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bereaved members of his class say, "He was a good man, and we loved him dearly." Many of the members of the congregation have said how satisfied they always felt when they saw him present, and how blest they often were when he engaged in prayer. One poor person, who had been a special object of his love, when he heard of his death, said, “Ah, Mr. Wing was one of those good men who should have lived for ever." The following I extract from the "Sheffield Independent Newspaper :" "Mr. Wing will long be remembered, not only by those who were in his employ, but by the whole of the file trade, both masters and workHis goodness of heart, his benevolence of disposition, and his unwearied determination to ease and comfort those who had the misfortune to be poor and depressed either in body or mind, endeared him to all. Perhaps no individual ever left this world more deeply and generally beloved." If other evidence were required to show how highly he was respected in the town, we might allude to the mournful day on which we carried him to his burying place; as we preceded his mortal remains we witnessed many a tearful eye, and heard the tenderest expressions; and when we reached his grave, hundreds of his townsmen and friends gathered around, a sad circle of silent listeners, and O what did our hearts feel when the solemn words were uttered, "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust!" "The memory of the just is blessed."

It would be wrong to omit to mention Mr. Wing's love for his two children, and the anxiety he felt for their eternal welfare. He mentioned them in his daily prayers, and longed for them, with his partner and himself, to form a family in heaven. There seems a mystery in the fact of both his children being from home when their father died; but they were not forgotten. On the evening he returned from Leeds, he appeared disappointed that his daughter was still absent, and at family prayer, the last time he conducted domestic worship, he prayed affectionately for her, that God would bless her, and make her an eminent Christian; and then he earnestly besought God to preserve and convert Although deprived of their father's dying benediction, they nevertheless had an interest in his last prayers in this world; and those prayers, even now, are registered in heaven in their behalf.

In conclusion, it only remains to add, that Mr. Wing for some time previously to his death, appeared to be walking more closely with God, and seemed ripening for glory, and was often heard singing,

"No chilling winds, nor poisonous breath,

Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,

Are felt and fear'd no more."

The last Sabbath he spent on earth was a blessed one; he stayed the prayer meeting after the public service, and showed a deep interest in the welfare of the Church. We remember one of his expressions when engaged in prayer: "Lord, help us to work diligently in thy vineyard, and then when the reckoning day comes we shall receive our penny." On his return home he was unusually happy, and after singing a hymn he prayed with great power and sweet access to God.

Mr. Wing set

He was

an example worthy of imitation in the varied relations of life. an affectionate husband, a kind father, an indulgent master, and a

sincere friend. He lived a holy life, he died a happy death, and is now before the throne of God. Mark the perfect man, and behold the

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upright; for the end of that man is peace."

Sheffield, Nov. 6th, 1849.

JOHN ΡΟΧΟΝ.

DISCOURSES, ESSAYS, &c.

THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF THE METHODIST NEW CONNEXION IN BIRMINGHAM.

BY THE REV. WM. BAGGALY.

THE venerable Wesley introduced Methodism to Birmingham upwards of a century ago. Its doctrines and ordinances soon awakened attention, and produced a powerful effect. Societies were formed, and sanctuaries reared in various parts of the town, which have already proved a blessing to thousands; and their salutary influences will, no doubt, be still more extensively felt by generations yet unborn.

Soon after the death of Mr. Wesley, a few of his numerous followers in this town sympathized with the general feeling in the Connexion respecting the proposed changes in Methodism. They wished to enjoy all the privileges it could afford, and to see it placed on such a footing as would ensure peace and uninterrupted prosperity. Their views and requests reached the Conference, but were rejected. This led to a division in many places, but not so in this town. Here the friends brooked the disappointment and kept together, hoping that time would bring about such alterations as were then denied.

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Hence the New Connexion in Birmingham did not originate in a secession from the Wesleyans; but in that spirit of missionary zeal, which is the glory of the Christian Church. The first effort, in 1799, proved unsuccessful, and, after a very short trial, even the name of this place disappeared from the minutes. In 1810 it was resumed in connection with Wolverhampton, when the late Rev. J. Revel was appointed to the Circuit. A large room was opened in "Needless Alley," and there were those who thought the New Connexion in Birmingham quite as "needless" as the name of the "Alley" in which it originated. new opening is generally attended with difficulties and discouragements. The venerable Revel found it to be so in this Circuit, and on many occasions his faith and patience were tried in no ordinary degree. But his indomitable spirit bore up under all, and urged him on in his career of usefulness with a single eye to the glory of God. He lived, laboured, and prayed for souls; and such zeal and devotion could not be in vain. But success was not equal to his wishes; and, therefore, when closing public service one evening he said, in a manner peculiar to himself, "My friends, I have preached the word of God to you for a long time, and it does you no good; and therefore, next Sunday night I shall preach from the words of the devil." This extraordinary notice awakened general attention, and curiosity brought a great crowd together. So far his object was accomplished. Having passed through the devotional parts of the service, he rose up to announce his text, when the eyes of all the people were fastened on him." He saw their curiosity and exclaimed, "Hear the words of the devil: Did Job serve God for nought?" The subject furnished some stirring reflections,

