HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS IN BARNOLDSWICK.
By the Rev. Evan R Lewis. FRHS. With an introduction on Baptist Principles by the Rev. Edward Parker, DD, Manchester and a Sketch of the “Present Pastorate” by the Rev. J T Marshall. MA of Manchester.
Published by I L Griffiths, printer and publisher. 49/50 and 51 Pelly Street, Cwmavon, Wales. 1893. Price 2/6. [twelve and a half new pence.]
Transcribed by Stanley Challenger Graham. Please note I have omitted some poetry towards the end of the book. If you really need to see this lat me know and I’ll see that you get it]
I. ORIGIN OF CHURCH-PERSECUTION OF BAPTISTS-CONVENTICLE ACT. PAGE. 1.
II. DAVID CROSSLEY-JOHN BUNYAN'S EVANGELIST AS PASTOR-PURCHASE OF MEETING HOUSE-EXTRACTS OF DEEDS-BLOCK OF ORIGINAL MEETING HOUSE. PAGE 4.
III. INVITATION TO JOHN WILSON OF TOTTLEBANK-CALL TO JOHN
SLATER-MUNSTER'S LIBRARY. PAGE 13.
IV. ALVERY JACKSON-PROBATION-SINGING CONTROVERSY-SERMON ON SINGING PAGE 16.
V. JACKSON'S HYMNS-LETTER FROM HEATON AND RAWDON ..
VI. YORKSHIRE ASSOCIATION-JOHN BARRETT-ENDOWMENT OF
CHURCH-ABRAHAM GREENWOOD-JOHN THOMAS. PAGE 37.
VII. CHURCH COVENANT AND CONFESSION OF FAITH. PAGE 45
VIII. CHURCH DISCIPLINE-EXCOMMUNICATIONS. REASONSFOR RIGID GOVERNMENT-LORDS SUPPER,-DEATH OF ALVERY JACKSON
IX. JOHN PARKER-POEMS-REMOVAL TO WAINSGATE-DEATH
X. NATHAN SMITH-THE OLD CHAPEL-JOHN SPOONER-THOMAS
BENNETT-THE NEW CHAPEL-PRESENT PASTORATE-THE NEW SCHOOL-SUMMARY PAGE 79.
THERE lived in Scotland during the close of the last century, a man named Robert Patterson, who rendered humble but valuable service to the memory of the Scotch Covenanters. This man who was a stone mason by trade, travelled from churchyard to battlefield, seeking for the graves of those brave and devoted Covenanters who had fallen in the great struggle for religious freedom, and wherever he found a stone from which the name of his heroic countryman was being obliterated, he would sit down and re-chisel and make legible the almost lost name. I would in some small degree imitate Robert Patterson, by bringing to light and perpetuating the almost forgotten names, deeds and principles of the pioneers and successive workers of the Bethesda, Baptist Church, Barnoldswick. So that when, as of old, the children shall ask their parents, “What mean ye by these stones ?.” The parents shall place in their childrens hands a simple record of those “who posted at the shrine of Truth,” in spite of bonds, imprisonment and brutal despotic threats, did fight a good fight and keep the faith once delivered to the saints. “Who counted not their life dear unto them that they might finish their course with joy.” Many footsteps have been erased by the tide of time, beyond recovery. What facts I have gleaned were scattered and fragmentary. Many of them were never before published, for such information I am greatly indebted to several friends who have willingly lent me Manuscripts of great value.
Baptist history needs to be better known, although what can be known is a magnificent record, yet I am persuaded that it is even now very incomplete. There are insignificant churches which have been mighty bulwarks of Divine Truth in revolutionary times, whose records are unwritten. There are “Missing links” in the history of our denomination, without which British History will be incomplete. It has been acknowledged that Baptists have done more to achieve the glorious victories of Protestantism politically and religiously than any other section of the Christian Church. In the history of the Netherlands reformed Church written by Ypeig, late Professor of Theology, in the Groningen University, and Dermont, Chaplain to the King of Holland, on behalf of the Government we read:-
“W e have now seen that the Baptists, who in former times were called Anabaptists, and at a later period Mennonites; were originally Waldenses, who in the history of the Church even from the most ancient times, have received such a well deserved homage. On this account, the Baptists may be considered, as of old, the only religious community which has continued from the time of the Apostles a Christian Society which has kept pure through all ages the evangelical doctrines of religion”. Although the name which has designated this community has varied with the ages and the peoples who hold Baptist principles yet their practices and principles have always been the same. “The scarlet thread that helps to trace its gapless lineage back to Apostolic times is the fact of its refusal to immerse any but professed personal believers in the Divine verities.” Fidelity to the truth made Baptists the pariahs of history. Their records are incomplete, hence it behoves those who can in any degree whatever, help in completing them; to do so. To that end I subscribe this little volume. Facts hidden in obscurity have been unearthed. Yet there may possibly come to light from some unknown cranny, other evidence that will throw a brighter halo around the history of God's cause here.
Hoping that the reading of it will edify, and stimulate the reader to noble service for our Gracious Lord.
I remain, yours truly, January 1st, 1892. E. R. LEWIS.
In a history of a Baptist church a statement of Baptist principles cannot be
out of place. Such a statement I propose in this short Chapter, in so far as
it can be made by briefly indicating in rough outline, some of the things
which Baptists believe and practice.
Like many other religious bodies passing under a distinctive name the Baptist body, includes two sorts of people-those who are Baptists nominally, and those who are Baptists really. At present, I propose only to speak of those who are Baptists really. All real Baptists believe in God, the Maker, and Preserver, and Governor of us all. This world to them is not an orphan world. notwithstanding all the mystery, and confusion, and suffering, and sin that are in it, it has a father who loves it, cares for it, and works in it. And He, amid all and through all that seems strange and inexplicable, is accomplishing in the world and for it His purposes of grace and love.
We believe in the Bible as the Book of God. A revelation of the mind and Will of God to his rational and moral creatures is necessary. We believe that the needed revelation has been given, and that the Bible contains it. The evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is to our minds satisfactory and conclusive. Our faith in the Bible is not of the modified type that obtains in some circles in these modern days. We do not believe simply that the Bible contains the word of God, we believe that the Bible is the word of God. We believe that in the Bible God reveals to man the way in which he can be saved. As a matter of fact man has fallen. He has become guilty, in consequence miserable, and he is helpless in respect alike to the guilt and the misery. The Bible is not responsible for man's lost condition. Proofs that he is lost and miserable, and helpless, abound where the Bible has never come, and where it can have no influence. But the Bible alone tells man how he can be saved.
The salvation revealed to us in the Bible is the salvation of a Triune God. It is from the love and grace of the Father as its originating cause, through the mediatorial work of the Son as its meritorious cause, and by the renewing and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit as its efficient cause. We become personally interested in this salvation by faith in Christ. To all that believe salvation is infallibly sure. Real Baptists are personally believers in Jesus. They believe in him as the Son of God, and as the Saviour of men. They accept him in all his offices. They accept him as Prophet, from God to the people, they accept him as Priest to God for the people, they accept him as King, for God over the people. They therefore make his person and work the ground of their trust. They also take his Will as their supreme law. That Will they find in the Bible, and there only. Not in the Bible and the teachings of the Fathers, or the traditions of the Church, but in the Bible only. As there found it is to be interpreted by each man for himself. Not by others for him, whether pope, or priest, or presbytery, or parliament but by each man for himself. And as thus honestly interpreted it is to be faithfully obeyed. Our agreement with each other in matters of doctrine and practice-and notwithstanding some differences, there is very substantial agreement amongst us-is the natural outcome of our understanding the Scriptures in the same way as the result of personal investigation and conviction-we have no other bond of agreement.
As Baptists we believe it to be part of the Will of Christ that being disciples ourselves we should seek to make disciples of our fellow-men around us. This is in harmony with his great command, given, not to apostles and ministers as such, but to all his disciples- “Go ye and make disciples of all nations.” The way in which this is to be done is explained by the other form in which the great commission has come down to us- “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature”. The Gospel ought to be preached everywhere. In so far as in us lies it is our duty to preach it; directly, by our personal efforts, indirectly, by supporting, with our sympathy, with our money, and with our prayers, those who give their lives to this great work. It is the duty of all to whom the Gospel is preached to accept it. This is God's design in sending the Gospel; and his command to all to whom it is sent. The Gospel itself has claims to acceptance, it is “a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation”.--- It is to be preached with a view to its acceptance. By this means men individually and as nations are to be discipled. Men are not made Christians by their nationality, or by natural parentage, or by any religious rites performed, either by them or on them, whether baptism or anything else. They are made Christians by the Gospel - First, by its being preached to them; and, Secondly, by its being through grace received and believed by them.
Baptists hold that all who are made disciples of Christ should personally and openly profess their discipleship. This is due to Christ, and of considerable benefit to themselves-Moreover Christ requires it. And not only does He require it but he has also prescribed the way in which it is to be done. “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Baptism is instituted as a means by which those who are Christ's disciples may make their discipleship known. We hold that baptism is immersion. The word itself signifies to immerse or dip; the different expressions used in Scripture in connection with the observance of Baptism imply that this is its meaning: no other meaning is in harmony with the symbolical import of baptism as set forth in the Scriptures; we then hold that baptism is immersion. We also hold that only disciples should be baptized. It is sometimes said of us that we insist on adult baptism, that is not true. We hold that the younger the persons are when they become disciples the better, and as soon as they are disciples we are glad to baptize them, no matter what their age may be. What we insist on is disciple baptism. We contend that only disciples should be baptized, because the command to baptize is restricted to disciples only; because inspired apostles and primitive Christians, who certainly understood the command, baptized disciples only; because, baptism has a spiritual significance which is realized in the case of disciples only. We hold further that baptism is binding on all disciples. A disciple of Christ ought not to refrain from professing his discipleship. He ought not to profess discipleship in any other way than by baptism; at any rate, not in any other way that ignores this, or supersedes this; because this is Christ's way. So we practice believer's baptism. This practice makes us peculiar. We get our name from it and we are therefore called Baptists. But then there is nothing in our practice that is not in Christ's Commission. If we are peculiar in practicing what the Commission requires, it is only because there is something which the Commission requires that other people do not practice.
Baptized believers ought to be formed into Christian Churches. It is not Christ's Will that his disciples should live in spiritual isolation, or that they should be spiritual gipsies, pitching their moving tent sometimes here and sometimes there. It is his will that they should live in fellowship with each other, and that there should be some particular fellowship in which each should feel “no more a stranger or a guest, but like a child at home.” He has therefore authorised the formation of particular churches, and given directions in respect thereto. The term Church as used in the New Testament refers not to a place of meeting but to the persons who met. Hence we read of “the Church coming together in one place,” (1. Cor. 14, 23.) It is not the place that is the Church. The place may be a cathedral, a chapel, a cottage, a barn, any sort of building or no building at all, it is not the place in which the people meet that makes the Church, but the people who meet in it. All the churches that are mentioned in the New Testament were complete in themselves and separate from each other. There was an essential sameness in them all. They were composed of the same kind of material, they were formed after the same pattern, and they are designed for the same use. Yet nevertheless they were distinct and separate. Hence a church meeting at Corinth is described as the coming together of the whole Church. Epaphroditus with Paul at Rome was still a member of the Church at Philippi. The Church at Rome and the Church at Philippi were not the same Church, though they were both Christian churches. We do not read in the Scripture of the Church of Galatia or the Church of Judea, or the Church of Asia as we sometimes hear in our own day of the Church of England, or the Church of Scotland: but we read of the Churches in Galatia, the Churches in Judea, the Churches in Asia.
All New Testament Churches were composed of professed believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Each church was a voluntary association of professed believers. Membership in a church involved three things, faith, profession, and voluntary surrender. These professed believers in Church fellowship were on terms of perfect equality with each other. New Testament Churches were afflicted with no temporal head, whether pope or potentate. They were burdened with no Lord Bishops, the bishops of those days were expressly forbidden to be lords. Amongst the members of these churches no distinction was recognised such as clergy and laity. In so far as any such distinction existed the people were the clergy, and the ministers were the shepherds and overseers appointed to look after the clergy. They were all on terms of perfect equality: one was their Master even Christ, and all they were brethren. And so it should be. In the world social distinctions are necessary, and should be respected. But in the Church all these distinctions are out of place. Only two distinctions should he recognised within the assemblies of the saints, that of age in its claim to be reverenced, and that of excellence in its claim to be loved. The Christian Church depends upon the voluntary offerings of her members for support. She seeks neither patronage nor aid from worldly monarchs nor will she in matters pertaining to conscience and God yield to their dictation. Christ is her acknowledged and only Head. She submits her conscience to his authority. Her faith and practice are regulated by His Will. She promptly and persistently resists every effort, from what quarter so ever it may proceed, to usurp his place, or to step in between herself and Him. We seek as Baptists to conform our churches to this New Testament Model. We also seek what answer the purposes for which all churches professed to exist, the maintenance of God's worship, the ministry of His holy word, the observance of His ordinances, the mutual edification of His saints, and the extension of His Kingdom in the world.
If I have accomplished one thing that I wanted to accomplish in these remarks I have made it clear that we are Baptists because the teachings of the word of God will not allow us to be anything else. If there be anything in either our doctrine or practice that is contrary to the word, let it be pointed out to us, and we pledge ourselves to abandon it. We ought not to be branded as Separatists. We are one with all true Christians who walk in the truth. We are only so far separate from them as the interests of truth demand. But separation from them does not mean antagonism to them. Our constant prayer is "grace, mercy, and peace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
ORIGIN OF CIIURCH.-PERSECUTION OF BAPTISTS.-CONVENTICLE ACT
T0 our unspeakable regret the earliest records of this Church are irrecoverably lost, several leaves are missing from the old church book, and even as far back as 1744 all efforts to recover the missing leaves were in vain. The first entry in the existing register is dated 1697 which includes the names of 12 members out of the 48 that then constituted the Church. It may probably have been true of the founders of this cause as of others "that often these helpless victims of tyranny were obliged to destroy their own documents lest discovery should overwhelm them in calamity as the hand which carried the sword to smite this people, carried also the torch to burn up their books."
When the church was established is uncertain, if we accept the definition of a church as being “a congregation of faithful men in which the true word of God is preached and the sacrament duly administered according to Christ's ordinances.” Then there was a church here as early as A. D. 1500, for at that time there were at least six eminent Baptist families in and around Barnoldswick, namely :The Mitchells, Higgins, Edmondsons, Hargreaves, Barretts and Greenwoods. These families were branded as Dissenters, and several of their members subsequently became prominent officials of the church. The Mitchell family up to very recently was actively connected with the church, and descendants of some of the other families still live here. The first emphatic reference to the church as a properly organised society is dated 1661. In that year certain property consisting of a messuage, barn, croft and garden, which had been held in trust by three of the members named Christopher Edmondson, Henry Higgins and Mathew Watson, was conveyed to one John Taylor another member. He in 1694 transferred it to David Crossley the minister of the church, who in 1705 transferred it to an elder of the church, named John Barrit, who ultimately bequeathed it to the
Society as a meeting house for the perpetual use of the Baptists at
Barnoldswick. That identical property still remains in the possession
of the church.
The times in which we obtain our first glimpse of this venerable mother in Israel, were evil. On England's throne sat and ruled the most profligate, despotic and papish of kings, Charles II. Occupying England's highest seats, and most sacred offices were men imbrued with the same vicious principles.
"Sad time indeed, Oh most detested time, When vice was fealty and religion crime; When councillors were traitors to the state, A Chancellor's authority was fate."
The Established church had thrown herself without reserve into the arms of civil power. She was the bond-slave of a tyrannical government, and in such evil hands and through such an unholy alliance she perverted the truth, and ruthlessly trampled on protestant liberty. Archbishops, bishops and clergy, infamously urged and joined high-handed sacrilegious state officials in plundering and murdering devoted, godly nonconformists, who in God's name asserted their absolute right to worship Him according to the dictates of their own enlightened conscience, to recognise Christ as the supreme head of the church and to make God's word the standard of action. At the time when
Maidstone Gaol was crowded with Baptist prisoners, when numbers of Baptist ministers were languishing in loathsome dungeons, when Newgate prison held 400 Baptists, and many were suffering in Tyburn ; when the immortal John Bunyan was a prisoner in Bedford, and when loyal Christians were hanged, drawn, and quartered, for declaring themselves baptized believers, then a few faithful disciples of Christ met secretly to worship God at Barnoldswick. Thus we see that this devoted Deborah was born in troublous times, nursed amid blasting storms, and divinely preserved during a period whose foul record disgraces and pollutes the pages of British history.
