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meeting, he obtained "the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of his sins," and a clear sense of his acceptance with God, through the death and sacrifice of the LORD Jesus Christ.
He was now "born again of incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever; ” and, as he still followed on to know the Lord, he experienced a daily increase of the gifts and graces of the Holy SPIRIT. About two or three years after he became a member of the Society, he began to act as a Local Preacher. Possessing a benevolent concern for the salvation of perishing sinners, and an ardent love to that Saviour who had plucked him as a brand from the fire, he earnestly wished to be the instrument of communicating spiritual good to those around him. All his appointments were attended with the utmost regularity and diligence. He was assiduous in visiting the sick; and maintained an excellent character for piety and uprightness.
After having been recommended by the Quarterly Meeting of the Wednesbury Circuit, and by the Preachers of his District, MR Brittain, at the Conference in 1806, was received on trial as a regular Travelling Preacher; and appointed to the Aberdeen Circuit, where he continued two years. The following extracts from his Journal, written during this period, are pleasingly indicative of his sincere devotedness to God and to his work.
“ July 18th.-Every thing, O Lord, engages me to be thine. I do therefore now, by thy grace, make a free and full surrender of my spirit, soul, and body to thee. This covenant, on thy part, will never be broken. that, on my part, it may never be forgotten! May thy fear be so deeply implanted in my heart, that I may never depart from thee.
“ August, 1807.-I have this day received a letter from the Conference, by which I find myself stationed a second year in Aberdeen. O that the Lord may give me grace to fill this important station to his glory, and the good of my soul. I can now say, with David, “My soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God.'
“September 10th.--I am just returned from meeting two Classes, where my soul has been abundantly blessed. I was this morning much edified and comforted, while conversing with my worthy Superintendent, Mr. Puillips. My heavenly Fatuer, help me to close tbis day, as I would wish to close the last day of my life.
“ February 25th, 1808.—This has been a day of much exercise and trial. I consider myself as a pilgrim, travelling through a strange country; and am often reminded that this is not my rest. My heavenly Father, it is thy grace that has bitherto kept me. May it still keep me, until at last I shall loudly and sweetly sing, 'My Saviour hath done all things well.'
“ February 27th.-Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all bis benefits. Though sorrow did endure for a night, yet joy sprung up in the morning. O may I ever keep a conscience void of offence towards my God! Yes, let“ Holiness unto the Lord” be my constant motto.
“March 10th. I am rather unwell in body, but happy in my soul. Lord, go with thy unworthy servant to thine own house ; and make me
faithful to thy people. Let thy good Spirit help my infirmities; and give us a foretaste of heaven.
“ July.--My heavenly Father, notwithstanding all my short-comings and unfaithfulness, has condescended so to bless my soul, that, for montlis past, I have been favoured with a closer walk with him than I ever before experienceil. O when shall I wake up after his likeness!
September.—God is love; and all his dealings towards me have been in love. Various have been the exercises and conflicts through which I have lately been called to pass, but in thein all I have sensibly felt liis presence; and though Satan has desired to have me, that be might sist me as wheat, yet through the grace and strength of my Divine Master, I have been more than conqueror."
In 1808, MR. BRITTAIN was appointed to the Glasgow Circuit ; and in 1809 he was stationed at Edinburgh, where he continued for two years. Here, as upon former occasions, it appears that he entered upon his work in the spirit of humility, benevolence, and love. The following quotation from his Journal will be read with interest :
“ August 30th, 1809.-I have just been visiting the afflicted poor. O what a striking contrast between my situation and theirs ! I have, through boundless mercy, a measure of health and strength, and plenty of every thing I want ; (unless it be more grace ;) and yet what am I that I should be thus favoured above many others ? May gratitude be written upon my heart for all my mercies of a temporal nature, and more especially for the riches of grace in Christ Jesus my Lord. O what amazing condescension, that He who was rich should for our sakes become poor, that we through his poverty might be rich!”
In 1811, he received an appointment to Sunderland. The Preacher who was then the Superintendent of that Circuit, in a letter now before me, writes as follows concerning his temper and conduct, while he was labouring in that part of our Lord's vineyard.
“ I never saw any thing in Mr. B., or heard any thing of him, which would not comport with the profession of a Christian, and the character of a Minister. He was mild in his temper, teachable and unassuming in his spirit, obedient, diligent, and laborious in his duty. He laboured with general acceptance, and with some success.”
