Page images
PDF
EPUB

a man of generous impulse, ever consequence, at a subsequent period ready to open his purse for the good his health failed and that still more of his fellow men and the spread of seriously. His medical advisers reChrist's truth-he was enabled to commended travel, and the relinquishsend out a young student from Hor- ment of all mental effort, even readton College, Bradford, to preach the ing and writing. He followed this Gospel, and in every way promote advice for weeks, but with no imthe spiritual interests of the seafaring provement, till he visited Ben community trading to that well- Rhydding, from which he returned, known port. And from this effort after about six weeks trial of hydroof Dr. Evans, sprang the present pathy, as practised in that establishlarge, and flourishing Baptist Church ment, with greatly improved health. in that important town of the During this three months' absence, German Empire. His health soon as well as the former one, his people after broke down, from his overtaxed kindly found supplies for the pulpit, mental exertions, and he was com- and paid his salary. For more than pletely laid aside from all public

blic twenty years it was only £100 per work; change of air and scene, with annum, and was ultimately raised perfect quiet of mind, were recom- to £150, during his absence, in mended, and to gain this he visited the prospect of a visit to the MeBrussels.

tropolis, as a probationer for the pasHere he only partly obeyed his torate of a church, over which a medical adviser's injunctions; change late tutor of one of our colleges had of air and scene he enjoyed, but presided. from neither literary nor evangelizing In spite of the low state of Dis. efforts did he refrain. In the former sent and the paramount influence of department he set about collecting the Established Church in the materials for a sketch of the religious town-Dr. Evans had not been condition of the country, which on long in Scarborough before-under his return he published; and in his able leadership, Nonconformity the latter he was most successful. boldly raised its head. All the EvanShortly after bis arrival in this gelical sections of Christ's Church city, he became acquainted with a were banded together in Christian number of Christian people. After intercourse, and during the whole repeated interviews with them, and period of his pastorate this harmuch prayer, they expressed a wish mony was unbroken, a frequent that he should baptize them by im- interchange of pulpits taking place, mersion, and form them into a and the Baptists, elevated by his Baptist Church. For some time, by powerful hand from their hitherto the partial aid of friends, he sup- insignificant position, took a high ported a Scripture-reader in connec- rank in Scarborough. This unsection with them, and was, under tarian Christian spirit Dr. Evans God, the means of founding and strove by every means to cherish. sustaining the first Baptist church An interchange of pulpits for the in the priest-ridden kingdom of Mission took place every year. The Belgium.

Wesleyans allowed him the use of On his return to England, he did their chapel on a week evening for a not profit from the warning his sermon for our Mission, and conhealth, shattered by over-mental ex- tinued the practice till his own place ertion, had given him, but at once was finished. Up to a late period resumed his many laborious but one of the deputation for the London loved pursuits, and, as a natural Mission occupied his pulpit once on the Sabbath, and one of ours did the With the vicar a long contest same in the Old Meeting House had to be sustained alone. The (Independent). His church had, at passing of the Marriage and Regis. an early period, connected itself with tration Bills troubled him sorely. this new mode of Christian bene- He warned his parishioners, in a volence, in accordance with the circular, that he had examined the spirit of the Gospel and of its Divine register-book, and could find therein Founder.

no evidence that the children had The late Robert Hall visited him been made Christians, and that, in more than once, and was enraptured case of death, he should refuse them with the magnificent scenery of Christian burial. To this absurd Scarborough. Andrew Fuller was document six of the local clergy aton his way to pay a similar visit, tached their signatures. Dr. Evans when he was taken ill at Newark of published a letter to the vicar, the affliction from which he died. and this was subsequently followed

The visits of Knibb, and his power- by two others with remarkable ful denunciation of slavery; and of effect. These pamphlets were, by Eustace Carey, with his attractive request of the Member for Finsbury, eloquence, will be remembered with circulated in the House of Commons, pleasure and gratitude to him who and produced a great impression on brought such men amongst his flock. the minds of many honourable memYear after year Mr. Carey visited bers, resulting in a request that a Scarborough with undiminished po- petition, calling the attention of the pularity.