In the Autumn of 1663 an insurrection headed by some Fifth Monarchy men arose in Yorkshire, against the existing form of government. This slight rebellion was made the pretext by Charles for passing on May 16th, 1664, a most intolerant and unjust decree called the Conventicle Act, which was passed with a view to suppressing the religious gathering of nonconformists. This Act asserted “that all meetings of more than five persons, besides the members of the household, for any religious worship not according to the book of Common Prayer were seditious assemblies ; and all persons above sixteen years of age who were present, were, for the first offence to pay a fine of five pounds or to be imprisoned three mouths: for the second offence ten pounds or six months, and for the third offence one hundred pounds, or suffer transportation to one of the American plantations for seven years.” The Baptists throughout the country suffered severely under this act, and Barnoldswick was by no means exempted, for it was the haunt of Government spies, the prowling, wolves who avariciously watched the little flock that met here to feed on the green pastures of the word. In righteous defiance of Charles and his profligate parasites who delighted in cold blooded rapine, this faithful few continued to meet to worship God. Believing in the puritan motto " trust God and keep your powder dry," and in the injunction " watch and pray," they appointed relays of watchers, to stand at different places on the surrounding hills to spy on the enemy and warn the worshippers of his approach and when the signal of danger was given the minister disappeared through a convenient exit behind the pulpit and the congregation dispersed in different directions. Many times was the persecutor foiled, but so determined were the plunderous state-officers to arrest these heretics, and hot headed anabaptists, or rather the sturdy loyal champions of divine rights, that for a long while they remained constantly here, suspending all services, and threatening to imprison those who dared to meet to hold any kind of religious service. Under this act, William Mitchell, of Bacup, who sometimes preached here, was twice arrested and imprisoned at York Castle.
Many of the pioneers of this cause must, to our sorrow, be registered among the unknown heroes of the Christian church. We would have been glad to record some interesting facts concerning those hidden ones of God, but we have to say with Cole.
“Others there were, heroes though all unknown, Their rimes unblazoned on fame's glorious roll, no epitaph is theirs, no bronze, no stone, Their deaths unsung, their patriot deeds unshown; Yet hearts still throb that keep their memory green, With silent sighs and solemn tears unseen.
DAVID CROSLEY, JOHN BUNYAN'S EVANGELIST AS A PASTOR-PURCHASE OF MEETING HOUSE-EXTRACTS OF DEEDS.-BLOCK OF ORIGINAL MEETING HOUSE.
The first name that appears on the pastoral roll of this Church is that of David Crosley, a name rich with many blessed memories and one that blends with the early history of many Baptist churches throughout England.
David Crosley was born at Heptonstall, in the neighbourhood of Todmorden, in January 1669, and was brought up from childhood by his aunt, who was a very pious woman. As soon as young David learnt to read, his aunt used to engage him in reading the scriptures and printed sermons for her, a practice which the lad evidently appreciated, and which proved a great blessing to him. By this devotional exercise he acquired considerable acquaintance with the Scripture, so that like Timothy, " from his youth up he knew the Holy Scriptures," and at the early age of twelve was converted.
The reading of the sermons too, had a beneficial effect upon him in another direction, for at a very early age he manifested intense love for preaching. Being a youth of singular intellectual ability he would compose sermons, and when asked by his aunt to read for her, would, under the pretence of reading a published sermon, recite his own from memory, and then coolly ask her opinion of it.
He was a mason by trade, and worked at his vocation during the day, and went about the neighbourhood preaching the gospel at night, and was, together with his cousin William Mitchell, the honoured instrument in introducing the Gospel into Bacup. He was in a twofold sense a born builder; in the higher sense according to the grace of God given him he was a wise master builder, a workman that needed not to he ashamed. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and the altars of Jehovah forsaken, and the Master called for him " to build the ruined places, and plant that, which was desolate," so that soon after beginning to preach, he laid aside his trowel and hammer and with intense devotion consecrated himself to the ministry.
At that time the celebrated John Bunyan was at the height of his fame, The whole of England heard concerning him, and the largest halls in London were unable to contain the multitudes that thronged to bear him. Bunyan's fame reached the ears of young Crosley, and his ardent love of preaching and preachers was so aroused that he determined to go to London to hear the famous preacher of Bedford. He succeeded not only in reaching the Metropolis, but in being introduced to and in forming an acquaintance with Bunyan.
Bunyan accepted Crosley as a pupil and candidate for the ministry, and ultimately sent him forth as an evangelist to propagate his religious principles. He became very popular among the London churches, and was regarded as a favourite by many of Bunyan's friends. Whilst in London, he passed through a severe trial; his esteemed and venerated teacher John Bunyan was taken ill and died at the house of a Mr. Strudwick, where Crosley was a welcome visitor. He remained in London for about three years after Bunyan's death, visiting the friends of Bunyan and preaching with great acceptance among the London churches.
On one occasion he was engaged to preach the morning sermon at Mr. Pomfret’s meeting house in Gravel Lane, Spitalsfields, July 28th, 1691, when he delivered a most remarkable sermon entitled “Samson a Type of Christ.” The sermon created considerable interest and by special request was published. In the preface to the reprint of' that sermon fifty-three years afterwards, he gives an interesting account of the circumstances of its composition and publication. He says:
" The day after I was engaged to preach that sermon, I was invited to dine with Mr. Strudwick (the gentleman with whom Mr. John Bunyan died) at the foot of Snow-hill. He was a wholesale grocer in whose dining room opposite to where 1 sat at dinner, was a piece of Turkey Tapestry hanging, wherein was wrought the figure of Samson and the Lion, which he slew by he vineyard of' Timnath, when he went to marry the Philistine woman (Judges xiv) At first I looked upon it, only to gratify my curiosity ; but presently considered
I was not viewing an ordinary landscape, but scripture history, which perhaps might not only entertain the eye, but also afford speculation of a much sublimer nature. I began to frame ideas in my mind, which in due time were productive of the several observations and improvements contained in the discourse; and being, but in the twenty-second year of my age, and not having the aid of books, nor accustomed to the use of notes, it may well be supposed I had a working head, and I hope a heart full of earnest breathings, and frequent ejaculations heavenwards for fresh anointing, and an illuminated understanding in what was before me, that those pleasing conceptions, which my mind so abounded with, might not (however recent) prove raw and undigested when published in he ears of a polite auditory. And how it was approved and received, it is not for me to say. It has already and perhaps yet does speak for itself. But so it was, a gentleman bookseller, unknown by person to me, before I came down from the pulpit, spoke to the congregation, and proposed that, as the discourse had been so pleasing to him, and as he conceived, it had to the whole congregation, and the argument in his apprehension being both singular and profitable, he was minded, if those who had heard it thought fit to encourage in and that he could prevail with me to write it out, to be at he charge of printing it himself, and if they that were able would buy, he would give to them that were not. The proposal at first was very surprising to me, being far from supposing anything of mine could be fit for such a publication. But the congregation was so unanimous and importunate to have what was proposed go forward, that I could not gainsay it, whereupon with the assistance of some that had taken the sermon in short-hand, I wrote it out and in a few days after, it came out in print to the number of one thousand copies which went off with such expedition that in a little more than half a year's time the impression was sold off, which must needs be owing to the agreeableness of the argument, the author being not only young but in a manner wholly unknown except to a few."
In the year 1692, he returned to Bacup to labour with his cousin William Mitchell at the meeting house erected for them both “to pray, preach and worship in” During the same year he went to Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, where he was baptized August 6th, 1692, by a Mr. Eccles, and where he remained but a short while. The church at Bromsgrove gave him a letter of recommendation to preach where he wished. 'To what place he went after leaving Bromsgrove has been until now a mystery. Ivimey, who in his history of the Baptists, records Crosley's life, lost sight of him for about three years. Hargreaves, in his appendix to the life of Hirst, says, “whether he now returned to Bacup and continued there until 1695, cannot now be ascertained." Parry, in his history of the Rossendale Baptists, states, " David Crosley after his baptism at Bromsgrove returned, it is presumed to Rossendale, where he remained until 1695” He no doubt did visit Bacup after leaving Bromsgrove, for he signed a trust deed there in 1693. Still there is the period between that date, and his settlement at Tottlebank in 1695 to account for, and we have found the missing link in some old documents dated 1694, 1695, and 1703 ; two of which bear his own signature, and all of which affirm that David Crosley was pastor of this church. Why he chose Barnoldswick as a sphere of labour we cannot tell, unless the Crosleys of Stock, Salterforth, and Barnoldswick were his relatives, and he was attracted hither by them. When he came to Barnoldswick, he found an organized society worshipping in a barn, but in a low, depressed, lifeless condition. He energetically set to work to arouse the church from its lethargy, and having in a short while done so, he proceeded to secure more suitable premises. This he did by purchasing the adjoining cottage, and then converting it into a meeting house. The following is an extract of the Indenture confirming the purchase :
This Indenture made the three and twentieth day of April in the sixth year of the Raigne of our Gracious Sovereigne Lord and Lady William and Mary by the grace of God of England, Scotland France and Ireland and King and Queene Defenders of the faith, &c. Between John Taylor of Barnoldswick in the County of York yeoman on the one party, and David Crosley of Barnoldswick aforesaid Clerk on the other party. Witnesseth that the said John Taylor as Well for and in consideration of the whole and just sum of thirty-four pounds of lawful English money to him in hand by the said David Crosley at or before the sealing and delivery hereof well and truly payd. The receipt whereof he the said John Taylor doth hereby acknowledge thereof and of every part thereof fully and clearely and absolutely, acquit, exonerate and discharge him the said David Crosley, his heirs executors, administrators and assigns and every of them for ever by these presents, and also for divers other good causes and valuable considerations, him thereunto moving. He the said John Taylor hath granted bargained and sold . . . and confirmed by these presents for and from him the said John Taylor, doth grant, bargaine sell alliene unto the said David Crosley, all that messuage or dwelling house wherein the said John Taylor now liveth, together with one little barne and one croft on the backside of the said barne and two gardens, &c,
In witnesse whereof the partys to these presents to the parto of these indues, interchangeably have set to their hands and seals the day and year first above written. JOHN TAYLOR.
King James II's Declaration of Indulgence was proclaimed April 1687 authorising protestant dissenters to perform their worship openly. It had by this time wrought some amount of tolerance although James was a disguised papist, and his edict but a beguiling bait, and though the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, yet the Baptists here prepared themselves for battle. David Crosley converted the cottage he had purchased into a chapel proper, with pulpit, pews and forms.
There in the humble thatched sanctuary surrounded by gardens, fields and woods, laboured this eminent and youthful servant of Christ, declaring the way of life to the scattered ones who came to worship from Malham, Colne, Sutton, Bolland, Cowling Hill, Thornton, Earby, Salterforth, Gisburn, and Bracewell. His labours were greatly blessed. The church was revived and. strengthened under his ministry. This handful of corn in the land, and upon the top of the mountains, sown by God's diligent labourers, fell into good ground and sprang up in different fields to beautify and replenish the moral wastes of Craven.
On January 7th, 1695, David, Crosley purchased from one William Mitchell, a piece of land adjoining the meeting house called the Parrock for the sum of £25 for the use of the minister and the church. Having built a flourishing church spiritually and financially strong, he departed to another sphere of active service. He was a veritable itinerant, and there was still more land to be possessed, hence in May 1695, he accepted an invitation to the pastorate of "The Church behind the sands " or Tottlebank in Furness, and removed thither.
Mr. Crosley's removal was a great loss to this and other Yorkshire churches, and efforts were made to induce him to return. At an associated meeting of pastors and elders convened at Barnoldswick at that time, it was proposed “That a letter from this association be drawn to the said church representing the great and many fould inconveniences, disadvantages and distractions that will in all probability follow in case of his (Mr. Crosley's) removal in all or most parts of the country where we of the association are concerned."
For five years after Mr. Crosley's removal the church had no pastor, but was evidently well managed and supplied either by its own members or itinerating preachers, for during 1697 and 1698 above twenty members were added to it. The church however desiring a regular ministry, according to primitive custom, appointed to the office of teaching-elder, one of its members named James Howarth. Under James Howarth's ministrations the church continued to prosper, so that in 1705 it consisted of seventy communicants, which was a large number at a period so remote, in a place so obscure, and under circumstances so unfavourable.
Eight years after his removal to Tottlebank, Mr. Crosley relinquished his ownership of the meeting place at Barnoldswick, by selling it for the nominal sum of £14, and placing it in the trust of five of the church members, as the Extract of the Deed certifies.
“This Indenture made the Twenty Second day of April. In the Second Year of the Raigne of our most gracious Sovereign Lady Ann by the Grace of God of England, Scotland & France & Ireland, Queen Defender of the faith &c. And in the year of our Lord according to the account and computation of the Church of England ; One Thousand Seven Hundred & Three. Between David Crosley of Marsh Grange in the County of Lancaster, Minister of the one parte and John Barrit Senior, of Wood End in the parish of Barnoldswick in the County of York, Yeoman. William Mitchell of Barnoldswick aforesaid in the said County Yeoman. Martin Dickonson of Parke within the said parish & County, Yeoman, & John Hargreaves of Beatswell (or Bracewell) within the said County of York Yeoman of the other parte. Witnesseth that the sd David Crosley for & in consideration of the whole & just sum of fourteen pounds of lawfull money of England “hath” granted, bargained, aliened, sold and confirmed unto them the said John Barritt, William Mitchell, Martin Dickonson, John Hargreaves All that one Chappele or Meeting house, erected by the said David Crosley for Divine Worship. And also all the seats, pews, & forms placed therein together with all hereditaments whatsoever to the same belonging, being part of a dwelling house lately purchased by the said David Crosley of one John Taylor, and now in the tenure of James Haworth being Minister there for the time being &c. And lastly it is Covenanted, concluded and justly agreed upon by them the said parties to those presents, and hereby declared (provided that Libertie of Conscience hereafter be restrained) and that the above hereby granted Chappell or meeting house for Divine service shall by reason thereof be demolished or happen to be converted into a dwelling house, it shall not be see done, but with the advice of the said David Crosley And likewise if the said fieofee in trust be determined to sell the said meeting house, then the said David Crosley or his heirs shall have the first intelligence thereof and three months tyme allowed to consider and give in his or their Answer whether they will buy it or noe.
In Witnesse whereof the parties above named, have to these present indentures interchangeably sett their hands & seales the day and year first above written "
In the year 1705 Mr. Crosley removed to London, to the pastorate of the church formed by and previously under the pastoral care of the celebrated Mr. Hansard Knollys, but he remained there only a few years. His last days in London were very unhappy, consequent on a serious charge that was preferred against him, and which caused his return to Rossendale. The associated churches were troubled about him, but impartially subjected him to rigid discipline. He was advised by the Rawdon Association held June 1719, to set apart 7 days of prayer for himself and to meditate upon Deut. iv.-29, 30. (What the charge was we know not but a gentle hint of it is given in a few lines of a Poem he wrote in 1720 entitled "Adam, where art thou? "
The courteous reader first may please to know
That not much more than one whole year age
The author of these lines was visited
With sickness, and obliged to keep his bed
For many days, and thought he should have died,
Thus he for good, by a good God was tried;
He had relapsed, his first love it was lost,
From off his lees he therefore must be tossed
His treacherous heart to other lovers went,
By weeping cross, he therefore back was sent
To his dear Lord, his first and early choice
Better to know and follow his sweet voice
At last by sickness and sore shaking pain,
Through Achor's Vale he brought him back again.
He rests in hope, in due time to obtain,
And reach the things which yet behind remain."
For a while he was unpopular. But gradually his consistent life, intense devotion, genuine humility and extraordinary ability as a preacher won to his side many admirers; his fame and influence rapidly increased, and the Rossendale Valley was greatly stirred by his eloquent preaching. He was chosen pastor of the church at Bacup, during which time he corresponded frequently with the celebrated George Whitfield. He published during his life some valuable works consisting of three editions of the Sermon "”Sampson a Type of Christ.” “The Old man's legacy to his daughter.” “Plain Honest directions and Christian Counsels.” “The Triumph of Sovereign Grace,” and an “Exposition of Ephesians, v-22, 23.”
Mr. Crosley died at Tatop farm near Goodshaw, March 7th, 1741, in the 76th year of his age, having preached the Gospel for 57 years, and having through loving, faithful services rendered untold benefit to the churches of Christ in various parts of England, and was interred at the Episcopal Graveyard, Goodshaw. What a compliment is paid this eminent servant of Christ, in the fact that he was introduced as a youthful evangelist by the immortal John Bunyan, and closed his life as an aged veteran in the Holy War, with a splendid eulogy from the pen of George Whitfield, the compeer of John Wesley.
INVITATION TO JOHN WILSON OF TOTTLEBANK-CALL TO JOHN SLATER, MINISTER'S LIBRARY.
