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“ He hastened home as fast as his tottering limbs would carry him— partook of his frugal meal- read the twenty-third Psalm, and in company with his pious house-keeper, (for he had buried his wife about six weeks before this affliction came upon him,) knelt down, and closed the toils of the day in the hallowed exercise of communion with God.” Page 11.
London: 1. PRINTED FOR FRANCIS WESTLEY, 10, STATIONERS, · COURT, AND AVE-MARIA-LANE.
“ It is one of the mischiefs of a spirit of apostacy in religion that it vails from us the enormity of the crime involved in such a frame of mind. But, surely, if any offence ought to be followed by deep contrition of soul,'it is this. Apostacy is not, like some other offences, the act of inexperience or surprise. It is a sin of deliberation and knowledge. It is the willing, abandonment of God, whose mercy you know, and the contempt of happiness, whose worth you have tried.”
If all who withdraw from the giddy multitude remained faithful unto death, we should be led to form such a high opinion of the immutability of the Christian character, that we should never dread any change of feeling or of principle. But, alas ! who has not seen the most ardent zeal grow cold—the most fervent devotion die off into the coldness and dulness of mere formality-and the most spotless integrity corrupted by the maxims of 'evil ? Who has not seen the most eager, stopping short in their course, and some, who once bid fair to occupy stations of honour' and usefulness in the church, break away, either suddenly or gradually, from all their religious connections, to mingle again with the workers of iniquity, and seat themselves in the seat of the scorner? What sight can present to the imagination of a real Christian such a spectre of evil as this ? and where can he find words to express the deep and intense agony of mind which it occasions? In plaintive accents he often says, Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
But there are circumstances which sometimes render this melancholy occurrence peculiarly affecting. Suppose the apostate be a near relative, or an intimate friend -one with whom we have taken sweet counsel, and walked to the house of God in company-one who rejoiced over us “ when first we knew the Lord " who poured the soothing words of consolation into our minds when we first felt the deep convictions of guilt—who was · our guide and counsellor—and whom we loved with an
affection no less tender and ardent than that which the son
of Jesse cherished for his faithful and devoted Jonathan. “Where, ah! where shall we find tears fit to be wept at such a spectacle ? or, could we realize the calamity in all its extent, what tokens of our compassion and concern would be deemed equal to the occasion ? Would it suffice for the sun to veil his light, the moon her brightness, to cover the ocean with mourning, and the heavens with sackcloth ?- or were the whole fabric of nature to become animated and vocal, would it be possible for her to utter a groan too deep, or a cry too piercing to express the magnitude and extent of such a catastrophe ?"
Mr. Beaufoy was the eldest son of a poor but respectable family which resided in the beautiful village of
, in the north of Devonshire. This village, like too many even in the present day, remained for a long series of years in state of spiritual darkness, till it was visited by some of the local preachers of the Methodist connexion, who threw on it the light of life. At first, when they appeared amongst the people with the glad tidings of salvation, they were insulted and reproached, and those few who received them became a bye-word and a proverb amongst their ignorant and bigoted neighbours. But regardless of all opposition_bearing - patiently, like their divine Master, every species of reviling--and demonstrating by the kindness of their spirit, that they knew how to return good for evil, they ultimately succeeded in softening down the prejudices of ignorance, and the asperitiés of bigotry, and estab. lished a flourishing society. ; · It happened here, as in most other places where the introduction of the gospel has been opposed by the enmity of the human heart, that some of the chief of the opponents were the first who were converted to the faith ' of Christ. Among this number the parents of Mr.'. Beaufoy held a distinguished station. They traduced the reputation of the preachers, turned their message of grace into a theme of ridicule, and endeavoured to persuade the more yielding from attending their ministry. At length curiosity induced them to go and hear. They listened the word came with power-they felt the deepest contrition for their past sins, especially their sin of opposing and ridiculing the gospel of Christ; and eventually became no less distinguished for their attach
ment to it, than they had been for their enmity against it. Their son Henry was about twelve years of age, when this moral change took place in his parents, and though he felt somewhat surprised at the suddenness of the transition from the most determined hostility against the Methodists, (as they were reproachfully termed,) to the most cordial attachment; yet he was too young, and too thoughtless to examine into the causes of it. He generally accompanied them to the little chapel, which was erected under the brow of a hill, and as he was fond of music, and had a fine voice, he assisted in leading the psalmody of the congregation. No material change took place till after he had attained his eighteenthyear; when, being on a visit to Plymouth, he went to hear the Rev. Samuel Bradburn, who was one of the most celebrated and one of the most useful ministers of his day. The text from which he preached on that occasion was selected from Heb. iv. 12. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to dividing asunder of sout and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Young Beaufoy was struck with the colloquial simplicity of his style of address, no less than the force of his argumentative reasoning; but when he directed his bold and masterly appeals to the consciences of his hearers, his heart was deeply, wounded, and, like the Philippian jailor, he could not refrain from saying, What shall I do to be saved? On his return home, the unusual gravity of his manners, his more frequent attendance at the village chapel, his occasional inquiries on some religious subjects, his habít of reading the Bible, and of retirement for the purposes of devotion, led his parents to indulge the hope that their Henry was become a new creature in Christ Jesus; and though they prudently abstained from breaking in upon the solemnity of his feelings, by any premature interrogations, yet his impressions were too deep, and his agony too acute, to admit of any lengthened concealment. After the lapse of a few weeks, during which time he endured the strange and awful confliction between the flesh and the spirit in their first encounter, he told his friends, with all the simplicity of a child, how , great things the Lord had done for him, and how he had
"If it be possible for one communication from the lips of a child, during his residence on earth, to excite an enraptured feeling of joy in the breast of a parent which approximates to something like the pure, unmingled bliss of the heavenly world, it is when they are opened to state the fact, and detail the manner, of his conversion to God. It is then that the prayers of the pious father are turned into praises that the deep and tender anxieties of the virtuous mother begin to cease ; and they mutually recognize in their own son or daughter a fellow-heir of the grace of life, with whom they ex. pect to live for ever and ever.
No material circumstance occurred in the history of young Beaufoy, till his removal to London, about three years afterwards. His ardent piety, his superior intelligence, notwithstanding the disadvantages of his education, and his pleasing manners, though a native of a rustic village, recommended him to the notice of a pious wealthy citizen, who came to visit his patrimonial estate in the neighbourhood, and he gave him the offer of a lucrative situation in his employment. The offer was accepted, and he prepared to leave the scene of his early youth, and the associations of his riper years. His pious mother, who dreaded the moral contagion of London as much as she would have dreaded the plague, had she lived when that destructive malady darkened the city with the shadow of death, said to him on the eve of his departure, “My Henry, I am sorry you are going to leave us. I wish you had been contented with your lot amongst us; for you could have lived happy and useful, and might have been a comfort to us in our old age. But when you are far away, exposed to all the snares and dangers of the great city, I shall have no sweet sleep at night, for I shall lie awake to pray for you; I shall have no peace by day, for I shall be always trembling for you my child."
“Oh!' mother," said Henry, whose heart was full of the thought of parting, and who began to sink under the weight of his mother's tears, “ do not weep. God can keep me from the temptations of the city as well as the temptations of the village ; and I have no doubt but I shall escape them. I'll come and see you once a year, and then we will rejoice together.”