"17th.-Only attended Divine service once to-day, when Mr. Goodall preached, after which he adminis. tered the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, where I got revived and cheered. I see it not only my duty, but a privilege. Think scme Chris. tians have mistaken views of this ordinance, and ought not to stay away.
"Aug. 9th, 1835.- Preached at Fel. ling Shore this morning from Rom. iv. 7, 8; not so much liberty as I desired. Attended a camp-meeting in the afternoon and felt it good to be there, and hope good was done. My class did not meet to-night, in consequence of my being from home; this grieved my mind and led me to pray in secret to my God that no harm might result from it, not being designedly on my part. Father, forgive the imperfections and shortcomings of thy servant, enable me to bear patiently any reflections from my brethren, and save every member of my class.
" July 28th, 1838.-After having been in secret this morning, praying for the assistance of the Spirit previous to my visiting an aged woman in dying circumstances (and whom I had been to see a short time before), in the absence of my wife, who was from home, I left our three dear children to the care of a kind Provi. dence till my return. I hastened to the house of the afflicted one, lifting up my soul in prayer that I might be blessed, and made a blessing; but, oh! when I arrived I found that the
spirit had departed, the neighbours and friends being gathered round a lifeless corpse, taking their glasses. Alas! how frequently is the house of mourning turned into a house of feasting! How much more agreeable to my mind would it have been, and more in accordance with the event, had they been employed in pious conversation and prayer, and thus improved the circumstance to their spiritual profit; but, alas! how depraved is man! Lord, hasten the time when the customs of the people shall be changed, when the shameful practice of drinking intoxicating drinks shall cease, and men shall be more concerned about the improvement of their minds than the indul. gence of their bodily appetites; when the death of neighbours and friends shall make us more thoughtful, more prayerful, and more in earnest about a preparation for eternity.”
About the year 1851 be removed from West Moor, in the Newcastleon-Tyne Circuit-where up to this time he had lived and laboured-to High Willington, Durham Circuit, where he spent the remainder of his life. For this change, which greatly improved his temporal circumstances, he was indebted to Joseph Love, Esq.; and when failing health and increasing infirmities rendered it all but impossible for him to attend to his usual employment, that gentle. man very generously placed him in another and more easy situation, the duties of which were so light that he was able to attend to them with comparative ease and comfort until within a very few weeks of his death. Towards Mr. Love he cherished a very high regard, and was ever wont to speak of him as one of his very best friends.
In his new sphere of labour the same Christian character shone forth, and the same attachment and devotedness to the interests of the Church were manifested.
The Rev. J. K. Jackson, who met with him frequently, and who knew him well, thus writes :
“For more than two years I was brought in almost daily contact with our departed Brother Ridley, and the longer I knew him the more I was struck with, what I may term, the completeness of his religious life. He was not in any way a demonstrative man, and hence his