The grave suspicions entertained by the church respecting the 'inconveniences, disadvantages and distractions that would follow on account of Mr. Crosleys removal' were, unfortunately in the course of a few years bitterly realised. The hand of the persecutor made itself once more felt, and the prowling wolf scattered the shepherd-less flock. In their trouble the members of the church sought help from the church at Tottlebank which was under the oversight of their former pastor. In response, a member of that church named John Wilson was sent here to supply. John Wilson's services were greatly appreciated, and the people being thoroughly satisfied with
him, wrote to Tottlebank asking permission to retain John Wilson as minister, in the following terms :-
A Copy of a letter sent by ye brethren att Barnoldswicke to ye Church of Christ meeting att Tottlebank In Ffurniss ye 28th of ye 4th month Ano 1710
Deare Brethren in ye Lord Jesus Christ, we having been made sensible of ye great disadvantages, we some time agoe laboured under by reason of ye breaking in of ye old enemy amongst us and thereby depriveing us of ye means of grace till ye Lord, by his providence (we hope) was pleased to direct us to make our application to you who did readily condesend so far to ye reliefe of our necessities as to send amongst us our beloved Brother John Wilson, whome we hope and are verely persuaded yt ye Lord hath fitted and qualified for ye work of ye ministry, we being very well sattisfied both with his doctrine and conversation, every time he came amongst us, now according to ye advise by letter we having had some time of tryall of each other, doe unanimously agree to renew our request to you yt ye would be so favourable to us as to grant to our well beloved friend and brother Jn Wilson his dismition from you to us yt so ye may regularly and orderly take ye care and oversight of this poore cottage here in a wilderness. Yt he may feed ye members thereof with ye sincere milke of ye word, and duly administer ye ordinances, for our mutuall edification. Spirituall nourishment, and growth in grace, and we beg of you yt you would joyne with us in this petition yt ye Lord would pleased give him as a blessing to us and make him an usefull instrument in his hand, for propogating his cause and carrying out of his worke amongst us in this wilderness staite yt if it be ye will of ye Lord, children may be borne to him, Jerusalems tents may be enlarged, and ye curtainss of her habitation spred out yt we may yt prove a Bethell, a place of God's delight.
Subscribed by us at our meeting aft Barnoldswicke
This earnest appeal did not however prevail, for John Wilson refused the call, but a little later, be accepted an invitation from the church at Rawdon, was ordained its pastor August 31st, 1715, and died there in 1746. His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Alvery Jackson, of Barnoldswick.
Failing to secure John Wilson, the church once more selected one of its own members named Daniel Slater as a pastor.
"In ye month of September 1711 aft which time ye elders and brethren of this communion being mett together, did by fasting and prayer according to gospel rule, call forth and qualifie our brother Daniel Slater, to take ye pastorate care and charge over us in ye publicke worke of ye ministry and solemme administration of ye ordinance and ordinances according to Gospel rule, we whose names are here following being members of this society."
John Barrett (elder) John Greenwood (Deacon)
John Hargreaves (elder) Will Mitchell (deacon)
Daniel Slater accepted the appointment, but did not remain long in office, for he tendered his resignation on account of his remote residence, but at special request continued to act as elder so that he might preach when required to do so elsewhere. This he agreed to, but before leaving he transferred to John Barrett the senior elder the books in his possession. The church provided for its pastors a library, an example many churches of to-day would do well to imitate. The books in Daniel Slater's hands were--"Fox Acts and Monuments ; Calvin’s Institutions; Miscellanies of Divinity ; Concordance; Taylor upon Titus; Londone Lamentation; Owen on ye Sabeth ; Danners on Baptism ; Hooker uppon John 17th ; Dike upon ye Deceitfulness of ye heart; Dike of Quenching ye Spirit; Ye Art of Logike "
The pastorate now became vacant and remained so for several years. Being thus situated, the church fell into “a scattered, broken, uncomfortable condition, being by death, defection, falling away of divers and other disorders, diminished the one half in number from what they had been some few years before and in a manner disjointed.” The church had passed through great tribulation; protracted struggles had laid it low, but treasured up in the bright design of HIM who moved in mysterious ways to perform his glorious purposes, were seasons of gracious prosperity for this afflicted people. Jacob though small was to arise. The trial was the harbinger of brighter and better days. The church whilst grateful for the service rendered by those who supplied the pulpit was eager to secure a pastor and prayed earnestly to that end. At last the proper time came when God should send a proper man, a worthy pastor, to preside over the interests of the church, to gather together the outcasts of Israel, and feed God's lambs. On March the third, seventeen hundred and sixteen, a young man from Rawdon and Heaton came here to preach, and so delighted were the people with him that they spontaneously and unanimously fixed upon him as their future pastor. The youth was no other than Alvery Jackson, who subsequently became eminent among the early Churches of Yorkshire and Lancashire, as a good man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.
ALVERY JACKSON-PROBATION-SINGING CONTROVERSY-SERMON ON SINGING.
ALVERY JACKSON was born at Sutton in Craven, and probably belonged to a Quaker family, for in the Keighley Quaker Register is the entry of his father's birth “Alvery Jackson son of Alvery Jackson born March 28th 1657.” Thus he was the third of that name. He had received a thorough religions training, for at a very early age he evinced great familiarity with God's word, and took great delight in religious matters. He was converted at an early age, and was baptised at Sutton on September 21st, 1715, by the Rev. Thomas Dewhurst the popular and revered pastor of Gildersome Baptist Church, whom Alvery Jackson proudly termed, his father in Christ. He was received into fellowship with the church at Heaton and Rawdon on October 9th, 1715, when by his constancy, amiability, and general demeanour he soon distinguished himself as a gifted brother and won the esteem of the church. The friends there gave
him every opportunity of exercising his talent, and having had full proofs of his superior gifts, they invited him to preach. He readily responded to the offer and preached his “trial sermon” on September 7th 1716. His first attempt was a decided success, and he was now at liberty to supply neighbouring churches. In six months afterwards, he came to Barnoldswick to preach, and so edifying, vigorous, and inspiring was his preaching that the people were thoroughly enamoured of him. To this hungering fainting flock, his sermons were “feasts
of fat things” In the youthful preacher the people here saw one eminently suited to become their pastor, if it were possible to secure him. Request was at once made to the church at Heaton and Rawdon that Alvery Jackson should preach here for a while as a probationer, which was readily granted. It was a happy day for this church when it fixed its choice on Alvery Jackson, for that day the people had chosen as their future pastor, a young man, endowed of God with native qualities of superior worth, upon whom was the spirit of the Lord in a marked degree, one who beyond doubt, as subsequent history proves, had been called and anointed of God to preach the gospel to the poor. The condition of the church was miserable; some had fallen away and others had joined the Church of England and the Quakers. This sad state of things did not discourage the young minister, but rather ‘stirred up the gift that was within him,’ fanned his enthusiasm into a flame, and drew out the noblest powers of his devoted heart. “He was moved with compassion to see them lie so confusedly broken, and therefore laboured in the strength of the Lord of Hosts, who sent him thither, to draw things into some better order and amongst other things, made an essay to restore the gospel ordinance of singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, which was wholly cast off and lost by them.”
When Mr. Jackson came to Barnoldswick he found the Sanctuary songless. The harps were hung upon the willows, and no joyous note no hymn of praise was heard to break the dullness of a mute monotony ; for persecution had for many years made it impossible for the Baptists and other Nonconformists to sing at their religious services. Divine worship could only be conducted in concealment, under strict watchfulness and in silence, for oftentimes the resounding echoes of Zion's song of gratitude to God, proved a guide to the enemy who with evil intent sought out God's hidden ones. The young probationer was somewhat musical and poetical. He could not tolerate a songless service, hence he at once proceeded to establish the ordinance of singing at public worship. This was by no means either an easy or a pleasant task, for, strange to say on this harmonious question there was considerable discord. During the course of years many churches had become so habituated to services without Hymn singing, that they looked upon the effort to restore the practice as an innovation of human caprice. Some objected to singing hymns, because of the rude and vulgar compositions that had been sent out under sacred titles. Grave objections were raised here, and Alvery Jackson was opposed The same objections were raised as had been prevalent during the great singing controversy, about thirty years previous, led by Benjamin Keach. Bitter invectives were then heaped upon the singers, metrical versions of psalms were called “human composures and devices and Geneva Jigs.” The Anti-singers objected-1st, to singing at all ; 2nd, to converted and unconverted singing together; 3rd, to singing with notes and rhyme. Alvery Jackson faced the difficulty openly and cautiously, and argued the matter publicly and privately in a friendly spirit, until he won several to an acceptance of his views. Whilst but a probationer, be delivered on the subject a most able and elaborate sermon an abridgment of which is appended. The plan of the sermon is thoroughly original. The points are tersely expressed. The divisions are logically and analytically arranged, revealing a mind of singular and remarkable ability, an exhaustive research of Scripture, and a heart burning with true devotion. The outline itself is very lengthy, and the sermon must have taken at least two hours in delivery. We wonder if such sermons wore preached in this express age, what, our impatient twenty-minutes sermon hearers would say. There were giants in he land in those days, men whose spiritual constitution was built upon the pure unadulterated word of God, men whose souls fed upon nothing but immortal truth. Alas that we should have become so effeminately delicate and fastidious in spiritual things. Instead of rearing stalwart men of faith to meet its foes, the church too oft is dandling in the lap of indulgence, spiritual imbeciles to weaken its forces.
An abridgment of a Sermon concerning the Gospel Ordinance Of Singing Psalms etc. Preached at Barnoldswick, Nov. 10th 1717 by AJ.
Dearly beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ the reasons why I preached unto you, and would indeavour to practise among you this Ordinance of Singing psalms are as follows
1. Because I am fully satisfied & steadfastly believe from scripture-Ground, that it is Christ’s own Institution and (no human invention) and ought to be practis’d in and by his churches : and consequently I could not be easie that it should be rejected & lie useless.
2. Another reason exiting to it was because I find some (and I know not, but the greater part) of the society ; that are satisfied of the same truth and desire that it may be practis'd and
3. Those that are not so fully satisfied in it said, they could be easie that others might practise it &c. So that I was far from thinking that the accuser of ye brethren would get advantage,-thereby to set us of murmuring one against another, to the indangering of precious peace & hindering our growth &c.
The only end that I, did & do humbly desire may be attained by it, is the Glory of God and edifying of the body of Christ, for which end singly and alone, I first preached it, and do now give you an abridgement or brief abstract of it in writing : desiring that (by the blessing of the Lord) it may prove effectual to satisfie the scrupulous; if as Rachel to be comforted they do not refuse to be satisfied; which if they do I pray the Lord give me such an heart as Jer. 13, 17
However Truth seeks no corners, and neither is nor even will be either afraid or ashamed to face the light, The place of holy Scripture, selected as suitable to this subject, is Eph. 5, 19. Speaking to yourselves in psalms and Hymns & spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in yr heart to the Lord.
These words contain an injunction to a New Testament Institution in which we have set before us.
1. The Duty & the Subjects of it [speaking to yourselves] or one to another including the whole Church of Christ at Ephesus jointly: and. carrying the same extent to all other congregations to whom the word of the Gospel is sent hence, note that singing psalms is the duty of each particular church of Christ together
2. We have in the words the matter of this duty [psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs] which are generally thus dinguished. viz psalms; contain exhortations to manners or holy life. Hymns contain praises to God in commemoration of his benefits. Spiritual songs, contain matter, doctrine, &c., (Byfield on Col 3, 16 p. 101) hence, note, That under the name of psalms Hymns & Spiritual songs is comprehended all sorts of divine matter, that is for God's Glory or the churches edification.
3. The manner of performing this duty viz Singing and making melody in your heart. By singing I understand a lifting up of the voice according to 1 Chron 15, 16 (which is the highest way we are capable of expressing the joy of he heart) By melody in the heart I understand, inward joy, affection &c. So by these two phrases is intended the exercise of both heart & voice in this duty, joyned together by the copulative particle [and], have, note
That as God hath given to man, spiritual powers, and, vocal organs, so he requires both to be used in & to his praise.
4. The Object and End : To the Lord-hence, note. That whoever sings not to the Glory of God misses the right end of singing. From the words thus opened we take These two propositions
That singing psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs is an Institution of Christ and a standing Ordinance of the Gospel. For proof of this proposition we have Scripture precepts, precidents and prophecies.
1. We have precepts for it. Eph 5, 19. Col 3, 16. In which places it is injoyned to both these churches. Now in Mat. 28, 20, we find our Lord gave commission to his ministers, to teach the churches to observe all things whatsoever he had
commanded Them &c. Now we have good reason to believe that Paul as well as the other Apostles did teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ commanded Act 20, 20, 27. But we have no reason to believe that either Paul or any other of the Apostles taught the churches to observe any thing that Christ did not command them : But that they taught them to observe this ordinance of Singing Psalms Hymns & Spirituall Songs is plain therefore we have good reason to believe that Christ commanded it &c.
2. We have precidents of it, and that
(i) Of our blessed Lord and his disciples, Mat 26, 30, Mar 14, 26, immediately after the institution & celebration of the great Ordinance of the supper ; before they departed from the place, which inclines me to think that this institution of this was perpetual because that was so. O why should we be unwilling or afraid to walk in the way, when we see our Ld at ye head of his disciples marching before us!
(ii) We have the example of Paul & Silas in prison, Act 16, 25. Thus to prove the proposition we have precept and precident in the New Testament; and if that be not sufficient we have prophesies relating to the New in ye Old Testament wch must not fail of being fulfilled as Isa 52, 8. Thy watchmen shall lift the voice, with the voice together shall they sing. Which may serve to answer an objection that some would make by saying that Paul & Silas, wth conjoyned voices, which if they had not done how could this prophesy have been fulfilled by them see. more Isa 51, 3, 11 & 35, 10 to wch I might add the consent and testimony of most (if not all) of the ancient fathers and protestant reformers &c unanimously witnessing this book &c
That right Gospel singing flows from, & is always accompanied wth Grace in the heart, Col 3, 16
By right Gospel Singing I understand such singing as the gospel principally requires &c as is most acceptable and pleasing to God &c
In the improvement of this subject I shall indeavour briefly to, lay before you
I Who are the Subjects of this duty
II What the moving cause should be
III What should be the matter of our singing
IV What ye manner is, in wch it should be performed
V The time and place when & where we are to sing
VI What should be the end of our singing
V11 What Advantage attend it
VIII The Application
I. We are to show Who are the subjects of this duty? And, for as much as all mankind received being from God & are preserved by him, and moreover doth all receive in some respect benefit by the Redeemer 1 Tim 4, 10, it is certainly the duty of all mankind to set forth the praises of God and the Redeemer to the highest degree they are capable: and so by consequence (tho' in an inferiour & more generall sense it is the duty of all mankind to sing God's praises &c. See & seriously consider (without prejudice) these scriptures, Psalms 150, 6, ps 148, 12, 13, ps, 107, 8, ps 139, 14.but
2. And more especially. It is the duty of all Gracious, Regenerate Persons, for proof and illustration of which, see those scriptures Isa 51, 11 Psal 126, 3 & 103, 3, 4 Psal 116, 5.
II. What the moving cause should be ?
Negatively. It should not be because we take a pleasure in singing for singing's sake &c But
1. A knowledge & sense of God's Mercy & Goodness, ps 101, 1 or
2. A habit of Grace in the heart Col 3, 16 it were wished that every one that sing, did it from both these causes &c.
111. That the Matter of our singing should be
1. Negatively The matter of our singing should not be obscene, wanton, light idle, carnall, worldly, frothy, nor impertinent
2. Positively the matter of our singing should be
(i) Divine & Spiritual, such as may teach admonish edify & Col. 3, 16
(ii) Pertinent & suitable to the present circumstance of things. So we find the Psalms are composed, some of pettition & depreciation, some of Confession & penitence, some of mourning and Lamentation, some of praise and thanksgiving, some of exhortation & dehortation, some of counsel & advice, some of doctrine & prophesie &c according to the different conditions & occasions, in and upon which they were sung &c.
IV. What the manner is in which this duty is to be performed; and as man is made up of body & soul, so this duty, is made up of an internal & externall part, and we ought to perform both in best manner that we can attain to : but especially we should look to the internal part that it be done with.
1. Spirit and understanding 1 Cor 14, 15.
2. Melody in the heart Eph 5, 19.
3. We should indeavour to do the external part, gravely, loudly, harmoniously Psal 81, 1 2 Chron 5, 13.
V. The Time and place when & where we are to sing ?
1. The chief time (but not the only time) is in a time of joy & gladness, Jam 5, 13. And the chief place (but not the only place) is in the House of God ie In publick assemblies of God's people Isa 38, 20.
2. At other times in other places as we find opportunity & occasion &c. As you may see Exod 15, 1 2 Chron 20, 22 2 Sam. 1, 17
VI. The end of our Singing?
1. Negatively. As we should not sing for our own pleasure as the cause so we are not to sing to our own praise as the end of our singing : not for ostentation or vain glory, to set forth ourselves as somebody or gain applause of the vulgar &c and whosoever doth so, they sing for their own praise, and not for the praise of God & so in this are guilty of Assuming that Glory to themselves wch belongs unto God only. But
2. Positively the end of our singing should be
(i) God's Glory in setting. forth his praises, and declaring our thankfulness for his benefits See the text
(ii) To our edification in Godliness Col 3, 16.
