Thursday, 19 April 2012

19th April 1812: Memorial service for Samuel Hartley at Halifax Methodist Chapel

Jonathan Saville later in life
On Sunday 19th April 1812, a memorial service was held at the Methodist Chapel in Halifax for Samuel Hartley. It was another occasion of high emotion, with the minister Jabez Bunting once again refusing the officiate. He asked the young disabled preacher, Jonathan Saville to officiate, and Saville later recorded the occasion in his memoirs (1844, pp.24-26):
"I preached one Sunday to the largest congregation that ever assembled in Halifax Chapel. A young man had been shot while assisting to make an entry into a Mill near Cleckheaton, for the purpose of breaking machinery; and he was brought to Halifax Chapel to be buried. On the Sunday after the funeral, the people came from far and wide to show their sorrow for the deceased, [or rather, to make a political demonstration]. They filled the Chapel to overflowing; hundreds stood on the outside, unable to get in, and constables walked before the doors to keep the peace. The preacher who was planned for that afternoon had gone to Huddersfield, probably to get out of the way. Mr. Jabez Bunting sent for me. When I got into the pulpit and looked round, I felt faint. It was the first time that ever I felt my right thigh weaker than the other: it trembled as if I had an ague. My tongue for a long time clave to the roof of my mouth. Mr. Bunting was in the chapel. After the singing, I felt loosed in spirit, and took for my text, my favourite, "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, &c." Towards the end, I had occasion to speak of the Christian's confidence in a dying hour, and I contrasted the death of the believer with that of the infidel. At the time, perhaps more than ever, infidelity was busy among the lower classes. I said, "When the tired Christian has been toiling on the ocean of life, he comes at last to the harbour's mouth, and angels are standing on the shore to welcome him home.—But the infidel, as he comes in, sees devils waiting for him, and he cries, 'tack about, tack about!' but no! in he must go," and so on. Then I exclaimed,"Infidel, die hard! never strike the black flag when Death confronts you!" It seemed to have a great effect. A few days afterwards, as I was going up King-Cross Lane to my Class, some persons threw stones at me, but I was not hurt."

No comments:

Post a comment