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OF . , . THE LATE REV. RICHARD HERDSMAN, PASTOR OF THE INDEPENDENT CHURCH AND CONGREGATION
AT SOUTH PETHERTON, SOMERSET.
It is observable that accounts discovery it gives of the hidden life of pious and eminent characters of the Christian ; and that of our form no inconsiderable part of sa. eminent Philip Henry, for its disc cred history; and that the biogra- play of the Christian's exterior. phy of Immanuel, who set us an The reason is obvious: the former example that we should follow his having been written chiefly by him. steps, occupies a prominent por- self, the latter by his son. In the tion of the New Testament; that, following account of Mr. Herds“having so great a cloud of wit. man, we shall present the reader nesses, we should lay aside every both with an interesting though weight, and run with patience the short report of others concerning race set before us, looking unto him, and with that which “ he, Jesus.” But how has that cloud, being dead, yet speaketh of hima beautified and animated by the self.” Sun of Righteousness, been en-. R. Herdsman was the second riched and enlarged since the days son of Mr. Herdsman, of the parish of the Patriarchs and Apostles! of Powick, near Worcester, where
The written lives of holy persons he was born, in 1752. His mother in the successive ages of the Chris- was a humble pious woman, who tian dispensation, under the varied died when young, and left a family circumstances of persecution and of of six children. His father survived peace, of suffering and enjoyment, her but a few years. Being warmly have been, through the Eternal attached to the church of Englandi. Spirit, instrumental to the refreshhe was highly displeased with his ment of myriads of Zion's travel- son for joining Lady Huntingdon's lers, and to the conversion of the people; at whose college he was unholy. It is hoped the following educated. At an early age he was Memoir may produce the same very studious; and was justly eshappy consequences. . teemed while in that connection,
It has been said that the life of for his piety, diligence, and zeal. the excellent Halyburton, of Scot- About the year 1772, Mr. Herdsfandt, is peculiarly valuable for the man first visited South Petherion ;
and for about two years preached the ministers on this occasion, and in the neighbouring villages with to have shared in the blessings success, but under persécution. A which I trust will accompany this malt-house having been fitted up divine appointment of one of God's for divine worship at Petherton, servants, for whom I must of course Mr: Herdsman, in conjunction with be so interested ; but my health other students, laboured in it. In will not admit of a journey. I must this house his labours particularly therefore request the prayers of the appeared to be much blessed; and faithful ministers of Jesus Christ such was the attachment which assembled, as well as of the conby this time subsisted between him gregation present; and remain, with and the people, that a church was much Christian love and great reformed, February 29, 1775; and spect, your obliged and faithful he received a unanimous call to friend and humble servant, the pastoral office, which he ac '
“ S. HUNTINGDON.” cepted with much fear and trembling. His ordination soon after Mr. Herdsman was a Christian of took place, previously to the erec- sterling piety; and, whilst he was tion of the chapel. Messrs. Reader,
a man possessed of good underhburner English. &c. engaged standing and general information, in the service. Of this solemnity he was a faithful, active, laborious, Mr. Herdsman notes, “Much of the affectionate, and extensively useful Divine Presence appeared to be with minister of Immanuel; much known ministers and people.” The vene- and respected by the churches in rable Lady Huntingdon addressed a Somerset ; one who wore well for letter to the ministers about to en. a long succession of years, and. gage in the ordination; which, on through divine grace, endured unto account of the excellent spirit it the end. breathes, and the testimony it bears A respectable person of another to Mr. Herdsman, merits a place in
in denomination testifies of him as folthis Memoir. It is as follows:
lows:-“ During about 36 years
labour among people of his charge, · « My Rev. Friends,
the Lord was pleased eminently to “I think myself obliged in bless his endeavours, and to make justice to all those ministers who use of him as an instrument of estashall be engaged in the ordination blishing a very respectable church of Mr. Herdsman, to assure them and congregation; and the very that, during the time he was a stu- particular intimacy and friendship dent at my college, his moral con- which subsisted between us during duct, was unblameable ; nor had I upwards of 40 years, has given me ever any reason to doubt the sin- an opportunity of witnessing that cerity of his Christian profession; his character as a Christian and a and his humble and dutiful beha- Minister of the Gospel was held in viour both to me and those over much esteem by all who knew him." him. has ever continued a con- It has been said, “ To know a per. formation of it. I trust the Lord son thoroughly, you must live with will make him a faithful, diligent, him.” Of course, the nearer the and useful minister of his everlast. intimacy, the more clearly the cha. ing Gospel; and that the ministers racter is developed. It will be graassembled for dedicating him to so tifying to the reader to observe the great an office, will have reason to sentiments of respectable indivi. rejoice for having laid hands upon duals of the society of which Mr. one who shall bring forth much Herdsman was pastor; one of whom truit unto God. I should have been expresses himself thus:-“ It may very thankful to have waited upon be gaid, to the honour of divine
