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History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England
By David Douglas, 1846
[1770 TO 1785]

State of religion at this time. - Burns the poet. - Mr. Whitfield's parentage, &c. - Conversion. - Baptism. - Call to Hamsterley. - Mr. Thomas Blacket - Tottlebank - Great flood on the Wear. - Mr. Coultherd's death. - Newcastle, - Mr. Fernie. - Messrs. Garthorn and Palmer. - Mr. Harhottle. - Mr. Whitfield's ordination. - Whitehaven. - Mr. Cuthbert Crawford. - Association.- Mrs. Dowsbn of Snapegate. - The Dowsons. - Association. - Mr. Isaac Slee. - He leaves the church of England. - At Hamsterley. - Baptized. - Goes to Haworth. - Death. - Letters. - Newcastle. -Mr. Fishwick. - - Mr. Pendered. - Messrs. - David and Joseph Kinghom. - Letter to Mr. Dowson. - American war. - Mr. J. Toward. - Association. - Division of the church on the Tyne and Wear. - Mr. Ross - Mr. Thomas - Jopling and relatives. - Churches in Yorkshire, &c.

      As a large portion both of civil and ecclesiastical history is included in the biography of particular individuals, who have left the impress of their hearts and intellect on their own and succeeding generations, so it is with the history of the Baptist denomination in the North of England. As the care of all the churches came on Paul, so it may be truly said, that the care of all the churches, in his own denomination, - in the northern counties, for nearly half a century, devolved on the shoulders of the Rev. Charles Whitfield, of Hamsterley, in the county of Durham.
     The state of spiritual religion in the North of England was, at the commencement of Mr. Whitfield's ministry, but in a very languid condition. There were but little of the doings of either Dissent or Methodism in it, and evangelical religion was proclaimed in few of the pulpits of the Establishment; consequently, true piety was very rare. In Newcastle, under the Wesleys, Methodism had in some degree prospered; and there were places of worship, in connexion with the Wesleyans, in all, or most, of the large towns in the north; and even some of the smaller towns and villages, in the coal and lead mining districts, had been penetrated. The energy of that useful body of Christians had been exhibited in the north, as much, or more, than in many, if not all, the other districts of the kingdom. The Presbyterians were, also, even considerably difrused; but these, in a great degree, exhibited too much of the apathy and formality, that, at this period, were too much felt in Scotland. Spiritual religion was but in a low state in the kirk itself; and the first and best race of Seces- sion ministers had passed off the stage. As such was the state of religion in the mother country, so those ministers and congregations springing from it, participated, in some degree, in the general character.* The Independents were but few, and in no way remarkable either for piety or activity; and the same might be affirmed of the few churches composing the Baptist Northern Association.
* The New Light, or Socinian party, were very rampant in the church of Scotland, at this period. Their influence on the popular mind must have been exceedingly baneful, as seen in the following reference to Burns the poet, "It can be proved beyond the power of doubt, by living and unimpeachable testimony, that Burns himself, within the last fortnight of his life, expressed the deepest remorse, for what these men had led him to write, and an anxious wish that he might live a little longer time, to make
The time of Mr. Whitfield's life may be regarded, in a great degree, as a transition period, especially among the Dissenters. For the first twenty-five years, religion went on in their churches much in the usual manner, except in the difference arising from the personal qualities of their respective ministers. In the second twenty-five years, a new influence came over the whole religious world, evincing itself in the form of missionary effort to the heathen world, in the first instance; and then, in the re-action of that movement, in the revival of the churches at home.

      Mr. Whitfield was a native of Weardale, in the county of Durham. He was born in 1748, at a place called East Black Dean. His parents, John and Ann Whitfield, were members of the Established church. They had six children, four sons and two daughters. Charles was the youngest of the sons. At the age of thirteen he lost his father; and was soon after sent as an apprentice to Newcastle, for seven years.

      It was during his apprenticeship that Mr. Whitfield was brought under the influence of religion. This happened at one of the visitations of Mr. Wesley to Newcastle. He immediately joined the society of Methodists in that town; and as the native energies of his mind began early to develope themselves, he was called not only to engage in prayer, but to exhort; and speedily alter became a local preacher. Towards the end of his apprenticeship, however, a change took place in his sentiments. He began to lean towards
some attempt to repair the injury he had done. And Gilbert Burns, his brother repeatedly declared that the New Light ministers were the chief subverters of all regard for religion, in his brother's mind, and that he himself had not escaped uuwounded, and long retained the aching scar." Hetherington's History of Church of Scotland, pp. 226, 227.

Calvinistic views; and on Mr. Wesley hearing him pray in an adjoining apartment, he remarked to those around him, "Brother Whitfield has offered up a Calvinistic prayer." Mr. Wesley, however, shewed marked attention to his young friend, presenting him with some volumes of his own sermons, and ordered him to have free access to the chapel library.

      1770. Mr. Whitfield also changed his views, ahout this time, on Baptism; and united with the church at Tuthill-stairs, as already mentioned. While preaching at Wolsingham, on a visit to his mother, he was heard by one of the members of the Baptist church of Hamsterley, and was invited by him to go and preach at that place. He could not at the time comply; but on receiving a letter from the church, dated 2nd December, 1770, inviting him to spend a Sabbath with them, he consented, and preached there, for the first time, on the last Sabbath of the same year he preached, according to his own account, comfortably. Being asked, if he would accept a call, he replied he would, if Providence led the way. In the month of February following, he received a letter from Mr. Silas Jopling, stating the removal of Mr. Joshua Garner, the distressed state of the church, and imploring his assistance.* He preached
* The state of things at Hamsterley, at this time, is very feelingly touched on in the following letter, to Mr. Isaac Garner's eldest daughter, by Mr. Thomas Blacket, dated Kimbleton, April 4th, 1771.

