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Baptist Church at Alcester, now Memoir of THE LATE Rev. John under the pastoral care of the Rev. RYLAND, D. D.
Joseph Price. His son, Joseph It has often been remarked that Ryland, resided near Stow on the the lives of men who have been Wold, Gloucestershire, and married principally occupied in the study Freelove Collett, a most excellent and the pulpit furnish but scanty woman, whose family were highly materials for the biographer, and esteemed among the Dissenters in supply very little to awaken in- that part of the kingdom. Their terest or gratify curiosity. While son, John (the father of the Docthe truth of this remark must gene- tor) was born in 1723. His earlier rally be admitted, it would prove days were spent in folly and sin, that we little understood the most but he became the subject of a valuable ends of biography, if, on saving change about the eighteenth this account, eminent and holy men year of his age, and joined the were suffered to descend to the Church at Bourton on the Water, grave without some tribute to their of which the venerable Benjamin memory- some grateful record to Beddome was then pastor. As it the honour of that grace which was soon discovered that he posmade them what they were. In sessed talents for public usefulness, the case of the venerable saint he was placed under the tuition of whose likeness appears in our pre- the reverend and learned Bernard sent number, this duty has in part Foskett, at that time President of the been discharged, as our readers Academy at Bristol, and pursued are aware, in the admirable dis- his studies there with great dilicourse delivered on the occasion
On leaving of his decease, by the Rev. Robert the Academy, he supplied the Hall; and we shall now proceed Church at Warwick, then destitute, to relate such farther particulars, and after preaching to them for respecting our deceased friend, as about four years, was ordained have come to our knowledge, fully their pastor on the 26th of July, persuaded, that however defective 1750. From thence, he removed the account may be, it will be to Northampton, October, 1759, perused with affectionate interest where he was very useful, for many by many to whom, for his great years, as a pastor and instructor of Master's sake, the subject of our youth; till, in the year 1786, he narrative was justly dear. resigned to his son, who had for
The late Dr. Ryland had the some time been associated with honour of descending from a family, him in the pastoral office, the who, through several generations, whole care of the church, and rewere eminent for piety. His great- tired to Enfield, near London, grandfather, John Ryland, lived at where he expired, rejoicing in his Hinton on the Green, Warwick Saviour, July 24th, 1792, in the shire, and was a member of the 69th year of his age. VOL. I. 3d Series,
Soon after Mr. Ryland's ordina- through a long succession of years, tion at Warwick, he married Eliza- a source of so much pleasure to beth, the only child of Mr. Samuel himself and instruction to others. Frith, of that town. They had It may, however, be reasonably five children, one of whom died questioned, whether such close apyoung: the rest were all spared plication to study at so tender an to reach the decline of life, though age did not materially repress that one only now survives -- the Hon. natural vigour and buoyancy of Herman Witsius Ryland, who went spirits, a portion of which, in to Canada many years since as youth, seems essential to the deveSecretary to the Governor, Lord lopment of decision and fortitude Dartmouth, and is now a Member in after-life. of the Upper House of Legislature While Mr. Ryland was witnessin that province.
iny with pleasure the rapid progress Of this family, John was the of his son in the various branches eldest. He was born January 29th, of a liberal education, he was fa1753, in the parsonage-house, be-voured to observe in him,--that longing to the great Church in which would fill his heart with far Warwick, which his father had greater delight - the symptoms of taken of the rector, Dr. Tate. t genuine piety. About his thirBefore he could speak, he had been teenth year he became deeply imtaught to distinguish all the letters pressed with religious concern, and of the alphabet, by the assiduity on the 13th September, 1767, was of his nurse, who used to take him baptized, on a profession of faith, into the church-yard, and point by his father, in the river Nen. them out on the tomb-stones; and Mr. Joseph Dent, afterwards his from his earliest childhood, he brother-in-law, and Mr. William preferred reading to play. This Button, then a pupil of Mr. Rydisposition was so promptly and land's, and subsequently pastor of successfully cultivated by his father the Baptist Church in Dean Street, that, when only five years old, he Southwark, were baptized at the read the 23d Psalm in Hebrew to same time. The latter of these the celebrated Hervey; and, be- good men finished his course a few sides making considerable progress years since; but Mr. Dent remains in Latin and French, had gone an honourable member and esthrough the Greek Testament be- teemed deacon of the Church at fore he completed his ninth year. Northampton to this day. Thus early did he lay the founda
Soon after his baptism, young tion of that familiar and critical Mr. Ryland was induced to address acquaintance with the originals of his father's pupils on the momenthe Sacred Volume, which was, tous truths of religion; and after
he had continued this practice for * Of Mrs. Elizabeth Dent, Dr. R.'s sis- some time, it led, by a natural and ter, & short account appeared in the Bap- easy gradation, to the exercise of tist Magazine for May, 1821. Mr. James his ministerial gifts in a more pubRyland, the other brother, bad died some lic way. His first probationary little time before.