His next appointment, in 1812, was to the Colchester and Chelmsford Circuit; and it was there that he entered into the holy estate of matrimony. On the 10th of June, 1813, he was united in marriage to Miss JEMIMA Stoaks, a young person of amiable manners, and genuine piety, whom he received as a peculiar favour from the LORD. But this gift of heaven was very speedily resumed; for, in the October following, a severe cold brought on an inflammation of the lungs, succeeded by a consumption, which, on the 26th of March, 1814, removed her to that world, “the inhabitants of which shall no more say, I am sick.” She was one of the excellent of the earth; and died in holy triumph. Two days after her death, MR. BRITTAIN wrote as follows :
“ March 281h.I have this week been called to witness the most painful dispensation that ever fell to my lot. Yes! she who was nearest and dearest to me, next to God, is now no more! I feel my bereavement; and God would have me to feel it; but I mourn not like one without hope, being fully persuaded, that she whom I loved is now a partaker of the rest that remaineth to the people of God.' Here she had transient views of Jesus; but there she sees him as be is. Here she felt the powers of the world to come; but there she is fully absorbed in them. The ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, although some of them are to us dark and mysterious."
About a month afterwards, he thus expresses his desires and resolutions after a more entire and unreserved devotedness to God.
“ April 25th. It is my desire not only to be a Christian, but a prosperous one; and not only to be engaged in the work of the Ministry, but to be more abundantly useful in that great work. I have this day, with fasting and prayer, renewed my covenant with God; resolving to be entirely devoted to his pleasure, by a more careful redemption of time, and a more diligent attention to my various duties as a Christian Minister.”
At the following Conference he was stationed at Maidstone in Kent; and when the term of his labours in that Circuit had expired, on the 12th of July, 1815, after much consideration and earnest prayer, he entered a second time into the marriage-state with her who is now his mournful relict.
In August, 1815, he wrote as follows :
“ I have just preached my last sermon in Maidstone Chapel. Perhaps I shall never meet these dear people again until the morning of the resurrection. May we all stand acquitted in that day! On Tuesday, we intend to set out for the place of my appointment, Thetford in Norfolk. May the Lord go with us; and may it be our determination to do good and to get good, while he tends us breath."
In May, 1816, he writes thus :
“ I am now in possession of new blessings. O that I may improve them to the glory of my God. I find that the labour of this Circuit, at times, tries my bodily strength very much; but no matter ;-I have long ago made op my mind to spend and be spent in the service of my heavenly Master!”
During his second year in the Thetford Circuit, he was greatly afflicted; and, in all probability, it was then that the foundation of that disorder was laid, which eventually removed him to "the house appointed for all living." The state of his mind may be gathered froin his diary :
“ March, 1817.—My soul is at this time happy in a sense of the divine presence; though in body I am much indisposed. I have not been able to preach for many weeks. I find it hard work to quit the field of action, and to be laid aside from my Master's servise. But in this also I would be -resigned; and when I can no longer do, would cheerfully suffer my heavenly Father's pleasure. We have experienced much kindness and attention from our friends in this place, particularly from that worthy family, the F-~'s. Truly they have left us nothing to wish for. May their labours of love be abundantly rewarded, both in this life and in that which is to come!'
“ July.-0 how can I be sufficiently thankful for the return of health and strength! The Lord has heard prayer, and has appeared in our behalf. I am now able to resume my labours; and it is with holy delight and unfeigned gratitude that I again enter upon the great work of calling sinners to repentance. Lord, make ne more zealous, and more faithful, that, feeling the brevity of human life, I may work wbile it is day.
“ August 20th. We have this day dedicated our dear boy to the Lord in the solemn ordinance of Baptism. To-morrow we are about to leave our beloved friends in this place, and to repair to our appointment at Manningtree in Essex. Yes; we must leave them, though it be with a considerable degree of pain, having for two years experienced the most sincere friendship and esteem, which will never be obliterated from our memories. And shall we not live in reference to that period, when, if faithful to the end, we shall meet them in glory?"