           "I have been no little concerned at the distressed cause of our Jesus at Hamsterley, especially, that there was not only great divisions and distractions, but the hellish spirit that seemed to prevail one against another. I have always desired peace, but more now than ever. How foolish is it for God's people to part for trifles here, who expect to reign in glory together. It melts my heart and fills my eyes while I write, to think that God's dear

at Cold Rowley, on the 17th of the same month, and that day week at Hindley. The church at Hamsterley, then wrote to the church at Newcastle, for his dismission. This was granted; and he received a regular call to exercise the ministry in the church, through Mr. George Angus, of Styford, 30th June, 1771. He accepted the call, and continued, during his stay in Newcastle, to supply the northern and southern branches of the church alternately on the Lord's days, till he took up his residence in Hamsterley, which is supposed to have taken place during the year 1772. Mr. J. Kettleby removed the same year from Tottlebank.
lambs should tear one another to pieces. If there may be but a harvest of souls brought home to the great shepherd, I am not uneasy about who are the harvest-men. But after all I am sorry for poor Mr. Garner, [Joshua.] Had I been in the country, I should have attempted a reconciliation - to put away all heart-burning among friends, as he is an old man and nearly worn out. It is most extraordinary, that the people should call one from Tuthill-stairs, Newcastle, or invite one from under Mr. Allen's ministry; but it is greatly to my pleasure, as I am informed, he is solid in the gospel. If it pleases the Lord to keep him humble, he may be a great blessing to poor Hamsterley. My kind respects to him. [Mr. "Whitfield.]

      Please tell Betty [his daughter] to let Mr. Fernie know that I would have him not to neglect coming in time, from home to London, as the friends there want much to see him, and he begins to fail. I have preached 22 times last month, and the congregation increases. The people in general wish me to continue, and I have very good seasons to my soul. The church has been destitute of a pastor seven years, daring which time they have had forty different supplies, and I am now the twelfth candidate on trial. All this arises from a few Antinomians who do nothing for the support of the cause, and who want one to speak all about privileges and no practice. For two months I was admired by these people; but I lost their approbation by saying, 'that man is a rational creature, and had a power given to restrain enormities, as drunkenness, &c. And the same legs that could take him to a beer-house, could take him to a place of worship.' This raised the dust, and some of

     1771.* - It was in one of Mr. Whitfield's journeys to Hamsterley, that the great floods of the Tyne and Wear, on the 17th November, 1771, transpired. When he came to Witton-le-Wear, the bridge over the river was swept away, and it was unfordable. He was then only two miles from the end of his journey; but there was now no resource but by attempting to cross the Wear, about
them said, 'they could not do one thing.' There is one Bull, who makes most stir, has been out one or two days to hear. The gentlemen of the congregation and the most part of the church are satisfied.

      "I hope, my dear friend, that you consider the necessity of regeneration, and the need of precious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I put myself in your father's place, when in the world, but now in glory, who longed for your and the rest of the children's salvation. Some here say it is not the duty of a parent to do so, but I think otherwise. Be so kind as tell my poor wife and child not to fret. I shall write to them before I come home. There is nothing I long for more than to see my native place again, and my wife and child. My kindest respects to them, to friend Hall, aud your mother and family; also Mr. William Garthorn; John Hall, and family; also Joseph Hall; James Dunn, &c. My dear friend, may God the Spirit be your guide, and the word of God your compass, that you may be preserved in Jesus till you arrive in glory, so prays your friend and servant in our great Redeemer.
           THOMAS BLACKET."

      The descendants of Mr. Thomas Blacket. fill very respectable stations in society, and one of them, John Blacket, Esqr., of London, has ever shown his liberality to the friends and cause of his revered ancestor, at Hamsterley.
* Dr. Gill, the eminent theologian and commentator, successsor of Mr. Stinton, son-in-law and successor of Mr. Benjamin Keach, died, 14th October, 1771, aged 73. The doctor was the immediate predecessor of Dr. Rippon, the author of the Baptist Register, and the selection of hymns for public worship in the Baptist denomination. Dr. Rippon finished his course, 17th December, 1836, aged 86.

four miles lower down, at Bishop Auckland. In this he succeeded; but his circuitous route added about twelve miles more to his journey. He, however, reached Hamsterley at length, preached twice, and returned that night to Newcastle - a journey of upwards of seventy miles, by the road he was obliged to take.

      But all this was only in harmony with the native ardour of his mind. During his apprenticeship, besides working at his business the usual hours, he generally devoted five to study every day; and thus laid the foundation of that knowledge which he so well cultivated and extended in future years. Five persons were added in 1771, to the church at Hamsterley.

      1772. - After Mr. Allen left the church in Tuthill-stairs, Newcastle, the people there became divided, part holding with Mr. Fernie, and part, including Mr. C. Alder and Mr. Henry Leeshman, having embraced ideas somewhat similar to those of the Plymouth Brethren of the present day, that there ought to be no clergy, as they called Mr. Fernie and others; that the brethren should administer the Lord's supper without elders; and that the kiss of charity was a church ordinance. The meeting-house seems to have been occupied by both parties. On the 1st March, 1772, the party opposed to Mr. Fernie sent a letter of accusation against him, to the church at Hexham. The church there sent a reply; and Mr. Fernie sent one also, in defence of himself. This letter is ably written, and in some parts reminds us strongly of some passages in Paul's epistles to the churches in the first ages, when divisions had overtaken them, and false accusations had been made respecting himself. This is the case, especially with the following: "Say you; 'D.F. should not vainly say, he has been the means of gathering the church here.' But yourselves know it is true, how then can it be a vain speech? and who else, pray you, was the instrument in the Lord's

