Abbildungen der Seite



star reached the ascendant; and now came what he disliked more than all the ill treatment his homespun had brought upon him.

“ The man who had insulted him at his table met him on the street, and, extending his hand, exclaimed, in a very cordial manner: Why, how do you do, Brother Wilkerson? I have just found

I you out. You must come and make my house your home, etc., etc. The preachers, very charitably,

' determined to make up a purse and buy him a suit of clothes. Several of them were speaking of it in the presence of good old Bishop George, who knew Wilkerson at home. A mischievous twinkle played in the corner of the old Bishop's eye as he remarked to them: Why, brethren, if you were blacked, he could buy half of you.'

" But above all the other characteristics of this estimable old man, his piety shone resplendent. It was a piety that begat meekness, gentleness, temperance, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, charity; a piety that lived and breathed in all his words and acts; a piety that made him a most estimable citizen, a kind neighbor, a feeling and tender master, a devoted husband; a piety conspicuous in the pulpit, palpable in the social circle, resplendent around the fireside; a piety that maintained his spirits in cheerfulness and hope through the vicissitudes and reverses of a long life of eightythree years; that enabled him to bear with meek resignation the loss of dear friends, and to say, despite the tears that bedimmed his eyes, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed

[ocr errors]

be the name of the Lord !' a piety that supported him through ten years of disease in the decline of life; that upheld him through more than six months of prostration, often suffering the most excruciating pain; finally, a piety that sustained him in the hour of death, and bore him triumphantly to the rest that remains to the people of God."* On his bed of death, a few weeks before he passed away, he said: “This old worn-out frame I shall willingly consign to the grave. The grave cannot hurt it. Storms may rage, the revolutions of earth may go on, the lightnings of heaven may flash, and her thunders resound, war with iron heel may tread my grave above; but my body shall be at rest. God has use for it, and he will take care of it till the judgment. My soul is his. He gave it; to him,

. blessed be his name! it will return." He was fearful of grieving the Spirit by being too anxious to depart. He said: “The grave is a quiet restingplace; death is a pleasant sleep;” for he was weary of life's long labors. The last connected words he uttered were: “If I had my time to go over, I would preach differently to what I have. I would preach more about eternity. I would strive to keep eternity always before the minds of my people. What is time but a vapor ? Eternity is all." +

We close this sketch by the introduction of a letter from the Rev. W. G. E. Cunnyngham, of the Holston Conference: * Rev. George E. Naff, in Home Circle, Vol. II., pp. 335, 336, 337. General Minutes M. E. Church, South, Vol. I., p. 674.





“He died at his residence, three miles east of Abingdon, Virginia, February 3, 1856, in the eightyfourth year of his age. His death was peaceful and beautiful, as his life had been pure and useful. His sun went down calmly, in as bright a sky as ever faded into night. He had for years been standing on the margin of the river, waiting his time to pass

He used to say, when talking on the subject of death: Its bitterness has long been past with

The grave is but a subterraneous passage to a better world. I shall suffer only a momentary obscuration, and then rise with my Lord, to die no more.' He died in the midst of his family, surrounded by sympathizing and devoted friends. He was buried in rear of the Methodist Church in Abingdon, where he sleeps quietly, in company with four fellow-laborers of the Holston Conference.

“Father Wilkerson was a man of well-balanced character, distinguished for a sound understanding, lively fancy, tender sympathies, and profound piety. As a preacher, he was classed among the best of his day. To a thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures and Methodist theology, he added a deep knowledge of human nature, especially in its more profound and subjective experiences. Gentle and persuasive in manner, clear and logical in statement, his sermons were pleasing and instructive, and often overwhelmingly convincing. When inspired by his theme, he rose into the higher regions of pulpit eloquence. At such times he was one of the finest specimens of a gospel preacher ever

heard in this country. He lived and died without the suspicion of a taint upon his spotless character.”

We regret to report, at the close of this year, a decrease of one hundred and ninety-four members. This decrease was general throughout the State, embracing every circuit, except the Hinkstone, in which we had a small increase.


OF 1797. The Conference of 1796 held at Masterson's Chapel-Jeremiah Law

son-Aquila Jones — Benjamin Lakin - John Watson - Henry Smith—John Baird—Increase in membership-Shelby Circuit.

THE Conference of 1796 was held at Masterson's Chapel, on the 20th of April. The Rev. Francis Poythress again presided, Bishop Asbury not being present. The session was harmonious throughout.*

Jeremiah Lawson joined the Conference this year. He remained in the Conference only three years, during which he traveled successively the Shelby, Danville, and Lexington Circuits; and then located. We, however, find him supplying the place of William Algood-who failed to come to Kentucky-during the spring and summer of 1800, on the Limestone Circuit, under the appointment of the Presiding Elder, William Burke. He lived to a good old age, honored and beloved by all who knew him, and then died at the residence of his son, the late Dr. L. M. Lawson, of Cincinnati, who stood for many years at the head of the medical profession in that city.

The names also of Aquila Jones, Benjamin La

* Judge Scott.

« ZurückWeiter »