Government to the spirit of the The combat with Episcopacy in clergy, might be presented. This was the town was watched and sustained done, and the conduct of “the Seven by Mr. Evans alone; it was severe Champions of Yorkshire" went the and somewhat protracted. Thrice round of the press. On the Baptismthe attempt to levy a church-rate controversy, Dr. Evans published was made —twice in regard to Christ three letters to the vicar, in reply to Church, once with reference to a a tract widely circulated by him; new burial-ground; thrice he de- and another, rebuking him for having feated it, and to him belongs the prevented the incumbent of Christ honour that churcb-rate has Church obtaining as his curate, an never, since he came to the town, eminent Saxon scholar. been inflicted on the inhabitants Dr. Evans attended in 1844 the of Scarborough,-and now, never first Conference of the Society for will be.

liberating Religion from State PaWhen Christ Church was opened tronage and Control, and always they tried to levy a rate; but they remained one of its most active memwere beaten twice, and their power bers of Council. In connection with has been paralysed from that time his brother-in-law, the late M.P. for and for ever. But he was far from Shetland and Orkney, Dr. Evans manifesting any hostility to the assisted at the Anti-Corn Law League Church. After thwarting them in demonstrations held in Covent Garthe endeavour to levy a rate, he pro- den Theatre in the spring of 1845, duced in their minds a feeling of and was an earnest worker in that intense astonishment by voluntarily cause.

To the Financial and Parassociating himself with a curate, and liamentary Reform Association he enabling him to collect subscriptions likewise gave his support, and also for surrounding this very church to the British Anti-State-Church with an iron railing.

Association.

а

[graphic]

poorer minis

From his extensive library he Society he was a generous friend, enriched some of our colleges, es- latterly contributing £10 per annum pecially the institutions at Bury to its funds. His papers show that and Rawdon. To the Baptist Histo- in one month alone, he gratuitously rical Society of Philadelphia, in the collected £141 to enable some of United States of America, whose aim his poorer ministerial brethren who, is to collect copies of all the works in early life, had not become memwritten by Baptist authors, he was a bers, to meet the premium necessary generous friend, enriching its shelves to enable them to share in its adwith many volumes which they had vantages. failed otherwise, to obtain. To his The letters of thanks, couched in generosity in giving them the ori

the warmest gratitude, that he ginal, the Hanserd Knollys Society received from ministerial brethren owes a reprint, of at least one very would fill a volume ; and this knowrare and valuable work.

ledge of the good he was enabled to of the Peace Society he was a render, well repaid him for his arduous warm advocate, and not only by his labours, and he now knows that his purse and influence, but by his belief was true, that “whosoever literary labours, did he effectually giveth to the poor, lendeth to the advance the advent of that time Lord ;” and he enjoys his exceed. " when men shall beat their spears ing great reward. To his zealinto pruning hooks, and their swords ous efforts, in raising subscriptions into ploughshares, and shall learn for the purchase of annuities, many war no more."

of our poorer Yorkshire ministers In the welfare of his

are indebted for the means of subterial brethren and their families, he sistence, when age or infirmity has felt an absorbing interest, and did all unfitted them for longer dischargin his power to ameliorate their con- ing the duties of the pastorate. dition. In an effort to support a Many a brother's heart has he society formed for assisting to ap- cheered by the timely advocacy of a prentice the children of Dissenting testimonial, thus giving new zeal and ministers of evangelical sentiments, life to earnest workers in Christ's he lent a helping hand.

vineyard ! To the National Society for Aged In Scarborough there are public and Infirm Baptist Ministers he was mementoes of his usefulness and love one of the largest subscribers, though for his fellow-men that will never not a beneficiary member, and in die. Of the Mechanics’ Institute 1866, when it was languishing for he was the founder and its first want of funds, he, although forbidden secretary, having frequently held by his medical adviser to engage in the office of its president; he deany exertion ; by one strenuous, per- livered the first lecture there, and sonal effort, placed it in a satisfactory bore for many years, before it was financial position. So accustomed established on its present firm footto self-denial had he become, that it ing, nearly the whole weight of its was no unusual thing for him to affairs. The establishment of the throw the risk of his life into the Building and Investment Society, to scale when he had a work to do for which many are so much indebted, his Master; and often his family, was owing, in a great measure, to knowing that in a moment his life his efforts. Of the Archæological might be seriously imperilled, bave Society, with its museum, renowned trembled for the result. To the for its perfect and simple geological Yorkshire Baptist Aged Ministers' collection, admitted to be one of the

a

best of its kind in that part of Eng. forming part of, or accompanying, land, he, in conjunction with the late the deputations to other towns. On Sir J. V. B. Johnstone, Bart., M.P., these, and similar errands, he has was one of the principal founders, travelled thousands of miles, someand for twenty years its honorary times by coach, but frequently in an secretary. Of the local branch of

open gig, and that often in the depth the Religious Tract Society he filled of winter-indeed, to the neighbourthe office of secretary forty years, ing towns such a conveyanco was but when freshly formed, through the only means of transit, and in his his efforts, he was not only secretary, journeys, the writer very often acbut treasurer, committee, and de companied him, positary, using his own vestry for the To the Yorkshire Baptist Itinerant latter purpose. In the Temperance Society and to the British and Irish Society he filled the office of presi- Home Mission, he rendered similar dent, and in it, and the Lancastriau, services. The Baptist Tract Soand Infant schools, he was an earnest ciety, the Baptist Irish Society, the and able officer.