At Manningtree, as well as at Thetford, he was called to discharge the arduous and important duties of a Superintendent ; in which he maintained, according to the best of his views, “the meekness of wisdom." A Preacher who was with him for some time, in that Circuit, thus describes his temper and conduct :
“ In point of talent, Mr. Brittain had many superiors; in point of concern for the cause of God, I believe, none : for had he been less concerned for the Circuit, and more for himself, I think he might have been Jiving now. In the pulpit, and out of it, he seemed to be the same man. Modest in his pretensions, mild in his manners, affectionate in his disposition, he would suffer nothing to divert him from his great object.”
His religious experience, during the latter part of his labours at Manningtree, Mr. B. has thus recorded ::
“ May 8th, 1818.- Many have been my exercises of late from a variety of quarters; but I trust that I have been enabled to steer a steady course towards the celestial world. What a mercy it is, amidst all the changing scenes of this mortal life, to have the Holy Spirit for our Comforter, and Jesus for our Friend!
“ August 12th.--I have sometimes been as if in the very suburbs of heaven, while endeavouring to declare the blessed truths of the Gospel.-If a drop be so welcome upon earth, what will be the immense ocean before the throne of God!”
Mr. Brittain's next appointment was to the St. Neot's Circuit, in which he laboured with diligence and faithfulness; and at the Conference in 1820 he took his last station upon earth at Ampthill, in Bedfordshire, at which place a violent cold brought on a lingering consumption, which eventually effected his removal from earth to heaven.—The following are some of the last passages
that his Diary :
“ January 14th, 1821.-O LORD, thou hast permitted thy unworthy servant to see the begioning of another year ; but perhaps it is my last.
My health still appears to be declining, and I am almost as weak as a little child. But my confidence is strong in the Lord; and I have this morning truly felt the powers of the world to come.
" March 24th.-Lord, I am thine ; save me! Yes; save me from murmuring or complaining, under the most trying dispensations. My affliction is daily increasing, and unfavourable symptoms are becoming more confirmed. My dearest wife, too, is suffering extremely ; in consequence of which, our dear infant is not eypected to live. In addition to this, our other three children are all ill in the measles. O my heavenly Fatuer, do thou support us, until these calamities be overpast !
May 8th.—I have this day found the Lord very gracious to my soul. I can say, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he will keep that which I have committed unto him unto that day.'”
Mrs. Brittain has drawn up an account of the protracted illness, and triumphant departure of her late Husband; from which the following Extracts are selected :
“During the whole of his long and severe amfiction, I never knew a murmuring or an impatient expression to escape from him. All was peace and tranquillity. The fortitude and resignation which he evinced, through the whole of his sufferings, were a sufficient proof that he possessed no small share of that religion which he had so ardently desired to recommend to others. During the fourteen months of his affliction, we were alternately the subjects of many hopes and fears, respecting his recovery, until within six weeks of his dissolution, when one of his medical attendants informed me that he was going very rapidly. I was desirous that the dear sufferer should be made acquainted with the Doctor's opinion ; and as there was no one present from whom I thought he would receive it better, the agonizing task appeared to devolve on me. I therefore, after much exercise of mind, informed him that Dr. P. had not the least expectation of his recovery, nor even of bis being many weeks an inhabitant of this world. He received the communication with great composure, and said, “My Love, I have earnestly desired to live for your sake ; but believing that the Lord is about to take me to himself, I know that he will enable me to give you up. Yes; I have an unshaken confidence in him that he will provide.'
“ From this time he evidently became more dead to the things of this life, and more alive to those which are eternal. As death advanced, his prospects brightened, and his confidence in his God became stronger. Ja consequence of great debility, he was not able to converse much; but frequently observed to those who called to see him, that he had done with this world, and should very soon be an inhabitant of a better.' On the morning of November 20th, after having been down stairs for a short time, he requested to be taken up again, saying, that he felt himself going so rapidly, that be hoped in a few days, at most, to reach his everlasting rest. On entering his room, when he had a little recovered from his fatigue, he exclaimed, with a heavenly smile upon his countenance, · This is the room in which I hope to die. Come, blessed Jesus; come quickly.' He then repeated part of “The Dying Christian,'— The world recedes, it disappears,' &c.; and continued in an ecstasy of prayer and praise, until tired nature sunk into a slumber. He lived more than a week after that time; during which he was kept in a tranquil and heavenly frame, frequently