+ It is said that some of the parishioners sermon before the Church was dereflected on the Dr., a candid, moderate livered May 3, 1770, from Jere
for letting the house to an anabaptist miah xxxi. 9. preacher, and that he jocosely replied, he continued for several years,
From this period " What would you bave me do? I have brought the man as near the church as I can, assisting his father in the pulpit as but I cannot force him into it.”
well as in the school-room, and
zealously engaged in proclaiming the justly celebrated Jonathan the Gospel in the villages round Edwards, and others of that class, Northampton, where his labours with which he became acquainted are still remembered with grateful about the year 1775. It is generespect. In 1781, he was called rally known that a thorough conto the office of co-pastor, and on geniality of sentiment on these the removal of his father, five years topics did much towards cementing after, to the neighbourhood of the that cordial union which subsisted metropolis, the entire care of that so long between Ryland, Sutcliff, large church and congregation de- and Fuller; and which led them, volved upon him. In this impor- after several years of intimacy, to tant station he continued, till the combine in founding the · Particnvoice of Providence summoned him lar Baptist Society for propagating to a sphere of still greater useful- the Gospel among the leathen' — ness, in which he was destined an enterprize which will ever shed long to continue, a blessing of no an imperishable glory upon their small value to the churches, and to names. the world. As to the manner in William Carey, of whom we are which he conducted himself during now naturally reminded, had been his residence at Northampton, baptized by Mr. Ryland, in the many yet living car testify how river Nen, in the year 1783, soon holily and justly, and unblamcably after the latter had become the he behaved himself among them. colleague of his father. This young Few men, entering so early into man, then 21 years of age, was at the ministry, have exemplified more that time labouring to procure a fully the parental admonition of the scanty livelihood as a journeyman Apostle to his beloved Timothy, shoemaker. About four years afLet no man despise thy youth; but terwards, he was chosen pastor of be thou an example of the believers the Church at Moulton, near Northin word, in conversation, in cha- ampton, where his zealous labours rity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. so enlarged the congregation, that
At the commencement of his it became necessary to erect a religious course, Mr. Ryland was more commodious place of wormuch attached to the writings of ship. As his people could raise John Brine, who had been the per- their pastor only £10 or £11 per sonal friend of his father, and he annum, it was requisite to collect adopted the views of that eminent for their meeting elsewhere; and man on what was currently styled while at Birmingham on this erthe Modern Question ; but, several rand, Mr. Carey could not refrain years before he assumed the pasto- from conversing on the state of the ral office, he saw reason to alter heathen, and the importance and his sentiments on this much-con- practicability of sending them the troverted point, and ever after Gospel. A generous friend in that maintained, with the fullest convic- town, who is yet living, struck tion of their Scriptural authority, with the information Mr. Carey had those views on that subject, so acquired, and the ardour he disclearly laid down in the works of played on the subject, urged him his revered friend Andrew Fuller. to prepare his thoughts for publiFor the light which had enabled cation, accompanying the request him to explore this province of with an offer of Ten Pounds totheological truth, he was indebted, wards the
On his return instrumentally, to the writings of home, Mr. Carey met his three friends, Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland has been called, on a similar occaat Northampton, and communi- sion, to endure, between long checated to them what had passed. rished attachments and a sense of He importuned one of them to duty, he yielded to their unanimous undertake the publication in his invitation, and removed, with his stead; but as they severally de- family, to Bristol, in December clined it, he fulfilled the task him- 1793. A public service, recognizself soon after by sending his ing his union with the Church at
Enquiry” to the press; which Broadmead, was held on the 15th being followed up by the sermons of May following, in which Messrs. of Sutcliff and Fuller at Clipston, Francis of Horsley, Kingdon of in April 1791, and the Circular Frome, Clarke of Exeter, and TomLetter to the Northamptonshire mas of the Pithay ---men all venerAssociation, 'on Godly Zeal,' by able and beloved in their day, but Mr. Ryland, in the succeeding long since gathered to their fathers, year, issued in the formation of the took part. One minister only sursociety at Kettering, Oct. 2, 1792. vives, who united in that service,
Scarcely had Mr. (now Dr. *) and for him it was reserved to Ryland assisted in laying the foun- attend the funeral solemnity of his dation of the Baptist Mission, ere venerable friend in the very place he was called to a distant part of where, more than thirty years bethe kingdom, and fixed, for the fore, he had solemnly implored the remainder of his life, in the precise divine benediction on the comspot where he could most effec- mencement of his labours. tually serve the Society: not merely
A few months after Dr. Ryland by exerting his influence through a fixed his residence at Bristol, he wide and most respectable circle, received the first letters which had but by infusing a portion of his arrived from Carey and Thomas in own spirit into the rising generation Bengal, and the intelligence they of our ministers, and thus provid-contained was so cheering, that he ing, in the surest manner, for its longed to communicate it as widely perpetuity and extension.
