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schoolfellows, and others of the same age, in their diversions, by little and little I began to neglect private prayer, and so choked the good seed, that the inward strivings, which for some time impeded my progress to forgetfulness, in a great measure ceased ; and, eventually, I lost that gracious intercourse with heaven in which I had found so much happiness."
But even while he continued in this state he was always outwardly moral and steady; and attended the means of grace regularly, though they no longer afforded him the pleasure he had found in them heretofore. Having finished his school-education, he was bound as an apprentice; but, unhappily, the family of which he thus became a member afforded him no religious advantages whatever; and this, according to his own statements, was not at all displeasing to him; for “ he could spend the Sabbath as he pleased.”
About the time that his apprenticeship expired, in 1797 or 1798, there was a remarkably powerful revival of religion in Leeds, which extended its influence far and wide. The young were especially wrought upon during its continuance. The faithful and heart-searching ministry of the late Messrs. Mather, Rodda, Suter, and Haslam, was rendered eminently efficient by the Holy Spirit. “Their word was with power;" and in the vicinity of Briggate, especially, scarcely a house or shop was to be found in which there were not some who were deeply concerned for the salvation of their souls. Not long before there had been very painful disunions in the Methodist society, issuing in the division with which the name of the late Rev. Alexander Kilbam is now always associated. Many members, of course, had been lost; but in the progress of this revival, their place, so far as numbers were concerned, was soon supplied. More than four hundred persons were truly brought to God; many of whom, after having piously and honourably served their generation, have since died with holy triumph,
“continue to this day.” Among those who were thus reclaimed from their sinful forgetfulness of divine things, was Mr. Musgrave. Although careless, he had not forgotten the instruction he had received in his early days, nor cast off its restraints. Public worship he still attended ; and however formal might be his attendance, and so far unprofitable, he happily to this extent continued in the way of duty,” and eventually found that it was indeed“ the way of safety." On one occasion, being present at a religious service held at Woodhouse, the truth was divinely applied to his conscience, and awakened him to a conviction of his sin and danger. He returned home at a late hour, but could find no rest. He was determined to flee from the wrath to come, and to lose no time in seeking that the joy of salvation, which in childhood had made him so happy, might be restored to him. His distress was so great, that sleep was out of the question; he therefore retired to a field in the neighbourhood, where, apart from all possibility of human notice, he might pour out his heart before God, in the humble acknowledgment of his unfaithfulness and guilt, and in earnest and persevering supplication. Nor did he pray in vain. It was while thus engaged that he obtained a clear evidence of pardon. So deep was the impression then made on his mind, that, at the last public band meeting which he attended, not long before his death, he said, that though six-and-forty years had gone by since that blessed night, amidst all the exercises through which he had had to pass, he had
never had a doubt of the reality of that spiritual work which he then experienced.
He now joined the society to which his mother and grandfather had belonged before him. Indeed it was his grandfather's class of which he became a member ; and, being assisted by the excellent counsels of his venerable relation, as well as by those of a pious friend named John Smith, likewise a member of the Wesleyan society, he grew in grace, and became increasingly established in that good way in which he was now resolved, by the help of God, to walk as long as life should last. It was likewise always a source of pleasing reflection to him, that as his devoted relations had belonged to the first and second generations of the Methodists in Leeds, so himself, the grandson and son, was a member of the third.
The Rev. James Blackett, himself one of the fruits of this revival, has favoured the writer with some observations on the subject, in which he refers to Mr. Musgrave. He says: “No young man was allowed to stand by as an idle spectator of the work. All were soon engaged ; some in conducting prayer-meetings, some in visiting the sick for the Benevolent Society. All were fully employed. They were exhorted, too, to attend to reading and study, that they might be the better prepared for usefulness. We none of us had any time to spare.
Mr. Musgrave was trained in this school, and in this way he continued to improve. We were frequently met by the Ministers, and suitable advice was given to us; and it is a remarkable fact, that nearly all who were thus engaged afterwards filled important offices in the church. Mr. Musgrave was respected by all who knew him. His piety was deep as well as genuine ; and his whole behaviour was characterized by integrity, simplicity, and steadiness.”
The writer is likewise indebted to Mr. Turkington for some valuable information. He observes, that " Mr. Musgrave had the privilege of being one of a class of young men whom the late Rev. William Myles had taken under his pastoral care. Mr. Myles regularly met them once a month; and his simple-hearted, but truly judicious, counsel greatly promoted their establishment.” One of the admonitions of this good man, given on one of these occasions, is still remembered, and may be adduced in proof of his discriminating wisdom : “When the world assaults you, watch and pray; when the flesh, flee and pray; when the devil, fight and pray.'
