Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Coleman Interposition 6

Another remarkable case
In the life of Oliver Heywood, ejected from Caley, in Yorkshire, the following interesting anecdotes are related. Dr. Fawcett, who published an account of Mr. Heywood, remarks, "The particular dates of these events I am not able to ascertain with exactness, but the facts have been so strongly, so invariably, and constantly affirmed, by persons of undoubted verity, some of whom I could name, and others who have been long dead, that I have not the least reason to doubt the truth of these facts."
Mr Heywood being reduced to great straits after the loss of his income, so that his children began to be impatient for want of food, called his servant, Martha, who would not desert the family in their distress, and said to her, "Martha, take a basket, and go to Halifax, call upon Mr N , a shopkeeper, and desire him to lend me five shillings. If he is kind enough to do it, buy such things as you know we most want. The Lord give you good speed; and in the meantime, we will offer up our requests to Him who "feedeth the young ravens when they cry." Martha went, but when she came to the house her heart failed her, and she passed by the door again and again without going in to tell her errand. Mr N , standing at the shop door, called her to him, and asked her if she was not Mr Heywood's servant. When she told him that she was, he said to her, "I am glad to see you, as some friends have given me five guineas for your master, and I was just thinking how I could send it." Upon this she burst into tears, and told him her errand. He was much affected with her story, and told her to come to him if the like necessity should return. Having procured the necessary provisions, she hastened back with them, when, upon her entering the house, the children eagerly examined the basket, and the father, hearing the servant's narrative, smiled, and said, "The Lord hath not forgotten to be gracious; his word is true from the beginning—they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
Another anecdote related of Mr. Heywood is this: ""When the spirit of persecution was so hot against this good man that he was obliged to leave his family, he set off on horseback one winter's morning before it was light, like Abraham, not knowing whither he went, and without a farthing in his pocket. Having committed himself to the care of Providence, he determined at length to let his horse go which way he would. Having gone all day without refreshment, the horse, towards the evening, bent his course to a farmhouse a little out of the road. Mr. Heywood, calling at the door, a decent woman came, of whom he requested, after a suitable apology, that she would give him and his horse shelter for that night; telling her that he only wished for a little hay for his beast, and liberty for himself to sit by the fireside. Upon calling her husband they both kindly invited him in. The mistress soon prepared something for him to eat, at which he expressed his concern as he had no money to make them any recompense, but hoped God would reward them. They assured him that he was welcome, and begged him to make himself easy. After some time the master asked him what countryman he was. He answered that he was born in Lancashire, but had now a wife and children near Halifax. 'That is a town,' said the farmer, 'where I have been, and had some acquaintance.' After inquiring about several of them, he asked if he knew anything of one Mr Oliver Heywood, who had been a minister near Halifax, but was now, on some account, forbid to preach. To which he replied, 'There is a great deal of noise about that man; some speak well, and some very ill of him; for my own part, I can say very little in his favour.' 'I believe,' said the farmer, 'he is of that sect which is everywhere spoken against; but, pray, what makes you form such an indifferent opinion of him?' Mr Heywood answered, 'I know something of him, but as I do not choose to propagate an ill report of any one, let us talk, on some other subject.' After keeping the farmer and his wife some time in suspense, who were uneasy at what he had said, he at length told them that he was the poor outcast after whom they made such kind inquiries.
  "All was then surprise, joy, and thankfulness, that Providence had brought him under their roof. The master of the house then said to him, 'I have a few neighbours who love the gospel, if you will give us a word of exhortation, I will run and acquaint them. This is an obscure place, and as your coming hither is not known, I hope we shall have no interruption.' Mr Heywood consented, and a small congregation was gathered, to whom he preached with that fervour, affection, and enlargement, which the singular circumstances served to inspire. A small collection was then voluntarily made, to help the poor traveller on his way."

Review of the book in Evangelical Times October 2013

The Great EjectionGary Brady
EP Books, 176 pages, £8.99
ISBN: 978-0-85234-802-4
Star Rating : *****
Who governs the church, Jesus Christ or the state? In practical terms, what determines the doctrine and practice of the church? Is it the Bible or is it public opinion? Throughout the long history of the church, Christians have had to face and answer such questions. Once again they have been thrown up by the debate about the nature and character of marriage. It is good to be able to consider the way in which our fathers approached such issues. The record of the legislation of 1660-1662 and its aftermath provides us with such an opportunity. The year 2012 was the 350th anniversary of what has become known as the ‘Great Ejection’, when almost 2000 Puritan pastors and their flocks were forced out of the Church of England because they were unable to submit to unbiblical conditions of service. The theses included acceptance of the divine right and authority of diocesan bishops and an allegiance to the Prayer Book in terms which could only be given to the Bible. Hundreds of men, unable to bow to parliament’s decisions on these issues, were deprived of their charges and compelled to accept the prospect of poverty in a social and political wilderness. Gary Brady has given us a fine account of these events. He explains the issues and discusses the reasons why Puritans, who had only recently seemed so secure in their ministries, were suddenly plunged into a crisis of conscience after 1660. The story moves from the high politics of Charles II’s reign to the very human story of the sacrifices and triumphs of hundreds of Christian people. Lists of excluded ministers are included and may be useful for reference purposes, but the great value is the inspiring way in which the experiences of local churches and their members and ministers are described. This inspiring record should be widely read and studied by Christians today. It is very highly recommended.
Robert W. Oliver