as possible. · The Rev. David Dr. Caleb Evans, the amiable Bogue of Gosport, and — Steven, and excellent pastor of the Church then of London, being at that time in the Broadmead, Bristol, and supplying at the Tabernacle, were President of the Baptist Academy invited to meet a few friends at the in that city, had been removed by Doctor's house on this interesting death in August 1791, and the at- occasion ; and when, after uniting tention of his bereaved friends was in prayer and praise, these worthy soon directed towards Northamp- ministers returned to their lodgings, ton for a successor. In com- they mutually expressed their depliance with their solicitations, Dr. sires to set on foot a Missionary Ryland paid them a visit for, a Society among their connexions month at Christmas 1792, and after likewise. About the same time, a painful struggle, such as many a Dr. Edward Williams, then of Birconscientious and honourable mind mingham, and other pædobaptist
ministers of that district, were imThe diploma of D.D. was conferred result of these concurrent trains of
bibing a similar spirit; and the opon bim in September, 1792, by the University in Rhode Island, U.S. The same learned body had constituted him M. A. in * Rev, Joseph Hughes, M. A. of Bat1773.
thought and feeling was one in list, which is presumed to be tolerwhich ages unborn will have to ably correct, will be found at the rejoice — the establishment of the close of this article ; but besides London Missionary Society in Sep- these, he was a frequent contributember 1795.
tor, for nearly half a century, to The new connexions, among successive periodical publications whom Dr.Ryland was now brought, intended to promote the cause of welcomed him with a cordial re-evangelical religion; and manuspect, which soon ripened into scripts, to a considerable extent, genuine affection; and though all on a variety of theological subjects, his ministering brethren in the West are dispersed among his numerous were not prepared at once fully to friends and correspondents. His subscribe to his views of divine productions, though not charactruth, they rejoiced to listen to terized by elevation of style or one, who combined with so many elegance of composition, uniformly claims to their deference, such breathe a devotional and benevomeekness and gentleness as proved lent spirit; and are marked by a him to be unconscious of them all. certain earnestness of manner He preached at the first Western strongly indicating that their author Association held after his settle- deeply felt the importance of the ment at Bristol, and on several sentiments he advocates, and, withother public occasions in the same out the least anxiety to secure the year. The ascendancy at first ob- admiration of his readers, aimed tained without design, was ever only to promote their spiritual welafterwards preserved without ef fare. Towards opponents his canfort ; ' and probably there never dour was remarkable; and in his has been an individual, exercising work on baptism, he has furnished so long such extensive influence, an example of the mode of treating who more completely escaped the that much contested subject which imputation of an imperious and all future controversialists would dogmatical spirit.
do well to follow. Good men of When Dr. Ryland succeeded to all denominations he cordially the president's chair, the academy loved; and maintained, for many at Bristol was the only institution years, an extensive correspondence of the kind in the denomina- with eminent divines of different tion to which he belonged; and communions both in Great Britain the incessant occupation and cor- and America. Among these we respondence connected with this may specify the names of Toplady, office, together with his pastoral Scott and Newton – Dr. Erskine duties to the church at Broadmead, of Edinburgh- and Drs. Jonathan required a closeness and intensity Edwards, Hopkins, West, and of application to which few men Dwight, in the United States. All would have been equal. But he these excellent men had entered was favoured, till nearly the close the heavenly rest before him. How of life, with almost uninterrupted delightful is the thought that they health; and his habitual temper. are now together enjoying the fullance and early rising, combined ness of that love and perfection of with unusual facility in the use of that knowledge, which, while on the pen, enabled him, in addition earth, they could only begin to to the avocations already named, taste and comprehend ! to prepare much for the press. Of Dr. Ryland was assisted, in the his acknowledged publications, a labours of the academy, succes