VII. What Advantages attend this Gospel Singing. The benefit of it is great
1. With respect to God, it gives him his due praise; whose will it is thus to be honoured Isa 65, 14 1 Thess 5, 18
2. With respect to religion & the ways of God, it shews that there is matter Joy & rejoicing to be found in them, and so press religion from a great unreasonable and undeserved scandal ; by convincing the world that it is not all dump & melancholy
3. With respect to ourselves, it puts away sadness, raises the affections, composes us for other duties &c.
Is it so then, as we have beard that singing Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs is an institution of Christ and a standing Ordinance of the Gospel ; then the first use of the point may be for reproof to two sorts of persons
1. Such as live in the neglect and contempt of it Ezek 22, 8. Am 2, 4,
2. This serves to reprove such as practise singing, prophane, lewd, wicked, wanton, ungodly songs: for as God hath his Songs, so the devil hath his songs which are made up of idle, obscene, unprofitable stuff, invented by the devil & wicked men &c which, that you may see the evil of & so hate and forsake them, consider
(i) That all such songs are abominable & dishonourable to God Am 5, 23
(ii) That they are (not only unprofitable but also) exceeding hurtful to you, in diverting your minds from that which is good and drawing them to evil &c and
(iii) They gratifie and please the Devil your worst enemy &c
II. Use of Exhortation to this Gospel duty, for motives to it consider to it, consider
1. That (as hath been already shewed) it is the will of the Lord and therefore your duty &c
2. That it is a duty that is good, pleasant and comely Psal 147, 1, compare it with Gal 4, 18
III. Use of Direction , Would you set about this duty in good earnest & in a right manner? Then
1. Seriously consider what great things the Lord bath done for
you 1 Sam 12, 24 Ps 126, 3
2. Be content in your condition in the world wherein he hath set
you Phil 4, 6, 11
3. 0ften compare thy slate with others of God's children that want many good things that thou enjoys Psal 147, 20
4. Endeavour to be faithful in all Talent and fruitful in all Graces. Phil. 1, 11
How can you make it appear that the Psalms of David, may or ought to be sung now under the Gospel ? Answ
Because I find no other Psalms mentioned in the New Testament by Christ or his Apostles, but the Psalms of David, or such as are contained in that Book of Psalms. Luk 20, 42 & 24, 41. Act 1, 20 & 13, 33, 35
2. I find contained in that Book of Psalms, variety of excellent, spiritual & heavenly matter ; suitable to many Doctrines of ye Gospel & conditions of the Church &c.
3. I find they were designed to be sung by others, because he himself delivered them to others to sing 1 Chron 16, 7 And we find that they were sung in publick assemblies in ye reign of Hezekiah which was at least 291 years after David’s death 2 Chron 29, 30.
And I know no reason that can be given to prove, that singing David's Psalms is abrogate now under the Gospel; any more than reading them.
If it be supposed that Psalms &c are to be sung; What warrant have we to sing them in Meeter ?
Answ. The Church must sing psalms in such a way as they can sing them to edification; & if that cannot be done in prose; it must be in meeter and if the strength of the arguments, be not weakened, nor sense darkened ; I see no reason why we should scruple to sing a psalm that is translated out of prose into meeter, any more than to read a chapter that is translated out of Hebrew into English &c.
But singing is to be performed by an immediate Gift of the Spirit 1 Cor 14, 26.
Answ. If by an immediate gift of the Spirit you mean such a gift as enables a man to compose, and sing extemporary, may not a meer natural man of a ripe genius, come nearer doing it, than many a gracious man of weak natural parte: and I know nowhere that God hath required us to sing by such a gift. Paul says I will sing with the spirit &c. But I rather think he meant the Grace of the Spirit than such a gift of it. As to 1 Cor 14, 26 The Apostle in that place is reproving & indeavouring to rectifie some errors and disorders, in the, church at Corinth ; which tended to hinder their Edification among which their disorderly singing is one. But his reproof, does not hold forth or prove the objection ; but rather the contrary; for he saith. When ye come together, one hath a psalm &c (had) denoting rather that he had it with him when he came, than that he compos'd it when he was there; by such an immediate motion of the spirit &c.
For a conclusion I will propose three questions (which were not in the sermon)
Whether is Singing Psalms &c an Ordinance of the Gospel; or is it not? As our Saviour said of the Baptism of John; Whence is it? from heaven or of men?
Answ. Singing is an Ordinance of the Gospel, else why is it enjoyned and inculcated in the Gospel, in such a manner as is before shewed?
Whether is singing Psalms to be practised in Christian families only, or both in publick assemblies and private families?
That singing Psalms is to be practisd in Christian assemblies who can deny? for though some Gospel Ordinances are to be practis'd in publick assemblies only; as Baptism and the supper; yet I know no Gospel Ordinance, That is to be practis'd, in private only.
Whether is singing Psalms an Ordinance of generall or special communion among Christians? (By Ordinance of generall communion among Christians? I understand such Ordinances as are to be practis'd in all publick assemblies; as prayer, preaching & bearing the word &c. By Ordinances of special communion I mean such Ordinances as are to be practis'd by select Societies only ; as Baptism and the Supper)
Singing Psalms is to be ranked among the Ordinances of general communion, because, no place scripture sets it anywhere else; and because Baptism and the supper are the only ordinances of special communion. And seeing singing Psalms is an ordinance of general communion that common objection about singing in a mixt multitude has lost its ground ; & indeed I cannot see that ever it had any ground to stand on, except it be a self righteous uncharitable opinion; for it savours very like that in Isa 65, 5. Stand by thyself, come not near to me for I am holier than thou. I say, it looks as if those that defend it do look upon themselves as persons more righteous than others, and their singing more holy ; & therefore will not joyn with others for fear of being defiled. Thus according to the light I have received, I have briefly declared what my judgement is in this matter, and for a conclusion I recommend it to the blessing of the Lord; and to the serious, Christian, charitable consideration of all them that did bear or may read it. Desiring with my very soul, that we all may be directed into the way that leads to heaven & that we may not fall out by the way lest some thereby be turned out of it, and others hindered and discouraged in it, and that we all may meet at last upon the heavenly Mount Zion: where we shall not differ about either matter or manner ; and both heart and voice shall be in perfect tune, tosing the Lamb's New Song for ever & over Amen
The delivery of the Sermon was a success, great good resulted, many were convinced of the necessity and Scripturalness of the Ordinance, but a few still remained quietly opposed to it, though whilst “not so fully satisfied” yet held their peace. Other Yorkshire churches contended on this point also. The friends at Sutton were troubled about it, and to end the contention they brought the matter before the first meeting of the Yorkshire Association held at Rawdon, May the 27th and 28th, 1719, saying-There are some amongst us who scruple at the Ordinance of singing psalms, and are not satisfied about the practice of it, we therefore humbly desire the judgement of the Association in answer to the question. Whether singing of Psalms and Spiritual Songs be an ordinance of Christ, to be practised by his churches in their publick worship ? To this question the Association replied “Wee being fully satisfied that singing is a moral duty to be continued in the churches of Christ to the end of the world, we earnestly exhort and entreat our brethren the members of the particular churches joined in this Association to be found in the due and constant practise of it.” Even this important decision did not bring all the anti-singers into subjection, for when the vote was taken, it was found that John Wilson pastor of Heaton & Rawdon and John Hargreaves, Deacon of Barnoldswick were opposed scribing to the-minutes of the Association they wrote
“We agree to all these except that about singing.
John Wilson however did not remain long in opposition, in a Postscript to the minutes of The Association is entered the pleasing information that “Soon after this Association it pleased the Lord to give John Wilson light into this ordinance and bring him into the practise of it. John Hargreaves did not get the beatific vision that John Wilson did, yet he graciously threw down his sword and declared that he "could be easie that others might practise it."
One great obstacle in the way of successfully carrying out the singing of Hymns was the dearth of hymn-books. Some of the published hymns were condemned as doggerel, but this church did not possess a hymn-book of any kind. To supply this deficiency Mr. Jackson composed hymns for each service.
His commonplace M.S. Book contains 42 Hymns, composed for the use of the Church. Although some of these hymns are defective in Accent, Rhyme and Metre, yet there is in them a spirit of intense devotion that rouses, and a rugged poetry that pleases. To be appreciated they must be read in the light of circumstances and the peculiar taste of an auditory, that demanded strict adherence to scripture phraseology whatever might become of poetic rules. A selected few will suffice to give an idea of their general character.
Hymn from John 1, 12.
Let all the Children of the Lord, Their hearts and voices raise; And jointly now with one accord, Sing forth their Fathers praise.
This Heavenly Father doth beget All that his children be. And doth his image on them set: Ingrave it Lord on me.
They to his household do belong, He educates them well; He loves them as his First-born Son; How much no man call tell! Joh. 17, 23.
He feeds & clothes them with the best While they remain below: But it can never be exprest What they are heirs unto.
Hymn from Acts. 16, 14.
Lord since there is no power but thine That can a soul convert; O let me feel that pow'r divine Work sweetly on my heart.
And by that same resistless power Make the old Serpent flie And sweetly draw my stubborn will With thy will to comply.
Free me from sin's dominion, Tread Satan under feet Let me with thee be joyned in one And have communion sweet.
Now let my heart be ope' to thee, And when I come to die; Then let Heavens Gate be ope for me To enter into joy.
HYMN OF REPENTANCE.
Poor sinners all let us now call Unto our minds our sin And lets repent, that, we have spent Our time so much therein.
Lord let us see the misery That sin has laid us in; Then make us mourn that we have torn Our Saviour so by sin.
Repentance is the way to bliss If we desire to go Repentance is the way to miss
Eternal death and wo'
This path who treads to heav'n it leads And there his soul shall dwell Who goes not this of heav'n he'll miss All others lead to hell.
Lord (with the space) give us ye grace Of true repentance, then; That happy we may be with thee For evermore; Amen.
Hymn from Tit. 3, 14.
Sinners are saved by Grace And works excluded are: But where true saving grace doth work, Good works the products are.
But works then are good ? Even those that flow from grace; Which are commanded in the word, And prayer doth preface,
Which grounded are on faith And done to the right end; And humbl'd for all those defects. That our best works attend.
By heart, by tongue, and hand, We are them to maintain; In doing all things that are good And from all ill refrain.
To glorifie our God Our good works needful are; To exercise and evidence Our faith to be sincere.
And now by our good works Our God let’s glorifie; That we may glorified be With him eternally.
The Epistle to Youth.
Young people Wisdom you invites. To hearken to her voice, She offers to you rare delights Most worthy of your choice.
Eternal blessing in her ways, You shall be sure to find: O therefore in your youthful days Your great Creator mind.
Upon a world, vain, toilsome, foul a journey you begin: The welfare of your living soul In danger is by sin.
The joys which sinfull pleasure brings With vanities abound: Nay when in strength they take their wings Vexation they are found.
Then humbly strive without delay Grace in God's sight to find; And gladly now and all your day Your great Creator mind.
Forsake you foolish company, And leave your way of sin: Take up with ways of piety Then will true joy begin.
Hymn of Baptism from Matt. 28, 19.20.
Go Teach all nations and Baptize Thus said the Lord of Hosts In the name of Father and Son, And of the Holy Ghost.
Teaching them to observe all things Whatever I command, And lo I ever am with you Ev'n while the world shall stand.
Since thou hast bid us Lord, we go: And as thou said, Baptize: Expecting thou will be with us Lord as thou said likewise.
Lord thou not only said Baptize But was baptized also That an example unto us ev’n thou thyself might show.
Lord, we would keep-all thy commands And follow thee always: And when we slip, Lord bear us up And pardon when we stray.
O give us Grace, and we will not Turn from thy blessed ways: And when to Glory we are got, We'll give thee all the praise.
AN ACROSTIC SUNG AT A FUNERAL SERMON.
Preached from Heb. 13, 13-14-15, occasioned by the death of Richard Swinglehurst.
R edeemed by Christ my great High Priest
I now his Praises sing;
C hrist Jesus death sav'd me from wrath
H osanna, to our King!
A ll things below do changes know;
R est is in Christ alone:
D elights in him never grow dim
S weet Jesus be my own!
W hy should I stay another day
I n bondage unto sin!
N othing but Christ can fill my breast
G o forth my soul to him!
L eave thou behind a sinful mind
E arthly relations too;
H eaven is my home Christ's my Bridegroom
U nto him I will go.
R est in Christ's arms from Satan’s charms
S afely secur'd for ay,
T 0 sing Christ’s praise eternal days
Successive and determined efforts at last succeeded in fully restoring the ordinance of singing. Hearts whose devout emotions had been suppressed, now burst forth in lofty songs of gratitude to God. The little thatched sanctuary was filled with united praise, and the surrounding hills of Craven re-echoed the songs of' Zion sung by the pilgrims who gathered hither from remote parts to worship the Lord, and who met on the banks of neighbouring streams and pools to witness and partake in the celebration of the Divine Ordinance of Baptism.
Alvery Jackson’s term of probation proved a refreshing and invigorating season for the church here. His indefatigable activity, Christian-like manliness, simplicity of character, fearless devotion and powerful preaching; won for him the love of the whole community. The church wrote to Heaton and Rawdon church asking permission to retain Alvery Jackson as a member. That church replied in the affirmative in the following candid and affectionate manner.
A letter sent by the church at Heaton and Rawdon to they Brethren at Barnoldswick.
Grace mercy and peace be unto you. Anno Domini 1718.
We received yours of May 25th last wherein your request is renewed to us, that our well beloved Brother Alvery Jackson, may bee dismisst from our church ffellowship to become a member with you. And also we do much rejoyce to hear by your letter that the good Spirit and Grace of God hath had much prevailing with you, to be brought in love and condisension to an agreement one with another, about some matters lately in difference amongst you : and likewise the good hopes you have of the enlargement of your church by the increase of the members of it, all which calls for our praises to the God of Mercy's and Grace, and may bee an encouragement both to you and us to proceed in the ways of God, and religion, since we have so many evident tokens of his owning and comforting us therein ; And as to your request: we can truly say wee would do anything that lyes in our power that might add to your comfort arid establishment in they ways of Religion. But when wee come to think of our late dismissing one member from us, which had very promising gifts ; and now comeing again to dismiss another of whom we have the like good hopes of ministerial gifts and graces, to have served ourselves withall if our occasion bad required it, it touches us more than perhaps we were well aware of heretofore. But notwithstanding, we are resolved through grace to look over these and have our dependance on the Almighty's providence, and endeavour to do our duty in a Christian manner and communication as well as we are able, and so may better expect the like returns from others. Wee have not forgotten your former kindnesses to us, which lays very great obligation on us, to answer your request. But further than that the good hopes we have by means of this our dismission, you will be so strengthened in spirituall gifts, that key cause and interest of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be promoted, and all the ordinances of God's house, may in a little time bee more fully and regularly administered to you, and so the communion of the holy spirit increased amongst you. Therefore in the due consideration of these things, and with all the freedom we are capable of; we do with an unanimous consent dismiss our dear and well beloved Brother in Jesus Christ Alvery Jackson
from our Church Society and fellowship, that he may henceforth become a member with you. And now dear Brethren, from ours he is become yours, to dispose of as the Lord in lid infinite wisdome shall direct and advise you. We must own that the comfort and satisfaction we have had in the society of this our dismissed Brother, hath been even more than we could have expected; both as to his gifts and conversation, and desire the same may be found with and amongst you, and to further it wee would venture to put you in mind of two or three things which we hope you will not take ill from us, though we be very unfit for it, which are that at your entrance into this state of communion you may not be carried out to act anything amongst you but with due deliberation ever asking counsell from the God of wisdome and consulting his holy oracle, that all your proceedings may be firmly warranted thereupon and then no doubt but peace and satisfaction will ensure unto you. And wherein you have seen yourselves to be wandering in any thing, you have heretofore done or acted, let these especially be a wanting [warning?] to you to shun them for time to come. You have had abundance of troubles and crosses, which we can some of us say we have simpathised with you in, but we hope now you will be in a fair way to recoverring yourselves to some good order and decency in your church affairs, and if this our act prove to have some part in that effect; both you and we shall be well pleased and contented therewith. And wee shall be glad to hear that this end may be accomplished, by your setting to your inward minds, and laying out your outward substance with so much necessary freedom as may fully contribute thereunto. Ffurther we would request of you that we may heretofore keep up and maintain a strict and friendly correspondence and make an exchange once or twice in a year of our ministers that we may have the benefit of hearing yours & you ours, and thereby may better know how Religion thrives amongst us, and if any thing doubtfull arise with you or us, we may consult and advise one with the other of our resolutions in such cases. Excuse us for enlarging thus much which we should scarce have done, but our conceived merit of the member dismisst to you hath drawn us to it, now we will not add further, than to put both you and ourselves in mind to be frequent in our prayers to the Lord Almighty that our good design may not be frustrated, our faith increased, our zeal animated and that by grace a Christian charity and forbearance one to another may bee continually put in exercise amongst us, and in the conclusion of all, come to receive the reward of all such good workes wrought by us, which brings us who are one of the meanest of all God's fflocks and resideing in and about Heaton and Rawdon, whereof Mr. John Wilson is pastor to subscribe ourselves to be your real well-wishing and affectionate Friends and Brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ. June 29th, 1718.
After receiving this letter of dismission, and Alvery Jackson having consented to accept the call ; arrangements were made for his Ordination which took place Sept. 30th, 1718, when Mr. Richard Ashworth pastor of the Baptist Church, Bacup, and First Moderator of the first Yorkshire and Lancashire Association and Mr. John Wilson pastor of Rawdon & Heaton and others officiated. Under the new and closer relationship pastor and people diligently set to work to reclaim the backsliding ones, and to restore the church to a better organised state.