hands of gathering you? 'No,' say you, 'but we have been gathered by the truth,' &c. Very well; then it was by the truth, as preached and taught by me. Here you do me a piece of justice, for you in effect acknowledge it was the truth I preached, and that it was attended with power to gather you into Christ's fold, and that by the same truth ye hope to be preserved. If this had been said in love and good-will, it would have been a balance for many of your other hard speeches; but that was according to your then judgment, which it seems now is altered. Then you say, 'he cannot boast that he was a father to any of us.' Indeed I cannot boast much of you, though I have boasted; but the title of father I never assumed. One is your father who is in heaven, and it is honour enough for me to be a nurse to cherish his children, to feed his lambs and his sheep. And say you, 'he is no member of our church;' but you know, that as a minister of Christ, and a servant of the church, I baptized you and received you into membership, and if that was a nullity for want of authority, you are no members." Mr. F. then enters on the controversy about the Lord's supper and the kiss of charity, with very considerable ability and acuteness, and, according to his views, endeavoured to show that "the public teachers and ministers" of Christ, were the proper administrators of the Lord's supper; and that the salutation was "a piece of Christian practice, but not a church ordinance." Mr. F. then concludes thus: "And now brethren, as you exercise so much charity for Dolly, who abused me so rudely, and you handle her gently, and believe it flowed rather from affection than hatred; and as I have given you no ill names, but animadverted on your amusing letter, your temper, and conduct, it may be hoped you will vouchsafe the same charity to me, and believe that though I have spoke my mind freely to you, yet it
flows rather from affection, than hatred; and that Jehovah the Spirit may, by the fire of his word, burn up all our wood, hay, and stubble, and instruct, confirm, and keep us in the truth, as it is in Jesus, is the prayer of your brother in Christ,
           DAVID FERNIE."

      "Hexham, March 30th, 1772.

      Ten persons were added to the united church, of Hamsterley and Rowley this year. Mr. Coultherd, who, in 1722, had gone to Torver and Hawksheadhill, after the labours of fifty years, died, 10th March, 1772. Through this long period he served his blessed Redeemer with honour and reputation. The association, from the divided state of the churches, appears, at this period, to have been for some time in abeyance; and, probably, some of the churches had become defunct, as we never now hear of those of Egremont or Pontefract.

      1773. - Nineteen persons were added, by Mr. Whitfield, this year; two of whom were dismissed, by letter, from Mr. Fernie's church, said to be the church at Hexham. This letter is dated Hexham, May, 1773, and signed by David Fernie and William Angus. Mr. Michael Garthorn, an able and willing supporter of the church, died, 26th February, this year.' He was baptized in 1723, and died, says Mr. Whitfield, in the faith of Jesus.* Mr. Thomas Palmer, of Broughton, died
* Mr. Garthorn was the representative of a very ancient respectable family in Hamsterley and neighbourhood. He was baptized 14th March, 1723. Alice Garthorn - probably his mother - a member of the church, died that year. Margaret Garthorn, his sister, also is inserted as a member of the church about this time. His sister Anne, was married to Mr. Henry Atkinson. Mr. Garthorn married Miss Anne Robinson, from Broughton, Cumberland, who bore him seven sons: Michael, John, Joseph, George, William. Hugh, and Ralph. The principal surviving

20th April, this year, aged fifty-five. He was reputed a good classical scholar; published "An Address to Unbaptized Believers;" and left behind him a name better than precious ointment! May all his successors endeavour to do the same.* This year, Mr. Whitfield published his first work - a sermon, entitled "The gracious Proclamation of the King of Zion; founded on John vii. 27." It is got up in the style of that day, and contains a body of divinity. Mr. Thomas Harbottle, afterwards of Tottlebank, was called to the ministry this year, by the church at Hainsterley, &c.+
branches of this family, connected with Baptist churches, are 1. The family of Mr. Michael Garthorn, of Emshill, and 2. The family of Mrs. J. Jopling, of Canada, both descended from William, fifth son of Mr. Michael Garthor.

      * Mr. Palmer was married at Hull, December 6th, 1744, to Miss Mary Crowston, born in Lincolnshire, 7th October, 1726, who bore him twelve children. Four of these, Elizabeth, John, Mary, and Ann, became members of the church at Broughton, and were much beloved for their piety and amiability. Elizabeth became Mrs. Archer; Mary, Mrs. Witherington; Ann, Mrs. Dalton, of Eaglesfield; and John married Miss Whitaker, by whom he had one son, who died young, and three daughters; Mrs. M. Garthorn, Emshill; Mrs. J. Greenweli, Hamsterley; and Mrs. H. Dalton, Eaglesfield. The late Dr. Dalton, of Manchester, was connected with this family.

      + Mr. Harbottle was born at Cocklepark, a small village near Morpeth, 29th September, 1749. In the twentieth year of his age he was brought under the influence of divine truth. Mr. Joshua Garner preached occasionally at the house of Mr. George Downie, with whom Mr. H. lived, and had been useful to him. He also heard some other Baptist ministers, who preached there. Mr. Allen, of Tuthill-stairs, first led him to know the way of salvation clearly. Sometime after this, he met with Mr. Whitfield, and told him his views of religion and its duties. Mr. Whitfield proposed him to the church, and he was baptized. Sometime after this he was called to speak in public, but not liking to do so, he resolved to go to London, to improve himself in his

      1774. - On the 20th February, this year; Mr. Jonathan Angus, of Panshields, died, aged ninety-four. He had been a member of the church about seventy, and a deacon about fifty years. He was, says Mr. Whitfield, a pious upright man. He retained his memory to the last, was sensible of his approaching end, spoke warmly, to all around him of the Redeemer's salvation, immediately before his departure, when he calmly fell asleep in Jesus, and willingly resigned his spirit into the hands of his faithful Creator, to whose hand he had committed it.

      On the 27th May, Mr. Whitfield was ordained. Mr. Hartley of Haworth, and Mr. Crabtree of Bradford, were the officiating ministers on the occasion. This year ten persons were added, and three removed by death. The church, including Hamsterley, Rowley, and Hindley, consisted of one hundred and three members. Forty-three had been added since Mr. W. began his labours, and twelve had died.

