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Painted by J.JACKSON. RA. Engraved by W. T. FRY.

By appointment of the Wesleyan Book Committee

14. City Road

Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine,





THIS venerable and useful Minister of Christ was born near Stanhope, in Weardale, about the year 1750. This date, although given by himself, is involved in some uncertainty; as one of the most intimate of his surviving friends has stated, that the exact year of Mr. Brown's birth is unknown. The Clergyman of the parish being addicted to drunkenness, no regular register was kept in the church.

Had Mr. Brown's spiritual interests been left exclusively in such hands, it is probable that, instead of afterwards teaching religion to others, he would have remained ignorant of it himself; as that individual who had administered baptism to him without recording it, was not likely to accompany that ordinance by any efficient religious instruction or example. Happily for himself, and many others, his mother was a pious Methodist; and through her instrumentality he became, at the early age of seven years, the subject of powerful religious impressions. It was his own persuasion, that had he been admitted into the Methodist Society, he might then have been led to Christ, and become established in grace. This, by some oversight, was not done; and these gracious impressions were subsequently lost, and succeeded by a state of obduracy in guilt, in which he continued to slumber till about his seventeenth year. He was then, through the ministry, it is thought, of a zealous and successful Local Preacher, rendered fully alive to his dreadful situation as a guilty and condemned creature; and for some months and years he continued to groan under the intolerable misery of unpardoned sin. He has been heard to say, that through this period of extreme and protracted sorrow, he was powerfully assailed with atheistic doubts, and numerous distressing temptations. When about twenty-two years of age, while waiting upon God in a Class-Meeting, he obtained the unspeakable blessing of conscious forgiveness. This great event in his moral history, which determined the character of his future life, and has now doubtless issued in the felicities of paradise, he mentioned only a few days before his death; when, in reply to the question, "Were you happy at that time?" he said with great emphasis, "O! very happy, very happy." That this was, as he believed, not a delusive VOL. V. Third Series. AUGUST, 1826.


animal excitement, or a mere fiction of his fancy, but a blissful spiritual reality, is evident; because it proved the commencement of a long course of holy, consistent, and eminently useful conduct, which has now terminated in a peaceful death. Soon after he was thus made a partaker of God's pardoning mercy, he began to exhort his fellow-sinners in the neighbourhood, to embrace the same salvation; and previously to his taking a regular Circuit, as an itinerant Preacher, he was instrumental in the conversion of many souls.

In the year 1778 he was admitted by Mr. Wesley into his Connexion, as a Travelling Preacher.

The first three years of his itinerancy were passed in the north of England; and he had conducted himself, during this period of his probation, in such a manner, that, as appears from the following circumstance, Mr. Wesley had formed no mean opinion of his devoted and self-denying spirit: nor was that eminent man ignorant of the true character of another of his Preachers, whose great moral worth has not always been duly appreciated. Mr. Wesley being in the Isle of Man in the summer of 1781, was requested by a pious female to send them two suitable Preachers; "men," added she, "who can endure hardships and privations." "Well, sister," was the reply, "I will send you two men, who if you give them any thing to eat will thank you; and if you give them nothing to eat will thank you." He sent them Messrs. Daniel Jackson and Jonathan Brown.

For several years after he became an Itinerant Preacher, Mr. Brown was frequently led to question his call to the Christian ministry. Through the anguish of mind occasioned by these reasonings, he had repeated and serious thoughts of abandoning his station; and once he proceeded so far as to acquaint Mr. Wesley with his determination to return home. The answer he received was brief, energetic, and decisive. The good man remained at his post, and became another witness of the truth of Luther's observation, That successful Preachers are prepared by temptation and prayer.

Mr. Brown spent six years in Ireland. Here he had to participate in those hardships and dangers which often fell to the lot of the first Methodist Preachers; for in addition to the innumerable privations which a Preacher, whose labours were chiefly confined to the poor, must have endured, in that distressed country, he was at one time pursued by two Popish miscreants, who had vowed to take summary vengeance on him, could he be overtaken. There was no safety but in flight; and, therefore, putting spurs to his horse, he urged the animal to his utmost speed. His pursuers were mounted on mules, one of which was equal in power to Mr. Brown's horse; but descending into a valley where it is probable he would otherwise have been seized, their best mule fell, while his horse held on his way, and he escaped out of their hands. He was ever after

wards fully persuaded, that their intention was to murder him; and he has been heard to relate the circumstance, with great apparent gratitude to the Lord his preserver.