Soon after Mr. Jackson's settlement here this church together with Rawdon, Tottlebank, Bacup, Sutton and Heptonstall, established the original Association of Baptist Churches in Lancashire and Yorkshire and Mr. Jackson on its behalf signed the Articles of Association, drawn up Feb. 3rd, 1718.[1719?] The first meeting was held at Rawdon May the 27th & 28th, 1719. And the second was held at Barnoldswick June 15th and 16th, 1720. The following is a short report of that meeting.
In the first place after the association was come together, it was agreed that the meeting should begin with prayer for a blessing upon it by Alvery Jackson, After which John Sedgefield, being chosen to preach gave out the 23 psalm to be sung and preached from Jer. 6.29. Sermon being ended Thomas Greenwood, followed with prayer, and then Richard Ashworth after making a short introductory discourse, lead forth the first psalm & preach'd from Act 5, 38, 39 and concluded with a short prayer.
Then the Ministers & Messengers of the several churches came together. And Richard Ashworth was by vote chosen as Moderator. The Letters from the several churches were read & ye questions therein commended to each ones consideration against the day following and John Wilson was chosen to conclude the first day with prayer then in the next place the question proposed in the letter from Liverpool was debated viz
Whether the laying on of hands upon allbelievers, as believers without relation to any office, be a standing ordinance in the Church of Christ and to be practised now by his ministers or not ?
Answered as follows:-
In answer to the Question proposed by the Church at Liverpool about laying on of hands upon Baptized believers as such in order to communion. It is reasonable to suppose it was practis'd in the Apostolick and Primitive times, and of the cessation of the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit, then attending its usage cannot be pleaded as a supersedeas to this ceremony, it ought to be used still.
Some of us whose names are under written are of opinion it cannot, for if the ceremony or principle cease, because stript of those priviledges that then accompanied it, it is reasonable that other services cease for the same cause for what is plainer than miracles accompanying both the standing Ordinances of preaching and prayer, Mar 16-46, 17 Ads 4-31 and 8-15 But who ever takes the Liberty in it, let it be done with prudence and moderation, not abusing it to superstition neither censuring those that omit it Rom. 11 from the 13 to the 23.
Richard Ashworth. John Sedgefield. John Wilson. Tho Seacome. Alvery Jackson.
And it was agreed that this case thus drawn up and subscribed only by these five of the Association should be sent only by the Church at Liverpool in answer to their question, to the intent that they may be the better satisfied, and other churches be less troubled about it.
The Second day Nathanael Booth was chosen to begin the meeting with prayer.
Then in the next place the case in Rodhillend letter was considered which was presented to this purpose.
That they had in time past, some person or persons among them as common hearers (concerning whose conduct, they could not but charitably hope their condition was safe) who could not see it their duty in the time of their health to enter orderly into church communion, who yet in the time of their sickness earnestly asked to partake of the Lord's Supper before they left ye world, The resolve they desired is-Whether it is warrantable to administer the Lord's Supper to such a person in such a condition ?
Ans. Whereas a Question was proposed to this Association about communicating to a dying person. Upon a friendly & amicable debate thereupon, it was concluded, that several such difficulties would necessarily entangle the finall determination of it, as would make it both proper & necessary to refer the drawing of it up to some particular person, whereupon it was agreed that Richard Ashworth should draw up the whole case against the next Association, in order to prepare it for further judgement.
Secondly Upon the consideration of some dangerous evils especially of a Laziness & coldness of spirit grown up, or in apparent danger to grow up, among the several churches belonging to this Association; we have thought it necessary after a long consultation in enquiring into the matter, as to the evil, and the cause of it : as one likely means among the rest, to set apart a certain day solemnly to be observed, by all the churches by way of fasting and humiliation, prayer & supplication: and think proper on that occasion to appoint Aug 4, 1720, concluding at the same time to revive the too much neglected observation of the last appointment of this nature, concluded in the last association 1719; obliging every person to the weekly observation of every Thursday.
Thirdly. It was inquired whether it doth most properly belong to the Deacons of the Church, to distribute the elements of bread & wine among the communicants at the administration of the Lord's Supper ?
Ans. Forasmuch as the Deacons are the hands of the church we judge it doth most properly belong to them to do that service.
Fourthly. The following letter was drawn up, & agreed upon that each one of the several churches joyned in this Association shall have a copy of it.
And time hath made it notoriously evident and plain yt come lesser evils connived at, in some worthy persons amongst us, has at last grown to be very pernicious to our holy profession in generall, as well as to such persons in particular, insomuch that it is not without reason, we all henceforward be watchful, with an unwearied & invincible diligence : & take all pious & painful methods & measures to prevent any such thing in its first appearance. In like manner we desire that all our several churches study to be peaceable & meddle not in the world, more than needs must, provoke one another by counsell & example, to love & good works practise & promote, reading & praying, counselling and catechizing of youth, Timothy's example will ever shine bright, who being influenced by the seasonable advice & unparallel'd piety of both mother & grandmother, had gained a familiar knowledge of the Scriptures with the Apostles approbation & high commendation, that it was able to make him wise unto salvation, meet often together, make it known to all men you are Christ's disciples by continuing in his word, and loving one another. John 8, 31 and 13, 35. If a brother, an officer, elder or pastor be overtaken in a fault you that are spiritual & privy to his failing, restore such an one with meekness, not sawceiness, restore him ; not expose him : make it known to him, do not whisper it around in the country, if he hear thee, well, if not employ some other, whose presence or prudence may more probably prevail ; but if not, think it not too great a trouble, nor too far about, to tell it to the church, and if too difficult for yours, bring it to the Association. Study to outstrip one another. Forbear all provocations in word or in gesture. Give no offence carelessly, nor take it causelessly, make it manifest to the world, you do more than others. Let it appear your dissent is rational and conscientious, and cut off from them that desire occasion. Fill up ye duties of your relations, both publick and private, be not selfish to serve God of that which costs you nought; when to lay out more for God is manifest duty & liker to meet with a richer return. Make Religion well spoken of by good living. Let ye light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorifie your father which is in heaven. Take heed to your ways & especially that you offend not with your tongue and to this end let your words be with grace seasoned with salt that they may administer Grace to the bearers. Reconcile the two abused extremes in religion; advance & extoll free Grace, maintain and promote good works, Believe all God's promises; do all his commands, make Christ all in all, and when you have done all, count yourselves unprofitable. So fare you well.
All these thing unanimously agreed to by all the Ministers & Messengers of the severall churches & signed as follows
From Rossendale Rich Ashworth. Simeon Lord. John Elison,
From Liverpool John Sedgefield. Thomas Seacome.
From Rawdon John Wilson. Nathanael Booth. Tho Hardcastle
From Rodhillend Thomas Greenwood. John Greenwood
From Sutton Robert Clough
From Barnoldswick Alvery Jackson. John Hargreaves
Tottlebank came not wherefore it was agreed that a letter should be drawn up & sent thither in the name of the Association, to inquire in to their state, & the reason why they came not to the Association.
And Lastly, at the request of the Association Rich Ashworth closed up the whole with a general exhortation & prayer to ye Lord.
It was concluded that the next Association be held at Bacup in Rossendale, & to begin on Wednesday the week following Whitsuntide 1721.
One of the chief supporters of the church was John Barrett of Wood End near Salterforth. He owned a large amount of property in and around Barnoldswick, but was a humble, devout and generous Christian. His house which was situated near the highway between Colne and Barnoldswick was always a welcomed retreat for the itinerating preachers, and his grounds were veritable Bethels, where many of God's faithful ones enjoyed the Divine presence. Wood End was a favourite Baptising place, in a lovely and secluded spot among the trees, just beneath the present Waterworks; frequently gathered this people to celebrate the Divine Right of Baptism, " where, (as Milton describes the early Apostles) the disciples of Christ."
“Met with the enquirers for the way of life.
Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall
For death like that which the Redeemer died."
The stream that at Wood End divides Lancashire from Yorkshire often times was symbolically the dividing line between the old life of sin and the new life of faith and consecration to the Master's service.
In bequeathing his estate, John Barrett did not forget the struggling church of which he termed himself an unworthy member. In his Will of August the fourth, 1729, is the following singular and amusing clause. "Also I give to him the said John Barrett (grandson) one other tenement, situate in Barnoldswick aforesaid provided nevertheless and upon condition that according to the true intent of my will and mind. He the said John Barrett my grandson his heirs or assigns, do yearly and every year, well and truly, according to the true intent and meaning of this my last will and testament pay or cause to be paid out of the said tenement, the sum of thirty shillings of current British money, at two equal payments every year, the one on the first day of the month of May, and the other on the eleventh day of the month of November; unto such Baptist Minister as shall happen from time to time, or at any time hereafter, by the church's choice to preach statedly or occasionally at Barnoldswick aforesaid, or shall happen to suffer bonds, &c, emprisonment, sickness or any other calamity for so doing and no longer. But upon default, refusal or neglect of payment for the space of one year, of the said yearly sum of thirty shillings, or of any part thereof; to commence and become due, at the aforesaid days of payment next ensuing my decease. Then it shall and may be lawful, by virtue hereof, to and for such minister, being a Baptist to enter into and upon all the said tenement, called Kirk Tenement with the appurtenances thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining thereto ; and lawfully and peaceably to possess, and enjoy the same, and all the yearly profits thereof, &c., without molestation in any wise from the said John Barrett my grandson until the said sum of thirty shillings be fully paid."
In a short while after, thinking that he bad not done enough for the cause so dear to his heart, he revoked the first will, by making another, and at the same time drew up a Deed of Gift, bearing even date with it, of which the following is an extract.
To all Xtian people to whom this present writeing indented shall come, Greeting. Know ye that I John Barrett of Wood end in the parish of Barnoldswick, in the County of York Yeoman, do give devise and bequeath unto William Mitchell, Barnoldswick, John Hargreaves of Bracewell, Yeoman, John Greenwood the elder and John Greenwood the younger of Cockerill Ffoulridge. All that messuage, garden and one else called the Park or Parrock, situate in Barnoldswick aforesaid &c. To receive and take the yearly rents issues and proffitts thereof to the intent, and purpose that the said yearly rents
issues and proffitts shall by my said ffeossees be employed payd and given, as in manner and form following, that is to say, that the said yearly rents &c shall be disposed by two half yearly payments to the ordained pastor or pastors or stated Minister of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, going under the name or distinction of the Baptist persuasion usually meeting and assembling at the meeting place in Barnoldswick, now set apart and licensed for the religions worship of protestant Dissenters. And if it shall happen at any time or times
hereafter that the aforesaid church of God should not have an ordained pastor or pastors or stated Minister over them to preach and administer the Ordinance of the Lord unto them : Then during such time of vacancy the said yearly rents &c shall be given and distributed to such pastors or ministers of
the same persuasion aforesaid, as shall occasionally come to supply the said meetings and assemblies. And farther that if at any time or times hereafter it shall happen that there shall not bee an ordained pastor, nor any supply of ministry to bee had or gotten for it ; then during such time my trustees shall receive the yearly rents &c into their hands, and shall preserve the same, to be given unto the next ordained pastor or pastors so long as a church of the said denomination of the Baptist persuasion shall continue in a church state to meet and assemble at the meeting, place aforesaid, or any other meeting place set apart for that purpose in he parish of Barnoldswick. But if in case it should happen that the church of the aforesaid denomination at Barnoldswick bee quite dissolved and broken up, that there shall bee no church of people to meet there that possess the principles and persuasion aforesaid, then the said Messuage, garden and close of land, shall remain to the use and behoofe of the right heirs of mee the said John Barrett.
In witness whereof I the said John Barrett have hereunto sett my band and seal the nineteenth day of Ffebruary in the fifth yeare of the Reigne of our most gracious sovereigne Lord George the second. By the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the ffaith, and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty one.
In the year 1730 another member named William Mitchell bequeathed the sum of £20 on similar conditions. The material and spiritual affairs of the society were now in a very satisfactory state. Great success attended the ministry, it was Mr. Jackson's happy privilege every year with but few exceptions to receive members into fellowship. He was very careful in registering the increase of members and other matters appertaining to church work. It was Mr. Jackson's privilege also to teach and immerse several who became eminent Baptist Ministers, among whom there were three who became particularly honoured and popular preachers, namely, Abraham Greenwood, John Thomas and John Parker.
Abraham Greenwood was born at Barnoldswick, January 21st, 1749, O.S., in the cottage adjoining the chapel house. In youth he attended the ministry of Mr. Jackson. He began to preach about 1770, and became a pupil of Mr. Armitage an Independent Minister at Delph in Saddleworth; he also spent two years and a half in training with Dr. Fawcett of Wainsgate, Hebden Bridge. On the 14th February, 1775, he married the daughter of Mr. Alvery Jackson, who singularly had been born in the house of his birth and only 18 mouths later. Mr. Greenwood became the first pastor of the church at Rochdale. He subsequently laboured 6 years at Dudley, 10 at Oakham and over 20 at Killingholme, Lincolnshire. He published a pamphlet on Baptism, which was generally appreciated, and was translated into and published in Welsh.
John Thomas was Baptised by Mr. Jackson, July 30th, 1742. For about 7 years he laboured diligently here, commenced preaching with great acceptance. In 1749, he received and accepted a call to the pastorate of the Gildersome Baptist Church where until the year 1753 he laboured successfully, and was highly esteemed as an energetic, loving and cultured Christian minister. On June 16th, 1753, he was chosen pastor by the Baptist Church at Pithay, Bristol, where for about 50 years, he toiled hard and rendered splendid service to the cause of Christ amid great difficulties. Under his ministry the present Pithay Chapel was built, and opened for worship' December 16th, 1792. He also published some able pamphlets. Died August 27th, 1800, aged 76 years.
CHURCH COVENANT AND CONFESSION OF FAITH.
The Church having been restored to an active, aggressive and organised state, it was deemed necessary to review the doctrinal foundations of the Church and draw up for future guidance a Confession of Faith. Such a solemn and important task required special preparations hence at a meeting held August 11th 1743, John Greenwood Deacon proposed, the pastor seconded, and the members unanimously agreed " That a meeting should be observed, the first Thursday in every mouth, by prayer, fasting (often) and preaching on proper subjects; and the whole church summoned and exhorted to attend to it duely." In pursuance hereof the following texts were preached on viz., Ezek. 43-10, 11, 12, Sept. 1st and Octob. 6th ; Math. 18-20, Nov. 3rd, Jan. 5th, Feb. 9th. ; 1 Pet. 2-5, Mar Ist.; Sam. 3-40, Apr 5th, 1744; 2 Chron. 29-10, 11, May 4th; Neh 9-38, June Ist. And several Lord's days both before and after, the subjects treated on had an eye to it, e.g. Zech. 8-21, Apr 22; Isa 44-5, May 6th and 20th ; Psal 50-5, June 3rd; 2 Cor 11-2, June I7-July 1st.
BARNOLDSWICK, June 1st, 17744.
WE the Church of Christ at Barnoldswick in the County of Yorke having in several meetings consulted the affair and come to an unanimous conclusion that it is our Duty and Interest in a solemn manner to review the Foundation on which we are builded as a religious Society; and to Renew the Covenant of our Communion with God, and one with another: and having also taken several preparatory steps towards the performance of this good work ; and being now met together in order to complete the pious design ; we think it is proper for us
1. To Recite the reasons that have induced us to it
2. To give a brief Summary of our Faith. And
3. To Report the Covenant by which we are joined together.
First. The principal Reasons that have induced us to this work, are such as these that follow,
1. It is undeniably evident that every regular Church of Christ for the manner of its constitution, is founded upon a solemn Covenant: for there is no other medium, by which a free and voluntary Society can be incorporated, but which carries in it the nature of a Covenant. A Contract, or Agreement, freely enter'd into and mutually confirmed, in such a way & manner, as is directed and warranted by the Laws and agreeable to ye nature of the Society whether it be Civil or Sacred: Hence the manner of entering into Church fellowship, under ye New Testament is expressed by persons first giving their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the Will of God: 2 Cor, 8-5, and the Will of God in this case (here referred to) is declared by the prophet Isaiah, Chap 62-5 & 44-5. When, speaking by the Spirit of Prophecy, concerning the Church of Christ under the New Testament, he saith, As a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy Sons marry thee : which, we all know is done by the mutual consent and solemn Covenant; and, one shall say I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob ; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel ; teaching us, that is in the days of Nehemiah (chap 9 & 10) so in the days of the Gospel Church-Covenants should be written and subscribed with the hand, and that so to do, is to seek ye Lord after the Due Order ; the want of which may cause the Lord to make breaches upon us, 1 Chron. 15-13.