      1775. - In September, 1775, Mr. Thomas Harbottle was sent to labour for a month at Whitehaven. The church in this place, after Mr. Christopher Hall left, in 1760, had Mr. John Huddleston for their minister, who left in 1766; he was succeeded in 1768, by Mr. John Knipe, from Greenwich, who remained till 1772. Mr. John Wilson, a gifted member of Newcastle-on-Tyne, received an unanimous call to settle here. He was ordained 25th June, 1773. Messrs. Fernie and Wharton, at the church's request, engaged in the services. His last record is in April, 1774. Between this time and 1780, there appears to have been no regular pastorate;
employment. Visiting the church at Tuthill-stairs, before he left, he heard an exposition on part of the book of Jonah. He felt convicted that he was acting the part of Jonah, in fleeing from the service of his Lord. He returned, and received the call of the church, to minister in holy things as above stated.

and it was in this interval, that the church sent to Hamsterley for a supply, and obtained Mr. Harbottle. In the end of the same year, the church at Hawksheadhill applied for Mr. Harbottle's assistance likewise; but he did not go at that time.* Mr. Whitfield published, this year, his "Form and Order of a Gospel Church." Eight persons were added to the church this year: One dismissed to Grafton-street, London, and four died; clear increase three.

      1776-1777. - A fast was held this year, on May 4th; and Mr. Whitfield, on 14th July, with several of the brethren, visited the friends at Reeth, in Yorkshire, when the Lord's supper was administered. On the 19th July, Mr. Cuthbert Crawford, Mr. Whitfield's assistant, died, aged seventy-six, being born in 1700. He was brought under the influence of the truth, by the ministry of Messrs. Carr and Wharton; and in the year 1750, was called by the church to assist Mr. Garner. He was not a man of much ability, but always endeavoured to do his best to serve the cause, and was distinguished as a peacemaker. He died tranquilly, resting on the work of Jesus, for the safety of the guilty. Five this year were received into fellowship; one withdrew, four died; clear increase one. The whole number supposed to be one hundred and seven. In 1777, the church suffered a decrease of one. It was a trying year, on account of abounding sin.

      1778. - The association was revived this year, and met at Broughtori, 16th and 17th June." The associated churches were Whitehaven, Broughton, and Oulton, in Cumberland; Hawksheadhill, and Torver, Lancashire;
* Mr. Harbottle afterwards went to Hawksheadhill, in 1777. He was ordained by Messrs. Crabtree and Whitfield. About this time he also married Hannah, daughter of Mr. William Angus, of Summerfield. He continued at Hawkshead for three years, and then went to Tottlehank.

Sunderland, Hamsterley, &c., Durham. Newcastle, Hexham, and Marton, are not mentioned, probably, on account of the influence of Mr. Fernie in these communities. Tottlebank is not included, and from this time, we hear of no more connexion of Bridlington with the association. With the reason of this, at present, we are unacquainted. The association letter, on "the sin of Adam," was written by Mr. Whitfield.* The
* On the 10th December, this year, an accident occured connected with the cause at Hamsterley, of a very tender nature. Mrs. Dowson, wife of a respectable yeoman, at Snapegate, near Hamsterley, died in labour, and never gave birth to the child. The circumstance excited a great sensation in the neighbourhood, and led to the publishing of Mr. Whitfield's sermon and funeral oration on the occasion. Both the sermon and the oration are worthy the talents of the author, and evinced that Mr. Whitfield, was not only a man of intellectual energy, but of great tenderness of soul. The subject of the sermon was the case of Rachel. Its pathos and ability are equally conspicuous. The Dowsons, as already mentioned, were a numerous family, and had been connected with the cause at Hamsterley, from a remote period. The writer has made many inquiries of the eldest persons connected with this family, but never obtained distinct satisfaction of their original connexion with it. The nearest approximation he can make, is the following: At the beginning of last century, four brothers are said to have lived; Thomas, William, Edward, and George. Edward died without issue; Thomas and William married two sisters of the name of Vickers, co-heiresses; Thomas thus acquired property lying south of Hamsterley, called Brakenhill; and it was probably he who gave the site of the first meeting-house to the church in that village. His son Thomas was a member of the church, who had three sons and two daughters, Mrs. Goodburn of Middleton, and Mrs. Dowson. George, the fourth brother, lived at Sunniside, near Wolsingham. He had two sons; William, at Brakenhill, whose son Ralph, at Bradley Hall, Durham, was a member of the church at Wolsingham. His other sons, Messrs. George, Thomas, and William, in Durham and Northumberland, are respectable farmers; and his daughters, Mrs. Towns and Mrs. Pyburn, have children connected with Baptist churches at the present time. 2. John, of Maylandy who married Tamer,
preachers were Messrs, Crabtree, Harbottle, (who this year, had been called to the charge of the church at Hawksbeadhill,) Bowser, and Whitfield. Two persons were this year, received from the small community at Midlam, Yorkshire, on giving up all connexion with Mr. Fernie.*
daughter of John Hodgson, who probably is the same whose name is in the list of donors to the support of the cause, in 1698. Mrs. Dowson's sister was married to Mr. Thomas Blacket, of Hamsterley, frequently alluded to; and several respectable individuals, of the name of Hodgson, or related to those of that name, connected either with Baptist or Methodist societies, still live in the county of Durham. John Dowson had five sons; Joseph, John, Henry, William, and Thomas, and three daughters; Ann, wife of Mr. Jopling, deacon of the church at Hamsterley; Hannah Readshaw, and Mary Fawcett. Some of the descendants of these are still connected with the cause; but many are scattered to different parts of England and America. Mr. John Dowson's mother was a cousin of his father's, and of the same name. She was married a second time to a person named Hall. It is supposed that a brother, or near relative of hers, was father to Mr. William Dowson, of Snapegate, whose wife died as related above. They had several children whose names are mentioned, with interest, by the old people at Hamsterley: William, John, Henry, and Thomas who settled as a farmer, in Essex; and Ralph, father to the Bev. Henry Dowson, successor of Dr. Steadman, at Bradford.

