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."

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