Mr. Musgrave, availing himself of all the means of grace within his reach at the time, joined the “ select band,” which then met at the “old chapel.” Among the members were many persons well acquainted with the deeper experiences of the Christian life; and in such society he was prepared for those stations of usefulness in the church, which he afterwards so honourably filled.
“ As his way appeared to be providentially opened,” the friend observes who has been already quoted, “he became successively a Local Preacher, a Class-Leader, and a Trustee for several chapels. In all these situations he conducted himself with great fidelity and judgment. He was made a Class-Leader by the Rev. Thomas Taylor in 1814, having become a Local Preacher six years previously, in 1808. He was conscientiously desirous of improving his mind, especially by the acquisition of biblical knowledge, that he might be the better prepared for the public labours in which he was, from time to time, called to engage: he therefore joined a company of young men, who were accustomed to meet weekly, for the purpose of conversing on different portions of the sacred volume, and thus attend to the most important branch of mental cultivation.” Another of his friends says that he was greatly assisted in this by the attention he was induced to pay to the study of the wisdom of divine Providence displayed in the works of creation. On these themes he not only delighted to dwell himself, but to direct others to the contemplation of them.
Mr. Musgrave would never allow his secular concerns to interfere with his religious duties; but he was at the same time exemplary for his diligent application and persevering industry in that state of life to which he was providentially called; and, by the blessing of Him whom he was careful to acknowledge in all his ways, his undertakings were so successful, that he rose not only to respectability, but even affluence. “I have seen him rise," observes another of his early friends, Mr. W. Whiteley, “ from one point of elevation to another, till he retired to his late residence in comfort, and, it may be said, wealth ; but his spirit and deportment throughout were suited to the Gospel of Christ. He was always attentive to business and active in it, affable and, in a proper sense, gentlemanly in his demeanour and conversation. Neat in his personal appearance, kind in his manners, and punctual in all his engagements, he was worthy of the respect which he secured. His religious profession, too, was always consistently maintained; so that none could be in his company without clearly perceiving it. I knew him for more than forty years, and in all that time I never knew an instance in which his decided attachment to his Redeemer was thrown at all into the shade. He was a man of an independent mind, judging for himself on all those subjects on which he was required to form an opinion; so that, whenever he differed from his brethren, as might occasionally be the case, it was not the result of whim or caprice, but of his own honest convictions, even though, through human infirmity, they might be mistaken ones.”
At one period of his life, it was thought by some of the Ministers of the church to which he belonged, that he ought to renounce all his secular pursuits, and become wholly devoted to the great work of calling sinners to repentance, On the whole, this was not deemed by him to be the path in which he was required to move; but the circumstance shows the high estimation in which his piety and talents were held by his Pastors. Becoming settled in life, he married the daughter of the late venerable Mr. Robert Spence, grandfather of the Rev. Robert Spence Hardy, Wesleyan Missionary in the island of Ceylon. Mr. Hardy's father was one of the young men who experienced the converting grace of God at the time when Mr. Musgrave was brought to the same experience, and he subsequently married another of Mr. Spence's daughters.
It was a circumstance highly honourable to Mr. Musgrave's character, and a proof of the estimation of his worth by his fellow-citizens, that, after a long series of years, during which he had uniformly maintained a consistent religious profession, and afforded an example of unimpeachable probity, he should be called to the high station of Alderman and Magistrate in his native town, the scene of his religious, social, and civic career. Few men have better deserved such honours, and none have borne them with more meekness and dignified
Christian humility. They caused no elation of spirit, and were connected with no ostentatious display. The genuine simplicity, the kindness and courtesy, which had won, continued to secure, the esteem of all who were acquainted with him.
As Mr. Musgrave's spirit was eminently devout, so he sought to preserve it by keeping up the very habit of prayer. He was scrupulously punctual in retiring to his closet at stated and regular seasons for devotional exercises; and with these no outward engagements were suffered to interfere, unless they were such as required present attention with a manifest necessity, such as was sufficient to satisfy his conscience. Not long before he died, in a free conversation on spiritual subjects which he had with an intimate friend, he said that he had found it very advantageous, when praying in his closet, to pray aloud; that it tended powerfully to fix his thoughts, and helped him much in endeavouring to raise his heart to God. A circumstance, which occurred during the last year of his life, may be mentioned as illustrating his general seriousness, as produced by his constant recollection of things divine and eternal. For some years past he had been accustomed to occupy the chair at the annual Missionary Meeting held at Micklefield ; and on being requested this year, some months previously, to agree to take his usual place, he hesitated about making the engagement so long beforehand, and expressed a wish that the application might stand over for the present, and be repeated when the fixed time should be nearer, adverting, in a very impressive manner, to the uncertainty of all things on earth. It is among the many other solemn reflections suggested by his sudden removal, that long before the period for holding the Meeting arrived, he had passed into eternity.