After his return from Ireland, he continued to labour chiefly in the northern parts of this kingdom, till the year 1817; when he desisted from his itinerant career, and settled as a Supernumerary.

If a Preacher is to be considered eminent, only in proportion to the degree of learning, judgment, and eloquence, which appear in his discourses, then, perhaps, the ministerial character of Mr. Brown should not be rated very high. And yet, however desirable those qualifications may be, he must have possessed a talent of a still higher order; for it was a talent which often triumphed where they were defeated. If the ram's horn that brings down the walls of mystic Jericho, and leads captivity captive, be a more eminent instrument of war than the silver trumpet which merely charms, instead of subduing the enemy; and which sends the soldier to the judgment-seat of Christ, not to produce his spoils and his captives, but to tell how his music has been admired and his Master despised; then perhaps our deceased Father, as a Minister of Christ, may have excelled many, who are thought, both by themselves and others, to be much his superiors.

During the thirty-nine years in which he laboured as a regular Travelling Preacher, he occupied twenty-four different stations. On two of these only does there appear to have been any decrease in the Societies during the period of his ministry; and that, in both cases, was comparátively trifling. In three or four other instances, the number of members over whom he was placed, remained nearly stationary. In all the other Circuits to which he was appointed, amounting to seventeen or eighteen, he left an increase in the Societies, and that generally considerable, and sometimes extraordinary. There was an addition of one hundred and sixty-one members during his first appointment to the Isle of Man. In the Londonderry Circuit, in two years, five hundred and twenty-nine were added to the Society. In the Hull Circuit, where he was stationed in 1793 and 1794, the Society was doubled; he and his colleagues finding six hundred and forty members, and leaving one thousand two hundred and eighty. While he laboured at Whitby, there was an increase of four hundred; and when stationed there a second time, ten years afterwards, there was an addition of two hundred and seventy members. In Stockton there was an increase of one hundred and ten, and in Doncaster, of one hundred and thirty. In all these Circuits he had colleagues associated with him, who, of course, were joint instruments with himself in effecting this good; and it is well known, that in zeal and efficiency he was never behind his brethren. If any ask, what he did to obtain this great success; I answer, 1. He was really in earnest. His conduct in the pulpit evinced that he had entered it, with a fixed determination, if possible,

there and then to prevail on his guilty hearers to be reconciled to God. There was great solemnity in his manner. He felt that he was conducting a treaty with immortal souls, on the subject of their salvation, of which heaven or hell must be the speedy and infallible issue. While the tears rolled down his face, he besought them with an affectionate importunity, which it was difficult to resist, not to receive the grace of God in vain.2. He was abundant and mighty in prayer. Until his later years, when growing infirmities obliged him to relax somewhat of his former severity, it was his general practice to rise at four o'clock in the morning, and spend one and sometimes two hours in fervent prayer. On some occasions he has continued so long on his knees, as to become unable to rise; and a member of his family states, that she has frequently assisted him. At these times he appeared inexpressibly happy. It was his custom to fast twice in the week; and often when in affliction, or when the work of God did not prosper, he has spent whole nights in prayer. In public he has, at different times, literally spent himself in that exercise; praying with the people, till (to use his own expression) he could pray no more. Great power was often found to accompany him on these occasions, and prodigious effects were observed to follow.

With such qualifications, we know not that he pleased conceited critics, or that he attracted much admiration to himself; but he turned many to righteousness.

Since he became a Supernumerary in 1817, he has resided chiefly in Doncaster, Pontefract, Selby, and Hull, where he finished his course.

For some time before his decease, his physical and mental energies had been declining, and perhaps some tendency to childishness might be detected in his conduct; but a small share of that "charity" which "hopeth all things," must lead us to throw the mantle of oblivion over the infirmities of an old man, who has arrived at those days of darkness and imbecility which must come upon the most strong and active. He was confined for several months, chiefly to his bed. Throughout his long affliction he spoke often, and with great feeling, of his exclusive reliance on the sacrifice of Christ, as the ground of his acceptance with God. He more than once complained to his friends of his inability to "be joyful in tribulation;" and appeared always afraid of speaking too strongly of his religious state; yet his language was uniformly that of a man who possessed the sure trust and confidence, that through the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favour of God." On the 22d of June, 1825, he said, in conversation with a friend, "The life which I live in the flesh is a life of faith in the Son of God." A remark being made on his great weakness, he exclaimed, " Glory be to God for the atonement of Christ! What should I do now were it not for the atonement?" He also remarked, that he had preached as many sermons out of doors, as any man now living in the Methodist Connexion; but


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