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Coleman Interposition 5

Supplies sent in time of need
Mr Henry Erskine, who had been minister at Cornill, in Northumberland, suffered much after his ejectment, and had several remarkable interpositions on his behalf. He resided for a time at Dryburgh, where he and his family were often in great straits. Once in particular, when the "cruse of oil and the barrel of meal" were entirely spent, so that when they had supped at night, there remained neither bread, meal, flesh, nor money in the house. In the morning, the young children cried for their breakfast, and their father endeavoured to divert them, and at the same time did what he could to encourage himself and his wife to depend upon that Providence which "feeds the young ravens when they cry." While he was thus engaged, a countryman knocked hard at the door, and called for someone to help him off with his load. Being asked from whence he came, and what he would have, he told them he came from the Lady Reburn, with some provisions for Mr Erskine. They told him he must be mistaken, and that it was most likely to be for Mr Erskine, of Shirfield, in the same town. He replied "No, he knew what he said, he was sent to Mr Henry Erskine," and cried, "Come, help me off with my load, or else I will throw it down at the door." Whereupon they took the sack from him, and upon opening it, found it well filled with flesh and meal, which gave him no small encouragement to depend upon his bountiful benefactor, in future straits of a similar nature.
At another time, being at Edinburgh, he was so reduced, that he had but three half-pence in his pocket, when, as he was walking about the streets not knowing what course to steer, one came to him in a countryman's habit, and asked him if he was not Mr Henry Erskine. He told him he was, and inquired his business with him. The man replied, "I have a letter for you," which he accordingly delivered; and in it were enclosed seven Scotch ducatoons, with these words written, "Sir, receive this from a sympathizing friend. Farewell." But there was no name.
Mr Erskine being desirous to know his benefactor, invited the man to go into a house with him, hard by, and to have some refreshment with him. Having got him alone, he inquired of him with some earnestness, who it was that sent him. The honest man told him that secrecy was enjoined upon him, and, therefore, he desired to be excused from telling, for he could not betray his trust. Mr Erskine, however, continued to ask him some questions, as to what part of the country he came from, and that he might better be able to guess from what hand this seasonable relief came. Whereupon the man desired him to sit awhile while he went out of doors; but being got out, he returned no more, nor could Mr Erskine ever learn who his benefactor was.

Coleman Interposition 4

A whole family remarkably provided for
Mr  David Anderson was ejected from the living of Walton-upon-Thames. Being apprehensive of a return to Popery in this country, soon after his ejectment, he left England, and went with his wife and five children into Zealand, and settled at Middleburgh. Having no employment there, he soon consumed the little money he had, owed a year's rent for his house, and was reduced so low as to want bread. Such was his modesty, that he knew not how to make his case known in a strange country. In this condition, after he had been one morning at prayer with his family, his children asked for their breakfast; but having none, nor money to buy any, they all burst into tears. Just then, the bell rang. Mrs Anderson went to the door, in a mean and mournful habit. A person asked for the mistress, and on her telling him that she was Mrs A, gave her a paper, saying, "Here, a gentleman has sent you this paper, and will send you in some provision presently." On opening the paper, they found forty pieces of gold in it. The messenger went away without telling his name or whence he came. Soon after, came a countryman with a horseload of provisions of all kinds; but did not tell them, nor did they know to their dying day, who it was that so seasonably relieved them.
But Mr John Quick, from whose memoirs this account is taken, being, in the year 1681, pastor of the English church at Middleburgh, came accidentally to a knowledge of the whole matter. Being at the counting-house of one Mijn Heer de Koning, a magistrate of that city, he happened to mention this story. M. de Koning told him that he was the person that carried the gold from Mijn Heer de Hoste, a pious merchant of that place, with whom he was then an apprentice. He stated, that M. de Hoste, observing a grave English minister walk the streets frequently, with a dejected countenance, inquired privately into his circumstances, and apprehending he might be in want, sent him the gold and the provisions, saying, with great Christian tenderness, "God forbid. that any of Christ's ambassadors should be strangers and we not visit them, or in distress and we not assist them." But he expressly charged both his servants to conceal his name. This relief, beside present provision, enabled Mr Anderson to pay his debts. He could not help communicating this instance of the goodness of God to his friends and acquaintance in that city. This coming to the ear of M. de Hoste, he afterwards found a secret way of paying Mr Anderson's rent for him yearly, and of conveying to him besides, ten pounds every quarter, which he managed so, that he never could or did know his benefactor. M. de Koning kept the whole matter secret as long as his master lived, but thought himself at liberty to give this account of it after his death. Mr Anderson was, on the death of the minister, appointed to the charge of the English Church at Middleburgh, but he and his wife dying while their children were young, M. de Hoste took great notice of them, provided for their suitable training, and subsequent settlement in life. Thus did God remarkably appear on behalf of his servant, and those that descended from him.