Although he never quoted his own religious experience, nor, indeed, that of any other man, as constituting the standard and proof of any religious doctrine, nor adverted to it at all in the spirit of ostentation; yet, on fitting occasions, he was willing to mention it in illustration of tbose gracious proceedings which he believed the Scriptures authorize us to expect and seek. Not long before his removal from earth, conversing with a gentleman of high respectability, and great moral worth, who, while expressing his strong conviction of the value of religion generally, mentioned, likewise, his doubts as to the possibility of the knowledge, by any person, of the forgiveness of his own sins; Mr. Musgrave, with great firmness, referred to himself as a case in point. He said that he had now, for many years, lived in the constant enjoyment of this conscious acceptance with God, through the merits of his Son, which consciousness had been produced, and was still sustained, by the promised inward witness of the Holy Spirit that he was a child of God; adding, that this experience gave him both peace as to the present, and hope as to the future, and enabled him to maintain a constant readiness for an exchange of worlds, at any time when it might please God to call him hence to be on earth no more
Thus Christianly did Mr. Musgrave for many years "pursue the even tenor of his way." His life was characterized by no particular incidents calling for public notice or permanent record. Actively engaged in commercial pursuits, carefully attentive to domestic and social claims, and called both in the church and the world to sustain
important and responsible offices, he had, of course, much to do; 80 that his life was anything but unoccupied and sedentary. But as it had been his firm resolution, from the period of his conversion, to walk by one rule, and to mind one thing, he was kept from hurry and confusion, and enabled to preserve order and uniformity in the midst of variety. He did not consider that preparation for eternity required the literal renunciation of the engagements of time, that the visible allotments of Providence were at variance with the inward movements of grace, or that he could only secure a peaceful death by ceasing from the activities of life. Maintaining, by living faith in the great atonement, and attention to the proper devotional exercises of the closet, the family, and the church, the “life” which “is hid with Christ in God,” he sought to be always fitted for dying, by continual attention to the present duties of living ; to be constantly ready for God's call, by being constantly engaged in God's work, as marked out for him by God's word, and God's providence ; in short, by giving diligence daily to be, through the grace of Christ, “in peace, without spot, and blameless ;" to be daily sure to be found in that state, on whatsoever day, and in whatsoever manner, the Master should issue his summons. And well was it for him that he did so; for the summons at length came in a way which allowed no preparation but that which had been previously secured, and had become habitual. Before this be described, however, the reader's attention will be directed to a few notices of the principal features of his general character.
1. His personal piety. This was of no common order. He was no mere professor, but a deeply-experienced Christian. Brought early under the influence of divine grace, he steadily advanced in holiness. Many now living have often listened with profit to his touching relations of scriptural fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit. He appeared to live habitually in a praying, watching frame, and under a powerful sense of the reality and nearness of things eternal. He reverenced the Scriptures, delighting in the law of the Lord, and therein meditating day and night. Not long ago he observed that, going regularly through the Bible once more, he had just finished the Book of Exodus, and that he felt less inclined than ever to the study of other volumes, and increasingly drawn to that of the word of God. He contrasted, on that occasion, the character of human laws with those which issued from God, and said that he could not help noticing that in the former there was always something of selfishness, while the latter, like their Author, were full of benevolence and purity. On another occasion he said, that his mind had been somewhat perplexed respecting our Lord's resurrection, and, consequently, as to that of the dead in general, when one morning, while dressing, doing as he was accustomed to do,-select a verse for meditation, the verse that came before him was, “ If Christ be not raised, ye are yet in your sins.” “ Immediately," he said, “ looking up to God through Christ, I felt that I could rejoice in the sense of my own acceptance, and I knew that this was through the merit and intercession of my Saviour. I knew, therefore, that I thus experienced his resurrection's power, and the snare was broken. I exclaimed, “ Lord, I am not in my thy grace bath redeemed me; my conscience feels the efficacy of the blood of sprinkling. My Lord is risen indeed!'”
He was also a devout observer of the holy Sabbath : with him it