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and the people heard as for eternity. At the following Conference the Circuit reported two societies, no chapel, four local preachers, and seventyfive members.

Mrs. H

nexion.

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But a mere room in "Needless Alley " was not likely to take in such a town as this: hence it was needful to look out for better accommodations. At this juncture, Oxford street chapel was offered for sale, and our noble-minded friends, the Ridgways, with Messrs. Bailey and Bat. kin, of the Potteries, came over and purchased it. On the 28th of July, 1811, it was opened by the Rev. T. Waterhouse, to the joy and satisfaction of a grateful people. But though the chapel was considered a fine accession to the cause at that time, it did not exactly realize expectations. Its locality was unfavourable, and the building itself not equal to the spirit of the town. Brother Sorsby thought they might very properly inscribe on the front of this chapel, Ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." We have no doubt lost many friends by the obscurity of this chapel. When came to reside here, she often inquired for it, but in vain. Indeed, she resided in Birmingham twelve months without even hearing of such a place as Oxford street. Not being able to find our chapel, she went to Cherry street and joined the Wesleyans. But one day, visiting a Wesleyan family in company with Mr. H., the conversation turned on Methodism, and something was said about the New Con"What is that?" said Mrs. H.; "the New Connexion! are there any in this town?" "A few," was the reply, "but they are a poor miserable set, in a little chapel in Oxford street." And pray, sir, where is Oxford street?" The question betrayed her feelings, and when the friend had explained, Mr. H. very significantly replied, "You have done it; she'll go." He was right. From that very hour her mind was made up; and notwithstanding the disparaging observations about Oxford street chapel and Oxford street friends, she bid adieu to the Wesleyans-numerous and respectable as they were, and the very next Sabbath found her with the poor despised flock in Oxford street chapel. Here she was soon at home; and to this day she is one of the most exemplary and useful members in Birmingham. This con nexional feeling she brought from Nottingham, where she had long associated with the Salthouses, and Peets, and Oldknows, and others, who are still held in affectionate remembrance. Had all our friends who have changed their places of residence followed the example of Mrs. H., thousands would be found in our Israel who are now scattered amongst other tribes. The spirit of this excellent woman has descended on her children, who have already proved a great blessing to the Connexion. Wishing to extend our cause in these parts, the preachers went out

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opened their way to Dudley, Woodside, Darbey Hand, Tipton, and other places in that neighbourhood. Our worthy father, Harris, to whom we are indebted for thirty-four years of faithful services as a local preacher, opened Dudley in 1818. Five persons offered themselves as members, and thus formed the nucleus of a society. The work of God prospered in their hands, several new chapels were erected, and in a short time Dudley became the head of the Ĉircuit.

This was a noble example. We wish there were many of the same kind. We have lately had one like it in this town-a family who have removed from one part of the city to another, in order to enjoy worship and church fellowship with their own people.-Ed.

not doing well in this town.

But whilst this effort was made to extend our borders, the cause was Some worthy friends went to America, and others proved unfaithful. In this enfeebled state the little flock became disunited, and seeing no hope of restoring them to a healthful and happy state, the preacher, sometime about 1821, dissolved the society. When this was announced, poor Mrs. W. was so affected that she rose up and ran out of the chapel exclaiming, "The New Connexion is done up in Birmingham." But she was greatly mistaken. The Church was merely dissolved that it might be restored under more encouraging prospects of success. That very night the truly pious entered afresh into covenant with each other, and thus commenced a new era with this society.

After this, nothing particular transpired until 1828, when Birming ham again appeared on our list of circuits. My first acquaintance with some of these worthy friends commenced at that time, and in 1834 it was my happiness to be stationed amongst them. It was not without fear and trembling that I entered on this important sphere of labour. But the Lord brought us here, and in mercy he opened our way to usefulness. We soon found ourselves surrounded by a generous and affectionate people, and some degree of success attended our humble efforts. Believers were quickened and a number of young friends brought to God, who still continue faithful. It is pleasing to see them now occupying the most important offices in the Church; and being pillars in the house of God, we trust they will go out no more for ever.