* Mr. Jonathan Hall, of Monkfield, died this year. He is said to have been a man of great piety, and holy conversation. He lived beloved, and died lamented by all who knew him. May his posterity, in these important points, ever resemble him! His wife Sarah, who was brought to the knowledge of the truth, by Mr. Isaac Garner, died December 20th, 1792. She was also an eminently pious woman. This year, 1778, Mr. Alexander Harper was called by the church to preach the gospel. He was dismissed to be the pastor of the church, said to meet at Hillcliffe and Warrington, in 1780. The letter of invitation is signed by Jonathan Atherton, Joseph Proppel, John Monks, and George Rylance. This decides Hillcliffe and Warrington to be the same church.

      1779 - The association was held in the year 1779, at Hamsterley, on the 27th and 28th days of May. Five had been added to the church at Hamsterley, &c., this year; but six had died, and three had been excluded; thus the cause was diminished by four. God sets prosperity and adversity over against the other, both in the church and in the world, though sin, in one shape or other, is the grand cause of all mutation in either. This year, was, however, on the whole, a remarkable one, and one never to be forgotten, in the annals of the church, arising from the union with it of good Isaac Slee.

      Mr. Slee was a native of Cumberland, and was educated for the ministry, in the National Establishment. In 1773, he was put in possession of the perpetual curacy of Plumpton, in his native county. At this time he was moral in his conduct, but knew nothing of vital godliness. In the year 1776, the great change took place on him - a change in heart - in dependence for salvation, and motives for obedience. He became a new creature in Christ Jesus. He continued in the Establishment about three years after this event, but in the present year left it, and became a Dissenter.

      Three circumstances conduced to this. The first was the abuse he received from a clergyman, who heard him, after his change, preach with great earnestness to his people. The second was his having to give the Lord's supper to a dying young lady, who, he conceived, knew nothing of its meaning; regarding himself, thereby, as a party in the guilt of those who eat and drink judgment to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body. The third reason for his dissent was, the change which had taken place in his brother Daniel, who had gone to Glasgow to study also for the ministry in the Establishment. He had become acquainted in that city, with some Baptists, who led his attention to a clearer view of

the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ. The result was, he joined with them, in church fellowship, and gave up, henceforward, all prospect of entering the Establishment. In his correspondence with his brother Isaac, he told him of the change, and his happiness in walking with God in the ways of his own appointment. Isaac reflected - was convinced - and, soon after, resolved to follow his example.

      Mr. Whitfield had frequently visited Cumberland, and was very popular with the Baptists there. As Mr. Slee was acquainted with, if not related to, some of the Baptist families,* he had occasionally heard of him, and doubtless of the opinion entertained of his character and capacity. He therefore resolved to go and visit him at Hamsterley; and as it is usual for a messenger, from each church, to attend the association, and as that meeting was to be held this year, at Hamsterley, so, it is probable, Mr. Slee accompanied the Broughton messenger thither. On the 25th May, he made his first appearance, in a place where his memory is still fondly cherished. Mr. Farrer, the curate of Hamsterley, wished him to preach for him, but he declined. His resolution to leave the church was now fully confirmed.

      On his return home, he wrote to the bishop of Carlisle, and told him frankly, but politely, that he no longer could eat the bread of a community of whose
* Mr. Slee's brother William had married Mary, daughter of Mr. Abraham Fletcher, of Little Broughton, an able and self-taught mathematician, and a successful practitioner in botanical medicine. Mr. Fletcher's brother David, was a deacon of the- Baptist church, Broughton, and who had married a daughter of Mr. Joseph Robinson, of Oulton. Sarah, the sister of Messrs. A. and D. Fletcher, was married to a son of the late minister of Broughton, Mr. Huston, and was, consequently, mother of Mr. Samuel Huston, who succeeded Mr. Hutton, at Broughton, and was a Baptist minister there for many a year.

worship and discipline he could not approve, and on the first of August, in the same year, preached his farewell sermon, to a crowded and deeply affected auditory. In another sermon, after he left the church, he stated his reasons for so doing.

      After remaining a short time with his relatives, he went again to Hamsterlsy, on the 20th August, and was haptized, and added to the church there, the following Lord's day; Mr. Whitfield preached from Acts xxii. 16, and a hymn, hy Mr. Slee, was sung on the occasion. Mr. Slee preached in the evening, from Romans viii. 28. This was indeed a gratifying day for the Dissenters, in this little sequestered village. Though they had received some additions lately, they, yet had to mourn the deaths that had taken place in the circle of the church, and also the affecting apostacies that had grieved them and dishonoured religion. Mr. Slee's sermon stating his reasons for leaving the Estahlishment, and Mr. Whitfield's, at his baptism, were now requested to he printed. This was complied with. Mr. Slee was also regularly called to exercise his ministry among the hody of Christians with whom he was now united.

      Mr. Slee had not, as yet, turned his attention to the Hebrew language; but as Mr. Whitfield was reckoned one of the first Hebrew scholars in his own denomination, he was, therefore, well fitted to instruct his young friend, though in a great degree self-taught himself. On the Lord's day that Mr. Whitfield went to Rowley, Mr. Slee officiated for him, and also on the forenoon of every Sabbath of the month on which the disciples came together to break bread. He occasionally visited his relatives in Cumberland, and when there preached at Broughton and Oulton; also at Hawksheadhill and Tottlebank, in Lancashire. At this latter place, the church was very desirous of having him as their pastor, as they had had no settled ministry since the

removal of Mr: Kettleby. They therefore sent a messenger to Hamsterley, to induce the church there, and himself, to comply with their affectionate and unanimous call.