Bible Translation Society, also owe Of the “ Society for Preventing much to his disinterested services. Cruelty to Animals” he was He filled the post of President of member, and most zealous partizan. the Baptist Union in 1858, and in

The moral condition of the sea- delivering the Inaugural Address, faring population excited his sym- very graphically sketched out the pathy, and he commenced a series history, practice, and tenets of the of "Bethel” meetings, preaching Baptist denomination. an annual sermon, in addition to Of“ Psalms and Hymns" he was week-day services, with such benefit one of the trustees ; some of his own and profit, that many of his minis- hymns are published, others remain terial brethren adopted the same still in manuscript. As a member course,

of the Committee, and Theological Want of space forbids more on Examiner of Rawdon College, he for local matters, and compels attention

very many years rendered essential to more wide-spreaà efforts.' To all service to the best interests of that the Baptist Institutions he was a institution. good friend, and it may safely be In 1862 Dr. Evans's health, asserted that there is not one society from overwork, was so shattered, in the denomination which he has that he was compelled to resign not aided by his purse or his pen ; the pastorate; he did not do this most have received benefit from because dissatisfied with it, nor both. Until seized

that his mental faculties were failing lysis, he was never known to be him, but because he thought he absent from the County Association could serve his Master better in the annual meetings; to London he study than in the pulpit, and the journeyed four times a year, and responsibility and anxiety connected that when coach travelling made it with it, were too much for him at his a somewhat formidable journey. To advanced period of life. the Baptist Missionary Society he Twelve years previously he had rendered great service, acting, till sent in his resignation, with the his death, on the committee-lately intention of accepting a Metroas an honorary member-and or- politan charge; he was prevailed on ganizing the annual services in his to remain, and it was then arranged part of the country, getting in and that as this was his first, remitting subscriptions, and often should be his last pastorate. During

with para

so it

this period he several times inti- has retired from the failure of mated to the Church his wish that health, and another to enter into they should select another minister, business. One is usefully engaged but never enforced his wishes. Per- in Canada, and the others in Lanhaps, as on four previous occasions, cashire and Yorkshire. the remonstrances of his people Dr. Evans's las recorded words would have prevailed, had not his to the Church he had made what medical adviser pointed out that, it then was, and which he loved so not only health, but possibly life, well, were as follows:hung on his firmness. Hence, me.

"Beloved brethren, pastors may morials signed by many of the die ; useful officers of the Church members, letters of remonstrance, will be called home. Members may and the proposal of an assistant leave you, and others may make from others, all failed to influence shipwreck of faith ; but never forget his mind.

the Great Master lives, His inHe felt-and the truth of his terest never weakens-His presence belief has since been abundantly is never absent from your holy gatherproved—that when free from the ings. 'He is the same yesterday, anxieties of the pastorate, he could to-day, and for ever.' Seeing you preach, and be as useful as ever, have obtained help of God, you conAs he approached sixty years of tinue to this day.'

Be not weary in age he began to feel the effect of a well-doing, for in due season ye shall working man's life. Symptoms of a reap if ye faint not. Therefore, startling nature for a year or two my beloved brethren, be ye steadhad manifested themselves. He fast, unmoveable, always aboundfelt now, that a younger man was ing in the work of the Lord.' 'Now needed. The state of ecclesiastical the God of Peace, that brought again things had changed, and he had from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, not physical energy as before. The that Great Shepherd of the sheep, chapel was free from debt; a number make you perfect in every good of active young people were around work to do His will, working in you him; and the Church had, a year that which is well pleasing in His or two before, received a large ac- sight, through Christ, to whom be cession to its membership; and on glory for ever and ever. Finally, calm and prayerful deliberation, he brethren, farewell! Be perfect, be submitted his resignation of the of good comfort. Be of one mind. pastorate.

Live in peace, and the God of Peace Dr. Evans records the following shall be with you.' Amen." fact:-" We had now and then a An annuity of £50 was voted him more prosperous year at . Ebenezer' by the Church ; but when informed than usual, and this we designated of this he peremptorily refused to a revival. In one of these more accept it; and finding him detersuccessful years, I added to my mined to abide by this decision, a Church, by baptism, about sixty testimonial was proposed and premembers."

sented to him. It consisted of a The average increase to the magnificent solid silver tea and coffee Church, during his thirty-eight service, a sum in gold of about £100, years' pastorate, was about four- and other small articles, the gifts of teon, and in that period five young individual members. This was the men were called to the ministry, third testimonial Dr. Evans had reand sent to college. Three of them ceived since he came to Scarborough; are still engaged in the work. One the first being a silver inkstand, and

« PreviousContinue »