2. Though we hope, that this church in its first gathering did, herein follow in the footsteps of the flock, yet to our unspeakable loss, these footsteps of theirs do not now remain to be reviewed by us: for the Foundations of the first building (ie church) here have been unhappily destroyed ; all accounts of these matters before the year 1711 have been cut, or torn out of our church Book, when or by whom, we do not know : so that, for these many years, this tottering Tabernacle, bath stood, like a building without a Foundation, having neither Confession of Faith nor Covenant of Communion, prefixt to the names in the Church Book : and though several attempts have been made to supply these defects ; yet either through want of wisdom to conduct them; or, of Unanimity to execute them, they have failed of due success : so that, without some thing of this kind being done by us, in a better manner than in any thing we have yet done, that is Extant; we can neither satisfie our selves that we have done our duty nor can we shew the Forms of the House to those that shall enquire after them ; nor can those who shall come after us, find any certain accounts of our Faith & Order for their Instruction and Imitation : so that Necessity is laid upon us to do this.
3. Our present Circumstances call loudly upon us, to set about this good and necessary work, without any further delay : for those who first engaged in the work of the Lord, and joined themselves in Church-fellowship and by whom the Foundation of the Lord's House was laid in this place, after they had served their own Generation are most of them long since gone to rest from their labours ; and none of the present members have either seen a Confession of the Faith in which they sat down ; or signed the covenant of their Communion and it is to be feared that many of them are too much in Darkness & Ignorance concerning them both ; so that there is some resemblance between our present case and that of the Church of Israel, whom God by the Charter of a solemn covenant, incorporated at Mount Sinai, but when most of that Generation was dead (though the covenant of their communion had been duly executed, and remained extant amongst them, which is more than can be said of ours : yet) Moses by divine direction renewed the Covenant with the survivors, before his death in the land of Moab, Duet.. 29, 30, 31 chapters. And afterward when that Generation was worn out, his honourable successor Joshua, found it necessary & adviseable after his example to repeat the practice before his death, as we read in Josh. 23, 24 chapters.
4. Many that belong to us, are grossly negligent in filling up their places with us; and seem to have lost the sense of their obligation so to do : and a general coldness, a sinful indifferency, and want of lively communion with God, and one with another, hath long prevailed amongst us all : which renders it necessary for us to set about some method for a reformation and revival, and when we look into the sacred records, we cannot but observe That those happy instruments of God's honour, and the Church's Good ; who set about the blessed work of reforming and reviving religion have in all ages pitched upon and practised the Renewing of Covenant as a good and necessary step towards it : so did the pious and reforming kings of Judah (whose names are recorded with immortal honour, and whose actions are written for our Learning as) Asa 2 Chron. 15. Hezekiah 2 Chron. 29. Josiah 2 Chron. 34, 29, &c. 2 Kings 23, 1, &c. And so did the returning captives, under the conduct and direction of their pious governor Nehemiah 9 & 10 chapters. And (omitting many other instances that might be named) to come nearer to our own times, that pious work of Renewing Church Covenants wch was set on foot, with so good Success by the Reforming Synod of New England, in the year 1679, is well worthy of our serious observation, and conscientious imitation, as related by ye excellent Dr. Cotton Mather's History of New England Book V.
And now, when the Lord Jesus hath somewhat against us because we have left our first Eve; should not we also, remember from whence we are fallen, and repent, and do our best works : lest He come unto us quickly, and remove our candlestick out of his place: and if we ask-How shall we do this ? His answer is, Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and act herein as they have left you an example.
5. If the forms of the House of God, respecting Faith & Order had been better observed and preserved by us than they have been ; so that both had been produceable at this day in their due order, which now they are not; yet, even in that case it is evident to demonstration from the nature of the thing itself, that the frequent Renewing of the Foundation and at proper seasons. The solemn Renewing of the Covenant of Communion, is both necessary and usefull to preserve our Constitution in its purity ; and to keep the sense of our obligations warm upon our minds to revive the love of our espousals; to prevent irregularities and corruptions from breaking in upon us, to recover us from relapses, and guard us against declentions and apostacy : so that if there had been no other reasons for setting about this work at this time, it is a point of spiritual and necessary prudence and good husbandry, which alone ought to be a sufficient inducement to engage in it.
6. The happy experience which others have had of the good effects the great benefits and advantages of this practice, ought to be improved by us both for arguments and encouragements to follow their worthy and commendable example. It is very engaging and affecting to observe, how in most instances above mentioned, the people concerned were melted into humiliation warned with a lively sense of religion, armed with fresh resolutions against sin and wickedness, and for God & Holiness, and filled with ravishing joy and consolation, in the believing expectations of enjoying more of the favour and presence of God with them and of hearing him say unto them From this day will I bless you. O what good Impression are these and if preserved by walking worthy of them for the future. What glorious effects would they produce ? And surely God never said to the seed of Jacob~ Seek ye me in vain. And Dr. Mather tells us that thousands of Spectators will testifie that they never saw the special presence of the Great God our Saviour more notably discovered than in those solemnities wherein the Churches of New England renewed their Covenants, and he adds very remarkable was the Blessing of God that followed it: not only by a great advancement of Holiness in the Churches that engaged in it, but also by a great addition of Converts unto their holy fellowship. May the Lord thus visit us with his Salvation, and remember us with the favour he bears unto his people, that we also may see the good of his Chosen and may Glory with his Inheritance-Amen.
Secondly. To give a brief summary, or Confession of the Faith upon which we are builded together as a Church, under the blessed name of Christians ; the general name of peaceable Protestant Dissenters, and the particular name of Baptists ; our consciences, enlightened and directed (we trust) by the Word and Spirit of God, obliging us to worship the living and true God, after the way which some call Heresie yet, believing all things which are written in ye Law and the Prophets, the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles which Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, and them only we declare to be the Divine Rule and Certain Standard of our Faith and Practice : so in Faith and Worship we build only on the Foundation of the prophets and Apostles. Jesus Christ himself being the Chief Corner Stone, in whom we desire that this building may be fitly framed together ; may grow into an holy temple in the Lord, and may be for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Nevertheless, we being willing to manifest our Consent and Agreement in Faith and Doctrine with others our Christian Brethren and Churches of Christ in their summaries of heavenly Doctrine and Confessions of Christian Faith as founded upon and contained in ye Holy Scriptures we declare that our faith is tha same for substance with what is delivered in the 39 Articles of the Church of England except the 34th the 35th and the 36th and part of the 20th and part of he 27th and understanding the 3rd of Christ's continuing in the state of the dead and under the power of Death until the 3rd day, and the word penance in the 33rd for a proffession of true repentance, accompanied with proper Thts, and by the judge there mentioned, the whole church.,
The same, for the most part with that of ye Church of Scotland, called the Assemblies Confession :
More nearly the same with that Declaration of the Faith and Order of the Congregational Churches agreed upon by their Elders and Messengers at the Savoy in the year 1658 reprinted 1729. And without exception the same, both for Faith and Order, with a Confession of Faith set forth in 1689 signed and Assented to, by more than 100 Ministers & Messengers of baptized churches in England and Wales (Denying Arminianism).
Thirdly. To repeat the Covenant by, which we are joined together.
We a small handful of the unworthy dust of Zion : usually assembling for the worship of God at Barnoldswick, and in obedience to the command of God and conformity to the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his faithfull followers recorded in the New Testament upon Proffession of Repentance toward God ; and of Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ ; Baptised with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, being now met together with one accord to make a fresh surrender of our selves to the Lord, with deep humiliation for our past sins & earnest supplication to God for pardoning mercy and quickening grace : and as a proper means to awaken our drowsie souls to a lively sense of our duty and to revive the languishing work of religion amongst us, we have unanimously agreed this day, to renew the solemn Covenant of our Communion with God, and one with another; and so to say with our hearts, we are the Lord's and to subscribe unto him with our hands in manner following, namely:-
We this day avouch the ever blessed Jehovah Father, Son and Holy Spirit the one only true and living God, for our Covenant God and All-sufficient portion, and give up ourselves to him alone for his peculiar people in a perpetual Covenant never to be forgotten.
We receive and submit to the Lord Jesus Christ as our alone Saviour, Prophet, Priest and King, in whom done we trust for Wisdom and Righteousness Sanctification and Redemption.
We devote and Consecrate ourselves, as living Temples to the Holy Ghost, our Sanctifier Guide and Comforter; whose gracious operations and heavenly Conduct, we desire daily more and more to feel and follow.
We take the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the only ground and rule of our Faith & Practice ; desiring in all things to be conformable to the Holy Will of God therein revealed : according to the tenor whereof we now Covenant with God, each for ourselves, and jointly together through and by the help of his Spirit and Grace assisting us to worship God in Spirit and in Truth, to observe all his commandments and keep his ordinances as he hath therein delivered them to us : to be subject to divine order and discipline, which Jesus Christ our only King and Law giver, hath appointed in his church: and not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, for the worship of God in his appointed seasons ; but to continue in our relation one to another, and fill up our places in the Louse of' God and maintain his worship therein, to the best of our Capacity until death, or evident calls of divine providence shall separate us one from another, to love one another with pure hearts fervently ; and endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in ye bond of peace; for the honour of our God, arid our mutual good and edification.
We will also make it our care to walk before the Lord in our own houses with perfect hearts ; and to uphold ye worship of God therein, by prayer to God, and reading the Holy Scriptures, that so, the word of God may dwell richly in us.
And as we have given our children to he Lord by a solemn dedication ; so we will endeavour to teach them ye way of the Lord, and command them to keep it ; setting before them an holy example, worthy of their imitation, and continuing in prayer to God, for their conversion and Salvation.
We will also endeavour to keep our selves pure from the sins of the times and places wherein we live, and so to be holy in all manner of conversation, that none may have occasion given by our unholy lives to speak evil of God's holy ways. And all this under an abiding sense that we must shortly give up our accounts to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
Unto which solemn covenant we set our hands in the presence of ye
all seeing heart-searching God. This first day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty four. This covenant and Confession was signed by Alvery Jackson, pastor, and one hundred and six members. Each member either writing the name or affixing a mark.
The Pioneers of this Church were not men to trifle with religion, it was a mighty reality to them, “they carried it into common life and suffused their daily actions with its holy principles.” They really belonged to that class of whom Lord Macaulay speaks so eloquently " Whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily contemplation of superior things and eternal interests, not content with acknowledging in general terms an over ruling providence they habitually ascribed every event to the will of the Great Being for whose power nothing was too vast, for whose inspection nothing was too minute, to know Him, to serve Him, to enjoy Him was with them the great end of existence." Men of such strong religious convictions were likely to demand sanctity of life in those whose spiritual welfare was entrusted to them. They dealt impartially with all offenders, and dared to displease for Christ's sake.
“The proud they taim'd the penitent they cheer'd Nor to rebuke the rich offender fear'd.”
The church exercised keen scrutiny over the life of its members, it claimed a right to deal not only with the church life of its communicants, but also with their business transactions.
Social relationships, domestic duties, and general conduct, pride, envy, dishonesty, gossip, dress, manners and courtship, were deemed matters of church government. The punishment varied according to the sin committed from a gentle reproof to excommunication, but the ban of Excommunication was never resorted to except in extreme cases, and where every appointed means had failed to restore the offender. Sometimes years were spent in the endeavour to restore the erring one, thus Justice and mercy were in a remarkable degree combined, It was absolutely necessary that the Church should exercise such rigid treatment, because the times were exceptionally evil. Many false prophets were out in the world, the ecclesiastical seducer was abroad, opposition was rife. The march of this little band of disciples was through a precarious country, and only those prepared for the fight by a stern course of discipline, were able to stand fast in the faith and quit themselves like men in the struggle for truth and liberty.
At a meeting held here about 1702, consisting of Pastors, Elders, and Deacons of the Associated Churches the following conclusions were drawn up, agreed upon, and signed by those present.
First we do agree not to boast of or at all to commend ourselves especially in religious matters it being a motive to pride and odious in itself.
2ly. Not to backbite or secretly undermine or defame one another.
3ly. Not to make mention of any evill or scandalous reports, if we hear it concerning any brother, till we have first consulted and discoursed ye brother about it.
4ly. To avoid all superfluous dresses, all antick gestures and frothy discourses wch may stir up pride or wound the consciences of others.
5ly. That we apply ourselves wth all diligence to ye exercise of humility sobriety and gravity, and to lop off every branche of Indecency and vanity.
6ly. That in every family or company where providence casts any of us especialy minysters we will there promote and carry on Religious and profitable discourses and exercises, and if we do not see it always fitt, to reprove, yet never to countenance ye contrary.
7ly. That those persons shall be most esteemed by us, and reckoned most honourable amongst us yt lay out themselves most for Christ and ye good of souls, and are most exemplary for humility and piety, however otherwise inferiour in naturall and acquired pts.
8ly. That we will be carefull to abound in all gospell subjection and due obedience to our naturall parents &c., as also to those yt are over us in the Lord whilst under their care and cognizance.
Ninthly. That those of us yt have familys shall take care to instruct and rule well in our own houses.
Tenthly. That the unmarried shall not frequent ye company of any woman without acquainting and consulting their brethren more or fewer as occasion requires.
Eleventhly. That neither married nor unmarried shall goe along or keep company with any woman in any immodest or suspicious way wtever.
Twelthly That in all families ye master or some one for him, shall maintain and keep up dayly prayer or till yt can be brought about, at least wise to read one chapter or more every day, the family being solemnly called together to yt end.
Thirteenthly. That none of us shall frequent ale houses nor at most to spend above sixpence at once except upon speciall occasion.
14. That none of us shall be detected, or proceeded against out of envye suspicion, or in any Indirect undermining way, but in a fair, free, open brotherly unbiast way without fear, favour or revenge.
Lastly. We agree yt additions may be made to these conclusions as hereafter shall be thought fitt.
And p'vided yt any of us shall be found faulty in the premises, they shall be resented uncapable of having any place or voate in our Association meetings, till they confess their fault and promise amendment. Agreed by us
William Mitchell Richard Higgin
David Crosley John Barrett
Adam Holden Daniel Slater
Lawrence Lord George Hargreaves [ELDERS]
James Howarth John Hargreaves
Timothy Robinson Richard Houlden
How clearly and forcibly do these resolutions reveal the beautiful simplicity and transparent piety of this people. The Truth had laid hold upon them in all its power. They were not reeds to be shaken by the wind, but sturdy oaks to bear the furious storm unmoved. They were luminous, visible Christians, who through no fear of man or morbid shame, let their lights shine brightly amid the dark night of severe trial. With a conscience void of offence they carried out their resolves, so that when the laws of the kingdom were violated, the honour of the church endangered and the Gospel of Christ contemned, they unflinchingly but with loving meekness carried into effect, what they had with their hands subscribed, as may be seen from a few examples.
Dear Bro. Charles Tawnley, we the Church of Christ met at Barnoldswick have taken into consideration your relation to us and the offences wherewith you stand charged amongst us and are abundantly convinced yt you are guilty of many rash expressions and unchristian censures of and against many of your brethren and the whole church, also of sinful passion, obstenancy and ambition Therefore we have agreed that we cannot admitt you any more to the Lord's table, till we shall see some manifest signs of true repentance, and godly sorrow for the same, to admonish you up unto which we have sent you these lines, by the hands of our worthy brethren and elders. Jno Barrett and Richard Higgin, and do hope you will humbly and penitently consider and lay to heart these things : These things we signifie with concerned and afflicted hearts.
Subscribed by us in the name of the whole Church,
John Barrett Richard Higgin John Hargreaves Tim Robinson Nicholas Moore Chr. Taylor.
Brother Tawnley remained refractory, and was at a church meeting, hold " the second day of October in ye year 1701'cut off from Communion. " First for a disorderly rending of himself from us. 2ly for his proud & imperious carriage towards the Church. 3ly for his contemning, belying & scandalizeing ye church. 4th for knavery in his Commerce Wth & amongst men & we suspect him guilty of Adultery, & Note that this people for 3 years has laboured privately & publickly according to ye holy rule Matt 18-15, 16, 17 for his recovery, but all in vain.
On the 7th of March 17M, Margaret Moor was cut off from the Society. 1st for excommunicating herself, not attending ye meanses publick nor private for one whole year 2ly for lying & scandalizing ye officers in ye Church one of which was one of her best friends, Lastly for an Idle sinfull Conversation.
At a church meeting held March 30, 1729, it was agreed that Forasmuch, as Thomas Sawley hath for many years past been apparently negligent of the service of God both in his family and in publick assemblies and has lived a loose and careless course of life himself, and indulged his children to do so, to the dishonour of God and scandal of religion ; 'for which he hath had divers friendly admonitions, and no evident reformation hath followed, but on the contrary he hath lately been found guilty of much injustice to his creditors: we being here assembled in the presence of God and in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, think ourselves in conscience bound, for the Honour of God, as well as in duty to him the offender to declare our detestation & abhorrence of such practises, and that for the future he is no member with us; but returned back into the world from whence we received him, untill sufficient evidence be given of his sincere repentance, and amendment of life, according as we are commanded in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw ourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition he received of us (2 Thess. 3, 6) and let all Israel bear and fear.
N.B.-The abovesaid Tho Sawley upon profession of sincere repentance and reformation : was readmitted into membership with us April 16th, 1732.