      But Mr. Slee was destined to labour, and soon to die, in another quarter. Mr. Hartley, of Haworth, was now dying, and he was extremely solicitous, that the beloved people, to whom he had so long ministered, should enjoy the instructions and example of a good and able man, when he was gone the way of all the earth. Hearing of Mr. Slee, he was anxious, if possible, to secure him. It providentially happened, that Mr. Whitfield visited his aged and dying friend, in December. To him Mr. Hartley disclosed bis mind, and henceforward Haworth had a good advocate.

      Early in 1780, Mr. Slee visited Haworth, and had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Hartley before he died. He preached for three Sabbaths, to the church there, with great acceptance; received an unanimous call to be their minister; and, carrying a letter with him to that purport, the church at Hamsterley agreed to the proposal, and he returned to Haworth in the month of August.

      It is rather anticipating the chronology of our narrative, but it may be more agreeable to the reader, here to terminate the principal incidents of the remaining brief existence of Mr. Slee. He was ordained 9th August, 1781, Mr. Whitfield giving him the charge from 1st Tim. iii. 1. In December, 1782, he married Miss Heaton, of Haworth; and in the early part of March, 1783, he preached the funeral sermon of Mrs. Smith, at Wainsgate, seven miles from Haworth. In returning home the same night, the weather being severe, he took cold, which, fastening on his chest, terminated in pulmonary consumption. He spent the month of June in Cumberland, and feeling considerably renovated, he returned and resumed his labours; but,

alas, for Haworth and the west riding of Yorkshire, these were soon to cease. He preached his last sermon, from Ezekiel xxxvi. 37; and, to the deep regret of all who knew him, died, 13th January, 1784. Mrs. Slee, though married again, did not long survive him. The memory of Mr. Slee is still fragrant, both at Haworth and Hamsterley, two churches mutually endeared, from their connexion with the pious and devoted Isaac Slee.*
* As Mr. Slee was the Samuel Pearce of his day, a few sentences from his letters may not be unacceptable to those who have not his memoir. The following evince his Christian heroism in trouble, and his love to the Bible: "I have met with some heavy trials since you were here. I was perplexed, cast down, and shattered, but not in despair. I see still my trials are only beginning; but I am fully determined to go on in the strength of my Lord, though men and devils oppose. When providences seem to run counter to promises, then it is needful to believe in hope against hope. Oh! how sweet is communion with God, in a time of trouble! Paul and Silas sang praises when their feet were in the stocks. The higher the water rose, the ark was nearer heaven. Oh precious Bible! methinks it assumes new beauties every day, and every performance is flatulent and defective in comparison with it." October 17th, 1781.

      To Mr. Whitfield, 10th April, 1782, he says, "I cannot but sympathise with Mrs. Garthorn and family. However, it affords relief, that his (her husband's) last end was so happy, that she bears it with so much Christian fortitude, and that her trials appear to be sanctified by the Lord, whose way is sometimes in the whirlwind. May the Lord be an indulgent husband to the amiable widow, and in Him may the dear fatherless children find that mercy which alone can make them happy, when sun and moon shall be no more! P.S. my respects to Mrs. G., to John Hall, that beloved modern Gaius, and the whole church," &c.

      After his affliction had begun, Mr. Slee thus writes to the church at Haworth, from Kirk Oswald, Cumberland, June 2nd, 1783: "I cannot but be concerned for your welfare, from whom I have received so much kindness, and among whom I have enjoyed so much consolation. I find the confinement a trying

      1780. - The church, at Tuthill-stairs, Newcastle, was at this time in a very languishing state; nine years had passed since Mr. Allen left, and in all probability Mr. Fernie would be the chief supply. The bush-burning however was not consumed. "When God has purposes of mercy to his children, he never wants instruments to carry his designs into effect. It was so with Tuthill-stairs, in the year 1780. A member of Mr. Beatson's church, Hull, Richard Fishwick, Esq., a name well known to the churches in the north, in days gone by, -
providence; but it is the Lord's doing, who does all things well, though at times we find clouds and darkness are round about him. But a bright morning will shortly arise. I hope you cleave to the Lord. Abide in Him."

      To Mr. Crabtree, of Bradford, he says, in the following month, "I am very poorly I see it my wisdom to prepare for death. Should the Lord raise me up again, I shall be better prepared to live. The Lord, however, seems to intend me a short passage. His will be done."

      To the same, he says, August 1st, "I am glad to hear of your health and strength; but the Lord has weakened my strength in the way, and I think is purposing to cut me off in the midst of my days. He is wiser than I, therefore I submit. He will do me good, therefore I rejoice. I seem to be moving to the grave, and have made my bed in the dust. This world shrinks into nothing, but blessed be God I have a hope full of immortality."

      To the same, September 12th: "I am very poorly, and grow gradually worse; yet a little while, and I shall live with Christ."

      His last published letter, is the following, to the same, September 30th: "I long to be gone, but would submissively wait my Father's time. When shall the blessed period come! I desire you would engage at my funeral, to make some suitable remarks upon the occasion, as usual. And I wish you would warmly recommend to the dear church, diligence in private and public prayer, and constantly to observe the monthly meeting which they have appointed, for prayer and supplication, and exhort them to walk worthy of God. The passage I could wish to be improved by you, is Job xix. 25, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.'" See the Memoir of Mr. Slee, by Mr. Whitfield.

came to Newcastle this year, for the purpose of establishing the Elswick Lead Works. He was born at Hull, in 1745; and became connected with the church there in 1777, at the age of thirty-two; and consequently was now in his thirty-fifth year.