MEMỘIR OF THE REV. RICHARD HENDSMAN. 129 grace, that the venerable pastor of fear of Death and Hell.”—What an this church was one of those instru, encouragement for the servants of ments employed for the conversion the Lord to persevere in their Mas. and edification of a considerable ter's work do such anecdotes ad, number of immortal souls. His minister! But the obliging friend persevering zeal for the honour of proceeds: “ As to his deportment his beloved Master; his philan- in his family, it was exemplary; thropy, and his liberality to the in the pulpit he was faithful ; in poor, were manifest. Those divine his visits affectionate and cheerful, principles and qualifications be carrying with him much of a savour stowed on him, produced that con- of the best things. There was that sistency in his general character uniformity in his life, which caused which made an impression on the even the enemies of religion to say public mind. The doctrines he he was a good man. He was al. preached to others were the sup- ways ready to shew his love to the port and consolation of his own cause of Christ, by his liberality in mind; and produced such compo- supporting it; and never let an op. sure and resignation of soul, as to portunity escape without it. I well Induce him often to express his remember, at the formation of the . readiness to lay down his body in Auxiliary Missionary Society here, the grave, whenever it might please that he was quite enraptured when the Lord to call him.”
· he stood up to express his regard The writer of this has also been to the cause. To the pious poor favoured with the following valu- he was particularly liberal. able communication, by another of It is about four years ago * that good Mr. Herdsman's flock : “ The he was first attacked with a parafirst time Mr. Herdsman preached lytic complaint, which affected his in Somerset was at Norton under right side ; and about two years Hamdon, when a severe opposition since he had a second stroke, while commenced by a riotous mob, which preaching, which deprived him of obliged the congregation to dis. the sight of one of his eyes for some perse ; yet the Lord was pleased to time, but it did not prevent his bless this apparent unsuccessful proceeding in the service. He obattempt, to the conversion of an in- served to the congregation that he dividual, who is now living.
had lost the sight of one of his « Another instance of his useful- eyes; and said he blessed God it ness I will mention. On his going was not the sight of both. After to view a glass-work at Chelwood, this he seldom preached more than he observed to one of the workmen önce on a Sabbath; but he did not that it was a hot place; but it was wholly discontinue his pulpit-la. hotter in the lake which burneth bours until 20th November, 1814, with fire and brimstone : and what when he preached from Rom. xvi. an awful thing it would be, if, after 24. " The grace of our Lord Jesus labouring in so much heat in this Christ be with you all. Amen.' world, he should have no better Such was his entire acquiescence in portion than Hell in the next! To the will of Providence, that when which the man replied, he had no any of his friends observed to him fear of that. When he was asked that they feared his riding alone what grounds he had to hope that was attended with some danger, he he should be saved, he replied, always replied, it was a matter of that the Lord was pleased to bless the greatest indifference to him, the word which he had heard him - whether the Lord should be pleased preach at Pensford, 12 years ago, to take him in the field or on his bed." to his saving conversion ; since. This communication was made in which he had been divested of the August last.
To the testimony of friends who admire the hand of God in fixing well knew him, we add a few ex. my residence in Somerset. When tracts from his own papers. What I first preached, I did not think of the ingenious and stoly Dr. Watts any settled ministry from any quarremarks respecting the diary of ter, much less for myself. The Mr. Halyburton, is applicable to Lord has generally led me through these papers: • There is such the most important passages of my a vein of humility and honesty in life in great darkness for the prethem, that you may see the secret sent time; but afterwards I have workings of his thoughts through clearly seen his hand. his pious language; his sins as “ “ In the beginning of January, well as his graces lie open to sight; 1775, were the first proposals of a the labours of his soul appear to settlement at Petherton · made to the eye; and the serious reader me. I encouraged the idea of a will find himself at once delight- settlement, but gave very distant ed and improved. So the cus hints of my having a principal part rious operations of bees are seen in it; but things concurred quite through a hive of glass; and the beyond expectation. spectator is at once entertained with “ About the beginning of March, instruction and pleasing wonder.” 1775, some joined in a covenant
The following, up to the period relation, and gave me a written call; of his ordination, Mr. H seems to which I returned an answer in to have partly transcribed from a the affirmative.-April 25th, 1775, memorandum in his possession; was the day of the ordination. and entitles it thus:
Much of the Divine Presence ap
peared,” &c. 1 Some remarkable Passages since From the accounts. Mr. Herdsthe Commencement of the Year 1770. iman kept of his religious experi
“ Left-Worcester, August 15th. ence, the following are extracts :Came to Leominster for some time, ..“ 1777, January 3d. The Lord October 28th. In February 1771, granted me sweet views of Jesus was in great distress and trouble as my Saviour. I saw so glorious of mind. At times found some re- a fulness in him, that I could venlief; but mostly very dark in my ture ten thousand souls, if I was conceptions of divine things. possessed of them, into his hands.