Oct. 6, 1723, Jane Atkinson was excommunicated for the causes and in the form following, viz :
Whereas Jane Atkinson hath for a long time past lived a loose carnal irreligious life, to the dishonour of God and reproach of religion (some particulars whereof are too notoriously known to need naming) and hath neglected God's worship, contemned his ordinances, and dispised reproof: We do now, being publickly assembled together, in the name, and by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, solemnly declare, our utter abhorrence of all such practices, and utterly exclude her from the Communion of this Church, in all the ordinances of special communion, returning her back to the world, from whence we received her; till evidence be given, by a true reformation of her sincere repentance” Twenty one years afterwards Jane Atkinson, (then Jane Haworth) ' gave in a satisfactory account of her humiliation, Reformation and Consolation, and was received at the Lord's table and subscribed her name to the Lord '
Jane Townson was excommunicated Aug. 2nd, 1760, after four years suspension " for indulging herself in the scandalous use a lawless ungoverned lying, defaming tongue, in which vile practice, after many admonitions she sill persists and grows worse and worse. And whereas . . . . . she bath been guilty of encouraging, enticing and urging persons who had no property therein to purloin family provisions for her and received them at their hands, which is a crime evidently worse than theft, &c. The decisions of the church were not hastily and inconsiderately arrived at, but were all based upon Scripture. Great patience and kindness shewn, earnest prayer was offered, and every possible means used to restore the erring one.”
For the Explanation and Illustration of the foregoing Sentences, four reasons were given:-
1. That as the end of Admission into church Communion is not to give men a title to heaven which they had not before, nor to put a passport into their hands, to ascertain and secure their safe arrival at, and happy entrance into the blissful Mansions of eternal glory ; for if persons have not this before, and on a better foot, whatsoever churches they enter into or communities they belong, they are yet without it ; for their entrance into church fellowship cannot give, but will leave them as much without it as before, & hence it appears most clear and evident, that church censures were never designed to shut the gates of Heaven, nor put a bar in that door against any persons entering in there ; for to Save or Damn men, requires a power & authority that Jesus Christ: the one only Judge and Lawgiver, who also is able to save and to destroy, hath never lodged in the hands of any man, or community of men whatsoever, and which we neither desire, nor pretend to ; but do warmly, utterly, and forever disclaim ; and upon all occasions have, and do declare our detestation and abhorrence of. But
2. The only Ends and Designs of Church censures are these that follow, viz: To put in execution the Laws of Christ in his church on earth For the vindication of the honour and glory. and rolling away the reproach and dishonour, that is brought upon his Name, his cause. Truth and ways in the world, by the base principles, and scandalous lives of church members. For preserving, or restoring the purity and peace and promoting the Edification of the Church : and for bringing to true repentance & thereby preventing the eternal destructions of the offenders ; so far as they from being an hindrance, that these Censures are designed to be an help to their eternal salvation : As Christ by his Apostles hath written to us, not to keep unnecessary company, or hold religious communion with fornicators; saying if any man that is called a brother, or fellow member of your society, be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, a brawler or backbiter, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, that by fraud or force, seeks to get into his possession that which is not rightfully his own ; with such an one, no not to eat. Thereupon put away from among yourselves that wicked person, 1 Cor. 5. And hath charged us to mark them which cause divisions, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid or cast them forth, Rom. 16-17. And as said the Apostles of Christ, we command your brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition, that is, the instruction & example, which ye received of us. And if any man obey not our word, note that man, and have no company with him that he may be ashamed, 2 Thes. 3~6, 14, with many more places of Scripture that might be referred to, and
3, All this is to be done, not for the eternal destruction of the person under dealing, but for the destruction of the flesh, that is, in order, by he blessing of God upon his own Ordinance, for the destruction of the innate corruption, and the vicious immoralities of life and practice, that the Spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1 Cor. 5-5. So that ye end of Church Censures with respect to the offender, is the destruction of his sin by mortification and reformation and the Salvation of his soul at last & for ever.
4. Our carriage & behaviour toward such offenders when thus laid under censure, is plainly & expressly directed and injoined by the words of Christ. Let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican, Math. 18-17. Yet count him not as an enemy ; that is, provided, that when he is under censure, he not hardened and obstinate, envious & malicious refractory & ill tongued, for if so, we ought undoubtedly to count and treat him as he really is ; but if he cease to be an enemy to God, his ways & people, and become penitent, counselable & teachable then admonish & advise him as a brother, with all affectionate tenderness ; and upon due proof of his true repentance & real reformation, be reconciled to & receive him as a brother, Thes. 3-15,
Very strict attention was paid to attendance at " ye means of grace " especially the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, A Register of attendance was regularly and carefully kept, the names of the Absentees were entered and marked “Wanted.” The List was generally preceded by some kind of remarks, e.g. “Oct. 1, 1788 We wanted but a few. April. 1, 1739 Several wanting but a handsome appearance. Apr. 13, 1740 Wanted several but last year and this time I was hindered by some thing, or other from putting down till I could not recall with certainty who was wanting. 1741 Sept. 27th, had a hand. some appearance but wanted several for I never had the happiness to see a full church on Earth, but in heaven none will be wanting. 1742 Oct. 10th, A wet morning which made us want more than otherwise we should have done," &c. Ordinance Sunday was of all days the most desired, for the hours of that day were spent in reverent commemoration of the Saviour's death. In the year 1722 The church decided, for the sake of the members who lived at a distance, such as Malm, Bolland, Gisburn, Thornton Hall, Colne, Earby and Salterforth, &c., to hold the Ordinance once every quarter. Their regard for the Communion may be inferred from the fact, that the day previous to the Ordinance day was spent entirely in devotional exercise, The preparatory meetings began at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning and were held at intervals throughout the day. Special Hymns were composed for and sung on the occasion.
The following hymns were composed by the pastor Mr, Alvery Jackson.
Hymn Sung on a day of preparation for the Lord's Supper by a Church of Christ that had been scattered, left for sometime without a pastor, &c.
1 Thine Ordinances Lord we have For which we praise thy name, And thy most gracious help we crave For to improve the same.
2 We've had the Gospel many years, And showers from Heaven that came, And yet but little fruit appears Unto our sin and shame.
3 For which abuses of thy grace Thou took thy hedge away, And in a cloud thou hid thy face And left thy sheep to stray.
4 But now a Shepherd thou hast sent, (Tho' he is weak and mean); Lord take us into Covenant And gather us again.
5 And at thy table we expect To morrow to appear, We pray, in love thou'llt us respect, Accept, and meet us there.
6 Our wounded spirits do thou heal, Thy Oyl and Wine pour in; Strengthen our souls in peace, & seal The pardon of our sin,
Hymn sung on a day of preparation for the Lord's Supper.
1 Lord we are here, met to prepare
For thy bless'd ordinance,
We pray thou wilt thy word fulfil,
And shew thy countenance,
Our frames are poor, but thou hast store
Of righteousness and Grace,
And we therefore, do thee adore,
And hope to see thy face,
Our sins are great yet we will wait And by the fountain lie, For sinners' good, Christ shed his blood, And we to it will flie.
4 And when we to thy table go
Let's leave our sins behind
Lord, make our love to Jesus move
And comfort there let's find,
From Law & Death by Jesus' death Let's see our Souls set free, And in Christ's arms secur'd from harms Unto Eternity.
Hymn. At the Lord's Supper.
1 Think now my soul what thou dost owe
To Christ's atoning blood,
His dying groans breathed living hopes
Of thy eternal good.
2 Thy privileges here on earth
And glory at thy home;
Are fruits which from this tree of life
In streams of blood do come.
His wounds brought healing to my soul, His agonies repose, His conflicts with the enemies Were conquests of my foes.
4 His sighs and groans do yield me songs
His pains procur'd my ease,
His poverty, my riches were,
And his sorrows my peace.
5 His painful death, eternal life
His shame my glory bought,
His prayers, gave breath to my praise,
His tears my joy has brought.
6 His sufferings my salvation were,
Or I had been undone:
For which, eternal thanks & praise
Be to the Three in One.
Mr. Jackson was an eminent controversialist. He was concise, analytical, and logical in his treatment of every question. The Rev. H. Dowson late president of Manchester Baptist College said " He was a man of considerable eminence and influence, and published some sermons and pamphlets well worth the attention of Christians of the present day."
During the life of Mr. Jackson a very heated controversy was carried on between the Arminians and Calvinists on the question " Whether it be the duty of all men to whom the gospel is published, to repent and believe in Christ"?
Mr. Jackson was a moderate Calvinist, and published in 1752 a very able pamphlet on the Affirmative side entitled; " Saving Faith " which was edited by Dr. Stennett, and which called forth a great amount of discussion. He was a thorough and an uncompromising believer in believers Baptism on a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ. He toiled to maintain the Apostolical faith, as may be seen from the Covenant of 1744, and not withstanding the Theological disputes of that age and the removal of many churches from the primitive faith to Arminianism and Arianism; this Church could unanimously certify by solemn pledge on May 18th, 1763 "That the Confession of our faith is still the same as before Jun. Ist, 1744, without any variation or addition at all with which we are still satisfied." Mr. Jackson still held a loving place in the hearts of his people. In the 45th and last year of his ministry the Church was gathered together to repeat its Confession of faith and to renew the Covenant of its Communion. The venerable and aged pastor presided, How cheered he must have been to hear these words " We the Church of Christ at Barnoldswick under the ministry of our well beloved brethren, Alvery Jackson, pastor, and John Parker, Teaching Elder : with the Doctrine preached by whom, so far, as founded upon and contained in the Holy Scriptures; we are heartily and entirely satisfied.. and to whom we promise to obey & submit ourselves in the Lord, as to them that watch for our souls as those that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief."
On the last day of December, 1763, as the old year passed away, this good and faithful servant passed away also. With the closing hours of the old year, he calmly closed his eyes in death. Having kept the faith and finished a course of 45 years of self denying and indefatigable effort for the salvation of souls, of incalculable service to the cause of Christ in Yorkshire and Lancashire. He was interred at Mary Le Gill Church Yard, In the Register of that Church among the list of Dissenters is the simple entry “1761 Jackson Alvery of Bar-“
CHAPTER IX .
Once more this people were called “to pass under the rod” Sorrow’s able mantle was drawn for a while over them, and they sat down and mourned their loss of a most beloved, devoted and eminent pastor. But they were not left shepherdless, for among them was one who for 14 years had with great acceptance served them in various ways. No one in their estimation was more worthy to become Mr. Jackson's successor than John Parker who had faithfully rendered valuable service to his church as teacher and pastor.
John Parker was born at Barnoldswick on March 10th, 1725, and was the son of Thomas Parker a native of Ireland. When about eleven years of age, his father placed him under the care of a family that lived at Stooks, now called Stocks, near Bracewell, where he remained for several years. He was a boy of marked thoughtfulness, and his affectionate disposition made him beloved of those with whom he lived. He was a suffering cripple and prevented from, joining other children in their play. From childhood he suffered from a nervous disorder which affected his limbs. His confinement led him to diligent searching of the Scriptures, the reading of which directed his mind to his own condition and awakened within him a painful consciousness of his sin and at the early age of 14 he was filled with serious impressions, and passed through painful conflicts of mind. His contrition awakened for him the sympathy of the persons with whom he lived and he was urged to go and hear the Rev. Mr. Grimshaw of Howarth, an evangelical clergyman who at that time was a popular preacher. Being offered a horse to ride on, he consented and rode to Howarth. Mr. Grimshaw in his sermon which was an exposition of the 39 Articles, declared that sinners could only be pardoned through the blood of Jesus Christ. This was glad tidings of great joy to young John Parker. He had found the way of life. He accepted Christ and went on his way rejoicing and continued with joy to meditate on the question of the sinner's justification by Jesus Christ. Haworth being so far away he was unable to attend the ministry of Mr. Grimshaw, and being a staunch, bigoted churchman, he attended the neighbouring churches, but was greatly dissatisfied both with the teaching and conversation of the Clergymen whose ministry he attended, and from whom he sought guidance and consolation in vain. He however was persuaded to go the Baptist Chapel at Barnoldswick to hear Mr. Alvery Jackson preach. He was very favourably impressed with Mr. Jackson's manner and preaching, and found in his teaching the very buds his soul desired- Reluctantly did he leave the established church, but his love of truth overruled his prejudice, and he was, baptized by Mr. Jackson on June Ist, 1750, and received into membership June 2nd. Mr. Jackson took affectionate interest in John Parker, and laboured to educate and prepare him for public service. Mr. Jackson was fully repaid for his kind attention, for John Parker by his piety and talent soon displayed exceptional aptitude for Christian work.
In 1753, the Church unanimously and repeatedly invited him to preach. John Parker's retiring nature, timidity and sense of inability induced him to withdraw from such a task, but importunity ultimately prevailed and he tried. The trial in his mind was a failure, and he, resolved never to try again. To this resolve the church turned a deaf ear, and John Parker was compelled to continue preaching. He very acceptably supplied the neighbouring churches and was instrumental in forming a Baptist Church at Bolland. He proved a true help-mate to Mr. Jackson by preaching and baptizing for him. He was married in 1755 to a Mary Atkinson, who till his death proved a loving, faithful and devoted wife.
After Mr. Jackson's death Dec. 31, 1763, the church elected John Parker to be his successor, and in 1764 he entered upon the pastorate where he laboured very successfully for many years. During his ministry in 1769, several members of the church, residing at Colne, resigned their membership, and established the Baptist Church there. He was diligent, peaceable, affectionate and faithful. He was a man mighty in prayer, his weak but penetrating voice was resonant with a holy fervour, and his soul sent forth its petitions in flashes of devout eloquence. The secret of this greatness was his constancy in private prayer. Often would he retire to his closet and prostrating himself with his face to the ground would plead intensely with his Heavenly Father. An idea of
his power as a preacher may be gathered from the following selection
from Dr. Fawcett’s Memoirs.
" In the year 1773, about Whitsuntide, the annual association was held at Wainsgate. It was attended by the Rev. Mr. Medley, who was one of the preachers, with many friends from Liverpool and other distant places. Having long known the minister, from his labours amongst them they showed their personal regard An hint and more especially their love to the cause of Christ by submitting to temporary privations, and inconveniences, that they might enjoy his society and hat of other Christian friends. The meeting, house being much too small for the assembly, some of the services were conducted in the open air, the officiating minister being on a temporary platform erected in the burying ground. The Rev. Mr. Parker, of Barnoldswick, had been nominated at the preceding association, as one of the preachers. He was in a great measure stranger to Mr. Medley and his friends from Liverpool. His appearance was humble, and at first view far from prepossessing having none of those exterior appendages of dress by which men of the clerical order were usually distinguished. Mr. Medley could not forbear, with his usual frankness, expressing his regret, that one so unlikely had been selected to preach on that public occasion, especially as he had persuaded many to accompany him, in the hope of enjoying some peculiar privileges; but when the good man began to speak, and when he opened his subject, Mr. Medley's prejudice was soon turned into admiration. The Christian simplicity, pertinent illustrations and holy fervour of this man of God, captivated his heart and riveted his attention, so that it proved a most delightful and refreshing season, not only to himself, but to most that were present. He never wrote his sermons, but always followed a carefully arranged plan, original and quaint in style but very clear and interesting. His biographer says, " When he was under a favourable gale and his subject peculiarly interesting . . . It was a feast divine to sit under the sound of his voice, a torrent of sacred eloquence issuing from the fervour of his mind seemed to carry away the hearts of the hearers before it."
During his ministry in the year 1772, the trustees, out of money belonging to the Church purchased the three cottages facing Walmsgate adjoining the Old Chapel together with other cottages and gardens behind the same for the sum of £195.
Mr. Parker was the leader of the Moderate Calvinists in Yorkshire, and with intense zeal and tearful anxiety from the fulness of a loving heart, and with profound insight of Truth preached a full and free salvation to all of every nation and condition who believed on and lived to he Lord Jesus Christ. He and Dr. Fawcett were the means of establishing a Baptist interest in Leeds in the Old Assembly rooms, where they both preached in 1779. The affliction which had troubled him from childhood once more prostrated him, for several years he was totally unable to preach, in consequence of which, he resigned his pastorate here, and retired into private life on the little farm he had at Lees. Although settled at Lees, he did not like Moab, settle on his lees in indolence, but, devoted his time to a most useful pursuit. Unable to preach the Gospel, he would send it by messengers in the form of letters.
To his numerous friends he wrote many letters. Dr. Fawcett says, Mr. Parker had all the qualifications requisite in a Christian correspondent; ardent piety, sound wisdom, great experience, tender sympathy, unaffected sincerity, and a steady and persevering attachment to those who were favoured with his friendship. He improved his leisure moments for many years of his life, in writing letters of instruction, admonition or consolation, to those for whose welfare he bad the most solicitous concern." His letters were practically Tracts and Sermonettes. They reveal his inner life as full of calm trustful resignation amid the intensest suffering of devout gratitude in his hour of distress, and a looking forward through the dark cloud with undimmed faith to the home of the just.
To the Rev. J. A.