      When Mr. Fishwiek came to Newcastle, he enquired at the inn where he alighted, if there were any Baptists in the town. The waiter replied, he did not know what they were! On further enquiry, however, he heard of Mr. Caleb Alder, to whom he introduced himself, and from him he learned that the body was small, and in a low and divided condition. He found that the Socinian leaven, to which we have already adverted as being ia active operation at this time, had been introduced into this church, and had produced a most baneful effect. Mr. Alder himself, who, previously, had been as a pillar in the church, adopted these views; and being separated with others, he conducted their worship, assisted by his son-in-law, Mr. William Robson, in a room on the North Shore. They subsequently built the Pandon-bank chapel; and had Mr. Edward Prowitt, who had been educated at the Baptist academy, in Bristol, for their minister.

      The appearance of Mr. Fishwick among the brethren, seems to have inspired them with new life. He did not, like too many of his wealthy brethren, despise them by going to a Paedobaptist place of worship; but became with them a co-worker in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ; and a re-union with some of the old members, and some belonging to Hamsterley, took place, in April, 1780. Mr. Henry Dawson was the minister. He, however, remained with them only a short time; and went to Hawksheadhill, in 1781.

      In a short time after Mr. Dawson left, Mr. Pendered was invited to supply, and he continued to do so, with acceptance, for the following six years, when he

was ordained. Thus God's servants, had taken pleasure in the stones of Zion - a sure mark, that the time to favour her, yea, the set time, was come.

      The association, this year, 1780, was held at Hawks- headhill, 17th and 18th May. Messrs. Whitfield, Hut- ton, and Slee, preached. The circular letter by Mr. Whitfield. The increase in the churches only four. Mr. Harbottle left Hawksheadhill this year, and went to Tottlebank. Mr. Dawson succeeded him.

      1781-1783. - The association in 1781, was held at Broughton, June 6th and 7th. Mr. Isaac Robson was, in March, this year, dismissed to the church in Grafton-street, London; and in 1782, the annual meeting was held at Hamsterley, 5th and 6th June. Messrs. Kinghorn,* Harbottle, Walton, and Hutton, preached. In 1783, the association was held at Whitehaven. No particulars are mentioned. Two were added this year at Hamsterley.
* This was Mr. David Kinghorn, of Bishop Burton, Yorkshire, brother-in-law to Mr. Isaac Garner, having married Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Joseph Jopling, of Satley and Elizabeth Rippon his wife, sister of Sarah, wife of Mr. Henry Angus, of the Dye-House, father of Mr. William Angus, of the same place, and of Catherine, wife of Mr. C. Hall, brother of Mr. Robert Hall, of Arnsby. Consequently, Mrs. Kinghorn and Mrs. C. Hall were first cousins. This being the case, there was a slight connexion, if no direct relationship, between the two great antagonists of their day, on the free communion question, Mr. Jos. Kinghorn, of Norwich, son of Mr. D. Kinghorn, of Bishop Burton, and Mr. Bobert Hall, Junior, of Bristol. Mr. Hall's aunt was Mr. Kinghorn's second cousin. Mr. Joseph Kinghorn was born, it is supposed, at Newcastle, in 1766. His father went to Bishop Burton, in 1770, and Joseph returned to Newcastle, in early life, to engage in the employment of Mr. Fishwick. He was converted in his eighteenth year, and called to preach the gospel the same year, 1784. He was sent, at the expense of Mr. Fishwick, and Mr. Ward, his colleague, to Bristol; and at the end of his term, in 1788, had for his classical tutor, his future antagonist, Mr. E. Hall. He settled in Norwich, 28th March, 1789.

Mr. Hutton, pastor of the church at Broughton, who had succeeded Mr. Palmer, this year went over to America,

      The following excellent letter, was written by Mr. David Kinghorn, to Mr. Henry Dawson, who had been a member of the church, at Bishop Burton; but dismissed to the church at Hamsterley, in 1781, and sent by Mr. Whitfield to Hawksheadhill. He had previously been a school-master and a local preacher.

      "Sir, I greatly rejoice to hear, by Mr. Ward, my son, and yourself, that you had met with so kind a reception in the north, and that God seems to be opening a door, not only for your comfort, but also for usefulness, I hope, in the church; both of which seemed to be shut against you while you continued at Fangfass; but as the Lord's way is in the deep waters, and his footsteps are not known until his purposes break forth in his providence, and manifest his design to us, by their accomplishment, it is no wonder, that we should often think, that he writeth bitter things against us, even when he is bringing about the greatest good ; and is no proof, that because judgment is not speedily executed against an evil work, that it will not be executed at all ; so neither is it a proof, that because prayer is not immediately answered, there- fore it is not accepted. The time when, the place where, and the means by which, God accomplishes his purposes, fulfils his promises, and grants our requests, are often quite out of our sight. This indeed makes the hand of God more manifest, for if we had our desires fulfilled in our own way, and agreeable to our own mind, in many respects, we should be at a loss to see the hand of God. To prevent which, and that we may not lose the comfort, nor himself the glory of his own works, he crosses his hands in his providence, and withholds from us, in our way, what he gives in his own. Seeing that you now enjoy the desire of your heart, and are saying, that it is good to be here, you need to remember, that the greatest trials usually follow the sweetest enjoyments. I do not mean to damp your joy, nor deaden your comfort; but to excite to the most diligent watchfulness and prayer, knowing that the adversary takes every opportunity to ensnare, and, if possible, to destroy us. I shall be glad to hear whether you succeeded at Hawksheadhill or not; and where you fix your residence; and what prospect you have in the work before you, should you be fixed any where else. I desire you make no more apologies, either for having spoken or written freelv. I hate dissimulation,

on the termination of the revolutionary war, begun in 1775.* In consequence of this war, some of the small farmers, belonging to the church at Hamsterley, failed; and were never afterwards able to recover the position in society they had held before.+ Oh! how should men, endowed with common sense - how should patriots, lovers of their country - how should Christians, the followers of the Prince of Peace above all, set themselves in opposition to that horrid and senseless mischief -- war.
and dread a mental reservation; but love plain simple freedom, faithfulness, and uprightness. Nothing tends more to beget and increase love, than a free communication of our hopes and fears, our joys and sorrows, to one another. It weakens prejudices, destroys jealousies, and unites the hearts of real saints, one to another. I have found this true, by experience, in some particular instances. We join in respect to you, Mr. Whitfield, and his spouse, and to all our relations, particularly Thomas Jopling, Thomas and Ann Hall, and their daughters, &c.; and I rest in the fellowship of the gospel, your friend and brother,

               DAVID KINGHORN.
      "Bishop Burton, Dec. 3rd., 1781."
      A letter of Mr. Joseph Kinghorn's, relative to his first appearance in public as a preacher, is inserted in the Baptist Reporter, for January, 1844.