Having removed some pecuniary difficulties, and finding the cause strengthened, the friends resumed conversation about a new chapel. Collectors went out, and plans were put in operation which soon placed about £80 in the treasurer's hands, to be ready when called for. To establish our little cause and extend its borders we preached in various localities, and held service in private houses, hoping more favourable openings would soon present themselves. We often thought, and talked, and prayed about Hockley, or the north western part of the town; and every one was on the alert to find out a suitable place of worship there. At one time it was thought we had succeeded. A room was taken at a moderate rent. Bills were printed and posted, and arrangements made for the opening services. We were all delighted, and every heart beat high with prospects of success. But, alas! we were doomed to suffer disappointment. At the very last hour the proprietor changed his mind, locked up the place, and disappeared, leaving behind him, not the key, but a message to the effect that the room should not be used as a place of worship. A legal process might have taught him a different tune, but it was thought better to pocket the affront, which we did, with a firm determination not to rest until a good opening in that part of the town should be effected.

This pious resolution was kept in view, and sometime about the close of 1836 a small room was obtained over a blacksmith's shop on Hockley Hill. Here they commenced preaching, and opened a Sabbath school, Messrs. Heafield and Culliss were the superintendents. They began with eleven scholars, and books were carried for their use every Sabbath morning in a pocket handkerchief. Here was the origin of our present large and flourishing school in Unett street. It was indeed a day of small and feeble things, but being followed up with becoming

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zeal, the scholars and teachers gradually increased. room of a blacksmith's shop was not a suitable place in which to remain. It was inconvenient and annoying, especially as the noise of the bellows, and the clangour of hammers when shoeing horses often interrupted their religious services on the Sabbath day. These interruptions, however, were not without effect, for the friends took advantage of them, and resolved to have a better place. No suitable room could be obtained, and therefore, after the most serious and anxious deliberations, they resolved to build a chapel; not a central one, to supersede Oxford street, as was originally intended, but a second chapel, which soon gave rise to another society.

One Sabbath day, while these deliberations were going on, a venerable man with a white head was seen standing on a vacant piece of ground near St. George's church. He had hymn book and Bible in his hand. A goodly company surrounded him, and after singing and prayer he preached Christ unto them. That man was Brother Harris, and that plot of ground was the very spot on which our noble chapel in Unett street now stands. It was opened for Divine service in April, 1838.

In forming plans and erecting this chapel, the brethren had not all the advantages which wisdom and experience might have supplied; but their zealous and enterprizing spirit carried them forward, and the topstone was brought on with shouting grace, grace unto it. Perhaps it would render our records too minute, were we to go into all the particulars attending the erection of this chapel. Suffice it to say, that there does not stand within the range of the New Connexion, a chapel on which the marks of true devotion and connexional loyalty are more deeply engraven than on this. It cost tears, and toils, and sacrifices of which no one can form a proper estimate but the parties themselves. We know one dear brother, the foremost in every good work, who often denied himself a dinner on the Sabbath, that he might have more to give towards this erection. Such a man may be allowed to speak about others who were baptized with a similar spirit, and in doing so, be has melted many a heart, and furrowed many a cheek with tears. Not long since he stood up to speak in one of our social meetings. The dream of former days came over him, and with ineffable cheerfulness he adverted to scenes they had passed through in rearing that sanctuary. His own privations were passed over in silence, but the sacrifices of his brethren were told in a manner that cannot be forgotten. He referred to a time when they were under the necessity of raising £20 to meet an imperative demand. As usual, they met at five o'clock in the morning, and after trying every scheme which could be suggested, there was no alternative but to pay the money, and each man was required to raise one pound towards it by the following Saturday evening. This was no easy task, with such scanty wages as some of them received; but being resolved on, it must be done. Saturday evening came, and, faithful to each other and the cause they had espoused, the brethren were there with the proceeds of their hard week's earnings. They all laid down the money, except that one brother could not exactly come up to the mark. The fact is, he had only nineteen shillings; it was all he possessed, and all he could obtain. With a cheerful heart it was cast into the treasury, and in some way the additional shilling was supplied. Surely, such acts of christian benevolence may be told, as a memorial of them.

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