« Nov. 19th, 1772. Came to Lady All the promises centre in him ; Huntingdon's College. Went thro' being made first to him, and to my many distresses there. I had much soul in him; so that all shall be comfort and sweetness frequently, fulfilled to me in his time. I-viewed from Mr. Crole's preaching and con- all that befel me here as tending versation.
* to make me more like Christ under 5 May 27th, 1774. Came from his forming hand. The view of the College, in company with Mr. 'complete salvation in Christ makes Adams, under many fears, and me hate vain words, vain thoughts, some considerable uneasiness of vain company, deadness in duty, mind. The fear of man has always and the stupidity that cleaves to been a distressing snare to me: but I this corrupted nature: - it makes have found, the more I have known me love holiness and holy converof men, the less I have been afraid of sation; to long for Heaven, bethem; and the more I have enjoyed cause there I shall be like to Christ, the Divine Presence, the more I my Lord and Saviour: - it weakhave been carried above earthly ens unbelief, and strengthens faith: things. When I left Wales I had it pulls down pride, and lays my not the most distant prospect of re- soul at the Lord's feet in the dust. maining in England. I cannot but O God, give me what is most for thy
SEQUEL TO REMAKKS ON HYPER-CALVINISM. 125 own glory and my soul's good! wilt keep a continual watch over Do thou consider my want of know my words and actions. Let me ledge in thy word; - my want of not in any thing dishonour thy holy faith, of circumspection, and of name. I found wanderings in the gifts for thy work ;-and, O Lord, society this evening; and in prayer, do not gratify my pride, but do as both in family and in private, for thou seest good.
which I desire seriously to be hum“ April 15th. We had a fast-day bled before God. Lord, pardon the kept at Mr. Gifford's, Lopen. We sin of my holy things! Feb. 22d. took a view of our many sins, and This day saw Mr. W. ; he of our great dangers. It was an seems quite poorly. I am afraid affecting opportunity. · None but he is not in a state fit to die. I find the members of the church present. too much backwardness to talk to
“ February 18th, 1780. Found such persons, in so faithful a manmyself resolved upon a more close ner as their case requires. Lord, do attention to every concern in life. thou, in thy mercy, remove this I want to learn from all the occur- from my heart! rences that pass. Lord teach me (To be concluded in our next.) every thing needful and profitable !
“ February 20th. Hope I had . some measure of comfort in the SEQUEL TO REMARKS Lord's work this day. I have many
ON . things for which to blame myself. HYPER-CALVINISM. I have still an absolute need of the fountain opened for sin. I desire to After the attempt which has Ay thither at all times. My frame been made, however imperfectly, seems weak and feeble. I trust the to expose the prevalence and the Lord will grant me some comfort. deplorable effects of the evil aboveable views of his graee and love in named, it may not be altogether a dying hour. February 21st. This uninteresting, if we revert to some day I read part of Mr. Williams's of the causes to which it owes its Diary, published by Mr. Fawcett; spread; especially as the detection was much struck with his serious of these may naturally suggest the spirit, his activity for God, and his most regular, the only effectual, usefulness.
means for its expulsion. “ This world has little worth a Is there not, then, reason to apdesire of continuance in it. The prehend that, in many instances at removal of Mr. G. and Farmer G. least, the extravagancies of princioften depresses my spirits. I would ple, and of profession, by which desire to acquiesce in the Divine the Christian name is so frequently Wisdom. Lord, thou canst easily tarnished, are nothing more than supply their places. Spoke with (to use a modish phrase) the effects Mr. R. G. Mr. H. and Mr. V. about of a re-action from an opposite exthe deacon's office. I hope it will treme? - If it can be proved that be made a matter of prayer, that evangelical preachers themselves the Lord will direct to active per- have, under the notion of preachsons for his cause and interest. I ing practically, fallen into a strain heard several things respecting in which the grand, peculiar doc
that were likely to be of trines of the Gospel have not main. fensive. I gave him a caution in tained due prominence and force; the evening; which he seemed to - that, professing the most ardent receive in a spirit of meekness. (- zeal for Christian obedience, they Lord, make him - make all his have often adopted a mode of enpeople consistent followers of a forcing it, savouring too much of blessed Redeemer! I hope thou the school of Epictetus, and too lit