Lees, May 12, 1785
Dear Brother, Since we were favoured with Your company my disorder has so far prevailed, that I have been obliged to be down in silence, and exchange the labours of the pulpit for a bed of languishing. My health seems now irrecoverably lost. At best I can serve the people only in part, and the little I can do at any time, feeds my disorder and augments my distress as to my outward frame. I therefore ask you and desire you to ask the brethren present at the general meeting whether you think it is my duty to resign my charge, or to struggle on till I expire in the conflict, I am in a strait betwixt these two. I wish to live and die in the way of duty, To be wholly silent, while I am able to speak at all would go near my heart. I am willing to serve the Church to which I stand related, as far as I am able while they seek out for some suitable person to feed them with the bread of life and when I resign my work I am quite willing to give up what I receive for it. I hope, that that God who has fed me all my life long, will take care of both me and mine, to the end of our days. For anything that I know, the people would be content with the little I can do, as long as I am able to speak to them at all. But in the meantime, I feel the cause suffers for want of more frequent preaching, and other duties, which I am not able to. This disquiets my mind and adds to my affliction. Could I but see the people well supplied, and the interest of the Redeemer flourish, my fainting heart would be encouraged, and methinks I could die in peace.
I shall think myself obliged to you and the rest of the brethren if you will seriously consider this matter, and be so kind as to communicate by the bearer any word of advice which you may think proper to give me.
And may the God You serve guide you by all his counsel, support you with his powerful arm and guard you every moment. May he favour you with his gracious presence in your own souls, and abundantly succeed your labours for the good of others. And When you can work no more in his vineyard, may he make all your bed in your sickness, grant you grace sufficient in a dying hour, receive you to the church triumphant above, and raise up others to stand in your places on earth.
I am, &C, J. P.
To this request the Church replied in the negative, entreated him to continue pastor, and offered him an assistant. In accordance with the desire he continued so for a few years longer.
[At this point in the book there is a section devoted to John Parker’s poetic letters. If you are desperate to see them, ask me and I will make it possible. However, they are quite taxing…… SCG.]
In the Year 1790, the church at Wainsgate, near Hebden Bridge, invited him [John Parker]to become its pastor. Being somewhat improved in health he was constrained to accept, though somewhat reluctantly, the invitation. To leave Barnoldswick was a hard task for him. In a letter of his to some friends, he says " Our removal hither at so late a period in life, you will easily suppose must have been somewhat trying. To forsake all our friends, and our little possessions in our former situation, and come to reside among strangers, has been such a piece of self denial as we never met with before. And yet so far as I am able to spell out the disposing will of God, by the footsteps of his providence I think I am now where he would have me to be. This quiets and satisfies my mind. I wish I could tell you how much I long for his presence here. I hope you will ask at the footstool of divine mercy this important favour for your unworthy friend. I am now wandering among the hills seeking strayed sheep and lost souls. There are multitudes of these in this corner of the wilderness. My soul pities them. I earnestly long to be instrumental in saving some of them."
In September 1791, he suffered a severe attack of fever which so impaired his sight that he became almost blind. It was a most affecting sight to behold this venerable servant of God enfeebled with disease, decrepitude, and blindness ; struggling to declare to the last, the story of the Cross to the people whom he loved but could not see. His preaching at this period, is described as a “picture of dignity in ruins.” A few days before his death he preached from the words, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” Phil. 1-21. His treatment of the text was peculiarly appropriate to Himself. The night previous to his death he was cheerful and bright in the company of some friends, and on May 29th, 1793, he peacefully fell asleep in Christ at the age of 69. He was interred at Barnoldswick in the ground adjoining the Old Chapel, on the third of June, in the presence of an immense concourse of people. His funeral Sermon was preached by Dr. Fawcett who for 30 years had been his close and loving companion and fellow worker, from the text, " And now behold I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God shall see my face no more," Acts xx, 25.
JOHN PARKER was succeeded by Mr. Nathan Smith, who was received into membership by dismission from the church at Cowling Hill, Dec. 5, 1790, and on the same day presented at the Lord's Supper in the capacity of a Pastor. Nathan Smith was a robust, unassuming, cultured, Puritanic preacher ; a man of genuine principle, greatly beloved for his gentle, loving conduct and ardent piety. He was a " Nathaniel indeed in whom there was no guile." He could say with Paul, " These bands have ministered to my necessities," for in addition to being pastor, he was a Weaver, Malt Merchant, and Schoolmaster, and under the same roof were a Manse, Weaving Shed, School Room and Chapel. The old gentleman dressed in velvet knee breeches, buckled shoes, swallow-tailed coat, with long silver locks, looked venerable. Under his faithful ministry the thatched Sanctuary became too small to contain those who flocked to it to hear the word; hence it was found necessary to obey the command : " Enlarge the place of thy Tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation ; spare not, lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes" The site selected for a new chapel was the adjoining garden with its clustering fruit trees. The spot where many trees had borne rich fruit gave place to the courts of the Lord, where the righteous should flourish like the Palm tree, and grow like the Cedar in Lebanon. The New Chapel was erected in 1797, and a beautiful little place it was. In the centre hung the Chandelier, with its circle of candles, which, when lighted, during the singing of the second hymn, were orthodoxly snuffed by the Chapel Keeper, and which sometimes in the heat of the moment gracefully hung their beads, and fell, alighting upon the Scuttle Bonnets of the devout worshippers below. Mr. Smith, laboured diligently here for 41 years and passed away to enjoy the reward of the faithful servant, Sept. 11, 1831, aged 71 years.
On his Tomb in the Old Chapel Yard is the sweet epitaph :-
The Gospel was his joy and song E'en to his latest breath; The Truth he had maintained so long Was his support in death.
After Mr. Smith's death the church gave a call to the Rev. J. Spooner, Pastor of the Church at Heaton, Bradford, and formerly a Student of Horton College. He was an able, frank and fearless preacher, a stalwart zealous Baptist. His love of argument led him into many public and private discussions on Baptism ; so intensely earnest was he that the people called him " The li'le fiery parson." He resigned in 1839, and removed to Attleborough, thence to Long Preston, where he died January 8th, 1873, aged 67 years, and was interred in the Baptist Burial Ground, Long Preston. Soon after Mr. Spooner's removal, the Rev. William Fawcett, of Sutton, with his family came to reside at Newfield Edge. Mr. Fawcett frequently preached in the Old Chapel, and acted as Pastor, pro tem ; he was also trustee of the church property. Mrs. Fawcett, whose maiden name was Mary Ann Bracewell, and who before marriage had lived at White House with her aunt Miss Mitchell, also took great interest in the cause, as she had done when a member under Mr. Spooner's ministry. She died at Newfield Edge, December 8th, 1842, and was interred in the Old Chapel Yard. Mr. Fawcett resumed his ministry at Steeton, April 1843: he died at Florence, in Italy, December 17th, 1874. Their son William Mitchell Fawcett, Esq., Barrister at Law, and their daughter Miss A. Fawcett, of London, conjointly gave half of the land upon which the New School Room is built.
In July, 1844, Mr. Thomas Bennett, a Student of Accrington College, was invited to the pastorate. He accepted the invitation and was publicly recognised as pastor, Aug. 26th, 1845. At the recognition services, the Rev. D. Griffiths, Theological Tutor of the College at Accrington, gave the charge to the pastor. The Rev. T. Pottinger, of Bradford, explained the nature and constitution of a Christian Church, and the Rev. P. Scott, of Shipley, ' preached to the people.' Mr, Bennett was born at Sabden, in the year 1820, and was early in life employed at the print works there, then carried on by Mr. Richard Cobden and Mr. Forster, until he entered the College at Accrington, where he passed through a course of training under the tuition of the Revd. D. Griffiths and the Rev. Mr. Harbottle. Mr. Bennett soon became highly popular, and his ministry very successful. He had not been long here, ere the Church once more realised that its dwelling place was too small, and that a larger Sanctuary must be built. To accomplish this task Mr. Bennett set energetically to work, heading his subscription list with a poor widow's mite of half a crown. Miss Ann Mitchell, one of the descendants of the Mitchells referred to in the opening chapter, true to the spirit and principles of her worthy ancestors, who had generously endowed the Church, sold the whole of the ground upon which the present and fourth Chapel stands, and the adjoining burial ground for the nominal sum of Seven Pounds. This Chapel was opened in 1852. The four buildings still stand to tell their humble but pathetic story to the rising generation of the onward course of the kingdom of Christ at Barnoldswick.. The old barn points to the dark days of despotism and persecution, of suffering for Christ's sake, when the faithful few true to their sacred vows, dared take up their cross and follow Christ, at the risk of plunder, imprisonment and death. The ancient cottage, with its still remaining ponderously bolted door, tells of hard times too, but it refers us to the glad dawn of religions liberty. The old chapel once the pride of the district speaks of freedom hard won but gloriously secured. The present Sanctuary loudly proclaims that " The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad."
In the year 1860, Mr. Bennett was prevailed upon by several prominent members of the Church to enter the Cotton Manufacturing business in order to find employment for those who through depression in trade were leaving the village, &c. This step unfortunately proved a painful one to him. Soon after entering business the American war began, which produced such disastrous results in the Cotton trade, in Yorkshire, Lancashire and North Cheshire, that Mr. Bennett in common with many other manufacturers succumbed to the severe losses suffered. In consequence of this he became very unsettled in the Church, differences arose, which in 1868 led to the formation of the Church which now worships in the New Chapel near the Clough. [North Street] During all the disquietude the Church at Bethesda devotedly clung to Mr. Bennett, and gave many evident proofs of affectionate attachment to him. In the month of September, 1869, Mr. Bennett married Miss Elizabeth Horsfield, Barnoldswick, but to his unspeakable sorrow in the short space of ten months, his affectionate and devoted wife was taken from him. Mrs. Bennett died June the 7th, 1870.
Mr. Bennett continued pastor here until his death on October 6th, 1886, at the age of 67, having laboured in his only pastorate for 42 years. His remains were interred at St. Mary Le Gill. The funeral, which was an exceedingly large one, was a very affecting sight.
The Revs. J. G. Hall, Swavesy, Cambs, J. Jefferson, Rawtenstall, and B. Bowker, Berry,[Bury?] officiated. His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. J. Jefferson, from Rev. xiv, 13.
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."
THE PRESENT PASTORATE
By the Rev. T. T. Marshall, M.A., Brighton Grove College, Manchester.
Since 1887, the oversight of the Church has been in the hands of the Rev. EVAN ROBERT LEWIS. Mr. Lewis was born at Ystrad, near Ystalyfera, Glamorganshire, on the 30th of September, 1860 ; being the son of George and Gwenllian Lewis. He was nurtured amid Christian influences under a Baptist ministry, and when fifteen years of age gave his heart to Christ. Shortly afterwards he was baptised at the Ddinas Noddfa Baptist Chapel, Landore, Swansea, on February 13th, 1876. It was a bitterly cold morning when this youthful disciple followed his Master through the watery grave. The baptistery was in the Chapel yard, and thick ice had formed on the surface of the water. Our brother at once realized that discipleship means service; and became Secretary of the Sunday School under Mr. David Phillips as Superintendent. Zealous service met with its reward. Before Mr. Lewis resigned his post of Secretary, the School increased from 250 to 500. Three branches were opened: one on the Park, one in the room adjoining the Manse, and one at Brynhyfryd in a cottage. The last named interest developed rapidly into a flourishing cause, and the result is that a splendid Baptist Chapel has taken the place of the cottage at Brynhyfryd. Like most other zealous Christian men of the present generation, Mr. Lewis first stirred up the gift that was in him by expatiating on the unspeakable evils of drunkenness. When but 17 years of age he became President of a large Good Templars Lodge, and was the means of reclaiming many drunkards.
Not long after Mr. Lewis joined the Church, he was requested by his pastor, the Rev. W. P. Williams, to commence preaching. The stripling, as is so often the case, took an old man's text, and preached from the words: 'There is but a step betwixt me and death," How his first effort was appreciated by the audience, we are not informed ; but the young preacher was so overwhelmed by a sense of his own imperfections, that it was some time before he could be prevailed upon to enter a pulpit again.
In 1879, Mr. Lewis removed to Aberavon, and joined the Ebenezer Baptist Church there, under the pastoral care of the Rev. O. W. James. As every Christian should, in such circumstances, he at once sought for some work to do for the Master. The Sunday School furnished a suitable sphere for his gifts, and before long he became Superintendent of the School, and also President of the Band of Hope. At Aberavon, he yielded to the entreaties of friends, and for the second time entered a pulpit. On this occasion he was more comfortable or rather, less uncomfortable. The Church became convinced that he ought to give himself to he work of the ministry. In order to prepare himself for going to College, he entered the Aberavon Academy, under the tutorship of the Rev. T. Richards, F. S. Sc.; and passed into the Manchester Baptist College, in December, 1884. Here he prosecuted his studies with exemplary diligence and success and gave promise of exceptional excellence in the directional of Biblical culture ; when all too soon, before the close of his third year, he received a call to the Bethesda Church, Barnoldswick. There was such an amount of fervour and unanimity in the call, and the exigencies of the situation seemed so imperatively to demand pastoral supervision, that Mr. Lewis was constrained to forego his full college course, and to obey what he could not but regard as the call of Divine Providence. He left College in the autumn of 1887. On Thursday, March 22, 1888, he was formally recognized as pastor of the Church. The Rev. E. Parker, D.D., of Manchester College, gave the charge to the pastor. The Rev. J. T. Marshall, M.A., gave the charge to the Church. Mr. Greenwood Wilkinson spoke on behalf of the Church, and gave an account of the steps which led to their selection of Mr. Lewis: and Mr. B. Davies, (now pastor of the Baptist Church at Darwen) spoke on behalf of the Students.
The next great event in the pastor's history was his marriage. On August 16th, 1888, Mr. Lewis was married to Miss A. G. Miller, daughter of Mr, W. Miller, deacon of Penuel Baptist Church, Cwmavon. After returning home the bride and bridegroom received handsome presents from the friends connected with the church.
Since 1887, many important changes have taken place in connection with he Church. The people at once formed a profound affection for their pastor, and have at all times lovingly rallied round him. The Church, which was then in a somewhat low condition, is now enjoying much spiritual prosperity ; and the prospects of the place have never been so bright as now. The Church at present numbers 155 members, and the Sunday School registers over 400 scholars. The zeal and devotion of the people have manifested themselves in a great effort to build a Sunday School, at a cost of £1,600, of. which the accompanying is a representation.
The foundation stones were laid by Mrs. J. C. Horsfall, Glusburn, Mrs. W. B. White, Sen., Colne. Mr. William Smith, Burnley, and Mr. J. Rycroft, Colne, This commodious edifice consisting of 16 class rooms with additional sitting accommodation for about 600 people was opened March 30th, 1890, when the Revds. Ed. Parker, D.D., Manchester, J. T. Marshall, M.A., Manchester, Charles Spurgeon, Greenwich, and Councillor J. C. Horsfall, officiated. All who know Mr. Lewis must wish for him a long career of great usefulness, among one of the most devoted peoples to which a minister was ever attached.
J. T. MARSHALL.
We review the records of the Church with a sense of profound gratitude to the Great Head of the Church, for the remarkable manner in which He through untold dangers has preserved it, and for the emphatic confirmation in its existence of his, promise. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it” Who but God himself can tell, and what but the Judgement Day will reveal the
good done through the instrumentality of the faithful few here, who amid the cimmerian darkness of licentious times kept the lamp of the Temple shining, and handed down to us such a blessed heritage.
As far as can be known this is the Oldest Baptist Church in Yorkshire, it was the first in the Shire to possess property vested in trust for the use of Baptists. It was one of the three or four churches which formed the first Yorkshire and Lancashire Association of Ministers and Elders prior to 1700; and was also one of the seven churches that established the Old Yorkshire & Lancashire Association of Baptist Churches in 1718. It rocked the cradle of the Church in Rossendale, which has leavened Lancashire with its teachings, and has become the source of mighty streams of religious influence, and the founder of Nonconformity in that great political and religious centre, It assisted through its pastor in the formation of the first Baptist Church in Leeds, also helped in nurturing several others. Bethesda is the parent of four neighbouring churches, each of which is in a prosperous condition, namely
COLNE, formed 1769. EARBY, formed 1819. SALTERFORTH, formed 1861. BARNOLDSWICK, formed 1868.
Barnoldswick owes this Church a debt of grateful recognition, for to it the township owes its sturdy nonconformity, and pronounced political spirit. For a Century at least it supported the only Nonconformist Day School in the parish, and up to very recently one of its Deacons, Mr. Greenwood Wilkinson was the village Schoolmaster. For about 300 years the Baptists here stood almost single-handed to maintain religious and political liberty; its pioneers toiled hard and well to prepare the barren waste for a wider reception of Divine Truth. " And herein is the saying true (in its application to ourselves and the several other churches in the district) one soweth and another
reapeth, I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour, other men laboured and ye are entered into their labours." John iv, 37-8.
May we who enjoy the fruits of the labours of those long since gone to their reward, and who are so highly exalted in religions privileges, strive to appreciate the glorious heritage bequeathed us; labour by constant undenying effort in the defence and spread of Gospel Truth, stand fast in the faith, showing all good fidelity that we may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad. May the glad consciousness of great things done of God find joyous expression in great things done for God.
"When the Lord shall build up Zion he shall appear in his glory."
[Transcribed by Stanley Challenger Graham, 08 November 2005]
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