      * After Mr. Huttou left, Mr. Dowson supplied for twelve months at Broughton, and then left. The church was destitute of a pastor for two years, during which time they did not forsake the assembling of themselves together; but worship was carried on by one of the deacons, Mr. Thomas Walker, who conducted the service in the usual manner, and read a sermon till Mr. Hutton returned, in 1786.

      + This was the case with one good man, named John Toward. He had two sons, John and Thomas; and five daughters, two of whom were married to two brothers, Elizabeth to Leonard, and Jane to Anthony Stephenson, of Pike Stone; most, if not all members, along with their parents, of the church at Hamsterley.

      1784. - The association seems to have again sunk into a state of abeyance, this year. The reason we are not told; but it continued in this condition for about eleven years, when it awoke again, in the year 1795. One person was baptized this year at Hamsterley, and was added to Mr. Jones' church, Independent, Durham.

      It was in the end of this year, that Mr. Whitfield proposed a separation between the two branches of the church. He had now, for thirteen years, amidst great inconvenience and much fatigue, borne the burden of preaching every alternate Lord's day, at Hamsterley and Rowley. He had done so willingly. His youth, health, and usual buoyancy of spirit, enabled him to do so; but now, the state of his family, and the state of Mrs. Whitfield's health, were such as induced him to decline carrying on the united services any longer; and, accordingly, in November, he preached on the subject, from Titus i. 5, to prepare the church, and especially the brethren in the north, for the separation contemplated.

      1785. - On the 2nd April, 1785, a meeting was again held at Rowley, to take into consideration the propriety of giving a call to Mr. Ross, to take the oversight of the northern portion of the church, and to take steps to form them into a separate community. In accordance with this, on the 15th of June, letters of dismissicn were given to twenty-four persons, and liberty was given to form themselves into a distinct and inde- pendent church. This was accordingly done. Mr. Ross became their minister, and Messrs. George Angus and Jonathan Soppit deacons. Tha southern division consisted of fifty-two members, Mr. Whitfield minister, and Messrs. John Hall and Thomas Jopling* deacons.
* Mr. Thomas Jopling was brother of Mrs. Isaac Garner, and Mrs. David Kinghorn, daughters of Mr. Joseph Jopling, Satley. Their elder brother, Joseph, had died sometime before, at Satley.

      It was now one hundred and thirty-three years since the church was formed by Mr. Tillam, and it had survived all the storms and calamities of that lengthened space of time; and consequently there must have been some deep emotion in the dissolving of such an affectionate relationship. We have no account of the last meeting of the church; but it must, we may easily suppose, have been a very touching one. To see two elderly matrons - twins, endeared to each other by mutual birth, parentage, and education, forced by circumstances from each other, after having become hoary in years, must be very affecting. In like manner, the two portions of this aged community must have felt peculiarly tenderly, when, for the last time, as an united church, they partook together the emblems of the ratification of the New Covenant - the last supper of their mutual Lord and Master. Better far, however, to separate thus, than when churches part from each other in the spirit of bitter contention. The affair may, indeed, be in the end, over-ruled for good; but, generally speaking, the spirit in which such contentious are begun, carried on, and terminated, is more the spirit of Satan, than of God - of pride, than of holiness.

      At this time, there were five churches connected with the Baptist denomination in the North, namely, Hamsterley, Rowley, and Sunderland, in Durham; and Hexham and Newcastle, in Northumberland; also Marton, in Yorkshire; together with its offshoot, Stockton, in Durham. The ministers were, Messrs. Whitfield, Fernie, and Ross. The churches in the west riding of Yorkshire and Lancashire were also increasing.* We
leaving two sons, Andrew and James; and two daughters, Mary, who died young, and Elizabeth, who was afterwards married to Mr. Joseph Craggs, of Butsfield.

      * The church, at Rochdale, Lancashire, had its origin in 1773. It sprung out of the occasional labours of Dr. Fawcett and Mr.

now hasten to pursue, in our next chapter, the interesting career of Mr. Whitfield.
Hirst. The first pastor was Mr. Abraham Greenwood. He was succeeded by Mr. Dracup, who was followed hy Mr. Littlewood, in 1786, who died in ]817. The church at Bramley, Yorkshire, had its origin in 1774, through the labours of Mr. Askwith, who became its first pastor, in 1777. He died in 1795. The church at Farsley originated in the labours of Mr. Crabtree, of Bradford. In 1777, a chapel was erected; and a church was formed in 1780. Mr. William Roe was its first pastor. He died in 1795. The church at Hebden Bridge was an offshoot of the church at Wainsgate, sixty-nine of the members of which, together with Mr. [afterwards Dr.] Fawcett, their pastor, left to fix a place of worship in a more central situation, to accommodate an increased number of hearers. The Doctor died 1817. The church at Leeds had its origin in 1779. Its first pastor was Mr. Thomas Langdon. He died in 1824. The church at Ogden, in Lancashire, was ah offshoot of the church at Rochdale. Mr. Wade was its first pastor. The church at Preston, in Lancashire, originated also in 1783. Mr. Benjamin Davis was its first pastor; Mr. Williams succeeded in 1785; and Mr. Goodridge, from London, in 1787.

[From David Douglas, History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, From 1648 to 1845, London, 1846, pp. 199-225. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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